In a 1988 paper James Hansen presented three scenarios (A, B and C) for future climate change, saying that Scenario B was the most plausible. In 1998 Pat Michaels committed scientific fraud when he erased scenarios B and C from Hansen’s graph to argue that Hansen’s predictions was out by 300%. In fact, as you can see from the graph below (updated to include 2007 temperatures), his predictions have been pretty close to reality. (More discussion at RealClimate.)
You can bet that if a mainstream climate scientist had done anything one tenth as bad, Steve McIntyre would be all over it, but not in this case. He’s defending Michaels:
In the right panel, only Scenario A is taken through to 2050 and in both panels, Scenario A is plotted as a solid line, which could be taken as according at least graphic precedence to Scenario A. Hansen has subsequently said that Scenario B was said by him at the time (in his testimony) to have been the “most plausible”, although the article itself contained no such statement.
You can see for yourselves that, in the article, Scenario A was arguably more prominent graphically.
None of this could excuse erasing scenarios B and C from the graph, but in any case, scenario A is not plotted as a solid line, and the article does say that B is the “most plausible”.
Scenario A is actually plotted as a dotted line, it only looks like a solid grey line in a low resolution image. Click on the image below to see a high resolution scan.
More importantly, in four full page colour plates where there was only room to display one scenario, it is scenario B that is shown. There is no question that scenario B is more prominent graphically in the paper.
Here’s what Hansen wrote about the scenarios in his paper:
These scenarios are designed to yield sensitivity experiments for a broad range of future greenhouse forcings. Scenario A, since it is exponential, must eventually be on the high side of reality in view of finite resource constraints and environmental concerns … Scenario C is a more drastic curtailment of emissions than has generally been imagined … Scenario B is perhaps the most plausible of the three cases.
See if you can spot the words that McIntyre claimed were not there.
No reasonable person can read Hansen’s paper and conclude that A was his preferred scenario.
Oh and for some reason, McIntyre wants you to know that Gavin Schmidt works for NASA, because he tells you this nine times in his post.