There has been renewed interest in the Wegman Report, which purported to critique the work of paleoclimatolgists Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley and Malcolm Hughes and their controversial “hockey stick” millennial temperature reconstruction.
Today we’ll take a closer look at Wegman et al’s key passage on tree-ring proxies and do a detailed side-by-side comparison with its apparent main antecedent, chapter section 10.2 in Raymond Bradley’s classic Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary.
That comparison leaves no doubt that Wegman et al’s explication was substantially derived from that of Bradley, although the relevant attribution appears to be missing. There are, however, several divergences of note, also in the main unattributed, and some of Wegman’s paraphrasing introduces errors of analysis.
But the real shocker comes in two key passages in Wegman et al, which state unsubstantiated findings in flagrant contradiction with those of Bradley, apparently in order to denigrate the value of tree-ring derived temperature reconstructions.
According to TimesOnline, investigators of the CRU email theft (dubbed SwiftHack or Climategate) have concluded that the release of the stolen material was held back for weeks in order to cause maximum damage to the upcoming Copenhagen conference.
This development, along with new reports of breakins and other attacks at the University of Victoria, should finally lay to rest the baseless rumour that the hacked email archive was assembled at CRU as part of a contingent FOI response and released by an inside whistleblower, a canard that was started by – wait for it – none other than Steve McIntyre himself!
Here is the first of an occasional series that will look back at the origins of various major players among Canada’s climate contrarians. And, quite appropriately, the honour of inauguration belongs to none other than our old, um, acquaintances, Friends of Science.
For the first time, we can confirm both financial and logistical support from an Albertan oil company, Talisman Energy, along with circumstantial evidence of the early involvement of a second, Imperial Oil (ExxonMobil’s Canadian subsidiary). We’ll also look at the key roles played by the de Freitas brothers, geologist Tim and climate skeptic Chris. And the story leads right to the heart of a key controversy reignited by the stolen CRU emails, namely the ongoing perversion of the scientific peer review system by “skeptic” scientists.
Recently we’ve discussed several aspects of the raging controversy around climate blogger Steve McIntyre and dendrochronologist Keith Briffa and the supposed destruction (once again) of the “hockey stick” temperature graph.
A few commentators have suggested that more attention should be paid to McIntyre’s actual “analysis” of Briffa’s Yamal tree-ring chronology, and less to his outrageous accusations (not to mention all the inconvenient evidence that those accusations were completely without foundation).
Now that Keith Briffa has delivered his promised detailed response in an article co-written with Thomas Melvin, it is a good time to do just that. Here, then, is a review of the various problems I and others have pointed out in comments here and elsewhere over the past while, along with highlights from Briffa’s response.
First, here is the abstract of Briffa’s article .
Andrew Bolt is Australia’s answer to Canada’s Lorne Gunter: another climate contrarian and general all round right-wingnut. Like most of his ilk, Bolt is a rabid critic of government immigration policy and says Australia needs to “rethink immigration intakes”. And Andrew’s thinking, if that’s the right word, is that it would “make sense to choose those most likely to fit in”, which apparently do not include Muslims and other “people from war-torn, tribal and backward countries”. His critics reasonably point to what appears to be a “blatant racist hypocrisy”.
Well, I’m sure that’s the major part of it. But it’s also got to be the funny names.
The latest battle over the “hockey stick” has taken quite a turn, one that may finally lay to rest all the absurd claims of its demise made by contrarians (not to mention apparently libelous accusations of scientific malfeasance). In previous posts, we discussed climate blogger Steve McIntyre’s scurrilous accusations of “cherrypicking” against UK dendrochronolgist Keith Briffa, and summarized a a quick technical critique of McIntyre’s work by a dendrchronologist known as Delayed Oscillator.
Now comes new evidence that McIntyre’s accusations were completely false. And not only that, one of the Russian researchers who actually control the raw tree-ring data that McIntyre was mistakenly hounding Briffa for, has apparently confirmed that utilization of a newer more complete Yamal data set has no substantial effect on Briffa’s Yamal temperature reconstruction.
By now, anyone who follows the climate blog wars knows that a new battle is underway over the standard temperature reconstruction popularly known as the “hockey stick”. Although it has been declared thoroughly shattered many times, apparently it must be attacked again and again.
Over the last few days, self-appointed climate “auditor” Steve McIntyre has made several insinuations concerning the work of UK dendro-climatologist Keith Briffa, focusing on the recently released Yamal series of tree-ring measurements. Along the way, he has once again rehashed an oft-repeated accusation that “cherry-picking” of proxy sites is endemic in the paleo-climatological community that he disdainfully calls the “Hockey Team”. But this time, McIntyre has outdone himself, comparing the repeated use of the Yamal tree-ring chronology in paleoclimatology studies to a “crack cocaine” addiction.
The blogosphere has been atwitter over the latest supposed defection of a climate scientist to the dark side. Once again, the contrarians have been egged on by a well-timed fabrication from Marc Morano of Climate Depot, the anti-science propaganda arm of CFACT (Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow). And once again, Canadian columnist Lorne Gunter has led the charge of the lightweight brigade, with yet another error-ridden and cretinous diatribe against climate science.
[Update, Oct. 6: Read the post and then see the video. Lorne Gunter stars in Climate Denial Crock of the Week: Birth of a Crock. Peter Sinclair delivers another boffo smash.]
Even well-meaning and thoughtful commentators and reporters have misinterpreted the recent comments and work of Mojib Latif, the Kiel University climate scientist whose remarks at a session on prediction at the World Climate Conference in Geneva set off the latest furor. Somehow those writers have managed to overlook the fact that Latif, despite projecting less near-term warming than most climate modellers, is still looking for warming close to 0.2 deg. C in the coming decade.
But those gaffes are nothing compared to the horrendous distortions of the initial confused accounts now circulating throughout the contrarian echo chamber, where literally hundreds of websites and blogs have echoed Morano’s and Gunter’s gross misrepresentations.
It’s high time to correct the record, which I will endeavour to do with the kind assistance of Mojib Latif himself, who has been most generous in answering my queries (our complete exchange can be found here).
Yesterday, I discussed the latest essay on climate science and politics from New York Times environmental reporter Andrew Revkin (along wirth Joe Romm’s critique). There I had a suggestion for Revkin and the New York Times:
Or come to that, how about looking at the farce playing out in Washington – one in which Patrick Michaels happened to have played a large, if unwitting, role – namely the so-called suppression of the EPA’s Alan Carlin.
Presto! Look at the gift Google Alert delivered scant hours later: a thorough re-examination of the Carlin saga by the NYT’s John Broder. According to Broder, internal EPA documents and other material “paint a more complicated picture” and cast doubt on Republican claims that, as Broder puts it, Carlin was “muzzled because he did not toe the liberal line”.
For the first time, a mainstream reporter has referred to the numerous problems in Carlin’s report, including dubious sources and the lifting of material verbatim. And, for the first time, Carlin has had to answer questions about these problems.
In some ways it’s been the “same old, same old” this week in the blogosphere. First, there was another confused piece on climate change from New York Times environmental reporter Andrew Revkin, this time postulating that “stable temperatures” and “a recent spate of relatively cool years” might blunt momentum for an international agreement on curbing greenhouse gas emissions. That was followed in short order by a scathing critique from Joe Romm at Climate Progress, excoriating Revkin’s “litany of misinformation and confusion” as something that might be expected from disinformation specialist Marc Morano of Climate Depot.
But this time it was different. For a closer examination shows that Revkin has corrected two of the most egregious errors in his article, presumably after reading Romm’s convincing and detailed deconstruction. So perhaps there is still hope for Revkin, at least someday. Unfortunately, major misinterpretations of climate science still remain in Revkin’s piece, and even worse, he gives credence to the views one of the most reprehensible fossil fuel industry apologists around, Patrick Michaels. All of that virtually ensures that Revkin’s latest essay will be a staple of contrarian disinformation for months to come.
[Update, Sept. 26: It’s still not clear whether Revkin’s corrections made it into the print edition of the Times. The article apparently ran on September 23 on page A6, a day or so after it appeared online.]