Ross McKitrick sums up the Yamal tree ring affair in the Financial Post

For those who don’t know, Ross McKitrick of the University of Guelph co-authored the first paper with Steve McIntyre debunking Michael Mann’s first Hockey Stick paper, MBH98. Ross wrote this essay in today’s Financial Post, excerpts are below. Please visit the story in that context here and patronize their advertisers. – Anthony

Flawed climate data

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

Ross McKitrick,  Financial Post

Friday, October 2, 2009

Beginning in 2003, I worked with Stephen McIntyre to replicate a famous result in paleoclimatology known as the Hockey Stick graph. Developed by a U.S. climatologist named Michael Mann, it was a statistical compilation of tree ring data supposedly proving that air temperatures had been stable for 900 years, then soared off the charts in the 20th century. Prior to the publication of the Hockey Stick, scientists had held that the medieval-era was warmer than the present, making the scale of 20th century global warming seem relatively unimportant. The dramatic revision to this view occasioned by the Hockey Stick’s publication made it the poster child of the global warming movement. It was featured prominently in a 2001 report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as government websites and countless review reports.

Steve and I showed that the mathematics behind the Mann Hockey Stick were badly flawed, such that its shape was determined by suspect bristlecone tree ring data. Controversies quickly piled up: Two expert panels involving the U.S. National Academy of Sciences were asked to investigate, the U.S. Congress held a hearing, and the media followed the story around the world.

The expert reports upheld all of our criticisms of the Mann Hockey Stick, both of the mathematics and of its reliance on flawed bristlecone pine data.YAMAL.eps

Most of the proxy data does not show anything unusual about the 20th century. But two data series have reappeared over and over that do have a hockey stick shape. One was the flawed bristlecone data that the National Academy of Sciences panel said should not be used, so the studies using it can be set aside. The second was a tree ring curve from the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia, compiled by UK scientist Keith Briffa.

But an even more disquieting discovery soon came to light. Steve searched a paleoclimate data archive to see if there were other tree ring cores from at or near the Yamal site that could have been used to increase the sample size. He quickly found a large set of 34 up-to-date core samples, taken from living trees in Yamal by none other than Schweingruber himself!Had these been added to Briffa’s small group the 20th century would simply be flat. It would appear completely unexceptional compared to the rest of the millennium.

Combining data from different samples would not have been an unusual step. Briffa added data from another Schweingruber site to a different composite, from the Taimyr Peninsula. The additional data were gathered more than 400 km away from the primary site. And in that case the primary site had three or four times as many cores to begin with as the Yamal site. Why did he not fill out the Yamal data with the readily-available data from his own coauthor? Why did Briffa seek out additional data for the already well-represented Taimyr site and not for the inadequate Yamal site?

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

Read the complete story at the Financial Post

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226 Responses to Ross McKitrick sums up the Yamal tree ring affair in the Financial Post

  1. beng says:

    Ross looks alittle like an academic version of Fred Couples, the Amer pro golfer.

  2. Henry chance says:

    So Briffa extrapolates a single tree as a thermometer. We don’t use a real single thermometer as relevant but we should use a single tree as one? A single goal won’t win the Stanley Cup in real Hockey either.

  3. mrpkw says:

    Outstanding follow up !!!

  4. James F. Evans says:

    You know this is a big deal by the amount of AGW cheerleaders coming on here to defend Briffa (this is the most I’ve personally seen on any one comment thread).

    Apparently, Briffa has been at the center of an influential group of AGW scientists.

    It must be felt that if Briffa is found guilty of “cooking the books” in the court of public opinion, the whole “science” of climate modelling will be thrown into doubt.

    Yes, “holding up the scoundrel” in the course of conversation is a good “show stopper”.

  5. Antonio San says:

    Should have been published under “science”.

  6. Steve in SC says:

    He is being very polite and kind.
    The simple fact of the matter is that the data was selected to support the preconceived conclusions.

  7. Don S. says:

    This scientific reticence will be the death of us all. Real people will starve, there will be wars, the economic losses will be unimaginable. If these allegations are true, AGW is a proven fraud. When will I read that in the paper?

  8. Håkan B says:

    Henry chance (07:17:10)

    “A single goal won’t win the Stanley Cup in real Hockey either.”

    That really depends on when you get to it!

  9. Doug in Seattle says:

    As a lead author of the IPCC chapter on paleoclimate, Briffa’s behavior and apparent lack of scientific rigor are especially troublesome.

    I am heartened to see this scandal getting wider reporting, but there is still a long haul to go before this kind of pseudoscience gets the full public airing it requires.

  10. James F. Evans says:

    Steve in SC (07:30:28) :

    “He [the author of the article in this post] is being very polite and kind.
    The simple fact of the matter is that the data was selected to support the preconceived conclusions.”

    Steve is being very polite and kind.

    Briffa got caught [snip].

    And this [snip] was used over and over as a supporting foundation by other scientists to justify their own papers concluding AGW is real.

    A “house of cards” has had its “ace of spades” knocked out.

    How long before the whole house of cards comes tumbling down?

  11. tallbloke says:

    Excellent and clearly written article by Ross. I don’t know how influential the financial post website is, but it seems the word is starting to spread out of the blogosphere as to how we’ve all been gamed by The Team.

    Interesting times ahead, if not weather-wise.

  12. Ed Reid says:

    “What makes this day different from any other day?”

    Hopefully, this too shall pass.

  13. Aron says:

    What does Monbiot’s face look like right now? It’s bad enough at other times he looks like his raging buddies Galloway, Chavez and Saddam (now a sex slave for Satan)

  14. Douglas Hoyt says:

    Also highly relevant is this post:

    http://www.c3headlines.com/2009/10/the-hockey-stick-global-warming-scandal-did-the-ipcc-encourage-scientific-fraud-did-the-ipcc-ignore-more-comprehensive-rese.html

    It shows that 7 proxies around Yamal do not have hockey stick shapes and the 20th century is well within historic variability.

  15. tarpon says:

    Science goes bad when data is massaged to support a preconceived conclusion.

    Great article. It’s good to have things summed up so they can be passed on to a wider community.

  16. Pearland Aggie says:

    Of course, the problem is that the flawed policies based on this data are already in motion despite that data being discredited. Stopping the policy implementation and future implications will be much more difficult than revealing the scientific malfeasance.

  17. BernieZ says:

    When are we going to realize that Climate Science is NOT a science but a bunch of folks playing with expensive equipment and then making a guess? “Climate Studies” (as it should be called) needs to go back to looking at the data and then trying to explain what they found BEFORE they adjust the data to fit their pre or should I say ill conceived theories.

  18. Don B says:

    Here is a general invitation by Roger Pielke, Jr. to educate Ben on this Yamal revelation:
    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/search?q=

  19. Gordon Ford says:

    “Steve in SC (07:30:28) :

    “He [the author of the article in this post, (Ross Mckitrik)] is being very polite and kind.
    The simple fact of the matter is that the data was selected to support the preconceived conclusions.”

    Steve is being very polite and kind.”

    Canadians are always very polite and kind (Except on a hockey rink)

    Off Topic – here is another article from that rabidly conservative news paper.

    http://www.financialpost.com/news-sectors/energy/story.html?id=2052645

    It will likely get filed under “health care debate”

    PS – If the ruth were known Canadian Conservatives are probably to the left of American Democrats!

  20. Bill Illis says:

    If temperatures in Yamal haven’t really changed much in the 20th Century, how can one use (any select group of) tree-rings from Yamal to support reconstructions showing recent warming.

    The lack of logical reasoning/basic common sense in these cases is, itself, rather bewildering, even before one gets into the statistics of manufacturing hockey sticks.

    http://www.birthplaceofhockey.com/images/picorigin/mmsticks.jpg

  21. Robinson says:

    Excellent and clearly written article by Ross. I don’t know how influential the financial post website is, but it seems the word is starting to spread out of the blogosphere as to how we’ve all been gamed by The Team.

    Try spreading the word yourself. Find an articulate summary (such as that written by McIntrick) and send it to your MP/Senator/Congressman/representative. I’ve sent one to my local MP and one to David Cameron @ conservative home (it won’t be read by him for sure, but it will get at least one extra eyeball – probably a researcher). I’m not bothering to send one to Labour home. They have a Minister for Climate Change for God’s sake. To me that sounds exactly like, “Minister for tectonic plate movement”. I fully expect a change in their policy to be about as speedy as tectonic plate movement come to think of it.

  22. Wayne Delbeke says:

    This may have been covered somewhere, but I am curious. If you subtract 800 from 2000 you get 1200 – so if CO2 increases follow warming by 500 to 800 years, is it possible that the Medieval Warming from 800 to 1500 is in part responsible for the increase in CO2 we see today – perhaps being released from the deep ocean? Just a question I have not seen addressed.

  23. TerryBixler says:

    Science has not stopped our Senate from acting foolishly. They appear to be bent on destroying the U.S. economy with more Cap and Tax based on Briffa and his tree.

  24. Jason S says:

    Real Climate’s response to the claim that we have been waiting 10 years from Briffa’s data:

    “[Response: The russ035w data has been 'lying around' on the web since 2001 (at least) judging from the file stamps. And there have not been '10 years' of requests. That's just crap. - gavin]”

    What say WUWT? Sorry if you’ve already answered.

  25. Alexej Buergin says:

    I wonder what Prof. Fritz Hans Schweingruber thinks of the use of his “Schweingruber series” ?

  26. George E. Smith says:

    As if the validity of tree rings as temperature proxies wasn’t suspect enough; not only because of the separation of variables problem, but also the sampling statistics, particularly with core bored trees; you would think that one would want to gather as much available data from any site to show some sort of continuous history of that site.

    After all, the temperature anomaly graphs from actual ground measurement stations, are each important for their own historical integrity; but there is less expectation that two different sites would fit together well, although they may both follow some major trend events.

    So to me; being an ignoramus when it comes to tree rings, the integrity of the Yamal site ring data is served batter by using ALL the available trees; rather than ANY subsample of those trees, wedded with trees from some different site.

    So although I can’t appreciate the fine points in Steve’s analysis; I can certainly see why why both Steve and Ross, would yell “tilt” at the way this data was originally handled.

    No point in accusing Briffa of malfeasance; that is out on the limb as I see it; but it seems to me that he could have done a more scientifically clean job at the outset.

    Certainly keeping the data secret for so many years doesn’t help his case.

    On another matter, I see the JAXA ice graph for 2009 did finally cross back below the 2005 line; but then on looking at the DMI temperature graph, one might surmise that that dramatic temperature uptick temporarily slowed the ice expansion to allow the 2005 ice to get ahead; but now that the temperature has resumed its downward plunge, the ice curve seems to have steepened back up again.

    I’m not going to propose any definitive mathematical relationship between those two graphs; but it is nice to see that they are not inconsistent with each other; and 2009 appears to be about to give us some perfectly boring normal ice expansion still heading in the direction of retreating from the 2007 low.

    I have noticed the tendency of some of the regular AGW supporters who apparently work institutionally in this climate field, and post on WUWT, to belittle the comments of interested bystanders who are not active institutional researchers living off the taxpayer’s backs. Well we are simply not qualified to understand or be critical of the long established experts in the field.

    The problem for those AGW supporters, is that we bystanders do no (at least I don’t) take our positions standing alone out in the park on a soap box peddling our wares.

    We get our inputs from all the protagonists who are in fact equally expert researchers with long careers in this field; and on all sides of the issues.

    So those who would nag at us here on WUWT, should stop worrying about what WE are saying or suggesting about climate matters; and start concerning themselves with the strong dissenting views of well recognized experts whose credentials are at least the equal of anybody the AGW supporters want to put up on a pedestal.

    And the numbers of such expert workers in the field who are abandoning the AGW story in droves; is what they should concern themselves with. That is where WE bystanders are getting our clues; that the long held views that were all resolved and accepted as gospel 50 years ago; are crumbling under the revelations of modern research tools, that don’t support the religion that is still being taught in schools.

    So I plan to continue to dig into the pile of rubble whenever my own credentials are suitable to the task; I’m not easily put off by the claims of those elites, who would say I should learn their witchcraft methodology first, before proposing alternative views.

    George

  27. J.Hansford says:

    Excellent explanation by Ross McKitrick….. Keith Briffa has pretty much disgraced himself…..

    In light of what we now know, due to Steve McIntyre’s persistence and diligence, there can be little denying that Briffa was knowingly hiding the data because he knew that it would show his deliberate manipulation.

    This paragraph is just so damning to Briffa….. “But an even more disquieting discovery soon came to light. Steve searched a paleoclimate data archive to see if there were other tree ring cores from at or near the Yamal site that could have been used to increase the sample size. He quickly found a large set of 34 up-to-date core samples, taken from living trees in Yamal by none other than Schweingruber himself!Had these been added to Briffa’s small group the 20th century would simply be flat. It would appear completely unexceptional compared to the rest of the millennium.”

  28. Michael says:

    OT
    Another big win. The planets must be aligning and the gods smiling down on us.
    Chicago was eliminated from the Olympics.
    It would have elevated Obama to god like status if they had gotten the games, but now he is confirmed to be mortal.

  29. elmer says:

    I’m still confused ( I’m not a scientist) maybe someone can answer this.

    Concerning the Hockey Stick Chart.

    Is it tree ring data before 1850 and weather station data after?

  30. JohnM says:

    George E. Smith (08:40:20) :¨
    “I should learn their witchcraft methodology first, before proposing alternative views”
    All important breakthroughs in science, art, etc. were made by outsiders.
    A few examples: Famous architect Le Corbousier was the clean boy of an architec´s office, Thomas Alva Edison didn´t finish first grade school..etc,etc.
    Both kind of people are needed, the discoverers and the followers, but not the liars.

  31. Jakers says:

    He doesn’t really say much here though, does he? What about the analysis methods? Suitability? Anything scientific at all?

  32. Jakers says:

    Well said George!
    Down with the establishment! We are all experts now!

  33. Jacob T says:

    I love this website — I am not a scientist by any measure, but am a very concerned small businessman who never has bought into the AGW spin — Can you all help me out with an off – topic question — so I’m watching the news this AM, and there is Sigourney Weaver from Alien fame, and she is talking very authoritatively about the ocean absorbing CO2 and forming carbonic acid — so therefore shellfish are not reproducing, plankton are smaller and the coral reefs are shrinking — my bs antenna went up right away — so my question is, is co2 creating these type of terrible sounding conditions in the oceans ??

  34. AEGeneral says:

    Best article I’ve read yet. I’m passing this one on to some folks in my address book because it’s very easy to understand.

  35. wws says:

    This coming on the same day as Obama jumped the shark in Copenhagen is just too delicious to be believed!

  36. DennisA says:

    Check out the aims and objectives of British climate science in this DEFRA/Hadley contract.

    http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Document.aspx?Document=GA01012_6499_FRP.doc

  37. Joel Shore says:

    It seems to me that Ross McKitrick’s reading of the National Academy of Sciences report on temperature reconstructions ( http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11676 ) is somewhat selective. For example, in the summary they say:

    The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes both additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and pronounced changes in a variety of local proxy indicators, such as melting on ice caps and the retreat of glaciers around the world, which in many cases appear to be unprecedented during at least the last 2,000 years. Not all individual proxy records indicate that the recent warmth is unprecedented, although a larger fraction of geographically diverse sites experienced exceptional warmth during the late 20th century than during any other extended period from A.D. 900 onward.

    Based on the analyses presented in the original papers by Mann et al. and this newer supporting evidence, the committee finds it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium. The substantial uncertainties currently present in the quantitative assessment of large-scale surface temperature changes prior to about A.D. 1600 lower our confidence in this conclusion compared to the high level of confidence we place in the Little Ice Age cooling and 20th century warming.

    This statement would seem to contradict McKitrick’s assertion that “Most of the proxy data does not show anything unusual about the 20th century.”

    They also make the following very important point:

    Surface temperature reconstructions for periods prior to the industrial era are only one of multiple lines of evidence supporting the conclusion that climatic warming is occurring in response to human activities, and they are not the primary evidence.

    I am also confused by McKitrick’s statement that “two expert panels involving the U.S. National Academy of Sciences were asked to investigate”. If he is referring to the Wegman panel as the other one (which was convened by the Republican majority on the Congressional Committee), I am not sure how it involves the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Wegman was “past chair of the National Research Council’s Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics” but I don’t think his role on the the panel that the Republicans appointed was in any way officially associated with the NAS.

  38. Antonio San says:

    joshv on the AirVent blog found this one:

    Gavin quoted HALF of a sentence, in support of his claim that McIntyre is accusing Briffa of intentional cherry picking.

    The half he quoted:
    “In my opinion, the uniformly high age of the CRU12 relative to the Schweingruber population is suggestive of selection” (McIntyre)

    The full sentence:
    “In my opinion, the uniformly high age of the CRU12 relative to the Schweingruber population is suggestive of selection – in this respect, perhaps and even probably by the Russians”

  39. Brent Matich says:

    Good article in layman’s terms for all to understand. All this potential waste of trillions of dollars across the globe for TWELVE TREES .

    Brent in Calgary

  40. tallbloke says:

    Robinson (08:28:01) :

    Excellent and clearly written article by Ross. I don’t know how influential the financial post website is, but it seems the word is starting to spread out of the blogosphere as to how we’ve all been gamed by The Team.

    Try spreading the word yourself. Find an articulate summary (such as that written by McIntrick)

    I do, I do. I specialize in being a bigmouth about this stuff.

    By the way, who is Mcintrick? The bastard love child of Steve and Ross? :-)

  41. Robinson says:

    “[Response: The russ035w data has been 'lying around' on the web since 2001 (at least) judging from the file stamps. And there have not been '10 years' of requests. That's just crap. - gavin]”

    The file stamp is more than likely date of creation, rather than date of copy to wherever it was copied to. In any case, I suppose you could put some files up on an obscure server somewhere for all to download, only never telling anyone where they were ;) In both cases you’re likely to be thwarted.

  42. Doug in Seattle says:

    Gordon Ford (08:20:51) :

    PS – If the (t)ruth were known Canadian Conservatives are probably to the left of American Democrats!

    As someone who has lived in both countries I can confirm your hypothesis.

    For instance you will not find many Canadians, even true blue Conservative, who want to revert to a private heath care system.

    On the other hand Steve McIntyre at CA has made it a point over the years to remind his more conservative readers that he is fact a liberal.

    This latter fact is unknown to most AGW supporters (and foes too) here in the US.

    While I usually chuckle when I read some troll drool that links McIntyre with the far right, this attribution of skepticism to the right is way off base. I know of several people personally who are “red banner” lefties that don’t buy the AGW line but support it for political reasons. I even know a few who are vocally skeptical and don’t support it.

  43. bushy says:

    Sad but true. The truth will only out when it is too late. The consensus rules even though it is not a consensus at all. Keep fighting for the truth. It will in any event manifest itself in the coming years but maybe not soon enough to save us all from the debilitating and potentially disastrous effects on our society.

  44. Ray says:

    Please help me clarify this… how many “old” trees are on Earth? Why such little sampling in such a remote area? If climate is global, could I just use the maple tree that is in my backyard (which must be 300-400 years old – it’s huge) and get my very own climate curve? On that note, maybe I would not trust that curve after all since every time it is a hot and dry summer (Fraser Valley, BC) it looses its bark.

  45. Don Keiller says:

    See my email to Briffa. I’m not holding my breath…

    Dear Professor Briffa, my apologies for contacting you directly, particularly since I hear that you are unwell.
    However the recent release of tree ring data by CRU has prompted much discussion and indeed disquiet about the methodology and conclusions of a number of key papers by you and co-workers.

    As an environmental plant physiologist, I have followed the long debate starting with Mann et al (1998) and through to Kaufman et al (2009).
    As time has progressed I have found myself more concerned with the whole scientific basis of dendroclimatology. In particular;
    1) The appropriateness of the statistical analyses employed
    2) The reliance on the same small datasets in these multiple studies
    3) The concept of “teleconnection” by which certain trees respond to the “Global Temperature Field”, rather than local climate
    4) The assumption that tree ring width and density are related to temperature in a linear manner.

    Whilst I would not describe myself as an expert statistician, I do use inferential statistics routinely for both research and teaching and find difficulty in understanding the statistical rationale in these papers.

    As a plant physiologist I can say without hesitation that points 3 and 4 do not agree with the accepted science.

    There is a saying that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”.

    Given the scientific, political and economic importance of these papers, further detailed explanation is urgently required.

    Yours sincerely,
    Dr. Don Keiller.

  46. Supercritical says:

    Melanie Phillips in the ‘Spectator’ is saying that there is a problem with Science’s peer group process itself, which is a really huge issue.

    IMO, it’s clearly a post-Enlightenment world now, and Science (at least as practiced by university staff for a living) is apparently slipping back into that region occupied by university theologists in pre-Enlightenment times.

    To paraphrase an Enlightenment Joke used against those theologists and their ‘studies’ at that time; “How many angels can dance on the butt of a tree?”

  47. PR Guy says:

    RC’s post shows up in the Google News feed along side Ross’s article. Yet another indicator that RC has some serious PR flacks behind the scenes (presumably Fenton Communications) who know how to get a simple blog post to show up as a news story of equal weight to a Financial Post article.

    Those of you who get frustrated by RC are under the mistaken impression that its a science blog. In fact, it’s a professional, highly sophisticated PR production.

  48. Pieter F says:

    I believe Delbeke’s observation deserves a closer look and consideration.

    Wayne Delbeke (08:28:08) : “. . . If you subtract 800 from 2000 you get 1200 – so if CO2 increases follow warming by 500 to 800 years, is it possible that the Medieval Warming from 800 to 1500 is in part responsible for the increase in CO2 we see today . . .”

    If that’s what the Vostock cores tell us, the rise in CO2 now has a new explanation.

  49. TomLama says:

    ZOIKS! Look out Scooby Doo! Its the global warming monster!

    Looks like the UN would have gotten away with the global warming monster hoax too……if it weren’t for those meddling kids.

  50. Larry Holder says:

    I doubt you will see this story reported anywhere except on specialized blogs and a few lesser news outlets. I hope I’m wrong, but I expect this story to be ignored with the wider world.

  51. Burch Seymour says:

    Kind of reminds me of a story I heard years ago. Possibly apocryphal, but I hope not. RCA engineers were testing an early version of color television. At the transmitter side, some joker took the banana out of the fruit bowl they were using as a test item, and painted it purple. During the test the receiving side noted that the banana looked perfect but every thing else was awful.

    As to the Cap and Tax stuff, keep in mind what Ayn Rand wrote, over 50 years ago in Atlas Shrugged:

    “Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed.”
    Francisco d’Aconia

  52. Pearland Aggie says:

    Jacob T…check out this website.

    http://sharpgary.org/

    The ocean non-acidification stuff is about halfway down.

  53. Michael says:

    Is everybody aware of all the nuances of the macro-economic implications for the entire planet based on this news?

    Climate fears based on lies, Calgary told Think-tank adviser says CO2 not a threat; Warming science called flawed

    http://www.calgaryherald.com/health/Climate+fears+based+lies+Calgary+told/2058176/story.html

  54. Pearland Aggie says:

    Jacob T, check out this website.

    http://www.seafriends.org.nz/issues/global/acid.htm

  55. Jimmy Haigh says:

    Wayne Delbeke (08:28:08) :

    “…is it possible that the Medieval Warming from 800 to 1500 is in part responsible for the increase in CO2 we see today …”

    That’s good question Wayne. I made it once on Real Climate (back when I had just found that website and was an innocent babe…) and that was the first time a post of mine got lost in moderation there.

  56. Juraj V. says:

    These two Canucks saved our day. Well done, Mr McKitrick!

  57. Enduser says:

    Jacob T (08:56:16) :
    …so therefore shellfish are not reproducing, plankton are smaller and the coral reefs are shrinking — my bs antenna went up right away — so my question is, is co2 creating these type of terrible sounding conditions in the oceans ??
    ___________

    Short answer? No. The Idea of ocean “acidification” is wildly speculative, and there is no empirical evidence that I have found that that such problems are occurring, or can occur in the future.

    Of course, who am I to disagree with Ms. Weaver…. She’s pretty hot.

    I don’t have the time or inclination to go regather my results, but I researched this for a graduate level research project last spring, and found that while there has been a lot of coral bleaching in various parts of the world, there are other areas where it is thriving. Try Googling “bikini atoll” and “coral.”

    You will also find that the “ocean acidification” advocates (try Wikipedia) think that they can tell us what the PH of the ocean was (to an accuracy of .01) back to 1750. If I remember correctly, the whole idea of PH and the ability to measure it with any accuracy only matured as recently as 1930.

  58. Jordan says:

    For a number of years, we have been told recent warming had been fully explained, and the only conclusion was “CO2 dunnit”.

    I wonder how much of that kind of statement comes from the apparent sensitivity prodiced by the hockey sticks. If it turns out that YAD06 provides the requisity explanation, any deductions about CO2 sensitivity from hockey sticks will have been an illusion.

    And if the blade of the hockey stick is lost, anybody who had used the hockey stick for climate sensitivity to CO2 will be left with no significant sensitivity.

    On the same thought, I wonder how many GCM;s will need to re-assess their assumptions of climate sensitivity for the same reason. If they turn down climate sensitivity to CO2, I suppose the revised hindcasting would be all over the place.

    Hmm, this could be quite an interesting time.

  59. Professor Terry J. Lovell, Ph.D. says:

    For the past 26 years I have taught Business Statistics to mostly unwilling college students [it is a required course]. I have often faced the wrath of my students because “This course is too hard. You are too tough as a Teacher. Why do we have to do all this work. Statistics is just numbers-it doesn’t mean anything.” I have always soldiered on by explaining that the only basis for sound public policy is excellent research coupled with honest statistical analysis. I warn my students that without a solid grasp of the vocabulary, mechanics and conceptual insights of statistical reasoning-they will be unable to function in the modern world. I refer to this lack of talent as being innumerate or the state of being quantitatively crippled. I have used the AGW debate as an example for over 20 years now. I am not now nor have I ever been impressed or swayed by any of the data or analysis proffered as proof of AGW. After this set of revelations I am shocked and saddened. But most of all I am at a loss for what I should tell my students when they ask [as they will] “Why shouldn’t we cheat? Obviously these guys [Mann et al] cheated and they got away with for over a decade. So why shouldn’t I cheat?” Dr. Mann if you would be so kind as to answer that question for my students it would be greatly appreciated. I understand that Professor Briffa is ill please tell him that we have added him to our prayers and that we hope he recovers soon.

  60. Antonio San says:

    Scott A. Mandia, what’s your point here with the pdf of Wahl and Ammann paper? Your point at realclimate is well understood so is your pro AGW activist webpage.

  61. Daryl M says:

    Gordon Ford (08:20:51) :

    PS – If the ruth were known Canadian Conservatives are probably to the left of American Democrats!

    Gordon, as a “Canadian Conservative”, I take great exception to that remark. True there are some Canadian policies that are considered “left wing” by Americans, that does not place Canadian Conservatives to the left of American Democrats. America has its share of hard left wingers (i.e., ACORN).

  62. Steve M. says:

    Dr. Keiller, maybe you can help answer the following….

    What would you say are variables in the size of a tree ring? Temperature? CO2? Rainfall? Nutrients in the soil? Amount of sunlight? Intensity of sunlight? Length of the growing season? all the above? none?

    I need some convincing that a tree makes a good thermometer.

  63. Jeff L says:

    I was just over at the ICECAP site reading Joe’s take on this whole subject.
    See :
    http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog

    He had a bunch of links, including a link to RC’s take on this. See :

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/09/hey-ya-mal/

    What struck me most profoundly is the difference in tone – both by the author & the commenters. At WUWT (& ICECAP), the tone is generally polite & non-judgemental & focused on science. At RC, the tone was condensending, arrogant & smug with a constant subtle & not so subtle undertone of ad hom attacks.

    Imagine yourself listening to an arguement on any subject. One side is being rational & addressing ALL facts & the other side resorts to personal attacks & a basic response of ” So !!!!” If you nothing about the subject at all, you would probably guess who is correct in the arguement ….. and it’s not the guy making the personal attacks.

    I find this facinating in that I think most people recognize this behavior for what it is – the last defense of a losing argument. Thus, by trying to avoid debating the facts & data (so that they don’t lose the argument ), they will lose in the court of public opinion anyway because of their attitude.

    It is worth a visit to the link (although it make make you naseous ) to see how not to argue a point .

  64. kuhnkat says:

    Joel Shore,

    Please link us to all those INDEPENDENT large scale Paleo studies that support the statement that the current Temps are exceptional!!!! (even ASSuming the GISS/HADCrut is believeable) Most of them refer either to the original Mannian work and/or Briffa’s. They are hardly independent or based on new information.

    You might want to spend some time reviewing the Paleo studies referenced at:

    http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/mwpp.php

  65. kuhnkat says:

    jakers,

    why should he repeat what McIntyre has posted when the rest of us need clear English explanations??

  66. TonyB says:

    MIchael

    Had to laugh as your link to Monckton talking about the hockey stick in the Calgary newspaper had a flash along the top page;

    “Hockey Experts for sale”

    What am I bid for Gavin?

    tonyb

  67. TonyB says:

    Pieter F (10:12:06) : said

    “I believe Delbeke’s observation deserves a closer look and consideration.

    Wayne Delbeke (08:28:08) : “. . . If you subtract 800 from 2000 you get 1200 – so if CO2 increases follow warming by 500 to 800 years, is it possible that the Medieval Warming from 800 to 1500 is in part responsible for the increase in CO2 we see today . . .”

    If that’s what the Vostock cores tell us, the rise in CO2 now has a new explanation.”

    Sorry, but we have been down this road before and the New Scientist ( I think) ran an article some years ago explaining why this wasn’t possible. The article seemed to me to be trying to make excuses, although certainly the basic fact seems to remain that temperature rises first, followed by co2.

    However its my guess the lead in time is very much shorter than 800 years and we could see the recent downturn in temperatures reflected in co2 atmospheric concentrations falling in the near future.
    (assuming the carbon cycle follows the computer models :) )

    tonyb

  68. Indiana Bones says:

    Robinson (08:28:01) :

    Excellent and clearly written article by Ross. I don’t know how influential the financial post website is, but it seems the word is starting to spread out of the blogosphere as to how we’ve all been gamed by The Team.

    But the mainstream is… warming to the cool – George Will yesterday:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/30/AR2009093003569.html?sub=AR

    He may even be the champion to follow this story to publication.

  69. dorlomin says:

    Two expert panels involving the U.S. National Academy of Sciences were asked to investigate, the U.S. Congress held a hearing, and the media followed the story around the world.

    The expert reports upheld all of our criticisms of the Mann Hockey Stick
    =====================
    ~snip~

    ~snip~

    “The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes both additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and pronounced changes in a variety of local proxy indicators, such as melting on ice caps and the retreat of glaciers around the world, which in many cases appear to be unprecedented during at least the last 2,000 years. ”

    ~snip~

    Makes it easy to point to people who are not too up to speed on the controvosy and say here is what McKitrick says and here is what the NAS really said.

    Who do you believe now?

  70. Antonio San says:

    Prof Mandia’s own views can be appreciated here (from a RC post):

    http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 2 October 2009

  71. Tim Clark says:

    I have a question. The following quote is Anthony’s from an earlier post:

    As WUWT readers know, the Briffa tree ring data that purports to show a “hockey stick” of warming in the late 20th century has now become highly suspect, and appears to have been the result of hand selected trees as opposed to using the larger data set available for the region.

    This is from page 2274 of Briffa’s paper in question:

    Trends in recent temperature and radial tree growth spanning 2000 years across northwest Eurasia

    The Swedish Torneträsk data (Grudd et al. 2002) and Finnish–Lapland data (Eronen et al. 2002; Helama et al. 2002), for pine (Pinus sylvestris), were combined to create a single Fennoscandia regional chronology. Siberian larch (Larix sibirica) data from the area immediately east of the northern Ural Mountains, previously used by Hantemirov & Shiyatov (2002), were used as the Yamal regional chronology, and larch (Larix gmelinii) data from Bol’shoi Avan (Sidorova et al. 2007) and Taimyr (Naurzbaev et al. 2002) were combined to form the Avam–Taimyr regional chronology.

    And also this: (sorry for the display effects, it’s from tabel 1 on the same page). The bolded areas are the number of samples in each set:

    site name north east start end samples RBar species references

    high low
    Yamal 67° 30 70° 00 −200 1996 611 0.54 0.24 LASI Hantemirov & Shiyatov (2002)
    Yamal −200 1996 611 0.54 0.24 LASI

    As Anthony’s quote illustrates, our (WUWT) concern to this point has been that K. Briffa et al selected a subset of available samples. But am I mistaken, by the inclusion of the above phrasing and the accompanying table to assume that K. Briffa is claiming to use all 611 samples in this analysis?

    Does this constitute F….?

  72. Tim Clark says:

    Also, to date he has not denied that he used only 12 trees. Right?

  73. JP says:

    “So Briffa extrapolates a single tree as a thermometer. We don’t use a real single thermometer as relevant but we should use a single tree as one? ”

    Yes. A single tree can teleconnect to ENSO, the NAO, and the AMO. I’m sure the folks at RC will have proof of it very soon.

  74. dorlomin says:

    “The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence ”

    Warms the heart to read that doesnt it. Now I aint a big fan of Mann, but given the abuse he has taken I like to read what the NAS said about him. Not what his enemies pretend they said.

    This should be posted every single time his name is mentioned.

  75. Mark Hind says:

    Nice one……

  76. MattN says:

    “Whatever is going on here, it is not science.”

    Quoted for truthiness…

  77. Joel Shore says:

    Jordan says:

    And if the blade of the hockey stick is lost, anybody who had used the hockey stick for climate sensitivity to CO2 will be left with no significant sensitivity.

    On the same thought, I wonder how many GCM’s will need to re-assess their assumptions of climate sensitivity for the same reason. If they turn down climate sensitivity to CO2, I suppose the revised hindcasting would be all over the place.

    The answer to your question about the GCMs is none. For one thing, the GCMs do not incorporate the hockey stick into them in any way. Furthermore, it makes no sense talking about the blade being lost. We have a variety of different sources (including, but not limited to the instrumental temperature record) for the blade. The question regarding the blade is really a question about how well these temperature proxies are good proxies for temperature and what that then says in regards to what say about past temperatures, not questions about whether we really have had significant warming in the past century.

    And, at any rate, the GCM’s climate sensitivity comes out of the physics that goes into them. As it happens, their range of sensitivities does about mirror the range determined by empirical data. However, that empirical data involves more than just the 20th century temperature trends (things like the last glacial maximum and the climate response to the Mt Pinatubo eruption in the early 1990s). In fact, the 20th century temperature trends do not provide a very strong constraint on the climate sensitivity primarily because of the uncertainty in the aerosol forcing.

  78. Tim Clark says:

    Don Keiller (09:56:43) :
    As a plant physiologist I can say without hesitation that points 3 and 4 do not agree with the accepted science.

    Good to have another plant physiologist on board, and I concur.

  79. paulo arruda says:

    I sincerely hoped that there was no response from RC. If I had an answer it would be to refute the findings of Steve M. But the reaction full of anger, hatred, leaves the impression that MS is right on the vein. I think we have to wait a few days to have the idea of the damage that was caused by AGW at the castle. Seems to be much worse than we thought …

  80. JP says:

    RC has thier rebuttal. Essientially they make light of the whole matter and blame M&M, Anthony et als on creating a story where one doesn’t exist. I tried to find thier rationalisation for Yamal. It was hard to seperate the blarney from the “science”, but here is thier defense of Biffra:

    “McIntyre has based his ‘critique’ on a test conducted by randomly adding in one set of data from another location in Yamal that he found on the internet. People have written theses about how to construct tree ring chronologies in order to avoid end-member effects and preserve as much of the climate signal as possible. Curiously no-one has ever suggested simply grabbing one set of data, deleting the trees you have a political objection to and replacing them with another set that you found lying around on the web.”

    What they failed to mention was the fact that McIntyre had to scour the ftp sites because Biffra wasn’t forthcoming with the data. Perhaps if Biffra would have posted archived data from his study, McIntyre wouldn’t had to grab datasets “lying around the web”. Otherwise, they claimed that Biffra’s alleged cherry picking was just his attempts to “perserve the signal”. Not one bit of statistical evidence that this preservation of the signal was in fact represenative of the past climate at Yamal and envrions.

    Long on invective, short on mathematics or science.

  81. Alan S. Blue says:

    Elmer:

    The issue isn’t figuring out the proper temperature profile for 1850-2009 per se. The instrumental records are sparse, have bias, etc. – but they are a direct scientific observations of well understood phenomena. We’d clearly prefer to use the actual instrumental data for this period if we were making the best historical temperature reconstruction possible.

    The point of using tree rings is to reach further into the past. Before you can use your tree rings to “measure temperature,” they have to be calibrated into reasonable proxies for temperature. Much like an odometer in a car needs to be calibrated against a yardstick, or a long string used to measure some irregular surface gets marked off on a yardstick.

    But when you’re doing a calibration, you need to demonstrate that what you’re doing really is a solid proxy for a direct measurement. If you switch your car’s tires out for monster truck tires – your calibration is going to be atrocious. Or if your string shrinks when wet.

    What’s going on here is that all the trees in the area are not equally good at measuring temperature. You can come up with a very large number of common sense reasons why two trees with identical genetics don’t have identical tree rings.

    This means that you need to accumulate enough tree cores for statistical averaging to weed out many of the issues. (There’s a rock under this tree, that tree is in nitrogen poor soil, this other tree was repeatedly used for stropping by something large, etc.)

    For years the aggregate data has been available. That is: It has been known that there was a set of cores from Yamal that have a general hockeystick shape.

    But the aggregate data doesn’t say exactly how many trees were used, nor what the individual profiles were like. (At least, the raw profiles haven’t graced Science, Nature, or my other journals. Neither directly nor in the suplemental information.)

    Now that the raw data is available, the number of cores used for the most recent period is rather shockingly low. Additionally, the list of raw cores used does -not- include some relatively nearby and contemporaneous cores.

    If we went back to the odometer analogy, this is somewhat like (for whatever reason) including the single car with monster truck tires in your very small pool of test subjects. While excluding all the vehicles from the car dealership next door.

    If you use that calibration as your basis for calculating “miles per gallon” or “how far can a car go before falling apart” or “How far has this car traveled”, you’re going to get decidedly odd results.

    After your “tree proxy” is calibrated against temperature, you’re going to want to use it to extrapolate that same calibration into the past. If the calibration is faulty, then the temperature profile is faulty.

  82. kuhnkat says:

    Scott A. Mandia,

    How about some commentary on Caspar Amman in your link:

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2008/8/11/caspar-and-the-jesus-paper.html

  83. Bill P says:

    If indeed the generations of chronologies since Briffa’s Yamal all have the same DNA, it would seem we’ve been swindled, and some industrious journalist need to dig out all the details for someone like Bishop Hill to summarize for laymen (such as myself) and all policymaker to read. Meanwhile, as we wait for the political shakeout, there are plenty of us who are actually quite curious about the science.

    Since there are clearly two distinct, equally capable “sides” to this issue (Briffa and McIntyre), and both disagree about the efficacy of what the other spliced onto the sub-fossil record, how about the following experiment: “teams” from both sides select an acceptable subset of trees from any northern Urals or Yamal forest, have an “approved” dendro expert accompanied by Steve or Anthony, (any sceptics with time on their hands) to the Yamal (can’t wait?); gather an approved number of new rings. Analyzed them in an approved setting using an agreed-upon method, making all data available online. Splice them onto the old record with an agreed-upon method.

    This controversy will not kill off dendrochronology, or even dendroclimatology, but one might hope for some better dendro records and practices as a consequence.

  84. enduser says:

    Indiana Bones (12:13:00) :
    But the mainstream is… warming to the cool – George Will yesterday:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/30/AR2009093003569.html?sub=AR

    He may even be the champion to follow this story to publication.
    ________________________
    Indiana, did you check out the comments on Mr. Will’s article?

    The unwashed Warmie masses are having a fit of apoplexy over it.
    I am shocked to see such vitriolic religious fervor. As a matter of fact it frightens me. I fear that one day blood will be shed over this issue. All it might take is a major natural disaster and a few jingoistic provocateurs.

  85. Robinson says:

    People have written theses about how to construct tree ring chronologies in order to avoid end-member effects and preserve as much of the climate signal as possible. Curiously no-one has ever suggested simply grabbing one set of data, deleting the trees you have a political objection to and replacing them with another set that you found lying around on the web.”

    J, note the appeal to authority here. Not much information about how the preservation of the climate signal was achieved in Briffa. Some secret algorithm, perhaps? We would all love to see it.

  86. Juraj V. says:

    [snip] Dorlomin. NAS panel told that MBH methodology and proxies are flawed and not to be used again, but could not rule out it was or was not warmer in MWP. “Scientists” in the meantime used those same hockey proxies again and again, Kaufman hockey stick being the last example.

  87. kuhnkat says:

    Joel Shore,

    your claim to have a number of Hockey Sticks is a true statement if removed from a reference to supporting the alledged uniqueness of the recent temp highs. Real Climate posted a number also. The ones that had nothing to do with temperature were the only ones that do not have statistical problems or more.

    Please post YOUR list so we can also debunk it.

    “at any rate, the GCM’s climate sensitivity comes out of the physics that goes into them.”

    Ahhh yes. The ASSumed climate sensitivity based on raw radiative physics. You don’t think that resulting sensitivity might change based on other physics in the system do you?? YOU KNOW, like cloud type, actual moisture content, sulphur compounds, carbon black, ozone… Funny thing is, there are a lot of confliciting papers and reports on these issues, yet, y’all claim to have TRUE KNOWLEDGE skillful enough to Project out 100 years or more (even though it is well known that slight errors in a calculation can propagate to high levels)!! Y’all rate right up there with Bozo the Clown!!

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  88. Robinson says:

    I apologise for the off-topic, but please also note that climate change is wiping out Walruses. This piece of “research” is brought to you by some idiot in a weatherproof anorak, with a wallet full of my taxes. This truly is the age of stupid.

  89. Roger Knights says:

    Don B (08:18:14) :
    Here is a general invitation by Roger Pielke, Jr. to educate Ben on this Yamal revelation:
    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/search?q=

    Here’s a direct link to the (excellent) discussion itself:

    http://cruelmistress.wordpress.com/2009/10/01/hockey-stick-redux/

  90. Pragmatic says:

    The real issue to be addressed by the defenders of Dr. Briffa and the publishing journals is – why the delays and stonewalling?? Refusing to provide the details of one’s methodology is NOT scientific method. For nine years?

    Why should a relative handful of alarmists abuse the checks and balances the method provides to all scientists? We would like to hear an explanation for the need of qualified researchers to file Freedom of Information requests to obtain data used by publicly funded science. Neither Briffa, the journals, CRU or any institution other than the Royal Society demanded transparency.

    Rather shameful it seems.

  91. Don Keiller says:

    re Steve m “What would you say are variables in the size of a tree ring? Temperature? CO2? Rainfall? Nutrients in the soil? Amount of sunlight? Intensity of sunlight? Length of the growing season? all the above?”

    All of the above and in a non-linear manner. Trying to deconvolute one factor from another is to all intents and purposes impossible.
    The fact that a few trees correlate with temperature during the calibration period
    is immaterial. Correlation is not cause and effect. The relationship is likely fortuituous and there is no evidence that the relationship holds outside the calibration period.

    TREE LINES on the other hand are a much more reliable indicator and they are still about 100km South of previous values in the Yamal region.
    Ergo today’s temperatures are not “unprecedented”

  92. Keith W. says:

    Jason S (08:34:58) :

    Real Climate’s response to the claim that we have been waiting 10 years from Briffa’s data:

    “[Response: The russ035w data has been 'lying around' on the web since 2001 (at least) judging from the file stamps. And there have not been '10 years' of requests. That's just crap. - gavin]”

    What say WUWT? Sorry if you’ve already answered.

    As was mentioned earlier, file stamps really only indicate either file creation date or last modified date. But the point here is that, until Briffa released his data, no one knew what data sets he used. Just because I have access to a file does not mean that I know you have used it, unless you tell me you did. Briffa never said I did or did not use that file. That’s the big deal, Gavin. Without knowledge of what data was used, reproducibilty is impossible. Failure to release details of which data series are involved in your study is just cr@p!

  93. Robert E. Phelan says:

    kuhnkat (12:39:30) :
    Scott A. Mandia,
    How about some commentary on Caspar Amman in your link:
    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2008/8/11/caspar-and-the-jesus-paper.html

    Aw, you beat me to it. I was just going to post that link for Scott myself.

  94. superDBA says:

    I’m no scientst, but I believe the scientific method is:
    1. Develop a hypothesis
    2. Test the hypothesis

    What these “scientists” seem to not understand is that “Testing” is trying to prove it wrong, not trying to prove it right.

  95. superDBA says:

    (Myself previously)
    “I’m no scientst”

    Obviously not, since I can’t spell it correctly, or even the same way twice in a row :-{

  96. Micajah says:

    RE: Joel Shore (09:22:21) : It seems to me that Ross McKitrick’s reading of the National Academy of Sciences report on temperature reconstructions is somewhat selective.

    Joel Shore, the question is whether the temperatures in the late 20th century are higher than those in the last 1000 years or more.

    Please note that the NAS report you quoted found Mann’s “hockey stick” claim to be merely “plausible.” Not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, nor proven to a reasonable certainty, nor proven to be probable (that is, more likely true than not).

    Before deciding that someone else is being “selective,” read each word and try really hard to accept that the words you quote may not support your faith.

    Eliminating the “Medieval Warm Period” has been an obvious goal of the people who have come up with the “hockey sticks.” The reason is just as obvious–they want to be able to make the claims that they have been making, i.e., the recent warming is unprecedented and therefore man, not natural variation, is responsible for it.

    So far, they have claimed (as you accept on faith) to have proven that recent temperatures exceed the MWP, but their claims have not risen above the “plausible” level among people who rely on science rather than faith.

  97. acementhead says:

    I was under the impression that Anthony wanted this site to be taken seriously. Of course he owns it and can do as he likes but to me it seems a pity.

    “What does Monbiot’s face look like right now? It’s bad enough at other times he looks like his raging buddies Galloway, Chavez and Saddam (now a sex slave for Satan)”

    The above quote is a previous post in its entirety. I predict that if that sort of trash is allowed to remain

    1) The number of real scientist posting here will fall, perhaps precipitously.

    2) This site will lose all credibility.

    This is a very sad day for me.

  98. Micajah says:

    RE: Jason S (08:34:58) : Real Climate’s response to the claim that we have been waiting 10 years from Briffa’s data:
    “[Response: The russ035w data has been ‘lying around’ on the web since 2001….”

    Jason S, is that really Real Climate’s response to the criticism of Briffa for refusing to reveal his Yamal data? If so, it seems really lame–the “russ035w data” is not Briffa’s data, it is the data used by McIntyre in his sensitivity test of Briffa’s analysis. It is the nearby tree core data that McIntyre substituted for Briffa’s recently revealed data.

    So, who cares that it has been “lying around” for years? It isn’t the data requested from Briffa which Briffa refused for years to disclose.

  99. McKitrik claims:
    Two expert panels involving the U.S. National Academy of Sciences were asked to investigate, the U.S. Congress held a hearing, and the media followed the story around the world. The expert reports upheld all of our criticisms of the Mann Hockey Stick, both of the mathematics and of its reliance on flawed bristlecone pine data.
    We all know that this is not a true statement. At the very best it might be considered “very misleading.”

    That is why I posted the link of Wahl and Ammann

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

    Why do I need to comment on Bishop Hill?

  100. K says:

    We should be grateful that Ross has outlined the situation so well.

    After a few days people tend to lose the big picture and argue about details, motives, and personalities. It leads to a rather useless “he said, she said” quagmire.

    Ross took us back to the issue.

    Briffa will have more to say about this and he may have a good explanation. That looks doubtful at the moment but far stranger things have happened.

    My guess is that Briffa erred in method and just didn’t realize the weakness of his choices. Sometime after publication he saw the problems but tried the Move On stall and hoped the matter would eventually go away without consequences.

    Making mistakes is not that big a deal in itself. It is embarassing, perhaps very much so. OTOH deliberately selecting data which supports a desired conclusion is another matter.

    So I wish him the best of health and expect he will reply as promised.

    Too bad this audit couldn’t have been done years ago. We have all gotten a look at how poor peer review can be and how lax publications often are about enforcing their own standards.

  101. Jordan says:

    Joel Shore

    “the GCMs do not incorporate the hockey stick into them in any way”

    My question what more to do with how they have calibrated climate sensitivity parameters. Has the hockey stick had any part to play in this?

    “We have a variety of different sources (including, but not limited to the instrumental temperature record) for the blade.”

    It needs a contiguous data series (same data and methods for both shaft and blade) to argue that the shaft and blade both exist. Is that not what Yamal was trying to do? You refer to a variety of different sources for the blade and that just says something isn’t right about the shaft and/or the blade.

    “The question regarding the blade is really a question about how well these temperature proxies are good proxies for temperature”

    Quite – if the proxies fail to follow recent purported rise of temperature, we need to be ready to conclude that proxies are bad measurements.

    “the GCM’s climate sensitivity comes out of the physics that goes into them.”

    Is that limited to the S-B response, or does it rely on amplification by positive feedback. I find the amplification argument extremely unconvincing.

    “determined by empirical data”

    Back to my question – have the hockey sticks been part of that empirical data?

  102. JER0ME says:

    PR Guy (10:12:06) :

    RC’s post shows up in the Google News feed along side Ross’s article. Yet another indicator that RC has some serious PR flacks behind the scenes (presumably Fenton Communications) who know how to get a simple blog post to show up as a news story of equal weight to a Financial Post article.

    Those of you who get frustrated by RC are under the mistaken impression that its a science blog. In fact, it’s a professional, highly sophisticated PR production.

    You repeatedly assert this. I do not doubt you, but do you have any evidence of this, or is it just gut feel (since you are by your handle in the same game)?

  103. John M says:

    Scott A. Mandia (14:40:27) :

    Glad you have so much faith in Wikipedia. Since we’re using web sites, I guess the uninitiated can go here too. I don’t guess the Wiki site quoted what North said under oath.

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2322

    And the Bishop Hill summary really is useful for the truly intellectually curious as well, despite your lack of interest in it.

    BTW, JohnM (08:50:26) is not me.

  104. Icarus says:

    If Steve McIntyre’s analysis fails to show the signal of recent warming that we know about from many other kinds of data, that rather suggests that he’s doing something wrong, doesn’t it? How can you draw valid conclusions from an analysis that doesn’t reflect real-world observations?

  105. TonyB says:

    Scott Mandia

    I can’t believe you could have posted a link to the HS controversy on Wiki and kept a straight face. I suggest you look at the history and discussion behind the article and recognise that:

    1) wIki editorial policy requires information to be ‘verifiable’ not necessarily correct.
    2) That the gatekeeper of this section is an associate of Michael Mann and has represented Real Climate at conferences. This is hardly an objective summary.

    tonyb

  106. John M says:

    Well, b’golly, the Wiki page does take a strange sort of shot at being balanced. Must have happened while Connelly was rowing his boat.

    Gerald North, chairman of the National Research Council panel that studied the hockey-stick issue and produced the report Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years, stated the politicians at the hearing at which the Wegman report was presented “were twisting the scientific information for their own propaganda purposes. The hearing was not an information gathering operation, but rather a spin machine.”[45] In testimony when asked if he disputed the methodology conclusions of Wegman’s report, he stated that “No, we don’t. We don’t disagree with their criticism. In fact, pretty much the same thing is said in our report. But again, just because the claims are made, doesn’t mean they are false.”,

    Seems the good doctor presents a different picture in the press than he does when under oath. And yet, he clings to the “could be right even with the wrong method” premise.

  107. John M says:

    If Steve McIntyre’s analysis fails to show the signal of recent warming that we know about from many other kinds of data, that rather suggests that he’s doing something wrong, doesn’t it?

    Or maybe it means treerings aren’t thermometers.

  108. Kuhnkat, Jeff Id has done a great job of listing all those faux hockeysticks in the RC museum showcase.

  109. Micajah says:

    RE: Icarus (15:57:24) :
    If Steve McIntyre’s analysis fails to show the signal of recent warming that we know about….

    What signal do you know about, and how would it be displayed?

    The point in McIntyre’s analysis is to show that Briffa’s analysis depends for its “blade” on the its “hockey stick” entirely on a very small set of data from the Yamal peninsula.

    The “hockey sticks” are attempts to put the temperature records of roughly the past 150 years into context with the past 1000 (or more) years. The more recent history includes temperature measurements, but the more distant past has to be estimated based on temperature proxies. Tree rings are offered as proxies for temperatures in that more distant past.

    You apparently believe that the more recent past should be displayed as a steeply rising line on the graph compared to the more distant past.

    The hockey stick makers apparently have the same belief.

    Ironically, many people wonder if the hockey stick makers’ belief has led them to construct biased analyses that display something which is not correct; and your apparent belief is that any analysis which doesn’t show the “blade” on the “hockey stick” must be mistaken.

    Could it be that, compared to the past 1000 years or so, the graph should not have a “blade,” but should instead show that our more recent temperatures are no higher than, and perhaps lower than, the Medieval Warm Period?

    That is, after all, the question–whether recent temperatures are “unprecedented” and thus perhaps manmade. You assume the answer you want and disparage any analysis that doesn’t agree with your assumption.

  110. Icarus says:

    John M (16:30:21) : …maybe it means treerings aren’t thermometers.

    I think that would contradict what we know about biology – no-one actually disputes that trees will *tend* to grow more when there is warmer weather and a longer growing season, all other things being equal. A careful and thoughtful analysis of tree ring data would have to include ways of isolating the effects of climate change from other influences… agreed? If McIntyre’s analysis isn’t able to do this, perhaps this suggests it is not a useful contribution to the science.

  111. marnot says:

    To those saying McKitricks representation of Wegmann is misleading.

    I suggest read the entire report (ie lets let the data do the talking):

    In general, we found MBH98 and MBH99 to be somewhat obscure and incomplete and
    the criticisms of MM03/05a/05b to be valid and compelling. We also comment that they
    were attempting to draw attention to the discrepancies in MBH98 and MBH99, and not to
    do paleoclimatic temperature reconstruction. Normally, one would try to select a
    calibration dataset that is representative of the entire dataset. The 1902-1995 data is not
    fully appropriate for calibration and leads to a misuse in principal component analysis.
    However, the reasons for setting 1902-1995 as the calibration point presented in the
    narrative of MBH98 sounds reasonable, and the error may be easily overlooked by
    someone not trained in statistical methodology. We note that there is no evidence that Dr.
    Mann or any of the other authors in paleoclimatology studies have had significant
    interactions with mainstream statisticians.

    The quotes you make do not supports Manns paper or methods but indicate that other studies have provided evidence of warming.

    The evidence of warming can however only be confidantlt asserted in the last 400 years as the earth went tinto the little ice age and later came out of it.

  112. Joel Shore says:

    Micajah says:

    Please note that the NAS report you quoted found Mann’s “hockey stick” claim to be merely “plausible.” Not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, nor proven to a reasonable certainty, nor proven to be probable (that is, more likely true than not).

    So far, they have claimed (as you accept on faith) to have proven that recent temperatures exceed the MWP, but their claims have not risen above the “plausible” level among people who rely on science rather than faith.

    Please don’t put words in my mouth. I have never claimed that anything was proven. (And, in fact, I have previously noted that the notion of “proof” is reserved for a deductive enterprise like mathematics; science is necessarily inductive and can never prove anything.) In the case of the temperature reconstructions, the point that the NAS made, and which I tend to agree with, is that the available evidence seems to point mainly in the direction that the late 20th century was warmer than any comparable period during the MWP; however, given the considerable uncertainties in these temperature proxies and the difficulty in even quantifying the uncertainties in the reconstructions using them, it is not possible to put a likelihood estimate on that conclusion.

    Of course, since that NAS report was reached, some additional work has been done, such as Mann et al. (2008) that seem to provide further support for this conclusion. But, obviously, considerable uncertainties still remain.

    John M:

    Seems the good doctor presents a different picture in the press than he does when under oath. And yet, he clings to the “could be right even with the wrong method” premise.

    It is not at all unusual in science for the first pioneering work in a field to be done using methods that are later found to be problematic in certain ways and thus superceded by better methods. It is not all black-and-white.

  113. [thanks but since you made the first ever copyrighted comment here, I'm forced to delete it]

    ©2009 Dave Stephens

  114. marnot says:

    Further information and links to the reports can be found here

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2322

  115. Joel Shore says:

    Jordan says:

    My question what more to do with how they have calibrated climate sensitivity parameters. Has the hockey stick had any part to play in this?

    No. The sensitivity comes out of the models based on the physics that is put into them (some, such as that involving clouds, that does have to be parametrized). The hockey stick played no role in this.

    “the GCM’s climate sensitivity comes out of the physics that goes into them.”

    Is that limited to the S-B response, or does it rely on amplification by positive feedback. I find the amplification argument extremely unconvincing.

    Well, the evidence for the water vapor feedback operating about as expected is quite strong (see http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/sci;323/5917/1020 ). And, it is hard to argue against the ice-albedo feedback being positive. The only feedback that seems like it could possibly save you from having amplification is to have a significantly negative cloud feedback.

    However, besides the fact that none of the various independent modeling groups who have built their models using different sorts of cloud parametrizations find this to be the case (and that the climateprediction.net simulations couldn’t even create them by varying parameters within plausible ranges), it becomes very difficult to explain past climate events, such as the glacial – interglacial cycles with a small climate sensitivity.

    “determined by empirical data”

    Back to my question – have the hockey sticks been part of that empirical data?

    No. I think there may have been a study or two that tried to look at what the reconstruction had to say about the climate sensitivity…and I think one actually concluded that a reconstruction with somewhat more temperature variability (such as that of Moberg et al.) was more compatible with estimated climate sensitivity ranges. However, such studies are hampered by the fact that I don’t think the estimates of forcings from solar and volcanic activity are really known well enough over that time period to really have that much confidence in such a conclusion.

    And, at any rate, I don’t think these studies had any effect on either the estimates of climate sensitivity from empirical observations or estimates of climate sensitivity produced by the GCMs.

  116. brazil84 says:

    “Or maybe it means treerings aren’t thermometers.”

    I was going to say the same thing. Actually, Steve has been talking about the “divergence problem” for years now. “Divergence” is just a fancy way of saying that maybe trees aren’t such good thermometers.

    Anyway, I think Icarus’ question touches on a subtle fallacy which is common among warmists.

    I think the assumption in Icarus’ thinking is that this is some kind of competition to see who is better at predicting future temperatures or estimating past temperatures. But skeptics (and deniers) don’t have to estimate or predict anything. We need merely point out that the warmists are not as good as they claim (or pretend) to be.

  117. Roger Knights says:

    But the mainstream is… warming to the cool – George Will yesterday:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/30/AR2009093003569.html?sub=AR

    He may even be the champion to follow this story to publication.

    Will’s call for a national commission to examine the evidence is something we skeptics would like now. It’s something politicians might well seize upon in order to get rid of a hot potato and give them “cover” for a reversal of their position. And it will be accepted by warmies, if cap-and-trade gets stalled and they can see no other way to dislodge the obstructionists. Our side should echo Will’s proposal.

  118. Richard Sharpe says:

    Icarus says:

    If Steve McIntyre’s analysis fails to show the signal of recent warming that we know about from many other kinds of data, that rather suggests that he’s doing something wrong, doesn’t it? How can you draw valid conclusions from an analysis that doesn’t reflect real-world observations?

    Are you talking about the Team’s analyses? There seems to have been no warming in the last 10 years …

  119. Roger Knights says:

    Glad you have so much faith in Wikipedia. Since we’re using web sites, I guess the uninitiated can go here too. I don’t guess the Wiki site quoted what North said under oath.

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2322

    Hit page-down 11 times to get to the quote from North.

  120. Gordon Ford says:

    “Jacob T (08:56:16) :

    I love this website — I am not a scientist by any measure, but am a very concerned small businessman who never has bought into the AGW spin — Can you all help me out with an off – topic question — so I’m watching the news this AM, and there is Sigourney Weaver from Alien fame, and she is talking very authoritatively about the ocean absorbing CO2 and forming carbonic acid — so therefore shellfish are not reproducing, plankton are smaller and the coral reefs are shrinking — my bs antenna went up right away — so my question is, is co2 creating these type of terrible sounding conditions in the oceans ??”

    Jacob, not to worry. There are adequate basaltic rocks rich in calcium and magnesium being weathered on land and errupting on the ocean floor (Hawaii and iceland etc) to buffer the carbolic acid from CO2 absorbed by the worlds oceans. This results in the formation of limestone and dolomite. I live on the Pacific Ocean and the clams and oysters on my beach are doing just fine (inspite of urban runoff!!! ) Sigourney Weaver may be an excellent actress but she mainly deals in fiction.

  121. Gordon Ford says:

    “Daryl M (11:34:38) :

    Gordon Ford (08:20:51) :

    PS – If the ruth were known Canadian Conservatives are probably to the left of American Democrats!

    Gordon, as a “Canadian Conservative”, I take great exception to that remark. True there are some Canadian policies that are considered “left wing” by Americans, that does not place Canadian Conservatives to the left of American Democrats. America has its share of hard left wingers (i.e., ACORN).

    Doug in Seattle (09:34:57) :

    Gordon Ford (08:20:51) :

    PS – If the (t)ruth were known Canadian Conservatives are probably to the left of American Democrats!

    As someone who has lived in both countries I can confirm your hypothesis.

    For instance you will not find many Canadians, even true blue Conservative, who want to revert to a private heath care system.

    On the other hand Steve McIntyre at CA has made it a point over the years to remind his more conservative readers that he is fact a liberal.

    This latter fact is unknown to most AGW supporters (and foes too) here in the US.

    While I usually chuckle when I read some troll drool that links McIntyre with the far right, this attribution of skepticism to the right is way off base. I know of several people personally who are “red banner” lefties that don’t buy the AGW line but support it for political reasons. I even know a few who are vocally skeptical and don’t support it.”

    Daryl, Doug:
    Personnaly, my politics are to the right of Atilla the Hun. However I carefully evaluate the arguments of left wingers like McIntyre, and if logical accept them. I realize that us politically correct right wingers are not always correct when it comes to science.
    Trapper

  122. brazil84 says:

    “I think that would contradict what we know about biology – no-one actually disputes that trees will *tend* to grow more when there is warmer weather and a longer growing season,”

    I dispute it. Well, actually I am skeptical. Perhaps warmer weather helps trees to grow more densely, resulting in larger numbers of trees with thinner rings. Perhaps warmer weather encourages the spread of parasites which are injurious to trees. Perhaps warmer weather is better for young trees than old trees. Or vice versa.

    “all other things being equal.”

    When studying a complex system, it’s dangerous to assume that all other things are equal. Because there is interplay between and among different variables.

    “A careful and thoughtful analysis of tree ring data would have to include ways of isolating the effects of climate change from other influences… agreed? ”

    I don’t agree. A careful and thoughtful analysis might simply conclude that somebody else’s analysis is flawed.

  123. tokyoboy says:

    Jacob T (08:56:16) :

    Don’t worry a bit. The buffering capacity of the ocean is enormous, and to my knowledge there is no evidence that the ocean was heavily acidified 100-300 million years ago, when the atmospheric CO2 concentration was most probably 2000-3000 ppm, namely 5 to 8-fold higher than today.

  124. Joel Shore says:

    tokyoboy says:

    Don’t worry a bit. The buffering capacity of the ocean is enormous, and to my knowledge there is no evidence that the ocean was heavily acidified 100-300 million years ago, when the atmospheric CO2 concentration was most probably 2000-3000 ppm, namely 5 to 8-fold higher than today.

    The way the buffering works is that CaCO3 (limestone) rocks dissolve and go into the oceans to restore the pH. However, the problem is not the atmospheric level of CO2 but the current rate of increase, which is overwhelming the rate at which the CaCO3 dissolved from the rocks can perform this process.

    And, by the way, as I understand it, it is not in fact true that there is no evidence of acidification in the past. It is believed to have occurred during the PETM climate event 55 million years ago.

  125. Eric (skeptic) says:

    Icarus says:
    “A careful and thoughtful analysis of tree ring data would have to include ways of isolating the effects of climate change from other influences… agreed? If McIntyre’s analysis isn’t able to do this, perhaps this suggests it is not a useful contribution to the science.”

    Steve M. has been repeating your first statement for years, so there is no disagreement there. But your second statement implies that Steve M should travel to Yamal to inspect each of the 10 trees. It’s a lot simpler than that. If there are a million trees to choose from, there will be 10 that match anything, whether that is an instrument record, precipitation, CO2, the stock market or any other series you want. That is a statistical fact. The only question is how the 10 were selected. The Russians picked them seems to be the favorite answer right now.

    Without even knowing how they were selected (and it does not appear to be random), there is a huge sample size problem using just 10 trees. It crosses the line into poor practices when there are other trees in the same area that were left out. Without seeing the 10 tree raw data, all subsequent use of Yamal cooked data is highly questionable. There was an implicit trust in that use and that trust has been broken.

  126. Joel Shore says:

    marnot:

    To those saying McKitricks representation of Wegmann is misleading…

    I’m not sure who those people are. I don’t see anyone arguing that his representation of the Wegman panel is misleading. However, the Wegman panel was convened by the Republican majority who chose Wegman and the narrow charge that they gave the panel in order to get the answer that they wanted. (The panel was asked just to answer some technical questions regarding the statistical method applied and not to look at the larger issues such as whether the problems with the method had any affect on the result. In fact, the panel didn’t really have the expertise to go beyond the narrow statistical issues since Wegman and those he chose to work with him knew essentially zilch about climate science in general or proxy temperature reconstructions in particular. )

    The NAS panel, by comparison, was given a broader charge…and was actually run in the non-partisan way that the NAS is geared toward.

  127. Eric (skeptic) says:

    Joel Shore: that’s an interesting tangent into models and water vapor feedback (the sciencemag article). Reminds me of similar tangents on other forums. But the article is vastly oversimplified. Their article doesn’t talk about the primary problem which is that models are too coarse to adequately model WV feedback since it is largely a highly nonlinear function of meso-scale convection.

  128. Eric (skeptic) says:

    Joel Shore: thanks for clarifying the AGW mantra: “the procedure may be invalid but the results aren’t really affected”. Proxies abound for the MWP that point to a period, with variations, that was similar or warmer overall than today. One is sea level which was the same or higher. Another is glaciation that had receded in amounts similar to today (on a worldwide basis). Another is seasonal changes that people like you like to point to. They were accurately measured in the MWP as siimilar or warmer than today (most of those measurements were made in Europe).

    People can know “zilch” about tree ring shenanigans and still come to the right conclusion with much simpler evidence. That conclusion is that today’s warming has MWP (and many more) precedents.

  129. Jerry Haney says:

    Joel Shore, The actual Wegman report is readily available online, enough of your mis-quotes and confusion.

    Word for word from the Wegman report:

    The debate over Dr. Mann’s principal components methodology has been going on for nearly three years. When we got involved, there was no evidence that a single issue was resolved or even nearing resolution. Dr. Mann’s RealClimate.org website said that all of the Mr. McIntyre and Dr. McKitrick claims had been ‘discredited’. UCAR had issued a news release saying that all their claims were ‘unfounded’. Mr. McIntyre replied on the ClimateAudit.org website. The climate science community seemed unable to either refute McIntyre’s claims or accept them. The situation was ripe for a third-party review of the types that we and Dr. North’s NRC panel have done.
    While the work of Michael Mann and colleagues presents what appears to be compelling evidence of global temperature change, the criticisms of McIntyre and McKitrick, as well as those of other authors mentioned are indeed valid.
    Where we have commonality, I believe our report and the [NAS] panel essentially agree. We believe that our discussion together with the discussion from the NRC report should take the ‘centering’ issue off the table. [Mann's] decentred methodology is simply incorrect mathematics …. I am baffled by the claim that the incorrect method doesn’t matter because the answer is correct anyway.
    Method Wrong + Answer Correct = Bad Science.
    The papers of Mann et al. in themselves are written in a confusing manner, making it difficult for the reader to discern the actual methodology and what uncertainty is actually associated with these reconstructions.
    It is not clear that Dr. Mann and his associates even realized that their methodology was faulty at the time of writing the [Mann] paper.
    We found MBH98 and MBH99 to be somewhat obscure and incomplete, and the criticisms of MM03/05a/05b to be valid and compelling.
    Overall, our committee believes that Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis.
    [The] fact that their paper fit some policy agendas has greatly enhanced their paper’s visibility… The ‘hockey stick’ reconstruction of temperature graphic dramatically illustrated the global warming issue and was adopted by the IPCC and many governments as the poster graphic. The graphics’ prominence together with the fact that it is based on incorrect use of [principal components analysis] puts Dr. Mann and his co-authors in a difficult face-saving position.
    We have been to Michael Mann’s University of Virginia website and downloaded the materials there. Unfortunately, we did not find adequate material to reproduce the MBH98 materials. We have been able to reproduce the results of McIntyre and McKitrick
    Generally speaking, the paleoclimatology community has not recognized the validity of the [McIntyre and McKitrick] papers and has tended to dismiss their results as being developed by biased amateurs. The paleoclimatology community seems to be tightly coupled as indicated by our social network analysis, has rallied around the [Mann] position, and has issued an extensive series of alternative assessments, most of which appear to support the conclusions of MBH98/99… Our findings from this analysis suggest that authors in the area of paleoclimate studies are closely connected and thus ‘independent studies’ may not be as independent as they might appear on the surface.
    It is important to note the isolation of the paleoclimate community; even though they rely heavily on statistical methods, they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community. Additionally, we judge that the sharing of research materials, data and results was haphazardly and grudgingly done. In this case we judge that there was too much reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent.
    Based on the literature we have reviewed, there is no overarching consensus on [Mann's work]. As analyzed in our social network, there is a tightly knit group of individuals who passionately believe in their thesis. However, our perception is that this group has a self-reinforcing feedback mechanism and, moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that they can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility.
    It is clear that many of the proxies are re-used in most of the papers. It is not surprising that the papers would obtain similar results and so cannot really claim to be independent verifications.
    Especially when massive amounts of public monies and human lives are at stake, academic work should have a more intense level of scrutiny and review. It is especially the case that authors of policy-related documents like the IPCC report, Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis, should not be the same people as those that constructed the academic papers.

  130. philincalifornia says:

    Joel Shore (19:27:12) :

    And, by the way, as I understand it, it is not in fact true that there is no evidence of acidification in the past. It is believed to have occurred during the PETM climate event 55 million years ago.
    ____________________________________

    So, do us all a favor Joel, and go on to all the “corals are going to die” websites and educate them on the errors in their thinking …

    …. please.

  131. Joel Shore says:

    Jerry Haney says:

    Joel Shore, The actual Wegman report is readily available online, enough of your mis-quotes and confusion.

    What misquotes are you talking about? You guys seem to prefer making up your own strawman arguments to respond to rather than responding to the actual arguments that I make.

    Eric (skeptic) says:

    Their article doesn’t talk about the primary problem which is that models are too coarse to adequately model WV feedback since it is largely a highly nonlinear function of meso-scale convection.

    I don’t understand what you are saying. They admit that the way that the models handle the transport of water vapor are pretty simplistic but the point is that the empirical data supports the results that they produce:

    Despite the simplicity of this idea, which entirely neglects detailed microphysics and other small-scale processes, such models accurately reproduce the observed water vapor distribution for the mid and upper troposphere (3, 4). One recent study (5) estimated the uncertainty in the water vapor feedback associated with microscale process behavior at less than 5%, as a result of the overwhelming control of humidity by the large-scale wind field.

    (This tangent into feedbacks, by the way, was really initiated by Jordan, not me.)

  132. Joel Shore says:

    philincalifornia says:

    So, do us all a favor Joel, and go on to all the “corals are going to die” websites and educate them on the errors in their thinking …

    …. please.

    I don’t understand…Do you think that catastrophic events that have caused harm to various lifeforms have never happened in the past? Here is the full quote about the PETM event (from “The Long Thaw” by David Archer, p. 116):

    Carbon secreters were singled out for extinction in response to the acidification of the ocean during the PETM climate event 55 million years ago (Chapter 6).

  133. Joel Shore (17:51:27) : “…And, it is hard to argue against the ice-albedo feedback being positive…”

    Not really. Some types of polar ice have poor reflectance, particularly when dirty or weathered. The albedo of seawater at high zenith angles, such as apply at the poles, overlaps the albedo of ice. Have you ever driven down to the ocean in the afternoon and seen the sun reflecting off the water so brightly you couldn’t look at it? That’s at a relatively low zenith angle. At polar latitudes, the reflectance of sea water is even greater. Also, the emissivity of sea water is about 0.993, considerably greater than ice. Thus polar sea water gets rid of heat faster than ice does (especially when you factor in the insulation coefficient for ice) and absorbs heat just about the same as ice. The feedback may actually be slightly negative over an annual cycle. There will always be ice at the poles in winter.

  134. Fred says:

    Some people are introducing a red herring in this debate by claiming that McIntyre has to prove this or that, or by focusing on Briffa’s intentions .

    McIntyre simply provided a mathematical invalidation of Briffa’s hypothesis, he does NOT need to prove anything.

    It is up to the proponent of the hypothesis to overcome the scientific objections. In his response, Briffa has acknowledged some “valid points” made by McIntyre.

    As it stands now, the hypothesis has been invalidated pending Briffa’s scientific response, which must overcome the objections raised.

    Good Luck Briffa!

  135. Joel Shore (19:38:15) : “…the Wegman panel was convened by the Republican majority…”

    Ad hominem. Ad ho-hum.

  136. Joel Shore says:

    philincalifornia:

    Here is an article from a few years ago on the PETM event: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/308/5728/1611

    This paper and the list of papers that have cited it should provide you with plenty of reading about what is understood about the PETM event, its causes, and its consequences.

  137. Kurt says:

    “Joel Shore (19:38:15) :

    [T]he Wegman panel was convened by the Republican majority who chose Wegman and the narrow charge that they gave the panel in order to get the answer that they wanted. (The panel was asked just to answer some technical questions regarding the statistical method applied and not to look at the larger issues such as whether the problems with the method had any affect on the result. In fact, the panel didn’t really have the expertise to go beyond the narrow statistical issues since Wegman and those he chose to work with him knew essentially zilch about climate science in general or proxy temperature reconstructions in particular. )”

    This is an odd way of chartacterizing the issue. In that particular instance, the climate scientists were applying a complex statistical procedure to a set of data. The study at issue was essentially nothing more than applied mathematics, and when the Wegman panel (the statistical experts) evaluated the study, their conclusion was that the climate scientists didn’t know what they were doing. The NAS panel agreed with that assessment.

    Determining whether the Mann paper used proper methodology is not a “narrow statistical issue.” It was the only relevant issue. Nor is there some distinct question of whether the flawed statistics affected the result, because the Wegman panel demonstrated that the result of the Mann paper was purely a function of the flawed statistics, i.e. the hockey stick shape was baked into the procedure and would result even from random data thrown into the methodology. Separating the result from the methodology that produced the result is nonsensical.

    I would argue that the Wegman panel demonstrated that the climate scientists “knew zilch” about the mathematical procedure by which they were analyzing data. That’s a pretty damning assessment given that climate science is almost pure theory. When you get right down to it, the whole of the quantitative aspect of climate science, at least, rests on nothing more than an application of statistics, whether you are trying to infer past climate through temperature reconstructions or whether you are trying to validate mathematical models of climate. When, not only the authors of the Mann paper are shown to be clueless as to the statistical methods they were applying, but also when the IPCC along with every other climate scientist on the global warming bandwagon was defending the Mann methodology right up to the poinit when the IPCC and Wegman told them they were wrong and that McIntyre right, it doesn’t engender a lot of confidence in the climate scientists expertise when they fall back on the excuse that their collective ineptitude doesn’t matter because the result, they somehow divine, happens to be right anyway.

  138. philincalifornia says:

    Joel Shore (20:26:04) :
    philincalifornia:

    Here is an article from a few years ago on the PETM event: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/308/5728/1611

    This paper and the list of papers that have cited it should provide you with plenty of reading about what is understood about the PETM event, its causes, and its consequences.
    __________

    Fantastic Joel, and the corals made it through all that, and we can still see them and touch them ….

    … but, after millions of years of this, they’re gonna die any second now !!!!

    What happened on the Briffa debate – you get ill or something ??

  139. philincalifornia says:

    Joel Shore (20:18:18) :
    philincalifornia says:

    So, do us all a favor Joel, and go on to all the “corals are going to die” websites and educate them on the errors in their thinking …

    …. please.

    I don’t understand…Do you think that catastrophic events that have caused harm to various lifeforms have never happened in the past? Here is the full quote about the PETM event (from “The Long Thaw” by David Archer, p. 116):

    Carbon secreters were singled out for extinction in response to the acidification of the ocean during the PETM climate event 55 million years ago (Chapter 6).
    _________________

    …. which explains, to some extent, possibly, why we would have the corals we have now, some of those being more acid (or more technically), less alkaline-resistant.

    So, go on, educate those less pompous masses about things that happened before 1950. I promise I will help with their education.

  140. savethesharks says:

    “I have been probing the arguments for global warming for well over a decade. In collaboration with a lot of excellent coauthors I have consistently found that when the layers get peeled back, what lies at the core is either flawed, misleading or simply non-existent. “

    “The surface temperature data is a contaminated mess with a significant warm bias, and as I have detailed elsewhere the IPCC fabricated evidence in its 2007 report to cover up the problem.”

    “Climate models are in gross disagreement with observations, and the discrepancy is growing with each passing year. “

    “The often-hyped claim that the modern climate has departed from natural variability depended on flawed statistical methods and low-quality data.”

    “The IPCC review process, of which I was a member last time, is nothing at all like what the public has been told: Conflicts of interest are endemic, critical evidence is systematically ignored and there are no effective checks and balances against bias or distortion.”

    All salient points. McKitrick is worth quoting again and again.

    Science is about the pursuit of truth. My how far we have come and “devolved” in the current AGW religious cult group-think.

    Perhaps the future will be better.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  141. Don Shaw says:

    Kurt,
    Thanks for setting the record straight on the Wegman panel. Having read the entire story I was well aware of the omissions by others.

    The shame of the story is that it took an “act of Congress” to get the facts on the table. As I recall the NAS were less than forthcoming on the issue until they were put under oath and forced to answer direct questions.

    Unfortunately, This gives an insight into the integrity of those we are dealing with.

  142. Indiana Bones says:

    enduser (12:51:58) :

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/30/AR2009093003569.html?sub=AR
    ________________________
    Indiana, did you check out the comments on Mr. Will’s article? The unwashed Warmie masses are having a fit of apoplexy over it.

    Yes, I’ve read some comments. Standard apoplexy. Defenders of cultist practice react this way – militant righteousness consumed with devotion. The appearance of a mainstream skeptic frustrates their scorched earth policies.

    George however, is right. There should be a national review of climate evidence populated by qualified experts on both sides. But before that happens the Briffa “Hot Tree” episode may result in some long needed adjustments. The magnitude of the Hot Tree scandal is rapidly dwarfing Earth’s previous great science hoax: Piltdown Man.

  143. Icarus says:

    Eric (skeptic) (19:35:17) : Icarus says:
    “A careful and thoughtful analysis of tree ring data would have to include ways of isolating the effects of climate change from other influences… agreed? If McIntyre’s analysis isn’t able to do this, perhaps this suggests it is not a useful contribution to the science.”

    Steve M. has been repeating your first statement for years, so there is no disagreement there. But your second statement implies that Steve M should travel to Yamal to inspect each of the 10 trees.

    Well, no. The whole point of this issue, as many others have discussed here, is that scientists are trying to use tree ring data (amongst many other kinds of data) to establish whether 20th/21st Century warming is anomalous in the context of the last one or two millennia. Clearly we can’t compare this current warming to the climate of (say) the Mediaeval period by using data that doesn’t show the current warming. This pretty much goes without saying. McIntyre’s analysis, unlike Briffa’s, doesn’t seem to show the current warming, so it can’t tell us anything about the issue at hand – i.e. whether or not current warming is anomalous. I don’t know whether that is a problem with the data he’s using, or his methods, but that question is really beside the point. If McIntyre’s analysis can’t be used to tell us anything about the climate then it’s of no value to the science.

    Agreed?

  144. Perry says:

    Scott A. Mandia (14:40:27) :

    Go on, do comment on Bishop Hill. Your struggles will be good for a guffaw or two.

  145. EricH says:

    When will the apologies start coming for the offence caused to, and vilification of, all the “so called” climate deniers? When will George Bush Jnr. be deified for holding out for so long against signing the Kyoto Accord?

    Don’t hold your breath. I can’t see it happening in my life time.

    Enjoy.

  146. brazil84 says:

    “And, in fact, I have previously noted that the notion of ‘proof’ is reserved for a deductive enterprise like mathematics; science is necessarily inductive and can never prove anything”

    This is a myth that alarmists like to fall back on when you point out that they have the burden of proof or find flaws in their proofs. Of course it’s possible to prove things in science — just not in a mathematical sense.

    For example, has it been proven that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer? Of course it has. Not mathematically, but there is overwhelming evidence which points to only one reasonable conclusion.

  147. Icarus says:

    EricH (03:06:52) : When will the apologies start coming for the offence caused to, and vilification of, all the “so called” climate deniers?

    Who do you think should apologise, to whom, for what exactly?

  148. MattN says:

    I have a question for all the Believers(tm) here.

    McKitrick said this:
    “It turns out that many of the samples were taken from dead (partially fossilized) trees and they have no particular trend. The sharp uptrend in the late 20th century came from cores of 10 living trees alive as of 1990, and five living trees alive as of 1995. Based on scientific standards, this is too small a sample on which to produce a publication-grade proxy composite. The 18th and 19th century portion of the sample, for instance, contains at least 30 trees per year. But that portion doesn’t show a warming spike. The only segment that does is the late 20th century, where the sample size collapses. ”

    Are these statements true? If so, you don’t really have much to stand on.

    It may very well be that Briffa did not cherry pick, he just merely took what was given to him, saw what he wanted to see, and didn’t investigate further to see if what he was seeing was representative or not.

    Intentional scientific [snip], your call. Neither one is acceptable when so much is on the line…

  149. David says:

    Humm? I heard a rumor that some people think there is a symbiotic relationship between CO2 and you know, those green things that grow, plants, trees and stuff, so I would think that a 100ppm increase in CO2, (even if every other factor was identical, soil, water, sun, teperature etc), would produce greater tree ring growth, so actually I am surprised to find so few trees show a hockey stick.

  150. David says:

    The expected effect of this 100 ppm CO2 increase should be about 15% greater growth, even if temperatures stay the same!!!!

  151. Another Ian says:

    The Yamal data set being from Russia – -

    Don’t I recall that Russian scientists don’t seem to hold with AGW?

  152. David says:

    Whats up with that, hey we fertilised some trees, they grew faster ( a few of them) and we said that proved warming, we got our pictures taken and more OPIM (other peoples income and money.

    And wtf, hey we covinced the western world to commit economic suicide, maybe even start WWIII, but we got our grants!!!

  153. Eric (skeptic) says:

    Joel Shore says “This tangent into feedbacks, by the way, was really initiated by ” Joel, your job, at this forum and others, is to educate the rubes. To do that you can put up a link or two or a small explanation in response to one tangent that you deem to be incorrect. Otherwise, try to keep on topic else you are just diverting attention and obfuscating the main issues.

    Icarus says “Clearly we can’t compare this current warming to the climate of (say) the Mediaeval period by using data that doesn’t show the current warming.” I need to repeat this, but I wish I didn’t have to. Given a population of trees in an area M, you can choose a subset N such that N is much less than M, and it is always possible to find data that shows any signal, be that current warming or anything else. That discovery doesn’t mean anything since there are always going to be trees with the right changes in local conditions (shade, terrain, ground water, competition, parasites or lack thereof, etc) combined with an unknowable amount of local temperature changes to produce the right hockey stick or any other shape.

    Without seeing all the raw data and knowing the selection process, the data is unusable. It seems clear (although the realclimate crowd censors the question) that the researchers using Briffa’s data did not use the raw data. It even appears that Briffa himself did not see all the raw data or know/understand the selection process. If that is the case, he is toast. He will be the cause of a lot of rework.

  154. John M says:

    Joel Shore (17:35:42) :

    It is not at all unusual in science for the first pioneering work in a field to be done using methods that are later found to be problematic in certain ways and thus superceded by better methods. It is not all black-and-white.

    Agree, and that’s all and well in the hallowed halls of academe and chummy Gordon Conferences where the wheels or research can turn at their own pace, but when there are real-world consequences and real money to be spent, and there are those that demand “immediate action”, the rules change. In my long career, I’ve seen many “peer-reviewed” studies come along that garnered headlines. Occasionaly, the claimants had the misfortune of gaining so much attention that someone was actully fool enough to think it might be of commercial value.

    Peer review, schmeer review, if it don’t work, it don’t work. You can let the world of peer review and sleepy editors work for relatively unimportant stuff. If there’s real world investments necessary, thruth and quick analysis is more important than drawn out peer-review guarded by well-trained attack dogs.

    Icarus (16:54:35) :

    …all other things being equal.

    That usually happens about the time the cow becomes spherical.

  155. cba says:

    “Icarus (15:57:24) :

    If Steve McIntyre’s analysis fails to show the signal of recent warming that we know about from many other kinds of data, that rather suggests that he’s doing something wrong, doesn’t it? How can you draw valid conclusions from an analysis that doesn’t reflect real-world observations?

    real world observations? or real yamal region observations? In this overwhelming plethora of posts going on about the subject my not all that great memory tells me I read a post indicating that the yamal region has not had significant temperature variations measured during the time when the briffa twelve were showing the massive hockey stick blade. If that is the case then it would seem there is even more suggestive evidence that the briffa selection was to choose trees that reflected a predetermined conclusions which was not even valid for that region. In other words, so much for selecting trees that match the relevent instrument record on the part of briffa – not that such treemometer diddling actually guarantees anything other than maybe trees grow better in atmospheres with higher co2 levels.

  156. Joel Shore says:

    philincalifornia says:

    Fantastic Joel, and the corals made it through all that, and we can still see them and touch them ….

    … but, after millions of years of this, they’re gonna die any second now !!!!

    Is this a serious argument that you are making? That we have nothing to worry about because whatever damage was done during the PETM, it seems to have healed by 55 million years later!?! That’s incredible!

    brazil84 says:

    For example, has it been proven that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer? Of course it has. Not mathematically, but there is overwhelming evidence which points to only one reasonable conclusion.

    Well, you cite a good example given that there was a long period of time between when most scientists thought this had been shown and when a few scientists and cigarette companies stopped contesting the science. Did you see the heads of the cigarette companies go before Congress back in the ’90s and say that they thought nicotine was not addictive? And, as another example, have you seen people contest evolution? In fact, our past is rife with examples of how people continue to contest scientific conclusions long after there is a consensus by most scientists in regard to them…and how they can always trot out a few scientists who hold a different opinion.

    And, it probably isn’t a coincidence that some of the people associated with contesting climate change (such as Steven Milloy of JunkScience.com and also Fred Singer [ http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Fred_Singer ] and Frederick Seitz) [ http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Frederick_Seitz ] had associations with the tobacco companies and the questioning of the science regarding cigarette smoking (especially, although I am not sure exclusively, second-hand smoke).

  157. Paul Coppin says:

    Icarus (01:52:58) : is that scientists are trying to use tree ring data (amongst many other kinds of data) to establish whether 20th/21st Century warming is anomalous in the context of the last one or two millennia. Clearly we can’t compare this current warming to the climate of…

    There’s the fallacy. The assumption that the current warming [in the global context] is real. The current warming (and especially the AGW component) is the hypothesis, not the established fact. Some data analysis suggests that the warming is real. Some data analysis suggests that AGW is real. Some data analysis suggests that neither is true.

    All Steve McIntyre is doing is subjecting published data analysis to rigorous review, and generally, for the data analysis he is reviewing, is finding it wanting. He simply continues to test the hypothesis, and insofar as the data he tests supports the assumption, no, it neither supports the assumption, nor the hypothesis. Simple, really.

  158. Joel Shore says:

    Kurt says:

    i.e. the hockey stick shape was baked into the procedure and would result even from random data thrown into the methodology. Separating the result from the methodology that produced the result is nonsensical.

    The NAS report weighs in on this point specifically ( http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11676&page=113 ):

    As part of their statistical methods, Mann et al. used a type of principal component analysis that tends to bias the shape of the reconstructions. A description of this effect is given in Chapter 9. In practice, this method, though not recommended, does not appear to unduly influence reconstructions of hemispheric mean temperature; reconstructions performed without using principal component analysis are qualitatively similar to the original curves presented by Mann et al. (Crowley and Lowery 2000, Huybers 2005, D’Arrigo et al. 2006, Hegerl et al. 2006, Wahl and Ammann in press).

    jorgekafkazar says:

    Joel Shore (19:38:15) : “…the Wegman panel was convened by the Republican majority…”

    Ad hominem. Ad ho-hum.

    It just happens to be the facts of this case. And, I find it interesting that you are so sensitive to what you consider ad hominem attacks but have failed to notice that ad hominem attacks are completely central to the entire “skeptic” case. After all, how else are you going to argue against the fact the IPCC conclusions and the fact that practically ever major scientific organization on the planet that has weighed in on the issue of climate change has supported the IPCC conclusions? In fact, we are told that the entire climate science community can’t be trusted because they are corrupted by grants or what-have-you.

  159. Peter says:

    Trying to measure temperature with tree rings is like trying to measure your height by standing on the bathroom scales.

  160. Joel Shore says:

    will says:

    Jacob T…check out this website.

    http://www.climate-skeptic.com/2009/09/ocean-acidification.html

    I hope you were citing that as an example of how desperately pathetic some of the arguments are to dismiss the concerns regarding CO2! Please tell me that this was your motivation! (The first two comments in response to that post are, by the way, dead on.)

  161. brazil84 says:

    “how else are you going to argue against the fact the IPCC conclusions ”

    Very easily . . . by looking critically at the actual evidence and arguments on each side.

    “hominem attacks are completely central to the entire ‘skeptic’ case.”

    Nonsense. The skeptical case rests on actual evidence and arguments. (More precisely, a lack of evidence and solid, valid argument from the warmist side.)

  162. brazil84 says:

    By the way Joel Shore’s attitude reflects a typical warmist bias, in my opinion. When I have debated with warmists, they have constantly attempted to shift the discussion into a debate over who is authoritative, as opposed to a debate over the actual science.

    To me, this bias itself is a red flag. Imagine you were trying to convince somebody that perpetual motion machines are impossible. Or that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer. Or that psychic phenomenon don’t exist. Or that the moon trip actually took place. In each case, the LAST argument you would make is the consensus argument — if you made it at all. Because in each case, there are solid arguments and/or evidence supporting your position on the merits. It’s not necessary to fall back on arguments from authority.

  163. Andrew says:

    “After all, how else are you going to argue against the fact the IPCC conclusions and the fact that practically ever major scientific organization on the planet that has weighed in on the issue of climate change has supported the IPCC conclusions?”

    This is the logical fallacy Appeal to Authority. Acronyms and social status do not insure correctness about an issue.

    Andrew

  164. Eric (skeptic) says:

    Joel, since you an expert at maintaining tangential conversations, how about going back to RC where you are a contributor and ask them why they allow such tangential red herring rubbish through (to paint all skeptics as talking point readers) and not answer 303 with an explanation of how many other hockey players (use a more PC term) used Briffa’s data without examining his (just-released) raw data. Otherwise try to stay on topic here.

  165. Stefan says:

    Obviously AGW-co-creators can keep their hypothesis in play based on technicalities.

    Those whose minds are not carrying the hypothesis can step back and allow simpler broad generalities, seen in context, to be apprehended.

    That was what happened with Wegman, where they were expertly reviewing the technicalities of what could and could not be said. AGWers clutched to the technicalities like a man clutching at straws, whilst everyone else noted that broadly speaking, the hockeystick didn’t tell us much of anything at all in practical terms.

    Technically the other papers are independent, but in practice they are not. Technically the trees can be a proxy for temperature, but in practice, the samples used and the assumptions used are too finicky to be trusted. Technically, there is one line forming the graph, but in practice, the line is an illusion generated from unprecedented and idiosyncratic procedures, more akin to a person’s own signature than an obvious natural fact.

  166. Jerry Haney says:

    Joel Shore (19:38:15) states that “the Wegman panel was convened by the Republican majority who chose Wegman and the narrow charge that they gave the panel in order to get the answer that they wanted. ”

    Is Mr. Shore claiming that Wegman and his panel participated in some kind of fraud? The statement above sure seems to denigrate the work of a truely outstanding scientist. Otherwise, why would Mr. Shore tarnish Mr. Wegman’s report by claiming he was chosen by a “Republican” majority?

  167. Joel Shore says:

    brazil84: I’ve spent a lot of time discussing the science, but as the examples of cigarette smoking and evolution demonstrate, one is not going to be able to convince people on the basis of the science if they are sufficiently motived by their own biases not to believe it.

    As for “appeals to authority”, while such appeals may not logically prove something to be true, it is generally true that scientific authorities are trusted more than just the “Average Joe” on scientific issues for very good reason. And, this is why “skeptics” tend to come up with grand theories to explain why all the scientific authorities are aligned against them.

    Is Mr. Shore claiming that Wegman and his panel participated in some kind of fraud? The statement above sure seems to denigrate the work of a truely outstanding scientist. Otherwise, why would Mr. Shore tarnish Mr. Wegman’s report by claiming he was chosen by a “Republican” majority?

    No. Read what I said in context. They were chosen by the Republican majority to deal only with a narrow issue that most everyone now agrees with, namely, that the method used in the original Mann et al. work does have certain real problems that mean that it is not the recommended method. And, like I’ve said, it is hardly the first case where the pioneering work in a field used some methods that were later found to be problematic in some ways and superceded by better methods.

    That being said, I think that Wegman showed poor judgment in going beyond his competency to address issues where he really did not have the background. (E.g., a year or so after he wrote his report, he signed onto a letter to policymakers disputing the basic science of AGW even though he showed himself to really not have the necessary background to evaluate any more than a tiny fraction of this science).

  168. Joel Shore says:

    Sorry…I should have made it clear that the block-quote there in my previous post is from Jerry Haney, not brazil84.

  169. DAV says:

    The sad part in all of this is that, after the chickens come home to roost, so to speak, and the devastation wrought by poorly implemented measures which have risen from a chicken-little threat is finally realized, it is Science as a whole that will be degraded in the public esteem. I fear the backlash will be terrible.

  170. brazil84 says:

    “I’ve spent a lot of time discussing the science, but as the examples of cigarette smoking and evolution demonstrate, one is not going to be able to convince people on the basis of the science if they are sufficiently motived by their own biases not to believe it.”

    So what? It’s impossible to convince someone of anything if they are sufficiently motivated by their own biases not to believe it.

    An advocate will normally advance the strongest possible arguments and evidence in favor of his or her position. In the case of cigarette smoking, the best evidence is the fact that people who regularly smoke are much more likely to die from lung cancer. The fact that the surgeon general has determined that smoking causes lung cancer is interesting but only secondary.

    Similarly, if somebody claims to have built a perpetual motion machine, the best argument against him is the fact that he is trying to make money by getting investors instead of simply selling his free electricity to his local power company. The fact that most physicists would hold that such a machine is impossible under currently accepted models is important but secondary.

    And what about with CAGW? The best evidence in favor of CAGW is that people have constructed untested computer simulations which are consistent with past temperatures and future catastrophic warming. Which is weak evidence at best and warmists know it. Which is why they must resort to arguments from authority.

  171. DAV says:

    Joel Shore (11:49:49) : “They were chosen by the Republican majority to deal only with a narrow issue …”

    As were the NAS panel also, I presume? So other than ad hominen attack are you saying that the Wegman panel conclusion was wrong?

    “That being said, I think that Wegman showed poor judgment in going beyond his competency to address issues where he really did not have the background.”

    But of course you do. You don’t seem to have any problem stating your own opinion but denigrate others who state theirs and who also (quite coincidentally?) disagree with yours. How quaint.

  172. Paul Coppin says:

    Joel Shore (11:49:49) : As for “appeals to authority”, while such appeals may not logically prove something to be true, it is generally true that scientific authorities are trusted more than just the “Average Joe” on scientific issues for very good reason. And, this is why “skeptics” tend to come up with grand theories to explain why all the scientific authorities are aligned against them.

    There you go again. First establishing, by generalization, rather than by substantiation, that “scientific authorities” (“authorities” are entirely relativistic, btw) are more trustworthy, then expanding to the logical fallacies that a) all “skeptics” are “average joes” (pejorative all on its own), followed by the strawman that all “skeptics” believe “all the scientic authorities are aligned against them”. It seems the paranoia is yours, not the “skeptics”.

    What McIntyre, and a good many “scientific authorities” are saying and showing, loudly, that many other “scientific authorities”, are, to use your own words, “going beyond their competency to address issues where they really do not have the background”. This includes some significant name brands in the Official Climatology.

  173. DAV says:

    brazil84 (12:12:48) :

    But if CAGW was an acromym for Computer Aided Global Warming then the models are surely the strongest argument, eh? :)

  174. brazil84 says:

    Coppin:

    “This includes some significant name brands in the Official Climatology.”

    I agree. Anyway, which would be better evidence against McIntyre:

    (1) Wegman was wrong on some important point where he came down on the side of McIntyre; or

    (2) Wegman was appointed by Republicans.

    DAV:

    :)

  175. Gene Nemetz says:

    Nice suit Ross.

  176. Joel Shore says:

    brazil84: I think you are missing the point. You are saying, “AGW is different because the evidence isn’t good whereas for the dangers of cigarettes and for the correctness of evolution, the evidence is good.” However, this is just your own personal judgment. To the cigarette companies and their proponents, including a few scientists, the evidence wasn’t good for a long time after it was good enough for most scientists. To the creationists, the evidence for evolution still isn’t good.

    So, the question is, how are we to objectively tell when the evidence is good? And, it seems to me that the best way to do so is to have the reputable scientific bodies evaluate the scientific evidence. Having people who don’t like the conclusions second-guess them and demand their views to be taken seriously by policymakers is a recipe for the complete politicization of science. (It is fine and healthy for such second-guessing to occur within the scientific enterprise itself, although it works a lot better when it is done more through journals than blog postings.)

    DAV says:

    But of course you do. You don’t seem to have any problem stating your own opinion but denigrate others who state theirs and who also (quite coincidentally?) disagree with yours. How quaint.

    Actually, if my opinions were in strong contradiction to the opinions of nearly all of the scientists actively working and publishing in the field, then I would not really expect very many people to take my opinions very seriously. Similarly, I don’t think people should take Wegman’s opinions on climate science very seriously; his opinions on the details of the statistical method are entitled to more respect because that is his area of expertise. However, as I have noted, it is generally agreed now that the methods used by Mann et al is in the words of the NAS report, “not recommended” and indeed most scientists have moved on in the last decade, including Mann et al. themselves.

  177. Joel Shore says:

    Paul Coppin says:

    (”authorities” are entirely relativistic, btw)

    Not really. It has generally been widely accepted (across the political spectrum) that the National Academy of Sciences is an authority on scientific issues…and, in fact, its very charter is to provide scientific information to the federal government. And, it seems to have generally worked very well. And, there are other respected institutions such as the analogous bodies in other countries (like the Royal Society in London), AAAS, and the various professional societies such as the AGU, AMS, and APS. In this case, it is not like there is any great schism with some of these authorities on one side and some on the other.

    Rather, the “authorities” on the other side consist of a few scientists who all get together at conferences sponsored by the Heartland Institute. Now, it takes a pretty warped view of the world to conclude that all of the scientific bodies that I mentioned have been corrupted and politicized and the Heartland Institute is now the upholder of non-politicized science!

  178. brazil84 says:

    “brazil84: I think you are missing the point. You are saying, ‘AGW is different because the evidence isn’t good whereas for the dangers of cigarettes and for the correctness of evolution, the evidence is good.’”

    First of all, I said nothing about evolution because we are not allowed to discuss evolution on this board. If you wish to discuss evolution, feel free to post to my blog.

    Second, I am saying nothing about AGW, because there is little doubt that mankind’s activities are likely to have some kind of warming effect on the climate. The question is about CAGW.

    Third, it is you who is missing the point. I do maintain that the evidence for cigarette smoking causing lung cancer is good and the evidence for CAGW is not good, but that’s not my point.

    Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the evidence for CAGW is strong. In that case, proponents of CAGW would need only to point at the evidence without relying on arguments from authority. And yet proponents of CAGW appeal to authority seemingly without end.

    “And, it seems to me that the best way to do so is to have the reputable scientific bodies evaluate the scientific evidence. ”

    If you had to make one and only one point to convince someone that smoking cigarettes causes lung cancer, what would that point be?

  179. brazil84 says:

    “If you had to make one and only one point to convince someone that smoking cigarettes causes lung cancer, what would that point be?”

    Perhaps a better question would be this:

    What is the very best piece of evidence that smoking cigarettes causes lung cancer?

  180. DAV says:

    “To the cigarette companies and their proponents, including a few scientists…”

    Are you aware that one of those scientists was Ronald Fisher, himself? It would seem that statisticians are to be ignored regardless of stature if they hold minority opinion and regardless of the fact that the basis of the majority side is statistical in nature. Who would be better at passing judgement on statistical studies? Makes me wonder about how you yourself select authority.

    You really should reconsider you stance on authority. Apparently you are here to proselytize so take some friendly advice on salesmanship: It’s a bad idea to assault the judgement of a man you are trying to convince — especially so by pointing out his terrible choice in mates and friends.

    Also, try to keep to the point. If you have in pearls of wisdom why would you want to continuously bury them under extraneous BS? Not only are you making it undesirable to search for them but they will also smell better when examined.

    brazil84 made a rather pointed observation posed as a simple question:

    [W]hich would be better evidence against McIntyre:

    (1) Wegman was wrong on some important point where he came down on the side of McIntyre; or

    (2) Wegman was appointed by Republicans?

    You are concentrating on (2) when applying yourself to (1) would be more productive. Why? Lacking your answer, you must forgive us our cynical assumption.

  181. Andrew_KY says:

    “As for “appeals to authority”, while such appeals may not logically prove something”

    They don’t. We are in agreement.

    “…it is generally true that scientific authorities are trusted more than just the “Average Joe” on scientific issues for very good reason.”

    So we go from stating that Appeals to Authority don’t prove anything…

    …to the same Appeal to Authority worded in the form of a generalization.

    A waste of time, disk space, and bandwidth. ;)

    Andrew

  182. Eric (skeptic) says:

    Joel says “It is fine and healthy for such second-guessing to occur within the scientific enterprise itself, although it works a lot better when it is done more through journals than blog postings.”

    How many “Scientific” journals asked to see Briffa’s raw data when he published his results? Ans: one. How many journals accepted articles using Briffa’s [snip] results without asking for the raw data which we now know to be completely inadequate. “The Russians only gave him the 12 trees” is the current excuse by Gavin at the censoring RealClimate site. Why don’t you go over there and ask how many studies used Briffa’s [snip] results without the raw data? Ask him when those studies will be redone. He will say, it doesn’t really matter. We have moved on. Look over here at these boreholes!

  183. Eric (skeptic) says:

    Sorry about that. I did not mean to imply falsified. I merely meant processed, but got a bit carried away. Thanks for cleaning.

  184. Andrew says:

    “Andrew_KY”

    Oh sh*t. My identity slipped out.

    Back to my Impenetrable Fortress in the Arctic Ice Caves! Mwuahahahaha! ;)

    Andrew

  185. Joel Shore says:

    brazil84:

    Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the evidence for CAGW is strong. In that case, proponents of CAGW would need only to point at the evidence without relying on arguments from authority. And yet proponents of CAGW appeal to authority seemingly without end.

    (1) There are only so many times that one can repeat scientific arguments that are being ignored. Believe me, I have done so many times. Go look and see how many times I have explained in gory detail to Smokey why graphs he has posted are deceptive. There is only so much one can do to try to convince someone of something if they don’t want to be convinced.

    (2) Science is hard and the climate science is especially hard. There is no shortcut “killer” argument or “smoking gun” piece of evidence. One simply has to look at and evaluate the totality of the evidence, which is what the appropriate scientific bodies have done. This is, in fact, why people who contest scientific consensuses in the public sphere, whether they involve AGW, evolution, or smoking can do so with such success.

    (3) You’ve presented no evidence that those arguing the link between cancer and smoking or arguing the case for evolution cite authority less. I mean, what exactly is one to say to someone who just keeps saying that the scientific evidence doesn’t convince them? At some point, you have to say, “Well, fine. However, it does seem to convince people who seem more qualified to judge.”

    (1) Wegman was wrong on some important point where he came down on the side of McIntyre; or

    Well, the reason why I haven’t argued that, as I have explained already, is that it is not so much that Wegman was wrong but that he is irrelevant. The science has long moved on from the issue of whether the specific method that Mann et al wrote up in their first paper in this field is a good method. The NAS report addresses the broader questions that are actually more relevant (and it doesn’t get sidetracked into analysing Mann’s social network). That is why the NAS report lives on whereas the Wegman report has essentially vanished into obscurity except amongst those of a certain persuasion.

  186. Joel Shore says:

    Eric (skeptic): So, now that Steve McIntyre has the data that Briffa used and he has the various data from the Mann et al. (2008) article and he has written innumerable confusing blog posts about them all that have received worshipful responses from his acolytes, when are we going to see the journal articles by him? Why is it that he seems more interested in addressing his followers and writing posts that then prompt various other blog posts and columns in the echo chamber rather than actually addressing his scientific peers?

    Even some skeptics like “TCO” seem to have tired of McIntyre’s approach.

  187. Andrew says:

    “Even some skeptics like “TCO” seem to have tired of McIntyre’s approach.”

    Add the Appeal to TCO to the list of logical fallacies. ;)

    WOW. I did not see that one coming.

    Yes, I’m back already. ;)

    Andrew

  188. brazil84 says:

    “There are only so many times that one can repeat scientific arguments that are being ignored.”

    So what? If your scientific arguments are ignored, it’s unlikely your appeals to authority will accomplish anything either.

    More likely, your scientific arguments are being rebutted so you are retreating to the usual refuge of warmists — appeals to authority.

    “There is no shortcut ‘killer’ argument or ‘smoking gun’ piece of evidence.”

    Yep. There isn’t even any convincing evidence, and that’s the problem.

    “You’ve presented no evidence that those arguing the link between cancer and smoking . . . cite authority less.”

    And I haven’t made such a claim either. So what?

    Let’s do this. I have two simple questions for you:

    (1) In your opinion, what is the very best evidence that smoking cigarettes causes lung cancer?

    (2) In your opinion, what is the very best evidence that the CAGW hypothesis is correct?

    ________________

    “Well, the reason why I haven’t argued that, as I have explained already, is that it is not so much that Wegman was wrong but that he is irrelevant. The science has long moved on from the issue of whether the specific method that Mann et al wrote up in their first paper in this field is a good method. ”

    In that case, the fact that he was (apparently) appointed by Republicans is irrelevant too. And yet somehow you felt the need to mention it.

  189. Richard says:

    I notice a difference between Ross McKitrick and Steve McIntyre. Ross McKitrick pulls no punches and is pretty forthright in what he has to say.

    Steve McIntyre on the other hand after exposing what seems to be, at the very least, an enormous misrepresentation of one proxy, to show alarming unprecedented global warming in the last 50 years, on the basis of which the IPCC declared as such, seems to spend the rest of his time almost apologising for his discovery.

    This gives ammunition to his detractors who say his discovery is of no consequence and he does this kind of thing just to score brownie points.

  190. Eric (skeptic) says:

    Joel,

    I’m not sure if the spam filter ate my last post or not. Will try again. Steve has exhaustively and carefully reported on his results. On the subject of this thread he published here:
    http://www.climateaudit.org/pdf/mcintyre.workshop05.pdf
    followed up many times including here:
    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=548
    Scroll to figure 2. That’s all the information he had regarding Briffa Yamal.
    Finally last week he got the raw data:
    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=7241
    Looking at this new figure 2, do you see the problem?

  191. Eric (skeptic) says:

    Joel, worshipful? Most of Steve’s regulars correct him regularly. His 05 paper on Polar Urals was followed on his blog in 06 with Yamal mean ring width versus Briffa’s RCS with a greatly exaggerated HS shape. Now he finally has the raw data and the mean ring width from 06 appears to be correct, but not the RCS.

  192. elmer says:

    Alan

    Thanks for your explanation.

    So to be clear the hockey stick chart is comprised of instrument data for the 20th century and tree ring data for pre 20th century?

    As this chart shows.
    http://minnesotansforglobalwarming.com/m4gw/2009/10/03/RisingTemps.jpg

    Here is the original source
    http://www.pca.state.mn.us/oea/reduce/climatechange.cfm

    And the new revelation is if you use just the tree ring data for the 20th century as well the temperature remains flat.

  193. Richard says:

    elmer (22:23:19) :

    Except the instrumental record on its own doesnt look like that:
    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/old-temperature/hemglob.gif
    You will notice that the instrumental record curve goes about 0.5 C above the average, whereas your “paleontology” curve soars about 1 degree over the “paleontology” average.

    This is more an artifact of reconstruction and plotting than factual.

    It was a graph like this that Al Gore used, with a lift to reach the top end, with suitable gasps from his audience, in his “inconvenient truth” lectures.

  194. Joel,

    You deserve the Nobel Patience Prize.

  195. Joel Shore says:

    brazil84: It seems to me that your argument seems to boil down to this – Even though the nature of the opposition to the scientific consensus was very much the same for the issue of smoking and the issue of evolution, it is really different because in those cases there really was good evidence and in this case there isn’t. Since you have set yourself up as arbiter of what is good evidence or not, ignoring what scientific authorities think, it is absolutely impossible for me to argue against this. You will believe what you want to believe.

    brazil84 says:

    Let’s do this. I have two simple questions for you:

    (1) In your opinion, what is the very best evidence that smoking cigarettes causes lung cancer?

    (2) In your opinion, what is the very best evidence that the CAGW hypothesis is correct?

    In neither case is there one best piece of evidence. (As an example, the epidemiological studies that show a correlation between smoking and cancer suffer the problem of all epidemiological studies, that it is hard to show that the correlation means causation and that all other potential factors have been controlled for.)

    In that case, the fact that he was (apparently) appointed by Republicans is irrelevant too. And yet somehow you felt the need to mention it.

    I think it is relevant to the charge that Wegman was given. And, it is probably also relevant to the general tone of the report and the fact that it went off on this tangent on Mann’s scientific social network. It is also relevant to the fact that in the scientific community this report has essentially been ignored in favor of the NAS report since the NAS is known to approach these issues in a non-partisan manner rather than being commissioned by one political party.

  196. Joel Shore says:

    Richard says:

    It was a graph like this that Al Gore used, with a lift to reach the top end, with suitable gasps from his audience, in his “inconvenient truth” lectures.

    I know this claim has been made but I think it is a re-writing of history. As I remember (and the folks at RealClimate agree with and show a screen capture of http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/09/hey-ya-mal/ ), Al Gore used the lift to demonstrate the dramatic rise in CO2 levels since the industrial revolution. The plot in question was thus the plot of CO2 and temperatures over the last several hundred thousand years as determined from ice cores (with the recent CO2 levels from direct measurement and projected levels into the future).

  197. brazil84 says:

    ” It seems to me that your argument seems to boil down to this – Even though the nature of the opposition to the scientific consensus was very much the same for the issue of smoking and the issue of evolution, it is really different because in those cases there really was good evidence and in this case there isn’t”

    No, you’ve missed the point yet again. Look, it’s very simple:

    Just tell me what this “good evidence” in favor of CAGW is in a few sentences.

    “In neither case is there one best piece of evidence. (As an example, the epidemiological studies that show a correlation between smoking and cancer suffer the problem of all epidemiological studies, that it is hard to show that the correlation means causation and that all other potential factors have been controlled for.)”

    All you are saying here is that the best piece of evidence might have some weaknesses. So what? It’s still the best piece of evidence.

    Anyway, the fact that you have evaded my question demonstrates my point.

    ______________

    “You will believe what you want to believe.”

    I think you are just projecting your own wishful thinking here. I believe what the facts show me regardless of my personal wishes. I used to believe in CAGW until I learned how to think critically.

    _______________

    “I think it is relevant to the charge that Wegman was given. And, it is probably also relevant to the general tone of the report and the fact that it went off on this tangent on Mann’s scientific social network. It is also relevant to the fact that in the scientific community this report has essentially been ignored in favor of the NAS report since the NAS is known to approach these issues in a non-partisan manner rather than being commissioned by one political party.”

    But if as you claim, Wegman is no longer relevant, then so what? What do any of these things matter?

  198. Peter says:

    Joel Shore:

    I know this claim has been made but I think it is a re-writing of history. As I remember (and the folks at RealClimate agree with and show a screen capture of http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/09/hey-ya-mal/ ), Al Gore used the lift to demonstrate the dramatic rise in CO2 levels since the industrial revolution.

    I have just watched it and, unless my eyes are deceiving me, you’re wrong.

    In neither case is there one best piece of evidence. (As an example, the epidemiological studies that show a correlation between smoking and cancer suffer the problem of all epidemiological studies, that it is hard to show that the correlation means causation and that all other potential factors have been controlled for.)

    In this case, the study showed not only a strong dose-response, but showed a rr (relative risk) of around 20 at P=0.01. As epidemiological studies go, this is the platinum standard. I will agree that even such high-quality results do not denote causation but, when compared to climate science – chalk and cheese.

  199. jnicklin says:

    EricH (03:06:52) :

    When will the apologies start coming for the offence caused to, and vilification of, all the “so called” climate deniers? When will George Bush Jnr. be deified for holding out for so long against signing the Kyoto Accord?

    Don’t hold your breath. I can’t see it happening in my life time.

    Sorry EricH I think I understand your intent and agree with your summation, but…

    George W Bush didn’t sign Kyoto because he couldn’t sign it. It was already signed by Bill Clinton, or more accurately, by one of his aids assigned to the UN. Clinton did this some 800 days before the end of his tenure as President but took no further action. He did not send it ot the senate for ratification. If Kyoto was as big a deal as Al Gore makes it out to be, why did he not encourage then President Clinton to pass it to the senate? Likewise, Obama could send the treaty to the senate now, as a signed treaty.

    I’m not a “W” fan, but the story of his “not signing Kyoto” is a red herring used by the AGW crowd. More accurately, one could say that Bush failed to pursue Kyoto, but then so did Clinton and Gore.

  200. Richard says:

    Joel Shore (07:14:58) :
    Richard says:
    “It was a graph like this that Al Gore used, with a lift to reach the top end, with suitable gasps from his audience, in his “inconvenient truth” lectures.”

    I know this claim has been made but I think it is a re-writing of history. As I remember (and the folks at RealClimate agree with and show a screen capture of http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/09/hey-ya-mal/ ), Al Gore used the lift to demonstrate the dramatic rise in CO2 levels since the industrial revolution. The plot in question was thus the plot of CO2 and temperatures over the last several hundred thousand years as determined from ice cores (with the recent CO2 levels from direct measurement and projected levels into the future).

    The “re-writing of history” is what Al Gore did not me. If all Al Gore wanted to show was the rise of CO2 in the last 50 years he could have used a different graph not showing the ice core temperatures.

    1. On the basis of that graph he makes the claim: When there is more CO2 the temperature gets warmer – Implying the CO2 drives temperature – False
    2. From that claim and logic, he implies that since CO2 has “gone through the roof”, requiring a hydraulic lift to reach the top of the graph, the temperatures will too.

    In my post I had said that graphs are an artifact of plotting, depending on what you take as your baseline, whether you are plotting percentages or absolute values, the scaling you use.

    In this case he is plotting parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere, and then claiming the tail wags the dog. If he took the absolute values from a 0 baseline the CO2 would show as a dead straight line parallel to the X-axis.

  201. Richard says:

    Joel Shore (07:14:58) :

    PS In that artifact of a graph that Al Gore has shown, besides that ridiculous dramatisation of Al Gore ascending on a hydraulic lift, it appears he has also fudged the Y-axis and X-axis scale.

    The axis scale needs to be kept constant over the whole graph.

    I maybe mistaken but it appears that the Y-axis for the current period is to a different scale.The CO2 appears to be last few years have been used to a different scale on the Y-axis. Visually, it appears to be over double that at the peak figures of around 29 ppm at the end of the ice-ages and the X-axis at the end also seems to have been stretched out for the current period compared to the previous 800,000 years.

  202. Richard says:

    The CO2 appears to, in last few years, have been used to a different scale on the Y-axis. Visually, it appears to be over double that at the peak figures of around 290 ppm at the end of the ice-ages and the X-axis at the end also seems to have been stretched out for the current period compared to the previous 800,000 years.

  203. Joel Shore says:

    Richard says:

    The “re-writing of history” is what Al Gore did not me. If all Al Gore wanted to show was the rise of CO2 in the last 50 years he could have used a different graph not showing the ice core temperatures.

    You are changing the subject. My point is that now people are making the claim that Al Gore used the lift to demonstrate the Mann Hockey Stick curve. The fact is that it had nothing to do with the hockey stick curve.

    1. On the basis of that graph he makes the claim: When there is more CO2 the temperature gets warmer – Implying the CO2 drives temperature – False

    It is not false. In fact, both of them drive each other. It is admittedly not accurate to imply, however, that the temperature will rise as much as the ice core data correlating temperature and CO2 suggest, since it is estimated that only about 1/3 of this temperature rise was due to CO2…and also, the temperature dependence on CO2 is expected to be logarithmic rather than linear.

    In this case he is plotting parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere, and then claiming the tail wags the dog. If he took the absolute values from a 0 baseline the CO2 would show as a dead straight line parallel to the X-axis.

    That is just plain wrong. CO2 levels have gone up almost 40% during the industrial revolution. That means if the graph starts at a distance of 1 from the bottom; it will go up to ~1.4, which won’t look parallel to the x-axis no matter how you plot it. And, in fact, plotted on the timescales of several hundred thousand years, it will look basically completely vertical, just as Al Gore showed. (And, as near as I can tell from RealClimate’s screen capture, his graph for CO2 does start at 0, or at least pretty close.)

    I maybe mistaken but it appears that the Y-axis for the current period is to a different scale.

    You are mistaken. Note however, that there are two points on that graph, one at today’s levels and one at a projected level (for 50 years hence, I think, although it is hard to read).

  204. Joel Shore says:

    Peter says:

    I have just watched it and, unless my eyes are deceiving me, you’re wrong.

    I am confused then … Why does the RealClimate screen capture show him on the lift in front of the graph that I described?

  205. Smokey says:

    Joel Shore (18:16:40):

    Al Gore’s “graph for CO2 does start at 0, or at least pretty close.”

    Okey dokey. Now let’s take a look at some other graphs that have a zero y-axis: click1, click2, click3.

    Not too scary, are they? That’s why the alarmists use charts like this: click. They are deliberately designed to scare the scientifically illiterate populace. That’s why they don’t work around here.

  206. Richard says:

    Joel Shore (18:16:40) :
    Richard says: “.. On the basis of that graph he makes the claim: When there is more CO2 the temperature gets warmer – Implying the CO2 drives temperature – False”

    It is not false. In fact, both of them drive each other.

    According to the AGW hypothesis. If this is true however please explain the warmer MWP than the CWP, most of the warmer Holocene interglacial period and the little ice age on the basis of CO2 as the main driver of the temperatures.

  207. Joel Shore says:

    Richard: Well, most scientists do not believe that the MWP was warmer than the late 20th century, although obviously the issues with temperature reconstructions make it difficult to assert that with a high degree of confidence.

    But, the more general answer to your question is that the world is not so black-and-white. CO2 is the main driver of temperatures when it changes rapidly while other things (such as orbital parameters) don’t change very much. And, CO2 is not the main driver of temperatures when it is nearly constant while other things are changing.

    During the glacial – interglacial oscillations, the understanding is that the trigger for glaciation and de-glaciation was provided by orbital changes. However, these orbital changes resulted in almost no change in global mean annual radiative forcing…They just changed the distribution of the radiative forcing in latitude and seasonality. Hence, almost all the temperature change was as a result of feedbacks. The most important feedback was simply the change in albedo from the growth and shrinkage of the land ice sheets (and, to a lesser extent changes in vegetation) and this accounted for about half the temperature change. Changes in CO2 levels accounted for about one third of the temperature change, with a little bit more added by the other greenhouse gases, and these greenhouse gas changes also likely played an important role in synchronizing the change in the two hemispheres. Changes in aerosol loading in the atmosphere contributed a bit too (maybe 10-15%).

    During the Holocene (and up until the industrial revolution), CO2 levels have been pretty constant and so much of whatever temperature change has occurred is likely due to the changes in orbital parameters (which is a slow change over thousands of years) and changes in solar irradiance or volcanic activity.

  208. Richard says:

    Joel Shore (19:14:13) : Richard: Well, most scientists do not believe that the MWP was warmer than the late 20th century, although obviously the issues with temperature reconstructions make it difficult to assert that with a high degree of confidence.

    Firstly how can you say that statement is correct. Has any poll been conducted among scientists with the question “do you believe that the MWP was warmer than the late 20th century”? Naturally since they are scientists they will also have to asked the question why do you believe as you do. Secondly beliefs are not a substitute for the truth.

    I presume that you yourself are a scientist? (I am not). If you believe that, why do you, specially when you also say that there is not a “high degree of confidence” in that statement.

    Why I believe it was warmer is
    1. Because people who lived during the period left sagas that could be taken as a “proxy” clues (a better one than Briffa’s) that it was indeed so
    2. The ice-core records of Greenland say so.
    3. There is other evidence that says so.
    4. The IPCC itself said so till 2001
    5. The National Academy of Sciences still says so in some of its crucial publications as well as the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

    In fact the only evidence which says to the contrary is the temperature reconstructions of Mann, Briffa et al, which, as you point out, have “issues” with their confidence.

    CO2 is the main driver of temperatures when it changes rapidly while other things (such as orbital parameters) don’t change very much. And, CO2 is not the main driver of temperatures when it is nearly constant while other things are changing.

    Where is the evidence for this? It certainly does not show up in the records of the past 10,000 years.

    During the glacial – interglacial oscillations, the understanding is that the trigger for glaciation and de-glaciation was provided by orbital changes. However, these orbital changes resulted in almost no change in global mean annual radiative forcing (unproven assumption. You simply do not know the radiation of the Sun to any accuracy before the satellite era)…They just changed the distribution of the radiative forcing in latitude and seasonality. Hence, almost all the temperature change was as a result of feedbacks. The most important feedback was simply the change in albedo from the growth and shrinkage of the land ice sheets (and, to a lesser extent changes in vegetation) and this accounted for about half the temperature change. Changes in CO2 levels accounted for about one third of the temperature change, with a little bit more added by the other greenhouse gases, and these greenhouse gas changes also likely played an important role in synchronizing the change in the two hemispheres. Changes in aerosol loading in the atmosphere contributed a bit too (maybe 10-15%).

    The ice core records show the CO2 kept going down when temperatures started rising to take us out of the ice ages and kept rising when we plunged into them, so CO2 was not a driver either of the rise in temperatures nor could it save us from repeatedly plunging into them.

    During the Holocene (and up until the industrial revolution), CO2 levels have been pretty constant and so much of whatever temperature change has occurred is likely due to the changes in orbital parameters (which is a slow change over thousands of years) and changes in solar irradiance or volcanic activity.

    Since the temperature fluctuations have been far more rapid than the “slow change over thousands of years” that you are attributing to orbital parameters.

  209. Richard says:

    Since the temperature fluctuations have been far more rapid than the “slow change over thousands of years” that you are attributing to orbital parameters that statement cannot be true

  210. Richard says:

    It has become icy cold here. The weather ignores global warming

  211. Stoic says:

    Joel Shore (19:14:13) :

    Richard: Well, most scientists do not believe that the MWP was warmer than the late 20th century, although obviously the issues with temperature reconstructions make it difficult to assert that with a high degree of confidence.

    Joel can you please explain:

    What you mean by a “scientist”?
    How you know that most scientists do not believe that the MWP was warmer than the late 20th century?
    How you decide the degrees of confidence with which you make your speculative assertions?

    Thanks in anticipation.

    S

  212. brazil84 says:

    “Firstly how can you say that statement is correct. Has any poll been conducted among scientists with the question ‘do you believe that the MWP was warmer than the late 20th century’? ”

    That’s a good point, but it’s worth noting that like most warmists, Joel Shore is attempting to divert the discussion into a debate over how many scientists believe what.

    Why didn’t he say something like “the evidence indicates that the Medieval Warm Period was less warm than now.”?

    Because that would invite a request to explain and provide such evidence.

    And what exactly is the evidence that the MWP is cooler than the present? Primarily, it seems that a small group of carefully selected trees grew at least as much between 1950 and 1990 as some other group of carefully selected trees during the Medieval Warm Period. And how exactly were these thermomoter trees selected? Nobody really knows except for a few “scientists” who assure us we can trust them despite their demonstrated lust for shrouding their work in secrecy.

    It’s completely unsurprising that warmists want to shift the debate into scientist counting contests since the actual evidence on their side is thin — to put it mildly.

  213. Joel Shore says:

    Richard says:

    Firstly how can you say that statement is correct. Has any poll been conducted among scientists with the question “do you believe that the MWP was warmer than the late 20th century”? Naturally since they are scientists they will also have to asked the question why do you believe as you do.

    Well, “most scientists” was a shorthand for saying that most of the peer-reviewed papers in the field have said that the current period is likely warmer, as has the IPCC in the last two assessment reports, and the NAS in its report on temperature reconstructions (with some caveats in regard to not being able to assign a degree of certainty to the statement).

    Why I believe it was warmer is
    1. Because people who lived during the period left sagas that could be taken as a “proxy” clues (a better one than Briffa’s) that it was indeed so
    2. The ice-core records of Greenland say so.
    3. There is other evidence that says so.
    4. The IPCC itself said so till 2001
    5. The National Academy of Sciences still says so in some of its crucial publications as well as the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

    (1) Local records tell us only what happened at that location, not what happened globally (let alone the amount of synchronicity in the times at which the different parts of the globe experienced their warmest temperatures during the broad period of time defined by the MWP).

    (2) Do you have quotes from the earlier IPCC reports? My impression is that the first report had a schematic graphic taken from Lamb that did seem to show a warmer MWP than at the end of the period, which was before the modern (post 1970) warming, but that if you extended it to temperatures up to the present would have it about the same as the MWP. And, at any rate, this was only schematic since noone had attempted to do a globe-wide or hemispheric-wide reconstruction. And, while the Mann et al. work was pioneering, I don’t think they were the first ones to suggest that the warm periods identified in different areas sometime during the broad period of the MWP appeared to be asynchronous.

    (3) Where do the NAS and Woods Hole make these claims? Here is the NAS report on temperature reconstructions: http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11676

    Where is the evidence for this? It certainly does not show up in the records of the past 10,000 years.

    As I noted, it is hard to tell during that period since CO2 has been quite constant.

    The ice core records show the CO2 kept going down when temperatures started rising to take us out of the ice ages and kept rising when we plunged into them, so CO2 was not a driver either of the rise in temperatures nor could it save us from repeatedly plunging into them.

    It is strange that the people who have written the papers that have provided this data don’t seem to agree with your conclusions. One problem is that you are likely taking the data well beyond where it can be taken. You do know that the temperature data from ice cores is a proxy for that given location (or region)…and there are various issues with it and, in fact, at least one paper that talks about important corrections that must be made during (I believe) the drop in temperature from interglacial into glacial periods? You also have to look at temperature behavior in both hemispheres since one tends to warm or cool before the other. (And, in fact, I believe that the one that does so more slowly actually does not have a lag between the temperature change and CO2 change.)

    Since the temperature fluctuations have been far more rapid than the “slow change over thousands of years” that you are attributing to orbital parameters.

    What I am referring to are the general triggers for the glacial and interglacial transitions, as well as, for example, the gradual cooling on the Arctic over the last ~8000 years that the recent temperature reconstruction showed.

    brazil84 says:

    Why didn’t he say something like “the evidence indicates that the Medieval Warm Period was less warm than now.”?

    I didn’t say that because I like to attribute statements on scientific issues that I haven’t worked in, or carefully examined and analyzed the data myself, to the scientists who actually have. (Some people, by contrast, seem to think they are experts on something because they have read Steve McIntyre’s and his cohorts’ accounts of it.)

    And what exactly is the evidence that the MWP is cooler than the present?

    According to the National Academy of Sciences report: “Presently available proxy evidence indicates that temperatures at many, but not all, individual locations were higher during the past 25 years than during any period of comparable length since A.D. 900. The uncertainties associated with reconstructing hemispheric mean or global mean temperatures from these data increase substantially backward in time through this period and are not yet fully quantified.” ( http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11676&page=3 ) Of course, some further progress in that quantification has been made since the report was issued in 2006)

  214. brazil84 says:

    “I didn’t say that because I like to attribute statements on scientific issues that I haven’t worked in, or carefully examined and analyzed the data myself, to the scientists who actually have.”

    I’m a little confused . . . are you saying that you have no personal evaluation of the evidence on this point?

    “Presently available proxy evidence indicates that temperatures at many, but not all, individual locations were higher during the past 25 years than during any period of comparable length since A.D. 900. The uncertainties associated with reconstructing hemispheric mean or global mean temperatures from these data increase substantially backward in time through this period and are not yet fully quantified”

    So it’s basically like I said. The primatey evidence that the MWP was cooler than the present is that a small group of carefully selected trees grew at least as much between 1950 and 1990 as some other group of carefully selected trees during the Medieval Warm Period. And how exactly were these thermomoter trees selected? Nobody really knows except for a few “scientists” who assure us we can trust them despite their demonstrated lust for shrouding their work in secrecy.

  215. brazil84 says:

    And by the way, notice that in response to a question about evidence, Joel Shore responded with a quote summarizing conclusions of various authorities.

  216. elmer says:

    Here is my attempt to boil this down into layman’s terms.

    http://minnesotansforglobalwarming.com/m4gw/2009/10/the-mystery-of-hockey-stick-chart-revealed.html

    Feel free to comment If I got any part of this wrong

  217. brazil84 says:

    P.S. By the way Joel Shore, you never answered my earlier question:

    Just tell me what this “good evidence” in favor of CAGW is in a few sentences.

    Is it possible for you to answer this question by simply summarizing the evidence? Or will you simply appeal to authority again?

  218. cogito says:

    Considering who wrote this remark, it’s interesting to read:
    “When I asked Svensmark why he presented a curve describing low cloud-cover from the ISCCP – used for correlation study with GCR (link) – that differed from the curves presented at the ISCCP web site (link), he informed me that he used a corrected version that has been published. Nevertheless, the ‘correction’ of the curve is controversial, and the ISCCP team is clearly not convinced, despite the likelihood of instrumental degradation.

    Good practice would then be to present all the curves that cannot be ruled out because of errors. When asked why he didn’t present the other cures too, he said that he only wanted to show the one curve. Not a very convincing answer, and not very reassuring.

    Found at RealClimate
    http://snipurl.com/sewjt

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