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IPCC: “Inappropriate” to show the decline

November 26, 2009

One reviewer of the IPCC 2007 Assessment Report specifically asked IPCC not to hide the decline. The reviewer stated very clearly:

Show the Briffa et al reconstruction through to its end; don’t stop in 1960. Then comment and deal with the “divergence problem” if you need to. Don’t cover up the divergence by truncating this graphic. This was done in IPCC TAR; this was misleading (comment ID #: 309-18)

The IPCC said that it would be “inappropriate to show recent section of Briffa et al. series“.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. RoyFOMR permalink
    November 26, 2009 8:01 pm

    inappropriate- is that a typo for inconvenient?

  2. Stan permalink
    November 26, 2009 8:09 pm

    It would have been inappropriate to show the decline in the IPCC report. That’s because the IPCC isn’t about science. As Briffa wrote to Mann on April 29, 2007, “I tried hard to balance the needs of the science and the IPCC , which were not always the same.” http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=794&filename=.txt

  3. cbp permalink
    November 26, 2009 9:12 pm

    So are you saying that this whole thing has been known about and discussed for years?
    Hardly seems like breaking news then does it?

    Steve: Puh-leeze. There is a huge amount of news. The letters show them planning to hide the decline – yeah, that’s news.

  4. tom ryan permalink
    November 26, 2009 9:27 pm

    snip – please do not make angry posts like this.

  5. David P permalink
    November 26, 2009 9:36 pm

    Do we know who is the IPCC minion who “rejected” the reviewer’s suggestion?

    Steve: Briffa.

  6. Cefte permalink
    November 26, 2009 9:36 pm

    To me the most damning thing is that they’re willing to discuss the divergence (presumably, hidden away in an obscure paragraph), but they’re not willing to show it on the graph. In any normal research paper this would seem to be absurd – discussing data without showing the data itself… if you can legitimately do that, then why show any data at all?

    Surely the only reason is that the graph is the only thing that policy-makers will ever look at. It must make the desired point, even if this means removing data which disagree with that point. Appalling! This is a reversal of the scientific process: the conclusions are dictating the data!

    Steve: there’s more in the emails.

  7. Les Johnson permalink
    November 26, 2009 9:41 pm

    Does this mean that you are no longer a reviewer? I understand releasing IPCC communication is verbotten.

    As part of the open and transparent process, of course.

    Steve: Review comments submitted through the intended process are public. Some reviewers evaded the public process by contacting authors directly – Wahl and Ammann are examples.

  8. Calvin Ball permalink
    November 27, 2009 12:36 am

    Is there a stated purpose in showing the name of the commenter? Shouldn’t it be anonymous? I wonder how much that influenced the decision to reject the comment.

  9. Eric permalink
    November 27, 2009 1:51 am

    I guess the editors were unaware of the IPCC’s prime directive as quoted from Dr. Pachauri today in the Dot Earth blog.

    “It is important for me to clarify that the I.P.C.C. as a body follows impartial, open and objective assessment of every aspect of climate change carried out with complete transparency.”

    It appears that the editors thought it was sufficient to respond to this comment with a simple “noted but don’t care”.

  10. November 27, 2009 5:51 am

    The brief phrase “considered inappropriate” is exactly the kind of an “unjustified scream of a would-be authority” that should simply not be allowed in similar official scientific procedures.

    If something is “inappropriate”, one has to explain why it is “inappropriate”. The adjective normally refers to etiquette, not to validity in science, so it’s questionable whether such adjectives should appear in the justification of anything that is supposed to be scientific. But if they appear, there should be an explanation.

    Of course, most of us have a feeling what the real justification would be if it were “appropriate” to hear it: “it would reduce the readers’ hysteria and fear of a recent unprecedented warming.” Indeed, it probably would. And it should, too.

    The reality is that the tree measurements really *do* show that there is nothing unprecedented going on, at least when it comes to the impact on living forms such as trees. Even if the temperature swings in the late 20th century were significantly higher than those in the past, the changes of tree rings are not unprecedented at all, and there may even have been an effective cooling seen in these data.

    What matters economically is how life etc. will change. We see that it wasn’t changing much, so even if the thermometers were showing something detectably new, it’s clear that such a change wouldn’t be relevant for the things we care about.

    So it’s very inappropriate – well, I really mean inconsistent and maybe dishonest – to combine graphs of different types.

  11. snowmaneasy permalink
    November 27, 2009 8:08 am

    Steve..once again well done…and if you need my vote to award you “The order of Canada” you have it…
    All of this must be like winning the lottery…every question you may have had about the Team is now answered…fantastic..this is sweeping across the planet.

  12. snowmaneasy permalink
    November 27, 2009 8:10 am

    Steve,
    One small point..this mirror site sucks…

  13. Arn Riewe permalink
    November 27, 2009 9:56 am

    David P

    “Do we know who is the IPCC minion who “rejected” the reviewer’s suggestion?

    Steve: Briffa.”

    Gee, what a shock! The winner is also the referee.

  14. Jean Demesure permalink
    November 27, 2009 12:37 pm

    @Arn Riewe,
    Yeah, Briffa reviewing Steve’s comments on Briffa !
    The “impartiality” touted by Chairman Pachauri has the same meaning to him as “peer-review” to Mann : a mockery.

  15. Shallow Climate permalink
    November 27, 2009 4:57 pm

    I don’t know why this hasn’t struck me until now, but be that as it may: Briffa was the rejecter of each of “one reviewer”‘s critiques, as shown above; AND, it is my understanding that Briffa was the lead author of that chapter of the AR (or at least one of the contributing authors). (So far, so good?) HOW CAN THAT BE? The “referee” of the critiques is one of the players in the contest?? Wouldn’t the coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs like also to be the referee of the games his team plays? And this is supposed to pass as “science”? If indeed I am “so far, so good”, then this practice of the IPCC is unconscionable, scandalous (and I am standing by those words). I suppose that Pielke Sr. has already said this in one of his papers, but I’ve not read them (yet). Any referee for comments to any AR chapter HAS to be a totally disinterested party. I feel sad. (Please feel free to shoot me if what I say here is based on false assumptions, etc.)

  16. FTMonety permalink
    November 27, 2009 5:24 pm

    If interested interested use search term “law dome.” It is an updated study on Antarctic ice. One sample email

    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=709&filename=1153233036.txt

    I don’t think the Team were happy with it. Take a peek, ice-story fans.

    Paper:
    MacFarling Meure, C., Etheridge, D., Trudinger, C., Steele, P.,
    Langenfelds, R., van Ommen, T., Smith, A. and Elkins, J. (2006).
    The Law Dome CO2, CH4 and N2O Ice Core Records Extended to 2000
    years BP. Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 33, No. 14, L14810

    Elsewhere, one can find CO2 charts with Mauna Loa spliced onto the end of Law Dome record from a study earlier than 2006.

    Another “hide the decline?”

  17. Brazil Tony permalink
    November 28, 2009 9:05 pm

    Does AR4 show the decline in the Briffa series or not? I looked and it appears to show it.

    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Print_Ch06.pdf
    P.468

    Steve: No. I asked them to show it and they refused.

  18. November 29, 2009 5:24 am

    The non instrumental series on p.468 of AR4 appear to extend well past 1960

  19. Fraggle permalink
    December 7, 2009 7:19 pm

    I think you mean p.467 Antonio, and yes it does seem to show Briffa running up to 2000 (I’m assuming B2000 in green is the Briffa reconstruction)

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