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.

Of course, as this controversy is breaking out in my geographical back yard, I had to take a closer look (admittedly Canada is a larger back yard than most).

In brief, McIntyre’s claims focus on Briffa’s Yamal tree-ring series, a Siberian chronology that combines older fossilized tree samples with a small number of living trees. Briffa’s series was based on a chronology from two Russians, Hantemirov and Shiyatov. Apparently, McIntyre had been seeking access to the chronology for some years, but only recently managed to get hold of it.

According to McIntyre, “problems” with the Yamal series are fatal, not only to Briffa’s own work, but to most of the standard reconstructions of the temperature of the past millenium, which consistently show anomalous warming in the late 20th century.

McIntyre’s diatribes have led to widespread accusations of “cherry-picking” and general scientific misconduct against Briffa and other paleo-climatologists (for example, see the ever befuddled but angry Tom Fuller in Examiner.com). And McIntyre’s claims have even been construed, both in the “denialosphere” and at least two “mainstream” newspapers, as a crushing blow to the IPCC and the scientific consensus on climate change. The UK Telegraph’s James Delingpole opined that the controversy showed climate science was a “MASSIVE lie”, while Ross McKitrick’s libel-flirting diatribe in the National Post claimed that “what lies at the core is either flawed, misleading or simply non-existent” (more on McKitrick below).

The climate scientists at RealClimate.org have reacted with indignation:

An unverified accusation of malfeasance is made based on nothing, and it is instantly ‘telegraphed’ across the denial-o-sphere while being embellished along the way to apply to anything ‘hockey-stick’ shaped and any and all scientists, even those not even tangentially related. The usual suspects become hysterical with glee that finally the ‘hoax’ has been revealed and congratulations are handed out all round. After a while it is clear that no scientific edifice has collapsed and the search goes on for the ‘real’ problem which is no doubt just waiting to be found. Every so often the story pops up again because some columnist or blogger doesn’t want to, or care to, do their homework. Net effect on lay people? Confusion. Net effect on science? Zip.

Yet McIntyre’s supporters suggest that McIntyre himself can not be held responsible for such excesses. Roger Pielke Jr., ever ready to defend McIntyre against real climate scientists exonerated McIntyre, pointing to a belated clarification from McIntyre:

I don’t wish to unintentionally feed views that I don’t hold. It is not my belief that Briffa crudely cherry picked. My guess is that the Russians selected a limited number of 200-400 year trees – that’s what they say – a number that might well have been appropriate for their purpose and that Briffa inherited their selection … [Emphasis added by Pielke]

But not so fast. Here’s “Bishop Hill”, in the very account of the Yamal affair fulsomely recommended by Pielke.

Without an explanation of how the selection of this sample of the available data had been performed, the suspicion of `cherrypicking’ would linger over the study, although it is true to say that Hantemirov also had very few cores in the equivalent period, so it is possible that this selection had been due to the Russian and not Briffa.

Now where did he get the idea that cherry-picking might be a possible issue? Well, when McIntyre presented his initial analysis of the Yamal chronologies on September 26 he noted:

I presume that these 17 ring-width series from living larches are a sample from a larger program on living larches. This graphic shows the use of over 30 cores from about 600 to 1500 and the use of about 17 cores in the 19th and 20th century (presumably the 17 cores from living trees.) …

Rob Wilson could do that in an hour. What about the rest of the Yamal data? Where is it?

To what extent is the Yamal HS a product of the selection process and to what extent is it climatic? Without the complete data set, it is impossible to set aside the troubling thoughts that one is faced with in these circumstances. [Emphasis added]

The obvious inference was, as Ross McKitrick put it in a subsequent comment, that the 20th century “sub-sample” had not been, ahem, “randomly selected”.

In subsequent comments, McIntyre continued to insist that someone, whether Briffa or the Russian team, had possibly “cherry-picked”, or at least not “randomly selected”, the Yamal living tree sub-sample:

As to whether the selection was previously made by Hantemirov and Shiyatov or not – I discussed this in the previous post and noted that there was evidence that the selection might have been made by them.

Of course, soon after Briffa confirmed that the underlying data set he used was exactly the same as the Russian team (but processed differently), and that, in general, he “did not select tree-core samples based on comparison with climate data”.

In the face of that forthright assertion, and in the absence of any evidence whatsoever of a more complete living tree sample to be “cherry-picked”, McIntyre “moved on”.

But McIntyre’s insinuations of “cherry-picking” (presumably of a less “crude” variety) also focused on Briffa’s “failure” to augment the “thin” Yamal living tree sample with a nearby data set from Schweingruber that contained 34 tree-ring samples from living trees. This was contrasted with Briffa’s augmentation of Avam-Taymir chronology (also from Siberia).

While Yamal stayed unchanged in Briffa et al 2008, the Taimyr series was modified noticeably, becoming the “Avam-Taimyr” series. … One doesn’t expect Team adjustments to leave even small scraps on the table and this proved to be the case here as well – the added data substantially increased 20th century values and substantially lowered 1150-1250AD values, thereby altering the medieval-modern differential in favor of the 20th century.

The intended insinuation was obvious. The barely-veiled accusation is that Briffa selected sample sets and even altered his methodology to produce the desired result, in both the Yamal and Avam-Taymir chronologies.

In fact, the Yamal Divergence thread contains no fewer than 30 references to cherry-picking, including this from McIntyre himself:

I’d be inclined to remove the data affected by CRU cherrypicking but will leave it in for now.

In another comment on that thread, McIntyre distinguished two sorts of supposed “cherry-picking”: trees within a site vs. sites within a multi-proxy study.

Jacoby, D’Arrigo, whatever other faults they may have, use the entire crossdated population from a site. (They cherry pick sites, but don’t cherry pick trees within a site.)

More graphically, McIntyre explained the situation thus:

However, as CA readers know, the resulting Yamal chronology with its enormous HS blade was like crack cocaine for paleoclimatologists and got used in virtually every subsequent study, including, most recently, Kaufman et al 2009.

At least he’s consistent with the anaology – that’s how he also characterized the Yamal series in the first post on the newly-released data set:

I’m assuming that CA readers are aware that, once the Yamal series got on the street in 2000, it got used like crack cocaine by paleoclimatologists.

Apparently, the world’s leading paleo-climatologists are all addicts and Briffa is cooking up the stuff they need, like some backroom chemist. Nice.

Such remarks could offend some sensibilities, even at controversial, “edgy” right-wing publications like Canada’s National Post. Enter Ross McKitrick, McIntyre’s some time co-author, who has written an analysis in the Post deemed more suitable for a wider audience. The article is entitled “Defects in key climate data are uncovered”, while the secondary headline screams:

Only by playing with data can scientists come up with the infamous ‘hockey stick’ graph of global warming

McKitrick’s version of the Briffa Yamal saga covers much of the same ground as above, and comes to much the same conclusion (if expressed slightly more circumspectly):

Thus the key ingredient in most of the studies that have been invoked to support the Hockey Stick, namely the Briffa Yamal series, depends on the influence of a woefully thin subsample of trees and the exclusion of readily-available data for the same area. Whatever is going on here, it is not science. [Emphasis added]

But make no mistake, every point that McKitrick makes has been made before in cruder (albeit more elliptical) fashion by McIntyre. In fact, McKitrick has helpfully given us a reference guide to the ClimateAudit posts he relied on in constructing his version in this comment summarizing the Briffa affair.

I can’t leave McKitrick’s piece without pointing out his over-the-top conclusion.

The surface temperature data is a contaminated mess with a significant warm bias, and as I have detailed elsewhere the IPCC fabricated evidence in its 2007 report to cover up the problem. Climate models are in gross disagreement with observations, and the discrepancy is growing with each passing year. The often-hyped claim that the modern climate has departed from natural variability depended on flawed statistical methods and low-quality data. The IPCC review process, of which I was a member last time, is nothing at all like what the public has been told: Conflicts of interest are endemic, critical evidence is systematically ignored and there are no effective checks and balances against bias or distortion.

Needless to say, there is not one statement here that stands up to any scrutiny whatsoever (although there are one or two that might keep litigation lawyers busy for a while).

Somehow, we are to believe that the mountainous scientific corpus that overwhelmingly demonstrates the existence of global warming and its anthropogenic genesis is a vast conspiracy, one involving thousands of scientists and other professionals. And we must further believe this conspiracy has been exposed by the scattergun technical analysis of a mining consultant turned blogger.

And for all this, we must accept the word of  economist  McKitrick, whose main claim to fame in climate “science”, apart from his association with McIntyre, is as co-ordinator of an execrable error-ridden review of climate science (the Independent Summary for Policy Makers), produced for a think tank (the Fraser Institute) known to receive significant funding from some of Canada’s largest oil and gas companies.

I don’t think so.

Steve McIntyre apparently wants to be taken seriously as a professional scientific investigator. Well then, he should try doing real science, instead of indulging in his usual stream-of-consciousness conflation of semi-technical analysis and accusatory snark. It is only in exposing his half-baked ideas to the scientific peer-review process that the merit, if any, of his ideas and analysis can be assessed.

Nevertheless, given the wide dissemination of McIntyre’s “analysis”, Keith Briffa has responded with a quick reaction, as noted above, with the promise of more to come.

The basis for McIntyre’s selection of which of our (i.e. Hantemirov and Shiyatov’s) data to exclude and which to use in replacement is not clear but his version of the chronology shows lower relative growth in recent decades than is displayed in my original chronology. He offers no justification for excluding the original data; and in one version of the chronology where he retains them, he appears to give them inappropriate low weights. I note that McIntyre qualifies the presentation of his version(s) of the chronology by reference to a number of valid points that require further investigation. Subsequent postings appear to pay no heed to these caveats. Whether the McIntyre version is any more robust a representation of regional tree growth in Yamal than my original, remains to be established.

My colleagues and I are working to develop methods that are capable of expressing robust evidence of climate changes using tree-ring data. We do not select tree-core samples based on comparison with climate data. Chronologies are constructed independently and are subsequently compared with climate data to measure the association and quantify the reliability of using the tree-ring data as a proxy for temperature variations.

We have not yet had a chance to explore the details of McIntyre’s analysis or its implication for temperature reconstruction at Yamal but we have done considerably more analyses exploring chronology production and temperature calibration that have relevance to this issue but they are not yet published. I do not believe that McIntyre’s preliminary post provides sufficient evidence to doubt the reality of unusually high summer temperatures in the last decades of the 20th century.

We will expand on this initial comment on the McIntyre posting when we have had a chance to review the details of his work. [Emphasis added]

It may be amazing to some that Briffa has responded so mildly to McIntyre’s wild insinuations and has deigned to engage him on substantive issues. Nevertheless, I’d say McIntyre was pushing his luck when he offered to host a page for Briffa and repeated his Yamal “crack cocaine” remark in the same post!

As for the National Post, it has demonstrated once again that an unreasoning ideological diatribe against climate science, unadorned by any factual analysis, is the surest route into its pages. Alas, further exploration of the Post’s perfidious campaign against climate science (now into its eleventh year), will have to wait for another time.

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93 responses to “Climate “auditor” Steve McIntyre: Yamal like “crack cocaine”

  1. Boy, you’ve got a big following. Should maybe tell you something. Pathetic…

  2. Very nice and very thorough, DC.

    Re the NP, hopefully we won’t have them to kick around too much longer. Unfortunately, as we see with the IBD, wingnut billionaires seem endlessly interested in losing money by way of solving the world’s used cat litter containment problem.

    It’s *Keith* Briffa, BTW.

  3. Why now?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE59224920091003

    COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday negotiators had just 10 days left to secure a global climate deal …

    “There are just 10 negotiating days left until we come to Copenhagen,” Ban said, referring apparently to the remaining days of September 28 to October 9 climate talks under way in Bangkok and to a November 2-6 meeting in Barcelona.

    “In 10 days we need to decide what needs to be done for our future,” he said …. “We are not there yet. There is still a lot to be done and not much time left,” .


  4. #

    MAJ // October 4, 2009 at 1:22 am

    Boy, you’ve got a big following. Should maybe tell you something. Pathetic…

    Jeff Beck has a bigger following than does Neil deGrasse Tyson. Now *that* is pathetic.

  5. Years of submitting FOI requests, stonewalling from journals who have data archiving policies, etc. and all Steve does is insinuate cherry picking and use a crack cocaine reference to describe a piece of data (Yamal) that is ubiquitous in a multitude of incestuous paleoclimate papers. I would call Steve the “Master of Restraint”.

    BTW, the hysterics (along the lines of “how dare you question our science?”) that the AGW community goes in to over these issues is one reason I’ve switched from leaning AGW to the denier/heretic/fill_in_your_favorite_pejorative side. As a research scientist, I find Steve’s questions to be perfectly valid. I can understand why your side is defensive — no one likes to be questioned like this. But these issues have huge geopolitical ramifications and therefore deserve to be super-scrutinized.

    My suggestion: question and explain the science. Are there any problems with Steve’s Yamal no-hockey-stick R-script? Give a good explanation as to why it was OK to use a small subset of nearby cores in the Briffa study? Why is Steve’s sensitivity analysis flawed?

  6. Arrrggggh!!! That should be *GLENN* Beck!!!

  7. caerbannog,

    I was wondering … Jeff Beck is a lot cooler than Glenn.

    ============
    TreyG,
    Sorry, I’m sick of Steve’s baseless accusations. I don’t think its acceptable to chalk up every methodological or sampling choice to a desire to “game” the result. And I wanted to show very clearly that that’s exactly what Steve is doing here. As I’ve already said, the right approach is to publish in real scientific journals.

    I’m not going to get into Steve’s script, but I do plan to look at some of the issues that have been raised regarding Steve’s Yamal recon at a later date.

  8. Years of submitting FOI requests, stonewalling from journals who have data archiving policies

    In at least one case I’m aware of McI attacked a researcher who hadn’t followed archiving policies WRITTEN YEARS AFTER THE PAPER IN QUESTION.

    And continued attacking after it was clearly pointed out that this was the case.

    That’s about when I stopped paying any attention to this dishonest [edited - abusive].

    [DC: I understand your anger, and I edit comments as little as possible, but that was over the line. (What can I say, I'm Canadian)]

  9. Years of submitting FOI requests

    Insisting in some that data be released which the entity being FOI’d has no right to release …

  10. BTW, the hysterics (along the lines of “how dare you question our science?”) that the AGW community goes in to over these issues is one reason I’ve switched from leaning AGW to the denier/heretic/fill_in_your_favorite_pejorative side. As a research scientist

    You know that this is a damned stupid and unscientific reason to form or change an opinion on the work of a very large number of scientists.

    Oh, wait, that’s not what you said, but rather something quite the opposite.

    Frankly, I don’t believe that you’re a research scientist.

    Oh, and name a climate scientist that has said “how dare you question our science?”

    Give me a quote, boy.

    Oh, and as a research scientist:

    Are there any problems with Steve’s Yamal no-hockey-stick R-script?

    The fact that he left out Briffa’s tree ring data just because he doesn’t like Briffa’s tree ring data is, in itself, as blatant a case of cherry picking as you can get.

  11. I just finished this morning refereeing a paper on a Himalayan Glacier. The review had questions and suggestions that were directed to the editors and authors. That is the forum for asking and getting the questions answered in science. Anytime I see science assaulted in the press first, it is obvious they are not interest in better science results, they are interested in more press attention. McIntyre is not interested in the questions or the answers, in fact the answers will make the questions seem ridiculous. Deep Climate has once again filled the role well of analyzing the flow of statements, where do they stem from how do they change. Hank Roberts has nailed the motivation.

  12. Jeff Beck is pretty cool – my favorite Yardbird guitarist.

    Thanks for the analysis, DC. This is getting plenty of traction in the denialosphere. Tom P has done some analyses, but I certainly look forward to your analysis.

  13. Nice summary, DC.

    Much of this debate is about “hiding data”. It is also sad that the best reconstruction to date by Mann et al. (2008) is not being discussed. Mann et al.’s paper, supplemental information that describes their methodology, and all of the data used were released FREE to the general public.

    To see it all:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2008/09/02/0805721105.abstract

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/mann2008/mann2008.html

    This whole thing sounds like a “if the glove don’t fit, you must acquit”. Those that follow CA and WUWT realize that they are on a fast sinking ship and view this “controversy” as a price of driftwood on which they can float. Of course, the drift wood isn’t big enough to hold them all.

  14. The indignation of the mouth breathers to any scrutiny on their hero is hilarious.

    Maybe if Steve didn’t consistently engage in this kind of innuendo and outright explicit accusations of fraud, then he would get more cooperation and interaction amongst the wider science community. Though it seems he’s content to stay within his audit walls and speak to his flock.

    The entitlement from that camp is unreal. If Steve has such a complete analysis, let him publish it. Then, with a cogent manuscript, and without the snide remarks, maybe some scientists will engage him. Hiding behind that audit cubicle while bemoaning what real science is, that’s pathetic.

    Nice work DC.

  15. Trey G and Dhogaza,

    Trey I urge you to reconsider. This whole Briffa and McIntyre fiasco has nothing to do with the theory and science behind AGW.
    It is not even clear yet whether McIntyre himself has analyzed the data properly. Briffa only responded to the allegations last Thursday.
    Also, the analyses diverge in the 20th century, not the MWP. We do not need proxies to know that GLOBAL SATs increased in the 20th century. McIntyre’s analysis shows no warming using the alternative core selection. This is about the global SAT record, not the regional SATs in Russia. Anyhow, is the absence of warming in McIntyre’s analysis consistent with the regional SAT record in that region? If not, then McIntyre has a problem. Additionally, their analyses do not differ during the much debated MWP. And that is what the fuss has been about with the Hockey Stick, are we now as warm, warmer, or not as warm as the MWP? This is a red herring by the way, because the drivers of the warming brought about by the (mostly regional!) warming during the MWP were not the same as the anthro drivers today. That and the fact that this is still very early days. The greatest warming is projected to occur later this century, not now.
    At the end of the day let us assume that the tree ring proxies are not useful. Let us ignore them. We can still place the warming observed in the 20th and 21st centuries in context by consulting other temperature constructions based on proxy data which do not include SATs. That was the purpose of the Hockey stick graphs in the first place, to help lay people try and place current and future warming in context.
    DhOgoza, I would urge you to try and use a more diplomatic tone to people like Trey G. I realise that this is frustrating, but I went to ClimateAudit.org to try and ask some valid questions and have never before been subjective to a stream of juvenile, hostile , indignant and ad hom attacks in my entire life. Let us not fall into the same trap. It just undermines ones credibility.
    They the whole idea of conducting public audits is not acceptable. There are formal ways of doing this so it does not descend into a circus for everyone to see and not pick at. McIntyre et al. have an agenda. They are smart and convincing, but that does not make them any more credible.
    I and others find McIntyre et al.’s modus operandi very transparent. Anyhow, please think about the Briffa fiasco in the context of the big picture and what its implications are for AGW. And also think what McIntyre’s cocaine analogy…that is hardly scientific, what does that say about his motives, his integrity, his professional conduct? You should also not that McIntyre’s ire is almost exclusively directed at papers related to AGW. He shies away from auditing papers written by skeptics. A professional auditor would not do that.
    Sharing intellectual property for public audit by a private citizen is an entire issue altogether. You and I are under no obligation to share our data with some self-proclaimed auditor of all things related to AGW, to be abused on the internet for all to see, and for incorrect conclusions to be drawn (for all to see) before the “audit’ was completed. There are more appropriate and professional and equally transparent ways of doing that.

  16. As you may, or may not be aware, Dr. Ross McKitrick published a troubling missive in the Financial Post (a Canadian paper) on Friday, 2 October, that ran under the title:

    “Ross McKitrick: Defects in key climate data are uncovered

    Only by playing with data can scientists come up with the infamous ‘hockey stick’ graph of global warming

    By Ross McKitrick”

    Read the entire missive at:

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2009/10/01/ross-mckitrick-defects-in-key-climate-data-are-uncovered.aspx

    or using this link: http://tinyurl.com/yg4d7pu

    Aside from the libelous title, the missive is filled with misinformation, bias and distortion. The angle is clearly to try and paint the whole AGW theory as a big lie which is built on a house of cards.

    This story is clearly designed to add fuel to the fire and rather than informing and educating the public, it is carefully written to confuse and muddy the issue of AGW, fully knowing that when people are confused they are likely to not want to act and to insist on maintaining the status quo. Well, proxies aside, we know that the risks for maintaining the status quo are very high.

    McKitrick assures readers at ClimateAudit.org that he was not informed by the newspaper that they were going to run with “Only by playing with data can scientists come up with the infamous ‘hockey stick’ graph of global warming”
    I think we need to hear from the Financial Post that this was indeed the case.
    Either way, the text in question is inflammatory and misleading at best. McKitrick has also stated that he is not interested in asking the paper to issue a correction, and has been quite dismissive and cavalier about the whole affair at ClimateAudit.org.

    Anyhow, I urge you all to please contact the Financial Post and request them to issue a correction, and to also point out the misinformation and misleading text included in McKitrick’s missive. Really, this is the kind of thing I would have expected from Lord Monckton. Please direct your complaints to following people at the Financial Post:

    Tcorcoran@nationalpost.com
    kmcparland@nationalpost.com
    jturley-ewart@nationalpost.com

    Someone please call them on this!

    Also, read this “lovely” diatribe, also from the Financial Post:

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2009/10/01/terence-corcoran-climate-data-buster.aspx

    • Sorry for replying so late (this post took off and I never got back to this comment).

      The McKitrick piece you refer to is the same one discussed in my post.

      Another person who should receive complaints or be copied on such complaints, is National Post editor-in-chief Doug Kelly (dkelly at nationalpost.com). Ultimately he is responsible for the shocking number of uncorrected errors and falsehoods in his newspaper.

      I have contacted the National Post many, many times to issue corrections of clear factual errors – to no avail.

  17. The most that people like McIntire can possibly do is peck around the edges of climate science studies in an ad hoc way. If more oversight than the science peer review process is warranted, then a more structured process is needed.

    During the 80s, when the nuclearIndustry was undergoing improved oversight because of TMI and Chernoble accidents, the scientists and engineers in that industry revolted. The standard objection was that stronger oversight was needed for operators performing valve line-ups and pushing buttons, but not for us. The engineers grumbled, the scientists screamed bloody murder. The standard objection was that the science peer review process provided the necessary oversight. None-the-less, a more formal, structured, and onerous process was imposed on the scientists work in the nuclear industry. FYI, scientists are needed in the nuc industry to determine things like neutron flux configurations and intensity in various accident conditions, effect of radiation on materials, etc. After a few years under a more structured oversight system most of the scientists eventually recognized the science peer review process did not always provide the level of nuclear safety assurance that the Congress and public was demanding.

    Since the climate science is predicting such dramatic climate change that will require major changes in virtually everyones lives to mitigae, the same type of oversight for climate change science may be demanded by the public and hence politicians.

  18. Hank, I was actually at Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s speech at the University of Copenhagen, which was where he referred to there being only 10 working days left.

    The Secretary-General was actually quite positive in general, making clear that the politicians are taking this issue very seriously, and are sending some very positive signals. Not only the EU and Japan, but also countries like India, China, and even the US.

    I hope he is right.

  19. Cumulus,
    I’ve made clearer above that the McKitrick article I refer to is the same one as the link you gave. And, yes, it was accompanied by a Terence Corcoran op-ed, that claims that the IPCC is “on wobbly legs on all four corners” . (Two of those corners are apparently “computer models” and “long-range temperature forecasting”. Hmmmm …)

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2009/10/01/terence-corcoran-climate-data-buster.aspx

    In yet another recent National Post article “environmentalist” and oil-sands apologist Lawrence Solomon opens with: “The great global warming scare is over.” This is followed by the usual bogus contrarian talking points, and a swipe at the avarice of business people “cashing in” on the “new carbon economy”.

    The only thing that’s scary about the science is the frequency with which doomsayer data is hidden from public scrutiny, manipulated to mislead, or simply made up.

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/10/02/lawrence-solomon-the-end-is-near.aspx

    I have been monitoring the Post and writing letters to the editor-in-chief demanding corrections (or raising other issues) for two or three years now. The current spate of contrarian garbage is beyond anything I have seen before, and that’s saying something.

    I’m preparing a post on the Post’s ongoing war on climate science and the IPCC, including the current trio of articles. I can’t cover the whole history (which goes back to 1998), but I will point out a few of the most flagrant abuses of journalistic ethics. I hope it will open some eyes.

  20. Scott,

    Thanks for pointing out the “state-of-the-art” multi-proxy temperature reconstruction, Mann et al 2008.

    Something I’ve observed before:

    McIntyre and McKitrick keep claiming that the National Academy of Sciences upheld all their criticisms of Mann, and yet they never acknowledge the essential conclusions of the NAS report.

    And of course, there is a delicious irony that Mann et al 2008 was published PNAS – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences! Somehow, the braying about the NAS (NRC) North report never gets around to mentioning that.

  21. Deep climate, thank you for looking into this in so much detail. This is incredibly important and I for one are extremely happy that you are pursuing this. What is going on at the NP and FP is disgraceful! Maybe it is time for someone to make a more formal (legal?) complaint. I think the crowd at the FP will only understand one word though before they take this seriously and that word is “lawyer”.

  22. “state-of-the-art” … and “state-of-the-science” too!

  23. I thought I would clarify the relationship between the National Post and Financial Post (which is actually now just the financial section of the National Post).

    From the wikipedia article:

    [Conrad] Black established the Post to provide a voice for Canadian conservatives and to combat what he and many Canadian conservatives considered to be a liberal bias in Canadian newspapers. Black built the new paper around the Financial Post, an established financial newspaper in Toronto which he purchased from Sun Media in 1997. Financial Post was retained as the name of the new paper’s business section.

  24. Lorax,

    Brilliant post!

    DC,

    Something else regarding Mann et al. (2008) is that these scientists KNEW that McIntyre would gun for them and yet they still posted everything up front. That says a lot about their confidence in the data and their integrity.

  25. Scott,

    I actually looked in on some of the CA “audit” of Mann et al 2008. It was a brutally painful experience.

    McIntyre and co. screamed for years that they needed the code. And when they got it up front for the PNAS article, did they bother to look at it? Or really dig into the article and SI until they understood it?

    Not a chance. They just ran around in circles, “replicating” the study in R code. McIntyre more than once claimed that it was “needle in eyes”, when intermediate results didn’t match as expected because he’d misunderstood correlation cutoff criteria or some such.

    And one thing I noticed as a sometime programmer: the Mann team Matlab code was actually a lot more modular and better structured than McIntyre’s R version.

  26. Red Nek Engineer

    McIntyre was not associated with the Fraser ISPM. One of dozens of erros in your nonsense post.

    The ISPM http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/ispm.html went through a far more thorough reviw than the IPCC in which the lead authors ignored most of good science and comments made by the authors of the supporting chapters.

    As stated in the into page: There was NO funding for this project from Exxon or any other fossil fuel company, or from any other industry. No funding was sought by the Fraser Institute for this project. The Fraser Institute does not do contract research, nor does it accept money from governments. It has not received funding from Exxon for any purpose since 2004, when it received a small grant which was not directed to any specific project. The attempt to smear the ISPM project by a false insinuation that the writers and/or reviewers were in the pay of the fossil fuel sector is nothing more than an attempt to discredit the project in the mind of the public, in order to prevent people from reading it.

    Try getting at least one fact straight before you post next time.

    [DC: The paragraph you object to was clearly referring to the “economist” (i.e. Ross McKitrick), who was indeed the co-ordinator of the ISPM (and author of the National Post op-ed piece discussed in preceding paragraphs). That is as opposed to “mining consultant turned blogger” McIntyre who first raised the accusations of “cherry-picking”. (But note that McIntyre did play a small role in the ISPM; he apparently provided some of the charts. Also note I have repeated McKitrick’s name for greater certainty).

    I never stated that Exxon funded the ISPM; in fact, I did not refer to specific funding sources for this project at all. But of course, I am well aware that ExxonMobil provided “small” grants totaling $120,000 in 2003-2004.

    The Fraser Institute received $120,000 US from ExxonMobil in 2003-’04, according to the company’s annual report.

    [Fraser Executive Director Michael] Walker said the funding paid for the work of researcher Ken Green, who at the time headed up the Fraser Institute’s ”Environmental Literacy Council.”

    While the Fraser Institute may not do “contract research”, it does promulgate from time to time “special projects”. On p. 31 of the 2006 annual report we find the following statement under the heading “Special Projects”:

    During the year the Institute approached prospective donors to support … studies on a wide range of policy issues including the environment …

    As far as I know, the Fraser Institute has never clearly stated one way or the other whether the ISPM, which was released in February 2007, was one of these “special projects”. But it is not unreasonable to suppose that it may have been. Perhaps the Fraser Institute could release at some point a definitive list of “special projects” for 2006.

    But even if the ISPM wasn’t a “special project” with directed donations, the money must have come from somewhere, i.e. the general revenue stream of dues and donations, or foundation reserves.

    I stated that the Fraser Institute had received significant funding from Canadian oil and gas companies (ExxonMobil is U.S. based of course). Indeed, both Encana and Imperial Oil (ExxonMobil’s Canadian subsidiary) have acknowledged in the past that they support the Fraser Institute financially, although neither company has disclosed exact amounts to the public as far as I know. Ex-Encana CEO, Gwyn Morgan, has been a trustee of the Fraser Institute for some years and is now one of three vice-chairmen.

    Those are the facts and I stand by every one.

    But until the Fraser Institute and its corporate sponsors, such as Encana and Imperial Oil, show greater transparency and accountability, we may not know further details.]

  27. I’m a little confused over the nature of this controversy. It seems like it boils down to a couple of things:

    1. McIntyre asked questions insinuating that Briffa cherry-picked, but didn’t do any additional research to see if using “non-cherry-picked” data would actually change the result. So he asks questions that create the appearance of doubt, without ever disproving the study itself.

    2. Where McIntyre did do analysis, it was flawed. The graph on his website only diverges from the “hockey stick” in the 1900s where we actually have direct temperature observations, making proxies unnecessary. The fact that the “proxy” data differs from the observational record indicates that the trees he used to produce the graph aren’t actually good proxies for temperature, so the hockey stick stands.

  28. Pingback: Yamal Emulation I « delayed.oscillator

  29. Wag,

    I don’t disagree with your comment. But I would say that McIntyre did more than insinuate. There are explicit accusations of “cherry-picking” quoted above against Briffa in particular and paleoclimatoligists in general.

    Also, see the Delayed Oscillator pingback immediately above for an interesting discussion and analysis using the standard ARSTAN implementation of Regional Curve Standardization (RCS) normally used by dendrochronologists . In particular, Delayed Oscillator finds different results depending on end-point treatment (which is apparently different in McIntyre’s R emulation).

    The link is:

    http://delayedoscillator.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/yamal-emulation-i/

    Delayed Oscillator has promised a second post on the subject soon; that series is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

  30. DC,
    Thanks for the link. I agree that McIntyre made an accusation of cherry-picking – my confusion was about whether McIntyre showed that such an accusation, if true, mattered. Did he say, “Briffa cherry-picked data, and it turns out the data he cherry-picked was wrong for these reasons. I used better data that’s more complete and a better proxy for temperature, and got a different result that shows zero warming”?

    Or, did he make the accusation of cherry picking and leave it at that, creating doubt without actually saying anything of substance? “We found that Briffa used only 12 tree rings. Why did he choose those and ignore others? Did he have something to hide? Very suspicious.” The questions create doubt, but if you actually answered the questions, the conclusion that AGW is real wouldn’t change at all.

    thanks

  31. For an example from the American health care debate, check out this video from GOP Whip Eric Cantor’s office:

    The video repeats the word “require” over and over again – it doesn’t actually say anything of substance about the bill, but creates the impression of a bill laden with heavy government mandates that will reduce your freedom.

    Similarly, when McIntyre says “Briffa cherry-picked,” it creates the impression that global warming data is wrong, without actually offering any substantive proof. His sensitivity is all fake – he knows exactly what he’s doing.

  32. Wag,
    The reason I want to be clear is that the accusations are tantamount to charges of scientific misconduct. That is, McIntyre is in effect alleging that researchers are making decisions about the inclusion or exclusion of data samples or site data sets on the basis of whether they confirm the researcher’s preconceived ideas of anomalous late 20th century warmth. I see no other possible interpretation of his statements when taken as a whole.

    As to the significance for AGW, so far I agree with you. Or as Delayed Oscillator put it:

    But the actual impact on the chronology is still far less than being implied by non-scientist partisans on one side. [Pointing to a discussion of McKitrick's National Post piece at RP jr's site.]

  33. Pingback: “Delayed Oscillator” on divergence « Deep Climate

  34. There are several points that need to be made, since there is some misunderstanding shown in several comments. No comments have been made by the persons quoted (McIntyre or McKitrick), that there is no warming in the last 100 or so years. Their position is that there was GW (but not necessarily dominated by AGW). The fact of general warming has been well established overall, but has not been shown to have occurred at the location of the trees in question. Since different regions heated and cooled different amounts in that period, that information is needed to correctly show the required result. Also the effect of CO2 on growth is well known to be significant, and the CO2 rise occurred at the same period as the general temperature rise. Thus one point is that all of the results are not clearly temperature related. The latest work of McIntyre, does not prove or disprove AGW, it is just restricted to a small set of data at a limited location. However, that small set of limited data has been used extensively in the IPCC summary report, and by numerous individuals as proof of unusual temperature rise and level in recent times. The great importance of that result based on its excessive exposure is a critical issue in a major issue, and needs to be correctly reviewed. It clearly appears that the data has limitation, and if the points made are valid, needs to be more strongly verified. It is not well verified, and thus complaining that any source of examination is unfair is misplaced.

  35. Pingback: McIntyre’s role in the latest teapot tempest « My view on climate change

  36. WAG, trees are selected for sampling because apriori protocol determines they are good candidates for temperature signal. Once you have a sample population, you cannot select trees for thermometers merely on the basis of correlation to temperature – while ignoring the rest of the sample population. On the contrary, the sample population provides the context necessary to judge the reliability of the proxy as temp (or any distinguishable subsets). Briffa has never suggested or implied anything of the kind AFAIA.

  37. Layman Lurker,
    There’s no “a priori protocol” for deciding some newly discovered tree-ring series on the internet should really be part of some of other series, especially when that new series is very short and can’t be overlapped with older samples at the same location.

    At the very least, we’d need to know more about the circumstances and motivation for the collection of this data set.

    But what is clear that just adding this data set willy-nilly to Yamal with no justification other than geographic proximity makes little sense. A priori.

  38. Where McIntyre did do analysis, it was flawed. The graph on his website only diverges from the “hockey stick” in the 1900s where we actually have direct temperature observations, making proxies unnecessary. The fact that the “proxy” data differs from the observational record indicates that the trees he used to produce the graph aren’t actually good proxies for temperature, so the hockey stick stands.
    WAG

    Say what?

    The proxies are considered accurate indicators of past climae, but at the present time, when the proxies don’t align with our temperature records, the proxies now are suddenly not temp. indicators?

    The correlation of proxies in the present with temperature measurements from the present are one of the few methods for determining how valid such proxies are of temps from 1000’s of years ago. As such, your ‘logic’ is confusing.

  39. DC, Briffa supplemented Taymyr with Bol’shoi Avam (approx. 400k away) and apparently Balschaya Kamenka (Schweingruber) to create the Avam-Taymyr chronology in Briffa et al 2008. The Taymyr data set showed a divergence pattern and a stronger MWP. Avam-Taymyr shows a dampened MWP and a strong CWP.

    I have not seen any explanations, specific to this case, of the process or rationale for creating this new data set. This is not to say one doesn’t exist.

  40. Pingback: Let the backpedalling begin « Deep Climate

  41. Layman Lurker,

    Sorry, I’m not going to take Steve McIntyre’s word for the proper way to assemble chronolgies from different series at different sites that he finds in the ITRDB database. That’s a thorny problem that dendrochronolgists work for years to perfect.

    You say:

    I have not seen any explanations, specific to this case, of the process or rationale for creating this new data set.

    That criticism applies as much or more to McIntyre, of course.

    I’d suggest McIntyre and everyone else who is truly interested in these sorts of problems to check out Esper et al latest (ref at the end of my next post).

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/10/06/delayed-oscillator-on-divergence/

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/10/07/let-the-backpedalling-begin/

  42. Brandon Shollenberger?

    I suspect I am going to regret this decision, but after reading this topic I felt I had to respond. First, I want to state I do not have a “bias” in regards to global warming. Whether or not anyone chooses to believe me, that is the truth.

    I have read Climate Audit and RealClimate off and on for a couple years, trying to keep moderately informed. I read the latest series by McIntyre as he made them without reading any of the “other side.” In fairness, I decided to read what other people had to say. I must say, I was greatly surprised.

    To me, the most surprising aspect of all this is the accusations McIntyre is accused of making. I read each of the topics he made, and I did not see anything like what people describe. For example, in the first excerpt from McIntyre, I see no accusations of any sort. Part of what is left out by the ellipsis is a graph showing a major difference caused by the selection practices. An unexplained selection procedure lead to a significant difference. This causes one to wonder how much of the results were truly climatic. This uncertainty is troubling.

    McKitrick saying the sample did not seem to be randomly selected is in no way problematic, especially since we now know the sample was not randomly selected.

    The next comment is in no way an accusation of anything, but rather a simple statement (which has since been confirmed). The next statement is the only thing excerpted which sounds remotely like an accusation to me, and I certainly did not take it the same way. As for distinguishing the types of cherry picking, there is nothing inaccurate or inappropriate there.

    Finally, the most damning remark I see is the repeated “crack cocaine” comment. While I understand disliking the tone, what is wrong with it? The analogy is fitting for the claim McIntyre made. As such, the issue is whether or not he got those particular facts right. As far as I can tell, nobody disputes he did.

    I am completely unable to see the things people seem to think I should see. I do not bleieve I am biased, so I am stuck with only two possibilities. One, bias on the part of people have caused them to misrepresent McIntyre, even to themselves. Two, I am somehow incapable of seeing what should be extremely obvious.

    I try to be open minded, but I just don’t see what you people see.

  43. Pingback: All those funny names look the same to Andrew Bolt « Deep Climate

  44. Two, I am somehow incapable of seeing what should be extremely obvious.

    You won’t find me disagreeing with this self-analysis.

  45. Brandon

    “As for distinguishing the types of cherry picking, there is nothing inaccurate or inappropriate there.”

    This is the problem. To say something is “cherry picked” IS and accusation of fraud. Perhaps you are misinterpreting McI because you don’t actually understand the gravity of what he is saying.

    Could you outline what you think he is saying?

  46. Brandon Shollenberger?

    dhogaza, if you do not have anything to contribute, I cannot respond to you in any sensible way.

    Nathan, there are two comments by McIntyre mentioning cherry picking. You quote my response to the second, in which McIntyre clearly did not accuse Briffa of cherry picking.

    You ask me to outline what I think he is saying. In that particular comment, McIntyre made a passing remark to a long-standing accusation. That accusation has nothing to do with any of the parties of the current dispute.

    The comment has no bearing on the current topic, so it can only be criticized on accuracy. Nobody has made such a criticism.

    Now then, can you explain what about that particular comment was wrong?

  47. I cannot respond to you in any sensible way.

    You won’t find me disagreeing with this self-analysis.

  48. Brandon,
    One problem with your exposition is that you don’t actually quote the comments to which you are referring.

    So let’s look at the chronology (most crossposted from my comment on the “Backpedalling” thread).

    McIntyre’s post referred to “12 picked cores” and a combined series that was “a little bit pregnant”.

    After many comments alleging cherrypicking without a single objection from McIntyre, he made the following comments:

    Comment 185, Sept. 28: “I’d be inclined to remove the data affected by CRU cherrypicking but will leave it in for now.”

    Comment 220, Sept. 29:

    Tom P (#218) One objective way would be to look at the match with the temperature record

    “Nope. Not on a tree by tree basis. The standard practice in the field is take the population. Jacoby, D’Arrigo, whatever other faults they may have, use the entire crossdated population from a site. (They cherry pick sites, but don’t cherry pick trees within a site.)”

    Comment 250, Sept. 29: “For this purpose, it doesn’t matter a whit whether the selection was made by the Russians or at CRU or a combination. In my first post on this matter – which Tom appears not to have read, I canvass the limited evidence for and against. There is certainly evidence supporting the idea that the 12 cores were among 17 selected by the Russians …”

    Comment 252, Sept. 29: “It is not known how Yamal core selection decisions were made and which were made before CRU and which at CRU.

    Comment 254: “It is not my belief that Briffa crudely cherry picked. My guess is that the Russians selected a limited number of 200-400 year trees – that’s what they say – a number that might well have been appropriate for their purpose and that Briffa inherited their selection.”

    Back to Comment 185, Oct. 4: “Note: Oct 4 – as noted in other posts and comments, it was and is my view that the selection of cores was done by the Russians and not by CRU.

    [Emphasis added]

    So we can easily see that McIntyre took some time, two working days, to decide who did the selection of cores, despite his statement of Oct. 4.

    As McIntyre himself admits, if the Russians selected the cores there is no possibility of cherrypicking. At most there would be possible “unintentional” bias.

    Also notice the reference to 12 of 17 cores. At this stage, McIntyre appears to be assuming that these 12 might be from the 17 cores (but even there he’s not sure). But even so that implies five “missing” cores that must have been left out by CRU.

    Now it turns out that all 17 were in the CRU archive all along. The “missing” five were collected earlier.

    And comment 220 unambiguously implies that Briffa cherrypicks trees within a site, in contrast to others who only commit the lesser offence of “cherrypicking sites”. Apparently, according to McIntyre, Briffa has been guilty of both types of cherrypicking.

    An accusation of cherrypicking whether of “trees” or “sites” is tantamount to one of scientific misconduct.

    Despite McIntyre’s comment 254, and his Oct. 4 addition to comment 185, McIntyre has yet to clearly and unambiguously withdraw any of these specific allegations. Nor has he corrected those who have cited his analysis to repeat similar charges. Nor did he ever correct all his acolytes who made the same “cherrypicking” charge in comments.

    I also have to point out that McIntyre’s analysis betrays ignorance of dendochronological practice. Schweingruber’s Khadyta River site chronology is a different location from the sites used by Hantemirov, even if they all fall within the Yamal region.

    It would only be reasonable to combine these sites in a regional chronology (even for the purpose of “sensitivity analysis”) if Schweingruber’s site meets the criteria for inclusion in a regional network. But apparently it does not.

  49. DC, comment #220 was clearly a response to Tom P.’s suggestion in #218.

  50. Here is comment 218:

    [Tom P]:
    Rejecting the Schweingruber series [as originally presented] as a good proxy seems reasonable, unless there are doubts about the instrument record. Why it is not a good recent proxy is an important but separate point.

    [Steve McIntyre]
    If your conclusion is that larch ring widths in northern Siberia should be rejected, that’s fine with me. What is absurd is your apparent position that some Yamal larches are thermometers, while other Yamal larches are not – without any objective way of distinguishing them. The problem of “positive and negative responders” at the level of an individual site is a conundrum in dendrochronology. If your position is that this conundrum needs to be resolved prior to tree ring chronologies being adopted as temperature “proxies”, that too seems like a tenable position.

    Tom P understands the difference between a site and a regional network of sites. Apparently McIntyre doesn’t. To repeat, Schweingruber/Khadyta River is a distinct site within the Yamal region, not just a sub-collection of trees at the Yamal “site”. Tom P’s suggestion to treat Schweingruber as a separate site is perfectly reasonable, and McIntyre is obfuscating the issue.

  51. Brandon Shollenberger?

    I agree quoting comments would make things more clear, but there are two problems. One, I do not know which tag system this site uses. Like as not, I would mess up any tags I tried to use. Two, my comment was lengthy without quotes. Blogs are a difficult forum for discussion due to space limitations.

    That said, your latest responses are way off base. McIntyre’s comment 220 is a direct response to comment 219 (though the post tags it as 218). First, it is in no way accusing Briffa of cherry picking. It certainly does not “unambiguously” imply anything about Briffa. It has nothing to do with him. I already explained to Nathan this very issue. Can you explain where you get the idea McIntyre is saying anything about Briffa with that comment?

    Now then, I don’t think comment 218 has any relevance to this issue, but you should really reread the exchange. I cannot even begin to understand where your last post came from.

  52. Steve’s comment #220 links to Tom P. #218 but quotes from #219 (there is no Tom P #218 now).

  53. “I’d be inclined to remove the data affected by CRU cherrypicking but will leave it in for now.”

    CRU=Briffa’s team.

    Good grief.

  54. I’m very late with this, but sincere thanks for a great post!

  55. Pingback: Briffa teaches, but will McIntyre ever learn? « Deep Climate

  56. No matter how it is spun it looks like the decade long wait for the Briffa data to be released provided SM with another scalp . You would think that the dendro community would have learned a few things but that does not seems to be the case. With each revelation and obfuscation the warmers lose more and more credibility and the sceptics look better and better. No wonder the media is starting to turn and is following the public sentiment away from the AGW position.

  57. Vangel,

    Got anything (anything at all) to say about McIntyre already having the data, that supposedly was withheld from him, IN 2004 ALREADY?!

  58. You would think that the dendro community would have learned a few things

    Yeah, they’ve learned that if McI gets the data he’ll still lie that he doesn’t have the data, and drones like Vangel will believe him.

  59. “According to McIntyre, “problems” with the Yamal series are fatal, not only to Briffa’s own work, but to most of the standard reconstructions of the temperature of the past millenium, which consistently show anomalous warming in the late 20th century.”

    This is very true, which is the reason why the attack dogs have come out. But the facts are very clear and Briffa’s own writing shows that he violated his own stated principles.

    [DC: The facts most assuredly do not support your position. Accusations of "dendro fraud" are not permitted and have been eliminated. Such comments will be delayed for editing or deletion.]

    • If McIntyre makes this claim, he would be wrong. Very wrong. Removing one dataset out of often 15-20 for the modern period does VERY little to the reconstructions. It’s quite similar to McIntyre’s hacking on Tiljander in Mann et al (2008). Mann et al actually show the effect of removing Tiljander, and it hardly has an effect on the reconstruction. At best it makes the LIA slightly less cold!

  60. “Vangel,

    Got anything (anything at all) to say about McIntyre already having the data, that supposedly was withheld from him, IN 2004 ALREADY?!”

    Briffa never gave the data to McIntyre in 2004 and never released an official set for public review.

    [DC: Briffa directed McIntyre to the original authors, Hantemirov and Shiyatov, who were the researchers in control of the Yamal raw data. It seems that McIntyre failed to follow up with those authors.]

    • Allow me to put it even more bluntly than yourself, DC:
      In 2004, Hantemirov and Shiyatov gave McIntyre the data that Briffa used. It’s unclear whether this happened before or after Briffa told McIntyre he was not the owner of the data, and that he would send the request on to Hantemirov and Shiyatov. It is, however, not unclear that McIntyre had the data all along, and still kept on harassing Briffa, knowing fully well he was directing his request to THE WRONG PERSON.

  61. “Yeah, they’ve learned that if McI gets the data he’ll still lie that he doesn’t have the data, and drones like Vangel will believe him.”

    LOL, Show us when Briffa released any of the data and claimed that it was authentic and complete. McIntyre never had a set that he knew was legitimate and complete. He could only act once Briffa stopped stalling and was forced to release it.

    The record is clear. Briffa avoided releasing the data for nearly a decade until he was forced to do so by the publishers of his paper. Once he did that he was fair game. The review showed a limited core count that did not meet Briffa’s own standards, which were clearly stated in other papers. And when the full set was used to evaluate the temperature signal it was found that there was no warming noted in the proxies.

    Cry as you might, reality is what it is and the denro community has been discredited yet again. How many times does this have to happen before the believers start to question the false conclusions?

    [DC: Briffa et al 2008 included original Yamal author Hantemirov. So in this case, Briffa was authorized to release the raw data of one of his own co-authors. This has been explained many times.

    The so-called "full set" includes the Khadyta River data set from Schweingruber that has never been published in the peer-reviewed literature. McIntyre claimed that the omission of this data set constituted "cherrypicking" even though Briffa and Schweingruber have never collaborated on a Yamal chronology.

    As I previously mentioned, Ross McKitrick claimed in an October 1 piece in the National Post that Schweingruber was a co-author of Briffa et al 2008, therefore implying, as you have, that there was deliberate "exclusion" of the Khadyta River data set. McIntyre has yet to correct this clear factual error on the part of his habitual co-author.

    The "discredit" is clearly on the side of the contrarians once again.
    ]

  62. Rattus Norvegicus

    DC, actually McI did follow up with these authors, he just did it in 2004 (they sent him the data in early February 2004, per Briffa) before he had contacted Briffa for the data.

    Really, this makes it look even worse — McI knew all along who to ask for the data and asked said person and got it.

    I’ve got at least one post over there that will be deleted and a couple of others that have made him mad enough to reply. And oh, yeah, I’ve got bender on the warpath, but that’s not hard.

  63. Briffa never gave the data to McIntyre in 2004

    Briffa refused to violate the contract governing use of data between his lab and H&S’s lab and therefore is a commie fraud trying to hide the truth from McI.

    Hope you guys are proud of yourselves for insisting that Briffa should violate contracts.

    If he or his employer did so, no one would ever make their proprietary data available under agreement with them ever again, but, oh, you guys don’t care about such niceties, do you?

  64. McIntyre did say that he had the Hantemirov and Shiyatov data set since 2004, but as far as I know he never said that he obtained it directly from the authors. The recent email from Hantemirov that McIntyre published (see the subsequent “Backpedalling post”) was obtained from a third party, and it’s possible that the data set was too.

    Maybe someone who has ploughed through all of McIntyre’s post can set me straight – I don’t claim to have read all of McIntyre’s many posts on this subject.

    If he had been in contact with Hantemrov, it would have been very simple to confirm whether this was the data set used in Briffa 2000.

    Sorry about the delays in comments, I was in transit yesterday. I’m examining options to enable comments from “regulars” in such a situation.

  65. Scott A. Mandia:

    You may want to check out Mann’s correction, in reference to the paper you cite. By some sort of strange coincidence he corrected something that Steve McIntyre has been saying was incorrect.

    You’ll note he says:

    The previously posted version of the figure had an error due to incorrect application of the procedure described in the paper for updating the network in each century increment.

    Perhaps your familiarity witht he paper and the Supplemental Information would enable you to explain what that means? I mean, what was the previous procedure applied and what was the new, corrected procudure?

    Also if you check out his corrected graph, it looks like it may have been warmer in the early part of the second millenium and a lot warmer oin the first.

    • Revised: Sean’s comment refers to Scott’s comment above.

      In a way it is Mann et al 2008 that is being discussed. The entire McIntyre project is to attack the “hockey stick” and make mountains out of the molehills of small defects, real or imagined.

      But I’d prefer not to get into a detailed discussion of other aspects of Mann et al 2008 in this thread.

  66. Allow me to put it even more bluntly than yourself, DC:

    In 2004, Hantemirov and Shiyatov gave McIntyre the data that Briffa used. It’s unclear whether this happened before or after Briffa told McIntyre he was not the owner of the data, and that he would send the request on to Hantemirov and Shiyatov. It is, however, not unclear that McIntyre had the data all along, and still kept on harassing Briffa, knowing fully well he was directing his request to THE WRONG PERSON.

    Allow me to be blunt. First, Briffa never disclosed what data he was using from the full set. As such there was no way for anyone to do an independent evaluation of his work. He clearly was misdirecting people because he had written about procedure standards that were violated in his paper, a fact that nobody could have known until after the data that was used was released. After stalling for eight years Briffa was forced to post the data so that there would be no question about what was used and what was discarded. When the data was released it quickly became apparent that Briffa violated his own standards and that there was no reason to pick the small subsection of the total set that was available. Given the fact that the full data set agreed with the thermometer data and showed no warming the dendro people who had used Briffa as support of their position were discredited yet again.

    • 1. Briffa used the whole dataset from Hantemirov and Shiyatov. 2. McIntyre could just have asked whether this was the whole data set, instead he just kept on screaming “give me the data!” 3. No procedural standards were violated. 4. Briffa did not “stall” for eight years, he was not asked for the data until 2004 (when McIntyre notably already knew who to ask, as he already had the data).

  67. Rattus Norvegicus

    Briffa specifically states in his 2nd reply that Hantemirov sent him the data on the 2nd of February 2004.

  68. Maybe someone who has ploughed through all of McIntyre’s post can set me straight – I don’t claim to have read all of McIntyre’s many posts on this subject.

    [DC: That quote of mine above had a very specific context: the question was whether or not McIntyre was in direct communication with Hantemirov. You have taken it out of context to try to "answer" other questions that have already been answered. Strike 1]

    The facts are very clear. There is a lot of proxy data out there and that when all of it is used there is no support for the hockey stick conclusions. When the dendro people publish their papers they do not say what parts of the data sets were used so there is no way for someone like SM to see if the methods and conclusions make sense.

    [DC: That is completely false. The most comprehensive study, Mann et al 2008, used 1209 proxies. There is not a single peer-reviewed study in the scientific literature that shows "no support" for the "hockey stick" when "all" the proxy data is used. Strike 2]

    SM never had the set used by Briffa isolated from all of the other data and it is not at all clear that every one of the handful of proxies that provided Briffa with his conclusions were included in the data that was available elsewhere. As such, there was no way to make a clear statement about Briffa’s methods and conclusions. The first time it became possible to evaluate Briffa was when his full data set became available. That was a few months ago.

    [DC: SM had the raw data in 2004. If he wasn't sure it was the same data set as they sent to Briffa, he could have easily checked with the source, Hantemirov. His failure to do so appears to be an obstinate refusal to accept journals' interpretation of their own policies, in order to make a point and press his own dubious interpretations. Strike 3.]

    And let me be clear about a point that SM has been making. Many of the authors violate publishing requirements and do not archive their data. That makes it impossible for anyone to verify that some of the dendro papers reach valid conclusions. SM has actually tried to overcome this problem by going in the field and looking for sites that yielded proxies. He has actually found specific trees that show evidence of supplying cores and given talks on the issue. He did that with his own time and his own money. He also seems to get a lot of help from people inside the community who see exactly what is going on and want to find someone who can expose questionable activities and obvious incompetence on the part of many of the researchers.

    [DC: There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Briffa violated any of the publishing requirements. And in fact he would have been in violation of the conditions of the Russian team, if he had released their data. That's why he referred McIntyre to the original authors. That respect for other authors' copyright is explicitly recognized in most publishing agreements.

    Your reference to supposed problems with other unnamed authors' data or people "inside the community" are unsubstantiated and off-topic. I will say that SM has shown a consistent knack for misunderstanding both the scientific literature and journal policies.

    I urge you to try to stay on topic, and avoid vague, generalized, unsubstantiated aspersions in future. I've patiently replied to all of your assertions. But from now on, I will be less tolerant of repetition, baseless accusations and other violations of comment policy.]

  69. Briffa specifically states in his 2nd reply that Hantemirov sent him the data on the 2nd of February 2004.

    But Briffa did not use the full data set but a portion of it. He never disclosed how many cores were used in his paper and never gave any hints that would allow anyone to evaluate his faulty conclusions. The fact that the bulk of the warming signal came from one tree that had a profile that was 8 standard deviations away from the others and that he never questioned why the temperature profile was not supported by the instrumental data in the region tells us what we need to know.

    [DC: Wrong again. SM did claim in the early going that only 12 of 17 live cores were used. That turned out to be yet another misunderstanding; the data set had all 17 live cores, and that it was the same as used by Hantemirov in 2002.]

  70. DC: Wrong again. SM did claim in the early going that only 12 of 17 live cores were used. That turned out to be yet another misunderstanding; the data set had all 17 live cores, and that it was the same as used by Hantemirov in 2002.

    The evidence is clear enough so I have no idea why you persist in trying to make up stories that do not add up.

    The Yamal data was collected by Hantemirov and Shiyatov and was published in 2002. That Yamal data did not show much of a warming for the twentieth century.

    But Briffa’s version of the data was very different. Unlike the Russians’ data Briffa’s version had a very sharp uptick at the end of the twentieth century, creating another hockey stick.

    [DC: Let's stop right there, and avoid a repetetive rehash of McIntyre's misguided inquiries.

    Briffa 2000 used exactly the same raw data as Hantemirov and Shiyatov 2002. Briffa used a different processing (RCS) that preserves centennial variation, whereas Hantemirov and Shyiatov's "corridor" methodology does not.]

  71. Rattus Norvegicus

    I would hasten to add that McIntyre’s claims about the lack of “replication” in the study is pure BS, based once again on, perhaps deliberate, misunderstanding of the requirements for an accurate standardization curve.

    In Briffa and Melvin (2008), see here, Briffa states that around 62 samples are required to get a reasonable RCS curve. This does not mean 62 samples from modern trees, it means 62 samples from trees of all calender age classes. The data set that Briffa was working with consisted of 241(?) samples, more than enough to produce a reasonable RCS curve.

    Personally, I think that McI is engaging in deliberate misrepresentation. He has done this before by cherry picking a quote from Esper about being able to “pick cherries”. Of course this quote is provided without the context of the paper in which it was found. Esper was investigating the same question of the minimum sample replication necessary to ensure a robust RCS curve. Not surprisingly, he came up with a similar answer to Briffa.

  72. [Repetition of previous points - see comment policy.]

  73. 1. Briffa used the whole dataset from Hantemirov and Shiyatov. 2. McIntyre could just have asked whether this was the whole data set, instead he just kept on screaming “give me the data!” 3. No procedural standards were violated. 4. Briffa did not “stall” for eight years, he was not asked for the data until 2004 (when McIntyre notably already knew who to ask, as he already had the data).

    I wish that you would stick with the facts. It was clear that the Yamal data differed from Hantemirov and Shiyatov because it produced totally wrong results because the Hantemirov and Shiyatov data had no hockey stick shape.

    [DC: You keep claiming this. Yet even McIntyre acknowledges that the difference is due to Briffa's reprocessing:

    As a result, no conclusions should be drawn with respect to centennial-scale variability from the Hantemirov chronology. No adverse conclusions should be found against the Briffa chronology merely because it differs from the Hantemirov chronology.

    There is absolutely no evidence that the data sent by H&S to Briffa in 2000 was in any way different than that used in H&S 2002.]

    The publishing standards are clear. Authors are expected to allow their data to be reviewed by outsiders so that their conclusions can be tested. Science had a clear policy, which its editors chose to ignore.


    [DC: I would rather accept the journals' interpretation of their own policies, rather than McIntyre's misinterpretation of them.]

    [Repetition of remarks about the "full data set" deleted per comment policy.]

  74. Pingback: Prof Keith R. Briffa! You rock! « Perspicacity

  75. SM has actually tried to overcome this problem by going in the field and looking for sites that yielded proxies. He has actually found specific trees that show evidence of supplying cores and given talks on the issue. He did that with his own time and his own money

    And I still wonder if McI got the necessary federal permits to do so …

  76. I will emerge from the background to briefly give my thanks to DC for responding so diligently to Vangel. In the end, he was simply reduced to trying to repeat the same wrong information over and over again.

    This thread is helpful to clearly show that McIntyre’s insinuations about cherry-picking, which in turn were escalated to claims of outright FR__D by others in the media and blogosphere.

    I do hope all this renewed attention and high profile commentary about the hockey team translates to increased funding so that the sample sets can be increased substantially. I see Mann at center on the top line with Briffa centering another superstar studded line. If they keep the data coming, even the most ardent skeptical deniers will be marginalized.

    Eventually M&M will be reduced to the same absurdity as M&M Enterprises in Catch 22.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milo_Minderbinder

  77. And I still wonder if McI got the necessary federal permits to do so …

    Permits to walk in the woods and look for cored trees?

  78. Permits to walk in the woods and look for cored trees?

    Permits to make his own cores of federally protected ancient bristlecone pines.

  79. From SM’s Ohio presentation:

    We obtained a permit from the Forest Service and, if nothing else, we proved the Starbucks Hypothesis. The real leaders of the expedition were Pete Holzmann, a Climate Audit reader, and his wife and the sampling is primarily due to their efforts. We ended up with 64 cores, which were measured and analyzed at the University of Guelph, with myself and Climate Audit readers paying for the analysis without subsidy. I placed all the measurements online in Oct 2007 as soon as I received them and within a few months of taking the sample. Almagre is (for now) the highest millennium-length tree ring chronology in the world!

    http://www.climateaudit.org/pdf/ohioshort.pdf [Warning 1.5 Mb]


  80. Permits to walk in the woods and look for cored trees?

    Permits to make his own cores of federally protected ancient bristlecone pines.

    The attempt was to find the trees that were cored because their locations were not provided by the authors of the studies. Remarkably, he identified several of the sites and used the data and photos in his lecture on the subject.

    Do you think that the Australians who cut down the Viligili tree in the Maldives had permission?

    • Ah yes, the frequently cited claim of Nils-Axel Mörner. That not a single person has ever come forward with any evidence, who cares? The deniosphere isn’t that shy in making claims without even the hint of having any evidence.

  81. Ah yes, the frequently cited claim of Nils-Axel Mörner. That not a single person has ever come forward with any evidence, who cares? The deniosphere isn’t that shy in making claims without even the hint of having any evidence.

    Nils-Axel Mörner is one of leading scientists who works in the area of sea level changes. He has studied the subject for decades and uses observational evidence rather than faulty models to explain what has gone on and to predict what is likely to happen in the future. The predictions of the observational scientists are documented and available for review. They do not agree with those of the IPCC.

    • Vangel, the claim that Mörner is a leading scientist in the area of sea level changes is immediately shot down by the FOUR papers that have shown Mörner to be wrong about the Maldives. To which he answered by whining, rather than showing where the others were wrong. Of course, that’s because they weren’t wrong and he had no rebuttal.

      To add injury to insult: one of the supposed observational evidences for higher sea levels on the Maldives in the past, the so-called Reef Woman, was later related, in another paper by Mörner, to a tsunami. Sorry, Nils-Axel, but one ‘observational evidence’ cannot be evidence for two separate issues. His whole Maldives paper is based on similar one-off time points. In other words: shoddy science. One wonders whether he actually may be better at dowsing.

  82. Morner has been repudiated by INQUA and just about every reputable scientist working in the field.

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/11/the_australians_war_on_science_42.php

    Be sure to read the comments, especially about the tilted graph.

  83. > Morner has been repudiated by INQUA and just about every reputable scientist working in the field.

    …and humiliated himself by misrepresenting his standing with INQUA in front of the Russian Academy of Sciences:

    http://www.edf.org/documents/3868_morner_exposed.pdf

  84. Morner has been repudiated by INQUA and just about every reputable scientist working in the field.

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/11/the_australians_war_on_science_42.php

    Be sure to read the comments, especially about the tilted graph.

    First, the graph you cite shows that the sea level change before human emissions of CO2 became material are no different than the change after they became material. That supports Morner and not the IPCC. A 2008 paper by Jevrejeva, Moore, Grinsted, and Woodworth shows that the global sea level acceleration began more than 200 years ago, long before human emissions of CO2 could impact oceans.

    http://www.ulapland.fi/home/hkunta/jmoore/agucopywrite.html?pdfs/Jev2008GL033611.pdf

    Second, the University of Colorado agrees with Morner. It has used to the TOPEX/POSEIDON and Jason-1 satellites to measure sea level since 1992 and shows that sea levels have not gone up in the last three years and are not ‘accelerating’ as Church and White claim.

    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

    I wish that you would actually do some research and examine the literature rather than look for papers that happen to tell you what you are hoping to hear. For the record, I am very sceptical of desk jockeys who do little work in the field and prefer old hands who understand the pitfalls in the real world.

    In the case of Church and White, we have people who missed some obvious issues in their hurry to refute Moroner. As Easterbrook writes,

    “As Morner points out, Church,, White, and Hunter applied a number of regional ‘corrections’ to the basic tide gauge record and calculated averages of a large region to arrive at their conclusion that sea level was rising in the Maldives. This is akin to putting one foot in a bed of hot coals and the other in a bucket of ice, averaging the temperature, and concluding that you should be quite comfortable! Putting aside the arguments around tide gauge levels, the geologic evidence appears to be indisputable and indicates conclusively that the sea levels at the sites shown in Morners paper cannot be submerging. You’re a smart guy–look at the geologic evidence in the two attached photos and judge for yourself.
    Figure 1 shows a post-1970 wave-cut notch eroded into the pre-1970 shore platform. You cannot do that with a submerging coastline. (The platform should be under water if the island is submerging, not being eroded at a lower level). This is a classic example of an emergent shoreline, the kind you can see in any geologic textbook.
    Figure 2 shows the present high tide line, the 1970 shoreline, and a pre-1970 shoreline. If the island has been submerging since 1970, as contended by Church,, White, and Hunter, the present high tide line should be above the 1970 shoreline, not below it!

    Any regional analysis of average sea level changes cannot trump the geologic evidence at the two sites shown. The geologic evidence is site specific, just like each foot in the coals and ice bucket. The average is meaningless.”

    I guess if you are sitting at a desk making adjustments to data on a screen it is easy to miss the fact that the tide line is below the 1970 shoreline.

    We also have William Gray, who notes,

    Vincent Gray weighed in:

    Have you heard of the Australian study on 12 Pacific islands, some of them mentioned by Church? They used much more reliable equipment than the others. They claimed an upward trend but this was done by the dishonest use of a linear regression which made use of the temporary depression on all the records caused by the 1988 hurricane. If you look at the actual records in their report (attached) and ignore this temporary event you will find that there was no change for the last sixteen years. The website of the Australian Bureau of meteorology has individual and summarizing reports on this project at http://www.bom.gov.au/pacificsealevel/

    Once again, the evidence is against Church and White and for Morner.

    Sorry but your blog got a few things wrong and missed much of the literature that is clearly against the IPCC position. Of course, the IPCC and AGW leadership depends on extreme and unfounded predictions to drum up interest and justify the transfer of wealth from taxpayers to political activist scientists. Church and White are hardly alone. We have had Schneider warn us about ice ages and tell Discovery magazine that stories need to be spiced up to get public involvement. We have also had Hansen make some ridiculous claims that have clearly not come close to becoming true.

    http://dir.salon.com/books/int/2001/10/23/weather/index.html

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/10/22/a-little-known-but-failed-20-year-old-climate-change-prediction-by-dr-james-hansen/

    Instead of paying attention to the hype you would be much better off looking at the EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE that links climate change to CO2 emissions. The last time I looked, all of you warmers could not provide any such evidence and were way off on the periphery.

    http://dir.salon.com/books/int/2001/10/23/weather/index.html

    [DC: I'm letting this through, but it is quite meandering and getting way off topic.

    The comments at Deltoid cited several peer-reviewed articles debunking Morner, including two in this comment.

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/11/the_australians_war_on_science_42.php#comment-2059204

    On the other hand, you are citing Easterbrook, Vincent Grey and WattsUpWithThat, as well as misinterpreting the Colorado website.

    If you want to claim that the peer-reviewed scientific literature supports Morner, you must give references that explicitly support and cite Morner. Otherwise, this digression is at an end, I'm afraid.]

  85. Rattus Norvegicus

    Heck, Morner discredited himself with his tilted graph, the technique is admirably demonstrated here. Lookie! Proof!

  86. Pingback: A little real talk about "climate gate" - Politics and Other Controversies - Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Conservatives, Liberals, Third Parties, Left-Wing, Right-Wing, Congress, President - Page 14 - City-Data Forum

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