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Hide the decline II: 1400-1550 covered up

Steve McIntyre managed to uncover a piece of scientific forgery that looks even more serious than the original "hide the decline" trick:

Hide the Decline: Sciencemag #3
The summary of the story is very simple. The Briffa-Osborn 1999 reconstruction of the climate depended on a variable called "yrmxd" in a computer code. You can set it to any year and the program will cover up the whole history of your proxies before the year "yrmxd". The variable was set to 1550 instead of the correct 1402 and the result looked like this:

Click to zoom in.

Look at the brightly shining pink lines - because both of these segments have been erased in the final paper. Those guys have censored the "distracting" decline of the temperature obtained from the trees after 1960 (they have masked the so-called "divergence problem"): this is the original "hide the decline" scandal.

But as you can see, they have also hidden a 3 times longer period, 1402-1550, which was arguably even more inconvenient because the trees indicate a faster warming in the 15th century than in the 20th century. By this cosmetic surgery, they have eliminated pretty much 1/2 of their data - on both sides - because they didn't support the predetermined conclusion and only picked the 1/2 that could be used as a part of the hockey stick.

No justification has been given for the truncation - and in fact, the fact that the truncation has been done remained a secret in the paper.

I suspect that the whole alarmist paleoclimatological community has been well aware of this 15th century problem - data clearly disagreeing with any form of a hockey stick. My reason for this broader statement is that the censorship seems to influence the same period as the aptly named "censored" directory by Mann that was ultimately erased from MBH98.

MBH98 came before Briffa-Osborn 1999 so you may try to guess which mann is the most likely primordial originator of this fabrication.

It seems pretty likely that this or a very similar fraud affects pretty much every single climate reconstruction in the literature going back at least to 1400 by anyone who has failed to explicitly denounce Michael Mann as a pile of f*ces. Those people - if they deserve to be called in this way at all - have been lying and deceiving everyone for decades and they should be sent to Guantanamo Bay. ;-)

Well, Tim Ball has offered a better verdict: the mann should be moved from Penn State to the State Pen. A hilarious quote! Needless to say, the mann has sued Tim Ball. If Ball loses, I will try to find addresses of oil companies and urge them to pay Ball 10 times the money he will lose.

Now, let me add that I am far from certain that the Earth has seen a warming trend - or even a huge warming trend - in the 15th century. In fact, other climate reconstructions, including one from Craig Loehle who is no alarmist, indicate that the 15th century already saw a cooling before the little ice age. However, what I am certain about is that there have been sizable temperature variabilities in the pre-industrial era and the alarmist movement has been working hard to deprecate them.

Via Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts

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snail feedback (16) :

reader ejfancett said...


Great summary. This paleo 'group', Wegman's report show the tangled web of this 'Team', should, at the least, be shunned by all the climate scientists.

That Eric Steig recently jumped on Mann's bandwagon and used his corrupt statistical methods ruined a promising young scientist.

I just don't understand how any budding scientist could even consider anyone of Mann et al (The Team) as a potential mentor and adviser.

Imagine if engineers started behaving like climate scientists, hiding data, refusing to submit calculations and such. They would all lose their registration. Nothing could ever get built.

Barbers need a license to take a pair of scissors to my head. They have to demonstrate some minimum modicum of competency.

Shouldn't climate scientists?

reader aaron said...

This raises a question for me. Is there a ~600yr solar cycle affecting primarily the red and IR spectrum.

reader aaron said...

(Or magnetic or UV. Something that would primarily affect plants. I'm thinking a magnetic affect, reducing incoming solar radiation at the same time surface temperature increases due to release of stored heat.)

reader Janet said...


Forgive me if this question is inappropriate.

Recently I questioned the omission of the data and was told that the removal of the data had already been investigated by three separate panels who looked into the so called "climate-gate scandal". The person said that the data was clearly erroneous proxy data that conflicted with either known instrument data or other proxies that gave a stronger, more consistent signal. In other words, the scientists removed bad data.

Do you know where I might find the published investigations of these panels?


reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Janet,

I am afraid that someone was trying to deceive you. I watch those things pretty carefully and it seems pretty clear that the discovery that the 1400-1550 period was censored out in this way is pretty new, so no panels could have studied it in the past.

So I think that the people whom you talked to just wanted to say "we have had the universal whitewash panels that have removed any sin from the alarmist climatologists' bodies." Well, at most Jesus Christ could do such a thing.

So what they may have possibly referred to was the 1960-2000 decline which clearly shows that that the trees are/were not good global temperature proxies because the temperatures were increasing, not dropping.

Concerning the 15th century, I still think it's more likely that it was cooling during the 15th century but as the pink censored proxies help to show, this question is arguably as uncertain as many other similar questions.

Even if a panel, or whatever indimidating word one uses, were studying the question in the way you suggest, it's very unlikely that they could have a legitimate argument of the sort you sketch. If several groups of proxies qualitatively disagree, it can still be any group that is closer to the truth. And if one tried hard, one could find many other proxies that behave in the same way as the "so far minority". One simply can't choose the better proxies by "majority votes" among proxies - it's a self-evidently flawed strategy especially because the "majorities" and "minorities" depend on subjective selections.


reader aaron said...

Disagreeing with a thesis is not a reason to remove data. Data is removed when it it's known to have been corrupted (by specific mechanisms).

Lobos, to continue my riff, more simply there could be 6 to 8 hundred year oceanic events that are triggered by or happen to coincide with 200 yr solar cycles.

reader Kahuna said...

I think the proper conclusion to draw here is that the tree ring series is a very poor proxy for temp and should no longer be used in reconstructions. The "team" tried to explain away the modern hidden decline with some dubious explanation as to why temp and tree rings tracked well up to a point and then diverged. When you add this new divergence problem, I think the logical conclusion is that the proxy is worthless.

reader jason_radley said...

How many tree series are actually involved in this study?

reader JohnH said...

Uk courts have knocked down a case for deformation against the RSPB, Judge said the court is no place for scentific dissagreements to be resolved.

reader Ir'Rational said...

In no way inappropriate. I would point you directly to them, if I had the URLs to hand. I think, however, you would be disappointed in the reports. A few pages long, they exonerate Prof. Dr. Phil Jones et al on very flimsy 'evidence', often no more than a verbal assurance that there was no misfeasance. There remain questions about the composition of the panels, their terms of reference, what evidence they took (in one case only that selected by the university itself) &c., &c., &c.
For the full saga, try
I must apologise for not having something more succint, but the full story is there.

reader Ir'Rational said...

Does it matter, if they're all Mann-made (fiddled, 'adjusted', tortured to within ....)

reader Denis said...

For Reader "Janet" at #4:


There are now 900+ studies involving varous techiques, hundreds of organizations and 40+ countries and new confirming results practically every month showing that the MWP was as warm,likely warmer, and spanned 400+ years.

This is part of the "bad data" that the IPCC folks casually cast aside. Not only that, but also the subsequent "little ice age".

The power & available funds went to their head. They tried to pull off the old Marx comics quip:

Are you gonna believe me, or your own eyes?

reader Sam & Katie said...

Call me stupid but I don't really understand what exactly was done here. I know in the original "hide the decline" trick they simply replaced the proxy data with thermometer data, but what did they replace the proxy data with in this other "hide the decline" trick? Also, do all the reconstructions use this same trick or just the Briffa one?

reader Janet said...

Dr. Motl,

Forgive me for commenting again, but after reading a NASA release ( which indicated that plant growth slowed global warming by creating a new negative feedback in response to increased CO2, I was left wondering the following....

In both the post-1960, and pre-1550 data, we see that the tree response appears contradictory to what other proxies indicate. In other words, the plants responded as if there was global cooling (slowing growth) post-1960, and as if there was global warming (increased growth) pre-1550.

If increased (or decreased) plant growth acts as a natural cooling (or warming) mechanism, this would help explain the divergence problem.

At this point the question for me is what feedback mechanism (or mechanisms) triggered the plants response.

I was thinking along the same lines as aaron. I was wondering if sunspot activity, or the solar cycle, might play a role here.

Am I completely clueless and off my rocker with my understanding of the situation? If so, please don't waste your time addressing my question.

Thank you again for your kindness and tolerance.


reader mike said...

I wonder why you go to so much trouble publicizing this 'scandal'
when there are countless thousands of worthy studies proving the veracity of climate change science?
Here in Europe nobody would dram of questioning a whole army of peer reviewed scientists, sooner deny that electricity exists!
Could I be right in suspecting a subconscious fear of losing the 'American Dream'? I read somewhere that almost all right wing Americans suffer from climate denier syndrome... just a thought... WHY?

reader Luboš Motl said...

Hi Mike,

there are no papers showing "veracity" of the current climate science.

A simple way to see that you are a hopelessly blinded Marxist ideological asshole is to see that you immediately start to attack American right-wingers like me, not noticing that I am Czech, living in the very middle of Europe.

That proves that you haven't bothered to read even the first line of this page - one with the name and location of the author. You don't want to read anything of it. You have decided to fight against things like "American Right Wing" and "American Dream" and no amount of rational arguments can ever stop you from that - you're as blinded a weapon as a member of Al Qaeda.

Nasty individuals like you have to be stopped by a physical force.