John L. Daly’s message to Mike Mann and The Team

Ric Werme writes in comments:

When I realized the Climategate 2009 Emails went back many years, one of the first things that occurred to me was there might be Emails from John Daly. He died before I became involved in the online climate debate, and that’s one of my main regrets. I won’t repeat one of Phil Jones’ comments from then, except to note Phil’s a rather nasty guy.

Two interesting Emails mention Daly. One I’ll excerpt in Willis’ most recent post.

The other is the following Email from Daly about tree rings. A lot of his writing style reminds of Willis’ – simple, direct and informative.

I’ve reformatted things to post better here and deleted most of the long list of people Daly sent this to. I left a few of the more obvious or meaningful names.

3826.txt:

date: Tue Feb 13 09:05:58 2001
from: Keith Briffa
subject: Fwd: Re: Hockey Sticks again
to: wigley

Date: Sat, 10 Feb 2001 21:47:57 +1100
From: “John L. Daly”
To: Chick Keller
CC: “P. Dietze”, mmaccrac, Michael E Mann, rbradley, wallace, Thomas Crowley, Phil Jones, McKitrick, Nigel Calder, John Christy, Jim Goodridge, Fred Singer, k.briffa
Subject: Re: Hockey Sticks again
Dear Chick & all

[I think Chick Keller wrote:]

the first is Keith Briffa’s rather comprehensive treatment of getting climate variations from tree rings: Annual climate variability in the Holocene: “interpreting the message of ancient trees”, Quaternary Science Reviews, 19 (2000) 87-105. It should deal with many of the questions people raise about using them to determine temperatures.

Take this from first principles.

A tree only grows on land. That excludes 70% of the earth covered by water. A tree does no grow on ice. A tree does not grow in a desert. A tree does not grow on grassland-savannahs. A tree does not grow in alpine areas. A tree does not grow in the tundra We are left with perhaps 15% of the planet upon which forests grow/grew. That does not make any studies from tree rings global, or even hemispheric.

The width and density of tree rings is dependent upon the following variables which cannot be reliably separated from each other. sunlight – if the sun varies, the ring will vary. But not at night of course.

cloudiness – more clouds, less sun, less ring.

pests/disease – a caterpillar or locust plague will reduce photosynthesis

access to sunlight – competition within a forest can disadvantage or advantage some trees.

moisture/rainfall – a key variable. Trees do not prosper in a droughteven if there’s a heat wave.

snow packing in spring around the base of the trees retards growth temperature – finally!

The tree ring is a composite of all these variables, not merely of temperature. Therefore on the 15% of the planet covered by trees, their rings do not and cannot accurately record temperature in isolation from the other environmental variables.

In my article on Greening Earth Society on the Hockey Stick, I point to other evidence which contradicts Mann’s theory. The Idso’s have produced more of that evidence, and a new article on Greening Earth has `unearthed’ even more.

Mann’s theory simply does not stack up. But that was not the key issue. Anyone can put up a dud theory from time to time. What is at issue is the uncritical zeal with which the industry siezed on the theory before its scientific value had been properly tested. In one go, they tossed aside dozens of studies which confirmed the existence of the MWE and LIA as global events, and all on the basis of tree rings – a proxy which has all the deficiencies I have stated above.

The worst thing I can say about any paper such as his is that it is `bad science’. Legal restraint prevents me going further. But in his case, only those restraints prevent me going *much* further.

Cheers
John Daly

John L. Daly
`Still Waiting For Greenhouse’

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85 thoughts on “John L. Daly’s message to Mike Mann and The Team

  1. Daly summed it all up perfectly right there.

    How on earth can ‘the team’ exclude the MWP and LIA as global events based on sparsity of global evidence, and yet at the same time declare the hockey stick a valid method of global measurement of global temperatures based on a few tree rings? It is utterly without scientific or logical merit. It is not only flawed, but it is so massively and completely flawed as to be the worst kind of backwards, illogical, unfounded nonsense since the earth was considered flat! Trees do not measure temperature.

  2. And isn’t it strange/funny that tree rings are generally wider — that trees grower better/faster — during periods of warmer weather? One would think therefore that we all would welcome a warmer globe

  3. Ken Hall says:
    November 23, 2011 at 7:57 am
    “…It is utterly without scientific or logical merit. It is not only flawed, but it is so massively and completely flawed as to be the worst kind of backwards, illogical, unfounded nonsense since the earth was considered flat!”

    Actually, it’s worse — there was at least visual evidence for the flat earth theory.

  4. In my article on Greening Earth Society on the Hockey Stick, I point to other evidence which contradicts Mann’s theory. The Idso’s have produced more of that evidence, and a new article on Greening Earth has `unearthed’ even more.

    I would love to read that article. Linky anyone?

    My guess on the other evidence is that CO2 levels also will modify photosynthesis. That is most of the Idso’s work demonstrate. http://www.co2science.com.

  5. I wish, John Daly and many others of the honorable old-school scientists could be here today.
    Really.

    There is another uncertainty for tree rings… nutrient content of the soil.
    That also depends on many factors, like wind carrying together/away nutrients in the form of loess or leaves. Or soil erosion/outwashing (thinking of all trees situated on a hillside, near naturally changing riverbeds, and many more).

    So many reasons that make tree ring proxies a total crap.

  6. they of course love tree rings as a proxy right up to the point that they don’t prove AGW and then then they hide the decline … and stop using tree rings …

  7. Every now and then I visit John Daly’s site, which is a mine of information and a great legacy to his work.
    If he were alive today I would have added that trees do not grow on mountains where there is a thin layer of soil over rock and I am sure if I was wrong John would have provided numerous examples.

    http://www.john-daly.com/

  8. I hesitate to differ with John Daly, but the trees do show the MWP and LIA without the imaginative statistical procedures invented in Mann et al 1998. Provided you don’t use bristlecone pines!

  9. Just had the “I get it” moment reading Daly’s email – “..INDUSTRY..”. He’s calling a spade a spade and I will from now on.

    Thanks Ric

  10. The redoupt is crumbling but they are moving to the keep now….
    Never forget, this was NOT about climate but about power and politics.
    As such it will never disappear but will submerge for a while and then surface in another guise.
    The object of the scam was always global domination by unelected and unaccountable people.
    It still is.
    One defeat does not win or lose a war.
    This is a war.

  11. What a joy to read some simple and elegantly stated common sense from John. Isn’t his analysis getting to the heart of the problem? And without dendro where would the AGW team be?

  12. This is exactly how I ‘read’ and interpreted tree ring proxies myself many years ago, but not just tree ring proxies – any flipping palaeo-proxy. I have maintained a similar stance on all such indirect analysis and proxy evidence because direct correlation of one variable to one effect is very very rare (I can’t actually think of one?). As a geologist, it’s one of the first things you learn – not only that the rocks deposited are ‘local’ but that they depend on climate variations and are probably highly ‘local’ features/events – and tlikely depend on many other things. So, for a simple example, the critters that form certain limestones (oolitic limestones) are not widespread, but occurred in distinct zones, and they were dependent on certain conditions, such as water depth and temperature. i.e. it was a combination of at least 2 variables that allowed their growth and death (obviously, there’s more variables, salinity, nutrient sources, etc, etc – I am just being simplistic here for the non-geo types) – and so we can never really say which variable was the more dominant at the time they formed and the variation on formation is thus indecisive as a proxy measurement of either variable…. It should be obvious to even the average layperson, that as the number of possible reasons for variation increase, the ‘pinning down’ of any variation to one primary variable becomes ridiculously improbable.
    Don’t get me wrong, proxies are of course useful – but only when cross correlated with ‘other’ proxies, etc, etc – but the end result is the same – it’s only an idicator -not a real ‘measurement’. The majority of climate science related proxy measurements and papers I’ve seen never seem to fully explain the uncertainties in the ‘assumed’ cause and effect relationship used to ‘make’ the proxy measurement. Mostly, I think the error bars on such works must be drawn on as an afterthought and likely ‘fabricated’ to suit – there is no way real error bars can be drawn (I mean such as the standard error bars from a normal physical measurement process)…. funny how this is never fully explained……

  13. Dear John, in the North American context there is a major omission with your analysis; introduced species. The arrival of the European colonists completely changed the North American biosphere, with the European Earthworm being the most important in this context.
    A very good overview on the impact that earthworm colonization has is to be found in:-

    Earthworm invasion into previously earthworm-free temperate and boreal forests

    Lee E. Frelich, Cindy M. Hale, Stefan Scheu, Andrew R. Holdsworth, Liam Heneghan, Patrick J. Bohlen and Peter B. Reich
    Biological Invasions Volume 8, Number 6, 1235-1245, DOI: 10.1007/s10530-006-9019-3

    in

    Effect of thinning, fertilization with biosolids, and weather on interannual ring specific gravity and carbon accumulation of a 55-year-old Douglas-fir stand in western Washington

    Rapeepan Kantavichai, David G. Briggs & Eric C. Turnblom
    Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 2010, 40:(1) 72-85, 10.1139/X09-168

    they show how tree ring vary due to forest thinning and to biosolid fertilized; the latter being very much like the changes induced by the invasion of earthworms into a sterile area.

    Unless you know if, and when, earthworms have been introduced to a North American forest region, then you have no idea if you have a true time continuous ecology.
    You would see a ‘divergence’.

  14. The interesting part is that not only skeptics deconstructed Mann’s theory but apparently the insiders too.

    Dendrochronology is a shabby science (and I use science very loosely here) but a bunch of tree cuts on shelves in a lab looks pretty cool!

  15. On top of all that Daly mentions, all of these factors interact with one another on a dynamic basis over large time periods. Andrew: you are exactly right. Any field forester can tell you that trees are much better water gauges than thermometers.

  16. Also missing, CO2. How would you seperate growth from CO2 availibility from warmth? Especially when those folks are observationally biased to assume growth = warmth and they assume CO2 increases warmth.

  17. Something as simple as a deer dying in the root zone of a tree would cause a growth spurt for several years. Tree rings are not really a good indication of much aside from drought years, in my opinion.

  18. Stacey says:
    November 23, 2011 at 8:29 am
    …trees do not grow on mountains where there is a thin layer of soil over rock…

    John Daly said:
    A tree only grows on land. That excludes 70% of the earth covered by water. A tree does no grow on ice. A tree does not grow in a desert. A tree does not grow on grassland-savannahs. A tree does not grow in alpine areas. A tree does not grow in the tundra. We are left with perhaps 15% of the planet upon which forests grow/grew. That does not make any studies from tree rings global, or even hemispheric.

    I think alpine covers your suggestion.

  19. I refuse to call the global warming revenue mill an industry. That wrongly implies that it has some kind of beneficial output.

  20. Stacey says:
    November 23, 2011 at 8:29 am

    > Every now and then I visit John Daly’s site, which is a mine of information and a great legacy to his work.

    One thing that shows how important Daly is that his web site is still useful and still current. The Isle of the Dead sea level benchmark on his home page is a timeless reminder of the importance of good empirical evidence.

    > If he were alive today I would have added that trees do not grow on mountains where there is a thin layer of soil over rock and I am sure if I was wrong John would have provided numerous examples.

    You need to visit the White Mountains of New England! The area was pretty much scraped clean in the last glaciation, but our even and plentiful rainfall (hey, four of five storm tracks go through the area, gotta put a positive spin on it) makes for good tree growing conditions.

    Our trees will grow in a couple inches of weathered granite soil. Root hairs do a decent job of hanging onto cracks in the bedrock. They don’t really like it, especially near treeline, but for the most part they’re what keeps the topsoil in place.

  21. For me this is the best part:
    “What is at issue is the uncritical zeal with which the industry siezed on the theory before its scientific value had been properly tested.” – John Daly

    I wonder what the factors were in said acceptance of the theory; climatology being relatively new therefore the average climatologist was younger, less experienced, & more naive; it told many exactly what they already “knew” (man is bad, burning fossil fuels is bad) and therefore played to their world view; makes for a profitable new commodity; allows for new taxes and regulatory oversight; excuse for more bureaucratic infrastructure (how many CC committees are there now); something scary (therefore important) to research; etc. etc.?

  22. Ric, I posted this for you on the long thread….
    John missed one important point on trees

    Ric Werme says:
    November 23, 2011 at 7:38 am
    ==========================================

    from: “Michael E. Mann”
    subject: Re: WMO Climate Statement for 1999 – IMPORTANT !
    cc: k.briffa, t.osborn

    Hi Phil,

    I’m attaching the plot you may remember that we (actually, the UK Met Office staff) prepared for the final version of the IPCC chapter 2 draft (in pdf format). To refresh your memory, we used the ’61-90 base period for the absolute anomaly scale, but we aligned the series based on an earlier (’31-60) interval of the instrumental record, which pre-dates (largely) the recent decline in the Briffa et al series. I think this leads to a similar picture, but if you think there are any significant discrepancies w/ what Tim is preparing, we should discuss.

    cheers,
    mike
    ==========================================
    The effect of an increase in CO2 would be to increase growth, which mimics warmer temperatures. Mikey’s graph should have been adjusted downwards, not upwards.

    http://www.real-science.com/mikey-hiding-decline

  23. “Experimental evidence shows that carbon dioxide can be an important limiting factor in the growth of plants in this high-altitude environment. The greatly increased tree growth rates observed since the mid-l9th century exceed those expected from climatic trends but are consistent in magnitude with global trends in carbon dioxide, especially in recent decades. If correctly interpreted, these findings have important implications for climate studies involving tree ring observations and for models of the global carbon dioxide budget.”

    (Source: Science Magazine: 7 September 1984:Vol. 225 no. 4666 pp. 1019-1021)

    Makes you wonder if Mann and co. ever read the relevant scientific literature.

  24. And I shall say it again:

    If tree-rings are responding mainly to local events, rather than to global climate, then how on earth can dendrochronology work? If you look at these two Yamal graphs, you will see a large difference in tree-ring growth between individual trees growing in the same region at the same time.

    If we take a core sample from one of the trees in the top set (to discover its date), and were using the bottom set as the control (to divine that date), there would be no match whatsoever.

    Even worse, if we were to take a core from an ancient Mediterranean ship (to discover its date), and compared it to control tree-rings from the Irish bog-oak set or the American bristlecone set (to divine that date), how on earth are we to derive a comparison? The Mediterranean trees (for the ship) were growing under Mediterranean micro-climates, with Mediterranean pests and Mediterranean light/moisture competitions; while the controls were growing in Ireland and America with completely different environmental and biological influences.

    So how can we compare tree-ring widths, to derive a comparison (and a date), when the control tree’s ring-widths might have been largely influenced by the lesser-spotted-tree-ring moth?

    .

  25. John Daly was a hero who I followed from those early days of the internet. Then the AGW bandwagon hadn’t really got rolling and any sceptics were few and far between. I hope his daughter and son in law are aware of the high esteem he is held in. They tried to maintain his website for a while but never had the same drive and sheer doggedness that John had . I didn’t know him but followed him avidly in those early internet day and even emailed him a couple of times. John I believe saw the ‘madness’ and where it was heading long before the AGW bandwagon really got rolling and how he would have loved to see the wheels falling off.

    And lets face it it has been like a madness where all rationalality and perspective had been strangled in those very early days.

  26. From George
    “Also missing, CO2. How would you separate growth from CO2 availability from warmth? Especially when those folks are observationally biased to assume growth = warmth and they assume CO2 increases warmth.”

    Not to mention the fact that CO2 contributes growth directly. Trees grow from the air, not the ground, a tree is made up of CO2, more CO2 more tree.

    That is not to say that ground conditions do not have an effect on growth, they do of course, but the tree’s mass comes from the air. More growth could simply mean that there was more material (CO2) to use, and that temperature was only a sideline.

  27. IMO There has always been a problem using regional proxies for global history – and even more problems for global climate reconstructs.

  28. In the documents folder of the CG-II archive there’s a document climex.doc that is relevant to the question of how climate affects tree rings.

  29. Tree rings tell you something about how happy a tree is. Nothing more, nothing less. I got that from Gerald Ganssen, former president of the European Geosciences Union (2007-2009).

  30. Funny and telling that wiki-keepers idea of an encyclopedia entry for a person is name / lifespan / occupation / ( AGW believer or skeptic ) / details of AGW ( belief / skeptism ).
    Details from the rest of the persons entire life are optional.

    Is this the only narrow way AGWers and their AGWopedia can define \ view people ?

  31. Dendrochronology is a word that originally meant tree-dating. It involved the correlation of tree-ring growth patterns from one tree to another to determine the date that the wood of a given tree was grown. Of course, we are always free to give and old word a new meaning. ‘Prevent’ originally meant to come or get somewhere ahead of someone else.

    More correct formations for what is being spoken here might be dendrothermometry or dendrothermography, but adding a new meaning to an established word might be the path of least resistance, especially as dendrothermometry is highly questionable and dendrochronology is an established accurate dating method.

  32. Your list of variables is only partial. Trees don’t grow much during drought even if the weather is cool. Here in the Pacific Nortwest, that is common. Early spring, late spring, early winter, lots of snow, not much snow, Also, animals browsing affect them. Thus, when there are more deer, elk, etc. smaller trees sometimes get smaller and don’t grow at all.

    I am assuming the climate in my back yard is fairly consistant from one place to another. The fir trees I planted at the same time 10 years ago are wildly different from one another. Some are three times the size of others. I assume the larger ones have wider growth rings. Guess the climate there is milder than that 20 feet away. In short, tree rings do not measure temperature but variable growing conditions which covers a VERY wide range of possibilities. I could go on and on about variable growing conditions.

    Never did trust the tree ring record theory, but then, maybe if I had finished high school……..

  33. There is another factor that comes into play with tree rings. A short mild winter. Bigger rings with a longer growing season, even if the summer isn’t warmer than average.

  34. John Daley seemed a rare man who will be missed at this time when his concise and direct questioning would have been of great help !

  35. John was a E-mail friend of mine-I would talk about the weather in Tasmania VS the Oregon south Coast,-inverted but not a lot different. Personally I hope he and Crichton are aware of all this…
    -and smiling…

  36. Stacey says:
    November 23, 2011 at 8:29 am
    “Every now and then I visit John Daly’s site…”
    Thanks Stacey for posting his site. I also go now and then there, what he said is still actual, being valid science – see his post on the satellite sea level rise measurement, on the arctic, CO2 measurements problems and many other.

    http://www.john-daly.com/altimetry/topex.htm

  37. While I like everyone’s enthusiasm, we really should try to keep to the actual science (what there is of it) behind dendroclimatology. The reason why trees like bristlecone pines have been used is to try to isolate the temperature signal from, say, the precipitation signal. The concept is that by picking trees near the tree line, temperature will be the limiting factor on tree-ring growth. It’s assumed that there will be melting snow above which will keep water from being a major factor. Now this doesn’t totally work, which is discussed in many early threads on Climate Audit. But the particular problem with the early Mann work is that they used the strip-bark bristlecone pine cores. Stripbarked trees have a growth spurt after the initial injury for several reasons, which makes the cores problematic at best. In general it will result in the average growth rate increasing in modern times. Since the cores are calibrated with modern instrumental temperatures, they will be especially highly correlated and thus make it look like tree-rings are good temperature proxies.

    I’ll add that the Yamal spruces have a similar growth spurt resulting from a switch from a trailing to an upright growth pattern. The result is thus also misleading.

  38. Its actually worse than he said. Of the 15% of the earth’s surface in which trees actually grow, they restricted themselves to a particular species of tree that only grows in a very small percentage of the 15% of the earth’s surface.

    Total lunacy.

  39. I was fortunate enough to be involved in the Daly blogging and still remember reverently the “Still Waiting fro Greenhouse” days. Anthony, you deserve more credit than I, or any collective, can possibly bestow, but I must admit that I still miss John Daly. And, of course, Douglas Adams. As Mel Brooks has noted, nothing can be taken seriously in the face of absolute, heart-felt hilarity and Adms was the one technically-minded comic who could really poke philosophical holes in nonsense science.

  40. I believe the primary application of dendrochronology, per se, is the dating of archeological sites, especially in the South West USA where the tree-ring patterns of logs that were used in the construction of human habitations can be compared, just like a fingerprint, with an established complete, year-by-year, local growth pattern.

  41. What a wonderful website and time we live in! Thanks Anthony for a place of seeking truth and discovery. When I started reading everything here after climategate 1, and saw “Tree Ring proxy data” signaling numeric data to temperature’, my thought, was (as others here) “WTF” AIN’T no way!.
    Ron says:
    “Your list of variables is only partial. Trees don’t grow much during drought even if the weather is cool. Here in the Pacific Nortwest, that is common.” everything else you say is ‘well taken’
    Also common to the Cascades is microclimate, fog favors some species not others!

    I live on 1 acre of Southeastern US property which is terraced on a gentle slope. Corn and cotton were the 1946 row crop last planted. Southern Yellow Pine planted in 1947-48 +/-2 yr. In the 1990′s a tornado swept through and the timber jobbers came in and took about 35 trees out for no $ and hauled them to a local sawmill. As a curious biologist I really enjoyed a couple of days of looking at the stumps and few cut up trees. For the years I had been there (20 or so) the rings were a an almost perfect representation of rainfall. Branches also skew the ring data.

    Thanks also to “Old Forester” – Right on the money!

    Anthony – Keep it UP!
    (also thanks to DavidMhoffer in other threads! I read it all and like folks who help other folks, crosscheck and understand!)
    Eric

  42. Thanks Dave Dardinger. Those saying that tree rings cannot be used to estimate paleotemperature, talking about variable growth rates in their back yards, etc., are only showing their ignorance. There have been many smart, honest folks working on this for many years, and they have produced quite a few useful studies. The hockey stick is something altogether different, of course.

  43. There is nothing wrong with proper scientific analysis of proxies such as tree rings – what is wrong is that the authors DID NOT perform a proper scientific analysis but fudged everything to achieve a desired outcome – the proof of this is indeniably in the fact that they terminated a data series – the bristlecone tree rings – when it trended in an “inconvenient” manner and replaced it with data that suited their purpose.

    A real scientific paper would have shown the inconvenient data as well and advanced a theory as to the reasons instead of hiding it.

    Deception is a lie no matter how you try to spin it.

  44. I would add another ‘nutrient’ that leads to better growth and wider tree-rings – Carbon Dioxide, but they they wouldn’t want to talk of raised levels of CO2 in the past.

    The team were told of these issues not only by John Daly but also by a botanist (in the original climategate emails).

    It is unfortunate but these climatology PhD’s know less about tree growth than a jobbing gardener who failed his high school diploma.

    “Strange as it seems, no amount of learning can cure stupidity, and higher education positively fortifies it.” quote from: Stephen Vizinczey, An Innocent Millionaire

  45. Whilst I do not like asserting allegations of dishonesty I do consider that there is a strong case that the use of tree proxy data goes beyond incompetence and boarders on dishonesty. Daly has cited many of the variables that influence the gowth of tree rings and these would have been known to any competent scientists. Others have addeds to the list nutrients particulry soil nutrients being another obvious factor and of course our friend CO2 and soil erosion.

    The reason that I consider that this boarders on dishonesty is that not only should the short comings noted above be apparent to the Team as soon as they noticed the divergence proble, they were fully aware of the short comings of the tree proxy data. Given that divergence, it followed as clearly as night follows day that if tree proxy evidence is sound, the recent temperature record is wrong, or if the recent temperature record is correct then tree proxy data is unreliable and.or the divergence is due to a combination of both.

    The Team were therefore well acquainted with the short comings and unreliability of the tree proxy data they knew there was a problem with the proxy and yet still chose to run with it. In my opinion thius goes beyond incompetence and as noted boarders on dishonesty.

  46. When I first started researching AGW, it was the late great John L Dalys site that convinced me of scepticism.
    Those who haven’t done so, should visit the site and gain the pleasure of reading the very many useful (even today) articles there.
    There are even a few “Open reviewed” papers there.

    Regards the Greening earth Society article mentioned, I believe it is called “What’s Wrong With the Surface Record.”

    http://www.john-daly.com/ges/surftmp/surftemp.htm

  47. John West says:
    November 23, 2011 at 9:43 am

    “I wonder what the factors were in said acceptance of the theory; climatology being relatively new therefore the average climatologist was younger, less experienced, & more naive; it told many exactly what they already ‘knew’ (man is bad, burning fossil fuels is bad) and therefore played to their world view;”

    Same thing happened with Arming America by Bellesiles. His book played to most historians world view, so they all turned a blind eye to what they should have known was pretty dodgy history and heaped awards upon Bellesiles until an amateur internet historian pointed out the flaws. I don’t think it’s a problem of youth. Academia seems to be broken. Maybe this is what happens when people with tenure get to decide who else deserves tenure. Maybe after there’s no one left to debate you lose critical thinking skills.

  48. Nice post, Ric. Daly’s website was the first skeptic site I found and followed.

    The first “research” I ever did was for an alpine ecology class I took in Switzerland, when I was 18 years old. I measured tree rings in the Norway spruce from altitudes of 400 meters to 2000 meters. I got a bell curve, with the fastest growth at 1300 meters. As John Daly pointed out, the ring width depended upon a group of factors. Competition for space from deciduous species at 900 meters resulted in the same growth rate as seen in pure stands in the much colder 1800 meter environment. Heck of a temperature proxy!

  49. Ken Coffman says: :”It’s a crying shame that John Daly and Michael Crichton are not here today to see the castle walls finally falling down. RIP.”

    The walls won’t come down until we can get the crooked politicians’ hands out of our pockets and stop the spending to promote AGW. Find out who opposes AGW before you vote. Hint: Obama is a Warmist. A LOT of Republican candidates are Cryptocrat-Warmists,

  50. Another variable which affects tree rings is CO2. More CO2 = more growth.

    This recent U of M study documented a 26% increase in the rate of tree growth when CO2 was increased from from about 380 ppm to about 570 ppm. Here’s a youtube video about a smaller scale experiment with trees given even higher levels of CO2, which saw even greater increases in growth. Here’s time-lapse photography of a similar experiment using cowpeas, with similar results.

    From that we can also infer that the ~100 ppm increase in CO2 since WWII is probably responsible for at least an approximately 15% increase in tree growth rates, world-wide, and probably similar improvements in general agricultural productivity.

    Think about the fact that O2 is 21% of the atmosphere, but CO2 is measured in parts-per-million. The two gasses are, after all, in some kind of biological equilibrium. So why is there so much O2 and so little CO2? It is because there’s a lot more photosynthetic plant life on earth than O2-consuming animal life. Plants have used up just about all the available CO2, and their growth is constrained, more than anything else, by the chronic shortage of atmospheric CO2.

  51. In a better world, John Daly would be considered to be a great Australian and lauded for his tireless efforts to seek out the truth. Instead he is virtually unknown in his own country and we get bottom feeders like Flannery. A sad sad world.

    Daly’s book, “The Greenhouse Trap”, written way back when this whole sorry saga began in the late 1980s, remains valid, topical and anticipated much of the arguments that would unfold in the following decades….and retains pride of place in my library.

  52. Thanks a lot Ric.

    This email shows Daly’s mettle, commonsense, and truly scientific attitude – as always. Daly has inspired me all along; I used his work extensively for Circling The Arctic; when I finally get going on a skeptics’ wiki for climate science (if nobody has beaten me to it, or taken over the wiki I still have under wraps, or cleaned the Augean Stables aka Connolley’s Wikipedia legacy) I shall dedicate it to John Daly.

  53. I think the hockey stick might be considered a prime example of Voodoo Science. Even the series of curves presented had the appearance of multiple uncorrelated samples of random noise.

  54. E-mail #1359
    From: Phil Jones
    The Jury service sounds a pain. I’ve been called a couple of times over the last 10 years but managed to get out of it both times. I just said I had meetings to go to (which was true once), the second I said the new students were coming in late September. The fact that I have little to do with U/Gs didn’t seem to matter.

    What a civic minded fellow.

  55. Lucy Skywalker says:
    November 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm
    Thanks a lot Ric.
    This email shows Daly’s mettle, commonsense, and truly scientific attitude – as always. Daly has inspired me all along;>>>

    Lucy,
    I too am a fan of Daly’s, but I’m a huge fan of yours too. Given the topic of discussion here (beyond Daly himself in general) is Daly’s criticism of the tree ring data, I think it would be revealing to a lot of new comers if links to your devastating criticism of the Yamal tree ring data were posted in this thread. I was already a confirmed skeptic by the time I read your article on Yamal, but frankly, that was the first time I thought to myself “these people have GOT to be kidding if they think they can get away with this”. Alas, they just kept going.

    But the fact of the matter is that while “the team” is clearly on the defensive, there is something to their claim that things our out of context. For new comers to the debate, in fact they are. Your crushing rebuttal of Yamal puts all the e-mails we are reading now about what “the team” knew about the tree ring data and the manner in which they used it anyway strongly suggests that not only was Daly right, but that they knew it, and the gymnastics that they went through that wound up using just 7 trees, and weighting the data 50% to just one of them are, in your words as I recall, “scandalous”.

    That is precisely the context that I for one would like to see people reading those e-mails in.

  56. I like your comment that Phil is a nasty guy given the comment on Daley was a private one he didn’t send it to the world, the person who stole the emails did, can you really complain than someone is “not a nice person” while committing a public personal attack on them.

  57. Reconstructed changes in Arctic sea ice over the past 1,450 years
    • Christophe Kinnard,1
    • Christian M. Zdanowicz,2
    • David A. Fisher,2
    • Elisabeth Isaksson,3
    • Anne de Vernal4
    • & Lonnie G. Thompson5

    Nature Journal name:
    Nature
    Volume:
    479,
    Pages:
    509–512
    Date published:
    (24 November 2011)
    DOI:
    doi:10.1038/nature10581
    Received
    24 December 2010
    Accepted
    21 September 2011
    Published online
    23 November 2011

    Arctic Sea Ice own Hockey Stick!!!!

  58. Anthony, mods,

    If I may, I think the “context” issue is, in fact, a huge opportunity. Reading those e-mails for those of us who have followed the climate debate for any length of time and/or have any technical background at all, is as black and white as it can get. For a lot of people however, they are just confusing. We read an e-mail from “Phil” to “Michael” about a “trick” and we know exactly what they are talking about. For the uninitiated, what goes through their minds is “who is Phil? Is he important?”

    There are a lot of great articles on WUWT and on other sites as well, but they’ve faded with time. There’s too many of them to link all articles to all issues of course, but for each topic that is discussed in both ClimateGate 1 and 2, there are a few absolutely stellar articles out there that put the whole discussion in the context that is required.

    As an example, this thread is about tree rings. Lucy absolutely crushed Yamal, as did ClimateAudit, but for a lay audience with little background in the science or the issues, it is Lucy’s article that I tell people with a real interest to have a look for. There’s so many on Michael Mann’s hockey stick that one can’t count them all, but I’m certain that there is a gem or two out there. Two links, one to Lucy’s article and another to one that crushes Mann’s hockey stick would provide all the context one needs to read those emails and think.. holy sh*t, it is a fraud after all, and worse than we though.

    Similarly, other topics in the two sets of emails ought to be grouped together for discussion, and for the new readers, one or two of the gems we’ve read over the years on WUWT and other sites for people to review and put things in context would be possibly the biggest weapon we could have right now to what has become the last refuge of the scoundrels, whining about emails being out of context.

    I’d volunteer some of my time for a project like that. Not nearly as fun as torturing trolls which I would sorely miss, but I think we’re at a tipping point here. Butting the trolls off the bridge might be fun, but it seems to me that this is an opportunity to bring the entire bridge down upon the trolls and their task masters.

  59. Years ago (before 2003 and after 1998), I became interested in desert temperatures (specifically Death Valley, thanks to John Daly). One of the predictions of greenhouse theory is that dry regions, like deserts and polar regions, will show the effects of CO2 warming more than other areas. This is because CO2 effects are masked by water vapor, so dry regions are the “canary in the mine” signal of GW. Unfortunately, during the hot year of 1998, Death Valley had a cold year–third coldest in fact. I stored my data away and didn’t check Death Valley temperatures until recently. The current data show that 1998 is still a cool year, but something has changed. The temperatures now shown for Death Valley weren’t as I remembered them. So I pulled out my old data and checked. Below is a comparison of these datasets. The first graph is the pre-2003 plot of my saved data (check John Daly’s plots for a comparison). The second plot is the current GISTEMP values. In the third plot, I overlay the two datasets. Apparently Hansen’s been busy “correcting” these temperature values during the last few years.

    The linear trend slope of the pre-2003 data is 0.0143 °C/year and the current data has a linear trend slope of 0.0192 °C/year.

    Have fun trying to figure out the temperature modification algorithm. I tried to check the original B91 forms (Anthony provided a link a while back, but that link isn’t valid now) and that’s a lot of work. Too bad there isn’t a fancy OCR program that will scan these forms. The two years that I checked don’t match either dataset.

    Jim

  60. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/10/30/yamal-treering-proxy-temperature-reconstructions-dont-match-local-thermometer-records/

    Found it! For those with any question in their minds as to what all the e-mail discussion about tree rings is really about, there’s your link. Lucy’s article puts all of those e-mails into their proper perspective by shining cold hard light on the Yamal travesty (the kindest words I have for it) and the article has links in it as well to additional material on both Yamal and the original Hockey Stick.

    Read those, THEN read the various e-mails. That will be the “context” anyone needs to see what those e-mails are clearly saying.

  61. Stacey says:
    November 23, 2011 at 8:29 am
    …trees do not grow on mountains where there is a thin layer of soil over rock…
    News for you Stacey, trees wil grow out of a crack in cliff face and as far as alpine areas go, the next time I am in the high country I will tell the Snow Gums they have no right to be there.

  62. Like many others here, I too discovered John Daly’s informative site, a beacon of enlightenment in the dark ages of advocacy climate *science*.
    What about a post on tree rings by Lucy Skywalker, Anthony?

  63. Steve says:
    November 23, 2011 at 7:56 pm
    I like your comment that Phil is a nasty guy given the comment on Daley was a private one he didn’t send it to the world, the person who stole the emails did, can you really complain than someone is “not a nice person” while committing a public personal attack on them.

    You talk like an abuser whining about the victims of his abuse having the impudence to disclose your abusive behavior to other people who can object to it. Phil’s sin was to engage in such “nasty” thinking, whether or not he communicated such “nasty” thinking and “nasty” behavior to any other people. Perhaps this concept is alien to your personal experience, but there are other people who do not even consider thinking much less making such remarks in privacy or public. So, yes, it can be entirely appropriate or even a duty to make a public disclosure of behavior which is abusive and inappropriate.

    Furthermore, the “person who stole the emails” may very well be the person or persons with custodial responsibility yet violated the FOIA and a number of other laws by stealing, destroying, and converting to their own personal use the e-mail which were the property of the government, university, and the taxpaying public. Perhaps you should be asking the Norfolk Constabulary why they have not taken any actions against Phil Jones and his co-conspiirators for their roles in misappropriating the e-mail, converting it to their own personal use, and destroying it.

  64. David Hoffer (and Beth), I feel honoured and… er… gobsmacked… thanks.

    Quick links: here are the three articles I did on Yamal, from my own website:

    http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Scientific/Arctic-Yamal1.htm

    http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Scientific/Arctic-Yamal2.htm

    http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Scientific/Arctic-Yamal3.htm

    The bit that currently tickels me is the graph in the last of these links, towards the bottom, showing the seasonal temperatures of Salehard. Now believe it or not, I have not learned to master even Excel. whoops, admission! (lack of time etc) but I use Scientific Method and ingenuity and, well, sometimes Grace intervenes. In this case, the Salehard graph was supplied by The Ford Prefect of Climategate II fame (email to Phil Jones). Thanks TFP.

    This graph to me is the most stunning admission of UHI I’ve seen- difference between DJF and MAM, JJA, SON. It’s a big tip on how to do a rough and ready REAL correction for UHI to records.

  65. ttfn says:
    November 23, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    John West says:
    November 23, 2011 at 9:43 am

    “I wonder what the factors were in said acceptance of the theory; climatology being relatively new therefore the average climatologist was younger, less experienced, & more naive; it told many exactly what they already ‘knew’ (man is bad, burning fossil fuels is bad) and therefore played to their world view;”

    Same thing happened with Arming America by Bellesiles. His book played to most historians world view, so they all turned a blind eye to what they should have known was pretty dodgy history and heaped awards upon Bellesiles until an amateur internet historian pointed out the flaws. I don’t think it’s a problem of youth. Academia seems to be broken. Maybe this is what happens when people with tenure get to decide who else deserves tenure. Maybe after there’s no one left to debate you lose critical thinking skills.

    The Pulitzer Prize given to Bellesides is an excellent counterpoint to the “scientific consensus” argument. It illustrates the corruption, groupthink, and bias in Academia in fields dominated by the “anointed.”

  66. Smokey says:
    November 23, 2011 at 8:11 pm
    Steve,
    You have it all wrong about who sent what to “the world”. Read, and learn:

    http://www.john-daly.com/cru/emails.htm

    You beat me to the punch Smokey, but well done! If ever there is a Sceptic Hall of Fame established my great adopted fellow Tasmanian John L Daly should be the first inductee. His August 2001 email exchanges with Phil Jones provide an early revelation of the bullying, blustering and failure to admit mistakes mentality that has become so endemic throughout the IPCC AGW Greenhouse Industry.
    John’s scrutiny of their efforts was a model for the many who now monitor the machinations of the politicised scientists pushing the scam. With the usurping of the scientific peer review process, John provided his site to others with alternative views who had been frozen out by the new restrictive “pal review” instituted by the cabal of UNIPCC AGW proponents. He was a shining beacon in a very dark time and his site remains a most valuable resource for anyone seeking the truth and all explained in language any lay person can understand. Vale John L Daly!

  67. Reading tree rings is the same as translating Chinese using Websters English Dictionary you know that both represent a form of communication but which way is up ?

  68. And why do Climate Scientists think the trees they study are called wild trees to begin with vs plantation trees? No one knows much of anything about both above and below ground “microclimate” or “metadata” conditions for each of the trees used in tree ring studies over hundreds and even thousands of years. In addition, apart from the problem with “stripbarks” recording “0″ temperatures in the same tree used to allegedly record other temperatures, dead trees of the same species in the same areas dying at different times have recorded “0″ for temperatures for at least ever since they’ve died and disappeared. Average that! And, teleconnections? Apparently almost anything can “teleconnect”, at least until it doesn’t.

    Even the idea that ring width records a volume of tree growth in any particular wild tree is dubious, imo. I’ve seen many individual trees and “crumholtz” at altitudes around 8000 ft. and lower with roots much larger than the “tree”. Each wild tree even looks different from the others. But at the least, by now I’m not going to trust any “Climate Scientist” to smooth away all of the natural variables via their alleged “skill” and “robust” findings.

    If there’s anything “unnatural” going on in climate, it is the “method” used by the postmodern, postnormal, pre-Enlightenment Climate Scientists.

  69. Steve says:
    November 23, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    I like your comment that Phil is a nasty guy given the comment on Daley was a private one he didn’t send it to the world, the person who stole the emails did, can you really complain than someone is “not a nice person” while committing a public personal attack on them.

    While others have answered this well, you addressed this to me, so I’ll reply. Humble apologies for the duplication.

    1) There is plenty of other evidence that Phil is a nasty guy.
    There are no other similar comments from other people in the released Climategate Emails. When Steven Schneider died I saw no comments that rose to Phil’s comments about Daly’s death. Of course, I only saw messages to a wide audience.

    2) “stole the Emails” implies a break-in. I’m still waiting for the investigative report. I suspect there was no break-in, though I’ll grant you whistle blowers may use illegal tactics. A defense that the Emails were related to publicly funded research would be interesting, but I’m not familiar enough with British law. “Stole” also implies removing something of value. As far as I know, the original Emails are still spinning away on a CRU diskdrive. Well, those that weren’t illegally deleted, of course!

    3) If you want to come up with a document from public sources describing why Phil Jones is a nice guy I’ll take the time to write up from public sources why he isn’t a nice guy. Copyrighted sources are okay, we’d only be using small excerpts.

    4) Hint: For any web searches you might do, be sure to spell Daly’s name right.

    —–

    Smokey, thanks for posting that John Daly link, I’m sure I’ve read it, but not for a couple years.

  70. >>Spector
    >>dendrothermometry is highly questionable and dendrochronology
    >>is an established accurate dating method.

    So they keep saying.

    But if my wood sample in some ancient artifact, was influenced more by pests, bacteriums, and light / root competition, than it was by the global climate – then how can I compare its tree rings with a reference sample, especially when that reference sample may have been growing thousands of miles away??

    Tell me how this works. Please, I ask you….

    .

  71. As Ken Coffman “publisher of the “Slayers” unorthodox-science/CACC politics book “Slaying the Sky Dragon” says (23rd November at 7:56 am) “ .. It’s a crying shame that John Daly and Michael Crichton are not here today .. ”. I don’t know about Michael Crichton but John was a sceptic who was highly regarded by those on both sides of the debate.

    One of his articles that I frequently refer to is “Stephen Schneider Greenhouse Superstar” (http://www.john-daly.com/schneidr.htm). This discusses Schneider’s infamous suggestion in 1989 that scientists were at liberty to decide for themselves about whether or not to tell the truth about the causes of climate change. Only 11 years before, in 1978, Schneider had been expressing his concerns about interfering with Nature in order to prevent an imminent ice age but seems to have decided to switch to the Catastrophic AGW gravy train after the “coming ice age” one ran out of steam. It appears that he thought it wise to hedge his bets in 1984 with “‘It is conceivable … that about a 10 percent sustained change in cloud cover … could bring on … an ice age.’ (Schneider and Randi Londer, The Coevolution of Climate and Life, 1984, P. 216) .. ” (see “To Love And Regenerate The Earth: .. ” by Don Weaver – http://www.scribd.com/doc/32250379/SURVIVAL-OF-CIVILIZATION-BY-Don-Weaver Page 392).

    Anyone interested in more on Schneider can have a look at my series of 6 comments on 19th Feb. on “Blizzard stories from the National Weather Service” (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/15/blizzard-stories-from-the-national-weather-service/).

    Of course Schneider fully suported Dr. Michael Mann’s “cause” (as he repeatedly referred to it in those Climategate2.0 E-mails) and his PR team at RealClimate.

    In my opinion John Daly, despite being a sceptic of the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change (CACC) hypothesis, would have given no more support to John O’Sullivan and his team of “Slayers” or their unorthodox-science publishing organisation Principia Scientific International than he did to Schneider. There’s more on the “Slayers” at Professor Judith Curry’s “Letter to the dragon slayers” thread (http://judithcurry.com/2011/10/15/letter-to-the-dragon-slayers/#comments).

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

  72. I think what’s really missing here is the failure to assess the effects of a god-like figure like Barack Hussein Obama who came along and literally slowed the rise of the oceans and “healed” the planet in a little less than 3 years.

    This is heavy-duty quantum mechanics we’re talking about here, people. We are not qualified to comment.

  73. Daly’s letter is overstated by a lot. Sure, lots of things affect tree ring width. I could list a dozen more. So what? What matters is the size of the temperature effect relative to all the other effects. Which his letter says nothing about.

    REPLY: Explain then, how hundreds or thousands of years later one goes about determining that specific years in a tree’s life were a response specifically to temperature, and not rainfall, available nutrients, cloudiness, reindeer crap around the base or something else. – Anthony

  74. Sorry to learn that John L Daly has gone. His book was the first to give me idea of what was going on. But there are other great Australians like the late Lance Endersby. His book “A Voyage of Discovery” is available from 595 Sydney Road, Coburg Vic 3058. His simple article in Engineers Australia April 2008 told the simple tale of how the upper sea temperatures and CO2 levels are interrelated. If the ocean starts to cool then CO2 levels will go down. That article plus Ernst-Georg Beck’s “180 years of CO2 analysis” is all that is needed to scotch the IPCC’s claims as out and out misinformation. The rest is global brain-washing

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