Climategate 3.0: Briffa worries that manmade environmental change distorts tree-ring analysis

In October 1996, Keith Briffa frets that the calibration for tree-ring analysis may be off due to manmade changes in the environment.

“I spoke to you about the problem of anthropogenic influences ( i.e. increased CO2, nitrate fallout , increased UV radiation) possibly having an influence on recent tree growth and so complicating our efforts to use these recent data to define how we interpret past tree growth. Is it possible
to put in some reference to me worrying about this?”

The full e-mail is below.

###

date: Tue Oct 15 17:01:05 1996
from: Keith Briffa
subject: New Scientist article
to: Fred Pearce
Dear Fred
I have done a redraft of the article. I know you said not to
rewrite it (preferably) but rather to correct, make notes suggestins etc.
I thought about this for some time and realized that it woulld be far more
difficult to indicate the precise places,the precise problems and the
suggested corrections at all of the places I considered were subtle
misinterpretations of what I said, or meant, or feel. It therefore seemed
easier FOR BOTH OF US if I went through one attempt at what amounts to a
simple rewording. This lets me change the inference , correct minor errors
and fill in all your questions without having to explain the myriad details
of where and why.
Do not , please, grimace and get pissed off at my apparent cheek!
Hopefully, you can see when you go through this draft that most of it is
entirely yours and my changes are meant to be efficient and constructive.
I hope you will be able to accept this version pretty much as it stands now.
Incidentally, a pedantic point, but where you refer to a tree with rings
about 30 microns wide being equivelent to a tree increasing its GIRTH by one
centimetre in 100 years, should this not be 2 cms? Assuming the tree has a
starting diameter of about 15 cm , after 100 years its diameter will be 15.6 cm
(the rings occur on both sides of the tree) so that the cicumference change over
this period will be 1.9 cm.
There remain a couple of points for your consideration. Is it possible,
somehow, to get the ADVANCE-10K name in and explained( i.e. the project
title)? This is important to us as publicity in the context of our funding.
Also, I spoke to you about the problem of anthropogenic influences ( i.e.
increased CO2, nitrate fallout , increased UV radiation) possibly having
an influence on recent tree growth and so complicating our efforts to use
these recent data to define how we interpret past tree growth. Is it possible
to put in some reference to me worrying about this?
Finally, can you suggest to the editor that we put a footnote in to
flag our home page which details all the objectives and participants ?
(perhaps with the reference to the ADVANCE-10K acronym,title and grant
number)
I look forward to hearing from you and can send the text as ASCII,
WORD or WORDPERFECT files – for now should I fax it and if so to where?
cheers
Keith

9 thoughts on “Climategate 3.0: Briffa worries that manmade environmental change distorts tree-ring analysis”

  1. Gamecock … Yes. Stop driving your SUV immediately. You are making trees grow faster and that is bad because …..

    …. aw, never mind. Pick me up a six-pack while you’re out.

  2. We have come full circle. They now blame their faulty computer models, their fraudulent data and their dishonest statements on (que the Heralds) Manmade Global Warming! Always remrmber; 3 lefts make a right and CO2 (GASP!!!) affects tree growth…

  3. Tree rings are affected more by rainfall and atmospheric CO2 content than temperature . Briffa must have known this at the start of the Yamel study!!
    Perhaps a spell of gardening leave is on the cards for KB.

  4. I’m not a scientist but what is clear from this e-mail is it is all about the funding and who get’s credit for what.

  5. He expresses concern at anthropogenic increase in CO2 may have an effect on tree rings. This recognizes that tree rings do not simply measure temperature but also CO2.

    It follows from this that past tree ring widths may not simply have been a factor of the then current temperature, but may also be a factor of the then current CO2. In other words he recognises that trees are not simply thermometers but are laso CO2 measuring devices.

    It appears that he does not know how to seperate temperature and CO2 from recent tree ring data, so how can he be sure that old tree ring data is not explained partly, or mainly by fluctuations in then prevailing CO2 levels.

  6. I’m also wondering if opening the window may affect the central heating control … what? They are wondering … they know full well it could affect and they have hidden this obvious fact because it did not politically suit them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.