The Stokes-Kaufman contamination protocol – a ‘sticky’ wicket

Over at Climate Audit, Steve McIntyre has found yet another unexplainable inclusion of a hockey stick shaped proxy in the PAGES2K paper. What is most interesting about it is that when you look at the proxy plot panel, it reminds you of the panel that Steve plotted for Yamal, where just one proxy sample went off the rails as an apparent outlier and seems to dominate the set. Since even a grade school student could pick this proxy out in one of those “which one of these is not like the others?” type test questions, one wonders if this particular proxy was preselected by Kaufman specifically for its shape, or if they just  bungled the most basic of quality control inspections. Of course, when Steve asked those questions, Nick Stokes showed up to defend the indefensible, and hilarity ensued.

Steve McIntyre writes:

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Kaufman and paleo peer reviewers ought to be aware that the recent portion of varve data can be contaminated by modern agriculture, as this was a contentious issue in relation to Mann et al 2008 (Upside Down Mann) and Kaufman et al 2009. Nonetheless, Kaufman et al 2013 (PAGES), despite dozens of coauthors and peer review at the two most prominent science journals, committed precisely the same mistake as his earlier article, though the location of the contaminated data is different.

The contaminated series is readily identified as an outlier through a simple inspection of the data. The evidence of contamination by recent agriculture in the specialist articles is completely unequivocal. This sort of mistake shouldn’t be that hard to spot even for real climate scientists.

Here is a plot of the last nine (of 22) Arctic sediment series. One of these series (top left – Igaliku) has the classic shape of the contaminated Finnish sediment series (often described as upside down Tiljander). Any proper data analyst plots data and inspects outliers, especially ones that overly contribute to the expected answer. The Igaliku series demands further inspection under routine data analysis.

last 9 arctic sediments
Figure 1. Plot of last nine (of 22) Kaufman et al Arctic sediment series. The Igaliku proxy is total pollen accumulation.

The Igaliku series is plotted separately below. It is also available at a NOAA archive here , which actually contains one additional recent value plotted in red. The NOAA archive contains many other measurements: it is unclear why Kaufman selected pollen accumulation rate out of all the available measurements.

The resolution of the data set is only 56 years (coarser than the stated minimum of 50 years) and only has three values in the 20th century. The value in 1916 was lower than late medieval values, but had dramatically surged in the late part of the 20th century.

Igaliku pollen
Figure 2. PAGES2K Igaliku series.

Igaliku is in Greenland and was the location of the Norse settlement founded by Erik the Red and is of archaeological interest. Sediment series from Lake Igaliku have been described in three specialist publications in 2012:

Massa et al, 2012. Journal of Paleolimnology, A multiproxy evaluation of Holocene environmental change from Lake Igaliku, South Greenland. (Not presently online). (Update: online here h/t Mosher. I’ve added a paragraph from this text referring to pollen accumulation.)

Massa et al 2012. QSR. A 2500 year record of natural and anthropogenic soil erosion in South Greenland. Online here.

Perren et al 2012, 2012. Holocene. A paleoecological perspective on 1450 years of human impacts from a lake in southern Greenland. Online here.

The three articles clearly demonstrate that the sediments are contaminated as climate proxies.

Igaliku has been re-settled in the 20th century and modern agricultural practices have been introduced. The specialist publications make it overwhelmingly clear that modern agriculture has resulted in dramatic changes to the sediments, rendering the recent portion of the Igaliku series unusable as a climate proxy. Here are some quotes from the original article.

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Read Steve’s entire essay here: More Kaufman Contamination

Nick showed up to argue that the Igaliku really isn’t contaminated by agriculture at all, and is currently engaged in an multi-front battle of deny, duck, and cover. The obstinance on display to prevent admitting the obvious is diamond hard. This isn’t unusual, as Nick was associated with CSIRO, where admissions aren’t part of the government funded manual. Gadflies and racehorse comparisons were bandied about and now Steve has taken to calling Nick “racehorse” much in the same vein as Tamino and his self proclaimed “bulldog” status.

To say watching this is entertaining, would be an understatement. Meanwhile there have been many updates and piling on of additional evidence for contamination. Nick is now reduced to rebutting Steve with Bill Clinton style questions (“It depends on what the meaning of the words ‘is’ is.”) such as: “Could you say exactly what you mean by “contaminated core”?”

Here is my contribution that I left as comments:

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

Anthony Watts Posted Apr 30, 2013 at 12:09 AM

Steve writes:

The three articles clearly demonstrate that the sediments are contaminated as climate proxies.

Igaliku has been re-settled in the 20th century and modern agricultural practices have been introduced.

=======================================================
By way of support for this, photos can tell you a lot.

Google Earth’s aerial view clearly shows the developed agriculture signature:

And from the ground, hay bales in Igaliku from the Wikipedia page on Igaliku:

The slope of the land drains right into the lake, and along the slope is clearly human agricultural development.

O’Rourke and SOlomon 1976 have recently found that total pollen influx was a direct function of sediment influx in varved sediments from seneca Lake, New York.

Given the drainage pattern of the land, it seems like a clear case of sediment contamination to me.

Kaufman has followed his rules, which are to use proxies which:
“(5) exhibit a documented temperature signal, and (6) are
published in peer-reviewed literature as a proxy for temperature”

One wonders though if Igaliku wasn’t preselected due to the shape of the data without any other considerations.

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

Note: the Google Earth image is of the town near the fjord, the Wikipedia picture of the lake where sediment was sampled is in the highland just to the NW of the town. You can inspect the map here and see the lake (which is ice-covered in the satellite photo):

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=60.987778,-45.420833&ll=61.009153,-45.439453&spn=0.053414,0.185394&t=h&z=13

Update: here is another view of the lake from the ground, showing agriculture all around the catch basin, thanks to Nick and anonymoose http://www.panoramio.com/photo/12426959

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

    • EdeF
      Posted Apr 30, 2013 at 12:27 AM

      Igaliku reminds me of the small farms in the Okanogan River valley of central Washington state. Note that dirt would wash into the lake from the several roads going up to the higher country.

      • Anthony Watts
        Posted Apr 30, 2013 at 12:37 AM

        Exactly, basically what agriculture does is increase the pollen catch-basin area though land use change. Fighting runoff and erosion is always an issue with agriculture.

        With a larger area near the lake having undergone land-use change, it will allow more runoff, and therefore more pollen to be funneled into the lake. Kaufman was probably never a farmer and wouldn’t get this, or maybe he simply didn’t want to since that uptick looks so “elegant” when trying to fit the theory to the data.

  1. Anthony Watts
    Posted Apr 30, 2013 at 1:14 AM

    Figure 2 from PAGES 2K has an interesting pollen bump from about 1150-1400.

    I think I’ve found a proxy for that. Modern day Igaliku is on the same site as Garðar, Greenland, which had a period of growth during the MWP.

    Garðar was the seat of the bishop in the Norse settlements in Greenland.

    Garðar had enough success as a town to warrant the Catholic Church to issue a permanent Bishop for the construction of a cathedral there. The first bishop of Garðar, Arnaldur, was ordained by the Archbishop of Lund in 1124. He arrived in Greenland in 1126. In the same year he started with the construction of the cathedral, devoted to St. Nicholas, patron saint of sailors.

    To support something like that, you need a successful agricultural base. People that are starving don’t have time for such luxuries.

    Bishop Álfur was ordained in 1368 and served as last bishop of Garðar until 1378. The Greenland diocese disappeared in the 1400s, when the ship departures from Norway stopped.

    If you look at this table of Bishops, it seems to correlate with that bump in the pollen data, then dives after 1400.

    Bishop Served years
    Arnaldur First-Bishop 1124–1126
    Bishop Arnaldur 1126–1150
    Jón Knútur 1153–1186
    Jón Árnason 1189–1209
    Þór Helgi 1212–1230
    Nikulás 1234–1242
    Ólafur 1242–mid-1280
    Þór Bokki 1289–1309
    Bishop Árni 1315–1347
    Álfur Last-Bishop 1368–1378

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gardar,_Greenland

    A timeline is here: http://www.greenland-guide.gl/leif2000/history.htm

    Bishops would seem to be a proxy for the success of the town, and the success of the town had to rely on the sea and agriculture. When the climate turned colder, the agriculture failed, as we have heard about other areas of southern Greenland.

    Of course the pollen bump due to agriculture would have been smaller then than now, since they had no mechanization to amplify the area they could till and plant.

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

Bishop Hill might like the Bishops proxy, but Mosher added the real clincher though:

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Steve Mosher Posted Apr 29, 2013 at 2:39 PM

http://www.academia.edu/2367255/A_multiproxy_evaluation_of_Holocene_environmental_change_from_Lake_Igaliku_South_Greenland_of_environmental_change_from_Lake_Igaliku_South_Greenland._Massa_C._Perren_B._Gauthier_E._Bichet_V._Petit_Ch._Richard_H

“Norse farmers settled southern Greenland *985 AD(Jones1986) including the area around Lake Igaliku,which was used for grazing and hay production.Following the disappearance of the Norse *1450 AD,Igaliku was resettled during the 18th century (Arne-borg2007) and large-scale agriculture, based on sheep farming, was developed in the 1920s (Austrheim et al.2008). Consequently, the response to climate changeover the last millennium was overprinted by land-use effects (Gauthier et al.2010; Massa et al.2012; Perrenet al.2012). However, the consideration of human-induced changes at Lake Igaliku in light of the entire Holocene ecosystem development provides new insights about their magnitude.Relative to the preceding Holocene shifts, the vegetation was slightly impacted by land clearanceand grazing, and exhibits a small decrease in woodytaxa abundance (from 60 to 45 %). Until *1335 AD,the related soil erosion, documented by high TOC/TNand MAR values, clearly compounds the long-termincreasing trend (Fig.6). Contrary to the other studiedvariables, the diatom assemblages indicate that thelake ecology was not significantly impacted, and that the changes are within the range of natural Holocene variability.Both in terms of lake ecology and soil erosion, theperiod since 1988 AD is likewise unprecedented in the context of the Holocene by a magnitude and rate of change greater than the previous 9,500 years. The digging of drainage ditches for hayfields caused adramatic increase in MAR, which reached unprece-dented values. The use of nitrogen fertilizers on thesefields (200–250 kg ha -1 yr -1of N, Miki Egede pers.commun.) have outpaced the natural buffering capac-ity of Lake Igaliku, resulting in a sharp rise in themesotrophic diatom, Fragilaria tene

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Nick, in classic Mannian style, refuses to concede. Go help him out at the Climate Audit thread More Kaufman Contamination which is sure to become a classic.

This Stokes-Kaufman incident seems to be a case of land use effect denial.

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90 Responses to The Stokes-Kaufman contamination protocol – a ‘sticky’ wicket

  1. knr says:

    When the data produces the ‘right result ‘ its quality or lack-off means nothing .

  2. AnonyMoose says:

    “You can inspect the map here and see the lake (which is ice-covered in the satellite photo):”
    Is it the almost-round lake north of town, with a road crossing its outlet on the east side?

  3. AnonyMoose says:

    Ah… Here is the location of the lake, according to Nick at CA.
    http://www.panoramio.com/photo/12426959

  4. Theo Goodwin says:

    Nick pursues classic Mannian style; that is, if a proxy shows a hockey stick then it is a reliable proxy. All evidence to the contrary must be questioned to the point of filibuster. Some day, scientists will become proxy researchers and they will conduct experiments in an attempt to prove that their proxies are not reliable.

  5. Rud Istvan says:

    The discovery of more 20th century contamination certainly calls into question the quality of paleo climate and peer review. But in a previous post, Steve did something perhaps more important, by researching what the true experts say about varve interpretation over time. Deeper, older sediments compact. Therefore any reconstruction looking only at thickness understates the past compared to the present.
    A hockey stick needs a handle and a blade. We know of several creative ways to make a blade. Graft on temperatures ( without frequency shift or calibration, as in Mike’s Nature trick) redate (as with Marcott), use contaminated samples (as here), practice selection bias (as Gergis)…But for AGW to trump natural variability, it is also necessary to have a smooth handle. That is why the MWP and LIA are so important. And relying on varve thickness without taking compaction into account is a beaut that should get all such reconstructions retracted from the literature. But obviously hasn’t and won’t.

  6. Theo Goodwin says:

    ‘Kaufman has followed his rules, which are to use proxies which:
    “(5) exhibit a documented temperature signal, and (6) are
    published in peer-reviewed literature as a proxy for temperature”’

    So, any proxy that has been referenced in peer-reviewed literature is a reliable proxy? That means that any such proxy and the research which produced it are beyond criticism. Can one be more anti-science than that? People who hold such views are not even interested in science.

  7. beng says:

    Stokes is showing his arse again over at CA…..

  8. Caleb says:

    Slightly off topic, but does anyone know how those farms are doing?

  9. david kuxhausen says:

    Thank you to Nike Stokes for debating the other side of the argument. His comments have helped me to understand this issue at a deeper level than would have been possible otherwise. Shame on you people for belittleing (sp) him for his views. From Nick I hear no ad hominem attacks. I dont agree with him but admire him for stating his view as unpopular as they are.

  10. Nick Stokes says:

    “Nick showed up to argue that the Igaliku really isn’t contaminated by agriculture at all,”

    That’s not what I said at all. Steve’s argument was that Massa et al, the original authors, had said that nitrogen fertilizer use invalidated modern measures involving diatoms and isotope ratios. I pointed out that this did not apply to pollen, which came from elsewhere, and for which the mud was simply a place where it lodged and could be counted, and that Massa et al had said that the pollen count did in fact document climate change over the last millenia. That data is what Kaufman used.

    But my main argument, put several times, is this. Climate Audit stated very firmly, just a few days ago
    “Perhaps the greatest single difference between being a “real climate scientist” and policies recommended here is that “real climate scientists” do not hesitate in excluding data ex post because it goes the “wrong” way, a practice that is unequivocally condemned at Climate Audit and other critical blogs which take the position that criteria have to be established ex ante: if you believe that treeline spruce ring widths or Arctic d18O ice core data is a climate proxy, then you can’t exclude (or downweight) data because it goes the “wrong” way.”

    The Pages2k was a structured program, and it did lay down such criteria:
    “The proxy records selected by the Arctic2k group for the Arctic continental-scale temperature reconstruction (Fig. S7) meet the following criteria:
    (1) situated north of 60°N,
    (2) extend back in time to at least 1500 CE,
    (3) have an average sample resolution of no coarser than 50 years,
    (4) include at least one chronological reference point every 500 years,
    (5) exhibit a documented temperature signal, and
    (6) are published in peer-reviewed literature as a proxy for temperature, although not necessarily calibrated to temperature (i.e., some records provide only a relative measure of temperature with unknown transformations between the proxy measurement and temperature).”

    Note (5) and (6). The Igaliku pollen record qualifies, so Kaufman included them. Massa et al documented a temperature signal and published it as a proxy for temperature. That’s what CA demands.

    Yet you are demanding that ” Since even a grade school student could pick this proxy out in one of those “which one of these is not like the others?” type test questions”

    Excluding data ex post, in CA terms. And presumably, urging Kaufman to overrule the original peer reviewed and published result on the basis of his farming knowledge, or whatever. So your demand is “unequivocally condemned at Climate Audit”.

    REPLY: Oh please Nick, this is just spin. Do they teach this sort of misdirection in CSIRO wonk school, or or you simply on somebody’s payroll to be this purposely obtuse? The Igaliku proxy is in fact unlike the others, it is clearly contaminated, and clearly a hockey stick shape which suggests it was selected specifically rather than excluded. McIntyre asked you to show a similar proxy, uncontaminated, that shows a similar hockey stick shape, and so far you have ducked that call for comparison.

    Until you can demonstrate that, all your defensive hand waving is moot. – Anthony

  11. I am in full agreement with McIntyre and I like the photographic evidence supplied by Watts.

    But, let’s assume for argument that Igaliku is a NON-contaminated record and is a valid proxy of “increased CO2 driven climate change”. Igaliku is a pollen count proxy showing a large increase in pollen in the last century. More pollen comes from more plant fertility which logically comes from greater plant biomass which is causally linked by assumption in argument to be the result of increased CO2 and its assumed associated climate change.

    Igaliku is either valid or invalid evidence for climate change.
    If invalid, it is contaminated and it should not be used for climate change studies. Full stop.
    If it is valid evidence for climate change, then the inescapable conclusion is that the climate change is leading to a spectacular increase in pollenating plant life. Now, if there was a decrease in plant life driven by climate change, I would be alarmed. However, an increase in plant life is a cause for great happiness.

    Either way, Igaliku cannot properly be used to support actions to mitigate climate change.

  12. agfosterjr says:

    This climate reconstruction of the Aral Sea region does not seem to have been incorporated in any of sytheses: http://www.academia.edu/244158/Advances_in_understanding_the_late_Holocene_history_of_the_Aral_Sea_region
    which brings up the question, have any of the several recent central Asian proxies (which usually show a strong, early MWP) been included in recent sytheses?

    “In China There Are No Hockey Sticks” –http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/07/in-china-there-are-no-hockey-sticks/

    Asia is a big continent to ignore. –AGF

  13. jc says:

    Any bewilderment at the submission and endorsement of elementary “mistakes” assumes too much.

    There is a limit to intellectual ineptitude no matter how degraded and invalid the “knowledge” base.

    That there will be examples of deliberate fraud perpetrated in this field is beyond doubt. There already have been. To assume this is not one is to be insufficiently objective.

  14. Bill Parsons says:

    Regarding Nick Stokes as “Racehorse”: Scattered comments at CA over the last few months have suggested the tag is an allusion to Harry “Racehorse” Haynes, a particularly tenacious criminal defense lawyer from Texas. I don’t know if Steve coined the nickname over there, but it’s not wholly pejorative; Haynes earned it as a football player in public school, and was decorated in the war, but has since set himself up as one an aggressive defender of particularly notorious criminals. He’s not indifferent to the incentives for doing this. See:

    “T. Cullen Davis: The Best Justice Money Can Buy”

    http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/not_guilty/t_cullen_davis/4.html?sect=14

    Haynes was well-known in his own right. Time magazine once referred to him as one of the top six criminal lawyers in America and shortly before Cullens trial, Haynes was asked by a reporter if he was the best criminal defense lawyer in Texas. He barely paused before replying, I believe I am. Then, he immodestly added, I wonder why you restrict it to Texas.

    Haynes successfully defended John Hill, a Houston plastic surgeon accused of murdering his socialite wife by letting her die after she ate allegedly poisoned French pastries that he served her.

    Despite his nickname, Haynes is more of a bulldog in appearance than a racehorse, although at 50 years old during the trial of Cullen Davis, he bobbed and weaved and skittered around the courtroom with the agility of a greyhound.

  15. Eric says:

    Nick

    It appears that you have been hoisted by tour own petard…

    “(3) have an average sample resolution of no coarser than 50 years”

    The sample fails this at a resolution of 56 years….

  16. AndyL says:

    Nick

    You said above that “Massa et al had said that the pollen count did in fact document climate change over the last millenia” my bold, That is absolutely not true. This is what they said:

    Despite the possible influence of land use, pollen accumulation appears to document climatic changes of the last millennia nonetheless. PAR reached minimum values during the Little Ice Age from 1500 to 1920 AD, consistent with maximum glacial re-advance at Qipisarqo (Kaplan et al. 2002) and elsewhere in south Greenland (Weidick et al. 2004; Larsen et al. 2011). It is also coeval with high rates of isostatically driven transgression, which caused the inundation of a Norse graveyard at Herjolfsnæs (Mikkelsen et al. 2008). The sharp increase of Salix/ Betula pollen accumulation rate after 1920 AD (Fig. 6) suggests a rapid warming, which reversed the Neoglacial cooling trend similar to other locations in the Arctic (Kaufman et al. 2009).

    There’s a big difference between “in fact” and “appears to” or “suggests”

  17. Tim says:

    Looks like a perfect proxy for tracing historical agricultural development. Sorry what was the question again?

  18. timothy sorenson says:

    Way to go Nick, just skip one of the criteria, (Cuz its close) and then on top of that, since your criteria does not say: “Don’t use contaminated data that are useless as proxies.” You’re golden!

    Since they didn’t say were going to exclude crap we have to accept crap.

  19. timothy sorenson says:

    Also since they choose to include a proxy that violated their rules for inclusion, then EVERY proxy they considered should be listed to see which of those which were close but didn’t include.

  20. Slartibartfast says:

    Anthony, you are pointing out the village when you show pictures from overhead, but are showing a picture of the lake and its agricultural surroundings taken from nearby. Those are places that are perhaps a mile apart.

    The village isn’t on the lake; it’s on the fjord. Note the many acres of agricultural development alongside the lake. I’m guessing 40 acres or more. It’s here:

    60.9985°N, 45.4485°W

    Paste that into your Google maps; arrow should be dead center on ag complex. Agricultural development in the village area is, I would think, irrelevant to the Lake Igaliku varvology.

  21. Slartibartfast says:

    Ok, I should really do a better job of reading all of the updates. My apologies; you had noted the separate position of the ag complex here. Perhaps not at Climate Audit, though.

  22. Nick Stokes says:

    “Eric says: May 1, 2013 at 8:56 am
    “(3) have an average sample resolution of no coarser than 50 years”
    The sample fails this at a resolution of 56 years….

    A depressing, but sometimes amusing thing about these arguments is the way people bring in one argument after another. Anything that might stick. We have a whole head post that goes on about pollution, contamination etc, and now this alleged shortfall is plucked out. Where does it come from?

    In fact, the resolution is generally higher than 50 years. You’ll note the secondary complaint that it has only 3 values in the 20th century. That’s 33 years. I think this 56 yr number is based on that there are 36 records since 0 AD. There are gaps. But in fact, it is a 10000 year record.

    But if you want to base your case on a resolution shortfall, then say so, and do the arithmetic properly.

    REPLY: Nick here’s something that will “stick” that you refuse so far to answer – show an uncontaminated proxy with a similar shape, per McIntyre. – Anthony

  23. @Nick Stokes 8:40am:
    The Pages2k was a structured program, and it did lay down such criteria:
    …(5) exhibit a documented temperature signal, …

    Ex Post Exclusion. That criteria is entirely circular in studies on temperature signals and trends.

    Besides circularity, Pollen Count proxies are only very weakly linked to temperatures. Pollen Count is also a complex function of aridity, competing flora and fauna, fertilization, and cultivation. Pollen count has very non-linear relationship to temperature, and one that is not monotonic.

    In a temperature range -20C to 100C, pollen counts will begin at zero, rising into the temperate range, then decline back to zero as desertification takes hold.

    Yeah, maybe Pollen Count is “documented” to exhibit a temperature signal of unspecifice coarsness, pal review and all. That doesn’t mean it really has a sensitivity with temperature that can be relied upon to measure fractions of a degree. I’ll sit still for Pollen Count to be a proxy for floral productivity from a variety of influences. But to take pollen count back to a temperature relationship with sensitivity of a fraction of degree C is an amalgam of blindness, arrogance, and trickery.

  24. Stephen Richards says:

    they will conduct experiments in an attempt to prove that their proxies are not reliable

    Or hopefully “more reliable”

  25. Anthony Watts says:

    Here’s Nick “racehorse” Stokes playing team water hockey on lake Igaliku, oblivious to contamination

  26. Gary Hladik says:

    “Nick showed up to argue that the Igaliku really isn’t contaminated by agriculture at all, and is currently engaged in an multi-front battle of deny, duck, and cover.”

    Never underestimate the power of denial:

  27. Anthony, where did you find that Pop Sci cover? And how did you find it? +10

    REPLY: Trade secret, sorry – Anthony

  28. Theo Goodwin says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    May 1, 2013 at 8:40 am

    ‘Excluding data ex post, in CA terms. And presumably, urging Kaufman to overrule the original peer reviewed and published result on the basis of his farming knowledge, or whatever. So your demand is “unequivocally condemned at Climate Audit”.’

    Here it is again but in a stronger form. Because the proxy appeared in a peer reviewed journal then the authors of all later articles are not only justified in using it but are wrong to use empirical evidence to challenge it or exclude it. (You can say that it is excluded “ex post” because it appeared in a journal. The idea that something appearing in a journal makes it “prima facie” reliable is risible.)

    What I want to see is a radical re-investigation of all temperature proxies by scientists who understand scientific method to the extent that they will conduct experiments to challenge the proxy records. No spin can make this need go away. To this day Mann’s proxies haven’t been challenged by experimentation or other means of empirical research. For that fact alone, all paleoclimatologists have egg on their faces.

  29. Nick Stokes says:

    “Nick here’s something that will “stick” that you refuse so far to answer – show an uncontaminated proxy with a similar shape, per McIntyre. – Anthony”

    Anthony, Steve has been clamoring for “ex ante” rules. Kaufman has been trying to follow such rules. Now you want him to go through ruling anything out that doesn’t “look right”?

    I did ask Steve what he meant by “contaminated” – he never responded.

    REPLY: Nick, just stop blustering and answer the question, your credibility is being harmed by your denial and misdirection, although you clearly can’t see this. It is OK to admit you were wrong, you might even find it liberating. – Anthony

  30. Matthew R Marler says:

    Nick Stokes: A depressing, but sometimes amusing thing about these arguments is the way people bring in one argument after another. Anything that might stick.

    The exclusion criteria were listed, and the authors included a series that ought to have been excluded by their criteria. You’re defending that? It’s an illustration of inattentiveness, also called “slopiness”. Perhaps the criteria could have been reworded to something like “mean sampling interval” no more than 50 years, or whatever. But the series violated the criteria as written.

  31. Rob Ricket says:

    Nick Said
    1.“But my main argument, put several times, is this. Climate Audit stated very firmly, just a few days ago “
    “Perhaps the greatest single difference between being a “real climate scientist” and policies recommended here is that “real climate scientists” do not hesitate in excluding data ex post because it goes the “wrong” way, a practice that is unequivocally condemned at Climate Audit and other critical blogs which take the position that criteria have to be established ex ante: if you believe that treeline spruce ring widths or Arctic d18O ice core data is a climate proxy, then you can’t exclude (or downweight) data because it goes the “wrong” way.”

    I argued against this point on CA a few days ago, viz., it’s nonsensical to include data that is obviously unreliable. Most of the CA posters disagreed with this contention and asserted that all data from a selected set should be incorporated in the reconstruction regardless of the outcome.

    I followed the discussion fairly closely and recall that Steve qualified the quoted comment in a later post by mentioning that he had “long argued for careful examination of proxy sets used in reconstructions”. That is to say, I believe he softened his position on the matter. Nonetheless, any ambiguity in the matter can rightly be viewed as selective “auditing”. Steve had demonstrated he is a man of honor on numerous occasions and I hope he clarifies his position on the topic.

    Clearly, contaminated data must be rejected weather it goes the “right” way or the “wrong” way. The “Statistical Purists” need to stand aside, as this is a simple case of common sense trumping textbook statistics.

  32. Aldous says:

    “A depressing, but sometimes amusing thing about these arguments is the way people bring in one argument after another. Anything that might stick. We have a whole head post that goes on about pollution, contamination etc, and now this alleged shortfall is plucked out. Where does it come from?” -Nick Stokes

    Agreed. Whats with all these people *criticizing* data sets?! We’re trying to do science here and it cant be done if people keep trying to pick it apart. Sometimes I feel like Steve et al dont even *want* to make the world a better place!

    /sarc

  33. Nick Stokes says:

    Anthony ” …answer the question…”
    There are no other pollen series in the Arctic – it’s a rare commodity there. As for other proxies, they come in all kinds of shapes – I have a plotter here. And no, I can’t see anything that looks exactly the same.

    But I think you should answer, what kind of decision process do you actually want? People can, and do, raise endless objections – this soil has been disturbed, the wind might have changed etc. At some stage, someone has to decide, OK or not. Do you really want Kaufman to make decisions on the fly?

    Pages2k have criteria which in effect say that the decision should be made by the original authors, their reviewers and journal editors. They do actually think about these issues. Can you think of a better way for deciding?

    REPLY: Much like weather stations issues of siting contamination, each proxy used should be individually inspected and sanity tested as well as statistically tested. Paul Dennis analysis of the raw data against the cubic spline for example. Problem is, we seldom see this level of attention to detail in real climate science, but rather there’s this tendency to assume it is OK because somebody else had used it in some peer reviewed paper. Paleoclimatology is rife with such spurious oversights, mainly because of confirmation bias, and such concerns get swept under the rug. This needs to change. The uncertainty level of paleoclimatology is anomalously high compared to other sciences. – Anthony

  34. Anthony,

    I’d avoid insinuations of Nick being “on somebody’s payroll”. As you of all people know, those sort of accusations are not conducive to constructive debate.

    Also, while you and Nick may disagree at times, it is worth pointing out that he goes out of his way to try and make the data in many of these studies easier to understand and analyze, e.g. http://www.moyhu.blogspot.com/2013/04/emulating-marcott-et-al.html and http://www.moyhu.blogspot.com/2013/04/active-viewer-for-pages2k-proxies.html

    REPLY: OK fair enough, I’ll withdraw that and just say he’s “obtusely pigheaded” when it comes to accepting shortcomings in climate science. Sometimes when somebody displays such traits, the lack of cognizance in the face of the obvious suggests they are being put up to it.- Anthony

  35. Kevin Kilty says:

    …Mann et al 2008 (Upside Down Mann)…

    A relation to Pilt Down?

  36. etudiant says:

    It seems to me that Nick is winning this argument on points.
    I think it plausible that agricultural activity will increase runoff and hence increase varve depth.
    I think it plausible that pollen density will increase with warming temperatures in cold climates.
    All other things being equal, that would suggest increased pollen density per varve might be an unequivocal signal of temperature increase in the arctic area, as long as the pollen of the plants being cultivated can be excluded.
    However, these clarifications were not in effect when Kaufman et al wrote their paper.
    So I think Nick is correct that there is an element of ‘post hoc’ adjustment here if the discussion is of pollen density. The increase in runoff from human activity may be different from a change in pollen density.

    REPLY: problem is that runoff increases pollen load in the sediment due to pollen being embedded in the upper layer of soil that gets eroded….IMHO it is impossible to distinguish this from a temperature signal. – Anthony

  37. mpainter says:

    Nick Stokes: You show admirable patience and temperment in your postings, good on you. But search the annals, Nick, and show us where you ever conceded a point. If you find one example, take it and frame it for me, please, and many thanks.

  38. Re: Pop Sci Cover and “Trade Secret”.
    Thanks for the laugh and the detour into the archives.
    Here’s a blog worth a bookmark that resembles my father’s basement.
    http://blog.modernmechanix.com

    Heck, even the ads are entertaining. Such as Sci Am Sept 1977: Introducing Apple II.

    and this one: The Five Dumbest Products in America (but not for long.)
    http://blog.modernmechanix.com/the-five-dumbest-products-in-america/1/#mmGal

  39. M Courtney says:

    There seem to be several issues here:
    1 Is the Igaliku series contaminated? Answer, don’t know but possibly.
    2 Should the Igaliku series be rejected if it may be contaminated? Answer, well that is a very good question. If it is contaminated then – yes but if it isn’t then – no. But if we aren’t sure and it just doesn’t feel right, should we throw it out then? That doesn’t seem right either.
    Perhaps point 3 will help.

    3 Should the Igaliku series be further investigated if it looks funny? Answer, YES. Obviously, it should be looked at more closely. There isn’t much pollen at those latitudes so we can’t cross-reference. This series needs to stand on its own merits. If it seems extraordinary then it needs extraordinary proof.

    Three data points in the twentieth century forming a line is not extraordinary.
    But it may be real. Surely the question is “Why mix the extraordinary proxy with the unsensational proxies before removing doubts about the extraordinary proxy?”

    Because ‘he did it first’ is not good enough. The proxy needs to be understood, not the understanding outsourced to another paper.

    It’s the methodology behind not understanding the chosen proxies that hits a nerve.
    Statistics needs consistently applied rules but the rules must be suitable for the data. No consistency in sample selection will avoid picking a duff proxy if the duff proxy is completely out of the expected range that the rules were originally designed for. You need to understand your proxies.
    Lest you run the risk of Garbage In Garbage Out.

  40. I guess i have to add Nick Stokes to list of Climate “Scientists” whose opinions should not be accepted until verified by outsides sources.Welcome to the scientists rogue gallery.
    Are his talking points coming from the Al Gore propaganda site?

  41. M Courtney says:

    Lawrence Todd says: May 1, 2013 at 12:01 pm
    I disagree and urge you to be more understanding of differing views.

    In this case I don’t agree with Nick Stokes.
    But he is well reasoned and consistent.
    He doesn’t play silly word games.
    He doesn’t try to deceive

    He just happens to think that discarding proxies without knowing about the proxies is wrong.
    I think accepting strange looking (and unique at this latitude) proxies without knowing lots about them is wrong.

    But he is not a rogue. He may even be right and I may be wrong, or we both could have missed the point.
    But being on the other side doesn’t make Nick Stokes a villain.

  42. LoveLead says:

    ‘… defend the indefensible …’
    Ain’t that the truth.

  43. humpy says:

    Ooh the irony, I love it, here is a hockey stick showing clear evidence of an anthropogenic influence on the lake and they deny it! Who are the real deniers???

    Whats even more ironic, is when the proxies go down in the 20th centuary they are quick to point out its modern influences from man such as co2 enrichment etc….(thats when they are not hiding it!)

  44. Gary Pearse says:

    I trust Steve is preparing a rebuttal with refs and photos. Amazingly, like wildebeests coming to the river to drink – they don’t seem to know there is a croc waiting!

  45. Mycroft says:

    “none so blind as those who will not see “or in Stokes case “do not want to see”
    Stokes would argue that black is white if there was a Hockey Stick on it.

  46. As an applied mathematician, and data administrator and doing a similar job to what Nick Stokes and others are doing, I looked carefully are every outlier and only included them if it had additional verification.

  47. Theo Goodwin says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    May 1, 2013 at 10:38 am

    “But I think you should answer, what kind of decision process do you actually want?”

    Go to the site and perform experiments there. Go to other sites in the same region where there has been no agriculture in the last 100 years and do experiments there. Compare the two.

    What is difficult about that? It is what any serious scientist would do.

  48. knr says:

    Nick Stokes
    ‘There are no other pollen series in the Arctic ‘

    Just has there is no such thing has ‘good ‘ dog sh*t there is such thing has good use of such poor data. And 1000-1 if it had gone the other way you been calling it out has rubbish . Has a scientist the facts are supposed to speak for themselves not be used has ventriloquist dummy to speak words of political advocacy, a issue most climate ‘scientists’ seem to have .

  49. Latitude says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    May 1, 2013 at 10:38 am
    There are no other pollen series in the Arctic –
    =====
    Nick, what do you see wrong with this?

  50. Nick Stokes says:

    Theo Goodwin says: May 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm
    Nick Stokes says:
    “But I think you should answer, what kind of decision process do you actually want?”
    Go to the site and perform experiments there. Go to other sites in the same region where there has been no agriculture in the last 100 years and do experiments there. Compare the two.

    If that was necessary, it was for the original journal to demand it. Kaufman has an ensemble of 59 proxies to consider. He can’t do that.

    But again, he has assembled 59 proxies, and it’s just one region. That’s a lot; he doesn’t need to spend years in the field personally getting more.

    ” Latitude says: May 1, 2013 at 2:12 pm
    There are no other pollen series in the Arctic –
    =====
    Nick, what do you see wrong with this?

    I think Latitude says it all.

  51. Theo Goodwin says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    May 1, 2013 at 3:21 pm
    Theo Goodwin says: May 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm
    Nick Stokes says:
    “But I think you should answer, what kind of decision process do you actually want?”
    Go to the site and perform experiments there. Go to other sites in the same region where there has been no agriculture in the last 100 years and do experiments there. Compare the two.

    “If that was necessary, it was for the original journal to demand it. Kaufman has an ensemble of 59 proxies to consider. He can’t do that.

    But again, he has assembled 59 proxies, and it’s just one region. That’s a lot; he doesn’t need to spend years in the field personally getting more.”

    You are a broken record. You are not going to do empirical research on proxies. You are not going to debate the matter. You have no interest in the matter.

    All you will do is repeat your mantra that the proxies have been used before so they are usable now. That has nothing to do with science.

    At this time in the history of paleoclimatology, doing empirical research on proxies is far more important than anything you might infer from the existing proxies. The proxies that have been used by climate scientists are rife with error. The Hockey Stick proxies are the poster child for poor proxy research. Yet paleoclimatologists are adamant in their refusal to engage in empirical research that could rid them of worthless proxy records and replace them with scientifically justified proxy records. With that attitude, paleoclimatologists should not expect to be treated as scientists.

  52. Nick Stokes:

    I appreciate your coming here to explain your view , and I have been reading your explanations with interest. I admire your fortitude.

    However, I admit to being more puzzled than enlightened by your post at May 1, 2013 at 3:21 pm. So, I am writing in hope of clarification.

    You say

    If that was necessary, it was for the original journal to demand it. Kaufman has an ensemble of 59 proxies to consider. He can’t do that.

    But again, he has assembled 59 proxies, and it’s just one region. That’s a lot; he doesn’t need to spend years in the field personally getting more.

    I recognise that analysts sometimes are called upon to analyse data from others. An example would be the RSS and UAH temperature time series obtained from satellite MSU data. But in such cases it is usual for the analyst to assess the data for accuracy, reliability and precision and not merely to rely upon its supplier.

    That leaves me wondering the following and I would be grateful if you could explain.
    1.
    The work was Kaufman’s so why does he not need to establish the validity of the data he uses in his study?
    He chose to use that data. He used that data. The results he published are his.
    But you say all responsibility for the data he used lies with somebody else; i.e. ” the original journal”. Being of the ‘old school’ I always thought I needed to assess the accuracy, reliability and precision of any data I used, and I could have saved much time throughout my career had I assumed all data I obtained from others was reliable. But you tell me that this requirement to take responsibility for the data chosen for an analysis no longer exists with the analyst: I would like to know when this change to the scientific method was introduced.
    2.
    Why is it that Kaufman “can’t” check his data by means of fieldwork or other means?
    Perhaps he lacked funds or some other resource. But if that were so then it is a puzzle as to why he accepted the work. I would not have conducted a study where I “can’t” check the data I needed to use, and I am surprised you would assert that Kaufman did.
    3.
    Why did Kaufman only use the existing data and “not need” to obtain his own?
    That used data is of provenance known to those who obtained it. Kaufman would know the provenance of data he obtained and would be able to compare it with existing data to assess the confidence of his results. I would understand if he were conducting an evaluation of an existing study because he may have wanted to use the only same data as that study. But he claimed to be doing novel work when all he was doing was reusing old data with a provenance he did not know but you say he had accepted on trust.

    I would appreciate your clarifying these matters.

    Richard

  53. Theo Goodwin says:

    humpy says:
    May 1, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Not true at all. I have seen no proxy work by climate scientists that is worth the paper that it is written on. The very idea that proxy data can yield valid evidence for claims about tenths of a degree changes in temperature over a thousand years should have been dismissed as lunacy from day one. If you present the standard sort of proxy data showing that temperatures have been falling for the last twenty years then I will be just as unwilling to accept it.

  54. Steve B says:

    Nick Stokes is ex CSIRO – says everything

  55. Theo Goodwin says:

    richardscourtney says:
    May 1, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Very well said, as usual. The following deserves special emphasis:

    “That used data is of provenance known to those who obtained it. Kaufman would know the provenance of data he obtained and would be able to compare it with existing data to assess the confidence of his results. I would understand if he were conducting an evaluation of an existing study because he may have wanted to use the only same data as that study. But he claimed to be doing novel work when all he was doing was reusing old data with a provenance he did not know but you say he had accepted on trust.”

    Given that Kaufman is using others’ data and doing so without criticizing it, what exactly does he contribute to his article? What can he possibly contribute if he has not made the data his own?

    Do you really think that paleoclimatology can continue to exist if it does nothing but select proxy series from a large existing library and attempts to construct yet another statistical argument on the same old stuff?

  56. Nick Stokes says:

    Richard,
    “I would appreciate your clarifying these matters.”

    It’s actually not Kaufman, but the Pages2k consortium. They want to survey published work and produce an aggregate. They have to have a decision process as to what goes in and what doesn’t. They have stated that explicitly, and it relies on the judgment of the original journals. What do you think would be better?

    To see the converse of this process, see this thread at Climate Audit, from which I quoted the CA policy against ex post exclusion. The Tingley/Huybers proposed Mt Logan proxy did a 6°C dive in the 18th century. No other proxies did that. They said:
    “We exclude the Mount Logan series that is included in [35] because the original reference [36] indicates it is a proxy for precipitation source region and is out of phase with paleotemperature series. “

    They had bizarre behaviour out of line with other proxies, and a clear explanation for non-temperature cause. Furthermore, the original authors said that it was unsuitable. Still, they were accorded “unequivocal condemnation” at CA.

  57. Nick Stokes:

    Thankyou for providing your post at May 1, 2013 at 4:45 pm
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/05/01/the-stokes-kaufman-contamination-protocol-a-sticky-wicket/#comment-1293968
    in reply to my post at May 1, 2013 at 4:17 pm
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/05/01/the-stokes-kaufman-contamination-protocol-a-sticky-wicket/#comment-1293944

    Although I am grateful for your having replied, I am very disappointed at the reply because I remain as puzzled as before.

    I requested clarification of your statements and I tried to be as clear as possible about the matters I wanted clarified. To that end I asked three specific questions and provided explanation for the reason I had asked each question.

    Your reply says:

    (a) The analysts were a team and not only Kaufman. Yes, I knew that but I used a ‘shorthand’. I apologise if that caused any offence because none was intended.

    (b) The team rejected some data for analysis as did the original authors. But that only emphasises the reasons for my questions.

    (c) The team accepted the data in the original article and asks me what would have been better, but I answered that in my post.

    That is all your reply says, and it does not answer any of my questions.

    Richard

    PS It is now 1 am here and I am going to bed so please understand that I am not ignoring anything you write if I do not comment until the morning.

  58. atheok says:

    “Nick Stokes says: May 1, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Anthony ” …answer the question…”
    There are no other pollen series in the Arctic – it’s a rare commodity there. As for other proxies, they come in all kinds of shapes – I have a plotter here. And no, I can’t see anything that looks exactly the same.

    But I think you should answer, what kind of decision process do you actually want? People can, and do, raise endless objections – this soil has been disturbed, the wind might have changed etc. At some stage, someone has to decide, OK or not. Do you really want Kaufman to make decisions on the fly?

    Pages2k have criteria which in effect say that the decision should be made by the original authors, their reviewers and journal editors. They do actually think about these issues. Can you think of a better way for deciding?”

    “…There are no other pollen series in the Arctic – it’s a rare commodity there…”

    As mentioned on Climateaudit; both Betula Species and Salix are common planting around human settlements because all three are sources for Acetylsalicylic, aspirin. Willow (Salix) and dwarf Birch (Betula glandulosa) are shrubs and quickly form dense thickets. As Anthony and Steve pointed out at CA, the pollen count also spikes during previous human occupation.

    In applying a supposedly pristine lake core, signs of human occupation need to be investigated and qualified. If it skews the data, and it does, then out it goes.

    “…you really want Kaufman to make decisions on the fly?…”

    What an interesting twist question. “On the fly”, as opposed to what? Perhaps careful and detailed analysis? Why the rush? Is there some sort of deadline that requires blind acceptance of odd spikes? Yeah, you have a plotter, I have a monitor; so? Any other Arctic plots have similar 19th – 20th century spikes?

    “…Pages2k have criteria which in effect say that the decision should be made by the original authors, their reviewers and journal editors. They do actually think about these issues…”

    Which means that Kaufman et al suspend all rational processes, not to forget complete abrogation of their own responsibilities?

    One of the most basic legal aspects is that “ignorance of the law is no excuse”; only in climate research is this sort willful ignorance (denial) not only tolerated, but often venerated.

    “…If that was necessary, it was for the original journal to demand it. Kaufman has an ensemble of 59 proxies to consider. He can’t do that.

    But again, he has assembled 59 proxies, and it’s just one region. That’s a lot; he doesn’t need to spend years in the field personally getting more…”

    Let’s understand this; one proxy stands out with a major impact to the data. Kaufman et al are planning on using these proxies for a climate temperature reconstruction. When the author’s see this spike, they shrug their shoulders and include it because it’s not their responsibility… If the reconstructed temperature graph is not their responsibility then they shouldn’t be performing it.

    What’s it take for a scientist to recognize and accept their responsibilities? Aw gee, this graph is kind of funny, but it’s not my fault and that excuse will fly when I’m questioned? Bizarre!

    “M Courtney says: May 1, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I disagree and urge you to be more understanding of differing views.

    In this case I don’t agree with Nick Stokes.
    But he is well reasoned and consistent.
    He doesn’t play silly word games.
    He doesn’t try to deceive

    He just happens to think that discarding proxies without knowing about the proxies is wrong.
    I think accepting strange looking (and unique at this latitude) proxies without knowing lots about them is wrong…”

    Well reasoned?

    “…v. rea·soned, rea·son·ing, rea·sons
    v.intr.
    1. To use the faculty of reason; think logically.
    2. To talk or argue logically and persuasively.
    3. Obsolete To engage in conversation or discussion.
    v.tr.
    1. To determine or conclude by logical thinking: reasoned out a solution to the problem.
    2. To persuade or dissuade (someone) with reasons…”

    Either I misunderstand your idea of ‘well’, or ‘reasoned’ or both. Nick is adamant, usually without being strident, but it’s his version of reality no matter the logic.

    Consistent, yes!

    Nick has been playing silly word games for three days on this specific topic. Which brings us to deception. Just what purpose is Nick playing at by spinning this topic?

    “…He just happens to think that discarding proxies without knowing about the proxies is wrong…”

    During my entire career, blind acceptance was never valid! Once you accept something for your project, you own full responsibility. Yes, your opinion on the proxies is the correct approach for a scientist. Any scientist building a career using other people’s oversights and failures is a fool.

    The idea is that the data should be improved every time it is analyzed.

    analogy
    It doesn’t matter where, who or how insider information comes into a person’s possession use of it is illegal and will be prosecuted. You’d have to be a minor or officially judged not responsible for your actions to get away with dilettante usage.

    Nick, whoever he is, does know his stuff. Nick is also a master dissembler and perhaps the first thing a person should wonder when Nick passes them information is ‘why?’.

  59. Janice Moore says:

    “… the authors included a series that ought to have been excluded by their criteria. You’re defending that? It’s an illustration of inattentiveness, also called ‘sloppiness’.” [ Matthew Marler @1005, 5/1/13]

    “I’d avoid insinuations of Nick being ‘on somebody’s payroll’.” [Zeke Hausfather @ 10:57, 5/1/13]

    Comment: Deducing that Nick is corrupt is to do him the favor of granting that he is not stupid. Nick is either:
    1) Stupid.
    2) Intelligent but insane. OR
    3) A liar.

    He obviously is not stupid. While acting like a person lacking rational thinking capacity, he would be held “competent” to make rational choices in a judicial competency hearing.

    THUS, Nick, the only LOGICAL conclusion is that you are a liar.

    Since you are not insane, you are not lying for the fun of it. Either you are too prideful to admit you are wrong, or you stand to gain from your lies.

    You leave us no other conclusion, Nick: you are either shamefully prideful OR corrupt ….
    OR you are being blackmailed.

    If the latter, ask someone you trust at WUWT for help! Living a lie is corroding your soul.

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

    “REPLY: Nick here’s something that will “stick” that you refuse so far to answer – show an uncontaminated proxy with a similar shape, per McIntyre.” [Anthony @0938, 5/1/13]

    [Nick @ 1038, 5/1/13]
    “There are no other POLLEN series in the Arctic – it’s a rare commodity there. As for other proxies, they come in all kinds of shapes – I have a plotter here. And no, I can’t see anything that looks EXACTLY the same.” [emphasis mine]

    Comment: [for the record] You have still not answered the question, Nick.

  60. George McFly.....I'm your density says:

    I have just found another hockey stick that is rock solid. I have plotted the number of hockey stick graphs published in the scientific literature in the last 2,000 years and guess what I get! You guessed it!!

    A hockey stick!

  61. Nick Stokes says:

    Richard C,
    ” But he claimed to be doing novel work when all he was doing was reusing old data”
    The Pages2k network is quite explicit about their scope:
    ” The ‘2k Network’ of the IGBP Past Global Changes (PAGES) project aims to produce a global array of regional climate reconstructions for the past 2000 years”

    Many scientists have labored for many years to create this data. There is now enough that a regional reconstruction can be made, though that in itself is a big task. If everyone who essayed a reconstruction had to experimentally recreate the data, there would be no end to it. And it isn’t science. Science progresses because people can build on what others have done.

  62. Janice Moore says:

    Test. Twice attempted to post. POOF — not copied to page and no “moderation pending” message. If this posts, will assume content of my post was so bad it went to Inferno, completely bypassing Purgatorio.

  63. Janice Moore says:

    Is there any hope for posts that go to Inferno, O Moderator?

    [Rescued & posted. — mod.]

  64. Steven Mosher says:

    “It’s actually not Kaufman, but the Pages2k consortium. They want to survey published work and produce an aggregate. They have to have a decision process as to what goes in and what doesn’t. They have stated that explicitly, and it relies on the judgment of the original journals. What do you think would be better?”

    A simple test would be better.

    With proxies that have no signs of overprinting from land use changes
    Without proxies that have such signs.

    While the proxies pass the stated ex ante criteria there is nothing to lose and everything to gain by tested for these effects.

    Its like testing all temperature stations and then testing with airports and without airports.

    When you do a with/without test of stuffthat passes your ex ante criteria you are demonstrating something important. That your criteria are robust.

    Now, there is nothing that compells one to do this kind of testing, but the result can be made much stronger by a simple cut through the data. Or one can leave the uncertainty hanging in the air

  65. John Bills says:

    “Science progresses because people can build on what others have done.”
    How come I never see you, Nick Stokes, criticise the blatant errors at Sceptical Science, Tamino or Real Climate? Your attitude.doesn’t advance science but that’s not what you’re here for are you?

  66. Theo Goodwin says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    May 1, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    So glad to see you on this track, Mr. Mosher. May your accomplishments as an empiricist equal your other considerable accomplishments.

  67. Theo Goodwin says:

    Janice Moore says:
    May 1, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Be of strong faith, Ms. Moore. Sometimes my posts go “zip” into nothingness yet remarkably appear later. Sometimes I wonder why they appear.

  68. Jeff Alberts says:

    What? No hat tip for my “off the rails” comment at CA? ;)

    I’m kidding. As a complete layman, even to me it stood out like a sore thumb.

  69. Theo Goodwin says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    May 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    ‘” The ‘2k Network’ of the IGBP Past Global Changes (PAGES) project aims to produce a global array of regional climate reconstructions for the past 2000 years”’

    And it is good for what? A huge Alarmist press release? If the pieces are the quality of Kaufman’s work then the regional reconstruction will be no less questionable. How can you overlook that?

    “Many scientists have labored for many years to create this data.”

    How well did they do it? You are unwilling to investigate their work so you have no right – as a scientist – to present it as good scientific work.

    “If everyone who essayed a reconstruction had to experimentally recreate the data, there would be no end to it.”

    You said the work is being done by a consortium. Can’t you divide work?

    The important point is that you have lost sight of what constitutes quality work. As I said earlier, what is important for paleoclimatology in this moment is to create some proxy records that are based on empirical research into the proxies. Such work is necessary to prevent paleoclimatology from becoming a laughing-stock. The creation of empirically sound proxy records would enable the community to set standards for such work. No reasonable standards exist at this time.

  70. Chris D. says:

    Racehorse. Bulldog. And let’s not forget the angry Stoat and Rabit run. Forget AGW. I think Z(oogenic)GW is the new culprit!

  71. Janice Moore says:

    Dear Theo Goodwin, Thank you so much for your encouragement. I had to completely re-write my post (d’oh! should have at least Control-C’d it!). I was SO upset that it was really good that I had to go exercise right about then. That helped! BTW, all your comments above are excellent arguments powerfully stated. I know why your posts appear — they are wonderful and God, of whom (according to your name, if it is really Theodore or Theophilus) you are beloved, ensured they would (IMO). Well, hip hip, hooray! That kind moderator rescued my post from Hades! How lovely, too, that Theo would come alongside to comfort me.

    Mr. Alberts, APPLAUSE — APPLAUSE — APPLAUSE — I remember that “off the rails” phrase from one of the comments I read on WUWT. I can’t recall the details, but I recall that it was a good one, so, WAY TO GO, Jeff!!! And my hat (if I wore one) is off to you for taking the time to try to rescue a cult member or two over at CA, O noble warrior for truth.

  72. NZ Willy says:

    I may be out of line here, but is “Nick Stokes” a real name? “Nick”=nickname, “Stokes”=stoke them up, so “Nick Stokes” = a nickname for a person paid to dissemble & churn. My apologies if I’ve got this totally wrong.

  73. Nick Stokes says:

    ” NZ Willy says: May 1, 2013 at 8:10 pm
    I may be out of line here,”

    And should I try to parse NZ Willy?

  74. ferd berple says:

    Lawrence Todd says:
    May 1, 2013 at 1:19 pm
    I looked carefully are every outlier and only included them if it had additional verification.
    ====
    Even the Olympics recognizes that you need to throw out the high and the low score. Otherwise you end up with something like this:

    1,2,2,2,2,2,10

    The average of this series is 3. Does that truly reflect the data? No! 2 is a better score, and when you are trying to find tenths of a degree over hundreds of years it is non-science (nonsense) to include the outliers until they are validated.

    What Steve has objected to many times at CA is so called climate science throwing out the “2’s” in the above series and reporting only the “10’s”, because the 10’s match what the scientists expected to see. His argument is that you shouldn’t throw out the bathwater without first checking. However, if all you have is bathwater, don’t try and pretend it is statistically a baby.

    In the case of the hockey stick, what was thrown out (via calibration) were the tree’s that did not match the hockey stick. These were the baby. What was left over was the bathwater. Big surprise, the bilge water results in a hockey stick. Now we see yet another hockey stick proxy, that doesn’t match anything else, driving yet another hockey stick proxy reconstruction. With yet another round of lame excuses for keeping the bathwater as a proxy for the baby.

  75. NZ Willy says:

    To Nick Stokes: You do not need to parse “NZ Willy” because it is obviously a pseudonym, so therefore honest. But “Nick Stokes” pretends an honesty which isn’t there, so dishonest.

  76. James Bull says:

    I love the idea of using bishops as a proxy for climate, it just appeals to my sense of humour and leads to a host of irrelevant questions…
    How accurate are they to the nearest tenth of a decree?
    Do they fluctuate with how orthodox/liberal they are?
    Would it work for Dalai Lamas/Grand Mufti?
    Where are these bishop/temp proxies listed?
    James Bull

  77. Nick Stokes:

    In this thread at May 1, 2013 at 4:17 pm, for the stated and clear purpose of clarifying your words, I asked you three simple questions about the work you are defending.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/05/01/the-stokes-kaufman-contamination-protocol-a-sticky-wicket/#comment-1293944

    Were I peer reviewing the paper then inadequate answers to those questions would have resulted in my recommending the paper be rejected for publication.

    My original post stated each of the questions together with my reasons for each question.

    At May 1, 2013 at 4:45 pm, you replied to my post
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/05/01/the-stokes-kaufman-contamination-protocol-a-sticky-wicket/#comment-1293968

    I was grateful that you replied but surprised that you had bothered because your reply did not mention, answer or address any of my questions.

    Therefore, at May 1, 2013 at 5:04 pm, I responded with a post which demonstrated I had read and understood your reply but was disappointed you had not answered my questions.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/05/01/the-stokes-kaufman-contamination-protocol-a-sticky-wicket/#comment-1293981

    I then retired to bed hoping that upon rising this morning you may have provided the clarification I requested. Upon arising I found your answer which I am replying. It is at May 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/05/01/the-stokes-kaufman-contamination-protocol-a-sticky-wicket/#comment-1293999

    Your reply hints at – but evades – parts of all my questions, and it changes what you have been saying.

    My questions pertained to your saying of data assurance

    If that was necessary, it was for the original journal to demand it.

    Your latest post addressed to me says in total

    Richard C,

    ” But he claimed to be doing novel work when all he was doing was reusing old data”

    The Pages2k network is quite explicit about their scope:

    ” The ‘2k Network’ of the IGBP Past Global Changes (PAGES) project aims to produce a global array of regional climate reconstructions for the past 2000 years”

    Many scientists have labored for many years to create this data. There is now enough that a regional reconstruction can be made, though that in itself is a big task. If everyone who essayed a reconstruction had to experimentally recreate the data, there would be no end to it. And it isn’t science. Science progresses because people can build on what others have done.

    Nick Stokes, that answer is a disgrace.
    1.
    Science progresses because people BUILD ON what others have done.
    Science is assessed by replicating what others have done.
    Science does NOT consist of re-hashing what others have done.
    2.
    Nobody is required to “experimentally recreate the data” but every scientist is required to obtain NEW data. Merely playing with existing data is NOT science unless it is to investigate the quality of that data or to demonstrate error in earlier interpretation(s) of that data.
    3.
    Data may be overseen by an agreed authority; e.g. NPL is responsible for maintaining calibration standards in the UK. Other than that, scientists who use data are responsible for the selection of the data, the quality of the data, and the use of the data they use. It was NOT the duty of “the journal” (as you originally said) or of the PAGES project (as you now say) to validate the data used by “the Pages2k consortium”. As I said, they chose to use that data, they used that data, and the results they published are theirs. So,
    ALL responsibility for the work is theirs and that includes any effects of the data they chose to use.

    Nick Stokes, you are not defending “the Pages2k consortium”, you are attacking science.

    On the basis of your words to me I am wondering why you are doing this.
    Is your intention to ensure maximum publicity for the inadequacies and gross flaws of the paper by “the Pages2k consortium”?
    If so, then I congratulate you on the success you are achieving.

    Richard

  78. mpainter says:

    For Richard Courtney:
    Good luck on trying to pin down Nick Stokes.

  79. wayne Job says:

    Nick Stokes,
    I am a very old aussie engineer and grew up in awe of the wonderful work of our C.S.I.R.O , the last two decades have seen me slowly shun then discount totally any thing they say as bulltish. Your methods and ethics to real science are shining brightly in your postings here and your research. Most thinking Australians take now anything the CSIRO or the MET office say’s with a very large grain of salt, you and your ilk have done some serious damage to the credibility of the science community.

    Eat some humble pie and do real science without spin, you may find it liberating but some what less profitable.

  80. Paul Dennis says:

    Richard Courtney has a good point here. Any scientist, whether individual, or as part of a group has to take full responsibility for the data they are using. It doesn’t matter if it is data they have collected themselves, or data others have published. They need to be objective and critical. Having set a selection criteria the PAGES2K group then need to evaluate data quality and can’t delegate this to the journal, reviewers, or original authors.
    The Igaliku data looks anomalous and this should have been an immediate red flag. There’s a factor of 8 increase in both PAR and MAR over the past 200 years. The common factor driving these is an 8x increase in the original authors estimate of sediment accumulation rate (SAR). It doesn’t take long to look at the data and note that (i) The factor of 8 increase in the SAR is not in accord with their near surface Pb-210, and Cs-137 data. These indicate a factor of 3x change in SAR. Moreover, the sediment they are coring is between 70 and 80% porosity with up to 80 wt % water content. Such sediments cannot have well packed mineral structures and are liable to settling during coring. A small degree of settling just over the initial few cms will have a significant impact on calculated sedimentation accumulation rates. Ergo I conclude that the sharp uptick in the PAR is not robust. This is before we even start to discuss the effects of land use and vegetation changes etc. I’ve documented this over at CA.
    One shouldn’t underestimate the role of common sense, gut feeling, and the skills necessary to quickly evaluate a data set and ask key questions. Igaliku is a good example. The top 15 cm of sediment has near constant water content, wet bulk density, total organic C, N and S and yet we are told that the sediment accumulation rate has increased by a factor of 8 over this same interval. Wouldn’t anyone want to ask serious questions about what is going on here rather than simply infer it’s a result of the combination of land use and climatic changes?

  81. richard verney says:

    @Rob Ricket says:
    May 1, 2013 at 10:07 am
    //////////////////////////////////////

    Is not the correct approach to both include and exclude any proxy that is thought to be an outlier or contaminated (ie., of ‘dubious’ quality and relevance), and at the same time to explain the reasons why the proxy in question is considered unreliable?

    Extrapolations with both results should be shown together with the reason why the author prefers the extrapolated set with the ‘dubious’ proxy excluded over the extrapolated set with the ‘dubious’ proxy included (or vice versa depending upon how the author wishes to present his case).

    The reader can then form a valid assessment as to which data set is to be preferred rather than being guided by the bias of the author.

    Later research may demonstrate that the ‘dubious’ proxy was not contaminated and is properly relevant for inclussion, or it may further confirm its status as a rogue which if included would contaminate the extrapolated data set.

  82. Steve T says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    May 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Richard C,
    ” But he claimed to be doing novel work when all he was doing was reusing old data”
    The Pages2k network is quite explicit about their scope:
    ” The ‘2k Network’ of the IGBP Past Global Changes (PAGES) project aims to produce a global array of regional climate reconstructions for the past 2000 years”

    Many scientists have labored for many years to create this data. There is now enough that a regional reconstruction can be made, though that in itself is a big task. If everyone who essayed a reconstruction had to experimentally recreate the data, there would be no end to it. And it isn’t science. Science progresses because people can build on what others have done.
    ****************************************************************************************************
    Or, in this case NOT done.

    It is akin to builders adding a second storey to an existing single floor building without checking that the foundations are suitable for the extra load. Is this acceptable – no. The builders have the responsibility of checking that anything that is used in their work is fit for purpose.

    Steve T

  83. Steve T:

    re your post at May 2, 2013 at 4:11 am.

    Thankyou!
    That is a brilliant explanation of the issue for explanation to onlookers who are not versed in the scientific method. I wish I had thought of it and I am grateful for your providing it.

    Richard

  84. Rob Ricket says:

    richard verney says:
    May 2, 2013 at 3:31 am

    “Is not the correct approach to both include and exclude any proxy that is thought to be an outlier or contaminated (ie., of ‘dubious’ quality and relevance), and at the same time to explain the reasons why the proxy in question is considered unreliable?”

    “Extrapolations with both results should be shown together with the reason why the author prefers the extrapolated set with the ‘dubious’ proxy excluded over the extrapolated set with the ‘dubious’ proxy included (or vice versa depending upon how the author wishes to present his case).”

    Your argument is worthy of consideration in light of (thanks to Steve’s work) documented cases of scientific fraud in the Climate Science community. While the “inclusion/exclusion” model might assist in reducing selective sampling, it would also muddy the water with unreliable data and tedious qualifiers.

    My argument against inclusion is predicated on a dispassionate view of proper scientific methodology, where unreliable data is naturally discarded. In my opinion, the disqualification process for specific samples from the selected series should be explained in the methodology section and remain isolated from the results. The key here (we are dealing with a credibility issue) is to make a compelling case for including or excluding specific samples.

  85. Rob Ricket and Richard Verney:

    I interrupt your interesting discussion in hope of helping. And I do it using the method so clearly demonstrated to me by Steve T.

    The issue is sampling and data selection.

    If the sample were random were then all the sample should be used.
    But the sample is not random. Indeed, it is deliberately selected for a purpose.

    Random samples from a random sample of the world’s lakes were NOT obtained. Lakes were selected as being indicative of climate change and not of other factors. At least, they were selected on the basis that other factors can be deconvoluted from their indications of climate change.

    Therefore, sample selection criteria were – and needed to be – decided prior to obtaining the samples.

    The question then arises as to whether there could be post hoc reasons for rejecting a sample which was obtained according to the criteria. A statistician may say no, but a scientist says, YES! And this scientific answer exists irrespective of whether the data are to be subjected to a statistical analysis.

    Such a post hoc decision for rejection of data occurs when the selection criteria are observed to have not accounted for an unforeseen circumstance.
    (a)
    A statistician says this does not matter because “the data are the data” and altering the decision on what constitutes the data biases analysis of the data.
    (b)
    A scientist says this does matter because he only wants the data which will reveal what he does not know and he wants to find out: indeed, that is why he established the selection criteria.

    So, in the style of Steve T, I will consider the issue by discussion of a hypothetical analogy. In this case, a scientific study intended to assess tyre wear on GM cars.

    There is a data set of tyre wear on cars which traveled down a particular street, and the data includes the makes and ages of the tyres, the mileage of the cars, and the manufacturers of the cars.

    The scientist decides to use the existing data set.
    1,
    He sets selection criteria as using data from all the GM cars.
    2.
    He then assesses the quality of the data by comparing sub-sets of his selected data and by obtaining additional data (or another but similar data set) and comparing them.
    3.
    The data seems sound but one datum is an outlier which he investigates.
    4.
    The investigation of the outlier either
    (a) finds nothing untoward
    or
    (b) finds the tyres of the outlier had previously been on a Ford car and were transferred to the GM car on the day before the data was obtained.
    5.
    In the case of 4(a) there is no discernible reason to reject the datum.
    6.
    In the case of 4(b) the datum is clearly misleading: it mostly indicates tyre wear on a Ford car and would distort the investigation of tyre wear on GM cars because – in this sample – the Ford wear is much greater than the GM wear. Hence, he rejects this datum from his study and his report explains why he rejected it post hoc.

    As Paul Dennis explains at May 2, 2013 at 3:24 am. the Igaliku data used by “the Pages2k consortium” clearly indicates effects of agriculture which is much greater than the indication of climate change.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/05/01/the-stokes-kaufman-contamination-protocol-a-sticky-wicket/#comment-1294466

    Hence, the Igaliku data should have been rejected for use in the study by “the Pages2k consortium” and the report of that study should have provided the explanation and data which required the rejection.

    Richard

  86. Rob Ricket says:

    Richard C.
    Thanks for the substantive contribution to the discussion and I find no cause to disagree with anything you’ve written. In fact, the Watts et al papers are predicated on the rejection of unreliable data. Methinks the hard core Statisticians need to bend a bit to accommodate what passes as common sense to most folks.

    Some folks at CA have fallen into the trap of taking a hard line regarding inclusion during an audit of X-study and then conversely arguing for exclusion during the audit of Y-study. Clearly (as you note in the tyre example) a well-documented explanation for including or excluding data from a set of proxies is preferable to blanket inclusion of suspect data.

  87. M Courtney says:

    atheok says: May 1, 2013 at 5:04 pm:
    I stand by my defence of Nick Stokes as worthy of some respect. Remember, I was responding to the idea that he was a villain of the same credibility as Tiljander Mann; that was unfair.

    You ask what definition of “reasoned“ I thought that he did well.
    I meant, “2. To talk or argue logically and persuasively.”
    Logically: He does argue logically.
    Persuasively: Nick Stokes doesn’t persuade me or you but even so, persuasive is a subjective term.

    He would go down well at the Guardian, SkS or RealClimate.
    And he is more rational in his use of arguments than many at those places.

  88. Here’s a very relevant quote from a fortnight ago. I wish I’d thought to post it earlier in the thread:

    Doug Proctor says:
    April 14, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    I’ve been going on about what I call Procedural Certainty vs Representational Certainty. I would be appreciative if others could comment on this idea.

    Procedural Certainty is that certainty which results from the mathematical methodology. In the temperature profile case, it means the error we speak of that results from how we take the data, modify it, adjust it, combine it, average it, smooth it and present it. It takes our methods of dealing with the uncertainty we attribute to each element and how the variability of these elements (as we define) may modify the whole (possibly using a Monte Carlo simulation). In conversation, the Procedural Certainty may be expressed something like this, “If we do what we do repeatedly with the tools we have and assumptions we made for tree-rings in these areas, the result is like this 95% of the time.”

    The Representational Certainty is that certainty which deals with the amount of correlation with what we are getting out our work with what we are trying to determine, i.e. with “reality”. In the case of Mann or Marcott or the recent varve work, the Representational Certainty is an indication of how well the patterns of small samples, locally sourced, tree-rings, allenones or varve thickness reflect temperatures of a wide region. We might say of Representational Certainty, “Tree-ring widths increase and decrease along with regional temperature changes 80% of the time, and in proportion to the amount of change, also 80% of the time.”

    For the example of tree-rings, you can see that the two types of Certainty are not similar. The first is valid for the purposes of the study, but only the second is valid for the purposes of understanding how the present relates to the past (and, therefore, for policy matters).

    Procedural Certainty is what I suggest the IPCC trumpets. The skeptics argue about Representational Certainty. The MSM and public think they are the same thing, and they can be, but most times they are not, and may be quite different.

    For climate science, to bring one in tune with the other requires correlation studies. For Mann and the others, there are several ways to do this.

    One would be to take the proxy data (easiest for tree-rings) of the last 150 years from a wide variety of places that have close, decent instrumental temperature records and compare the two.

    Another would be to take a similar but location-wise different numerical and geographic distribution of instrumental temperature data and process them in the same procedural way as that done for the proxies and compare the results to each other.

    A third way would be to take the instrumental data and snip it into pieces (“samples”) representing the proportional time-length of individual pieces of the proxies (i.e. 11 for varves, 73 for the allenones of Marcott), leaving the spaces as they develop. This last would be trickier, as to deal with the overlap portions one would have to randomly assign portions of the overlap data to the samples.

    We hear much of proxy studies but little of proxy-reality correlations. When both Mann and Marcott splice the instrumental period onto their proxies, they present the viewer with a fait accompli inference that the proxy record has a Representational Certainty equal to the instrumental, Procedural Certainty. It does not, which is why we cry foul. As we should.

    The most egregious examples of the fallacy of the equality of Procedural vs Representational Certainty recently has been the Lewandowsky papers showing skeptics to be flat-Earth conspiracists, but the greatest of them was the paper that said 97% of scientists support CAGW and the IPCC narrative. Procedurally both these claims are correct, in that what they did produced those results, but Representationally neither is correct.

    A paper or two showing the difference in theory and practice would go a long way to showing on what foundations of sand the edifice of Anthropogenic Global Warming has been built.

  89. atheok says:

    “M Courtney says: May 2, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    atheok says: May 1, 2013 at 5:04 pm:
    I stand by my defence of Nick Stokes as worthy of some respect. Remember, I was responding to the idea that he was a villain of the same credibility as Tiljander Mann; that was unfair.

    You ask what definition of “reasoned“ I thought that he did well.
    I meant, “2. To talk or argue logically and persuasively.”
    Logically: He does argue logically.
    Persuasively: Nick Stokes doesn’t persuade me or you but even so, persuasive is a subjective term.

    He would go down well at the Guardian, SkS or RealClimate.
    And he is more rational in his use of arguments than many at those places.

    M Courtney:
    Based on your refinements, I agree with you.

    Sort of reminds me about debating events where the debaters are given pro/con positions and undertake their debates with dexterity, sincerity, intelligence and force whether or not they personally believe their assigned stances.

    Yes, Nick displays intelligence, verbal dexterity, reason and persuasion in his repartee while trying to keep the pot stirred without his opponents gaining direction and traction. Which is why Nick keeps trying to avoid getting nailed down on specifics.

    Removing fabrications committed by deception, evasion, circular arguments, I am challenged to remember Nick ever stating a direct lie or ad hominem. My personal belief is that any method of deception is still deception. Everyone may run a red light at some time, but that neither makes it right nor legal; when the consequences are death and destruction the full force of the law should and most likely eventually will be brought to bear.

    The CAGW religion is absolutely selfish without regard for who they trample in their flight from reality. Whether destroying people’s legitimate careers or causing world starvation, the CAGW faith is blind to all consequences but their personal gain.

    As far as Nick, I do not know his actual thoughts as he evades getting nailed down on his beliefs; and it may be that Nick’s incisive logic twists get him banned rather quickly from the less tolerant discussion sites. Leaving Nick to practice his arts on us at the very tolerant sites. It may also be that the participants and arguments are more Nicks mettle here and other skeptic sites. Consider Nick having a debate with CAGW believers? Would Nick get any debate satisfaction or mental exercise, even at RC?

    A great uncle of mine and his wife argued constantly; whichever one spoke first, the other would immediately take the opposite. Yes, their arguments were nonstop and quite draining to us visitors, but neither of them would think of moving more than a few feet without making sure the other was coming, or at least arguing against the idea. I never saw them more than a room apart. I couldn’t imagine a forty-fifty year marriage like that, but neither uncle nor aunt thought their loud arguments unusual or considered trying to stop.

    I have a close friend who absolutely loves a good argument, but she prefers to argue her beliefs and instead will steer topics towards ones where she can take her preferential side. Once, when she was arguing with one of my relatives, I leaned in and advised that she wouldn’t win the discussion because my relative didn’t/couldn’t recognize he was losing. As I refuse to enter any argument with her, she continued verbally beating up my relative. Beggars can’t be choosers, I guess.

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