More on “Trick” Meaning “Clever Thing to Do”

One of the more controversial statements in the CRU emails is Phil Jones’s using a “trick” to “hide the decline.”

Some new discussions of the trick:

1. While downloading some data from GISS, I came across a clearly innocuous use of the word trick, perhaps written by James Hansen:

The trick was to find the anomalies first and then compute the absolute values from the anomalies: Whereas the absolute monthly and seasonal temperatures may have a definite seasonal cycle, the monthly and seasonal anomalies do not; hence whereas a seasonal mean may be totally distorted if we leave out the warmest or coldest month, seasonal anomalies are less impacted by dropping any monthly anomaly.

We use the same device when we combine the station data to get regional or global means . . .

GISS Website Curator: Robert B. Schmunk
Responsible NASA Official: James E. Hansen
Page updated: 2009-04-27

This usage that I discovered on the GISS site is precisely the use suggested by Mann:

Mann said Jones was using the word “trick” in the sense of “here’s the trick for solving that problem,” not to indicate anything inappropriate.

So sometimes climate researchers do indeed use “trick” to mean a clever solution to a problem.

2. Watts Up With That has an analysis of the use of the word “trick” in the rest of the CRU email archives.

3. At Climate Audit, Steve McIntyre has a long, but excellent background post on the context of the trick designed to hide the decline (tip to Watts Up). As McIntyre shows, in this instance Jones’s trick was not innocuous.

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