Don Easterbrook's research misconduct

Don Easterbrook has produced a response to my post on his hiding of the incline. Rather than correct his misuse of a graph of Holocene temperatures from Global Warming Art, Easterbrook has the cheek to call Gareth Renowden's correct identificiation of his source "an outright, contemptible lie". Renowden busts him again by showing an earlier version of the graph that Easterbrook claims did not come from Global Warming Art.

Look at Easterbrook's and the original version side by side:

i-7bffe8fa384847f383cb89e897264f45-easterbrooksmall.png i-c5bba18bf810bc2acb0c9008d0428c72-gwartsmall.png
Easterbrook's graph Original graph at global warming art

You'll notice that Easterbrook's version does not have the indication of where temperatures were in 2004, instead indicating that current temperatures are almost one whole degree lower than they really are.

There is another difference between the two graphs -- the temperature scal is on the opposite side of the graph, so it is perhaps conceivable that Easterbrook started with an earlier version of the GW Art graph, one that did not have the idication of 2004 temperatures. In that case, the incorrect baseline would be the product of incompetence rather than dishonesty, with Easterbrook failing to notice that the endpoint of the temperature reconstruction is over one hundred years ago.

But have a closer look at the "2004" and the corresponding region in Easterbrook's graph:

i-8481ed2cdd7730c821aebb4f5d6d5d12-easterbrooksmalldetail.png i-409325bb67c606d553ad395b667370ae-gwartsmalldetail.png

Notice how part of the green curve has been erased? Easterbrook was a bit sloppy when he erased the inconvenient "2004" from the graph and accidently took out part of the green curve as well. That's research misconduct and Easterbrook should be sanctioned by Western Washington University.

And note that Easterbrook wasn't just some obscure presenter at the Heartland Conference. Fox news chose Easterbrook's presentation as the most important in the whole conference.

More like this

wow, so that looks lie a plain out lie now.

The labels of "Present day temperature" and "present global warming" is just as big of a lie as erasing the actual present-day temperature point.

Easterbrook also is quite sloppy. Note the second graph here:…

His arrow puts the LIA at somewhere around 700 AD. He's done the same thing before:…

But the doctored graph and his response reveals that he's more than just incompetent/sloppy. Cranks/hacks need to be exposed, and kudos for Tim Lambert and others for continuing to do this.

There's more to come: Easterbrook's various presentations on the coming cooling are a rich vein for the diligent researcher... ;-)

Looks like the bottom of the blue curve (where the Climatic Optimum label is on the orginal) was also sloppily truncated by Easterbrook in his modified version.

Seems Easterbrook is not just a contemptible liar but a plagiarist as well, and not even a very good one at that!

By Jim Eager (not verified) on 02 Jun 2010 #permalink

It's a sad day when any old knucklehead can butcher a graph and be dressed up in the press for a scientist with something to say.

If I search for 'Easterbrookgate' I don't get any hits - surely this needs to be corrected? Or is the joke, old now... sorry.

What do we get from this?

Easterbrook committed fr@ud;

Easterbrook lied when responding to accusations of fr@ud;

Easterbrook has utter contempt for his audience, as evidenced by the crude amateurish nature of his fr@ud.

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 02 Jun 2010 #permalink

I got all confused because for some reason I looked up Gregg Easterbrook instead of Don Easterbrook to find out who this guy is. Attention to detail is obviously important when dealing with these folks, which is why I would never have found Don Easterbrook's fraud and why I am thankful that other people have been diligent enough to illuminate this example of bad denier behaviour.

I've been calling it Cooling-gate, but I'm not greatly enamoured with the coinage.

How about "Bunnygate"? (DE's email includes "bunny", probably referring to the Easter lagomorph).

Which immediately prompts the thought: Bunnies can and will go to France... Obscure UK political reference. ;-)

Compare the breath-taking scale of Easterbrook's and Monckton's data misrepresentation, and compare them with the wortst of any errors that have been found after years of careful scrutinisation by tens of thousands of critical researchers, journalists, and contrarian vested interests.

Then compare the responses of the Denialati to the mistakes in the consensus science, and to the Easterbrook/Monckton malfeasance.

Notice a difference?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 02 Jun 2010 #permalink

From Easterbrook's reply:

I have the entire Greenland oxygen isotope data in my computer and use it extensively to plot data, so why would I use anything else? The data I use has never been altered in any way.

Note that this does not explicitly deny using and altering the GWA slide. He just asks a question "why would I use anything else?" and then he makes a statement about his data, not the slide he used in his powerpoint.

But he is explicitly lying when he claims that Gareth's correct assessment of the origin of the graph is "an outright, contemptible lie."

By Physicalist (not verified) on 02 Jun 2010 #permalink

The intellectual dishonesty of the denialatii never ceases to amaze me.

Looks like the bottom of the blue curve (where the Climatic Optimum label is on the orginal) was also sloppily truncated by Easterbrook in his modified version.

I noticed that too.

Another subtle thing I noticed about Don's graphs is the way the "present day temperature" line (which is of course 0.75 degrees C below the present day temperature), is not quite straight. It drops by a pixel in the middle (exactly in the middle), strongly suggesting it was drawn in by hand.

If you're plotting the data yourself using some stats package or other, surely you'd use said stats package to add your horizontal line, and thus get it straight and correctly positioned with minimal effort.

By the same token, the fact that Don's graphs both exhibit this subtle anomaly indicates that Don didn't re-plot the data to create the later graph, because then he'd have had to re-draw the horizontal line as well. Any sensible person would have gone back to their stats package and simply generated a new graph, not used MS paint to manually scrub things out.

What really gets me is Easterbrook's "prediction" from his 2008 travesty, er, did I misspell presentation? at the AGU meeting:

"The IPCC predicted global warming of 0.6° C (1° F) by 2011 and 1.2° C (2° F) by 2038, whereas Easterbrook (2001) predicted the beginning of global cooling by 2007 (± 3-5 yrs) and cooling of about 0.3-0.5° C until ~2035. The predicted cooling seems to have already begun. Recent measurements of global temperatures suggest a gradual cooling trend since 1998 and 2007-2008 was a year of sharp global cooling. The cooling trend will likely continue as the sun enters a cycle of lower irradiance and the Pacific Ocean changed from its warm mode to its cool mode."

"2007-2008 was a year of sharp global cooling." La Nina helped.

Scarfed this dog food off of Wattsy.

I would have thought 2007-2008 was two years, but I suppose that in the wacky world of denial, 1 = 2.

>Then compare the responses of the Denialati to the mistakes in the consensus science, and to the Easterbrook/Monckton malfeasance.

>Notice a difference?

Brent summed it up when he admitted to severe confirmation bias. Monckton is a git, apparently, though so long as he's making distracting noise about AGW, the denialati are fine with his lies. I suppose the same goes for Easterbrook.

" is perhaps conceivable that Easterbrook started with an earlier version of the GW Art graph, one that did not have the idication of 2004 temperatures."

According to the file history at the bottom of the Global Warming Art page, this is the only version of the graph.

By Lars Karlsson (not verified) on 02 Jun 2010 #permalink

I wonder whether the 'Auditor' will jump all over this.

Or is that wishing too much?

By ScaredAmoeba (not verified) on 03 Jun 2010 #permalink

> I would have thought 2007-2008 was two years, but I suppose > that in the wacky world of denial, 1 = 2.

To be fair, in meteorology, a year can be Dec-Nov, and not just Jan-Dec, I think. For example, GISS calculates both.

If somebody wants to pick some 12 month period and call it a year, I won't get bent out of shape about that. The problem is more the cherry-picking in looking at La Ninas and short term things, and thinking it proof of some long term PDO cycle, or whatever his hypothesis is.

By carrot eater (not verified) on 03 Jun 2010 #permalink

I'll also point out that there appears to be an incompletely erased several pixel remnant of a section of the GWA 'recent proxies' curve (from the inset) in the upper right-hand portion of the Easterbrook chart - on the level of the upper portion of the 'l' in 'Medieval', and pretty well directly above the 'shaft' of the red arrow.

I just did a trial - time to copy and shift the right hand axis label and temp scale to the left hand in Photoshop - about 2 1/2 minutes.

I'd also noticed the 'Present day temperature' [sic] line is slightly rotated clockwise - easy to do in a graphics program! And the red infill between that and the GWA curve has all the characteristics of a messy bitmap rather than smooth vector... it all fits!

12 Bernard,

The hypocrisy and the asymmetry of response are some of the most disgusting aspects of denidiot behaviour, but what can be done about as long as they can spew out their filth without restraint?

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 03 Jun 2010 #permalink

Who does he think he's fooling? I mean, even the location of the dots on the dotted line match up. (except in the area where the dotted line is mysteriously non-uniform. Almost like someone redrew some dots after erasing a portion of it.)

By tonylurker (not verified) on 03 Jun 2010 #permalink

Step back a bit and realize this is pure politics.
It's not science.
It's pretending ha-ha-wink-wink to be science.
But it's flat lying -- which is politics as usual in the USA, for anyone who's missed how things work here.

Look around behind the clown.
Look behind the curtain being waved in your face.

What ELSE are they doing that's more dangerous than this distracting entertainment?

27 Hank,

Can you suggest where to look for the "What ELSE"? Somewhere else in the Heartland conference presentations or somewhere not obviously anti-science?

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 03 Jun 2010 #permalink

Thanks for the correction, Hank, and my apologies to Mauri.

One possible explanation is that Easterbrook honestly thinks it's still 1905 and removed the 2004 as obvious nonsense. That would also make him the originator (time-wise) of the graph in question, not GW Art.

As long as we are noting anomalies in the plot, obscuring the inset with a box would require the box to also partially cover the tick marks at the upper right of the graph. Sure enough, the tick marks at the upper right are shorter in Easterbrook's graph. Also, why did he put "Medieval warm period" in there and why did he choose to obscure some of the curves with it? Well, to remove the inset, he also has to obscure some curves. Inserting "medieval warm period" to make it look intentional is actually kind of clever.

Another example of leaving out an inconvenient part of a graph is this graph


Here the hockey stick part of the graph is missing.

This was pointed out on a forum, or blog, that I can't presently locate and the following refurbishing of the wikipedia graph was presented

I saved the graph, but unfortunately, not the comment that went with it.

Gareth and Tim have done a wonderful job exposing Easterbrook and it is important that bloggers "out" the bad guys. However, we must take action if we wish to change anything. Easterbrook, like Monckton, has become a media darling because of his contrarian views backed up by credentials (unlike Monckton). The media need to see these people for who they are.

I contacted the Western Washington University President, Provost, and Geology Dept. faculty and alerted them to Gareth's investigation of Easterbrook's fraud and to warn them that the WWU reputation may be taking a hit. President Shepard replied to me but his reply suggests that he does not fully understand that this is not an academic freedom issue - it is about fraud committed under the name of WWU. The Geology Dept. at WWU has assured me that they have been aware of Easterbrook's misinformation campaign for years and the "guilt by association" that comes with it.
No faculty there support Easterbrook's position on climate change.

So what can you do? Contact the President and Provost and let them know that Easterbrook is tarnishing their institution's reputation. An email takes a few minutes. You can even use my email messages as a template.

WWU: Office of the President Contacts:
WWU: Office of the Provost Contacts:

Waitaminnit -- 'preearth' is making an odd claim.
Look at

The vertical run-up of CO2 on the chart occurs past the zero line. There's nothing indicating what the zero means. Before accusing people of hiding something, you need to cite to the actual Vostok data and mention the last date on which the ice core data is known good, and state whether you're adding say Mauna Loa to the picture.

We know Easterbrook's "present" is 1905. We know a lot of climatology for a long time used 1950 as the "present" date and people had to be made aware it wasn't a rolling date matching today's calendar.

11 How about "Bunnygate"?

'Heartlandgate', surely?

By Zibethicus (not verified) on 04 Jun 2010 #permalink

@ Hank Roberts


"There's nothing indicating what the zero means."

Yes there is; the top scale is "Depth of ice (metres)." The lower scale is "Age (years before present)."

"The vertical run-up of CO2 on the chart occurs past the zero line (for depth of ice)."

I think that is just a small mistake on the creators part.

"and state whether you're adding say Mauna Loa to the picture."

I would have guessed that Mauna Loa has been added to the picture. But that doesn't make sense as the Vostok record must show the last few centuries,... otherwise what good is it? What good is it if it has huge gaps?

I think presents a very misleading picture by not mentioning what is currently known.

Regarding prearth,

Here is some interesting material lifted from, presented without further comment:

When Worlds Collided.

Kevin Graham Mansfield.

"In the beginning God created Heaven and PreEarth."

Heaven and PreEarth were planets, a binary system orbiting the Sun. This happy arrangement continued for countless years, until, some unfortunate circumstance caused Heaven to collide with PreEarth, forming the Earth.

We investigate the evidence that the Earth is the child of such a collision. We show that the planets Heaven and PreEarth were of similar size and mass. We show that many of the Earth's topographical features, such as mountain chains and ocean basins, were created during the collision. We show that certain hard to explain features of the Earth, such as its magnetic field, can now be more easily understood. And, in establishing all this, we uncover a new theory on the origin of the Moon.

Much of PreEarth's crust survived the impact and is today the continental crust of the Earth. Although broken and contorted, giant pieces of the ancient crust acted as ships floating on a newly molten interior, insulating, and protecting, life from the fires below. Heaven itself, together with its crust, if it had one, disappeared into the interior of the PreEarth, never to be seen again. If we put the broken pieces of PreEarth's crust back together, we obtain the following map.

By caerbannog (not verified) on 07 Jun 2010 #permalink

If the formatting in my previous post looks messed up, all I can say is that it looked fine in preview mode.

By caerbannog (not verified) on 07 Jun 2010 #permalink

Fanciful nonsense - up there with fairies at the bottom of the garden.

By Vince Whirlwind (not verified) on 07 Jun 2010 #permalink

Although broken and contorted, giant pieces of the ancient crust acted as ships floating on a newly molten interior, insulating, and protecting, life from the fires below.

Reminds me of the cover of a Yes album I used to own.

By Ezzthetic (not verified) on 07 Jun 2010 #permalink

The paper by Kevin Mansfield has been read by a number of geophysicists.

One geophysicist (his area of speciality in geophysics is paleomagnetism) made detailed comments and pointed out only one error (in the interpretation of the NASA GPS vectors).

The geophysicist made no comment as to the overall correctness of the theory.

@preearth, taking your statement at face value, I guess that means that Kevin Mansfield is a decent mathematician and statistician unlike Easterbrook, Monckton and Lott. That doesn't mean his (your?) interpretation of the geology and historicity of events is correct.

PreEarth seems a bit odd, but mostly harmless. A divertissement on a nice Sunday if you will. A friendly tip, calling the other binary planet Heaven is clever but contributes to the impression of crackpotism.

dear all, unfortunately the most part of the data around are very inaccurate and they do not allow to support any claim of present warming or cooling. however, while the most part of the predictions of warming are strongly politically supported and get published almost every where no matter how fake they are, the predictions of no clear trend or of cooling trends get much more criticised and never get published. suggestion to peoples really interested in understanding what is going on is to download the raw temperature data measured by their bureau of meteorology and to analyze them with excel. then please keep in mind: 1. predictions by GISS and others are very inaccurate and may produce very wrong trend. 2. measurements are always better than predictions. 3. corrections of temperature records are always arbitrary. 4. heat island effects increase the measured temperature where there is a thermal island (temperature in your house is usually higher during the winter than the one outside). 5. global warming means temperatures are increasing in the city and in the countryside. 6. if the warming stops in the suburbs, it is local and not global warming. 7. more important: last 10 years of data for temperature and carbon dioxide emissions are already enough to establish a correlation - if any - in between the two.

By Tursiopecurioso (not verified) on 16 Jan 2011 #permalink

Tursiopecurioso, what a fulsome load of unsupported rubbish. I take it you have no comment on the topic of this thread?

Try supporting your claims with some evidence, and also try making your claims in a relevant thread instead of a 6 month old thread on on Easterbrook's misconduct.

If you do so I'll be happy to debate.