Climate change skeptics are still happily misrepresenting "hide the decline" and so busy trying to track down site adjustments that they think look suspicious (all the better to smear climate scientists with "smell likes fraud" comments) that they forget to see the wood for the trees. (Briffa pun unintended.)
This useful post at Real Climate shows a random check of raw data against the much maligned (by skeptics) adjusted data indicates no great disparity with the warming trends worked out from either.
I particularly liked one of the comments following the post, responding to a commenter suggesting that he was still concerned about researcher bias in what is chosen to be published. Here's the response:
JSC, frankly, the likelihood that this analysis could have come out differently is basically nil, because their are multiple research groups analyzing such climate data, so there is no way that one group could be “cooking the books” in some way without a discrepancy showing up. For that reason, an analysis like this is almost certainly unpublishable–it is hard to a publication for belaboring the obvious. I don’t think the point of this post was to convince the deniers, anyway. Anybody who believes that CRU, GISS, etc. are all engaged in a grand conspiracy has doubtless already dismissed RealClimate as co-conspirators, so why would they believe that the raw data randomly sampled just because RealClimate says so?
The key point here is that the data is readily available for anybody who is genuinely interested in temperature trends or who is concerned about the possibility of temperature adjustments introducing bias, and it provides an example of how to go about it. This is not sophisticated science, just random sampling that anybody who has taken a basic statistics course would understand. The remarkable thing, really, is the apparent total lack of interest of climate science critics/auditors in doing this kind of basic analysis. One cannot help but suspect the motives of those who focus on criticisms of cherry-picked individual stations, or who insist that the validity of the enterprise cannot be evaluated without analysis to every scrap of data and code used by climate scientists for their own analyses, but who cannot be bothered to do this kind of analysis using unbiased sampling techniques. Or perhaps they have done it, but have chosen not to report it?