Mike Mann's "secret" meeting on the Medieval Warm Period

While not really “secret”, one might describe it that way because unlike the many things Dr. Mann has been doing lately, there wasn’t one peep of press coverage about it. He helped organize this conference, and as we know Dr. Mann doesn’t shy away from reporting to the press on anything that helps his stature. Surprisingly, the usual science writers didn’t mention it, and you’d think they would, given all the major players that converged in Portugal for this event. So, it seems like they may have missed it too. Portuguese blogger “EcoTretas” only got word of this from a tip about a related story in a Portuguese newspaper. His essay is below, and there’s a lot more after that. – Anthony

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The ClimateGate Secret Meeting

A usual reader of the blog sent me yesterday an interesting news from a Portuguese newspaper. It deals with the classic Medieval Warm Period problem, in the most green Portuguese newspaper. I immediately recognized one of the worst environmental journalists in Portugal, dealing with one of my favorite issues. Interestingly enough, Ricardo Trigo, a portuguese climatologist, was trying to explain the pseudo-science behind climate change and global warming, confusing things like Greenland’s vikings and Maunder’s Minimum.

But what really interested me in the story was a reference to Phil Jones, the person in the center of the ClimateGate controversy.

And references to a conference in Portugal, regarding the Medieval Warm Period. I spent some time trying to figure out what had happened. Turned out that I had not read the news with attention: the conference had happened a month before!

Between 22 and 24 of September, a symposium entitled “The Medieval Warm Period Redux: Where and When was it warm?” was organized in Lisbon, Portugal. The Climategate mob was here, including Phil Jones, Michael Mann, Malcolm Hughes and Raymond Bradley. I bet the main point on the agenda was how “to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period“. The abstracts for the conference are available here. Probably, the best abstract of the symposium was for Malcolm K. Hughes (highlights are my responsibility):

We meant the title of our 1994 review “Was there a Medieval Warm Period, and if so Where and When?” (Hughes and Diaz, 1994) to be read in two ways. Firstly, it was to be read quite literally. Secondly, it was meant to be ironic. The literal reading was rewarded by an attempt to identify and synthesize records thought to be appropriate to this task. Irony was used to imply that, since a clear and simple answer was not forthcoming from the review, it might be useful to reformulate the question. Please read the title of this abstract in the light of this explanation of the 1994 title. 

The trajectories of these two concepts (“Medieval Warm Period” and “Medieval Climate Anomaly “) will be traced. A case will be made for the abandonment of both of them, on the grounds that they are inappropriate, uninformative, and that they very probably divert attention from more revealing ways of thinking about the Earth’s climate over the past two millennia.

It is clear from many recent publications, especially many of the abstracts submitted for this meeting, that high-resolution paleoclimatology has moved firmly from the mode of descriptive climatology to that of physical climatology. As a result, there is little utility in picking over definitions of the geographic and temporal extent of putative epochs, especially in the Late Holocene. The pressing questions concern the dynamics of the climate system, and the relative roles of free and forced variations, whether the forcings are anthropogenic or not.

All the information I’ve got till now makes me believe that this was an almost secret meeting. No news transpired, not even here in Portugal. Given the abstracts, and the one seen above, their intentions are clear! If Ricardo Trigo kept his mouth shut, nobody would probably hear about it. So I wish to thank my loyal reader for bringing this to our attention.

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Here’s more on this conference. First have a look at the attendees. It reads like a who’s who book of paleoclimatology. I’ve highlighted some of the more recognizable names.

The source of that list is the brochure, which you can download here. With all these paleo-bigwigs meeting in one place, surely somebody would have written about it?

It appears they are trying to rehabilitate the paleoclimatology so that it plays well in the next IPCC report. The main website has this to say about it:

We propose to revisit the MCA/MWP assimilating widespread and continuous paleoclimatic evidence in a homogeneous way and scale them against recent measured temperatures to allow a meaningful quantitative comparison against the 20th-century pace and magnitude of warming. It is the goal of the organizers to focus attention on this topic, so that the latest results will be considered in the next (fifth) assessment report of the IPCC.

[Annual mean NH temperature anomalies from their 1500 to 1899 means (°C) simulated by different models (lines) and compared with the concentration of overlapping NH temperature reconstructions (grey shading). Taken from Figure 6.13 of Jansen et al., 2007: Palaeoclimate. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon et al. (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.]

Among the topics to be discussed are:

• Reconciling multiple proxy climate records—what do the differences indicate regarding the scale of MCA/MWP climate?

• What do the latest modeling results tell us about possible forcing mechanisms during this period?

• What are some other impacts of climatic variability during the MCA/MWP regarding such topics as changes in ocean basin tropical cyclone activity?

• What were some of the key regional patterns of climatic anomalies during this time? How do they compare with 20th century patterns?

• In what specific ways does the post-1980 period, considered a time when the global warming signal is evident, different from the largest anomalous multidecadal periods of the MCA/MWP?

Clearly, they seem to be embracing the existence of the MWP, but at the same time once again they appear to be trying to figure out how to minimize it.

When you see things like this (from  MBH98 co-author Malcolm K. Hughes) on the MCA/MWP:

A case will be made for the abandonment of both of them, on the grounds that they are inappropriate, uninformative, and that they very probably divert attention from more revealing ways of thinking about the Earth’s climate over the past two millennia.

And look at the attendee list and lack of press coverage, you realize it’s the same gang of people running the same game all over again.

The key is, will they learn to shoot straight this time?

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“Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” — George Orwell, ‘1984’

Lank

As for AGW and climate change…. you could also say… “A case will be made for the abandonment of both of them, on the grounds that they are inappropriate, uninformative, and that they very probably divert attention from more revealing ways of thinking about the Earth’s climate over the past two millennia”

R. Shearer

Apparently, the Vikings main mode of transportation, the knarr, was like the modern day SUV and thus caused man made warming even back then.

latitude

Well, you can run, but you can not hide…..

richard verney

Don’t they just have to revamp that old nature trick (you know the one that is not a trick at all but rather a clever thing to do) that they employed in ‘hide the decline’ ? I think that we can all guess as to what will remain of the MWP once proper homogenisation and other statistical tools have been used to massage whoops I mean to present the data in a meaningful manner easily understood by policy makers.

Scott Covert

Well if you can’t ignore it, at least try to minimize it as much as possible (As much as they can get away with without prosecution).
Clearly they have learned nothing about ethics or how to conceal their intentions.
Go hockey team!

Chris F

There will be no straight shooting here. They’ve already shown the nefarious depths to which they will stoop and the pressure to keep this charade going has to be immense.
Expect even more ridiculous conclusions to be published in the fifth assessment.
They will not go quietly into the night.

James Sexton

From what I can tell so far, the meme will be, yes there was a MWP and a LIA, but it doesn’t matter. “Nothing to see here, move along.”
Nothing like a fresh set of marching orders to get everyone back on the same page.
http://mwplisbon2010.fc.ul.pt/pdf/Abstracts.pdf

Mike M.

Where is Keith Briffa?

Remember the “The Pied Piper Of Hamelin”. In AD 1284 rats invaded Hamelin. Well, it happened again in December 17, 2008
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article5355348.ece

a jones

Well you beat me to it. It had just been posted at Tom Nelson and made my jaw drop. I posted here at once on Tips and Notes but that did not clear for a few minutes, Spam dragon problems I imagine, by which time you had it up on the front page.
Fascinating isn’t it? It raises so many issues it will take time to digest but as far the attendees are concerned the outcome cannot be good. After all there is plenty of time to take the implications apart. And publicise them.
It is what the blogosphere does so well. Cats out of bags really.
Hope all is continuing to go well with the recent medical problem.
Kindest Regards

Ike

The quoted portion of the Objectives seems to me to reveal their inability to see that their bad is empty. Viz:
“Reconciling multiple proxy climate records—what do the differences indicate regarding the scale of MCA/MWP climate?” Without any instrumental records of the ‘Medieval Climate Anomoly’ or the ‘Medieval Warm Period’, what method(s) could they possibly use to reconcile what they think their proxy records show? Note, also, that there is no mention of any possible error in those proxies.
“What do the latest modeling results tell us about possible forcing mechanisms during this period?” Since the models haven’t been shown to have any use in “predicting” existing weather/climate conditions without being “fudged” to produce them and – most especially in my mind – since output from computer models is not data nor any other sort of objective record, those results cannot possibly tell anything about anything in that period.
“What are some other impacts of climatic variability during the MCA/MWP regarding such topics as changes in ocean basin tropical cyclone activity?” Again, the utter absence of anything better than second- or third-hand proxies for measurements of “climatic variability” let alone tropical cyclone activity defeats any attempt to ascertain “other impacts”. Do you suppose the insurance companies have records of loss going back that far?
“What were some of the key regional patterns of climatic anomalies during this time?” and “How do they compare with 20th century patterns?” Once again, what are the sources, if any, of their data on regional patterns of climate, let alone anomalies? What is the “base year” or decade or century against which they are relating this missing data to? Unanswerable, to my understanding.
Much ado about nothing, redux; or so it seems to me.

Sorry to Godwinize this discussion, but it reminds me of Iran’s Holocaust Denial conference a few years ago.

Judd

Methinks they’re afraid of being made irrelevant, and thus wanna keep that research money train rolling. Make no mistake, AGW is a big time industry and the investors are not going to give up their investment easy, if ever. I wonder if they’re looking at the budget cuts in Europe & the upcoming US elections & formulating plans to keep taxpayers still on the hook for their speudo research and planet saving meetings in exotic, beachfront, tropical locations.

Harry Bergeron

I don’t read many scientific papers, but it’s interesting that Hughes’ intro is written in the style of post-modern poli-sci deconstruction.
There once was a big difference between the language of the hard and soft sciences; maybe not so much any more.

u.k.(us)

“A case will be made for the abandonment of both of them, on the grounds that they are inappropriate, uninformative, and that they very probably divert attention from more revealing ways of thinking about the Earth’s climate over the past two millennia.”
============
The key phrase being “divert attention”.
Do they not yet realize, every word they utter is examined under a microscope.
As it should be, considering the implications.

Phil's Dad

Ready.
Aim.
Shoot foot.

GaryM

First Real Climate and the other CAGWers claim that paleo reconstructions aren’t terribly relevant to the science of climate. Then the Hockey Team opens summer training camp in secret in Portugal to try to bury the MWP – again. All while Gavin Schmidt et al. publish a paper attempting to minimize the importance of water vapor in driving climate.
Somebody should tell Tom Fuller that the other side of the debate doesn’t think it’s over yet either. The warmist leviathan is like Michael Meyers in the Halloween movies. It isn’t enough to knock him down or shoot him. Once he’s down, you have to cut his head off to make sure he’s dead.

jae

LOL. There are all sorts of Gangs out there. Here we have a Team which I will call The Losers, who cannot admit or maybe, possibly, doubtfully, don’t know how stupid they look. Sorta like “The One.”

bubbagyro

I think this is damning evidence against Mann in the Scamgrant Virginia case, that Cuccinello[sp?] can use to show intent to defraud, since Mann was one of the key cover-up agents at this conference. Can someone make sure this evidence gets to the VA DA? Intent is a key ingredient in government fraud cases.

jae

Make that Loser. Or Moron.

Joel Shore

Boy, scientists doing science (and without alerting the media!)…That does seem nefarious!
REPLY: ah… way to purposely miss the most important part of the post so that you can play snark over substance. -A

I hate it when they try to “…..rehabilitate the paleoclimatology so that it plays well in the next IPCC report.”

Norm in the Hawkesbury

Ok, got my bag of grain & ready to sail . When is the global warming predicted to leave Greenland bare of cold and the fertile land that was available for the Vikings due to unfold again?

Tim

“Thank you for attending. We, and our media, await your MWP peer-reviews.”

grayman

LANK What a comment we were thinking a like.

INGSOC

Dr “Mad” Mann will hang around our necks as long as we keep electing and or supporting his benefactors. November 2 should be a harbinger of some sanity to come, but don’t expect this manndness to end any time soon. Watch for the “Biodiversity” bandwagon to roll triumphantly into town any day now, driven by the very same people that brought us acid rain/ozone holes/global warming/climate change/climate disruption/population explosion etc, etc ad nauseated!

Tom

Maybe this was a remedial statistics tutorial, under the cover of a flock of paleoclimatology papers. They have to learn how to lie more convincingly before AR5.

What was the original IPCC chart showing the MWP at the same temp level as today based on? WASG?

I can imagine the meeting documents, starting with the:
Agenda agenda….
Nothing more would need to be seen to understand the intent and import of their deliberations. Science be damned and full speed ahead on the steering of the committees.
To raise up some wise words of battlers against the darkness:
“and in the end, sir, have you no shame?”

jose

Seriously? This is the best you could do? “[A]n almost secret meeting”, organized by Mike Mann? You’re getting desperate. The symposium was actually announced in June 2010, and they have a website. Credit where credit is due: yes, Dr. Mann was one of 5 organizers. Ho hum, scientists getting together to talk science – or is that “plan one-world socialist domination!”

steveta_uk

You’re reading far too much into this. Just look at the dates. All those bloody students have been arriving at the universities, and the poor academics haven’t had a break for weeks. Still quite pleasant weather in Portugal in late September, so why not have a nice jolly for a few days with all your mates? (Paid for by luvly research grants, of course)

Dale Bourne

I can’t remember where I saw it but back around the Climategate time someone published a diagram that had all the principal actors listed and their connections to each other. I wonder how many of these Lisbon attendees were on that diagram?
The effort to rid the world of the MWP will be a difficult challenge with so many studies contradicting the lame Mannian “science”. More and more bloggers are documenting the skeptical science and making it available for public retrieval/consumption such that it does not bode well for the IPCC and Climategate scientists. Case in point: http://www.c3headlines.com/temperature-charts-historical-proxies.html

Seems like this should be pinned to the top of the front page for a few days so everyone sees it. Also, so “they” know we know.

Pat Moffitt

The threat of the MWP at present is not to the IPCC or the models– its a 4D ruling challenge in the courts ( Must polar bears be listed as endangered? And can the endangered species act can be used to set climate policy.) A warmer 10-11th century is powerful evidence the bears survival is not endangered at higher temps. The question is- how much higher? Strategically it may be more important to limit the damage and admit the MWP was as warm as current – allowing them to argue the higher anticipated temps are still a threat.
While it is important to focus on science understand the “environmental” NGOs have been focusing on strategy. The circus that is the IPCC main function now may be to deflect attention from the main thrust in the courts using the “pit bull of environmental regualation” the Endangered Species Act. It has already been ceded by the NGOs attainment of the CO2 regs by direct confrontation is no longer possible– they will now come at this sideways– watch for it.
The science and attention has been framed to look at the proxies of the late Holocene. They have framed the debate and we took the bait. We are focused on but one front in the assault on CO2–they have opened a second and perhaps more powerful one with legal teeth.
The real question we need to focus on is how much warmer was it in the early Holocene (not the MWP) and the question of polar bears. And if they lose on the bears they will turn to increasing aridity endangering some western plant, or increasing acidification endangering some near shore mussel, if they lose on that they will find some other claim in the models that will impact some other creature. The NGOs have vast amounts of cash and a universe of attorneys. We better start talking about this soon–and I would advise all to brush up on the ESA and the current legal interpretations. If you thought the Hockey Stick was bizarre wait til you see the “science” behind a sub-population or an evolutionary significant unit . Its about to get far more complex.

Detailed modeling of matters climatic suggests that the points of such meetings are:
1) To divide chunks of text from their various papers so that they can play another round of ‘join-all-the-text-together-to-create-yet-another-paper-and-get-it-published’. The current winner may be Luterbacher, who has fused the work of: Luterbacher, Xoplaki, Küttel, Zorita, González-Rouco, Jones (PD), Stössel, Rutishauser, Wanner, Wibig, Przybylak, Mann, Zhang, Hughes, Bradley, Miller, Rutherford, and Ni. (As summarized here
2) To fly to pleasant locations, at taxpayer expense, to lay the ground work for the impositions of travel restrictions on everyone else
3) Discuss the temerity of people outside their field interested in reproducing one of the more ‘seminal’ papers (if there is such a thing in this field).
4) Decide on people whose careers need to be provided with appropriate roadblocks and how to apply those roadblocks

jose says:
October 22, 2010 at 8:11 pm
Ho hum, scientists getting together to talk science
Tricks, rewriting history, it’s all just more shop talk from ClimateGate scientists, nothing to see here. Move along folks.
(sarc off)
Prof. William Happer on the Orwellian rewriting of history in the Mann Hockey Stick graph:

So… first they decided to hide the decline
…and now they have moved to hiding the meeting to hide the decline
Do they have a theme song? May I suggest:
We the Stars of Climate Are
Raising the price, of Running your Car
Data’s Bogus, no one’s Noticed
It wouldn’t matter, We are the Stars

Ross McKitrick, an overview of the Hockey Stick graph that wipes out the Medieval Warm Period.

rbateman

They want to abandon both the Medieval Warm Period and Medieval Climate Anomaly as concepts.
Step 1.) Re-label as concepts those historic and recorded events.
Step 2.) Rationalize them as unimportant to fend off growing concerns that the climate is progressing along a natural path to the Next Ice Age over the course of 8-10,000 years. By interrupting the curve (yes, the Ice Core temps from Vostok form a dome-like curve) more attention can be focused on the carrot (post LIA) anomaly.
Step 3.) Redraw the curve of the last 10,000 years to show an unnatural spike.
Step 4.) Integrate this with cherry-picked example to demonstrate Climate Warming/Change/Disruption.
Step 5.) Release new theory as AR5.
Minimalize, relabel, dismiss, rewrite, package and distribute.
Busy Beavers chewing away in the night.

Ted Gray

I was very disappointed by the lack of Australian globetrotting Warmist at this exclusive conference, till I realized the 2 cosy little hotels in Lisbon were neither big or grand enough for our globetrotting climate conference rat pack junkies to bother attending. Shame on them now the world is defiantly doomed!
Story:
The Australian Department of Climate Change flew 93 VIP staff members first class to 64 global climate change meetings in just 12 months at a cost of $4.34 million. The swarm of bureaucrats attended more than one international climate conference every week, in a bid to save the world from Co2 induced Climate disruption.
However the appropriate CO2 carbon credit indulgences were purchased to neutralize the excessive/compulsive nature of the down under climate phobic’s. So no actual CO2 was discharge into the atmosphere. Unfortunately copious amounts of unaccounted CO2 were discharged at the conference gabfests, pushing the earth closer to the final climate disruption cataclysm.
See: VIPs’ global swarming for climate change meetings
THE fight against global warming has globe-trotting bureaucrats attending more than one international climate conference every week.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/vips-global-swarming-for-climate-change-meetings/story-e6frf7l6-1225940376755

david

Joel Shore says:
October 22, 2010 at 7:18 pm
Boy, scientists doing science (and without alerting the media!)…That does seem nefarious!
Humm?
“A case will be made for the abandonment of both of them, on the grounds that they are inappropriate, uninformative, and that they very probably divert attention”
Joel, this is a political statement, not a scientific statement. Science is not preplanned.

Brian Eglinton

I think we are seeing a continuing idealogical drift which has been proceeding for some months now – to both defend the hockey stick by various means [some being rather “low”] as well as to sideline it with the idea that a MWP is irrelevant.
In the light of which this phrase from the abstract is quite interesting:
“It is clear from many recent publications, especially many of the abstracts submitted for this meeting, that high-resolution paleoclimatology has moved firmly from the mode of descriptive climatology to that of physical climatology.”
While not having seen the detail behind this summary, it does suggest once again the clear conviction that Gavin once put in print – that whether or not there was a MWP is irrelevant to him – he is being driven almost entirely by the physics, and historical reconstructions only serve the purpose of emphasising the extremes of sea level and climate that we could generate – this time in a much shorter timeframe. Historical reconstructions do not provide an understanding of what causes the climate to change, just how damaging such changes could be.
Putting that in my own words – they have little or no idea what may have caused a MWP (if it happened), but it is not relevant because they are rock solidly convinced by the physics that the rise in CO2 right now will cause a catastrophic shift in the climate. This is what is suggested to me by the phrase “physical climatology”.
This serves again to point back to the role of models in the debate.
It is not only true of historical reconstructions like the MWP – but it is equally true of todays “missing heat” – that the fact that the planet has not warmed in accord with model predictions is irrelevant. There may be all sorts of natural phenomenon suppressing the rise that should be there – but the clear conviction is that the models are describing the base level physics – which can only be suppressed by natural fluctuations for so long. But once the unknown natural causes reach their limits, the underlying physics as represented by the models will come in like a big wave and we will all be ruined.
This is where there are fundamental disconnects between the debating groups. The sceptics are looking at the data and saying “we don’t know”, while the AGW establishment is looking at the models and saying “who cares what the real world measurements are [“they are a distraction”]- we know we are going to destroy the planet”.
I can only add that personally I see this almost hopeless war of ideas against a backdrop of almost entire commitment to the AGW side by media and government as one fulfillment of that saying “because they did not receive the love of the truth.. God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie.”

Robert

so, because the data hasn’t been providing the ‘scare’ that the warmists have wanted. They’re going to go back and “revise” history to fit their agenda… with this type of behavior going on it’s obvious that what was predicted isn’t happening, and their whole belief is wrong. Why worry about the ‘warming’ from CO2, if the only way to show it is to make the data yourself. manmade global warming due to CO2 hasn’t happened
Also, getting rid of the medival warm period…what’s next they’re going to deny that the Romans were in a much warmer time period as well?

Latimer Alder

Has anyone calculated the carbon travelprint of all the participants?
Somebody should tell them about low-carbon teleconferencing…which is technology that is now just about mature enough to be practical.
But I guess if I lhad to work in Swansea, a pre-winter jolly to Lisbon on expenses would be very attractive! And a few glasses of local ginjinha sounds a lot more attractive than a pint of Brains (S Wales joke :-))

“…picking over definitions of the geographic and temporal extent of putative epochs…”
How curious. A belief in the Medieval Warming amounts to picking over definitions not merely of epochs which may not have existed in any cohesive way, but of the extent of the epoch which may not have existed. And what’s the diff between an epoch and the extent of the epoch? Those shovelling the aimless verbiage don’t care, they’re just shovelling; and those reading will be too fatigued to dispute. That’s how academic language works. By fatigue. Sound precise, be vague, and go loooong.
The reason for this major thought-shift? Recent publications by themselves, the flatteringly self-titled high-resolution set.
Since the high-res folk have moved away from such trash as descriptive climatology, I suggest our own epoch must be equally putative, particularly since it’s part of the Late Holocene, and we must forbid all reference to recent and future geographical and temporal extensions. We don’t want our hig-res people going all low-res.
Modelling our own “putative epoch” will, of course, be out of the question. Suits me.

Brian Eglinton,
What you summed up could be the case.

TomRude

Joel Shore says:
October 22, 2010 at 7:18 pm
Boy, scientists doing science (and without alerting the media!)
===
Especially this bunch of scientists/activists who are ever so shy of media coverage? And geez they could have chosen Greenland instead of Lisbon Portugal in september since the world warming… no?

Joel Shore says:
October 22, 2010 at 7:18 pm
Boy, scientists doing science (and without alerting the media!)…That does seem nefarious!>>
For someone who, as I recall, claims a Phd in physics from Cornell, you seem quite oblivious to the difference between science and this meeting. This meeting had little to do with science, perhaps nothing at all. It was, as they said, about distracting attention from one matter in order to focus on another and place it in a different context. The only other profession that I know of that adheres to this methodology is the practice of magic. I note that magicians also include the use of “tricks” in their performance, and their skill set includes the ability to “hide” all manner of things. When questioned in regard to their methods, they are as secretive as climate scientists, and notorious for attempting to make their work impossible to replicate by others. None of them to my knowledge however, seriously expect one to believe that anything actually disappears because they waved their wand amidst a puff of smoke and somehow altered reality.
In this they differentiate themselves from climate science. They do not have the egos or daring to claim they are capable of advancing magic to the point that it is indistinguishable from science. I am, on the other hand, prepared to pay money to watch the talented amongst them perform. This is in contrast to the band of climate magi whose performance is designed to make me pay, be they talented or not.

jorgekafkazar

“high-resolution paleoclimatology”
Military intelligence. Chocolate substitute. Rap music. Jumbo shrimp. Downtown Podunk. And high-resolution paleoclimatology.