Phil Jones, head of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and the epicenter of Climategate, now has a new explanation for the now famous "trick" to "hide the (temperature) decline:"
"The use of the term 'hiding the decline' was in an email written in haste," he said. "CRU has not sought to hide the decline."
He provided the comments in an interview with the alarmist-friendly Guardian, which also helpfully linked updated statements from Jones and vice chancellor for research Trevor Davies, where Jones elaborated:
My colleagues and I accept that some of the published emails do not read well. I regret any upset or confusion caused as a result. Some were clearly written in the heat of the moment, others use colloquialisms frequently used between close colleagues.
So, "haste" and "heat" are to explain Jones's efforts to manipulate data. The Competitive Enterprise Institute's Myron Ebell understands:
For people who don’t know any better, this looks like Professor Phil Jones, director of the CRU, is saying that he has used a “trick” that he got from Professor Michael Mann in order to “hide the decline.” First of all, we know that Professor Jones is a man of high integrity (as well as high competence in his field), so he would never do anything dishonest, sneaky, or duplicitous. Second, “trick” is a technical term often employed by the cream of climate scientists. It simply means employing a clever (or “slick”) method to accomplish some technical goal (in this case, “to hide the decline”). Anyone can see that “trick” is a much shorter and more elegant way to say that. And you’ve got to admire the verbal facility of these tip-top scientists. They are as articulate and literate as they are scientifically tip-top.
What is the clever method that Professor Jones learned from Professor Mann? I think he is referring to the way Professor Mann constructed his celebrated hockey stick graph. His proxy records showed flat temperatures for the past thousand years, including the past century. But everyone knows that temperatures have gone up rapidly in the past few decades. That’s what the surface temperature record compiled by Professor Jones at CRU shows. And everyone knows that Professor Jones’s temperature record is irreproachable, even though he destroyed the raw data. So what Professor Mann did was splice the last few decades of surface temperature records onto his proxy record. Voila!–the hockey stick. Over nine centuries of flat temperatures and then rapid warming in the late twentieth century. What Professor Mann did was simply make sure that ordinary people weren’t misled by the proxy data.
As for the many Freedom of Information inquiries CRU has received, Jones explains:
We have been bombarded by Freedom of Information requests to release the temperature data that are provided to us by meteorological services around the world via a large network of weather stations. This information is not ours to give without the permission of the meteorological services involved. We have responded to these Freedom of Information requests appropriately and with the knowledge and guidance of the Information Commissioner.
We have stated that we hope to gain permission from each of these services to publish their data in the future and we are in the process of doing so.
That doesn't seem to comport with Jones's statement in this email:
If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone....We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind.
I did get an email from the FOI person here early yesterday to tell me I shouldn’t be deleting emails...According to the FOI Commissioner’s Office, IPCC is an international organization, so is above any national FOI. Even if UEA holds anything about IPCC, we are not obliged to pass it on...
Sound like they're really striving to "gain permission" to release data? Perhaps another FOI request would reveal how hard they are working at that. Meanwhile, I nearly spewed my afternoon Joe when I read this Jones comment to the Guardian:
But he stressed that he has never wished to get drawn into the political debate about climate change, saying: "I'm a very apolitical person, I don't want to get involved in the politics, I'm much happier doing the science and producing the papers. I'm a scientist, I let my science do the talking, along with all my scientific climate colleagues. It's up to governments to decide and climate science is just one thing they have to take into account with the decisions they have to make."
Mr. Dispassionate Scientist shows how much he doesn't care about political action in the updated UEA-CRU statement:
In the frenzy of the past few days, the most vital issue is being overshadowed: we face enormous challenges ahead if we are to continue to live on this planet.
One has to wonder if it is a coincidence that this email correspondence has been stolen and published at this time. This may be a concerted attempt to put a question mark over the science of climate change in the run-up to the Copenhagen talks.
Poor Phil. Maybe one day, after he's somewhat rehabilitated his reputation, he can find work as a small-market TV weatherman utilizing his expertise in covering local meteorological myths and legends: