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The Black Tuesday Of Climate Science

Jens S, Climate Audit

Today I will review the timeline of the WMO 1999 graph (below) in the light of the ClimateGate (CG) letters. The main events took place on Tuesday, November 16th, 1999.

Things start rolling 9 AM (UK time), when Tim Osborn sends  the new Briffa and recalibrated Jones (1998) time series to Phil Jones along with the suggestion to hide the decline.

It is ready calibrated in deg C wrt. 1961-90, against the average Apr-Sep land temperature north of 20N.  It goes from 1402 to 1994 – but you really ought to replace the values from 1961 onwards with observed temperatures due to the decline.

Twenty minutes later Jones writes  to the MBH crew (cc Briffa and Osborn) explaining WMO plans and exactly what the graph will look like.

Jones explained that the graph was intended for the cover of the WMO annual statement, which had a print run of 10,000. Jones said that he had voted against using the millennial series in the promotion because he knew that he had “oversold the advances in paleoclimate”:

The pertinent item from Geneva concerns the WMO statement on the Climate of 1999. WMO has been issuing these for the past 6 years. There are 10,000 printed each time. There were two possibilities for the front cover (1998’s showed the instrumental record from 1856) – the millennial long temperature series or the contrasting storm tracks for 1998 and 1999. I was the only one voting for the latter – partly personal as I knew I would have to organise the former. I was outvoted 12-1, maybe because in a brief presentation I oversold the advances made in paleoclimate studies over the last few years !

Jones explained the planned figure to MBH as follows:

WMO want to go with the millennial record on the cover and I said I would produce something and some text. The figure will be the 3 curves ( Mike’s, mine amd Keith/Tim’s). Tim is producing this curve (all wrt 61-90 and 50 year smoothed). Each will be extended to 1999 by instrumental data for the zones/seasons they represent.

Along is also attached the draft of the brief text to appear on p.4 of the report for the comments. Jones further brags about the importance of the WMO publication.

The full text of the report is then printed during Feb 2000 – last year’s was 12 pages long. It will be released on March 15 in Geneva to coincide with WM (World Met) day and the 50th anniversary celebrations of WMO as well. WMO are planning to print at least twice as many copies as usual and were talking about 25,000 ! Copies go to all WMO members and are distributed at countless meetings and sent to loads of address lists available.

After that Jones apparently begins to work with the times series. He’s ready 1:30 PM and sends the now infamous trick email. (Bradley appears to have commented already, but the email is not in the dossier.)

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.

Note that Jones clearly explained what he means by “Mike’s Nature trick”. Mann has claimed that his “Nature trick” was nothing more than clearly showing observations and reconstructions on the same graphic with proper labeling. But the direct comparison of observations to reconstructions is as old as statistics – and Jones and Briffa had themselves made such comparisons in prior articles without regarding clear labeling as anything more than elementary hygiene. In this email (which is often shortened in quotation), Jones says that Mann’s “Nature trick” is “adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s”, as originally explained in November 2009 here.

Two hours later Michael Mann, who according to his legal documents “had absolutely nothing to do” with the graph (that is still worth a mention in his CV ), responds. He completely agrees with the text adding that it will “help to bolster the claims to be made in IPCC [AR3]“ […]

Before….                                                                                                … and after


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