2010-12-12 19:07:06Basic Rebuttal #77. Corrected version. READY TO GO. The e-mail 'scandal' showed that Phil Jones was 'tricking' temperature statistics by 'hiding a decline'.
villabolo

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It is an unfortunate aspect of human communication that, the more detailed a sincere person is in explaining a situation, the easier it is for him to be quoted out of context; deliberately or not.

When the manufactured e-mail 'scandal' broke out, a number of carefully selected statements from several scientists were chosen to give the impression that they were engaging in a cover up of facts pertaining to Global Warming. One of these staements was from Phil Jones, who was quoted as saying:

"I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline".

That phrase is interpreted to mean that Jones was 'tricking' the public and 'hiding' something. But does it really mean that or is it a case of scientific jargon that was opportunistically quoted out of context?

The word "trick" is short for "Trick(s) of the trade", a commonly used phrase by a wide range of professions when they communicate with each other.

As officially defined, "Tricks of the trade" simply refers to a shortcut or clever way of explaining, teaching or doing things; not deception of any kind. 

"Hide the decline", the second half of the misquoted text, has been incorrectly interpreted to be a conspiracy to hide a supposed decrease in global temperatures. It actually refers to the fact that part of the data Jones was using was derived from tree rings, a proxy indicator of temperatures. However, the last 20 years of tree ring data they were using was found to be flawed. 

The flaw was discovered when the tree ring data was tested against other data and showed an artificial and misleading 'decline' in tree ring growth. This was actually due to the effects of increased warming on the growth of trees as the following scientific study shows:

"Our results show an unexpected widespread tree growth decline in temperate and boreal forests due to warming induced stress but are also suggestive of additional stressors. Rising atmospheric CO2 levels during the past century resulted in consistent increases in water use efficiency, but this did not prevent growth decline."

The 'trick' (of the trade) was to correct the flawed tree ring data.

In conclusion, 'trick' (of the trade) is a common scientific phrase that scientists and other professionals are familiar with. That phrase was grossly misinterpreted as trickery in the common sense of the word. Also, "hide the decline" was falsely interpreted as having to do with hiding a fictitious decline in temperature that some 'skeptics" have claimed exists (See this article on alleged 'Global Cooling').

2010-12-12 22:05:31
nealjking

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I think more explication is needed on the meaning and context of "hiding the decline."
2010-12-13 06:05:24
villabolo

villabolo@yahoo...
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2011-03-11 18:33:34
logicman

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Minor typos etc.

 

When the manufactored manufactured e-mail 'scandal' 

 

"a selected number of carefully selected statements" - repetition

 

opportunistally - opportunistically

 

proffessions - professions

 

This paragraph needs to be more basic:

"Hide the decline", the second half of the misquoted text, has been interpreted to be a conspiracy to hide a supposed decrease in global temperaturesg. It actually refers to the fact that part of the data Jones was using was derived from tree rings, a potential indicator of temperatures. The last 20 years of tree ring data was faulty and did not correlate with the other data because it showed an artificial and misleading 'decline'. The 'trick' was to correct it.

 

'Faulty' may carry the implication that some person is at fault. 'Flawed' is more neutral.

'The last 20 years of tree ring data was faulty' - not delimited so implies all tree ring data globally.  From what I recall, that is not the case.

 

A suggestion:

 

"Hide the decline", the second half of the misquoted text, has been interpreted to be a conspiracy to hide a supposed decrease in global temperaturesg. It actually refers to the fact that part of the data Jones was using was derived from tree rings, a proxy indicator of temperatures which is usually accurate.However, the last 20 years of tree ring data they were using was found to be flawed.  The flaw was discovered when the tree ring data was tested against other data and showed an artificial and misleading 'decline'. The 'trick' was to remove the flawed data from the models.

2011-03-27 19:46:18This one is probably ready too
James Wight

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One more suggestion: you could use in-text hyperlinks instead of footnotes. The basic rebuttals aren't particularly formal.

2011-03-27 21:01:08I'm afraid I don't agree
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
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As has been discussed in connection with the "Muller question", I am not convinced we are doing justice to the question of "hiding the decline".

While I fully agree that Jones et al. have been defamed in the uproar, I do think that we have to address the substantive issue that was raised in all the hullaballoo: "If we can't trust the tree-ring proxies AFTER 1961, and we don't know why, then how can we trust them BEFORE 1961?"

- This is a fair question.

- By the substitution, undeclared in the graph caption, of real thermometer data for the unreliable tree-ring data, it was side-stepped in that paper.

To be a full response to the "hide the decline" issue, I believe we must add a justification, or a link to a justification, of why we can trust the tree-ring proxies in the pre-1961 period - particularly into the era when there are no thermometer records. We need a discussion on the applicability and limits of temperature proxies, specifically embracing the tree-ring stuff.

Otherwise, we haven't truly addressed the issue, we've just given a superficial response: "cherry picking" the problem, as it were.

I cannot provide guidance beyond this point, because I don't know enough about proxies. But I firmly believe that if we don't address this point, we are ignoring the elephant in the living room. But McIntrye et al. are NOT.

2011-04-05 15:22:12
villabolo

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Villabolo:

"It actually refers to the fact that part of the data Jones was using was derived from tree rings, a proxy indicator of temperatures. However, the last 20 years of tree ring data they were using was found to be flawed. The flaw was discovered when the tree ring data was tested against other data and showed an artificial and misleading 'decline'. The 'trick' was to remove the flawed data from the models."

Nealjking:

"To be a full response to the "hide the decline" issue, I believe we must add a justification, or a link to a justification, of why we can trust the tree-ring proxies in the pre-1961 period - particularly into the era when there are no thermometer records.We need a discussion on the applicability and limits of temperature proxies, specifically embracing the tree-ring stuff."

Neal, I agree it's a legitimate issue, worthy of discussion, but only in the context of an intermediate level rebuttal. I don't think most people in a basic audience would want to know that much. Simply by explaining the presence of a flaw and its readjustment.

I did provide a link to the SkS article on "Tree-ring proxies and the divergence problem" which explains the issue in greater detail.

2011-04-08 14:28:28
logicman

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The 'decline' refers to a decline in tree growth which shows up as a decline in ring

suggestion for changes:

 

"Hide the decline", the second half of the misquoted text, has been incorrectly interpreted to be a conspiracy to hide a supposed decrease in global temperatures. It actually refers to the fact that part of the data Jones was using was derived from tree rings, a proxy indicator of temperatures. However, the last 20 years of tree ring data they were using was found to be flawed. The flaw was discovered when the tree ring data was tested against other data and showed a decline in annual tree growth. The 'trick' was to stop using that data at the point where it diverged from directly measured temperatures.

We know we can trust the tree ring data prior to that cut-off point because we have tree rings since the invention of the thermometer which do not show such a decline in tree growth.  Tree rings from before the invention of the thermometer conform to other proxy temperature records.

 

Citation for this, or a more advanced rebuttal, also a rebuttal to 'plants love CO2':

"Our results show an unexpected widespread tree growth decline in temperate and boreal forests due to warming induced stress but are also suggestive of additional stressors. Rising atmospheric CO2 levels during the past century resulted in consistent increases in water use efficiency, but this did not prevent growth decline. These findings challenge current predictions of increasing terrestrial carbon stocks under climate change scenarios."

Silva LCR, Anand M, Leithead MD (2010) Recent Widespread Tree Growth Decline Despite Increasing Atmospheric CO2. PLoS ONE 5(7): e11543. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011543

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0011543

2011-04-08 14:37:02
logicman

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oops!

 

My top line should read:

The 'decline' refers to a decline in tree growth which shows up as a decline in ring thickness which would normally be attributable to lower temperatures but which is shown by directly measured temperatures as not attributable to that cause.

2011-04-08 16:45:24Suggestion by Logicman.
villabolo

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Logicman, thanks for suggesting that I also use the "tree growth decline" article, by Silva etc., for my other rebuttal on "Plants love CO2".

2011-04-09 02:01:34
logicman

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Looks good, but a minor change is needed:

 

This was actually due to the effects of increased Carbon Dioxide on the growth of trees as the following scientific study shows:

 

This was actually due to the effects of warming induced stress as the following scientific study shows:

 

I would omit reference to CO2 in this basic rebuttal as it may confuse some readers.  At the basic level the decline is, simply put, due to warming stress. 

At a more advanced level on this topic - and on 'plants love CO2' - it might be useful to mention that heat stress as a negative growth factor can dominate over excess CO2 as a positive growth factor, as demonstrated in the case of these trees.

 

Good work, villabolo

2011-04-11 14:09:58Logicman.
villabolo

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Logicman; change made. Thanks.

2011-04-17 12:34:54
logicman

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Great.  I already gave a thumbs up.  Anyone else like this? Vote, vote, vote! :)