Don Easterbrook seems to have decided that when under pressure, attack is the best form of defence. He’s replied to my original post and Tim Lambert’s added exposure of his statistical sleight of hand in this document (pdf) — apparently composed as a reply to a query from Andy Revkin of the New York Times‘ Dot Earth blog. Here’s how he ends his piece (it’s all in caps because that’s the way it is in his document, and I wouldn’t want to alter the data…):
CONCLUSION — THE ‘FAKE DATA’ CHARGE BY THE ‘TRUFFLE GROWER’ IS A COMPLETE LIE–THE DATA COMES FROM THE WORLD STANDARD OXYGEN ISOTOPE RECORD FROM THE GREENLAND ICE CORES, AND THE RECENT TEMPERATURE DATA IS FROM SATELLITES. ALL OF THIS DATA IS EASILY AVAILABLE FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PLOT THEIR OWN GRAPHS. THE CHARGE THAT THIS DATA HAS BEEN ALTERED IS A DISPICABLE LIE.
Unfortunately for Easterbrook’s credibility, all he’s done is confirm his own mistakes. He not only attempts to defend the wrong graph, but confuses me with Tim Lambert and underlines the considerable statistical naivety in his analysis of recent global temperatures. To make matters worse, a pixel-by-pixel comparison of Easterbrook’s slide nine and the Global Warming Art equivalent shows that they are a perfect match — confirming my original charge: that Easterbrook had crudely altered the GWA original to better suit his storyline.
Easterbrook’s reply is a classic of its kind. A blustering, intemperate attempt to defend the indefensible, he only manages to dig himself into deeper trouble. Here he goes:
The charge by ‘the truffle grower’ that I used a graph “prepared by Global Warming Art” and that I “altered it to fraudulently bolster his case” is an outright, contemptible lie.
Here’s an overlay of Easterbrook’s slide nine on the GWA original, prepared by HT reader and Photoshop expert Bill Doyle:
Bill describes the uncanny similarities in a comment to my original post:
I await with interest the explanations that account for its not only being in the same position as the zero line in the GWA graph, but that – even the bloody grey dashes are in the same places!
And there are the faint pixels that just happen to be faded versions of the same same colours as GWA’s original ‘spaghetti’!
And if that wasn’t enough, try examining the extreme lower right and upper right hand corner of the graph. Along the x-axis – the time scale – the ‘0’ – present time – is not flush with the right-hand margin of the chart – it’s offset by a couple of pixels. This anomaly is identical in both charts!
‘Uncanny’ is a word that comes to mind! As is ‘busted’!
In other words, there can be no doubt that Easterbrook used a crudely edited version of the GWA graph in his presentation. I am not the liar — he is. He then moves on to defend the wrong graph:
This is totally false — below is the Greenland data for the past 10,000 years (Holocene) from the published paper by Cuffy and Clow (1997), two distinguished US scientists. Note that temperatures for almost all of the past 10,000 years have been warmer than present.
Let’s set aside Easterbrook’s misspelling of Kurt Cuffey‘s name: the full reference to Cuffey and Clow 1997 is Cuffey, K.M. and G.D. Clow (1997). Temperature, accumulation and ice sheet elevation in central Greenland through the last deglacial transition. Journal of Geophysical Research 102(C12), 26383-396. Regular readers will know that I had occasion to delve into that paper when investigating some Moncktonian nonsense, so what it says is not unfamiliar to me. It’s also possible to download the underlying data and graph it yourself — in fact it is one of the temperature series used in the Global Warming Art graph (but only one). Here’s Easterbrook’s plot from his “reply”:
Once again, he provides a baseline and labels it as present temperature, and pace Monckton, provides a helpful arrow to “present global warming”. I assume for the sake of argument that Easterbrook is telling the truth when he says his new graph is based on the GISP2 data, but he continues to hide the incline. Here’s one of the notes in the datafile:
(3) layer count ages at top depths (in yr BP) where 0 BP represents AD
1950 SUMMER to AD 1949 SUMMER
“Present” is therefore defined nice and accurately at 1950. Given what we know of global and regional temperature changes over the last 60 years, I think we can assume that Greenland has warmed. In fact there’s no need to assume anything: NASA’s GISS helpfully provides a summary. In the region where the core was drilled, there has been warming of around 1ÂºC. There’s no scale on Easterbrook’s graph, so it’s not clear how far above his baseline that would be — but it does suggest that his definition of “present” is not one that most people would use.
There’s another problem with his use of the Greenland ice core data. He wants it to stand as a proxy for global temperature. It isn’t. It’s a record of temperatures high up on the summit of the Greenland ice sheet. Most of the rapid changes of temperature seen in the core, and which Easterbrook analyses in great detail, are not seen in Antarctic cores, for instance.
Easterbrook’s next step is to confuse me with Tim Lambert, who is not, so far as I know, a truffle grower (though I would be glad to offer free advice should he wish to join the burgeoning Australian truffle industry). I’ll leave it to Tim to reply to that section, but it should be obvious that Easterbrook is ascribing far too much significance to short term temperature trends. The other side of the “no statistically significant warming for 15 years” coin is that there can’t be statistically significant cooling either…
Let’s return to Easterbrook’s conclusion.
THE CHARGE THAT THIS DATA HAS BEEN ALTERED IS A DISPICABLE LIE.
It is clear beyond all doubt that Easterbrook used an edited graph from Global Warming Art in his Heartland presentation, and has trouble with his spelling. His attempted defence of his position makes him look a lot more like one of Richard Lindzen’s “overt cheats” than it does an academic defending his reputation. And guess what? No sign yet of any contrition from the sceptic camp, just a few pathetic attempts at spin in the comments here. Tells us all we need to know…
PS: I find it interesting that when people respond to posts here they choose to characterise me as a “truffle grower” or “trufflehunter”. In Easterbrook’s case, he calls me a “photographer and truffle grower”, a description he may have borrowed from my Linked-In profile. He’s been cherry-picking there too. The full description is “writer, photographer and truffle grower”, and I’ve been writing professionally a lot longer than I’ve been growing truffles…