Black redux
Nov 2, 2011
Bishop Hill in BBC, Climate: MWP

I have no idea what happened to the last post on Richard Black - it seems to be gone. I'm waiting for a response from Squarespace support, but in the meantime, from the Google cache, here is the original text.

Richard Black has an article up about BEST. It also mentions "hide the decline".

The original "hide the decline" claim is one of the most easily de-bunked in the entire pantheon of easily-debunkable "sceptic" claims.

Phil Jones wrote the email in 1999, immediately following what still ranks as one of the hottest years on record, and well before the idea of a "slowdown" or "hiatus" or even "decline" in warming gained currency.

So it can't have had anything to do with hiding a global temperature decline.

If it were a scientific idea, the notion that it did would be consigned to the garbage bin of history alongside perpetual motion machines, the steady-state theory of the cosmos and the idea of HIV/Aids as a gay-only disease.

It's that wrong.

I'm struggling to put an innocent gloss on Black's misrepresentation of what the allegation was. I can remember Sarah Palin making this claim a couple of days after the story broke, but did anyone make such an allegation to any of the inquiries? Perhaps readers could see how many people made the allegation as framed by Black and how many got it right - i.e that it was about hiding the divergence between instrumental temperatures and some proxy records.

The misrepresentation seems very blatant to me.

Update on Nov 2, 2011 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

I'd also posted an update - something along these lines.

Richard Black responded:

Re 'hide the decline'... yes, the Jones email concerned reconciling the tree ring record. But that's not how it was interpreted - at least by some - which is my point. Read Fred Pearce The Climate Files.

Pearce cites Sarah Palin and Senator Inhofe. What Black seems to have done therefore is to find the least informed commenters he can lay his hands on and then say "one of the most easily de-bunked in the entire pantheon of easily-debunkable "sceptic" claims"

One can draw one's conclusions about his journalistic standards accordingly.

Update on Nov 2, 2011 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Steve McIntyre has now added his thoughts in the comments:

Black's article is especially misleading because David Rose, the author of the recent Mail article on Muller ( ) had a very precise and accurate understanding of "hide the decline", which he published in a Dec 2009 Mail article here
( ).

Rose's original article on Hide the Decline showed that IPCC had deleted the adverse portion of the Briffa reconstruction. The Climategate emails showed that this had been done intentionally so as not to "dilute the message" or "give fodder" to skeptics.

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