Did a climate scientist really tell a colleague to "hide the decline?" Have the scientists been fudging the data? Is anthropogenic global warming a massive hoax to promote socialism?

None of the above. There was a manufactured scandal to make it look that way. Here's what really happened.

CRU, in the UK, is the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit. It has three members and is headed by Dr. Phil Jones. CRU specializes in long-term global climate records, including a temperature series stretching back to 1850.

In November 2009, some deniers and their pals in Russian intelligence hacked the CRU email servers. In sifting through 60 gigabytes of stolen emails, they found three or four that could be distorted to make the scientists look like crooks. At one point one scientyist talks about preferring to destroy records rather than hand them over to the harrassers--nothing more than a cry of frustration. No records were actually destroyed, ever. CRU did routinely destroy old copies of OTHER peoples' records.

These points are important:

  1. 95% of CRU data was public domain to begin with.
  2. The other 5% was proprietary to various national met services and CRU COULD NOT legally distribute it.
  3. It takes 18 hours of paperwork to comply with a typical British FOIA request.
  4. There are three (3) people in CRU (Phil Jones and two others).
  5. AGW denier Steve McIntyre got his blog posters to flood CRU with FOIA requests, 48 of them over one weekend.

McIntyre didn't want information. He has since admitted he already HAD the information since 2004. He wanted to shut down CRU--and he succeeded. And millions of people have been misled into believing the lies about 'Climategate.'

Three (3) investigations have all cleared Phil Jones and CRU of ANY wrongdoing. Naturally, the deniers claim all three investigations were "fixed" (including one by Parliament). "Reports by the House of Commons' Science and Technology Select Committee and an independent Science Assessment Panel commissioned by the UEA concluded that there was no evidence of malpractice on the part of the CRU and Phil Jones."

Some deniers insist the emails were "leaked" by "an insider" (whom, of course, they can't identify). But there was no leak. Outside hackers stole their email--very likely Russian intelligence, cooperating with American deniers. Here are some details:

"Climate emails hacked by spies"
Interception bore hallmarks of foreign intelligence agency, says expert
By Steve Connor, Science Editor Monday, 1 February 2010

"A highly sophisticated hacking operation that led to the leaking of hundreds of emails from the
Climatic Research Unit in East Anglia was probably carried out by a foreign intelligence agency,
according to the Government's former chief scientist. Sir David King, who was Tony Blair's chief
scientific adviser for seven years until 2007, said that the hacking and selective leaking of the
unit's emails, going back 13 years, bore all the hallmarks of a co-ordinated intelligence operation--
especially given their release just before the Copenhagen climate conference in December... 

"In an interview with The Independent, Sir David suggested the email leaks were deliberately designed
to destabilise Copenhagen and he dismissed the idea that it was a run-of-the-mill hacking. It was
carried out by a team of skilled professionals, either on behalf of a foreign government or at the
behest of anti-climate change lobbyists in the United States, he said."

Link for this news article

What about "hide the decline?" How suspicious is that? Is the Earth really cooling while lying scientists pretend it's warming?

No. Here's the original email:

From: Phil Jones 
To: ray bradley ,,
Subject: Diagram for WMO Statement
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:31:15 +0000

Dear Ray, Mike and Malcolm,
Once Tim's got a diagram here we'll send that either later today or
first thing tomorrow.

I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps
to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from
1961 for Keith's to hide the decline. Mike's series got the annual
land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land
N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999, while the estimate for 1999
for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with
data through Oct is +0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998.

Thanks for the comments, Ray.


Link for this letter

In context, the authors were preparing Mann et al.'s revised "Hockey Stick 2" paper. The decline they are hiding is in one tree ring data set. The method ("trick") used is "adding in the real temps". Why would this "hide the decline?" Because the "real temps" (the actual instrumental record) shows a dramatic positive warming trend. The tree ring proxy--for ONE type of tree, not all trees--doesn't show the dramatic spike of the last 40 years or so. These particular trees' growth rate has declined over the last 40 years for mysterious reasons--the so-called "divergence problem." By plotting the instrument record in red on the graph in the paper--the actual instrumental values hide the lack of warming in the one proxy data set. The data in the graph that "hides the decline" is the actual instrument set that shows the actual increase.

The authors discuss why they left that series out in the paper the chart was published in.

This is a procedure called "excluding outliers," legitimately practiced by statisticians since the 19th century. If you want to "hide" something, you don't tell everybody you're hiding it. Mann specified which data came from which sources, and where to find all of them.

So what "decline" was hidden? Here is an academic paper that discusses it:

On the 'Divergence Problem' in Northern Forests: A review of the tree-ring evidence and possible causes
Rosanne D'Arrigoa, Rob Wilsona, Beate Lieperta and Paolo Cherubini
Global and Planetary Change
Volume 60, Issues 3-4, February 2008, Pages 289-305


An anomalous reduction in forest growth indices and temperature sensitivity has been detected in tree-ring width and density records
from many circumpolar northern latitude sites since around the middle 20th century. This phenomenon, also known as the "divergence
problem", is expressed as an offset between warmer instrumental temperatures and their underestimation in reconstruction models
based on tree rings. The divergence problem has potentially significant implications for large-scale patterns of forest growth, the
development of paleoclimatic reconstructions based on tree-ring records from northern forests, and the global carbon cycle.

Link for this abstract

So the phrase "hide the decline" was deliberately taken out of context to make Phil Jones look like a crook. Sheer dishonesty, not on Jones's part, but on the part of the climate deniers.

Page created:2/01/2012
Last modified:  2/01/2012