Real Climate response to McIntyre's Marcott stick busting

Many people have been wondering what sort of response would be coming now that Steve has conclusively shown that the Marcott et al “hockey stick” is nothing more than an artifact of what appears to be the worst case of cherry picking ever.

His latest post reveals how to ‘Hide the Decline’, Marcott style:

By blanking out the three most recent values of their proxy #23, the earliest dated value was 10.93 BP (1939.07 AD). As a result, the MD01-2421+KNR02-06 alkenone series was excluded from the 1940 population. I am unable to locate any documented methodology that would lead to the blanking out of the last three values of this dataset. Nor am I presently aware of any rational basis for excluding the three most recent values.

Since this series was strongly negative in the 20th century, its removal (together with the related removal of OCE326-GGC30 and the importation of medieval data) led to the closing uptick.

Here’s the response from Real Climate Scientists™

(h/t to commenter Richard Mason on the Powerline blog)

From the YouTube description:

Stars in the background are artificial, as is the passing airplane.

Seems like a perfect response.

Read McIntyre’s latest here


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Kurt in Switzerland

Get’s funnier & funnier…
Or sadder & sadder, depending on your viewpoint.
Kurt in Switzerland


Surprises me –
I expected their response to sound more like crickets chirping.


I’m betting that the eventual response will be.
a) “McIntyre’s analysis has already been debunked.”
2) “There have been 12 other studies which replicated Marcott’s results.”
(h/t in advance to trafamodore)
Anyone want to bet against me?


Wolves howling, owls hooting plus crickets chirping, just about says it all. But when will this delusional nonsense be thrown in the rubbish bin?


Neville, clinically it does not resemble a delusion so much as obsessionality. The entire CAGW line of action is truly isomorphic to the symptomatology of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Ideation fixated upon trying to guarrantee certaintainty of future events through ritualised preoccupation with current gestures irrespective of their disabling consequences.

RC – we knew about this all along – our own checks found this error first and He Who Must Not Be Named didn’t find it at all – Honest!!! /sarc


@ H.R. 5.40 am My guess will be “It has been peer reviewed by 3 different IPCC leads”.
How about tumbleweed and cricket noises ….


Minor point, but I think ‘Response’ rather than ‘Responds’ would be more accurate in the title. Responds implies action, whereas total silence is an accurate description of their response, to date.
REPLY: Sure, why not.- Anthony


[snip – let’s not go there, let it shake out first – Anthony]


A while back we were trying to win an Olympic Games bid and there was considerably and noisy opposition from an organization called “Bread Not Circuses” which was a front for Socialists led by a dork named Jack Layton. His comment to the leader of the bid was “we are a very powerful political force and we will kill this bid.”
And they did – Atlanta used this as propaganda to show how the population didn’t support the bid. And we didnt’ get a billion in construction and 5,000 low income homes and better transit.
My point? The alarmists are a very power political organization – and they will win – and they don’t care if everyone else suffers. They will have their bank roll and their retirement homes etc.


No real reply huh. Or the wolf howl was as close as they could get to crying into their beer.


I suspect their eventual response will be :
The “blade” was described in the text as being unreliable and not a valid measurement. Its a bit absurd to focus on something the authors themselves don’t regard as significant.
Mcintyre has implied very strongly that re-dating was performed in order to hide a decline in reconstructed temperatures (in the period which the authors say there is no valid measurement)
The re-dating was made because of X, Y, Z where X,Y and Z are arguments the non-specialist can’t really judge, in the same way that they can’t judge the validity of Steve Mcintyre’s argument. Instead they make an appeal to authority – something which is apparently fine for Mcintyre (a clever man but not infallible) but which is not fine for someone on the other side.
Its difficult to see that this is going anywhere.
That said, a very serious charge (poor ethics) has been levelled against the authors. Those of us who don’t understand the fine details of proxy-dating ought really to shut up until an answer is forthcoming. If we’re lucky it will be very convincing or utterly unconvincing (even to the non-specialist).


My my, what an adult, rational, reasoned and mature response. Time for bed little ones.

Peter Miller

Willis has some fascinating charts towards the end of the March 16th comment section in Climate Audit.
If I was Marcott et al, or the ‘Real Science’ ‘scientists’, I would run a mile at being exposed for this total abuse of data – the chart for the last 500 years would make a cheating schoolboy blush.


Robert says:
March 18, 2013 at 6:12 am
“Its difficult to see that this is going anywhere. ”
Marcott, Shakun and the NYT are on the record trying to make hay out of the uptick. Oh, and Joe Romm.
And BTW, if the uptick isn’t thoroughly refuted before IPCC AR5 it will become the worldwide icon of warmism no matter how flakey.


Wamron says:
March 18, 2013 at 5:52 am

That explanation hurt my brain.


Robert says:
March 18, 2013 at 6:12 am

If as you claim, the authors themselves don’t trust the blade portion of the graph, why are they making such a big deal of their claim that current temperatures are warmer than at any time in the last 4000 years, or that the rate of temperature increase is totally unprecedented?

cui bono

Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”
Is the dog playing dead?

Frank K.

Their response fit in with the general level of professionalism exhibited by many of the mainstream CAGW “scientists”.
BTW – it was 8 F here in New Hampshire this morning, and a big snow storm is headed our way tomorrow – in the middle of March. Happy Global Warming(tm) spring!


This is as good of a PR breakthrough for skeptics as was the nonsense article Sokal spoof of the postmodern journal “Social Text” since it exposed Mann himself on Facebook, the journal “Science” too, and the media like Rachel Maddow who celebrated it with Mann’s strong support, yet it’s a *full* debunking that can easily be bluntly comprehended by any layperson who views Willis’ plot of the input data.
Their cult has been lead off a cliff.

Paul Matthews

Note this twitter exchange:
Eileen Kinley ‏@EileenOttawa
@MichaelEMann Is there a rebuttal to McIntyre’s innuendo re “dating service”?
Michael E. Mann ‏@MichaelEMann
@EileenOttawa For the time being, the disturbingly bad track record & documented past misbehavior should suffice:
We can take that as a “no” then. Nor is there any rebuttal to McIntyre’s explanation of how the spurious Marcott upticks arise.

I posted McIntyre’s original article on this whole think on Mann’s Facebook page in a comment, less then one minute later It was deleted and I was blocked.
Just saying.
P.S. Marcott Style? Or has that whole thing jumped the shark. Is Marcott a person? If so does he have a picture?


Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

I enjoy a good joke as much as anyone, but implying that the RealClimate scientists are howling mad undermines the exemplary work of Steve McIntyre on this topic, IMHO. It also somewhat poisons the atmosphere for what I anticipate will be an eventual response from Marcott, et. al., which is what I thought I was going to see when I followed this link.
Anthony I love your site, but I think you gave into temptation here.


RC is a cult, with obedience to a godhead. Unquestioning belief in the perfection of the godhead is the organizing and controlling principle in all cults. The cult member is attracted to the cult because it fills a need. The cult fills the void left by the “father figure” of childhood — the unquestioned belief in the authority figure and the security it brings.
By definition anything that questions the godhead must be false because the godhead is perfect. Thus, RC must censor any comments that question the godhead, less the cult be infected with doubt. New posts are screened by the cult itself to identify potential new members. Those that fit the profile are accepted; those that deviate are expelled.
The danger of cults is that they promote imperfect individuals to the status of gods, incapable of error. No matter how crazy the leader’s ideas, they must be right. The leader believes this, as do the followers. By eliminating dissenting voices this belief is continually re-enforced, proving the perfection of the leader.
As history shows, like lemmings, the cult ultimately leads its members to the cliff and over. At small scale we get Manson and Jones, on a larger scale Mein Fuhrer. In the end the result is the same. Unfortunately cults show a long history of collateral damage to non cult members. After the fact we can only gaze in wonder at the mass insanity of the cult members and vow “never again”. A message that is quickly lost as we teach the next generation unquestioned obedience.


Robert says:
March 18, 2013 at 6:12 am
Robert, this is an embarrassment…….not just this unremarkable paper that should have been filed under “that’s nice dear”……….the hype
Everyone should be embarrassed
To hype some paper like this….only to read “not robust”

Robert says:
March 18, 2013 at 6:12 am
Its a bit absurd to focus on something the authors themselves don’t regard as significant.
Agreed, yet that is what the press release concentrated on. That today’s temperatures are warmer than X% of the past 10 thousand years. Nowhere did the press release say “this is not reliable”.
What the hype around X% shows is that we are not dealing with a scientific study. What has of course been ignored is that even it X% was correct, that means that 100-X% percent of the past 10 thousand years were warmer than today – without any man made CO2. Thus, today’s temperatures are well within the range of natural variability.
What climate science and the IPCC have claimed is that today’s temperatures are abnormal, outside the range of natural variability. What Marcott has show is the exact opposite. That today’s temperatures are well within the range seen over many hundreds and even thousands of year in the past 10 thousand.
This to me is the significance of Marcott. That natural variability in the absence of CO2 has resulted in temperatures higher than today’s temperatures within the past 10 thousand years, without any human cause.
Indeed, climate science and the IPCC cannot explain why temperatures were higher during the past 10 thousand years. This is impossible if CO2 is the major driver of climate. Thus, the higher temperatures falsify the claim that CO2 is the major driver of climate.

The mathematics of climate science:
Real Climate = RC
RC = Religious Cult
coincidence? Or the subconscious mind in action?


cui bono RE dogs: Dunno, but these old dogs don’t hunt. Too bad the rest of the media doesn’t know the difference between barking and hunting–they’re also no longer relevant, except for their influence on the brainwashed* crowd.
The whole affair is similar to the situation in Texas, which is the number one state in the nation to do business primarily because of their implementation of conservative principles like low taxes and fair, predictable regulations. As a consequence, business people will expand through capital investment, hire more employees, and the whole state benefits.
So why don’t other flailing states, like California, simply imitate Texas’ policies to get back on the path to prosperity? Perry says it comes down to a “simple but nonetheless true” psychological experiment.
“When you give a monkey the choice between an addictive drug and food, it will starve to death,” the governor said. “These citizens are addicted to government largesse, to the point of seeing their states come apart.”
Pointing to California as an example, Perry said the state’s residents were given the opportunity to stop out-of-control spending and taxation, but instead voted to raise taxes even higher on themselves in the November 2012 elections.
The same applies to the brainwashed CAGW crowd–they are so addicted to failed climate policy that they’d rather see the world go into a tailspin than recognize the errors of their ideology/theology.
And they claim to be thinking people.

From the YouTube description:
“Stars in the background are artificial, as is the passing airplane.”

Computer models?

The second question that climate science and the IPCC cannot answer is why the 100-X percent higher temperatures over the past 10 thousand years did not lead to catastrophic end to civilization. Instead, the past 10 thousand years is when human developed civilization.
If CAGW is correct, we should not be here. Humans should have pretty much gone extinct during the 100-X percent of the past 10 thousand years when temperatures were higher than at present. Instead we appear to have expanded across the globe as temperatures warmed.
Could this in fact be due to human physiology? We have no fur. We shed heat very efficiently though a combination of sweat glands and upright posture. Standing, we have very limited surface area exposed to the noon sun and maximal surface area exposed to the breeze.
Could it be that humans are warm weather adapted? That of all the larger mammals humans have the greatest capacity for work over time because of our ability to shed heat. Thus, in hot climates we can outlast other animals. We can continue where other animals would overheat.
The fatal temperature for humans is 28C/82F. Is it co-incidence this is the temperature of the tropical rain-forests worldwide? Below this temperature the unprotected human cannot generate enough internal energy to survive. Our 150 watts of internal heat is less than what we radiate to the environment and eventually we die of exposure. The average temperature of the earth is 14.5C – fatal to the unprotected human.


There is no response necessary. McIntyre is not a Climate Scientisttm and is in the pay of “Big Oil” so he has no standing in the cult community. Any paper that supports our position is a priori correct. –RC

TImothy Sorenson

Based on the frequency of Snowy Tree Cricket pulse and time-interval analysis, re-dated for the 18th century, the pulse rate of 185 chirps per minute with an interval lapse of 1.4 times the pulse we can conclude from our SnowTreeCricketProxy that the ambient temp at the time of the moon siting was 29.4 degrees Celsuis. (T.J. Walker, Science, 1969 Vol 166 pgs: 891-894 )


DirkH and MarkW
I’m just predicting what the response will be. They’ve written a get-out clause into the paper regardless of what might appear in the media. That said, in the statements from them I’ve read they also talk about other studies as well as their own.
Like everyone else here I just don’t know what went on in this analysis. They certainly have questions to answer. Steve has done a good job. That doesn’t mean that people with little detailed understanding of the analysis ought to be condemning them in advance of a response. Its ironic that those who supposedly laud scientific method (i.e. look at all the facts and not just those supporting your case) are happy to do this .
Its mostly spleen and rarely truth that comes out in blog comments..


You wrote:
“RC is a cult, with obedience to a godhead. Unquestioning belief in the perfection of the godhead is the organizing and controlling principle in all cults. The cult member is attracted to the cult because it fills a need. The cult fills the void left by the “father figure” of childhood — the unquestioned belief in the authority figure and the security it brings.”
Take a look at climate audit discussions. There are certainly a few expert comments in there. However, quite a lot just want to clap Steve on the back and join in with the condemnation of whoever is being audited without having any understanding of the details at hand. Do you think your “cult argument” applies in this case ? If not, why not ?

john robertson

Just maybe, NASA has told Gavin to step away from the propaganda and start doing your job, during work hours.


The Sound of Silence
No one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sound of silence”


This Marcott paper is the best thing that has happened yet (for Skeptics)

Nick in Vancouver

Mannis lupus


A political answer to a scientific critique?


Old soldiers (AGW) never die they only fade away…..I always knew that nothing except the actual weather/climate (not changing), would bring them down (although the Marcott fiasco has speeded up the downfall 100 percent) LOL

At Last! An honest, meaningful comment by Real Science.

John Slayton

My cat appeared to be initially alarmed at their response, but he calmed down once he identified the source. What is Kenji’s take?


I don’ actual expect a response , beyond trying to kill the problem by using a wall of silence in the hope it will all die away.
To get things ‘going ‘ Steve would have needed to drop it onto ‘the Teams’ door , then Mann’s massive ego would have done the rest for him.
Still its round one and all to play for , when/if this pop’s up in AR5 we get round two .
But given its already entered into AGW dogma , which can never be challenged nor changed , so it will never be fully dead .

They must have known they would not get away with this. A cynical rear guard PR action and Marcott took one for the team.

Steve Oregon

SM has done 6 posts on Marcotte et al beginning on March 13th. There has now been over 50 comments on RC’s March open thread and there is not one single peep about Marcotte. Nothing in the borehole either. Either the denizens at RC are in total denial or Gavin is heavy on the cough button again.


H.R. says:
March 18, 2013 at 5:40 am
I’m betting that the eventual response will be.
a) “McIntyre’s analysis has already been debunked.”
2) “There have been 12 other studies which replicated Marcott’s results.”
(h/t in advance to trafamodore)
Anyone want to bet against me?

Trafamadore must be some cryptic anagram or something. It is an anagram of:
Famed orator
Doom fear art
A farted room


I imagine a scene with McIntyre grinning and holding a rifle standing beside a barrel full of water and Marcott (a fish) laying at the bottom of the barrel while the real climate people stand around trembling with their hands over their eyes, ears and mouths. Josh? LOL.
Thanks Steve for yet another great analysis. I swear you deserve a Nobel Prize for being the Great Protector of Science that you are. And Watt ought to share it for being the Great Communicator of Science. Great job.