A Brief Tangent: Climategate’s “Hockey Stick”

Is this the “trick” Phil Jones talked about using to hide a “decline” in data that he didn’t want getting out? So says the UK’s Daily Mail.

It appears from the article that the “trick” was to cut off the green line when it went behind the other lines so the dramatic decline found in tree ring analyses would be eliminated. Other information that the above article claims was hidden includes the fact that today’s temperatures aren’t unusually high. They were apparently the same around 1000 CE, when no cars or factories were pumping CO2 into the air. The Daily Mail claims this comes from several scientists who helped draft the ICPP’s statements regarding the modern era as the warmest in the last 1300 years. If this is true, it’s an interesting development.



5 responses to “A Brief Tangent: Climategate’s “Hockey Stick”

  • David

    What this reveals to me is that tree ring data for temperature records contradict all other known sources. Able scientists must investigate further to find out why.

    Attempting to use this graph as a “smoking gun” that reveals a global cover-up is…well…not even worthy of a meaningful discussion. This graph raises questions, but the naysayer’s only task should be to try and prove why the other sources are incorrect. Once they provide an explanation for that, then we can have a discussion.

    This alleged conspiracy is an insult to scientists everywhere who are dedicated to the eternal quest for truth by refining humanity’s vast body of knowledge using scientific methods.

    • Daniel O. McClellan

      Thanks for the comment, Dave. Hope you’re feeling better.

      It is an interesting problem. You’ll note the blue line is cut off in a descending arc as well. There’s a long history behind this chart and the scholars who published it. The article connected with the chart was actually refused for publication as a result of several concerns raised, including the refusal of the primary author to release the specific data that produced the chart. The article from which I got the chart also talks about other issues with the way the data is being represented to the public.

      I don’t believe that global warming is a hoax by any stretch of the imagination. I think it’s very real, but I think the emails that were released do show a conscious attempt on the part of the scientists involved to hide data. The numerous discussions about refusing to release data and about suppressing the voice of disagreeing scholars is not indicative of a dedication to truth. I think most of the scientists involved are dedicated to the truth, but those represented in the emails are bad examples for the academy, and the refusal on the part of some members of the academy to take this seriously is an additional hindrance. The IPCC official who said Jones was just “blowing off steam,” for instance, isn’t doing his constituency any favors.

  • David

    There are talking points created by this interesting situation, and I’m glad you’re not jumping to conclusions.

    My further response is simply for sport at this point…

    I would expect scientists to hide (read: not show) data that doesn’t accurately depict climate change. You don’t see a line for number of pirates on that chart. They should take out the tree rings since apparently tree rings are not a valuable tool for viewing climate histories. Right?

    Unfortunately, there is only one reason we’re even talking about the validity of tree ring data. Because certain people do not want to have to spend/lose money in order to clean up the planet.

    While responsible individuals and governments are willing to take action, big business is doing everything it can to stop any and all action. Not surprisingly, big business is doing a damn good job getting support for their cause. We know what fuels big business, and it has nothing to do with the well-being of the planet and the creatures that grace it. To require our scientists and government to continually address this vast body of greed-fueled ignorance is simply hindering the necessary progress that the great minds in our country are willing and able to produce.

    We’re standing by, ready to take action, but instead we’re having to argue to half of the population that global warming is actually occurring. The rest of the world is looking at us crumbling from within, and hoping we’ll figure it out before we take everyone else down with us.

    I want my electric car already…

    • Daniel O. McClellan


      For sport: Removing data that conflicts with a hypothesis would be the last thing a scientist should be doing, since the entire climate change paradigm is built on the confluence of data. When something conflicts they need to find a reason, not dismiss it as an irrelevant anomaly. To do so is to beg the question, or to base the argument on a premise that presupposes the conclusion.

      I would say the rest of the world is doing the exact same thing, too. You saw the little secret pact they made in Copenhagen to spring on the underdeveloped countries when Obama arrived. Nothing binding was produced, either. The developed countries don’t want to make cuts and the underdeveloped countries want to be able to grow.

      I want my electric car, too. The only thing they recycle here in Oxford is cardboard, although the air is a lot cleaner here.

  • David

    Yep, it’s all about money.

    Why the fanfare surrounding the tree ring data? They should simply be trying to help find an explanation. No valid scientist in his or her right mind would cry foul. Only someone motivated to prevent regulations that will help save the planet would cry foul.

    The earth is warming due to the excess carbon dioxide in the air. This is elementary level science. But that’s the least of my worries. I’m more worried about the destruction of our natural resources, from the plants, animals, mountains, the minerals under the ground and the air that we breathe. You can’t turn a blind eye to that for too long. I’m also more worried about fact that we’re sending billions of dollars across the ocean to people who want to kill us, allowing them to systematically indoctrinate their offspring with radical ideas from the 15th century, crushing their own chances for success and threatening the civilized world.

    All of this can be addressed through the use of alternative and renewable fuels. What a concept…clean the air, stop chopping down mountains for coal, salvage the ever-shrinking sliver of untamed wilderness remaining on our planet, thwart terrorism, create new industries…and half of the country is trying to stop this! I’m telling you, Dan, there is no hope. Not when the masses are easily manipulated to vigorously support the destructive practices that big business thrives on. To the content of big business, it has become a pissing match, rather than a constructive discussion about how to help humanity. No hope, my brother.

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