The big kerfuffle over Professor Keith Briffa's remark in the stolen emails that he used a 'trick' to 'hide the decline' has set tongues wagging and 'threatens to derail Copenhagen.' I'm up at 3 am to post this because I'm so disgusted with how this is all unfolding.
Let's get a couple of things straight right at the start:
* The only place he says he 'hid' a 'decline' is in that specific graph
* The 'decline' is in a small number of tree-ring proxy indicators
* What he uses to 'hide' this is the 'real temps' - from tens of thousands of thermometers
* There is no decline to 'hide' in the 'real temps' over the past 50 years; these show a sharp increase
* The real temps are far, far more reliable data than the small number of tree ring proxies
* The proxies are indirect indicators, subject to confounding factors like wet vs. dry, recent air pollution and acid rain
* That problem with the tree rings has not been 'hidden' from the public; it is covered extensively by scientists as the 'divergence problem'
* That problem is a single, small wrinkle against an enormous, huge mass of other data showing warming, using direct measurement with thermometers at over 10,000 sites worldwide that show very clear and unprecedented warming in the last 50 years.
* When we want to look at the past 1000 years, we need to use the indirect proxy data from tree rings (and other proxies like corals, stalactites, boreholes, etc.)
* To compare these two types of data on one graph, the scientists found the best alignment in the period where they overlap (since about 1850)
* In the most recent 50 years, the tree ring series diverge from all the others, and this is the only thing that Prof. Briffa chose to 'hide' in combining the graphs.
To sum up, the 'real temps' for the past 50 years don't have any 'decline' to 'hide'; it's simply outrageous that the data thieves are free to spin a worldwide conspiracy from this one unfortunate combination of words in one email, as if 'trick' + 'hide' = 'everything in the IPCC is a fraud!'?
Now once again we're being treated to 'balance as bias' on CNN as Campbell Brown runs a week-long series 'Global Warming: Trick or Truth?' They're putting anti-science politicos from American Enterprise Institute up against top scientists as if they were comparable. Marc Morano, Stephen McIntrye and their ilk are getting national TV time for their scurrilous, slanderous insinuations that one spinnable email means we can just toss decades of research drawing on tens of thousands of data sources.
I looked on the CNN website and they allowed comments on 'Trick or Truth' but the comments are closed already. The real-time user comments that ran live at the bottom of the screen were really weak; I'll have to see if I can post something better as the show continues.
When I look at Marc Morano on national TV, all I can say is: the world is freakin' crazy. The one thing that looks hopeful right now is that the Copenhagen meetings actual sound like they have some momentum toward a deal, and that the Saudi delegation may be isolated in their oil-soaked protests that they want a total do-over of the past 20 years of climate research based on two phrases in the stolen CRU emails.