Monthly Archives: October 2009

Briffa teaches, but will McIntyre ever learn?

Recently we’ve discussed several aspects of the raging controversy around climate blogger Steve McIntyre and dendrochronologist Keith Briffa and the supposed destruction (once again) of the “hockey stick” temperature graph.

A few commentators have suggested that more attention should be paid to  McIntyre’s actual “analysis” of Briffa’s Yamal tree-ring chronology, and less to his outrageous accusations (not to mention all the inconvenient evidence that those accusations were completely without foundation).

Now that Keith Briffa has delivered his promised detailed response in an article co-written with Thomas Melvin, it is a good time to do just that. Here, then, is a review of the various problems I and others have pointed out in comments here and elsewhere over the past while, along with highlights from Briffa’s response.

First, here is the abstract of Briffa’s article .

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Vaclav Smil on climate change: “No global warming in past ten years”

Smil at Q2CHere’s an astonishing segment from a  recent interview with futurist Vaclav Smil, conducted by New York Times environmental reporter Andrew Revkin. Smil claims that there has been “no global warming in the past ten years” and appears to suggest that we can safely ignore the problem of climate change because it won’t hit with “full force” any time soon, and its full impact is as yet unknown.

The interview came last Saturday at the Quantum to Cosmos Festival (Q2C)l in Waterloo, Ontario, a 10-day presentation of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Smil is a professor at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, and the author of 30 books, the most recent being “The Global Catastrophes and Trends: The Next Fifty Years.”

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All those funny names look the same to Andrew Bolt

Andrew Bolt is Australia’s answer to Canada’s Lorne Gunter:  another climate contrarian and general all round right-wingnut. Like most of his ilk, Bolt is a rabid critic of government immigration policy and says Australia needs to “rethink immigration intakes”. And Andrew’s thinking, if that’s the right word, is that it would “make sense to choose those most likely to fit in”, which apparently do not include Muslims and other “people from war-torn, tribal and backward countries”. His critics reasonably point to what appears to be a “blatant racist hypocrisy”.

Well, I’m sure that’s the major part of it. But it’s also got to be the funny names.

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Let the backpedalling begin

KHantemirovRM Fig 5 zoomThe latest battle over the “hockey stick” has taken quite a turn, one that may finally lay to rest all the  absurd claims of its demise made by contrarians (not to mention apparently libelous accusations of scientific malfeasance). In previous posts, we discussed climate blogger Steve McIntyre’s scurrilous accusations of “cherrypicking” against UK dendrochronolgist Keith Briffa, and summarized a a quick technical critique of McIntyre’s work by a dendrchronologist known as Delayed Oscillator.

Now comes new evidence that McIntyre’s accusations were completely false. And not only that, one of the Russian researchers who actually control the raw tree-ring data that McIntyre was mistakenly hounding Briffa for, has apparently confirmed that utilization of  a newer more complete Yamal data set has no substantial effect  on Briffa’s Yamal temperature reconstruction.

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“Delayed Oscillator” on divergence

Anyone who has blogged, or even just hangs around blogs more than they should, is familiar with the “pingback”. You know, it’s that automatically generated comment that signals that another blog has referred to a particular post. Yesterday, I got this “pingback” from a blogger called Delayed Oscillator (or “delayed.oscillator” as it is formatted there) and decided to follow it up.

And am I ever glad I did. DO (pronounced Dee-Oh), as I will call this blogger (I hope that’s OK!) has brought a welcome expert perspective to the discussion of the Steve McIntyre-Keith Briffa controversy, said by certain economists and business section editors to expose the global warming sham once and for all. In a two-part series of posts, DO shows why it “ain’t necessarily so” (to say the least).

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Climate “auditor” Steve McIntyre: Yamal like “crack cocaine”

By now, anyone who follows the climate blog wars knows that a new battle is underway over the standard temperature reconstruction popularly known as the “hockey stick”. Although it has been declared thoroughly shattered many times, apparently it must be attacked again and again.

Over the last few days, self-appointed climate “auditor” Steve McIntyre has made several insinuations concerning the work of UK dendro-climatologist Keith Briffa, focusing on the recently released Yamal series of tree-ring measurements. Along the way, he has once again rehashed an oft-repeated accusation that “cherry-picking” of proxy sites is endemic in the paleo-climatological community that he disdainfully calls the “Hockey Team”. But this time, McIntyre has outdone himself, comparing the repeated use of the Yamal tree-ring chronology in paleoclimatology studies to a “crack cocaine” addiction.

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Anatomy of a lie, part 2: Gunter to IBD to Will

Yesterday I documented the sorry sequence of events resulting in  widespread distortion of Kiel University professor Mojib Latif’s remarks at the recent World Climate Conference.

There I focused on a column by Lorne Gunter in the Calgary Herald (newspaper of record in the economic capital of the oil-rich province of Alberta, Canada). In the mean time, George Will, has also weighed in on the so-called predictions of global cooling, as discussed here by Joe Romm. Will, who apparently has read the same number of scientific papers as Gunter (i.e. zero),  apparently got some key “information” from an editorial in Investors’ Business Daily (IBD). And guess who was the major source for IBD …

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Anatomy of a lie: How Marc Morano and Lorne Gunter spun Mojib Latif’s remarks out of control

Keenlyside et al 2008 projectionsThe blogosphere has been atwitter over the latest supposed defection of a climate scientist to the dark side. Once again, the contrarians have been egged on by a well-timed fabrication from Marc Morano of  Climate Depot, the anti-science propaganda arm of CFACT (Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow). And once again, Canadian columnist Lorne Gunter has led the charge of the lightweight brigade, with yet another error-ridden and cretinous diatribe against climate science.

[Update, Oct. 6: Read the post and then see the video. Lorne Gunter stars in Climate Denial Crock of the Week: Birth of a Crock. Peter Sinclair delivers another boffo smash.]

Even well-meaning and thoughtful commentators and reporters have misinterpreted the recent comments and work of Mojib Latif, the Kiel University climate scientist whose remarks at a session on prediction at the World Climate Conference in Geneva set off the latest furor. Somehow those writers have managed to overlook the fact that Latif, despite projecting less near-term warming than most climate modellers, is still looking for warming close to 0.2 deg. C in the coming decade.

But those gaffes are nothing compared to the horrendous distortions of the initial confused accounts now circulating throughout the contrarian echo chamber, where literally hundreds of websites and blogs have echoed Morano’s and Gunter’s gross misrepresentations.

It’s high time to correct the record, which I will endeavour to do with the kind assistance of Mojib Latif himself, who has been most generous in answering my queries (our complete exchange can be found here).

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An email exchange with Mojib Latif

The following is an email exchange with  Dr. Mojib Latif, Professor for Climate Physics at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at Kiel University, concerning his recent work in decadal prediction. My original email was written to draw attention to misrepresentations of Latif’s work and recent comments, as discussed in the immediately following post.

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Key excerpts from Mojib Latif’s WCC presentation

The following is an edited transcript of key excerpts from Dr. Mojib Latif’s presentation at the World Climate Conference 3, held in Geneva in September 2009. Also see my subsequent post on misinterpretations and distortions of these remarks.

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