McShane & Wyner Hockey Stick Smackdown – redux

WUWT readers may remember this popular article from August 30th, 2010 New paper makes a hockey sticky wicket of Mann et al 98/99/08 and then The Team’s response RC’s response to McShane and Wyner: a case of orange cones which gave rise to Josh’s cartoon and this cartoon coffee mug:

Click image for details on how to get one

Patrick Hadley writes in comments today:

OT – The McShane & Wyner discussion is now available at the Annals of Applied Statistics.

There is a lot of fascinating material to read there – the original paper, criticisms from the Hockey Team, support from others and, what seems to me at least, a brilliant rejoinder from McShane and Wyner.

I’ll say. Wow, this paper stirred up a statistical hornet’s nest, just have a look at the table of contents related to this paper. It reads like a who’s who of paleohockey. Each article is fully open, no paywalls; which I see as a testament to the journal integrity. If nothing else, read the editorial by Michael Stein which speaks to the entire table of contents.

Climate Change Discussion*
* Editorial Michael Stein
* A Statistical Analysis of Multiple Temperature Proxies: Are Reconstructions of Surface Temperatures Over the Last 1000 Years Reliable? Blakeley B. McShane and Abraham J. Wyner
* Discussion of “A statistical analysis of multiple temperature proxies: Are reconstructions of surface temperatures over the last 1000 years reliable?” by McShane and Wyner Jonathan Rougier
* Discussion of: A statistical analysis of multiple temperature proxies: Are reconstructions of surface temperatures over the last 1000 years reliable? Jason Smerdon
* Discussion to McShane and Wyner paper, “A Statistical Analysis of Multiple Temperature Proxies” Richard A Davis and Jingchen Liu
* A Comment on “A statistical analysis of multiple temperature proxies: Are reconstructions of surface temperatures over the last 1000 years reliable?” By McShane and Wyner Gavin A Schmidt, Michael E Mann, and Scott D Rutherford
* Spurious predictions with random time series: The LASSO in the context of paleoclimatic reconstructions. A Discussion of “A Statistical Analysis of Multiple Temperature Proxies…” by McShane and Wyner Martin P Tingley
* Discussion of Paper by McShane and Wyner Bala Rajaratnam and Peter Craigmile
* Discussion of “A statistical analysis of multiple temperature proxies: are reconstructions of surface temperatures over the last 1000 years reliable?” by McShane and Wyner Murali Haran and Nathan M. Urban
* Discussion of: A statistical analysis of multiple temperature proxies: are reconstructions of surface temperatures over the last 1000 years reliable? Lasse Holmström
* Discussion L Mark Berliner
* Comment on “A Statistical Analysis of Multiple Temperature Proxies: Are Reconstructions of Surface Temperatures over the Last 1000 Years Reliable?” by McShane and Wyner Eugene Wahl and Ammann Caspar
* Discussion to: A Statistical Analysis of Multiple Temperature Proxies: Are Reconstructions of Surface Temperatures over the Last 1000 Years Reliable? McShane and Wyner Douglas W Nychka and Bo Li
* Discussion of McShane and Wyner (2010) Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick
* Discussion of: A Statistical Analysis of Multiple Temperature Proxies: Are Reconstructions of Surface Temperatures over the Last 1000 Years Reliable? Alexey Kaplan
* Rejoinder: A Statistical Analysis of Multiple Temperature Proxies: Are Reconstructions of Surface Temperatures over the Last 1000 Years Reliable? Blakeley B. McShane and Abraham J. Wyner

There is so much here, I can’t even begin to dig into it all (It’s a workday for me) but if readers wish to place excerpts below of interest, I’ll do a follow up post with them. – Anthony

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102 thoughts on “McShane & Wyner Hockey Stick Smackdown – redux

  1. The last paragraph of the editorial says it all, “Thus, while research on climate change should continue, now is the time for individuals and governments to act to limit the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions on the Earth’s climate over the next century and well beyond.”

    Now is the time ??? really ???

  2. Stein ended the editorial with “now is the time for individuals and governments to
    act to limit the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions on the Earth’s
    climate over the next century and well beyond.” That is bothersome to me considering the physical limitations of the CO2 molecule to retain heat, the present rate of sea level rise is so small that adaptation over the next century is relatively simple, and that the reasonable scenarios of climate change going forward are within well-documented normal range of the Late Holocene Interglacial. Stein has already pre-determined that there will be consequences of GHG emissions. I’m not convinced that there will be consequences, except to say that there will be significant consequences caused by the efforts to mitigate the very minor effects (if any) of the emissions. On balance, the cure may be much worse than the disease.

  3. Wow, Stein specifically calls for many of the recommendations that McIntyre and others have been calling for for a long time. Great Editorial, right up until the last paragraph when Stein jumps on the precautionary principle bandwagon and calls for action, based on the results of the poor proxies and poor statistics he just finished castigating. Hey, it is an “editorial,” but too bad he couldn’t just stick with the facts and avoid the personal editorializing.

    Nevertheless, a great step forward . . .

  4. I guess the editor couldn’t resist saying that even though there is still uncertainty the science is settled and we should destroy the world economy to restrict CO2.

  5. I just finished the “editorial” by Michael Stein and I also think it was great…right up until the end when he decides to claim that “we” should “take action” despite uncertainty, and that action should be of a specific kind…He does so without even supporting his assertions. I could not believe that part was written by the same person. Cognitive dissonance, me thinks…

  6. If nothing else, read the editorial by Michael Stein
    =======================================

    What a crock……..

    All the work is shoddy and lame, potentially fraudulent…

    then the nubnuts says now’s the time to act…………..

  7. The editor’s comments sounds like the peer review process that I have been involved in over the last 30 years as a writer, reviewer and editor. Later I may take some time to try to sort through the commentary. However, since most of my own research centers around controlled experiments, I must admit that most of the statistics go beyond my understanding. I only have two semesters of stats at the graduate level, although I have picked up much more on my own. I am in favor of requiring at least one semester of stats for liberal arts students and at least two for all science and social science students.

  8. I read Stein’s editorial and came away thinking he is just another warmest trying to be somewhat conciliatory , but blew it in his conclusion.

  9. Stein’s sentence before the one quoted above:

    “My understanding is that the major uncertainties in climate projections on time scales of more than a few decades are unlikely to be resolved in the near future. Thus, …”

    His logic appears to be: “Because it probably will be many decades before we have statistical proof that AGW exists, we should not wait and spend trillions now fighting ‘greenhouse gases’.

    The assumption seems to be premised on society has infinite wealth and resources and so the choice it makes has no consequences- Perhaps a trip to the AGW Utopia of Zimbabe is in order….

  10. I was intrigued by this quote from Section 2.4 of McShane and Wyner’s rejoinder:

    As statisticians, we approach the evaluation of simulated data from a
    somewhat different perspective. When statisticians design simulations, we
    tend to follow one very important general rubric: if one wants insights
    gleaned from the simulation to carry over to real data, then key features
    of the simulated data should match key features of the real data. Thus,
    we augment climate scientists’ ”internal” evaluation of the simulated data
    with an ”external” evaluation comparing it to real data.

  11. Mann gets to splain hisself to the cold weather now. He can splain what done it in front of Cuccinelli. I am sure papers on top of papers will win in the end.

    Cucunelli just won a judgement declaring Obamacare unconstitutional. Virginia rocks.
    It is not legal for the Feds to force citizens to pay a fine if they do not purchase something they don’t want.
    How will they force us to pay pennance and carbon taxes we don’t want for rich people that hang out in poor countries?

  12. It always comes down to money.
    I was suckered in until the last paragraph :(
    Because on the uncertainties we should redistribute
    western wealth to the third world. Yeah, thanks.

  13. Editor Michael L Stein finds it implausible “that a large increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has exactly zero effect on the global mean temperature.” Consequently, “emphasis should be on estimation and/or prediction along with uncertainty quanti fication.”

    McIntyre and McKitrick reiterate: “McShane & Wyner make

    the following additional and reasonable observation in dismissing Ammann and Wahl’s objection to empirical AR1 coefficients:
    it is hard to argue that a procedure is truly skillful if it cannot consistently outperform noise– no matter how artfully structured.

    The dependence of the MBH99 on bristlecones has been well publicized (McIntyre and McKitrick 2005a, b; Wahl and Ammann 2007). The 93-series AD1000 network of Mann et al 2008 contains the same bristlecone chronologies: it contains no fewer than 19 Graybill strip bark chronologies, despite recommendations of the NAS panel that strip bark bristlecones be “avoided” and an undertaking by Mann et al 2008 to comply with their recommendations.

    McShane & Wyner understate the uncertainties raised, as they

    take the data as given and do not account for uncertainties, errors, and biases in selection, processing, in-filling, and smoothing of the data as well as the possibility that the data has been ”snooped” (subconsciously or otherwise) based on key features of the first and last block.

    It appears uncertainty dominates paleoclimatology.

  14. “Thus, while research on climate change should continue, now is the time for individuals and governments to act to limit the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions on the Earth’s climate over the next century and well beyond.”

    What Stein really meant to say was “Thus, now is the time to start the hard sell, so that we may continue our research and keep the grant money flowing”

  15. I’ve been reading a book:

    “The Strangest Man”, a life of Paul Dirac.

    It is ASTOUNDING to me how many of the “great minds” in Physics threw themselves behind “Marxism”, “Communism” and indeed, admired and “gave slack” to Joseph Stalin as he acted as a BRUTAL THUG in Russia, to achieve a “perfect world”.

    Do we see the SAME thought process and methodology going on here with our “high level academics” in the “climate science realm”?

    Interesting how the siren song of “utopia” seduces even other high level accademics in other areas. (Note in this statistical realm…)

    That is the true “fall of man”, even if you are a complete SECULARIST, (some will know what I mean), if you are intellectually honest you need to avoid these traps!

    Max

  16. So after the world’s economy has been destroyed, I’m supposed to enjoy breathing better knowing there’s less CO2 in the air? Does that somehow replace my paycheck that is long gone? Does a cap on CO2 help me raise a family, or live adequately until I’m an old man? Does cooling the earth help plants grow, or humans prosper?

    Yup, I thought not.

    (No use using snippable words here to describe the intelligence of these people.)

  17. Never mind the editorial – have a look at the rejoinder – the evisceration of the Hockey Team’s critique (Schmidt, Mann, Rutherford) is absolutely devastating. As we have seen so many times when the Team engages their critics, their preferred method of engagement is to keep digging the hole they are in ever deeper.

  18. OMG! The McShane & Wyner response is terrific! They show errors in the Mann response… but this one was a beaut! Note: cut and pasted from the M&W response to Mann (SMR in the paper):
    “Before proceeding, however, we must note a troubling problem with SMR Figure 2. Visual inspection of the plots reveals an errant feature: OLS methods appear to have non-zero average residual in-sample! Upon examining the code SMR did provide, we confirmed that this is indeed the case and discovered the models were fit incorrectly. The culprit, ironically, is an improper centering of the fitted values.”

    It’s true: they never learn!

    Bruce

  19. Ian Plimer’s book, Heaven and Earth, gave a great overview of climate through Earth’s 4 billion year history. Throughout this book there is only one “tipping point” and that is when the earth drops into an ice age. There is no evidence of any type of overheating, as the earth is self regulating at warmer temperatures, perhaps through mechanism such as “The Thermostat Hypothesis as discussed here.
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/14/the-thermostat-hypothesis/

    The use of the precautionary principle with regards to CO2 emissions causing damaging overheating has no basis in the geological history. It is cold we dread. The misery during the little ice age is well documented. Where does this causal acceptance that warming is bad come from?

    Significant worldwide droughts come from the earth becoming cold because the water evaporation from the oceans is reduced. Ian Plimer describes the large amount of dust found in the Vostock ice cores during cold periods. This dust comes from the large deserts during cold periods. Do people simply remember local droughts and assume that the hot dry droughts mean a warming earth will be dry?

    Stein’s last paragraph is intolerable. (My temper is short because we have so much snow that there is no place to pile it up and its not yet winter in MN. If the power goes out we die.)

  20. I have worked with several very experienced statisticians – one common offer is: “what answer do you want?” In this regard the final few sentences of the editorial are worrying.

    This is especially the case as all the metrics appear to be on ‘temperature’ which is NOT the correct metric for ‘atmospheric heat content’ which is what they all claim to be measuring. It really doesn’t matter how elegant and accurate the statistics are, if they are the statistics of the incorrect metric.

  21. Gary Palmgren says:
    December 13, 2010 at 9:59 am
    Where does this causal acceptance that warming is bad come from?
    ====================================================
    You’ve got me Gary, it’s about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

  22. At last – a reasonable discussion about the Hockey Stick in the technical literature. Kudos to all those who contributed to this discussion, to the Annals of Applied Statistics, and its editors.

  23. Apparently the version at the journal has low quality graphics. McShane has posted a high quality version (as well as an apparently longer more detailed version) at his site:
    http://www.blakemcshane.com/paleoclimatology

    It seems like M&W smack their oppononents ’round quite a bit:

    > The process by which the complete set of 95/93 proxies is reduced to 59/57/55 is only suggestively described in an online supplement to Mann et al. (2008)3. As statisticians we can only be skeptical of such improvisa- tion, especially since the instrumental calibration period contains very few independent degrees of freedom. Consequently, the application of ad hoc methods to screen and exclude data increases model uncertainty in ways that are unmeasurable and uncorrectable.

    > They appear to mistake the squared eigenvalues for the variances of the principal components which leads to a thresholding of total variance squared instead of variance.

    > Our Bayesian models outperform RegEM EIV in terms of holdout RMSE (see SI). In fact, they even outperform the hybrid version of RegEM EIV in two of the four simulations.

    There are some gems within this.

  24. Here is a nice quote on Mann et al methods, see page 3,4 in the McShane & Wyner response —–>
    “The process by which the complete set of 95/93 proxies is reduced to
    59/57/55 is only suggestively described in an online supplement to Mann
    et al. (2008)3. As statisticians we can only be skeptical of such improvisation,
    especially since the instrumental calibration period contains very few independent degrees of freedom. Consequently, the application of ad hoc
    methods to screen and exclude data increases model uncertainty in ways
    that are unmeasurable and uncorrectable.”

  25. With all respect to Mr. Steiner, but while his comment about the ‘sharp null’ is reasonable – he did not also talk about the ‘unprovable future assertion’ encompassed by IPCC/GCC ‘projections’ which continue to be wrong in both direction and in magnitude.

    It might be useful for Mr. Steiner to elucidate how he objectively analyzes said models and the ‘projective’ performance – and how then 50 and 100 year future behavior is to be based on said models.

    Again, it isn’t that alternative energy is not a good objective – but there are vast differences between an intelligent plan for implementing alternative energy which is competitive with existing energy without subsidies as opposed to drowning the problem with cash (and the charlatans lined up at the trough).

  26. Stein finds it implausible “that a large increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has exactly zero effect on the global mean temperature.”
    And he surprises me by falling into such an obvious trap.
    The concentration of CO2 has increased (in round figures) from 300ppm to 400ppm – in other word from 0.03% to 0.04% While a mathematician may speak of a large increase I doubt that a chemist would see a change in dilution of this magnitude as significant or likely to have any relevance in the real world.
    Maybe some chemists on here can correct me.

  27. I find the Stein editorial rather unhelpful. He makes the assumption that in this case null hypothesis should be ignored because the effect can’t be null. (why not?) Then he pushes us to act quickly because the great danger of inaction. The second is pure silly resort to the precautionary principle and because we really can’t predict it may be exactly the wrong thing to do.

  28. M&W are scathing of Schmidt, Mann and Rutherford’s statistical abilities. Plus the mistakes SMR make. They are very complementary of M&M: section3 “MM seem to most clearly understand the purpose of this section, and we again recognize their contribution for first pointing out these facts”.

    They even get to plug Feynman’s comments on cargo cult science, so hats off to M&W.

    RC team response should be interesting.

  29. After reading all the short papers here, and reading the conclusions of longer papers where available, plus scimm-reading them, I will reapeat what I said here what feels about a year ago, when this site linked the paper in discussion as a break through, and the critique in relation to it.

    It is evident, though in a very polite, respectful academic manner, that now and then, people are not happy with the method(s) chosen (e.g. questioning use of LASSO, remarking that their Bayesian is actually none, etc).

    This goes on to dismiss their argument of random data performing just the same as actual proxies, and in fact granting the Mann reconstruction for the past decade a +90% probability.

    The MW may be commeneded for as a great effort, albeit just ‘not quite there yet’, or not cutting it for several statistical short comings. This is the impression I had regarding my last read of initial criticisim as mentioned above, and for which I belive I received a critical comment from Anthony back then (?).

    Now, I do not feel that the MW paper has been strengthend in light of all the linked dicussions contributed. I merely think it is commended as an effort which conclusions are relative in light of all the short comings brought forward against it.

    I don’t think this is a death nail to the hockey stick at large, and I don’t think the joint input knights the MW paper.

  30. Hundreds of Mann-hours and man-hours have gone into this work. One problem sticks out. The modern temperature record used in all rhe statistical models is from CRU, and is assumed to be accurate. Anthony’s Surface Station Project and satellite data, suggests strongly that the temperature record is wrong. If the CRU data is wrong, ALL that work is invalid.

  31. Having read the rejoinder, I ask myself, if it is not time now for some at CRU, GISS and elsewhere to retire.

    If the HockeyStick discussion finally starts using sound mathematics some of those who prefer to collect, massage and gatekeep data, or wander around in exotic places such as Antarctica and Tahiti, or those who like to chat and groupthink via email, all of those may lose interest in such a dry subject.

  32. M&W’s rejoinder to SMR would fall into the category that Phil Jones calls “going to town on”.

    Compounding matters, SMR implement their allegedly objective criteria in non-standard and arbitrary ways and several times in error4. When correctly implemented, the number of principal components retained varies across each ”objective” criterion from two to fifty-seven. Using ten principal components, therefore, can hardly be said to induce ”statistical overfitting” claimed by SMR.

    Ouch! That will leave a mark.

  33. Stein’s last paragraph is pure post-normal but without any reason or preamble given for him to make the statement. Why not make a substantive comment on the papers or was it because they did not support his obvious bias? You don’t need statistical analysis to come to that particular conclusion.

  34. Very interesting read until the last paragraph which just deflated me. My head stopped nodding and started to shake vigorously from side to side. What is it about the precautionay principle that convinces so many otherwise sensible people. Yes, we insure houses against fire and our cars, but the cost is proportunate to the value of that which is insured. Not so with the preparations for uncertain climate changes. The costs envisaged are truly enormous and far outweigh benefits. I think that the precautionary principle is responsible for the wholesale persuasion of most of the politicians who support AGW because it is so easy to misrepresent the principle with just a few flawed analogies. This then enables the persuaders to explain to their audience that the numbers are not so important and they need not concern themselves with the science because it is all but settled. As far as the political parties in the uk are concerned, the science is settled and they are all proceeding on that basis.
    Truly terrifying (in my opinion).

  35. From McIntyre and McKitrick:

    “It also needs to be clearly recognized, that, even though MW results are rather discouraging for the reconstructions using the Mann et al 2008 network, they are, in a sense, a *best case* as they assume that the quality of the data set is satisfactory (thereby not taking a position on prominent controversies over the proxies within this data set).”

    They go on to describe many such problematic series. They end with this description:

    “In addition, nearly 10% of the Mann et al 2008 network (105 series) are series derived from the Briffa et al, 2001 network, notorious for its late 20th century decline. However, actual data after 1960 has been deleted and replaced by data infilled by a RegEM process (Rutherford et al 2005.) Use of the actual post-1960 data will further erode performance of the proxy reconstruction.”

    I did not find the editorial to be that good.

    Funny how Gavin A Schmidt, Michael E Mann, and Scott D Rutherford only talk about reducing the MWP if you remove certain series that are deemed unacceptable.

    “That additional warmth, as shown above, largely disappears with the use of the more appropriate dataset.”

    MW specifically said they did not do quality assessment of the proxies. This brings us back to MM’s point that this is a best case scenario. It actually gets worse if you look at the quality of the series. But give it to Mann and Schmidt wanting to hide not only the decline, but also the MWP.

  36. Ed Caryl – no, that does not stick out at all, it hasn’t even been mentioned, or as an aside at best – it is a discussion of the statistical merits of their methods – it is a statistics jouranal, you know. Not even the editor’s preface linked at the top makes a case for either side AT ALL.

  37. Perhaps we need to concentrate more upon the descibing the possible negative impact which could occur if we begin to attempt procedures which may cool the climate when it is already cooling given the dirth of solar activity we are experiencing. I say this as the AGW crowd has been pushing the “what could it hurt” philosophy and the “better safe than sorry” line in their propaganda for many years now. This while the fact is that cold is much more devastating to society than is warm. And this is easily proven in historical records. My favorite idiot scheme is to spray aerosol SO2 into the atmoshpere to cool the planet. Correct me if I am wrong but I believe this one came from someone in the present administration or legislature in Washington, DC.

  38. “tree rings ARE NOT PROXIES FOR TEMPERATURE. Hide the decline.”

    I will bet if an elk died next to a tree, it would show increased growth for many years.

    Tree ring increases might also be CO2 proxies in certain species, particularly conifers.

  39. This one’s a cracker!
    “Before embarking on our discussion of their work, we must mention that,
    of the five discussants who performed analyses (DL, Kaplan, SMR, Smerdon,
    and Tingley), SMR was the only one who provided an incomplete and
    generally unusable repository of data and code. The repository created by
    SMR specifically for this discussion was, like that of the other four discussants,
    graciously provided and quite usable. However, we lacked clear and
    easily implementable code (i) to fit RegEM EIV ourselves and (ii) to draw
    new temperatures and pseudoproxies from their simulation model. Code
    for these purposes is archived by Mann at:
    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/mann/PseudoproxyJGR06/
    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/mann/supplements/MultiproxyMeans07/
    Among other things, the RegEM EIV fitting procedure cannot be executed
    by a straightfoward function call as is typical for statistical code libraries.
    Rather, the archives consist of a large number of files layered on top of one
    another and, despite a major effort on our part, we were unable to replicate
    published results within the publication time constraints of this rejoinder.”
    SMR being ….
    Schmidt, Mann, and Rutherford!

    REJOINDER: A STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF MULTIPLE
    TEMPERATURE PROXIES: ARE RECONSTRUCTIONS OF
    SURFACE TEMPERATURES OVER THE LAST 1000 YEARS
    RELIABLE?

  40. I grew up in a logging community. I have studied many stumps. You can read the history of a tree. You can tell when a neighbor tree was felled or died, when a fire went through, when a nearby stream changed course, and when other trees grew up and closed it in. If a tree has always been isolated, you can clearly see precipitation patterns. Temperature? Not so much.

  41. Well, nobody (should have) ever said being a “scientist” is a walk in the park. A scientist must be well versed in a lot of disciplines (or surrounded and helped by others that are) and the discipline of “logic” should be the most solid of bases upon which every scientist AND statistician rest. However, even in the case of Michael Stein, that is not always the case. Specifically wherein his editorial he says, An example of an implausible sharp null hypothesis would be that a large increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has exactly zero effect on the global mean temperature. Of course! But “zero effect” is a fool’s answer to an non-relevant question, in the wrong argument. And while he continues with clear logic with – When a null hypothesis of no effect is untenable, emphasis should be on estimation and/or prediction along with uncertainty quantification. He then “jumps the shark” by writing – Thus, the testing and attribution questions for climate change seem to me to be irrelevant and the focus needs to be on prediction. AND – Thus, now is the time for individuals and governments to act to limit the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions on the Earth’s climate over the next century and well beyond. WHAT!?! Yeah, IF the effect is NEGATIVE!
    Talk about a leap in logic. The “effect” (whatever the unknown amount is) is not zero, so therefore take immediate action to limit the consequences! What if the non-zero effect is only perceived (clearly Stein’s assumption) to be negative but in reality the net consequences “over the next century” are positive? Isn’t THAT the REAL question and what most of us here keep asking? What is this unfathomed penchant in climate scientist AND now (I guess) statisticians for assuming only the worse can happen from a couple of degrees increase in annual average global atmospheric temperature? Talk about an “implausible sharp null hypothesis”….!

  42. Rejoinder:

    “As for the indirect ”multivariate calibration” approach suggested by some
    of the discussants, we point out that it was designed for highly-controlled
    almost laboratory-like settings (e.g., chemistry) with very tight causal relationships.
    The relationships between temperature and proxies is considerably
    dissimilar. Furthermore, we believe the two approaches, direct and
    indirect, ought not differ much in terms of ^y, suggesting that ”both types
    of procedures should be able to yield similar results, else we have reason
    for skepticism” (Sundberg, 1999)”

    I thinks skepticism is reasonable in some cases:

  43. If only CO2 affected tree growth it would be one thing, but knowing that nutrients, temperature, and water are more important than CO2 (over the minimum threshold), the only possible reason to insist on using the tree rings is the uncertainty in the temperature, which can be used to hide the decline or force a rise.

  44. Stein: “I particularly object to the testing of sharp null hypotheses when there is no plausible basis for believing the null is true. An example of an implausible sharp null hypothesis would be that a large increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has exactly zero effect on the global mean temperature.”

    This may seem like common sense to Stein, but he is wrong to adopt a partisan position on a known area of controversy in climatology. Saturation is a plausible reason to test the sharp NH, and a saturated GHE is argued by Miskolczi.

    Stein “Any potential benefits of waiting depend in part on estimates of how much our uncertainty is likely to decrease over the next several years.”

    The key point is our knowledge about the likelihood of decrease over the several years to come. What if there is no sound reason to expect (any material) decrease in uncertainty anytime soon. In her excellent Respose To The Subcommitte On Energy And Environment Of The United States House Of Representatives, Judith Curry writes:

    “Classical decision making theory involves reducing uncertainties before acting. There has been a growing sense of the infeasibility of reducing uncertainties in global climate models owing to the continued emergence of unforeseen complexities and sources of uncertainties.”

    IMO Stein condtradicts his own claim that “Statisticians are, by their professional nature, skeptics”. Particularly when he asserts: “now is the time for individuals and governments to act to limit the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions on the Earth’s climate over the next century and well beyond.”

    So much potential in the Editorial, but he blew it.

  45. “tree rings ARE NOT PROXIES FOR TEMPERATURE. Hide the decline.”

    I think that is your quote of the year.

  46. Jaye Bass says: December 13, 2010 at 9:52 am

    [Stein’s editorial says] “Thus, while research on climate change should continue, now is the time for individuals and governments to act to limit the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions on the Earth’s climate over the next century and well beyond.”

    What Stein really meant to say was “Thus, now is the time to start the hard sell, so that we may continue our research and keep the grant money flowing”

    Mmmmmmmmm… noted.

    ——————————————————————-

    Also, I’m sure the Ice-CO2 Hockey Stick that Al Gore used to outrageous visual effect, is sitting in people’s subconscious, insisting that – We – Have – Caused – CO2 – Levels – To – Rise (therefore the shamefully abused Precautionary Principle is paraded).

    No. I’m highly doubtful that the CO2 rise is our doing (think, slow ocean turnover… slow warming… huge CO2 slow release… biosphere turns over far more CO2 than we emit…) But to prove my doubt, the ice CO2 science needs examining auditing.

    I wish someone would go to town on this, the same way that Steve McIntyre has gone to town on the temperature Hockey Stick. Lonnie Thompson’s non-archived data makes me even more certain that the ice core measurements are just as suspect as the bristlecone pine ring measurements. And despite Thompson’s non-data, the evidence Jaworowski puts forward in the above link is pretty damning. IMHO.

    If the ice-CO2 science, and the infamous splice, were put under the microscope as Mann’s Hockey Stick has been, I’m sure those like Stein would no longer get away with reciting a knee-jerk salutation to the Goddess of Insane Precautions.

  47. Michael Stein blew it. He says “now is the time for individuals and governments to
    act to limit the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions on the Earth’s
    climate over the next century and well beyond
    ” on the basis that the hypothesis “a large increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has exactly zero effect on the global mean temperature” is implausible. As a mathematician, I have some sort of idea of exactly how large an amount is if it is not “exactly zero”. As a self-funded retiree and taxpayer in a ‘western’ country, I have some sort of idea how much these actions are going to cost me and those around me. As an inhabitant of various rural areas at various latitudes in my lifetime, I have some sort of idea of how beneficial warmth is.

    However, there is a glimmer of hope in MS’s statement. He does not say “it is time to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he says it is time to act to “limit the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions“. That is a whole new ball game, and one that no-one(?) except Bjorn Lomborg has addressed.

  48. It seems that statisticians are the first professional group to have an open and transparent discussion of the numbers behind the science. What are the odds of that?

  49. crosspatch – and why do you believe that? I lived just of the woods / nature for most of my lifetime, and I have never seen a cadaver of any larger size at all. The reason of course is that there are predators/scavengers taking advantage of the situation most of the time and/or it gets taken care of by smaller animals like bugs, insects, micro-organisms in no time. It does not stay there to supply nutrients for years to come.

    So even IF an elk or whatever dies next to a tree, the number of samplings makes it statisticaly improbable to have any effect whatsoever.

    Also, if you look up the shape and depths of the roots of pines in question here, EVEN IF a cadaver would remain in one spot for years, then the nutrient supply of a single tree would not be substantialy sourced from that cadaver simply because the portion of roots of that tree would be neglegible to the tree’s entire energy input.

    All in all, that is something you just made up, has no substantiation at all and simply suits you for the moment. Elks would have to die under, and influence, a substantial amount of trees to invalidate tree ring reconstructions in the way you allege – but that does not match reality as we know it about animals dying and staying dead there in nature. So if we grant you an odd elk dying under a pine tree it had no influence – do you acknowledge that?

  50. In Communist Eastern Europe, every scholarly article and book had to have a passage explaining how the results had already prefigured in the works of Friedrich Engels, or how they proved the validity of dialectical materialism. Authors usually appended this to the conclusion to keep it separate from the main body of the work, and it was therefore called the “red tail.”

    These days another color is in vogue worldwide.

    Plus ça change…

  51. CP writes: Tree ring increases might also be CO2 proxies in certain species, particularly conifers.

    No, they aren’t. It’s a simplistic theory that fails to consider the complexity of tree diameter growth. The confounding complexity is well-respected, and has led to a search for special individual trees in locations on the extreme edge of tree survival. That’s why in a world with trillions of trees, only a handful have been “qualified” as proxies for temperature and/or CO2-related growth anomalies. And why the data from those rare, special trees is totally questionable as a proxy for anything.

  52. How come editors and journalists don’t inadvertently acquire a little knowledge or perhaps wisdom enough to realise their ignorance. Fight the greenhouse gases by all means but remember they are water vapour 93%, methane 3%, carbon dioxide 3% and a few odds and ends. The reason variations of CO2 are of no consequence are that the absorption spectra for infrared are fully saturated. 65 million years ago the CO2 level was 3000 ppm which was followed by a progressive fall in temperature for 20 million years until Drake’s Passage opened enough for the circum-polar current to become established, freeze Antarctica and establish the Ice Ages cycle mainly in sync with one of the Milancovich Cycles. So what was the other question? Did I forget to mention sooty chimneys and SUVs? Geoff Broadbent

  53. boballab says:
    December 13, 2010 at 11:01 am

    M&W’s rejoinder to SMR would fall into the category that Phil Jones calls “going to town on”.

    Compounding matters, SMR implement their allegedly objective criteria in non-standard and arbitrary ways and several times in error4. When correctly implemented, the number of principal components retained varies across each ”objective” criterion from two to fifty-seven. Using ten principal components, therefore, can hardly be said to induce ”statistical overfitting” claimed by SMR.

    Ouch! That will leave a mark.
    ======================================================
    Lol, it wasn’t just there that they ‘laid the smack down’.

    We fault many of our predecessors for assiduously collecting and presenting
    all the facts that confirm their theories while failing to seek facts that contradict
    them.
    For science to work properly, it is vital to stress one’s model
    to its fullest capacity (Feynman, 1974).

    That was well-stated and long overdue in a science journal.

    We are able to show, by brute force computation, that our results are invariant
    to these choices. Furthermore, as stated in our paper, we implemented
    many of these proposals prior to submission (for discussion of variations
    originally considered and justification of our choices, see Section 3.7 for
    the Lasso; footnote 8 for thirty year blocks; Section 3.4 for interpolation;
    and Section 3.6 for calibration to local temperatures). In contrast, we credit
    McIntyre and McKitrick (MM) for pointing out the robustness of these results
    and Kaplan for actually demonstrating it by using Ridge regression
    in place of the Lasso (see Kaplan Figures 1 and 2). We direct the reader to
    our SI where we perform the same tests (1) for a plethora of methods (including
    the elastic net called for by HU and the Noncentral Lasso called for
    by Tingley) (2) using thirty and sixty year holdout blocks (3) using both interpolated
    and extrapolated blocks and (4) fitting to the local temperature
    grid as well as CRU when feasible. Once again, the results demonstrated
    by Figures 9 and 10 of our paper are robust to all of these variations.

    One has to read the context of this statement, but, it shows either the lack of reading comprehension of their critics or a total lack of candor. I had already known they’d used other methods. How? I read their paper. I guess the critics figured that wouldn’t be able to back it up in a science journals. I think its called ‘projection’.

    Second, we take the data as given and do not account for uncertainties, errors, and biases in selection, processing, in-filling, and smoothing of the data as well as the possibility that the data has been ”snooped” (subconsciously or otherwise) based on key features of the first and last block.

    Thus, we take Rougier’s characterization
    of our model (”perfectly reasonable ad-hockery”) as high praise.

    Their rejoinder is a work of art!

    ……back to reading……

  54. In ‘The rejoinder’ (last link of the article above) on Page 16- first complete para- and the ‘Conclusions,’ put a bonfire of the vanities under Manns data

    tonyb

  55. Rougier has introduced a new term “ad-hockery”

    (imsart-aoas ver. 2010/09/07 file: AoASMcShane_Rougier.tex date: September 9, 2010)

    Quote from J.C. ROUGIER – “I am bemused by section 5. First, let us be very clear that this is is not a “fully Bayesian” analysis. What we have here is a normalised likelihood function over and  masquerading as a posterior distribution, in order to implement a sampling procedure over the model parameters. This seems a perfectly reasonable ad-hockery (although a Normal Inverse Gamma conjugate analysis would be more conventional, see O’Hagan and Forster, 2004, ch. 11), but to call it “fully Bayesian” is stretching the point. ” End Quote.

    I love it – a new term for Mann’s efforts – “ad-hockery” – LOL

  56. Gary Palmgren says:
    December 13, 2010 at 9:59 am

    The use of the precautionary principle with regards to CO2 emissions causing damaging overheating has no basis in the geological history. It is cold we dread. The misery during the little ice age is well documented. Where does this causal acceptance that warming is bad come from?
    ###

    ’tis not being dead that my mortal dread,
    its an icy grave that pains,
    so I’m asking you, to promise true,
    too cremate my last remains.

    The warmth == BAD narrative is needed to scare people into giving up their freedom to become slaves to the state. A good economy makes for a hard to control populace. If the masses ever found out that 3 or 4 degree C increase in temperature is a “good thing”, all hell would break loose. Its funny, that we call those times of warm climate, “Golden Ages”.

  57. There are lots of choice quotes in the Rejoinder:

    We fault many of our predecessors for assiduously collecting and presenting all the facts that confirm their theories while failing to seek facts that contradict them. For science to work properly, it is vital to stress one’s model to its fullest capacity (Feynman, 1974).

    Ouch!

  58. Garey, Lattitude:
    Where does this causal acceptance that warming is bad come from?

    I think you mean ‘casual.’ It’s a good rhetorical question, pointing to an obvious answer: ‘from lack of due diligence.’

  59. The interesting thing, to me, were the negative reviews by statistitians. Most ( not all) found MW lacking in statistical skill. By inference they also criticised McIntyre.

  60. I know its hard, but the lukewarmers and warmists need to grow some cahoonas – accept that they are starting from a flawed ‘view’ and press the Big Reset Button.
    In the same way as the weird alarmists advocate the precautionary principle – the sceptics should advocate a precautionary reset!
    With a good degree of proper co-ordination, co-operation and a return to the principles of the scientific method – the warmists could ‘keep’ some credibility. Everyday, as they continue to shout out their biased conclusions, they fall foul of all that is scientific.
    Any warmists or lukewarmers working in the field should seriously consider extending the hand of scientific friendship and ‘peace’ and start over. Looking at it another way, assume they are right and AGW is damning us all to hell, by resetting and reworking they have the chance to prove it to all the sceptics properly and gain many more converts! (pretty much all of us, eh?)

    Its like having a maths teacher who needs to keep explaining the same obscure point over and over again but without working it through with a student, the student just cannot get it. Moreover, the teacher cannot understand why the student doesnt ‘get it’ but a proper work through would help BOTH improve their understanding. Ok – this is simplistic, but it is entirely logical. If Mann et al, really believe their data, they will ‘work through’ it in great detail with the likes of Mcshane, etc- and prove it is correct. Why don’t they? Why is it that it always seem to be the sceptics ‘challenging’ the concensus?
    The precautionary principle can work both ways if explained correctly?

  61. lol, is Gavin really that thick?

    From SMR—-“Using their reconstruction, MW nonetheless still found recent warmth to be unusual in a long-term context: they estimate an 80% probability that the decade 1997-2006 is warmer than any other for at least the 50 past 1000 years.”

    lol, when MW was released, I went to RC and told him this shouldn’t be interpreted as an assertion by MW.(one of the very few times one of my posts were allowed there.) Of course, he argued with me.

    In the rejoinder, M&W make it explicitly clear…..“It is thus highly
    improbable that they would be able to detect such high levels and sharp
    run-ups if they indeed occurred in the more distant past. That is, we lack
    statistical evidence that the recently observed rapid rise in temperature is
    historically anomalous.”
    —— which is almost exactly what they stated in the original paper.

  62. Great news from Britain! TV comedy shows are beginning to get a laugh out of Global Warming. On the BBC, Armstrong and Miller did a sketch showing a man looking out at lousy weather and moaning, “Huh! Whatever happened to Global Warming, eh”, followed by threats of imprisonment, and government leaflets explaining the difference between weather and climate.

    Let’s hope that the tide of ridicule will rise so high that belief in Global Warming will be something to confess to. I wonder if this is happening elsewhere in the English-speaking world.

  63. John McManus says:
    December 13, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    The interesting thing, to me, were the negative reviews by statistitians. Most ( not all) found MW lacking in statistical skill. By inference they also criticised McIntyre.
    ========================================================

    Could you provide the links to the discussion papers you’re reading?

  64. From the Rejoinder-

    Our paper demonstrates that the relationship between proxies and temperatures is too weak to detect a rapid rise in temperatures over short
    epochs and to accurately reconstruct over a 1000 year period.

    If that isn’t calling the into question whether we can ‘extract’ a temperature signal out of a proxy, I don’t know what is. Wow!

    And in the same sentence, they take a good swipe at the methods employed by the climate community-

    the relationship between proxies and temperature looks good only for a weak method and when the self-predictive power of the short NH temperature sequence (DL) is not properly accounted for.
    When it is properly accounted for, statistical insignificance ensues as
    demonstrated ably by Kaplan.

    The response from the Team will be most interesting…..

  65. Hello? Stop! stop! stop ! Have many of you gone paranoid?

    Cant see the difference betweeen scientists and advocates no more? Friends and enimies?

    This is the best initiative so far to really take an audit of the roots of the scientific problems in climate science we all sceptics beeen reacting to.If the editor hadnt ended his introduktion with the words on global warming his inroduction would be considered to be an declaration of war against Climate science.
    Its obvious that they now have realized that the hole climate science backbone is made out of statistic flaws and unouthorised freedom to interpretation and speculation far away from established statistical skills.They have the skills and methology to calculate on how big is the room fore pure speculation is.IUts the matematic constaples of order and diciplin that has finnaly tuned up.See them as the adults entering the climateresearch caotic playground.

    This work and intrest from these guys are extremely valuble and when you read the answer from McShane and Wyner the enomous gap in level of statistic skills and understanding between these guys and the “team” youll find the gap embarrasin to the team and it becomes obvious whos the “daddys” are.

  66. Before embarking on our discussion of their work, we must mention that,
    of the five discussants who performed analyses (DL, Kaplan, SMR, Smer-
    don, and Tingley), SMR was the only one who provided an incomplete and
    generally unusable repository of data and code. The repository created by
    SMR specifically for this discussion was, like that of the other four discus-
    sants, graciously provided and quite usable. However, we lacked clear and
    easily implementable code (i) to fit RegEM EIV ourselves and (ii) to draw
    new temperatures and pseudoproxies from their simulation model. Code
    for these purposes is archived by Mann at:
    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/
    ∼mann/PseudoproxyJGR06/
    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/
    ∼mann/supplements/MultiproxyMeans07/
    Among other things, the RegEM EIV fitting procedure cannot be executed
    by a straightfoward function call as is typical for statistical code libraries.
    Rather, the archives consist of a large number of files layered on top of one
    another and, despite a major effort on our part, we were unable to replicate
    published results within the publication time constraints of this rejoinder.

  67. More errors in Schmidt,Mann and Rutherford

    Fortunately, we are able to use the data and code provided to us to re-
    but SMR’s findings. Before proceeding, however, we must note a troubling
    problem with SMR Figure 2. Visual inspection of the plots reveals an errant
    feature: OLS methods appear to have non-zero average residual in-sample!
    Upon examining the code SMR did provide, we confirmed that this is in-
    deed the case and discovered the models were fit incorrectly. The culprit,
    ironically, is an improper centering of the fitted values.

  68. I’m not a statistician but reading the rejoinder was awesome. I love how they dismantled SMR piece by piece!

  69. +1 for me… the editorial reads with a distinct flow of integrity until the last line where Stein abandons all reason. Why put so much emphasis on the uncertainties and then plunge willy-nilly into the precautionary approach regardless? Basically he has sidelined the entire purpose of the editorial of saying that more statistical input is required in the science, by saying it is all irrelevant for policy-making anyway… just go ahead and pretend CAGW is true for all policy purposes. Pathetic.

  70. Ian W

    “. . . all the metrics appear to be on ‘temperature’ which is NOT the correct metric for ‘atmospheric heat content’ which is what they all claim to be measuring. It really doesn’t matter how elegant and accurate the statistics are, if they are the statistics of the incorrect metric.”

    Absolutely spot on – the point is crucially important to the whole exercise. How any serious scientists got duped by people who use and misuse high school statistics as the hockey team and the rest of them have is beyond me.

  71. Schmidt, Mann & Rutherford quote “Recent work, c.f. Salzer et al 2009, however demonstrates those data to contain a reliable long-term temperature signal” in commenting on a paper about the uncertainty and reliability of proxy reconstructions.

    That’s rather like saying to the policeman “My wife here says that I have not been drinking alcohol” before blowing into a meter to determine just that.

  72. One has to say the gap between the protagonists shown in the response by M&S at RC to the rebuttal by MW is large.

    The thing that worries me is that putting aside the detail of what the data does or does not show under various analyses M&S don’t seem to address basic issues raised in MW’s rebuttal. Did M08 quality control introduce bias; exactly what assumptions were required to lead to MW suggesting the recent warming was anomalous in their original paper; were MW correct to say that the literature suggests more than 4 principal components could be acceptable; did or did not MW test other methods in addition to Lasso as part of their rebuttal; did or did not MW properly address the criticism by other commentators about other naive models eg composite regression; how can M&S refer to “pseudoproxy” experiments with a straight face without first dealing with MW’s critque of these?

    Ho hum

  73. I belive that this exchange exposes a vital part of the teams paleo effort.

    From the team:
    “In the frozen 1000 AD network of 95 30 proxy records used by MW, 36 tree-ring records were not used by M08 due to their 31 failure to meet objective standards of reliability. These records did not meet the minimal 32 replication requirement of at least 8 independent contributing tree cores (as described in 33 the Supplemental Information of M08).”

    Reply by MW:
    “The process by which the complete set of 95/93 proxies is reduced to
    59/57/55 is only suggestively described in an online supplement to Mann
    et al. (2008)3. As statisticians we can only be sceptical of such improvisation,
    especially since the instrumental calibration period contains very few independent degrees of freedom. Consequently, the application of ad hoc methods to screen and exclude data increases model uncertainty in ways that are unmeasurable and uncorrectable.”

    If you have a preconceived notion as to what you intend to find in your data (in this case unprecedented warming during the last 50 years) and than look for data that fits that description (in the teams words “sensors that are able to pick up the warming”) you will naturally end up in a very biased and potentially very wrong place.

  74. HAS says:
    December 13, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    Matt says:
    December 13, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    I would sugest you read the papers and understand them before jumping in and commenting, as you add nothing to the discussion, oh and who would you trust with your money a banker or a builder? now who would you trust with your stats a statistician or an AGW scientist? my moneys on the stats guys to know what there doing.

  75. Here’s the bit I like from the M&W reply:

    The fact that our paper was of interest not only to academic statisticians and climate scientists but also economists and popular bloggers [1] bespeaks of the importance of the topic.

    and Footnote [1] says
    Steve McIntyre of Climateaudit and Gavin Schmidt of Realclimate“. :)

  76. Gary Palmgren says
    —————-
    o people simply remember local droughts and assume that the hot dry droughts mean a warming earth will be dry
    —————-
    No they don’t.

    They know that if the temperature is higher then the water reserve in the soil evaporates more quickly. Duh!!

    They also know, and which neither you nor Ian Plimer know, is that the very dry conditions of the ice age apply only when a large proportion of the planet is covered by ice.

    It’s important to realize that warm conditions will cause water to evaporate more quickly so there will be more water in the air. But whether it falls as rain again will depend on regional conditions. Some places will get more rain and even more snow. But other regions will get less rain and it will evaporate more quickly.

    Hence what is expected is expected from higher temperatures is more floods and more droughts and more snow.

    You should not believe Ian Plimer just because he tells you what you want to hear. His expertise outside Geology is very limited.

    Beats me why I have to explain the obvious.

  77. Sam the Skeptic says:
    December 13, 2010 at 10:39 am
    ————
    And he surprises me by falling into such an obvious trap.
    The concentration of CO2 has increased (in round figures) from 300ppm to 400ppm – in other word from 0.03% to 0.04%
    ————
    It does not surprise me that you would fall into such an obvious trap.

    A gas, in a mixture of gases, acts independently of all the other gases in the mixture. That is why chemists use the concept of partial pressure. Hence the 0.03% value. which is the proportion of CO2 relative the other gases, is not relevant to the ability of CO2 to absorb IR.

    The partial pressure is important and that increased by the ratio 4/3.

    Hope that’s clear now.

    If you don’t understand trivia like this maybe you should keep you mouth closed instead of slagging off at people who do understand the basics.

    [Back off the attacks of other posters. Stick to the issues / science. Hope THAT is clear now… bl57~mod]

  78. John Kehr says:
    December 13, 2010 at 11:21 am
    The statistics of the temperature trends are nice, but here is why engineers really laugh at global warming and the energy balance of Trenberth…
    —————
    Apparently John’s favorite engineer does not understand that the composition of the atmosphere changes with height. I find that slightly amusing.

    I am betting 99% of real engineers do understand that that the atmospheric composition changes with height..

  79. HAS says:
    December 13, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    ……….
    “The thing that worries me is that putting aside the detail of what the data does or does not show under various analyses M&S don’t seem to address basic issues raised in MW’s rebuttal. Did M08 quality control introduce bias; exactly what assumptions were required to lead to MW suggesting the recent warming was anomalous in their original paper; were MW correct to say that the literature suggests more than 4 principal components could be acceptable; did or did not MW test other methods in addition to Lasso as part of their rebuttal; did or did not MW properly address the criticism by other commentators about other naive models eg composite regression; how can M&S refer to “pseudoproxy” experiments with a straight face without first dealing with MW’s critque of these?”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    You, uhmm, read the discussion papers and the rejoinder? From SMR ….36 tree-ring records were not used by M08 due to their 31 failure to meet objective standards of reliability.” Here, they admit to introducing bias to M08.

    You asked, “Did M08 quality control introduce bias; exactly what assumptions were required to lead to MW suggesting the recent warming was anomalous in their original paper;”[?]

    Your not reading the original paper properly. They created a model they thought would best recreate temps from the proxies. Later in the paper, they assert the models (any and all) can’t recreate temps from the proxies. In other words, they don’t believe their model to be accurate.

    Lastly, you ask, “did or did not MW test other methods in addition to Lasso as part of their rebuttal; did or did not MW properly address the criticism by other commentators about other naive models eg composite regression; how can M&S refer to “pseudoproxy” experiments with a straight face without first dealing with MW’s critque of these?”

    From MW rejoinder……“We are able to show, by brute force computation, that our results are invariant
    to these choices. Furthermore, as stated in our paper, we implemented
    many of these proposals prior to submission (for discussion of variations
    originally considered and justification of our choices, see Section 3.7 for
    the Lasso; footnote 8 for thirty year blocks; Section 3.4 for interpolation;
    and Section 3.6 for calibration to local temperatures). In contrast, we credit
    McIntyre and McKitrick (MM) for pointing out the robustness of these results
    and Kaplan for actually demonstrating it by using Ridge regression
    in place of the Lasso (see Kaplan Figures 1 and 2). We direct the reader to
    our SI where we perform the same tests (1) for a plethora of methods (including
    the elastic net called for by HU and the Noncentral Lasso called for
    by Tingley) (2) using thirty and sixty year holdout blocks (3) using both interpolated
    and extrapolated blocks and (4) fitting to the local temperature
    grid as well as CRU when feasible. Once again, the results demonstrated
    by Figures 9 and 10 of our paper are robust to all of these variations.

    Try reading the thing instead of listening to talking points from people that don’t understand what they are reading. Thanks

  80. Heh, Lazy Teenager has ‘expectations’ but he doesn’t say why he has them. Maybe a little great Charles Dickens for him?
    ==============================

  81. From MW2010 Rejoinder,

    “Before embarking on our discussion of their work, we must mention that,
    of the five discussants who performed analyses (DL, Kaplan, SMR, Smerdon,
    and Tingley), SMR was the only one who provided an incomplete and
    generally unusable repository of data and code.”

    ————–

    SMR have not learned the openness lesson yet. But there is hope for SMR, which is that M & W are good teachers.

    John

  82. Re: John Whitman

    Gavin et al respond to that:

    “The MW rebuttal focuses a lot on SMR and we will take the time to look into the specifics more closely, but some of their criticism is simply bogus. They claim our supplemental code was not usable, but in fact we provided a turnkey R script for every single figure in our submission – something not true of their code, so that is a little cheeky of them [as is declaring that one of us to be a mere blogger, rather than a climate scientist ;-) “

  83. lol, so I’m reading RC’s response to the rejoinder. Either they didn’t read the paper and rejoinder, or they do not understand what they’re reading. Sorry for the length, but I’m procrastinating other tasks.

    The first criticism, in the paragraph that starts, “On that specific issue, presumably just an oversight,……” Here, RC is speaking about the differences in the proxies used. MW used the entire data set while M08 used a subset, removing some from the database.(Again from RC) ..”….This is even more true when the frequently challenged “Tiljander” series are removed, leaving a network of 55 series….”

    So, what did MW say to this? Well, they said plenty! In the interest of brevity, I’ll only reproduce a few statements, the first, being the most important, in my estimation. From MW rejoinder…..”The process by which the complete set of 95/93 proxies is reduced to 59/57/55 is only suggestively described in an online supplement to Mann et al. (2008)3. As statisticians we can only be skeptical of such improvisation, especially since the instrumental calibration period contains very few
    independent degrees of freedom.” Also, from the comments of figure1….”Second,
    the RegEM EIV methods produces reconstructions which are nearly identical to those produced by OLS PC4 and OLS G5 PC5. Compare also with SMR Figure S2 which is similar to the bottom panel but excludes RegEM EIV.” Again, from the rejoinder…..”The appearance of a difference in SMR Figure 1a is especially magnified because those reconstructions are smoothed. Smoothing exaggerates the difference and requires careful adjustment of fit statistics such as standard errors,….” Well no wonder they don’t look the same. It has nothing to do with including or excluding data. What happens when their methods and data are compared to M08?…….Well, RC could have just looked at figure 2 and then read underneath it…….again, from the MW rejoinder under figure 2 (bold emphasis mine)…..”Difference Between our Bayesian AR2+PC10 Model of Section 5 and Various Other Models. The left panel gives the difference between our Bayesian AR2+PC10 model fit to the network of 93 proxies dating back to 1000 AD and the original Mann et al. (2008) RegEM EIV fit to the network of 59 proxies dating back to 1000 AD. The right panel gives the difference between our Bayesian AR2+PC10 model fit to the network of 93 proxies dating back to 1000 AD and the model of SMR Figure 1b (i.e., the same Bayesian AR2+PC10 model but fit to the network of 55 proxies dating back to 1000 AD instead of the network of 93 proxies). As can be seen, there are no statistically significant differences between these two models and our Bayesian AR2+PC10 model fit to the 93 proxies.

    This, in itself and by itself should have satisfied most of their critiques. BTW, as noted by MW, the tree rings had already undergone a series of minimal standards. As noted…….”(ITRDB, version 5.03: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/treering.html). All ITRDB treering proxy series were required to pass a series of minimum standards to be included in the network: (i) series must cover at least the interval 1750 to 1970, (ii) correlation between individual cores for a given site must be 0.50 for this period, (iii) there must be at least eight samples during the screened period 1800-1960 and for every year used.”

    That isn’t to say RC doesn’t have a sense of humor about all of this, from RC(again, bold is mine), “MW claim that M08 quality control is simply an ‘ad hoc’ filtering and deny that they made a mistake at all. This is not really credible, and it would have done them much credit to simply accept this criticism.”—–there isn’t much to say on this, one can only laugh. Thanks RC!!

    Right after that, they kick in with their 80 % anomalous finding of MW, stating this was a conclusion of MW. Oddly, that number isn’t in MW’s summation or conclusions. This is an example of RC being willfully dense. Talk about misrepresenting someone else’ work! From the original MW10 “Since our model cannot detect the recent temperature change, detection of dramatic changes hundreds of years ago seems out of the question.” if that weren’t enough, from the rejoinder,(bold mine) “That is, we lack statistical evidence that the recently observed rapid rise in temperature is historically anomalous.” Does this sound like MW put any stock in the results of their model? I think RC is being disingenuous when using the 80% number. They can’t be that dumb, can they?

    Then they speak of PC’s (principle components) they state PC10 is too large and advocate using PC4. All RC had to do, was to look at figure 4 in the rejoinder. Again, here’s what MW rejoinder stated,(bold mine) “in Figure 4 (we include an unsmoothed plot in the SI; since SMR prefer four principal components, we include plots for a Bayesian AR2+PC4 model in the SI and note that the four and ten PC models perform almost identically). In other words, PC4 vs PC10 makes little or no difference.

    Then RC goes on about IPCC standards and levels of confidence. I can only suppose that RC believes normal science is done in the same manner as climate science such as 50% being 90% confident that they’re engaged in real science.

    The rest seems to be hand waving and cheer leading for other critiques and a snark towards M&M with the exception of this statement regarding centering…..”All the PC calculations use prcomp(proxy, center=TRUE, scale=TRUE) to specifically deal with that, while the plots use a constant baseline of 1900-1980 for consistency.”…..I wish I had a better grasp of the vernacular of both climate scientists and statisticians, but I really don’t believe MW were speaking toward a programming command.

    Honestly, my take is that RC all but entirely ignored the rejoinder.

    Last comment from RC…….”In summary, there is much sense in these contributions, and Berliner’s last paragraph sums this up nicely: ‘ The problem of anthropogenic climate change cannot be settled by a purely statistical argument’………“————— wow, most agree with this.

  84. LazyTeenager says:
    December 14, 2010 at 3:23 am

    A gas, in a mixture of gases, acts independently of all the other gases in the mixture. That is why chemists use the concept of partial pressure. Hence the 0.03% value. which is the proportion of CO2 relative the other gases, is not relevant to the ability of CO2 to absorb IR.
    ======================================================

    True, other gases aren’t pertinent to CO2’s ability to absorb, but that isn’t the point either. The point is and the question is how much more IR absorption is CO2 contributing than what would otherwise be absorbed by the other gases present such as H2O and nitrous oxide by its 100ppm increase in its presence?………

  85. Shevva says:
    December 14, 2010 at 1:05 am

    James Sexton says:
    December 14, 2010 at 5:13 am

    Obviously you both missed that I was asking rhetorical questions of M&S re their post on RC – I suspect neither of you had read that post when you jumped into print.

    But clearly I was being too subtle, perhaps re read my comment at December 13, 2010 at 11:25 pm in that light and you’ll find yourselves running through open doors.

    And BTW Shevva argumentum ad verecundiam makes you feel good but doesn’t add much, and James Sexton, condescension doesn’t suit you.

  86. HAS says:
    December 14, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    “Obviously you both missed that I was asking rhetorical questions of M&S re their post on RC – I suspect neither of you had read that post when you jumped into print.

    But clearly I was being too subtle, perhaps re read my comment at December 13, 2010 at 11:25 pm in that light and you’ll find yourselves running through open doors.”

    Whoops! I see where I did indeed miss your subtleties. I’m usually not this dense. This should serve as a reminder to have at least one cup of coffee in before I start on with my wild assumptions.

    “…….and James Sexton, condescension doesn’t suit you.”

    Right you are, its my writing style. I try not to be disagreeable, but it still comes out from time to time. Apologies if I’ve run afoul of your sensibilities.

  87. Stein, in his editorial says,

    An example of an implausible sharp null hypothesis would be that a large increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has exactly zero eff ect on the global mean temperature.

    It may not be the political correctness of the day, but I have to say this:

    While it is currently accepted that a doubling of CO2 will raise the global average by 1C, because of the effect CO2 has on escaping heat energy in the IR range, that is based on the theoretical. Many, MANY lab and theoretical concepts do not hold true in the empirical world – the real world. Lab tests in biology and physics are not accepted by themselves, but must be measurably verified in the field.

    Until that is done, all the formulas in the world won’t convince me that something that makes up 1/26th of 1% can have a measurable effect on the climate. Am I leaning toward accepting it? Yes. But I lean toward a lot of things that may or may not be actually true in the real empirical world, so the weight of my leaning doesn’t mean anything.

    But what is meant by “large increase”? The 100% increase giving a 1C – that is very very large increase. Everyone ASSUMES that a 100% rise is plausible. The increase since the mid-1800s is about 100 ppm, about a 36% rise. There has been a 0.7C rise since 1900. The rise is ASSUMED to connect the two as cause and effect. I think that cause-effect connection is tenuous at best. The degree of change seems close, but that may be a coincidence. I am not convinced. That 36% rise in CO2 may or may not be connected to the 0.7C rise in temperature.

    Especially the people who suspect that the rise in global temperature is an artifact of the CRU methodology (particularly in UHI adjustment and arbitrary TOB adjustments), why do they accept this claim as valid? Take away the CRU adjustments and just how much rise in temperature have there been? We simply don’t know.

    Since we don’t know what the rise is, the lab or theoretical cannot be accepted at face value.

  88. LazyTeenager says:
    December 14, 2010 at 2:59 am

    Gary Palmgren says
    —————-
    o people simply remember local droughts and assume that the hot dry droughts mean a warming earth will be dry
    —————-
    No they don’t.

    They know that if the temperature is higher then the water reserve in the soil evaporates more quickly. Duh!!

    They also know, and which neither you nor Ian Plimer know, is that the very dry conditions of the ice age apply only when a large proportion of the planet is covered by ice.

    It’s important to realize that warm conditions will cause water to evaporate more quickly so there will be more water in the air. But whether it falls as rain again will depend on regional conditions. Some places will get more rain and even more snow. But other regions will get less rain and it will evaporate more quickly.

    Hence what is expected is expected from higher temperatures is more floods and more droughts and more snow.

    You should not believe Ian Plimer just because he tells you what you want to hear. His expertise outside Geology is very limited.

    Beats me why I have to explain the obvious.
    #
    LazyTeenager says:
    December 14, 2010 at 3:23 am

    Sam the Skeptic says:
    December 13, 2010 at 10:39 am
    ————
    And he surprises me by falling into such an obvious trap.
    The concentration of CO2 has increased (in round figures) from 300ppm to 400ppm – in other word from 0.03% to 0.04%
    ————
    It does not surprise me that you would fall into such an obvious trap.

    A gas, in a mixture of gases, acts independently of all the other gases in the mixture. That is why chemists use the concept of partial pressure. Hence the 0.03% value. which is the proportion of CO2 relative the other gases, is not relevant to the ability of CO2 to absorb IR.

    The partial pressure is important and that increased by the ratio 4/3.

    Hope that’s clear now.

    If you don’t understand trivia like this maybe you should keep you mouth closed instead of slagging off at people who do understand the basics.

    —————

    Someone lecturing people about the partial pressure of gases should realize that a wee little phenomenon related to partial pressure cancels out your earlier assertion. If more heat equals more evaporation, at some point the levels of humidity in the air will cancel out or massively slow evaporation due to heat (due to the partial pressure of gases and saturation levels of humidity). High levels of humidity can persist for days where I live without relief from thunderstorms and precipitation. I’ve even known droughts to develop in these conditions – humidity day after day, with no rain, and resorting to the sprinkler to keep the garden from shriveling. While drought may develop locally, or rainfall or flooding elsewhere (as you state) the extra heat is not, as you assert, resulting in extra evaporation locally.

  89. >While drought may develop locally, or rainfall or flooding elsewhere (as you state) the extra heat is not, as you assert, resulting in extra evaporation locally.

    Huh? Look at the Clausius-Clapeyron equation for saturation vapor pressure, as that is what is relevant: de_s/dT = Lv*e_s / R_v*T^2
    So how do you claim the factors of T^2 and e_s are not important?????

  90. Myrrh says:
    December 14, 2010 at 8:09 pm
    If CO2 has increased from 0.03 to 0.04%, what has it ousted? And where has what it has ousted gone?

    Oxygen, into CO2 via combustion: C + O2 -> CO2

  91. I’ve found this comparison: http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/CO2_Temp_02.html

    The Carboniferous period is the closest match to our present day CO2 levels and O2 is much higher, and in the times of very high CO2 levels the Oxygen levels mostly around what we have now. Probably too complex data required for back of the envelope calculations, but, if plant growth improves with higher levels of CO2 wouldn’t there be increased oxygen produced also? Maybe it’s Nitrogen getting displaced, being lighter than both.

  92. Myrrh says:
    December 15, 2010 at 7:10 pm
    I’ve found this comparison: http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/CO2_Temp_02.html

    The Carboniferous period is the closest match to our present day CO2 levels and O2 is much higher, and in the times of very high CO2 levels the Oxygen levels mostly around what we have now. Probably too complex data required for back of the envelope calculations, but, if plant growth improves with higher levels of CO2 wouldn’t there be increased oxygen produced also? Maybe it’s Nitrogen getting displaced, being lighter than both.

    No the measured decrease in O2 is consistent with the growth of CO2.

  93. [Something a bit odd here, I can no longer get the page with 02 comparison from the link, but it still appears from my original attempt when pulled down from history when typing in the URL..]

  94. Late to the game here, but I am reading these papers with interest. First SMR and now McShane and Wyner. By me reading so far, M&W have taken SMR to the woodshed on statistical analysis. Am I wrong?

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