Coffin, meet nail. – more on Steig’s reconstruction issues

by Ryan O’Donnell via Climate Audit

For those who are not mathematically inclined and did not entirely follow the discussion about Eric’s reconstruction in the previous post, well, a picture is worth a thousand words.

This is what happens to Eric’s reconstruction when you:

Top row:  Add the designated trends to the Peninsula stations

Second row:  Remove the designated trends from the Peninsula stations

Third row:  Treat Byrd as a single station, and add the designated trends to Byrd and Russkaya

Fourth row:  Treat Byrd as a single station, and remove the designated trends to Byrd and Russkaya

Please note how Eric’s reconstruction responds quite well to changes in the Peninsula . . . except it teleconnects them to the Ross Ice Shelf and the south pole.

Please also note how Eric’s reconstruction does not respond at all to changes in the only two West Antarctic land stations they used:  Russkaya and Byrd.

Anything that he “got right” . . . as I said before . . . was by accident.

I am quite tired of people who are willing to spend tens of pages during a review making claims without bothering to check.  I am quite tired of people who are willing to spend a couple of hours writing posts about how they “got it right” and I “got it wrong” without bothering to check.

Eric . . . feel free to confirm this for yourself.  I assume you have your own code handy.

UPDATE: Bishop Hill takes this essay and further reduces it in the crucible of truth. His end paragraph really sums it up well.

James Delingpole also sums it up nicely here

 

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62 thoughts on “Coffin, meet nail. – more on Steig’s reconstruction issues

  1. Your written explanation of the fourth row is confusing as it appears to be exactly the same as the third row.

    Does this make me a “critic”???

  2. “Fourth row: Treat Byrd as a single station, and add the designated trends to Byrd and Russkaya”

    Bold should read “remove” and “from” (I guess).

  3. Anthony, if you could edit the “Fourth row” description to say “remove” rather than “add” the trends, I would appreciate it.

    Thanks to the commentors who noticed. ;)

    REPLY: done

  4. I really have no idea what I am looking at here (bad eyesight) but it appears to me that in the first two series; the adders, and the subtracters; the is a progressibe change in features, as you go from left to right.

    In the lower two series, I see virtually no change from left to right, and since the numbers are doubled in the lower two, that makes the lack of response even more striking.

    I only vaguely recall, what this discussion was originally about; other than Jeff iD took Steig to task for some reason that made sense at the time. Was this the situation that Judith Curry got involved in in some way.

    In any case, I would simply add that the Nyquist Sampling Theorem, is a strict Monitor, and trying to make data where there isn’t any is a fruitless task.

    What Jeff has been trying to do with the paucity of observations in this part of the globe; probably tells us some things we otherwise wouldn’t know; but I somehow doubt that some statistical mathematics prestidigitation is going to ultimately determine whether we are going to burn or freeze.

    But Jeff is right to try and hold Steig to some rational process.

  5. To match the text to the figures, it appear that the text: “Fourth row: Treat Byrd as a single station, and add the designated trends to Byrd and Russkaya” should be: “Fourth row: Treat Byrd as a single station, and remove the designated trends to Byrd and Russkaya.”

  6. Dr. Trenberth (once again) said it shortest and best:

    ‘It is hard to make data where none exist’ … UN IPCC lead author, Dr. Kevin Trenberth.

    Hard? It’s a frogging travesty.

  7. While Ryan is producing excellent pictorial illustrations of his discoveries, over at the Bishop’s, Shub has been engaging in climatological predictions:

    http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2011/2/8/josh-76.html

    These predictions concern what will be said next by Steig over at Real Climate. So far, reality is tracking the forecasts (sorry possible illustrations of how the future might unfold) quite well! Who said that climatology was devoid of testable hypothesis?

  8. “Please also note how Eric’s reconstruction does not respond at all to changes in the only two West Antarctic land stations they used: Russkaya and Byrd.”
    ========================================================

    I thought it bore repeating. It is really all that needs stated or in this case, illustrated. Wonderful job, Ryan!

    Now that we’ve determined that Steig doesn’t know squat, can we move to the ethical issues that have risen from this case? There are many. I already knew climate alarmists are a bit slower than most, and we know from experience their ethics are lacking in both conscience and convention, but I think it important to show the world the type of people who are behind all of the alarmism.

  9. S09 looks like a classically overfiltered data set. It’s unnaturally smooth with broad spreading of localized features. Having done a lot of resampling (for scientific visualization, motion capture**, image and data post processing), output like this would (has) sent me scrambling to find fix bugs and find better filtering algorithms. The sensitivity/independence analysis is a fatal blow to the approach.

    Dr. Steig’s fixation on defending the work against all critique strikes me as very odd. Admittedly, I think Hansen et. al.’s persistent defence of inflling (across a *pole* of all things) tops that for *odd*.

    ** motion capture of a baseball pitch when over processed is amusing and wrong :)

  10. Ahem. This fable might help some to understand the problems with much of published climatology:

    Once upon a time there were three climatologists who went rabbit hunting together. As the trio walked along a dirt road through some woods they came upon a clearing just as a rabbit sprang from the brush on their right and raced across the open ground. The first climatologist jerked his shotgun up and fired: BLAM! But he was too quick on the trigger and the shot hit the dirt below the rabbit. The second climatologist sighted along the barrel of his gun and BLAM! But his shot went over the rabbit’s head. The third climatologist jumped up and down while waving his arms and shouting “We got him! We got him!”

  11. If you Google “Eric Steig” now, the Delingpole article and Josh’s cartoon of him tops the entries, even above his Univ. of Washington faculty web page listing. Yay Google.

  12. Yes, well, I’ll have my 80,000 word rebuttal prepared shortly but here’s the Abstract:

    “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no… “

  13. It would be helpful to indicate on the maps which stations are being added to or subtracted from in each set of maps. It makes the point about smearing the heat signal clearer.

  14. “”””” Crusty the Clown says:
    February 8, 2011 at 11:44 am
    Ahem. This fable might help some to understand the problems with much of published climatology: “””””

    Are you insinuating, that on average nothing much happens ?

    So how the hell does Trenberth’s cartoon energy budget come up with 24 W/m^2 of thermals, transporting via convection, “heat” into the upper atmosphere, when the whole planet is isothermal at 288 K Temperature; corresponding to 390 W/m^2 for surface emitted (BB like) LWIR radiation ?

    Just asking

  15. I took a look at RC`s thread abut this, steig has refused to answer if he did in fact review the paper, and is in fact playing the innocent.

  16. I didn’t really understand the issue until I read the Bishop Hill post. That makes it PERFECTLY clear. All I can say is…WOW.

  17. “”””” Jeff Id says:
    February 8, 2011 at 10:20 am
    Should say left “””””

    Dang Jeff; you had me going there for a while, thinking the whole peninsula had fallen off into the sea there on the right .

    Whew; things aren’t nearly as bad as we thought.

  18. First it was ‘Mann’ then it was ‘Hanson’ and ‘Gore’ and ‘Schmitt’ and ‘Jones’ now it seem the current hate figure is ‘Steig’. So much for reconciliation…

    Careful with the nails btw, place like WUWT claim to have hammered in so many final ones over so many years folk might start to think you over play your case just a teeny weeny bit.

  19. Allen says:
    February 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Forget Big Oil… let’s talk about the corruption of climate science due to Big Government.
    =======================================================

    To be sure, big Oil played a huge role in the corruption of climate science. For instance, go here http://www.energybiosciencesinstitute.org/ …… now scroll all the way down to the bottom……see the Big Oil emblem? This particular enterprise cost BP 500 million.

  20. thegoodlocust says:
    February 8, 2011 at 12:17 pm
    “Fraud is the only word to describe this. Bishop Hill does an excellent job of explaining it.”

    I don’t think there is evidence to say that Steig’s original work was an attempt to defraud the public. However, his subsequent actions to prevent the publication of work that revealed the defects in his original work and his actions on the NASA funded website realclimate.org to edit people’s comments so as to misrepresent the debate should be examined. When are these guys going to learn that the coverup is the thing that gets them in trouble.

  21. “If you Google “Eric Steig” now, the Delingpole article and Josh’s cartoon of him tops the entries, even above his Univ. of Washington faculty web page listing. Yay Google.”

    Check back tomorrow. Google are part of the warmist disinformation crowd and now that you have highlighted this little snippet, it may well disappear shortly as did Climategate from their searches.

  22. Peter H says:

    “So much for reconciliation…”

    The sceptics at least made an effort to show up. BTW- did you even wonder why Ryan is so upset? Likely no.

  23. Well there is no chance of Steig arguing his case anywhere except in the echo chamber that is RC judging by his latest comments. His defensiveness, while understandable in the situation, is doing him absolutely no favours whatsoever. RC is marginalising itself ever more so from the rest of the community (something I would not have thought possible, but hey). These guys refuse to play the game by the rules and then whine and carry on when they are pulled up for their misbehaviour. “Redefining peer review” certainly wasn’t taken out of context in the ClimateGate emails eh?

  24. Editor: When will you submit your review?
    Reviewer: In a month or so.
    Ed: A month? Have you started work?
    R: I have completed 50 pages of the review.
    Ed: 50 pages! You have gone off the deep end. Forget it. I will use the other reviews.
    TWILIGHT ZONE
    R: Give me a little time. The review will be only 88 pages when I am finished.
    Ed: Are you sure you can establish what you are after?
    R: Absolutely!
    Ed: In this important case, I can wait. The authors will understand after they read your important 88 page essay.
    THE YEAR 2525
    Author: You sent me a review that is 88 pages long.
    Ed: Yes, it is long but the scientific question is very important.
    A: I am surprised you read a review that is 88 pages long.
    Ed: Yes, normally five pages is maximum, but the scientific question is very important.
    A: The reviewer attempts to refute my thesis.
    Ed: Yes, normally…but the scientific question…
    A: Did you know that the reviewer is adamantly opposed to my thesis?
    Ed: Yes, normally we don’t do that but the scientific question…

    Sorry, it does not wash. What happened to O’Donnell would never happen in the real world. IMHO, it could happen only among fanatics who are fully detached from their real world activities and, of course, responsibilities.

  25. “(snip) now it seem the current hate figure is ‘Steig’.”

    Hate? Really?
    While I realize most Progressives (NeoFabians) have a tendency to explain their positions in emotional terms, I can assure you, that any “hate” in this case, (and in all the others you listed), are simply a projection of your own frustrations with having your worldview upended. Over and over and over.

    We think he’s wrong, and that he has ulterior motives. We also think he’s kinda sneaky. Sorry, but that’s the depth of it.

    Any “hate” you are feeling is self-contained.

  26. Okay, I contacted the ombudsman’s office at his university and they referred me to the relevant regulations on academic conduct. I believe Steig blatantly violated this section here:

    “G. Intentional and malicious interference with the scientific, scholarly, and academic activities of others. To warrant a removal for cause or reduction of salary, conduct falling within these categories must in a substantial way adversely affect the faculty member’s or the victim’s academic, scholarly, or professional ability to carry out his or her University responsibilities.”

    http://www.washington.edu/admin/rules/policies/FCG/FCCH25.html#2551

    And I fully intend on filing a complaint unless Mr. O’Donnell is in the process of doing so.

    From what I understand, and please correct me if I am in error, Steig, as “Reviewer A,” prevented the publication of a paper for 10 months by throwing up 88 pages of comments in his way since it was highly critical of his own work. After a new reviewer was brought in to break the deadlock and get the paper published, Steig subsequently criticized O’Donnell for using a statistical method that Steig himself had told him to use.

  27. I’ve followed this newest and delicious controversy, aptly titled “RealClimategate” by Delingpole, all on the net. As it was so well said over at Bishop Hill: “Game, set and match”. Might now want to focus on the ethics of this issue and how to fix it. And in the meantime “Pass the popcorn”!

    On a personal note though, I don’t take any research results +/- one degree F seriously – on either side. Not even with a million lines of code of statistics software. We humans are so lame when it comes to accurately measuring the planet’s temperature that all this would be funny if it wasn’t costing us billions, but hey, we’re really good at arguing about it!

    A couple of one liners come to mind:

    “To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.”
    “With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.”

  28. James Sexton says:

    “To be sure, big Oil played a huge role in the corruption of climate science. For instance, go here http://www.energybiosciencesinstitute.org/ …… now scroll all the way down to the bottom……see the Big Oil emblem? This particular enterprise cost BP 500 million.”

    The U.S. government alone spent $6.6B in one fiscal year on climate science and the .

    That’s only three orders of magnitude more spending from one national government. So I think we can keep our sights trained on Big Government.

  29. This issue of Steig mostly likely being Reviewer A has just reminded me of Anthony’s surface stations paper. Is that currently also being mangled in the peer review process? I bet some of the same crew (CRU?) are vetting it.

  30. Yes

    Two points.

    It is now explicitly stated by Delingpole that Steig was reviewer A. I am not clear that this, despite all the verbiage, has been established. I am not one to give any quarter to a member of the team but I do like facts before opinion or supposition. If I am mistaken and someone knows to the contrary please tell me.

    Otherwise I make the point which I have many times before, the Antarctic Peninsula is a volcanic region which, as far as we can tell appears to quite active at the moment. As it may have been in the past and may be in the future. We simply do not know.

    But we do know it is currently generating an awful lot of geothermal heat: which tends to keep things a bit warm no doubt.

    Kindest Regards

  31. At RealClimate Steig says of o’Donnell – “His allegations have no basis in fact. ”

    “Did my questions get snipped/moderated and if so, why? I should have kept a copy of my questions in case they failed to make it through. They were perfectly legitimate questions giving you a chance to explain this issue from your side rather than letting folks like myself simply take O’Donnell at his word that you acted in an unprofessional and potentially dishonest manner. Simply asking you to clarify your position.

    1) Were you, as he states, one of the referees on his paper?

    2) If so, do you think that the conflict of interest that would seem to come from that being the case is meaningful and if not, why not?

    3) Did you, as part of your review, ask that they change their method only to later criticize that method?

    Like it or not, if you don’t directly address these accusations, the impression lay people are left with is that the whole thing smacks of dishonest use of peer review.

    I am not qualified to suss out the science, but i am qualified to understand O’Donnell’s accusations. I am willing to accept that there is something lost and that he is misrepresenting the situation, but if you waive away these type of questions and quash those who try to ask, what are we left to think?

    [Response: Perhaps you should try thinking, instead of asking me what to think. Let me turn this question around on you: why do you take O'Donnell at his word? And now he's my word: His allegations have no basis in fact. Now you have my word against his. Now try thinking,-eric]“

  32. Its a wonderful spectator sport watching the scientists on either side of an issue getting down to the level of schoolyard invective and mutual accusations of duplicity and dishonourable conduct. Especially when its over an issue that is inherently undeciderable without copious amounts of new information that is unlikely to be forthcoming in the imediate future.

    I haven’t seen such melodrama over the unknowable since the great evolution of human bipedality controversy of the 1980s. Now that really did have some quality invective exchanged between distingushed scientists !

  33. [Response: Perhaps you should try thinking, instead of asking me what to think. Let me turn this question around on you: why do you take O'Donnell at his word? And now he's my word: His allegations have no basis in fact. Now you have my word against his. Now try thinking,-eric]
    Well he says he did not review the paper and that Jeff is a liar, Catfight :)

  34. Steig over at RC says that the allegations made against him by O’Donnell are untrue and that their paper was “lousy”. So – what’s the reality?

    Why do we always have to see this in climate science? Both “sides” repeatedly unable to even demonstrate what the basic facts and or thruths are in any given set of circumstances, even in something so minor as one published paper and another criticising it? Jesus H Corbett!! – it cant be that hard for both to discuss it like grown-ups, but I increasingly think that I am listening to the bickering of children in the area of climate science. For laymen this has become just so wearysome and I can make an educated guess for the reason that recent polls show people to have lost interest in AGW. It seems to me that this is just as likiely to be because they can’t be arsed anymore with listening to the incessant bickering as much as they are tired with catastrophe warnings and both sides shouting that everyone on the other “side” is either incompetent / crooked / brainwashed / interested in money. Still doesn’t tell us, the public who are supposed to pay for it all, anything about what the true position is and even I (as a relatively widely read sceptic) don’t really know the truth.

    The climante science “community” has, and continues to, let us all down badly.

    Guess I’ll just go and pay those taxes then.

  35. But Steig did not answer a very simple question.

    Was he a reviewer of Ryan’s paper?

    If he is claiming that Ryan’s statements are untrue, all he has to do is to come and say

    ” I was not a reviewer of Ryan’s paper. ”

    What’s his problem in making that simple statement? That would quash all arguments about his conduct. He’s piruoetting around talking obliquely instead of saying one simple sentence loud and clear to everyone.

    And if he was a reviewer, then he needs to answer these two further questions.

    1.] Why did you pretend that you never saw the paper, to Lucia and others?

    2.] Did you ask Ryan to make changes in his methods and after he did it criticise the same changes in your RC post?

    And such wishy washy talk which can be interpreted any way is the hallmark of the AGW scientists crowd. They try that chestnut all the time.

    So if Steig does not answer a specific one line whether he was a reviewer or not of Ryan’s paper, it’s obvious that he is lying.

    And I’d bet my house on Ryan’s honesty and the RC mob’s dishonesty, any day. This is not a one off situation. The RC mob have been consistently dishonest with intent to deceive.

  36. Leave the blogs for a couple of days and all hell breaks loose! Thanks for the links from posters so I could catch up.

    I guess the best last line is……”And he votes”.

  37. If Steig is engaging in a cover-up, then the initial fraud that is being covered-up needs to be the focus of a legal inquiry, separate from the academic, scientific, and ethical inquiries. Fraudulent use of federal grants is a civil and criminal legal matter.

    Don’t let the fog of war envelop the discussion. The goal of a fraudster, when caught, is to confuse the issue, to change the subject.

    If, indeed, there was fraudulent science committed in the 2009 research published by Steig, then that fraud is the legal issue.

    Steig has received multiple millions of dollars in Federal support for his research.

    If those dollars were used to commit fraud, then the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is interested in reclaiming those dollars for the U.S. government’s treasury.

    The DOJ has a program, designed to encourage whistleblowers to brave the professional and personal firestorm they face when they come forward, that rewards whistleblowers with a percentage of funds recovered from fraudulent grant recipients.

    A lawyer who specializes in reclaiming fraudulent grant funds has indicated interest in speaking with, and ultimately representing, for free, anyone who has knowledge of fraudulent grant receipients. I’d be happy to refer potential whistleblowers to this lawyer.

    It would appear that Eric Steig received grants from the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic and Arctic Programs in the following amounts, since about 1998 (looks like about $4 million):

    $552,114.00
    $376,672.00
    $349,484.00
    $317,853.00
    $256,891.00
    $458,965.00
    $414,994.00
    $296,857.00
    $35,842.00
    $301,568.00
    $88,721.00
    $118,773.00
    $43,520.00

    Here’s a link to the full information on his NSF grants:

    http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/afSearch.do?SearchType=afSearch&page=4&QueryText=&PIFirstName=Eric&PILastName=Steig&PIInstitution=&PIState=&PIZip=&PICountry=&ProgOrganization=OPP&ProgOfficer=&ProgEleCode=&BooleanElement=true&ProgRefCode=&BooleanRef=true&ProgProgram=&ProgFoaCode=&OriginalAwardDateOperator=&OriginalAwardDateFrom=&OriginalAwardDateTo=&StartDateOperator=&StartDateFrom=&StartDateTo=&ExpDateOperator=&ExpDateFrom=&ExpDateTo=&AwardNumberOperator=&AwardNumberFrom=&AwardNumberTo=&AwardAmount=&AwardInstrument=&Restriction=0&Search=Search#results

    Kent Clizbe
    kent@kentclizbe.com

  38. Admitting wrong will make the entire house of cards called Anthropogenic Climate Change collapse. We can’t have that, can we.

  39. Does it appear that CAGW scientists are always trying to find ways to spread the warmth. In Antarctica, in teleconnected trees (Finnish trees do not respond to Finnish temperature if they happen to correlate with Swedish temperature) in “one tree to rule them all”, in GISS 1200 k anomaly spreading. What have I missed?

    I can almost hear them speaking of the missing heat saying, “don’t hide it, divide it” Oh wait, no, that was a conversation from the 60s.

  40. [snip . . ad hom but amusing]

    Yes Steig is trying self depreciating humour… let’s see what he will lay next… LOL

  41. O’Donell should apologise immediately for his post:

    From Steig:

    “It’s perhaps also worth pointing out that the *main* criticism I had of O’Donnell’s paper was never addressed. If you’re interested in this detail, it has to do with the choice of the parameter ‘k_gnd’, which I wrote about in my last post. In my very first review, I pointed out that as shown in their Table S3, using k_gnd = 7,

    “results in estimates of the missing data in West Antarctica stations that is further from climatology (which would result, for example, from an artificial negative trend) than using lower values of k_gnd.”

    Mysteriously, this table is now absent in the final paper (which I was not given a chance to review).”

    So WHO censored the paper? Names please.

    “Some months ago, O’Donnell cordially (though quite inappropriately) asked me if I was one of the reviewers, and also promised not to reveal it publicly if I didn’t want him to. I told him I was, but that I would prefer this not be public since the ‘opportunity for abuse’ was simply too great. Talk about prescience!”

    So the guy set up Steig in this sting. WHO backed him in ths sting?

    “Perhaps there is a silver lining here. Perhaps the utter silliness of the shrill accusations that O’Donnell made against me — based on a version of the facts, in his head, that are demonstrably and unequivocally false, coupled with the fact that he then retracted them (or at least has promised to do so), will help more people see what the steadily growing list of other scientists who’ve been accused by McIntyre and his associates of plagiarism, dishonesty, data manipulation, fraud, deceit, and duplicity have been telling me for years: these people are willing to say anything, regardless of the cost to others’ reputations and to the progress of legitimate science, to advance their paranoid worldview.”

    ie this means the numbskulls that populate WUWT…not that you’ll understand this…

  42. ianash says:
    February 9, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    yes, I guess the WUWT readers are numbskulls since they allow stupidity like yours to be published without resorting to boreholes. It seems that only stupid people really want to pursue the truth in science, and the smart ones want to supress it.

  43. Jose Suro says:
    February 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    “On a personal note though, I don’t take any research results +/- one degree F seriously – on either side. ”

    I agree one hundred degrees, ahem, percent.

    But; I remember one year ago, there was a huge PR campain in my company, where a total meltdown of Antarctica with pictures of a barren stone landscape was the centerfold.

    These campains, who set them in motions, and why? I wonder.

    Just one degree is all it takes. Warmer, that is.

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