Don Easterbrook, the retired Western Washington University geologist who has made something of a second career out of misunderstanding the Greenland temperature record, appears to be happy to play a very public role in local politics, testifying on climate issues before a Washington State Senate committee last month (video here). His evidence was so far off the mark that his former colleagues at Western Washington University’s geology department felt compelled to go on record in an op-ed for The Bellingham Herald disowning Don’s presentation. Dan McShane has the full story, but here’s a telling little extract from the piece:
Easterbrook’s views, as exemplified by his Senate presentation, are a stark contrast to that standard; they are filled with misrepresentations, misuse of data and repeated mixing of local vs. global records. Nearly every graphic in the hours-long presentation to the Senate was flawed, as was Easterbrook’s discussion of them.
Quite a slap-down for Easterbrook. One of his most egregious misrepresentations was — as you might expect — of the Greenland ice core evidence:
Easterbrook’s definition of “present temperature” in the graph is based on the most recent data point in that record, which is actually 1855, more than 150 years ago when the world was still in the depths of the Little Ice Age, and well before any hint of human-caused climate change.
I watched that section of Easterbrook’s evidence with some interest (starts at 22:48 in the video stream). He points to one of his standard graphs of the GISP2 ice core temperature record, and explicitly tells the senate hearing that the last data point is “the present” — as noted by the WWU faculty above. Don gave this evidence on March 26th.
But on March 11th and 13th, Easterbrook posted articles at µWatts in which he explicitly acknowledged that some allowance would have to be made to bring the temperatures up to date. Amusingly, he not only gets the dates (and temperature allowance) wrong (as I noted at the time), he is inconsistent — referring in the first article to the last data point being 95 years ago, and in the second claiming it is 1950.
Set aside his incompetence and inconsistencies: what this means is that two weeks before he gave his Senate evidence, he knew that he should not refer to the end of that GISP2 temperature curve as “right now”, but he went right ahead and did it anyway. In other words, he knowingly misrepresented the data to the senate hearing. No wonder his erstwhile colleagues are so keen to distance themselves from him.
[See also: Hot Whopper notes that Denier Don is Angry, and refers to an attempt to support Easterbrook by David Deming at µWatts. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: Deming’s piece is rubbish, and Easterbrook’s serial philandering with the facts is indefensible.]