Category Archives: Climate change “skeptics”

Wegman (and Rapp) on tree rings: A divergence problem (part 1)


Edward Wegman


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.

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The Times: Climate e-mail hackers “aimed to maximise harm to Copenhagen summit”

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!

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In the beginning: Friends of Science, Talisman Energy and the de Freitas brothers

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.

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Briffa teaches, but will McIntyre ever learn?

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

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

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

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

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All those funny names look the same to Andrew Bolt

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

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

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Let the backpedalling begin

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

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

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

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

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

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