Climate Fudge – Captain Photoshop strikes again

The climate Photoshop conundrum refuses to die down.

Recently Roger Pielke Jr had this to say about Der Speigel’s understanding of ‘Hide the decline’

Der Spiegel has “hide the decline” just about right, sorry.

Der Speigel said, of the late 20th century warming tree-ring data:

Tree-ring data indicates no global warming since the mid-20th century, and therefore contradicts the temperature measurements. The clearly erroneous tree data was thus corrected by the so-called “trick” with the temperature graphs

Since skeptics – scientist and layman alike – have a functioning brain and find it very hard to swallow this type of argument made by the IPCC, their head hurts constantly. The headache was incessant and disturbing until one fine day. On that fine day, in a special moment, the Climategate emails were leaked to the open world thus relieving everyone’s headache forever.

After a prominent skeptic laboriously put together the emails and data (and hefty printed IPCC reviewers comments), taking them ‘out of their context’ and everything, we could see, clear as the day, as to what was done with the tree-rings.

Pielke Jr however characterized this act – as a ‘fudge’ and not as scientific fraud. He proceeded to post more about the matter, somewhat angrily, consolidating his position further. ‘Hide the decline’ was apparently due to a ‘desire’ for ‘tidiness’. The ‘divergence’ problem is apparently an ‘uncertainty’.

Hopefully, the scientific community has learned that a desire for tidiness should not trump an overarching concern for maintaining the credibility and legitimacy of expert advice, even if that means presenting the science alongside uncertainties and complexities.

Since when did ‘uncertainty’ become an euphemism for ‘I don’t know what’s going on’?

At the top of this anger management and moral science lesson, Pielke Jr posted a picture of a cherry fudge. The comments however still flowed in thick and fast, mostly contrary to his position.

Steve McIntyre who by this time was in Chicago, speaking at the Heartland Conference in front of hundreds of skeptics drew on Roger Pielke’s post about fudge vs fraud in his talk.

Roger Pielke Jr, for some reason, used this in a “See, I told you so”, “I was right all along” type of post (Steve McIntyre on Hot Fudge). This was the third in a row in which he was defending the hockey stick, as it were. This post, carried another picture of chocolate fudge.

Now this is where the real fun starts. The chocolate fudges in this picture were surrounded by nuts spilling out of a glass jar. The fudgies – Pielke Jr and McIntyre – it seemed, were being swarmed by the skeptical nuts. If you think I am ‘overreaching’, making this sort of interpretation, I will reply – I am not the only one. Gavin Schmidt thinks that the skeptics are nuts too. Kieth Kloor thought that Roger Pielke was being swarmed.

A hive of skeptics swarmed all over him, faster than you can say Algore.

I am not someone with the best eyesight but even I could see  – that there was something wrong with the chocolate fudge and nuts photograph. After a few moments of staring at it in Photoshop the obvious hits you immediately—the picture is a fake. There is a level of Photoshop fudging, dodging, nut cloning going on in the front part.

So Pielke Jr is bashing on the skeptics, by using a fake picture, in a discussion about the usage of tidy but dishonest images in science? 😉

All of this is even more ironic considering how Peter Gleick dragged himself and 254 other scientists into a mudslinging match with a polar bear picture and was incisively called out by Pielke Jr himself.

Let me remind you at this juncture, of the faker who cloned pictures in Hwang woo Suk’s Science paper on human cloning, and got everyone caught for fraud. That nut cloned and inverted pictures. In this instance, a nut has been cloned and inverted in a picture.

A bit of Google later, you realize — the said image was probably picked up on Google image search. The original image is this one, to the right.

It looks as though the nuts are taking a knife to stick it to the fudgies. 🙂

Fake pictures get used for rhetorical effect all the time. It is inadvertent sometimes (as the Science letter probably was, and the fudge picture was).

In the end, it is what you do when you get caught that matters.

Update: (Aug 11, 2011)

As you can see, the post above, was based off a picture posted by Roger Pielke Jr, on his blog. In addition to demonstrating the photoshopping evident in the image he posted, I had tracked down to show how the ‘original’ image looked as well. So it had all these images of chocolate fudge.

A person from Calico Cottage Inc, has written in the comments (see below) requiring that the images however be taken down. It has been. Unlike the academic world – making up and creating pleasing pictures by embellishment – is ok in the commercial world. As long as their product sells, it is fine by them.

Scientific journals have extensive guidelines for image manipulation. Glossy magazines and coffee table books don’t. There is a message here, that is lost on the climate graph designers.



  1. Josh

    Hi, many thanks for including the cartoon! Roger preferred the one where he was in the doghouse.


  2. Josh

    Yes I should! I will get round to it but my day job gets in the way, in all sorts of ways.

    Do email me and tell me more about yourself. You deserve an ‘inhabitants’ cartoon.

  3. Barbara Stone-Carroll

    It has come to our attention that images of fudge on your blog are a copy of images we created to illustrate our business.

    As we own the copyright of said pictures, this letter is a request that you respect our copyright, as you would expect others to respect your rights in work that you originate.

    The use of our copyrighted image was probably accidental. We do need, however, for you to remove the images from your blog.

    Thank you for your cooperation and prompt attention.

    Barbara Stone-Carroll
    Manager of HR & Administration
    Calico Cottage, Inc.
    210 New Highway
    Amityville, NY 11701
    (631) 841-2100