McIntyre provides fodder for skeptics

[This post was updated on December 12 to provide additional context that strengthens the original analysis – see below for details.]

This so-called Climategate is really getting out of hand, isn’t it?

Steve McIntyre has published allegations – twice now – that an internal IPCC authors’ debate about the inclusion of Briffa’s tree-ring reconstruction in a key figure from the 2001 WG1 Third Assesement Report was driven by concern about the post-1960 “decline” in tree-ring widths, a decline that showed a marked divergence with the instrumental tempertaure record.

The Climategate Letters show clearly that the relevant context is the IPCC Lead Authors’ meeting in Tanzania in September 1999 at which the decline in the Briffa reconstruction was perceived by IPCC as “diluting the message”, as a “problem”, as a “potential distraction/detraction”. [Emphasis added]

McIntyre even claims that lead author Michael Mann worried that showing the series with this decline would give “fodder” to “skeptics”.

But even a cursory examination of the emails in question shows that the discussion was really about other aspects of the reconstruction, specifically obvious discrepancies between Briffa’s reconstruction and the other two under consideration over the major part of the reconstruction’s length. Thus, once again, McIntyre’s speculations are shown to be utterly without foundation.

Even worse, McIntyre left out intervening sentences within the actual proffered quotes in what appears to be an unsophisticated attempt to mislead.

McIntyre first raised this canard back on November 26:

The relevant IPCC 2001 graph, shown below, clearly does not show the decline in the Briffa MXD reconstruction. Contrary to Gavin Schmidt’s claim that the decline is “hidden in plain sight”, the inconvenient data has simply been deleted. The reason, as explained on Sep 22, 1999 by Michael Mann to coauthors in 938018124.txt, was to avoid giving “fodder to the skeptics”. [Emphasis added]

Yesterday, after two weeks of due deliberation , McIntyre elaborated:

IPCC Lead Authors met in Arusha, Tanzania from September 1 to 3, 1999 … at which the final version of the “zero-order” draft of the Third Assessment Report was presented and discussed…

No minutes of this meeting are available, but Climategate correspondence on Sep 22-23, 1999 provides some contemporary information about the meeting. Mann noted that “everyone in the room at IPCC was in agreement that the [decline in the Briffa reconstruction] was a problem

McIntyre goes on to selectively quote from emails in the same post-meeting thread to support the above assertion that the post-1960 “decline” in Briffa’s reconstruction was the “problem” being discussed, although he fails to find any actual reference to it. Sample:

IPCC Chapter Author Folland of the U.K. Hadley Center wrote to Mann, Jones and Briffa that the proxy diagram was a “clear favourite” for the Summary Policy-makers, but that the existing presentation showing the decline of the Briffa reconstruction “dilutes the message rather significantly” [Emphasis added]:

A proxy diagram of temperature change is a clear favourite for the Policy Makers summary. But the current diagram with the tree ring only data [i.e. the Briffa reconstruction] somewhat contradicts the multiproxy curve and dilutes the message rather significantly… This is probably the most important issue to resolve in Chapter 2 at present.. (Folland, Sep 22, 1999, in 0938031546.txt) [sic]

Well, so far, there’s no actual evidence, except McIntyre’s say so, that the “decline” or the “hiding” thereof is being discussed. Those devious IPCC authors have managed to “hide” the “hiding”. It’s even worse than we thought!

Seriously, any time one sees McIntyre using elipsis it’s a good idea to check it out. So let’s follow the dots and take a look at Chris Folland’s email, which is first in the chain of three emails that McIntyre quotes (although McIntyre jumps back and forth in a way that obfuscates what is really going on). It’s worth quoting in full:

A proxy diagram of temperature change is a clear favourite for the Policy Makers summary. But the current diagram with the tree ring only data somewhat contradicts the multiproxy curve and dilutes the message rather significantly. We want the truth. Mike thinks it lies nearer his result (which seems in accord with what we know about worldwide mountain glaciers and, less clearly, suspect about solar variations). The tree ring results may still suffer from lack of multicentury time scale variance. This is probably the most important issue to resolve in Chapter 2 at present. [Emphasis added]

How can anyone read this and possibly come to the conclusion that what is being discussed is the “decline” in the late instrumental period? And what word comes to mind for someone who would deliberately remove the fact that the “issue” Folland raises is the lack of multicentury variance for the Briffa reconstruction as a whole?

Equally misleading is McIntyre’s characterization of a subsequent statement of Mann’s (which occurs after the “problem” quote given before):

Mann went on to say that the skeptics would have a “field day” if the declining Briffa reconstruction were shown and that he’d “hate to be the one” to give them “fodder” [Emphasis added]:

So, if we show Keith’s series in this plot, we have to comment that “something else” is responsible for the discrepancies in this case.…Otherwise, the skeptics have an field day casting doubt on our ability to understand the factors that influence these estimates and, thus, can undermine faith in the paleoestimates. I don’t think that doubt is scientifically justified, and I’d hate to be the one to have to give it fodder!

Once again, let’s go follow the dots and see what lies behind, emphasizing the part that McIntyre apparently doesn’t want you to read:

…  But that explanation certainly can’t rectify why Keith’s series, which has similar seasonality *and* latitudinal emphasis to Phil’s series, differs in large part in exactly the opposite direction that Phil’s does from ours. This is the problem we all picked up on (everyone in the room at IPCC was in agreement that this was a problem and a potential distraction/detraction from the reasonably concensus viewpoint we’d like to show w/ the Jones et al and Mann et al series.

So, if we show Keith’s series in this plot, we have to comment that “something else” is responsible for the discrepancies in this case. Perhaps Keith can help us out a bit by explaining the processing that went into the series and the potential factors that might lead to it being “warmer” than the Jones et al and Mann et al series?? We would need to put in a few words in this regard. Otherwise, the skeptics have an field day casting doubt on our ability to understand the factors that influence these estimates and, thus, can undermine faith in the paleoestimates. I don’t think that doubt is scientifically justified, and I’d hate to be the one to have to give it fodder! [Emphasis added]

So the “problem” was that Briffa’s reconstruction was warmer in “large part” than Mann in periods where the Jones reconstruction was cooler (i.e. “opposite direction”). And when in the reconstruction did the “cooler” Jones periods occur? Well, certainly not in the 20th century where Mann and Jones were virtually identical (and Briffa’s “decline” was cooler). Rather the Jones reconstruction was cooler than Mann’s in the 17th and 19th centuries, as shown in the final Figure 2.21  from TAR below, and so this is where the major discrepancies needed to be explained.

Finally, it should be noted that this problem of the overall discrepancy between Briffa’s reconstruction and the other two appears to have been largely resolved in a quaint manner – subsequent scientific research! (That’s something McIntyre and his supporters should consider some time).  For the reconstruction discussed in the emails (based on tree ring width in Briffa et al 1999) was superceded by a subsequent study (Briffa 2000, based on tree-ring density) as seen in the final figure above. In this period, Briffa was also working on methods to preserve low-frequency information, and this may have also led to improved reconciliation with the Jones reconstruction.

Update, December 12

Here is the original figure from the TAR “zero-order” draft, as presented by Steve McIntyre at ClimateAudit:

Figure 1. IPCC Third Assessment Report Zero-Order Draft Figure 2.3.3a Comparison of millennial Northern Hemisphere (NH) temperature reconstructions from different investigators (Briffa et al, 1998; Jones et al, 1998; Mann et al, 1998;1999a)… All the series were filtered with a 40 year Gaussian filter. The problematic Briffa reconstruction is the yellow series.

This may well be the Briffa series that Chris Folland questioned as evincing a “lack of multicentury time scale variance” in the first of the chain of three emails at issue. (See Michael Mann’s email here to see the three in reverse reply order; chronological order may be somewhat clearer).

However, that issue is somewhat moot given Briffa’s reply shortly thereafter:

The latest tree-ring density curve ( i.e. our data that have been processed to retain low frequency information) shows more similarity to the other two series- as do a number of other lower resolution data ( Bradley et al, Peck et al ., and new Crowley series - see our recent Science piece) whether this represents ‘TRUTH’ however is a difficult problem. [Emphasis added]

The “recent Science piece” was a reference to:

Science 7 May 1999:
Vol. 284. no. 5416, pp. 926 – 927
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5416.926

CLIMATE WARMING: Seeing the Wood from the Trees
Keith R. Briffa and Timothy J. Osborn

Here is the portion of Briffa’s Figure 1 covering the millenium from 1000 to 2000:

Comparison of NH temperature reconstructions, all recalibrated with linear regression against the 1881-1960 mean April-September instrumental temperatures averaged over land areas north of 20ºN. All series have been smoothed with a 50-year Gaussian-weighted filter and are anomalies from the 1961-90 mean. Instrumental temperatures (1871-1997) are in black, circum-Arctic temperature proxies [1600-1990, from (2)] are in yellow, northern NH tree-ring densities [1550-1960, from (3), processed to retain low-frequency signals] are in pale blue, NH temperature proxies [1000-1992, from (4)] are in red, global climate proxies [1000-1980, from (5,6)] are in purple, and an average of three northern Eurasian tree-ring width chronologies [1-1993, from (10)] is in green. Although representing a much more restricted spatial coverage than the other series, the last of these (also processed to maintain low-frequency climate information) is included here because of its extended length and because it suggests relatively cooler summer temperatures (at least across northern Eurasia) before A.D. 1000.

The above caption is the original but with the three series of interest highlighted namely Briffa(3, in blue), Jones et al (4, in red) and Mann et al(5,6 in purple).

We can see, as noted above, that the Briffa series is “warmer” than Jones in the 17th and 19th centuries. And, indeed for most of the 19th century, the two present in opposite variation from Mann et al’s multi-proxy reconstruction. So Briffa had already published a series that partially, if not entirely, addressed Mann’s concerns.

Comparing once again to the final figure, we see that little changed from this point on:

What is absolutely clear is that the post-1960 decline was not the “issue” or “problem” being discussed here. And that Briffa’s series as used in the final version of TAR  was very similar to one he had already published (including, of course, its termination in 1960) .

The only question now is how far this nonsense will go in the contrarian echo chamber. So with that in mind, here’s a little poll for your edification and entertainment.

I will be updating this post from time to time with links to major “echoes” of this particular “Climategate” meme.  I hope the list will be short. (Dates in bold indicate the original date of the link; square brackets indicate the date added to the list).

[h/t to Reader Paul H for alerting me to McIntyre’s December 10 post]

================================================

Echoes of  trick to “hide the decline” IPCC “context”

December 10:

  • WattsUpWithThat [Dec. 11]
  • Examiner.com (Essex County) [Dec. 11]
  • Roger Pielke jr’s blog  [Dec. 11]

December 11:

December 12:



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134 responses to “McIntyre provides fodder for skeptics

  1. This is interesting. I didn’t bother to check the context of these quotes on the “context”.

  2. From McIntyre’s article:

    The emails show that the late 20th century decline in the Briffa reconstruction was perceived by IPCC as “diluting the message”, that “everyone in the room at IPCC” thought that the Briffa decline was a “problem” and a “potential distraction/detraction”, that this was then the “most important issue” in chapter 2 of the IPCC report and that there was “pressure” on Briffa and other authors to show a “nice tidy story” of “unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more”.

    How many distortions can we spot? Nice article, DC.

  3. It’s too easy. Take McIntyre’s post and just start deleting text and inserting “…”. See what sort of fun things you can make him say!

    For example, look at this recent about-face:
    “Much recent attention has been paid to the email about the “trick” and the effort to “hide the decline”. Climate scientists have…been taken “out of context”.”

  4. Maybe EPA economist Alan “Cut-n-paste” Carlin and Steve “Context” McIntyre should collaborate. Carlin could graze across the blogosphere, and McIntyre could judiciously take stuff out to provide, um, the proper context.

    Roger Pielke jr. and Anthony Watts could fight over who gets to blog about it first.

    And so the skeptic dream team is born.

  5. You can spin this any way you want, but there is simply no innocent interpretation of what these guys did.

    The failure of many tree ring series to respond to the warming of the second half of the 20th century — the fact that the rings widths go DOWN instead of up — calls into question the whole issue of whether or not tree rings make reliable thermometers.

    This obviously casts down on the meaningfulness of the long, relatively flat handle of the “hockey stick” graphs — after all, if the trees failed to respond to the warming of the 20th century, how can we know they didn’t similarly fail to respond to something like the medieval warm period?

    One cannot possibly make a reasonable case that the “science is settled” in the face of contradictory and inconsistent results like these. Hence, the need to hide the divergence, so as to make the tree ring record look reliable and beyond question.

    Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate is trying to dismiss this on the grounds that the “divergence” was “well known”. Well, yes, it was well known among the climate scientists — but it is preposterous to assert that it is well known to the general public, at whom the hockey stick graph is aimed.

    Indeed, if the divergence had been “well known” to the public, there’d have been no need to truncate the data and replace it with the instrument record — no need to “hide the decline”. Hence, the decision to replace some data and not divulge that fact to those who viewed the graph.

    Gavin, of course, knows full well the public is not educated on this issue. He is simply engaging in his own deception in an attempt to whitewash Mann, Jones and Briffa’s deception.

    “Settled science”? Hardly.

    [DC: I’m not going to let this thread devolve into a discussion of the divergence problem as such, which has been discussed often elsewhere. You and others will have to go somewhere else to flog that particular dead horse.

    Once again, the point is simple. McIntyre claims that key passages in emails from Folland and Mann refer to the “decline” in the late 20th century portion of Briffa’s reconstruction. They evidently do not. You are the one trying to spin by avoiding the real issue I have raised, which goes to the heart of the matter – Steve McIntyre’s credibility.]

  6. Deep- You too should tell the whole story. The emails show that the concern with Briffa included the divergence issue:

    “There is still a potential problem with non-linear responses in the very recent period of some biological proxies ( or perhaps a fertilisation through high CO2 or nitrate input) . I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data’ but in reality the situation is not quite so simple. We don’t have a lot of proxies that come right up to date and those that do (at least a significant number of tree proxies ) some unexpected changes in response that do not match the recent warming. I do not think it wise that this issue be ignored in the chapter. ”

    http://www.tuxwerx.com/Climategate/mail/0938018124.txt

    If you are claiming that the emails McI discussed were not referring to the late 20th century issues, then you are wrong.

    [DC: I didn’t make the claim that late 20th century issues were not discussed. I do claim, however, that the actual passages McIntyre quotes from Folland and Mann are *not* referring to the late 20th century decline. This is obvious when the deleted key sentences are restored.]

  7. Solid stuff. Knowing nothing about the science I thought maybe this McIntyre fellow was onto something, but, alas . . .

  8. RE Maurito:

    The emails show that the concern with Briffa included the divergence issue…

    Of course Briffa was concerned with recent divergence; after all, he had just published two papers on the topic:

    Briffa, K., Schweingruber, F., Jones, P., Osborn, T., 1998a. Reduced sensitivity of recent tree growth to temperature at high northern latitudes. Nature 391, 678–682.

    Briffa, K., Schweingruber, F., Jones, P., Osborn, T., Harris, I., Shiyatov, S., Vaganov, A., Grudd, H., 1998b. Trees tell of past climates: but are they speaking less clearly today? Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond., B 353, 65–73.

    What’s the problem?

  9. Ummm… one small mistake, DC. Your diagram is the result of the “corrections” made.

    Try revising your analysis, based on the original diagram:

    In the original, it differs “in large part” in exactly the opposite direction as Jones: warmer in the past, cooler in recent times. Overall, warmer, and never lined up with either Jones or Mann.

    Then, note (by comparing the old and new figures) what was done to fix the “problem”: the old “warmer” data is now cooler, and the recent “cooler” data is now… gone.

    DC, you’ve not helped your case by ignoring the context.

    [DC: That diagram shows what Folland referred to: a lack of century variation. After that email but before Mann’s, Briffa wrote this, responding to Folland:

    The latest tree-ring density curve ( i.e. our data that have been processed to retain low frequency information) shows more similarity to the other two series- as do a number of other lower resolution data ( Bradley et al, Peck et al ., and new Crowley series – see our recent Science piece) whether this represents ‘TRUTH’ however is a difficult problem. [Emphasis added]

    Thus, in Mann’s subsequent email he is responding to this newer analysis. This also by the way confirms what I wrote above, when I stated that improved low-frequency resolution helped to reconcile the Briffa series.

    The final figure does show exactly where the Jones and Mann reconstructions differed to give the proper context for the specific passage referenced from Mann’s email. Also note that the Briffa reconstruction in the final figure was from a later study as I’ve already mentioned.

    I should update the post to add this context, including if possible a figure from the study Briffa refers to, which would represent an intermediate version of his reconstruction. Thanks for strengthening the analysis; the additional context confirms that I ‘m on the right track and McIntyre is not.]

  10. Michael Smith writes:

    “The failure of many tree ring series to respond to the warming of the second half of the 20th century — the fact that the rings widths go DOWN instead of up — calls into question the whole issue of whether or not tree rings make reliable thermometers.

    This obviously casts down on the meaningfulness of the long, relatively flat handle of the “hockey stick” graphs — after all, if the trees failed to respond to the warming of the 20th century, how can we know they didn’t similarly fail to respond to something like the medieval warm period?”

    Here’s a nice summary of the “divergence problem”:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Hockey-stick-divergence-problem.html

    First, note that many tree ring proxies (lower latitude in particular) don’t show the late 20th century divergence. Next, note that both proxies showing the divergence and ones that don’t correlate very well with each other all the way back through MWP (Cook et al. 2004), indicating the divergence problem is a recent thing, and not necessarily tied to warmth (see the proposed explanations for it).

    “Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate is trying to dismiss this on the grounds that the “divergence” was “well known”. Well, yes, it was well known among the climate scientists — but it is preposterous to assert that it is well known to the general public, at whom the hockey stick graph is aimed.”

    Agreed! That’s why many are trying to educate the general public, else emails between scientists discussing proxy reconstructions get badly spun by political hacks trying to take advantage of public ignorance. Believe it or not, scientists privately corresponding with each other don’t write emails with the expectation that they will all be stolen, propagated, and distorted. Thus, they don’t put references like “Tree Ring Proxies for Dummies” in every email (perhaps they should from now on). Heck…the majority of the general public reading media spin probably thinks “hide the decline” refers to thermometer readings.

    [DC: That was an excellent response – thanks! And now it is time to move on. ]

  11. So, it boils down to the sad fact that Steve will lie whenever it suits him. Disgusting.

  12. In all fairness, we should not exclude the possibility that McIntyre really did not understand what he read. It wouldn’t be the first time.

    You know:

    “What did McIntyre misunderstand, and when did he misunderstand it.”

    All the same, his selective editing is troubling, and highly misleading, even if it’s just confirmation bias in extremis.

  13. DC,
    In all fairness, we should not exclude the possibility that you really do not understand the impact of the “adjustments.”

    You say:

    The final figure does show exactly where the Jones and Mann reconstructions differed to give the proper context for the specific passage referenced from Mann’s email.

    The original and final figures don’t change either Mann or Jones, so both figures show this. It is only Briffa’s data that was “in large part” warmer to begin with. It is only Briffa’s data that has been adjusted to be cooler in earlier years. It is only Briffa’s data that was truncated to hide the later “cool” aspect.

    Your notes about century variation make it all the worse: not only did they delete the later “cool” data, they worked hard to cool down Briffa’s earlier “warm” data. BOTH of these have the effect of increasing the apparent warming trend of Briffa’s analysis.

    You’re apparently arguing that Steve should have mentioned BOTH the deletion AND the juicing up of the warming trend to “increase century variability.” Fine with me.

    Thanks for strengthening the analysis; the additional context confirms that I‘m on the right track and McIntyre is not.

    Keep it up! I do think we’re making progress here. Sunshine always helps improve understanding.

  14. It’s also worth noting that McIntyre originally claimed the text of Chapter 2 doesn’t discuss the divergence problem, when it fact it does. Now he says that there was a “sly allusion” to it, which is another way of saying “it was discussed.”

    Also, a few days ago he dedicated a post to attacking Gerald North for confusing “Mike’s Nature trick” with “Jones’ trick” as apparently Jones himself did while writing “let’s use Mike’s Nature trick.”

    So, the required standard here is absolute clarity, unless it involves McIntyre himself, in which case it’s OK to substitute the “divergence problem” for any discrepency between temperature reconstructions.

  15. Well, DC, you got a shout-out from Steve.

  16. You should follow your posted comment policy:

    “Unfounded accusations of scientific fraud, whether implicit or explicit, are actively discouraged and may be snipped or moved.”

  17. David A. Burack

    Folland:

    “A proxy diagram of temperature change is a clear favourite for the Policy Makers summary. But the current diagram with the tree ring only data somewhat contradicts the multiproxy curve and dilutes the message rather significantly. We want the truth. Mike thinks it lies nearer his result (which seems in accord with what we know about worldwide mountain glaciers and, less clearly, suspect about solar variations). The tree ring results may still suffer from lack of multicentury time scale variance. This is probably the most important issue to resolve in Chapter 2 at present.”

    DC: “How can anyone read this and possibly come to the conclusion that what is being discussed is the “decline” in the late instrumental period? And what word comes to mind for someone who would deliberately remove the fact that the “issue” Folland raises is the lack of multicentury variance for the Briffa reconstruction as a whole?”

    Me: Come now. The issue that is being discussed is overtly stated as how to present the Chapter 2 chart, not the underlying reasons for Briffa’s reconstruction. I concede that Folland’s use of the word, “this,” in the last quoted sentence above, lends itself to interpretation; it’s usually preferable to avoid pronouns in such cases. But GC’s interpretation is misleading the reader away from the fact that the chart is the object of everyone’s attention.

    As for your, “How can anyone read this and possibly come to the conclusion that what is being discussed is the ‘decline’ in the late instrumental period?,” why anyone with an open mind who looks at the entire context that McIntyre presented, and which GC is doing its best to “dilute.” Your filling in the elipses does nothing to counteract the clear evidence that the folks involved in this chain of e-mails were cooking the chapter 2 chart. And I’m sure the august panel who may eventually carry out the dispassionate examination of that context will eventually conclude– if they even have to bother to get so far as this strained parsing of sentences.

  18. –The latest tree-ring density curve ( i.e. our data that have been processed to retain low frequency information) shows more similarity to the other two series- as do a number of other lower resolution data ( Bradley et al, Peck et al ., and new Crowley series – see our recent Science piece) whether this represents ‘TRUTH’ however is a difficult problem. [Emphasis added]–

    –Thus, in Mann’s subsequent email he is responding to this newer analysis. This also by the way confirms what I wrote above, when I stated that improved low-frequency resolution helped to reconcile the Briffa series. –

    Steve McIntyre has responded, I thought pretty graciously, to DC’s comments.

    However the main issue for me is in the above quote by Briffa. I believe I would have also emphasized that last sentence of Briffa’s. His series was indeed reconciled with the other two but he considered it a difficult problem to determine whether this resulted in the “truth” , presumably meaning a useful and somewhat accurate description of past temperatures. Throughout these emails Briffa has often demonstrated a healthy scepticism about his own and other’s work, a scepticism seemingly lacking in either Jones or Mann.

    Science does indeed work this way if we know the first two records are accurate and can reasonably reconcile others to them. If however we are merely curve fitting and calibrating to highly suspect work it’s not science at all; at best it’s confirmation bias in extremis, to coin a phrase.

  19. DC:

    I don’t buy your excuse. If the data was problematic why add it into the series.

    Two really good questions raised at climate audit which you and Schmidt don’t/ can’t answer.

    1. Apparently, no one disagrees that for the IPCC report the final Briffa 2000 reconstruction is lopped off in 1960 and replaced with a temperature series, but, as Steve M discusses above, what else was done to make the final Briffa 2000 proxy series less objectionable during the period of the little ice age?

    2. If the Briffa proxy series needed to be so seriously adjusted that low frequency proxies had to be included to get past the LIA and post 1960 had to be lopped off and replaced with something else and then filters applied, why wasn’t the whole series just removed from the IPCC graph?

    So, but your dog isn’t gunna hunt.

  20. Anand Rajan KD

    This is a disingenious interpretation of what seems to have transpired on the whole. McIntyre’s interpretation – the whole of it, not just the middle portion of it as addressed in your post, seems more plausible.

    Folland’s email extract, even on reading the entire paragraph, that he is talking about the ‘multiproxy curve conveying a single clear message’ issue, not about the scientific conundrum of tree ring invariability. To suggest anything otherwise seems inaccurate.

    A certain idea is developed over a few sentences. The final question is then put forth. How can you suggest that the question refers to the sentence just before the question alone?

    There is obviously a problem with the tree ring graph – Briffa’s. It is that it goes away from the others’ in more than one place. In the 1800-1950 period, and post 1960. In Mann’s email he explains that the IPCC felt that Briffa’s graph with its opposite deviations was a problem (the yellow line in the 0th draft, one presumes). I dont think there can be any controversy regarding that. For Mann, the problem is the opposite direction deviations that Briffa has. In the end, how does he deal with it? By chopping the post 1960s reconstruction, a simple graph alignment and lastly with the ‘low-frequency variability’ worked in. In the resulting state of the graph, the only thing which would need explaining will be the warmer part of Briffa’s graph – the 1800-1950 part. Which is what Mann asks Briffa to ‘help out a bit with’.

    The overall outcome of this entire email discussion was three things:

    1) Kieth Briffa’s graph was retained
    2) The post 1960 part was chopped off
    3) There was no explanation of the divergence or the chop in the IPCC

    It is disingenious to characterize this conversation as one where the science of Briffa’s tree rings was the point of discussion. It was not.

    Mann especially felt that Briffa’s graph was a problem than think as a scientist as to whether Briffa’s data could have any validity. Briffa seems to have doubts with the handle and the blade of the IPCC stick – a prerequisite to demonstrate unprecedented warming. Briffa seems to have caved – explaining the deviation in the tree ring record as an anomaly (1998), having his post 1960 chopped off, and having no say in the explanatory content of the IPCC TAR.

    The ideal thing to do of course, alhough it may sound strict to you guys, is since the ice and the tree data seem to be swinging at odds with one other, would have been to throw both out.

  21. Robert Friedland

    If you put yourself into the mind of a mining penny stock promoter the motives behind McI’s distortions, omissions and exaggerations come into crystal clear focus. However; guess what? Climate Science isn’t like the Canadian junior mining sector where cherry picking data to ”enhance” a property’s marketability is common practice.

    • Robert Friedland

      Regarding the Canadian junior penny mining sector please Google “Bre-X”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bre-X. It is important to note, however, that this is an extreme example of the greed-then-grief cycle [the art of making a penny stock move; ruthless promotion, rumors of rumors, exaggerated stories, endless hype, greed followed by quiet disillusionment, fear, panic, grief and anger].

  22. Your explanations seem only to add confusion to the matter. Mccyntires post simply omits the parts of the conversation that have no basis regarding the analysis. Who wants to read a hundred page blog entry? I don’t think anything you have added here get’s Mann or Briffa off the hook. You can’t mix two different types of Data or hide parts of a graph simply because you think it will add confusion. Thats politics,not science.
    Mann & Jones are certainly a needless distraction from a worldly problem. I feel it’s time to throw them under the bus and move on. There really isn’t much of a case to defend them. It’s probably time for Michael mann to change his business cards from Penn State to State Penn and let honest scientists continue the work.

  23. Aren’t you just a little bit ashamed that you’re still making excuses for climate scientists that were caught red-handed committing scientific fraud?

    [DC: There is no evidence of fraud whatsoever pertaining to the IPCC TAR or AR4 report. I’m certainly not prepared to take McIntyre’s “analysis” at face value. But it is interesting that he studiously avoids the f-word and yet that false accusation comes through loud and clear, judging from your pronouncement, not to mention those of Inhofe and Marc Morano’s and Tom Harris’s various sock puppets.]

  24. This is why I find Steve sometimes a little Mannian.

  25. D. C. wrote:

    “Once again, the point is simple. McIntyre claims that key passages in emails from Folland and Mann refer to the “decline” in the late 20th century portion of Briffa’s reconstruction. They evidently do not. You are the one trying to spin by avoiding the real issue I have raised, which goes to the heart of the matter – Steve McIntyre’s credibility.”

    Is it your contention that what they were referring to was NOT an inconsistency in the data that they wished to “hide” so as to not “muddy” the message? Because I see no reasonable reading of the e-mails that supports any such interpretation.

  26. Speaking of hide the decline,

    Mr Pete, when are you going to publish your tree-ring data, so I can make a snowshoe pilgrimage to the hill soon to pay homage to the destruction of the totem and the overturning, Galileo-like, of a conspiracy?

    The world waits for your paper.

    Best,

    D

    • Dano,
      Apparently my reply to your query on another blog was blocked. (Alarmists have a history of only allowing one side of the conversation to speak…too bad!)

      The tree ring data’s been available since 2007. The new location (with the CA move) is http://www.climateaudit.info/data/colorado/ There’s more coming (mostly microphotographs so that interested parties can decode the samples that weren’t auto-cross-dated by the software). Last I heard everything is in a lab in California for dO18 analysis.

      Remember, this is all done with zero budget which means lowest priority lab time.

      If you make your snowshoe pilgrimage to Almagre, please do check on the trees near the “Dead Car” site. I was concerned last time: one tree had been felled, the site apparently used as a campsite!

      [DC: Query and reply noted. Now this will have to be continued somewhere else. I’ve also cut off discussion of divergence as a general topic, per my previous comment and general policy on off topic. That too had a comment plus reply. Sorry, that’s how it is. ]

    • Robert Friedland

      @Dano – I can see a connection between Dendroclimatology and Climate Science [physics & applied math combined w/ geology, geochemistry and geophysics]. How could you possibly see an electrical engineer [semiconductors & electronics] publishing a weighty and meaningful paper in the area of Climate Science? Seriously, think about it for a second….

  27. The excised passages do not exonerate Mann et. al. in any way. Part of science is including all the results. Including only what policy makers want, or what Mike thinks is closer to his results, or what matches the glaciers…these are all variations of a dishonest practice. If you think tree ring studies are relevant, show the tree ring studies, even those that don’t match your narrative.

    Also, your analysis here does not address the “hide the decline” statement which is clearly the over-riding concern that requires a “trick”.

  28. Robert Friedland

    @Dano – I can see a connection between Dendroclimatology and Climate Science [physics & applied math combined w/ geology, geochemistry and geophysics]. How could you possibly see an electrical engineer [semiconductors & electronics] publishing a weighty paper in the area of Climate Science? Seriously, think about it for a second….

  29. To those who doubt DC’s interpretation, in response to our host, Steve McI did publish an update with the necessary clarification.

  30. Science does indeed work this way if we know the first two records are accurate and can reasonably reconcile others to them. If however we are merely curve fitting and calibrating to highly suspect work it’s not science at all; at best it’s confirmation bias in extremis, to coin a phrase.

    Which, of course isn’t what Briffa did, but that doesn’t stop you from hurling that accusation, does it (MrPete claims the same, earlier)

  31. Is it your contention that what they were referring to was NOT an inconsistency in the data that they wished to “hide” so as to not “muddy” the message?

    So let’s sum the denialist claims:

    1. Trees can’t be thermometers

    2. The fact that Mann was suspicious of Briffa’s reconstruction, given that it was an outlier, and was discussing leaving it out, is consistent with denier belief #1 but regardless proves they’re hiding stuff and guilty of fraud.

    Don’t you guys ever think things through?

  32. This is why I find Steve sometimes a little Mannian.

    This is why I find TCO sometimes a Steve “Piltdown Mann” Mosherian …

  33. Apparently my reply to your query on another blog was blocked. (Alarmists have a history of only allowing one side of the conversation to speak…too bad!)

    I love these claims denialists constantly make … am I the only person with the secret decoder ring that allows one to read their censured posts?

    • Dhogaza,
      First, I’m not a denialist. I just want better science.
      Second, here is my most recent specific case. And you’re part of the story… :)

      My most recent experience was at Romm’s blog, I believe in the commentary about J Curry’s letter. A vigorous discussion was under way. You were part of it, as was I and others.
      Suddenly, my comments started disappearing into the ether.
      I waited a few days, tried several times. Always the same result. I could not respond to other’s specific comments directed towards me.
      I then tried posting using a different email address. My posting immediately showed up… but was soon deleted and that email was also blocked.
      With zero ability to respond, it’s hard for you to know that I was trying, and hard for me to make any noise about it.
      Hopefully DC will never stoop to such things!

      [DC: I‘m permitting this, with some reservation. However note that I have now formalized what has always been an informal part of the comment policy:

      References to other blogs, including comments, are permitted if they are on topic. However, continuation of exchanges from other blogs or complaints about other blogs’ comment policies or practices are generally considered off topic.

      I’m not going to second guess or get into a discussion of what happens at other blogs, especially those that are a lot busier than my humble effort.

      For myself, I do try to err on the side of fairness and let people reply to direct challenges, which in some cases leads to a discussion going sideways. Having said that, sometimes somebody has to have the last word. It may as well be me. ]

  34. Just a quick note to say that I’m sorry to have gotten behind on the comments. I hope to reply to more of them, but am somewhat tied up.

  35. I’ll post the promised update later today. For now, I can report that the Briffa’s reconstruction from the Briffa and Osborne article in Science 1999, as discussed by Briffa and Mann in the chain of emails discussed, is very different from the “0th order” draft version.

    It’s the same tree-ring density series seen previously in Briffa et al., Nature 391, 678 (1998) and other publications from 1998, with different processing: “northern NH tree-ring densities [1550-1960, from (3), processed to retain low-frequency signals] “.

    This appears to be an early version of RCS (regional curve standardization), although Briffa doesn’t use that term, referring merely to “standardization”.

    Science 7 May 1999:
    Vol. 284. no. 5416, pp. 926 – 927
    DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5416.926

    CLIMATE WARMING: Seeing the Wood from the Trees
    Keith R. Briffa and Timothy J. Osborn

  36. This appears to be an early version of RCS (regional curve standardization), although Briffa doesn’t use that term, referring merely to “standardization”.

    I commented similarly over at Deltoid, but then found references to RCS by googling to work Briffa had done as early as 1992. Making me think I was wrong …

    Hmmm, maybe the earlier stuff is exploratory and Briffa 1999 is his first practical application of the technique over an entire chronology?

    Anyway, looking forward to your follow-up.

  37. Your notes about century variation make it all the worse: not only did they delete the later “cool” data, they worked hard to cool down Briffa’s earlier “warm” data. BOTH of these have the effect of increasing the apparent warming trend of Briffa’s analysis.

    You’re apparently arguing that Steve should have mentioned BOTH the deletion AND the juicing up of the warming trend to “increase century variability.” Fine with me.

    So, MrPete, are you going to clearly state that RCS analysis was only developed and is only applied to “cool down” paleoclimate reconstructions from tree rings?

    And then are you going to show us exactly how RCS generates invalid results?

  38. This is just another lame attempt on McIntyre’s part to fabricate controversy. Sadly is acolytes are only too happy to not only go along with his spin, but to also embark on futile attempts to defend his irresponsible public musings. By changing his blog SteveM has essentially admitted that what he was trying to do earlier was wrong. He is backpedaling, again.

    The hypocrisy and double standard of the “skeptics” is truly amazing. They go around flaunting accusations of fraud, data fudging and conspiring (mostly without proof of course), yet their very own frequently embellish in those very acts that they so flagrantly accuse the scientists of.

    I see that Gary Lamphier from the Edmonton Journal has now (editorial in 2009-12-12 edition) adopted SteveM’s term “jihadist” to try and describe/offend those who are concerned about AGW– he is still feeding gullible journalists fodder. The “jihadist” analogy does not even work, SteveM and Lamphier are accusing others of embarking on a holy war through violence and murder, to become martyrs? Please SteveM acolytes, explain exactly how that analogy is meant to pertain to science and AGW. Add to that, StevM making references to “the resulting Yamal chronology with its enormous HS blade was like crack cocaine for paleoclimatologists”. Could he be a little more specific? A name or two would help—who exactly did he have in mind when he spouted that? Someone needs to push him on this.

    Poor “maligned” SteveM (as his friends at CanWest claim). Really? Seems SteveM is has an unfortunate addiction to maligning others.

    Then we have Monckton accusing student activists (some of them Jewish) of being “Hitler Youth”. What the heck is wrong with these guys? Do they not realise how totally absurd and fanatical they sound? Yet, they continually demand to be taken seriously.

    The lengths to which McIntyre will to go because of this axe that has to grind with Mann and Briffa are becoming quite ludicrous. Funny (not) how blazingly clear that is to everyone except MM and their blind following acolytes. This selective reasoning by the folks at CA , and their obvious disconnect with reality, also perhaps explains why they are so dumfounded that most people believe CA to have little, if any, credibility. They would do their cause far better by publishing, rather than in engaging in desperate and transparent attempts to fabricate controversy and spin.

  39. Add to that, StevM making references to “the resulting Yamal chronology with its enormous HS blade was like crack cocaine for paleoclimatologists”.

    And it’s like methamphetamine for McIntyre, endless energy trying to ferret out the smallest error in piles of work, endless efforts to prove fraud, etc.

  40. They would do their cause far better by publishing

    And the Team would do their cause far better by vigorously defending the integrity of peer review that’s unbiased and free from conflict of interest, so that everyone with something to contribute can actually do so.
    When there are “sides” as there are now, the peer review publication process is more a political game than science.
    But let’s leave that alone here. This thread is not about publication challenges.

    [DC: I did touch on the peer review issue, and conflict of interest, in a previous post and will again no doubt.]

  41. Has there been any blog that has compiled a list – an audit, so to speak – of Steve McIntyre’s litany of lies, misrepresentations, smear and slander?

  42. So, MrPete, are you going to clearly state that RCS analysis was only developed and is only applied to “cool down” paleoclimate reconstructions from tree rings?

    Of course not. RCS analysis is not an issue here, much as some would like it to be.

    Note that the complaint about Briffa’s results was not that he failed to use RCS. The complaint was that his results were largely warmer than the others and that was unacceptable.

    Their issue was not his methods but his results.

    RCS was (apparently) part of the solution to this “problem.”

    The other part of the solution was deletion of the recent data.

    RCS was simply a tool used to solve the “problem.”

    If you disagree, then please demonstrate that the Team had no complaint about his results, and instead were upset by his failure to use RCS.

    [DC: MrPete, you are quite confused. The record clearly shows that Folland’s criticism centred on apparent loss of low-frequency variation. But Briffa had already resolved this problem as noted in his reply and seen clearly in the figure from Briffa and Osborn 1999 in Science. See update above.]

  43. “Fraud”? That’s hilarious.

    Here, in the real world, scientific misconduct is decided by scientific institutions after an impartial review. Certainly not by McIntyre and his raging, lunatic, lynch mob – whose mind has already been predetermined, regardless of the evidence.

  44. And more from AP on McIntyre:

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gRa5F7Lv_zO0ZKaHmbQENlyV3KdgD9CHPLC00

    McIntyre, 62, of Toronto, was trained in math and economics and says he is “substantially retired” from the mineral exploration industry, which produces greenhouse gases.

    Some e-mails said McIntyre’s attempts to get original data from scientists are frivolous and meant more for harassment than doing good science. There are allegations that he would distort and misuse data given to him.

    McIntyre disagreed with how he is portrayed. “Everything that I’ve done in this, I’ve done in good faith,” he said.

    He also said he has avoided editorializing on the leaked e-mails. “Anything I say,” he said, “is liable to be piling on.”
    ====

    He calls this avoiding?

  45. Pingback: Sunday Reading @ EnviroKnow

  46. MrPete is trying rather too hard to bring the ‘cooling’ back into the email discussion…

    In the original, it differs “in large part” in exactly the opposite direction as Jones: warmer in the past, cooler in recent times.

    Jones is not “warmer” than Mann in recent times. Therefore, when Mann says…

    Keith’s series, which has similar seasonality *and* latitudinal emphasis to Phil’s series, differs in large part in exactly the opposite direction that Phil’s does from ours.

    He’s *only* discussing where Keith’s series is warmer than Mann, as was stated explicitly…

    So, if we show Keith’s series in this plot, we have to comment that “something else” is responsible for the discrepancies in this case. Perhaps Keith can help us out a bit by explaining the processing that went into the series and the potential factors that might lead to it being “warmer” than the Jones et al and Mann et al series??

    MrPete implying that “cooler” data was part of the “problem” being discussed…

    Then, note (by comparing the old and new figures) what was done to fix the “problem”: the old “warmer” data is now cooler, and the recent “cooler” data is now… gone.

    when it most clearly wasn’t…

    But that explanation certainly can’t rectify why Keith’s series, which has similar seasonality *and* latitudinal emphasis to Phil’s series, differs in large part in exactly the opposite direction that Phil’s does from ours. This is the problem we all picked up on

    So McIntyre is clearly misleading when he tries to relate the email discussion to late twentieth century cooling in Keith’s series.

    DC, you’ve not helped your case by ignoring the context.

    The “original” graph does not change the validity of DC’s criticisms of the fact McIntyre is clearly misleading.

    Your notes about century variation make it all the worse: not only did they delete the later “cool” data, they worked hard to cool down Briffa’s earlier “warm” data.

    Why is it “worse” that a reconstruction has greater low frequency variability?

  47. McIntyre the PR wordsmith…

    After telling the section authors about the stone in his shoe, Folland added that he only “wanted the truth”.

    ‘after telling’ ‘about the stone’ ‘added’

    But the current diagram with the tree ring only data somewhat contradicts the multiproxy curve and dilutes the message rather significantly. We want the truth.

    Interesting to watch the reaction of both sides. There has been soul-searching by some scientists. Despite the fact that most, possibly every, questionable action was described in the emails as being motivated by a fear of ‘skeptics’ *distorting* the science, as far as I am aware there has been no questioning from the ‘skeptics’ of their side’s PR activities. Instead they merrily plug on generating more steaming bs.

  48. Two unsubstantiated claims of “lead to” and “hasty”…

    The Briffa reconstruction was a stone in the IPCC’s shoe. This led to a hasty revision of the Briffa reconstruction (the OCt 5, 1999 version)

    • B-b-b-but McIntyre, according to the AP, has “avoided editorialising on this”….and what Steve says is the Twuth!

  49. Watchman poses a very good question. DC is probably too busy countering the seemingly endless spin and distortion. Anyone else game, or know of such a resource? That is, a litany of “Steve McIntyre’s litany of lies, misrepresentations, smear and slander”.

    Lazar good posts, thanks. Funny how those in search of the ‘truth” (i.e., MM) could not see the truth (i.e., there is NO fraud) if it hit them in the face. That is why they have to resort to distortion and manipulation and feeding the press misinformation. And alas, the press are not interested in doing their own research to verify whether or not the claims/spin made by MM are even remotely true. What the hell do they learn in journalism classes nowadays? How to be a master Googler?

    McIntyre is now in the Christmas edition of Macleans, claiming to be ‘maligned’. The ‘lovely’ title for the piece is:

    “Centre of the Storm, The gentle Canadian who has changed the climate science world”.

    OMG! I think I need to be ill…..

  50. Oh, gosh …

    Note that the complaint about Briffa’s results was not that he failed to use RCS. The complaint was that his results were largely warmer than the others and that was unacceptable.

    Not that it was “unacceptable”. Since it was an outlier, it was felt more likely to be wrong than the other reconstructions and other data available. The wording of the e-mails are very clear about this. It’s obvious they were seeking more information, wondered whether the analysis technique might be the problem, etc.

    If you feel it’s wrong for researchers to be suspicious of outliers in such circumstances and to ask questions of the researcher whose work led to the outlier, I’m afraid you’re going to find all of science “fraudulent”.

    Their issue was not his methods but his results.

    Oh dear:

    “The tree ring results may still suffer from lack of multicentury time scale variance”

    Double oh-dear:

    “Perhaps Keith can help us out a bit by explaining the processing that went into the series and the potential factors that might lead to it being “warmer” than the Jones et al and Mann et al series?? ”

    RCS was (apparently) part of the solution to this “problem.”

    Well, the loss of low-frequency variation *is* a problem, and *should* be corrected. Why the hell should known problems with particular analysis techniques, that can be resolved using another analysis technique, not be solved?

    RCS was simply a tool used to solve the “problem.”

    God forbid one uses better analysis techniques to solve a problem if the worse technique leads to results that denialists prefer.

  51. You’re apparently arguing that Steve should have mentioned BOTH the deletion AND the juicing up of the warming trend…

    Wording like this is essentially an accusation of scientific misconduct. MrPete doesn’t seem to care whether or not the application of RCS to recover the low-frequency signal is correct or not. He’s going to insist on “fraud” regardless.

  52. DC, you say I am confused, claiming “the record clearly shows that Folland’s criticism centred on apparent loss of low-frequency variation.”

    Where do you get this? His criticism begins with the contradiction between Briffa’s results, and goes on to complain about how Briffa’s results “dilute the message rather significantly.” No quibbling of any kind. These are substantial, focused, confident complaints.

    It is only at the end that Folland brings up the the possibility that Briffa’s results “may” suffer from lack of multi-century variance. Hardly the “center” of his complaint as you assert.

    But we’re mincing words.

    More substantially, you and others here keep shifting the pea under the thimble.

    The Team’s complaints with Briffa were not with his second or third graph. They were about his first graph. The one in which the entire Briffa trend was cooling, because most of it (not just two centuries’ worth) was warmer than Jones and Mann.

    But Briffa had already resolved this problem as noted in his reply and seen clearly in the figure from Briffa and Osborn 1999 in Science. See update above.

    Yes, Briffa responded by referring to his new analysis. Yet he himself didn’t believe it to be “Truth”. Why have you not quoted from the rest of that email of his, quotes that make it quite clear he did not believe his results should match the others, nor did he believe Jones’ and Mann’s results were any better. DC, bring back the part that YOU have elided from his statements, please.

    I’ll help a bit. Yes, I’m leaving parts out because it is quite long, but here are a few bits that relate, and should give readers here pause.

    …whether this represents ‘TRUTH’ however is a difficult problem. I know Mike thinks his series is the ‘best’ and he might be right – but he may also be too dismissive of other data and possibly over confident in his (or should I say his use of other’s). After all, the early ( pre-instrumental) data are much less reliable as indicators of global temperature than is apparent in modern calibrations that include them and when we don’t know the precise role of particular proxies in the earlier portions of reconstruction it remains problematic to assign genuine confidence limits at multidecadal and longer timescales. I still contend that multiple regression against the recent very trendy global mean series is potentially dangerous….
    …I do believe , that it should not be taken as read that Mike’s series (or Jone’s et al. for that matter) is THE CORRECT ONE. I prefer a Figure that shows a multitude of reconstructions (e.g similar to that in my Science piece)…

    I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data’ but in reality the situation is not quite so simple. We don’t have a lot of proxies that come right up to date and those that do (at least a significant number of tree proxies ) some unexpected changes in response that do not match the recent warming. I do not think it wise that this issue be ignored in the chapter.

    For the record, I do believe that the proxy data do show unusually warm conditions in recent decades. I am not sure that this unusual warming is so clear in the summer responsive data. I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago. I do not believe that global mean annual temperatures have simply cooled progressively over thousands of years as Mike appears to and I contend that that there is strong evidence for major changes in climate over the Holocene (not Milankovich) that require explanation and that could represent part of the current or future background variability of our climate.

    Lazar claims I’m incorrect to think they were concerned about the “cooler” data. My response:

    a) Quite clearly, what they wanted was a consistent message, with graphs that aligned.

    b) Quite clearly, Briffa disagreed but had a result that largely matched Jones and Mann.

    c) Quite clearly, that was not enough. If it were enough, they would have presented Briffa’s entire curve.

    Bottom line:
    1) Their complaints were about his original graph, which had a long term cooling trend. Cooling across the board, including 20th century. Of course their focus was not only the 20th century. Their focus was the overall trend giving a different “message.”
    2) Briffa “corrected” his work, yet argued that the 20th century was not warmer than 1000 years ago.
    3) Briffa’s (#2) message was still not in line, and so they ALSO deleted his results that were “inappropriately” dischordant with “the message.”

    Anyway, it’s clear that you agree with Folland’s desire to see a particular “message” emerge from the data. I’ll leave you to your sense about science-as-message-fodder.

    Enjoy!

    [DC: You keep repeating the same arguments, even after they have been roundly refuted. In any event, I think you have clearly passed over the line of redundancy and are adding little to the debate at this point. We’ll have to agree to disagree.]

  53. MrPete,

    The Team’s complaints with Briffa were not with his second or third graph. They were about his first graph. The one in which the entire Briffa trend was cooling

    You’re making stuff up. No, the trend isn’t “cooling”.

    Rest binned.

  54. Watchman asked:

    Has there been any blog that has compiled a list – an audit, so to speak – of Steve McIntyre’s litany of lies, misrepresentations, smear and slander?

    Yes, ther is a blog which displays all of SM’s lies, misrepresentations, smear and slander. it is called “climatefraudit”.

    I have used a secret code which has removed all the “lies, misrepresentations, smear and slander” from that blog and the only sentence left is: “Steve…..McIntyre……tells….lies…….misrepresents……..smears…….and…is…..guilty….. of….. fraud”.

  55. MrPete, what the hell does all this have to do with AGW and the radiative forcing of GHGs?!

    MrPete, you are arguing in circles about semantics, and choose to ignore the facts which have been repeatedly presented to you.

    There is going to be an IMPARTIAL, FORMAL INVESTIGATION into the emails. Yet MM and his acolytes (you) clearly overvalue their importance and their worth in this “debate”, and are so arrogant and egotistical that they then elect to do their own “investigation”. Good God, get over yourselves!

    There are several significant problems with SteveM and his acolytes embarking on their own ‘investigation’ and “auditing” (i.e., witch hunting): a) They have NO credibility, b) They are not even remotely impartial c) They have no authority to make any official rulings, so their “findings” are worthless.

    This seems to be more about SteveM’s desire to fight and to bolster his ego and self importance than get to the truth, and is most definitely not about advancing the science. Just what the hell did Mann do to McIntyre? Please tell us. Because whatever it was it must have been pretty damn serious. Or is McIntyre simply suffering from a serious inferiority complex, and is determined to show us all just how “smart” he really is? Whatever is going on, his behaviour is hardly that of a rational and impartial man who is only interesting in “advancing climate science”.

    We are very familiar with MM’s modus operandi MrPete. Find any error, no matter how small and irrelevant and then undermine the scientists’ credibility, character assassinate them, slander them and thereby create doubt in “all” climate science. If that does not work, then manufacture or fabricate a controversy. And then feed this to contacts and friends in the neocon media. Your agenda is as clear as day, you are only fooling the gullible and ignorant. How noble and ethical of you. Sad that the hypocrisy is blindingly obvious to all but you and your ilk.

    [DC: I must admit I am somewhat mystified about McIntyre’s motivation, but it may be somewhat pointless to speculate.

    I’m even more mystified that anyone takes him seriously, outside those with an obvious agenda. I hope the tide is turning as more scrutiny is applied and the yawning gap between his press statements and actual behaviour becomes more obvious. Are you getting that, Andy Revkin?]

  56. DC,

    Of course, Mr Pete’s arguments have not been ’roundly refuted’. You are just saying that in order to avoid answering them. You have set out a stall for yourself and will not entertain anything that might possibly contradict it.

  57. [DC: Sorry, cap and trade is off topic on this thread, and pretty much on this site. Try ClimateProgress.]

    I have discovered Steve McIntyre’s site and arguments quite convincing, albeit from a layperson’s perspective. I am concerned about this site and the sense of opposition. My “feeling” has been that McIntyre wants good repeatable science. I don’t sense that he has an axe to grind. Have you contacted him, posted on his site?

    [DC: No axe to grind? Now that I’ve picked myself up off the floor, let me answer your questions: Yes, been there, done that.]

  58. It’s ironic to see McIntyre and the rest castigating Mann et al for being skeptical of Briffa’s tree-ring based paleoclimate reconstructions which they’ve put so much energy into supposedly proving “trees aren’t thermometers”.

    I think it’s clear that if Briffa’s original results, showing a warmer MWP and more recent cooling, had been included then McI, MrP, and the rest would’ve spent the last several years defending those results as definitive proof that “the hockey stick is broken!”

    You just know it’s true …

  59. This is an excellent post. DC, thank you for the post and the update.

    We should also remember the context of what was going on. This was the time of Mann and Jones’ reconstructions and the IPCC was interested in including these in the upcoming report. They were trying to combine the disparate data sets into a clear message, while reconciling the tree-ring only reconstruction with the other sets.

    Cutting-edge science is exciting, but there are always uncertainties that need to wait for independent confirmation before the researchers feel entirely comfortable. But isn’t the important point that these early reconstructions held up very well? McI and crew are arguing 2001 and holding up the hockey stick as a totem, but we know that this was not the end of the story.

  60. MrPete,

    Lazar claims I’m incorrect to think they were concerned about the “cooler” data.

    No, you and McIntyre are wrong in *stating* that ‘cooling’ divergence was being discussed in the cited emails. Whether, based on other data, or from guessing, or from attempted mind-reading, you “think” that the scientists were ‘concerned’ at the time are *separate* issues that do not and cannot excuse McIntyre’s misrepresentation of the content of the emails.

  61. Of course, Mr Pete’s arguments have not been ’roundly refuted’. You are just saying that in order to avoid answering them. You have set out a stall for yourself and will not entertain anything that might possibly contradict it.

    This is the same Dave Andrews who earlier today was caught on Deltoid quoting Judith Curry …

    Except it turns out he made the quote up …

    The lies don’t get much lower, Mr. Andrews.

  62. Wouldn’t it be something if the “hockey stick” reconstruction happened even without using tree rings? Wow! Then we wouldn’t have to argue about this stuff and Steve McI. would be out of a job.

    Yes, that would really be something – same results without using tree rings. What a perfect world it would be…..

    P.S. Sorry for the dripping sarcasm. :)

  63. Thank you. And, apologies for my indiscreet references to cap and trade. It was an interesting, strange distraction upon which I thought you might have an opinion.

    I continue, however, to be distressed by your estrangement from Steve McIntyre. Why? When? Are there references?

    What can I do to further truth, understanding?

    [DC: I do have opinions, but it’s hard to discuss policy when there is so much misinformation aboiut the science that leads people to think inaction is the best course. That’s what distresses me.]

  64. lazar, sorry about that. I definitely misspoke (mis-wrote?): the trend was cooling relative to Mann and Jones.

    Not my usual careful self… actually spent the afternoon in the hospital. I’m a bit out of it for a while.

    Scott, there’s been a well-vetted study published (including heated replies, and an update) with no tree rings. It gets quite a different result. Find Loehle and McCullogh (sp?). Make sure you get the corrected version, which includes CI calculations.

    It would be GREAT to find studies with proper calculations, proper data selection, etc. Unfortunately, they’re incredibly difficult to find.

    I’m sure McIntyre would be happy to be out of this “job”. He’s retired, after all. :) … and to see the science improve to the point where this “industry” is properly self-vetting would be awesome.

    Anyway, I agree with DC, the topic’s pretty much done to death. Sounds like we agree on some things, and disagree on others.

    My new meds are kicking in so can’t focus anyway. Later.

  65. [DC: Sorry, Tom, this is the wrong thread for posting about details on PCA in MBH 1998. I think you want ClimateAudit anyway.]

  66. Mr. Pete,

    I am well aware of Loehle’s papers. I am also well aware that there are many reconstructions that do not use tree rings and yet almost all of them end up showing the infamous hockey stick. I also know that Mann et al. (2008) gets the same hockey stick without using tree rings.

    Why would you “hang your hat” on Loehle’s reconstruction?

    1) It is an extreme outlier to the other reconstructions
    2) It has well-documented issues that essentially invalidate the plot
    3) It was published in Energy & Environment which is not considered to be a serious journal by most.

    See:

    http://greenfyre.wordpress.com/2009/11/18/poptarts-450-climate-change-denier-lies/

    and scroll down to the section on Energy & Environment. Even the editor claims that E & E is not a science journal.

    If Loehle wishes to be taken seriously, he will publish in PNAS, Science, Nature, JGR, etc.

    Again, why go with the the low probability Loehle plot? Are you a gambler?

  67. MrPete,

    misspoke

    Ok.

    hospital

    Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  68. Marion Delgado

    The main reason climate audit and watts up with that have no credibility is that none of the people involved with them are scientifically trained or competent to the subjects they address.

    Indeed, look at their experts – low level mining geologist. economist. political scientist. political scientist. public relations. weatherman. and on it goes.

  69. Someone over at Deltoid was suggesting that McIntyre has ties with the Heartland Inst. Is this true? I know McKitrick has ties to the neocon “think” tank Fraser Institute., which in turn is associated with the Heartland Inst.

    What I want to know is why the media (especially in Canada) are fawning over McIntyre right now. I smell a rat. Someone is feeding the media these stories (CanWest in particular), and/or the journalists have been told to post stories. Seems said journalists have not done their homework, or have and a) Turned a blind eye to the obvious transgressions at CA, or b) Have been told to turn a blind eye and only report what they want people to think about CA. Something fishy is going on.

    This quote form an AP story featuring McIntyre just kills me:

    McIntryre is quoted as saying, “Everything that I’ve done in this, I’ve done in good faith”. I have always wanted to say that he is a liar, and now I can.

    Soliciting names of reputable and enquiring journalists to report the real story of what is going on at CA? Any suggestions folks? I will do the follow up with them if need be, or we can arrange to collaborate.

    Monbiot comes to mind (although he has been a little unpredictable lately), but anyone in Canada with some, you know what to pursue this?

    [DC: McIntyre was at the last Heartland conference, which involves apparently a $1000 honoraririum and free travel and hotel stay in NYC. Not the gravy train that some are on, but it’s not a legitimate conference either.

    It’s hard to know what PR is going on behind the scenes. But I can say that Tom Harris had a lot to do with the rise of Steve McIntyre – more about that another time.

    As for who could cover this properly in Canada … well I would think in terms of columnists as well as reporters.]

  70. Sorry about going somewhat OT, but I hope to patent a CA drinking game in which the cues are comments containing the words “Sir” and “salute” directed towards the host. Extra swig if the writer describes how McI is finally getting the notice he deserves.

  71. Ya gotta read this …

    Apparently a new idea making the denialsphere rounds is that Briffa, pissed off because his first reconstruction that “disproves global warming” was dissed, surpressed, shredded and otherwise discarded, has been simmering in anger for most of the decade and …

    and …

    went over the top and stole and released the CRU e-mails.

    He’s the whistleblower!

    Man, you can’t make this stuff up.

  72. Turns out that someone rebutted McIntyre’s “analysis” all the way back in 1984. I guess he’s just that predictable.

  73. Now, for a twist. Where do the Russians come into all this? They didn’t hack anything but they are a convenient path for disseminating the files. They have good reason to blow up COP15. The cores under question and much of Dr, Briffa’s work come from frigin Siberia! A novelist couldn’t come up with more opportunities for blackmail, coercion, spying or false leads.

    Ruh-ro. Shaggy, Velma and the gang may be onto something. Wolverines!

  74. dhogaza – I’ve noted that too.

    Denialists like to make a fuss that they want honest science; yet their methods are the logical inverse of science – they settle science by making vicious smears and distortions. As Ben Santer noted in the hacked emails (these would never get published in denialist sites):

    “McIntyre has no interest in improving our
    scientific understanding of the nature and causes of climate change. He
    has no interest in rational scientific discourse. He deals in the
    currency of threats and intimidation.”

    and

    “In my opinion, Steven McIntyre is the self-appointed Joe McCarthy of
    climate science.”

    Irrational hysteria against climate scientists? Check. Vicious smearing against climate scientists? Check. Conspiracy theories against climate scientists? Check. Intimidation and character assassination? Check. Yep – looks like the Joe McCarthy comparison is not far off.

  75. Irrational hysteria against climate scientists? Check. Vicious smearing against climate scientists? Check. Conspiracy theories against climate scientists? Check. Intimidation and character assassination?

    Death threats? Check. Ben Santer apparently got his first one in 1996.

    1996. Think about that. Then ask yourself … it is any wonder that these people despise their attackers?

  76. Steve covered this after it was pointed out, and he agreed. Basically having it mean what you say means that the IPCC was conducting new research rather than assessing existing science as per their mandate.

    [DC: McIntyre’s still got it wrong. For example, he fails to mention that Briffa had substantially changed his reconstruction in his May 1999 Science piece to address the “low frequency” issue and make his reconstruction directly comparable to other reconstructions (see second part of post above).

    Later work was simply refinement and extension of that “low frequencey retaining” standardization. And Briffa always said that his reconstruction should be truncated in 1960 when compared to other reconstructions or instrumental temperature, so this was certainly not an issue in late 1999. Again, see the Science piece. Mann likely just made a mistake in showing the post 1960 portion. (Sigh) I guess I’ll have to do another post, debunking this new McIntyre/Daily Mail version.

    Are you really taking the position that IPCC contributing authors should suspend all their own research during the two or three years that IPCC reports are created? Of course, Briffa was still well within the cutoff date.]

  77. Bill O'Slatter

    I think there is circumstantial evidence to show that “The Steve” is still associated with CGX as “strategic advisor”. CGX is a fairly stable organisation : the only board change since 2003 has been the disappearance of “The Steve”. Most of what “The Steve” does is consistent with him being a ” strategic advisor” to the oil and gas industry.

    [DC: The CGX connection is interesting and may well have something to do with McIntyre’s initial efforts. I’m not convinced it is all that relevant at present.]

  78. Doesn’t the “hide the decline” email refer to the temperature chart featured in the “WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 1999″ and not the one in the IPCC report?

    OK, they are similar diagrams, except the one for the WMO does merge the proxy and instrumental data post-1960 whereas on the IPCC version the instrumental record is plotted seperately, but it’s still a bit misleading to keep quoting it in the context of a diagram to which it is not referring.

    [DC: Of course it’s misleading. And you may have noticed that Briffa himself used the same technique of adding the instrumental record, as a separate curve, to reconstructions. This was standard practice by the time of the IPCC report. And rightly so.

    I think the merging of the two as Phil Jones did in the WMO report (only instance I know of) can be justifiably criticized. But of course that’s relatively minor and the naysayers want to discredit the IPCC. Apparently, they’ll make any bogus claim to do that.]

  79. I have having trouble here. Dissonance!

    You needn’t post this, but, if you do, you might wish to insert your own comments.

    I am a layperson. I am well educated, however, and have a good sniffer for “smart.” Credentials don’t impress me. Voting climate scientists don’t impress me. “Trust me,” pompous authoritarians don’t impress me.

    I am skeptical of government, shy away from intervention. Copenhagen frightens me, but, if it’s necessary to deal with a problem of this magnitude, ok. I would reluctantly buy that.

    But:

    The IPCC reports start over with each one, they don’t build on the previous one, telling me how much more accurate they are than ever before. Why not?

    [DC: Actually, the IPCC reports at several points do address previous ones and clearly state what has changed in the mean time. Certainly AR4 is replete with references to TAR. Off the top of my head, that includes comparison of findings with regard to paleo, satellite record and model projections. Perhaps you haven’t read it in sufficient detail though.]

    Science must be repeatable. Every paper published by every scientist in the field should have his methodology, selection of data, available for a critical evaluation by all. Phil Jones’ comment to someone to the effect “I’ve been working on this for a generation. Why should I give anything to you since you just want to punch holes in it…” is criminal! Why should the world spend trillions of bucks on something Phil Jones believes, but will not allow another to check? I believe Michael Mann has attempted the same data/methodology trick.

    [DC: The problem is that ad hoc queries by amateurs can be time consuming, especially when the queries are made in bad faith. In my opinion, there is a two way street. Researchers accessing data should adhere to a code of conduct, and lose future access if they fail to live up to it. Part of that code of conduct should be to refrain from unfounded accusations against professional scientists. There are also legal and intellectual issues to deal with of course.

    With those caveats, I do agree that data and methods (and some code) should be available. I looked at Mann et al 2008 (PNAS) and it certainly bent over backwards to make everything available. I found it very clear and was able to correct McIntyre on some of the finer points (look up “Voodoo correlations” at ClimateAudit.]

    I have read the Wegman Report summary – only. I thought it was restrained, but damning. Reviews are incestuous and they could use more math/statistics expertise and should do more inter-disciplinary cross-checks. There was more, but I remember that.
    Doesn’t seem like any clean-up’s happened.

    [DC: I have huge problems with Wegman’s report. I find it spectacularly uninformed, since the panel had no discernible expertise in climate science. I also find it reprehensible that they attempted to answer the NAS set of questions, many of which they were unqualified for (and bungled accordingly). This contributes to the highly misleading impression that the Wegman panel was somehow officially associated with National Academies of Sceince, a canard that has been repeated over and over.

    As it happens, I’ll have more to say on Wegman soon, so I’ll leave it there for now.]

    I have just read IowaHawk – damn, but he is a funny and good writer! – about making your own hockey stick. Transparency is coming, the curtain is pulling back, and, more and more it seems, there is only a silly funny, not-very-bright old man there.

    [DC: Don’t know that particular one, but the whole “hockey sticks from random red noise meme” is greatly exaggerated. Don’t have time to look up the refs although as I recall von Storch (a Mann critic in other respects) did debunk that one.

    Frankly, if I read that last comment before I would have spent less time on this. Let’s just say that your blithe dismissal of multi-proxy paleoclimatology appears to be based on ignorance of the actual science. Consider this: if McIntyre is right, why can he not get his findings published in peer-reviewed science? He has exactly one (as in uno) peer reviewed article published in a scientific journal. He seems to prefer to attack the real scientists than try to do any of his own.]

    I have been enormously impressed with Steve McIntyre. You deride him as, well, evil, unwilling to engage, etc. Could you direct me to your attempts, or engage him and let me “watch.” I find him only interested in truth, willing to admit a mistake, in all a lovely human being, albeit persistently caring about truth, unwilling to accept no.

    [DC: I don’t say he’s evil. I do say he has acted in bad faith. As to the correct attribution of dishonesty and delusion, I can not say. And he is pathetically *unwilling* to admit a mistake, except in trivial ways that reinforce his original point. The post under discussion here is a prime example. For a non-climate example search the “Banned in Sudbury” thread – hilarious.]

    This is too big, DC. Unlike RealClimate, where my attempts to get Gavin, Eric et al to engage with M&M were met with derision and ridicule and stomped to death with “You DON’T BELIEVE in global warming” I want to understand why/how you feel so disconnected from this man I see as holding a candle to truth.

    Beyond eye rolling, if there is something there, please show me.

    I guess the simplest is: show me your attempt to engage McIntrye — teach him! — and his refusal to engage. Can you do that?

    [DC: I mentioned a couple of examples above. As to documenting the other side of McIntyre you refuse to see, try these:

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/08/14/dropping-the-p-bomb/

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/10/04/climate-auditor-steve-mcintyre-yamal/

    In the end, I think you’ll just believe what you want to believe, but I thought I should give you the benefit of the doubt and answer your questions. Let’s leave it there, please.]

    • @Lady In Red: “I am a layperson. I am well educated, however, and have a good sniffer for “smart.” Credentials don’t impress me. Voting climate scientists don’t impress me. “Trust me,” pompous authoritarians don’t impress me.”

      That’s some flawed reasoning.

      I trust you apply your mistrust across the full range of “trust me” experts (“pompous authoritarians”) society relies upon. Whoops – there goes medicinal science, there goes computer science, there goes law, there goes biology, there goes physics, there goes math, they all go!

      “I have just read IowaHawk – damn, but he is a funny and good writer! – about making your own hockey stick. Transparency is coming, the curtain is pulling back, and, more and more it seems, there is only a silly funny, not-very-bright old man there.”

      False.

      The “hockey stick” is a product of different studies by different people using different methodologies (tree-ring, glacial, borehole etc). See here and here.

    • To Lady in Red: no-one treated your post at RC seriously, because they saw through the disguise straight away. Isn’t it annoying when that happens?

  80. Interesting and amusing discussion. I’m not qualified to speak to the science involved, but I had 2 thoughts for what they are worth:
    1. Dispassionate peer review produces non-politically-biased results, with no affect from competition? Wow – your area of science is quite different from any other that I’m familiar with. In most areas, biased and incompetent reviewers are all too common (if you talk to the reviewees, anyway), not to mention a healthy level of genteel back-stabbing and dirty dealings in general. I guess you guys are above all that, though.
    2. Are any of you interested in paleontology? I find this entire uproar strikingly similar to the long-running argument about dinosaur antecedants; particularly the Clemson view of dinosaurs as descended from the ‘cursorial crocs’ as opposed to pretty much everyone else’s view (now) that birds derive from coelurosaurs.
    The primary difference is that if the Clemson argument has managed to delay any “official” recognition of what is actually the case, nobody really suffers.
    On a related note, I think we should do away with flood insurance and diaster-relief programs here in the US until the science is clear enough for us to tell accurately whether, where and how many hurricanes are going to make landfall.

    [DC: The difference you mention is crucial. I can think of no other area of science where scientists in a whole field are under attack.

    Let’s be very clear about what is going on here. The attempts to discredit climate science and scientists that are occurring now outside the peer review system are for the most part politically and financially motivated. Even the peer review system itself is poisoned by undue influence and conflict of interest engendered by well hidden links between some scientists (or non-scientists posing as scientists) and industry.]

  81. This is just *such* an important post. So much spin has been put on those few words “hide the decline” out there in denialosphere. Thanks for doing this. Amazed at the outright deception contained within those little elipses.

  82. (Sigh) I guess I’ll have to do another post, debunking this new McIntyre/Daily Mail version

    The Daily Mail version is worse because the author’s own misrepresentations compound McIntyre’s. I’ve attempted a debunking here,

    http://www.mutantblog.co.uk/?p=102

    although it’s strictly a layman’s interpretation .

    [DC: It’s very clear and has the right level of detail. You forgot to link to my post, though. :) ]

  83. Ha ha, yes that was actually very remiss of me, given that your post was obviously very helpful.

    Fixed now, and thanks for your comments.

  84. Pingback: Important Refutations of Global Warming Denialism « Witness

  85. Colin Aldridge

    The second comment on this article is “the big deal”.
    1. IPCC published a front page graph which replaced the decline post 1960 in tree rings with a actual temperature graph.. That is bad science and, whatever the reason for doing it, we are entitled to be suspicious about the rest of the report
    2. The failure of thistree ring dataset to forecast post 1960 casts real doubt on this dendro series as a viable temperature proxy which is very relevant to the credibility of the Mann Hockey stick multi proxy analysis.

    This second point is not new. There is a published paper in 1999 which points out the dendro data is way out post 1960

    [DC: Both assertions are wrong.

    Nothing was “replaced” in the IPCC report. Rather, the instrumental temperature curve was added to the three proxy curves.

    As to the second point, the overwhelming weight of evidence points to an anthropogenic source for the “divergence problem”. This has already been explained many times. Not only that, but the Briffa series discussed here only went back to 1400, even after it was extended in 1999. So it could not possibly reflect on the “credibility” of the “hockey stick” in the pre-1400 “MWP” period that is most controversial.

    I’m according myself the last word on the “divergence” issue per se. Enough is enough.]

  86. “I’ve just completed Mike’s nature trick… to hide the decline”

    I think this is a minor issue, though popular. More significant is lack of review and replicability – hiding data, FOIA, etc. – which needs investigation and rectification.

    Two foundations of science are transparency and replicability.

    For proxyies, we need review and replicability to ensure that these are useful substitutes for temperature.

    On the other hand: a third grader knows the meaning of “trick” and “hide”. You’ve devoted what, 400+ words, to explaining how a simple declarative sentence does not in fact mean what it says.

    Bizarre.

    [DC: I don’t accept your assertion that the meaning is obvious, but I’ll let that go.

    The issue here is the context of the statement. McIntyre claimed falsely that the “decline” statement applied to the drafting of IPCC TAR Chapter 2. Even a third grader knows that it is deceptive to selectively quote and carefully remove the parts of the quote that flatly contradict the original contention.]

  87. Rattus Norvegicus

    Egads, he’s at it again.

    The guy is truly pathetic. He also has no shame.

    [DC:Thanks for pointing this out, but I don’t want to get into that issue here on this thread.]

  88. @ Lady in Red:

    Here is a simple way to look at the current science:

    1) An overwhelming majority of international climate experts agree about much of the tenets of AGW and are honest.

    2) An overwhelming majority of international climate experts are ignorant about their own expertise in a sudden and collective manner.

    3) They have all agreed to conspire to delude the billions of folks on the planet and just a very tiny percentage of them (and mostly oil-funded and unpublished) are trying to save us all from this mass hoax.

    Common sense and a sense of probability should lead one to the likely correct choice (#1) above.

    Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations. This is an advance since the TAR’s conclusion that “most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations”. Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns. (IPCC, 2007)

    Since 2007, no scientific body of national or international standing holds a dissenting opinion. These organizations represent the reputations of thousands of their members so thay do not make position statements lightly.

    Do you really think Steve McI changes any of this in the slightest? All he does is to waste the time of hard-working scientists while refusing to publish in peer-reviewed journals. He gets no respect because he deserves no respect.

  89. [DC: Redundant. Come back when you have a new talking point. Thanks.]

  90. “On the other hand: a third grader knows the meaning of “trick” and “hide”. ”

    Bah! Either you’ve never worked in any field which employs jargon, or you’re being deliberately obtuse. I can’t even hold a conversation with my wife without getting into trouble because we use the same words but with different meanings, and you’re going to assert with a straight face that these words mean what you say they mean, no more and no less?

  91. Anand Rajan KD

    “Since 2007, no scientific body of national or international standing holds a dissenting opinion. …”

    Your statement is off-topic to the discussion at hand but it has been allowed.

    Could it be possible that the scientific consensus you speak of, is a result of a lot of papers not seeing the light of publication due to factors other than scientific merit? And more than that when what is deemed merit, is determined by a small influential group? I am merely referring to the influence a group has by virtue of publishing pioneer studies in an emerging field, which then starts a citation chain reaction. Not even talking about the influence a group has by keeping opposing articles and viewpoints out of print because they are, by virtue of authority able to do so. 2007 is the publication year for the Jesus paper, if I am not mistaken. Is that also a part of the scientific consensus you speak of?

    I’ll be honest – my field has a lot of glorified duds which are understood to be growingly irrelevant but are cited over and over again – they are influential but not that reflective of reality.

    Do you contend that climate science has no such papers? And what if Mann’s is one such paper?

    [DC: So the problem is that worthy papers are being suppressed and the duds are being published? I see no evidence of the former. As for the latter yes there are more duds that there should be, but a high proportion of them are on the skeptic side. (Look up McLean, de Freitas and Carter 2009 for instance.)

    You’re right the prevous comments wereoff topic, so I will have the last word on this exchange concerning climate science in general.]

  92. DC, how were my comments “off topic”?

    Point #2 is exactly what Steve McI does for a living: trying to show how incompetent scientists are, esp. Mann and Briffa.

    Point #3 is exactly what most of his followers believe (and I think he may also to a point).

    Point #1 and the supporting consensus show why #2 and #3 are absurd and why Steve McI is not to be respected.

    [DC: I believe you were merely responding to another post that was off topic. So, I’m not blaming you at all. I just don’t want discussion to become an endless general discussion of the compelling evidence for AGW, although sometimes the point needs to be made anew, and I think you made it very well, actually.]

  93. Pingback: Tom Fuller’s advice for “warmists” « My view on climate change

  94. You’re doing something right, apparently you’ve ignored Tom Fuller (who wouldn’t be capable of understanding the issues surrounding the Yamal reconstruction if a russian larch slapped him upside the head).

  95. [DC: Repetition of false accusations deleted per comment policy.]

  96. fodder eater

    Hi, Folks,
    just cruising through the commentary showed some interesting discussion about Steve M. and the conspiracy theory.

    Personally, as worried father, even though I try to deflect the worry from severely impacting my child’s consciousness, its a dread for me to think of the future ( when I’m gone).

    Now it seems quite clear that a conspiracy happened , and the salient point is what was the purpose of it ( i.e family conspiring to spare granpa’s heart a probelm by springing bad news – or something more problematic as a conspiracy).

    Would I be correct to say that the purpose was to avoid the chance that my type of public might start feeling too happy ? Not be worried enough ?

    [DC: Even with the correction it’s not clear what you are getting at.]

  97. fodder eater

    Hi DC,

    What I’m trying to say is that it seems that the scientists were conspiring to do something.

    Maybe something very well intentioned, such as attempting to hold back some information so as not to present any less worrisome a “general picture” with which to formulate action plans ?


    [DC: I see a discussion among co-authors, not a conspiracy. Certainly, lead author Mann worries that any discrepancies between reconstructions should be explained to the extent possible. He was concerned that any unresolved issues in this area would be unfairly exploited by the contrarians. Those concerns were not misplaced as subsequent events showed.

    As well, it seems clear that Mann used the wrong Briffa curve in his “zero-draft”. I’m not sure how that happened – perhaps it was a placeholder, or there was poor communication in the early days. But after all it was a “zero draft”.]

  98. fodder eater

    yes, a discussion by co-authors did happen, but quite clearly there are things they do not want McK, for instance, to get a hold of…seemingly in case more undereducated people might buy into his views.
    No ?

    [DC: It sounds like you may be veering off topic here to “something” that “they” didn’t want Ross McKitrick (“McK”) to “get a hold of”. But if you are talking about Mann’s “fodder” comment, I just explained the exact context above. There was nothing withheld – quite the contrary, *more* explanation was suggested in order to prevent possible misinterpretation, deliberate or otherwise.]

  99. fodder eater

    Thanks, DC.

    I agree, more explanation was asked for there.

    But what bugs me is that if more explanation WAS added, then why not share that info with us, and share info with the skeptics too ?

    I mean, if it were Evolutionary Biologists, they might not debate, but they would offer up the relevant information on method and as much data as possible…

    ..and “let the chips fall where they may” , so to say.

    why not, in this case ?

    [DC: I think you’ll have to be more specific. Remember the emails are discussing an evolving section of a report that was published two years later. The final version, with the final published explanation of the chart, is there for all to see.]

  100. Pingback: Mojib Latif slams Daily Mail « Deep Climate

  101. Pingback: Desmogblog » The truth is out there: And they’re trying to keep it out

  102. I can’t imagine how anybody can make any kind of conclusion from hacked emails! I’ve sent some boners in my lifetime too. Stupid things that were just poorly worded. A few of them ended up getting forwarded when they were meant for “eyes only” and that made me learn my lesson, but we’ve probably all got those kinds of emails out there somewhere.

  103. Pingback: Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, part 1: In the beginning « Deep Climate

  104. Hi DC
    One more thing; could you explain your use of the term “outlier” for Briffa’s work vis a vis Mann’s appreciation of of it, i.e., can the whole of a work be an outlier , as opposed to data points within the data set being outliers ?

    Here’s a wiki bit about dealing with outliers , but again, this is about data within a sample.

    ” Deletion of outlier data is a controversial practice frowned on by many scientists and science instructors; while mathematical criteria provide an objective and quantitative method for data rejection, they do not make the practice more scientifically or methodologically sound, especially in small sets or where a normal distribution cannot be assumed.”

    Could you offer more commentary on whether the reconstruction can be considered an outlier, and if so, how to justify rejecting it ?

    thanks

    [DC: I’ll have to answer this later – hope that’s OK.]

  105. Ok, thanks DC.

    Sorry for some of the questions; lack of specificity, loaded questions, and maybe incorrect attribution of a view you don’t hold regarding the “outlier” designation or the inferred treatment accorded it.
    If you did not hold the position that Briffa’s original offering was an outlier, and thus could be disregarded, sorry.

    This in reference ( it seems to me ) to the problem presented in the zero draft, of Briffa reconstruction being warmer than the other two and with Jones opposite direction for about four centuries, then cooler in recent times. I’m not up to date on how you reason for this part
    “As well, it seems clear that Mann used the wrong Briffa curve in his “zero-draft”

    [DC: At the time of the zero-draft, Briffa had not published any “low-frequency” reconstructions, such as the *later* Science 1999 reconstruction he discussed in the email. So perhaps that reconstruction wasn’t available to Mann at the earlier time. Whatever the reason, it is clear that the Briffa curve used in the “zero-draft” was from earlier work that focused on high frequency variations (for example, matching tree-ring growth to volcanic eruptions). That first Briffa curve should therefore be considered nothing more than a placeholder.

    I don’t think the exact provenance is all that important – what is clear is that *Briffa* made it very clear that he wanted the newer Science curve, or something similar, to be used instead. And that curve already had truncation after 1960. Both of these facts contradict McIntyre’s improbable and selective interpretation of the emails in question. ]

    Apologies for the incoherent bits I’ve offered thus far, and thanks for attempting to answer them.

  106. “I don’t think the exact provenance is all that important – what is clear is that *Briffa* made it very clear that he wanted the newer Science curve, or something similar, to be used instead. And that curve already had truncation after 1960. Both of these facts contradict McIntyre’s improbable and selective interpretation of the emails in question. ”

    It does seem that you proved he was wrong to asssert that “hide the decline” was in reference to Folland’s message regarding the contrary behaviour of Briffa’s reconstruction.

    However, I would not say you’ve shown so far that the zero draft was pointed out as anything other than results unwanted…if it was just a place holder, then there would have been no
    “hornet’s nest”, for Mann, nobody would have been irked , and Briffa would not have expressed such reservations about doing it that way finally.

    Why this is important, to me, is that this zero draft is indeed what we are talking about, as to what Folland was talking about and what Mann was wrestling with…and so then the whole affair is seen in context of the emails’ and intentions expressed. Taking it to the subject of what was finally presented is one angle to look at, but so is what Mann and Briffa and Folland were actually talking about, for full apprasial of McIntyre’s posts.

    [DC: You have to separate Briffa’s general concerns (at the time he thought MWP might be warmer than Mann’s reconstruction), from the discussion about Briffa’s own contribution to the chart. That’s where McIntyre is totally off the rails – all the participants agreed that a more up-to-date low-frequency post 1400 reconstruction was needed, including Briffa himself. Obviously, Briffa’s position on MWP had no bearing on his own curve whatsoever. (And it should be pointed that Briffa refined his position, as more scientific research, including his own, began to confirm the general outlines of Mann’s groundbreaking work). ]

    Thanks for the discussion. I’ve been back and forth between sites and I think it’s an advantage to be able to read both sites, yours and McIntyre’s.

    DC, do you have a place or thread for questions to be raised individually if they are not the topic of a particular thread ?

    [DC: I’ll think about starting a new Open Thread next week (the old one has been dead for some time). ]

  107. DC said:
    “You have to separate Briffa’s general concerns (at the time he thought MWP might be warmer than Mann’s reconstruction)”

    I agree to separate them is best.

    At the time of the emails we are talking about,
    Briffa had already completed a low-frequency reconstruction, was aware of other low frequency reconstructions and how they worked – and their effect on the whole picture ).

    So what did Briffa say ?

    Not only that it was warmer in some places than Mann painted it, but :
    Briffa said:
    “For the record, I do believe that the proxy data do show unusually warm conditions in recent decades….
    not sure… so clear in the summer responsive data. I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago. I do not believe that global mean annual temperatures have simply cooled progressively over thousands of years as Mike appears to and I contend that that there is strong evidence for major changes in climate over the Holocene (not Milankovich) that require explanation and that could represent part of the current or future background variability of our climate.

    “Srong evidence” for what will be downplayed. into a nice tidy picture of long term cool followed by a big hot surge.

    DC said:
    “That’s where McIntyre is totally off the rails – all the participants agreed that a more up-to-date low-frequency post 1400 reconstruction was needed, including Briffa himself. ”

    Yes, it was NEEDED…for the purpose explained by Folland. Briffa gave in, with protest. He seems, to me, to think that substituting the low frequency reconstruction does not equal a more truthful report.

    [DC: Huh? That’s a real stretch, considering that the previously published Science curve and what Briffa submitted to TAR were very similar. Main difference is that the TAR curve goes a little further back. Moreover, his curve does show more variability than Mann’s in the period covered, so comes closer to what he believed was the “truth”. But there is not a single indication that Briffa would have preferred to leave the pre-existing curve as closer to the “truth”, despite McIntyre’s absurd insistence on his weird version of the facts. In fact, the placeholder curve’s lack of variability contradicts Briffa’s assertion that there should be more multi-decadal and centennial variability than shown in Mann’s curve. ]

    Briffa:” whether this represents ‘TRUTH’ however is a difficult problem. I know Mike thinks his series is the ‘best’ and he might be right – but he may also be too dismissive of other data and possibly over confident in his (or should I say his use of other’s). After all, the early ( pre-instrumental) data are much less reliable as indicators of global temperature than is apparent in modern calibrations that include them and when we don’t know the precise role of particular proxies in the earlier portions of reconstruction it remains problematic to assign genuine confidence limits at multidecadal and longer timescales. I still contend that multiple regression against the recent very trendy global mean series is potentially dangerous. You could calibrate the proxies to any number of seasons , regardless of their true optimum response…”

    He’s warning them. so I think he agreed that it was needed, with regret that truth was being choked.

    [DC: Essentially, Briffa was arguing for inclusion of his *corrected* curve, which as I’ve already shown was Briffa’s best guess at the “truth”. Mann might have been happy to leave it out; at the very least he wanted more explanation of why it differed from Mann or Jones. Briffa got his way on that one and his curve stayed in. On the rest, such as the early part of the reconstructions, well, he made his views known, and may have influenced the final chapter text in a more nuanced direction.

    We’re just going around in circles here. I think all the issues are out for others to see an evaluate. Let’s leave it at that, shall we? ]

  108. I’m not arguing from McIntyre.
    I’m just looking at the actual words.

    When I earlier said”McK” I meant “McI”.

    I’ve never posted there and when I want something to be made clear to me I go to enemy camps and cross reference their commentary.

    [DC: I would suggest that your interpretation is very similar to McI’s (after he amended it), although perhaps not identical. Nothing else. ]

    At this point I’m thinking for myself and working it out.
    I feel you have not shown at all that it was a place holder – quite the opposite, as they ARGUED about it.

    You need to support this with facts, DC, and showing the final result looking like the “Science” curve does not address this problem ..i.e. it was no place holder. Disgreement. Hornet’s Nest.
    Not a stretch at all, to me.

    How do you come to the conclusion that Briffa was in favour of presenting MULTICENTURY time scale variance. He was not, as far as I can see.


    [DC: All you have to do is look at every reconstruction Briffa has published from 1999 on. If you can find one reconstruction that doesn’t attempt to retain the low-frequency variance, I’d like to see it. Also, if you can find one scrap of actual evidence that Briffa wanted to keep the 0-draft old curve, please supply it. Otherwise, this discussion is at an end at my discretion. Sorry.]

    p.s. in genetics “variability” is slightly different than the proper term for this, which is “variance” .

    [DC: Variability is the more common term for what I’m referring to. I’m discussing for instance “multi-decadal variability” in temperature. “Multi-decadal variance”? Makes less sense to me, but a few do use it. ]

    thanks DC.

    [DC: You’re welcome.]

  109. unconvincing, DC.

    You’re the one making the claims and so you have the onus on you to support them fully – which you have not yet done.

    Obviously the group is hostile to anyone not “on board” with the message, and Briffa even needed to affirm his stance on recent unusual decades of warmth before protesting. something like this: FOR THE RECORD I’M WITH YOU, GUYS ! but…

    Yes, he has done as requested. Seems he’d be toast if he didn’t.

    [DC: As explained before, I don’t agree. I think you’re reading more than is there – these were private emails where people obviously felt totally free to express themselves. I see absolutely no evidence that Briffa changed his mind on anything, let alone changed under pressure. We’ll have to agree to disagree. ]

  110. Hey DC, this is just a private note.

    I’m not a fanboy of McIntyre, I’m brand new at this and I came here to find out how to falsify their claims.

    You’ve made an error in your thread, a serious error of presenting as if TAR showed you correct, but it was zero draft that mattered.

    You need to admit that cleanly if you expect to convince people like me, who before were convinced ( didn’t even want to check…like a cancer patient who is too disheartened to even look at the reports about his upcoming death…then find out there is error and cover up and group think and..politics and money and power leading the science where it “needs to go”…show more variance musltui century…and Briffa answers about the confidence
    level just not being there for that. but he complies…
    But I don’t want to believe something merely because I want to believe, i.e it would be nice if it were all not true. That’s tempting for some.

    I still think it’s real but I now can see that there has been cheating, and misrepresentation…

    [DC: Sorry, I just don’t see it that way. For the record, I think you are sincerely searching, but I think you’ve been misled. I think my version makes sense on the basis of available evidence.

    Also, I think I have a pretty good record admitting when I am wrong, but I don’t see it here. ]

    just look at Mann’s statement about nobody ever just pasting on intrumental values, and talking about corrupt oil shills sending out that info .

    Believe that Michael Mann was not familiar with
    Phil Jones WMO picto ?

    [DC: I think it likely he was not aware of it … but I think he was referring to scientific publications in any case. ]


    [DC: This part on journal publication is a little strong in language, so it must go. Shorter politer version: Even those who don’t publish may and do have valuable insights worth listening to.

    I’m on the record as saying that McIntyre has had one or two valid critiques. But that contribution is nullified by exaggeration of his own accomplishments and attempts to use a small critique to discredit an entire branch of climate science. ]

    I’m basically uneducated, but I found an error in a well cited scientific paper – I’ll say by accident, but actually by a compelling interest – then I checked with forums, then personally checked with the world’s most knowledgable expert on that subject…bingo..but I obviously can’t write papers :)
    anyhow, I make huge blunders myself..we all do !

    You did too, DC, but it’s no biggie… an error that you should rid yourself of quickly. apologize a bit for being partly wrong also. Your
    credibility will be greater

    Keep checking and try to be more open to considering that maybe there is something going wrong…

    All this because I think you provide a valuable service…the scientists are not talking straight and people need to sort it.

    [DC: We’ll have to agree to disagree on that.

    I’m also taking out the references Schmidt-Lindzen debate on “optimum” climate – decidedly off topic. It could work in an open thread, coming soon in tryout mode.]

  111. p.s Good work on the Wegman report business.
    thanks. It’s a jungle.

  112. why not check for validity of Jones’ statement that WMO insisted that there be only three lines and no distinction between proxy and instrumental ?

    think, guy, and help find what really happened here.

    How does a group like WMO decide for Jones how the facts are to be shown.. 3 clean lines please, no distinctions to be made ?

    You buy that, DC ?

    You’re not curious about that ? I’m not that curious as to if McIntyre gets paid a million by Exxon. I don’t care if he’s unethical or not. He has been finding errors.
    that’s good, not bad. always good to find errors.

    Jones, yes, I do wonder how one justifies that bit of work….”WMO told me to do it” ?

    [DC: I accept Jones’s explanation as to what happened with WMO. ]

  113. I really won’t feel offended by all these comments being moderated out, I just needed to rant in frustration.

    You’re doing good at your angle.so thanks. you’ve helped me refocus a bit and see the Wegman thing looming backstage too.
    a jungle.

    I’ll leave you alone now :) and thanks very much for indulging, putting up with me.

  114. As thanks to you I’m adding this note before I’m gone to help explain the use of “variance” in genetics… variability not being variation either, I’d say…too much for my brains :)

    I suppose traditional since RA Fisher…
    DC, RA Fisher argued against tobacco/cancer link…go figure, eh ? that’s why this whole thing got me over the top…

    thanks for removing all my bletherings.

    wiki RA Fisher

    “In addition to “analysis of variance”, Fisher invented the technique of maximum likelihood and originated the concepts of sufficiency, ancillarity, Fisher’s linear discriminator and Fisher information. His 1924 article “On a distribution yielding the error functions of several well known statistics” presented Karl Pearson’s chi-squared and Student’s t in the same framework as the Gaussian distribution, and his own “analysis of variance” distribution z (more commonly used today in the form of the F distribution). These contributions easily made him a major figure in 20th century statistics.

    In defending the use of the z distribution when the data were not Gaussian, Fisher introduced the “randomization test”. According to biographers Yates and Mather, “Fisher introduced the randomization test”

    [DC: I’ve removed some, but not all. This has been somewhat exhausting, though. ]

  115. DC, dammit, you’re right. after a couple hours sleep I realized that I emotionally need the science to be wrong so badly that it made that thinking too attractive.

    Once it started hitting me about stats word “variance”…
    I linked it in my mind to Fisher father of stats denying tobacco/cancer link and to me, reinforced how susceptible we are to statistics and then Folland’s comments were what seemed the link to …whatever.

    sorry.

  116. All you have to do is look at every reconstruction Briffa has published from 1999 on. If you can find one reconstruction that doesn’t attempt to retain the low-frequency variance

    That’s the whole point of using RCS …

  117. You’re not curious about that ? I’m not that curious as to if McIntyre gets paid a million by Exxon. I don’t care if he’s unethical or not. He has been finding errors. that’s good, not bad. always good to find errors.

    It’s also good to admit when you’re wrong about finding an error, something McI has never done AFAIK.

    It’s also good, if you’re setting yourself to be an “objective auditor of the science”, that you audit cr*p denialist papers as well as those which give results you don’t like.

    Because when you don’t, you are obviously not objective. Which McI, despite all his whiny claims to the contrary, is not.

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