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Climategate Continues
National Review Online ^ | May 24, 2012 | Andrew Montford & Harold Ambler

Posted on 05/24/2012 3:21:28 PM PDT by neverdem

Climategate, the 2009 exposure of misconduct at the University of East Anglia, was a terrible blow to the reputation of climatology, and indeed to that of British and American science. Although that story hasn’t been in the news in recent months, new evidence of similar scientific wrongdoing continues to emerge, with a new scandal hitting the climate blogosphere just a few days ago.

And central to the newest story is one of the Climategate scientists: Keith Briffa, an expert in reconstructing historical temperature records from tree rings. More particularly, the recent scandal involves a tree-ring record Briffa prepared for a remote area of northern Russia called Yamal.

For many years, scientists have used tree-ring data to try to measure temperatures from the distant past, but the idea is problematic in and of itself. Why? Because tree-ring data reflect many variables besides temperature. Russian tree growth, like that of trees around the world, also reflects changes in humidity, precipitation, soil nutrients, competition for resources from other trees and plants, animal behavior, erosion, cloudiness, and on and on. But let’s pretend, if only for the sake of argument, that we can reliably determine the mean temperature 1,000 years ago or more using tree cores from a remote part of Russia. The central issue that emerges is: How do you choose the trees?

It was the way Briffa picked the trees to include in his analysis that piqued the interest of Steve McIntyre, a maverick amateur climatologist from Canada. The Climategate e-mails make it clear that McIntyre earned the public scorn of the most powerful U.N. climatologists, including James Hansen, Michael Mann, and Phil Jones, while simultaneously earning their fear and respect in private.

McIntyre noticed a few problems with the way Briffa chose the sampling of Russian trees, and he wrote to Briffa requesting the data Briffa used in a published tree-ring paper. Briffa declined. And so began a four-year saga involving multiple peer-reviewed journals, behind-the-scenes maneuvering by Briffa and his closest confidants, and a Freedom of Information Act request on the part of McIntyre that appears to be on the verge of being granted. Even without the final set of data, however, McIntyre has shown beyond the shadow of doubt that Briffa may have committed one of the worst sins, if not the worst, in climatology — that of cherry-picking data — when he assembled his data sample, which his clique of like-minded and very powerful peers have also used in paper after paper.

It was already known that the Yamal series contained a preposterously small amount of data. This by itself raised many questions: Why did Briffa include only half the number of cores covering the balmy interval known as the Medieval Warm Period that another scientist, one with whom he was acquainted, had reported for Yamal? And why were there so few cores in Briffa’s 20th century? By 1988, there were only twelve cores used in a year, an amazingly small number from the period that should have provided the easiest data. By 1990, the count was only ten, and it dropped to just five in 1995. Without an explanation of how the strange sampling of the available data had been performed, the suspicion of cherry-picking became overwhelming, particularly since the sharp 20th-century uptick in the series was almost entirely due to a single tree.

The intrigue deepened when one of the Climategate e-mails revealed that, as far back as 2006, Briffa had prepared a much more broadly based, and therefore more reliable, tree-ring record of the Yamal area. But strangely, he had decided to set this aside in favor of the much narrower record he eventually used.

The question of Yamal had rightly come up when Briffa was questioned by Climategate investigators. He told them that he had never considered including a wider sample than the one he went with in the end, and hadn’t had enough time to include a wider one. However, the specific issue of the suppressed record appears to have largely been passed over by the panel, and Briffa’s explanation, like so many others given to the Climategate inquiries, appears to have been accepted without question.

But the ruse has now been shot to pieces, by the recent decision from the U.K.’s information commissioner that Briffa can no longer withhold the list of sites he used in his suppressed regional record for the Yamal area. The disclosure of these sites has allowed McIntyre to calculate what the broad series would have looked like if Briffa had chosen to publish it. He has shown that it has no hint of the hockey-stick shape that Briffa’s cherry-picked data indicated. Briffa’s decision to publish an alarming but unreliable version of the Yamal series — instead of a more reliable and thoroughly unremarkable one — has been the talk of the climate blogosphere, with many prominent commentators openly speaking of dishonesty.

Two and a half years after the initial revelation of the Climategate e-mails, new controversies, on the part of the scientists and the investigators involved, continue to emerge. Many of the players involved are desperate to sweep the scandal under the rug. However, their machinations have only succeeded in bringing renewed attention to their questionable science and ugly behind-the-scenes shenanigans, reigniting hope that more complete and more independent investigations — on both sides of the Atlantic — will yet be performed.

Andrew Montford is the author of The Hockey Stick Illusion and the proprietor of the Bishop Hill blog. Harold Ambler is the author of Don’t Sell Your Coat and the operator of the blog talkingabouttheweather.com.



TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Front Page News; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: agw; agwfraud; briffa; cherrypickeddata; climate; climategate; corruption; data; envirofascism; fraud; globalwarming; globalwarminghoax; greenfraud; junkscience; keithbriffa; mann; rings; thegreenlie; tree; trees; warming

1 posted on 05/24/2012 3:21:37 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

>>Russia called Yamal.<<

Separated at birth from twin brother Juan.

It doesn’t matter who you look at: if you’ve seen Juan, you’ve seen Yamal...

(I am not going to heaven am I?)


2 posted on 05/24/2012 3:29:38 PM PDT by freedumb2003 ('RETRO' Abortions = performed on 84th trimester individuals who think killing babies is a "right.")
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To: freedumb2003
(I am not going to heaven am I?)

Lord, please forgive him and bless the Pygmies in Africa!

3 posted on 05/24/2012 3:32:59 PM PDT by houeto (FReepathon 2Q! https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: neverdem
The tree data is where the AGW pimps on free republic used to get apoplectic.

People would point out to them that variation in precipitation has a far greater effect on tree ring growth than variation in temperature and remind them of the tree ring experiments that we all did in school back in the sixties.

They generally went nuts and tried to assert that nobody on the boards could have a valid bases to challenge the finding without at least a masters in climatology.

I note that those guys have pretty much faded away.

4 posted on 05/24/2012 3:34:10 PM PDT by MrEdd (Heck? Geewhiz Cripes, thats the place where people who don't believe in Gosh think they aint going.)
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To: neverdem

AGW is dying a slow and painful death. It’s sad to see the cultists fighting for their fallen god.


5 posted on 05/24/2012 3:34:48 PM PDT by MeganC (No way in Hell am I voting for Mitt Romney. Not now, not ever. Deal with it.)
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To: freedumb2003

No, you appear to be destined for somewhere... warmer.

:D


6 posted on 05/24/2012 3:35:48 PM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: neverdem

P.T.Briffa, with the tree ring circus?


7 posted on 05/24/2012 3:38:16 PM PDT by Hardraade (http://junipersec.wordpress.com (nobody gives me warheads anyway))
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To: Hardraade

Sorry, only one pun per thread allowed...

;^)


8 posted on 05/24/2012 3:45:49 PM PDT by Cyber Liberty (Obama considers the Third World morally superior to the United States.)
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To: freedumb2003

Please feel free to slap yourself upside the head, on general principles.

I now return this thread to discussion of climate fraud, Yamal, and Briffa...


9 posted on 05/24/2012 3:48:02 PM PDT by Zeppo ("Happy Pony is on - and I'm NOT missing Happy Pony")
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To: neverdem

Once we boot obama and the socialist democrats out of power in November a full fledged real investigation should be undertaken. At least 70 billion in taxpayers money was funneled to those willing to tell the AGW CO2 story that the democrats wanted to hear. These democrat frauds to this day still are shovelling the AGW crap despite emails revealing the DATA WAS COOKED to support a political/financial agenda.


10 posted on 05/24/2012 3:52:27 PM PDT by spawn44
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To: neverdem

The data of Briffa
Done fell off a cliffa
And suffered a terrible fall.

He was once on the rise
But has seen his demise
Because of the trees of Yamal.


11 posted on 05/24/2012 3:55:46 PM PDT by Rocky (Obama is pure evil)
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To: freedumb2003

You will be publicly flogged and then forced to watch ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ 1,000 times.


12 posted on 05/24/2012 4:07:54 PM PDT by JPG (Don't just talk about it, make it happen.)
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To: JPG

>> You will be publicly flogged and then forced to watch ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ 1,000 times.<<

Can I please just be publicly flogged 1,000 times?


13 posted on 05/24/2012 4:10:25 PM PDT by freedumb2003 ('RETRO' Abortions = performed on 84th trimester individuals who think killing babies is a "right.")
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To: Cyber Liberty
Sorry, only one pun per thread allowed...

If you don't like it I wood think you wood ask him to leave. Or is your bark worse than your bite?

14 posted on 05/24/2012 4:27:30 PM PDT by 70times7 (Serving Free Republics' warped and obscure humor needs since 1999!)
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To: neverdem
Whut in tarnation am i gonna do with all them Carbon Credits I bought n put in my IRA? I mean ta tellya the bad news just keeps on akeepin on....the whole pollutin world is collapsin around our algore lovin haids...it's one danged thing after the next....from a cookin the climate books to the collapse of a great CapnTrade scheme up there around Chicago way...

'the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) is dead. Trading in carbon-dioxide (CO2) emission contracts at CCX has basically ceased with member emissions-reduction agreements expiring at the end of the year. The death rattles have come with each price decline per ton of carbon credits. Compared to $7.40 per ton in May 2008 when cap-and-trade legislation was eagerly anticipated, CCX’s market price tanked to $0.10 per ton in August 2010 and half that last month. So much for a contrived opportunity in a pretense market. What a difference a couple of years, a few scientific scandals, and old-fashioned political gridlock make. http://21stcenturywire.com/2010/11/19/death-to-the-chicago-climate-exchange-7-40-to-a-nickel-per-co2-ton-the-market-has-spoken/ WOE IS US................... Dont we have a Pollution Czar workin on this?
15 posted on 05/24/2012 4:37:16 PM PDT by jimsin (w)
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To: neverdem; 11B40; A Balrog of Morgoth; A message; ACelt; Aeronaut; AFPhys; AlexW; America_Right; ...
DOOMAGE!

Global Warming PING!

You have been pinged because of your interest in environmentalism, alarmist wackos, mainstream media doomsday hype, and other issues pertaining to global warming.

Freep-mail me to get on or off: Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to all note-worthy threads on global warming.

Doubting climate change 'crime against humanity'

Latest from CO2 Science

Global Warming on Free Republic

Latest from Global Warming News

Latest from Real Climate

Latest from Climate Depot

Latest from Greenie Watch

Latest from Junk Science

Latest from Terra Daily

16 posted on 05/24/2012 4:45:30 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Occupy DC General Assembly: We are Marxist tools. WE ARE MARXIST TOOLS!)
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To: MeganC
AGW is dying a slow and painful death.

It's about time for that, well past time actually.

It’s sad to see the cultists fighting for their fallen god.

I'm kind of enjoying the show as a matter of fact. It's downright funny to me. The pathetic wailing and flailing as their "science" swirls around the bowl are a pleasure to watch.

17 posted on 05/24/2012 4:49:47 PM PDT by Bob
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To: neverdem
The science is "settled." And it just keeps settling further and further . . . .


18 posted on 05/24/2012 5:01:03 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: freedumb2003

Heck I would take a million lashes over watching that boring film


19 posted on 05/24/2012 5:09:27 PM PDT by DHSMostWanted (Stand against the Looters!)
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To: freedumb2003

“It doesn’t matter who you look at: if you’ve seen Juan, you’ve seen Yamal...

(I am not going to heaven am I?)”


Problematic, at best, I fear.


20 posted on 05/24/2012 8:46:35 PM PDT by Elsiejay
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To: freedumb2003

AGW can’t be undeniable, because there are deniers, which proves that it is deniable.


21 posted on 05/24/2012 9:13:11 PM PDT by omni-scientist
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To: spawn44; Hardraade; freedumb2003
These democrat frauds to this day still are shovelling the AGW crap despite emails revealing the DATA WAS COOKED to support a political/financial agenda.

IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007 (AR4)? It's a cooked-book!

22 posted on 05/24/2012 9:58:36 PM PDT by ApplegateRanch (Love me, love my guns!©)
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To: MrEdd

today, liberals are dropping millions into a carbon sink system to store tons of co2 underground, when God has already established the most efficient means of cleaning our air in the trees that store it...

tree ring data shows that the more co2 is in the air, the thicker the rings are... it IS that simple.

teeman
the t stands for tree....


23 posted on 05/25/2012 5:55:09 AM PDT by teeman8r (Armageddon won't be pretty, but it's not like it's the end of the world.)
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To: MrEdd
The tree data is where the AGW pimps on free republic used to get apoplectic. People would point out to them that variation in precipitation has a far greater effect on tree ring growth than variation in temperature and remind them of the tree ring experiments that we all did in school back in the sixties. They generally went nuts and tried to assert that nobody on the boards could have a valid bases to challenge the finding without at least a masters in climatology. I note that those guys have pretty much faded away.
I'm surprised to hear there were ever AGW pimps on FR. When were they around?
24 posted on 05/25/2012 6:43:24 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: Zeppo

>> “Please feel free to slap yourself upside the head, on general principles.” <<

.
She would if she could, but its stuffed up a long dark tunnel...
.


25 posted on 05/27/2012 5:01:29 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they were.)
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To: samtheman

>> “...AGW pimps on FR. When were they around?” <<

.
From the beginning, and they are still here; they just keep quiet most of the time.
.


26 posted on 05/27/2012 5:06:32 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they were.)
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