McIntyre speaks: on Mann, sticks, and data mannipulation

I interviewed Steve McIntyre, founder of the blog Climate Audit, about his journey into climate science and debunking the infamous ‘hockey stick.’

This is the most in-depth interview with Steve McIntyre ever to be published, and there’s a bonus secret revealed at the end.

Steve McIntyre, founder and editor of the blog dedicated to analysis of climate data Climate Audit, discusses how he first became interested in climate discussion. He and friend Dr. Ross McKitrick helped debunk one of the most important climate papers: ‘The Hockey Stick.’ Though only a businessman with a little formal knowledge of the climate debate, he had strong mathematical and statistical skills which led him to wonder about how the data and statistical methods worked to create the “hockey stick” shape.

McIntyre reached out to Michael Mann only to be informed that he did not have the data on hand. In fact, when asking another researcher, he was told nobody had ever asked for data in 28 years.

What McIntyre found (and what was denied him in the quest for accurate science) reverberated in the climate science community and eventually paved the way to “Climategate”.

He goes to show that if there truly is a consensus on the issue, there would be no need to hide and obfuscate data. 

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133 thoughts on “McIntyre speaks: on Mann, sticks, and data mannipulation

    • Great to hear the voice behind blog.

      Thanks for your insightful, expert analysis over the years. You have done a great service to humanity.

  1. Thank you Steve, your work inspired some teenagers to take on Michael Mann. Your ability to inspire future generations of scientists is something to be proud of.

    12 Year Olds catch NASA Withholding Data from the Public
    https://youtu.be/9gqpD5QZm60

    • RE Data Manipulation:

      A friend just sent me this recent video by Tony Heller.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8455KEDitpU&feature=youtu.be

      Tony’s newer website is https://realclimatescience.com/

      Tony previously used to go by the name Steven Goddard, and here is one of his early posts about NASA’s historical temperature data revisions:
      https://stevengoddard.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/giss-1981-2002-2014-global.gif

      It shows how NASA ~erased the global cooling period from ~1940 to 1977, even as fossil fuel combustion strongly accelerated circa 1940 at the start of WWII. That fact alone disproves the CAGW hypothesis. “Fossil fuel combustion and atmospheric CO2 up, temperatures down for almost 40 years”. NASA’s solution? Change the data!

      The vertical and horizontal scales are the same in all three charts – note how the red circles increase the warming from ~1890 to ~1980 with each data revision – 1981, 2002 and 2014. It’s data magic!

      • “It shows how NASA ~erased the global cooling period from ~1940 to 1977, even as fossil fuel combustion strongly accelerated circa 1940 at the start of WWII.”

        Before I read that I had checked the list of past record highs and lows for today (Oct. 16) for my little spot on the globe.
        One of the records changed was the record low.
        In 2007, the record low was listed as 30* , 1944.
        In 2012, the record low was listed as 31*, 1970.

    • Thanks for the link…
      It would be really great to see these children get some support from the experts and very knowledgeable people that visit WUWT.
      I would happily donate to help them get their point of view over to a wider audience.

    • “12 Year Olds catch NASA Withholding Data from the Public”
      The usual dumb stuff. NASA is not withholding data from the public. It provides a convenient interface for viewing NOAA’s GHCN data. It isn’t NASA’a to withhold.

      But this is just lazy. Look into it a little more. NASA has shifted from GHCN V3 to V4, as everyone does; there is much more information. All that has happened is that Alice Springs historically had two sites, Post Office and Airport. GHCN V3 made a composite. GHCN V4 has shown the original sites separately, which gives more detail. They show Alice Springs Post Office from 1880 to 1953 and Alice Springs Airport from 1941 to now. NASA has all that, if you only look before crying conspiracy.

  2. Why “part 2”. Do you consider the podcast with Dr. McKittrick titled “Taking on the Hockey Stick” to be part 1?

  3. Video is over an hour. A transcript would be nice. I can read way faster than people talking. Also, I don’t hear very well. I like videos where the visual element is the important thing. Talk is better in text. Thanks.

    • I hear you (or rather, read you). It takes an hour to listen to an hour tape. It takes about 15 minutes — maybe — to read it. And there are no missed words and it’s easy to go back to something to get it clear without having to wind and rewind the video.

      However, that said, getting transcripts costs money (as it should — doing transcription is not an easy job and most are criminally underpaid).

      • “Criminally underpaid?” Sounds like kind of uneconomic trash the Progressives spout about the minimum wage.

        I know you’re not a Progressive. But please stop using their hyperbole.

      • If they were criminally underpaid, why are they doing that work instead of something else?
        I understand that pretty much everybody wishes they were being paid more, but that’s not evidence that they are underpaid.

      • Well, since they mostly sit in courtrooms at the feet of the judges, perhaps criminally and underpaid are descriptive of the work environment? 😉

    • And YouTube doesn’t work in China. Is there an accessible platform?

        • and for those with visual impairment, it’s not a video. 😉

          It’s true that S.M. is not a very fluid speaker and a transcript would be appreciated on this kind of content.

          • Having listened to the first two minutes only, I disagree!
            I am Danish, and I often find it difficult to grasp spoken English on video clips etc. -but in this particular I think that the interviewer as well as Mr. McIntyre are very easy to understand: They both speak slowly and clearly, separate the words and ‘articulate’ their speech in a most admirable way…I look forward to the remaining part of the interview.
            PS That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t appreciate a transcription.

    • …show of hands

      How many fast forwarded to the end?

      ” and there’s a bonus secret revealed at the end.”

    • My daughters med school lectures were available by video and could be played at higher speed. This saved her a lot of time but I never got used to hearing technical information conveyed with a slight helium accent. Perhaps a similar player could be used for this tape.

      • I thought they had addressed that by cutting bits out instead of compression (ie increased frequency). I listen to audio books, and in learning Italian I have to slow it down (because italians speak fast. The voices do not get deeper.

    • AMEN JEFF. Steve is one of the finest writers I’ve been privileged to read. Interviews not so much.

  4. As I listen to it, I am reminded once again of how much of a liar Fraudypants LiarMann is. His behavior is truly pathological in nature, and I commend Mr. McIntyre for his persistence in dealing with such a weasel.

  5. Thank you Steve. We have an ongoing problem with “high temperature records” from NOAA. Where they report one year or one month as the hottest 2nd hottest etc based 1/100’s of a degree differences. As we all know that diffence isn’t real. It boarders on scientific fraud. I wish I new a republican congressman to point this out to.

    • As well as VLC, there is also DAUM Potplayer, which also has go-faster/go-slower playability.

      Or for gurus, there is Audacity, which has a facility for faster/slower without any change of tone (although it can distort somewhat if you play it really fast).

  6. 1919 physics law oil era Berz limitoil era claims all invention will lose over 1\2 .energy from wind energy losses blowing between the blades 100 years ago despite Einstein’s opposition and nobles for his kinetics works betz continues to enrich oil \nuclear money elected presidents. unanimous undisputed. Prove it when no wind blows between even 1 of unlimited number of blades horizontally deployed. rotated blocking then pivoting open 100%.. Now stonewalled with magnetically controlled electronic bearings. On your watch.

  7. Waste of time. Studies subsequent to Mann have duplicated his results using different proxy data and different statistical techniques. That is the gold standard in science.

        • Mann didn’t have thermometers when he “lost” it in the hockey stick.

          Well, he did at the end. Just stuck those readings on the end to hide the decline when his proxy temps took at dive in the mid-20th C.

        • Steven,
          Ice cores clearly show the MWP and LIA.
          They both show up clearly also in the data used by Mann for his hockeystick. As Steve McIntyre showed, the hockeystick manipulated the data to “get rid of the MWP”. Mann’s hockeystick is probably the most easily proved fraud in climate science – because the output does not correspond with the input data.

          It’s obvious why you don’t like the LIA. Recently, while browsing a scientific paper by a concensus scientist, I saw it state that the LIA represented a cooling of one degree.
          And how much warming has occurred since 1850? About one degree.
          The simplest explanation for the modern warming is that it was simple the planet emerging from the LIA. That warming was of massive benefit to the planet and mankind. You can’t seriously want the world to return to the LIA?
          Chris

          • Indeed Chris, that’s the nub of the issue. Those claiming “warming is bad” never say what the Optimum temp should be, however if the warming we’ve experiences since 1850 is as bad as they claim than logically the temps of the LIA must have been “good” in their opinion – anyone with a knowledge of history would know better. Apparently that leaves out English majors.

          • They also ignore the fact that the planet is still cooler than it has been for the vast majority of the last 10,000 years.

        • Drive-by-troll Mosher apparently is ignorant of an entire field of study: History. Honestly doesn’t say much for what they were teaching English majors at whatever institution he graduated from that history wasn’t part of the curriculum. If he’s education was as equally lacking in science, it would explain a lot about his drive-by-trolling.

        • Mr. Mosher: “got thermometers to prove it?”
          Yes, they are located with Mann’s non-conforming tree ring samples. The data from these instruments show a consensus LIA when properly adjusted. It’s the BEST approach for analyzing data, don’t you agree?
          And to Mr. “Manley”- anyone surprised Mann chose such a pseudonym?

        • First link of to a bad start.

          Crowley, T. J. 2000. Causes of Climate Change Over the Past 1000 Years. Science 289:270-277

          https://www.geos.ed.ac.uk/notfound.html?theURL=https://www.geos.ed.ac.uk/homes/tcrowley

          Resource Not Found

          The resource at the URL that you requested does not exist. It may have been moved or renamed. You have been brought to the School of GeoSciences Home folder to navigate through the menu hierarchy. Alternatively, you may use your browser back button to return to the previous page. Please advise the owner of the previous page of the broken URL.
          URL of requested resource:

          https://www.geos.ed.ac.uk/homes/tcrowley

        • Next

          may also arise in part from the role of tree-ring series in theirreconstructions22. Tree-ring data are an important resource inpalaeoclimate reconstruction because of their annual resolutionand relatively good spatial and temporal coverage. However, tree-ring analyses generally involve some temporal detrending23,aprocess that is intended to mute long-term growth trends thatmay be present in the data. For this reason, the long-term trendsderived from borehole temperatures may have a role as usefulcomplements to the traditional proxy reconstructions. Whateverthe underlying causes of the differences between the variousreconstructions may be, however, the resolution of these differences,particularly in determining the total temperature change over thefive-century interval, is important. This temperature change has the potential to be a useful empirical constraint on the climate-sensitivity factor of global climate models.

        • I saw lots of familiar names and papers on that list. They are not nearly as independent as you suppose/pretend/claim.

          In any case, I thought I’d go to the bottom for the most recent one, and this is what I found jumping-out:

          “…The proper response to someone who asserts that the Hockey Stick has been falsified is to ask “Which one?” As for what most of the temperature reconstructions show, the data from Marcott et al. (2013) combined with 30-year smoothed HadCRUT4 data is fairly representative…”

          Ok, so that’s the “fairly representative” example. Let’s take a look.

          For starters, it is nothing like a hockey stick. It shows historical periods of anomalous warmth comparable to that of today. It directly conflicts with many of Mann’s statements and conclusions. So it did not “duplicate his results” in the least.

          McIntyre tore that paper a new one. Marcott et al. were even forced to admit, “The 20th century portion of our paleotemperature stack is not statistically robust, cannot be considered representative of global temperature changes, and therefore is not the basis of any of our conclusions.”

          Furthermore, Marcott’s PhD thesis using the same proxies showed vastly different results.

          So not only did it not duplicate Mann, it doesn’t support Mann’s conclusions or claims.

          You’re clearly an ignorant newbie.

          • You’re clearly an ignorant newbie.

            You crack me up. How about dealing with facts? Like the fact that there is not a single scientific study that disputes Mann’s work.

          • Ron Manley October 15, 2019 at 6:12 pm

            … Like the fact that there is not a single scientific study that disputes Mann’s work.

            Mann’s hockey stick was purported to prove that the global temperature over a thousand year period did not vary much. It erased the MWP and LIA.

            Here’s a link to over a thousand papers which demonstrate that the MWP and LIA existed and were global.

            Because of his inexcusable delay, Mann’s case against Ball was pitched out. He said he was going to appeal but did not do so. Thanks to the magic of adverse inference, we can conclude that Mann has admitted that he and his hockey stick are frauds.

          • I just gave you a list of facts relevant to the link you provided and coincidentally discussed a Marcott et al. paper you brought-up in another comment. Despite being advertised as “duplicating” Mann’s hockey stick and validating his claims, it did nothing of the sort. And now you want to move the goalposts while also being spoonfed more facts?

            You play the ignorant newbie role very well. It’s a shame you don’t visit alleged opinion, anti-science blogs like WUWT. Except that you do.

          • Looks like Ron consumes the kool-aid by the truck load.
            Either that, or like the rest of the trolls he defines science as being whatever he agrees with.

    • Thank you for your comment. You may go now and collect your check at the troll farm. Don’t forget to put the lights out when leaving your mother’s basement. And don’t forget your coat. Have a good day!

    • “Waste of time.”

      You didn’t spend any time listening, then. Toward the end McIntyre said that all those subsequent studies employed post-hoc screening, so they’re invalid.

      • When McIntyre goes out, collects data, then presents it in a way that refutes Mann, and all the subsequent studies, I’ll listen. Until then all McIntyre is doing is providing us with his OPINION which we all know is not science.

          • Hey Ron, so you don’t spend time on opinion blogs, but you clearly spend time on opinion blogs. Keep talking, fool.

        • If you spent any time on Climate Audit you would know McIntyre has reverse engineered Mann’s proxy data sets (through reviewing numerous published papers and obtaining data from actual scientists) and has shown that the subsequent pal reviewed papers used some of the same proxy data which has the built in hockey stick. He has also shown, as stated by Roger above, that the pal reviewed papers removed data sets that did not meet the necessary final shape, and amazingly ended up with hockey sticks. “post-hoc screening”

          As BobM stated above, if the stick does not show the medieval warm period or the little ice age it can not be a true representative of historical temperatures. When I first saw the hookey stick, I thought, “that has got to be BS”, since I knew a little about history.

          BTW: Scientists don’t hide their data or hide the data they decide not to use because it does not fit their preconceived notions. That is the problem with Climate “Science”, it is not actually science.

          Do you, Ron, know anything about history? Can you not falsify the hooey stick with your basic knowledge from US and World history from your K to 12 education, or are you so young your government education didn’t include any legitimate history education?

          • “If you spent any time on Climate Audit”

            Sorry, I will not spend time on an opinion BLOG. It’s much better to spend your time reviewing actual scientific papers than to waste your time on a opinion blog. Not difference between this blog and Climate Audit. Both are anti-science.

          • Well Ron time to Man up and admit you are closing your eyes and ears.
            Statistics and math are a part of science and that is what McIntyre used to demonstrate Mann’s erroneous and selective manipulation of facts.

            You are contradicting yourself: Claim you are unwilling to “waste” time getting yourself informed on a opinion blog. Then waste time posting incorrect information when you could better spend that time getting yourself educated and brought up to speed.

          • Fascinating. Any science that refutes your God, is just opinion.
            There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

          • Mr. Manley: If you don’t read at Climate Audit, what is your basis for concluding it’s just opinion? Please keep commenting, just a bit more rope should do ya.
            P.S. 2+2=4 is not opinion, it’s math. Please tell your handlers that you’re not up to this.

        • When someone (SM in this case) shows that a scientific paper, and every other one that he’s looked at, does something in it’s statistics that is equivalent of “forgetting to carry the one” in their math, it’s over.
          No new studies are needed to refute it. It’s bad math. Visible to anyone who takes the time to understand.

        • Steve went out, collected data and published it. Look up the famous coffee shop expedition. Stop trying to be clever. Stupidity suits you better

        • Ron once again demonstrates that trolls know nothing about science.
          You don’t have to come up with an alternative paper in order to prove that a paper is flawed.
          All you have to do is demonstrate where the original paper made it’s errors.
          McIntyre did that.

        • Hi Ron. So you’re the new troll in town? Unfortunately the quality of trolls recently has been very low. You won’t last long.

    • @Ron;

      No, they don’t. They all use approximately the same proxies, nearly the same as Mann’s, and they use Mann’s wonky principal component analysis methodology. No wonder they churn out the same results.

    • Re Manley:
      They were NOT duplicated. They just changed some proxies but ALWAYS retained at least one bad one which affected the results and showed the same fake hockey stick.
      Steve McIntyre also pointed out those “studies”
      So Ron go do some real research and read it on Steve’s bog.

        • McIntyre and McKitrick 2005.

          And I think Mann 2008 refutes MBH1998 pretty thoroughly, though he hoped no one would notice.

        • Mann’s hockey stick is not science. So you need to keep the same standard. And if it were science, it is a failure. He did not provide the model or the data, so therefore unrepeatable. Models are tools, not science. And even being a tool does not mean it is used right. You can use a hammer to go through a wood 2×4. That does not make it right.

        • Well, it’s not a “scientific study” but you might want to check out the “HarryReadme” file.

        • Here’s something else.
          I admit it’s not a “scientific study” but, I think it sums things up nicely.
          (Sorry I couldn’t fit in Dr. Ross McKitrick’s name.)

          Stopping by Yamal One Snowy Evening

          What tree this is, I think I know.
          It grew in Yamal some time ago.
          Yamal 06 I’m placing here
          In hopes a hockey stick will grow.

          But McIntyre did think it queer
          No tree, the stick did disappear!
          Desperate measures I did take
          To make that stick reappear.

          There were some corings from a lake.
          And other data I could bake.
          I’ll tweak my model more until
          Another hockey stick I’ll make!

          I changed a line into a hill!
          I can’t say how I was thrilled!
          Then Climategate. I’m feeling ill.
          Then Climategate. I’m feeling ill.

    • If you had listened to the whole podcast, you would know that that was covered and the duplicates are also false.

    • Ummm No. That is the gold standard in confirmation bias. The gold standard is the paper should a least be able to be replicated using the papers conditions. Which no one can. I can claim water evaporates due to fairy magic and heat and others show it evaporates due to heat and produces same graphs as me does not mean I was right.

    • The important issue in this is not the actual results but the poor science and dishonesty used to produce the original graph and then to defend it in the teeth of the evidence. That Mann is still pontificating as a ‘prominent climate scientist’ after all this is a judgement on the integrity of the ‘climate science’ community.

    • The problem is that the claim that they used different data and different methods has been refuted.
      Much like Mann’s findings.

  8. Although a transcript would be nice, it can’t convey the honesty and humbleness in Dr. McIntyre’s speech patterns. There are absolutely no “used-car salesman pressure techniques” in Dr. McIntyre’s discussion of the issues. Thank you Anthony and McIntyre for this interview.

  9. Anthony,

    Suggestion: Schedule these hour-long audio-only podcasts to appear in the 0000-0600 PST/PDT time frame.

    Posting a 60-minute podcast at 1500 PDT (mid-afternoon West Coast, evening East coast and middle of the night UK) means that by the time most have the time to listen to it, i.e. in the mornings hours over coffee in the background while night’s emails and news are surfed, means it will likely already be buried under several newer textual-read posts and may not get listened to at all.
    So, a higher impact time for a podcast post may simply be better to be “fresh” in early morning hours when most WUWT’ers may have more time to listen to it before it gets buried under newer postings.

  10. A very nice interview. An hour, or so, well spent.

    I much prefer his low key presentations to any of the wild-eyed attacks his critics use. But I guess it’s easy to stay relaxed when you have the facts arguing for you.

  11. What would a transcription cost? Crowdfunding maybe? I would be happy to kick in a bit of seed money to make this happen.

    • I’d do it in a few hours for free. But would probably find someone else had done it already just when I posted it.

  12. As has been mentioned elsewhere, ( and something Ron seems unable to grasp), anyone in the real world who has spent any time looking at charts or graphs would have had the same reaction upon seeing the hockey stick- SCAM! I work in technical analysis of stocks, etc. and I see it all the time. Nothing works as perfectly as that in the real world- it’s always the result of cherry picking to or similar to show a desired outcome. You generally get the same response when you ask for an explanation too. I’m not nearly as competent as Mr McIntyre or Mr McKitrick and don’t pretend to be able to see what they did, but years of experience mean I generally know a con when I see one.

  13. What has puzzled me for a long time is that in this inter glacial there are known and undisputed temperature excursions from the average, even for Medieval Warm Period Deniers. Without going further back than 10-12 k years and there is no correlation with CO2, so why is so much credence put on models with poor predictive and hind casting ability?

    • “…. so why is so much credence put on models with poor predictive and hind casting ability?”

      Because it is an easy, never-ending, virtue-signalling, well-paying racket.

  14. For those interesting in a more detailed textual account of the hockey debunking, I wrote a synopsis with links to original sources by McKitrick McIntyre and others. Christy summarized it this way:
    “Regarding the Hockey Stick of IPCC 2001 evidence now indicates, in my view, that an IPCC Lead Author working with a small cohort of scientists, misrepresented the temperature record of the past 1000 years by (a) promoting his own result as the best estimate, (b) neglecting studies that contradicted his, and (c) amputating another’s result so as to eliminate conflicting data and limit any serious attempt to expose the real uncertainties of these data.” – John Christy, Examining the Process concerning Climate Change Assessments, Testimony 31 March 2011
    https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2018/03/11/rise-and-fall-of-the-modern-warming-spike/

  15. “McIntyre speaks: on Mann, sticks, and data mannipulation”

    So is “mannipulation” a typo or a pun? If pun, should be uppercase.

  16. Even if Steve Mcintyre is right to claim that the tree-ring widths of Strip Barked (Rock Mountain) Bristle Cone-Pines (Pinus aristata) is not a good proxy for air temperature, he has to explain the following result
    [ref 1].

    https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7QLxBUyrmpo/XGdozHkANsI/AAAAAAAABhI/KvDjq6QmDCI81qJaAIkDmTmcbE_jNSujgCLcBGAs/s1600/Matching_Periodicities.jpg

    [Ref 2]

    This graph shows that over a period of 2,264-year period (from 266 B.C. to 1997 A.D.), tree-ring widths of Rock Mountain Bristle-Cone Pines seem to know what is happening to the level of solar activity on the Sun and to the lunar tides. Hence, the Bristle-Cone pines may not be measuring air temperature but they certainly measuring something that is related to their external environment.

    References:

    1. Wilson and Sidorenkov, A Luni-Solar Connection to Weather and Climate I: Centennial Times Scales, J Earth Sci Clim Change 2018, 9:2 DOI: 10.4172/2157-7617.1000446

    https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/a-lunisolar-connection-to-weather-and-climate-i-centennial-times-scales-2157-7617-1000446.pdf

    2. Salzer MW, Kipfmueller KF (2005) Reconstructed temperature and precipitation on a millennial timescale from tree-rings in the Southern Colorado Plateau, USA. Climatic Change 70: 465–487.

  17. Michael Mann’s ‘Hockey Stick” Book
    Amazon Best Sellers Rank (Sales Rank) #433,949 in Book
    In Category :
    #383 in Rivers in Earth Science
    #440 in Environmental Policy
    #414 in Weather (Books)
    As opposed to Mein Kampf (Hitler)
    Amazon Best Sellers Rank (Sales ) : #20,523 in Books

  18. The head photo bespeaks of a glorious statue/bust that should be erected to the man – SM, that is! He deserves all the plaudits going. And if ever an SM (sceptic medal – see what I dd there?) is ever awarded – and it should – SM’s head should be on it with our host’s on the obverse.

  19. Why buy the stick book ? It’s all covered as “intellectual property ” isn’t it ? Real scientific .
    The stick is broken . Always was as it turned out .
    Forecasting climate change using a trace gas is absurd .
    The IPCC , the much touted “scientific proof ” doesn’t even do it’s own research .
    It hides behind volunteers who cherry pick papers the UN wants to use to sell socialism
    and one world government .
    This way no one is accountable . They think .

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