All we need are a few good trees, er, sticks…

climate_divining

I have to hand it to Steve McIntyre over at Climate Audit, he’s relentless in the pursuit of pointing out the problems with the famous Michael Mann paper that created the infamous  “hockey stick” graph that became an icon for climate change.

McIntyre just posted his most recent discovery of the previously unnoticed Mannian technique used in the paper that apparently allows just a few trees in the in the USA to define the climate for the rest of the world, or as I call it “climate divining”. He writes:

The problem is far more than bristlecones merely being antennae for world temperature. U.S. trees, analysed according to Mannian methods, are supposedly capable of reconstructing ENSO, the Chinese monsoon, the East Asian monsoon, the PDO, the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Indian Ocean Dipole – did I leave anything out?

Its funny stuff, and also sad in the revealing of the contortions applied to get the “hockey stick” to appear. It’s worth a look.

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15 thoughts on “All we need are a few good trees, er, sticks…

  1. The biggest scandal with using these bristlecone pine trees is that they do not grow concentric circles of tree rings.
    A cross-section of the trees shows a jumbled mess of overlapping areas, fire scarred sections and dead sections. Only a quarter of the tree is growing rings at any one time. Half the tree does not even have bark on it (where tree rings grow). You cannot possibly use a tree core to decifer a climate signal from that jumbled mess.
    A ring can be carbon-dated, but it will tell you nothing about the temperature at that point in time since the growing conditions depend on about 100 different factors (the most important of which is precipitation conditions versus temperature since these trees grow on moisture-deprived mountain slopes.)
    The fact that these, of all trees, are used to construct a global temperature record over a 1000 years is completely unbelievable – nevermind Mann’s method of over-weighting-splicing-data selection-teleconnected spurious analysis.

  2. I’ve got a Bristlecone growing in my yard. They’re strange trees. The branches are rubbery, and ooze sap from most places.
    As I posted on CA, My wife is a Horticulturist and says Pines depend on heavy fall rains to survive severe winter freezes (not really a problem in Western Washington), and growth rings would probably more show precip than anything else.

  3. Matt:
    Well, duh!
    It shows that current temps aren’t historically extreme. Everyone knows that 1998 was the hottest year in the last 10,000,000,000 years!

  4. Re MattN
    Because it uses more than one proxy, it’s completly open to anyone and no methodology is hidden. Also it’s not hockeystickshaped and has a MWP. It doesn’t even have an algore-ithm that creates a hockey stick. Therefore it’s denialist and absolutely crazy.

  5. BCPs function more like a cross between cacti and epiphytes. The soil they grow in, at the time the cold season sets in, is typically nearly or completely lacking in interstitial moisture. Therefore, the soil does not “freeze” in any sense that would be recognizable to people “back East” or “up North.” I was at upper treeline, in the Basin and Range, last week. Each day, temperatures would start out in the teens, then reach highs in the 40s, due to the effects of a slow moving High Pressure ridge. Due to the snow pack, the soil would receive a small amount of melt, just enough to wet the top few centimeters. This would then freeze. But then, one day, there was a SE wind, from the deepest desert, which resulted in morning melt and complete drying during that day. So, when the temps dropped that particular night, there was nothing to freeze.
    Here were some additional observations. Pines and firs of all species appeared to be greening up, already. Any moisture they can get, they will try to take in, on any day of the year.
    Lower down, at about 5500 feet, there was already green grass. The grass gets almost all its moisture from snow melt, as during summer, the Pacific High results in a seasonal drought. The only exception is hit or miss thunderstorms, which may form locally or be brought in by the SW Monsoon. However, that is a highly unreliable source. I digress. The green grass popping up, in a place where there is daily freeze thaw of the top few centimeters of soil, breaks all the “Back East” rules regarding such things. That grass will undoubtedly experience additional coverings by the snow pack, prior to the May cut off. And it will be loving every minute of it.
    Water, however it comes, is manna from heaven.
    In dry world, things are different.

  6. David Jay (10:38:45) :
    Matt:
    Well, duh!
    It shows that current temps aren’t historically extreme. Everyone knows that 1998 was the hottest year in the last 10,000,000,000 years!
    It was? hmmmmmmmmmmmmm…. check that, please

  7. Obviously your model is an amateur. Those sticks aren’t effective unless they are rotated 180 degrees on the axis of the shaft.
    ========================
    REPLY: Well, they are hockey sticks, so more difficult to hold than regular sticks.

  8. I’m a newby here. Will someone post a link to what the Mann hockey stick looks like after McIntyre’s statistical corrections are applied? Maybe a before and after would be better. Thanks.

  9. “I’m a newby here. Will someone post a link to what the Mann hockey stick looks like after McIntyre’s statistical corrections are applied?”
    Here is a pointer to a collection of stuff–if that doesn’t help, somebody that actually knows what they are talking about will have to step up.
    http://www.climateaudit.org/?page_id=354

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