Mann hockey stick co-author Bradley: “it may be that Mann et al simply don’t have the long-term trend right”

From the Gore-a-thon on WUWT - click for more

Tom Nelson spots a gem in the Climategate 2 emails:

Hockey stick co-author Ray Bradley:

“it may be that Mann et al simply don’t have the long-term trend right”;

“I hedge my bets on whether there were any periods in Medieval times that might have been “warm”, to the irritation of my co-authors!”

Email 207

Sorry this kept you awake…but I have also found it a rather alarming graph. First, a disclaimer/explanation. The graph patches together 3 things: Mann et al NH mean annual temps + 2 sigma standard error for AD1000-1980, + instrumental data for 1981-1998 + IPCC (“do not quote, do not cite” projections for GLOBAL temperature for the next 100 years, relative to 1998. The range of shading represents several models of projected emissions scenarios as input to GCMs, but the GCM mean global temperature output (as I understand it) was then reproduced by Sarah Raper’s energy balance model, and it is those values that are plotted. Keith pointed this out to me; I need to go back & read the IPCC TAR to understand why they did that, but it makes no difference to the first order result….neither does it matter that the projection is global rather than NH….the important point is that the range of estimates far exceeds the range estimated by Mann et al in their reconstruction. Keith also said that the Hadley Center GCM runs are being archived at CRU, so it ought to be possible to get that data and simply compute the NH variability for the projected period & add that to the figure, but it will not add much real information. However, getting such data would allow us to extract (say) a summer regional series for the Arctic and to then plot it versus the Holocene melt record from Agassiz ice cap….or….well, you can see other possiblities.

[……At this point Keith Alverson throws up his hands in despair at the ignorance of non-model amateurs…]

But there are real questions to be asked of the paleo reconstruction. First, I should point out that we calibrated versus 1902-1980, then “verified” the approach using an independent data set for 1854-1901. The results were good, giving me confidence that if we had a comparable proxy data set for post-1980 (we don’t!) our proxy-based reconstruction would capture that period well. Unfortunately, the proxy network we used has not been updated, and furthermore there are many/some/ tree ring sites where there has been a “decoupling” between the long-term relationship between climate and tree growth, so that things fall apart in recent decades….this makes it very difficult to demonstrate what I just claimed. We can only call on evidence from many other proxies for “unprecedented” states in recent years (e.g. glaciers, isotopes in tropical ice etc..). But there are (at least) two other problems — Keith Briffa points out that the very strong trend in the 20th century calibration period accounts for much of the success of our calibration and makes it unlikely that we would be able be able to reconstruct such an extraordinary period as the 1990s with much success (I may be mis-quoting him somewhat, but that is the general thrust of his criticism). Indeed, in the verification period, the biggest “miss” was an apparently very warm year in the late 19th century that we did not get right at all. This makes criticisms of the “antis” difficult to respond to (they have not yet risen to this level of sophistication, but they are “on the scent”). Furthermore, it may be that Mann et al simply don’t have the long-term trend right, due to underestimation of low frequency info. in the (very few) proxies that we used. We tried to demonstrate that this was not a problem of the tree ring data we used by re-running the reconstruction with & without tree rings, and indeed the two efforts were very similar — but we could only do this back to about 1700. Whether we have the 1000 year trend right is far less certain (& one reason why I hedge my bets on whether there were any periods in Medieval times that might have been “warm”, to the irritation of my co-authors!). So, possibly if you crank up the trend over 1000 years, you find that the envelope of uncertainty is comparable with at least some of the future scenarios, which of course begs the question as to what the likely forcing was 1000 years ago. (My money is firmly on an increase in solar irradiance, based on the 10-Be data..). Another issue is whether we have estimated the totality of uncertainty in the long-term data set used — maybe the envelope is really much larger, due to inherent characteristics of the proxy data themselves….again this would cause the past and future envelopes to overlap.

…Ray [Bradley]

At 01:34 PM 7/10/00 +0200, you wrote: Salut mes amis,

I’ve lost sleep fussing about the figure coupling Mann et al. (or any alternative climate-history time series) to the IPCC scenarios. It seems to me to encapsulate the whole past-future philosophical dilemma that bugs me on and off (Ray – don’t stop reading just yet!), to provide potentially the most powerful peg to hang much of PAGES future on, at least in the eyes of funding agents, and, by the same token, to offer more hostages to fortune for the politically motivated and malicious. It also links closely to the concept of being inside or outside ‘the envelope’ – which begs all kinds of notions of definition. Given what I see as its its prime importance, I therefore feel the need to understand the whole thing better. I don’t know how to help move things forward and my ideas, if they have any effect at all, will probably do the reverse. At least I might get more sleep having unloaded them, so here goes……[Frank Oldenfield]

==============================================================

But wait, there’s more

Hockey stick co-author claims that after 1850, critical trees lost their alleged ability to record temperature

Year 2000 ClimateGate email

If you examine my Fig 1 closely you will see that the Campito record and Keith’s reconstruction from wood density are extraordinarily similar until 1850. After that they differ not only in the lack of long-term trend in Keith’s record, but in every other respect – the decadal-scale correlation breaks down. I tried to imply in my e-mail, but will now say it directly, that although a direct carbon dioxide effect is still the best candidate to explain this effect, it is far from proven. In any case, the relevant point is that there is no meaningful correlation with local temperature. Not all high-elevation tree-ring records from the West that might reflect temperature show this upward trend. It is only clear in the driest parts (western) of the region (the Great Basin), above about 3150 meters elevation, in trees old enough (>~800 years) to have lost most of their bark – ‘stripbark’ trees. As luck would have it, these are precisely the trees that give the chance to build temperature records for most of the Holocene. I am confident that, before AD1850, they do contain a record of decadal-scale growth season temperature variability. I am equally confident that, after that date, they are recording something else.  [Malcolm Hughes]

149 thoughts on “Mann hockey stick co-author Bradley: “it may be that Mann et al simply don’t have the long-term trend right”

  1. In his email Bradley says;

    “Furthermore, it may be that Mann et al simply don’t have the long-term trend right, due to underestimation of low frequency info. in the (very few) proxies that we used.”

    A few weeks ago I wrote an article reconstructing CET back to 1538 (from 1659). It includes almost all of the LIA.

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/12/01/the-long-slow-thaw/

    I also took the opportunity of comparing the reconstructions of Michael Mann and Hubert Lamb. Figure 15a superimposes the Hockey stick on to other reconstructions. I think Dr Mann was wrong in his assumptions and Bradley is correct in thinking the long term trend was different to the trend that was created.
    tonyb.

  2. The truth will out, all we ever want to know is the truth, if you are not sure of you data/facts then it should never have been presented as such, too much money, peoples lives and future well being rests on this.

  3. These were both in Climategate 1 though less commented on than other emails. See
    172. 0963233839.txt and 190. 0969618170.txt, The Campito site mentioned here is a strip bark (foxtail) pine site. The central Colorado site mentioned is Almagre, a bristlecone pine site, that was re-sampled by Climate Audit, (See climateaudit.org/tag/almagre) proving that it was possible to update the proxies.

  4. “After 1850 the trees stopped recording.”

    Well, if you’re a Druid, I suppose this could make sense. Sort of like the way God changes his views every time the Pope speaks ex cathedra, or every time the Church Elders receive a new revelation.

    I’m not sure who would fill the same role for Gaians; perhaps a time-transported 1850 hologram of Margaret Mead ordered the trees to shut off their Temperature Input Channels and start recording other data instead.

  5. “….the eyes of funding agents”….?…. “to offer more hostages to fortune for the politically motivated and malicious.” ,,,?

    Yeah, I know…quotes out of context….but revealing nonetheless…at least we know who they really want to impress….

    Cui bono? Cui villanus.

  6. Beautiful, saved the best for last!

    I am confident that, before AD1850, they do contain a record of decadal-scale growth season temperature variability. I am equally confident that, after that date, they are recording something else. [Malcolm Hughes]

    The growth season being about a dozen weeks or so. There simply is no way to determine global temps from tree rings. It is time to move all of that literature to the science fiction area of the library.

  7. In any case, the relevant point is that there is no meaningful correlation with local temperature. Not all high-elevation tree-ring records from the West that might reflect temperature show this upward trend. It is only clear in the driest parts (western) of the region (the Great Basin), above about 3150 meters elevation, in trees old enough (>~800 years) to have lost most of their bark – ‘stripbark’ trees. As luck would have it, these are precisely the trees that give the chance to build temperature records for most of the Holocene.

    As luck would have it, these stripbark bristlecones in the driest parts, etc., were considered as local precipitation proxies, prior to the time when water turned into temperature. And where, “it has been determined that timberline has retreated downward about 330 feet in the past 1000 years.”

    Timberline, Mountain and Arctic Forest Frontiers – Arno [author] and Hammerly [artist], published by The Mountaineers, 1984

  8. All things considered this is just another example of people forgetting what science is about and substituting wishful thinking, ideology and economic self-interest for data analysis and process understanding.

  9. That’s OK. The latest believer rationalization is that the HS does not count. the AGW movement is now playing ‘wack-a-mole’. No matter to the true believer what is shown to be wrong, corrupt or contrived: They will still claim ‘the science is right’, by which they do not mean “CO2 is a ghg” (even though they claim that). But rather, they mean no matter the evidence, they will still act as if we are facing a dangerous CO2 caused apocalypse and the AGW community is justified in demanding ridiculous policies to ‘mitigate’ the climate.

  10. “In any case, the relevant point is that there is no meaningful correlation with local temperature.”
    Apparently, according to Warmists, skeptics are too stupid to understand the context of this complex statement. The fact that the preceding sentence discusses the carbon effect [sic] on measured temperature merely adds nuance.
    In actuality, we have now read multiple emails from so-called Warmists that voice skepticism about the methodology of modelling, the accuracy of charts and graphs, the relevance or accuracy of proxy measurement, and even effect of CO2 on atmospheric temperature. And an acceptance of the fact that solar variation may have a a huge impact on the same.
    It is truly a disappointment that these individuals were and are unwilling to step forward and explain there misgivings, particularly in light of the witch hunt for skeptics.

  11. Merry Christmas!

    Is this a wonderful gift? Or a lump of coal? I guess its all relative huh. If this were Al Gore’s gift, or maybe Joe Biden’s… Hey, I wonder if they could find a “clean coal plant”…Didn’t Biden campaign in 2008 on getting all the coal plants shut down in the United States and having them move China? Maybe he can bring that up next time he is over there advocating for China’s “One Child” policy.

    Has anybody mentioned the how Global Warming extremists have a lot in common with Progressives eugenics movement from the 1930’s?

    “Peace on Earth, Goodwill Towards Men”

    Andrew

  12. A quote from the e-mail: “Unfortunately, the proxy network we used has not been updated, and furthermore there are many/some/ tree ring sites where there has been a “decoupling” between the long-term relationship between climate and tree growth, so that things fall apart in recent decades….this makes it very difficult to demonstrate what I just claimed.” (emphasis mine).

    “Decoupling”–now there’s an interesting word. During one of the summers of my college years, I worked as a sectionman taking care of some tracks in a railroad switching yard. “Decoupling” had a very clear meaning. When a switchman decoupled a car or cars, the decoupled car(s) rolled freely down the tracks–i.e., they were “decoupled” from the controlling switch engine, but not from the laws of physics. Apparently in climate science “decoupling” has an even stronger meaning. Tree-ring “decoupling” not only implies separation from temperature (the switch engine), but (a) separation from the laws of physics, and (b) heaven forbid the most serious problem, potential separation from funding.

    Merry Christmas to all–but especially to Anthony and the “mods”.

  13. It’s just common sense that trees accurately depict temperatures before there were any thermometers………..

  14. No wonder the MSM are ignoring this. Is this comb over of the old emails supposed to be Anthony “missed by a million” Watts idea of science?
    As for Ray Bradley, who is a real scientist, here is a quote from a paper nine years after the [2000] expression of uncertainty. No longer hedging his bets; even has an explanation.

    // Global temperatures are known to have varied over the past 1500 years, but the spatial patterns have remained poorly defined. We used a global climate proxy network to reconstruct surface temperature patterns over this interval. The Medieval period is found to display warmth that matches or exceeds that of the past decade in some regions, but which falls well below recent levels globally. This period is marked by a tendency for La Niña–like conditions in the tropical Pacific.
    The coldest temperatures of the Little Ice Age are observed over the interval 1400 to 1700 C.E., with greatest cooling over the extratropical Northern Hemisphere continents. The patterns of temperature change imply dynamical responses of climate to natural radiative forcing changes involving El Niño and the North Atlantic Oscillation–Arctic Oscillation. //

    http://www.geo.umass.edu/climate/papers2/Mann2009.pdf

    Written with Mann, et. al. Available online. Includes a hockey stick graph. Read some real science.

  15. These statements in confidence are absolutely MIND- boggling. The authors illustrate (to me anyway) complete cowardice and lack of a moral compass in confronting this young fellow Mann.

    NO one publically called ‘bullshit’ on this deception – and here we are….the destruction of climate science, science in general and perversion of a failed, backwater, academic niche into a multi-billion dollar scam that will end up hurting the poor of the world.

    Have they NO shame?

  16. dizzy,

    You link to Mann?? Even after reading Bradley’s comment: “it may be that Mann et al simply don’t have the long-term trend right”?

    Michael Mann has been serially debunked, and now a member of his own team says he’s been worong all along. You just bet on the wrong horse, that’s all.

  17. Wait. Wait just a sec. Did I read this right, did the physics of the universe just stop working, or did the science break? I’m not sure. But it seems pretty obvious something happened, and the science is indeed not settled.

  18. So, possibly if you crank up the trend over 1000 years, you find that the envelope of uncertainty is comparable with at least some of the future scenarios, which of course begs the question as to what the likely forcing was 1000 years ago.

    Jones can’t spell or use Excel, but Bradley doesn’t know what begging the question is. At least he’s sophisticated.

  19. “This makes criticisms of the “antis” difficult to respond to (they have not yet risen to this level of sophistication, but they are “on the scent”). ”
    —————-
    There’s the money quote right there. They are wrong, they know they are wrong, and that it is only a matter of time before they are caught.

  20. dizzy;
    Written with Mann, et. al. Available online. Includes a hockey stick graph. Read some real science.>>>

    Could you provide a link to some real science so I can read it? I followed the one you provided and it just links to another paper by Mann.

  21. Dizzy, it may not be a concern to you, but some people might wonder why the alarmists AT THE TIME were presenting a seamless “the science is settled” front while expressing severe doubts in private.

    Is the current solidarity just as porous behind the scenes?

  22. dizzy says:
    December 24, 2011 at 10:02 am
    “Written with Mann, et. al. Available online. Includes a hockey stick graph. Read some real science.”

    HockeyStick-Jong-Un.

  23. AR4’s certainty of alarming AGW from fossil fuel was manipulated from such pseudo-science.

    The IPCC was the vehicle of the pseudo-science.

    The ’cause’ of Mann and his fellow travelers has devolved into a wagon circling clique of pseudo-scientists.

    What a great Christmas present.

    Best wishes to all during this holiday season.

    John

  24. The growth season being about a dozen weeks or so.

    Usually even shorter than that, about 8 in most cases. The darker end wood created toward the end of the growing season is generally not counted. You are looking at June/July temperatures, mostly July.

  25. Dizzy.
    “That is old news”
    The classic and meaningless rejoinder of a politician. And absolutely meaningless as a response. As is your cite to Mann. You will note that the citations in the article are the very ones discussed in this piece, with no serious attempt to analyze the variance with measured data to hypothesis. Indeed, there is no attempt to inform the reader that such a variance even exists. Instead Mann extends the proxies into entirely speculative ocean cycles, such as an extremely intense and extended La Nino cycle 1,000 years ago and says that the data aligns nicely. Babble. .

  26. I’d read this email in the days after CG2 happened and thought this one would be made a big deal of then. Then with so many other things, I never got back to it. I am GLAD it has been brought up again!

    Kudos to Tom Nelson on bringing it up again.

    This is possibly deflecting the direction of this post a bit, but the parts about proxies is, I think the most significant.

    [Bradley] Another issue is whether we have estimated the totality of uncertainty in the long-term data set used — maybe the envelope is really much larger, due to inherent characteristics of the proxy data themselves….again this would cause the past and future envelopes to overlap.

    In any case, the relevant point is that there is no meaningful correlation with local temperature.

    It is only clear in the driest parts (western) of the region (the Great Basin), above about 3150 meters elevation, in trees old enough (>~800 years) to have lost most of their bark – ‘stripbark’ trees. As luck would have it, these are precisely the trees that give the chance to build temperature records for most of the Holocene. I am confident that, before AD1850, they do contain a record of decadal-scale growth season temperature variability. I am equally confident that, after that date, they are recording something else. [Malcolm Hughes]

    It has become somewhat common for skeptics in recent years to deny their (our) denying. At least denying that they (we) deny that warming is occurring. Whenever I’d hear that, I’d wonder why. Did we really accept the graphs, even when we knew the data underlying them were corrupted? Did we accept the fundamental warming trend because we knew we were coming out of the LIA, so maybe we thought that, even if corrupted, when all was and and done we believed the trend would show up as warming anyway?

    Over the last c0ouple of years, as I’ve learned more and more about the tree-ring proxies (especially), bit by bit I’ve wondered louder and louder if the correlation was valid. When I ran across a study of South Carolina cypress trees, using their tree rings as proxies for PRECIPITATION (http://www.scribd.com/doc/51676257/Buried-Cypress-Forest-in-South-Carolina) a few months ago, I kind of crossed the line. A feature cannot be a reliable proxy for BOTH precip and temps – there is simply no WAY to determine which one did how much.

    It is also significant that

    Then, during the CG2 hubbub Steve McIntyre had a post “Severinghaus and “Hide the Decline” (http://climateaudit.org/2011/11/28/severinghaus-and-hide-the-decline/) in which there was much discussion about tree-rings-as-proxies. That discussion had much on the “Divergence Problem” (DP), which was the underlying issue behind “hide the decline.”

    Three is a lot in the CG2 emails about people discussing the DP. From beginning to end of the entire lot of emails – CG1 and CG2 both – about the DP. The DP is the time bomb in all of climate science. The entirety of climate reconstructions is built on the supposed correlation between tree-rings and temperature. Tree-rings are the keystone, the lynchpin and the little Dutch boy’s finger in the dike. Without them, there is no real window into the past.

    How can I say that? A few points of data from ice cores at locales in Antarctica can’t tell us much about what is happening in the rest of the world. After all, the Arctic and Antarctic ice right now are doing their see-saw thing – when one is up the other is down. But the very few data points 1,000 or 2,000 years ago can’t tell much, not unless there is a tie-in in some other proxy or instrument data. And that tie-in is tree-rings.

    But what if the tree-rings themselves aren’t correlated well? What does that do to ice cores? Based on BEST’s list of data sources, most of the proxies are tree-rings. Take them out and what happens to the reliability of the history reconstructions?

    And here, in the CG2 emails, we see, time after time, the scientists are wringing their hands over the DP. And here we have Mann’s own TWO collaborators on the Hockley Stick, and both of them are saying the tree-ring proxies aren’t worth diddly.

    For us skeptics, THIS is the lynchpin. This is the card that brings down the entire house of cards.

    Tree-rings do NOT correlate well enough – EVER – to be used as proxies for temperature. That they seemed to for climatic short periods has led climatologists down the garden path. Most don’t know it, but they exclude most tree-ring sampling sites because there is not a strong enough signal in the tree-rings. That is why there are so many Arctic sites in the data. And now, even those and their “signals” have fallen apart – and they can’t face up to it. So they have to resort to tricks and bodges and internal conspiracies to keep the secret from getting out.

    It is like a nasty family secret that must not, under any circumstances get out, or the family’s reputation will be ruined.

    Well, yeah, duh…

    When this supposed correlation finally blows up in their faces – and it seems increasingly that it will – climatology itself may completely fall apart. After all, without proxies, what can they possibly know about past history?

  27. Dizzy,

    You don’t seem to get it.

    Several years ago Bradley publicly and strongly endorsed the hockey stick, while privately questioning it. You point out that later, in 2009, he still publicly endorsed it, ergo he must also privately endorse it. That is a non sequitor.

    Another important point: At the same time Bradley was privately expressing his doubts, skeptics who publicly expressed the same doubts were being excoriated as fools or knaves.

    Its a dirty business.

  28. Political Junkie says:
    December 24, 2011 at 10:42 am
    Dizzy, it may not be a concern to you, but some people might wonder why the alarmists AT THE TIME were presenting a seamless “the science is settled” front while expressing severe doubts in private.
    Is the current solidarity just as porous behind the scenes?>>>

    To help you answer that question dizzy, here’s some thoughts about the current state of the science:

    1. Tree growth is correlated in any given year to a combination of temperature, precipitation, length of growing season (which is not directly related to temperature during the growing season), CO2 levels, incidence of late frost, incidence of pestilence, competition from other trees and plants, sun spot levels, and many other factors. It is not possible to eliminate all the other factors in order to isolate temperature.

    2. Tree growth occurs during the growing season, which depending on latitude may be as little as two months of the year. Tropical trees are nearly absent from tree ring studies because they are not nearly as long lived as, for example, Siberian Larch, and hence useless for long term study. As a consequence, the bulk of tree ring data comes from high latitudes with short growing seasons. There is no possible way for a tree in Siberia to in any possible way grow (and hence measure ANY of the factors regulating growth) in October, November, December, January, February, March, April and May. Even if the tree rings correlated to temperature during the growing season, they would still be useless in terms of determining annual temperatures.

    3. No data from the tropics. Nearly no data from low latitude temperate zones. No data from arctic zones. The bulk of the data comes from high latitude temperate zones which have the highest natural variability on the globe. This makes the tree ring data nearly meaningless from both a statistical analysis perspective, and can in no way represent a global average temperature.

    So dizzy, given that these things are well known and instantly obvious to anyone who takes even a few moments to think about them, how do you justify calling ANYTHING published about long term climate reconstructions based on this methodology “science”?

  29. lol @ dizzy Dizzy did you bother to apply the concept illustrated in the xkcd cartoon linked in your name? Yes, that’s science, and it works.

    Dendrophrenology, OTOH, is a ludicrous posit. Trees with growing seasons of about 12 weeks and you believe we can determine global or even local temps from that? Faith is a beautiful thing when properly placed. A horrible thing when improperly placed.

    http://suyts.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/dividing-by-zero/

    God Bless and Merry Christmas.

  30. Some more Christmas cheer from “Uncle Joe”….

    (hey Mods…can you embed this? I promise I will use the Test page next time and figure it out…but I got Christmas stuff to do!…Andrew)

    “Joe Biden talks to a 1Sky campaigner about energy policy. Biden is called out on his platform that includes coal. Both 1Sky and the Energy Action Coalition are opposed to the development of new coal fired power plants. Energy Action Coalition is running Power Vote, a national youth based campaign to get 1,000,000 youth voters voting for clean energy this election season.”

    …just some more “Google Global Warming Bias”…just for fun..

    Andrew

  31. climatereason says:
    December 24, 2011 at 8:37 am

    I find the notion of a long, slow, thaw to be very likely as we recovered out of the LIA. That would be more consistent with how I believe things would behave. I have a couple of papers around here somewhere on glacial advance/retreat in Alaska, too, that tend to support that notion and wood recovered from one of the glaciers shows two separate periods of advance through forest.

    Ah, this is one of them:

    http://web.cortland.edu/barclayd/publications/QR_2009.pdf

  32. @davidmhoffer December 24, 2011 at 11:19 am:

    It is not possible to eliminate all the other factors in order to isolate temperature.

    This is absolutely true. How MUCH of the tree-ring “signal” – TRW or MXD, either one – is from temperature alone? No one can separate that out, saying this much is from precipitation, this much from competition with other trees, and THIS much from temperature. Not only is that impossible they KNOW it is impossible. And – in all likelihood – they know that the Divergence Problem is due to one of those – yet in the 20 or so years since the DP was recognized – they haven’t gotten any closer to understanding which other factors are causing it, nor in what measure.

    Tropical trees are nearly absent from tree ring studies because they are not nearly as long lived as, for example, Siberian Larch, and hence useless for long term study.

    As I have read it, the tropical trees aren’t giving enough of a signal – summer-vs-winter – to make it possible to distinguish one year from the next. They NEED a strong seasonal variation to make this reliably quantifiable. And the most seasonal variation is in the most-stressed regions like arctic, deserts, and high altitude. I think that is basically your point in your item 3, but thought I’d at least re-phrase it.

    This makes the tree ring data nearly meaningless from both a statistical analysis perspective, and can in no way represent a global average temperature.

    Exactly. Even now, with the NOAA/GISS maps, look at the extremes (some think of it as magnification or sensitivity) shown in the polar regions – how could anyone extrapolate the rest of the globe based on those regions? And then to take a few single-point data each of which represents maybe a decade or a century from those regions and then project that to represent the entire globe for, say, 1,000 years ago, it is pretty weak.

    Add to all that something I read last week or so (it might or might not be in the CG2 emails), where one climatologist stated that the pre-1600 tree-ring data was so iffy that he didn’t rely on it himself.

    The main issue is that these folks knew – and still know – that the data and reconstructions they are working with are really weak, but that they had – and still have – a compact among themselves to not ever let their doubts out to the public or policymakers.

    I don’t think they would dare to. The money tree would dry up. And climate science would go back to the halls of academia and all the trips to exotic locales for conferences would go away, like the Cheshire Cat’s grin. And the prestige – oh, the prestige! – would be gone…

  33. Another interesting paper is this one (paywalled but I can probably obtain a copy)

    http://hol.sagepub.com/content/21/1/105.abstract

    Basically it clearly shows climate variation in the Alps, particularly a very pronounced change about 4kya where climate becomes more unstable. This paper has been one of those that led me to believe that we actually started sliding into the next glacial period about 2000 year ago (after the RWP) and that process probably actually began with the major climate shift 4kya when we see the monsoon making a drastic change and a migration of the ITCZ where its seasonal range seems to be closer to the equator than it was prior to that shift. This is at the same time the Levant dries out, the Dead Sea begins a drastic decline in level, and trees that existed in that area at that time begin to die out due to drought.

  34. Steve Garcia says:
    December 24, 2011 at 11:08 am
    I’d read this email in the days after CG2 happened and thought this one would be made a big deal of then. Then with so many other things, I never got back to it. I am GLAD it has been brought up again!
    ________
    I think we are going to see them brazen it out for a while.

    I’ve pointed out in the past that most all accounts point to Mann as a bully. Even Dizzy trolls on by with his “real science” paper from Mann and pals with no doubts expressed, while the email points to concern or doubt.that existed in these same people. Does Mann have the strength of personallity to keep these out of the paper?

    The “decoupling” – that is simply BS. Either tree rings are a proxy for temp. or not. I think I’m going to make this my central theme for my argument – ask others to explain why trees are a temp proxy until they are not.

    Merry Christmas to this accepting community of the curious.

    Bob Lackey

  35. In any case, the relevant point is that there is no meaningful correlation with local temperature.

    Mann’s already spun that. He said that the Sierra location that the bristlecones are from is the “sweet spot” that represents the whole world through teleconnections.

    Dude’s got chutzpah.

  36. Now, now, it is season of good will to all men and Mann. Of course he is wrong, but to be on the generous side, and let us cherry pick the start some 300 years ago, at 1700 there was a mini Hockey Stick, and since the CET correlates well with the so called ‘global temperature’, if there is such thing, then would be one in there too. Not everything is lost though, the temperatures do oscillate with the solar output at about 5-10 times the rate dr. LS tells us they should.

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/miniHockeyStick.htm

    I am in real trouble now.
    Another glass of ‘bubbly’ please.
    Happy Christmas to one and all !

  37. Olen says:
    December 24, 2011 at 12:33 pm
    Reading the article I had a vision of a ship’s cargo of hockey sticks sinking.

    “Boy, I got vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals.” – Butch Cassidy

  38. I still say that the mortal wound is in the neglect of oceanic and atmospheric conditions as the major driver of weather pattern variation. It is as if rhese folks don’t even know it exists.

  39. @Bob_L December 24, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Bob, the thing is, I never thought that I would come to the point of doubting tree-rings as proxies for temperature. It seems such an entrenched idea, and I had always thought, “Well, the dendrochronologists have all this worked out, don’t they?” But bit by bit, I started wondering, slowly over the course of maybe a couple of years.

    The Divergence Problem is a BIG deal. A really big deal. It is VERY important if the instruments in the last 70 years – the best documented, most precisely measured, most widely dispersed period – agree with the tree-rings. And to find out that it wasn’t just “after 1960″ that the decline was happening – holy cr*p, Batman!

    These guys were losing sleep over this – and not just them. Schweingruber the dendro was worried about it, too – since about 1990. Briffa co-authored papers with him about it. No one has a CLUE what is going on.

    The simple explanation is that tree0rings simply aren’t proxies for temperature. But no one wants to be the one who points out the Emperor has no clothes. So they discuss that it exists, while still using the data – the data that isn’t telling them what they think it should. But they carefully mask the full impact of it.

    In reading the explosive Climategate “hide the decline” email two years ago, it seemed like this was something new to them, and they were merely scrambling to maybe give them time to figure it out. But that wasn’t the context at all. The real context is that Briffa knew that this was a real problem, that had been known about for a decade or more. And Briffa stood up to Mann for a while and then caved under the Mannian onslaught. Briffa simply did not want to cut off the post-1960 data and pretend it wasn’t there. He knew it was real, even if he couldn’t explain it.

    The real gist is this: If during this well-measured period the first shoe that fell was that the two don’t correlate, then the second shoe is when someone in public tells the world that tree-rings aren’t a valid proxy for temperature and all the reconstructions based on them are not reliable.

    I came to this conclusion slowly and with trepidation, but after recently reading journal papers about the DP, I am now certain that this is the case. I do recommend people go to the “Severinghaus..” post on CA and read through both the comments and the links. That Bradley and Hughes – 2/3 of the MBH paper authorship – admit to themselves that the correlation is really, really not solid, that is a big thing. A huge thing.

  40. “the neglect of oceanic and atmospheric conditions as the major driver of weather pattern variation”

    and the effect of solar variations other than changes in TSI as a driver of changes in atmospheric conditions via the expansion and contraction of the polar air masses.

  41. You know the easiest thing how to kill the hockey stick? Compare CET with NH CRUTEM and you will find excellent correlation. So CET represents the whole Norther hemisphere very well. Now, look at the CET backwards, notice cold cold 1680 followed by abrupt warming until 1740 and compare whether you see something similar on the hockey-stick. You will find nothing of that.

  42. Vuk
    That graph of yours, you’ve referenced it before, is there some way it can be shown so we can see the solar-temp correlation as clearly as possible? Would one of those fourier whatsits help? Analysis of cycle correlations? It looks to be of great interest. But IMHO it needs better presentation.

    Could it just be simple visuals that show (a) short term correlating fluctuations (b) longer term correlating climate changes (c) the “cumulative heating effect” ie what looks like a cumulative effect of the recent series of higher-than-“normal” solar cycles?? Visually, the old GISS plots were much easier on the eye. Heck THE TEAM understand this in their graphs that nearly fooled the world about the decline hidden under some really graceful, expressive, seductive curves. Keep truth, and use their skills against them.

    Now back to Christmas, also celebrating the sunlight – penetrating the darkest time of the year as well as the darkest part of people’s hearts.

  43. davidmhoffer says: December 24, 2011 at 10:38 am

    “This makes criticisms of the “antis” difficult to respond to (they have not yet risen to this level of sophistication, but they are “on the scent”). ”
    —————-
    There’s the money quote right there. They are wrong, they know they are wrong, and that it is only a matter of time before they are caught.

    Well said David. Also I wonder if some of them saw this originally, then worldly temptations proved too great and they passed into denial of “knowing” they are wrong – and this repressed denial is a big reason they scapegoat us using that word.

  44. As I pointed out previously somewhere, tree rings grow most when there is both warmth and wet but those two features only coincide at one narrow sweet spot as the climate zone overhead moves to and fro latitudinally. Such cycling latitudinally overhead is constant but erratic on a timescale matching the climate swings from MWP to LIA and LIA to current Warm Period.

    Thus if the climate zone in which the species is most successful moves too far north warmth may increase but growth will slow due to drought.

    If the climate zone in which the species is most successful moves too far south precipitation might increase but growth will slow due to cold.

    So growth declines in BOTH cold and warm periods and is at maximum in between. Maximum precipitation is always found in the narrow bands closest to the boundaries between air masses of different types such as near the jet stream tracks.

    So all that the tree rings tell us is when the trees are under that latitudinally narrow climate sweet spot with enough of both warmth and water for the particular requirements of that specific species.

    Maximum growth fails to correlate with maximum warmth because drought soon intervenes and maximum growth does not correlate with maximum precipitation either because cold soon intervenes.

    Minimum growth correlates with BOTH maximum warmth and maximum cold.

    Indeed, they are wholly useless as a climate proxy and ALL reconstructions based on them must be scrapped forthwith.

  45. “Unfortunately, the proxy network we used has not been updated, and furthermore there are many/some/ tree ring sites where there has been a “decoupling” between the long-term relationship between climate and tree growth, so that things fall apart in recent decades….this makes it very difficult to demonstrate what I just claimed.”

    I suggest that the answer to that conundrum is that the climate zones drifted more poleward during the period in question such that drought started to intervene causing a reduction in growth despite the increasing warmth.

  46. Juraj V. says:
    ……………..
    Let see if I can get this right, ah yes I got it, you mean the broken Hockey Stick.

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET-100-150-100.htm

    Done some time ago, I was just trying to be nice to Mr. Man, or was it Mann.

    Lucy Skywalker says:
    ………………
    Hi miss Skywalker, it is part of an article just finished, which may throw more ‘sunlight’ on the whole affair, but at the moment I am trying to amuse myself.
    I did post similar graph on the RC

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET-GMF.htm

    it shows good example of ‘curve-fitting’ but true. It is a ‘non-stationary’ correlation, it drifts back and forth, not a surprise when you think how many factors affect the CET including volcanic eruptions, the North Atlantic SST changes, as well as the atmospheric pressure variations as expressed in the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) index.
    Have a nice holiday.

  47. James Sexton says:
    December 24, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Very well said. These Climategaters provide powerful evidence that tree ring width is worthless as a proxy for temperature.

    Now, there is the question of why they were not truthful about their own evidence. But there is no question that they failed their duty as scientists, the duty to report all the evidence whether positive or negative. This is “hide the decline” all over again.

  48. I sure hope someone is writing a screenplay of this non-science. Someone with the talent to write such a script could make millions.

    Just an idea. I don’t have said talent.

  49. Steve Garcia says:
    December 24, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Thank you!

    And I wish everyone, no matter what your opinion on the subject of climate change, a very happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

    Personally, I am hoping for a preposterous New Year, but then I tend to be an optimist.

  50. dizzy says:
    December 24, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Your post is a Red Herring. In the material you quote here, Bradley does not address in any way the question that was raised by his email which we have been discussing. Please stop trying to covertly change the topic.

  51. I suppose what bothers me is the extent to which the IPCC is cited in papers. For example:

    However, analysis of the instrumental record over the last 150 yr has indicated that glacier retreat at the global scale is mainly related to temperature increase (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2007).

    The IPCC is so fundamentally discredited on so many issues, I can’t see how anyone can cite their work.

  52. Steve Garcia says:
    December 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    “The Divergence Problem is a BIG deal. A really big deal. It is VERY important if the instruments in the last 70 years – the best documented, most precisely measured, most widely dispersed period – agree with the tree-rings. And to find out that it wasn’t just “after 1960″ that the decline was happening – holy cr*p, Batman!…

    The simple explanation is that tree0rings simply aren’t proxies for temperature. But no one wants to be the one who points out the Emperor has no clothes. So they discuss that it exists, while still using the data – the data that isn’t telling them what they think it should. But they carefully mask the full impact of it.”

    I have been harping on this since the publication of CG1. Tree ring width is worthless as a proxy for temperature. I have also been harping on the fact that “hide the decline” shows in spades just now non-empirical or anti-empirical The Team have been. Of course Steve McIntyre has been writing about this for years. He has some fine discussion of Briffa’s work that fed into “hide the decline.”

    I think that over the years we have learned to be better analysts of emails, scientific method, and The Team’s scientific claims. We have benefited from great guides in McIntyre, McKitrick, Watts, and others. There is more to be mined from the emails.

  53. Andrew says:
    “Has anybody mentioned the how Global Warming extremists have a lot in common with Progressives eugenics movement from the 1930?s?”

    Answer: Yes. Michael Crichton in ‘State of Fear’ see Appendix 1 Why politicised Science is dangerous.

  54. crosspatch says:
    December 24, 2011 at 11:04 am

    The growth season being about a dozen weeks or so.

    Usually even shorter than that, about 8 in most cases. The darker end wood created toward the end of the growing season is generally not counted. You are looking at June/July temperatures, mostly July.

    This just blew me away. I hadn’t connected the dots on this one, and since I live in a fairly mountainous area (I’m in a “valley” at 4850 ft. with mountains around me in almost all direction) and have spent a lot of time in the mountains around me, I can’t figure out how measuring growth for just 15% of the year translates into average global temperature. (I’ve seen cold winters follow hot summers, and warm winters follow cool summers, and every combination inbetween.)

    What a disconnect in logic! Mann certainly has some ‘splaining to do.

  55. Lucy Skywalker;
    Also I wonder if some of them saw this originally, then worldly temptations proved too great and they passed into denial of “knowing” they are wrong – and this repressed denial is a big reason they scapegoat us using that word.>>>

    As in all complex matters, I think there is more than one driving factor and the answer probably varies by individual.

    That said, my own pet theory is that they got way down the road with this and were over their heads in a hurry without knowing it. They started with confirmation bias. They weren’t looking for data upon which to build an informed opinion. They had already made up their minds that CAGW was “reall” and went looking for data to support it. They more than likely tried multiple methods, and at some point hit on tree rings which, based on their initial results, seemed to say exactly what they were expecting them to say. When data started showing up that didn’t correlate, they were already to invested in their belief system to even ask themselves if the initial correlated data was coincidence or not. They just kept looking for the “right” data and discarding the “wrong” data.

    But by being over their heads, I mean something well beyond confirmation bias. How many of these scientists are arborists? Biologists? Farmers? Agricultural engineers? Crop specialists? Chemists working in the fertilizer or pesticide industries enhancing crop viability and production? Geneticists?

    I don’t know the answer, but I’m guessing zero. They went straight from the assumptions they’d made about the physics to looking for a proxy to confirm their assumptions. But they don’t seem to have a shred of expertise required to connect (or not) the proxy to the physics.

    I suspect Michael Mann may know the hard cold truth, why else would he fight so hard to keep his data, his methods, and even his casual emails to colleagues from the public eye? Bradley certainly has his doubts based on this email, but note that he never ventures into WHY the numbers don’t work right. He mentions the failure of the data to match the temperature record, theorizes that the trees are measuring something else, but doesn’t even venture a guess as to what it might be. Clearly he has no experience growing things from a vegetable garden to an orchard, or anything in between.

    Over their heads and in so deep they don’t even know they are drowning.

  56. davidmhoffer says:
    December 24, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Well said. I think that some of them set out to find some data, any data, that could serve as an argument for CAGW. The very idea that there is a geographic “sweet spot” for data reeks of cherry picking and rationalization after the fact. I can assure you that no one has done empirical research to provide evidence for the claim that there is a geographic “sweet spot.” Climategaters just never were that “into” empirical research.

  57. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to Anthony and all of his elves that work behind the scenes to make this forum possible.

  58. James Sexton says: December 24, 2011 at 8:52 am writes “It is time to move all of that literature to the science fiction area of the library.”

    James, I reached that conclusion 18 months ago. I’d also read the Ray Bradley piece in CG1. The copied recipients (alverson@pages.unibe.ch, jto@u.arizona.edu, k.briffa@uea.ac.uk, mhughes@ltrr.arizona.edu, pedersen@eos.ubc.ca, whitlock@oregon.uoregon.edu, mann@multiproxy.evsc.virginia.edu) do not appear to have acted rigorously to investigate and correct the problem since this email of Mon, 10 Jul 2000.
    If it is correct that dendro suffers a major calibration problem since 1859 (Malcolm Hughes), by simple logic one cannot assume that the calibration worked before then, when there is very little instrumental recording against which to calibrate.
    If all of the above holds, this leaves us with essentially no fruitful way to use dendro except for counting the passing years. Someone please tell me this is wrong, because the science world needs as many valid proxies as can be found to be reliable.

  59. Steve Garcia says:
    December 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    @Bob_L December 24, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Bob, the thing is, I never thought that I would come to the point of doubting tree-rings as proxies for temperature. It seems such an entrenched idea, and I had always thought, “Well, the dendrochronologists have all this worked out, don’t they?”

    Exactly: thinking that hundreds of modern ipcc scientists must have had CO2 = CAGW pretty much “worked out” was the most basic presumption made, probably for most of us knowing something about the way real science works. To think otherwise would have been nearly impossible, at least for me. Until I looked. But I got one red flag by coincidence almost immediately, because I just happened to start looking at AGW about 6-8 months before the TAR was finally published: the Summary of the science behind the TAR, came out before the science. I’d never even heard of that in the case of such a presumably well worked out area of science. Then the alleged science didn’t come out for so long that I even stopped looking for it, but I was still very irritated. As they say, the rest is history. And it still just keeps getting worse.

    People trying to regress me back to the womb is bad enough…but to the Stone Age?

  60. Geoff Sherrington says:
    December 24, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Dendrochronology’s use as a thermometer (or attempted use thereof) is relatively new. In the past it was generally mainly a precipitation proxy (you could tell droughts from periods of adequate or abundant rainfall by ring width). It would be rather difficult to find trees where temperature was the dominant constraint on growth. Maybe right at the edge of a treeline.

  61. Geoff Sherrington says:
    December 24, 2011 at 5:50 pm
    “Someone please tell me this is wrong, because the science world needs as many valid proxies as can be found to be reliable.”

    Sorry, but it is not wrong. The problem is systemic. People who use tree ring width proxies have not done the empirical research to determine whether the proxy actually track the variable in question, temperature in this case. If one is serious about using proxies, one must identify the environments in which they will be used and then experiment to determine how they change as the important factors that contribute to growth change.

    Some simple minded people will tell you that you can just trust that tree ring width tracks temperature. They will assure that you can cut the trees, measure ring width, and read temperature from the rings. It never occurs to them that they are assuming that temperature is the one factor that affects tree ring width. Such an assumption goes beyond the anti-empirical to the colossally stupid. If you want to use tree rings as proxies, you must provide empirical evidence, preferably from active experiment, to show that temperature has an affect on tree ring width that can be given unique specification.

    The same reasoning applies to all proxies. It seems to me that all existing proxy records are in just as bad shape as tree ring proxies. There might be some exceptions. Perhaps the physical theories that partially explain sunspots make them an exception.

    Science must learn once again that its bread and butter is the empirical.

  62. John Daly (RIP) pointed out what a load of bull treemometers are many years ago. McIntyre and others have been demonstrating for years just how dodgy this anabranch of ‘climate science’ is, by analysing the data. Anecdotally, I have a few friends with degrees in Forestry (and yes, they do hard science in order to graduate) who have been baffled as to why anyone would take this stuff seriously.

    Wile E. Coyote ran off the cliff quite a while ago, and has been hanging in the air. We are just waiting for the moment when he looks down, or the time allotted for the cartoon runs out. On past performance, the latter looks more likely.

    I am still trying to wrap my mind around the concept of how a marker could measure something for a certain period of time, and then stop measuring it and perhaps be measuring something else. You have to be a post-normal scientist to grasp this, evidently, as it is way beyond the ken of plodding slaves of fact like yours truly.

  63. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 24, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    “I suggest that the answer to that conundrum is that the climate zones drifted more poleward during the period in question such that drought started to intervene causing a reduction in growth despite the increasing warmth.”

    Before we can know, someone has to do the necessary empirical research on the selected variety of tree ring in the environments under study. As long as no one knows the relative contributions of temperature, moisture, sunshine, and you-name-it to growth of that variety of tree in the selected environments, no value can be assigned to temperature or any other variable. Once these matters are settled then your hypotheses can be assessed.

  64. davidmhoffer says: December 24, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    [An eminently plausible theory and concludes:]

    Over their heads and in so deep they don’t even know they are drowning.

    Or in other words … the ice, on which The Hockey Team has been skating, is getting thinner by the day. ;-)

    OK, I’ll get my coat!

  65. I’ve got a stand of oak trees in the yard behind my house. I’ve lived there for over 20 years, and as far as I am concerned, just my observations about those trees alone debunks tree rings as thermometers (for me at least)

    1. There are acorns every year. But every few years there’s a bigger than normal production of acorns, probably 5X. I don’t know exactly what the cycle is, but there is one. In those years it is clear that the trees are putting maximum resources into acorn production rather than growth. How can Mann et al know centuries later which years those were?

    2. One spring there was a late killing frost (early 90’s). Oak trees cannot “re-bud” if their leaves are killed by frost (most trees just shed the dead leaves and start again). If oaks lose their leaves entirely, they die. The oaks close to the house and garage were in poor condition, but got enough shelter that they retained about 1/2 of most of their leaves. At the very back of the yard though was a single tree with nothing close to it. It lost at least 90% of each leaf and I was sure it would die. It took 5 years of that tree just hanging on for it to recover. A few centuries from now, how would anyone know that the tree had stunted growth for 5 years due to one day of frost?

    3. That stunted oak tree is close to a stand of aspen. At the time, the aspen were perhaps 3 feet or so while the oak was more like 60 or 80 feet. In the 5 years that oak hung on for dear life, the aspen grew enough to compete with the oak for both water and sunlight. Today the aspen tower above that oak. But the oaks close to the house? They make the aspen look like midgets because they just kept on growing and are now far taller than any aspen I’ve ever seen. The shade from those oaks is so deep that even grass won’t grow for lack of sunlight. Those oaks are too tall for aspen to compete with them for sunlight, and because the aspen seedlings cannot get started in the shade of the oaks, they don’t compete for water either. But that poor oak in the back does. A few centuries from now, how will anyone know this?

    4. Over the last 20+ years, we’ve had several outbreaks of tent caterpillars. In the really bad years, if it were not for insecticide, they would have cleaned the trees of leaves entirely, and if they didn’t die, they would certainly have had a stunted year growth wise. Centuries from now someone can look at the tree rings and know that the thin years were due to pestilance?

    5. There are a lot of deer in the area. They love to harvest my garden for me and they can leap an 8 foot fence without bothering to take a run at it. I gave up competing with the deer for the produce and just quit gardening. Less deer in my yard….and less deer…uhm….fertilizer… left under the oak trees. They’re going to know that a few centuries from now?

    Tree rings as a proxy for any single factor is just hokum. And that’s putting it politely.

  66. “Minimum growth correlates with BOTH maximum warmth and maximum cold”

    To expand on my above comment the consequence is that natural temperature variability is grossly understated by the tree proxies.

    I suggest that similarly natural CO2 variability is grossly understated by the ice core proxies due to the frequent melt/freeze cycles that occur before the ice is sealed into the column and due to the disturbances of the extraction and preparation processes.

    Theo Godwin said:
    “Before we can know, someone has to do the necessary empirical research on the selected variety of tree ring in the environments under study. As long as no one knows the relative contributions of temperature, moisture, sunshine, and you-name-it to growth of that variety of tree in the selected environments, no value can be assigned to temperature or any other variable. Once these matters are settled then your hypotheses can be assessed.”

    I disagree. It is as obvious as the nose on one’s face.

    It is accepted that during the late 20th century (at least) the climate zones moved poleward at about 1.25 miles per year.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24228037/

    That implies increasing dryness as mid latitude regions moved more into and under the sub tropical high pressure cells. That must result in less tree growth despite higher temperatures.

    I think that process has been going on since the depths of the LIA but was first picked up empirically in the above paper.

    Obviously the reverse process would have applied MWP to LIA and I have commented many times that since the late 90’s we have seen a reversal which may or may not continue.

    Tree growth does not measure temperature any better than it measures precipitation. It simply measures the distance of an individual tree from the geographical sweet spot where the combination of temperature and precipitation is ideal for that tree at that particular moment in time.

    That distance constantly changes as the climate zone cyclically shifts latitudinally to and fro overhead.

    Other factors relevant to the growth rate of the tree are on average relatively insignificant. Warmth and water trump everything else when averaged out over time.

    The biggest surprise about climate that we are in the process of learning is that beyond a couple of human lifetimes the natural variability of climate is far greater than ever previously acknowledged yet the hockey stick exercise sought to tell us the exact opposite.

    Even so, that natural variability does not in my opinion translate into a significant change in total system energy content. Instead, what happens is that the shifting of the climate zones alters the speed of energy flow through the system so as to maintain a relatively steady total system energy content.

    The air temperature flowing across individual regions varies significantly but the temperature of the entire Earth system varies hardly at all.

    That is why the changes recorded by satellite sensors are much less than those recorded in certain regions at the surface.

  67. Stephen Wilde;
    That implies increasing dryness as mid latitude regions moved more into and under the sub tropical high pressure cells. That must result in less tree growth despite higher temperatures.>>>

    I think it is FAR more complicated than that.
    I grew up in a farming community in a high latitude (50 North) temperate zone that is mid continent (read: long cold nasty winters). Please allow me a single example from experience that is counter intuitive.

    In Example1, snow arrives in large quantities at end of October. Snow continues to accumulate all winter, there are zero melting days until spring. By the first melting day, there is an average of 2 to 3 feet of packed solid snow on the ground.

    In Example2, it gets cold but not until end of November. There’s not much snow at all, and the winter is very mild. By the first melting day in the spring, there’s only a few inches of snow on the ground.

    Question: Which will be the earlier spring? Example1 or Example2?

    Answer: Example1. Not by a little either, but by several weeks. How is this possible?

    When there is little snow cover, the earth is free to radiate heat. The mild temperatures are due in part to the heat from the earth. When there is a lot of snow, the snow acts as an insulator and keeps the heat in. The mild temps in winter are a bit of an illusion because the truth is that the “cold” has gone deep into the earth. When spring arrives, there is very little snow to melt, but winter just seems to hang on…and on… and on. It takes a lot of energy to heat the earth back up.

    In Example1, the earth beneath the snow is no where near as cold as it is in Example2. The snow keeps not only the earth warm, but the bulk of the snow too. The frost line might be only a foot or so down, while in the mild winter it might be several feet. When the snow finaly starts to melt, flooding is a serious concern because it all tends to melt in a short period of time. That in turn exposes the earth below, which promptly thaws and hits spring planting temperatures weeks earlier than the “mild” winter.

    So…as your temperate zones move toward the arctic, and precipitation changes, does spring come earlier? Or later? Is the growing season longer? Or shorter? In any given year? As a trend? Is variability higher? Or lower?

    Damned if I know. Or anyone else for that matter.

  68. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 24, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    “It is accepted that during the late 20th century (at least) the climate zones moved poleward at about 1.25 miles per year.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24228037/

    That implies increasing dryness as mid latitude regions moved more into and under the sub tropical high pressure cells. That must result in less tree growth despite higher temperatures.”

    So, you think that having this information about climate zones can tell you the effects that climate zone movement had on each and every environment that is under study. You imply that knowledge of climate zone movenment enables you to predict change in tree growth in dozens of rather different environments scattered around the world. Are you sure that you want to go this far?

  69. davidmhoffer says:
    December 24, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Your post is priceless. You provide several excellent examples of how local environment affects tree growth through causes whose existence cannot be known unless the causes are actually observed while they are causing the effect in question. Yes, if tree ring width proxies are to be used then local environments must be understood very well.

  70. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 24, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    “Tree growth does not measure temperature any better than it measures precipitation. It simply measures the distance of an individual tree from the geographical sweet spot where the combination of temperature and precipitation is ideal for that tree at that particular moment in time”

    You must be stating an assumption. I cannot believe that it is based on active or passive experimentation on a variety of tree in a given kind of environment. I would know any such research. This kind of non-empirical assumption about the local environment is what I have been criticizing in my posts.

    I am also leery of the idea of “geographic sweet spot.” I believe that local environments vary way too much for that to be such a thing as a “geographic sweet spot,” unless you are talking about very unusual trees. For example, trees that are separated by 100 yards can be in very different kinds of soil. I cannot believe that you would think that soil quality is less important to tree growth than moisture or temperature.

  71. As someone old enough to have survived the great projected famine, and then “we’re all going to die from cancer”, and then we’re all going to dissolve in acid rain and now burn to death in a fiery climate- I can tell you only one thing– facts are not relevant. Toxics, acid rain, climate change and its replacement the nitrogen cascade are simply emerged solution of a system that funds science as a means to justify predetermined regulatory policy and goals. This system is now highly buffered making it highly resistant to change.
    Climate was not my area of specialty however in my areas of acid rain, nutrients and fishery management I can show you abuses that are far greater (except in monetary terms) than what we see in climate. Abuses exposed raw and naked and not a damn thing changed other than the destruction of the poor souls that exposed them.
    Take a look at the conclusions of the final acid rain report (NAPAP) It may be hard to find because its no where on the web and locked away in a few repositories where you need to make an appointment to read it. (Go ahead and try and find it on line). Despite the fact that the report blew away the hype surrounding acid rain- Congress never read it before passing the Clean Air Act because the science was never relavent. (EPA wouldn’t release the report until after Congress passed the legislation and then went on a campaign smearing and destroying the career of one of its lead authors. In fact the “joke” after the NAPAP (acid rain project) was EPA would never again take the risk again of allowing independent science to contradict its narrative. There would be no NAPAP for climate. Its why it was given to the UN where the results were a foregone conclusion.
    This is not a conspiracy -but a highly complex and iterated self organizing system. The system selects for science and scientists that support the aims/culture/ideology of its funding agencies. Both grow as a result. Those that do not support the narrative- don’t receive funding and in turn fail to receive tenure and are winnowed from the system. Think of any corporation where an exec stood up and said the Board of Directors was a misguided bunch of fools. His expected rapid firing sends the message to perhaps thousands of other employees that such conduct is not in ones self interest. There is no conspiracy needed- those that go along get promoted- those that don’t get fired. Scientists are smart people– it doesn’t take too many grant denials before they get the message.
    We continue to fight the science and perhaps with climate we can push it back– but as stated earlier- climate is simply an emerged solution of this system–and the system will simply emerge a new solution to replace it. (Nitrogen seems to be in the batters box) An algorithm that says pollution and human misery is the result of excess economic activity “fueled” by cheap energy. (Think about it- every EPA campaign fits this algorithm)
    We used to say its the Economy Stupid–what it really is- Its the System stupid! Unless we find a way to change the system by adding controls, limiting energy, altering incentives etc- we will simply see new reincarnations of acid rain and climate change. Meet the new crisis- just like the old crisis.

  72. “polistra says:
    December 24, 2011 at 8:42 am

    “After 1850 the trees stopped recording.”

    Well, if you’re a Druid, I suppose this could make sense. Sort of like the way God changes his views every time the Pope speaks ex cathedra, or every time the Church Elders receive a new revelation.

    I’m not sure who would fill the same role for Gaians; perhaps a time-transported 1850 hologram of Margaret Mead ordered the trees to shut off their Temperature Input Channels and start recording other data instead.

    Well in 1959, the first oil well was drilled for the sole purpose of obtaining oil. The “Drake Well”. This unnatural insult of the body of our Mother Goddess Gaia combined with the increased CO2 due to the burning of oils, not whales incited the Mother Goddess Gaia to prevent all trees from only temperature. In her wrath she forced the trees to also record rainfall, shade, and TSI reaching the earth’s surface until man cease his sins against her. – Book of the Gore Gaia chapter 23 verse 15.

  73. Tom Moriarty,
    now that is a great answer to the appropriately named DIzzy. They really do seem unable to understand some pretty clear cut concepts such as honesty, good faith. openness etc. Unfortunately I think your sterling efforts will have about the same impact on DIzzy’s understanding as trying to explain the difference between red, purple , and blue to a blind person.

  74. dizzy says:
    December 24, 2011 at 10:02 am
    Written with Mann, et. al. Available online. Includes a hockey stick graph. Read some real science.
    ………….

    Anyone who seriously quotes Mann et al, Jones et al or any of the other global warming alarmists is not just dizzy, he is delusional.

    Just assume that nothing these people have ever written, or will ever write, is worth reading. The probability is you will be more right than wrong, and just think of all the time you’ll save.

  75. Theo Goodwin and davidmhoffer

    I am simply stating the null hypothesis.

    Tress grow best and fastest where the local combination of temperature and precipitation suit them best. Other factors intervene but on average globally for the entire tree species the null hypothesis holds.

    So if one shifts the climate zones poleward or equatorwatd different trees will benefit or suffer depending on their individual locations relative to the climate zones.

    Generally, on average, trees that get shifted further away from the best conditions will grow less. Trees that get shifted closer to the best conditions will grow more.

    Clearly the best conditions will be ‘spotty’ and not entirely climate related but the effects of temperature and precipitation changes will show up in every location nonetheless.

    Even if a tree is in a soil rich environment it will grow better if it gets shifted closer to a climate zone with optimum balance between rainfall and temperature.

    Likewise even a tree in a poor soil environment will grow better if it gets shifted closer to such an optimum climate.

    It must be self evident that temperature and rainfall on average overall are by far the most dominant factors influencing tree or plant success.That is why most plants and trees of a single species are limited in their regions of successful growth and why we see growing regions move ,grow, shrink and change shape with the seasons and with longer term climate changes.

    Anyway, whether you find that convincing or not the fact remains that the trees are not measuring temperature because the growth rate slows down when there is less rainfall and less rainfall occurs under the sub tropical high pressure cells than under the mid latitude depression tracks.

    Thus does growth slow down even as temperature increases because rainfall reduces at the same time due to latitudinal shifting of the climate zones.

    To show that null hypothesis to be false one would have to propose permanently fixed climate zones (subject to the same seasonal variation year by year) but we know from the circulation patterns of the MWP and LIA and the Current Warm Period that that is not so.

  76. @Pat Moffitt December 24, 2011 at 9:50 pm:

    Climate was not my area of specialty however in my areas of acid rain, nutrients and fishery management I can show you abuses that are far greater (except in monetary terms) than what we see in climate. Abuses exposed raw and naked and not a damn thing changed other than the destruction of the poor souls that exposed them.
    Take a look at the conclusions of the final acid rain report (NAPAP) It may be hard to find because its no where on the web and locked away in a few repositories where you need to make an appointment to read it. (Go ahead and try and find it on line). Despite the fact that the report blew away the hype surrounding acid rain- Congress never read it before passing the Clean Air Act because the science was never relavent. (EPA wouldn’t release the report until after Congress passed the legislation and then went on a campaign smearing and destroying the career of one of its lead authors. In fact the “joke” after the NAPAP (acid rain project) was EPA would never again take the risk again of allowing independent science to contradict its narrative.

    I well recall the study of acid rain. I am pretty certain it was in the 1980s, though, because I recall where I was and what I was doing when it was happening, so I think you might be confusing the timing relative to the Clean Air Act, which was in 1970 or 1971.

    But you are right about the results. As I recall, Congress funded the study to the tune of $30 or $35 million. The purpose was to test the acidity in the lakes in the northeast states in the U.S. It might have included more than that region, but it was mostly there. The Clean Air Act decreed that stacks on factories be taller (I believe that was supposed to put the emissions up where dissipation was better). Then, a few years later the enviros ran around claiming that the tall stacks emissions were creating acidic conditions which came down with the rain in regions downwind. With the Midwestern factories, that meant the prevailing westerlies were aiming that acidic rain at the Northeast states.

    Anyway, the enviros got to pick the people to go out to all the lakes and ponds in the NE and take samples, all of which (I think) were sent to a central lab for testing. I distinctly remember that of all the thousands of lakes and ponds in the NE, only one remote and nearly inaccessible pond in western New York state was found to be acidic. I totally remember at the time thinking this was a great victory for real science, and a defeat for the climate exaggerators. I thought it would teach them a lesson about lying. But I agree with you, Pat, that the lesson they learned was to not allow independent science into the discussion.

    The reason I recall the dating of this (within 1 year of 1984) so well is that a friend of mine was the county Coroner for that short period, and, as such, he directed the county lab for testing such things. The Coroner told me that at one County Board meeting a young man stood up and asked what they were going to do about the acid rain in our county (in NE Illinois). No one on the board had any idea that there was acid rain locally. The Coroner, wanting to get to the bottom of it and fix it if it was happening, told the young man that he (the Coroner) would have the water in the lakes in question tested before the next County Board meeting. The tests all came back negative. The young man attended the next meeting and was told the negative results, and he stood up and declared, “Those results don’t mean anything! The acid rain is happening, and we need to do something about it.” The Coroner looked at me, still puzzled, and asked me what in the heck was he supposed to do, with someone who denies when actual quantified facts are put right in front of him.

    Climate claims, once believed in, are nearly impossible to dislodge from believers’ minds. I’ve seen it a lot. It was certainly a case of negative confirmation bias – the guy wasn’t going to accept rebuttal evidence, no matter HOW strong it was.

  77. Well in 1959, the first oil well was drilled for the sole purpose of obtaining oil.

    I think you mean 1859.

    (And “first” if you exclude the claims of Baku and Galicia.)

  78. I am no scientist, but I would like to propose the following real life experiment.
    Get a surface station set up in this so called ‘geographic sweet spot’, then use the temperatures to accurately predict tree growth for every tree and plant around the world.
    Need to know how your tomatoes will do this year ? worried about that cactus in the town square ?
    will I be gettting a good crop of apples this year ? it would have enormous benefits for the wine regions

  79. I hedge my bets on whether there were any periods in Medieval times that might have been “warm”, to the irritation of my co-authors!).

    Now why should Mann have been irritated? Surely an objective scientist should search for knowlege as an end in itself, and not want it to lead to a predetermined outcome.

  80. There are three related issues. The first is whether or not a relatively few samples of tree rings, ice cores, and bottom sediments reflect global temperature. The second is whether or not tree rings can be used to isolate temperature. The third deals with the math used to produce the hockey stick. McIntyre and McKitrick showed in 2003 that Mann’s math would produce a hockey stick from red noise.

    It would be refreshing and enlightening if someone who wanted to defend the hockey stick would address the technical aspects of those three issues without hand waving and ad hominem.

    OTOH there is a nearly eight year record of attempts to do that on Climate Audit. What is new is the evidence that those on the inside were not nearly as convinced as that record would indicate,

    There may be ways to establish the history of global temperature —or there may not be. It would be more productive to look for a way to do that then to continue to try to ride a horse that is, if not dead, very close to it.

  81. What so many fail to recognise here is that science has moved on significantly and there are two main streams in existence nowadays. Coupled and decoupled science and far too many of us have become decoupled for our own good. The coupled stream is merely calling for some balance here or the overall funding and science itself could suffer.

  82. Steve Garcia,
    1990 was the date of the major amendments of the Clean Air Act and a gift to the unions representing high sulfur coal. The law forced scrubbers to be put on all utilities whether or not they used low sulfur western coal and thereby protection the unions mining eastern coal while forcing the rate payers to pay for it all. Like climate change- acid rain played games with the name. All rain is acid- always has been always will be. What was being argued by scientists was the change in acidity and its ecosystem impacts. The Press and NGOS played games by saying all scientists believed in acid rain– of course they did- they just didn’t believe all the rest of the BS.
    In 1988 Rep Scheur (D-NY) and Chairman of the House Committee blasted the interim acid rain report which was not going according to plan resulting in the resignation of its chief scientist. The new director then was made to promise to Scheur and his subcommittee that he would indeed find that acid rain was harming northeastern lakes in the future. (But they still couldn’t twist the science enough to make it happen – so EPA and Congress ignored the report and then buried it.

  83. The scientific findings summarized in Driscol et al. in their survey “Chemical Response of Lakes in the Adirondack Region of New York to Declines in Acidic Deposition” (2003) directly contradict Pat Moffitt’s claims.

    Either Mr. Moffitt’s claims are simply mistaken, or else there exists a well-organized scientific conspiracy, global in scope, extending over many decades.

    It is significant too that America’s non-partisan organizations that support hunting, fishing, and conservation — Isaac Walton league, Audubon Society, Ducks Unlimited, Theodore Roosevelt Conservancy, etc. — are unanimous in broadly endorsing the correctness of the science.

    WUWT folks are encouraged to read the Driscoll survey and decide for themselves, whether the science is simply correct, or whether the conspiracy is even more vast than Mr. Moffitt’s post suggests.

  84. @ Pat Moffitt –

    I was busy being a single parent in 1990, so I missed that major amendment to the Clean Air Act.

    As to the law in 1990 forcing scrubbers to be put on “utilities”, I can say that 20 years earlier I worked on the design of massive, massive scrubbers in the mid-1970s, as well as huge double-width fans for scrubbers (two different jobs) – also in the 1970s. My first few jobs were basically funded by efforts to comply with the 1970 law. The 1970s was a heyday for steel fabricators all over the U.S. because of it (and most of them went out of business not so long after that all ended). As apolitical as I was then, I still distinctly recall news reports about the hollering and screaming among industrialists, about how the Clean Air Act was going to make American industry uncompetitive, due to all of the huge costs involved in cleaning up what came out of stacks.

    I have no idea how old you are, but the air quality really WAS pretty horrible for a long time prior to that. By the 1980s, as I recall, the quality of the air was beginning to be appreciably improved. Prior to that, our cities’ were next to unlivable, IMHO. Certainly few cities were vacation destinations like they later became. If anyone asked me to go back to that time and breathe that air, I think I’d take a pass on it.

    In the mid-1990s, I also worked on projects for cleaning up emitted volatile organic compounds (VOCs) using catalytic oxidizers. Though I worked for one of the bigger suppliers of such systems, the systems at that time were considerably smaller than the projects in the 1970s. They were still good-sized systems, just not even close to the earlier ones. That may or may not mean anything, but it was my experience in my workaday world.

    My take at the time on the acid rain study was that all of a sudden, acid rain was not in the news anymore, and it basically never was again. It seemed it shut the enviros up, big time – instantly and for good.

    There had been some considerable exaggerations in the run-up to the Clean Water Act of ~1971, too. I lived in Cleveland, which is on Lake Erie, and the oft-repeated claim then was that if not one more drop of pollutants were put into Lake Erie, it would take 10,000 years to clean up. That was reported as fact, over and over. Well, the exaggerations worked, because the act was passed.

    How do I know they were exaggerations? In about 1980 the waters of Lake Erie were tested. I laughed out loud when I read them: The polluting effluents had been reduced by 75%, and the lake’s pollution level had dropped by 90%. Going from “zero effluent = 10,000 years” to “25% effluent still going into the lake = 90% reduction in about 10 years” was a considerable difference. That was my first experience with enviros lying to get their way.

    If I had lied like that as a kid, I’d have gotten a big bar of soap in the mouth.

    But the big clean-up was, as I saw it more or less first-hand, was in the 1970s.

  85. JUST TO GIVE A HEADS UP TO EVERYONE: “A PHYSICIST” IS A TROLL.

    I recommend to all to ignore him. His being here is an attempt to hijack the thread.

    He did that recently here, and it took people a while to recognize him as a troll.

  86. ****
    A physicist says:
    December 25, 2011 at 6:04 am

    The scientific findings summarized in Driscol et al. in their survey “Chemical Response of Lakes in the Adirondack Region of New York to Declines in Acidic Deposition” (2003) directly contradict Pat Moffitt’s claims.

    Remember the 60-Minutes show (after the acid-rain crap passed) presenting a study that showed it had no significant effect other than on a few NE US lakes? And that nobody in Congress or otherwise paid the slightest attention to? Maybe you’re too young…..

    and:
    Either Mr. Moffitt’s claims are simply mistaken, or else there exists a well-organized scientific conspiracy, global in scope, extending over many decades.

    You misspelled one word. It’s culture, not “conspiracy”. Conspiracies aren’t done in the open. Your statement is like saying the communists in Russia were partaking in a “conspiracy” under Lenin, Stalin, etc.

  87. Paul Homewood says:
    December 25, 2011 at 3:02 am

    I hedge my bets on whether there were any periods in Medieval times that might have been “warm”, to the irritation of my co-authors!).

    Now why should Mann have been irritated? Surely an objective scientist should search for knowlege as an end in itself, and not want it to lead to a predetermined outcome.

    Because Mann isn’t a “scientist”; he’s a “climate scientist”, which means he puts his ideological (politicized & grant-seeking) version of “climate” before “science”. And I submit as Exhibit A his behavior since he became a “player” in “The Cause”.

  88. @ Steve Garcia RE “a physicist”. Yeah, I’ve noticed that too. Anthony should place a list of trolls on the right sidebar for reference before anybody attempts to respond to such nefarious mis-direction. That would by my New-Year’s wish. And in the meantime, today is Christmas, and I wish everybody (even the trolls) a Merry one!

  89. RockyRoad says:
    December 25, 2011 at 8:11 am

    @ Steve Garcia RE “a physicist”. Yeah, I’ve noticed that too. Anthony should place a list of trolls on the right sidebar for reference before anybody attempts to respond to such nefarious mis-direction.
    ============================================
    Yeh, but, if you let them talk/write long enough, they will talk/write themselves into a circle of fail. There’s some good entertainment value in that.
    The acid rain farce is nearly identical to the ozone farce. Scientists observed a phenomenon they didn’t understand. Blamed it on man’s activity, passed laws, and then something changed. They claimed victory and still don’t understand what happened.

    This stems from a prevailing ideological precept and conviction mixed with an undeniable truism. The truism is that mankind has continually advanced. The precept and conviction is: Any activity on man’s part to improve his life, works to the detriment of nature. Hence, any change in nature is perceived as a malady caused by mankind’s continued advancement.

    It is a horrible form of misanthropy.

  90. Paul Homewood says:
    December 25, 2011 at 3:02 am
    I hedge my bets on whether there were any periods in Medieval times that might have been “warm”, to the irritation of my co-authors!).

    “Now why should Mann have been irritated? Surely an objective scientist should search for knowlege as an end in itself, and not want it to lead to a predetermined outcome.”

    Mann “outed” himself in his December 5 editorial in the WSJ. In that editorial he claimed that he should receive the high level of respect that other scientists received for achievements such as finding “the” link between smoking and cancer or “the” link between lead in gasoline and brain damage in children. Hiding behind analogies, he asks to be judged by the standards of medical science rather than those of pure science.

    Medical science serves medicine and the goal of medicine is relief of suffering not satisfaction of curiosity. In fact, medical science struggles to catch medical practice. Those irrepressible people known as surgeons are quite happy to carve your body to relief your suffering and they do so on the basis of their trained intuition. The science comes later.

    Mann’s request should be roundly rejected. To become a science, climate science must pursue understanding of Earth’s climate systems. To substitute the goal of relieving suffering that can be “associated with” climate, though not yet as a matter of pure science, is to adopt the medical model for evaluation of peer reviewed articles. Such an approach can only delay the pure science that can provide us with genuine understanding of our climate systems.

  91. Steven Wilde,
    While I’m glad you agree that tree rings are not capable of being a proxy for temperature, a lot of your other arguments just don’t add up.

    SW
    Tress grow best and fastest where the local combination of temperature and precipitation suit them best>>>>

    CO2 levels alter that equation considerably. An change in CO2 levels alters the optimum combination considerably. Where the tree is growing within itz preferred temperature range, hours of sunshine are a major factor. Further, fastest isn’t the only governing issue. As I attempted to explain above, how much snow arrives in the winter can dramaticaly alter how early spring arrives, and hence the LENGTH of the growing season which will also affect tree ring thickness.

    SW
    So if one shifts the climate zones poleward or equatorwatd different trees will benefit or suffer depending on their individual locations relative to the climate zones.>>>

    As I’ve suggested above, you’ve focused on precipitation and temperature as the critical variables. In fact, the list of critical variables is much larger and the ones that I’ve pointed out not only affect tree ring growth, they may affect the limits otherwise imposed by precipitation and temperature.

    SW
    It must be self evident that temperature and rainfall on average overall are by far the most dominant factors influencing tree or plant success>>>

    But it isn’t. Consider the single example of the vast North American prairie region which is well within the temperature and precipitation ranges to support forest growth, yet no forests grew there for thousands of years. Yet today, we see that the tree line is in fact encroaching agressively upon the prairies. Why? Answer: No more prairie grass fires. Before farms and highways and such, grass fires could roar through hundreds of miles in a day or two, and they happened regularly. Grass grows back in days or weeks, but the tree seedlings, even if they were several years old, were toast. Similarly, conditions conducive to pine tree growth may also be conducive to pine beetles. The range that the trees thrive in is broader than that of the pine beetle, but UNLESS the conditions outside of the pine beetle’s range occur from time to time, the pine beetle will wipe out a pine forest over a period of years. In other words, if the climate does NOT stray to the very edges of the pine forest’s limits from time to time, the pine forest will be wiped out despite existing in conditions of optimum precitpitation and temperature.

    SW
    To show that null hypothesis to be false one would have to propose permanently fixed climate zones >>>

    I believe I have falsified your null hypothesis.

  92. Steve Garcia says:
    December 25, 2011 at 7:37 am
    JUST TO GIVE A HEADS UP TO EVERYONE: “A PHYSICIST” IS A TROLL.
    I recommend to all to ignore him. His being here is an attempt to hijack the thread.>>>

    Engaging him and debunking him is of tremendous value for those who are just beginning their own personal quest for information on climate change. If we ignore the voices of dissent, then we are just preaching to the choir. By debunking the trolls, we both demonstrate to the casual reader that we embrace debate rather than hide from it, and we have arguments that are well thought out and factual that speak to the exact same issues on smear blogs like RC where the same comments are made, but no skeptic gets to answer them.

  93. A fake physicist;

    2003 is hardly recent by current standards, and onnly a single paper out of many, but to heck with papers, lets talk real life.

    In the early 80’s I got thrown out of a university lecture by a guest speaker talking about acid rain. He had a large map of southern Ontario displayed showing all the lakes that had turned acidic and their proximity to nearby industrial activity. I had the temerity to ask this question:

    “If the source of the acid rain is the areas of industrial activity, why are the acidified lakes mostly north and south of the industrial areas instead of east, which would be downwind of the prevailing winds?”

    In the ensuing argument, the speaker dismissed me out of hand and a couple of professors asked me to shut up and leave. Which I did.

    Years later the truth came out, and I was vindicated. The establishment of of industrial centres was altering the migratory paths of geese. The geese were flying around the major centres rather than over them, and as a result, were landing on different lakes for rest stops than they would otherwise. Lakes immediately north and south of the industrial centres were no longer getting the same levels of geese.

    What does that have to do with it? Glad you asked. Goose poo is highly alkaline. Pine tree resin is highly acidic. Every year rain washes acidic debris from the pine trees into the lakes. Every year the geese were making a pit stop in spring and fall and neutralizing the acid with their poo. No more geese landing on the lake, acid level sky rockets.

    Now that I think about it, I actually got thrown out of that lecture on question 2, which was “did you back up your theory by actually measuring the ph of rainfall in the area to see of it was in fact acidic?” That’s when the lecturer grew angry, demanded to know if I was there to learn something or just be disruptive, and I was asked to leave.

  94. davidmhoffer says:
    December 25, 2011 at 9:19 am

    “As I’ve suggested above, you’ve focused on precipitation and temperature as the critical variables. In fact, the list of critical variables is much larger and the ones that I’ve pointed out not only affect tree ring growth, they may affect the limits otherwise imposed by precipitation and temperature.”

    Spot on, David. You have that “instinct for the empirical” that is critical for all scientists.

    Sunshine is a very important variable. For trees, the relative amount of sunshine received is subject to several local variables. The most prominent is type of forest. A young tree in an old deciduous forest faces a very different struggle for sunshine than it would face in a forest dominated by Fir trees.

    I really like your example of prairie fires. In the USA, and most of the world, nearly all of the land has been subject to intense human management for some time. Much of the land east of the Mississippi River has been under the plow for more than a century and the forests that rest on that land today suffer from soil that has been depleted of several minerals. The land was first cleared by “slash and burn” practices. I do not see how there can be sweeping generalizations about tree growth.

    A science of tree growth is possible. But one must select environments and do empirical research on tree growth in each. The same environment might occur at many locations across the USA or the world but the scientist must justify the claim that the several locations are in fact “instances” of the same environment.

    What climate science has done is take records of tree growth that extend centuries into the past and treated them as comparable to one another. In other words, they have taken all old records at face value. There is no scientific justification for such practice. Such a practice amounts to a non-empirical, “a priori,” assumption about tree growth.

  95. Just to be clear here: when a Real Peer-Reviewed Climate Scientist® says, “Temperatures may warm as much as 7°C over the next century, leading to widespread flooding, and the deaths of millions in low lying areas.” it means that those people are as good as dead right now. But when a Real Peer-Reviewed Climate Scientist® says, “it may be that Mann et al simply don’t have the long-term trend right” it clearly means that the long term trend is definitely correct and that the Real Peer-Reviewed Climate Scientist® did not have a sufficient lack of evidence to see that Mann et al were not only spot on, but actually eternally acknowledged in all of science by Consensus, Peer-Review, and the Holy Gaia (PBUH).

  96. RockyRoad says:
    December 25, 2011 at 8:11 am

    “@ Steve Garcia RE “a physicist”. Yeah, I’ve noticed that too. Anthony should place a list of trolls on the right sidebar for reference before anybody attempts to respond to such nefarious mis-direction.”

    I am a very liberal thinker, classical liberal along the lines of John Stuart Mill. I think there should be an annotated list of trolls. Along with the annotations would go a ranking. Anyone who cited Wendell Berry for anything, including Berry’s poetic imagination, should receive the highest troll ranking of Munchkin. Responding to Munchkins would be forbidden. Doubly so for those who call themselves “A Physicist.” One cannot be a physicist and cite Wendell Berry. /sarc

  97. data4alps.pro dated Aug 2008
    printf,1,’IMPORTANT NOTE:’
    printf,1,’The data after 1960 should not be used. The tree-ring density‘
    printf,1,’records tend to show a decline after 1960 relative to the summer‘
    printf,1,’temperature in many high-latitude locations. In this data set‘
    printf,1,’this “decline” has been artificially removed in an ad-hoc way, and‘
    printf,1,’this means that data after 1960 no longer represent tree-ring
    printf,1,’density variations, but have been modified to look more like the
    printf,1,’observed temperatures.’

  98. Which of the following is true concerning Mann and the hockey stick?

    There was a missjudgment in using the data.
    There was a deliberate manipulation of data to fit a desired outcome.
    Fraud was committed in presenting manipulated and known problamatic data.

    The first one seems to be a given. The second finds support in the politics of the IPCC and in the acquesence of the players to allow the graph to stand.

    The question of fraud stands and needs to be answered. A lot of funding was generated based on that graph.

  99. davidmhoffer

    I note the points you make and do not disagree as regards the examples of exceptions to the general rule that you cite.

    However, on average and globally, temperature and water supply are the primary factors.

  100. “As I’ve suggested above, you’ve focused on precipitation and temperature as the critical variables. In fact, the list of critical variables is much larger and the ones that I’ve pointed out not only affect tree ring growth, they may affect the limits otherwise imposed by precipitation and temperature.”

    I don’t disagree but every such additional variable will be modified as regards its effect on growth by the availability of water and warmth.

    You have to look at the species population in its entirety and not just local variants.

  101. A Physicist-
    That you cited this links shows you understand nothing about the acid rain issue. The Adirondack lakes had been historically acid with very little productivity as a result. (diatom cores show this to be the case) Adirondack in the native language means bark eater– an example of how little terrestrial food was grown in either the terrestrial or the aquatic environment on these poor soils over the granitic shield bedrock. Some of the early cultivation raised the pH- which really jumped after the Great Adirondack Fire’s alkaline ash caused productivity to explode and fish populations to markedly expand. Fire suppression and the governments decision to re-plant conifers have caused a slow and steady decline in pH as a result of organic acids from forest regrowth.
    The chemistries were always BS- the acidity in the rain was never anywhere near as powerful as the organic acids created by the forests and bogs. Here’s your chance to wow me with your science Physicist- show me how water percolating through peat bogs (pH approx 3.5) and pine forest soil (pH 4.5-5.0) flowing over granitic bedrock can produce anything other than highly acid water. Even acid tolerant Brook trout can’t survive at this pH- yet the public was told that the lakes no longer teemed with 5 lb brook trout because of acid rain is an absolute lie. (Give me some lime or fire and you’ll have big brookies again- but no air quality controls can ever bring this about.)
    And there is no non-partisan environmental group left representing hunters or fishermen- I used to be an officer of one of them so am more than up to speed on this subject.
    Some of the best scientists the environmental field ever produced had their careers shattered by acid rain ideology- and the restoration of the Atlantic Salmon (a subject very near and dear to me) is still held hostage to this BS. You remind me of the vile people who orchestrated this tragedy- so in the interest of maintaining the spirit of the holiday season- I will refrain from further engagement with you.

  102. Stephen Wilde;
    I don’t disagree but every such additional variable will be modified as regards its effect on growth by the availability of water and warmth.>>>

    No. Increased CO2 for example CHANGES the range AND mix of temperature and precipitation that maximizes growth. So, an increase or decrease in CO2 would have a dramatic effect on tree growth across the entire population without ANY change in temperature and precipitation. To complicate matters further, any given tree will have a different response to the exact same change in CO2 depending on it being at the top, bottom, or middle of the range of maximum growth before the CO2 changed.

    Similarly, as zones move north or south, their “average” temperature and precipitation may remain constant while “order” in which they arrive changes. A cool wet spring followed by a hot dry summer has a completely different growth pattern than the reverse, though their averages may well be the same on an annual basis.

  103. To those who think the truth of this sort of thing will get out – how many people have you met who are aware of this? How often have you seen these sorts of issues reported in the general media? In my experience, the answers to those questions are “none” and “never”. The complicity between the media and the politicians will keep all of this sort of thing covered up. After all, exposing the data falsifications and lies of the warmistas is doubleplusungood.

  104. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    “I don’t disagree but every such additional variable will be modified as regards its effect on growth by the availability of water and warmth.”

    Yes, but you have to assign a portion of that growth to each factor. To insist that water and warmth are so important that the rest can be ignored is “a priori” reasoning. You have no empirical evidence to present to support your case.

    “You have to look at the species population in its entirety and not just local variants.”

    You seem to be unable to take your eye off the trees themselves and put your eye on the measurement techniques that are being used. You must first have measurements that are done in accordance with scientific method and, necessarily, those measurements must be done with regard to the local environment. You cannot just run around the world assuming all environments for tree variety “X” are the same. Once the you the matter of measurement is settled then you can start thinking about species populations. Reverse the order and you have species measurements that are based on no empirical validation of measurement techniques whatsoever. You might as well be asking Grandma Betsy how much the trees grew that year.

  105. Dudley Robertson says:
    December 25, 2011 at 11:56 am

    “The question of fraud stands and needs to be answered. A lot of funding was generated based on that graph.”

    Excellent point. The question of fraud must be investigated. Horner and Cuccinelli have been trying to do that for months but the University of Virginia stands squarely and stupidly in their way. The University of Virginia will never live this down.

  106. Tad says:
    December 25, 2011 at 1:06 pm
    “To those who think the truth of this sort of thing will get out – ”

    Good points…but…google Al Gore Enron…or “Google AGW Bias”…Google spellchecks your search, and redirects it to AGE bias but click on AGW Bias… kinda cool huh!

    Try a few other combo’s it’s kinda fun…however I am sure Obama, Biden and Joe Romm don’t think its funny. Nor does Google board member Al Gore.

    Merry Christmas

    Andrew

  107. Following the low sulfur coal law, I spent a lucrative time programming and installing in electrical generating plants new sulfer burning equipment to introduce charged particles enabling the electrostatic ash precipitators to work again!

  108. Excess cold will kill growth stone dead as will inadequate water.

    All else is chaff.

    I agree that many other variables are in play but one cannot overcome lack of warmth or lack of water so taking a species as a whole on average globally the most important parameters are water and warmth.

    Now if one needs to go further to diagnose the growth factors for each individual tree or group of treees then you are both correct.

    But we do not need to do that for the purpose of simply discrediting trees as adequate thermometers.

    Tree rings grow less despite increasing warmth if accompanied by a reduced supply of water so tree rings can never be an adequate indicator for temperature because as the climate zones drift poleward temperatures may rise but growth will decline due to reduced rainfall.

    There is no logical need to complicate the issue further than that. There is plenty of empirical evidence that drought reduces tree growth as does cold and drought is also associated with higher temperatures so tree ring width becomes an unreliable indicator for warmth.

    Keep it simple.

  109. The way my fellow science teachers and I found to break the ‘mass synching bias’ of students, to believe before they perceive, was a simple ad hominem logic questions in their class work:

    We all observe when trees lose their leaves (every) fall, it snows shortly thereafter;
    However, down in the tropics, where the trees don’t lose their leaves, it never snows;
    This correlation between leaves and snow is perfect, and so is lead-lag ‘causation’.
    Therefore, we can say *falling leaves ’causes’ it to snow*. Then if we chop down all
    trees, we can reduce global warming. Please write a counter-argument to the above.

    The ‘hidden message’ of course, is that *global deforestation is the real cause*, and it’s always great to see the ‘aha’ moment when students ‘get it’, except the real indoctrinated ones, although it’s prolly not worth getting terminated for challenging the ‘Alternate Given Wisdom’ in textbooks.

    What did Mao say? Give me your children, and I will give you an International Carbon Caliphate!

  110. Crosspatch wrote: It would be rather difficult to find trees where temperature was the dominant constraint on growth.
    Such trees are the Polar Urals and Yamal ones (studied by Briffa, Schweingruber, Hantemirov, and Shiyatov) – mainly Siberian larches.
    They grow at river banks, therefore water is not a problem. They are shielded from polar winds by the fact, that they grow in the shallow river valleys under the level of the Yamal peninsula tundra. The rivers also warm a bit the valleys as to enable these trees to grow as trees and not as shrubs.
    Therefore summer temperature should be their main variable, and it is only few weeks between July and August, when they are able to grow.
    Interestingly, Hantemirov and Shiyatov write about these trees in Russian as “summer temp proxies”, evading carefully all mentions about their “global context”.

  111. EW says:
    December 25, 2011 at 4:50 pm
    …………
    Therefore summer temperature should be their main variable, and it is only few weeks between July and August, when they are able to grow.
    Interestingly, Hantemirov and Shiyatov write about these trees in Russian as “summer temp proxies”, evading carefully all mentions about their “global context”.
    ===============================================================
    Thanks EW, but let us take it to the proper position.

    In my view, it is fantastic that anyone who thinks about this for a moment or two doesn’t understand this simple concept. What is the low temp? What is the low temp for the seasons outside the growing season? The only way any period of time correlates with temperatures is through a manipulation of my first love. (Numbers) And, that manipulation is more deplorable and obscene than any drug dealer/pimp could ever imagine. This sick perversion of science and numbers these bastards do is tantamount to numerical buggery.

    THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO WAY ONE CAN GAIN HISTORICAL TEMPERATURES AT ANY POINT IN TIME THROUGHOUT HISTORY, BY LOOKING AT SOME OR MANY SILLY TREE RINGS!!!

    We’ve gone beyond lending that vapid thought any credence. The only thing left if to decide if indictments should be handed out only in this nation, (the U.S.) or should INTERPOL be involved. They should have never engaged. It won’t just be me, there will be many, many more, but, I’ll be the “Simon Wiesenthal” of climatphrenology. Those stupid bastards knew this was crap!! Their harm is uncalculable.

  112. @davidmhoffer December 25, 2011 at 9:42 am:

    Good story, David.

    In 2000, I attended a conference at which an engineer was presenting his ideas on the Great Pyramid. His ideas stood the entire subject on its ear, and it was the first time I’d had a chance to hear it all. I asked quite a few direct questions like you did about acid rain. The speaker answered all of them and seemed to be thriving on them. At one point someone in the audience said they didn’t think it was right that I ask so many pointed questions, but the speaker disagreed with the audience member, saying mine were exactly the kind of questions he wanted someone to ask. His answers were as direct as my questions were.

    As the conference wore on, the speaker and I became fast friends. It isn’t everyone who is afraid of direct questions. If they aren’t ready for them, and especially if they become hostile, it basically shows they are insecure about what they are talking about, IMHO. I think that gives extra reason to doubt the truth of what they are presenting. No one who knows their subject could get hot and bothered about direct questions; that should be their opportunity to really show they know their stuff.

  113. James Sexton says:
    December 25, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    “We’ve gone beyond lending that vapid thought any credence. The only thing left if to decide if indictments should be handed out only in this nation, (the U.S.) or should INTERPOL be involved. They should have never engaged. It won’t just be me, there will be many, many more, but, I’ll be the “Simon Wiesenthal” of climatphrenology. Those stupid bastards knew this was crap!! Their harm is uncalculable.”

    Very Well Said! Loved your “Shout out.” By the way, the same is true of everyone who claims that models can be used for prediction. They know the claim is false.

  114. EW says:
    December 25, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    You are unaware of your own confirmation bias. What you have done is select environments in which temperature is a growth factor for these trees and all other factors have been minimized.

    In my view, you have selected environments which confirm your “a priori” view that temperature is all that matters. You do not see that bias, right?

    Aside from confirmation bias in experimental design, there are problems with these proxies. The main problem is that these environments are so far off the beaten path that you must use some really fancy theory to rationalize your belief that these proxies provide some information that is relevant to global temperature and not just Yamal.

    Another serious problem is your lack of interest in providing empirical evidence for your claims. You say that all factors other than temperature have been minimized but you have no empirical research to support that claim or you would be proudly discussing it here.

    Another serious problem is that you cannot tell us the shape of the growth curve for these trees. If we accept your “a priori” assumption that only temperature affects the growth of these trees, can you tell us the shape of the curve for temperature’s affect? I am sure you cannot. If you have it, would you please post it here immediately and explain the empirical research you did to ascertain it. Like all Warmists, you probably treat it as a linear function. As we have learned from “Hide the Decline,” tree growth is not a linear function of temperature. Furthermore, is it not true that Briffa used the same type of tree that you are studying?

    Finally, I do not believe for one minute that temperature is the only factor in tree growth even in the environment you are studying. There are factor of sunlight, soil quality, changes in local fauna, human management, and many others. If you doubt that sunlight is a factor in tree gowth then I must say you have never spent serious time in a forest at alI. I doubt that you lifted a finger to do empirical research on any of these other matters.

  115. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 25, 2011 at 2:16 pm
    “Excess cold will kill growth stone dead as will inadequate water.
    All else is chaff.”

    How do you know that? Not on the basis of empirical research. How can you discount sunlight? Have you never noticed that underneath the canopy of an old deciduous forest there is no undergrowth? There is no undergrowth because there is no sunlight.

    “I agree that many other variables are in play but one cannot overcome lack of warmth or lack of water so taking a species as a whole on average globally the most important parameters are water and warmth.

    Now if one needs to go further to diagnose the growth factors for each individual tree or group of treees then you are both correct.

    But we do not need to do that for the purpose of simply discrediting trees as adequate thermometers.”

    OK.

  116. This has been a very informative discussion, especially the contributions of Steve Garcia, Stephen Wilde, davidmhoffer, Theo Goodwin, and Pat Moffitt. (Apologies to any names omitted.)

    IanM

  117. @ Pat Moffitt (December 24, 2011 at 9:50 pm) Your analysis of how a corrupt scientific system self-perpetuates and has nothing to do with science and everything to do with the politics of sustaining a career and grants-getting is absolutely masterly.

    I was intrigued when you shared the information that “Climate was not my area of specialty however in my areas of acid rain, nutrients and fishery management I can show you abuses that are far greater (except in monetary terms) than what we see in climate.” I was wondering, as a historian of fisheries science and fisheries, if you would be willing to share briefly what abuses in fishery management (lakes? rivers? maritime?) you experienced? I suppose it would be nothing new to me in the general scheme of things, but I’m not so familiar with problems in US fishery management as I am with the Canadian stories.

    • How about David Suzuki’s war on farmed fish? Granted there are concerns, but most of the concerns voiced by Suzuki, et al, have more to do with the Progressive dogma than legit biology…or maybe not, what do I know.

  118. Theo Goodwin says:
    December 25, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    James Sexton says:
    December 25, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    “We’ve gone beyond lending that vapid thought any credence. ……….
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Very Well Said! Loved your “Shout out.” By the way, the same is true of everyone who claims that models can be used for prediction. They know the claim is false.
    ===================================================================
    Theo, I haven’t given a proper “shout out” to the peeps who have kept the faith and fought the good fight. But, when I do, your name will be close to the top. Not that it will mean anything for posterity, we’ll be little regarded, if at all. Still, there will be people who remember. I will. You and David and all of the people who have been here, past, present, and future. Mostly, the ones who came before…… the ones that didn’t know why but knew it was wrong……. most of them are gone now.

    My drink is for them today! Merry Christmas! God Bless the ones who kept the fire going. We would not have a voice today were it not for them.

  119. As a complete non-expert in tree-ring science I am incompetent to comment on the contributions here. However I would be interested if someone could critique JoNova’s blog Dec 10 this year ‘Chinese 2,485 tree-ring study shows natural cycles control climate, temps may cool til 2068′. Is this study relevant? Local weather report – ‘Sydney still quite cool for December!’ I imagine quick growing eucalypts are hopeless for tree-ring data and glaciers are in short supply in OZ.Cheers Tommo.

  120. Dudley Robertson says:
    December 25, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Which of the following is true concerning Mann and the hockey stick?
    There was a misjudgment in using the data.
    There was a deliberate manipulation of data to fit a desired outcome.
    Fraud was committed in presenting manipulated and known problematic data.

    The first one seems to be a given. The second finds support in the politics of the IPCC and in the acquiescence of the players to allow the graph to stand.

    The question of fraud stands and needs to be answered. A lot of funding was generated based on that graph.

    *******************************************************************

    Good points Dudley, and the Climategate emails clearly answer the fraud question in the affirmative. Not only was there fraud, there was conspiracy to commit fraud. A trillion dollars of scarce global resources has been squandered on this fraud.

    And those who spoke the truth against adversity are being persecuted by the authorities, and the fraudsters are still not being investigated. Why, and why not?

  121. Vigilantfish-
    I don’t want to hijack this thread so will try to find some way to contact you directly- would like to share information of this topic.

  122. James Sexton says:
    December 25, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Thanks for your kind words. As regards your larger message, I am struggling to keep the Enlightenment alive and I cannot do otherwise. I am at peace with that. Thanks for all your great contributions.

    Merry Christmas.

  123. Pat Moffitt says:
    December 26, 2011 at 7:35 am
    Vigilantfish-
    “I don’t want to hijack this thread so will try to find some way to contact you directly- would like to share information of this topic.”

    Your topic is extremely interesting and important. Maybe after you (and Vigilantfish) get it written up you can do a guest post on it. I really like your feel for empirical research. Contrary to what the Warmists believe, Nature is amazingly dynamic and will not lie down and roll over for the scientist.

  124. ChE said:
    December 24, 2011 at 10:38 am

    … but Bradley doesn’t know what begging the question is. At least he’s sophisticated.

    Heh. And he showed it in the discussion of “science” that relies heavily on petitio principii.

    Ignorance and vanity are a lethal blend.

  125. Theo Goodwin says:
    December 26, 2011 at 8:57 am

    About Pat Moffitt:

    “Your topic is extremely interesting and important. Maybe after you (and Vigilantfish) get it written up you can do a guest post on it. I really like your feel for empirical research. Contrary to what the Warmists believe, Nature is amazingly dynamic and will not lie down and roll over for the scientist.”

    AGREE!!!

  126. Chip NIkh says:
    The way my fellow science teachers and I found to break the ‘mass synching bias’ of students, to believe before they perceive, was a simple ad hominem logic questions in their class work:

    Here’s a great experiment for your students have them collect rain water and have them measure the pH. Next have them pour the rain water through peat moss and measure the pH.

    If you wish to see a recent and purposeful government abuse of science education- see this study guide for teachers from NOAA http://oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/SeaWiFS/TEACHERS/CHEMISTRY/. Everything from the definitions (eutrophication) to the experiment are deeply and fundamentally flawed and bent for political purposes to promote the next environmental crisis- the Nitrogen Cascade- the replacement for the failing CO2 paradigm.

  127. Dizzy (at December 24, 10:02 above) references a 2009 paper in Science by Mann and Bradley et al, and adds, “Includes a hockey stick. Read some real science.”

    So I read it. Unlike the original Mann hockey stick, this one clearly shows the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period ( or Climate Anomaly, as they prefer to call it). Since the shaft is no longer straight, it doesn’t much resemble a hockey stick anymore. But the blade still shoots straight up in the latter 20th century.

    And thereby rises an intriguing parallel to the original hockey stick: the return of the “hide the decline” motif. The graph of temperature versus time uses proxies for 500-1850 AD, and the instrumental record for 1850 to 2000. This is a defensible choice, since the instrumental record period was used to calibrate the inferred temperature of the proxies. But here’s the problem: we aren’t shown how well the proxies track the instrumental record. I wonder whether the proxies would show temperatures as high as the instruments at the end of the 20th century. Perhaps they match perfectly, and there is no proxy deviation to “need” hiding. But I would feel cozier about snuggling up to the new improved hockey stick if I could see that correlation graphed out. I’m not ready to take it on trust.

  128. Theo Goodwin (at December 25, 8:14 pm) says:

    “Have you ever noticed that underneath the canopy of an old deciduous forest there is no undergrowth?”

    A good point, and especially relevant to tree rings. In the summer of 2006, I was teaching Forestry merit badge at a troop encampment in the northern Sierras near Stampede Reservoir (a few miles north of Truckee and Lake Tahoe). The chief forester for Tahoe National Forest took us to a dense stand of tall red firs and ponderosa pines. The Forest Service had suppressed fire in this stand for more than a century. The understory comprised a number of short, scrawny trees, mostly firs, typically 2 to 5 feet in height and only 2 or 3 inches in diameter at the base. The forester pointed out that many of these little trees were not young, but instead dated back to the beginning of fire suppression a century before: they had survived but become natural bonsai. The taller trees take all the light and their roots suck up most of the nutrients. If the great trees around them were cut or fell, these bonsai would readily start growing at normal rates to occupy the space; otherwise they would remain permanently dwarfed.

    So a tree dwarfed in its youth by bigger neighbors but subsequently allowed to grow more normally would show incredibly dense rings in early life, but wider-spaced rings later. This would show nothing about either temperature or rainfall, but rather about competition with its neighbors.

  129. Barry Elledge says:
    December 26, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Very well said. It is very pleasant to meet another who knows forests and trees.

  130. “I hedge my bets on whether there were any periods in Medieval times that might have been “warm”, to the irritation of my co-authors!”

    So the conclusion to the hockey stick paper should have said.

    “The basic fundamentals of the reconstruction is disputed by some authors of this paper. There is so much unreliability in the data overall that the paper should really be withdrawn, but that would mean the work we have put into it and the upcoming IPCC report wouldnt have much to say, so we have decided to whitewash it all and just publish it without caveats anway. Regards, and long live the Cause”.

  131. @Barry Elledge Dec 26, 2011 at 7:48 pm:

    So I read it. Unlike the original Mann hockey stick, this one clearly shows the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period ( or Climate Anomaly, as they prefer to call it). Since the shaft is no longer straight, it doesn’t much resemble a hockey stick anymore. But the blade still shoots straight up in the latter 20th century.

    And thereby rises an intriguing parallel to the original hockey stick: the return of the “hide the decline” motif. The graph of temperature versus time uses proxies for 500-1850 AD, and the instrumental record for 1850 to 2000. This is a defensible choice, since the instrumental record period was used to calibrate the inferred temperature of the proxies. But here’s the problem: we aren’t shown how well the proxies track the instrumental record.

    Aye, and this is the rub. What should be done is simply to show each separate graph, before combining them. One for each proxy period. One for instrument period. And when the individual ones have adjustments made to them, THAT is the point at which to tell what those adjustments are. This makes clear what is proxy and what is instrument – and what is adjustment. It also helps others who are trying to replicate the work. Everything is clear, and in the text the authors can explain how they chose to combine them.

    I am amazed (and often bored) with a lot of papers in other fields, where they lay out that they used a certain model of tensile tester with such and such gripping jaws, or that they used such and such scanning electron microscope with such and such settings.

    Little of that seems to be done in climate science reconstructions. Why? Because they are basically making up so much of it as they go along. 90% of their work is doing stats on data, as opposed to field or lab work – but they still need to inform. A paper isn’t just a “Look at what I did!” A paper is supposed to spell out, so that others can follow what was done. HARRY_READ_ME.txt in CG1 shows that they don’t even inform their own people well enough as to what methods or data sets were used. Reading the CG2 emails, they mention several times that they think such and such a method should or should not have been used.

    So, basically, with many of their reconstructions, the whole thing is a proverbial black box, where info goes in and results come out, and who is to know what processing was done inside that box? Scientists in other fields must gasp at such lack of transpareency.

  132. Barry Elledge says
    “Have you ever noticed that underneath the canopy of an old deciduous forest there is no undergrowth?”

    In addition to light the understory is also controlled by allelopathy- plants bio-chemical warfare against other plants. Nature invented herbicides long before we did. I have always wondered what impact the suppression of the fire cycle has had on the accumulation and persistence of allelopathatic substances. I know fire played an important role destroying these chemicals in prairies systems -not sure if I remember seeing anything about the intersect of fire and allelopathy in forests.

  133. @ whoever has made a comment regarding lack of “undergrowth”

    My anecdotal evidence, derived from years of fishing…as far away from people as I can get…in the PNW…light gets through and growth does happen in mixed forests and coniferous forests…and Pat Moffitt…that allelopathy stuff…makes total sense to me…and that would explain a few observations I have made in some predominately oak forests…I think.

    and because the rivers are all blown right now, I am stuck at home on the interweb…

  134. Andrew,
    Even more so with conifers -note you rarely see anything growing below the drip line of a pine tree- even when its in the middle of a lawn area. They are also poor for the productivity of salmon and trout streams when compared to other vegetation. I’ve always wondered whether the allelopathy also suppressed aquatic primary productivity.
    I feel your pain on blown out rivers– but without it- how could we fish falling water?

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