Update: A zoomed look at the broken hockey stick

Steve McIntyre published an update tonight showing the last 200 years of the Yamal tree ring data versus the archived CRU tree ring data used to make the famous hockey stick. For those just joining us, see the story here.

First here’s the before an after at millennial scale.

Steve McIntyre writes:

The next graphic compares the RCS chronologies from the two slightly different data sets: red – the RCS chronology calculated from the CRU archive (with the 12 picked cores); black – the RCS chronology calculated using the Schweingruber Yamal sample of living trees instead of the 12 picked trees used in the CRU archive. The difference is breathtaking.


Figure 2. A comparison of Yamal RCS chronologies. red – as archived with 12 picked cores; black – including Schweingruber’s Khadyta River, Yamal (russ035w) archive and excluding 12 picked cores. Both smoothed with 21-year gaussian smooth. y-axis is in dimensionless chronology units centered on 1 (as are subsequent graphs (but represent age-adjusted ring width).

Now lets have a look at the data for the last 200 years where that hockey stick lives (and dies):

Steve writes:

Here is a comparison of the Briffa chronology of the spaghetti graphs (red) versus the “SChweingruber” variation i.e. using russ035w instead of 12 recent of 252 CRU cores, leaving 240 unchanged. (The red curve here is the archived CRU chronology, which varies slightly from my emulation of the RCS chronology.)


Viva la difference!

Still broken.

h/t to Mosh


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So ten trees, picked for reasons politic not scientific, have sustained the belief in the hockey stick by the mass of climatologists, opinion makers, and politicians, and have facilitated them in foist a monstrous fraud on the world for the last decade.
Utterly breathtaking.
I propose a Museum to Human Folly and an expedition to find those ten trees and exhibit them in the main hall.
REPLY: Actually 12 trees according to Steve – A

REPLY: Actually 12 trees according to Steve – A
Stay with 10, Anthony, leaving two still pristine in the folly to continue their glory for posterity to mess with…


They obviously picked the cherry trees to get the tree data to match the dodgy thermometer data 😉

so that is 12 more reasons to believe that the alarmist extremes of AGW is a fraud, rather than a mere mistake. This suggests that the AGW alarmism is based upon deliberate falsehood rather than just poor, but innocent, methodology.
What is Anthony’s take on this? I know that Anthony does believe that AGW is not a fraud and that there is a school of belief that AGW is real, but far less dramatic than the alarmist’s would have us believe. Where does this latest revelation leave us? Big Picture I mean?

steven mosher

looks like a stacked jury. I will say this. Tom P wins the Michael Mann award for excellence in statistics.
Seriously, Everybody should be aware that Steve’s work doesn’t break the hockey stick. It’s in the statistical penalty box. Simply, you can’t say that the MWP was warmer or colder than the present. The upshot os Steve’s work is this: we don’t know.
The big problem is this. Now that everybody knows which proxy’s show a strong MWP and those which do not, it’s virtually impossible to do a reconstruction except by randomly selecting proxies. Or selecting all proxies. Moreover, going forward you can expect more people to hold back samples from the archives. remember Briffa’s 12 samples were selected from a larger population and THAT population was not even archived.
It’s like this. They will now go out into the field and do 100 cores. They will examine those cores and only supply the data that confirms their hypothesis. When Steve McIntyre did his coring he followed the right proceedure. Take the cores, archive them all. Analysis is separate from proper data collection and archiving. You find a related difficulty in Kaufman 09, where the sediment series ( varves) are transformed and manipulated before they are archived. Always Always the raw data needs to be archived.
CRUTEMP anyone? lost the raw data.
For we engineers these are just standard practice.


Not to worry. Senator’s Kerry and Boxer are rushing to the rescue with the Senate’s version of the Waxman bill, just in time to save us all.
From Drudge:


The UK MET office have issued another doom an gloom story.
Four degrees of warming ‘likely’
In a dramatic acceleration of forecasts for global warming, UK scientists say the global average temperature could rise by 4C (7.2F) as early as 2060.
The Met Office study used projections of fossil fuel use that reflect the trend seen over the last 20 years.
Their computer models also factored in new findings on how carbon dioxide is absorbed by the oceans and forests.
The finding was presented at an Oxford University conference exploring the implications of a 4C rise.
The results show a “best estimate” of 4C being reached by 2070, with a possibility that it will come as early as 2060.
Richard Betts of the Met Office Hadley Centre described himself as “shocked” that so much warming could occur within the lifetimes of people alive today.
“If greenhouse gas emissions are not cut soon then we could see major climate changes within our own lifetimes,” he said.
“Four degrees of warming averaged over the globe translates into even greater warming in many regions, along with major changes in rainfall.”
Big burn
The model finds wide variations, with the Arctic possibly seeing a rise of up to 15C (27F) by the end of the century.
Western and southern parts of Africa could warm by up to 10C, with other land areas seeing a rise of 7C or more.
In its 2007 assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the average warming by the end of the century would probably lie between 1.8C and 4C (3.2-7.2F), though it did not rule out the possibility of larger rises.
Key to the Met Office calculations was the use of projections showing fossil fuel use continuing to increase as it has done for the last couple of decades.
“Previously we haven’t looked at the impact of burning fossil fuels so intensely,” said Dr Betts.
“But it’s quite plausible we could get a rise of 4C by 2070 or even 2060.”
Dr Betts and his colleagues emphasise the uncertainties inherent in the modelling, particularly the role of the carbon cycle.
But he said he was confident the findings were significant and would serve as a useful guide to policymakers.
The presentation at Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute came as negotiators from 192 countries were gathering in Bangkok for the latest set of prepatory talks in the run-up to December’s UN climate summit.
Major governments of developing and industrialised nations are committed to a deal that would keep the global temperature rise to 2C, which many regard as a threshold for “dangerous” climate change


I am as excited about this discovery as most others seem to be on this blog and on CA.
However, the astounding graphs we have seen so far represents “dimensionless chronology units” only. Not quite temperatures.
In that respect I can hardly wait to see the revised Mann et al. temperature proxy graphs when the Schweingruber data has been included. Only then will we be able to see the real impact of this discovery. And only if the impact is large enough will it get the proper attention in the media – hopefully before the Copenhagen Climate Conference.


Lies, damned lies and selected tree rings.
It’s almost funny, would be if not for the policy decisions that this eroneous data has driven.
I nominate Steve for an honorary knighthood.

David Porter

Sadly, I think that there is now so much vested in AGW around the world that it will be a case of “the stick is dead, long live the stick”.


Monckton has been saying this all along and showed tree ring data that didn’t match the hockey stick in his presentations.

Mike Bryant

I cannot tell a lie… the cherry trees cut down Mann… and mankind…


So, how many schoolbooks need to be replaced?
With recycled paper of course!!


Simply, you can’t say that the MWP was warmer or colder than the present.

You are correct. The people who lived in the MWP wrote enough about it to leave little doubt that is was much warmer than now. They said so.

Is broken the record of antartic sea ice?
The website from University of Bremen shows that record from September 2007 is broken:
I spoke about this in my blog (in spanish, sorry)


Jose I think thats why Cryosphere is apparently going to change the base lines again so you cant see this anymore. Keep ears open…

Jim Greig

Has anyone else noticed how the AGW defenders stay away from these posts that make their position indefensible?

Alan the Brit

As rbateman has high-lighted, it is all too easy to get lost in the scientific detail about the MWP & even the LIA. There is plenty of literature describing life in those periods, that clearly suggests they were periods when the Earth’s climate was different than that of today. I understand that evidence, scientific & literary, for both events has been discovered world wide.
Despite these wonderfully timed BS findings, (Bureaucratic Science – you know, it produces the desired result on time just when the politicos need it, unlike real science), with rises of 4°C temp, has there been any AGW signal found in the Troposphere above the tropics, which is where both sides of the non-debate seem to agree the signal should be found?
BTW you colonials are lucky, on our Sunday morning BBC 1 politics show we had the delights of one John Prescott (a well known Marxist Socialist former Labour Party Leader nicknamed two Jags, two shags, – due to his love of luxury gas guzzlers & extra marital activity) who is now the UK’s Climate Tzar, jetting around the globe telling everyone how they must reduce their carbon emissions to give the “kids a future”, all on his 6 figure taxpayer funded salary + generous expenses – well he is saving the world afterall! Then again you do have Al Gore.

Does it have to be spelled out? The Schweingruber Yamal sample clearly exhibits a “divergence problem”. There is no elevated recent values so it must be tainted in some way and should not be used.
I am sure Realclimate will be along soon to sooth us.

Alan the Brit

BTW – when I say Prescott was a Labour Party Leader, I meant in his capacity as Chairman of the Party, as opposed to a potential (God forbid) Prime Minister.

RR Kampen

So, actually global temperature is falling, just like the freezing point of water.


Brought to you by RealClimate Productions:
Michael Mann and The Cherry Pickers – Greatest Hits
1. Ride Like The Wind.
2. Purple Rain.
3. Here Comes The Sun
4. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow.
5. Carbon Dating
6. Ice Ice Baby
7. Sea Of Love
8. Heat Of The Moment
9. Daddy Cool
10. From Russia With Love (Briffa version)
Available now from all reputable peer-reviewed journals.

FWIW my explanation of why this is important – http://www.di2.nu/200909/28.htm – including this nice closeup graph now

Willem de Rode

I am shocked with the treering story.
Congratulations for everyone involved and for those that helped to spread the news.
But what now ?
Will there be a reaction of e.g. the IPCC ? I think it would be very important that the official warming propagandists react on this. Is there a task at the side of the serious scientific bloggers to provoke such a reaction ?
As far as I can judge the sceptics have now an argument to build on in a discussion with the believers.
It would be very interesting to see how heavy the other side measures this argument.

P Wilson

JustPassing (01:12:44) :
So far, the IPCC, the met office, in short, all the institutions that predict climate have been wrong about the last 10 years, from their models prior to the last 10 years. (Hansen et al) . That is a sufficiently long enough period (20 years) to doubt the veracity of their long range predictions, if th eclimate goes the opposite way to the models. If they erased the c02 signal, or at least downplayed it by a factor of 100, then they might have been right, although the alarmism and impending doom (note: The catastrophe is always impending and never real) would also have been eradicated.
Back to the issue: Tree rings at best give a blurry picture of past proxies. It would be better to consult arboriculturalists about trees than dendrclimatologists, and thats why scientists in the field of past proxies, both pre and post IPCC use sediment cores, peat bogs, and other such forensic investigation to obtain a better picture of past climates.


Steven Mosher
“Seriously, Everybody should be aware that Steve’s work doesn’t break the hockey stick. It’s in the statistical penalty box. Simply, you can’t say that the MWP was warmer or colder than the present. The upshot os Steve’s work is this: we don’t know.”
Well, hang on there. If the hockey stick and all its associated tomfoolery is broken, then we revert to the state of knowledge before the abominable stickmann came along, as represented by the graph in the IPCC 1 report, showing a strong MWP. This graph represented the consensus until the early 90s, based on a whole load of other evidence. In the absence of Mann’s stick and all its little sticklets, I would tend to believe that evidence.


Ken Hall, the big picture is that dendroclimatology is bunk. This has the consequence that paleoclimate reconstructions of the past 2000 years are more or less bunk. The borehole data is good enough to confirm the little ice age, but we can say little or nothing about temperatures before 1600. Hence claims of unprecedented temperatures over the last two millennia are bunk. How much credence you put in historical records of the medieval warm period is a matter of taste.
As usual Steve McIntyre is being extremely cautious in his own interpretations, but that’s the obvious interpretation.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the whole of AGW is bunk. That’s a longer and more complex argument. Personally I’m a lukewarmer, but opinions vary.

Stephen Skinner

steven mosher (00:45:06) :
For we engineers these are just standard practice.
This must surely be the case for all practical based professions. Taking it a stage further; I wonder how far all this would have got if this was a murder trial. The case would surely have been thrown out because of tampered evidence, lack of evidence, withholding of evidence, inadmissible evidence and large amounts of conjecture and ‘leading the witness’.

Skeptic Tank

kim (23:58:28) :

I propose a Museum to Human Folly and an expedition to find those ten trees and exhibit them in the main hall.

Cut them up for firewood and ship them to Al Gore’s mansion with a sentiment that reads “You were wrong. Celebrate and have a bonfire.”

Frank Lansner

Here i made an illustration of the divergence problem:
Se how close the REAL yamal curve lies to the normal proxi average. (On this graf most major proxies are included, even Briffas. Here the proxies included in the illustration above:
an updated fig2 from this article:


The CA story has made it into the mainstream media via James Delingpole’s Daily Telegraph blog.
“How the global warming industry is based on one MASSIVE lie”
Hopefully this will now be picked up by a few more sceptical mainstream hacks – but don’t hold your breath for the BBC.
I’ve cross posted the Telegraph link to Monbiot’s Grauniad CIF today – which has survived for around half an hour and counting.

Frank Lansner

José Antonio (03:02:18) :
Is broken the record of antartic sea ice?
The website from University of Bremen shows that record from September 2007 is broken:
José, when i tried, the link was down, I also tried from their website:
to press “AMSR-sea ice charts” but it is taken down / “error”….
So, just when Antarctic break yet a max record, the chart is down?
Too many visitors? Or?

mark twain

Mick (02:26:05) :
So, how many schoolbooks need to be replaced?
With recycled paper of course!!
in meteorologie, climatologie and geographie i dont know any school book, whichs shows graphes of m. mann or like that. von storch called the graph “nosnsens”
every schoolar literature shows the mwp and the lia and i hope, that will never change.

Frank K.

steven mosher (00:45:06) :
“It’s like this. They will now go out into the field and do 100 cores. They will examine those cores and only supply the data that confirms their hypothesis. When Steve McIntyre did his coring he followed the right proceedure. Take the cores, archive them all. Analysis is separate from proper data collection and archiving. You find a related difficulty in Kaufman 09, where the sediment series ( varves) are transformed and manipulated before they are archived. Always Always the raw data needs to be archived.”
To me, the most disturbing aspect of this whole incident is the fact that it took *** years *** to finally pry the data away from Briffa et al. (data which should have been archived in a timely manner and available to all).
Unfortunately, there will be no consequences for these researchers; they will continue to publish whatever they want (thanks to their buddies on the review panels for the major climate science journals), and their taxpayer-funded climate “science” projects will still keep flowing in…

There’s been speculation in the latest threads that media such as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation might report Steve McIntyre’s exposure of the hockey stick farce. Fat chance.
Instead, the pinnacle of Australian television current affairs, the ABC’s 7.30 Report, tonight interviewed IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri re the latest HADLEY scare campaign.
Go to http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/
It’s sadly hilarious, including hearing that “the number of skeptics is going down very rapidly all over the world” and people like us should “think objectively”.
The interview wraps up with a postscript passing on Pachauri’s advice that meat-eaters can all cut carbon output and save the world by eating one less meat meal per week.

UK Sceptic

The Met Office predictions are now synonymous with epic failure. They couldn’t predict sunrise and sunset with any great accuracy, let alone weather. As for global warming, I’ve just resturned from walking my dog and I can tell you that warm the north western UK weather ain’t!
Autumn arrived a little early this year and is now in full swing. The weather’s cold, damp and miserable. I haven’t seen the sun for days because of the dreary grey overcast. Right now I could use a little global warming. Maybe I’ll print off a few of those nice graphs and set them ablaze…


At what point in proceedings does evidence migrate from being merely flawed to become misleading, and at what further point does any such misleading evidence drift into deliberate untruths, and from there who can hold the person(s) responsible as being either negligent or legally accountable?
$Billions have been spent / invested / squandered on the strength of the Hockey Stick. I remember the BBC’s ‘Climate Wars’ from a couple of years back, where a huge great billboard was driven throughout central London for TV.
The image? Why, the now hopelessly discredited (possibly worse than ‘discredited’) Hockey Stick.
Someone should be held accountable.


I’m confused on a couple of points of those trees…
1) Are they all from the same area in Russia?
1a) If they are all from the same area, how can one area be used to determine the entire earth’s temperature?
2) What were the tree rings of these trees used for, Mann’s 1st hockey stick, his 2nd stick, or some other stick?


the stick is dead, long live the stick

Is it even possible to turn the political tanker around? I very much doubt it.

George S.

Oh, woe is me. I am truly uplifted by Steve’s discovery.
However, I’m pessimistic that anyone will hear this. This monumental hoax is debunked and could save the world trillions of dollars and countless lives and resources….but all I expect to hear is the continued roar of chirping crickets. Statists have their fingers in their ears when it comes to discussion. They are only interested in dictation!
The stick is dead, long live the stick!
My optimistic half allows some glimmer of trust that the word will spread, that the truth will prevail. For the sake of my son and his future children…I hope that all this eco-foolishness is put to rest. Man(n)-caused cooling, warming, change…what utter hubris! [I love the “it’s cooling as a side effect of AGW”!]
I’ll allow that we should be responsible stewards of the bountiful Earth. Use it wisely rather than disuse it, misuse it, or abuse it. How clever of us to convert dead matter into useable energy! Hey…we can also do it with rocks, wind, sunshine, rushing water, tides, waves, and a long list of other resources.
Long live prosperous, productive, and FREE human beings!


OK, kids; great Halloween costume idea. A zombie hockey stick.
The lane is very dirty
And my shoes are very thin.
I’ve got a little pocket
To put a penny in.
If you haven’t got a penny,
A ha’penny will do.
If you haven’t got a ha’penny,
May God Bless You.

Mr Lynn

My wife was complaining this morning about two NPR gabfests she heard in the car, one on ‘climate change’ and Copenhagen, the other on windmills in the desert. In both the participants, including the hosts, all assumed that Global Warming (aka ‘climate change’) is an established fact, a problem that must be dealt with. At no point did anyone even raise the possibility that there might be a contrary view, or that the science was not entirely settled, that more CO2 might be beneficial, or that the evidence for recent ‘global warming’ might be shaky.
Of course that was NPR, but the same can be said for all of the media, aside from conservative talk radio and skeptical sites in the blogosphere, like this one. Nothing that is transpiring here or over on CA is even beginning to penetrate the consciousness of the political and media elites, not to mention the general public.
What can be done to penetrate this wall of silence, this stone foundation of ‘accepted fact’? Well, there’s one thing that will get the media’s attention:
I know that Anthony and most scientists are very reluctant to use the ‘F’ word, and understandably so. But given that ‘climate change’ is the banner for a massive political movement, which creates a huge impediment to anyone questioning the underlying science, maybe the only way to get crack the foundation is to hit it with the ‘F’ jackhammer.
The elite media won’t listen to a bunch of ragtag ‘skeptics’ and ‘deniers’ (as they are routinely disparaged and dismissed), but they will start paying attention if a few prominent scientists start charging ‘F____’. They will pay even more attention if a national society (like the AAAS) is forced to begin an investigation.
If scientists are caught cherry-picking only the data that supports (and dramatizes!) their hypotheses, and refusing to release all of the data for other other scientists to check, then that is prima facie evidence of misconduct. Scientific misconduct is a very serious charge. It is time for members of the relevant societies to start demanding public investigations.
/Mr Lynn

David Kitchen

Maybe we are not seeing the wood for the trees 🙂 If you read this new data as indicating that the temperature actually decreased over this period, then you are stuck trying to reconcile that theory with observations from satellite and other proxy data that clearly indicates a period of rapid warming towards the end of the last century. Surely the goal here is to discover what is happening, not to play “gotcha” on science that is already getting old… and there is a good chance that it will turn out to be close to accurate.. however flawed in conception. Lets play “do some original research and publish it” instead.


Chris 5:44:13
Meatless Easter Season?
No eating bunnies, anyway.


This should now be treated as a criminal action.
And considering the consequences to our economy, our jobs, our childrens education, then I think we should consider this an act of deliberate and planned Treason.
It’s a pitty that there are no politicians brave enough to stand up and call these people Traitors and criminals who should face the full force of the law.


You know, I beg that it ends in ridicule, not anger.

Dave D

I’ve sent links to the original story to both of my Senators in Tennessee and to Senator Inhofe, who is the only skeptic voice in the Senate and on the Ernergy Committee. I advocate many of you do the same. It’s great if a bunch of us “interested people” know this stuff, but it’s a political issue, it needs politicains to get the story out.
I may be a bit niave, but some of them really will do the right thing – even if only to grab headlines… 😉

mark twain

why all this complicate and diffus works with tree rings?
i think we have some other, very good methods to find out, how warm the mwp on the northern hemisphere had been. in the greater alpine region (europe) eg. we know, that the tree limit in the mountains was about 2300m, today it is around 1900 to 2300m. we have glaciers proxis, which show a less glaciation between 1000 and 1400 in the alps. we have good proxis from central england (ipcc 1996 shown) and some more (indirect) proxis from china, usa, skandinavia and greenland. so in central europa it is very clear, that it was warmen than today, because trees don`t grow in levels over 2200m if it is not warm enougt there.
what about tree limit levels studies in moutains of skandinavia, russland, usa, china, japan etc.? a very easy and seriosly method to show past temperatures!?

Interesting that one of Mann’s initial “rebutes” of his hockey stick were words to the effect of “I never merged tree-ring data with thermometer data, and I never said that tree-ring data (temperature proxies from 1700 to 2000 years ago) should be merged with recent thermometer records.”…
But the IPCC’s AR4 (though not plotting his hockey stick directly – which did exactly that merging – repeats over and over again that tree-ring data IS one of their primary sources of temperature information over the past 2000 years. Earlier IPCC reports were at least honest enough to plot Mann’s data, not just use it in their words.
And, also in that AR4 report, the radiative “climate forcing” of CO2, Methane, NO2 and total greenhouse gasses are presented in THEIR full hockey stick glory.
A second question arises: Since Mann’s tree ring data IS actually being merged with historical thermometer data, what temperature data did Mann (and Briffa!) actually use for recent temperatures?
Actual surface temperature warming since 1890 is between 1/2 of one degree and 7/10 of one degree – if UHI is removed from the record. Since 1950, surface temperature warming is less than 3/10 of one degree.
If the tree ring data is being (has been ??) “calibrated against a bad thermometer” because corrected global temperatures were used, (not actual temperatures of the actual trees – which are ALSO said to vary significantly from the atmospheric temperatures), were the estimated past temperature proxies off? How much were they “off” – if they are wrongly compared to recent temperatures that are themselves incorrect? If they were off, in what direction were they wrongly “corrected” when they were merged into the historical record?

I believe that what matters for the future is having a healthy “citizens’ science” that can counterbalance the temptations to corrupt that can open up as soon as one gets paid. I believe in the creative tension between “amateur” and “professional”, and that is truly the best of British. Even the warmist hype has arisen in part in a naive belief that it is individuals standing up to corrupt Big Oil and so forth – though here we know that that time has long since passed, if it ever existed.
Now that Ellie from Belfast has thoroughly opened my eyes to the level of degradation in the NASA GISS records (just the UK ones at that) I’m fired up and hoping to write up something that can kick-start another interactive project like Surface Stations, to rescue and sustain the real records. I’ve found evidence that pretty well every single GISS UK record that supposedly started in 1880 actually started earlier, and/or continues later than GISS shows, often is still extant. GISS UK looks so awful that I want to keep checking that I’ve really got my basic facts right about this, it seems too awful to be true.
I want to contact record-keepers right across the country. I want to develop a project that is positive and creative and interactive for people quite independently of the climate science issues, to reclaim the true original independent spirit of Science that of itself would have protected the data and prevented the current problems ever arising. The cooperation between amateurs and professionals that still exists in Astronomy and is close to the surface in Meteorology.