Tanganyika Revisited

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

The new Nature Magazine article on Lake Tanganyika, “Late-twentieth-century warming in Lake Tanganyika unprecedented since AD 500”, discussed a couple days ago by Anthony Watts here, was quite interesting to me. In 2003 I had contributed a “Communications Arising” to Nature Magazine regarding earlier claims that AGW was causing productivity loss in the Lake. As a result, I am very familiar with the available records for the lake.

Figure 1. Rainbow over Lake Tanganyika

I was puzzled by the claims in the new article regarding the changes in Lake Tanganyika surface temperatures, because I knew that there was almost no historical data on lake surface temperature. I wondered how they determined the surface temperature of the lake over the past 1,500 years. So I sprung the $18 to purchase the Nature paper and find out …

It turns out that they used a proxy called TEX86, which has been used in other studies. But how did they calibrate the proxy to the lake surface temperature (which they call “LST”)?

Well … they didn’t calibrate it. In their theory, no calibration is needed. However, that seems like a very problematic assumption, as there are always confounding factors for proxies that mean that they need to be calibrated to the instrumental record. Some of these factors are listed in their Supplementary Information.

How well does their reconstruction correspond with air temperatures? Well … rather than compare the reconstruction to local temperatures over the last 50 years, and despite the fact that Lake Tanganyika is in the Southern Hemisphere, they compare the reconstruction to a famous Northern Hemisphere reconstruction …

Figure 2. A most ingenious way to hide the differences between two graphs, by redacting the front information so you can’t see the back information. Note that part (a) uses the discredited Hockeystick and various Hockeystick clones (the so-called “independent reconstructions”) as its basis for comparison.

Commenting on this figure, they say (emphasis mine):

Our LST reconstruction is qualitatively similar to Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstructions (Fig. 3a), implying that Tanganyika LST largely followed global trends in temperature during the past 1,500 years, much as it has in the past half-century. As LST closely tracks air temperatures over the instrumental period, we can also infer that air temperatures in this region of East Africa varied in concert with the global average and thus were controlled primarily by the major forcings influencing temperatures over this timescale, both natural (solar radiation, volcanism) and anthropogenic (greenhouse-gas emissions; refs 19, 20). The temporal resolution of our dataset precludes comparison between Tanganyika LST and volcanic events of the past, but we can compare our record with changes in solar irradiance (total solar irradiance (TSI) anomaly, estimated from 10Be in ice cores21; Fig. 3b). TSI and Tanganyika LST share some similar centennialscale features, including maxima near 1350 and minima at 1450, 1250 and 1000. However, TSI variability clearly does not explain the dramatic twentieth-century increase in LST, which, as with global temperatures, is probably a response to greenhouse-gas forcing.

Unfortunately, in their paper they neglected to show how the Lake Tanganyika LST “closely tracks air temperatures over the instrumental period” of the “past half-century”. To remedy this lacuna, I have plotted the only two longer-term temperature stations on the lake along with the MSU data and the proxy-derived LST:

Figure 3. Ground station temperatures, UAH MSU, and proxy lake surface temperature (LST), 1950-1996

As you can see, while their proxy LST generally agrees with the air temperature over the last half of the record, it does very poorly during the first half. So no, the LST proxy reconstruction does not “closely track air temperatures over the instrumental period.”

Finally, Tierney with some other co-authors have published previously in Science Magazine (subscription required) on the Tanganyika LST. In the current (2010) paper, they say (emphasis mine):

Before the twentieth century, LST varied between 22.5 C and 24.3 C (Fig. 2a). LSTs were relatively warm between ad 500 and 700, followed by an interval of cool LSTs that lasted until ad 1100. Lake Tanganyika then experienced a period of extended warmth between 1100 and 1400, followed by a return to cooler LSTs between 1400 and 1500 and more variable temperatures until 1900. Beginning around 1900, LSTs trend upwards, rising about 2 C in 100 years (see Fig. 2 inset). Our uppermost sample from core MC1 (identified using 210Pb dating as about ad 1996), calibrates to 25.7 C.

OK, so the current paper says that in the last 1,500 years the LST has varied between a low of 22.5 C to a high of 25.7 C. During the last 50 years of the record, their proxy LST value rises by 1.6 C.

And in the current paper, they also say:

Our records indicate that changes in the temperature of Lake Tanganyika in the past few decades exceed previous natural variability.

But in their previous (2008) paper, which used the same TEX86 proxy, they had said:

Holocene lake [Tanganyika] surface temperature (LST) fluctuated between 27° and 29°C …

And during the Holocene, their 2008 paper shows a change of 1.65 C in 50 years, which is larger than the recent change shown in the 2010 paper.

Despite citing the earlier paper in their current paper, they don’t mention these discrepancies … which does make me wonder just how good their proxy is. It also make me curious about what they mean by “previous natural variability”. During the Holocene, by their own figures, the Lake Tanganyika LST was 3 C warmer, and changed temperature faster, than in the last fifty years of their more recent proxy record.

[UPDATE] You know how sometimes you have this nagging feeling that you’ve left something out, and you can’t think of what it was? When I woke up this morning, I realized what I had wanted to say.

This is truly a watershed paper in that it purports to be a study of the changes in lake surface temperature (LST) over time, but they present no measurements of the changes in the LST over time. The only actual surface temperatures mentioned in the paper are the following, all from 2003:

Our uppermost sample from core MC1 (identified using 210Pb dating as about ad 1996), calibrates to 25.7 C. This is within the range of 2003 measurements of seasonal LST for the Kalya Slope area (25.5-26.3 C; see Fig. 2 inset) and is also similar to the annual average LST measured near Mpulungu, at the southern end of the lake (26.1 C; ref. 16).

Unfortunately, reference 16 is very vague. It is:

Descy, J-P. et al. Scientific Support Plan for a Sustainable Development Policy (SPSD II), Part II: Global Change, Ecosystems and Biodiversity Atmosphere and Climate (Belgian Science Policy, 2003).

Research showed this is the Belgian CLIMLAKE project, which I had studied before, and which had some interesting results. Here’s one of them:

Figure 4. Satellite derived lake temperatures. SOURCE – CLIMLAKE FINAL REPORT.

As you can see, on a single day the surface temperature of the lake varies by 4° C from coldest to warmest. I couldn’t find their “2003 measurements of seasonal LST” or their “annual average LST”, although Figure 29 of that CLIMLAKE report does show a three year temperature record for two places on the lake, so I suppose they might have used those.

(As an aside, my high school science teacher would never have allowed such a vague citation as reference 16 above, I’d have gotten a “D” on the paper if not an “F”. “Make it easy to find”, he’d say, “point me right at it. Cite me chapter and verse.” But I digress …)

My point is, the Tierney 2010 report is a study of the change in Lake Tanganyika surface temperature over time, which contains no measurements of the change in LST over time, and which has exactly three actual surface temperature measurements, which are poorly cited, are from different parts of the lake, and are all from 2003 …

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104 thoughts on “Tanganyika Revisited

  1. And this was published in Nature ?? just one more reason for publishing the names of the peer reviewers and eventually restoring some semblance of credibility to science, or is it already too late!!

    They should refund your hard earned $18 Willis!!

  2. I visited southern lake Tanganyika as a child in 1950 and remember looking at an empty shoreline in a very remote place. Google earth shows todays shorelines to be heavily populated and eroded. Lake Malawi has the same problems. These very long deep lakes are subject to frequent violent storms, strong winds, currents, seiche, seasonal overturning and hosts of other problems. Statistical studies are now added to the list.

  3. Definitions of lacuna on the Web: a blank gap or missing part.
    Thank you, Willis; my education is coming on apace, though not as rapidly as my disenchantment with (post normal?) science.

  4. In a study of Recent Trends of Minimum and Maximum Surface Temperatures over Eastern Africa, published JoC, 2000 the authors, King’uyu, S.M., L.A. Ogallo and E.K. Anyamba, concluded;

    “The results from this study indicated a significant rise in the nighttime temperature at several locations over eastern Africa. The distribution of the warming trends were, however, not geographically uniform with many coastal locations and those near ‘large water bodies’ indicating significant opposite trends, especially to the north of 5 degrees S. Locations north of 5 degrees S indicated more organized decreasing or increasing diurnal trend in the daytime/nighttime temperature patterns.”

    Lake Tanganyika is an African Great Lake (3° 20′ to 8° 48′ South and from 29° 5′ to 31° 15′ East).

    So why is Lake Tanganyika showing sudden warming of +3F while the surrounding region in this part of Africa has not?

  5. Nature is just a joke now.

    Who the hell, looking at that, would consider it good enough for publication?

  6. Yet another resuscitation for the Undead Mann Hockey Stick – the bad statistical nonsense that refuses to die!

  7. Although Lake T. is not nearly as well studied as other large lakes, such as the North American Great Lakes, there probably are more than 50 peer reviewed publications, many of which are available as free downloads.

    In the previous posting on this lake, many issues were raised about the recent warming, including the speculation that it is due to more turbid water or possibly geothermal warming at depth or that lake temperature cannot be precisely measured. These hypotheses are clearly falsified in published literature. The near shore (littoral) region has been affected by runoff, as noted in the paper cited by Anthony. However, the offshore waters have been getting clearer and less turbid over the 97 year historical record of actual in lake measurments. Consider that this is one of the largest lakes in the world, with a volume larger than Lake Superior due to its geat depth. A good place to start learning about the historical (since 1913) warming of Lake T is the recent paper by Verburg and Hecky (2009) in Limnology and Oceanography:

    http://www.aslo.org/lo/toc/vol_54/issue_6_part_2/2418.pdf

    While the shallow, near shore waters of this lake have been impacted by runoff, the offshore waters have been clearer in the last 97 years, due to the effects of warming and thermal stratification on nutrient (phosphorus) regeneration. This results has been verified in a number of key papers that are cited in Verburg and Hecky (2009).

    I am the first to say that this paper pertains mainly to Lake T and does not produce evidence for or against the hypothesis that recent warming is due to greeen house gases. It does do a thorough job of describing the physics of lake warming and showing its relationship to regional climate.

    For people who have limited acess to academic journals, I will put in a plug for the special climate issue of Limnology and Oceanography published in late 2009 (“Lakes and Reserviors as sentinels, integrators and regulators of climate change”). Authors of L&O can pay an additional fee to make their publications permanently available on the http://www.also.org web site. This issue includes 23 articles on climate change and 18 are “unlocked.” If these papers cite an average of 50 unique papers each, this gives us another thousand paper to read to help understand the issue of lakes and climate change. These are mostly data rich papers, and do not provide new evidence about green house gases. They look at recent and paleo data and a few use modeling approaches. I note that one of the locked papers concerns research on the paleolimnology of other African ancient lakes.

    Here is the contents of the special climate issue with many “unlocked” articles:

    http://www.aslo.org/lo/toc/vol_54/issue_6_part_2/index.html

  8. Willis: Just for the hell of it, I saved figure 3 and replaced all the ‘hockey stick black’ in part (b) with their ‘error bar blue’. The result is essentially an unremarkable horizontal blue swath with some ups and downs. And you’re right about their putting that thick black stuff in the foreground with their own pale curve sitting demurely in the background. The whole thing is just a scandalous cheap trick to guide the reader’s eye into believing that there is something significant to be seen. Stupid [snip]ers.

    /dr.bill

  9. A very nice demolition of a paper that has no intellectual rigor, no viable internal logic and whose peer reviewers should have been ashamed to let this out on the public. I mean, jumping to the other side of the planet for a temperature reconstruction, instead of actually measuring the temperature gradient and using local sources and failing to consider and discuss local conditions. Oh, I forgot, this is climate science. How can they live with themselves ?.


  10. Hm. On the earlier thread, BillD had rung in mention of Verburg & Heckey’s paper last year on ““The physics of the warming of Lake Tanganyika by climate change” (Limnol. Oceanogr. 2009, pp. 2418-2430 and online at http://tinyurl.com/26xbz5u ).

    In this article (which appears to be reporting what I’d call a meta-analysis of previously collected and published data) there are all the hallmarks of yet another warmist propaganda piece.

    I’d be interested in other readers” take on this pre-Climategate article and its validity. To my uneducated eye, there’s more than a little bit of reekage similar to what is found in Tierney et al.

  11. They should get a 5 minute major for high-“sticking” even though it was Willis that drew blood…..

    My amazement is quickly turning to dismay. I used to read New Scientist and Nature back in the 70’s and 80’s. To publish such rubbish shows how the mighty have fallen (prey to the CAGW political agenda).

    Science must be freed from interference.

  12. Large deep lakes get clear because of lack of wind. The incredibly tiny percentage of CO2 ppm going up or down is minutia compared to what causes wind to go up or down. What has been the weather pattern variation in this climate zone during this time period? Without that information, the link to CO2 greenhouse warming is a very, very long jump to a tenuous conclusion. It reminds me of the old fable about a mouse causing a herd of elephants to stampede. That explanation only works in children’s books.

    My opinion? The authors of all of these articles about this lake, including the ones mentioned by BillD (and I appreciate your debate style by the way), are light on ruling out first encountered pathologies.

  13. I am constantly amazed by Willis Eschenbach. I’ve seen him play piano, sketch cartoons, give presentations, and produce extraordinarily sensible rebuttals. I’ve heard of his exploits at sea, his engineering projects, and of his travels.

    I am honored to count Willis Eschenbach among my friends.

    I think a letter of comment to Nature would be appropriate.

  14. When I mention weather pattern variation, I mean all the parameters of these variations. Types and frequency of storms, wind direction (not just speed), actual temperature range (not average and not anomaly), clouds (amount and TYPE) changes in pressure systems coming from different directions, oceanic conditions during the time period under consideration, etc, etc, etc. No one seems to want to do this kind of work as part of their study. Maybe because those doing the studies don’t know anything about weather?

  15. Hey, barefootgirl! What is you take on Willis Eschenbach’s critical look at the Lake Tanganyika Study posted on WUWT on 18 May 2010?

    This is why we sceptics exist here. Even though we had not read the paper we knew in our heart of hearts that some skulduggery was up and did our best to tear it down. Now it’s down?

  16. It confirms my suspicions. The paper is a little sloppy. She makes assumptions based on very limited data. Very limited. She also assumes wind and other variables remain constant.
    Have we ever seen fishing results to remain constant? If there is one fish in the pond, and i don’t catch the fish, he is proven to not exist.

  17. I’ve sent a note along to Brown University and have received a reply:
    =================================================

    Dear Mr. Watts,

    Thank you for your interest in research at Brown University. I have sent your concern to the principal researchers to consider.
    Richard

    On 5/20/10 9:14 AM, “Anthony Watts – mobile” wrote:

    Hello Mr. Lewis,

    I’d appreciate if you’d send this link below along to the authors of the recent Brown press release (here http://news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2010/05/tanganyika )
    Brown Geologists Show Unprecedented Warming in Lake Tanganyika

    It seems the proxy used by Tierny, TEX86, has some serious tracking issues, and there appears to be an error of omission in disclosure.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/20/tanganyika-revisited/

    The authors are welcome to post comments to explain the discrepancy in tracking of air temperature and why it was implied that the TEX86 tracked the entire instrumental temperature record when in fact it does not.

    Best regards

    Anthony Watts
    Editor
    WattsUpWithThat.com


    Richard C. Lewis
    Physical Sciences Writer
    Brown University
    401-863-3766
    401-527-2889, cell

  18. The temperature calibration formula used for the Tex86 proxy in this study is quite a bit different than the traditional calibrations in the literature.

    Tierney used a formula of:

    – Tex86 = 0.026*Temp + 0.10

    when almost all the other calibrations are in the range of:

    – Tex86 = (0.015->0.018)*Temp + (0.29->0.19)

    Tierney had to use a different formula because some of the other lakes used in the study had very high Tex86 numbers and the traditional Tex86 formulae would have given lake surface temperatures that were much too high. Lake Towuti in Indonesia (which Tierny also studied) has Tex86 numbers of 0.888 which would point to surface temperatures of close to 40C using the traditional formulae when the actual surface temps are only about 28C.

    In other words, this Tex86 proxy (which is being used very extensively in the warming alarmist literature now and is showing more warming in the past for example as a result of small changes in CO2), needs a lot more work in calibration and is probably mis-calibrated. I always had my doubts about some of the numbers Tex86 was pointing to in the paleoclimate studies.

  19. Rich Matarese says:
    May 20, 2010 at 4:52 am

    Hm. On the earlier thread, BillD had rung in mention of Verburg & Heckey’s paper last year on ““The physics of the warming of Lake Tanganyika by climate change” (Limnol. Oceanogr. 2009, pp. 2418-2430 and online at http://tinyurl.com/26xbz5u ).

    In this article (which appears to be reporting what I’d call a meta-analysis of previously collected and published data) there are all the hallmarks of yet another warmist propaganda piece.

    Rich:

    I was not a reviewer for this paper, but I have reviewed over 600 scientific papers in the 30 years before “climategate.” Quite a few of them were for Limnology and Oceanography. I can attest from being on both giving and receiving end of L&O reviews that they are quite critical, thoughful and rigorous. I take some umbrage at you insinuation that the reviews of millions of scientific papers before “climategate” were somehow dishonest or lacking in rigor. I also think that its silly to suggest a conspiracy among scientists from diverse fields and throughout the world, perhaps going back over more than one hundred years. In the case of this Verburg and Hecky paper, to be fair to the authors, you would need to critically review a good portion of the earlier studies that provide a basis for their analysis and then you would need to cite specific errors or misinterpretations.

  20. Pamela Gray says:
    May 20, 2010 at 5:56 am

    Large deep lakes get clear because of lack of wind. The incredibly tiny percentage of CO2 ppm going up or down is minutia compared to what causes wind to go up or down. What has been the weather pattern variation in this climate zone during this time period?

    You may find the work of Sharon Nicholson of interest with respect to rainfall. Here is one-www.nile.uib.no/Events/Publ/chworkpres/SHARON%20NICHOLSON.pdf. Lake Tanganyika has also seen wide fluctuations of Lake level over this period as well.

    For wind speed and some other meteorology see: ftp://ftp.fao.org/fi/ltr/TD73.PDF
    And for the modeling work done looking at wind mixing of the Lake waters see: http://www.fao.org/fi/oldsite/ltr/index.htm and go to the publications section

  21. Is that proxy TEX86 the same used by Mann for his Hockey Stick? Because the resemblance of the graphs above with Mann´s is surprising.

  22. BillD says:
    May 20, 2010 at 6:55 am
    I also think that its silly to suggest a conspiracy among scientists from diverse fields and throughout the world, perhaps going back over more than one hundred years.
    And yet, here you are suggesting just that. Interesting.

  23. This is the origin of that Proxy :
    Project: TEX86 paleothermometry: proxy validation and application in marine sediments

    Titel Een nieuwe zeeoppervlaktetemperatuur proxy gebaseerd op membraanlipiden van plankton van Archaea: de TEX86
    Abstract Determination of past sea surface temperatures (SST) is of primary importance for the reconstruction of natural climatic changes. The understanding of these changes is essential if we want to decipher human impact on current global change. Several geochemical proxies for SST reconstructions are used but all have problems and assumptions associated with them. Hence, there is a strong need for more and better SST proxies. We recently developed a new SST proxy (the TEX86) based on the relative distribution of tetraether membrane lipids derived from marine Crenarchaeota, a ubiquitous and omnipresent component of marine picoplankton. A preliminary core-top calibration shows a linear relationship of this proxy with SST in the range 0-30°C. Here we propose to further calibrate and validate this new proxy. Small-scale mesocosm experiments, where field populations of marine Crenarcheaota are adapted to different temperatures, will be used to further calibrate the TEX86-SST relationship. In addition, determination of the TEX86 in water filtrates and sedimenting particles from different depth and taken at different times of the annual cycle from several selected sites in the ocean will establish which depth interval and part of the annual cycle the temperature reconstructed from the TEX86 reflects. These data will be compared with an extended core-top calibration of the TEX86-SST relationship. The TEX86 will be further analysed in well-dated cores from the Holocene and Pleistocene and compared with other, previously determined, SST proxies such as the UK37′ and the d18O of planktonic foraminifera. This will yield information on SST during different parts of the annual cycle and depth intervals of the water column. These integrated data will likely result in a new, extensively calibrated SST proxy, which is widely applicable in marine sediments.

    http://www.onderzoekinformatie.nl/en/oi/nod/onderzoek/OND1297859/

  24. BillD is claiming that warmth makes these types of lakes clearer. These researchers from UC Davis are saying that warmth will make Lake Tahoe less clear.

    “Equally worrying, he said, is the likelihood that when the oxygen is gone, phosphorus that is currently locked up in the lake-floor sediments will get released. This phosphorus will eventually reach the lake’s surface, where it will fuel algal growth. Algae blooms can cause many problems, including reduced lake clarity, unpleasant odors and bad-tasting drinking water.”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080325141202.htm

    Interestingly these UC Davis ‘researchers’ unwisely gave 10 years from 2008 as Lake Tahoes’ demise deadline. I’m looking forward to 10 years hence when these guys are revealed as alarmist cranks.

  25. Anthony,

    I just hit your tip jar for the cost of that paper – and for 5-6 more papers in the future – just in case, y’know! :) . Its the least I could do…

    Keep up the outstanding work!

    REPLY: Thanks much!

  26. Mac says:
    May 20, 2010 at 3:44 am

    “….So why is Lake Tanganyika showing sudden warming of +3F while the surrounding region in this part of Africa has not?”
    ________________________________________________________________________
    In the original article
    Tim Clark says:
    May 19, 2010 at 8:24 am

    “There are numerous studies, including below, that differ with this paper…..

    Temperature wise, it is not only the large water mass, but another factor that makes Lake Tanganyika so stable – even more stable and homogenous than the ocean in most places. This factor is volcanic activity near the bottom of the lake…..
    ____

  27. BillD: May 20, 2010 at 6:55 am
    re Rich Matarese: May 20, 2010 at 4:52 am
    and BillD: May 20, 2010 at 4:04 am

    I’m sure that Rich can speak for himself if he wishes to bother, but he certainly didn’t mention ‘millions of papers’ – that was your offering – but I have, myself, read thousands of supposedly well-reviewed papers in the ‘climate’ area that I wouldn’t use to wrap garbage. Umbrage, by the way, doesn’t have much of a market value, but it is often a very good ‘proxy’ for ‘degree to which criticism is on target’. Rich also didn’t use the words ‘conspiracy’ nor ‘one hundred years’ – those were your offerings as well – and we all know, as been demonstrated endlessly, that there is no need for an active conspiracy when mutual self-interests converge under the aegis of a prevailing paradigm. It would seem that Rich’s targeting skill is much to be complimented.

    /dr.bill

  28. More excellent peer review… the way it is supposed to be done.

    In the meantime, someone got a Brown PhD for this, didn’t they?

  29. Gail Combs says:
    May 20, 2010 at 9:03 am
    It seems to be the case:
    Temperature wise, it is not only the large water mass, but another factor that makes Lake Tanganyika so stable – even more stable and homogenous than the ocean in most places. This factor is volcanic activity near the bottom of the lake. The temperature at the bottom of Lake Tanganyika has been measured and turned out to differ no more than 5 degrees F from the surface temperature. The stable temperature has however created sharp changes in oxygen content as you proceed down into the lake. Since there are virtually no temperature changes in Lake Tanganyika, there are no driving forces for vertical currents. Without any vertical currents and water exchange with the surface, the deep soon becomes oxygen depleted. Animals that need oxygen to survive, including of course all the Tanganyika cichlids, can therefore only be found at the top 300 meters of the lake
    http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/cichlid/tang2.php


  30. BillD laments my mention of Verburg & Heckey (“The physics of the warming of Lake Tanganyika by climate change” Limnol. Oceanogr. 2009, pp. 2418-2430; online at http://tinyurl.com/26xbz5u ), which I’d composed while his slightly earlier recommendation of this publication was apparently awaiting moderation. I’d noted that in this article “there are all the hallmarks of yet another warmist propaganda piece.”

    BillD states that “…from being on both giving and receiving end of [Limnology and Oceanography] reviews that they are quite critical, thoughtful and rigorous, and this I do not discredit.

    In both my personal experience of peer review and in discussions with medical colleagues on this subject, I know – and, boy, BillD really ought to know – how the peer review process can get screwed up by the sorts of concerted and deliberately deceptive measures practiced by the anthropogenic global warming cabal that was cataclysmically de-pantsed by the Climategate revelations, particularly with regard to the insights provided by the e-mails of the C.R.U. correspondents.

    In clinical medicine, we have been subjected for decades to the influences of the pharmaceuticals and medical device manufacturers, who not only fund a great deal of innovative research – which they have to undertake as the result of FDA and other regulatory bodies’ requirements to gain permission to market their products – but who must target the greatest part of their advertising to physicians and other health care practitioners.

    What this means is that almost all research-minded doctors must deal with the PhRMA and MDMA member companies when seeking funding, and pecuniary relationships have developed with clinical investigators and “key opinion leaders” in the medical profession which have been recognized for a helluva long time to be conducive to what we’ll call – for politeness’ sake – a certain lack of objectivity in the academic work conducted by these particular in-the-manufacturers’-pockets medicos.

    A whole lot of my professional colleagues, Bill, make a bunch more money for being on pharma companies’ “speakers’ bureaus” and serving as lead investigators in proprietary Phase III and Phase IV clinical trials than they do by playing musical exam rooms and actually treating patients.

    So with the understanding that I sure as hell know what pervasive influence peddling can do to the process of peer review – because the pharma companies do actively recruit their “key opinion leaders” on the basis of things like editorial clout and that prominence within their specialty which gives them to hold responsibilities in peer review for “high impact” medical journals – you might appreciate why, when I got to read those e-mails in the FOI2009.zip archive last November, my immediate desire was for something brutally Sicilian to happen immediately and with spatter marks on the surrounding walls to the C.R.U. correspondents who had been concerting to infest and pervert the peer review process throughout the physical sciences wherever anything critical of the AGW hypothesis might be brought into publication.

    As you, Bill, should realize, it is difficult for an honest peer review officer – even one who does not have a personal pecuniary or professional interest in the support of a particular point of view – to contest an assertion in a manuscript which is clearly supported by a previously peer-reviewed article, a copy of which has come to said review officer along with the manuscript in question, all highlighted and redlined “with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us.

    So what does this mean? Simple. In the physical sciences as in clinical medicine, the effects of perverting the peer review process reverberate.

    Bad science – once allowed into the literature – is pretty much in the literature forever. It takes exceptional steps on the part of journal editors and the officers of the professional societies to extirpate a bogus clinical study report, and I’ve seen it take years to correct such concerted frauds. Get a look at the 1998 VIGOR trial for an insight into just one of these stinking episodes.

    Okay, I’m not in your field. But you’ll have to concede that as a medical man, I’m hyperalert to what “undue influence” in the peer review process can and does mean to the quality of subsequent work in any area. It makes and breaks grant applications, it pervades continuing professional education, it channels subsequent research away from work that truly tests (rather than seeks to validate) a worthless hypothesis….

    …like anthropogenic global warming…

    …it destroys the careers of young graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, it colors policymaking decisions in industry and government, it does a boatload of damage.

    Check again that Verburg & Heckey article and much of the rest of the stuff you’re still extolling, Bill. You’re going to find AGW cabal fingerprints all to hellangone over ’em, directly or indirectly.

    This is why I described Verburg & Heckey’s paper as “pre-Climategate,” just I would tend to describe any paper on the COX-2 specific NSAIDS in the context of what we suddenly learned about rofecoxib (Vioxx, Merck) in late 2004.

  31. I used to consider proxy data as equal to facts. No longer! I view proxy data with a great deal of skepticism now. Thanks for the education!

  32. Why wouldn’t the last “half century” be the last 50 years? Hence 1960-2010? Shouldn’t the trend lines in figure 3 be from 1960-1985?

  33. Peculiar things tend to creep up, but mostly for propaganda or complete fake studies.

    Numbers never lie and internet remembers.

    Here’s what I find peculiar with the surrounding of Lake T. and its whole basin, it must be one of those mythological static environments, because for 15 years nothing have changed, the numbers are just the same year after year after, even, after more ‘an a decade. Maybe the fish makes the people in the lake T. basin sterile, but what do I know, except that they never have fished more an 200K ton per year of certain fish’. The one million in 95 and the ten million in the basin have become all the ten million. And the surface temperature during tourist season at least is around 25 C, apparently still. And the lake apparently only empty itself during heavy rain periods only since it’s a “closed” basin.

    In Nature 14 Aug 2003 there’s a global crap article about Lake T. too. Pretty interesting numbers. Hah, UN also archives everything. :-()

  34. We’re in the midst of a CAGW propaganda counter offensive doubtlessly to aid the passage of Kerry-Lieberman.

  35. Speaking of proxies, does anyone remember this?

    Lucy Skywalker (15:05:46) :

    hoxy proxy, pinecones foxy,
    records bloxy, treerings poxy,
    fire burn and cauldron bubble.

    tallbloke (16:14:00) :

    Britlecones and hockey sticks all in a row
    spark the tinder and watch them glow
    the ray of light through the lens of Hubble
    lightening the load of toil and trouble

  36. Don’cha hate it when you realize the next morning what you wanted to say the night before? See my [UPDATE] at the end of the head post above …

    w.

  37. JB says:
    May 20, 2010 at 10:50 am (Edit)

    Why wouldn’t the last “half century” be the last 50 years? Hence 1960-2010? Shouldn’t the trend lines in figure 3 be from 1960-1985?

    Sorry for the confusion, I meant the last half century of their proxy data.

  38. Gail Combs says:
    May 20, 2010 at 9:03 am
    It seems to be the case:
    Temperature wise, it is not only the large water mass, but another factor that makes Lake Tanganyika so stable – even more stable and homogenous than the ocean in most places. This factor is volcanic activity near the bottom of the lake.

    Gail;

    Your comments about the stable water column, low oxygen and small change in temperature with depth are all correct according to my understanding. However, there is no evidence at all for geothermal (volcanic warming) of the deeper waters of the lake. The deeper waters are only a few oC cooler than the surface waters because in the tropics, the weather does not get cool enought for long enough to cool such a deep lake.

    The change in water density per degree temperature is greater at high temperatures than at lower temperatures. This contributes to the greater resistance to mixing by wind in the tropics and the stability of stratification in Lake T and other tropical lakes. If volcanoes or some other form of geothermal heat affected lake temperature, this would be seen in the depth-temperature thermal profiles. This is how and why geothermal heating was explicitly ruled out in the Vergburg and Hecky (2009) paper.

  39. Willis Eschenbach: May 20, 2010 at 11:41 am
    See my [UPDATE] at the end of the head post above …

    My point is, the Tierney 2010 report is a study of the change in Lake Tanganyika surface temperature over time, which contains no measurements of the change in LST over time, and which has exactly three actual surface temperature measurements, which are poorly cited, are from different parts of the lake, and are all from 2003 …

    And that got published. Oh my….

    /dr.bill

  40. I swam in the lake late last year. I noticed that the top few feet were warmish and below that it was *extremely* cold. I understand that the lake is about 1/2 mile deep. So wouldn’t you expect that this be taken into account in such a “study” as this? What exactly is the “surface temperature” and why is that more important than the total heat content of the lake?

  41. Rich Matarese says:
    May 20, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Rich;

    I fully agree with you about the conflict of interests in many medical and pharmacuetical studies. One of my brothers was involved in that field and found much evidence of bias and fraud. In such cases, only very rigorous double blind studies have any credibility. Probably the best that can be done is to fully disclose sources of funding and potential conflicts.

    Fortunately, researchers involved in environmental studies don’t usually have a direct monetary interest in the outcome, although they are benefited by publishable results. I’ve had a number of NSF grants and can say, in retrospect, that some of my best results have been those that have gone against my expectations and those of most of my colleagues. The most exciting point in research is when I have results that give me confidence that my next experiments will strongly challenge the scientific status quo.

    Thus, my experience leads me to a different conclusion than most posters here. Researchers who submit grants with strong tests of and challenges to the prevailing theory are most likely to get funded and published. If most peer reviewed publications support a particular hypothesis or theory, this is because the theory is very solid.

    I have often called for rejection of scientific papers where the expermental design and/or data were weak, even though the broader conclusions agreed with my expectations. I have also recommended publication for manuscripts that contradicted my own work and seemed unlikely, when I could not find fault with the design, data and analysis. Peer review is far from perfect, but most scientific research is judged on its scientific merits and not on whether it supports a popular or unpopular hypothesis.

  42. BillD says:

    … The change in water density per degree temperature is greater at high temperatures than at lower temperatures. This contributes to the greater resistance to mixing by wind in the tropics and the stability of stratification in Lake T and other tropical lakes. If volcanoes or some other form of geothermal heat affected lake temperature, this would be seen in the depth-temperature thermal profiles. This is how and why geothermal heating was explicitly ruled out in the Vergburg and Hecky (2009) paper.

    BillD, thanks for the information. The lake is huge, about 350 miles long. In the Vergburg and Hecky (2009) paper, they list a total of only six vertical temperature profiles done over a century … hardly an exhaustive survey. Two of these show warmer water near the bottom, a temperature inversion indicating the possibility of geothermal warming. So I don’t see how that “explicitly rules out” geothermal warming as you (and Vergburg and Hecky) state.

    You seem to think that geothermal warming is only a theoretical possibility. See here and here, one of which says:

    Sublacustrine hydrothermal vents with associated massive sulfides were discovered during April 1987 at Pemba and Cape Banza on the Zaire side of the northern basin of Lake Tanganyika, East African Rift system. New investigations by a team of ten scuba divers during the multinational (France, Zaire, Germany, and Burundi) TANGANYDRO expedition (August-October 1991) found hydrothermal vents down to a depth of 46 m along north-trending active faults bounding the Tanganyika rift on the western side. Temperatures from 53 to 103 °C were measured in hydrothermal fluids and sediments.

    So when boiling water is known to be entering the lake from hydrothermal vents, and when we only have very inadequate surveying, I’d say it was a bit early to be “explicitly ruling out” anything …

  43. Justa Joe says:
    May 20, 2010 at 8:53 am
    BillD is claiming that warmth makes these types of lakes clearer. These researchers from UC Davis are saying that warmth will make Lake Tahoe less clear.

    In the tropics there is very little seasonal change in temperature and thus, very little mixing. Lake Tahoe does not get cool enough to mix to the bottom, but it does mix as deep as 500 m during winter. The effects of mixing depth and temperature are complex and sometimes subtle. It’s not surprising if the effects of warming differ between tropical and temperate systems. My understanding is that Lake Tahoe is becoming more eutrophic (less clear) and my expectation is that it will remain one of the clearest lakes in North America. It’s a matter of perspective if now or in the future you say ‘great, Lake Tahoe is a very clear lake,” or “too bad, water quality is much degraded from earlier times.” Now and over the next century, both of these perspectives will have some validity. Environmentalists often prefer to look at degredation over time, rather than being satisfied that a particular place (or lake) is better than most others.

  44. Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 20, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Willis:

    You make a good point and I was not aware of these thermal vents. On the other hand, one needs to compare the volume of the vents to the volume of the lake (>18,000 cubic km). I am a limnologist, but physical limnology is not my specialty. I assume that Verburg and Hecky (2009) are correct in their estimate of 0.04 watts/m2 per year of geothermal heating for Lake T. This means that vents or other extreme temperature imputs have a negligible effect. My understanding is that Lake T is strongly meromictic and that the deeper anaerobic waters neven mix with the surface. This is tested by salinity gradients, carbon isotopes and other means as well as the limited thermal profiles. Since the deeper waters are very isolated from the surface and several degrees cooler than the surface waters, this means that the 3 oC heating of the surface cannot be caused by the (cooler) bottom waters.

    You are correct of course, that it would be nice to have more data.

  45. Here’s a link that provides some overview: International Lake Environment Committee (although I can’t vouch for the accuracy of anything they list).

    A bit down the page there are some graphs of vertical temperature profiles, and a comment saying that the temperature below about 80 meters is stable at about 23.4°C. Given the depth of the water, the relatively small vertical turnover, and the limited outflow (one river), it is surprising (to me) that the temperature at depth isn’t stable at about 4.0°C, as it is in most other lakes of reasonable depth.

    There obviously has to be some ‘heat in this pipeline’ that isn’t being accounted for.

    /dr.bill

  46. To save someone the trouble of correcting me, after succumbing to the mouth first, brain later syndrome in my previous post, I realized that I was being ‘parochial’ and thinking of temperate-climate lakes. Perhaps I should get out (of Canada) more often. :-)

    /dr.bill

  47. Justa Joe says: Lake Tahoe

    While I do not agree with the alarmist Tahoe scenarios– the conditions are very much different between Tahoe and Tanganyika. Tahoe has a strong temperature gradient at low temperatures. The melting ice as an example sinks in the Spring (water has a max density at 4C) allowing the relatively warm bottom water to move to the surface. Tanganyika is warm with very little temperature gradient from top to bottom. It takes a tremendous amount of energy – in the form of winds- to cause vertical mixing.

    The important point in this discussion is it is the wind that is important in Tanganyika (if upwelling is found to be the primary control on productivity). Unless it can be shown that rising temperatures are associated with stronger winds-temperature in the range discussed may not have much of an impact. The Lake Tanganyika Regional Fishery Programme found in its modeling that temperature is of secondary importance in the upwelling that brings the nutrients to the surface.

    The sad fact is the Lake’s dynamics are extremely complex and we have sacrificed our chance to understand for a simple correlation with temeperature.

  48. BillD says:
    May 20, 2010 at 1:17 pm
    Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 20, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Willis:

    You make a good point and I was not aware of these thermal vents. On the other hand, one needs to compare the volume of the vents to the volume of the lake (>18,000 cubic km). I am a limnologist, but physical limnology is not my specialty. I assume that Verburg and Hecky (2009) are correct in their estimate of 0.04 watts/m2 per year of geothermal heating for Lake T. This means that vents or other extreme temperature imputs have a negligible effect. My understanding is that Lake T is strongly meromictic and that the deeper anaerobic waters neven mix with the surface. This is tested by salinity gradients, carbon isotopes and other means as well as the limited thermal profiles. Since the deeper waters are very isolated from the surface and several degrees cooler than the surface waters, this means that the 3 oC heating of the surface cannot be caused by the (cooler) bottom waters.

    You are correct of course, that it would be nice to have more data.

    Thanks, Bill. I can’t find the paper that was used by Verburg and Hecky to get the 0.04°/m2 heat flux. But my point is slightly different. V&H are giving general geothermal heat flux. But hydrothermal vents don’t provide heat across the whole floor like geothermal heat flux, they are point sources. In a stable lake such as Tanganyika, the hot plume would flow straight up. As such, you would never see evidence of those vents by vertical temperature sampling unless you sampled right on top of one … and with a total of six samples over a century in an area of 231,000 square km …

    In any case, a couple of those six samples showed deep temperature inversion, which is suggestive if nothing else. I find it astounding that the authors of the study come to their broad and sweeping conclusions with such a tiny amount of actual data, especially with the indications that other confounding factors are present. Given the hot springs, some at temperatures above boiling, it is obvious that this is a thermally active area. I don’t see how that can simply be neglected. I tried to mention that in my piece that was published in Nature Magazine, but the reviewers axed it. They said if I couldn’t prove it was significant, I couldn’t mention it … which seemed backwards to me, the onus is on the authors to exclude it rather than on me to prove it makes a difference.

  49. Willis-
    I came across a paper by Coulter http://www.aslo.org/lo/toc/vol_13/issue_2/0385.pdf who offered the possibility of heat flow at the bottom of the lake to explain the apparent lack of an expected salinity gradient. (Well before the discovery of the Banza vents) He also offered that relatively small heat inputs (given the lake age and depth and using Lake Malawi as an example) could create convection currents. This would make the nutrient cycling dynamics far more complex than simple temperature and wind.

  50. “It’s a matter of perspective… if now or in the future you say ‘great, Lake Tahoe is a very clear lake,” or “too bad, water quality is much degraded from earlier times.” Now and over the next century, both of these perspectives will have some validity.” – BillD

    Sorry Bud, I’m not buying. There is an objective way of measuring clarity of the lake. How accurate these methods are may be an issue. Anyway You seem to want to cover for these UC Davis ‘researchers’. I fully expect there to negligible measurable difference to the ‘quality’ of Lake Tahoe within 8 years from now. That is in stark contrast to the wild eyed claims of these researchers.

    Number #2; I find it interesting that a seeming natural lessening in clarity of Lake Tahoe in the mind of the self styled environmentalist correlates to degradation. (I’m not saying that the lake IS losing clarity.) Lake Tahoe gains it’s clarity by natural reasons by contrast Lake Michigan is murky natually. That doesn’t make Lake Michigan a lesser lake. If we have to judge things based on the perceptions of environmentalists we’re really in trouble. (sorry to digress)

    I haven’t read the article on Lake Tanganyika because actually it holds little interest for me, but if the lake is gaining clarity shouldn’t you guys be heralding it as an improvement?

  51. “Before the twentieth century, LST varied between 22.5 C and 24.3 C (Fig. 2a). LSTs were relatively warm between ad 500 and 700, followed by an interval of cool LSTs that lasted until ad 1100. Lake Tanganyika then experienced a period of extended warmth between 1100 and 1400, followed by a return to cooler LSTs between 1400 and 1500 and more variable temperatures until 1900. Beginning around 1900, LSTs trend upwards, rising about 2 C in 100 years (see Fig. 2 inset). ”

    —…—

    Sounds like they just verified that the MWP and LIA occurred in mid-Africa as well as the rest of the world. Looking in more detail in the 20th century: They show “real measured temperatures” decliing from a peak in the 1930-1940 timeframe towards a low point in early 1970 -> then a steady rise from 1970 on.

    And their apropimate proxy reading fails – going well past the measured temperatures, and appears to be “calibrated” towards the peak of 0.8 degrees. Though they claim a 2 degree rise from their approximate proxies – but why?

    What did it rise from – and rise to – if the max temp change in the graph (even though it ends incorrectly high at 0.8 degrees instead of about 0.40 average local change) isn’t 2.0 C?

  52. Pat Moffitt
    May 20, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    “The sad fact is the Lake’s dynamics are extremely complex and we have sacrificed our chance to understand for a simple correlation with temeperature.”

    Boy you sure got right. Lake Tanganyika is one of the most complicated lakes in the world. In some ways it is really two lakes. Its chemistry, temperature, and geology are not consistent from end to end. The effects of weather on the lake is not consistent either. On top of this, the geology is active and has a major impact on the lake.

    Lake Tanganyika is evolving. The natural changes that have occurred, even within the time of recent memory, make any study like this sound ludicrous.

  53. Willis Eschenbach> I’m kind of confused here. You say that Tierney et al. do not calibrate the TEX86 proxy. But according to the supplementary material that you link to, they do pay a lot of attention to this calibration (see table S3 in the supplementary material).

  54. “While I do not agree with the alarmist Tahoe scenarios– the conditions are very much different between Tahoe and Tanganyika.” – P. Moffit

    I concur, but I don’t think that someone can say that in the case of Tanganyika necessarily that warmer = clearer.

  55. Some back of the envelope calculations … the paper says that a small amount of diving discovered 72 “groups of chimneys”, with each chimney venting from “one to several” litres per second.

    If we figure say 10 chimneys in each group, and an average of 2 litres per second per chimney, and that the tiny amount of diving has only found 1% of the vents, and the water temperature coming out of the vents is 80°C, then they would warm the lake by 1° C in about 70 years …

    However, in addition to the hot water that is flowing out, the ground around the hot springs must be warm as well. If the geothermal flow is 0.04 w/m2, the numbers look like this:

    0.04 w/m2 flow
    2.31E+05 square km lake area
    2.31E+11 square m lake area
    9.24E+09 watts instantaneous heat flow over lake area
    8.10E+13 watt-hrs/yr over lake area
    2.92E+17 joules/yr over lake area
    1.80E+19 grams of h2o in the lake
    62 years/1°C raise in temp

    As to whether that is significant, I don’t know, because water is flowing into and out of the lake … but that’s assuming about the global average heat flow. Since the lake bed is obviously a thermal area, the flow may be more. If it is double that, the time would be halved.

    Finally, I don’t think that if this heating were even, there would necessarily be a temperature inversion in the vertical temperature profile. It seems that it would simply reduce the slope of the decrease of temperature with depth … but then I’m not a limnologist.

    Check my numbers, I’ve been wrong before …

  56. mb says:
    May 20, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Willis Eschenbach> I’m kind of confused here. You say that Tierney et al. do not calibrate the TEX86 proxy. But according to the supplementary material that you link to, they do pay a lot of attention to this calibration (see table S3 in the supplementary material).

    Thanks, MB. While they do talk about the TEX86 proxy, I don’t think they can calibrate it to this particular lake, because they have no temperature series to calibrate it to. They do say they calibrate it against the lake itself, but they give absolutely no indication as to what temperature dataset they are using or how they are doing the “calibration” … which makes me suspicious. I suspect that they are simply adjusting the variables to give some particular modern day temperature …

    So basically all they can do is look at how it works in other lakes and then play with the variables, which is a general estimation (a SWAG) rather than a calibration.

    Finally, the authors say:

    First of all, there has been some concern about the temperatures reported in the 2010 being inconsistent with the Holocene temperatures reported in our 2008 Science paper. The source of this confusion is that in 2008, we had a different (older) TEX86 temperature calibration that resulted in temperatures that were far too warm for Lake Tanganyika. We discovered that this calibration was problematic when we began working on the historical record. The old calibration (Powers et al., 2005, Geophysical Research Letters) gave us modern temperatures above 30 degrees celsius; clearly too warm for a lake that averages 26 degrees celsius today! So, for our 2010 work we added some more tropical lake sites to the calibration and improved it.

    Sounds like “guess at the numbers” to me … particularly when (as I show in Figure 3 above) the results don’t agree with the air temp data.

  57. Justa Joe says:
    Lake Tahoe gains it’s clarity by natural reasons by contrast Lake Michigan is murky natually.

    Lake Michigan is a very good example of a biological as opposed to physical control on water clarity– the zebra mussel. The zebra mussel’s filtering ability has led to a substantial increase in Lake Michigan’s water clarity over the past few decades. There is often a price for “clearer water” – less productivity evidenced by reduced salmon biomass and interference with some near shore spawning success of bass etc . But this again depends on what biomass you are trying to maximize.

    Perhaps the most overlooked environmental catastrophe is the collapse of oyster populations – the result of two diseases Dermo and MSX along the East and Gulf Coasts (as well as overharvest etc). It has been estimated that the historic oyster population in the Chesapeake Bay system filtered the entire water volume every 3 days. Think about what it would take in terms of human construction to accomplish this task. (Without the oysters we get prolific algal blooms and increased temperatures and without knowledge of the oyster’s function we could make some fundamental mistakes interpreting sediment TEX 86 proxies! Bivalves “short circuit” primary production. No- I’m not making a Tanganyika bivalve link.) We can spend all the money we want on point or non-point pollution control measures–but without this keystone species it will never achieve the water quality, habitat or ecosystem goals. (Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, there are relatively few resources being applied to the diseases or restoration. Oysters just doesn’t fit our environmental crisis model. Now if we could just blame climate change…..)

    One last point on clarity- we can also see increasing water clarity when we over-fish a species that consumes the zooplanktion or algal grazers. (like overfishing the clupeids in Tanganyika? As well as changes in the “relatively more” anoxic zooplankton refuge zone which is outside the clupeid zone of comfort)

    For many ecosystems if you find the answer to a question simple- you haven’t understood the question.

  58. Pat Moffitt says:
    May 20, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Justa Joe says:
    Lake Tahoe gains it’s clarity by natural reasons by contrast Lake Michigan is murky natually.

    Lake Michigan is a very good example of a biological as opposed to physical control on water clarity– the zebra mussel. ….
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Fasinating.
    Perhaps you could write an article for WUWT about the repercussions of oversimplification (blaming AGW) instead of doing real science in the field of biology. The people who truly care about the environment do not understand the havoc that has been done thanks to AGW zealotry.

  59. I pray that God continues to fill Willis Eschenbach with bountiful life force so that he can continue his amazing work. In Climate Science, no other is as good as Willis and no other demonstrates his level of energy. Thank you, Willis Eschenbach.


  60. BillD, dismissing my observations about the pervasive adverse impacts of the corruption of the peer review process in the physical sciences by the C.R.U. correspondents confirmed in the Climategate archive, writes:

    Fortunately, researchers involved in environmental studies don’t usually have a direct monetary interest in the outcome, although they are benefited by publishable results.

    God damn. Where the hell has this guy been for the last thirty years? Would anybody else reading on this thread care to clue him in about how many people in “climatology” and the allied sciences must be said (to paraphrase Kipling) “to have been shown the way to promotion and pay” through their allegiance to the anthropogenic global warming fraud?

    Researchers who submit grants with strong tests of and challenges to the prevailing theory [if we can dignify the AGW “Cargo Cult Science with the term ‘theory’] are most likely to getshut to hellangone out of funding, publication, position, tenure, and advancement in their professional disciplines.

    Is this not very much the case?

    Oh, well. While we’re at it on the subject of bad research, Bill, why don’t you speak with your brother about clinical research funded by the pharmaceuticals and devices manufacturers and ask him about how even “…very rigorous double blind studies [which you describe as having] any credibility” can be jerked around to provide data for studies that are fundamentally deceptive by way of suggestio falsi, suppressio veri.

    Look into that New England Journal of Medicine reference I provided earlier. A paper reporting a “rigorous double blind” study – the VIGOR trial – was submitted to NEJM in 1998, got through peer review at one of the most up-tight journals in the world of medicine, and – by way of cherry-picking the data submitted (selecting out some study subjects whose adverse events histories which, if considered, would’ve significantly affected the safety profile for rofecoxib and revealed something that Merck really didn’t want us prescribers to learn about their “blockbuster” product – was published to be touted by Merck’s marketing weevils as solid proofs of Vioxx’s tolerability, efficacy, and safety.

    Research can be conducted with pretty good rigor, Bill, and the publications derived from that research can be duplicitous as all hell.

    And those publications can and do get through peer review. In the pharmaceuticals and medical devices industries, Bill, there are highly-paid people who work full-time to no purpose other than “strategic communications planning,” taking the raw material of studies like clinical trials and torturing the data until it is made to say – in “high impact” periodicals like The New England Journal of Medicine just exactly what is to the greatest advantage for the manufacturers who had funded the studies.

    Now, with far more money riding on the foisting of the AGW fraud, just what the hell gives you to sit before your computer right now, Bill, and try to push the notion that “researchers involved in environmental studies don’t usually have a direct monetary interest in the outcome,” hm?

    On average, a pharma company sinks close to a billion bucks into research to bring a new chemical entity (NCE) all the way to success in the submission of a new drug application (NDA), and they’re looking – if they get themselves a “blockbuster” – at making back about a billion bucks a year until the product goes off-patent.

    That, Bill, is bloody nothing compared with what the C.R.U. correspondents and their fellows were leveraging in the “carbon trading” racket.

    And a company like Merck, pushing their selective COX-2 inhibitor into “blockbuster” profitability, killed and crippled only a few thousand people.

    As the AGW fraudsters have been getting their way – until that sudden “Whoa!” imposed by Climategate – they’ve been killing literally millions by way of starvation alone, and future policies predicated upon their hideous, utterly rotten scheming will, if implemented, condemn hundreds of millions more real human beings to poverty, misery, suffering, and death.

    And for what? Their ability to crow at the peak of their own particular academic dungheaps? To gain the praise of corrupt professional politicians and similar thieving goniffs? To get invested in “carbon futures trading” and make some cash for themselves?

    Look, when the story over the VIGOR trial broke back in 2004, I remember Merck sales representatives – “detail men” – getting pounded pretty viciously by physicians all over the country. They were the unfortunate guys in the front lines who were the “face” of Merck to those of us who diagnose the patients and write the prescriptions. While they were going around asking for the return of the Vioxx samples they’d been piling on us for months preceding, they took a lot of crap.

    But the people I really wanted to confront were those clinical investigators who signed their names to that VIGOR trial report, and the peer review officers and editors at NEJM, damn them.

    Well, on a far grander scale – and for much better cause – I’d really like to see Prof. Phil Jones and Dr. Michael Mann and Hansen and Briffa and all the rest of those weasels go up against the wall right alongside Algore and those humping sons-of-indeterminate-fathers Kerry and Lieberman.

    Wouldn’t you, Bill?

    And if not, why not?


  61. Gail Combs writes “…about the repercussions of oversimplification (blaming AGW) instead of doing real science in the field of biology.

    Speaking personally as someone who does not much “…care about the environment” (I have a largely adversarial relationship with all my descendants, and actuarially speaking, I’m not going to outlive Barry Soetoro unless we all get real lucky and something happens to severely embarrass the Secret Service in the next couple of years, so the environment is going to have to get along without me pretty soon now), I’m obliged by education if not by professional experience to observe that biology imposes a number of confounding factors on the analysis of the admittedly minimal data collected by Tierney et al in this letter, and to wonder (as I had yesterday, in the preceding thread) just how hard it would’ve been for these clowns to take under reasonable consideration the confounding factors of both wholly natural and human biological influences puissant in the basin responsible for the existence of Lake Tanganyika before doing what is equivalent to my three-year-old granddaughter holding up an Easter egg and proclaiming proof that the Easter Bunny not only exists but had penetrated my back yard the night before to leave gaudy hard-boiled henfruit in the grass for her to find.

    If, in their Nature Geoscience letter, Tierney and her colleagues had been content to report what they’d found, and to inform readers of their plans to conduct additional research to expand upon these findings and add significantly and with ingenuity to the body of knowledge on Lake Tanganyika, I’d be quite happy, and wish them the best of good fortune.

    But these clowns just have to brandish their Easter egg – and it really ain’t that spectacular a bit of decoration when you get right down to it, is it? – and proclaim: “Proof yet again that evil anthropogenic carbon dioxide forcing is destroying our beloved Mother Earth!”

    Sheesh. And this got through peer review at Nature?

  62. What if all the assumptions used by Tierney et al to claim a climate change signature for Lake Tanganyika are either wrong or unsubstantiated? Victor Langenberg’s 2008 thesis (Wageningen University) On the Limnology of Lake Tanganyika seems to take just this position. His position:
    • No evidence of increasing lake clarity as a result of secchi measurements since 1946
    • The interplay of stratification and plankton productivity are not “straightforward”
    • Challenges O’Reilly’s assumption on the correlation of wind and productivity -the highest production is on the end of the lake with the lowest winds
    • A strong caution using diatoms as the productivity proxy (it is one of two different lake modes)
    • No ability to link climate change to productivity changes
    • More productivity from river than allowed for in Nature Geopscience article
    • Externally derived nutrients control productivity for a quarter of the year
    • Strong indications of overfishing
    • No evidence of a climate and fishery production link
    • The current productivity of the lake is within the expected range
    • Doesn’t challenge recent temp increase but cites temperature records do not show a temperature rise in the last century
    • Phytoplankton chlorophylla seems to have not materially changed from the 1970s to 1990s
    • Disputes O’Reilly’s and Verbug’s claims of increased warming and decreased productivity
    • Rejects Verburgs contention that changes in phytoplankton biomass (biovolume), in dissolved silica and in transparency support the idea of declining productivity. A large part of the lakes production may be picocyanobacteria

    It will be interesting to watch the grant support for these two young Ph.D graduates Tierney and Langenberg- one claims clear climate change negative impact- the other sees no evidence for climate.
    We do know that Langenberg’s work did not garner international media attention

  63. I recommend reading Langenberg’s thesis- especially his personal 8 year history living along the Lake. It is the first paper I have seen that mentions sampling locations were often correlated with those areas with less bullets in the air.

  64. Pat Moffitt, I can’t thank you enough for that excellent recommendation to the Langenberg thesis. It is available here. It is real science, and it is as unlike the Tierney study as anything you can imagine. It deals with those old-fashioned things like measurements and instruments and data and the like, not with proxies for things that we have no way of calibrating or verifying.

    My best to you,

    w.


  65. Pat Moffitt recommends Langenberg’s thesis On the Limnology of Lake Tanganyika (2008) and Willis provides a link to the full PDF download thereof.

    Damn. Was this work even considered by Tierney et al in the preparation of their letter? Of their references, I have proximal access only to their listing in the supplementary information, which recounts seven items, and Langenberg’s work is conspicuously absent from that list.

    Let’s assume that the peer review officers and editors of Nature Geoscience are reliably familiar with the subject of freshwater limnology. Wouldn’t one of them – at the very least – have bumped the manuscript of this letter back to the authors with an admonition to review Langenberg’s very recent publication – which Willis demonstrates is freely accessible online- and incorporate in their submission some indication that they had at least taken due note of such observations, analyses, and conclusions as had come into the literature by way of Langenberg’s thesis?

    Given this failure on the part of the Nature Geoscience editorial staff, isn’t it the duty of outsiders – almost assuredly including Langenberg himself, if he is alerted to this utterance scheduled for dead-tree-format publication in June – to offer the editors of this journal some commentary on the methodologies, results, and conclusions of Tierney et al?

  66. Theo Goodwin says:
    May 20, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    I pray that God continues to fill Willis Eschenbach with bountiful life force so that he can continue his amazing work. In Climate Science, no other is as good as Willis and no other demonstrates his level of energy. Thank you, Willis Eschenbach.

    Theo, many thanks for your prayers and good wishes. I read what you said to my wife Ellie, and she said to be sure to tell you “For goodness sakes, don’t tell Willis stuff like that, his head is too darn swelled up already.” When I tried to protest that I couldn’t tell you something like that in public, it was far too embarrassing, she told me to shut up and get on with it.

    So there you are. I never could say no to that woman …

  67. Willis, Tierney et al were on to something they didn’t even notice and you in your analysis of their methodologies has added confirmation and rigor to the unnoticed discovery.

    You analysis demonstrates that Tierney were close but had it backwards about TEX86 in Lake Tanganyika used as a proxy.

    They have proved that TEX86 in Lake Tanganyika is teleconnected to global temperature without realizing it and thus this single proxy can be used to reconstruct global paleoclimate, similar to, and perhaps more robust in this teleconnection, to the Graybill Bristlecones.

    You have added to the work by demonstrating that the proxy signal is completely independent of local temperature influences.

    You guys should team up. This is the holy grail of paleoclimatology.

  68. Rich Matarese says:
    May 20, 2010 at 10:10 am

    I’m thinking that these researchers belong on the ‘Group W bench’….


  69. Sera takes note of the appropriateness of sending Tierney et al to the ‘Group W bench’.

    Where they will each doubtless be asked:

    (“KID, HAVE YOU REHABILITATED YOURSELF?”)

  70. Willis-
    Your welcome. Langenberg’s work seems to reflect the benefits of 8 years of life on the Lake. Lake Tanganyika is one of those great waterbodies that can make you continually scratch your head–its complex, confusing, and at times counter-intuitve– all the things that create interest and challenge. It would be a shame to see this elegant complexity destroyed for the sake of a few wild assumptions and a temperature proxy.

  71. BillD says:
    May 20, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Gail;

    Your comments about the stable water column, low oxygen and small change in temperature with depth are all correct according to my understanding. However, there is no evidence at all for geothermal (volcanic warming) of the deeper waters of the lake.
    ________________________________________________________________________
    It is a quote from elsewhere. The volcanic activity seems to be “common knowledge” see: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/cichlid/tang2.php

  72. Here is another quote:
    “….Volcanic activity at the lake’s floor accounts for this tiny difference in temperature and causes a high level of dissolved minerals. The lack of temperature difference means there is a lack of vertical currents. Without the mixing of the deep water and the water at the surface, oxygen cannot reach a depth greater than 300 feet, leaving the waters of the deep either too high in Hydrogen Sulfide, or too low in oxygen to sustain life forms (zambiatourism). ….” http://www.tassiecichlids.com/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=25&start=0

    The reference seems to be zambiatourism.

    “…The lake is 1,460m above sea level and empties into the River Ruzizi, which flows southwards into Lake Tanganyika, covering 2,700sqkm in a volcanically active area….” http://www.globalenvision.org/library/1/1732

    Another article (behind a paywall ) states the “..lake and land structures are grossly similar. Low heat flow and similarity with surrounding values in Africa is consistent with lack of active volcanicity and seafloor spreading in Lake tanganyika. A new concept on the evolution of a rift is proposed….” http://www.springerlink.com/content/m02m140738h1x317/

    This all seems to indicate an area with heat coming up through the ground similar to what is seen in Yellowstone and other ” volcanically active areas”

  73. Did these researchers measure the PH of the lake? If not, why not?

    If they did, what did they find? (Nothing alarming, probably.)

    [REPLY – The Rift Lakes are strongly Alkaline. ~ Evan]

  74. Doesn’t the air temp instrumental record go back to 1913? Wouldn’t you want to plot the Tierney proxy temp against the entire record, plot the trend lines and see how they correlate to see if “LST closely tracks air temperatures over the instrumental period” ?

  75. On reflection, it is easy to see that the “Oldest Profession” is still going strong. I guess the temperature or water level or CO2 content have nothing to do with making a buck the easy way. I just never realized how much money could be made at it if you only had a PhD.

  76. You can draw any line you want, if you have only one data point.
    [old math joke]
    Let me cherry pick the data, and I can prove ANYTHING!

  77. From comments in the first Tanganyika thread, it appears that Andy Cohen is the guy to ask about the research. The summary identifies him as chief researcher. He took (and is featured in) the pictures, drilled the cores, and has been studying these rift valley lakes for some time:

    http://www.geo.arizona.edu/web/Cohen/AC_page.html
    http://www.geo.arizona.edu/web/Cohen/publications.html

    When these articles are all on the other side of a paywall, it’s hard to sink your teeth into the specifics – say, the exact method of coring bottom samples, where they were taken and what they measured – but issues raised above about these methods, prior warming, (and if it’s there) its geothermal causes, sure raise some questions.

    One problem seems to be that a lot of these “breaking news” research papers (I’m thinking also of the geology papers reviewed here a month ago, but any of these climate papers which use the word “unprecedented”) are the works of undergraduates or newly-minted grads from various schools. A picture of how these papers get written is emerging:

    A professor lines up (or is given) funding from NAS or NSF to “investigate” (prove) global warming in some unique environment; he/she arranges a research expedition (“field trip”) to that exotic locale and drums up the adventurous, social aspects of the trip, priming students with intended result (“we’re going to find evidences of man-made global warming as exhibited by Lake Tanganyika”); he passes out a number of his own “peer-reviewed” papers to show how it’s done; he ascribes grades based on whose paper most closely approximates the intended result; papers which show AGW in the most damning light “win” publication.

    I don’t think the challenge to respond to questions will be met. We won’t get answers from students because, well, they are just students after all. This was chiefly an academic learning experience for them. We won’t get the mentoring professor to answer because it would be impolite, if not improper, for him to intercede on behalf of his students, who, after all, wrote the paper! The publishing magazine did no peer review, claims to the contrary notwithstanding, and the long record of their responsiveness to complaints, querries is documented on this and Steve McIntyre’s web site. So I suppose we shouldn’t expect any reasoned clarification or discussion from any of these sources. Nobody is responsible.

    Meanwhile, it appears that the perks for these projects are simply irresistible. If I were an undergraduate science student with an option to try this, I’d leap at it: the trips to exotic locales, the expense accounts, the notoriety, the status, the grooming for a government job, not to mention the opportunity to accompany the tallented Ms. Tierney (pictured above)… and, assuming that you enjoy all the above, the prospect that someday “all this will be yours” as an educator who can perpetuate the cycle. It’s a win-win!

  78. JB says:
    May 21, 2010 at 5:45 am

    Doesn’t the air temp instrumental record go back to 1913? Wouldn’t you want to plot the Tierney proxy temp against the entire record, plot the trend lines and see how they correlate to see if “LST closely tracks air temperatures over the instrumental period” ?

    JB, which air temp record are you referring to? I don’t find any local air temps that go back that far.


  79. Writes Bill Parsons:

    “I don’t think the challenge to respond to questions will be met. We won’t get answers from students because, well, they are just students after all. This was chiefly an academic learning experience for them. We won’t get the mentoring professor to answer because it would be impolite, if not improper, for him to intercede on behalf of his students, who, after all, wrote the paper! The publishing magazine did no peer review, claims to the contrary notwithstanding, and the long record of their responsiveness to complaints, queries is documented on this and Steve McIntyre’s web site. So I suppose we shouldn’t expect any reasoned clarification or discussion from any of these sources. Nobody is responsible.”

    I regret to report that I’m not a frequenter of Mr. McIntyre’s Web site. If Mr. Parsons could provide a URL to those threads on that site in which discussion of these periodicals’ “ long record of their responsiveness to complaints [and] queries,” this would be appreciated.

    That aside, Mr. Parsons‘ explanation of the mechanism whereby graduate students and post-doctoral fellows are used by their AGW-invested preceptors as “cut-outs” to disseminate dezinformatsia favorable to the warmist fraud is both perceptive and reasonable.

  80. Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 21, 2010 at 11:49 am

    JB, which air temp record are you referring to? I don’t find any local air temps that go back that far.
    Tierney’s paper claims a temperature record from 1913 to 2000 citing Verburg. However Verburg (2009) shows only a 3 month data set for 1913, data for 1938, 1947, 1973 and 1975. Hardly a reliable or continuous temperature record for either paper.

    I’ve written to Langenberg – if he responds any interest in posting?

  81. Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 20, 2010 at 4:24 pm
    ….
    While they do talk about the TEX86 proxy, I don’t think they can calibrate it to this particular lake, because they have no temperature series to calibrate it to. They do say they calibrate it against the lake itself, but they give absolutely no indication as to what temperature dataset they are using or how they are doing the “calibration” … which makes me suspicious. I suspect that they are simply adjusting the variables to give some particular modern day temperature …

    According to the SI, they are computing their calibration equation,
    LST = TEX86 * 38.874 – 3.4992
    with a cross section of 13 lakes around the world, and not with a time series.

    In itself, this is reasonable. They do run the regression the wrong way (by “ICE”, as if TEX86 caused temperatures, rather than by “CCE”, regressing the proxy on temperature and then inverting), but since the R2 is .92 and the t-stat on the slope is 11.0, this doesn’t make a big difference. (I’ve checked that these are indeed the ICE estimates from their 13 data points.)

    A potential problem, however, is their rejection of the regression standard error (2.1dC) as the basis of computing reconstruction standard errors. The reconstruction standard errors have to be at least this high (and in fact a little higher, because of slope uncertainty and their incorrect use of ICE, but not by much in this instance). But they don’t like this number, and so instead use a “leave-one-out” “jackknife” procedure, and somehow end up using a 95% CI of 0.40 dC, corresponding to a SE of 0.20dC, too small by a factor of 10! I think they may be misunderstanding what the jackknife procedure tells you, though I’m not certain how they used it.

  82. Rich Matarese says:
    May 21, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Climate Audit is Steve McIntyre’s web site. Over the several years that I’ve frequented Climate Autdi, I’ve seen a number of stories in which Mr. McIntyre reasonably requested supplemental information, data, or clarifications from various magazines. These included Nature and Science, as I recall, but there have been mentions of others journals. My older browser and platform don’t like his web site since he reformatted it, and even Firefox shows a lot of overwritten text and columns, so I just don’t go there any more. He has a search window, in which you might search “Nature Magazine”. Or, if you wish to approach it from the other perspective, here are the East Anglia e-mails, where the cozy relationship with the journals is obliquely referenced:

    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/index.php

    I’m heading out to eat, but I’ll try looking for some of examples of this later. What has become pretty clear over the years is that there is an openly symbiotic relationship between the climatologists and the periodicals.

    Thanks, Willis, for the thread. Hope this isn’t too far off the topic.

  83. Panel a compares Lake T to an AR4 HS composite, but notice that the scales are different by a factor of 4! “Our LST reconstruction is qualitatively simlar to NH temperature reconstructions (Fig 3a), implying that Tanganyika LST largely followed global trends in temperature during the past 1500 years, much as it has in the past half-century.” (emphasis added) Note also that the comparison runs no more than 1300 years.

    Note that the new article is in Nature Geoscience, not Nature itself, and is in the June issue which is not yet the “current issue”, but is available in “Advance online publication” form.

  84. Hu McCulloch says:
    May 21, 2010 at 3:12 pm (Edit)
    Willis Eschenbach says:

    According to the SI, they are computing their calibration equation,
    LST = TEX86 * 38.874 – 3.4992
    with a cross section of 13 lakes around the world, and not with a time series.

    In itself, this is reasonable. They do run the regression the wrong way (by “ICE”, as if TEX86 caused temperatures, rather than by “CCE”, regressing the proxy on temperature and then inverting), but since the R2 is .92 and the t-stat on the slope is 11.0, this doesn’t make a big difference. (I’ve checked that these are indeed the ICE estimates from their 13 data points.)

    A potential problem, however, is their rejection of the regression standard error (2.1dC) as the basis of computing reconstruction standard errors. The reconstruction standard errors have to be at least this high (and in fact a little higher, because of slope uncertainty and their incorrect use of ICE, but not by much in this instance). But they don’t like this number, and so instead use a “leave-one-out” “jackknife” procedure, and somehow end up using a 95% CI of 0.40 dC, corresponding to a SE of 0.20dC, too small by a factor of 10! I think they may be misunderstanding what the jackknife procedure tells you, though I’m not certain how they used it.

    Thanks, Hu. For those not familiar with the name, Hu is a frequent poster at ClimateAudit and a person whose mathematical judgement I trust.

    I had not looked at their so-called 95% CI, because I didn’t see any way to even estimate it. If we have virtually no data about the lake surface temperature, how can we even estimate what the error of what is only an educated guess might be?

    I note that in their SOI they list the constants used with the magical formula that relates the temperature to the degree of cyclization of aquatic archaeal glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers to temperature … as they say …

    These constants vary from 0.35 to 0.88 in the various lakes, which I assume reflect the actual conditions of the lakes in which they are used. Since we don’t know the actual conditions of Lake Tanganyika, it could even be outside of those parameters.

    So I didn’t even try to guess how far wrong their guesses might be. And given all of that, your numbers, though reasonable, seem like they might be small.

    (In that regard, I loved their statement that, after they calculated the 95%CI and decided that it was too big, that

    Thus we assume a conservative 95% calibration error of 0.40˚C.

    Conservative? Conservative to me means a big 95% CI, not a small 95% CI. But I digress …)

    Finally, there is no attempt to see if their analysis (of the degree of cyclization of aquatic archaeal glycerol dialkyl glycerol) might be affected by modern changes in the lake. These would include sewage pollution, increased silt load from erosion in the surrounding areas, runoffs from farms, introduction of fish species, and the like. What do those do to the degree of cyclization of aquatic archaeal glycerol dialkyl glycerol? About all of that, the authors are silent.

    So Hu, I’d say that your excellent estimates would represent the absolute minimum 95% CIs, and that the true answer is likely larger.

  85. Hu McCulloch says:
    May 21, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Panel a compares Lake T to an AR4 HS composite, but notice that the scales are different by a factor of 4! “Our LST reconstruction is qualitatively simlar to NH temperature reconstructions (Fig 3a), implying that Tanganyika LST largely followed global trends in temperature during the past 1500 years, much as it has in the past half-century.” (emphasis added) Note also that the comparison runs no more than 1300 years.

    Whoa, nice catch. I had missed that entirely … hide the incline.

  86. Tierney draws heavily on the BSI as evidence for the link with TEX86 LSTs for a temperature related productivity. Langenburg seems to contradict Verbums finding that diatoms are an indicator for Lake Tanganyika productivity stsating picocyanobacteria may at times be the dominant form of phytoplankton. A 2009 paper in Journal of Plankton Research by Stenuite et al supports this position .
    A paper by Hecky and Kling 1987. Phytoplankton ecology of the great lakes in the rift valleys of Central Africa. Arch. Hydrobiol., Beih. Ergebn. Limnol., 25, 197–228 found that in Africa rift lakes upwelling is associated with diatom production and stratification stability with the production of cyanobacteria.
    A presentation by Hecky and Verburg http://www.espp.msu.edu/climatechange/…/Physical%20and%20Ecological%20Responses%20of%20the%20Great%20 showed the switch from cyanobacteria in the wet season to diatoms in the dry season on an annual basis.

    My question is what has Tierney shown- her BSI seems to merely reflect one of two modes of primary production. I’m not sure how BSI says anything about total productivity in this lake.

  87. Willis:

    I had not looked at their so-called 95% CI, because I didn’t see any way to even estimate it. If we have virtually no data about the lake surface temperature, how can we even estimate what the error of what is only an educated guess might be?
    ….
    These constants vary from 0.35 to 0.88 in the various lakes, which I assume reflect the actual conditions of the lakes in which they are used. Since we don’t know the actual conditions of Lake Tanganyika, it could even be outside of those parameters.

    They are using just one recent point in time for each of 13 lakes, ranging in Annual Lake Surface Temp from 11.2 or 11.6 dC (Issyk Kul and Yellowstone) up to over 28 dC (Matano, Towuti, and Turkana). The first two entries in the table are for L. Tanganyika (Kigoma Basin and Kalya Slope), so these presumably are the tops of the 2 cores they are using for their study, though I’m not sure which is which. These had TEX86 values of .761 and .752, and ALST of 26.5 and 26.1, resp. As you point out, there is a lot of variation in temperature from one end of the lake to the other, and I’m not sure how they’re taking this into account. They may have just taken these temperature readings themselves as part of the project.

    They then regress ALST on TEX86 as shown in Figure S4, for which the regression residuals have a standard error of 2.1dC, and then use this line to “forecast” temperature from past values of TEX86 at various depths down the core (not tabulated anywhere, unfortunately). Total Forecast Standard Errors from this calculation (including both the coefficient uncertainty and the observation errors) are 2.1*sqrt(1 + 1/13) = 2.2dC at the average of the calibration TEX86 values. They increase somewhat as you move away from the average, but not by much given that the slope had a t-stat of 11.0. This means the 95% CIs should extend at least 4.4dC above and below the point estimates, rendering the entire reconstruction uninformative.

    Simply stating, as they do, that the sample is small and that there are additional uncertainties is no excuse for replacing the correctly computed forecast standard error with a value that is 10 times smaller. If done correctly, the “leave-one-out” procedure will give the coefficient forecast standard error (2.1*sqrt(1/13) = 0.58dC at the mean of the TEX86 values), rather than the relevant total forecast standard error, but they have somehow come up with something even smaller than that.

  88. Re: Hu McCulloch says:
    May 22, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Thanks, Hu. I have changed the formatting of your posting to what I think you intended.

    I agree with you on all points. I don’t think that they have the data on Lake Tanganyika to plug into their equation, because the temperature changes so much from end to end of the lake, and the data are so scanty.

    I am more concerned, as are you, with their … ummm … “interesting” take on statistics. I simply don’t see how they can get from a standard error that is over 2°C to a 95% confidence interval of 0.4°C. You say that this would make their reconstruction “uninformative” … I had a rather stronger word in mind, but this is a family blog, so yours encapsulates the situation quite well. Here’s what I get using a 95% CI of 4.4 …


    Figure 5. My digitized data from their Figure 3, showing the correct 95% Confidence Intervals

    w.

  89. Willis —
    Thanks for fixing the blockquote in my post.
    Your diagram about says it all. Except that it would be nice to put the HS on the same scale as Lake T LST, so that it appears as a flat line!
    I wonder what they mean by % agreement with the NH recons?
    — Hu

  90. Willis —
    How did you obtain Tierney’s point estimates to form your CI? Did she archive them somewhere I didn’t see, or do you have a program to digitize graphs? Reply by e-mail if you like: mcculloch dot 2 at osu dot edu.

  91. Hu McCulloch says:
    May 24, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Willis –
    How did you obtain Tierney’s point estimates to form your CI? Did she archive them somewhere I didn’t see, or do you have a program to digitize graphs? Reply by e-mail if you like: mcculloch dot 2 at osu dot edu.

    Some years ago I got tired of asking “scientists” for their data and being turned down. So I started digitizing off of graphs, just using my graphics program.

    Today, of course, there are applications for that. I’m on the Mac, and I use a program called “GraphClick”, but I’m sure there are corresponding programs for the PC.

    In this case, I used the program to automatically digitize the center line of the black zone. To that, I added their ±0.4 C error interval. Those are the three blue lines on the graph. I often copy them back onto the original graph, to check that my digitizing is correct.

    To copy them back, I first make the graph in Excel, then I copy the graph and paste it into my graphics program. I use “Vectorworks” as my graphic program, and when you paste an Excel graph into VW, it comes in as a series of actual lines rather than a bitmap. This lets me size it properly to the bitmapped graphic (which I have also imported into VW).

    Finally, VW allows me to do transparent overlays, like the one you see above.

  92. Way cool!

    I’m thinking of sending a comment to Nature Geoscience. I find that when the coefficient uncertainty is taken into account, the se of the forecast at mid-data (about 24 dC) rises to 2.19 dC. With 11 DOF, the 95% t critical value is 2.20, not 2.00, so the true CI extends 4.83 dC on either side of the mean.

    Can you redo it with 4.83 dC and go in as a coauthor?

  93. Hu McCulloch says:
    May 26, 2010 at 7:14 am

    Way cool!

    I’m thinking of sending a comment to Nature Geoscience. I find that when the coefficient uncertainty is taken into account, the se of the forecast at mid-data (about 24 dC) rises to 2.19 dC. With 11 DOF, the 95% t critical value is 2.20, not 2.00, so the true CI extends 4.83 dC on either side of the mean.

    Can you redo it with 4.83 dC and go in as a coauthor?

    Sure, sounds like fun, let’s take on the forces of evil. I got my previous comment about Tanganyika published by Nature, we could see if we can keep the ball rolling. Email me at willis [at) taunovobay.com.

  94. Dear all, besides all the discussion there are some real points raised here above that might give basis for a commentary. I would certainly like to be involved in a critical, truly scientific and balanced commentary!
    pls email me at victor.langenbergATdeltares.nl

  95. 2011….Many mails and words have passed by, up to now i haven’t seen any concrete action undertaken. Action, to comment on the opportunistic manuscripts that appeared in several high impact papers of the last decade.
    If people have a genuine interest in these lakes than they surely would acknowledge largest stakeholders to be living around the great lakes region, not the occasional scientist from outside doing his own thing on his own agenda.
    Those who lived around that area know how much impact this rather unethical behaviour can have and how many years it will take to correct that. All the rest is just blowing in the wind.

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