Rose and McIntyre

Deep Climate documents what happened when Steve McIntyre combined his talent for making mountains out of molehills with David Rose’s talent for fabrication:

So in summary, we have a nonsensical accusation of “artful” manipulation of a key graph. And we have a fake “blowup” from the Mail on Sunday that contains important differences with the real figure.

Read the whole thing.


  1. #1 blueshift
    May 12, 2010

    FYI the “whole thing” link isn’t working for me. First link is fine though.

  2. #2 Erasmussimo
    May 12, 2010

    I’m actually saddened reading this. In the early years, Mr. McIntyre made his claims with some scientific integrity. But now his work has descended to the level of the other deniers. Now there’s nobody on the denialist side whom I can point to as somebody who actually understands some of the principles.

  3. #3 davidk
    May 12, 2010

    Sorry to detract from the topic Tim (McIntyre has always got up my nose) but this one smells really bad – seems a so called attorney general is on a so called vendetta, again.

    Perhaps you can run another thread on the Cuccinelli ravings?

  4. #4 davidk
    May 12, 2010

    Oops, I see you’ve already covered it Tim, in your May 1 thread.

  5. #5 JamesA
    May 12, 2010

    “Now there’s nobody on the denialist side whom I can point to as somebody who actually understands some of the principles.”

    There are a fair few deniers who I suspect do understand the principles, but they won’t ever apply them properly because that would entail showing how horribly wrong they are. The likes of Spencer, Lindzen and so on prefer to play it loose, using the correct science when and only when it suits them. Scientists like that are two a penny (particularly among the older generation) and if it wasn’t for outfits like Heartland, they would just be left to wander in the wilderness.

  6. #6 Shirley
    May 12, 2010

    Apologies for being off topic. The Australian is at again this morning with serial offender, Michael Asten, sowing the seeds of doubt in his article ‘CSIRO should establish if there was medieval warming Down-Under’.

    Perhaps we could have a follow up post on Michael Asten and his musings on climate change.

  7. #7 gnostic
    May 12, 2010

    Shock, horror! But no surprise. As I have noted before when commenting on the claims of other distinguished expounders of climate science (Monckton, Plimer, et al) the only way that deniers of global warming can substantiate their views is by manipulating and distorting scientific findings – or telling downright lies.

    I thought allegations against CRU fabrications had been investigated and found unsubstantiated. Apparently not to the satisfaction of Steve McIntyre who, as a mathematician and statistician, must know that those who falsify data will sooner or later be found out.

    What does Keith Briffa have to say about the material published by the Mail on Sunday ?

  8. #8 John Mashey
    May 12, 2010

    Actually, it’s worse…
    and easiest to see if you compare, side-by-side (easiest way is to print the two):

    a) Blowup of the original

    b) Blowup of Daily Mail

    Compare the positions of the pink, green, and red lines.

    1) In b), they not only brought the pink line to the front (as DC noted), but

    2) They moved it UP relative to the others, so that it not only covers the end of the green line, but covers the earlier inflection in the green, and more of the rising green to the left. It also covers more of the black, and even overlaps on top of the red.

    This especially easy to see where in a) the red and green intersect, with pink below, and in b), all 3 intersect in the same place.

    However, (just noticed this), they may have tweaked the pink a little more at the right, as I’m not sure the same upward motion is enough over there.

    Maybe someone who is a Photoshop guru can start with the original, and see what it takes to transform it….

    But this is more than a few pixels…
    hmmm. British law. Fraud? Libel?

  9. #9
    May 13, 2010

    @ 6

    After Bolt’s musing on the MWP, it seems to have gone viral. Deniers are now intensely interested in fossil mollusks.

  10. #10 John Mashey
    May 13, 2010

    Mollusks: well, why not: in 2003, Inhofe’s counsel Aloysius Hogan was interested enough in PCA & tree-rings to show up at a George Marshall briefing and ask McIntyre about them. It’s nice that lawyers learn about statistics and paleoclimate reconstructions. I’m impressed by the love of science shown.

  11. #11 Paul UK
    May 13, 2010

    Clearly this obsession with looking at graphs in minute detail is a plan to make us all buy bigger computer displays.

    I’m sure one of those graphs is printed on course grain paper which adds 0.0001 deg to the decline, since the ink flowed into a crevasse in the paper.

  12. #12 el Gordo
    May 13, 2010

    Totally off-topic: *[Deleted because it’s off topic]*

  13. #13 jakerman
    May 13, 2010

    [Here is]( a possible reason why el gordo did not post in the appropriate thread.

    el gordo, please don’t run away, and please do spam threads. Take your OT junk the the open thread.

  14. #14 John Mashey
    May 13, 2010

    re: #8
    DC has added an update, which now compares the original vs Mail versions more directly. Like I said, it sure looks like they brought the pink line forward than moved it up to hdie teh end fo he green line and more green pixels.

  15. #15 Chris S.
    May 13, 2010

    “hdie teh end fo he green”

    Late night Dr. Mashey? 🙂

    More errors there than AR4!

  16. #16 John Mashey
    May 13, 2010

    Nope, my wife was heading out the door for our daily ride to the coffee shop and said Now.

  17. #17 TrueSceptic
    May 13, 2010

    16 John,

    2 bicycles or a tandem? 😉

  18. #18 Lars
    May 13, 2010

    to hdie teh end fo he green line

    I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who has to exercise constant vigilance against transpositions.

  19. #19 bluegrue
    May 13, 2010

    #8 John Mashey:
    >Maybe someone who is a Photoshop guru can start with the original, and see what it takes to transform it….

    Given the crispness of the Daily Mail blowup I doubt _Photoshop_ was involved. You can instead extract the vector graphics from the TAR PDF and manipulate them as vector graphics in programs like Adobe Illustrator. It’s easy this way to bring a different curve to the foreground and add the little shifts, be it by accident or intent. This way you can also change the bevels from cut-off to rounded, as it has happened in the Daily Mail plots.

  20. #20 John Mashey
    May 13, 2010

    re: #19

    Yes, for sure. I should have been more precise in saying “an image manipulation program”, rather than using “Photoshop” in the same way as one might say “Please Xerox this”, meaning, use the Canon copier 🙂

    In any case, given some other things that have popped up (slightly thicker lines, a slight upward displacement of the grey area ~0.02C), the chart may well have been generated from (carefully-tweaked) data and if so, that might well have been done by someone outside the DM and given to them. Of course, it is also amusing that someone lightened the grey to be almost unnoticeable. [%$@##& error bars are really, really important.)

    This is in some sense akin to DC’s findings of “Striking similarity between the Wegman Report and the tree-ring section of Bradley(1999) – most of it looked fine, but there were a few tweaks and contradictions. Also, in both cases we have the original and the changed versions, can see the changes, but can’t prove exactly who did the changes…

  21. #21 James Haughton
    May 13, 2010

    @ 9,

    Which is Bolt, a fossil or a mollusk? I can see arguments either way.

  22. #22 MapleLeaf
    May 13, 2010

    McIntryre exposed, again. And Rose, again, too! They really do have no shame.

    Such is their desperation that in order to try and demonstrate that others behaved badly they end up behaving very badly themselves. Wow. This is pure desperation on their part. And again, McI is shown to be not operating in good faith.

    Way to go DC!

    Someone should really report Rose for faking the graphs.

  23. #23 naught101
    May 14, 2010

    You all might be interested in this overlay of the two graphs:

    as explained at

    The alignment points are y:1900,2000, x:0°C, -5°C. I created this in Inkscape, the IPCC graphs are simply imported from the PDF (the only editing I did was to raise Briffa to the top, for comparison). The Mail version is traced, after alignment. The SVG is here, if anyone wants to confirm that I got the alignment right:

    (SVG does not display properly in firefox).

  24. #24 bluegrue
    May 14, 2010

    John Mashey, no need to be sorry, after all _photoshopping_ has become a generic term just like _googling_. I only commented to remind us, that we are likely talking about manipulation of the curves as objects, rather than pixels. Right now it could be either a nefarious manipulation of the raw data with intent to mislead or the shaky hand of a graphics designer at the Daily Mail told to prop up that boring IPCC chart using his graphics program. If you work at full view of the graphics the shift of the data would be imperceptible; it might even be due to a fluke in the import filter (apart from bringing Jones1998 to the front for no apparent reason). The latter scenario does not absolve the Daily Mail or Rose from the utter lack of quality control of the final images in any way.

    That still leaves us with no idea whatsoever, where the “correct” version comes from. I would not be surprised to see it’s one of [McIntyre’s “corrections”], which Mark Francis linked to over at DC.

  25. #25 Bernard J.
    May 14, 2010


    It all recalls [our duscussion of Plimer’s]( infamous Figure 3.

    What irony, that the Denialati claim so vociferously that the body of climatology is based upon fraud, and that the only detectable fraud is that of the Denialati themselves.

    Says it all, doesn’t it?

  26. #26 deep climate
    May 15, 2010

    How to be climate auditor, part 2

    Arguing from a cherrypicked selection of quotes from the “Climategate” emails, McIntyre has claimed that IPCC authors Chris Folland and Michael Mann pressured Briffa to submit a reconstruction that would not “dilute the message” by showing “inconsistency” with multi-proxy reconstructions from Mann and Briffa’s CRU colleague Phil Jones. Briffa “hastily re-calculated his reconstruction”, sending one with a supposedly larger post-1960 decline before. According to McIntyre, Mann resolved this new “conundrum” and simply “chopped off the inconvenient portion of the Briffa tree-ring data”.

    But a review of the emails – including some that have never been quoted before – clearly contradicts McIntyre’s version of events:

    * Jones and Briffa were concerned that Mann had an outdated version of the Briffa reconstruction, and both urged the adoption of the newer “low frequency” one, more appropriate for comparison with other multi-century reconstructions.

    * Far from pressuring Briffa to change his reconstruction right away, Mann questioned whether an immediate change was required, or even possible, and counselled waiting for the next revision.

    * CRU colleague Tim Osborn advised Mann that he and Briffa “usually stopped” the “low frequency” reconstruction in 1960, and went one better in his later “resend” to Mann, by explicitly removing the post-1960 data.

  27. #27 J Bowers
    May 15, 2010

    @ 26 Deep Climate

    Indeed, like Mark Twain said: “A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

    Top work as usual DC.

  28. #28 Dave Andrews
    May 16, 2010

    deep climate,

    So it’s your ‘hand picked’ emails v Steve McI’s so- called ‘cherry-picked’ emails.

    I think you need to go back to base and think a bit more.

  29. #29 pough
    May 16, 2010

    @DA #28 … you’ve taken unconvincing to dizzying new lows.

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.