Exonerated? Not.

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

The official report of the Pennsylvania State University Inquiry Committee into the actions of Dr. Michael Mann is available here. It is the Report of the Inquiry that Mann says exonerated him completely of the three most important allegations.

From Cartoons by Josh

The Inquiry Report was written by professors. As you might expect, it has plenty of extra words and paragraphs. So let’s take a tour through just the highlights of the Inquiry Report.

The quotations in bold italics are from the report. Nothing is taken out-of-order, and I have endeavored to include sufficient context. Here’s where the story started:

Beginning on and about November 22, 2009, The Pennsylvania State University began to receive numerous communications (emails, phone calls and letters) accusing Dr. Michael E. Mann of having engaged in acts that included manipulating data, destroying records and colluding to hamper the progress of scientific discourse around the issue of anthropogenic global warming from approximately 1998. These accusations were based on perceptions of the content of the widely reported theft of emails from a server at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in Great Britain.

Given the sheer volume of the communications to Penn State, the similarity of their content and their sources, which included University alumni, federal and state politicians, and others, many of whom had had no relationship with Penn State, it was concluded that the matter required examination by the cognizant University official, namely Dr. Eva J. Pell, then Senior Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School. The reason for having Dr. Pell examine the matter was that the accusations, when placed in an academic context, could be construed as allegations of research misconduct, which would constitute a violation of Penn State policy.

A fine start. Numerous people are calling for an investigation, so Penn State will look to see if one is justified. They go on to cite the relevant policy statements that Mann may or may not have violated:

Under The Pennsylvania State University’s policy, Research Administration Policy No. 10, (hereafter referred to as RA-10), Research Misconduct is defined as:

(1) fabrication, falsification, plagiarism or other practices that seriously deviate from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research or other scholarly activities;

(2) callous disregard for requirements that ensure the protection of researchers, human participants, or the public; or for ensuring the welfare of laboratory animals;

(3) failure to disclose significant financial and business interest as defined by Penn State Policy RA20, Individual Conflict of Interest;

(4) failure to comply with other applicable legal requirements governing research or other scholarly activities.

RA-10 further provides that “research misconduct does not include disputes regarding honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data, and is not intended to resolve bona fide scientific disagreement or debate.”

That seems quite clear. Then they look at the “purloined emails” (love the term they use) and discuss what they plan to investigate:

From November 30 to December 14, 2009, staff in the Office for Research Protections culled through approximately 1075 of the emails that were purloined from a server at the University of East Anglia. Emails were reviewed if they were sent by Dr. Mann, were sent to Dr. Mann, were copied to Dr. Mann, or discussed Dr. Mann (but were neither addressed nor copied to him). In summary, the following were found:

206 emails that contained a message/text from Dr. Mann somewhere in the chain;

92 emails that were received by Dr. Mann, but in which he did not write/participate in the discussion; and

79 that dealt with Dr. Mann, his work or publications; he neither authored nor was he copied on any of these.

From among these 377 emails, the inquiry committee focused on 47 emails that were deemed relevant. On December 17, 2009, the inquiry committee (Pell, Scaroni, Yekel), Dr. Brune and Dr. Foley met to review the emails, discuss the RA-10 inquiry process and go over what their respective activities would be. It was agreed that these individuals would meet again in early January and that they would use the time until that meeting to review the relevant information, including the above mentioned e-mails, journal articles, OP-ED columns, newspaper and magazine articles, the National Academy of Sciences report entitled “Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years,” ISBN: 0-309-66144-7 and various blogs on the internet.

Well, that all sounds impressive, until you finish reading the entire report. At that point you realize that the paragraph above is the last you hear of any of this stuff. None of the important questions are ever answered. Which 47 emails were deemed to be relevant, and why? What was learned from the 47 relevant emails? Which “blogs on the internet” did they review, and what were the results? Which OP-ED columns did they read, and what did they conclude? We never find out anything further. The rest of the report is silent on everything listed in that section.

So it is just handwaving about the emails, presenting lots of numbers and no content. They also list all those things that they are supposedly going to look into, newpapers and journal articles … and then they never refer to any of that again. Without details, that is just filler, hollow claims without a stitch of followup or substantiation. Meaningless. We don’t even know if they understood the import of the emails, or which ones they found important. Nothing.

Back to the report. Next they discuss who would make up the inquiry team, followed by this explanation of how they defined the allegations against Dr. Mann:

At the time of initiation of the inquiry, and in the ensuing days during the inquiry, no formal allegations accusing Dr. Mann of research misconduct were submitted to any University official. As a result, the emails and other communications were reviewed by Dr. Pell and from these she synthesized the following four formal allegations. To be clear, these were not allegations that Dr. Pell put forth, or leveled against Dr. Mann, but rather were her best effort to reduce to allegation form the many different accusations that were received from parties outside of the University. The four synthesized allegations were as follows:

1. Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with the intent to suppress or falsify data?

2. Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with the intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails, information and/or data, related to AR4, as suggested by Phil Jones?

3. Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any misuse of privileged or confidential information available to you in your capacity as an academic scholar?

4. Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research or other scholarly activities?

I was surprised by the vague, broad, and unspecified nature of these allegations. If they actually had read and understood the purloined CRU emails, I would have thought that they would have identified the specific instances of things in the emails that looked shonky. But at least they cover the ground.

After further procedural matters, they report how they decided on what exact questions to ask Dr. Mann:

… it was decided that each committee member would send Dr. Foley specific questions that would be added to the four formal allegations and that would be used by the committee during the interview of Dr. Mann. These were compiled into one document. It was also decided that during the upcoming interview of Dr. Mann, Dr. Foley would ask each of the initial questions with follow up questions coming from the other committee members, and he would moderate the interview.

That is followed by their report of the first actual piece of investigation, their interview with Dr. Mann. They report on this interview as follows:

In an interview lasting nearly two hours, Dr. Mann addressed each of the questions and follow up questions. A recording was made of the meeting, and this recording was transcribed. The committee members asked occasional follow-up questions. Throughout the interview, Dr. Mann answered each question carefully:

• He explained the content and meaning of the emails about which we inquired;

• He explained that he had never falsified any data, nor had he had ever manipulated data to serve a given predetermined outcome;

• He explained that he never used inappropriate influence in reviewing papers by other scientists who disagreed with the conclusions of his science;

• He explained that he never deleted emails at the behest of any other scientist, specifically including Dr. Phil Jones, and that he never withheld data with the intention of obstructing science; and

• He explained that he never engaged in activities or behaviors that were inconsistent with accepted academic practices.

OK. They met with Mann for two hours, what I would see as a preliminary interview to get his claims on the record so they could be checked. He told them he was totally, completely innocent and as pure as new driven snow. The interview was recorded and transcribed.

So far, the inquiry was going very, very predictably, basic stuff. First Step. Initial Interview With Subject. Subject denies everything. Interview recorded, transcribed, and done. Check the first box on the checklist.

But at that point, things take an astounding turn. Here is the very next event in the chronology, as described in the very next paragraphs of the Report.

On January 15, 2010, and on behalf of the inquiry committee, Dr. Foley conveyed via email an additional request of Dr. Mann, who was asked to produce all emails related to the fourth IPCC report (“AR4”), the same emails that Dr. Phil Jones had suggested that he delete.

On January 18, 2010, Dr. Mann provided a zip-archive of these emails and an explanation of their content. In addition, Dr. Mann provided a ten page supplemental written response to the matters discussed during his interview.

They asked him to provide them emails? They asked him to assemble and send them the evidence against himself?

He works for Penn State. The ownership of the emails is theirs. They are investigating him. The very, very first thing that is done in an investigation of this sort is to do an email dump of the subject of the investigation. Then the investigators go through to see what they can find.

THEY ASKED MANN TO ASSEMBLE THE EMAIL EVIDENCE AGAINST HIMSELF!!! I know I’m shouting and that’s impolite, but it needs to be shouted. If any one thing about this Inquiry characterizes the bumbling incompetence of the Inquirers, surely it is that single fact — that they let him pick and choose the evidence to be used against him. I mean, you could stop right there and go home knowing all you need to know about the quality and impartiality of the Inquiry.

But as tempting as going home might be at this point, the report continues, and so perforce we also must continue along the weary trail of their tortured caricature of an inquiry. However, as we proceed, remember that they asked him to assemble the evidence against himself. I’d heard stories that professors were out of touch with the real world, but c’mon, folks, don’t professors watch cop shows once in a while? That’s bozo level Investigation 101. Do an email dump of his machine and the email server, then compare the emails that were deleted from his computer to the emails that remain in the server.

But nooooo, he’s their esteemed colleague, that would be unseemly, so they politely asked him to send them the email evidence showing whether he had deleted emails or done anything else underhanded … words fail me.

After their killer hard-hitting look at the email question, and their collegiate discussion with their esteemed colleague, what did they look into next? The Penn State clown car careens on to the next step in their relentless inquiry, as shown by the next paragraph:

On January 22, 2010, the inquiry committee and Dr. Brune met again to review the evidence, including but not limited to Dr. Mann’s answers to the committee’s questions, both in the interview and in his subsequent submissions. All were impressed by Dr. Mann’s composure and his forthright responses to all of the queries that were asked of him. At this point, Dr. Foley reviewed the relevant points of his conversation with Dr. Gerald North, a professor at Texas A&M University and the first author of the NAS’ 2006 report on Dr. Mann’s research on paleoclimatology. Dr. Foley also relayed the sentiment and view of Dr. Donald Kennedy of Stanford University and the former editor of Science Magazine about the controversy currently swirling around Dr. Mann and some of his colleagues. Both were very supportive of Dr. Mann and of the credibility of his science.

Just kidding about the relentless inquiry, that was it. Four days after getting the emails from Mann, the party was over. At that point, looking for evidence was passé. All relevant questions had been asked. They were finished with the inquiry part, no more evidence collection, that was it, time to examine the collected evidence.

The above paragraph says that with the inquiry safely behind them and all relevant evidence gathered, they met to consider that evidence. Bear in mind that the totality of the evidence that they report being collected by their inquiry was:

1. Mann denied everything, and they were impressed with his style.

2. Two friends of Mann told Dr. Foley that they were supportive of Mann.

3. None of the emails chosen by Mann showed any evidence of wrongdoing.

Based on that evidence, four days later, on January 26, 2010, the inquiry committee met to announce their findings.

After a careful review of all written material, and information obtained from the purloined emails, the interview of Dr. Mann, the supplemental materials provided by Dr. Mann and all the information from other sources, the committee found as follows with respect to each allegation:

OK, moment of truth, drum roll, please …

Regarding the first charge, ladies and gentlemen of the Jury, did Dr. Mann engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with the intent to suppress or falsify data? How does the Penn State Jury find?

As there is no substance to this allegation, there is no basis for further examination of this allegation in the context of an investigation in the second phase of RA-10.

So take that, you callous unbelievers, there’s no need for any kind of further investigation. Case closed, total exoneration. And further …

The so-called “trick” was nothing more than a statistical method used to bring two or more different kinds of data sets together in a legitimate fashion by a technique that has been reviewed by a broad array of peers in the field.

Nonsense. The “trick” is a way to hide adverse data, something that scientists should never do. At least they have proven conclusively that the inquiry committee members were neither statisticians nor mathematicians. And that they weren’t investigators either, or even inquirers. But I digress …

Regarding the second allegation, did Dr. Mann engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with the intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails, information and/or data, related to AR4, as suggested by Phil Jones, how does the Jury find?

As there is no substance to this allegation, there is no basis for further examination of this allegation in the context of an investigation in the second phase of RA-10.

The emails Mike provided showed no wrongdoing regarding AR4, so again no investigation is necessary … I’m not sure how they got around the CRU email where Mann told Jones that he would pass Jones’s request to (illegally) delete any AR4 emails on to Gene Wahl. That one is real hard to peanut butter over, but somehow they did it.

Maybe that email wasn’t one of the 47 relevant emails. Or maybe it was, but they just identified the 47 relevant emails and never asked Mann about them … we don’t know.

In any case, regarding the third allegation, did Dr. Mann  engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any misuse of privileged or confidential information available to him in his capacity as an academic scholar, how does the Jury find:

As there is no substance to this allegation, there is no basis for further examination of this allegation in the context of an investigation in the second phase of RA-10.

Same same, no investigation needed, everything is for the best in this the best of all possible worlds for the first three inquiries.

And as to the final allegation, did Dr. Mann engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research or other scholarly activities, how does the Jury find?

The Jury finds nothing!

Fooled you, huh, and it fooled me too. But then I remembered that these are university professors. They know the rules. And it’s against the rules to deal conclusively with every single item on any given agenda. For at least one item, you are required to form a new committee to further investigate the matter. And true to their code, they decided Allegation Four was just too tough to answer. So they closed their report by punting the ball to a new committee. This is a committee to do an investigation into allegation four …

And that was it, folks. That was the inquiry that Mann says “exonerated” him of any wrongdoing on the first three allegations of misconduct. The inquiry that decided that there was no need for an investigation on the three most important allegations, case closed.

But wait, it gets worse. You remember that the Report said the interview with Mann was recorded and transcribed? Perhaps it got misplaced or something, because it hasn’t been released. So the Inquirers haven’t bothered to let us know what questions Mann was asked, or what his answers were.

But at least the Inquirers have been good enough to tell us the crucial information, that they were impressed by Dr. Mann’s composure and his forthright responses …

Me, I’m sitting here at my keyboard and busting out laughing at this pitiable grade-school excuse for an inquiry. I mean, it’s the perfect storm of inquiries. Ask Mann if he’s innocent, ask him if he’s got any incriminating emails, talk to two of his friends, collect a bit of unspecified information from unknown “sources”, and then deny the need for any further investigation, based on the lack of evidence of wrongdoing … that’s delicious. They studiously avoid collecting any evidence, so studiously that they don’t talk to a single critic of Mann’s actions.

And then they say that there isn’t enough evidence to justify an investigation, and they decline to show us any of the evidence! Man, that is as sweet a scam as I can imagine, right up there with Catch-22.

In a bizarre way, the outcome of this Inquiry is custom made for Michael Mann. Here’s why. You remember that for years we couldn’t tell if Mann had done anything wrong with the Hockeystick, because the data wasn’t released?

Well, to close the circle, now we can’t tell if Mann was forthright with the Inquiry Committee, or even what he questions he was asked, because the data wasn’t released.

Perfect symmetry.

Penn State Alumni, where is the outrage? Might be out there and I missed it, but roar, Nittany Lions, roar!

OTHER VOICES

Steve McIntyre has interesting analyses here and here. In the latter he highlights issues arising from the fact that this was an inquiry into whether enough evidence exists to justify an investigation, and not the subsequent investigation itself.

This was an inquiry, for which you would expect lower standards of proof. All you need is enough facts to justify an investigation. Now me, at that lower standard I thought the Climategate emails were prima facie evidence that an investigation was warranted, not some pissant inquiry. But despite their dedicated and exhaustive searches for evidence, the dedicated Inquirers couldn’t even satisfy that lower inquiry standard and ask for an investigation … ah, well.

Steve also discusses Cuccinelli here.

Steve Milloy raises addition questions here.

Fox News weighs in from the right.

Bishop Hill adds to the story here.

Lucia hosts a discussion at the Blackboard.

The Report of the final Investigation into the part of the Inquiry that couldn’t be decided by the previous Inquiry is here. The Investigation into the fourth allegation of the Inquiry report says there was nothing to see here, move along. I know you are surprised by that news.

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120 Responses to Exonerated? Not.

  1. tonyb says:

    Willis

    The Penn State inquiry sounds like the Spanish inquisition compared to the ones carried out here in the UK by various half baked tame Parliamentary committees and former bosses of the accused.

    tonyb

  2. John David Galt says:

    I wonder if the professors “investigating” Mr. Mann yawned as much as the Senators did during Clinton’s impeachment trial?

  3. Enneagram says:

    LOL!…That was the “Hockey Stick Illusion” !!

  4. Smokey says:

    Great condensation of this sham inquiry, Willis. This really caught my eye:

    The committee did not “…talk to a single critic of Mann’s actions.”

    Elmer Gantry is a paragon of honesty compared with the players in this investigation comedy.

  5. stephen richards says:

    “pissant” Is that from the french verb pisser?

  6. rbateman says:

    “These accusations were based on perceptions of the content of the widely reported theft of emails from a server at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in Great Britain.”

    The Inquiry Report starts off with an unproven assumption.
    Nice right-off-the-grill bias.
    Would you like to supersize that? OK. A Grand Jury would have no problem handing down an indictment.
    Penn State is still walking around with egg on it’s face: Failure to investigate, which is a much louder statement than anything contained in any report. Credibility ruined.
    Mighty high price to pay for a scientific hypothesis of dubious nature, yes?
    Whatever Michael Mann is or isn’t, he’s surely one mighty expensive tenure.

  7. Fred says:

    So a report that keeps its data and calculations a secret and produces a “trust us, we are telling you the truth” document has been produced.

    Since that is actually a description of how Dr. Mann does “science” can anyone be surprised that his university and his fellow professors have just done the same thing?

    The rotten acorn doesn’t fall far from the sickly tree.

  8. engcirrus says:

    This is yet another example of insidious, corrupt and sinister power that would appear to be emanated from the so-called new world order (NWO), exerting financial pressure on Penn State University’s directorate, who in turn direct their attentions to looking after no.1.
    It is also another example of Lord Christopher Monckton’s view, and others’, that this NWO is hell-bent on dampening any alternative opinion as much as possible, thus including news media and the 4th estate, as well as universities.

  9. Roger Knights says:

    They’re behaving this way because they think they can get away with it; i.e., because they think history (a warmer climate) will vindicate them — or at least have the effect of disarming potential critics. They’re really incapable of outside the box thinking.

  10. Roger Knights says:

    PS: I.e., they can’t imagine that “everything they know is wrong.”

  11. dfbaskwill says:

    This is one PSU alum who is shamed by all of this. And I have gone on the record to the President’s Office as stating that Mann belongs in jail. My answer to fund raising appeals will be the only thing they ever hear. Indeed, the “no” will be stated quite clearly. I will continue to support the track and XC programs but never the University as a whole. And I’ll spread the word to all I encounter. It’s a shame too, since the State of Pennsylvania already short-changes PSU compared to every other State School in the nation.

  12. dfbaskwill says:

    And, “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!” to Willis.

  13. Alan Clark says:

    From Fox News:

    “On Friday, Rep. Darrell Issa, the ranking Republican on the House Investigations Committee, charged that the Penn State’s failure to settle all the charges and called into question professor Mann’s work. He is demanding that all grants to the noted scientist be frozen.

    Mann, according to published reports, has gotten a grant almost $550,000 in stimulus money to study climate change and is part of a nearly $2 million grant to Penn State to study the impact of climate change on various diseases.

    “Until the investigation is completed,” Issa said, “the National Science Foundation should immediately freeze all grants and funding, including the $541,184 stimulus grant, to Professor Mann.”

    According to the Fox report, two Penn State legislators are proposing that the state investigate Mann themselves but there is no investigation underway so one has to wonder to what investigation was Issa referring?

  14. ThomasJ says:

    OT, but resembles the story on what Mrs. B. Gates said to Bill the morning after the wedding night: “Oh, dear, NOW I know why you namned your company microsoft…”
    (Sorry, couldn’t resist..)
    Brgds/TJ

  15. Jeremy says:

    I’m sorry to report that this doesn’t surprise me Willis. Going through the CSU system rather recently myself I can say that a few of the physics courses I took from (for all intents and purposes) crooks. Not all of them are this way, mind you, not even most of them. Just a select few are this way really. But in a system where you can get away with nearly murder and not get fired (due to tenure), those few psychos who can get away with anything will usually try and succeed; and otherwise honest people are nearly compelled to lower their own standards of action due to extremely bad examples. Worse yet, it completely waters down any internal enforcement of rules. So now when a real conflict arises, no one in the department is willing to make a tough enforcement decision because it means that previous slaps-on-the-wrist must be revisited. It takes a true gem of a professor to both help his graduate students graduate, and hold themselves completely above the sleaze factor that many University departments inevitably contain. Most of the Profs I met and got to know could do one or the other, but not both. A rare few did neither and were simply there to get rich by any loophole available. These slime would publish total crap on string theory which they found a partially-insane imported post-grad who doesn’t understand American living standards to do for them for free and then pat themselves on the back for maximizing the units/credits for which they are paid while minimizing lecture time by any means possible.

    And of course, to the Mann/Hansen apologists I’m the insane one for even daring to imply that not all scientists are these wholly altruistic inhuman beings of divine knowledge that they hold them as.

  16. Brewster says:

    Bring out the Comfy Chair!

  17. paulhan says:

    You need to put a “health” warning at the top of this post, otherwise people are going to be complaining about drenched keyboards.

    In a way, this is cheering news, like Patchy staying on at the IPCC. It’s like the old Westerns that you see, where the Injuns are attacking and the guy in charge tells the defenders not to shoot until the very last minute and then all the attackers die, instead of a few getting picked off and the rest getting through while they’re still reloading.

    All the “science” and all these shoddy non-enquiries are like a game of Jenga. Pretty soon, they’ll pull one more stick and the whole rotten edifice will come tumbling down. Patience should be our watchword here.

  18. PhilJourdan says:

    One can hardly fault Mann with declaring an exoneration. Faced with the alternatives, a whitewash was the best he could have hoped for. He got it, so he is putting the best spin on it. He knows he did it, most of the thinking world realizes he did it, so the kangaroo court was purely for talking points and the mind-numbed robots to repeat.

    And in the final analysis, is that not exactly the results obtained?

  19. jonjermey says:

    “bumbling incompetence”? On the contrary, they achieved exactly what they set out to achieve.

  20. tallbloke says:

    Mann is all washed up. Expect to find him netting mosquitos in outer Mongolia in a couple of years time.

  21. Barry Woods says:

    How many malaria nets, and how much medicine could go to the poor to fight malaria, with Michael mann’s 2 million dollars for disease / climate change research..

    read the below (the warmist BBC no less) and see if Michael Mann has a MORAL case to answer. How many lives could have been saved, for frivolous research, at least that is how the MALARIA EXPERTS seem to see it.

    BBC- Climate change is ‘distraction’ on malaria spread”
    By Richard Black- 20 May 2010

    “Climate change will have a tiny impact on malaria compared with our capacity to control the disease, a study finds.”

    “Noting that malaria incidence fell over the last century, researchers calculate that control measures have at least 10 times more impact than climate factors.

    Research leader Peter Gething from Oxford University described the CLIMATE LINK as an “UNWELCOME DISTRACTION” from the main issues of tackling malaria.

    The paper, by scientists in the UK, US and Kenya, is published in Nature.

    “We were looking to quantify something that perhaps we already knew with regard to the interaction of climate and malaria,” Dr Gething told BBC News.

    “A lot of the studies proposing there would be a dramatic increase in a warmer world have been met with guarded criticism, and often what’s been said about them surpasses what the actual science indicates.

    “So this redresses the balance a bit.”

    Dr Peter Gething from Oxford University:
    http://www.map.ox.ac.uk/team/

    “I’d say what we’ve shown is that if we can provide people with existing technologies such as drugs and bednets, we have the capacity as a global community to reduce the misery this disease causes,” said Dr Gething.

    “Climate change is, in our view, an unwelcome distraction from the main issues.”

    ——————————

    Any thoughts……….

  22. Barry Woods says:

    Forgot the BBC link.

    BBC- Climate change is ‘distraction’ on malaria spread”
    By Richard Black- 20 May 2010
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10127989

    “Climate change will have a tiny impact on malaria compared with our capacity to control the disease, a study finds.”

    “Research leader DR Peter Gething from Oxford University described the CLIMATE LINK as an “UNWELCOME DISTRACTION” from the main issues of tackling malaria.”

  23. Mike says:

    “He works for Penn State. The ownership of the emails is theirs. They are investigating him. The very, very first thing that is done in an investigation of this sort is to do an email dump of the subject of the investigation. Then the investigators go through to see what they can find.”

    For God’s sakes it is not a police investigation of a child porn ring. They cannot just seize his computer because of some internet blogs say bad things about the man. Since you have never been involved in an “investigation of the sort” you have no idea what you are talking about. There is no way they are going to issue a 1000 page document assessing every rumour spread by ignorant blogers and politicians.

    What you want is a which hunt. You want to harass any researcher who reaches conclusions you perceive as at variance with your uber-free market ideology. When science and religion have clashed science has won in the end and it will be the same here.

  24. John Whitman says:

    Willis,

    Well done.

    Things have crystallized into sharp & pinpoint focus.

    If I lived in the State of Pennsylvania I would email the Pennsylvania Attorney General Office and the Federal Gov’t Reps for the State of Pennsylvania.

    John

  25. John McManus says:

    Sorry boys : This isn’t the only evidence of Mann’s pure heart. Enquiry after enquiry ( some people don’t understand the term ” false witness ) have produced exxoneration for Mann and bupkess for the tea party.

    As the founding president of the Wake Up And Smell The Coffee Party, I congratulate Professor Mann for producing a paper that has survived one of the most voluminous attacks known in science and has always proved to be correct. Mann didn’t need Wakl and Annan: the boiling oil poured down on the heads of illinformed economists and mine promoters and the failure of these sterling individuals to construct any coherent criticism proves the robust health of Mann’s work.

  26. simpleseekeraftertruth says:

    Two enquiries; Mann & Jones. Two similarities; The defence in both cases gets to choose the evidence.
    Climate scientists always get to choose the evidence for whatever case they are defending. It’s a habit thing, or as they appear to view it, a divine right.

  27. Vince Causey says:

    You may wonder what it takes to get fired from the state education system. In the UK at least, we learned what does get a teacher fired. A week ago, a young teacher named Ms Birbalsingh made a speech at the Conservative party conference in which she convincingly slayed all the shiboleths that are sacred to the left. She exposed how education was failing poor children.

    She has now been fired from her job by order of the head teacher. So, some things, at least are so evil, that no punishment is too severe.

  28. Ray says:

    “Pissant” would be a better word than “purloined” since evidences point that the CRU emails were “leaked”.

  29. Taphonomic says:

    Dog. And. Pony. Show.

  30. JohnWho says:

    “The accused says he is innocent.

    That’s good enough for me.

    Case dismissed.”

    Sounds like something the Mad Hatter or Groucho Marx might have said.

    It appears that the purpose of the inquiry was to provide the main stream media with a proclamation that the accused wrong-doer did nothing wrong. It appears that the inquiry did that.

  31. afraid4me says:

    I investigated myself. I also asked my partners in crime to investigate me. I provided the evidence. Since my partners and I agree I did nothing wrong I’m exonerated.

    Move on, folks, nothing to see here….my name is Joe Izuzu. You can trust me.

  32. Rocky T says:

    Brewster, don’t get carried away! It’s too soon to resort to such drastic action against Doctor Mann.

    Seriously, this article is better than most op-eds I’ve read. Willis makes the problem easy to understand.

  33. David says:

    ‘Nothing to see here. Move along now….’

  34. Olaf Koenders says:

    “or for ensuring the welfare of laboratory animals”

    Aside from everything else, what happened to all those trees cut in half for Mann’s “experiment”? Glued back together? Nothing to see here?

    How about we cut him in half and count the rings of lies..

  35. Engchamp says:

    I mentioned before that following Chris Monckton’s various erudite speeches in Oz, and watching the vids, I was concerned that because of various politicians’ failure to read the small print, as it were, in the many documents that pass before them, including our indolent foreign secretary of the day, Douglas Hurd, we have been co-erced into a pseudo-dictatorship within the banner of the european union. After looking into this further, I have just seen “The Obama Deception”, with some 7M+ viewers, which I found on a link from John Coleman.
    The upshot of this long video link is that it would appear that the western world, as we know it is dominated by wall street oligarchs, who control the US president, Obama being groomed by them as much as 30 years ago. It would also appear that the BILDERBERG group (bankers), the Trilateral Commission and the US CFR are behind all this, along with the Federal Reserve Bank of the USA. It also transpires, although not proven, that the last ‘real’ President of the US was JF Kennedy. Ironically, it would appear that he, too had been groomed by these despots, but he became his own man. This could be why he was assassinated, by wall street.
    It is perhaps no wonder why CM wishes perhaps to keep certain information under wraps, especially after he was physically assaulted.
    If you have not seen this vid before, I sincerely recommend a decko, especially at the last quarter, where it is evident that these world power anarchists are hell-bent on utilising the scare-mongering tactics of AGW to their advantage.
    This also tends to answer many questions regarding the economic growth, and otherwise of the world. It was the banking fraternity that created and condoned lending money to people who had not a hope in hell of repaying a mortgage on a regular basis. Bundle all these sour loans together, and farm them off to a competitor; the latter threatens to go bankrupt when the savers smell a rat (e.g., Northern Rock, UK), and the government of the day bails them out, with the rather putrid remark that banks cannot be allowed to fail.
    Did I mention ‘stench’ in one of my comments? Indeed I did, just yesterday to one of Jo Nova’s posts, but this particular odour is not of livestock, nor anything remotely connected with life as we know it (apart from certain bacteria); it is hydrogen sulphide – that all-pervasive stink at a low level of concentration which disappears from our sense of smell as it takes its effect. Bankers have never been high on my estimation of human worth, having worked in a very large establishment in London as its ‘building manager’, in which position I lasted for some 6 months. I was not sacked, but it became very apparent to me that the people who employed me were arrogant, rude, hostile and completely ignorant as to technical matters arising from trying to manage a large bulding. We went our mutual separate ways, but the memories are now coming back to haunt me, as I realise that perhaps I was almost on the brink of being ‘one of them’. I almost succumbed to H2S poisoning.
    This has nearly turned into a rant, but although there is a mass of other experiences that come to mind, it’s time to stop.
    I would dearly like someone to say to me that Alex Jones’ production/direction of “The Obama Deception” is a cruel hoax, but I have an awful feeling that we haven’t seen the half of it yet.

  36. Are we sure these professors are not writing for the satirical review?

  37. tallbloke,

    Why, netting mosquitoes in outer Mongolia is respectable science.

    And a difficult task, too, I must say: DDT seems to have been so effective there that they still find petrified bones of everything that moved around, however MacroHard.

    No Mann’s land.

  38. Chris S says:

    They don’t even bother to try and make it look convincing.

  39. Golf Charley says:

    I am not currently in a position where I may be employing or interviewing, but in the past, I have always avoided making any assumptions about someones choice of school/college/university.

    Being from the UK, the whole education process has been dumbed down, devalued and discredited however the University of East Anglia must now be seen as dodgy/untrustworthy. How does the US regard Penn State, and why does Stanford keep cropping up as the launch pad of so much AGW twaddle?

    Stephen Richards “Pissant” my first recollection of this word was from a wacky 1980′s UK comedy called the “Beiderbecke Affair” about incompetence by the medics at a UK university. It was filmed on location at University of East Anglia! The context was “this pissant swamp…” referring to the incompetence that surrounded the elderley medic if my memory serves ok

  40. Golf Charley says:

    Sorry, forgot to add, thank you Willis for another simple, lead by the hand, but devastating post. No doubt you will be overwhelmed by the noise from the MSM clapping with one hand.

  41. Benjamin P. says:

    Will not rest til’ Heads roll I tell you, HEADS SHALL ROLL!

    Or something.

    This guy is guilty because it’s what I want to believe, and that my friends, is really all that’s important here.

  42. Atomic Hairdryer says:

    But Lord Oxburgh’s Carbon Capture schemes just got £1bn for services rendered to climate science. Where’s Mann’s payoff? Oh, I forget, he’s just a scientist.. Bus for Dr Mann! Useful idiots all round it seems.

  43. Eric Dailey says:

    Hey! Jokes are fine but this cartoon is hitting below the belt. Not that I ever have to worry about things like this but it’s just a little mean.

    Seriously though it may be a little personal for the usual criticism here. Please review this post.

  44. F. Ross says:

    I sure wish I had invested in Sherwin-Williams shares before the Pennsylvania State University Inquiry Committee began its inquiry.
    …now, of course, it is too late to take advantage of the run on whitewash paint products.

  45. Curious Canuck says:

    Great breakdown of the whitewash Willis, very clear and compelling. Perhaps in your frustration you can understand and relate with those of us who no longer trust institutional processes to handle these things. Not that you draw the conclusion yourself, but that you feel the other side of the coin. Dangerous stuff to a society, this behaviour in the UK and Penn State and the damage has gone beyond the science as you so cogently point out.

    For those of us who eschew violence (At least one state-funded advocacy group has been publicly fantasizing about blowing people up, within weeks of the Discovery Channel incident.) there are a diminishing number of options short of the law that one can imagine to bring some control to this at its Hockey Team/IPCC core.

    You may think ‘Rat’ but most people think ‘whistleblower’, that comparison with the ‘purloined emails’ is just as strong on this points too. None of the scientists on here support the legal approach and that’s understandable, but compare the ink spilled here on the subject of “Why Cuccinelli is wrong”compared to what was spent on condemning the Climategate leaks. Whoever did it, (My guess is Russia – they also did some mega-coverage compared to the blacked-out western media in the US and Canada, especially) I thank them for sending forth what they found being hidden illegaly and sharing it with the world. I also thank Cuccinelli for seeking to shed light on the very same issues in light of them.

  46. Dr T G Watkins says:

    The only way that the AGW scam will be exposed is through the legal system. No hope in the UK but I still have faith in the US (Jefferson was of course Welsh). Strength to Cucinelli’s arm, satellitegate and challenges to the ludicrous EPA will eventually end this farce. A few more snowy winters will help too!
    Great writing as usual Willis.

  47. GaryM says:

    The final report from Penn State on the Mann inquiry expressly states that “[t]he interviews were audio-taped and verbatim transcripts were prepared. All interviewed
    individuals were provided an opportunity to review the transcripts of their interviews for accuracy. The transcripts will be maintained in the Office for Research Protections as part of the official record. ”

    This apparently refers the witnesses in the second phase of the inquiry /investigation, but perhaps the Mann submissions referred to in the initial inquiry report were sent there as well. The Office for Research Protection at Penn State website is: http://www.research.psu.edu/about/contact-information/office-for-research-protections

    Has anybody asked them for copies of the transcripts, or the written material supposedly submitted by Mann during the initial inquiry? Perhaps an academic, scientist or media denizen, could obtain copies of whatever is available, if anything, without even having to resort to FOIA. Even if there is nothing relevant to the summarily disposed of first three issues, it sure would be interesting to see what was (and even better what wasn’t) asked later.

  48. richard verney says:

    What do you expect from an internal inquiry? Surely not objectivity? It was obvious that the outcome would be that there was no evidence of any wrongdoing, nothing to see move on.
    In the end, more and more data will come in about the climate and what it is doing, our understanding will also increase such that in the end, the truth will out.

  49. Darren Parker says:

    Funnily enough, Adelaide is a well known pissant town

  50. Matt says:

    In response to the quote from the Penn State inquiry “The so-called ‘trick’ was nothing more than a statistical method used to bring two or more different kinds of data sets together in a legitimate fashion by a technique that has been reviewed by a broad array of peers in the field.”, Willis Eschenbach wrote “Nonsense. The ‘trick’ is a way to hide adverse data, something that scientists should never do.”

    Mr. Eschenbach might find an interesting and informative read in the footnote (on page 5 of the inquiry report) which accompanies the inquiry’s original quote:

    “The word trick as used in this email has stirred some suspicion. However, trick is often used in context to describe a mathematical insight that solves the problem. For example, see in a classic text on quantum mechanics by David Parks: ‘The foregoing explanation of the velocity paradox involves no new assumptions; the basic trick, the representation of a modulated wave as the superposition of two (or more) unmodulated ones, has already been used to explain interference phenomena…’ pg. 21, Introduction to Quantum Theory, David Parks, Third Edition, Dover 1992.”

    From this explanation, it seems pretty clear that the word ‘trick’ is an example of academic or scientific jargon which doesn’t imply deceptive practice. What do you think?

  51. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Mike says:
    October 19, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    “He works for Penn State. The ownership of the emails is theirs. They are investigating him. The very, very first thing that is done in an investigation of this sort is to do an email dump of the subject of the investigation. Then the investigators go through to see what they can find.”

    For God’s sakes it is not a police investigation of a child porn ring. They cannot just seize his computer because of some internet blogs say bad things about the man. Since you have never been involved in an “investigation of the sort” you have no idea what you are talking about. There is no way they are going to issue a 1000 page document assessing every rumour spread by ignorant blogers and politicians.

    What you want is a which hunt. You want to harass any researcher who reaches conclusions you perceive as at variance with your uber-free market ideology. When science and religion have clashed science has won in the end and it will be the same here.

    Mike, you seem to have missed the point. Mann was condemned by his own words, along with the words of his co-conspirators, of several offenses in the CRU emails. Those are not “rumors” as you claim. They are undisputed facts, and are prima facie evidence for an investigation.

    Certainly PSU can access the emails. You seem to be operating under the illusion that they are Mann’s emails. They are not. The emails belong to the university, so they don’t have to “sieze” anything — the emails are already theirs. Same thing in most large institutions.

    I do not want a witch hunt. Note above that I complained that the charges were too broad, indicating that I have no interest in a witch hunt. I want a focused inquiry. Please read what I wrote before slipping into your fantasy du jour, you could save yourself some work.

    And what is this fantasy of yours about a “1000 page document”? I am not asking that they do extra work. I am merely asking that they release the transcript of the interview and whatever other “evidence” they may have. Why are you fighting against openness and transparency???

    PS — I loved your rant against “ignorant blogers [sic]“. You really shouldn’t do things like that, they make coffee go up my nose … ignorant indeed.

  52. EFS_Junior says:

    This is GREAT news for Dr. Mann.

    As for TEAM AUDIT, the all too usual sore loser’s laments.

  53. John M says:

    re: Matt October 19, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    The quoted “trick” in the Penn State report is used to “explain interference phenomena”. What was “Mike’s Trick” trying to explain?

  54. Willis Eschenbach says:

    John McManus says:
    October 19, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Sorry boys : This isn’t the only evidence of Mann’s pure heart. Enquiry after enquiry ( some people don’t understand the term ” false witness ) have produced exxoneration for Mann and bupkess for the tea party.

    As the founding president of the Wake Up And Smell The Coffee Party, I congratulate Professor Mann for producing a paper that has survived one of the most voluminous attacks known in science and has always proved to be correct.

    And another fool who never read the Wegman report is heard from … is ignorance contagious? My friend, one of the best statisticians we have said Mann made a stupid mathematical mistake. The only thing more stupid than Mann’s mistake, in fact, are those folks who think Mann didn’t make a mistake.

    PS – I loved your “exxoneration [sic]” of Mann … yeah, Mann and Exxon, there’s a match made in heaven.

  55. Willis Eschenbach says:

    GaryM says:
    October 19, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    This apparently refers the witnesses in the second phase of the inquiry /investigation, but perhaps the Mann submissions referred to in the initial inquiry report were sent there as well. The Office for Research Protection at Penn State website is: http://www.research.psu.edu/about/contact-information/office-for-research-protections

    Has anybody asked them for copies of the transcripts, or the written material supposedly submitted by Mann during the initial inquiry?

    Great plan. Here’s my email to them.

    TO: orprotections@psu.edu

    SUBJECT: Michael Mann

    Dear Friends:

    Professor Michael Mann faced a Penn State Inquiry into his actions which were revealed in the Climategate emails. The cited report from February 2010 (linked in the previous sentence) says that the interview with Mann was recorded and transcribed.

    I would like to get a copy of that transcript, which was supposed to be public record as provided for in the Inquiry policies, but somehow was never released. In addition, I would like to see copies of all of the evidence collected by the Inquiry and used in their decisions.

    The Inquiry also said that they found 47 of the Climategate emails to be “relevant”. Please provide a list of which 47 emails those were.

    Finally, Michael Mann provided a number of emails to the Inquiry, emails which were said to show that he was innocent of all charges. I hate to impugn your credibility, but until I see those, I’m … well, skeptical.

    Now, my friends, let’s be reasonable here. I truly don’t want to go the “Freedom of Information Request” route, it’s a pain for both of us. However, to save us both time I want you to know in front — if you refuse to send the information I will assuredly file an FOI. I was the first person to file an FOI with the CRU, so I am more than familiar with the process.

    However, I don’t want to go that route. These were supposed to be public documents. Save yourself a lot of grief and public exposure, and just send me the documents.

    All the best, and thanks in advance.

    w.

    PS – This request is posted at “Exonerated? Not.”

    We’ll see.

    w.

  56. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Matt says:
    October 19, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    In response to the quote from the Penn State inquiry “The so-called ‘trick’ was nothing more than a statistical method used to bring two or more different kinds of data sets together in a legitimate fashion by a technique that has been reviewed by a broad array of peers in the field.”, Willis Eschenbach wrote “Nonsense. The ‘trick’ is a way to hide adverse data, something that scientists should never do.”

    Mr. Eschenbach might find an interesting and informative read in the footnote (on page 5 of the inquiry report) which accompanies the inquiry’s original quote:

    “The word trick as used in this email has stirred some suspicion. However, trick is often used in context to describe a mathematical insight that solves the problem. For example, see in a classic text on quantum mechanics by David Parks: ‘The foregoing explanation of the velocity paradox involves no new assumptions; the basic trick, the representation of a modulated wave as the superposition of two (or more) unmodulated ones, has already been used to explain interference phenomena…’ pg. 21, Introduction to Quantum Theory, David Parks, Third Edition, Dover 1992.”

    From this explanation, it seems pretty clear that the word ‘trick’ is an example of academic or scientific jargon which doesn’t imply deceptive practice. What do you think?

    I read the footnote. It is typical professorial doubletalk and bullpuckey, to cover the fact that they don’t know what they are babbling about.

    Read the link I gave above.

    The problem was the proxies were declining, while the temperature was rising. So they spliced them and smoothed them. THIS IS A BIG SCIENTIFIC NO-NO.

    So no, it is not some innocent something. It is a deliberate attempt to give a false result, and is scientific malfeasance of the first order.

  57. John M says:

    Willis,

    I’ve always wondered if that committee bothered to look for any e-mails from Michael Mann to determine if he did what he said he was going to do: Forward Phil Jones ‘ request to delete e-mails to “Gene”.

    After all, they said he produced an “impressive” pile of e-mails. One wonders whether they bothered doing anything more than marvel at the size.

  58. Pamela Gray says:

    I’ve done research. Falsifying data in a way good enough to make it stick equates to some pretty smart brains. I don’t think this is the case here. It is worse than that. Applying inferior, dare I say freshman level, research designs and techniques is a far graver sin. Problem is, you can’t go to jail for being stupid, and you can’t fix stupid. What is even worse is that many people are feeding at the trough of stupid.

  59. jae says:

    All I can surmise is that history will not be kind to Dr. Mann, Penn State, UVa, or Texas A&M as a result of this obvious breach of integrity, honesty, valor, etc. I am especially shocked about the last of these institutions, since I was once employed there and had a VERY, VERY high regard for its principles and integrity. Too bad for TAMU. Maybe the Longhorns rule after all.

  60. Roger Knights says:

    Matt says:

    From this explanation, it seems pretty clear that the word ‘trick’ is an example of academic or scientific jargon which doesn’t imply deceptive practice. What do you think?

    I agree, and said so in the first Climategate thread here. (I equated it to “gimmick,” which can similarly be innocent or sinful depending on context and intent.) However, by that I mean that the person who used the term was thinking subjectively that his gimmick or technique was OK; IOW his use of the term is not prima facie evidence of nefarious intent. I don’t mean that the splice was objectively OK, scientifically.

  61. jorgekafkazar says:

    ThomasJ says: “OT, but…”

    You sure are.

  62. Coalsoffire says:

    You people who are saying that the “trick” was a gimmick or other technique to perform some innocent thing seem to be oblivious of the rest of the sentence. The “trick” was to “hide the decline” for heaven’s sake!!!!!!! Even if “trick” has some innocuous meaning for you, the context describes its use for a deceptive (that’s a synonym for “hide”) practice. There is no innocent explanation for this that makes any sense. None. Nada. Steve McIntyre has laid the full context out in amazing detail on Climate Audit. Why that was necessary I don’t know, but some people seem incapable of understanding a simple sentence.

  63. Matt says:

    There is a well-documented “divergence effect” that occurs in circumpolar forest growth after 1960 (Briffa 1998, Cook 2004, D’Arrigo 2008), where the temperature sensitivity of these northern forests is decreasing over time. However, it appears that dendroclimatological reconstructions conform well with direct temperature measurements between the start of direct temperature measurements (about 1880) and approximately 1960, when the “divergence effect” begins. From this, paleoclimatologists have concluded that the reconstructions from tree-ring data is reliable for data before 1960, but unreliable for data after 1960. It is not unreasonable to truncate the unreliable data. Also, the unreliability of post-1960 data does not infer complete unreliability of pre-1960 data (although it is fair to say that extra caution should be taken). Finally, tree-ring data is not the only source of paleoclimate reconstructions: ice bore holes, coral, and stalagmites have also been reliable sources.

    To “hide the decline” refers to the truncation of this unreliable data. Putting Dr. Jones’ unfortunately poor choice of wording aside, this does not represent a “big scientific no-no” as Willis Eschenbach claims. It would, conversely, be poor scientific practice to include the unreliable post-1960 reconstructions alongside the reliable pre-1960 reconstructions as equally reliable.

    The reference to “Mike’s Nature trick” refers to the technique of combining paleoclimatologically reconstructed temperatures with directly recorded temperatures to give context to the reconstructions. The “trick” refers to a procedure of data combination, rather than anything deceptive.

    I hope I have answered all of your questions. I don’t think that there exists “prima facie evidence of nefarious intent”, like Roger Knights says. The Pennsylvania State University inquiry didn’t find any either, but have proceeded to investigate whether Dr. Mann “engaged in, or participated in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community…” I think that this inquiry and subsequent investigation appears fair and that people should presume innocence until evidence of guilt is shown.

    I should also disclaim that I have no technical background in climatology and that every claim I make should be taken with a grain of salt (as should all claims). I may be completely mistaken (but I don’t think so).

    I should also let you know, that I am saving these comments and responses on a small blog I have started in order to preserve these arguments and to keep them accessible by the public.

    The blog is climatechangearguments.tumblr.com

  64. Waffle says:

    If there was equivalent to UEA or PSU here in Oz it would have to be UNSW. Just about all the pseudo-scientific babble you get here in the MSM comes from UNSW.

  65. Matt says:

    There is a well-documented “divergence effect” that occurs in circumpolar forest growth after 1960 (Briffa 1998, Cook 2004, D’Arrigo 2008), where the temperature sensitivity of these northern forests is decreasing over time. However, it appears that dendroclimatological reconstructions conform well with direct temperature measurements between the start of direct temperature measurements (about 1880) and approximately 1960, when the “divergence effect” begins. (The Briffa reconstruction) From this, paleoclimatologists have concluded that the reconstructions from tree-ring data is reliable for data before 1960, but unreliable for data after 1960. It is not unreasonable to truncate the unreliable data. Also, the unreliability of post-1960 data does not infer complete unreliability of pre-1960 data (although it is fair to say that extra caution should be taken). Finally, tree-ring data is not the only source of paleoclimate reconstructions: ice bore holes, coral, and stalagmites have also been reliable sources.

  66. tonyb says:

    Mike said

    “What you want is a which hunt. You want to harass any researcher who reaches conclusions you perceive as at variance with your uber-free market ideology. When science and religion have clashed science has won in the end and it will be the same here.”

    Don’t tar everyone with the same brush-not everyone is an extreme right wing free market ideoogist in the pay of big oil-in fact very few of us are!

    Personally, what I want is an objective thorough investigation by competent and independent people. We have not got this with any of the enquiries so far. The British ones (I am British) were frankly embarrasing. This is a shame as some of them can be really incisive but not when it comes to climate it seems.

    tonyb

  67. Matt says:

    To “hide the decline” refers to the truncation of this unreliable data. Putting Dr. Jones’ unfortunately poor choice of wording aside, this does not represent a “big scientific no-no” as Willis Eschenbach claims. It would, conversely, be poor scientific practice to include the unreliable post-1960 reconstructions alongside the reliable pre-1960 reconstructions as equally reliable. “Mike’s Nature trick” refers to the technique of combining paleoclimatologically reconstructed temperatures with directly recorded temperatures to give context to the reconstructions. The “trick” refers to a procedure of data combination, not anything deceptive.

    I hope I have answered all of your questions. I don’t think that there exists “prima facie evidence of nefarious intent”, like Roger Knights says. I think that this inquiry and subsequent investigation appears fair and that people should presume innocence until evidence of guilt is shown.

  68. Matt says:

    I should also disclaim that I have no technical background in climatology and that every claim I make should be taken with a grain of salt (as should all claims). I may be completely mistaken (but I don’t think so).

    Finally, I should let you know, that I am saving these comments and responses on a small blog I have started in order to preserve these arguments and to keep them accessible by the public.
    The blog is climatechangearguments.tumblr.com

  69. Matt says:

    I should also disclaim that I have no technical background in climatology and that every claim I make should be taken with a grain of salt (as should all claims). I may be completely mistaken (but I don’t think so). Also, I am saving these comments and responses on a small blog I have started in order to preserve these arguments and to keep them accessible by the public. You can access the blog by clicking my name in my posts.

  70. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Matt says:
    October 20, 2010 at 1:27 am

    To “hide the decline” refers to the truncation of this unreliable data. Putting Dr. Jones’ unfortunately poor choice of wording aside, this does not represent a “big scientific no-no” as Willis Eschenbach claims. It would, conversely, be poor scientific practice to include the unreliable post-1960 reconstructions alongside the reliable pre-1960 reconstructions as equally reliable. “Mike’s Nature trick” refers to the technique of combining paleoclimatologically reconstructed temperatures with directly recorded temperatures to give context to the reconstructions. The “trick” refers to a procedure of data combination, not anything deceptive.

    I hope I have answered all of your questions. I don’t think that there exists “prima facie evidence of nefarious intent”, like Roger Knights says.

    I weep for science …

    No, you may not delete data simply because it is “unreliable”. If your method works fine for fifty years and then gives inaccurate results for fifty years, you can’t just say that the data is “unreliable” during the latter fifty years and throw it away.

    And what does “unreliable data” mean in this context? All it means is that the data doesn’t agree with your theory during some timespan. And you think when that happens, you can just throw away the data that doesn’t agree with your theory? Sorry, that’s not science. You can’t just pick and choose the data that you like.

    It is a big scientific no-no to do that. It is particularly bad to do it as part of a splice between different datasets. And it is triple bad to disguise the splice by smoothing it so it cannot be seen in the graph.

    Finally, Jones wrote to Mann asking him to erase emails that were the subject of an FOI request. He asked Mann to pass the request on to Gene Wahl. Mann replied that he would ask Wahl to erase his copies of the emails.

    If you don’t think that is “prima facie evidence of nefarious intent”, you are not following the story.

  71. Brendan H says:

    Wilis Eschenbach: “And what does “unreliable data” mean in this context? All it means is that the data doesn’t agree with your theory during some timespan.”

    Not the way I read it. The post-1960 data is excluded because it fails to match the recorded temperatures, not because it fails to match a theory.

  72. Matt says:

    I think you have misunderstood what I have written.

    There is an important distinction between what it means to “delete data” and what it means to “truncate a reconstruction”. Tree ring-width and maximum late-wood density have shown to be accurate proxies for temperature. Temperature is a powerful forcing upon tree growth and there is a strong correlation between tree growth data and temperature data. (When calculated over the period 1881-1960, the correlation based on decadally-smoothed data is 0.89. [Briffa 1998]) However, after 1960, the correlation between tree growth data and temperature data drops sharply. This can be seen in Figure 6 of Briffa 1998. After 1960, circumpolar tree growth is not a reliable proxy for temperature. The causes for this “divergence effect” are not very clear, but it is clear that there are other forcings upon tree growth which are more powerful than temperature. Removing this data from a graph about tree growth would be unreasonable, but removing this data from a graph about temperature is not unreasonable.

    Here is an analogy to clarify my point:

    A well-established author is writing a new book and is half-way through it when he becomes very sick. He wrote the first half of the book at a steady pace of 5 pages a day and he has written at that same pace for his entire life. But now that he has become deathly ill, he can barely write 1 page a day. Some days he doesn’t write any. Although we can’t reliably predict how long it will take him to finish his book, we can still reliably claim that the first half of the book was written at a steady pace of 5 pages a day, and given a certain margin of error, we can also easily retrodict the amount of time that it took the author to write each of his previous books (based upon how many pages they are and how he has always written at a steady pace of 5 pages a day).

    The pre-1960 tree growth data can still be considered a reliable reconstruction of temperature despite the recent trend of post-1960 tree growth data becoming an unreliable reconstruction of temperature.

    Nobody is “throwing away” the post-1960 tree growth data. The opposite is true: more focus is being placed on this data to help increase our understanding of climate forcings and non-climate forcings on tree growth.

    Let me reiterate: the post-1960 tree growth temperature reconstruction is not being truncated because it “doesn’t agree with [my] theory”. The post-1960 tree growth temperature reconstruction is being truncated because it doesn’t agree with actual temperature records. And, just so that you don’t misunderstand me again: the unreliability of post-1960 tree growth temperature reconstruction does not infer the unreliability of pre-1960 tree growth temperature reconstruction.

    Nobody is just picking and choosing the data they like. (I can’t speak for climate change deniers, though.)

    Please read more about the “divergence effect” before attacking the quality of tree growth temperature reconstructions. I found the Wikipedia article on “Divergence problem” to be a particularly good jumping-off point.

    On the topic of deleting emails, I ask simply: If Dr. Mann had any nefarious intent to delete emails, why didn’t he?

  73. Matt says:

    I agree with Brendan H’s interpretation.

  74. Lee Kington says:

    RE: Matt @ October 20, 2010 at 3:52 am

    I am, to my mind, a climate realist. I do not deny that ‘climate’ exists. I do not deny that changes in the climate occur, I do not deny that man has some effect on the climate and environment. All that is; does so. Mere existence of any animal, plant, or even water and rock do so. Hence, denying an impact is simply not logical.

    Perhaps I read your post incorrectly. Was your intent to use the term ‘deniers’ to describe those who blindly believe that Michael Mann has done absolutely nothing wrong?

  75. Luke Warneminde says:

    Tree ring-width and maximum late-wood density have shown to be accurate proxies for temperature

    “Let me reiterate: the post-1960 tree growth temperature reconstruction is not being truncated because it “doesn’t agree with [my] theory”. The post-1960 tree growth temperature reconstruction is being truncated because it doesn’t agree with actual temperature records.”

    So…tree growth doesn’t agree with actual temperature records, but it’s an accurate proxy for temperature? Just not for the last 40-50 years?

  76. Frank says:

    Matt says:
    October 20, 2010 at 3:52 am

    “When calculated over the period 1881-1960, the correlation based on decadally-smoothed data is 0.89″

    So they have an approximate correlation of tree ring width with temperature for a 71 year period and want us to believe that it can be used as a reliable proxy for temperature spanning more than a millenium back in time accurate to within a tenth of a degree?

    You have to be a true “believer” to fall for that.

  77. Frank says:

    Not 71 but 79 years, my bad.

  78. Dan says:

    Matt:
    In order to determine whether pre and post-1960 tree-ring data were reliable or not, one would have to know why. I have not heard of any evidence or justification for why the data would have been less reliable post-1960 (just like the lack of evidence that post-1960 warming is exceptional). Just because tree-ring data correlated with temperatures before that point does not necessarily mean the two were related. In fact, it seems as though many of those sets of data were selected from among a large number of datasets because they DID track temperature (talk about selection bias). If one were to go back and look at all datasets now that the divergence is clear (Steve McIntyre did this, in fact) , the correlation would appear exactly what it is, a coincidence.

  79. Jeremy says:

    Matt says:
    October 20, 2010 at 1:27 am

    To “hide the decline” refers to the truncation of this unreliable data. Putting Dr. Jones’ unfortunately poor choice of wording aside, this does not represent a “big scientific no-no” as Willis Eschenbach claims. It would, conversely, be poor scientific practice to include the unreliable post-1960 reconstructions alongside the reliable pre-1960 reconstructions as equally reliable. “Mike’s Nature trick” refers to the technique of combining paleoclimatologically reconstructed temperatures with directly recorded temperatures to give context to the reconstructions. The “trick” refers to a procedure of data combination, not anything deceptive.

    Let me ask you some very simple questions, Matt. At what point is one justified in truncating unreliable data? What is the criteria for removing points in such a fashion?

    At what point is it acceptable practice to plot data derived from exceedingly disparate data sources on the same scale with no caveats? What has to happen to the data to make this an acceptable method of illustrating ones results?

    Your answers should be very interesting.

  80. Mark Young says:

    Willis, this is very concise…and damning.

    After reading this account of the “exoneration”, if one wasn’t convinced of nefarious intent before, one should be now.

    M

  81. Jeremy says:

    Matt says:
    October 20, 2010 at 3:52 am

    I think you have misunderstood what I have written.

    There is an important distinction between what it means to “delete data” and what it means to “truncate a reconstruction”.

    No, very wrong. Stop right there. There is no difference. If you are presenting your “data” to people who need to see the truth to make a decision, there is absolutely no difference to deleting data in your example. That is what climate scientists did, period. That data should have been displayed wholly naked and dirty in the streets for everyone to question and learn from. Instead it was dressed up in the best new suit the emperor could buy, and everyone was told the matter was settled. This is not some metaphor that I’m forcing into my reply, this is what actually happened.

  82. PhilJourdan says:

    Matt – the dendrochronology agreed with the recorded temperatures from 1881 to 1960 according to Mann. But not from 1960 to 2010. My questions to you are:

    When was recorded temperature at its most accurate?

    When was recorded temperatures most widespread and thus indicative of a global trend?

    Has anyone looked into why the temperature for the first 79 years of recording deviated from an established pattern that has developed since a greater accuracy and distribution of recorded temperatures has been undertaken?

    And I guess the last question is – has Mann (or any others) addressed these issues?

    The addressing of these anomolies is science. “Hiding” a decline is theology.

  83. Coalsoffire says:

    Why is Mann’s trick called a “nature” trick? Was it published in Nature?

  84. Snotrocket says:

    I generally succomb to a wry smile when I’m called a ‘denier’, but I still take it as a deliberate, belittling insult. And you, ‘Matt’ have really pissed me off with your patronising attempt at a ‘non-scientific’ (your description of yourself) attempt to balance the argument and yet still calling me a ‘denier’.

    All your attempts to muddy the water, to try and cast the account, and support your Mann, have been systematically, one by one, taken apart by Willis and posters on this site. But whereas, we ‘deniers’ tend to an open mind on the subject (try finding such open arguments on your other climate blogs that haven’t been ruthlessly snipped and which you can collect for your own plagiarising blog), you tend to be a ‘believer’, a man of faith, a supporter of the naked Emporer.

    If one were to use (only) your side’s take on CGW/AGW/whatever the latest buzz-phrase is (nothing like destabilising an argument by moving the goalposts), I would summarise the arguments posted here and in other threads as being similar to the science: it is settled. And that’s because the vast majority of posters/scientists writing here agree. There is concensus. The argument is done and Mann and his tribe are wrong. Consensus works both ways.

    In the end, it really only comes down to control and finance. Mann et al (Mannkind?) are the means to an end for the world politicos who want to control the rest (Mankind?).

  85. Coalsoffire says:

    Don’t call “hiding” theology. That gives theology a bad name. It’s properly called cargo cult science.

  86. Brendan H says:

    Jeremy: “That data should have been displayed wholly naked and dirty in the streets for everyone to question and learn from.”

    Scientists are between a rock and a hard place on these sorts of issues. If they present the data “naked and dirty” they invite misunderstanding and worse. If they present the data in a way that represents their best understanding, they are accused of misrepresemtation.

    Some people are less keen on learning about climate science, and more keen on finding statements they can claim as an “admission” of some sort.

    A good example of the latter is Phil Jones’s statement that warming since 1995 is not statistically significant. This statement morphed in various hands into “no significant warming” and then, “no warming”.

    In the best of all possible worlds, people would have taken the entire meaning of Jones’s statement and learned from it. But they didn’t, and still don’t, so it has become a political football, not a learning moment.

  87. Tim Clark says:

    Brendan H says: October 20, 2010 at 3:01 am
    Not the way I read it. The post-1960 data is excluded because it fails to match the recorded temperatures, not because it fails to match a theory.

    PhilJourdan says:October 20, 2010 at 6:33 am
    Matt – the dendrochronology agreed with the recorded temperatures from 1881 to 1960 according to Mann. But not from 1960 to 2010. My question[s] to you [are]:
    Has anyone looked into why the temperature for the first 79 years of recording deviated from an established pattern that has developed since a greater accuracy and distribution of recorded temperatures has been undertaken?

    Answer the question. Then answer;

    Based upon your reasons for the deviation of tree growth/temp correlation post 1960;
    How do we know the pre 1960 correlations as proposed by Mann are not incorrect and the post 1960 correlations are correct? Consider that post 1960 temperatures are alledged to be ” accurate to within a tenth of a degree”.

  88. Ben of Houston says:

    One thing that I do agree with the inquiry committee on is the word “Trick”. Overemphasis on that one line of that one e-mail has weakened the Climategate bombshell more than anything else.

    The trick itself was illegitimate, but this was not illuminated by the e-mail, and the e-mail does not support there being problems in the calculation. Why? Because I have “tricks”, “doo-dads”, and “wand waving” for everything from cleaning grease off counters to generating emission inventories. All of them are completely legitimate. It’s a colloquialism.

    We need to get off the “trick” and emphasize the deliberate violation of British law and deliberate suppression of dissent. Neither of those have legitimate excuses.

  89. Jeremy says:

    Brendan H says:
    October 20, 2010 at 9:05 am

    …If they present the data in a way that represents their best understanding, they are accused of misrepresemtation.

    This doesn’t follow. Other scientists in other fields have no problem presenting their nuanced views of their fields. Seismology, for instance, doesn’t go out presenting their best understanding of earthquake prediction to secure tons of extra funding because they feel they could predict the next big earthquake with more funding. They don’t do this. They instead always present a caveat that earthquakes are impossible to predict. Where is the climate science caveat that says, “the future is impossible to predict,”??? I ask you.

    A good example of the latter is Phil Jones’s statement that warming since 1995 is not statistically significant. This statement morphed in various hands into “no significant warming” and then, “no warming”.

    In the best of all possible worlds, people would have taken the entire meaning of Jones’s statement and learned from it. But they didn’t, and still don’t, so it has become a political football, not a learning moment.

    Phil Jones has also said (Jones & Mann 2004):
    “…Our assessment affirms the conclusion that late 20th century warmth is unprecedented at hemispheric and, likely, global scales.”

    It’s hard to imagine that the man is being taken completely wrong by the public based on such comments.

  90. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Brendan H says:
    October 20, 2010 at 3:01 am

    Wilis Eschenbach: “And what does “unreliable data” mean in this context? All it means is that the data doesn’t agree with your theory during some timespan.”

    Not the way I read it. The post-1960 data is excluded because it fails to match the recorded temperatures, not because it fails to match a theory.

    You are missing the underlying context. The theory is that the widths of the tree rings in question are a valid proxy for changes in temperature. The post-1960 data doesn’t fit the theory. Which makes the theory (at least for those particular tree rings) very doubtful. You can’t just throw away data that makes your theory doubtful, you need to deal with it.

    You see, if we know the tree ring widths don’t fit the temperature post-1960, there is absolutely no reason to assume they will do so pre-1860, for example. And “fixing” that by throwing away the post 1960 data simply (and unethically) hides the problem.

    Even worse, however, is to throw away the data that doesn’t agree with your theory, splice the remainder to observational data, and then conceal the fact that you have done so in order to “hide the decline” … and that is “Mike’s Nature trick”.

    I’m sorry, but your cheerleading for bad science doesn’t change anything.

  91. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Matt says:
    October 20, 2010 at 3:52 am

    I think you have misunderstood what I have written.

    There is an important distinction between what it means to “delete data” and what it means to “truncate a reconstruction”. Tree ring-width and maximum late-wood density have shown to be accurate proxies for temperature.

    Yes, indeed, tree rings are such “accurate proxies for temperature”. In fact, they are such excellent proxies for temperature that you propose throwing away a big chunk of the data that they contain.

    And why do you want to throw that data away? Because that data is not an accurate proxy for temperature.

    Sorry, you don’t get to have it both ways. Surely you can see the circular reasoning in that. You want me to accept tree rings as a good proxy for temperatures in 1780 when you yourself say they are a terrible proxy for temperatures in 1980 … sorry, my friend, but until you can explain why they are terrible proxies for 1980, your claims about 1780 will have to wait …

    In short, it is meaningless to say that as long as you throw out all the times when they are not accurate proxies for temperature, tree rings are accurate proxies for temperatures.

    Hey, if you throw out all the times my judgement about the stock market have been wrong, I am an extremely accurate stock market forecaster … care to buy some stocks based on my history? Because I’m 100% accurate, once you remove my bad predictions …

  92. Smokey says:

    Are tree rings a proxy for temperature, as Michael Mann says? Or are they a proxy for CO2 levels?

  93. Matt says:

    @ Lee Kington:
    First, am I to understand that by “climate realist” you mean “someone who believes that the climate exists”? I’ve never heard of a climate non-realists.
    [snip]

    @ All who have responded to me:
    Thank you all for your quick responses. I wish I could respond as quickly as you have, but I will only be able to respond as quickly as I can (for I cannot respond faster than I can). I implore you to be patient with me as I carefully word my responses to your questions.

  94. Matt says:

    My previous post has apparently been edited by a moderator. You can find the original text on my blog.

  95. Greg B says:

    “Let me reiterate: the post-1960 tree growth temperature reconstruction is not being truncated because it “doesn’t agree with [my] theory”. The post-1960 tree growth temperature reconstruction is being truncated because it doesn’t agree with actual temperature records. And, just so that you don’t misunderstand me again: the unreliability of post-1960 tree growth temperature reconstruction does not infer the unreliability of pre-1960 tree growth temperature reconstruction.”

    As any good scientist knows, it absolutely does confirm the unreliability of any inference of temperature relating to tree growth in any of the records unless the source of the divergence can be determined, proved and verified. At the moment of divergence the proxy fell apart.
    True science doesn’t allow one to pick and choose data as they see fit.

  96. John M says:

    Matt,

    While you’re thinking about words so carefully, take your time and re-read your own words very, very carefully:

    “The causes for this “divergence effect” are not very clear, but it is clear that there are other forcings upon tree growth which are more powerful than temperature. “

  97. RockyRoad says:

    “climate realist” is someone looking at climate without an agenda. Simple as that.

  98. John M says:

    And Matt, one more thing:

    “If Dr. Mann had any nefarious intent to delete emails, why didn’t he?”

    How do you know that? All we know is that he produced a big pile of e-mails.

    Also, when Mann responded to Jones’ request to ask others to delete e-mails, and he responded “I’ll notify Gene”, what did he mean by that? Do you suppose the Penn State investigators asked to see Mann’s e-mails after he agreed to send one to “Gene” asking him to delete his e-mails? If that e-mail isn’t there, did he just lie to Jones?

  99. Brendan H says:

    Tim Clark “Answer the question.”

    The question is: “Has anyone looked into why the temperature for the first 79 years of recording deviated from an established pattern that has developed since a greater accuracy and distribution of recorded temperatures has been undertaken?”

    I don’t understand the question. The divergence is between recorded temperatures and proxies, not between one set of recorded temperatures and another.

    “How do we know the pre 1960 correlations as proposed by Mann are not incorrect and the post 1960 correlations are correct? Consider that post 1960 temperatures are alledged to be ” accurate to within a tenth of a degree”.”

    Again, I don’t understand the question. The double negative “not incorrect” is confusing. The divergence problem is that pre-1960 correlations line up while the post-1960 ones do not.

  100. Brendan H says:

    Jeremy: “Seismology, for instance, doesn’t go out presenting their best understanding of earthquake prediction to secure tons of extra funding because they feel they could predict the next big earthquake with more funding.”

    I’m not talking about funding, rather the comunication of the science, and I am sure that seismologists simplify the science when they’re talking to the public.

    “Phil Jones has also said (Jones & Mann 2004):
    “…Our assessment affirms the conclusion that late 20th century warmth is unprecedented at hemispheric and, likely, global scales.”
    It’s hard to imagine that the man is being taken completely wrong by the public based on such comments.”

    I’m not familiar with the context of this quote, but I don’t see the relevance to my claim that “not statistically significant” is misinterpreted as “no significant warming” or “no warming”.

  101. Brendan H says:

    Willis Eschenbach: “The post-1960 data doesn’t fit the theory. Which makes the theory (at least for those particular tree rings) very doubtful.”

    Possibly, although not necessarily. It would depend on the weight of other evidence. What we know is that the proxies diverge from the measured temperatures. That’s a puzzle, which may cast doubt on the theory or may have an explanation that is consistent with the theory. But we don’t know enough yet to make a definitive judgement.

    “You see, if we know the tree ring widths don’t fit the temperature post-1960, there is absolutely no reason to assume they will do so pre-1860…”

    That would depend on other available evidence. As for “hiding the decline”, if the method is understood and accepted as legitimate among scientists I don’t see a problem.

    This isue also highlights some of the problems in science communication, since science is often hedged with caveats and uncertainties that the public can find unsatisfactory.

  102. Matt says:

    @ Luke Warneminde:

    I will re-clarify my point more carefully this time:
    Tree growth measurements before 1960 does agree with direct temperature measurements and is an accurate proxy for temperature.
    Tree growth measurements after 1960 does not agree with direct temperature measurements and is not an accurate proxy for temperature.

  103. Matt says:

    “Tree rings are a critically important proxy for reconstructing the high resolution climate of the past millennium and are the dominant data type in most large scale hemispheric reconstructions [e.g. Mann et al., 1999; Esper et al., 2002; D'Arrigo et al., 2006]. The statistical calibration and verification of tree-ring based reconstructions have made the science of dendrochronology perhaps the most rigorous of those available in this regard. Such records are invaluable for placing recent climatic changes in a long-term context, which can aid considerably in the detection of anthropogenic change.” (D’Arrigo et al., 2007, pg. 1-2)

    “The divergence problem has important consequences for the utilization of tree-ring records from temperature-limited boreal sites in hemispheric-scale proxy temperature reconstructions (Jones et al., 1998; Mann et al., 1999; Briffa, 2000; Briffa et al., 2001; Esper et al., 2002; Cook et al., 2004a; Moberg et al., 2005; D’Arrigo et al., 2006; Hegerl et al., 2006). The principal difficulty is that the divergence disallows the direct calibration of tree growth indices with instrumental temperature data over recent decades (the period of greatest warmth over the last 150 years), impeding the use of such data in climatic reconstructions.” (D’Arrigo et al., 2007, pg. 8)

    “The inability of many reconstruction models to verify in the recent period has compelled a number of researchers to eliminate recent decades from their calibration modeling, effectively shortening the available periods for direct calibration and verification testing between tree rings and climate (e.g., Briffa et al., 2001; Cook et al., 2004a; Rutherford et al., 2005; D’Arrigo et al., 2006). (D’Arrigo et al., 2007, pg. 8)

    “Other important issues to consider in evaluating the divergence problem are whether or not this phenomenon is unprecedented over the past millennium, and to what extent it is spatially constrained to northern latitude (boreal) forests. A recent analysis by Cook et al. (2004a) suggests that the divergence is restricted to the recent period and is unique over the past thousand years. It is thus likely to be anthropogenic in origin.” (D’Arrigo et al., 2007, pg. 10)

    I have shared with you here a selection of relevant quotes from D’Arrigo, R. et al. On the ‘Divergence Problem’ in Northern Forests: A review of the tree-ring evidence and possible causes. Glob. Planet. Change (2007), doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2007.03.004 which I believe explain my points stronger than I can myself.

    The recent divergence problem, although caused by a number of complex factors, appears to be unique to the last 50 years and paleoclimatologists remain confident in the accuracy of the reconstructions of temperatures between the 1500s and 1960s.

  104. Matt says:

    I meant to have included a link to the D’Arrigo et al. paper:

    http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/~liepert/pdf/DArrigo_etal.pdf

  105. Jeremy says:

    Brendan H says:
    October 20, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    I’m not talking about funding, rather the comunication of the science, and I am sure that seismologists simplify the science when they’re talking to the public.

    Simplifying the science does not mean presenting a selectively-distilled version of the truth. Seismologists reporting to the local media in Southern California generally start off all post-earthquake reporting with “of course it is impossible to predict earthquakes.” It is almost always this way. Climate scientists seem to start off with quotes like the one I gave you for Phil Jones, “We have 9x% percent confidence that mans activities will lead to catastrophe.” I’m surprised the difference isn’t obvious, and I’m surprised anyone feels like it is impossible to present scientific truth in its full state to the general public. Frankly I can’t think of a better way to insult humanity in general.

    I’m not familiar with the context of this quote, but I don’t see the relevance to my claim that “not statistically significant” is misinterpreted as “no significant warming” or “no warming”.

    If I’m reading you right, your claim centered around Phil Jones’ statement being watered down to become Phil Jones saying that there has been no warming. I presented an example of Phil Jones spouting non-caveated “scientific truth” on the matter.

    To my mind, any scientist who is willing to go on public record as saying things without qualification and explanation of assumptions puts him/herself on the chopping block for precisely what your example demonstrates. If you are a scientist and the public calls on you to report to them, you must present the whole truth all of the time, or expect to become a political football that gets kicked around.

  106. Skeptical Chymist says:

    Thank you for sharing. If these quotes “explain my points stronger than I can myself” then all you seem to be saying is that you choose to believe a line of argument that many people find flawed. The apparent flaws have been stated repeatedly in this thread.
    The only glimmer of hope for your position would seem to be “the recent analysis by Cook et al. (2004a) [which] suggests that the divergence is restricted to the recent period and is unique over the past thousand years.” Perhaps you could explain why anyone would believe the divergence to be unique (and possibly anthropogenic)?

  107. Brendan H says:

    Jeremy: “Simplifying the science does not mean presenting a selectively-distilled version of the truth.”

    I didn’t say that it did. You wanted the data to be “displayed wholly naked and dirty”. I was pointing out that communicating science is not easy, and is subject to misrepresentation, especially when people take a pre-determined position through which they view scientific statements.

    “Climate scientists seem to start off with quotes like the one I gave you for Phil Jones….”

    As I say, I’m not familiar with the context of that quote, but here are couple by a scientist who speaks on climate matters:
    “Global Warming, as we think we know it, doesn’t exist.”
    “This in fact is the greatest deception in the history of science.”
    Not many caveats there.
    http://www.canadafreepress.com/2007/global-warming020507.htm

    “If I’m reading you right, your claim centered around Phil Jones’ statement being watered down to become Phil Jones saying that there has been no warming.”

    You were reading me right, although I wouldn’t say that the quote was “watered down” so much as distorted.

    My example demonstrates that where a scientist expresses caveats, there will always be people who will take advantage to distort the message. In those cases, the scientist is not at fault, in fact is in a no-win situation.

    If he presents all the caveats and nuances, he risks losing the audience and/or a distortion of the message. If he simplifies the message, he risks being accused of not presenting the “whole truth”.

  108. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Brendan H says:
    October 20, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Willis Eschenbach:

    “The post-1960 data doesn’t fit the theory. Which makes the theory (at least for those particular tree rings) very doubtful.”

    Possibly, although not necessarily. It would depend on the weight of other evidence. What we know is that the proxies diverge from the measured temperatures. That’s a puzzle, which may cast doubt on the theory or may have an explanation that is consistent with the theory. But we don’t know enough yet to make a definitive judgement.

    Oh, please, that’s wishy-washy handwaving. Although we don’t have enough evidence to make a definitive judgement, we certainly know that at this point the theory (that we can trust the tree rings to be accurate about temperature in say 1533) is wrong. We don’t know why it is wrong, so you are right, we can’t make a definitive judgement.

    But we can say that until we do understand what is going on, we cannot trust that proxy. And we certainly do not have the slightest scientific evidence to say it is valid to just cut out the part that doesn’t agree with the theory.

  109. Matt says:

    @ Frank:
    First, the correlation between tree growth and temperature between 1880 and 1960 is strong enough to be more than a coincidence. Also, the mechanism for how temperature affects tree growth is well understood. The combination of strong correlation and solid explanation is sufficient for attributing temperature as a major factor of tree growth between 1880 and 1960.
    Second, the divergence effect is not a universal effect. It seems to be more regionally applicable to circumpolar forest growth than to more southern forest growth. This implies that a regional or local factor is causing the divergence effect, rather than the failure of a global factor such as temperature.
    Third, the tree growth reconstructions of temperature have a strong correlation with other independent reconstructions of temperature such as those from ice bore holes, coral, glacier length, etc. This correlation with other independent reconstructions adds significantly to the confidence of its accuracy.

    Are there any good reasons why tree growth reconstructions are unreliable? Peer-reviewed climate science doesn’t seem to think so. Why not?

  110. Brendan H says:

    Willis Eschenbach: “Although we don’t have enough evidence to make a definitive judgement, we certainly know that at this point the theory (that we can trust the tree rings to be accurate about temperature in say 1533) is wrong.”

    Your claim, “is wrong”, certainly sounds like a definitive judgement. But to use your own reasoning, if we don’t have enough evidence to make a definitive judgement, then there’s no justification for making a definitive judgement.

    “And we certainly do not have the slightest scientific evidence to say it is valid to just cut out the part that doesn’t agree with the theory.”

    Sounds like another definitive judgement. When you say that “we certainly do not have the slightest scientific evidence” for omitting part of the proxy record, are you saying that scientists have offered no arguments or reasons for treating the record in this way?

    Or do you mean that you are not convinced by the arguments and reasons offered by climate scientists?

  111. Skeptical Chymist says:

    “Are there any good reasons why tree growth reconstructions are unreliable?”
    There are as yet unexplained divergences from thermometer data!
    “Peer-reviewed climate science doesn’t seem to think so. Why not?”
    They have a lot invested in the orthodoxy of manmade global warming.

    (BTW can we move away from this fetish about peer-review? It is merely a sign that published work is, as far as a few people selected by journal editors can see, plausible, NOT that it is correct. As far as the data are concerned that requires replication. As for the interpretation, that requires that no-one comes up with alternatives that fit the data and even then acceptance will always remain provisional.

  112. Matt says:

    @ Dan:
    Temperature reconstructions from tree growth data after 1960 do not correlate well with direct temperature records. There is evidence of this being caused by a complex combination of local and global factors, such as global dimming caused by aerosols and increased drought.
    Temperature reconstructions from tree growth data before 1960 correlate very well with not only direct temperature records between 1880 and 1960, but also with other, independent temperature reconstructions (from proxies such as ice bore holes, glacial length, etc.).
    There is no evidence that the factors that are appear to be causing the post-1960 divergence effect had much of an effect before 1960. There is no evidence that this divergence effect is not unique to the last 50 years. There is some evidence, however, that the factors causing this divergence effect are unique to the last 50 years.
    The correlation of pre-1960s tree growth to direct temperature records and other reconstructions is too strong to be coincidental.

  113. Smokey says:

    Sorry, Matt, that’s wrong. Tree growth correlates much more closely to rising CO2 than to temperature, as these thirty peer reviewed studies show. I have more studies if you’re interested. Just ask.

    “Hide the decline” was a devious attempt to hide that discrepancy, and Mann’s apologists have been scrambling to make up excuses for his shenanigans ever since he was caught playing his tree ring games.

  114. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Brendan H says:
    October 22, 2010 at 2:33 am

    Willis Eschenbach:

    “Although we don’t have enough evidence to make a definitive judgement, we certainly know that at this point the theory (that we can trust the tree rings to be accurate about temperature in say 1533) is wrong.”

    Your claim, “is wrong”, certainly sounds like a definitive judgement. But to use your own reasoning, if we don’t have enough evidence to make a definitive judgement, then there’s no justification for making a definitive judgement.

    My apologies for my lack of clarity. There are two different judgements involved.

    There is no final word on whether or not the pre-divergence part of the tree ring records are a valid proxy or not. No definitive judgement. We simply don’t have any evidence.

    However, the fact that the post-divergence records are not a valid proxy for temperature means that the tree ring records as a whole are not a valid proxy for temperature. And because of that, at present we we have no reason to trust the pre-divergence records.

    We may get to that point, we may someday be able to explain the divergence problem. We may get a definitive judgement on the question someday.

    But right now, we can make a very different definitive judgement, which agrees with many other people who have studied the question. The judgement is that at present, we should avoid using those proxies in reconstructions.

    There is an associated problem. Since the divergence occurs during the calibration/validation period of the observational record, the divergence means that we cannot calibrate and validate the proxy … so yes, we can make a definitively judgement at this point that we should not use these proxies until we understand them.

  115. Matt says:

    @ Jeremy:
    The justification of truncation arises when it is unjustifiable to reconstruct temperature from data which does not track temperature accurately enough. The climate science community has generally agreed that it is unjustifiable to reconstruct temperature from post-1960 tree growth data due to the divergence effect.
    People are not just ignoring the divergence effect, though. Precisely because it casts some doubt on our understanding of tree growth, significant research is being focused on understanding this effect.
    On the question of caveats, the intended reader of science literature is not the average citizen, but instead somebody knowledgeable about the topic they are reading. When discussing tree growth reconstructions, the divergence effect is regularly discussed. Does there need to be a bold warning for readers saying “THE SCIENTIFIC UNDERSTANDING ON THIS TOPIC IS NOT YET COMPLETE”? It is precisely because the scientific understanding is incomplete that there is scientific literature. It is unreasonable to expect somebody to wait until certainty to present scientific research, because that day will never come. Tree growth reconstruction literature works the same way: the divergence effect is discussed as a problem in our understanding that needs to be solved, but does not invalidate the entire collection of research and data.

  116. Matt says:

    @ Jeremy:
    Concerning “deleting data” and “truncating a reconstruction”, there is a significant difference between the two. “Deleting data” involves hiding something which you don’t want to be found. “Truncating a reconstruction” involves maintaining a high standard of reliability of the data used. The divergence effect hasn’t been “hidden” by climate scientists in order to deceptively boost public confidence in climate reconstructions. Instead, there has been a large amount of scientific focus on understanding and explaining the divergence effect. Explaining the divergence effect to the lay public is not a high priority for climate scientists because they shouldn’t have to.
    The climate science community has reached conclusions for immediate action and have published their extensive reasoning in decades of scientific literature. Due to the nature of paradigmatic science, scientists will never claim that they are 100% confident in their results, but to dismiss decades of scientific reasoning with a handful of claims like “That’s a big scientific no-no!” is completely unreasonable.

    As for what you wrote about the data being “dressed up in the best new suit the emperor could buy”, that is precisely what a metaphor is. You are describing the data being figuratively dressed up in a suit. To insist that the data was literally dressed up in a suit is ridiculous. You did use a metaphor. That is not what “actually happened”.

    Furthermore, your metaphor is slightly confusing. With your use of the phrases “displayed wholly naked and dirty in the streets” and “the best new suit the emperor could buy”, you seem to be alluding to the fable of the emperor’s new clothes, where the emperor is tricked into walking down the streets naked, thinking he is wearing an expensive, invisible set of clothes. Your invocation of this fable was probably unintentional, but if not, I’m confused about what you are implying.

  117. Matt says:

    @ PhilJourdan:
    The increasing accuracy of temperature measurements does not invalidate previous temperature measurements. An accurate global trend of temperature can still be determined with previous temperature measurements.
    As for your question about inquiries about temperature deviation, I’m not sure exactly what you are asking, but there has been significant research put into understanding the divergence effect.
    There are no significant issues with the reliability of temperature records to call into doubt the conclusion that the temperatures in the last 10 years are extremely probably the highest in the last several millennia.

  118. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Matt says:
    October 23, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    @ Jeremy:
    Concerning “deleting data” and “truncating a reconstruction”, there is a significant difference between the two. “Deleting data” involves hiding something which you don’t want to be found. “Truncating a reconstruction” involves maintaining a high standard of reliability of the data used.

    Lets go over your logic a step at a time.

    1. We have some tree ring data.

    2. From about 1960 onwards, for unknown reasons, the theory that the tree rings are a proxy for temperature breaks down for this particular data, and the two records “diverge”.

    3. Lack of the recent data means that we can’t do a proper calibration/validation on the data.

    4. Lack of temperature data in the early part of the record means that we have absolutely no idea of the “divergence problem” exists in the early part of the record.

    5. Therefore, it’s fine to use a record that we can’t calibrate, that has a “divergence problem” in recent times, and that we have no idea whether it was affected by the “divergence problem” in previous times.

    You sure you want to go with that? Because the NAS didn’t. In the North Report hey recommended that the bristlecones not be used. They didn’t say “oh, just cut off the part that doesn’t fit the theory.” They said DON’T USE THEM.

    Now you come along to tell us that throwing away part of a dataset that doesn’t agree with your theories is just fine … and you want us to believe you understand the scientific method?

  119. Matt says:

    I would like to apologize for my late reply. Sorry.

    What is your reasoning behind your assertion that a “lack of [...] recent data means that we can’t do a proper calibration/validation…”?
    I have no reason to believe that a proper calibration cannot be done with the data available from 1880 to 1960. Could you explain yours?

    What is your reasoning behind your assertion that a “lack of temperature data in the early part of the record means that we have absolutely no idea of the ‘divergence problem’ exists in the early part of the record.”?
    I have explained in a previous post that it is not true that we have “absolutely” no idea whether the divergence effect exists before 1880. I will acknowledge that our understanding of the divergence effect and whether it is unique to post-1960 is lacking, but to conclude that the entire tree-growth reconstruction is unreliable is an unreasonable jump in logic.
    Cook et al. explain in “Extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere land temperature variability over the past 1000 years” [Edward R. Cook, Jan Esper, Rosanne D. D’Arrigo, Extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere land temperature variability over the past 1000 years, Quaternary Science Reviews, Volume 23, Issues 20-22, Holocene climate variability – a marine perspective, November 2004, Pages 2063-2074, ISSN 0277-3791, DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2004.08.013.
    (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VBC-4DCWF1D-3/2/d75d0e6dbbaa582cbf5efab00f082bc9)%5D:
    “Whether or not a similar loss of sensitivity has occurred in the past is unknown with any certainty, but no earlier periods of similar divergence are apparent between the ‘North’ and the other regional chronologies. This result suggests that the large-scale loss of climate sensitivity documented by Briffa et al., 1998a and Briffa et al., 1998b is unique to the 20th century, which argues for an anthropogenic cause.”
    For reconstructions prior to the 1200s, no claims can be made about whether there was a similar divergence effect. For reconstructions between the 1200s and 1880, however, it is reasonable to claim that there was no similar divergence effect. Between 1880 and 1960, it is unreasonable to claim that there was a divergence effect. After 1960, it is unreasonable to claim that there was not a divergence effect.

    The NAS did not recommend that the bristlecone subset not be used because of the divergence effect. The NAS recommended that the bristlecone subset not be used because they were shown to be much more susceptible to CO₂ than temperature, making them a poor dataset for temperature reconstruction.

    To conclude, I ask: what is the point in arguing the invalidity of tree-growth reconstructions?
    Are you implying that all temperature reconstructions are invalid?
    Would you then imply that the climate science community does not have sufficient understanding of paleoclimatology to assert that the last decade is probably the hottest in human history?
    Would you then imply that the climate science community does not have sufficient understanding of climatology to assert that the last century of observed warming is mostly caused by anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gases such as CO₂ and CH₄?
    Would you then imply that the climate science community does not have sufficient understanding of anything to assert that if significant and immediate action is not taken to curb global greenhouse gas emissions, it is likely that there will be an increase in negative climate consequences (such as drought, flooding, disease vector migration, etc.)?
    Do you think that it is reasonable to believe that line of logic, with the weight of reputable scientific study against it at every level?

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