2011-04-13 12:22:16The 'e-mail scandal' "trick" to hide what was really meant about "hiding the decline"
villabolo

villabolo@yahoo...
76.93.89.50

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 statements 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 due, in part, 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').

2011-04-13 12:45:10
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

"Tricks of the trade" is an almost universal expression; we used it in the 80's in Cartography & Remote Sensing for the US DoD, in the 90's in advertising and in the  "aughts" in pharmaceutical sales.

Maybe you could find some specific examples from some of the other professions you list in the post.

2011-04-13 13:23:14
logicman

logicman_alf@yahoo.co...
86.144.3.241

It's definitely a universal expression. Our lives are in the hands of far too many professionals who use tricks to hide their sheer incompetence.  Something needs to be done about it!  I shall write a letter to The Times forthwith!

 

"During this intensive exercise, the aspiring commanders soon learned all the tricks of the trade."

http://www.defensie.nl/english/.../ Submarine_commander_training_in_Norwegian_fjords

 

Helicopter pilots and the rope trick:

http://www.lahelicopters.com/press/learning-long-lining.pdf

2011-04-13 14:10:03comments
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203

"One of these statements was from Phil Jones"

As officially defined, "Tricks of the trade" simply refers to...

"This was actually may have partially been due to the effects of increased warming on the growth of trees..."

2011-04-13 16:53:53Daniel Bailey; Lgicman; Dana1981.
villabolo

villabolo@yahoo...
76.93.89.50

Daniel Bailey: "Maybe you could find some specific examples from some of the other professions you list in the post."

Daniel; if you're referring to the professions in the bulleted list, they are hyperlinked to specific examples. The parenthetical statements indicate either location of the statement or its use as either a main title or chapter title.

Logicman; thanks a lot for those two links. I added them to my rebuttal. Some people should find them funny.

Your submarine link was tuncated and broken when I cut and pasted it; but I tracked it down easily.

Dana; thanks for finding those typos. They've been corrected.

Villabolo

2011-04-20 14:08:02ready?
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203

I made a blog post page for this one.  You ready to publish it villabolo?

The e-mail scandal "trick" to hide the real meaning of "hide the decline"

2011-04-20 14:25:50Comments (sorry , a bit late to the party)
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.187.72.92

"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."

The decline isn't artificial - it's a real phenomenon. I'd say simply "showed a 'decline' in tree ring growth".

"This was due, in part, to the effects of increased warming on the growth of trees as Silva et al. (2010) shows:"

There are a number of possible contributing factors so placing the emphasis on just warmth as a cause doesn't really give a fair picture. Perhaps better would be to say "This was due to a number of possible contributing factors such as the effects of increased warming..."

You don't actually say what the "trick" is but it's been covered several times recently - perhaps just add a "For more details on the technical details of Mike's 'trick', see this recent post."

2011-04-20 15:01:37
Glenn Tamblyn

glenn@thefoodgallery.com...
60.230.171.115

Perhaps also a comment that the tree ring data prior to the 'decline' period right back to the start of the surface temp record did agree with the surface temp record. So there was over a century of good correlation then for some reason they diverged in recent times.

2011-04-26 12:46:05Sorry, just had a closer read of this post
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.187.72.92

Made some minor tweaks (including Glenn's suggestion) and was about to publish this when i noticed this post actually falls into the same error we've been repeatedly trying to debunk for a while now - conflating Mike's "trick" with "hide the decline". So the post needs to be revised to clarify that Mike's trick has nothing to do with the decline. The two are separate things.