Music of the rings: the Yamal tree ring controversy continues

From Roger Pielke Jr.’s blog, some strong advice.

Better Come Prepared

Image: Spraygraphic via T-Shirt reviews - click for details
Image: Spraygraphic via T-Shirt reviews - click for details

UPDATE: Dot Earth on the debate.

If you want to know why Steve McIntyre has a large following and the respect (often begrudging) from many professionals, you need look no further than his latest post on the Yamal controversy. Some people won’t like his tone and others won’t like how his work is used and spun in the political process. All fair complaints, but they are largely a side show to the substantive issues.

And so long as Steve is delivering detailed, systematic and devastating substantive arguments — and yes this post is all three — he will continue to have a following and earn respect (however begrudging).

Anyone coming to this fresh who compares McIntyre’s latest dissection with the recent screed from Real Climate will come to a similar judgment, I’d guess.

I stand by my unsolicited advice to McIntyre that he needs to publish his work in the peer reviewed arena if he wants to have his work accepted and included in the mainstream scientific discourse. Meantime, those professionals, such as the guys at Real Climate, who want to do public battle over scientific issues on the blogs had better step up their game, because no matter how much the blog chorus gets whipped up about the tribal aspects of the debate, fair minded people observing events are going to come to a very different conclusion, like it or not.

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October 5, 2009 8:33 pm

Nice article and they got the .org domain right!

October 5, 2009 8:34 pm

Somehow ClimateAudit says what Steve MacIntyre performs. He does the job of auditing various climate papers. It is amazing to me that any of these papers gets published without scrupulous supporting data. It seems that in the peculiar world of climate studies supporting data is not archived with full archive version control. So Steve unwinds things that should have been supplied in the first place, witness YAD06.
The data has been, as in this case, chased after for many years. The results have been shocking to say the least. We need more professionals like Steve, unfortunately due to the grants with strings style of support I am not optimistic. With billions of dollars being spent by the government the results are clear, GTM (Get The Money).

October 5, 2009 8:36 pm

But, but “peer-reviewed” journal is out there willing enough (courageous enough?) to actually present evidence and data, analyze evidence and data, and critique evidence and data that are being pushed/propagandized by the university elites who are the “STARS” of the academic press?
The Royal Society, for example, has been corrupt and inept at times since the beginning – as when the longitude problem (the chronometer) was presented for judgement to the one “scientist” who was calculating its competing product, the moon tables.
What journal now is NOT corrupted by power, money, influence, and the “feel good” tropisms of today’s liberal socialists who are playing politics with their data?

October 5, 2009 8:47 pm

Pretence is a but a flimsy shield
Behind which to hide and proffer scorn
Sorely holed by arrows straight and true
Best of luck with that longbow Steve.

October 5, 2009 9:03 pm

RACookPE1978 (20:36:32),
It was the Royal Society that brought Briffa to justice in this case. Steve just served up the prosecutions damning case against him. Without their strong stand demanding compliance from Briffa on data disclosure, this would never have happened and the RC yahoos would still be giggling at getting away with it rather than screaming at being called out.
I think a tide is rising among the scientific community to start demanding more of the peer review process and of journals to require more openness. Steve’s bold stand demanding disclosure is shaming many and they know they can only get away with their games for a bit longer.

October 5, 2009 9:13 pm

RACookPE1978 (20:36:32) – PLoS was brave enough to publish that 9 of 10 PLoS authors did not make their data available.

Henry chance
October 5, 2009 9:13 pm

Joe romm uses the expression “game changer”. Say it ain’t so Joe. This is a game changer.

October 5, 2009 9:25 pm

I’ve done a simple review of RCS methods used to make the Yamal stick. This is based on Steve’s open and transparent work without which my analysis would have been impossible.
There are some assumptions in RCS which create problems in tree series that have different properties than the average.
I wonder if anyone can find any problems with my results.

Gene Nemetz
October 5, 2009 10:49 pm

Some people won’t like his tone
But I liked it. It was funny.

October 5, 2009 11:01 pm

“On the internet nobody knows you’re a dog”… (a famous New Yorker cartoon, I believe)
For most of “the internet”, everyone might as well be a dog. There are no prerequisites to commenting on the internet, so no knowledge is required, scientific or otherwise, no logic or math skills are required, and least of all any social skills. Which is all too human. I don’t have to give examples.
Science is a system for finding truth out of a mess of contradictory stuff and it works pretty well in the long run. But never confuse science with scientists. Scientists are human; see above. They can make mistakes, individually and collectively, with or without good intentions. This creates problems in the short run. Who can you believe? I don’t trust the ones who are gaming the system.
I am in awe of CA and SM. Steve and Climate Audit are science at its best, and also the internet at its best. Which unfortunately is not perfect. How do you hold a good scientific discourse with hecklers in the audience? Steve manages to do it. Steve handles dissenting opinions better than the leading scientific journals do on this topic.
It’s odd that bloggers and journalists feel qualified to challenge Steve when it is clear that everything Steve does is over their heads. It’s a strange world.
Steve should publish in a statistical journal.

October 6, 2009 12:10 am

I like all those hatchet jobs Anthony

October 6, 2009 12:13 am

As a layman, I am totally baffled by the fact that “peers” are not indentified in the scientific journals. What qualifies them as “peers” of the different authors of articles published?
The author’s qualifications are always cited.

October 6, 2009 12:24 am

Good question, but an even better question is why supposedly scientific journals do not require a statistician be on every peer review panel to audit the data and methods used to analyze it. Perhaps there is a difference between ‘scientific journals’ and ‘science journals’, where the first is merely purporting to publish science and the latter actually is.

October 6, 2009 12:45 am

Could the PEERS be the very people at RC or their supporters? Who knows?

D. King
October 6, 2009 12:46 am

“I stand by my unsolicited advice to McIntyre that he needs to publish his work in the peer reviewed arena if he wants to have his work accepted and included in the mainstream scientific discourse. ”
I thought the original paper was peer reviewed.
Oh, you mean a peer, peer reviewed arena.

October 6, 2009 12:55 am

It is certainly refreshing to scientific debate where it shod be. In the open. Only by withstanding attempts at falsification can any theory prosper. Gavin and his warm-mongering colleagues would do well to realise and acknowledge this simple idea that Steve demostrates so well. To any non-partisan observer it is obvious who is winning the debate.

October 6, 2009 12:57 am

And of I were keeping score I’d have to call it : CA-3, RC-0.
Some hockey match.

Tom P
October 6, 2009 1:07 am

“…so long as Steve is delivering detailed, systematic and devastating[ly] substantive arguments — and yes this post is all three — he will continue to have a following and earn respect”
Except Steve McIntyre’s arguments might be lacking some of these qualities.
To overturn the hockeystick he combined Briffa’s original Yamal tree-ring series with another local series from the Khadyta River which contained much younger trees.
I posted my objections to this combination and Steve thought my comments were worth a rebuttal in a full post:
He split up his new series into trees greater and less than 75 years old to claim that the chronologies matched irrespective of tree age apart from the end of the twentieth century, and were hence robust.
Steve wrote in this post:
“The most distinctive feature of this graphic is something quite different than the guru [apparently me] reported to us: given the similarity of the two series up to 1970, their divergence thereafter really is quite remarkable.”
Except if you actually plot, rather than eyeball, the difference between two plots you come up with a very different result:
The older and younger chronologies from Steve’s alternative series contradict themselves not just in the recent past, but continually with an even higher divergence over the last two thousand years. Steve McIntyre’s slaying of the hockeystick is based on a comparison to his alternative Yamal-Khadyta series which itself has some very serious problems.
Steve has yet to find time to respond to the contradiction I have pointed out between his statements and the data concerning his combined hockey-stick-slaying series. He has found time to write an extensive new post on the Fourth IPCC report.
Unless Steve resolves this contradiction, I find it rather difficult to agree with Roger Pielke Jr. that Steve McIntyre’s arguments are “detailed, systematic and devastating[ly] substantive”.

Alan the Brit
October 6, 2009 1:14 am

I am concerend about the way RealClimate seem to be rather unprofessional in their approach to criticism of SM & his work. Perhaps this is symptomatic of the blogosphere with a somewhat more “relaxed” approach! My professional body, would have me up before a profesional conduct committee pdq for speaking out against a fellow engineer, or indeed any other professional whose reputation could be considered to be at risk of damage from open criticism! Why can they not just say that he is wrong, has misinterpreted the data, & has drawn the wrong conclusions, & then demonstrate it as so? They seem far more concerned that SM has found something that may be wrong as opposed to accepting the criticism at face value, & then addressing it to show why & how the original conclusion drawn was done so. Their apporach suggests hackles have been raised because some one has dared to challenge their view, rather than the evidence provided. Closed mind or what? This is the problem when debate is closed down & restricted to only the internet, & not the full public domain, & by that I mean it’s like most things in life, it’s not finding the answers that is the issue as they are usually easy enough, it’s knowing where to look & what questions to ask in the first place, which Jo Public wouldn’t probably know.

October 6, 2009 1:15 am

We are repeatedly being told by the alarmist warmongers that the current warm period is the warmest in the past 1,300 years and warmer than the medieval warm period. This ignoring the mountains of evidence to the contrary, including among other things as the Viking sagas and relying instead on fabricated hockey stick graphs from a few carefully selected trees, and one tree in particular.
Now scientists at the University of Sunderland are using logbooks from the Darwin and Cook voyages to study the climate of the past.
Good sense seem to be prevailing at last. Human recorded history could possibly provide a better reconstruction of past climatic history than a a handful of carefully selected trees in remote Siberia, who knew?

40 Shades of Green
October 6, 2009 1:22 am

I took a look at the “comments” at Dot Earth and was amazed. What amazed me was the popularity of pro McIntyre comments as evidenced by the numbers of people recommending different comments.
To take a specific example, comment 1 was a diatribe against McIntyre and it got 11 recommendations; comments 3 and 7 were pro McIntyre and got 25 and 29 respectively.
So either there is a vast consipiracy of WUWT and CA readers going to Dot Earth and clicking recommend buttons, or Dot Earths readers are not as blind as those who do not see over at Real Climate.

Joseph in Florida
October 6, 2009 2:26 am

I suggest that Steve McIntyre and others that can see the misuse of statistics in these “computer models” of the planet’s climate should try to publish in an honest journal on statistics. After all, that is all these models are anyway: the computer allows fast predictive statistics and statistical analysis.
I think the level of statistical expertise by these climate alarmists is nil. I think our nation’s statisticians should be invited (it is science after all) to grade these models and tell us if they have any validity.
While I am on the subject; why does any scientist believe the ravings of anyone, scientist or not, who does not divulge publicly all data and methods? Why should I trust a guy who keeps his data selection of trees a secret? Or, more importantly, that keeps the computer code a secret?

October 6, 2009 2:26 am

The debate is over.
Here the lates reality check after the Hanno-scandal, the Jones/Hadcrut scandal, the Briffa/Hockey scandal:
A snowball is rolling down the hill…

Larry Sheldon
October 6, 2009 2:49 am

As a non-scientist, non-professional, non-just about everything except taxpayer that has to pay for all of the nonsense, let me say that I am not sold on “peer review”.
As near as I can tell, under peer review, you can’t publish anything that rocks the boat, threatens the establishment, call the conventional wisdom.
If you can’t cite the proper number of places that said what you are saying (each of them citing the requisite number of approved authorities) you don’t get publish.
Read everything with Alan Sokol’s name near it and then come argue with me.
I want to see detailed reports of methods, data, and findings; all expressed in ways that allow others to replicate the work so they can disagree with the findings if they can support the disagreement.

October 6, 2009 3:05 am

Tom P (01:07:06) :
The Hockey Stick is gone.
During the Medieval Warm Period, the World was much warmer even than today.

October 6, 2009 4:41 am

Two wrongs dont make a right…or do they? Perhaps the thing you are missing the most is that if so many questions remain unanswered on both sides…then why has the hockey stick been used as the baseline by the IPCC and the global warming ™ industry?
Surely, if so many questions remain unanswered then the hockey stick should not be used at all until those questions are answered?

Mike M.
October 6, 2009 5:04 am

What was even more interesting, 40 Shades, was Andy Revkin’s growing irritation with the carping of the fundamentalists in the comments. I’m sure I’ll see Kim’s take on that soon.
You know, it would be nice to see this prolific crowd pay Dotearth a visit and see if we could cheer up Mr. Revkin a bit. Show him what some real traffic looks like.

Bill Illis
October 6, 2009 5:07 am

It is going to be very hard for Steve McIntyre to publish any of this material (perhaps Energy and Environment).
If the paper was submitted to others journals, at least one of the reviewers will be one of Briffa’s co-authors on one of the other tree-ring studies.
In the past, these pro-Team reviewers have been over-the-top negative on any such paper and it just seems the paper or journal comment gets nowhere. The editor would have to make sure none of the reviewers are pro-Team or just ignore the comments from “Reviewer #2” or it will just be a lot of time wasted.

Jack Simmons
October 6, 2009 5:15 am

AnonyMoose (21:13:31) :

RACookPE1978 (20:36:32) – PLoS was brave enough to publish that 9 of 10 PLoS authors did not make their data available.

AnonyMoose you just ruined my morning. I knew things were bad in Journal Land, I just didn’t realize how bad.
But thank you anyway for the link.
Now the big question is: What can one believe anymore?

October 6, 2009 5:53 am

With the internet, is peer review really necessary? Any researcher can publish his results online, essentially for free. Other people can review and criticize the results and publish their criticisms, essentially for free. What exactly is the problem?
It seems to me that peer review harkens back to a time when publishing required an expensive system of scientific journals and research libraries. The only way to publicize a research finding was to put it on paper; bind it; and store copies of it in numerous expensive climate-controlled (haha) buildings all over the world. And the same applied to criticism of that finding.
But at this point, it seems to me the main purpose of having peer reviewed journals is to have a means for researchers to compete with eachother by having their work accepted by such journals.
The only objection I can think of to moving away from peer review is that cranks will flood the internet with nonsense and drown out the good stuff. But this doesn’t seem to be a big problem and Steve McIntyre is a good example. People pay attention to him because he has a good reputation. He has a good reputation because he has a track record of making sense.
Again, what exactly is the problem?

October 6, 2009 6:05 am

has been called out at CA. He has been shown to be an RC lap dog with even less statistical knowledge than Gavin.
Don’t let the nincumpoop hijack this thread as well.

Alec, a.k.a. Daffy Duck
October 6, 2009 6:17 am

Washington Post has a blog about it..didn’t know if you had seen it:
Another Slapshot in Climate ‘Hockey Stick’ Faceoff
An enduring dispute in the scientific community and the blogosphere over an iconic climate science graph, known as the “Hockey Stick,” has boiled over yet again in the past two weeks, with climate skeptics touting a new analysis they say greatly weakens the evidence supporting the mainstream scientific view that recent warming of Earth’s climate is highly unusual and largely due to human emissions of greenhouse gases……..

October 6, 2009 6:26 am

I love the smell of open Science in the morning. It smells like… Victory.

October 6, 2009 6:46 am

stephen.richards (06:05:42) :
has been called out at CA. He has been shown to be an RC lap dog with even less statistical knowledge than Gavin.”
Even less? That must mean none then.

Mike from Canmore
October 6, 2009 7:06 am

Isn’t the peer review process supposed to ensure papers can stand up to people like Steve M?
Steve is doing what peer review is supposed to do. If the peers had done what they were supposed to do, Climate Audit would not exist. The Peer Reviewers provided the opportunity, (although I’m not sure Steve would classify it that way), for Climate Audit to exist. If anything, I hope Steve’s and others’ actions will move peer review from a rubber stamp process to one of robustness. Much like Corp. Boards are becoming much more than rubber stampers.
One thing I can tell you, if I were to produce a significant paper which relied on the robustness (if that’s a word) of the stats, I would contact Steve and see how much it would cost to put it through his stat mill. If it could withstand his mill, I would be a lot more confident it could withstand the public mill.

October 6, 2009 7:13 am

Tom P and Mailman
It is Briffa’s work that must be explained. He has obviously been selective in his use of data but has failed to explain the selection process. Steve’s work simply points out that Briffa’s calculations are not robust to the substitution of other data sets yet his work has been one of the great pillars of AGW beliefs for a decade and is on the verge of helping to commit us to spending trillions of dollars on carbon trading schemes that may be completely unnecessary. But how can we decide if carbon cap and trade is or is not required if proponents of the hypothesis of unprecedented AGW are not required to disclose their data or explain their methodology?
Let’s recap for a minute:
Briffa failed to disclose his data for almost a decade
Briffa’s work is not robust to substitutions or the use of other available data sets
Briffa has not disclosed his tree selection criteria
Briffa’s work has been used in the IPCC’s reports to demonstrate the severity of global warming
Those IPCC reports are about to be presented as uncontested fact in Copenhagen to justify the imposition of a whole new branch of “ecofriendly” taxation
In 1 week since Briffa’s data was finally published, Steve McIntyre has cast enough doubt over the robustness of Briffa’s work for any rational scientist to step back and question his methods.
Tom, you should be asking questions of Briffa not Steve McIntyre

October 6, 2009 7:27 am

Tom, your continued attempts to justify the practice of ignoring valid tree ring data just because it doesn’t correlate with temperature is really growing old. That data is 100% valid and appropriote to use.

David Ball
October 6, 2009 7:31 am

Richard (1:15:02) My father knew. To put some of the controversy in perspective, I recall as a boy dinner table discussion of the viability of tree rings as a proxy. Climate scientists (my father has a doctor of science in climatology) have known for decades the problems with dendro proxies. The Hudson’s Bay archives are very cool. I have read firsthand some of the tales of hardship these brave men went through, all to gather furs to keep people warm in Europe during the LIA. It is also interesting to look at the weather data that was gathered over almost 400 years. Sorry TomP, but I smell something rotten in dendro. Real temperature data trumps speculative temperature data in my book.

Gene Nemetz
October 6, 2009 7:32 am

Tom P (01:07:06) :
Steve has yet to find time to respond…
It appears Steve McIntyre has addressed you in his post.
You should be able to deduce what his reply might be to your comments, and why he hasn’t responded to you in the comments, from what he says in the post.

Tom in Florida
October 6, 2009 7:36 am

Following the discussions about SM needing to be peer reviewed I am wondering why a statistician using his expertise to question the statistical methods used by climatologists would be expected to be peer reviewed in a climate publication? Wouldn’t his methods be better reviewed in a statistical pub? Are climatologists ever peer reviewed by those same statistical publications? After all, they rely on those methods to produce their results. What is the level of expertise of these climatologists in applying proper statistical methods to their raw data? It seems to me that the idea of “peer review” needs to be changed to the idea of “cross discipline review”.

Gene Nemetz
October 6, 2009 7:36 am

Frank Lansner (02:26:27) :
Here the lates reality check after the Hanno-scandal, the Jones/Hadcrut scandal, the Briffa/Hockey scandal:

Is this the Yamal Day Oscillation, YDO, spike of 2009?

October 6, 2009 7:47 am

All this post means is that Roger Pielke Jr. is also going to go down with this ship once all of the information is available.
Have any of you seen these?
These links suggest that SM’s work might not be so good.
Trends and uncertainties in Siberian indicators of 20th century warming
SM claims no libel but this blog shows differently.

October 6, 2009 7:53 am

BTW, I think the pic at the beginning should have hockey sticks flying out of the record player instead of axes….

J. Bob
October 6, 2009 7:56 am

There are many people out there that have the ability to look at surface, atmosphere, ocean, etc. temperatures and make good judgments. To say “climate scientist” does not mean a thing. It could mean a statistics major feeding garbage, given him, into a computer. Is a trained astrophysicist better then a engineer trained and experienced in conductive, convective and radiation heat transfer? I’ll go with the engineer, he is probably, shall we say, more down to earth.

October 6, 2009 8:08 am

Real Climat is funny. As usual, they use not data or facts. They just keep repeating their mantra “We use facts, We are peer reviewed…” Get a grip people. It is obvious that your data is corrupted.

Jim Clarke
October 6, 2009 8:43 am

Mr. Mandia,
The divergence problem is defined by the assumption that the instrumental record of Siberian temperatures is accurate and that somehow, trees decide to behave differently than ever before. The later assumption is ridicules and there is ample evidence that the first assumption is also wrong. The collapse of the soviet union and the loss of the majority of Siberian temperature reporting stations has obviously played a role, with only the most ‘urban’ stations remaining active.
As far as the debate is concerned…Briffa and his colleagues routinely hide their data and use statistical methods that have been found inadequate by impartial panels of statisticians, not just SM. You defend their statistical methods as being well accepted in the community, but that is hardly a defense, considering their lack of expertise in this matter. The real bottom line is that they have made claims that can not be supported by the total data and they have hidden the evidence that calls their claims into question. This is scientific fraud, pure and simple, even if they eventually turn out to be correct, which is not appearing likely.

Mike M.
October 6, 2009 8:45 am

Scott Mandia links to an anonymous blogger at Deep Climate. Interesting “about” page. Apparently a big believer in the ExxonMobilBigEvilOil conspiracy. Volunteers for Sourcewatch, an organization willing to smear any individual or organization that gives off even a whiff of skepticism. Self-appointed watchdog of Canada’s skeptical community. Not. Very. Impressive.
Eli Rabbit, Tamino, Deep Climate. Don’t any of you clowns have the cajones to show your faces? I think I know why. They aren’t really sure, deep down inside, that they are on the right side. They want plausible deniability when AGW belief is finally laid to rest.

Jim Clarke
October 6, 2009 8:51 am

Peer reviewed journals are obsolete. Things become obsolete when something else does the required task better. The required task in this case is the advancement of science. It is obvious that the journals are supporting a structure that is retarding the advancement of science in favor of political and financial rewards. The internet is exposing the failure of the journals and pushing the science further.
The internet is far from perfect, but it is advancing the science more than the ‘peer-reviewed’ journals. RP is holding onto the past and advocating a process that is shown to be corrupt and much less efficient.

Larry Sheldon
October 6, 2009 8:51 am

“While I am on the subject; why does any scientist believe the ravings of anyone, scientist or not, who does not divulge publicly all data and methods? Why should I trust a guy who keeps his data selection of trees a secret? Or, more importantly, that keeps the computer code a secret?”
I’m about to sound like a lunatic conspiracy faddist. I am not, but I won’t be able to prove it.
This (like the “We are going to freeze” halfs of the cycle) is not about weather, climate, or science (that is three things related only that they use some orf the same letters and words).
This is about politics. About gaining control of every thing. It is identical to and congruent with the fight for gun control, financial control, economic control, birth control (and the closely related death control), “health care” control, school control, language control, and on and on down the list.

October 6, 2009 9:02 am

Let’s bear in mind that in the US, and even in Canada, free speech such as Steve McIntyre’s blogs is a protected right.
Facts are facts, and, analyses & conclusions derived from them are what they are, or aren’t. It seems very odd that scientists, at least some, wouldn’t accept data & findings simply because they’re not peer reviewed.
And how good is the peer review process?
Not very good at all. Consider (from the medical profession) the following article, and some that have piggybacked on it:
Maybe this blog, or at least somewhere, its been noted that the various “climate scientists” tend to peer review each other’s work in a very biased fashion, with like-minded people supporting similar conclusions, etc. “Incestuous” describes the process reasonably accurately.
All that aside, if someone chooses not to publish then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with someone else essentially taking the raw data & replicating the findings in a peer-reviewed article…burying in a footnote the original source to defend against plagarism (the “legal ethics” with this tend to differ from generally accepted principles of right & wrong…but that is what it is).
Which leads to an odd remark from the RealClimate website screed on the Yamal tree ring study (item entitled “Hey Ya! (mal)” at toward the end it reads:
“There is nothing wrong with people putting together new chronologies of tree rings or testing the robustness of previous results to updated data or new methodologies. Or even thinking about what would happen if it was all wrong. What is objectionable is the conflation of technical criticism with unsupported, unjustified and unverified accusations of scientific misconduct.”
COMMENT: After reading S. McIntyre’s work I find no remarks that support this accusation. None at all. The RealClimate author is indulging in the very act he is complaining of.
“Steve McIntyre keeps insisting that he should be treated like a professional.”
COMMENT: be that as it may, or may not, its irrelevant to any assessment of his findings on the subject. Such ‘ad hominem’ attacks reflect on the author.
“But how professional is it to continue to slander scientists with vague insinuations and spin made-up tales of perfidy out of the whole cloth instead of submitting his work for peer-review?”
COMMENT: Emotional flailing that is in itself a slanderous accusation of a vague & insinuating, and more, nature.
“He continues to take absolutely no responsibility for the ridiculous fantasies and exaggerations that his supporters broadcast, ….”
COMMENT: FREE SPEECH is a right — RealClimate needs to deal with that. It is only in rare cases that someone’s speech is not considered free and one becomes responsible for the resulting actions of others (e.g. yelling “bomb” in an airport, causing a stampede). S. McIntyre’s blogs don’t even come close to any such standard.
“…apparently being happy to bask in their acclaim rather than correct any of the misrepresentations he has engendered.”
COMMENTS: a) so now RealClimate can read minds? and, b) nobody is responsible for correcting the misrepresentations they engender in others — but, that is ostensibly what the RealClimate author set out to do with its rebuttal, which degenerated to the ‘ad hominem’ attacks, slanderous insinuations, etc (not to mention RealClimate’s snippy sarcastic tone & style in general to anything they don’t seem to like). All of which is well beneath anything S. McIntyre has blog-published. Why didn’t RealClimate simply publish a cogent rebuttal in a professional manner? Perhaps because they can’t? It seems extraordinarily hypocritical to maintain a website in which their science is presented & explained, in which they address another’s science (e.g. S. McIntyre’s) and then go on to complain that S. McIntyre is essentially doing the same thing they are!
Put another way, if RealClimate is going to act out like a spoiled brat teenage girl that doesn’t get her way every time someone presents a finding they don’t like (i.e. immaturely) , why would they expect someone else (someone mature) to engage them on their level? Oh yes, they’re too immature to get it. At any rate, RealClimate goes on to say:
“If he wants to make a change, he has a clear choice; to continue to play Don Quixote for the peanut gallery or to produce something constructive that is actually worthy of publication.”
COMMENT: Oh, S. McIntyre IS making a positive change, and relatively quickly. His so-called “supporters” aren’t making “ridiculous fantasies and exaggerations” and “misrepresentations” so much as they’re taking advantage of the opportunity to poke fun at the immaturity oozing throughout RealClimate’s blog pieces. Perhaps if RealClimate (and that ilk) presented themselves maturely they’d stimulate a different response.
And immature people just hate to be made fun of; and immature people simply don’t comprehend that its their antics that provoke the responses they get.
Let Steve continue to publish however he wants — that’s his protected right and some people just have to deal with it.
And let Steve’s [so-called] “supporters” poke fun at RealClimate, etc., as long as RealClimate continues to publish blogs dripping in sarcasm, slanderous innuendos, etc. while hypocritically complaining that others are doing that very same thing (it seems that few sites can top RealClimate for dripping sarcasm & whining hypocrisy on topics that are elsewhere very dry & objectively addressed). THAT kind of behavior invites in-kind responses–and S. McIntyre isn’t responsible for that.
For the temperment of RealClimate’s authors, laughter hits where it hurts — and their childish rants & sarcasm invite it. So please do continue…. As most people with kids learn, the spoiled brats are notorious for NEVER acknowledging their mistakes and always blaming someone else. Which is to extrapolate that they’ll never learn and never change. Spoiled brats may grow up & earn various academic credentials, but at heart they commonly remain spoiled brats forever.

Tim Clark
October 6, 2009 9:28 am

Tom P (01:07:06) :
I tried your link. Apparently you only inserted one of the chronologies.
Fruedian slip?

J. Bob
October 6, 2009 9:54 am

Scott A. Mandia
Check out my post on tree data vs. long term temperatures, WUWT thread
“Spencer on finding a new climate sensitivity marker”.
There you can compare direct long term temperature data with tree data. This covers the most recent 200+ years of temperature recording.

Tom P
October 6, 2009 10:25 am

Gene Nemetz (07:32:21) :
“It appears Steve McIntyre has addressed you in his post.
“You should be able to deduce what his reply might be to your comments, and why he hasn’t responded to you in the comments, from what he says in the post..”
Steve McIntyre does not agree with you:
“I’m busy on personal things today. I will reply to this point, which is on topic.”
Tim Clark (09:28:42) :
As I said, I’m plotting a difference between two chronologies. I am intrigued as to what might be a Fruedian slip, though.

Not Sure
October 6, 2009 10:42 am

Let’s stop pretending Steve doesn’t try to publish in the peer-reviewed literature, please.

Jeremy Thomas
October 6, 2009 11:41 am

I agree with Toto (23:01:24) and Tom in Florida (07:36:02) – Steve M should publish his excellent analysis in a statistical journal, reviewed by experts in the extraction of information from minuscule samples.

Peter Plail
October 6, 2009 11:42 am

It would appear that many scientists themselves accept that peer review is of diminishing importance, since concensus is now proposed as the final arbiter of a scientific theory.
I would suggest that WUWT, with its recent vote on tree ring data, is now providing a viable alternative to peer review.

Ellie in Belfast
October 6, 2009 12:10 pm

Steve McIntyre – Lord of the Tree Rings.

October 6, 2009 12:56 pm

Peter Plail (11:42:54) :
“It would appear that many scientists themselves accept that peer review is of diminishing importance, since concensus is now proposed as the final arbiter of a scientific theory.”
Something similar happened when the Bible was translated from the Latin and widely printed using the then new technology. The priests lost their stranglehold.

October 6, 2009 1:05 pm

Being of the “old school” of scientific method, as I recall, observations were made, and then a hypothesis was conjured up, to explain the observations. The person making the hypothesis was expected to test and test the hypothesis against further observations. When the hypothesis had been tested a good many times, by its proposer, then it would be put forth as a theory, with full disclosure of all methods and data used. This data and methodology could then be tested by others, (any others, whether a “specialist” or “expert” or “peer” or anybody), with the intention of disproving the theory if anyone could do so. I do think that it was expected of others to disprove the theory if possible. A duty, so to speak.
Now, I see, commonly, mere speculations put forth as theory, with little trial and testing, if any, involved. Constructive criticism is squelched in every way possible, including the continuing claim, when things are found amiss, that the person criticizing the “theory” doesn’t have the proper credentials to even get involved.
What happened to scientific method?, I ask myself. It seems to have gone completely by the wayside. I do see a great deal of psuedo-statistics done by people who obviously don’t know all that much about the mathematics of statistics. A good many are downright laughable.
An excellent site to go to to learn about statistics is
John Briggs, who operates the site, is most competent, and about as credentialed as could be, regarding statistical analysis, and his writings and analyses are real pleasures to read and extremely informative. WARNING . . . John is not in the least politically correct in any way, and doesn’t like the way government(s) are going about things, regarding the false way statistics are being used.

Bela Tzug
October 6, 2009 1:32 pm

Steve Mc has no peers.

October 6, 2009 1:40 pm

The work Tom P has put into doing an actual analysis of the data has been recognized as being far more effort than most put into these debates. I’m not about to approve of any attempt to silence dissent. His comments and opinions should be welcome here. He has remained ~mostly~ civil (any venting of spleen on his part being understandable given the sometimes rancorous attacks aimed at him), and we should try to be so as well.

George E. Smith
October 6, 2009 2:51 pm

“”” Peter Plail (11:42:54) :
It would appear that many scientists themselves accept that peer review is of diminishing importance, since concensus is now proposed as the final arbiter of a scientific theory.
I would suggest that WUWT, with its recent vote on tree ring data, is now providing a viable alternative to peer review. “””
Well I would not be so hasty as to say that “peer review” has outlived its usefulness. For an alternative to peer review, I can strongly recommend spending a few late evenings listenign to the “Coast-to-coast-AM” radio show; that used to be modrated by Art Bell.
If you do that you will from time to time be regaled by total charlatans who have at least mastered the gift of the gab, and can for three hours spout pseudo scientific gobbledegook without batting an eyelid; and evidently The radio listeners simply lap it up; so the shows host simply lets it all come out so the listener can decide.
It seems to be a learnable skill, as our present teleprompter reader in chief is also a master of the art.
From time to time, authors have tried to foist similar stuff of on technical audiences in the literature, and sometimes just to point out weaknesses in the “peer review system”.
A very famous case occurred many years ago in the program for an IEEE convention technical conference.
A certain paper abstract proposed to reveal the remarkable properties of a new electronic device named by the authors as a “Linistor”.
This device promised to overcome the well known serious non-linearities that were known to occur in the operation of vaccuum tubes, Transistors, and similar electronic devices, and yeild a highluyy linear transfer function.
Based on this abstract, the paper was accepted by the technical program committee, and included in a session on electron devices. This was some months before the conference. Quite shortly (weeks) before the conference, the Authors of this paper on the “Linistor”, decided to fess up, and report that the physics of their device had been earlier researched by one George Simon Ohm, and that the transfer function of the Linisor was enshrined in what was well known as “Ohm’s Law”.
Well the Linistor was nothing more that a resistor, and everything in the paper abstract, clearly point to that conclusion.
So the technical committee got egg all over their faces, so they invited the Linistor authors to chair a panel discussion on refining procedures for reviewing technical papers for such conferences, to ensure a high standard of technical merit to the presentations; and that panel discussion in fact took place at the conference.
Sp peer review cewrtainly has an important role to perform.
Perhaps the criticism should be directed not at the process, but at the reviewers; for it is they who have allowed the process to degenerate into a not so subtle censorship of work that is contrary to the reviewers personal views.
As they say; prostitution is not confined to the dark alleys of rundown cities.
So it is up to scientists themselves, who wish to see the peer review process continue, and benefit science; to look inwards on themselves and ask whether they can give honest unbiassed evaluation of sometimes competitive work by other authors.
If you don’t; then that system WILL be replaced. But there is no reason for discussion fori such as WUWT and such to not contibute to the dissemination of scientific information alongside the peer review process; they really are two separate information channels.

George E. Smith
October 6, 2009 2:52 pm

I should add, that we are all in trouble if “Concensus” ever replaces rigorous proof in the evaluation of science.

October 6, 2009 3:36 pm

Tom B = Tom P?

C. Paul Barreira
October 6, 2009 3:52 pm

Roger Pielke observes: ‘fair minded people observing events are going to come to a very different conclusion, like it or not’. Meanwhile Lysenko rules. Science is dead, whether one likes it or not and no matter who claims to engage in the alleged discipline. The Australian government some years ago refused to allow access to funding for research (not confined to ‘science’) to persons not employed by a university, the huge bulk of which are government funded. And in the Australian government the hockey stick rules. Dissent means silence. This situation will continue for quite some time. State government schools increasingly deny children language. The possibility of dissent thus not only declines for venal reasons but because the very concept becomes inconceivable. The peers help maintain discipline for the interim whilst it remains necessary. And then go off with their pensions. There’s nothing new about it. It’s all in Dostoevsky’s Demons. Dissent and science are dead. Long live Lysenko.

Jarryd Beck
October 6, 2009 4:01 pm

Seeing as RealClimate posted many other hockey sticks not derived from Yamal, the next logical step seems to be that McIntyre “audit” all of those ones too.

October 6, 2009 4:44 pm

Jr. is right about fair-minded observers and the “tribal” behavior. This is also why we all need to be calmer and fairer than the other side. RC will never convince WUWT, and vice versa, but in the end that is not who needs convincing anyway. Not running off the open-minded in horror is very important.

Gene Nemetz
October 6, 2009 4:51 pm

Tom P (01:07:06) :
Steve thought my comments were worth a rebuttal in a full post
Ya, you’re in it, but I wouldn’t going around pointing out to people that you’re in it if I was you.
You sure you understand his post? Go back and double check.

Gene Nemetz
October 6, 2009 5:02 pm

Tom P (10:25:05) :
Steve McIntyre does not agree with you:
“I’m busy on personal things today. I will reply to this point, which is on topic.”

You left this part out :
I would urge you to read some of the back threads on Briffa at this blog
You did see he had replied to others. He made it clear in more than one comment that he is reading all the comments.
He may be saying, and this is a guesstimate by me, that your questions could all be answered in his previous posts on Briffa. So I would suggest, if my guess is right, that you spend a lot of time reading all you can on Briffa, and also the Hockey Stick, that is on Climate Audit before posting another comment there. You will probably learn a lot about this topic that you are unaware of at this point.

October 6, 2009 7:29 pm

Sorry, Anthony, I am going to have to give my vote for best science blog this year to Steve. What a year he has put in! Do you think some of the scientists on Sen. Inofe’s list could give it a peer review? Does it matter where it is published, if the people reviewing it are top-notch?
I obviously know nothing of science, just a thought.

October 6, 2009 8:53 pm

Pardon me, that was John Brignell. Sorry, John and all.

October 6, 2009 8:58 pm

As we civil engineers used to say, “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.”

Jeff Alberts
October 6, 2009 10:09 pm

geo (16:44:30) :
Jr. is right about fair-minded observers and the “tribal” behavior. This is also why we all need to be calmer and fairer than the other side. RC will never convince WUWT, and vice versa, but in the end that is not who needs convincing anyway. Not running off the open-minded in horror is very important.

I think you’re wrong there. I see Anthony and many of use regulars here as willing to change if the evidence supported it. I know I am.

Tom P
October 7, 2009 1:39 am

Gene Nemetz (17:02:06) :
Steve McIntyre has now come back on one of my two points on CA, and I’ve responded:
You said in an earlier thread:
“There is a profound inhomogeneity in the age composition of the living trees in the CRU archive relative to the subfossil archive, which is much reduced in the Schweingruber Variation. Does the age inhomogeneity in the CRU version “matter”? It’s the sort of thing that should have been reported and discussed in a site report, prior to using this chronology in multiproxy studies.”
This seemed like a reasonable comment, though it seemed a little strange that you should point out a potential problem with the CRU archive without investigating it. I thought it worth seeing if indeed this inhomogeneity “mattered”. The answer – the original Briffa chronology holds up as younger trees are removed from the archive.
Now you say:
“… your sensitivity analysis is one that, to my knowledge, has never been of interest in the dendro literature.”
How about a bit of consistency here!
You go on to say above:
“Perhaps they should ignore young trees as you advocate, but they don’t.”
This is a sensitivity analysis, not an alternative chronology, a point you laboured to make when you first introduced your combined Yamal-Khadyta series:
“I do not suggest that the sensitivity run be used as an alternative temperature history.”
I’m not advocating ignoring younger trees, but using it as a test to see if the chronology holds up as they are excluded.
While Briffa’s Yamal series passes the test your comments suggest with respect to age inhomogeneity, your combined Yamal-Khadyta series fails such a test. Your combined series produces a different chronology when trees less than 75 years old are excluded from the record.
Finally, do you have any response to my comment (#80) concerning the historical repeated divergence between younger and older trees in your combined Yamal-Khadyta chronology, despite your unsupported claim to the contrary in the head post?

October 7, 2009 6:34 am

The strangest part of the RC “hey ya! (mal)” post is where they show Kaufman et al. without Yamal. What do they think they show with that? The blue line is almost hidden below the red CRUTEM3 line, but if you enlarge the graph, here’s what you see:
1) The longest warm period in the Arctic EVER since 0AD was the roman warm period.
2) The MWP in the arctic did only get close to the roman warm period in the 100 first years or so (which was just when the Vikings went to Greenland)
3) There was a mid-20th century warming which for a very short time reached the heights of the Roman Warm Period, but the Arctic is now (or in the latest couple of decades) not that warm anymore.
4) The only thing that is “unprecedented” about the 20th century warming is the relative amount of warming since its onset in the mid-19th century, but that’s only because the Arctic was recovering from the little ice age, which was the absolutely coldest period of these two millennia. The additional warming from 2000-year mean levels and up is not exceptional, it’s comparable to the onset of the latest part of the roman warm period and the medieval warm period.
So, Kaufman without Yamal essentially shows us that the recent warming is just a recovery from the little ice age, which was the last part of a 1300 year long downward trend since the roman warm period (with just a little warm interlude in the MWP). If the trend was supposed to continue, we might be approaching a real ice age by now, and if AGW has stopped that, as was said by the media at the release of the Kaufman et al paper, then maybe AGW is our friend: It might be a win-win situation! If sceptics are right there’s no, or only benign, AGW, if the doomsayers are right that there IS significant AGW, but it’s not our doom, it just saved us from freezing to death 😉

October 7, 2009 7:33 am

I most assuredly am NOT Tom P – just an interested observer.

Gene Nemetz
October 7, 2009 7:35 am

Tom P (01:39:35) :
You don’t have to give me a moment by moment update.

P Gosselin
October 8, 2009 3:58 am

Rare footage of Steve vs Gavin!!
Which one do you think is Gavin?

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