New paper makes a hockey sticky wicket of Mann et al 98/99/08

NOTE: This has been running two weeks at the top of WUWT, discussion has slowed, so I’m placing it back in regular que.  – Anthony

UPDATES:

Statistician William Briggs weighs in here

Eduardo Zorita weighs in here

Anonymous blogger “Deep Climate” weighs in with what he/she calls a “deeply flawed study” here

After a week of being “preoccupied” Real Climate finally breaks radio silence here. It appears to be a prelude to a dismissal with a “wave of the hand”

Supplementary Info now available: All data and code used in this paper are available at the Annals of Applied Statistics supplementary materials website:

http://www.imstat.org/aoas/supplements/default.htm

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

Sticky Wicket – phrase, meaning: “A difficult situation”.

Oh, my. There is a new and important study on temperature proxy reconstructions (McShane and Wyner 2010) submitted into the Annals of Applied Statistics and is listed to be published in the next issue. According to Steve McIntyre, this is one of the “top statistical journals”. This paper is a direct and serious rebuttal to the proxy reconstructions of Mann. It seems watertight on the surface, because instead of trying to attack the proxy data quality issues, they assumed the proxy data was accurate for their purpose, then created a bayesian backcast method. Then, using the proxy data, they demonstrate it fails to reproduce the sharp 20th century uptick.

Now, there’s a new look to the familiar “hockey stick”.

Before:

Multiproxy reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere surface temperature variations over the past millennium (blue), along with 50-year average (black), a measure of the statistical uncertainty associated with the reconstruction (gray), and instrumental surface temperature data for the last 150 years (red), based on the work by Mann et al. (1999). This figure has sometimes been referred to as the hockey stick. Source: IPCC (2001).

After:

FIG 16. Backcast from Bayesian Model of Section 5. CRU Northern Hemisphere annual mean land temperature is given by the thin black line and a smoothed version is given by the thick black line. The forecast is given by the thin red line and a smoothed version is given by the thick red line. The model is fit on 1850-1998 AD and backcasts 998-1849 AD. The cyan region indicates uncertainty due to t, the green region indicates uncertainty due to β, and the gray region indicates total uncertainty.

Not only are the results stunning, but the paper is highly readable, written in a sensible style that most laymen can absorb, even if they don’t understand some of the finer points of bayesian and loess filters, or principal components. Not only that, this paper is a confirmation of McIntyre and McKitrick’s work, with a strong nod to Wegman. I highly recommend reading this and distributing this story widely.

Here’s the submitted paper:

A Statistical Analysis of Multiple Temperature Proxies: Are Reconstructions of Surface Temperatures Over the Last 1000 Years Reliable?

(PDF, 2.5 MB. Backup download available here: McShane and Wyner 2010 )

It states in its abstract:

We find that the proxies do not predict temperature significantly better than random series generated independently of temperature. Furthermore, various model specifications that perform similarly at predicting temperature produce extremely different historical backcasts. Finally, the proxies seem unable to forecast the high levels of and sharp run-up in temperature in the 1990s either in-sample or from contiguous holdout blocks, thus casting doubt on their ability to predict such phenomena if in fact they occurred several hundred years ago.

Here are some excerpts from the paper (emphasis in paragraphs mine):

This one shows that M&M hit the mark, because it is independent validation:

In other words, our model performs better when using highly autocorrelated

noise rather than proxies to ”predict” temperature. The real proxies are less predictive than our ”fake” data. While the Lasso generated reconstructions using the proxies are highly statistically significant compared to simple null models, they do not achieve statistical significance against sophisticated null models.

We are not the first to observe this effect. It was shown, in McIntyre

and McKitrick (2005a,c), that random sequences with complex local dependence

structures can predict temperatures. Their approach has been

roundly dismissed in the climate science literature:

To generate ”random” noise series, MM05c apply the full autoregressive structure of the real world proxy series. In this way, they in fact train their stochastic engine with significant (if not dominant) low frequency climate signal rather than purely non-climatic noise and its persistence. [Emphasis in original]

Ammann and Wahl (2007)

On the power of the proxy data to actually detect climate change:

This is disturbing: if a model cannot predict the occurrence of a sharp run-up in an out-of-sample block which is contiguous with the insample training set, then it seems highly unlikely that it has power to detect such levels or run-ups in the more distant past. It is even more discouraging when one recalls Figure 15: the model cannot capture the sharp run-up even in-sample. In sum, these results suggest that the ninety-three sequences that comprise the 1,000 year old proxy record simply lack power to detect a sharp increase in temperature. See Footnote 12

Footnote 12:

On the other hand, perhaps our model is unable to detect the high level of and sharp run-up in recent temperatures because anthropogenic factors have, for example, caused a regime change in the relation between temperatures and proxies. While this is certainly a consistent line of reasoning, it is also fraught with peril for, once one admits the possibility of regime changes in the instrumental period, it raises the question of whether such changes exist elsewhere over the past 1,000 years. Furthermore, it implies that up to half of the already short instrumental record is corrupted by anthropogenic factors, thus undermining paleoclimatology as a statistical enterprise.

FIG 15. In-sample Backcast from Bayesian Model of Section 5. CRU Northern Hemisphere annual mean land temperature is given by the thin black line and a smoothed version is given by the thick black line. The forecast is given by the thin red line and a smoothed version is given by the thick red line. The model is fit on 1850-1998 AD.

We plot the in-sample portion of this backcast (1850-1998 AD) in Figure 15. Not surprisingly, the model tracks CRU reasonably well because it is in-sample. However, despite the fact that the backcast is both in-sample and initialized with the high true temperatures from 1999 AD and 2000 AD, it still cannot capture either the high level of or the sharp run-up in temperatures of the 1990s. It is substantially biased low. That the model cannot capture run-up even in-sample does not portend well for its ability

to capture similar levels and run-ups if they exist out-of-sample.

Conclusion.

Research on multi-proxy temperature reconstructions of the earth’s temperature is now entering its second decade. While the literature is large, there has been very little collaboration with universitylevel, professional statisticians (Wegman et al., 2006; Wegman, 2006). Our paper is an effort to apply some modern statistical methods to these problems. While our results agree with the climate scientists findings in some

respects, our methods of estimating model uncertainty and accuracy are in sharp disagreement.

On the one hand, we conclude unequivocally that the evidence for a ”long-handled” hockey stick (where the shaft of the hockey stick extends to the year 1000 AD) is lacking in the data. The fundamental problem is that there is a limited amount of proxy data which dates back to 1000 AD; what is available is weakly predictive of global annual temperature. Our backcasting methods, which track quite closely the methods applied most recently in Mann (2008) to the same data, are unable to catch the sharp run up in temperatures recorded in the 1990s, even in-sample.

As can be seen in Figure 15, our estimate of the run up in temperature in the 1990s has

a much smaller slope than the actual temperature series. Furthermore, the lower frame of Figure 18 clearly reveals that the proxy model is not at all able to track the high gradient segment. Consequently, the long flat handle of the hockey stick is best understood to be a feature of regression and less a reflection of our knowledge of the truth. Nevertheless, the temperatures of the last few decades have been relatively warm compared to many of the thousand year temperature curves sampled from the posterior distribution of our model.

Our main contribution is our efforts to seriously grapple with the uncertainty involved in paleoclimatological reconstructions. Regression of high dimensional time series is always a complex problem with many traps. In our case, the particular challenges include (i) a short sequence of training data, (ii) more predictors than observations, (iii) a very weak signal, and (iv) response and predictor variables which are both strongly autocorrelated.

The final point is particularly troublesome: since the data is not easily modeled by a simple autoregressive process it follows that the number of truly independent observations (i.e., the effective sample size) may be just too small for accurate reconstruction.

Climate scientists have greatly underestimated the uncertainty of proxy based reconstructions and hence have been overconfident in their models. We have shown that time dependence in the temperature series is sufficiently strong to permit complex sequences of random numbers to forecast out-of-sample reasonably well fairly frequently (see, for example, Figure 9). Furthermore, even proxy based models with approximately the same amount of reconstructive skill (Figures 11,12, and 13), produce strikingly dissimilar historical backcasts: some of these look like hockey sticks but most do not (Figure 14).

Natural climate variability is not well understood and is probably quite large. It is not clear that the proxies currently used to predict temperature are even predictive of it at the scale of several decades let alone over many centuries. Nonetheless, paleoclimatoligical reconstructions constitute only one source of evidence in the AGW debate. Our work stands entirely on the shoulders of those environmental scientists who labored untold years to assemble the vast network of natural proxies. Although we assume the reliability of their data for our purposes here, there still remains a considerable number of outstanding questions that can only be answered with a free and open inquiry and a great deal of replication.

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

Commenters on WUWT report that Tamino and Romm are deleting comments even mentioning this paper on their blog comment forum. Their refusal to even acknowledge it tells you it has squarely hit the target, and the fat lady has sung – loudly.

(h/t to WUWT reader “thechuckr”)

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SamG
August 14, 2010 5:56 pm

What’s a truck?
REPLY: A Lorry. But don’t make me figure out what you are referring to. Just say it. – Anthony

Enneagram
August 14, 2010 5:56 pm

Mannipulated statistics?

August 14, 2010 6:07 pm

Natural climate variability is not well understood and is probably quite large.
We have been saying this here for the past few years. It’s good having the planet’s large natural variability statistically confirmed in a peer reviewed paper. The larger the natural variability, the less wiggle room for the putative effects of a rise in a tiny trace gas.

Methow Ken
August 14, 2010 6:12 pm

Downloaded the paper; saved local.
Definitely a devastating ”curtain call” for Mann, et. al.
Three cheers for the Fat Lady. . . .

August 14, 2010 6:17 pm

I bet you can’t read the DEL on a couple of computer keyboard keys about now.

August 14, 2010 6:20 pm

“As can be seen in Figure 15, our estimate of the run up in temperature in the 1990s has a much smaller slope than the actual temperature series.”
This does not sound like a recommendation.
“The fundamental problem is that there is a limited amount of proxy data which dates back to 1000 AD; what is available is weakly predictive of global annual temperature. “
But they give a backcast anyway?
REPLY: Oh puhlezze, but Mann writes a paper anyway? Amman and Wahl go through all their gyrations to avoid McIntyre to write a supporting paper? yeah sure. Nick you are deluding yourself. Proxies are not temperature data, and trees are not accurate thermometers.
You failed to make any headway over at CA with your line of reasoning, I don’t think you’ll get any traction here either. – Anthony

trbixler
August 14, 2010 6:33 pm

Anthony as always thanks for the update, one hopes that truth will finally be heard. With our current MSM and government I worry that it will be kept here and in the obscurity of statistical academia.

J.Hansford
August 14, 2010 6:36 pm

So…. Th’ science isn’t settled…… Who woulda thunk it!
The hard bit though, is getting the mainstream media to tell people about it….. They’re more interested in headlines like, “CO2 stole my Baby”, and other fanciful notions of greenhouse gases, than in reporting factual accounts of good science and statistics.
…. But maybe there’s a change in the wind.

Jason
August 14, 2010 6:41 pm

The title of this post should refer to Mann ’08 because that is where they drew their data from. The reference to Mann ’99 is just a passing reference used to place their work in historical context.
REPLY: yes but really it refers to all of them, as it has been an ongoing paper chase. – Anthony

Aldi
August 14, 2010 6:43 pm

“Our backcasting methods, which track quite closely the methods applied most recently in Mann (2008) to the same data, are unable to catch the sharp run up in temperatures recorded in the 1990s, even in-sample.”
Hide the decline? The recorded data has been *massaged*, most climate scientists are riding the gravy train(engaged in fraud).

Jason
August 14, 2010 6:48 pm

Nick said:
“But they give a backcast anyway?”
They give a backcast which shows that the temperature a thousand years ago could have been much warmer or much cooler than the present day. This is perfectly consistent with their deep reservations about the predictive ability of the proxy data.
Its worth noting that their Bayesian reconstruction calculates an 80% probability that the most recent decade is the warmest in the past 1000 years. That is not exactly a complete repudiation of the hockey stick. Then again, they didn’t even try to address the data quality issues in Mann ’08. Thir reconstruction includes the tree rings and Tiljander.
I would be interested to see what happens when that data is removed.

Matt Hardy
August 14, 2010 6:55 pm

“Furthermore, it implies that up to half of the already short instrumental record is corrupted by anthropogenic factors, thus undermining paleoclimatology as a statistical enterprise.”
OUCH!

August 14, 2010 7:03 pm

Best line of the excerpts, it bears repeating.
Climate scientists have greatly underestimated the uncertainty of proxy based reconstructions and hence have been overconfident in their models.
i.e. they’ve done it wrong, and then oversold it.
Bravo.

Ed Caryl
August 14, 2010 7:11 pm

Tell Ken Cuccinelli.

John Blake
August 14, 2010 7:13 pm

Guest post to WUWT on April 26, 2010 by Girma Orozngo, B.Tech, MASc, PhD, provides an equation bearing on the latter-day period from 1880 – 2010 projected to AD 2100, showing “excellent agreement” with GMTAs’ [Global Mean Temperature Anomalies] observed vs. modeled turning points, to wit:
GMTA = .0059 x (Year – 1880) – .52 + 2pi x Cos((Year – 1880)/60)
Prof. Orozngo’s chart (termed Figure 3) realistically depicts late-19th Century temperatures rebounding from Earth’s Little Ice Age (LIA) through AD 2100, exhibiting cyclical highs/lows above and below a long-term linear regression-line. As real-world evidence refuting Mann et al. continues to accumulate, it would be useful to track Prof. Orozngo’s extrapolation in light of a looming Dalton if not Maunder Minimum presaging an overdue reversion to Pleistocene Ice Time.

Mike Roddy
August 14, 2010 7:13 pm

Here’s the definitive article on questions about the Mann Hockey Stick:
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/09/hey-ya-mal/
The authors of the 20- odd studies that confirmed Mann’s data are not really interested in what professional statisticians and mathematicians are saying about it. The people who understand and develop the data are the reliable sources, including actual climate scientists who produce their own outlier charts of the upward march of temperatures (are there any?)
Besides… Species are migrating north. Glaciers and Arctic ice are melting at unheard of rates. The ocean is becoming more acidic, and has experienced a 40% decline in fish biomass since 1950 due to CO2’s effect on phytoplankton.
Similarly, climate scientists are getting bored with arguments from untrained individuals that the “trace gas” CO2 does not play the major role in the recent and rapid temperature increases. This role was proven in a laboratory in the 19th century by Arrhenius, and has not been seriously disputed since.
Best wishes.

August 14, 2010 7:16 pm

Yo, Nick Stokes,
That whole issue can be settled in very short order by Mann and his clique opening the books on their data and methodologies.
Only pseudo-scientific charlatans would refuse to disclose tree ring data and methods…
…right?

Evan Jones
Editor
August 14, 2010 7:18 pm

We hold these truths to be self evident that all data shall be weighted equally and endowed by their compiler with verifiable links, among them, raw data, algorithms, and methodologies . . .

August 14, 2010 7:20 pm

Mike Roddy,
At first I honestly thought you were doing a silly parody of the RealClimate charlatans.
Then I realized you were serious.
Condolences. You’ve been immersed in the realclimate echo chamber way too long.

Evan Jones
Editor
August 14, 2010 7:23 pm

The people who understand and develop the data are the reliable sources, including actual climate scientists who produce their own outlier charts of the upward march of temperatures (are there any?)
Oh, the usual collection of liars, damnliars, and outliers.
This role was proven in a laboratory in the 19th century by Arrhenius, and has not been seriously disputed since.
Well, not until Arrhenius, 1906, anyway . . .
But, seriously, Mike. Stick around. Impart knowledge. Learn. In the genuine liberal tradition.
At any rate, most of us here believe the planet has somewhat warmed, CO2 is a GHC and has increased temperatures. The crux of the argument is all about rates and feedbacks — and, heh-heh, “adjustments”.
And so long as you keep it civil, your posts will not be deleted, which is more than you can say for realclimate. It’s a contentious issue, but you’ll find WUWT’s little (that is to say “huge”) readership to be more openminded than most.

Michael
August 14, 2010 7:26 pm

OT
This WUWT blog should create it’s own Hurricane prediction poll on the side line. I bet we could predict hurricane activity much closer than NOAA’s current prediction accuracy.
This blog’s Hurricane prediction forecast poll may be the one in the future that financial institutions rely on to make actuarial plans, set premiums, and is used to make preparedness plans.
I predicted zero hurricanes last year, this year and was 100% accurate.
I’m not saying I am 100% accurate, but with the contribution of the WUWT community, I bet we will increase prediction accuracy by 1000%
This also goes for predicting the severity of the coming winters so that the states can more accurately prepare for the amount of money they will need to spend on salt and snow removal.
It’s obvious our experts are failing us.

MichaelO
August 14, 2010 7:32 pm

Journalists will not attempt to understand, let alone explain, these findings. There should be someone (perhaps Mr Watts himself) who can issue concise, accurate summaries of this and other papers cited on this site in a form that will be understood by the general populace and perhaps even by journalists. It has to be in a form that will allow an eye-catching headline and a television news story. Accuracy would be of the utmost importance, so that news outlets can trust the summaries. There is, of course, no guarantee that the news media will take advantage of such a service, but we can hope and pray.

August 14, 2010 7:32 pm

The authors of the 20- odd studies that confirmed Mann’s data are not really interested in what professional statisticians and mathematicians are saying about it.
Yet they rely in stats and math to deduce the state of climate….. do you realize just what you’re saying?

August 14, 2010 7:37 pm

I read this paper earlier this evening. It’s spectacularly devastating to the Mann hockey stick series of papers, not least because it’s very much up-to-the-minute, and it coincidentally amounts to being a resounding affirmation of M&M’s work. And more besides, in fact. It’s also wonderfully easy to read (which makes a nice change) and I therefore commend it to the house.
Everyone should read it, because it is effectively the last chapter in the field of paleo reconstruction and the final nail in the coffin of Mann’s hockey stick.
Mike Roddy says:

The authors of the 20- odd studies that confirmed Mann’s data are not really interested in what professional statisticians and mathematicians are saying about it. The people who understand and develop the data are the reliable sources, including actual climate scientists who produce their own outlier charts of the upward march of temperatures

. . . . . . . BWHAHAHAHAHA!!!

OK S.
August 14, 2010 7:38 pm

Now that took time to read. I found footnote 12 on page 39 particularly telling:

On the other hand, perhaps our model is unable to detect the high level of and sharp run-up in recent temperatures because anthropogenic factors have, for example, caused a regime change in the relation between temperatures and proxies. While this is certainly a consistent line of reasoning, it is also fraught with peril for, once one admits the possibility of regime changes in the instrumental period, it raises the question of whether such changes exist elsewhere over the past 1,000 years. Furthermore, it implies that up to half of the already short instrumental record is corrupted by anthropogenic factors, thus undermining paleoclimatology as a statistical enterprise.

Also, it’s nice to see other statisticians are stepping up to take a look.
OK S.

Jeff L
August 14, 2010 7:40 pm

You know, this is really no surprise. Despite the fact that I felt McIntyre & McKittrick had already de-bunked the hockey stick to my satisfaction, it is still good to see this in print.
After reading the paper, key points that stick in my mind:
• Climatology is inherently a statistical endeavour
• Although climatologist may understand atmospheric physics, they don’t necessarily understand statistics & have grossly under-collaborated with statisticians in their work, which is a fundamental flaw
• Although not directly stated, it is implied that the models that climatologists hang their AGW models on are inherently flawed because they lack the proper statistical framework. It certainly explains the continued divergence between “the models” & reality.
• “response and predictor variables which are both strongly autocorrelated.” For those not versed in signal analysis, the stronger the autocorrelation function (peak at t=0), the more random the signal is. The predictor variables are the proxies – this is saying that the proxies are not much different than random noise. The response is the time signal – this is saying that temperature is close to a random response relative to the proxies. … which of course is entirely consistent with McIntyre & McKittrick , where they used a random number generator to replicate the Mann curve.
• “Commenters on WUWT report that Tamino and Romm are deleting comments even mentioning this paper on their blog comment forum. ” Tamino & Romm, as they say, “Sucks to to be you”
• Unfortunately, as damning as this is, just as
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/13/is-jim-hansens-global-temperature-skillful/#more-23402
was damning, this is a clearly a matter of faith for the believers. Don’t expect AGW to go quietly into the night. All that can be done is continue to circulate studies like McShane and Wyner 2010 & try to educate as many people as possible to buy time. With time (I am guessing by 2020, given a cold PDO & AMO going into it’s cool phase by then) it will be come clear to all that catastrophic AGW was a bogus theory & it will die. …. of course, I am sure the leftist scaremongers will have a new boogieman by then to try to scare the populus into submitting to the government.

Pofarmer
August 14, 2010 7:43 pm

“The authors of the 20- odd studies that confirmed Mann’s data are not really interested in what professional statisticians and mathematicians are saying about it.”
Then they are pretty much doomed to continue repeating the same mistakes.

August 14, 2010 7:43 pm

M. Roddy, I’m afraid you brought a knife to a Howitzer duel.

James Sexton
August 14, 2010 7:44 pm

Sigh, only half-way through it. Admittedly, some of the stat techniques are a bit tricky for me, (I’ll work through them.) but the paper in itself is very clear.
This paper doesn’t simply break a hockey stick, it breaks an entire sub-specialty of climatology, specifically paleoclimatology. They will either have to reprint all text books or throw the psuedo-science out the window to the trash heap to lay alongside phrenology, numerology, and astrology. Oh, the humanity!!!!

Ed Caryl
August 14, 2010 7:47 pm

Mike, explain the Antarctic.

PhilJourdan
August 14, 2010 7:47 pm

WOW! Silver bullet to the beast!

duckster
August 14, 2010 7:48 pm

Looking at the paper above…
No medieval warming period, I see. And no temperature decline post-1998?? I thought you were arguing that the world was getting cooler, and arctic ice was recovering? [Cough, cough].
I guess we can put those ones to rest then, can’t we? After the way you’ve embraced this paper!
The way it looks from here is that you guys will pretty much accept ANYTHING that throws doubt on CAGW, without worrying whether it is logically consistent with all the other things you have accepted/argued before. This does not translate into a coherent science-based system of knowledge building.
You need a theory to explain what is happening now. It needs to be falsifiable. And you have to either accept that new scientific papers fit your theory, or explain why they don’t. You would also need to follow up on Mann et al.’s commentary on this paper. Otherwise it’s just another fishing expedition.

Henry chance
August 14, 2010 7:55 pm

Looks like the tree ring circus clowns have had their final act.

Andrew30
August 14, 2010 8:00 pm

John Blake says: August 14, 2010 at 7:13 pm
GMTA = .0059 x (Year – 1880) – .52 + 2pi x Cos((Year – 1880)/60)
John, you missed the climatology bit.
valadj=[0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,-0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor
yearlyadj=interpol(valadj, yrloc, x)
GMTA = GMTA +yearlyadj
Now plot GMTA, it has become a hockey stick through the science of climatology.
See also: FOI2009/FOIA/documents/harris-tree/briffa_sep98_e.pro

Andrew30
August 14, 2010 8:01 pm

Mike Roddy says:
August 14, 2010 at 7:13 pm
Here’s the definitive article on questions about the Mann Hockey Stick:
http://www.thespoof.com/news/spoof.cfm?headline=s5i64103

Mike
August 14, 2010 8:04 pm

“…our model offers support
to the conclusion that the 1990s were the warmest decade of the last millennium,…”
It is an interesting paper and may influence how proxy reconstructions are done in the future. Mann’s papers already had large error bars – maybe the should be larger; it will be interesting to see how he responds. It does not change the fact that CO2 warms the earth and we need to be thinking about what to do about our CO2 emissions.

Jean Parisot
August 14, 2010 8:06 pm

The authors of the 20- odd studies that confirmed Mann’s data are not really interested in what professional statisticians and mathematicians are saying about it. Not exactly how to win friends and influence people – what I think your going to find that politicians to whom AGW must be sold are absolutely feral statisticians regardless of their professional or academic backgrounds. If the confidence in the science cannot match the pain of solution, then it falls off of the public agenda.

RockyRoad
August 14, 2010 8:08 pm

duckster says:
August 14, 2010 at 7:48 pm
(…)
The way it looks from here is that you guys will pretty much accept ANYTHING that throws doubt on CAGW, without worrying whether it is logically consistent with all the other things you have accepted/argued before. This does not translate into a coherent science-based system of knowledge building.
———Reply:
I clicked on a link provided in one of the comments of a recent story here on WUWT and it directed me to an interview w/ Phil Jones, who acknowledged that in that past 150 or so years there had been 4 warming periods, all of about equal magnitude. It was only the last one, which we are currently enjoying, that he attributed to increases in CO2. But the big question is: Why not the other three? Did he have irrefutable proof that those were not caused by CO2? Did he have any idea what else might have caused those warming periods without benefit of anthropogenic CO2? Good questions all, but the main point is that Phil Jones has, without any verifiable reason, pinned this current warming trend on CO2.
Now, that isn’t just ANYTHING–it is Phil Jones making a mockery of science; Phil Jones is the incoherent one. HE is the one doing a great job of NOT doubting CAGW against all logic. But applying logic to Phil Jones’ statements leaves me laughing at Phil Jones. I say, man, can Phil Jones be that absolutley daft?

Bernie
August 14, 2010 8:09 pm

We should not get ahead of ourselves. I think this is a very interesting and well constructed paper. The authors certainly believe that current multi-proxy studies are seriously flawed. The assumption about the quality of the proxy data and their inclusion of Tiljander oriented presumably as Mann left it oriented are areas for further exploration. However, I do not understand enough of the statistics to start jumping up and down
That said footnote 12 is a doozie and will take some explaining.
More generally, I will be interested in how Ammann responds since he has co-authored papers with Li (2007, 2010) where more sophisticated approaches than those of Mann were used.
Mike Roddy does not know what he is talking about and I doubt that he has actually comprehended anything more than the abstract and conclusion. I will wait until Ammann, Tamino and statistically knowledgeable folks respond.
Note:
Prof Wyner dropped by CA and said a few nice things.

James Sexton
August 14, 2010 8:10 pm

While breaking from the reading, mainly because Adobe isn’t responding at the moment,
“MBH…a cardinal rule of statistical inference is that the method of
analysis must be decided before looking at the data. The rules and strategy of
analysis cannot be changed in order to obtain the desired result. Such a strategy
carries no statistical integrity and cannot be used as a basis for drawing sound
inferential conclusions.”
—heh, I always suspected as much.
“The degree of controversy associated with this endeavor can perhaps
be better understood by recalling Wegman’s assertion that there are very
few mainstream statisticians working on climate reconstructions (Wegman
et al., 2006). This is particularly surprising not only because the task is
highly statistical but also because it is extremely difficult.”
——Didn’t we hear those thoughts echoed by one of the climate gate white wash committees? How many times do they have to be told this is statistical work!?! Junior, leave it to the professionals!

August 14, 2010 8:12 pm

duckster says:
“Looking at the paper above… No medieval warming period, I see. ”
Duckster, are you friggin’ blind??

ZT
August 14, 2010 8:16 pm

The paper has some witty one liners too, such as:
“We assume that the data selection, collection, and processing performed by climate scientists meets the standards of their discipline.”

RockyRoad
August 14, 2010 8:17 pm

It amazes me that “climate scientists” have invented their own little band/kind/brew of math/statistics to handle their own data. I understand there are several tested and true statistics programs that would save them the pain of having to invent their own, but no, they stick their noses in the air and defy disciplines that are magnitudes older than their brief science. And to what end? To look like fools, apparently. The science isn’t settled, but really, the mathematics and the statistics doesn’t need to be re-invented–it just needs to be applied properly.

duckster
August 14, 2010 8:18 pm

@Smokey
Duckster, are you friggin’ blind??
So where exactly would you place a medieval warming period here? Asking me to accept a medieval warming period (which is what I have been asked to do here) means showing how and where it got warmer, and then how and when it got cooler. A steady downward temperature trend is not a warming period.

Frederick Michael
August 14, 2010 8:18 pm

Mike Roddy,
Have you thought about what a 40% reduction in the ocean fish biomass would mean to, say, Japan? Do you really think this could be happening without it being big news?
Sometimes a little checking is worthwhile.

James Sexton
August 14, 2010 8:24 pm

duckster says:
August 14, 2010 at 7:48 pm
“Looking at the paper above…
No medieval warming period, I see. And no temperature decline post-1998?? I thought you were arguing that the world was getting cooler, and arctic ice was recovering? [Cough, cough].
I guess we can put those ones to rest then, can’t we? After the way you’ve embraced this paper!”
Sis, have you actually read the paper? Are you not understanding what they are asserting? Read the little notation underneath figure 16. I’d cut and paste from the paper, but my Adobe is going belly up for some reason. Still, the paper clearly states that they are not addressing the validity of the data. (That’s probably in the next paper if it is necessary.)
What they are stating is, even if the data are correct, Mann et al. did it wrong(along with a long list of other statistician wannbees), and further, proxies have no predictive properties. Now, work backwards from that. If you require further explanations, just ask, I’d be happy to provide them to you.

Stephen Pruett
August 14, 2010 8:28 pm

This is quite important, because it comes not from “deniers”, but from objective scientists with no particular axe to grind, but who also have apparently not been influenced by climate science groupthink. It is interesting that even in the various recent “exoneration” reports and older reports as well, a recurring criticism of climate science has been the minimal collaboration with statisticians and resulting less than ideal statistical analyses. If this paper is correct, “less than ideal” may actually be “essentially useless”.

Robinson
August 14, 2010 8:29 pm

Well, all I can say is it’s about time. I mean SM and others have been poking and prodding around the statistics for many years now. It’s shocking in a way that a paper like this has been published in a statistics journal after so much time has passed and so much water has flowed under the bridge. I would have thought attempted replication would have been performed sooner.
Still, better late than never. I don’t expect this will get much traction in the mainstream, but with blogs like this, who cares?

Aaron Wells
August 14, 2010 8:31 pm

Duckster: “No medieval warming period, I see.”
Are you looking at a different graph than the one above? Looks pretty warm at the beginning of the graph.

Mike Jowsey
August 14, 2010 8:32 pm

duckster says:
August 14, 2010 at 7:48 pm
Looking at the paper above…
The main point of this paper is to debunk the maths Mann used. You can get similar hockey sticks by using random numbers. Speak to that subject please.
By shifting focus to whether or not the graph shows a MWP is a strawman and is completely irrelevant to the point of the paper. Besides, the graph (fig.16) uses the same proxy data Mann used, with correct maths. Mann’s proxy data (and maths) explicitly set out to remove the MWP so it is no surprise that his biased proxy selections camouflage the MWP. Nevertheless, fig.16 does show temperatures 1000 years ago were on a par with today’s (according to Mann’s proxies).

Mike G
August 14, 2010 8:32 pm

@duckster
CAGW has been falsified to my satisfaction.

August 14, 2010 8:33 pm

Rocky Road,
Here is the Phil Jones chart. It shows recurring natural cycles. Only a scientific charlatan would point to the last ramp and say, “Look! AGW!”
Duckster says:
“Asking me to accept a medieval warming period (which is what I have been asked to do here) means showing how and where it got warmer, and then how and when it got cooler. A steady downward temperature trend is not a warming period.”
No one knows exactly how the planet gets warmer and colder. There are hypotheses, and conjectures like the CO2=AGW assumption. But it is not necessary to know the mechanics in detail to observe the MWP. Science doesn’t work like that.
Here are eighteen proxies showing the MWP. The warming peak around 1000 A.D. is the same as the McShane and Wyner paper shows, and the same as the GISP2 ice cores show. The ice cores are empirical observations that trump all MWP speculation.
You really need to get up to speed. I recommend doing a search of the WUWT archives for “MWP.” There is plenty there for you to learn.

Mike G
August 14, 2010 8:35 pm

@duckster
Open your eyes. Half the graph is hotter than today. Not that it means anything because they took mann’s garbage at face value, for the sake of the exercise. But, garbage they found it to be.

Robinson
August 14, 2010 8:36 pm

So where exactly would you place a medieval warming period here? Asking me to accept a medieval warming period (which is what I have been asked to do here) means showing how and where it got warmer, and then how and when it got cooler. A steady downward temperature trend is not a warming period.

I interpret the paper as saying given the data we have, what’s the best we can make of it?, rather than the proxies are all strong indicators of the temperature record, let’s process them correctly. I’m not sure but I think you may be missing this subtle but important distinction as you scan their graph for a MWP.

Mike G
August 14, 2010 8:38 pm

Mike Jowsey says:
August 14, 2010 at 8:32 pm
duckster says:
August 14, 2010 at 7:48 pm
Looking at the paper above…
The main point of this paper is to debunk the maths Mann used. You can get similar hockey sticks by using random numbers. Speak to that subject please.
By shifting focus to whether or not the graph shows a MWP is a strawman and is completely irrelevant to the point of the paper. Besides, the graph (fig.16) uses the same proxy data Mann used, with correct maths. Mann’s proxy data (and maths) explicitly set out to remove the MWP so it is no surprise that his biased proxy selections camouflage the MWP. Nevertheless, fig.16 does show temperatures 1000 years ago were on a par with today’s (according to Mann’s proxies).
————
Is it possible to get what mann got, instead of this, if you’re trying to do it right? I don’t think so.

Zeke the Sneak
August 14, 2010 8:40 pm

“Similarly, climate scientists are getting bored with arguments from…individuals that the “trace gas” CO2 does not play the major role in the recent and rapid temperature increases. “
Is that right? Is that so.
They no longer amuse us, either.

Dave F
August 14, 2010 8:41 pm

ZT @August 14, 2010 at 8:16 pm says:
The paper has some witty one liners too, such as:
“We assume that the data selection, collection, and processing performed by climate scientists meets the standards of their discipline.”

I caught that, too, but I took it as an attempt to stay away from that issue, with the problems that have been raised here and other places, but at the same time note that there may be issues there that are not addressed in the paper.

Michael Jankowski
August 14, 2010 8:42 pm

—Nick Stokes said: “The fundamental problem is that there is a limited amount of proxy data which dates back to 1000 AD; what is available is weakly predictive of global annual temperature. “
But they give a backcast anyway?—
You clearly missed one of the major points of the paper. I’m guessing you probably missed all of its points.
In any case, Mann “gave a backcast anyway,” too…as did the other temperature reconstructions going back to 1000 AD. Why don’t/didn’t you have a problem with those?

RockyRoad
August 14, 2010 8:44 pm

Duckster, the LIA was between 1560 and 1850 (note in the graph that the temperature line is lowest for this interval) while the MWP was before that. We’re only now back up to what is considered the MWP (AD 800 to 1300); note that the graph only goes back to about AD 950, so you don’t see the beginning up-tick in temperatures leading to the MWP.
But the critical aspect here is the vast difference between the shape of the temperature curve from this mathematical analysis and the shape of Mann’s Hokey Stick (my personal vernacular). James Sexton above makes the point clearly—Mann SCREWED UP! So when correct mathematics is applied to Mann’s data, the LIA and MWP are clearly seen and there is no horrific, unprecedented upswing in the temperature graph at the end. Mann’s pseudo-statistics is blatently obvious.

geo
August 14, 2010 8:46 pm

I’m tempted to head for the basement, take out my trumpet (unplayed for many years), turn it upside down, and play Taps on it –except that Taps is meant to be a sign of respect (back in the day, I played it at many veterans funerals), and so it would not be appropriate here.

Michael Jankowski
August 14, 2010 8:47 pm

Robinson,
While the paper does include a discusson of “MBH98” and the original “hockey stick” controversy, it does also cover Mann et all 2008 – which is quite recent and relevant – along with any number of other proxy reconstructions.

Michael Jankowski
August 14, 2010 8:47 pm

I wonder how many emails went back-and-forth between team members today?

Evan Jones
Editor
August 14, 2010 8:48 pm

Mike:
It does not change the fact that CO2 warms the earth and we need to be thinking about what to do about our CO2 emissions.
I think we need to fine down the forcing and make a determination as to feedbacks. then we will know what actions we have to or do not have to take.
I don’t see how it adds up. Even if the adjusted temperatures are correct (which I doubt), and all the warming is from CO2 increase (also unlikely), the 0.7 degree 20th Century warming form a 40% increase of CO2 does not compute.
Doubling of CO2 is supposed to hike temps by 1.2C and positive feedbacks are supposed to almost triple that. So temperature increase should be around +2.0C, not +0.7C
If it demonstrably does not add up over the past century, why would it add up over the next century?

chris y
August 14, 2010 8:50 pm

Mike Roddy-
You mean untrained individuals like Andy Revkin- “So climate super-extremes are inevitable, the number of people is doubling, and greenhouse-driven change, given the uncertainties, is — at best — a tertiary wild card.”
Meanwhile, Prof. Richard Alley sounds like an undergraduate polysci major when he makes asinine comments like this to congress- “What is going on in the Arctic now is the biggest and fastest thing that nature has ever done.”
Everyone now recognizes your CAGW fingerprint list for what it is- Gaian phrenology masquerading as science.

duckster
August 14, 2010 8:55 pm

@Jowser By shifting focus to whether or not the graph shows a MWP is a strawman and is completely irrelevant to the point of the paper.
No. I am saying that by accepting this paper you need to either show why it doesn’t show a MWP or you need to discard one of your major arguments. You can’t just choose any paper that casts doubt on CAGW because it casts doubt on global warming. You need to show that it is consistent with the other arguments you have made that cast doubt on CAGW.
Now a quick look back through the archives here shows a graph of when the MWP occurred. This doesn’t look anything like the graph above:
MWP compared to Mann
If you are going to accept the article above, then the graph I have linked to is wrong. Isn’t it? Be consistent!!

Beth Cooper
August 14, 2010 8:55 pm

McShane and Wynes’s published rebutal of Mann’s Hockey Stick in the Annals of Applied Statistics is welcome support for Steve McIntyre’s findings. They have taken what is called in military map making, a ‘cross bearing’ of the terrain.

John Blake
August 14, 2010 8:57 pm

Andrew30,
True, alas too true… but Prof. Orozngo’s 1880 – 2100 chart (termed Figure 3) as depicted by WUWT last April has a curiously aesthetic look of finality about it. Speaking of the estimable Mike Roddy, as Charlie Brown said: “How can we lose when we’re so sincere?” (To have suffered a thunderbolt from AW himself is a great coup.)

James Sexton
August 14, 2010 8:58 pm

“Furthermore, it is hard to argue that a procedure is truly skillful if it cannot consistently outperform noise–no matter how artfully structured.”—another heh.
For duckster, We plot these backcasts in Figure 14 in grey and show the CRU average in black. As can be seen, while these models all perform similarly in terms of cross-validation, they have wildly different implications about climate history. and
According to some of them (e.g., the ten proxy principal component model given in green or the two stage model featuring one local temperature principal component and ten proxy principal components featured in blue), the recent run-up in temperatures is not that abnormal, and similarly high temperatures would have been seen over the last millennium. Interestingly, the blue backcast seems to feature both a Medieval Warm Period and a Little Ice Age whereas the green one shows only increasing temperatures
going back in time.
——-back to reading.

GrantB
August 14, 2010 8:58 pm

In Conclusions p 41 – “Consequently, the long flat handle
of the hockey stick is best understood to be a feature of regression and less a reflection of our knowledge of the truth”

August 14, 2010 9:04 pm

Michael Jankowski says: August 14, 2010 at 8:42 pm
Actually there’s quite a lot in this paper I agree with, including the suggestion that uncertainty levels may be higher than often thought. I suspect, though, that people here will get more excited over the shape of the reconstruction than over the observation of its uncertainty.
I particularly liked this observation:
This effort to reconstruct our planet’s climate history has become linked to the topic of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). On the one hand, this is peculiar since paleoclimatological reconstructions can provide evidence only for the detection of AGW and even then they constitute only one such source of evidence. The principal sources of evidence for the detection of global warming and in particular the attribution of it to anthropogenic factors come from basic science as well as General Circulation Models (GCMs) that have been fit to data accumulated during the instrumental period (IPCC, 2007). These models show that carbon dioxide, when released into the atmosphere in sufficient concentration, can force temperature increases.

August 14, 2010 9:05 pm

Duckster, you don’t seem to get the fact that this new paper is not using all available evidence. It is using ONLY what Michael Mann cherry-picked [read The Hockey Stick Illusion by A.W. Montford to clearly see Mann’s cherry-picking shenanigans].
Do you see? It’s statistics, using only Mann’s selected data. Is this starting to sink in?

Lew Skannen
August 14, 2010 9:08 pm

Nice article.
“instead of trying to attack the proxy data quality issues, they assumed the proxy data was accurate for their purpose, then created a bayesian backcast method”
What I especially like about this particular article is that it now moves the battlefield to where we want it. Rather than squabble over how thick the ice is this year or how hot last April was in South Tuvalu we need to get to the heart of the matter and ask – How accurate are the models?
It is quite clear that any half believable model will have to include thresholds, tipping points, runaway processes etc. ie they will be highly non-linear and most likely chaotic.
I want to see more work in this area – exposing the models for the hamfisted guesses that they are.

Dave F
August 14, 2010 9:10 pm

…and hence have been overconfident in their models…
Are not these models the basis of much of the work done in attributing climate change? Boy, if they go down, the flag is soon to follow…

duckster
August 14, 2010 9:20 pm

@Smokey
Duckster, you don’t seem to get the fact that this new paper is not using all available evidence
So is this how you get around the fact that McShane and Wyner is showing almost 2 degrees of warming since 1850? This is way beyond what Mann et al show – and would be truly unprecedented, wouldn’t it?
Do you see? It’s statistics, using only Mann’s selected data.
OK. So your job now would be to show consistency by fitting it into the available evidence so that it doesn’t contradict the other points you have made against CAGW. There is no point at all in destroying Mann if you have to throw out half of the all the other things that have been said on this blog in order to do so.
REPLY: Sorry “duckster” but you are wrong, there is not “almost 2 degrees since 1850” – about 0.7C maybe 1C if I were to be generous. Have a look at the intersecting blue lines to the red mean line for 1850 and the most recent data point:
Annotated by Anthony - Fig 16
Also, Figure 15 from the paper shows essentially the same:
Figure 15
You really can’t argue on the basis of noise, or annual values. The mean line is the message. – Anthony

August 14, 2010 9:21 pm

Mike Roddy says:
August 14, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Here’s the definitive article on questions about the Mann Hockey Stick:
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/09/hey-ya-mal/

But no actual discussion is allowed….

The authors of the 20- odd studies that confirmed Mann’s data are not really interested in what professional statisticians and mathematicians are saying about it. The people who understand and develop the data are the reliable sources, including actual climate scientists who produce their own outlier charts of the upward march of temperatures (are there any?)

Head In Sand much?
“The people who understand and develop the data are the reliable sources” but very poor statisticians, as has been demonstrated widely now. They somehow refuse to see this, however.

Besides… Species are migrating north. Glaciers and Arctic ice are melting at unheard of rates. The ocean is becoming more acidic, and has experienced a 40% decline in fish biomass since 1950 due to CO2′s effect on phytoplankton.

Species move all the time. There is no proof whatsoever that any migration is due to any warming (real or not) as opposed to natural variation and other changes we make to the environment that have nothing to do with CO2.

Similarly, climate scientists are getting bored with arguments from untrained individuals that the “trace gas” CO2 does not play the major role in the recent and rapid temperature increases. This role was proven in a laboratory in the 19th century by Arrhenius, and has not been seriously disputed since.

And we are getting bored with untrained statisticians wilfully ignoring fatal statistical flaws in their work so that they can continue a political agenda.
Arrhenius proved that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. He also disputed his own findings in the 20th century and found its influence to me much lower that he first thought (in the 19th century), but most alarmists fail to mention that minor point. That proof, however, does not demonstrate any catastrophic effect on climate. He thought it would be good in fact! The required forcing and positive feedbacks that warmists need to create scary scenarios are nowhere near observed or proven, so Arrhenius was probably right – it is a GOOD THING!

GrantB
August 14, 2010 9:32 pm

Nick Stokes @ 9:04pm
Oh dear Nick, a quotation from page 2 of the introduction putting the background in context and quoting from the IPCC. Is that the best you can do? There are another 43 pages after that or did you stop there?
Mind you, Blakeley McShane is from the Kellogg School of Management and is obviously funded by big corn.

Jimmy Haigh
August 14, 2010 9:34 pm

It’s nice to see a publication in one of the “top statistical journals” even after all these years which agrees with what the vast majority of us here have known for so long: that the hockey team’s work is pure mince.
(“Mince”: A Scottish term which roughly translates as “garbage”.)

Jimmy Haigh
August 14, 2010 9:35 pm

I can just picture Gavin Schmidt’s grandfather writing on his blog in the early 20th century: “Arrhenius disappoints”.

cohenite
August 14, 2010 9:38 pm

Oh Nick, let it go; CO2, in sufficient quantities “can force temperature increases”. We know that:
http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/co2_temperature_curve_saturation.png
The late S. Schneider knew that:
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/173/3992/138
It’s just that those forcings diminish to statistical errors, as does the temperature response.
The point about this [final] nail in the HS is that it shows whatever is happening today is not exceptional; that was the point about Mann’s HS and the basis of AGW; it was wrong. Find another cause; how about asteroid collisions? That’s a real issue.

AlanG
August 14, 2010 9:45 pm

To misquote Julius Henry (Groucho) Marx, amateurs should stick to brain surgery. Lightweight Math Mann was clearly out of his depth.
Looking at Fig. 16 above, it reinforces my belief that the descent into the next ice age started about 3500 years ago at the end of the Minoan warming. The GISP2 ice core shows a long term downslope during the last ice age of about 0.14C per 1000 years. The initial descent from the peak of the last interglacial was about 0.4C per 1000 years. Fig. 16 is steeper than that.

Editor
August 14, 2010 9:46 pm

Michael says:
August 14, 2010 at 7:26 pm

This WUWT blog should create it’s own Hurricane prediction poll on the side line. I bet we could predict hurricane activity much closer than NOAA’s current prediction accuracy.

Easily done – instead of one forecast, we’d have 100. that greatly increases the chance one is more accurate. Or do you propose getting everyone to agree on a single forecast. (Consensus forecasting?)

This blog’s Hurricane prediction forecast poll may be the one in the future that financial institutions rely on to make actuarial plans, set premiums, and is used to make preparedness plans.

Somehow I have have trouble visualizing a Board of Directors meeting discussing the relative merits of of people who have spent 1000s of hours looking in to many details over a group of mostly nameless, and uncontactable people.

I predicted zero hurricanes last year, this year and was 100% accurate.

There were three. None hit the US mainland, but your statement is 1000% wrong.
All right, infinitely wrong. 3 / 0 does not compute.

August 14, 2010 9:47 pm

As can be seen in Figure 15, our estimate of the run up in temperature in the 1990s has a much smaller slope than the actual temperature series. Furthermore, the lower frame of Figure 18 clearly reveals that the proxy model is not at all able to track the high gradient segment. Consequently, the long flat handle of the hockey stick is best understood to be a feature of regression and less a reflection of our knowledge of the truth.

Poetic justice. The alarmists fiddle the temperature record to introduce a spurious temperature rise, which these statisticians trust as real, and so it becomes evidence that the other alarmist fiddle, the hockey stick, is ‘not robust’. That means, of course, that on the one hand those of us who seek truth rather than ideology must therefore have reservations about some of this paper’s results until the consequences of the temperature fiddle have been incorporated properly. On the other hand the shysters cannot consistently agree with our reservations! The irony of it!

CRS, Dr.P.H.
August 14, 2010 9:48 pm

Why should the community of climatologists object to this peer-reviewed publication? After all, they stood up & cheered on RC etc. when the Oxburgh inquiry exonerated the Hockey Team of professional malfeasance.
However, they could have used a few undergraduate classes in linear regression!

The panel found that the statistical tools that CRU scientists employed were not always the most cutting-edge, or most appropriate.
“We cannot help remarking that it is very surprising that research in an area that depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close collaboration with professional statisticians,” reads the inquiry’s conclusions.
However, “it is not clear that better methods would have produced significantly different results,” the panel adds.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18776-climategate-scientists-chastised-over-statistics.html
——
This latest publication seems to indicate that, yes, better statistical methods DO produce significantly different results!
This paper is huge, thanks for posting, Anthony!

Rockyroad
August 14, 2010 9:49 pm

duckster says:
August 14, 2010 at 9:20 pm
(…)
OK. So your job now would be to show consistency by fitting it into the available evidence so that it doesn’t contradict the other points you have made against CAGW. There is no point at all in destroying Mann if you have to throw out half of the all the other things that have been said on this blog in order to do so.
—–Reply:
No, nothing else needs to be said–this is a refutation of Mann’s statistical methods; as such there is NO requirement to include anything else. Your request is simply an obvious attempt of deflecting a very damning rebuttal of Mann’s mathematical acumen. His authority is over; he IS destroyed and with him goes CAGW. Gone; done; kaput.
Why? He lied. Or he was stupid. Your choice.

Honest ABE
August 14, 2010 9:55 pm

I wonder when the Real Climate team will slam out a response without an answer so their lemmings have a url to point to and declare this paper debunked.
Fortunately many of us realize that reality isn’t a function of assertion.

James Sexton
August 14, 2010 9:58 pm

While some may not see the humor in this, to me, it is side splitting, a final (b)slap……….
Our work stands entirely on the shoulders of those environmental scientists
who labored untold years to assemble the vast network of natural
proxies. Although we assume the reliability of their data for our purposes
here, there still remains a considerable number of outstanding questions
that can only be answered with a free and open inquiry and a great deal of
replication.
<———— lol, Phil's greatest fears realized.
In other words, they seem to be saying, “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!!!” And, “you had your chance, now the grown-ups have to do it.” “Now, run along and bring me back the thermometer readings and we’ll show you how to interpret them.”

Dave F
August 14, 2010 10:02 pm

Well, in light of all this, I am open to comments on why deriving climate sensitivity from the LGM is ok.
I also would like to reiterate that we can predict temperature just fine using the tools given us by meteorology and would like to know why it is necessary to throw out any of the data used in weather prediction when it comes to climate models. Anyone?

chris y
August 14, 2010 10:04 pm

Anthony- I think Figure 17 from the paper is actually very telling, since it overlays the newly estimated error bands on top of the archival hockey stick spaghetti graphs.
Really stunning. Going back more than a few centuries, the error bands fill up the entire vertical extent!

JDN
August 14, 2010 10:04 pm

Annals of Applied Statistics is the sixth rated stastics journal (impact factor, of course, = 2.57) Of course, it could be tops in its specialty. It looks like it has a heavy representation of Japanese sponsors and some major statistics departments. The editor-in-chief is a Bush-era National Science medal award winner. The editor for physical & environmental statistics actually looks like an environmentalist from his listed interests. So, fine journal with mixed viewpoints.
This is an interesting development because it leaves the alarmist professors an out that will allow them to suspend their claims and still receive further funding. You may have won this battle if they take the offer. I don’t think you’ve won the war. That will resume when the cold snap is over and people have forgotten about scandals and such.

John F. Hultquist
August 14, 2010 10:07 pm

I always like to know who wrote what I’m asked to read. I don’t like to feel like I am part of the mushroom syndrome. A new name gets a couple of chances – if I think the comments are untracked I first try to find out whether the writer has any respectability because my lack of understanding could be the problem. Then I could do some research and reading and better assimilate the new information. After reading Mike Roddy’s statements I felt the need to check on him. The second of the listings below seems the most likely to be knowledgeable about his trade. Henceforth, I will only read Jaguar related posts by a Mike Roddy. Climate related comments by Mike Roddy – I don’t think so.
Okay, will the real Mike Roddy please stand up.
Mike Roddy is a long-time CP commenter. A UC Berkeley graduate, he has pursued many careers, including solar manufacturing, writing and research, and managing social housing projects on four continents.
OR
Mike Roddy Motors’ The Independent Jaguar Specialists’
The Leader in all aspects of Servicing, Repairs, Restorations and Improvements for all makes of Jaguar cars.

dp
August 14, 2010 10:12 pm

That poor graph – it’s suffered a death by a thousand cuts and yet it still has stalwart defenders. I hope Mann has other successes on which to ride to comfortable retirement because this horse is finished. I can’t help but think his circle of peers is becoming a close knit bunch whose objectivity is certainly now open to wonderment.

And in the master’s chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast

I’m probably going to wish there was a preview function here…

CRS, Dr.P.H.
August 14, 2010 10:15 pm

GrantB says:
August 14, 2010 at 9:32 pm
Nick Stokes @ 9:04pm
Oh dear Nick, a quotation from page 2 of the introduction putting the background in context and quoting from the IPCC. Is that the best you can do? There are another 43 pages after that or did you stop there?
Mind you, Blakeley McShane is from the Kellogg School of Management and is obviously funded by big corn.
————-
REPLY:
Sorry, mate, I’m at University of Illinois and I’M funded by big corn!! And big cheese, big meat packer, big pandemic etc.
Here’s McShane’s website:
http://www.blakemcshane.com
I’ve never met him, but I’ve lectured a bit over at Kellogg & they are usually considered one of the top graduate schools of business in the USA. His resume is very impressive.
This publication is a serious shot across the bow of the Hockey Team crowd, let’s see how they react to it.

August 14, 2010 10:17 pm

Annals of Applied Statistics Editors better prepare for the incoming wave of team science comments on the paper. The good news is the team now has to argue their statistical “methods” with professional statisticians.
Game over man, game over.

CRS, Dr.P.H.
August 14, 2010 10:17 pm

(Mods, would you please change “school’s” to “schools” for me in the preceding post? I hate stupid grammatical errors! Thanks much, Chuck the DrPH)
[REPLY – I looked and looked. Can’t find the durn thing. Please accept a te absolve in lieu of correction. ~ Evan]
[Reply: Fixe’d! By the undercover grammar sleuth ~…]

Amino Acids in Meteorites
August 14, 2010 10:18 pm

Mike Roddy says:
August 14, 2010 at 7:13 pm
The authors of the 20- odd studies that confirmed Mann’s….
The NAS (National Academy of Science) did not affirm Mann’s conclusions:
“Even less confidence can be placed in the original conclusions by Mann et al. (1999) that “the 1990s are likely the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium” ”
National Academy of Science
“Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years”
-page 4
http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11676

maksimovich
August 14, 2010 10:21 pm

G. Burger 2010
By avoiding the (calibrating) instrumental period, and by using a fairly robust spectral measure for low-frequency performance, the above coherence analysis has uncovered several inconsistencies among the group of millennial reconstructions that figured prominently in the latest IPCC report and elsewhere. An immediate lesson from this is that simple visual inspection of smoothed time series, grouped and overlaid into a single graph, can be very misleading. For example, the two reconstructions Ma99 and Ma08L, which have previously been described to be in “striking agreement” (cf. Mann et al., 2008), turned out to be the most incoherent of all in our analysis.
incoherent [ˌɪnkəʊˈhɪərənt]
adj
1. lacking in clarity or organization; disordered
2. unable to express oneself clearly; inarticulate
3. (Physics / General Physics) Physics (of two or more waves) having the same frequency but not the same phase

Amino Acids in Meteorites
August 14, 2010 10:22 pm

Tamino and Romm are deleting comments even mentioning this paper
How bloody scientific of them. 😉

James Sexton
August 14, 2010 10:24 pm

duckster says:
August 14, 2010 at 8:55 pm
duckster says:
August 14, 2010 at 9:20 pm
“So is this how you get around the fact that McShane and Wyner is showing almost 2 degrees of warming since 1850? This is way beyond what Mann et al show – and would be truly unprecedented, wouldn’t it?
……
OK. So your job now would be to show consistency by fitting it into the available evidence so that it doesn’t contradict the other points you have made against CAGW. There is no point at all in destroying Mann if you have to throw out half of the all the other things that have been said on this blog in order to do so.”
Sorry, I’ve been away, duckster. I’ll try and help explain things.
The graph that your looking at is a reconstruction of data using one of several statistical techniques employed by the paper in an “attempt” to determine whether the proxy data has any predictive value. The conclusion was that it doesn’t. From the paper:
“This is disturbing: if a model cannot predict the occurrence of a
sharp run-up in an out-of-sample block which is contiguous with the insample
training set, then it seems highly unlikely that it has power to detect
such levels or run-ups in the more distant past. It is even more discouraging
when one recalls Figure 15: the model cannot capture the sharp run-up
even in-sample. In sum, these results suggest that the ninety-three sequences
that comprise the 1,000 year old proxy record simply lack power to detect a sharp increase in temperature.”

I’ll interpret. It is saying, because it couldn’t detect the sharp increase in temperatures, as seen in the 1990s, there is no reason to believe it would detect sharp increases or decreases of the past.
duckster, I know this is hard, it’s probably like the time my first wife……..well, never mind that. But, I know where you’re coming from. Remember, these are reconstructions from proxies which the paper concluded where not of the quality necessary to have predictive(or retro) value. They use the graphs to show you why they are not of good value. They are not using them to illustrate some perceived view of reality.
You could try actually reading the darn thing. If you gloss over the statistical formulas, it is a fairly nice read.

Amino Acids in Meteorites
August 14, 2010 10:25 pm

It’s late Saturday night, this post has been here 4 1/2 hours, and there are 93 comments. Busy night for Anthony and the Moderators.
[REPLY – We, er, live for, um, danger. ~ Evan]

CRS, Dr.P.H.
August 14, 2010 10:25 pm

OK, the Real Climate guys are reacting to it!
From their Comments section:
There’s apparently a paper forthcoming from McShane and Wyner in Annals of Applied Statistics to the effect (in my inexpert paraphrase) that proxies can’t say anything useful about climate. Regardless of whether CO2 produces heat, I’ll bet that this paper will.
[Response: The M&W paper will likely take some time to look through (especially since it isn’t fully published and the SI does not seem to be available yet), but I’m sure people will indeed be looking. I note that one of their conclusions “If we consider rolling decades, 1997-2006 is the warmest on record; our model gives an 80% chance that it was the warmest in the past thousand years” is completely in line with the analogous IPCC AR4 statement. But this isn’t the thread for this, so let’s leave discussion for when there is a fuller appreciation for what’s been done. – gavin]

Bill Sticker
August 14, 2010 10:27 pm

Mann’s ‘Hockey stick’ hoist by it’s own data set no less. What does the new study do with ‘unadjusted’ data?

Amino Acids in Meteorites
August 14, 2010 10:39 pm

[REPLY – We, er, live for, um, danger. ~ Evan]
LOL!

Amino Acids in Meteorites
August 14, 2010 10:41 pm

As if Michael Mann’s life hasn’t been interesting enough since November 19th….

James Sexton
August 14, 2010 10:45 pm

Nick Stokes says:
August 14, 2010 at 9:04 pm
“Actually there’s quite a lot in this paper I agree with, including the suggestion that uncertainty levels may be higher than often thought. I suspect, though, that people here will get more excited over the shape of the reconstruction than over the observation of its uncertainty.”
Not at all, the observation of uncertainty agrees with what most of us have been saying for quite some time. Given the level of uncertainty, it would be difficult to believe the GCMs and any other predictions regarding our future climate to any level of validity with the data and tools used.

August 14, 2010 10:45 pm

Mike Roddy: August 14, 2010 at 7:13 pm
The authors of the 20- odd studies that confirmed Mann’s data are not really interested in what professional statisticians and mathematicians are saying about it.
They should be. As Jeff L. noted, “climatology is a statistical endeavour.” My emphasis.

MarkG
August 14, 2010 10:48 pm

“You need a theory to explain what is happening now. It needs to be falsifiable. And you have to either accept that new scientific papers fit your theory, or explain why they don’t.”
No, we don’t, because we’re not the ones making extraordinary claims. Instead we’re faced by a theory of EVIL BABY-KILLING CARBON DIOXIDE which doesn’t appear to be considered falsifiable in any way no matter how far its predictions diverge from reality. Hot, cold, wet, dry, windy or not, any change in the weather always turns out to be due to EVIL BABY-KILLING CARBON DIOXIDE.
This is why those of us with a science background have gone from amazed to appalled as the ‘Global Warming’… sorry… ‘Climate Change’… charade has continued to gain momentum when it’s clearly pseudoscientific bunk.

inversesquare
August 14, 2010 10:51 pm

duckster says:
August 14, 2010 at 7:48 pm
Looking at the paper above…
No medieval warming period, I see. And no temperature decline post-1998?? I thought you were arguing that the world was getting cooler, and arctic ice was recovering? [Cough, cough].
I guess we can put those ones to rest then, can’t we? After the way you’ve embraced this paper!
The way it looks from here is that you guys will pretty much accept ANYTHING that throws doubt on CAGW, without worrying whether it is logically consistent with all the other things you have accepted/argued before. This does not translate into a coherent science-based system of knowledge building.
You need a theory to explain what is happening now. It needs to be falsifiable. And you have to either accept that new scientific papers fit your theory, or explain why they don’t. You would also need to follow up on Mann et al.’s commentary on this paper. Otherwise it’s just another fishing expedition.
DUDE!!
That’s a massive load of buckshot you just discharged all over your foot! I hope you didn’t do damage to your leg as well!!!
Think about what you wrote and conversely what it means for the Alarmist argument(s) (hint, I bracketed the s)……

James Sexton
August 14, 2010 10:52 pm

Amino Acids in Meteorites says:
August 14, 2010 at 10:25 pm
It’s late Saturday night, this post has been here 4 1/2 hours, and there are 93 comments. Busy night for Anthony and the Moderators.
[REPLY – We, er, live for, um, danger. ~ Evan]
lol, you guys are wild men!!!! Sigh, I remember when my night life held a different meaning.

August 14, 2010 10:56 pm

Another favorable result for “its the Sun stupid”
Mann has tried to hide the solar influence on Earth’s climate like some others in here, who strangely remain silent? The MWP was one of the few periods during the Holocene that skipped the usual 172 year (avg) solar slowdown. It will not be denied, nor will the cooling LIA period that was a golden age for solar slowdowns.

Thrasher
August 14, 2010 10:59 pm

What an ugly disaster for the IPCC/Mann/CRU crowd. This really casts a lot of doubt on their statistical reasoning. The paper is sound because it doesn’t question recent warming (which most definitely exists), but questions their claim that prior warmings have been nothing like this and their ridiculous reconstruction that lacks a medieval warm period.

August 14, 2010 11:00 pm

duckster says:
August 14, 2010 at 8:55 pm

No. I am saying that by accepting this paper you need to either show why it doesn’t show a MWP or you need to discard one of your major arguments. You can’t just choose any paper that casts doubt on CAGW because it casts doubt on global warming. You need to show that it is consistent with the other arguments you have made that cast doubt on CAGW.

As I understand the paper, it does not say anything at all whether there was a MWP or not or whether the MWP was warmer than today, it simply says that the proxies don’t predict sharp changes in climate. So if there were such changes in the past, the proxies wont show them. The paper doesn’t show that the temperature hasn’t followed a hockey stick shape, just that we don’t know that [given the proxies that Mann used].
It seems hard for people to get that in order to show that somebody is wrong, you don’t need to offer an alternative answer, you can simply show that the logic is flawed leaving the original question unanswered. Mann could still be right about the hockey stick, but would then be right for the wrong reasons.

Amino Acids in Meteorites
August 14, 2010 11:03 pm

CRS, Dr.P.H. says:
August 14, 2010 at 10:25 pm
OK, the Real Climate guys are reacting to it!
Looks like they’re already saying “Noting to see here.”

Dave F
August 14, 2010 11:12 pm

[REPLY – We, er, live for, um, danger. ~ Evan]
Can’t we just have a wee bit of peril?
[REPLY – No, it’s too perilous. ~ Evan]

Glenn
August 14, 2010 11:17 pm

“I note that one of their conclusions “If we consider rolling decades, 1997-2006 is the warmest on record; our model gives an 80% chance that it was the warmest in the past thousand years” is completely in line with the analogous IPCC AR4 statement. But this isn’t the thread for this, so let’s leave discussion for when there is a fuller appreciation for what’s been done. – gavin]”
That isn’t a “conclusion”, and continues:
“Finally, if we look at rolling thirty-year blocks, the posterior probability that the last thirty years (again, the warmest on record) were the warmest over the past thousand is 38%.”
But if the first is a “conclusion”, the second “look” is as well, just not so encouraging – at 38% probability. Perhaps Gavin just didn’t read for comprehension…

August 14, 2010 11:21 pm

New paper makes a hockey sticky wicket of Mann et al 98/99/08
More like a hockey puck — one that’s been slap-sticked.

Amino Acids in Meteorites
August 14, 2010 11:24 pm

CRS, Dr.P.H. says:
August 14, 2010 at 10:25 pm
OK, the Real Climate guys are reacting to it!……. gavin
That would be the Gavin in this video. He looks down as he makes certain points. He looks continuously below the level of the camera when talking about the infamous ClimateGate “Trick”. John Christy makes ‘robust’ eye contact.

Glenn
August 14, 2010 11:25 pm

Mike says:
August 14, 2010 at 8:04 pm
“…our model offers support
to the conclusion that the 1990s were the warmest decade of the last millennium,…”
An out of context quote, deliberate or not.
“While our model offers support to the conclusion that the 1990s were the warmest decade of the last millennium, it does not predict temperature as well as expected even in sample. The model does much worse on contiguous thirty year time intervals.
Thus, we remark in conclusion that natural proxies are severely limited in their ability to predict average temperatures and temperature gradients.”
The paper doesn’t support their model, Mike.

freespeech
August 14, 2010 11:26 pm

I’m waiting for that rather sad individual John Mashey to start trawling through their garbage bins to find proof that their daughters once ate at the same McDonalds as a retired Oil Executive’s (i.e. he managed a petrol station) neighbour. Thus proving the link between “Big Oil” and the conclusions of this paper.

Wayne Richards
August 14, 2010 11:27 pm

In hockey terms, Mann et al just got slammed into the boards with a stiff check to the body of their work — in their own tilted rink!
It may also be worth noting that the National Hockey League stopped using wooden hockey sticks years ago.

Dagfinn
August 14, 2010 11:29 pm

Don’t underestimate RealClimate. They will find some way to fight back. They just have to delete all mention of this study while they try to calm down and get their rhetorical weaponry aimed in the right direction.

Robert of Ottawa
August 14, 2010 11:36 pm

[piling on]So, was Mann innocently incompetent or deviously dishonest?[/piling on]
Seriously, it will be interesting to see the Team’s response. They dissed M&M as amateurs; they cannot use that tactic this time.

August 15, 2010 12:16 am

duckster [should have said]:
August 14, 2010 at 7:48 pm

The way it looks from [RC] is that [we] will pretty much accept ANYTHING that [seems to prove] CAGW, without worrying whether it is logically consistent with all the other things you have accepted/argued before. This does not translate into a coherent science-based system of knowledge building.
[We] need a theory to explain what is happening now. It needs to be falsifiable. And [we] have to either accept that new scientific papers fit [our] theory, or explain why they don’t.

But I am sure it is obvious when you think about it that the article was supposed to falsify the accuracy of the data used, therefore the results are invalid. Only a complete idiot would then turn around and think anyone is trying to prove anything else…..

August 15, 2010 12:18 am

previous post should read “accuracy of the methods used”

Martin Brumby
August 15, 2010 12:28 am

“………so let’s leave discussion for when there is a fuller appreciation for what’s been done. – gavin]”
(forgetting to turn off microphone….)
“so where’s the bloody ‘Situations Vacant’ list???????”

Smoking Frog
August 15, 2010 12:29 am

I really thought Mike Roddy intended a parody, or, actually, sarcasm directed against RC, since merely repeating what RC says is not “parody.”
Duckster, you’re not the first person I’ve heard claiming that an AGW skeptic is obliged to have an alternate theory, and you’re not the first that I’ve heard claiming that anyone who presents AGW skeptics’ arguments is obliged to present a consistent set of arguments. (It’s been done to me.) That’s dead wrong. To say that the skeptic is obliged to have a theory implies that, without a theory, nothing could be seen to be wrong with the theory of which he is skeptical. That’s obviously wrong. To say that the presenter is obliged to present a consistent set of arguments amounts to the same thing.
Both claims are so stupid that I find it hard to believe that the people who make them believe them; I keep thinking they must be trying to do a snow job on stupid people who hear them.

August 15, 2010 12:37 am

Its so nice to see a study saying what everyone can see, but still take it to a higher level.
Some of the problems comparing modern temperatures with medieval temperatures we discussed here at WUWT bac in april:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/04/ipcc-how-not-to-compare-temperatures/

August 15, 2010 12:40 am

Can anyone here show me a calibration certificate of a thermometer that is 150 years old?

August 15, 2010 12:50 am

And you expect a global warmer to understand this? It is flying well above their heads!
Global warming is true because a friend of a friend who is a very eminent “scientist” said that he knew someone who did some statistics at University in their first year, and they said that they thought the stats were sound … so it’s got to be true!

Ben G
August 15, 2010 12:52 am

Finally, the proxies seem unable to forecast the high levels of and sharp run-up in temperature in the 1990s either in-sample or from contiguous holdout blocks, thus casting doubt on their ability to predict such phenomena if in fact they occurred several hundred years ago.
Given there are big problems with the quality of the surface data temperature data in the last century after all the adjustments and land use changes, it’s no wonder they struggle forecasting such sharp warming. 😉

Spector
August 15, 2010 12:54 am

This new curve looks more like a scimitar — perfect for slicing sticks in two.

eudoxus
August 15, 2010 12:54 am

McShane and Wyner, 2010, figure 16, illustrates an absolutely (in terms of the sign of slope) unprecedented (over the last millennium) rate of increase in global temperature timed with the onset of the industrial revolution, and its associated CO2 release. It displays no evidence of a medieval warm period during the range 1000-1200 CE, but seems, rather, to predict a dip in temperature during that range of years. Backcast of modern data over last 1000 years predicts no previous years were warmer than the last few observed. Some interested observers are also curious to know the Bayesian forecast of future temperatures based on the “thin black line” of modern observations. Figure 16 illustrates the remarkable feature that, at the onset of the industrial revolution, the increase in the Earth’s temp was so great it created a reversal in its slope. Fascinating.

singularian
August 15, 2010 1:03 am

It’s late Saturday night, this post has been here 4 1/2 hours, and there are 93 comments. Busy night for Anthony and the Moderators.
Sunday evening here – want to know what the weather’s like tomorrow?

Christopher Hanley
August 15, 2010 1:04 am

I’m no mathematician, but the CO2 trend at Mauna Loa over the 1960 – 2010 period does not look linear to me.
http://woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/from:1960/to:1970/trend/plot/esrl-co2/from:1960/to:1980/trend/offset:1.5/plot/esrl-co2/from:1960/to:1990/trend/offset:%203/plot/esrl-co2/from:1960/to:2000/trend/offset:%204/plot/esrl-co2/from:1960/to:2010/trend/offset:%206
Linear or exponential, it does seem like a debating exercise not unlike how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

sandyinderby
August 15, 2010 1:08 am

duckster says:
August 14, 2010 at 8:18 pm
@Smokey:
“Duckster, are you friggin’ blind??”
So where exactly would you place a medieval warming period here? Asking me to accept a medieval warming period (which is what I have been asked to do here) means showing how and where it got warmer, and then how and when it got cooler. A steady downward temperature trend is not a warming period.
Duckster if you are from the USA/Canada medieval isn’t the 18th century.
Definition is
The Middle Ages (adjectival form: medieval or mediaeval) is a period of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. Looking at the graph in question it starts slap bang in the middle of that time frame.
Sandy

baffled24
August 15, 2010 1:11 am

The Hockey Stick; named, debunked, resurrected, debunked, resurrected, debunked and now re-incarnation; sounds like fiction about something that never quite died. Is this an argument about what a hockey stick looks like or how much it can deviate from the basic shape. Who determines how much it can deviate in order to qualify or not for the hockey stick shape? Fig 16 still looks somewhat like a hockey stick to me, albeit a little more curvacious, there’s no denying the upward temperature trend.

Feet2theFire
August 15, 2010 1:12 am

Apologies for writing before I have read the entire post or paper. Wanted to get these thoughts out there, for what they are worth…
…All in all, this was an inevitability, that someone would get around to the second round of multiproxy reconstructions.
I have from the beginning given Michael Mann credit for doing the first one. Consider how monumental a task it is, after all.
That said, anyone thinking that the first one done will be the final word had to be an idiot. Mann, especially. The man’s lack of humility is in itself monumental. There is not one whit of common sense in him believing he had done it perfectly – especially when he had played such games with the data in his homogenizations. EVEN IF THEEY WERE EVENTUALLY FOUND TO BE CORRECT, he should have known that they would be challenged, sooner or later. Once challenged, the cat fight would begin. WHAT ABOUT THIS DID HE NOT UNDERSTAND?
From this vantage point, Mann appears to have thought that if he bullied enough people it would all stand forever. To put it bluntly, what a d***wad. [my censoring – f2f]
But WHAT a relief! To finally have another peer-reviewed AND TRULY INDEPENDENT multiproxy reconstruction.
And now, on to reading the entire article…

August 15, 2010 1:17 am

James Sexton says: August 14, 2010 at 8:10 pm
While breaking from the reading, mainly because Adobe isn’t responding at the moment..

.
I cannot get the pdf page 21 to show up without disrupting Adobe. Unfortunately it’s the nice graphs page. Had to whisk past it. Anyone else had probs??

Robert
August 15, 2010 1:18 am

I notice they didnt discuss wavelet analysis or Moburg 2005 which primarily uses low frequency proxies to do the heavy lifting. From what ive seen analysis wise, this is the best of the reconstructions either way. Plus what does it matter anyways… we know the MWP was caused by increased TSI, low volcanic activity and persistent AMO conditions unlike current warming (1975-current) which is anthropogenically forced.
I wanna see these statisticians tell me that Buntgen et al. 2008s tree rings had a weak signal too…
Either way, it doesnt disprove that we are warmer than the MWP, just that the methods of Mann et al were inaccurate.

Feet2theFire
August 15, 2010 1:25 am

Oh. One more point, now that I’ve read the article and part of the paper:
A few questions that arise:
Was this an outcome of Climategate?
Of M & M’s efforts that woke some other qualified people up to DOING such a reconstruction?
Did any of the FOI’s contribute to this paper, in freeing up the data?

August 15, 2010 1:25 am

This may be OT, but papers have just been submitted to the High Court in New Zealand by the NZ Climate Science Coalition to obtain a hearing in the matter of the ‘upwardly adjusted’ instrumental climate record for the past century by NIWA, the National Institute of Weather and Atmosphere. This was reported seriously by the MSM there, with an actual headline over a leading article, so times may be a’changing!

August 15, 2010 1:26 am

Mike Roddy wrote, “Similarly, climate scientists are getting bored with arguments from untrained individuals that the “trace gas” CO2 does not play the major role in the recent and rapid temperature increases. This role was proven in a laboratory in the 19th century by Arrhenius, and has not been seriously disputed since.”
The laboratory experiment did not include oceans. Long wave radiation only impacts the top few millimeters of the oceans and, therefore, cannot explain the rise in sea surface temperature and ocean heat content.

August 15, 2010 1:27 am

I just luuuuuuuuuuuuurve their graph fig. 8 page 15.
If I’ve understood this graph aright, we have here another diamond, hidden in broad daylight… a ready-made decade-by-decade calibration for UHI, using treering data properly, for once, to flag up the surface stations problem anomaly. Certainly the anomaly here is about 0.5 degC, the same as suggested by McKitrick et al in their very recent (and again, stunning) paper.
Now if this is the next line of investigation, correcting the basic temperature record, then not only does the recent warming disappear still further, but we now have the way clear to re-connect with the solar correlations (yes, Leif, thanks, causations are still eluding us as yet…..)

Mike Edwards
August 15, 2010 1:28 am

duckster says:
August 14, 2010 at 8:18 pm:

…So where exactly would you place a medieval warming period here? Asking me to accept a medieval warming period…

It isn’t just a question of a medieval warm period – there are a whole series of periods in the past 500,000 years that appear to have been warmer than the present. 4 of the previous interglacials have been considerably warmer than the current one, as shown by Ice Core data and by by significantly higher sea levels (~ 6 metres higher in the last interglacial, for example).
If you don’t believe me, Wikipedia has a good discussion and links to much of the data here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_core
The question for the climate modellers is whether their models can account for this behaviour of the Earth’s climate WITHOUT resorting to CO2, since the ice cores don’t show CO2 above pre-industrial levels.

Alexej Buergin
August 15, 2010 1:43 am

Sticky wicket:
Some people call the cricket pitch “wicket”, and a sticky wicket would e.g. be a wet pitch which makes it a difficult situation for the batsman.
Another interpretation: The real wicket ist the construction of three stumps with two bails that the bowler is trying to hit. If the bails are sticking to the stumps (in climatology “because of some chewing gum” would come to my mind) it will be difficult for the bowler to make them fall.
PS. Bails can be used a long time, England and Australia play for bails that are almost 130 years old (and burned, too).

Feet2theFire
August 15, 2010 1:45 am

Honesty in science:
M&W2010 (from the abstract):
“We propose our own reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere aver-
age annual land temperature over the last millenium [sic], assess its relia-
bility, and compare it to those from the climate science literature. Our
model provides a similar reconstruction but has much wider standard
errors, reflecting the weak signal and large uncertainty encountered
in this setting.”
See? Tell people that you recognize the weaknesses on your study, and even statistically assess your own statistics.
Having read a good bit on Richard Feynman recently, this from his 1973 CalTech graduation speech (you will all love this):
“…there is one feature I notice is missing in Cargo Cult Science [the topic of his speech]. That is the idea that we all hope you have learned in studying science in school – we never explicitly say what this is, but just hope that you catch on by all the examples of scientific investigation. It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now and speak of it explicitly. It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty – a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything you think might make it invalid – not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked – to make sure the other fellow can tell they’ve been eliminated.
Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can – if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong – to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you haveout a lot of ideas together into an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.
In summary, the idea is to try to give all the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgement in one particular direction or another….”
Nobel Winner Feynman would have been proud of McShane and Wyner.

Editor
August 15, 2010 1:48 am

Smokey
Smokey said;
August 14, 2010 at 8:33 pm
Rocky Road,
“Here is the Phil Jones chart…”
To your other natural cycles of rapid temperature rise can be added this one which Phil Jones is very well aware of it. It happened from around 1700 and is captured in CET and alluded to in reords from the time in other countries such as those from the Botanic gardens in Uppsalla Sweden-the home town of Arrhenius.
http://i45.tinypic.com/125rs3m.jpg
As can be seen from the next chart there sems to have been a rise in temperatures commencing from 1690 rather than 1880-James Hansen merely pluged into the latter stages of a centuries old trend which itself appears to have peaked around 1250 with the LIA intervening.
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jdrake/Questioning_Climate/_sgg/m2_1.htm
Perhaps greater credence will be placed in the future on the actual records that people such as myself post, which get dismissed as ‘anecdotal’ and therfore unreliable.
Funny really isn’t it, an actual observation made at the time is ‘anecdota’l but silly and tortured proxies have become so ‘reliable’ they have become the basis for an attempt to break the worlds economy.
Tonyb

Mikael Pihlström
August 15, 2010 1:49 am

James Sexton says:
August 14, 2010 at 8:24 pm
duckster says:
August 14, 2010 at 7:48 pm
What they are stating is, even if the data are correct, Mann et al. did it wrong(along with a long list of other statistician wannbees), and further, proxies have no predictive properties. Now, work backwards from that. If you require further explanations, just ask, I’d be happy to provide them to you.
……………………….
If proxies have no predictive value, why do the authors persist in
doing their own reconstruction? If paleo reconstructions are universally
dead (I am OK with that) they are dead for everyone. You have to forget
your MWP argument to.

August 15, 2010 1:49 am

James Sexton says: August 14, 2010 at 7:44 pm
This paper doesn’t simply break a hockey stick, it breaks an entire sub-specialty of climatology, specifically paleoclimatology. They will either have to reprint all text books or throw the psuedo-science out the window…

Right on, James

James Sexton says: August 14, 2010 at 7:44 pm
…throw the psuedo-science out the window to the trash heap to lay alongside phrenology, numerology, and astrology…

Not right on, James. Just as we’ve been saying all along at WUWT, CA and the rest, you need to examine BOTH sides of the argument, not just rely on the “official” “debunks”. I did a fair bit of research into CSICOP’s supposed debunk of astrology and it was not a pretty story, in fact the tactics I saw there were remarkably similar to RealClimate et al. And you need to read up about Kepler and Newton too, as seen from the “other side” – fascinating, and good science.
If you’re interested to follow this one up, email me – click my name, etc.

londo
August 15, 2010 1:49 am

It is quite a joy reading this paper, if not for any other reason then, for its educational value and for the strive of the authors to illuminate the complexity of this problem. It has the clear signature of a paper that wants to explain something to the reader instead of trying to overrun the cautious readers by attacking him with numbers and terminology, such as e.g. MBH98. It has the potential of becoming a classical paper that is handed out to students early on in their carriers, perhaps even in the study of paleoclimate. At least when fame, fortune and politics leaves this discipline of science.

martyn
August 15, 2010 1:51 am

UNCORRECTED TRANSCRIPT OF ORAL EVIDENCE To be published as HC 369-ii
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE
Setting the scene
Tuesday 27 July 2010
LORD REES OF LUDLOW
Q78 Graham Stringer: None of them looked really looked at the science, and where they stepped over the science, as Oxburgh did, he said that he was rather surprised that methods that depended on advanced statistics had not used advanced statisticians; he said that they had also used subjective methods. So I think David Willetts was wrong to say that somehow these had validated the science, because the science was not looked at. One, do you think the science should be looked at? If it was to be looked at, how would it be done?
Lord Rees of Ludlow : I would, to some extent, contest what you have just said. These papers were refereed, but the key thing which the Oxburgh Committee did was to actually go and sit with the scientists and see what they actually did and how they analysed the data. As regards the statistics, Professor Hand from Imperial College, who is one of the UK’s leading statisticians, was put on the Oxburgh Panel precisely because he had that expertise. What the report said was that indeed they had not used the optimum sophisticated techniques but he thought it would not have made any difference to the results. So, again, I do not think the science from that group is severely under question from the techniques they used.
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmsctech/uc369-ii/uc36901.htm

geronimo
August 15, 2010 1:52 am

@Mike Roddy; “Besides… Species are migrating north. Glaciers and Arctic ice are melting at unheard of rates. The ocean is becoming more acidic, and has experienced a 40% decline in fish biomass since 1950 due to CO2′s effect on phytoplankton. ”
Welcome Mike, your thoughts are appreciated, but if you make statements such as the above it is traditional to cite your sources. Where did you get this information from? I should add that reports by the WWF and Greenpeace aren’t seen as citable evidence.
@Duckster: Welcome to you too Duckster, again your input is appreciated, although you seem to have totally misunderstood the papers objectives. Still it’s good to have someone testing the (naturally) self-congratulationary tone of the many posts on here. A word to the wise though, you’re probably better waiting until realclimate prepares an answer that can be parrotted continuously than diving in the deep end with the posters on WUWT, they are a pretty knowledgeable bunch by any standards.
As for the paper, in my view it will be buried by the MSM, we are dealing with religious fervour here and no amount of evidence will prove to the faithful that we aren’t experiencing AGW and even if we are it won’t be catastrophic. However, like the hole in the Titanic the water is slowly filling the hold and it will sink. I have little doubt that in a couple of decades from now people will look back on this time and wonder how anyone could have taken this mumbo jumbo seriously.

joshua corning
August 15, 2010 1:53 am

The real fun will be watching the next IPCC panel doing back flips to keep this out of their next report.

old construction worker
August 15, 2010 2:07 am

Another blow to the EPA. More ammunition for the State of Virginia investigation.
[REPLY – We, er, live for, um, danger. ~ Evan]
Thanks I needed a Sunday morning chuckle.

August 15, 2010 2:11 am

This poor world fears in vain
That fresh ill o’er it lowers;
Let thunder growl again;
Go, crown yourselves with flowers!
Pierre-Jean de Béranger

Mikael Pihlström
August 15, 2010 2:22 am

Hmm. The conclusions seem to twist and bend a lot on the road
from article to these posts.
McShane and Wyner say:
“We see that our model gives a backcast which is very similar to those
in the literature, particularly from 1300 AD to the present.
In fact, our backcast very closely traces the Mann et al. (2008) EIV land
backcast,considered by climate scientists to be among the most skilled.
Though our model provides slightly warmer backcasts for the years
1000-1300 AD,we note it falls within or just outside the uncertainty bands of
the Mann et al. (2008) EIV land backcast even in that period. Hence, our
backcast matches their backcasts reasonably well.”
———————
So Mann et al (2008) is actually the most skilled until now, not e.g.
McIntyre and McKitrick?
BTW Smokey, if you want to link a figure from the article, why not
use fig. 17, which brings it alltogether: the warming of the last decades
is bigger than any backcast, H&W 2010 included.
Having said that, as far as I can judge, H&W 2010 is an important
contribution.

Niels A Nielsen
August 15, 2010 2:39 am

[Response: The M&W paper will likely take some time to look through (especially since it isn’t fully published and the SI does not seem to be available yet), but I’m sure people will indeed be looking. I note that one of their conclusions “If we consider rolling decades, 1997-2006 is the warmest on record; our model gives an 80% chance that it was the warmest in the past thousand years” is completely in line with the analogous IPCC AR4 statement. But this isn’t the thread for this, so let’s leave discussion for when there is a fuller appreciation for what’s been done. – gavin]
Oh yes, Gavin “..our model gives an 80% chance that it was the warmest in the past thousand years”
But..
“our model does not pass ‘statistical significance’ thresholds against savvy null models. Ultimately, what these tests essentially show is that the 1,000 year old proxy record has little power given the limited temperature record” (p. 41)
And then we have the proxy selection and orientation issues..

Jimbo
August 15, 2010 2:42 am

For attention of Anthony / Moderators
Suggetstion: Will you consider creating a “Hockey Stick” page under your Categories pull down menu on the right side of the page?
It would make it easier to find rebuttals to the hockey stick before this page and follow up pages become buried in the site.

Philemon
August 15, 2010 2:44 am

Mikael Pihlström says:
August 15, 2010 at 2:22 am
“…why not use fig. 17, which brings it alltogether: the warming of the last decades
is bigger than any backcast, H&W 2010 included.”
Look at the uncertainty bands.
“In fact, our uncertainty bands are so wide that they envelop all of the other backcasts in the literature. Given their ample width, it is difficult to say that recent warming is an extraordinary event compared to the last 1,000 years. For example, according to our uncertainty bands, it is possible that it was as warm in the year 1200 AD as it is today.” (McShane and Wyner, AOAS 2010, p. 37)

Invariant
August 15, 2010 2:46 am

1. Natural temperature variability may be large.
2. It’s not the sun (thanks Leif!).
3. Increased CO2 increase temperature.
Is it possible to tell magnitude of 3 given 1?

nevket240
August 15, 2010 2:49 am

Smokey says:
August 14, 2010 at 8:12 pm
duckster says:
“Looking at the paper above… No medieval warming period, I see. ”
Duckster, are you friggin’ blind?? ))
Wilfully, I’d suggest.
I wonder if OBummer is going to bailout the CCE after the paper is more widely read & debated?? After all he was a leading light in its formation.
regards

Espen
August 15, 2010 2:51 am

What a relief! Ever since the first time I tried to understand mannian statistics, I thought it was so wrong that I must have missed something. As a mathematician with some statistics experience (it’s not my main branch of math), I’m so relieved that the statisticians are finally entering the scene and give SteveM et al the credit they deserve.
About the sharp 1990s uptick: we know that the temperature record gets highly unreliable just at that point…

jim hogg
August 15, 2010 2:52 am

An important issue here is the accuracy of the recent temperature record. If it isn’t accurate then it wouldn’t be a surprise that the proxy record didn’t predict it . . . Numerous instances of upward bias have been identified on here . . . . Maybe it’s time to go right back to basics and look at only the raw reliable data from non-contaminated sites with equipment known to be accurate – so far as that’s possible. Time will sort this whole mess out and I don’t think the judgement will reflect too well on many of the players.

James Sexton
August 15, 2010 2:53 am

Lucy Skywalker says:
August 15, 2010 at 1:17 am
James Sexton says: August 14, 2010 at 8:10 pm
While breaking from the reading, mainly because Adobe isn’t responding at the moment…
“I cannot get the pdf page 21 to show up without disrupting Adobe. Unfortunately it’s the nice graphs page. Had to whisk past it. Anyone else had probs??”
That’s exactly where mine had problems…… btw, not prepared to argue astrology either way, hope I didn’t offend.

nevket240
August 15, 2010 2:56 am

Mikael Pihlström says:
August 15, 2010 at 1:49 am
James Sexton says:
August 14, 2010 at 8:24 pm
Whooa Neddy. There are plenty of written descriptions of the living conditions at that time to give a reasonable indication of how warm/cool it was. Plant types etc.
regards

Ken Hall
August 15, 2010 3:01 am

Mike Roddy is right. Mann et al do not care about mathematics and statistics, likewise the 20 odd other climatologists who confirm the hockey stick.
That is why they failed to spot the confirmation bias which ruins their science.
They are a bunch of incestuous peers who are seeking to confirm their faith. So their weak statistical analysis renders their science into a wishlist.

Jimbo
August 15, 2010 3:19 am

If you stretch the above graph to include the Roman Warm Period 2 thoudand years ago then what do you see?
10 March 2010
New technique shows Roman Warm Period Warmer than Present Day
A promising new technique to reconstruct past temperatures has been developed by scientists at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada and Durham University, England, using the shells of bivalve mollusks. Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science the scientists say that oxygen isotopes in their shells are a good proxy measurement of temperature and may provide the most detailed record yet of global climate change.”
http://www.thegwpf.org/the-observatory/653-new-technique-shows-roman-warm-period-warmer-than-present-day.html
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/03/02/0902522107.full.pdf

Jimbo
August 15, 2010 3:20 am

Typo:
…2 thou[s] and years…

Margaret
August 15, 2010 3:24 am

I cannot get the pdf page 21 to show up without disrupting Adobe. Unfortunately it’s the nice graphs page. Had to whisk past it. Anyone else had probs??
My Adobe kept freezing up on page 21 also — but I found that if I used the sidebar to scroll past page 21 and then inched back I could actually get there in the end (about 3 restarts later!).

M White
August 15, 2010 3:26 am

Ah yes graphs. Its all about presentation

and

For thoughs that do not know him David attenborough is a much loved natuarlist and TV personality in the UK.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Attenborough

August 15, 2010 3:34 am

Mikael Pihlström: August 15, 2010 at 2:22 am
So Mann et al (2008) is actually the most skilled until now, not e.g. McIntyre and McKitrick?
Hardly.
“Our backcasting methods, which track quite closely the methods applied most recently in Mann (2008) to the same data, are unable to catch the sharp run up in temperatures recorded in the 1990s, even in-sample. As can be seen in Figure 15, our estimate of the run up in temperature in the 1990s has a much smaller slope than the actual temperature series. Furthermore, the lower frame of Figure 18 clearly reveals that the proxy model is not at all able to track the high gradient segment. Consequently, the long flat handle of the hockey stick is best understood to be a feature of regression and less a reflection of our knowledge of the truth.”
My emphasis.
Their statement doesn’t jibe with yours, that “Models are always abstractions
of the truth. The question is whether they give the general picture,
well e.g. Hansens scenarios seem to perform in this respect.”
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/12/target-monckton/#comment-456258
BTW, you still owe me the answer to this: “…since the AGW theory predicts an upper atmospheric tropical hot spot, and since the models predict the existence of that upper atmospheric hot spot, kindly tell us where it is to be found. In the real world, please, not in the truthy abstraction.”

August 15, 2010 3:43 am

Mikael Pihlström: August 15, 2010 at 1:49 am
If paleo reconstructions are universally dead (I am OK with that) they are dead for everyone. You have to forget your MWP argument to.
Hardly. You’re ignoring the fact that the existence of the MWP isn’t based on proxies, it’s based on the evidence of archaeological and geological findings, as well as written records.

DirkH
August 15, 2010 3:48 am

Mikael Pihlström says:
August 15, 2010 at 1:49 am
“[…] If proxies have no predictive value, why do the authors persist in
doing their own reconstruction? If paleo reconstructions are universally
dead (I am OK with that) they are dead for everyone. You have to forget
your MWP argument to. […]”
Not so. We still have historical accounts, for instance of wine grown in England and Greenland being settled by Vikings.

James Sexton
August 15, 2010 3:53 am

eudoxus says:
August 15, 2010 at 12:54 am
Mikael Pihlström says:
August 15, 2010 at 1:49 am
OMG!!! How is it you obviously bright guys can read something and totally, completely miss the point of the exercise? I’m a bit tired, but I’ll try to explain for you guys, too.
Mikael, “If proxies have no predictive value, why do the authors persist in
doing their own reconstruction? If paleo reconstructions are universally
dead (I am OK with that) they are dead for everyone. You have to forget
your MWP argument to.”
First, they did “their own” reconstruction to check the validity of the proxy data to see if it could predict reality. The conclusion is, it can’t. Similarly, (if you’d note figure 15 up in the posted article) you’ll see how the poxies totally missed the significant uptick in temps as we saw in the 1990’s. The authors concluded, (and I believe correctly so) that if the proxies can’t detect this significant warming, there is no reason to believe they could detect significant warming going back in time either. They used these graphs to illustrate the errors in the graphs. They did not use the graphs to attempt to illustrate their perception of reality. Here is what our friends had to say about figure 16…….“We decompose the uncertainty of our model’s backcast by plotting the
curves drawn using each of the methods outlined in the previous three
paragraphs in Figure 16. As can be seen, in the modern instrumental period
the residual variance (in cyan) dominates the uncertainty in the backcast.
However, the variance due to ￿β uncertainty (in green) propagates through
time and becomes the dominant portion of the overall error for earlier periods.
The primary conclusion is that failure to account for parameter uncertainty
results in overly confident model predictions.”
………ok, guys, did you read that? Specifically the last sentence. Our friends McShane and Wyner are not particularly happy with figure 16. They have problems with the results. They don’t perceive it as valid.
The whole paper was really about 2 questions. One would be to see if the statistical methods used by paleo-climatologists were sufficient. It appears they were not. Two, with proper statistical methods could one reconstruct historical temps using the available proxy data. Apparently not.
I know you guys don’t like the answers the paper gives, and I’m sure the team will respond with a rebuttal. But you shouldn’t try to read into the paper something that the paper clearly doesn’t say or imply. To me, the paper looks like it is very well done, but I’m not a statistician. Personally, I had no idea what a Brownian Motion pseudo-proxy was prior to this paper.
Mikael, I don’t think they are killing all paleo (or proxy) reconstructions. I believe what they are saying is one can get a general idea about certain things with stuff like tree rings ect. But, when one gets into specifics and details, such as 1 or 2 notches on a thermometer, proxies lack the ability to retrieve that kind of detailed information. They used the proxy data from Mann 2008 because it was the most comprehensive. When using measure temps, they used CRU data, only up to 2000, because proxy data is virtually non-existent after 2000. The question of the MWP really only arose since the hockey-stick reconstructions left them out. Prior to that the MWP was generally accepted. While some have tried to discern the MWP from proxy data, most of the evidence for the MWP is anecdotal from historians and things like unearthed farms in Greenland that was previously under a few feet of ice for a few hundred years or so.

Curious Canuck
August 15, 2010 3:56 am

Excellent input from people clearly prepared to seperate the work from the motivations. Congratulations to the authors and a reader’s thanks for it’s production and distribution to all involved.
Mike Roddy writes, among other drivel, that “The ocean is becoming more acidic, and has experienced a 40% decline in fish biomass since 1950 due to CO2′s effect on phytoplankton.”
There is no proof to your claim that ‘ocean acidification’ has led to a 40% decline in fish biomass due to CO2. There’s some evidence, but this evidence is skethy and piecemeal and nothing concluside.
On the other hand, the proponderance of evidence on fish stock decline points to overfishing, primarily the introduction of ‘mobile gear’ (purse seine and trawling) technologies and their use in large scale fishing operations. It’s been both practical and scientific lore for a long time that these methods of harvest far outstrip recruitment in the effected species as well as trawling’s (the larger the worse) ability to annihilate bottom habitats.
Absolutely nothing in the research refutes the role of overfishing in biomass depletion and this is further indicated by the selective nature of collapse of target and by-catch species.
Shame on your attempt to mitigate the damaging effects that ‘big steel’ bottom trawling and mobile gear has had on global fish stocks. This is the antithesis of fact and reality and the sort of fluff that has been used as an excuse to systematically destroy so much of the inshore (small boat) cod, hake, herring, redfish and countless other fisheries that made up the lifeblood of so many communities here (in Canada)and abroad.
Your opinions on fisheries management and marine ecosystems demonstrates a blindness to reality. This perception is further reinforced by your attack on ‘untrained’ comment (which you gave example of in your above-mentioned paragraph). Just because Mann et all says 2+2=5 it does not require (logically or academically) another Climate Modeller to explain that the answer is four.
Receding ice? Another matter of debate, with ample evidence for ANY opinion taken as fact. When the science you love matures and discovers its fallibility and its roots out its own charaltans and rogues, then it will be a proper science. Until then, you had best keep playing in the echo-chamber over at RC, where two plus two still equals five.

Stanislav Lem
August 15, 2010 4:09 am

These two authors have rock solid reputations. Essentially they say you can achieve similar results with auto-correlated noise. In light of this conclusion it’s pretty irrelevant which is the most skilled reconstruction, as simple as that.

Eric Dailey
August 15, 2010 4:28 am

I love when the Fat Lady sings.

Mikael Pihlström
August 15, 2010 4:31 am

Philemon says:
August 15, 2010 at 2:44 am
Mikael Pihlström says:
August 15, 2010 at 2:22 am
“…why not use fig. 17, which brings it alltogether: the warming of the last decades
is bigger than any backcast, H&W 2010 included.”
Look at the uncertainty bands.
“In fact, our uncertainty bands are so wide that they envelop all of the other backcasts in the literature. Given their ample width, it is difficult to say that recent warming is an extraordinary event compared to the last 1,000 years. For example, according to our uncertainty bands, it is possible that it was as warm in the year 1200 AD as it is today.” (McShane and Wyner, AOAS 2010, p. 37)
—————
You are right, but uncertainty works both ways: It could have been as
warm in 1200 AD, or considerably cooler.

Stu
August 15, 2010 4:57 am

Mike Roddy wrote,
“Similarly, climate scientists are getting bored with arguments from untrained individuals that the “trace gas” CO2 does not play the major role in the recent and rapid temperature increases. This role was proven in a laboratory in the 19th century by Arrhenius, and has not been seriously disputed since.”
I can see climate scientists getting bored with history pretty soon. You already have Gavin Schmidt claiming that the warmth of the WMP is an ‘uninteresting’ question scientifically. And Tamino seems to be uninterested in anything prior to the year 1975…
http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/08/13/changes/
So… these guys may be bored with history (I don’t blame them, I thought history was quite dull), but that kind of begs the question of why all the fuss in the first place?
Mainstream science. Spending your money on figuring out the answers to questions that bore scientists.
Terrific! 😉

Editor
August 15, 2010 4:57 am

Jimbo says:
August 15, 2010 at 2:42 am

Suggestion: Will you consider creating a “Hockey Stick” page under your Categories pull down menu on the right side of the page?

There’s an entry for paleoclimatology, see
http://home.comcast.net/~ewerme/wuwt/categories.html
http://home.comcast.net/~ewerme/wuwt/cat_paleoclimatology.html

Robert of Ottawa
August 15, 2010 4:59 am

Does this paper kill paeloclimatology? No. There are many more direct proxy methods of estimating past temperatures.
Does this paper kill dendroclimatology – very possibly.

orkneygal
August 15, 2010 5:02 am

Stanislav Lem-
Precisely.
Since they are all bad, there must be one that is “least worst”. That hardly means it is skillful.

TerryS
August 15, 2010 5:02 am

Re: eudoxus
“McShane and Wyner, 2010, figure 16, illustrates an absolutely (in terms of the sign of slope) unprecedented (over the last millennium) rate of increase in global temperature”
From the actual paper:

On the other hand, perhaps our model is unable to detect the high level of and sharp run-up in recent temperatures because anthropogenic factors have, for example, caused a regime change in the relation between temperatures and proxies. While this is certainly a consistent line of reasoning, it is also fraught with peril for, once one admits the possibility of regime changes in the instrumental period, it raises the question of whether such changes exist elsewhere over the past 1,000 years. Furthermore, it implies that up to half of the already short instrumental record is corrupted by anthropogenic factors, thus undermining paleoclimatology as a statistical enterprise.

In other words, since the reconstruction can not pick up sharp up ticks in temperature you can not call it unprecedented.
You say: “It displays no evidence of a medieval warm period during the range 1000-1200 CE, but seems, rather, to predict a dip in temperature during that range of years.”
The error bars are so big in the graph that it encompasses everything from the MWP being colder than the LIA to the LIA being warmer than today and pretty much everything in between. From the paper itself:

In fact, our uncertainty bands are so wide that they envelop all of the other backcasts in the literature. Given their ample width, it is difficult to say that recent warming is an extraordinary event compared to the last 1,000 years. For example, according to our uncertainty bands, it is possible that it was as warm in the year 1200 AD as it is today.

You say: “Figure 16 illustrates the remarkable feature that, at the onset of the industrial revolution, the increase in the Earth’s temp was so great it created a reversal in its slope. Fascinating.”
The thick red line in the Figure 16 that you seem to think proves AGW also has 1000AD being warmer than today. Fascinating.

Mikael Pihlström
August 15, 2010 5:05 am

James Sexton says:
August 15, 2010 at 3:53 am
—–
I don’t really disagree with what you say here. Should perhaps have
read the article more comprehensively. But, actually the results are
rather to my liking, if they will stand. It seems wise to reduce the
confidence given to proxy studies at least for the time being.

richard verney
August 15, 2010 5:05 am

Their article is interesting since it is based (for the purpose of argument) upon an “acceptance” of the veracity of the data. Of course, if that data is wrong, then their methodology would suggest even less dramatic rise in recent temperatures and higher backcast temperatures.
Of course, the key issue is the quality of the proxy data and the risk of drawing too many inference from scant quantities of data. GIGO.
The proxy data can be no more than a very rough and ready guide and for the purposes of serious prediction should be thrown out. This follows from the known fact that the tree proxy data as from 1960 does not match the instrument record. This fact alone means one of three things. Namely, either:
a) The proxy data is wrong -thereby confirming the unreliability of all pre 1960 tree proxy data such that it would be unsafe to assume that global temperatures pre 1850 are as ascertained from tree proxy data: or
b) The instrument record post 1960 is wrong – more specifically the ‘corrected’ ‘adjusted’ instrument record is wrong and that if the ‘corrections’ ‘adjustments’ were done properly the modern instrument record would be consistent with the lower temperatures suggested by the post 1960 tree proxy record: or
c) Both the proxy record and the modern instrument record (by which I refer to the ‘corrected’ ‘adjusted’ data) are wrong and unreliable such that we have no qualative data upon which conclusions about past temperatures (ie., those pre 1960 back to say 1000) or modern temperatures (ie those post 1960) can safely be drawn.
My own take on the situation is that set out in c) above and that means that we need to go back to the drawing board. It may be that there is simply insufficient reliable data (both proxy and instrument) covering the southern hemisphere. If that is the case, we should simply ignore the southern hemisphere altogether and just look at the northern hemisphere data. We need a re-evaluation of the proxy data for the northern hemisphere (including taking into account written and archaeological records). We also need to carefully review the instrument record for the northern hemisphere and just look at data from sites where we can be reasonably certain that no adjustments/corrections are necessary. These sites will inevitably be rural sites and ones which have the longest uninterrupted temperature record. It may be that these sites will be far and few between but if global warming is a global issue (and I am of the view that it is probably not a ‘global’ phenomenon and certainly the consequences are local rather than global) for the purposes of considering probable effect one can assume that any noted trend would similarly occur over the entire land area of the northern hemisphere (although I do hate making assumptions).
Mind you given that the land temperature record is corrupted by changes in land use and UHI and given that 4/5ths of the globe is water and given the sheer volume of the seas (which act as huge storage reservoirs) one wonders why it is worthwhile looking at land temperatures if one is investigating global warming. It is the seas that are the key driver of climate and it will be only through a proper understanding of sea temperatures, currents and cloud formation that we will gain insight into what extent there is global warming and what effect this will have.
I say back to square one and not to do anything until we have a better understanding of climate drivers and can put together a data set of temperatures upon which we can be confident. Would it not be silly to spend $trillions on curbing CO2 only to find out that there is no problem with rising temperatures, or no problem with CO2 (ie., CO2 is not responsible for the rising temperature). The latter is particularly stupid since we may face a scenario whereby there are rising temperatures (due to natural variation or some manmade villain other than CO2) and these rising temperatures cause serious problems such that we then need to spend $trillions on dealing with the effect. We have then spent two sets of $trillions one wasted on dealing with an assumed cause which was not in fact the cause and therefore did not remedy the situation, and the other dealing with the effect.
I also consider that we need to re-evaluate whether rising temperatures would in fact be the disaster that so many people predict. Given that bio-diversity favours warm conditions and given that civilisations and mankind flourished in warm conditions (it is no accident that none of the old civilisations flourished in high latitudes – and to the extent that the Viking civilisation flourished this was during a warm spell in the northern hemisphere), it is probable that a rise in temperature would overall be a good and beneficial thing.
Of course, this does not mean that we should not strive to find viable alternative energy sources (for some solar is an option and others tidal – although wind seems too unreliable to have any future – but in the main this will have to be nuclear preferably fusion) and to lessen our dependence upon fossil fuels (oil reserves would be much better utilised for plastics and the like rather than ‘wasted’ in providing energy) not only because of the environmental effects of the latter but also because of the political uncertainties of supply.

Dave Springer
August 15, 2010 5:09 am

It’s good news if the earth is warming up a bit regardless of why.
Green plants and animals = good.
Rocks and ice = bad.
Any questions?

TerryS
August 15, 2010 5:29 am

Re: joshua corning says:

The real fun will be watching the next IPCC panel doing back flips to keep this out of their next report.

It will be easy for them. They will simply arrange for one of their pet journals to publish a paper, refuting this one, just before the cutoff date for IPCC submissions. The paper won’t have to be accurate or have sound statistics, it simply has to be published too late for any responses to it to make it into the next IPCC report.

Ken Harvey
August 15, 2010 5:44 am

“While the literature is large, there has been very little collaboration with universitylevel, professional statisticians”
Why would they want to spend some of their grant money on professional numbers men? Apart from the unnecessary expense, people whose only specialty is numbers could not be expected to understand the special needs of climatology.
Note well that your drugs and food additives are approved with even greater prudent savings on unnecessary expenditure on professional statisticians.

stephen richards
August 15, 2010 5:46 am

singularian says:
August 15, 2010 at 1:03 am
It’s late Saturday night, this post has been here 4 1/2 hours, and there are 93 comments. Busy night for Anthony and the Moderators.
Sunday evening here – want to know what the weather’s like tomorrow?
Best one yet looooool

Skeptical Statistician
August 15, 2010 5:49 am

“The authors of the 20- odd studies that confirmed Mann’s data are not really interested in what professional statisticians and mathematicians are saying about it.”
Yeah, that’s been the problem all along.
How long before Gavin et al say that this study is “fatally flawed”, “gravely flawed”, “seriously flawed”, etc.? That is the usual rhetorical trick.

Joe Horner
August 15, 2010 5:56 am

Mikael Pihlström says:
August 15, 2010 at 1:49 am
If proxies have no predictive value, why do the authors persist in
doing their own reconstruction? If paleo reconstructions are universally
dead (I am OK with that) they are dead for everyone. You have to forget
your MWP argument to.

Not at all, Mikael. If proxies have no predictive value then all it means is that they cannot be used to invalidate a MWP that has been long-inferred from other evidence. As for why people “persist in doing their own reconstructions”, surely doing that (and getting vastly differing results from the same data) is the logical way to investigate the reliability of those proxies? Which is a valid scientific endeavour.
Mikael Pihlström says:
August 15, 2010 at 2:22 am
BTW Smokey, if you want to link a figure from the article, why not
use fig. 17, which brings it alltogether: the warming of the last decades
is bigger than any backcast, H&W 2010 included.

So, your call: Either:
(a) the proxies are unreliable predictors because they fail to track the current temp rise. In which case they are also worthless for back-casting. In which case there is absolutely no evidence to claim current warming is “unprecedented”, or,
(b) the proxies are reasonable predictors. In which case they may be ok to support a claim of unprecedented warming. But in that case, the insturmental record is showing warming that isn’t really there because the (reliable) proxies would show it if it was. In which case, the instrumental record is (as has been widely discussed) contaminated beyond usefulness.
Your call, (a), (b) or both of the above?

Michael Jankowski
August 15, 2010 6:07 am

[Response: The M&W paper will likely take some time to look through (especially since it isn’t fully published and the SI does not seem to be available yet), but I’m sure people will indeed be looking. I note that one of their conclusions “If we consider rolling decades, 1997-2006 is the warmest on record; our model gives an 80% chance that it was the warmest in the past thousand years” is completely in line with the analogous IPCC AR4 statement. But this isn’t the thread for this, so let’s leave discussion for when there is a fuller appreciation for what’s been done. – gavin]
I knew the RC folks would latch on to that paragraph.
That “conclusion” (which isn’t in the conclusions section, BTW) is based purely on the acceptance of the data, the relationship of proxies to temperature over the calibration period, and the applicability of their model. They immediately start rolling through a number of caveats and criticisms which essentially say the sensitivity just isn’t there to draw substantial conclusions outside of the temperature record.

August 15, 2010 6:09 am

eudoxus says at 12:54 am:
The graph “…displays no evidence of a medieval warm period during the range 1000-1200 CE, but seems, rather, to predict a dip in temperature during that range of years.”
eudoxus, don’t you understand? The McShane & Wyner paper did not use the mountains of data confirming the high MWP temperatures.
They did a straight statistical study using only the carefully selected proxies used by Mann et al. And they still came out with high MWP temperatures — which Mann had claimed were completely non-existent in his hokey stick. Compare Mann’s chart in the article with the chart constructed with the correct statistical methodology.
Try to understand: this paper debunks Mann’s faked conclusions by using his own cherry-picked data. It does not purport to be a representation of the long-established MWP.

latitude
August 15, 2010 6:14 am

I don’t understand the discussion of the MWP.
The fact that Mann said his data did not show one, and they used Mann’s data.
The fact that it raises the 1000 year temperatures, when it should not at all, is all you need to know.

Brad
August 15, 2010 6:27 am

So what happens when you use the real data? I guess the whole thing was made up?
Amazing…simply amazing lie told by “men of science.” How do we get these guys to tell the truth? What is worng with the current funding/publication mechanisms that allowed this lie of AGW to be foisted on the world?

Latimer Alder
August 15, 2010 6:32 am

@Mike Roddy
‘The authors of the 20- odd studies that confirmed Mann’s data are not really interested in what professional statisticians and mathematicians are saying about it’
What an astonishing remark!
For a community that is ever quick to criticise others for lacking the ‘right’ qualifications in climatology, (whatever those may be) to be indifferent to professional statisticians verdict on their work is quite amazing.
As far as I can tell, having established the basic data to be used, there is no climatological knowledge required to manipulate the numbers and produce the graphs that Mann and his chums have relied on for over a decade. The knowledge and skills required are purely statistical.
And here we have two professional statisticians demonstrating that this part of the work has not been done to a professional standard and that many of the supposed conclusions cannot be derived from the data. And that the basic premise – that tree ring data can somehow tell us about past temperatures – is unsound.
Wow! no doubt there will be a considerable brouhaha once the paper is properly published…now it is in the public domain it cannot be suppressed anyway…but it is difficult to imagine what robust defence the Team can come up with.
That the authors are unqualified in their field…nope..better qualified than Mann et al
That the authors have cherry picked the data…nope…they used the same data as Mann
That the authors are funded by Big Oil..even if true, unlikely to be taken seriously as an argument apart from by True Believers
That its all terribly unfair and the poor polar bears are going to fry just about ten minutes before they would have drowned……about the best that they can do.
Its been a great summer so far. The total debunking of CRU already, and now this earth-shattering paper.
That they choose

August 15, 2010 6:40 am

@TerryS
“They will simply arrange for one of their pet journals to publish a paper, refuting this one, just before the cutoff date for IPCC submissions. The paper won’t have to be accurate or have sound statistics, it simply has to be published too late for any responses to it to make it into the next IPCC report.”
Worse, if there is a repeat of the kind of behind the scenes shenanigans identified by Christopher Booker, Richard North et al then we can expect “useful” research to find its way in even after, the cutoff date.

Richard M
August 15, 2010 6:52 am

We’ve already seen attempts at ad homs, strawmen, out of context claims and just plain denial from the AGW supporters. It’s almost laughable. What we haven’t seen is any attempt at scientific understanding of what this paper represents. Very telling.
Add this statistical paper to the problems presented by unit roots and the statistics used in climate science is now pretty much trashed.
On another angle, as Lew Skannen indicated, the models are now in question. I’d further that by saying they are completely trashed also. They need to figure out how to predict natural warming events like the MWP as well CO2 warming events if the AGW hypothesis is to be supported. Looks like they have a lot of work to do.

August 15, 2010 6:57 am

wwf says:
August 15, 2010 at 2:54 am
I still see an unprecedented warming and at an unprecedented rate over the last century and a half.

Then be so kind to explain why this warming appear to have taken place in three distinct periods since 1850, and wich only the last warming-period (1970-2000) has been attributed to that trace gas called CO2.
To everyone else, figure 15, do i spot the trick there? Nice to see that this report also would have the need of a neat trick to show a unprecedented warming if they had to. But they don’t have to 🙂

John Whitman
August 15, 2010 6:59 am

joshua corning says:
August 15, 2010 at 1:53 am
The real fun will be watching the next IPCC panel doing back flips to keep this out of their next report.

joshua,
Good comment, yes, we should start thinking down the road a bilt.
Not just fun to watch the IPCC regarding papers like this, we must follow it closely. We must be the auditing body to follow the progress of the preparation of the next IPCC report to ensure any irregularities in the IPCC process are exposed promptly. Vigilance, watch the IPCC now closely.
John

Ben
August 15, 2010 7:08 am

The entire MWP argument is just a distraction from the facts of the paper. It may or may not have existed, this thread should not be about the MWP at all, it should be about this research paper and the implications it entails. Sure, it will have some effect on the MWP, but that is besides the point.

latitude
August 15, 2010 7:11 am

Brad says:
August 15, 2010 at 6:27 am
So what happens when you use the real data? I guess the whole thing was made up?
=========================================================
Brad, there’s no real data, they used Mann’s data.
This is not a reconstruction of temperature data, this is a reconstruction of Mann’s data.
It’s not meant to prove or disprove or anything to do with the MWP.
It’s only looking at Mann’s reconstruction of his own data.
Mann ran his data and came up with a flat line with a up-tic on the end, the hockey stick.
They ran his own data, and came up with warmer temperatures at the beginning than the end, no hockey stick.
If this paper proves to be true, then it can only mean one of two things:
1 Mann lied and cheated
2 Mann doesn’t know what he’s doing and is inept

August 15, 2010 7:11 am

TerryS: August 15, 2010 at 5:02 am
You say: “Figure 16 illustrates the remarkable feature that, at the onset of the industrial revolution, the increase in the Earth’s temp was so great it created a reversal in its slope. Fascinating.”
Gee, the same thing happened in 1350 and 1690, so there must have been something other than industrialization to cause it — say, some natural variation. Fascinating, huh?

Richard M
August 15, 2010 7:13 am

If I understand this paper corerctly it demonstrates “Mike’s Nature trick” really was a trick in the usual meaning of the word. LOL.

John Whitman
August 15, 2010 7:20 am

I congratulate McShane and Wyner not only for the substance and readability of their paper.
More importantly, given that they had to know that publishing it would invite frenzied vehemence from the “team” of entrenched climate scientists, I congratulate them on having the courage to stand up and speak critically of the so called “consensus”.
I think it only takes a man with integrity and independence speaking out without fear to stop any falsity in climate science.
John

Stephan
August 15, 2010 7:22 am

Great idea!
“NOTE: this will be the top post at WUWT for a couple of days, see below for new stories – Anthony”

Mikael Pihlström
August 15, 2010 7:24 am

Joe Horner says:
August 15, 2010 at 5:56 am
So, your call: Either:
(a) the proxies are unreliable predictors because they fail to track the current temp rise. In which case they are also worthless for back-casting. In which case there is absolutely no evidence to claim current warming is “unprecedented”, or,
(b) the proxies are reasonable predictors. In which case they may be ok to support a claim of unprecedented warming. But in that case, the insturmental record is showing warming that isn’t really there because the (reliable) proxies would show it if it was. In which case, the instrumental record is (as has been widely discussed) contaminated beyond usefulness.
Your call, (a), (b) or both of the above?
———
It is (a), for the moment.

Pamela Gray
August 15, 2010 7:26 am

Oh, this is an old trick. Timing your publication is every bit the main concern, especially for those who have an “in” with the journal editor. Trust me on this regarding the magic 3 things: 1. who gets published, 2. in what journal, and 3. when, are the three main considerations of many research efforts. The research itself can go to hell in a hand basket and still get published, as long as the unwritten 3 main considerations are given top priority. The next round of IPCC authors and their studies are already being planned around the magic 3 things. Who cares if the conclusions are nothing but piles of poo and statistically infantile.

August 15, 2010 7:28 am

TerryS says: August 15, 2010 at 5:29 am
Re: joshua corning says: The real fun will be watching the next IPCC panel doing back flips to keep this out of their next report.
It will be easy for them. They will simply arrange for one of their pet journals to publish a paper, refuting this one, just before the cutoff date for IPCC submissions. The paper won’t have to be accurate or have sound statistics, it simply has to be published too late for any responses to it to make it into the next IPCC report.

OTOH, they might decide it cannot be fought any longer. They might say
“ah, now at last we have a real peer-reviewed statisticians’ paper. Why didn’t McIntyre get published and peer-reviewed, then we could have taken him seriously. In fact, he’s not really helped anyone by refusing to publish all this time. If we’d known our stats were shaky, of course we’d have got expert help…” etc etc
Now of course, we should remember Wegman, Gerry North, and all the rest. But people have short memories, and anyway, the press at the time of the Congress inquiries made it sound like Mann’s hokey stick had been vindicated by North.

Mike Roddy
August 15, 2010 7:44 am

A reader questioned my comment that the oceans have 40% less fish biomass. This is actually only a logical assumption, since it’s impossible to measure fish biomass, due to their dispersion. The study in question measures phytoplankton, which form the basis of the oceanic food chain. I should have noted that in my comment. Here is the study:
http://www.cleveland.com/world/index.ssf/2010/07/oceans_phytoplankton_drops_40.html
Climate scientists have plenty of training in statistical methodology. Those who claim superior abilities, such as McIntyre and Wegman, have not been successful in producing charts in peer reviewed publications that show anything other than the many versions of the hockey stick that have appeared in scientific publications. Their attempted corrections tend to be heavy on jargon, and in some cases question dispute the randomness of tree ring selection when they have little knowledge of the raw sampling.
“The hockey stick is broken” is a great rallying cry, but has zero substance in the world of qualified scientists who actually produce the charts in question. Some climate scientists have actually investigated the broken hockey stick claim in detail. Here’s what they found: nothing. If, on the other hand, one chooses to believe that IPCC and NASA scientists are part of a grant-seeking world-government-installing cabal, than it is difficult to dispute your argument. It’s considerably more difficult to believe it.

E. Robichaud
August 15, 2010 7:44 am

Thank you, thank you. I realized two years ago that climate science was a statistical exercise and that garbage in, garbage out. However, trying to explain this in the comments section of my local MSM newspapers, I was immediately shot down with the usual comments of “You are not a scientist” and “scientists say…” and “X scientists have issued reports proving that AGW is real”. This would be followed up by multi page arguments between an anti AGW scientist vs. a pro AGW scientist bringing out ice measurements, currents, air temperatures etc. They are all in awe of scientists whereas the poor old statisticians and mathematicians are ignored.

August 15, 2010 7:46 am

I don’t understand! where’s the hockey stick? (sarc)

Paul Jackson
August 15, 2010 7:51 am

Michael Jankowski says:
I wonder how many emails went back-and-forth between team members today?
I wonder if they were smart enough to encrypt them this time around.

Anders L.
August 15, 2010 7:54 am

To me, it still looks very much like a hockey stick. The only real difference is that the handle now has a downward slope.

John Whitman
August 15, 2010 8:02 am

Moderators,
If this post goes ballistic, as it has started . . . . . you guys better cancel some dates and stock up on Red Bull and popcorn.
Good moderating to ya . . .
John

Pamela Gray
August 15, 2010 8:04 am

But… but… but… weren’t the proxies properly homogenized, parametrized, adjusted, back filled, and quality enhanced in Mann’s version? Surely these statisticians were able to use Mann’s original proprietary data code file, yes? Makes me wonder if they even bothered to ask him. I’m sure he would have said yes, right?

August 15, 2010 8:11 am

To a layman such as I, the arguments presented so far by the Mann believers who have rushed to defend their idol are quite droll in their utter lack of understanding of the paper and of any attempt to point out that that it was solely the Mann-made data that was used.

TerryS
August 15, 2010 8:15 am

Bill Tuttle says:
August 15, 2010 at 7:11 am
TerryS: August 15, 2010 at 5:02 am
You say: “Figure 16 illustrates the remarkable feature that, at the onset of the industrial revolution, the increase in the Earth’s temp was so great it created a reversal in its slope. Fascinating.”
Please get your quotes right. I did not say that, I was quoting eudoxus

Feet2theFire
August 15, 2010 8:22 am

OK. After having looked at this a good deal, I come away with these observations:
1. They use Mann’s data, which means CRU-adjusted data
2. The data uses temps from 80%+ poorly sited stations, distorting the post-1990 record
3. Their frustrations about forecasting and backcasting have to do with the post-1990 record, which is distorted by poorly sited stations and unknown adjustments, plus the loss of nearly 90% of met stations in the post-1990 period.
4. Though they came up with a hockey stick that shows 1000AD as high as now, yet no one is farming Greenland now, so no matter how much this undercuts Mann/CRU, it is still inadequate (which they seem to be saying, in fact)
5. The new hockey stick is missing the LIA (as I read it); it shows temps in 1900 as low as the LIA. The bottom of the curve (annual and rolling both) is after 1800, which we all know is not true.
6. Amazingly, the 2000 un-rolling curve is pretty much exactly equal to 1000AD
7. One of their main points is the width of the uncertainty bands, which I have yelled and screamed about for a long time. A better graphing would show the 95% certainty bands, IMHO.
8. They do conclude that the predictive capabilities from the Mann dataset is just too low to be usable. For the IPCC, this is definitely not a good result.
9. I posit that corrected and more inclusive data for post-1990 would remedy much of their difficulties, which are tied to the post-1990 steep rise; i.e., I still suggest the steep rise does not exist in the real world, only in the post-adjusted CRU numbers.

TomRude
August 15, 2010 8:22 am

Latest news:
Not only the surface temperature record has been shown inaccurate by Ross McKitrick latest papers and others, the statistical fabric of the proxies collage with this temperature record has now been shown a dubious use of statistical tools that doesn’t resist to proper analysis.
CO2 might be increasing but the temperature curve that is supposed to reflect this CO2 increase is now exposed as baseless. We are finally back to the basics of meteorology and it is time for many here to read Leroux “dynamic analysis of weather and climate” Springer 2010, 2ed. as all the weather events we are witnessing were predicted and explained.

Policyguy
August 15, 2010 8:32 am

In my opinion, Tamino and Romm are enforcers, not thought leaders. I’d be interested in Revkin’s take on this. It strikes me that this is the kind of paper that he will read and then call his buddies Mann and Jones for a chat about what they think it means.
While he’s at it, perhaps he will call his other buddy Hansen for a chat about his program to manage the NASA GISS data set so well. Your recent post http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/11/more-gunsmoke-this-time-in-nepal/
would provide a quick reference point for him.
Fat chance.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/11/more-gunsmoke-this-time-in-nepal/

John Blake
August 15, 2010 8:35 am

McShane and Wyner will never again share faculty lounge crudites with Briffa, Hansen, Jones, Mann, Trenberth et al. Meantime, we note that in respecting climate hysterics’ self-evidently selective and skewed dendrochronological time-series, this seminal paper grants the collusive Green Gang unwonted legitimacy even in non-statistical contexts. Factoring in such cultists’ absurdly manipulated base data eked out from c. AD 1000 reduces any and all Warmist hypotheses to smoking ruin.

JDN
August 15, 2010 8:55 am

I’d like to second this:
Brad says:
August 15, 2010 at 6:27 am
So what happens when you use the real data?

Jimbo
August 15, 2010 8:57 am

“Commenters on WUWT report that Tamino and Romm are deleting comments even mentioning this paper on their blog comment forum.”

Just found a comment about the paper on Tamino’s site but no response yet.
http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/08/13/changes/#comment-43742
I have posted one at Romm’s site about the paper.

Chuck L
August 15, 2010 8:58 am

It seems that Tamino has let a few comments be posted about the paper. Already, one of his sychophants has called McShane and Wyner “well-known denialists.” (shaking my head sadly)

David
August 15, 2010 9:01 am

McIntyre and Mckitrick were publised and peer reviewed, this is additonal confirmation. At some point the ref will throw in the towel, but the team will continue until then.

Duke C.
August 15, 2010 9:07 am

For those who don’t frequent RC, Here’s the quote:
“[Response: The M&W paper will likely take some time to look through (especially since it isn’t fully published and the SI does not seem to be available yet), but I’m sure people will indeed be looking. I note that one of their conclusions “If we consider rolling decades, 1997-2006 is the warmest on record; our model gives an 80% chance that it was the warmest in the past thousand years” is completely in line with the analogous IPCC AR4 statement. But this isn’t the thread for this, so let’s leave discussion for when there is a fuller appreciation for what’s been done. – gavin]”

Keith Battye
August 15, 2010 9:12 am

The message to me, and I have read the whole thing now, is that using the data the AGW set have used, Mann’s graph cannot be derived with the correct statistical tools.
They make no comment as to the robustness of the data but simply point out , indirectly, that Mann and the AGW set had to improperly torture their own data to produce the FUD hockey stick.
They are saying that Mann et al have cooked the books. Like those boys over at ENRON or Bernie Maddof they have carried out an act of fraud and 20 other good ol’ boys have validated their deceit. This was proved incontrovertibly without having to delve into the suspected alterations to the data before they were used in the fraud.
I now await a similar expose on the data by people who have the same kudos . This CO2 thing is just another boondoggle, and a small whiff of causation as seen by Arhennius is not an argument for blaming carbon for any climatic changes we may be going through. It rather reminds me of a trick we would play on the credible at school , getting people to blow into a beaker of quick lime solution and point out that there was something wrong with them as the solution turned cloudy. We always had the “cure” and the beaker of fresh water handy.
Mountebanks is what they are.

theduke
August 15, 2010 9:17 am

Anthony: just a thought: it would be very interesting to get Wegman’s take on this. He may not have the stomach for it, but it might be worth asking.

Jobnls
August 15, 2010 9:32 am

There seems to be quite a lot of debate at CP between Curry and the RC team. Gavin does not like all the questions posed as to the usefulness of tree ring proxy data. His response is quite telling.
“Paleo-reconstructions are not anything special in science – they are simply the result of lots of people trying to see what they can discern of the past through a rather murky lens. Your ‘auditors’ have decided that any judgement call in doing that must be challenged and insinuate continuously that every issue is being fixed for some ulterior motive. This is not a useful challenge to the science, because it undermines the making of any judgement in the analysis whatsoever. The ‘auditors’ do not produce alternatives because they too would have to make decisions about how to proceed which would open them up to their own criticisms. That is what needs to change if they are going to make a contribution. For an example of how that ‘citizen science’ can really work, look at what Ron Broberg and Zeke Hausfeather are doing with the weather station data – they aren’t sitting around declaring that ‘it can’t be done’ or that the GISTEMP/CRU/NCDC methods are fixed, they are going into the data, making choices, seeing what impact they have and determining what is robust. Indeed, that is science without the need for the quotes. Would that there would be more of that.”
What he is really saying is quite astonishing. I his opinion you can not simply say that the data and the analysis are crap since this would be unscientific. You have to try and find a better way of massaging the crap data in order to produce science. This as anyone can figure out is not a logic that applies to other areas of science. Recognizing crap for what it truly is can in some ways be the most productive way forward. But if you have a predetermined way forward that may be jeopardized by this recognition it makes sense to shift around the logic.

slow to follow
August 15, 2010 9:40 am

Lucy above – if I recall rightly Gerry North showed himself as a rather partisan commentator with his responses to Climategate. However Edward Wegman IMO still retains his integrity. As you said at CA it will be interesting to see how/if GN weighs in on this one.

GeoFlynx
August 15, 2010 9:40 am

The paper is referred to as McShane and Wyner 2010, but the data on their graphs end at the year 2000. Has the “hottest decade on record” been omitted?

Mike
August 15, 2010 9:48 am

says:
August 14, 2010 at 8:48 pm
I am not sure where you are getting your figures from so I cann’t really respond. Much of the heat energy from AGW is in the oceans. Exactly how energy moves from oceans to the surface air is still hard to model. But that the heat is coming is clear.
@Re: Mike Roddy’s comment. Disciplinary arrogance is not helpful. Climatologists need to be open to learning from statisticians, and statisticians need to remember that when going outside their area of training they may overlook things. My guess is this paper will help refine how proxy studies are done, but the dust is far from settled. Academic debates like this can be very healthy. Unfortunately charlatans with political agendas will try to use such debates to undermine science. [snip]

Robert Field
August 15, 2010 9:53 am

The alarmists will still say that there is an increase in temp at the start of the industrial revolution, according to the revised graph in the paper…

August 15, 2010 9:56 am

GeoFlynx,
You don’t understand. Nothing was ‘omitted.’ The data used was the exact same data that Mann used.
This paper corrects the bogus, self-serving ‘statistics’ that Mann has been spoon feeding the credulous believers in CAGW.

Richard M
August 15, 2010 9:59 am

It should be noted that the Michael Beenstock and Yaniv Reingewertz paper also demonstrated the poor statistical techniques of the climate team.
http://economics.huji.ac.il/facultye/beenstock/Nature_Paper091209.pdf
This paper does not stand alone.

August 15, 2010 10:10 am

I am not sure what the fuss is about. If you look here
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/09/hockey-stick-observed-in-noaa-ice-core-data/
the 2nd graph here shows exactly the same: in 1200 AD it was as warm as it is today.
I am sure this must have been due to all the methane that the animals put up in the air. When the humans killed off the animals the methane went down and it became ice cold. Lucky enough we now have humans who now put CO2 up in the air.

Doug S
August 15, 2010 10:18 am

Excellent news and confirms my suspicion and I’m sure many others as well. AGW is built on a faith based system not a scientific based system. How they (warmists) “know” what they know has always been the central question in my mind. The brilliance of this study is accepting the manipulated data that Mann, Hansen, Jones, Schmidt et al have manufactured and showing that the conclusions they have drawn are incorrect. Unbelievable hubris on the part of these climate change “scientists”. As a US taxpayer, I do not want to pay the salaries of people who masquerade as scientists while doing advocacy work. Throw the bums out!

Jimbo
August 15, 2010 10:20 am

Ken Hall says:
August 15, 2010 at 3:01 am
Mike Roddy is right. Mann et al do not care about mathematics and statistics, likewise the 20 odd other climatologists who confirm the hockey stick.
That is why they failed to spot the confirmation bias which ruins their science.

Michael Mann disagrees with you. He says:

Modellers have an inbuilt bias towards forced climate change because the causes and effect are clear.”
(General circulation modelling of Holocene climate variability,
by Gavin Schmidt, Drew Shindell, Ron Miller, Michael Mann and David Rind, published in Quaternary Science Review in 2004.)

http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~mann/shared/articles/Schmidtetal-QSR04.pdf

Doug Proctor
August 15, 2010 10:22 am

Read it with wonder when first saw it. Two points: one of the authors is at the University of Pennsylvania. Direct smack at Mann. Second, Fig. 15 shows an upward future “natural” trend, based on all the data. The IPCC forecast a “natural” neutral to cooling trend. So the difference between “natural” and IPCC CO2/forced is less. Not in the range where the CO2 models would work.
A game changer for the skeptic side, but not enough to alarm the alarmists.

Paul K2
August 15, 2010 10:24 am

Please clear up some confusion on my part:
The graphs above only cover the Northern Hemisphere proxy data. The authors decided NOT to include Southern Hemisphere proxy data in their analysis. Why? How can they reach this conclusion on global annual temperatures (in their Conclusions section) without looking at global proxy data? :
“On the one hand, we conclude unequivocally that the evidence for a “long-handled” hockey stick (where the shaft of the hockey stick extends to the year 1000 AD) is lacking in the data. The fundamental problem is that there is a limited amount of proxy data which dates back to 1000 AD; what is available is weakly predictive of global annual temperature.

Mike
August 15, 2010 10:27 am

[Kindly do not resort to religious arguments and/or references.]

Jaye
August 15, 2010 10:31 am

duckster…you say:
You need a theory to explain what is happening now.
Actually not. For the purposes of rejecting a hypothesis all “we” need is one counter example. All that has to be shown, is that current theories are not predictive and that they have systemic flaws. CAGW can go down in flames without another theory to take its place.

Barry B.
August 15, 2010 10:32 am

I think a letter to my congressmen with a request to suspend all funding for paleoclimatology as it relates to AGW is in order – at least until a complete review of the science can be undertaken. I hope others here in the states do the same.

Scottie
August 15, 2010 10:32 am

It seems that McShane and Wyner omitted one vital step in their reconstruction. As any fully qualified, peer reviewed climate scientist will tell you, it’s necessary to rotate this graph by 10 degrees counter-clockwise. The reasons are so obvious that I see no need to explain them here.
Once this step has been done, it can be seen that McShane and Wyner 2010 is in pretty close agreement with Mann et al. (1999).
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4586660/mcshane-wyner-adjusted.png

Evan Jones
Editor
August 15, 2010 10:33 am

Mike:
I am not sure where you are getting your figures from so I can’t really respond.
Well, for 20th century global temperature trend, I am stipulating HadCRU (though I have serious doubts concerning adjustments, since they can’t or won’t release their raw data).
The CO2 forcing numbers and the positive feedback numbers are from the IPCC. I think the raw forcing number (+1.2C per doubling of CO2) may be accurate or near accurate.
Feedback is another bag of beans, however. And when I count those beans, they do not appear to be consistent with the IPCC inventory:
The boosting of the 1.2C effect to a midstream +3.2C effect via positive feedback loops I doubt very much because it depends on factors, such as a receding of the tundra and glaciers, which have been ongoing since the LIA turned its coldest corner around 1650. And if those factors are ongoing, then so must the feedback, if any.
Therefore a 40% increase in CO2 since 1900 (the Keeling numbers plus earlier proxies) should have produced a lot more warming than +0.7C — if the IPCC positive feedback theory is correct.
If there is no positive feedback (or even net negative feedback), then a.) Global Warming is still real, and b.) It presents no emergency, whatever.
Folks who follow this line of reasoning (I daresay many, if not most of us) are pleased to refer to ourselves as “Lukewarmers”. That is to say, if we take one of those CO2 global warming multiple choice tests, we look like genuine AGW fanatics. (YES, CO2 is a greenhouse gas. YES, there has been warming. YES, man has added CO2. YES, there has been sea level rise. etc., etc., etc.) Yet our conclusions are entirely opposite of the alarmists when it comes to the bottom line — and to policy.
There are usually (not always, but usually) two sides two sides to a controversy. I encourage you to do a doubletake and reassess. Perhaps this will not change your mind. But in any event it can only put you in more deliberate possession of your position.

August 15, 2010 10:34 am

Has anybody else thought, the errors in what the hockey stick told about temperature is simply not realistic? A few sources of errors, the thermometers used, the accuracy of the tree ring proxies, and all the other allegedly ACCURATE past measurement techniques. I suspect if it were within +-3 degrees Celsius that would have been great.
And what would you call a 20 foot change in sea level, other than measurement error? I mean the accuracy there would be fine for a rise of 400 feet since the last ice age. Think about it, were are talking 5% from the last ice age. Does anybody really know what the sea level was when the Bering Land Bridge was above water, and to what accuracy?
But one thing we do now know, there were ancient settlements in Greenland, that place with a funny name for being such a modern snowball, under the glaciers right now. And that is not refutable.

August 15, 2010 10:35 am

Mann has been five-holed! (Nutmeg for soccer fans)

Dr. Dave
August 15, 2010 10:37 am

In my opinion Wegman, et al sufficiently sliced and diced Mann’s methodology five years ago. This paper simply adds more evidence that the statistics employed by Mann (and his pals who used the same techniques to produce similar results) are flawed and their results invalid. I can’t get too excited, however. We’re talking about the dubious science of paleoclimatology; tree rings, sediment cores, etc. In essence they’re applying statistical analysis to “guesses” rather than “real” instrumental data.
Far more interesting, I think, is what is being done to the surface temperature record by NOAA and NASA/GISS. These taxpayer funded government agencies have credibility in the eyes of many of the public…and this is truly dangerous. Personally, I think using taxpayer dollars to study tree rings is akin to funding astrology.

James Sexton
August 15, 2010 10:37 am

Mike Roddy says:
August 15, 2010 at 7:44 am
“…….
“Climate scientists have plenty of training in statistical methodology. Those who claim superior abilities, such as McIntyre and Wegman, have not been successful in producing charts in peer reviewed publications that show anything other than the many versions of the hockey stick that have appeared in scientific publications. Their attempted corrections tend to be heavy on jargon, and in some cases question dispute the randomness of tree ring selection when they have little knowledge of the raw sampling.”
Mike, stop. Apparently your argument seems to be: Scientists are better than statisticians in the science of statistics. Throughout the history of the climate debate, we’ve been told over and over again that we laymen aren’t capable of understanding the intricacies of climate science and it is best if we leave it to the experts. (Paradoxically, it has been obvious for some time the climate scientists themselves didn’t understand the intricacies of statistics.) Be it global temp anomaly, concentration of CO2, earth’s total ice content, ect., it is all mathematical work. Still, they can’t use the argument that we should “leave it to the experts” when they don’t engage in the same practice(especially in a hard science such as math/statistics). It’s not like they haven’t been told. They were told over and over again that they were employing the wrong statistical methodologies for over a decade now. It is simply a damn shame that they had to waste the ENTIRE WORLD’S TIME, ENERGY AND MONEY before this would be shown when a true scientist would have listened to the objections and tested the objections before out-of-hand dismissing the claims as the climate-scientists have, ON EVERY LEVEL OF THE DEBATE. Truly, the world has better things to do than to disprove every simplistic blathering coming from a totalitarian, Malthusian, socialist posing as a scientist.
Mike, can you imagine what this world could have accomplished in the last 30 years if all of the mental, financial, and social energies hadn’t been diverted to this issue, from both sides of the debate?

Pamela Gray
August 15, 2010 10:38 am

Mike, you are wrong about the idea that “much of the heat energy from AGW is in the oceans”. In order to say what part of your thesis is most wrong, please post your mechanism for how the longwave radiation greenhouse gases emit are absorbed by the oceans. More specifically, what is your heat transfer mathematical equation for your mechanism re: LW radiation net heat forcing in layers below the surface tension (because there, the weak energy turned into heat is evaporated as soon as it hits this layer).

latitude
August 15, 2010 10:41 am

“If we consider rolling decades, 1997-2006 is the warmest on record; our model gives an 80% chance that it was the warmest in the past thousand years” is completely in line with the analogous IPCC AR4 statement. But this isn’t the thread for this, so let’s leave discussion for when there is a fuller appreciation for what’s been done. – gavin]“
===============================================
This paper is not saying what Gavin wants it to say.
This paper has absolutely nothing to do with proving or disproving temps and has absolutely nothing to do with being in line with anything the IPCC says about temps.
The IPCC statement is based on assuming that certain temp prox are accurate and that modeling of that data are also correct.
This paper is assuming that Mann’s temp prox are accurate.
This paper is just showing what Mann did with his data.
It is showing that of all the models runs that Mann did, he had to pick the one that showed what he wanted it to show.
This paper is showing that even using Mann’s own numbers, they could not reproduce his results.

Ulf
August 15, 2010 10:47 am

As I understood the M&W paper (and I’m willing to be corrected, as IANAS), it describes a sophisticated method for analyzing this kind of data. They use what is presumably one of the most comprehensive data sets out there, and proceed to demonstrate what their method can do. The predictions are made simply to demonstrate that their method is capable of making them. The backcasts, similarly, are done because that is an appropriate and important step.
They verify that their results are in several ways consistent with other methods – this is also a necessary step when describing a new method. The big difference compared to previous work is that M&W’s analysis dramatically increases the error bars, showing that the data set in question has no predictive value to speak of.
If it holds up, it is a great contribution. Future work on proxy reconstructions could apply this method and produce analyses with much better predictive force. The thing that is bound to happen is that you double back and re-assess your data and underlying assumptions, when your sophisticated statistical analysis tells you that your results do not match reality.
Generally speaking, this sort of advance does not necessarily cast previous work in disrepute, even though it may overturn their conclusions. Authors of previous work can, OTOH, cast themselves in disrepute by refusing to accept that their results were wrong, even if confronted with convincing evidence.

Jeff M
August 15, 2010 10:50 am

Dang. Wish I’d seen this earlier. I hate to be at the end of a few hundred comments. Oh well. I do have a couple thoughts.
First, the new graph showing what Mann’s data turns out when the math is done correctly is still a hockey stick. The blade looks like it lost its size enhancer. The shaft is now tilted up from being flat. But it still looks like a hockey stick to me. The end of the shaft at year 1000 appears to be higher than the short blade.
If we keep in mind that this graph shows bad statistics and not reality, we can still have a bit of fun with it. At the bottom of the LIA, if we take the warmist view that the industrial revolution accounts for the upturn, then we might be able to posit that CO2 saved us from a developing ice age. Alternatively, the uptick that is the blade is simply temperatures returning to normal, not the effect of trace amounts of CO2. Another point to make about the graph is that it only shows 1000 years which, in geologic time frames is an extremely tiny period. I’m hoping these guys take on the data selection next as I’d really like to see what they have to say about that.
At this point I would avoid triumphalism. Just as I’d like to see evidence from the warmists that is replicable, I’d like to see what other statisticians have to say about this work. While I’m a skeptic of CAWG because of all the bad science and politics pretending to be science, it still could be true. If so, the so called scientists have really hurt the cause they claim to be supporting by losing the trust of the public with their dishonest techniques for both getting the results they got as well as trying to pass it off as credible. There will be attacks on this new paper, and it will be interesting to see what they are and whether or not they have any credibility. Watching the fat lady sing would be fun, but I’m not sure the CAGW crowd doesn’t have an encore or two first.
And last, I think its fun to contemplate that if this new paper holds up, it will be fun to point out that all the papers that advocate for warming were peer reviewed extensively and nobody caught the problems. It won’t help the credibility of peer review any. The next little while should be lots of fun.

Feet2theFire
August 15, 2010 10:54 am

@Latimer Alder says August 15, 2010 at 6:32 am:

As far as I can tell, having established the basic data to be used, there is no climatological knowledge required to manipulate the numbers and produce the graphs that Mann and his chums have relied on for over a decade. The knowledge and skills required are purely statistical.

This paper shows 2 things:
1. The amount of manipulation done to the numbers has created a(n artificial) dataset that is unusable. This is really remarkable in science. Millions of datapoints, and the data cannot be used to extrapolate anything. The buggery part essentially, according to the paper, is post-1990 period. They point to it again and again as something they simply cannot get to work. This should be running up red flags about the instrument data from after 1990.
2. Mann did not know what he was doing. YES, the “science” at the CRU/Mann level IS 100% statistics, yet – as pointed out in the paper – there are not enough scientific statisticians working in the field of global warming. Climatologists should not be doing their own statistics. (Pay attention to HARRY_READ_ME.txt) Statisticians should not be out collecting tree rings or ice cores.

Evan Jones
Editor
August 15, 2010 10:54 am

Much of the heat energy from AGW is in the oceans.
Yet SST has increased less than land surface. Sea level rise is perhaps 8 inches over the last century. (Uplifting/subsiding, eroding/silting areas make this difficult to calculate. And coral atolls tend to go with the flow, literally rising with the tide, as it were.)
The “big six” and other oceanic/atmospheric cycles (PDO, NAO, etc., etc.) appear to be much involved.
I tend to be more of a sea witch than a sun worshiper, myself. So be careful when you look at the trend since the late 1970s. All six (and more) of those cycles were simultaneously in cool phase. From 1979 – 2001, they all went from cool to warm, one at a time. On (natural) schedule. And now one or two are beginning to stagger and revert to cool, the PDO being pack leader.
So the next couple of decades are going to tell us a lot. (But I will also keep an eye on solar cycle 24, just in case!)

August 15, 2010 10:58 am

Don’t forget the implications this has for co2 records. They are much less certain.

August 15, 2010 10:59 am

henry
on what measurements do you base your believe that CO2 is a greehouse gas i.e that its warming properties are greater than its cooling properties?

August 15, 2010 11:02 am

Mike Roddy says at 7:44 am:

Climate scientists have plenty of training in statistical methodology. Those who claim superior abilities, such as McIntyre and Wegman, have not been successful in producing charts in peer reviewed publications that show anything other than the many versions of the hockey stick that have appeared in scientific publications. Their attempted corrections tend to be heavy on jargon, and in some cases question dispute the randomness of tree ring selection when they have little knowledge of the raw sampling.

Thanks, Mike, for your uninformed opinion. The fact is, however, that Dr Wegman is an internationally recognized statistician. His C.V. [click on his name] lists his personal interests at the end — none of which is related to climate issues. Dr Wegman is neutral on the subject. But he is not neutral on the improper use of statistics.
One of the central criticisms of Michael Mann’s CAGW clique is their amateurish, incompetent and self-serving use of statistics. They do not understand statistics. Mann refuses to use R because it does not validate his hokey stick chart. He programs in Fortran, which is akin to an English major writing in ancient Sumerian cuneiform.
The fact that Mike Roddy tries to excuse Mann’s shenanigans by referring to the climate pal review system that Mann controls only shows how thoroughly corrupt the climate peer review system and the Michael Mann clique are.
Without proper statistical verification, tree ring proxy studies are not worth the pixels on a computer screen — and that is why Mann and this tax-sucking clique run and hide out from real statisticians, and why the UN/IPCC refuses to allow any unbiased statisticians to review its CAGW sales brochures.

James Sexton
August 15, 2010 11:04 am

GeoFlynx says:
August 15, 2010 at 9:40 am
“The paper is referred to as McShane and Wyner 2010, but the data on their graphs end at the year 2000. Has the “hottest decade on record” been omitted?”
Geo, remember that this paper’s purpose was to detect if the proxies had and predictive capabilities. They used the instrumental data(CRU N.H.) to determine if the proxy data held true to the temps. The reason for omitting the data beyond 2000 is because there is almost no proxy data after 2000, so one can’t compare instrumental data to proxy data that doesn’t exist. Geo, you and others should note, the paper isn’t stating what was or wasn’t the temps of the past, they were only checking if the proxy data could predict or, conversely, detect temperatures if the proper statistical methods were applied. Apparently the answer is no. This is a pretty innocuous statement. The implications, however, are not innocuous. Specifically, if your name is Mann. But he’s not the only one caught in the “lasso”,(heh, I made a punny!) Any modeling made from the conclusions of the paleo-science specific to recent climatology are in question. So, as our friend Mike Roddy has pointed out, there are about 20 other scientists whose work that is called into question. Mostly because they believed in the validity of statistical methods they employed. At least I hope they believed in them. They probably should have taken some of their work to a statistician. But then, it may have invalidated their studies, so they didn’t. Recollect, one of the hallmarks of a psuedo-science is “Lack of openness to testing by other experts.” There are several other hallmarks, and current CAGW climatology seems to fit perfectly.

Phil
August 15, 2010 11:06 am

Andrew has summarized many of the salient points of this paper. Nevertheless, there is one point that I feel deserves a little more emphasis (from page 38)
“…the fact that the proxies seem unable to capture the
sharp run-up in temperature of the 1990s.”
The overall goal of a proxy is to estimate the temperature series in years before direct records of temperature exist. Once on reconstructs such a series, one can look at it to answer a number of questions. One such question:
Is there evidence in the (reconstructed) temperature series of examples in the past of sharp run-ups in temperature, similar to what has been observed in the last half century.”
Looking that the series for such evidence implicitly accepts that if those run-ups occurred, they would be evident in the reconstruction.
Is that assumption valid?
We have only one period where it is known that such a temperature run-up occurred, and the authors tell us that the proxy measures don’t identify it.
If the only known example of a temperature run-up isn’t manifested in the proxy data, why on earth would you assume that past temperature run-ups would be captured in the proxy data?
Anyone using the proxy data to reject the assumption that there were temperature spikes in the past is guilty of making an assumption expressly rejected by the data.

Evan Jones
Editor
August 15, 2010 11:08 am

Now, now, smokes, be nice.
But he’s right about the statistics, Mike.
Wegman is tops in his field. And at the Wegman hearings, Mann (IIRC; might have been one of the others) proudly declaimed he was not a statistician.
That does not bode well for what amounts to an involved statistical study (‘way out of my league).

Stephen Wilde
August 15, 2010 11:10 am

The simple and acknowledged failure of the proxies to match observed temperature changes from the 60’s onward should have been quite sufficient on it’s own to demonstrate that the proxies were unsuitable for the purpose of comparing the present with the past. It is sad that it has taken so much time and effort to unravel the deceit.
This gives a whole new meaning to ‘hide the decline’ and the ‘nature trick’.
Those strategies were clearly intended to avoid the clear implication that the proxies were an unsuitable starting point from which to assess the significance of current ongoing temperature variations.
If they had then accepted the obvious then their careers and the whole concept of AGW would have ended at that point because without using the available proxy evidence no recent temperature measurements could ever have been said to be in any way unusual.
The truth always gets out and here it is.

Mark.r
August 15, 2010 11:18 am

sorry but OT.
Niwa sued over data accuracy
NZPA Last updated 16:09 15/08/2010
The country’s state-owned weather and atmospheric research body is being taken to court in a challenge over the accuracy of its data used to calculate global warming.
The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition said it had lodged papers with the High Court asking the court to invalidate the official temperatures record of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa).
The lobby of climate sceptics and ACT Party have long criticised Niwa over its temperature data, which Niwa says is mainstream science and not controversial, and the raw data publicly available.
The coalition said the New Zealand Temperature Records (NZTR) were the historical base of NIWA’s advice to the Government on issues relating to climate change.
Coalition spokesman Bryan Leyland said many scientists believed although the earth had been warming for 150 years, it had not heated as much as Government archives claimed.
He said the New Zealand Meteorological Service had shown no warming during the past century but Niwa had adjusted its records to show a warming trend of 1degC. The warming figure was high and almost 50 percent above the global average, said Mr Leyland.
The coalition said the 1degC warming during the 20th century was based on adjustments taken by Niwa from a 1981 student thesis by then student Jim Salinger, a Niwa employee who was later sacked after talking to the media without permission.
The Salinger thesis was subjective and untested and meteorologists more senior to Dr Salinger did not consider the temperature data should be adjusted, it said.
The coalition would ask the court to find Niwa’s New Zealand Temperature Record invalid.
It would also seek a court declaration preventing Niwa from using the NZTR when it advised the Government or any other body on global climate issues. It would also ask the court to order Niwa to produce a full and accurate NZTR.
Mr Leyland said Niwa was refusing to repudiate the NZTR to avoid political embarrassment and loss of public confidence.
A substantive hearing was expected later this year.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/4026330/Niwa-sued-over-data-accuracy

CRS, Dr.P.H.
August 15, 2010 11:33 am

Gavin now has a live link to the .pdf download of this paper on Real Climate. I think we’ve caught his attention! I’ve been watching awareness of this paper evolve over there for the past day or so, from “We’ve heard about the paper” to “here’s the link”:
[Response: The M&W paper will likely take some time to look through (especially since it isn’t fully published and the SI does not seem to be available yet), but I’m sure people will indeed be looking. I note that one of their conclusions “If we consider rolling decades, 1997-2006 is the warmest on record; our model gives an 80% chance that it was the warmest in the past thousand years” is completely in line with the analogous IPCC AR4 statement. But this isn’t the thread for this, so let’s leave discussion for when there is a fuller appreciation for what’s been done. – gavin]
See this posting at “Expert Credibility in Climate Change – Responses to Comments”
Filed under: Climate Science skeptics — group @ 3 August 2010

Mikael Pihlström
August 15, 2010 11:33 am

Statisticians now emphasize the importance of involving them more
in e.g. proxy reconstructions. Quite rightly.
But, the accusation that Mann and others neglected to do so, just to be
able to manipulate and distort results;I don’t believe it.
It is more a question of tradition in routine science: you would
perhaps consult a statistics expert for general advice, but mostly not really
integrate him/her in the team. For a variety of reasons: (1) you don’t see
all risks of faulty application, not being an expert, (2) you may not have
the funds reserved in the project budget, (3) you can see that the expert
is bugged by some many other teams (personal experience) etc.
I think you have to look at it historically, the science projects have
grown in the past decades, both in complexity, scope and also concerning
the stakes from a societal viewpoint.

Peter Miller
August 15, 2010 11:38 am

So to sum up:
The almighty Hockey Stick was derived from:
1. Manipulated, mangled, cherry picked data, and
2. The statistical methodology it uses is somewhere between highly suspect and very wrong.
As a scientist, I strenuously object to use of the term “climate scientist”, as it suggests these people actually practice real science.

TomRude
August 15, 2010 11:38 am

On CA 1, Patrick Hadley had this very interesting comment:
“Posted Aug 15, 2010 at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Reply
Professor Wyner http://climateaudit.org/2010/08/14/mcshane-and-wyner-2010/#comment-239212 tells us that The paper has been accepted, but publication is still a bit into the future as it is likely to be accompanied by invited discussants and comment.
It seems likely that Michael Mann would be one of the invited discussants, and hence that the Hockey Team have been well aware of this paper for some time. If that is the case then one can understand why Gavin et al have been so uninterested in discussions about the proxies recently, and have been playing down the importance of the hockey stick.”

GeoFlynx
August 15, 2010 11:43 am

Smokey says:
“You don’t understand. Nothing was ‘omitted.’ The data used was the exact same data that Mann used.This paper corrects the bogus, self-serving ‘statistics’ that Mann has been spoon feeding the credulous believers in CAGW.”
GeoFlynx – Actually I understand quite well. The title of the paper is “A Statistical Analysis of Multiple Temperature Proxies: Are Reconstructions of Surface Temperatures Over the Last 1000 Years Reliable?” and the work addresses “hockey stick” graphs from a variety of NORTH AMERICAN (not global) reconstructions, many with more modern dates than the Mann graph you refer to.
When this paper concludes, “Nevertheless, the temperatures of the last few decades have been relatively warm compared to many of the thousand year temperature curves sampled from the posterior distribution of our model. “, one can only question why the most recent decade was omitted. Given that graphs, where the 2000 data limit occurs, are not direct comparison with the Mann 1998 data and that the change would be slight, I again raise the question.

Warren in Minnesota
August 15, 2010 11:47 am

I was thinking along similar lines that sandyinderby was thinking. That is that Duckster does not know when the medieval warm period (MWP) was. Duckster’s comments on the MWP seemed as if he were directing us to look at the Little Ice Age as the MWP. Maybe history is not interesting to Duckster.

latitude
August 15, 2010 11:53 am

Stephen Wilde says:
August 15, 2010 at 11:10 am
The simple and acknowledged failure of the proxies to match observed temperature changes from the 60′s onward should have been quite sufficient on it’s own to demonstrate that the proxies were unsuitable for the purpose of comparing the present with the past. It is sad that it has taken so much time and effort to unravel the deceit.
================================
Stephen, I agree.
Weren’t tree rings used up until 1960. Then because tree rings showed cooling after 1960, the tree ring