Monthly Archives: November 2011

McKitrick hides the context

[UPDATE, Nov. 30:  I have added at the end a response from Ross McKitrick (originally posted as a comment at Judith Curry's website), along with my additional commentary. Also the third paragraph has been slightly amended to clarify that the two out-of-context Phil Jones quotes, misleadingly juxtaposed and reversed by McKitrick, were originally three months apart.]

Son of climategate? SwiftHack 2.0? Dejavugate (as in “deja vu all over again”)? Whichever moniker one prefers for the latest release of stolen CRU emails, it is  very clear that a new round of out-of-context quote mining and error-filled “analysis” is already unfolding. And the leader out of the gate, so to speak, appears to be Ross McKitrick, whose recent National Post piece on the IPCC and the latest batch of stolen emails is now being spread far and wide.

In one particularly outrageous and error-filled passage, McKitrick accuses IPCC  AR4 co-ordinating lead authors Phil Jones and Kevin Trenberth of selecting their team of contributing authors solely on the basis of whether they agree with the pair’s scientific views. He even goes so far as to accuse Jones of “dismissing” (i.e. rejecting as a contributing author) one qualified expert who, supposedly in Jones’s own words, “has done a lot, but I don’t trust him.”

But the record clearly shows that it was Trenberth who made that last comment, and that he was expressing misgivings about the quality of the researcher’s work, not whether he was on the “right side” of scientific issues.  And the expert in question, climatologist Joel Norris, was in fact selected by Trenberth as a contributing author. Even worse, McKitrick has reversed the order of  the  Jones quotes (originally three months apart) , taken them out of context, and then juxtaposed them to make it appear as if they were part of the same exchange. Meanwhile, an examination of the two separate email discussions show chapter co-ordinators trying to fill out their team with authors who will be able to contribute effectively, in complete contradiction to McKitrick’s central thesis.

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Open Thread # 11

There will be at least two new posts later this month. Meanwhile, the last Open Thread is getting a little long, so here’s a new one.