Tick, tick, tick – how long will the new Marcott et al hockey stick survive?

Steve McIntyre writes of the curious uptick in the 20th century, which doesn’t seem to be rooted in reality, or to have been in Marcott’s PhD thesis:

While one expects a difference between NHX and SHX in the Holocene, the remarkable difference between NHX and SHX not just in the 20th century, but in the 19th century is a source of considerable interest. According to Marcott, NHX temperatures increased by 1.9 deg C between 1920 and 1940, a surprising result even for the most zealous activists. But for the rest of us, given the apparent resiliency of our species to this fantastic increase over a mere 20 years, it surely must provide a small measure of hope for resiliency in the future.

figure1B-loop

Read his entire essay here at Climate Audit

About these ads

53 thoughts on “Tick, tick, tick – how long will the new Marcott et al hockey stick survive?

  1. I posted this at Bishop Hill as well-
    Omnologos proposed the following law on January 20, 2012-

    “The Law Of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) Decay predicts how the number of the not-debunked claims by a given media-active warmist decreases in the course of time.

    Half-life rates vary: 2 minutes in the case of a claim appearing on Skeptical Science, 10 minutes for a Romm blog, 15 minutes for a Gore “Truth”, a day for Hansen’s and Schmidt’s remarks and up to 3 months for a Mann Finding.”

    The unprecedented cratering of Marcott et al. may result in some needed tweaking on these decay rates…

    http://omnologos.com/the-law-of-catastrophic-anthropogenic-global-warming-decay/

  2. Glaring errors like this tend to get overlooked in the rush before the rubbish flood gates close to provide more garbage for the GIGO grist mill that is IPCC’s up-coming UN-scientific fiction epic. Same goes for today’s latest splooge re the famine in Somalia & Arctic ice. The BS storm is rising.

    Can I say “splooge” on WUWT?

  3. Them southerners don’t know nuttin about heat!

    As others have pointed out, the goal of Marcott was not the science (there is none), but to grab the headlines and have them stick in the minds of people.

  4. The answer is: forever. If today Marcott published an admission that the entire paper was an early April Fool’s joke and that he made the entire thing up, the graph would still live on forever in the blogosphere and MSM.

  5. With hindsight, it would have been better to wait for IPCC to include it.

    And then comprehensively debunk it.

  6. It’s amazing that there is such a disparity between his thesis and the results published in Science. Are these “new” results value-added? Did he think people wouldn’t check out his thesis? [sigh]

  7. ” Joe Public says: March 15, 2013 at 1:02 pm
    With hindsight, it would have been better to wait for IPCC to include it. And then comprehensively debunk it.”

    No way do it now. We could end up with the very first “content free” IPCC report :)
    Although some would consider that blank pages would be an improvement!

  8. I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t Mann produce his hockey-stick as part of his PhD thesis? And, subsequently, get fame, fortune and a tenured position prior to it being de-bunked? To my mind, most of Mann’s belligerent defense is because the hockey stick was his one and only claim to fame – unlike many of the other members of “the Team” who have other work to fall back on to justify their credentials.

    I am beginning to feel quite sympathetic to Marcott – he probably thought he could be the next “Mann”, but the world has moved on and papers like this get de-bunked much quicker now. I see a retraction in the offing and – poor soul – it will not be a quiet one. Whether the MSM will notice or not, I don’t see any fame or fortune in Marcott’s future.

  9. Disagreeing with Joe Public, the junk scientists need to know that everything they publish will be closely scrutinized — the harder they feel the microscope lens over their heads the better. I hope others are sharing the burden with Steve McIntyre, it’s stressful to do too much by oneself — been there (in a different field).

  10. My guess is that Shaun Marcott did not realise the lion’s den he was entering. He thought that once past pal review sceptics were just going to sit down and say “ummmmm, a robust result I presume, I have been rehabilitated, we must act now.” LOL.

    I have never seen a paper so shredded within a week as this one.

  11. Marcott’s “hockey stick” was dead on arrival–just like Michael Mann’s (for anybody with sufficient knowledge of prior warming periods within the Holocene).

    It’s just more Warmista propaganda, and they know it. They’re desperate and despicable.

  12. Joe Public says:
    March 15, 2013 at 1:02 pm
    With hindsight, it would have been better to wait for IPCC to include it.
    And then comprehensively debunk it.
    ================================================
    No, once printed, any leftist dogma becomes “fact” to the under-informed.

  13. Amusing ending from from http://climatedesk.org/2013/03/a-bigger-badder-climate-hockey-stick :
    “Marcott admitted he was apprehensive about charging into the fully-mobilized troll army, but said he was grateful scientists like Mann had “gone through hell” before him to build a support network for harassed climate scientists. “When Michael came along there was a lot more skepticism about global warming, but the public has come a long way,” he said. “I’m curious to see how the skeptics are going to take this paper.” “

  14. Ouch. That’s gotta smart. Poor humans, having to survive that horrible spike during the Depression.

  15. Dear Mr Watts

    Please excuse my presumption in making a suggestion about your very successful site. If you are mainly interested in winning the political battle concerning global warming — I think you could improve your effort by focusing more on pictures and less on words. You and I are intellectuals and can process the world in terms of words and numbers when we want. Many process their “concepts” in terms of pictures and simple slogans.

    I believe that winning that battle will require that we present a bettter picture than Jim Hansen et al.

    Perhaps the picture of the world greening shown by Dr. Ridley could be that image. Whaever it is, it has to be short (15 seconds type time scale), compelling, play to basic archtypes and be repeated lierally millions of times. The image should engender hope to overcome the fear that CAGW crowd uses so effectively.

    Thanks for your site and all your efforts. Good Luck.

  16. With a paper this bad, one has to wonder what (who?) could possibly convince Marcott et al that they could not only publish this, but slide a completely different version of their thesis into a journal. I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but yikes!

    Marcott, you’ve been used.

  17. The attached item was brought to my attention by a colleague, and is germane to the Marcott affair:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/doubts-about-johns-hopkins-research-have-gone-unanswered-scientist-says/2013/03/11/52822cba-7c84-11e2-82e8-61a46c2cde3d_story.html

    [begin quote]
    Doubts about Johns Hopkins research have gone unanswered, scientist says

    Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post – Daniel Yuan, pictured at his home in Laurel, raised doubts for years about the work of his colleagues in a Johns Hopkins medical research lab. “The denial that I am hearing from almost everyone in the group as a consensus is troubling to me,” he wrote in one e-mail. In December 2011, after 10 years at the lab, he was fired.

    By Peter Whoriskey, Published: March 11

    The numbers didn’t add up.

    Over and over, Daniel Yuan, a medical doctor and statistician, couldn’t understand the results coming out of the lab, a prestigious facility at Johns Hopkins Medical School funded by millions from the National Institutes of Health.

    He raised questions with the lab’s director. He reran the calculations on his own. He looked askance at the articles arising from the research, which were published in distinguished journals. He told his colleagues: This doesn’t make sense.

    “At first, it was like, ‘Okay — but I don’t really see it,’” Yuan recalled. “Then it started to smell bad.”
    […]
    In August, Yu-yi Lin, the lead author of the paper, was found dead in his new lab in Taiwan, a puncture mark in his left arm and empty vials of sedatives and muscle relaxants around him, according to local news accounts — an apparent suicide.
    [end quote]

  18. TRM says:
    March 15, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    ” Joe Public says: March 15, 2013 at 1:02 pm
    With hindsight, it would have been better to wait for IPCC to include it. And then comprehensively debunk it.”

    No way do it now. We could end up with the very first “content free” IPCC report :)
    Although some would consider that blank pages would be an improvement!

    *

    I like the idea of blank pages, but I can imagine the MSM panicking over that, too. I can see the headlines now:

    IPCC HAS NOTHING TO SAY. IT MUST BE WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT!

    :)

  19. Either the guy has just published junk – or he just proved that his thesis was junk. Take your pick. Looks like we don’t need to debunk climate scientists these days. The latest generation is self-debunking.

  20. It is essential that the names of owners of all the fingerprints on the authoring, review, publication, acceptance, and endorsement of this embarrassing episode be researched, documented, and published here. Let’s give full credit to all involved.

    This paper is a stink-bomb. For those involved in the paper’s dissemination and acceptance, the smell needs to linger and permeate the skin of so deep it cannot be white-washed away. Let the stench waft forever from the web archive.

    Willis Eschenbach motioned to let sunshine in to the Peer Review process, Peer Review, Pal Review, and Broccoli (WUWT 2/17/2011). The reviewers are important. But there is no reason to stop with the reviewers.

  21. The beauty of this hockey stick is that any layperson can understand its impossibility without needing to trust in arcane statistical arguments, just by being exposed to plots of the bizarre input data. I hope the paper suffers actual retraction, as it looks like it should, now that it has been attached to strongly to the original hockey stick, claiming to validate it. Far from being upset that the scam continues, I am delighted that the team is digging so deeply into such obviously bogus territory.

  22. I suggest Anthony prepare a copy of the Monty Python Dead Parrot skit. It will be needed shortly. I can picture Marcott in the role of the pet store clerk.

  23. The only thing Marcott will learn from this episode is not to publish his supplementary data next time.

  24. Elizabeth says:
    March 15, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    “Lot of hand waving here qualified persons need to write a letter to the Editor of Science?:”

    I could write a letter that states: “You published an article by Marcott that is interesting only because it shows a graph that has an uptick indicating rapidly rising temperatures in the twentieth century yet the author states in the fine print of his article that the uptick is not robust, his word, meaning not statistically significant. The uptick is interesting only because it indicates imminent climate Armageddon. Would you please take the steps necessary to inform your readers that the uptick should not have been published?”

    Do you think that will do the job? It is concise, clear, to the point, true, and fair. Your comments will be appreciated.

  25. davidmhoffer says:
    March 15, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Mann. “Publish this graph with the uptick and you will enjoy the same fame that I enjoyed since the time that I was in your shoes.”

  26. As I posted at CA….

    fyi, the thesis advisor, mentor, and also co-author for both Marcott (Marcott et al. 2013, Science) and Shakun (Shakun et al., 2012, Nature) is Peter Clark at Oregon State…. who just happens to be a Coordinating Lead Author (one of only 8 CLAs from the USA) for the IPCC’s AR5:

    Peter Clark is CLA for IPCC’s AR5, the chapter on sea level change

    So even if that sea level chapter is not in the target zone for these two papers the IPCC’s AR5 process was certainly a potential topic of discussion for co-authors who seemed to get the Marcott et al. (2013) paper in just under the wire for consideration.

  27. p.s. If anyone does submit a comment to “Science” please consider leading off with Shaun Marcott’s favorite Feynman quotation (judging from the fact that he led off his PhD thesis with this quote and one from Sagan):

    “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”

    Richard P. Feynman

  28. The article appears to richly deserve it, but will it be retracted?

    That would be a major admission of error by the editors at Science.

  29. Skiphil;
    “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”
    Richard P. Feynman
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Does it then follow that:
    “Ignorance is the belief in the expertise of scientists”?

    Having followed the climate debate for a while now, I think (with apologies to Arthur C Clarke) that following sums up the current state of affairs:

    “Any sufficiently advanced Magic is indistinguishable from Science”

    I’ve used that quip before, but who knew that an actual journal called “Science” would actually publish a hockey stick conjured up from data by magic?

  30. This paper is so poorly done, I am starting to go for the conspiracy theory.
    What is being slid by us, while we are distracted by this stinker?

  31. Jim Rose says:
    March 15, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    “…You and I are intellectuals and can process the world in terms of words and numbers when we want. Many process their “concepts” in terms of pictures and simple slogans…”
    ____
    Well, isn’t that spatial.

  32. note: I am merely noting the inter-relations with IPCC AR5 WG1 authors. I know nothing of these people beyond what we have seen so far of Shakun and Marcott, co-authors with two current IPCC authors. Even with the best of intentions and practices it is a situation fraught with issues, and we have not exactly always seen the best of intentions and practices from IPCC types.

    IPCC aspects of Shakun et al. (2012): in addition to adviser to Shakun and Marcott (Peter Clark), another co-author is a Lead Author for the Ch 5 Paleo chapter! One need not suggest any “conspiracy” at all to note there may be a conflict-of-interest and also the chronic IPCC problem of people reviewing/proclaiming upon the scientific importance of their own work.

    IPCC AR5, WG1 Author List

    Ch 5: Information from Paleoclimate Archives

    Lead Author: Bette OTTO-BLIESNER, NCAR (USA)

    Chapter 13: Sea Level Change

    Coordinating Lead Author: Peter Clark, Oregon State (USA)

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

    “Global warming preceded by increasing carbon dioxide concentrations during the last deglaciation”

    Jeremy D. Shakun, Peter U. Clark, Feng He, Shaun A. Marcott, Alan C. Mix, Zhengyu Liu, Bette Otto-Bliesner, Andreas Schmittner & Edouard Bard

    Nature 484, 49–54
    (05 April 2012)
    doi:10.1038/nature10915

    Received
    16 September 2011
    Accepted
    01 February 2012
    Published online
    04 April 2012

  33. note: I am merely observing some inter-relations between Marcott/Shakun and IPCC AR5 WG1 authors. I know nothing of these people beyond what we have seen so far of Shakun and Marcott on the web, and I am not imputing any conspiracy to anyone. Even with the best of intentions and practices it is a situation fraught with issues, and we have not exactly always seen the best of intentions and practices from IPCC types.

    IPCC aspects of Shakun et al. (2012): in addition to adviser to Shakun and Marcott (Peter Clark), another co-author is a Lead Author for the Ch 5 Paleo chapter! One need not suggest any “conspiracy” at all to note there may be a conflict-of-interest and also the chronic IPCC problem of people reviewing/proclaiming upon the scientific importance of their own work.

    IPCC AR5, WG1 Author List

    Ch 5: Information from Paleoclimate Archives

    Lead Author: Bette OTTO-BLIESNER, NCAR (USA)

    Chapter 13: Sea Level Change

    Coordinating Lead Author: Peter Clark, Oregon State (USA)

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

    “Global warming preceded by increasing carbon dioxide concentrations during the last deglaciation”

    Jeremy D. Shakun, Peter U. Clark, Feng He, Shaun A. Marcott, Alan C. Mix, Zhengyu Liu, Bette Otto-Bliesner, Andreas Schmittner & Edouard Bard

    Nature 484, 49–54
    (05 April 2012)
    doi:10.1038/nature10915

    Received
    16 September 2011
    Accepted
    01 February 2012
    Published online
    04 April 2012

  34. davidmhoffer says:
    March 15, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    With a paper this bad, one has to wonder what (who?) could possibly convince Marcott et al that they could not only publish this, but slide a completely different version of their thesis into a journal. I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but yikes!

    Marcott, you’ve been used.

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

    I think it might be worse than that. They may have done this intentionally for the low information idiot.. The ones who see the head line but never the facts..The same ones who elected Obama and though he would not take money from them but give it to them… fooled by the flashy lines and a fictional crisis around every corner..

    IN the words of PT Barnum “there’s a sucker born every minuet”. It must be a lollipop world. (Wel la 47% one anyway)

  35. Could someone please start a list of climate scientists that are not complete idiots, please. It can’t be all that long a list.

  36. I’ve checked over the data and there is a worrying lack of correlation to the conclusion. No handle for a critic — no single thing can be identified to be shown to be wrong. Maybe the climateers’ new plan is to transcend us, floating free above the madding crowds.

  37. Rob Potter says:
    March 15, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t Mann produce his hockey-stick as part of his PhD thesis? And, subsequently, get fame, fortune and a tenured position prior to it being de-bunked? To my mind, most of Mann’s belligerent defense is because the hockey stick was his one and only claim to fame……….

    Is this what you’re looking for? Read carefully.

    May 13th 2010
    This comes from a previously overlooked connection between discredited tree-ring proxy researcher, Michael Mann and Yale’s now deceased climate professor, Barry Saltzman……………………………..

    The AMS tells us, “Barry Saltzman led the revival of the theory that variations of atmospheric CO2 are a significant driver of long-term climate change.”……………………..

    Mann’s Ph.D ‘Rushed Through’

    All was now well and Yale gave Mann his Ph.D in 1998. One eminent source in my enquiries confirmed Mann’s Ph.D. was, in fact “rushed through.”

    Instantly, Mann was then plucked from obscurity and appointed not just a contributing author for Chapters 7,8,12 of the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report (1998-00) but also Lead Author for Chapter 2. And with no track record whatsoever in this field, Mann now with tree ring data thrust into his hand, famously carved out his infamous ‘hockey stick’ graph.

    “So what miracle turned this problematic researcher’s life around?
    If miracles happened for Mann, they came in the form of Barry Saltzman. You see, this struggling student’s career was transformed the moment Saltzman became his Ph.D adviser. Only after Saltzman applied his influence were Mann’s lofty credentials “rushed through.” Mann then turned himself into a makeshift tree ring counter, and overnight became the iconic figure in the IPCC Third Report (2001). The rest is history, as they say.”

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=5700&linkbox=true&position=1

    Is Marcott becoming the new rising star of calamatology like Mann? Unlikely, as his work is being nipped in the bud.

  38. The graph, at top, shows that the SH increased temperature far more than the NH in recent years. I do not understand this given that the SH is mostly water and water heats up far slower than land.

  39. The worst aspect of Marcott et al is that one of his co-authors is influential and a contributor to the forthcoming IPCC report. You can bet that Marcott et al will be positively cited, and with no qualifications about uncertainties. People should flag this up widely.

  40. Mathematician Paul Matthews (U. of Nottingham, UK) calls for Marcott et al. (2013) to be withdrawn:

    Paul Matthews to Science

    Brief comment on “A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years”

    Paul Matthews, School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Nottingham, UK

    16 March 2013

    This paper includes several graphs that show slow temperature variation over the last 10000 years followed by a rapid rise over the 20th century. This aspect of the paper has unsurprisingly been
    seized upon enthusiastically by climate activists and journalists. However it is clear that this result is spurious. Note the following points:
    1. The proxy data in the accompanying Excel file show no dramatic increase in the 20th century. This can easily be checked simply by plotting the supplied data.
    2. Figures S5 and S6 show no recent upturn at all.
    3. The Phd thesis of the first author uses the same data sets and plots similar graphs, but with no trace of any sharp increase. This earlier contradictory work is not cited in the paper.
    4. The supplementary material provides no explanation for how the graphs were constructed. Carrying out an averaging of the proxy data yields a graph similar to that in the thesis, quite different from that in the paper. Why was no detailed explanation of the procedure reported? Will the authors supply the code that was used?

    Any one of these issues would raise serious questions about the validity of this work. Taken together they leave no doubt that the results presented are spurious and misleading. The paper should be withdrawn immediately. The fact that such an obviously flawed paper was published raises serious questions about the authors, the quality of the refereeing process and the handling of the paper by the editors of Science.

    Mar 16, 2013 at 12:34 PM | Registered Commenter Paul Matthews

  41. I think we do somewhat of a disservice to the auditors here and the practices pioneered by Steve McIntyre to suggest that the paper is transparently bad. I don’t think it is, save the hanging blade of the hockey stick and even here many of us are primed to see something funny with such a shape.

  42. When the peer reviewers passed this paper didn’t any of them realise that sceptics would look for the flaws they ‘missed’???? Why did they miss them???? This is what I find so puzzling.

  43. I don’t know how PhDs are examined in Oregon SU but in UK there is a tradition that the external examiner and others on the examining board should take an adversarial role. I read Marcott’s Acknowledgements with interest wondering how testing was his viva. If I interpret it aright, Marcott got an easy ride and is suffering for it.
    Don’t let him take the blame alone. He is human and seemingly went along with the tide – but should we not turn the critical spotlight on OSU, the Examining Board for his thesis, the Editors of Science and the referees of his paper? Are they all ignorant, corrupt or indolent?
    If he goes down, these others should go down with him?

  44. “bernie says:
    March 16, 2013 at 6:52 am

    I think we do somewhat of a disservice to the auditors here and the practices pioneered by Steve McIntyre to suggest that the paper is transparently bad. I don’t think it is, save the hanging blade of the hockey stick and even here many of us are primed to see something funny with such a shape.”

    Have you not heard the expression “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence?”

  45. Ahhh, so Marcott et al have written a paper that plagiarizes Marcott’s PhD thesis, but they didn’t even manage to get their recycling of their old work right.

    So which paper is Marcott planning to retract: the plagiarized one or his thesis?

    Maybe the committee should reconsider his doctoral status.

Comments are closed.