I’m sure Bishop Hill won’t mind if I pinch this, it shows a rather head in the sand attitude that pervades the people who get money to study global warming, such as the Pacific Institute’s Dr. Peter Gleick. I agree with Bish though: “subterfuge” looks out of place in a scientific report, OTOH so does the use of a “trick”. He writes:
The Heartland Institute’s NIPCC interim report has just been published – see here. This is a summary of the new scientific literature since 2009.
I’ve taken a glance through the paleoclimate bits and it appears to have been put together in a very professional manner. I was blissfully unaware of just how much evidence has been emerging for the existence of a MWP in the world outside Europe.
If I had a criticism based on what I have read, I would say it’s over the authors’ tendency to slip into editorial mode – discussion of Mann being engaged in “subterfuge” looks out of place in a scientific report.
Lots of people are not going to like the report of course. Peter Gleick, the president of the Pacific Institute, tweets that the report makes him sick and refuses to link to it. Barry Woods and I have politely asked which bits in particular he is concerned with and he has told us that he doesn’t need to do this when someone is arguing that the Earth is flat.
Gleick’s head in the sand choices seem to be selective, for example, he’s written a book titled Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water. Gleick argues against bottled water on the grounds of it being environmentally unsound and just another profit grab by corporate interests selling to a gullible public.
Yet, in one of the most widely publicized environmental protests this year, what do we see? Yep, water bottles everywhere behind Gleick’s hero, Jim Hansen, seen going to the big house after his third arrest above.
I can just hear Gleick going “la la la la la la la la la” as he tries to reconcile climate protest with those protestors leaving water bottle rubbish all over the protest site. It’s a “Joe Romm head exploding moment”, which is why Gleick hasn’t said anything about it.
I suppose the message is “we should be concerned about the environment when those who lecture us on environmental concern actually do as they say”.
Speaking of protests…perhaps we should go Al Sharpton on Gleick, and stand outside his office and read him the NIPCC report through a bullhorn.
After all, such methods are widely accepted in Berkeley.
I have excerpted the passage from chapter 3 below, judge for yourself:
3.1.7. Northern Hemisphere
In the 27 November 2009 issue of Science, Michael Mann and eight coauthors (Mann et al., 2009) describe how they used a global climate proxy network consisting of data derived from ice core, coral, sediment, and various other records to reconstruct a Northern Hemispheric surface air temperature history covering the past 1,500 years for the purpose of determining the characteristics of the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period. They used Mann’s “Nature trick” of Climategate fame, truncating the reconstructed temperature history near its end and replacing it with modern-day instrumental data, so the last part of the record cannot be validly compared with the earlier portion.
This subterfuge is unwarranted. And in its current application, it’s not just from 1981 or 1961 onwards that the ruse is applied; it’s applied all the way from 1850 to 1995, the period of overlap between the proxy and instrumental records that was used to calibrate the proxy data. Therefore, since the proxy data were available to 1995, the reconstructed near-surface air temperature history should also have been plotted to 1995, in order to be able to make valid quantitative comparisons between the degree of warmth of the Current and Medieval Warm Periods.
For those interested, Chapter 3 is available here NIPCC_chap03_PaleoTemperature (PDF)
The entire report is available here (PDF)