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  1. What’s really shameful is that M&M managed to get their crappy analysis into a peer-reviewed science journal. How did that happen?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 22 Jul 2010 @ 11:15 AM

  2. Thank you Tamino for, as always, a very clear and logical presentation. I am pleased that you emphasized how the hockey stick is visible in the actual data. It is truly extraordinary the lengths that McIntyre and Montford go to to avoid this obvious point. Science requires both the ability to handle the nitty-gritty details, and the ability to stand back and see the big picture. This is something that the self-styled “auditors” have spectacularly failed to grasp.

    Comment by Michael Ashley — 22 Jul 2010 @ 11:23 AM

  3. We are reminded by this dissection/flaying of Montford of the quote attributed to Daniel Moynihan–everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts. Kudos, Tamino! You make Papageno proud.

    Comment by David Graves — 22 Jul 2010 @ 11:28 AM

  4. The other “damning evidence” of misconduct by Mann I hear recirculated by the likes of M&M is that the proxies don’t match the observed temperatures after about 1980. What’s the explanation for why the proxies aren’t used to show warming in the last 30 years?

    [Response: At the time (late 1990s), most of the data in the archives had been collected in the 1980s or even earlier, and so the number of proxies decreased rapidly after 1980. There are also some technical reasons for that (for instance, for some proxies, such as lake sediments or ice cores, it is harder to retrieve the most recent data). Now (in 2010) that is not so much of a problem and more recent multi-proxy reconstructions go up to 1995 or so (Mann et al, 2008 for instance). – gavin]

    Comment by Jamie Scott — 22 Jul 2010 @ 11:32 AM

  5. Infinite thanks, very useful.

    Comment by John Mashey — 22 Jul 2010 @ 11:34 AM

  6. If one goes to the amazon.com entry for this tome, one can read all sorts of adoring accolades from the already convinced. One can also comments on comments—and dissenting comments (e.g. ones that disagree with the adoration, or cite Realclimate.org) can be censored by other readers as “inappropriate”. Quite revealing–have a look, and vote the dissenters back on the island.

    Comment by David Graves — 22 Jul 2010 @ 11:38 AM

  7. Note, of course that Montford’s “extensive” research failed to uncover:

    earlier attacks on the hockey stick
    Essex&McKitrick’s 2002 book [Essex isn’t even in the Index]
    McKitrick, and then M&M recruitment by CEI + George Marshall Institute
    paying for visits to Washington, DC
    introducing them to Singer, Baliunas, Soon, Michaels for review of their talks
    adding them as GMI Experts (2004)
    sponsoring talks for Congress
    introducing them to Inhofe
    helping get publicity in WSJ

    and then of course the whole Barton/Whitfield … Wegman Report effort.

    For a detailed chronology, see Crescendo to Climategate Cacophony, especially section 5, and look around for all the references to A.HOCKX and A.Hockey, i.e., the two parts of the attack on the hockey stick. Sooner or later, that will get updated … and it will certainly include a link to tamino’s post…

    Comment by John Mashey — 22 Jul 2010 @ 11:51 AM

  8. Thanks, Tamino. Now Judy can get back to doing science, right?

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 22 Jul 2010 @ 11:53 AM

  9. Tamino wrote: “But if you do know something about climate science and the politically motivated controversy around it …”

    It is not a “politically” motivated “controversy” around climate science.

    It is a financially motivated attack on climate science.

    The attacks on climate science have nothing to do with any actual political ideology, and everything to do with the ONE BILLION DOLLARS PER DAY PROFIT that the fossil fuel corporations want to keep raking in for as long as they can get away with it.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 22 Jul 2010 @ 11:53 AM

  10. Anybody following James Annan’s blog will get a hearty laugh from the idea that he’s a member of the imaginary conspiracy. What a joke, really.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 22 Jul 2010 @ 11:56 AM

  11. Thanks for the link to my dissection of how little context can be drawn from the CRU emails, Tamino. Based on the text of the ICCER (Sir Muir Russell) report, the Review independently came to same conclusions I did – the emails weren’t damning on their own, weren’t necessarily reliable, and lacked sufficient context to justify the broad conclusions drawn by folks like Montford, McIntyre, McKitrick, et al.

    Comment by Brian Angliss — 22 Jul 2010 @ 12:01 PM

  12. For amusement, one may consult The Hockey Stick Illusion, Wikipedia talk page.
    I was going to mention tamino’s post there … but discovered that the Dark Lord of Wikipedia (or something similar) otherwise known as WMC was too quick and had already done so.

    Comment by John Mashey — 22 Jul 2010 @ 12:12 PM

  13. SecularAnimist – I did some research into grants for climate science vs. revenues for fossil fuel-related industries and found that in 2008 (the latest year for which all the data I needed was available), globally governments spent about $3.8 billion on researching climate science (and that’s a high estimate, given how much of that money goes to multi-purpose satellites) while the fossil fuel-related industries I could track had revenues of about $9 trillion, or 15% of the entire global economy. And that number was a minimum, not a max, given the way I did my analysis.

    And yet Montford et al still claim that climate scientists are all in it for the grant money. If that were the case, they’d be far more likely to perform research for a corporate employer instead of working for government labs or in academia, given that there’s about 2400x more money available than there is in government or academia.

    [Response: Indeed. It’s worth emphasising that the vast bulk of the climate science money goes on observing platforms like satellites. For instance, NASA’s budget for Earth Science is around $2 billion dollars, and GISS accounts for about 0.5% of that. – gavin]

    Comment by Brian Angliss — 22 Jul 2010 @ 12:14 PM

  14. How does the Midieval warm period suppose to appear or disapper when the reconstructions you supply in this artical only go back to the year 1400 and the Midievel warm period is aroung the year 1000?

    [Response: It doesn’t. This is one of those frequent (and false) ideas that pop up in Monckton’s presentations and elsewhere, such as this book apparently – even as they discuss the reconstruction back to 1400 only. – gavin]

    Comment by Scott — 22 Jul 2010 @ 12:23 PM

  15. Gavin – I know someone who works reasonably high up in a government lab (won’t say who or which lab), and when the OCO failed to separate from the rocket, the money lost on that one satellite would have funded his/her entire lab budget for at least 3 years. Owie.

    [Response: Only 3 years? It would have funded GISS for 25. – gavin]

    [Response: BTW, a contract for the rocket propulsion was just awarded for a launch of OCO2 in 2013, according to Nature–Jim]

    Comment by Brian Angliss — 22 Jul 2010 @ 12:25 PM

  16. What a valid waste of time Tamino dedicated himself to do. King contrarians harping about a vast conspiracy, while outside their homes weather is the warmest ever recorded! A kin to wind mills attacking Don Quixote, the world is not what it really seems. Their basic premise of corruption is an inversion, pure and simple, they are the ones corrupting science with malicious claims, along with this action they make money, appear on Fox news or some British tabloid to further book sales. I pity their legacy, meanwhile they enjoy their 15 minutes of shame.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 22 Jul 2010 @ 12:33 PM

  17. Medieval in Greenland:

    Vinther, B.M., Jones, P.D., Briffa, K.R., Clausen, H.B., Andersen, K.K., Dahl-Jensen, D. and Johnsen, S.J. 2010. Climatic signals in multiple highly resolved stable isotope records from Greenland. Quaternary Science Reviews 29: 522-538.

    “temperatures during the warmest intervals of the Medieval Warm Period,” which they defined as occurring “some 900 to 1300 years ago, “were as warm as or slightly warmer than present day Greenland temperatures”

    [Response: What is your point? This is neither relevant to MBH98 (which only goes back to 1400), nor to any papers written in 1998 (since it came out in 2010), nor to the claims made in this book. If you wanted to discuss the regional patterns of medieval climate anomalies, there was a thread a couple of months back (and almost certainly there will be another at some other time). Claims about medieval times are OT on this thread. – gavin]

    Comment by Ibrahim — 22 Jul 2010 @ 12:44 PM

  18. I think part of the problem with the hockey stick is that it has been used so heavily by the IPCC and others that it has become rather totemic for both sides of this debate. There is all sorts of evidence for and against natural climate change at various stages of history (and prehistory) that bears discussing, but we rarely ever get to it because everyone is banging on about the hockey stick being inaccurate or accurate (depending on your point of view).

    Indeed, Gavin responds on this thread to “Medieval in Greenland” that “Claims about medieval times are OT on this thread”. Strictly speaking, of course, they are. But the hockey stick has been used to slap down talk about previous (natural) warm periods when it should not have been because it only went back to 1400.

    It is such a shame everyone seems fixated on this one graph.

    [Response: We couldn’t agree more. The study of past climate variations is fascinating and is so much more than simply relative medieval warmth. The fact that people are still arguing about a decade old paper is frankly mystifying from a scientific point view, but all too understandable from a political view. Despite what Montford would have you believe, this study just isn’t that important to the science (as we tried to make clear years ago). You are correct in pointing to the iconisation of a single graph as being the heart of the problem – that tends to bring out the iconclast in everyone. But where it all goes wrong is when people take something that is representative of a whole suite of scientific study and act as if that was the totality of the understanding. Thinking mistakenly perhaps that by undermining one symbolic graph they change the underlying knowledge. The same situation occurs with Kilimanjaro – a representative picture of glaciers melting almost everywhere that is sometimes assumed to be the sole proof of the wider phenomena. And similarly, the iconclasts point to specific issues that might be relevant for Kilimanjaro as if that meant that no glaciers anywhere are retreating. Why does this occur? Something to do with the need to have shorthand for complex issues in the public discourse in ways that don’t occur to anything like the same manner in science perhaps? – gavin]

    Comment by Rupert Matthews — 22 Jul 2010 @ 1:21 PM

  19. Excellent, excellent piece.

    My only complaint is the single phrase minimizing the unusual PCA centering technique Mann used. While I understand what was done, and it actually makes sense to me as a non-statistician, the comments by Professor Ian Jolliffe on your own blog suggest to me that it is simply wrong to do so, although maybe not entirely that black and white. The fact that it makes minimal difference in the end result should be highlighted, but I think you go overboard in minimizing the basic MM argument by using the following phrasing:

    …claimed that the PCA used by MBH98 wasn’t valid because they had used a different “centering” convention than is customary.

    I don’t want to wordsmith it on you, but use of words like “claimed,” “convention,” and “customary” seem to make the MM complaint seem arbitrary and misguided when to me it was not. It wasn’t merely claimed, they were right. It wasn’t a convention, it was a technique. It wasn’t simply not customary, it was wrong to do so. Use of double quotes around the word “centering” also hints at something intangibly nefarious, probably because the deniers so often put quotes around terms they don’t like, simply to silently imply that everything behind the term is arbitrary, or lacking truthiness, or not even relevant (like “global temperature record” or “computer models” or so called “climate scientists”).

    The centering method Mann used (based on what I’ve read) was, to statisticians, both irregular and incorrect. Come out and say it, or your post starts off sounding a bit like the denier’s posts. Call a spade a spade, and let the truth stand on it’s own, without crutches.

    [Or, if I’m wrong on this, please correct me.]

    [Response: I don’t agree. One can perform an SVD on any matrix you like, and that will provide a set of basis functions that have certain properties. The interpretation of the vectors will certainly depend on this, but it is much less important if you are simply doing a data reductions step. In this case, this was being used for data reduction, and so the particular SVD decomposition needs to be combined with a selection rule to see what is retained. I’m sure that given the subsequent furore, Mann et al would have been happier if they had used full centering, but it would have made very little difference either to the results or the reaction. – gavin]

    But again, this is an excellent, concise deconstruction of something that MM have spent years and years trying to compile. It’s a wonder that their position gets any air time at all, except that there are obviously so many people out there who only ever see what they want to see, and the bigger the danger is, the more tightly they shut their eyes and try to imagine their happy place.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 22 Jul 2010 @ 1:29 PM

  20. Thanks Tamino, great post. Would it be possible to get links to larger versions of the images?
    Thanks

    Comment by Ken W — 22 Jul 2010 @ 1:35 PM

  21. I’m glad to see this issue being given attention by Tamino & RC.
    Deep Climate could have some worthwhile observations to add too.

    Montford’s pernicious drivel, encouraged on his website, is the most serious attack on science imaginable without invoking Godwin’s Law.

    Comment by chek — 22 Jul 2010 @ 2:06 PM

  22. I’m looking at the first graph in this article. There is a definite upward trend at the end of the graph starting in the middle of the 19th century.
    Is the prevailing opinion that that upward trend is primarily caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases or am I looking at a natural phenomenon that humans are now adding to? Is the cause of warming during that period different from the cause of warming now (ie soot vs CO2)?
    I have been told that the warming caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases is happening far faster than natural trends normally do and that the fear is that natural systems won’t be able to cope quickly enough to this warming. It looks like the upward trend in the late 15th and early 16th centuries has the same slope, though. Would you say that the most damaging global warming is not shown on that graph? (The graph ends at 1980, I think?) Or is it partially the duration of the trend that is a concern? Or would you say that nature can adapt to these changes?
    Finally, this is somewhat unrelated to the article here, but it’s something I’m curious about. Can you comment or point me towards information about what parts of the world are most likely to become more habitable for humans or remain largely unaffected? I have heard a lot about what areas are at higher risk (coastal areas, for instance) but more rarely hear about areas that should fare well.

    Comment by Peter — 22 Jul 2010 @ 2:23 PM

  23. The Wegman Report (ostensibly an examination of the M&M critique) studiously omitted any discussion of PC selection/retention criteria. Not so co-incidentally, they also excluded any substantive discussion of the two peer-reviewed comments (Huybers and von Storch) and the Wahl and Ammann Climatic Change paper (then in press), which remains to this day the most substantive peer-reviewed treatment of M&M “hockey stick” critique.

    Wegman even claimed as “fact” that “it is not a published refereed paper”. Like much of Wegman’s commentary, this was highly misleading. The paper was in press at Climatic Research (as seen in the report’s own reference list). So the paper had been reviewed, finalized, accepted and had been published online, even though the journal publication came later.

    http://deepclimate.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/stupakresponse-no-appendix.pdf [p. 14]

    Hence the title of an upcoming DC post: “Wegman’s trick to hide the deletion … of Wahl and Ammann”

    BTW, Wahl and Amman can be found at:
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/ccr/ammann/millennium/refs/Wahl_ClimChange2007.pdf

    As for M&M’s PC selection criterion, it appears to have been “Take two PCs and call me in the morning”.

    Comment by Deep Climate — 22 Jul 2010 @ 2:27 PM

  24. It seems to be a hallmark of crank denial to attack the pioneering work in a field (and frequently, the scientists responsible for it). Creationists attack Darwin. HIV denialists attack Gallo. And Global Warming denialists attack Mann.

    To some extent, I think this reflects a cartoon notion of science that prevails among cranks. Cranks tend to imagine that the early studies constitute a foundation of conclusions and that are accepted without question by subsequent researchers. Destroy that foundation by discrediting the early work, they imagine, and the entire edifice will collapse.

    This tends to be mystifying to working scientists to whom the early (and in an active field of science, 10 years ago is early) work is largely of historical interest. However groundbreaking the early studies were, they will inevitably have been replicated with improved methods and better data since that time.

    I think this misconceptioin about science reflects two factors. One of course is simply unfamiliarity with the primary literature. Few cranks have the patience or background to read it, and few have any conception of just how much of it there is. It is not uncommon to hear a crank demand “the single paper that proves {denial target).” When they are given a list of hundreds or thousands of references, they see it as mere obfuscation.

    I don’t think that there is much that scientists can do about this, aside from writing popular reviews, and even these must inevitably understate the mass of the literature.

    However, a second factor may be that scientific papers rarely give much attention to results that confirm or replicate previous work. There is an understandable wish to highlight the findings that are new or different, which are what will sell the paper to the reviewers, and also what one’s colleagues are going to be most interested in. Others in the field will recognize replication, anyway, so at most it tends to be mentioned obliquely (“Consistent with previous findings…”). I can’t help wondering if some more attention given to highlighting confirmation in “crank target” fields could be helpful.

    Comment by trrll — 22 Jul 2010 @ 2:33 PM

  25. #20

    Montford’s discussion of the two “competing” panels (NRC and Wegman) is all wrong as well. Something else to get into …

    Not to mention the upcoming GWPF Climategate investigation by none other than … Andrew Montford:

    http://www.thegwpf.org/climategate/1204-investigation-into-climategate-inquiries-announced.html

    When will this madness end? When will the media wake up and do their job?

    Comment by Deep Climate — 22 Jul 2010 @ 2:34 PM

  26. This is a bit off-topic, but perhaps related.

    SPPI has just issued a new paper authored by Joe Aleo that alleges Hansen and CRU are manipulating graph lines by changing them from what they were years ago.

    The paper refers on page 4 to “Hadley’s CRU,” even though it is dated 7-21-10.

    This mistake about the name of the organization was sorted out last November when the story of the hacking broke.

    I think the author means CRU because he mentions Wigley, but why would he say “Hadley’s CRU”? What am I missing? Later he just says CRU.

    QUOTE:

    “Hadley’s CRU has changed significantly just in the last decade in much the same way. The 1940 warm blip that worried Wigley and others was minimized which minimized the three decade cooling from 1940 to the late 1970s. The same issues mentioned above have exaggerated the recent warming.”

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/progressive_enhancement.html

    The author claims that moving the lines on the graph “have exaggerated the recent warming.”

    I can’t judge that, but is strange to write “Hadley’s CRU.”

    [Response: This is a very frequent error (Watts has made it many times before), and stems from their confusion between the HadCRUT data set (which is a collaboration between the Hadley Centre (providing SST and sea ice cover) and the CRU (which provides the met station analysis) and the actual institutions (which are completely independent and separated by a couple of hundred miles). – gavin]

    Comment by Snapple — 22 Jul 2010 @ 2:34 PM

  27. re: #18
    I’ve long argued that this is an “evidence vs representation” issue, that the emphasis on the hockey stick in the TAR seemed due to fact that of the huge numbers of papers and lines of evidence, very few offer a simple, compelling graphic … which is why it has been subject to such attack.

    People may recall that Gerald North ran the NRC panel in 2006, by request of Rep. Boehlert, that reviewed all this.
    It is well worth watching/listening to his August 2006 seminar, although the beginning music is a bit much.:-)
    He discusses this topic, among others.

    Comment by John Mashey — 22 Jul 2010 @ 2:39 PM

  28. Re: #19 (Ken W)

    If you right-click on the graph, then select “view image” from the menu, you’ll see a larger version (it’ll fill your browser screen).

    Comment by tamino — 22 Jul 2010 @ 2:42 PM

  29. I’ve a better grasp of exactly what the “noise” about the hockey stick generated by the deniers is about. The raw data shows the hockey stick so the quibbling about statistics (always a suspect activity) is just so much hot air.

    Personally, I see no reason that somebody who is being harassed can’t complain about in private. In purple tones, if that’s their style. I’ve never known anyone being actively harassed who was calm about it. It’s not a character deficiency!

    Comment by veritas36 — 22 Jul 2010 @ 3:16 PM

  30. 13 Brian Angliss or somebody: Could you please trace where M&M get their money to do all of their anti-science? We know it has to be the fossil fuel industry, but more a specific path and the information on how much would be useful.

    Dr. Tamino: Your very last sentence doesn’t flow right. Great article. Thanks. People with Paranoid Personality Disorder will never be convinced of the truth.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 22 Jul 2010 @ 3:18 PM

  31. Tamino,

    Help. I’m struggling with your first paragraph where you talk of Montford claiming ‘all of modern climate science, is a fraud perpetrated by a massive conspiracy of climate scientists and politicians, in order to guarantee an unending supply of research funding and political power. That idea gets planted early, in the 6th paragraph of chapter 1.’

    Montford, describing the growth of the modern global warming hypothesis (para 5 ch 1 of his book), then gives para 6:

    “Work continued quietly but steadily in the background. Then in 1977 the pace started to quicken. The impulse was provided by the creation of a separate climate bureaucracy under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). The WMO had organised the first World Climate Conference,, which was held in Geneva two years later, and it is to that first meeting that the beginnings of the global warming movement can be traced.”

    I just can’t find anything conspiratorial in paragraph 6 of ch 1. Just a description of the growth of the global warming hypothesis. Or did I miss something.

    Comment by Cameron Rose — 22 Jul 2010 @ 3:21 PM

  32. Well done Tamino.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 22 Jul 2010 @ 3:28 PM

  33. 21 (Peter),

    Can you comment or point me towards information about what parts of the world are most likely to become more habitable for humans or remain largely unaffected?

    I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the site, and you must make your own inferences from projected temperature and precipitation changes, as well as knowledge of the climate being changed (e.g. the southwestern U.S. is already hot and dry), but I find this site to be informative and fun (in a rather depressing way)…

    Climate Wizard

    Of course, this still doesn’t fill in many missing bits of information (such as the knowledge that even if parts of Canada or Siberia get warmer, they will not necessarily have arable soil, or growing seasons of the proper duration (i.e. number of months with a minimum amount of sunlight per day) to make them viable for crops.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 22 Jul 2010 @ 3:30 PM

  34. When I read the Wegman report some time ago, the main message I got was that the climate science community did not adequately involve the statistical community in their work, even though climate science tends to be heavy in statistics. Has the climate science community increased involvement of statisticians in recent years, perhaps including them in the statistical work or at least including them in peer review of climate science papers prior to publication? I realize Wegman is a statistician and perhaps its human nature to maximize one’s profession, but he could have a point. Scientists of various disciplines and even applied statisticians may be more inclined to use plug & play canned statistical tools. Theoretical statisticians may be more capable of recognizing unique conditions of specific data analyses and be able to formulate more appropriate statistical tools for specific applications.

    [Response: Sure, there are multiple programs to do just that – the recent meeting on statistical climatology in edinburgh was full of people involved in that. – gavin]

    Another point I remember from the Wegman report was that the peer review of climate science papers was sort of a closed circle due to the relatively small number of qualified climate scientists. Is that a valid observation? If so, have steps been taken to improve the independence of peer reviewers?

    [Response: Since Wegman had no information at all on the identities of any peer reviewers, his comments on the issue are content-free. He did make an analysis of co-authorship (not the same thing at all), and found, to no-one’s surprise that Mann’s coauthors were a network of people with Mann at the center. The same thing will be trivially true for any reasonably collaborative scientist. Contrary to Wegman’s assertions, editors do strive and have always striven to get objective peer reviews for all the papers they deal with. Suggestions to the contrary without any actual evidence are just insinuations, not issues. – gavin]

    Comment by John Phillips — 22 Jul 2010 @ 3:33 PM

  35. Re: #29 (Edward Greisch)

    The last paragraph is a paraphrase of Dee Snider’s testimony before a Senate committee, about the “Parent’s Music Resource Committee” request for warning labels on music albums.

    Re: #30 (Cameron Rose)

    By my count, what you’ve called paragraph 6 is actually paragraph 5.

    The actual paragraph 6 (the following one) ends with these sentences: “One can almost detect the germ of an idea forming in the minds of the scientists and bureaucrats assembled in Geneva: here, potentially, was a source of funding and influence without end. Where might it lead?”

    Comment by tamino — 22 Jul 2010 @ 3:37 PM

  36. “And if Hughes meant “more reliable”, why hadn’t he just said so?”

    This (and the full paragraph) gets at the heart of why private correspondence between scientists is inherently of limited value, and also why it’s a boon for political hacks (context that is lacking can be created to suit one’s goals). Of many things, it presumes that scientists are writing emails to each other with the idea that the general public will be reading it, and thus will go out of their way to provide the full background in each message – that the relationship between colleagues is no different from the relationship with the general public. I’m certain that someone looking for dirt can find messages to/from colleagues of mine that have plenty of ambiguity, and seen through the eyes of conspiracy nuts, can be spun to mean something nefarious. Montford is hoping these presumptions are lost on his readers, many of whom probably have a nutty leaning to begin with.

    Comment by MarkB — 22 Jul 2010 @ 3:40 PM

  37. To clarify: Dee Snider was frontman for the band “Twisted Sister.” Their song “Under the Blade” was falsely accused by the PMRC (specifically, Tipper Gore) of being about sadomasochism, bondage, and rape. In reality (as Snider testified at Senate hearings in Sept. 1985) it was about fear of an impending surgery.

    The false accusation is fine example of someone finding evil, not because it’s there but because that’s what they’re looking for.

    Comment by tamino — 22 Jul 2010 @ 3:44 PM

  38. One aspect of this saga that I think needs to be disabused is the notion that these were “private” emails. They may have been perceived by the communicators as private conversations, but nearly all of the e-mail exchanges were done by people operating with public funding or, in some cases, on government e-mail accounts.

    Some background, from the Union of Concerned Scientists:
    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/02/climate-information-wants-to-be-free/

    [Response: I strongly disagree. Emails written prior to FOIA legislation even existing, written on university computers that do not belong to the government are not ‘public’. Even emails existing on government computers with FOIA legislation are not ‘public’. There are multiple filters that need to be operated before an email held by a government entity can be released – filters for whether it is associated with official business, filters for privacy concerns, filters for pre-decisional discussions, anything related to Congress etc. Now, while working for an institution with IT policies and the like, people have no expectation to absolute privacy (since the IT department can examine servers and the like), but this is vastly different to assuming that all email is automatically in the public sphere. Your medical records can be viewed by other medical practioners and so similarly do not have an absolute privacy guarantee, but they are a long way from public domain. People certainly had, and should have, an expectation that they can discuss issues frankly without needing to be mindful that everything is being published. That is true in science, it is true in government and it is true at the New York Times. No-one works and lives in glare of 100% openness and nor could they. – gavin]

    Comment by Andy Revkin — 22 Jul 2010 @ 4:09 PM

  39. Andy Revkin wrote: “One aspect of this saga that I think needs to be disabused is the notion that these were ‘private’ emails.”

    One aspect of this saga that I think needs to be disabused is the notion that illegal hacking into servers to steal emails has anything whatever to do with FOIA, or openness, or transparency.

    We are not talking about information that was obtained, for example, consequent to a lawsuit.

    We are talking about information that was stolen by criminals. Which is an “aspect of this saga” that you seem inclined to ignore.

    It’s really too bad that you haven’t seen fit to give even a fraction of the attention to the very real, very serious question of who broke into the computer system and stole the emails that you have given to legitimizing the baseless, slanderous and inflammatory charges that various fossil fuel corporation stooges made about the emails.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 22 Jul 2010 @ 5:22 PM

  40. This is an excellent rebuttal, but it’s a pity that such a piece is necessary at all.

    The way I analyse the global warming story over the past 20 years is that various players with a strong interest in not moving quickly to a post-carbon economy (the task of filling up the blanks I’ll leave to you) begin a quiet disinformation campaign almost before the science was settled. It took a long time, but eventually (by the early 2000s) this had generated a head of steam so that rubbish like this book could be seen to be some sort of valid comment by the serially deluded, and a whole denial movement seemed to exist in its own right.

    Meanwhile, politicians, whilst in main subscribing the science, found it too difficult to fight against, on the one hand, the official opposition of the carbon industries, and on the other this opposition from ostensibly independent public opinion. And so little was done to mitigate global warming.

    And so the actual intention of the oil-companies and their sector was accomplished by a two-flank attack, a public one, on global warming policies, and a covert one, by whipping up a denial movement to do what the industries could not do publicly without appearing foolish.

    Comment by calyptorhynchus — 22 Jul 2010 @ 5:26 PM

  41. Andy Revkin:
    http://quotationsbook.com/quote/19331/

    You are using a publicly funded email system — the Internet.
    Look at the path records for the email that reaches you.
    Did any of it ever go through a government-funded machine?
    Is your email public?
    What of anyone who contacts you by email?

    What about the other 99 percent or whatever it is, that’s apparently been stolen but not disclosed? What about other archives? All public?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Jul 2010 @ 5:28 PM

  42. Mr. Revkin-

    There are also Data Protection Issues.

    The Email Review’s (FAQ’s) notes:

    “This review is not a criminal investigation. However, Norfolk Constabulary are investigating criminal offences in relation to the hacking incident. The Information Commissioner is examining Freedom of Information and Data Protection issues. The Review has met Norfolk Constabulary and the Information Commissioner’s Office and will remain in touch on matters of mutual interest.”

    This is the address of the http://www.ico.gov.uk/

    Compliance with this gets very complicated.

    There are caveats like information doesn’t have to be shared “if there’s a good reason not to,” etc.

    I thought the Information Commissioner Graham Smith just shot his mouth off without knowing any facts. He is a lawyer and should not be making judgments based on what is in the newspapers. He didn’t even talk to CRU.

    Sometimes there are proprietary or sensitive issues when you share data with some government organizatons. For example, CRU works with the MET, and that is technically part of the British Ministry of Defense.

    Comment by Snapple — 22 Jul 2010 @ 5:35 PM

  43. I’d really like to see #38 clarified. I’m hoping there’s some sort of miscommunication going on, because otherwise it sounds an awful lot like excusing or condoning the emails’ theft and dissemination.

    [Response: That it does. – mike]

    Comment by thingsbreak — 22 Jul 2010 @ 5:41 PM

  44. Tamino, hi,

    Reading this article prompted me to have another go at digesting Gavin’s also excellent Dummies guide to the latest “Hockey Stick” controversy. And this time through, it finally sunk in that if you change the way the PCs are normalised, you may need to include more PCs else you risk losing crucial data. Got it! A real eureka moment for me.

    But the main reason I’m writing is about another apparent loss of crucial data. One of my all-time favourite articles illustrating the undeniably significant role that GHGs play in climate change is by you: Not Computer Models. I always had difficulty interpreting your graphs, however, so I wanted to try employing the “trick” you described above in post #28 to blow up the images (most people would assume that if you don’t explicitly link to a larger image, then one is not available, BTW).

    Alas, none of your articles from more than a few weeks back seem to be accessible any longer. I believe that you are in the process of moving servers. Will your older articles be restored in the near future? I surely hope so, because they are a great resource.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 22 Jul 2010 @ 5:48 PM

  45. Considering the important and sometimes crucially determinative role of journalism in public policy debate, I think it’s reasonable to wonder why journalists’ notebooks and professional communications are not transparently available to the public on demand.

    It would be entirely more healthy for us to be able to trace the path of information or disinformation represented as journalism to the printed page when such matter is consumed by the public and its representatives as an important constituent of civic activity. For instance, how is a particular story instantiated, organically by an editor or reporter, or at the behest of a publisher? What research was included in a story and what was not? What was struck by editors?

    Naturally such a system would require some means for necessary redaction, perhaps via a board of review composed of journalism academics, but at the end of the day information of such importance to the public interest should be available on demand. Conversely, a journalist’s work product should never be simply stolen and then published without proper vetting.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 22 Jul 2010 @ 6:00 PM

  46. [edit – sorry OT]

    Comment by Snapple — 22 Jul 2010 @ 6:02 PM

  47. re: #34 John Philips
    As it happens, in the near future, you may want to revisit the Wegman Report…
    – For example, Wegman & co were so expert at Social Network Analysis that pp.17-22 of the WR bear “striking similarity” (that’s the legal term, most people say plagiarism) from Wikipedia, Wasserman&Faust(1994) and deNooy, Mrvar, and Bateglj(2005), as shown by Deep Climate in April.

    Did the WR itself have any peer review in the normal sense?
    No.

    Comment by John Mashey — 22 Jul 2010 @ 6:06 PM

  48. Re; #19 (Bob Sphaerica)

    I only put the word “centering” in quotes because in this context its meaning is different from what the average lay reader thinks of — it’s a technical term and I hoped to emphasize that. Any other interpretation is incorrect. I probably should have used italics instead.

    Professor Jolliffe’s comments on my blog objected to the implication that he had endorsed the MBH98 procedure, but did *not* say that “it is simply wrong to do so.” He has made it clear, repeatedly, that he doesn’t consider himself sufficiently knowledgeable of the details to comment on the correctness of the procedure.

    You’re certainly entitled to believe MM were right. I call ‘em as I see ‘em, so to call a spade a spade: I disagree.

    What cannot be denied rationally is that whether the MBH98 PCA methodology was a convention or a technique, customary or not, correct or not, doesn’t invalidate either the MBH98 hockey stick or those which have followed in its groundbreaking footsteps.

    Comment by tamino — 22 Jul 2010 @ 6:32 PM

  49. Deep Climate writes “When will the media wake up and do their job?”

    Indeed. Maybe the hackers covered up their tracks really well. That’s the real story, isn’t it? I look forward to your next post.

    What’s important to realize is that the true test of a paper’s worth is whether the studies can be replicated and built upon. Obviously, temperature reconstruction by proxies has become a nice field of study, and the papers by Mann, et al. in PNAS (2008) and Science (2009) show where the field is now and provide better information about the Medieval Climate Anomaly, LIA, to the level where regional temperatures can be constructed. Montfort, McIntyre, et al. are fighting last decade’s battle while the science has gone past them.

    Nice analysis, tamino.

    Comment by Deech56 — 22 Jul 2010 @ 6:41 PM

  50. Shorter #38

    Scientists and public employees should be 100% transparent. Journalists and think tanks, not so much.

    =================
    Well I beg to differ.

    For example, a preview of the Wegman Report appeared in the Wall Street Journal on July 14, 2006, the day of its official release. Shouldn’t the Wall Street Journal make public all preceding communication with Joe Barton’s satff?

    Another example:

    A rare front-page science feature appeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in February, 2005. That report featured an account of the just-published GRL article by Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick.

    Which PR disinformation outfit contacted the Wall Street Journal to arrange this prominent coverage? My guess is APCO Worldwide. Or perhaps the Wall Street Journal got the idea from coverage in the National Post, then in the thrall of APCO Worldwide operative Tom Harris. No one knows because the Wall Street Journal has consistently refused to discuss the matter.

    I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. The likes of Patrick Michaels and CEI’s Chris Horner are not legitimate sources for “balance” from the “other side”. Rather, they are appropriate subjects for journalistic investigation. At the very least, they should not be allowed access to reputable journalistic platforms until they come close to the same transparency that most scientists have always exhibited.

    The “hockey stick” scientific “scandal” has been manufactured from the start on non-existent evidence, and promoted diligently on behalf of powerful interests. “Climategate” is the real hoax, one perpetuated by complaisant media outlets like Fox News, the National Post and the Wall Street Journal.

    It’s high time Andrew Revkin recognized that awful truth. His continued silence on the real issues is a disgrace.

    Comment by Deep Climate — 22 Jul 2010 @ 6:52 PM

  51. The problem with the “hockey stick” is quite simple: it is a very effective graphic. Anyone, regardless of scientific background, can understand, and remember, it. Thus, it must be attacked with the greatest ferocity. Words are nowhere near as effective.

    Comment by Robert Huie — 22 Jul 2010 @ 6:58 PM

  52. Re: Andy @ 38

    I’m frustrated that discussions about “public” vs “private” email always degenerate to legal definitions of ownership. A far more important distinction, the first one you have to make before you can interpret any communication, is public vs. private *audience*.

    Imagine that you have a teenaged child, and you overhear them saying to a friend, “Getting drunk tonight would be crazy”. You would likely ask yourself, “Does that mean crazy-stay-away or crazy-I-can-hardly-wait?” The key point is that when you intercept a private communication, the only meaning that matters is the one the *participants* attach to it. Your definition of “crazy” is irrelevant here. If you want to know what your kid is planning, you have to decide what “crazy” means to him or her talking to this friend. No other interpretation is valid.

    In the same way, the CRU emails were private in that they were written for a specific audience. If you want to understand them, you have to do so within the context of the individuals directly in the conversation and their context. What do words like “Mike’s Nature trick” or “better for our purposes” mean to the people on the address list (and *only* them) at the time the author wrote the message?

    This is simply the first step you have to take before you can make an honest interpretation of any communication that was intended for a limited audience—the key sense of “private” here. It’s not a mitigating factor or an excuse, it’s the essential first step to making sense of what you’re reading. Although context is a complex topic and linguists have detailed theories of deixis, the basic idea is simple enough and every adult makes use of it routinely when they overhear someone else’s conversation at a coffee shop. It says a lot about people like Montford that their argument ignores this basic skill of interpreting a private communication. It almost makes them look insincere.

    Comment by Ted Kirkpatrick — 22 Jul 2010 @ 7:29 PM

  53. Excellent Article Tamino–

    This may be the most comprehensive single writeup on the internets surrounding the hockey stick and the efforts to get rid of the hockey stick.

    I think your characterization: //”Montford’s hero is Steve McIntyre, portrayed as a tireless, selfless, unimpeachable seeker of truth whose only character flaw is that he’s just too polite”// is how many people view the situation only transparently. In fact, McIntyre thrives on the “I’m a victim” card. Even after the loss of Stephen Schneider, McIntyre couldn’t help but turn that into how Schneider kicked him off a journal editor job. It is rather sickening the nonsense he is allowed to get away with and put other researchers under the “conspirator” category, even if he himself will not say that in public.

    Andy Revkin– With all due respect, your post is rubbish. The e-mails were private communications between scientists that were illegally taken, illegally distributed, severely misrepresented (by McIntyre especially, especially with respect to ‘hide the decline’), and used to score political points and attack the credibility of well-respected scientists.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 22 Jul 2010 @ 7:31 PM

  54. #51
    Indeed. Apparently it must be declared broken, over and over again.

    This nonsense goes back to 2003 (some background here, detailing M&M’s co-operation with various think tanks, PR types and right-wing politicians):

    http://deepclimate.org/2010/02/04/steve-mcintyre-and-ross-mckitrick-part-1-in-the-beginning/

    http://deepclimate.org/2010/02/08/steve-mcintyre-and-ross-mckitrick-part-2-barton-wegman/

    In all that time, McIntyre and McKitrick have published exactly one article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal (GRL in 2005), and none whatsoever since then.

    What’s wrong with this picture?

    Comment by Deep Climate — 22 Jul 2010 @ 7:43 PM

  55. Good one.

    Meanwhile here in Australia, we have a federal election on, and both major parties are way off in lala land on climate change, supported by the Murdoch media.

    The opposition “Liberal” Party leader is on record as saying climate science is “crap”, and the prime minister is proposing calling a “peoples assembly” to decide what to do … one better than legislating the value of pi: let’s call a meeting of citizens and decide what it should be.

    I urge everyone here who can write coherently to write letters to the Australian media, and comment online. For my part I’m campaigning for the Greens because there is no other option.

    It would be great if someone with real authority like James Hansen could write an article for one of the big newspapers. If anyone wants to share ideas, go to my blog (link on my name) and use the contact form.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 22 Jul 2010 @ 8:22 PM

  56. off topic but raised at skepticalscience and puzzles me. Total water vapour data from 1983-> at ISCCP shows water vapour trending downward. I would have expected it to increase with increasing global temperature. The data seems at odds with precip water vapour trends. Can someone explain the anomaly to me please?
    Thanks

    [Response: ISCCP? Unlikely, that is a cloud monitoring project. Perhaps you mean NCEP which is a reanalysis, but be very careful here. These are weather models that assimilate observed data, but as observing systems and technology has changed, they often have apparent trends that are not climatic in origin. The water vapour in the upper troposphere is one example which is strongly affected by improvements in radio-sonde technology over time and the introdcution of satellite data in 1979. The trends are not robust in the other reanalysis products (ERA or JMA) and do not accord with direct observations. – gavin]

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 22 Jul 2010 @ 8:22 PM

  57. Revkin @ 38

    Not seeing how a rather vacuous statement of UCS posture is background. Maybe digging into the relative merits of the British Information Commissioner’s Office actual position would be background.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 22 Jul 2010 @ 8:26 PM

  58. If attacking a 1998 paper is all the deniers have, you have to wonder how anyone thinks they are at all credible.

    It would be an interesting exercise to select a sufficient number for statistical significance of random papers in other fields of science, and try to recreate their results based on publicly available data, and compare that against the allegations against climate scientists. I started working in a biology lab after being in computer science for a couple of decades, and my experience in a field of large data sets created by people with no basic understanding of data representation has been … interesting.

    Perhaps we could interest someone like George Monbiot in the outcome of such a study. He needs his perception that climate scientists are remiss because they are less than perfect hauled back to reality.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 22 Jul 2010 @ 8:42 PM

  59. Mr. Revkin-

    The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has a site that explains Environmental Information Regulations. I think this page has some interesting information. The page begins by noting:

    “The Environmental Information Regulations give you the right to obtain information about the environment held by public authorities, unless there are good reasons to keep it confidential.”

    http://www.ico.gov.uk/what_we_cover/environmental_information_regulation.aspx

    Comment by Snapple — 22 Jul 2010 @ 8:47 PM

  60. @52–“This is simply the first step you have to take before you can make an honest interpretation of any communication that was intended for a limited audience. . .”

    True. The crucial words being “honest interpretation.”

    Personally, I don’t believe for one second that “honest interpretation” was ever part of the hacker’s (or the denialist commentators’) intent. The goal was disinformation, pure and simple–the grotesque exaggerations which proliferated so quickly show that quite clearly.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 22 Jul 2010 @ 9:20 PM

  61. 48 (tamino),

    Fair enough. I did understand exactly why you used quotes on centering when I read it. As I said, there was just an uneasy implication because of the way deniers use them. It was that and only that which reflected on your use.

    On Jolliffe… I tried to go back to re-read his comments before posting. It’s been a while since I first read the thread, so I don’t remember it perfectly, but when I tried to find it to re-read it (and your excellent 4 part instruction on PCA, for which I thank you), it was gone: 404.

    I did, however, just find a copy of one part of the thread on (ick) climateaudit.org. That particular comment by Jolliffe certainly does not refute the use of decentered PCA. It is far more nuanced. I do remember that he was also more clear in following comments on the thread, but again, those are now lost.

    Whatever the case, I think I have little choice but to accept your position and retract my objection. If you are comfortable with your phrasing (and again, my attitude is simply that the cold facts weigh so strongly on Mann’s side that no special tactics are necessary), then it can and should stand.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 22 Jul 2010 @ 9:34 PM

  62. #38 (Andy Revkin and Gavin’s reply)

    In the US when government agencies are making regulations and enforcing these regulations there are ample opportunities for public involvement. Rules allow this, but these rules at times limit how much public involvement can occur. The public’s right to know is balanced with the agencies’ duty to carry out their responsibilities.

    It sounds like the call for openness in science is often an end run around these restrictions. I have to agree with Gavin that 100% openness is not workable.

    Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 22 Jul 2010 @ 10:41 PM

  63. The data in the first, second and third plots in no way resemble a hockey stick. They show no overall warming trend.

    Only when the instrument data set is grafted on to these plots does a hockey stick like figure appear.

    A reasonable person would make the observation that the instrument data set should not be superimposed on to these plots. It is somewhat deceptive.

    [Response: Sigh….And where is the ‘grafting’ in these plots, exactly?–eric]

    Comment by Julian — 22 Jul 2010 @ 11:24 PM

  64. I did, however, just find a copy of one part of the thread on (ick) climateaudit.org. That particular comment by Jolliffe certainly does not refute the use of decentered PCA. It is far more nuanced. I do remember that he was also more clear in following comments on the thread, but again, those are now lost.

    IIRC, essentially Jolliffe said that Mann’s explanation in MBH98 (IIRC) wasn’t sufficiently detailed for him to determine exactly what Mann had done, so he didn’t take an explicit position, other than to grumble that this novel approach should’ve been documented better with more detail. He also, in essence, grumbled against needless novelty, and also had questions whether PCA was the best approach in the first place but said he hadn’t looked into it in sufficient detail to say yeah or nay (but was aware that non-PCA approaches led to a hockey stick, and made clear he wasn’t arguing against the validity of that).

    I’d say it was the typical grumbling of a perfectionist, who first arrived pissed at Tamino because of a simple misunderstanding centered around “centered” IIRC. He was a bit aloof and held himself aloof from the analytical POV (i.e. didn’t think Mann provided enough detail for him to understand Mann’s brand of PCA, but didn’t follow up by e-mailing Mann or otherwise seeking more info). He wants to do theoretical stats, not mess around in the mud with science, is my read.

    If Tamino or others think my recollection is wrong, I hope they chime in, but since apparently the thread’s gone, we’re going on recollection.

    Comment by dhogaza — 22 Jul 2010 @ 11:33 PM

  65. Conversely, a journalist’s work product should never be simply stolen and then published without proper vetting.

    Doug Bostrom #45, very true.

    But, imagine if this were to happen anyway — what an opportunity for academic investigation of the journalistic process, its foibles and weaknesses, and especially its dishonesty and corruption — which we are all very well aware of of course, but have rarely witnessed at first hand!

    Evidence is evidence. Legalistic nonsense aside, wouldn’t this be great?

    Just joking. Only just.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 23 Jul 2010 @ 1:21 AM

  66. Andy Revkin wrote:

    “One aspect of this saga that I think needs to be disabused is the notion that these were “private” emails. They may have been perceived by the communicators as private conversations, but nearly all of the e-mail exchanges were done by people operating with public funding or, in some cases, on government e-mail accounts.”

    I’m a mathematician at the University of California who has an NSF grant. So you’re saying that the emails I send using the computer at my university aren’t “private”? That’s news! The University of California has a privacy policy that says “An electronic communications holder’s consent shall be obtained by the University prior to any access for the purpose of examination or disclosure of the contents of University electronic communications records in the holder’s possession, except as provided for below” – where the exceptions are for things like subpoenas, emergencies and so on. So, faculty typically communicate using email with the expectation that nobody is spying on them.

    Comment by John Baez — 23 Jul 2010 @ 1:24 AM

  67. “MBH98 had originally included two PC series from this analysis because that’s the number indicated by a standard “selection rule” for PC analysis.”

    “But applying the standard selection rules to the PCA analysis of MM indicates that you should include five PC series.”

    Could you explain briefly the difference, please? I don’t see why, when analysing the same data, MBH98 was perfectly correct to use two PCs but the MM analysis must use instead five PCs. Otherwise, skeptics might argue that, if two PCs were good enough for MBH98, then that number should be good enough for MM when attempting to replicate the results…

    [Response: They might argue that, but that would be out of ignorance. Its easy to demonstrate with synthetic examples that the selection criteria are a function of the centering convention and that different conventions do lead to different estimated eigenvector cutoff levels. This is shown in the links provided in the article, and demonstrated in exhaustive detail by Wahl and Ammann (2007). –mike]

    Comment by Beardie — 23 Jul 2010 @ 1:29 AM

  68. Response: Sigh….And where is the ‘grafting’ in these plots, exactly?–eric]

    The plot under the title:

    Finally, here are the 10-year moving average for both cases, and for the instrumental record:

    Comment by Julian — 23 Jul 2010 @ 1:32 AM

  69. Extreme rain event: In Iowa, the corn and soybeans are high, but many fields are now flooded and the crop is ruined. We have had a whole year’s worth of rain already this year. This is the third super-wet year in a row. Saw it on local TV.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 23 Jul 2010 @ 2:49 AM

  70. Thanks Gavin for those caveats. I am getting the data from ISCCP,
    http://isccp.giss.nasa.gov/products/browseatmos.html
    total column water vapour. Not a lot of metadata but maybe I havent searched hard enough. Data is post 1983, and variable description is:

    “This parameter represents the total precipitable centimeters of water vapor in the atmosphere and is determined from analysis of satellite infrared sounder data (NOAA operational analysis). Since the result comes from measurements of absorption at infrared wavelengths, the results are strictly valid only for relatively cloud-free locations (cloud cover fraction over a 300 km region less than about 60%). The original data report water vapor amounts for three layers covering the lowest part of the troposphere (approximately from the surface to the 300 mb level — there is only a very small amount of water vapor above this level) and are sampled at intervals of about 300 km and 1 day.”

    Graphs posted in a comment at skepticalsci originated at
    http://www.climate4you.com/ClimateAndClouds.htm but do seems to the data from ISCCP.

    [Response: Thanks. I wasn’t aware of that data. First impressions are that this has a number of artifacts in it likely due to inhomogeneities in the satellites (varying levels of spatial coverage through time as satellites drop in or out). The definitive precipitable water vapour analyses are discussed in Chapter 3 of AR4, and I’d start with those publications and authors to see what the differences are with the ISCCP product. – gavin]

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 23 Jul 2010 @ 3:28 AM

  71. This article itself is a piece of good news. I have never been happy with those well meaning comments which have simply argued that the first MBH papers are out of date or some such. One of the main motives behind the continuing attack on them is not to alter the conclusions but to discredit the authors and by implication anyone who belongs to the same community as them.

    Its a powerful article but I have one concern:

    Re #44

    Alas, none of your articles from more than a few weeks back seem to be accessible any longer. I believe that you are in the process of moving servers. Will your older articles be restored in the near future? I surely hope so, because they are a great resource

    I couldn’t agree more. That would help a lot. Either that or another book or best of all both. The article would be easier to follow for readers who have read your previous five articles on the hockey stick .. especially part 5.

    There are of course all the other topics. Its like losing an admission ticket to a library.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 23 Jul 2010 @ 5:56 AM

  72. There is one small point forgotten about here concerning the MBH98 algorithm/methodology.

    When tested with stationary (no trend) noise the algorithm still produces a hockey stick. Therefore the method cannot be classified as “robust” or having any merit.

    [Response: Well, I’m sure you’ve done the calculations for this (being a ‘thinking scientist’), and so I’m curious as to why you don’t mention the fact that the amplitude of such an artifact is an order of magnitude smaller than the actual HS in the data? The reason that the final reconstruction is robust is precisely because the signal is in the data. But let’s be clear, if you don’t like the original method, fix all the supposed problems and do it over. Oh yes, already done. – gavin]

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 23 Jul 2010 @ 6:15 AM

  73. I think the realclimate regulars might do well to follow Judith Curry’s advice and actually read Andrew Montford’s book.

    It was very obvious on for example the Guardian panel that it came as a surprise to the other panel members that Mcintyre had shown little interest in the CRU crutem record. Clearly Monbiot, Watson et al. criticise McIntyre without actually reading much of what he has to say.

    Even if you are not inclined to support sceptical views I think as a scientist that it is always preferable to read for oneself what is being said and to form your own views rather than just confirming your prejudices by listening dyed in the wool critics.

    With so many of the realclimate regulars now apparently doing this, this blog is beginning to feel a just a little claustrophobic.

    [Response: For McIntyre was ‘not interested’ in the crutem record is completely laughable. It is a trivial matter to go over to his site, do a search, and find direct links — clearly and unambiguously supported by McIntyre — to other sites directly claiming fraud, data manipulation, etc. The panel members you refer to may have been surprised, but this doesn’t mean they didn’t see through this false claim. –eric]

    Comment by David Watt — 23 Jul 2010 @ 6:20 AM

  74. JC’s grade for the review: C-

    pros: well written, persuasive

    cons: numerous factual errors and misrepresentations, failure to address many of the main points of the book

    If anyone is seriously interested in a discussion on this book, I can see that RC isn’t the place, people elsewhere are already describing their posts not making it through moderation.

    [Response: Grading on the Curry Curve perhaps?

    Judith, the fact is that endless repetitions of allegations of corruption do not make them true. Really, do you think that collaborators having a ‘purpose’ is some terrible indictment of their research? Tamino has demonstrated clearly that Montford’s book is full of errors and insinuations that have no basis in fact. And now you come along and tell us that, no those weren’t the important bits at all, it’s the other stuff. Which you still haven’t actually described. You might find it amusing to play hunt the thimble, but excuse me if I find it a little tiresome. Please make your actual point. – gavin]

    Comment by Judith Curry — 23 Jul 2010 @ 6:20 AM

  75. #63–“The data in the first, second and third plots in no way resemble a hockey stick. They show no overall warming trend.”

    To my eye, both statements are false.

    True, the instrumental record–which is not “grafted,” but simply shown in parallel using a different color–makes the overall shape more dramatic. But it doesn’t, IMO, create a whole new shape. And most of the reason that the instrumental record creates a more dramatic “hockey stick” is that–unlike the proxy data–it extends up to the present, which supplies something like 15 years of warming.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 23 Jul 2010 @ 6:42 AM

  76. You know Julian, that is the point, it’s the instrumental record, the part that really sticks up in the air, that makes the curve a hockey stick. Of course, that is the part of the record we know best, but since the proxys follow the instrumental curve in the validation period we have some confidence in them, and since, as Tamino points out, the more proxys we add the more confident we can be, and we can even take a bunch out and get more or less the same behavior, why yes, there is a problem.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 23 Jul 2010 @ 8:11 AM

  77. 63 (Julian),

    A reasonable person would make the observation that the instrument data set should not be superimposed on to these plots. It is somewhat deceptive.

    How can you possibly arrive at an adjective like “deceptive?” It’s clearly shown without the instrument record first, and then with the instrument record very, very clearly separated in contrasting red and labeled, so that one can easily see how closely the proxy measurements match the instrument record.

    What more can possibly be done? How can you claim “deception?”

    As far as:

    The data in the first, second and third plots in no way resemble a hockey stick. They show no overall warming trend.

    This is the problem with graphs. They’re interpretation is fuzzy, so people can see what they choose to see.

    But if you look at the ten year running average (the thick black line), you can clearly and indisputably see that from 1400 to a little past 1900, the range of values fluctuates erratically between about -0.25 and -0.6˚C. This is obvious and indisputable.

    After that time, the range abruptly rises from the previous range all the way up to a maximum of a little less the +0.1˚C, and a minimum of about -0.1˚C, and does not drop back down into the previous range. ———/

    Lastly, if you google “hockey stick mann” you get 234,000 results. Everyone else on the planet has been calling this a hockey stick, and suddenly you claim that you can’t see it? There simply is no warming trend in the graph?

    There’s a word for this. Let me see, what was it? It starts with a “d,” I think. It’s right on the tip of my tongue. No, wait, don’t tell me, I’ll get it…

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 23 Jul 2010 @ 8:38 AM

  78. And most of the reason that the instrumental record creates a more dramatic “hockey stick” is that – unlike the proxy data – it extends up to the present, which supplies something like 15 years of warming.

    This.

    And also, the proxies had to be used for periods before we started keeping temperature records. But now, we can actually measure GHG concentrations and temperature directly. Duh. So, there’s not that much interest any longer in studying most of the proxies going forward. It’s hard work, it costs money, and what exactly is the purpose when we can measure the stuff directly now?

    [Response: There’s still much important work to be done–and being done–on proxy-based analyses. Also, keep in mind that proxies are not just for temporal extension into the pre-instrumental past–they are also useful (esp tree rings) for spatial interpolation in the more recent past, and present. There are still some real interesting and important issues to work out, as you allude to at the end.–Jim]

    Ah, but some would argue that we still need to see how the proxies track temperature and GHG concentrations into the future because this is an indication of how well they tracked in the past. Right? Only, pre-industrial revolution, mankind wasn’t affecting the climate *at all*. Now it looks like we’re messing with it to such an extent that we’ve invalidated some of the proxies. For instance, it is thought that the reason why (some of) the northern hemisphere pines don’t track temperature very well since about 1960 (hide the decline, hide the decline!) may have anthropogenic causes which result in drought constraining the poor things, and also allow less sunlight to reach them. But the science isn’t in yet on this one, so we can’t say with certainty. Pity, that.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 23 Jul 2010 @ 8:41 AM

  79. Julian@63
    “Only when the instrument data set is grafted on to these plots does a hockey stick like figure appear.

    A reasonable person would make the observation that the instrument data set should not be superimposed on to these plots. It is somewhat deceptive.”

    My interpretation of this is that you are saying that if we want to get an understanding of temperature trends on centennial or millenial timescales, we should wilfully ignore the higher-precision instrumental record in favour of the lower-precision proxies. Is that correct?

    If so, then why? If not, then what are you driving at?

    Regards
    Luke

    Comment by Luke Silburn — 23 Jul 2010 @ 8:50 AM

  80. This dispute is more about whether tree-rings are a proxy at all. The shocking hockey stick temperature uptick brought attention onto itself and it was not surprising that someone stood back and said – “is this really a true thing?” After all, wood shrinks, and old ring widths would necessarily look thinner and new rings wider, falsely implying rapid tree growth in later years. This dispute was inevitable and will continue till better proxies are found. Until then, please stop relying on tree-rings to tell a story of temperature.

    [Response: Actually, you are incorrect, tree rings can be good climate proxies. But remember that this is a paper that more than 10 years old. Research has moved on and indeed, other proxies are increasingly being used. Perhaps you might find it surprising, but the basic picture whether you use tree rings or no tree rings at all is very similar. – gavin]

    [Response: You have some real serious misconceptions about tree rings, about which there is a vast literature coming from multiple disciplines. You can start to correct that here and here.–Jim

    Comment by RalphieGM — 23 Jul 2010 @ 8:58 AM

  81. As the link in the article shows, George Monbiot does indeed offer apologies for his previous assessment of the e-mail scandal and his indictment of Phil Jones, which is laudable (although personally I find Monbiot’s final sentence “..I’d conclude that Phil Jones should hang on – but only just” extremely irritating – just who does he think he is?)

    However, one of the points raised in his article is the following:

    “1. The loss of Chinese weather station documents. A paper written in 1990 by Phil Jones, who later became the CRU head, claimed that almost all the Chinese stations whose data he was using had stayed put. This claim was used to argue that the rising temperatures in those places could not have been caused by creeping urbanisation. It later emerged that most of them had in fact moved, that many of the records of their locations had been lost, and that Jones and his co-author appear to have been reluctant to admit it.”

    As a semi-regular visitor to many of the reality-based climate sites, I missed this part of the story. If it doesn’t stray too far off-topic, can anyone enlighten me about what this is all about?

    Comment by hveerten — 23 Jul 2010 @ 9:09 AM

  82. Dear Tamino,

    I have a small point and a bigger point I would like you to comment on:
    The small one is:
    – You talk about 4 years for the Gaspe data, R. McKitrick writes (here: http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/McKitrick-hockeystick.pdf) about that “The data begin in 1404, but the chronology is based on only one tree up to 1421 and only 2 trees up to 1447. Dendrochronologists do not use site data where only one or two (or zero!) trees are sampled. In fact the authors who originally sampled the Gaspé data don’t use any of the data before AD1600″

    And a bigger one (for which I really would like to see how much everyone can aggree on..)
    – The Graybill-Idso proxies seem to be flawed in a sense that they don’t represent a valid temperature proxi. So by not using them, we should expect a better result, right!?
    (This is actually a point where M. Mann’s work gets highly doubious for me, since he seems to have known about issues with these proxie and did not mention so in his publication)

    As a result of this “correction” the heckeystick only appears in the PC4 isntead of PC1. There is a big difference between PC1 and PC4 (as you know with no doubt):
    The dominant pattern is in PC1, PC2 is the PC of the residuals ..
    So if you find some signal in the residuals^3 of the signal for a dataset which is “not too rich in information” to start with . . isn’t that fairly “unimpressive”?
    How much does the statistical confidence degrease by this change?
    I find it particulary “alarming”, that when a neccesary correction is done, most of the result (the confidence drops more than two orders of magnitude) disapears.

    Comment by Laws of Nature — 23 Jul 2010 @ 9:47 AM

  83. RE: Gavin’s reply to #72

    I don’t need to do the calculations myself as they were clearly shown in MM2005 (GRL):

    “Without the MBH98 transformation, a 1 SD hockey stick occurs in the PC1 only 15.3% of the time (1.5 SD – 0.1%). Using the MBH98 transformation a 1 SD
    hockey stick occurs over 99% of the time, (1.5 SD – 73%; 1.75 SD – 21% and 2 SD 0.2%”

    [Response: Well, if you done it yourself, you would have seen the differences in amplitude. But it really is moot, don’t use that convention and the answer is the same. – gavin]

    RE: #67 if in MBH98 the Hockey Stick result lies in PC2 and this method fails red noise tests, and in MM03 it appears in PC4 then just exactly what do the MAIN signals in the proxy record in PC1 (MBH98) or MM (PC1, PC2 and PC3) correspond to in the climate record? After all, a look at the Hockey Stick result suggests that climate was pretty much flat (slightly declining) for 600 years and yet apparently the Hockey Stick (with its enormous deviation and variance) does not appear in PC1. Why not?

    [Response: You are confusing one element in the proxies (the north american tree rings) with the whole thing. PC’s are just a way of reducing data – they do not come with obvious interpretations necessarily. Sometimes they can be clearly seen to be related to known phenomena (for instance the first PC for tropical Pacific temperatures is closely related to El Niño), but not always. Multi-proxy methods like this look for patterns in the data that are correlated to other proxy records and the target temperature data and so purely local elements, whether climatic or not, get down-weighted. The test of whether this is useful is whether you have some predictability in the validation interval, and whether the basic patterns hold up when you add more data, change the method, hold back some data etc. And they are. – gavin]

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 23 Jul 2010 @ 9:47 AM

  84. JC:

    If anyone is seriously interested in a discussion on this book, I can see that RC isn’t the place, people elsewhere are already describing their posts not making it through moderation.

    Claims implying that valid points offering utility for discussion are censored from view on RC are a regular occurrence, novel perhaps for somebody new on the scene. Dig up old threads on RC and one may see that if there’s a legitimate complaint to be made about moderation of comments on this site it’s more probably the inordinately permissive instincts of the moderators, frequently allowing threads to be filled with noisy and distracting rubbish.

    Anyway, there are simple methods to address this putative problem but they won’t wash without honesty on the part of those making comments. As an example, RC could set up a generic /dev/nul thread where posts not deemed to have any utility could be dumped for public perusal. Unfortunately such a scheme will only be satisfactory if those claiming to have had posts deleted are honest and of course we have no way of making a final determination on that question. “My comment was deleted” is naturally susceptible to circular logic; the supposed invisibility of a comment is a strange form of a final and incontrovertible argument.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 23 Jul 2010 @ 10:06 AM

  85. hveerten #81: long story. You could start here, item 2:

    http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/guardianstatement

    Executive summary: the denialist lie that the contested station location change information would in any way be essential for the 1990 paper’s conclusions is shown to be poppycock. You get the same result if you do correct for the effect of station location changes, which the 1990 paper did not but the 2008 paper did. It’s just “nice to know” info not used in the actual (1990) analysis.

    The statement in the 1990 paper is probably wrong, but why and how is lost in the mists of history — this was two decades ago for crying out loud. Stuff happens. The charge of fraud was ludicrous on its face. See also

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/02/the-guardian-disappoints/#more-2808

    scroll to Part 5 esp. the end!

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 23 Jul 2010 @ 10:07 AM

  86. RE #52 Ted Kirkpatrick wrote :
    “Imagine that you have a teenaged child, and you overhear them saying to a friend, “Getting drunk tonight would be crazy”. You would likely ask yourself, “Does that mean crazy-stay-away or crazy-I-can-hardly-wait?” The key point is that when you intercept a private communication, the only meaning that matters is the one the *participants* attach to it. Your definition of “crazy” is irrelevant here. If you want to know what your kid is planning, you have to decide what “crazy” means to him or her talking to this friend. No other interpretation is valid. ”

    This is a perfect analogy. To further the analogy, if you are already suspicious of your teenager drinking, you would likely assume “crazy” to mean “I can hardly wait”. When people already skeptical of scientists or AGW are spoon fed quotes like “hide the decline” from stolen emails, they are likely to assume the worst. This is exactly what happened.

    Comment by Jamie Scott — 23 Jul 2010 @ 10:10 AM

  87. Is it possible to have a “green slope” version of Mr. Tamino’s analysis in “The Monford Delusion”, i.e. in everyday language? I have started a blog called the Climate Pioneer (theclimatepioneer.org) in which I aim, among other things, aiming to translate credible climate change science into common-speak for people like myself with a science background but who are at the same time not grounded in climate science jargon. Such a translation would be invaluable to me and in turn to many others who want to be able to address climate change naysayers in intelligent yet accessible language. Thanks.

    Comment by Scott Slaba — 23 Jul 2010 @ 10:44 AM

  88. I hope to see Andy Revkin reply to John Baez, 23 July 2010 at 1:24 AM
    Andy, you know who John Baez is.
    Deal with this please.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Jul 2010 @ 10:44 AM

  89. Re: Edward Greisch says:
    22 July 2010 at 3:18 PM

    “13 Brian Angliss or somebody: Could you please trace where M&M get their money to do all of their anti-science? We know it has to be the fossil fuel industry, but more a specific path and the information on how much would be useful.”

    Yes that’s right. Anybody, anywhere that dost protest or criticize any piece of climate science, clearly must be in the employ of Big Oil.

    Bash the deniers as conspiracy theorists and theorize about the big oil conspiracy all at once. Migraine inducing irony, bravo.

    Comment by D. Robinson — 23 Jul 2010 @ 10:48 AM

  90. gavin@80 “tree rings can be good climate proxies” They CAN if you pick the right ones. But who picks them? The dispute is that only CERTAIN trees are used – the ones that conform to other proxies. It would be in the best interest of science to abandon tree rings altogether – and formally withdraw the hockey stick graph.

    [Response:The dendrochronologists pick sites based on their knowledge of likely response patterns of particular species/site combinations. Don’t post any more until you show that you have spent at least 15 minutes trying to understand even the first rudiments of a topic that have been known for over a century. It won’t fly here, won’t even stumble along.–Jim]

    Comment by RalphieGM — 23 Jul 2010 @ 10:48 AM

  91. 31, I think Tamino was using the C convention of counting from 0 :). It is actually paragraph 7.

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 23 Jul 2010 @ 10:56 AM

  92. RE: #83

    Firstly, thank you for allowing my response through as this is the first time this has happened to me. I am sure a more open debate will benefit all (see also JC comment repeated at #84).

    However, your reply to #83 states “The test of whether this is useful is whether you have some predictability in the validation interval, and whether the basic patterns hold up when you add more data, change the method, hold back some data etc. And they are. – gavin]”

    I have 2 questions:

    1. So why then do Briffa and others exclude post-1960 temperature data as part of the validation period?

    [Response: ‘others’? There is a well known problem with a certain class of tree ring density records that briffa et al have worked on. As you certainly do know, this is something that affects their proxies post 1960, even while they correspond to other proxies and instrumental data earlier. This is clearly an issue, and is being looked into by many groups. Doesn’t affect mbh98 or any of the subsequent Mann et al papers though. If you don’t like this, feel free to discount these proxies until it is resolved. – gavin]

    2. Both MBH98 and WahlAmman2007 fail a significance test on R. (I am aware MBH98 did not quote R, but it was shown by MM that it would fail this test). Please can you identify a statistical authority (eg Cressie, Ripley etc) with a section or page number as to why it does not matter that neither of these reconstructions pass a significance test for R and yet R is widely used in similar proxy reconstructions elsewhere (including my own proxy reconstruction work)? The explanation in WahlAmman2007 is based on a clearly artificial example, not a general case.

    [Response: the metric you look at for any particular application depends on what it is you are trying to assess. The low r2 values are associated with year to year variability which is not really what is being looked for, rather you want a statistic that works at capturing the general level. The RE score does that and demonstrates that there is skill (which obviously decreases as you go back in time). The way you should look at this is that the metric you use defines what you can infer from the reconstruction. So at 1450 say, you can’t trust the year-to-year variability, but the longer term average is more skillful. -gavin]

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 23 Jul 2010 @ 10:57 AM

  93. Re Doug @ #84. I can see where this is headed. Soon they will be claiming that their posts are being deleted from the “dumped” thread, and thence, a call for a “dumped from the dump” thread, and so on until the entire internet consists of nothing but RC threads…

    Comment by Paul — 23 Jul 2010 @ 11:06 AM

  94. re: #74 JC and seriousnesses

    I have actually read the book, and noted that many things are missing, like:
    – any discussion of predecessor attacks&buildup: Essex&MKitrick’s 2002 “Taken by Storm”, the CEI/Ebell recruitment of McKitrick, the CEI/GMI support of M&M, coaching, promoting M&M in Washington, DC, M&M being GMI “experts”, being introduced to Inhofe, publicized in the WSJ, etc, etc … i.e., the material covered by Deep Climate and others, such as CCC, Section 5, and Appendix A.10.4.

    The discussion of the Barton hearings and Wegman Report (WR) is mainly on pp.249-262 of HSI.

    Deep Climate had demonstrated clear “striking similarities” (that’s the legal term commonly used for plagiarism) of text between the WR and Raymond Bradley’s 1999 book, here and here. The tree-rings discussion was modified to introduce “confounding” and invert a key Bradley conclusion.
    Then DC showed the same for Social networking text Some plagiarism can be arguable. Text that is 50%+ cut-and-paste, plus trivial rewordings of the sort often done by student to evade plagiarism-detection software, and modest rephrasings, is not… Some of that material showed up later in a journal for which Said was an associate editor, and Wegman a long-time advisor, impressively moving Received to Accepted in 6 days, and citing 3 separate government contracts for support. Of course, that journal generally has not published Social Network Analysis, unlike the sister Elsevier journal Social Networks, a far more relevant journal. However, SN’s editors/editorial board might have been a problem, given that 1 was one of them was one of the plagiarized authors and 2 were coauthors/colleagues of other plagiarized authors.

    Dr Curry wrote 04/25/10 @ Collide-a-scape, regarding Deep Climate:
    “Let me say that this is one of the most reprehensible attacks on a reputable scientist that I have seen, and the so-called tsunami of accusations made in regards to climategate are nothing in compared to the attack on Wegman.

    Wegman is very unpopular with the warmists because his 2006 NRC report was very critical of the statistics used by mann et al. in the creation of the hockey stick. Prior to summer 2006, Wegman had no apparent interest or involvement in climate science or politics.

    He was asked to chair this effort by the NRC since he was Chair of NRCs Committee on Applied Statistics. When asked to explain the greenhouse effect, he really didn’t know anything about the physics of how it worked. So I don’t think you could have gotten a more unbiased person to do this review. To see such a respected academic accused in this way (with the accusations so obviously baseless) is absolutely reprehensible.”

    and then 04/26/10.
    “On comment regarding my comments on Wegman (not the Wegman report per se). The whole host of issues surrounding whether or not he is biased, the plaigarism accusation, and whatever else, are issues that I have not investigated in any detail (and don’t intend to). So my comments on this should not receive any undue consideration; they were made when i thought my mention of the Wegman Report was going to be hijacked by the plaigarism issue being raised at deepclimate. This is last word on that subject, and request that Keith not allow any more comments on this topic of plaigarism.”

    I politely ask: has Dr. Curry explicitly withdrawn “reprehensible” and apologized to Deep Climate yet? I could not find any such, but maybe I have missed it.

    ====Notes.
    Of course, he was not asked by the NRC to do this, but by via Jerry Coffey.

    Regarding not understanding greenhouse effect, I’ve read the testimony. He may or may not have understood that, but repeatedly evaded questions about it. He was willing to admit temperature had risen. He was *not* willing to admit any CO2-temperature connection, often saying he was just a statistician. The WR report in effect dismissed it as “correlation is not causation.”

    However, that did not stop him from often talking/writing about tree-rings, bristlecone pines, the 1990 IPCC chart, boreholes, and social networks. He claimed a narrow focus on MBH98/99, but the WR summarized many of the later papers (badly), and cited even more.

    As for unopopularity, people might want to look at the 2007 ASA invited workshop @ NCAR, October 2007. The participants were distinguished climate scientists and statisticians with climate expertise. The presentations were interesting. I found statistician Jim Berger’s talk a useful perspective, especially comments on pp.17-19.

    This looks like a high-expertise workshop of people trying to make progress. Now, take a look at the Wegman talk. I’m not sure the audience would have been thrilled by slides 2-4. I’d hazard a guess that being shown book covers by Crichton(1), Singer(2), Michaels(2) probably didn’t go over well.
    Being asked 21 questions, of which a few seemed reasonable, but most were easily answerable in the literature, or even directly answered in the NRC report, or by Gerald North at the Barton hearings … probably wasn’t received positively. I suspect Slide 30 was not well-received.

    I suspect that in 2007, using the TAR hockey stick as background may not have been a felicitous choice, although it certainly does resemble the cover of HIS, although without the horizontal bar.

    Comment by John Mashey — 23 Jul 2010 @ 11:18 AM

  95. @85, Martin Vermeer,

    thanks for that. I had already read that RC post, but must have forgotten about the Chinese weather stations. I did indeed notice that this dates back to ’90, and would therefore have dismissed it out of hand for the non-story that it is clearly shown to be in your link, if it wasn’t for the fact that George Monbiot saw a need to bring it up in the article where he makes his excuses. Shows that he almost gets it, ‘but only just’ not completely gets it.

    In all, this is so very, very tedious and tiresome, even for a bystander like me. I can only imagine the exasperation of the scientists involved. I did a “grep ‘trick’ * -R” on my source code directory containing computer code written by colleagues and myself, and got enough results to be very happy that I am active in a completely uncontroversial field of research (astronomy)…

    Comment by hveerten — 23 Jul 2010 @ 11:23 AM

  96. This is OT, but I need help answering a denialist who wrote (when I suggested WV is a positive feedback, responding to the warming caused by CO2, enhancing the warming further):

    [blockquote]The water vapour positive feedback theory has already been comprehensively disproven by independent investigations by Douglass, Lindzen, Paltridge and Spencer, inter alia (who used satellite data and radiosondes to reach their conclusions and showed that the posited feedbacks are either missing or negative). The water vapour theory suggests that a small increase in CO2 will result in a large positive feedback loop from water vapour and this feedback loop will lead to dangerous warming. If this were true though, we would see a hotspot about 12km above the equator – as the “climate models” predict, no such hotspot has materialised though, which essentially invalidates the theory. VW amplification is conjecture, with no evidence that matters in the real-world.[/blockquote]

    I suppose he’s talking about clouds and Lindzen’s iris hypothesis.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 23 Jul 2010 @ 11:27 AM

  97. Hi Gavin,

    Also on your reply to #83 states “The test of whether this is useful is whether you have some predictability in the validation interval, and whether the basic patterns hold up when you add more data, change the method, hold back some data etc. And they are. – gavin]”

    Well, somehow I see the opposite .. If you improve the proxies used in MBH98 by throwing out some Pines which are non-temperature Proxies more than 99% of your result disappears. This looks just like the opposite of what you are saying .. particulary in the light that the method used in that paper was shown to sometimes mine hockey-sticks out of noise.

    [Response: You are very confused I’m afraid. Quantitative methods actually come up with numbers that can be checked by anyone. Your ‘99%’ is just pulled out of your .a**e. Look, the charge that the HS is simply a statistical artefact is just wrong. If you switch to a more standard centering it is still there. If you drop the north american tree rings, it is still there, if you include more recently published proxies, it is there, if you dump the tree rings altogether, it is still there. It’s there because the planet really is warming. Why is this such an issue for you? It doesn’t have any influence on the attribution of current climate changes to human forcings, it doesn’t impact the radiative properties of CO2, so really, why do you care so much that you are willing to just make up stuff? – gavin]

    Comment by Laws of Nature — 23 Jul 2010 @ 11:44 AM

  98. RE: Doug Boston #84

    “Claims implying that valid points offering utility for discussion are censored from view on RC are a regular occurrence”

    I have had far more comments moderated at RC than actually appear posted but I have never been snipped, moderated or edited at any other site including climateaudit.org, bishophill.squarespace.com, wattsupwiththat.com and others. But I bet this comment won’t get through and if it does the names of those websites will be replaced by [edit] as they always have been in the past. I have previously pointed out that this type of moderation is self-defeating for RC. If you let this post through in its entirety then fair play and respect to the moderator for taking the time and thank you for listening.

    Doug Boston your argument is circular and does not stand up: if you set up somewhere for those moderated posts to go then the criticism that relevent posts are moderated would be somewhat assuaged. However you then say “Unfortunately such a scheme will only be satisfactory if those claiming to have had posts deleted are honest and of course we have no way of making a final determination on that question.” Nonsense. If all posts rejected appear on an unthreaded, dated post for rejected comments then clearly if they appear there then they were posted. Although not an ideal arrangement I for one would be happier with that because at least my right of reply has then been partially allowed.

    The other problem would be what to do with posts that were rejected immediately by the automatic filters – which might (intentionally or accidentally) contain offensive words or statements. Well those could appear as simply a reference to poster, time and date but without the potentially offensive words, perhaps on a separate list. Providing the two lists documented time and date of ALL submissions and the content of those that did not get automatically deleted then the criticism by JC (and myself) of RC would be somewhat mitigated.

    If RC doesn’t want to do this then I am afraid you will have to accept that to many interested in this debate your legitimacy will remain somewhat compromised.

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 23 Jul 2010 @ 11:46 AM

  99. RE: #92 Gavin says:

    [Response: the metric you look at for any particular application depends on what it is you are trying to assess. The low r2 values are associated with year to year variability which is not really what is being looked for, rather you want a statistic that works at capturing the general level. The RE score does that and demonstrates that there is skill (which obviously decreases as you go back in time). The way you should look at this is that the metric you use defines what you can infer from the reconstruction. So at 1450 say, you can’t trust the year-to-year variability, but the longer term average is more skillful. -gavin]

    Thank you for your reply. Your answer makes little sense – how can an arbitrarily scaled proxy variable like tree ring data relate reliably to reconstruction of the mean in the past but the obvious year to year variability that dominates tree ring record is somehow irrelevant and secondary? This appears to turn the evidence back to front.

    But if you note from my original post the question I asked was:

    “Please can you identify a statistical authority (eg Cressie, Ripley etc) with a section or page number as to why it does not matter that neither of these reconstructions pass a significance test for R and yet R is widely used in similar proxy reconstructions elsewhere (including my own proxy reconstruction work)?”

    What is the statistical authority for it being acceptable to fail an R test for this type of data and still claim the result statistically significant?

    [Response: This just isn’t that complicated. I find something I want to predict based on information that I have that I think is related to the thing I want to predict. I can create any metric I want to test the prediction in the validation period. That might be r2, RE, CE or the RMS error or anything else. Each of these is a measure of some different aspect of the prediction. I can also create a monte-carlo simulation using random noise to examine the distribution of that statistic using my reconstruction method to determine what significance would imply (i.e. how large or small does that statistic need to be to exceed 95% of the random cases). By doing that, you can find under what circumstances your method is skillful. The aspects of the reconstruction that show skill (in this case the long term mean, but not the year to year variability) are things that are worth pursuing. This is very general. If you don’t like a particular metric for some reason, or you think that one other metric is more useful, then fine, publish a paper showing what you conclude from the data. It really isn’t that important. – gavin]

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 23 Jul 2010 @ 11:54 AM

  100. people elsewhere are already describing their posts not making it through moderation.

    Good thing too. We know who dominates most discussions on unmoderated blogs about climate. The test has already been done. The results can be seen everywhere. Just consider the Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ (CIF) for example. Its a variation of the ‘gish gallop’ rhetorical technique. Instead of flooding the argument with a large number of incoherent points, the thread is swamped by a vast number of posters. Nothing is rationally discussed and the set of comments are rendered worthless. It was at its worst just after the Email theft when the comments were about 100 to 1 in favour of a lynch mob.

    But JC appears to use an opposite logic i.e. that the discussions on RC are of no value because of an assertion that some posts don’t make it.

    Incidentally I suspect that some posts may not make it for other reasons, e.g. mistakes or faults at the poster’s end but I can’t prove it. Some may just be delayed providing the grievance collector with ammunition.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 23 Jul 2010 @ 11:55 AM

  101. RE: 92 – Gavin’s response.

    Gavin, can you provide statistics reference for the RE score that is non-climate related? Something to explain it’s use and significance? There’s plenty written about r2.

    [Response: There is some material in the NAS report (particularly p92 onwards). But I am not familiar enough with any other fields’ use of similar metrics to give you other references. – gavin]

    Comment by D. Robinson — 23 Jul 2010 @ 12:15 PM

  102. 22 (Peter):

    Note that the ‘change in precipitation’ Climate Wizard map is much more important than the temperature change. If the rains fail, so does humanity, as Lovelock pointed out in Gaia’s Revenge. So the carrying capacity of much of southern Europe will fall sharply but northern Europe will remain productive, with different crops and methods.

    One area to look at is eastern Scotland between Aberdeen and Inverness [see e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberdeenshire: arable land noted for its malt barley and potatoes], forecast to become wetter and warmer [now has very cold winters], most of it sparsely inhabited [98/sq mile], English spoken, noted for its whiskies. And it is a long way away from southern Europe . .

    Comment by Chris Squire [UK] — 23 Jul 2010 @ 12:16 PM

  103. Tamino says

    The only corruption of science in the “hockey stick” [is] in the minds of McIntyre and Montford. They were looking for corruption, and they found it.

    So, essentially, according to M&M, the “first principal component” PC1* of MBH98 was “corruption”? (*presumably also the “first unprincipled component” UPC1 under their “system”)

    And UPC2 was what, “dishonesty”?

    Does the ordering of the UPC’s depend on whether the the analysts are centered, un-centered, de-centered, double-centered or self-centered?

    Comment by Horatio Algeranon — 23 Jul 2010 @ 12:22 PM

  104. John,

    That Wegman deck is a piece of work. It seems pretty clear to me that you can’t really evaluate an area of science if you don’t know the first thing about it. Wegman clearly did not know the first thing about paleoclimate reconstruction or the problems inherent therein. Yet if you look at his current CV, he now claims expertise. Hmmm….

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 23 Jul 2010 @ 12:24 PM

  105. #67

    IIRC, even within MBH98 itself, differing numbers of PCs were selected/retained at different time “steps”. The number of PCs to retain in any specific case depends on:

    a) the selection rule (e.g. retaining most of variance in original data)
    b) the exact PC algorithm used (yes, centering makes a difference)
    and
    c) the actual data.

    As I said above, there was no discussion or even recognition of this point in the M&M papers or Wegman et al. (And, yes, I do recognize that centering on the calibration period has been denigrated by statisticians, but clearly using conventional centering has little effect on the final result).

    Comment by Deep Climate — 23 Jul 2010 @ 12:38 PM

  106. RE: Gavin’s reply to #92

    [Response: ‘others’? There is a well known problem with a certain class of tree ring density records that briffa et al have worked on. As you certainly do know, this is something that affects their proxies post 1960, even while they correspond to other proxies and instrumental data earlier. This is clearly an issue, and is being looked into by many groups. Doesn’t affect mbh98 or any of the subsequent Mann et al papers though. If you don’t like this, feel free to discount these proxies until it is resolved. – gavin]

    If the proxies post-1960 show effectively a reverse correlation then it is not valid to simply assert that the tree ring data correspond to other proxies and instrumental data earlier and the post-1960 period is a special case.

    [Response: It is not ‘the proxies’, it is one specific set of proxies that have nothing to do with what is being discussed here. I’ll repeat myself, if you are not happy with using them, feel free to ignore them. Other people have looked at these proxies and find that they do replicate other periods very well when there are confirming data (both instrumental and other proxies), and this leads them to conclude that there is some worth to them. If you are not so convinced after reading the relevant literature, then fine. Again, it really doesn’t matter. – gavin]

    The reverse correlation in the modern validation period shows that, at the very least, a temperature : tree ring response curve is potentially multi-valued. This would completely invalidate the use of tree ring data as proxies for past temperature reconstruction.

    [Response: only for *these* proxies and only if the confounding factor is non-anthropogenic. This does not apply to all tree rings. – gavin]

    Another possibility is that the response is not multi-valued to temperature, its just that tree ring response to temperature is completely confounded by multi-correlation with other growth limiting variables.

    Either way, if we do as you say and discount these proxies then what was Briffa doing in the IPCC assessment report?

    PS: Briffa et al = Briffa and others.

    [Response: In the time of writing for TAR there weren’t so many reconstructions available. IPCC has a duty to reflect the literature and assess what is consistent and what is not. Including Briffa et al and discussing the problems are exactly what is required. If it hadn’t been there, I’m sure someone would have claimed that it was omitted because it conflicted with some ‘purpose’! – gavin]

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 23 Jul 2010 @ 12:42 PM

  107. Once more people have read the book, and if Montford and McIntyre were welcomed to participate in the discussion, then I would be interested in participating in a more detailed discussion on this.

    Comment by Judith Curry — 23 Jul 2010 @ 12:44 PM

  108. Regarding the divergence problem for tree rings, is that an isolated incident or are there other climate or weather “anomalies” like that from the early 1960’s? Are they connected, and if so, what are the most accepted theories for explaining them?

    Thanks.

    Comment by Bill Stoltzfus — 23 Jul 2010 @ 12:53 PM

  109. I know that Judith Curry thinks highly of Montford’s book. So following up on Gavin’s response to Judith (#74), why not let Judith be a guest contributor and publish her review of the book on RC.

    The New York Times and other major publications will occasionally publish two reviews of the same book–one from a regular beat reviewer during the week and another in the Sunday Book review section.

    Judith should certainly be able to make her own argument such a review, which I’m sure would trigger a lively discussion thread here.

    Just a suggestion.

    Comment by kkloor — 23 Jul 2010 @ 12:58 PM

  110. ThinkingScientist said: “When tested with stationary (no trend) noise the algorithm still produces a hockey stick.”

    ThinkingScientist seems to swallow Monckton’s fictions without thinking at all.

    If you create a long timeseries of random noise, then search through it, you will be able to find a section that looks like a hockey stick. You will also be able to find a section that looks like a puppy dog or a wheel barrow. This is why it is called “cherry picking”.

    If you select only the part of a random series that you like, it is no longer random. You might as well have drawn the graph yourself with completely fictitious numbers.

    This is so basically obvious that it barely even qualifies as “statistics”.

    Or does ThinkingScientist trust Monckton to use genuinely random noise? It’s not like he has ever been caught lying before….

    But as Gavin says, the solution is simple. Try it yourself.

    Comment by Didactylos — 23 Jul 2010 @ 1:03 PM

  111. #38 Andy Revkin

    Re. Gavins response

    In addition: nor should they.

    Heck nothing would ever get done. It’s like a bureaucracy multiplier. 100% openness would be not only oppressive, it would be untenable. Like living with the Stasi and wondering what you can and can’t say in front of your children, or your friends and co-workers. Or in this case, what you should or should not put in an email.

    I have friends right here in Basel that grew up behind the wall. It is interesting to see how they seem to not share much information, even when contrasted with the normal Swiss cultural perspective of privacy.

    From an agency perspective, that’s why they have PR filters, not that that is always a good thing, as seems to have been illustrated curing the Bush administration. Interesting to note that in speaking with personnel hired into PR positions at science institutions during the Bush administration, I found that they still did not believe global warming was either occurring, or human caused (that was last year!), even though the worked in the PR offices of science units that not only study climate but have released statements about the veracity of the human-caused signal in global warming and that it really is humans that have caused climate change.

    In an even stranger twist, I was at the WMO/IPCC in Geneva and spoke with someone there that was hired after the Bush administration left office, and right there in the WMO I find this individual telling me that he thought the whole global warming thing was overblown! He even told me what department he worked for in the Bush administration.

    I told another friend of mine there in the WMO that day who was not from the US, and she said something like, ‘you’re kidding’, as if it was impossible. Well, apperently not.

    Too bad there is not such a thing as a magic deception filter test that can root out such issues. But that is the beauty, difficulty and challenge of freedom. You can and should have a right to privacy, but it can also be a two edged sword. Like a double agent in an intelligence unit. It is a right that many now enjoy and would hate to lose. I guess it really all comes down to the integrity and honor of the person wielding the sword.

    The Bush administration argued, and though I disagree with some of the things they did I do not disagree with the general policy, that they need to have a certain level of privacy to effectively operate (not so much as to preclude investigatory capacity however, such as in the ‘accidental’ deletion of millions of White House emails from their originating source, as well as the multiple back up servers. . . ‘accidentally’ of course). Otherwise nothing would ever get done and no one would be able to readily work out issues of understanding or misunderstanding.

    Summary, privacy is important for different reasons at different levels and helps get things done. Invasion of rightful privacy on the other hand is intrusive and breaks the tenet of intention that rightful privacy is designed to protect.

    The EAU/CRU hack was criminal, unethical, and performed by those of whom have a distorted idea of what honor is in the context of the greater good. One can only wonder if they had an agenda? ;)


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 23 Jul 2010 @ 1:15 PM

  112. RE: #103 by kkloor

    Having a review from Judith is an excellent suggestion. I think she has consistently shown herself to be evenhanded.

    [edit – comments on our moderation policy are extremely tedious at the best of times. It might not be perfect, but the idea is prevent descent into abusive slanging matches and it mostly works. Don’t insult the hosts is usually a good tip. This is now OT].

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 23 Jul 2010 @ 1:42 PM

  113. #97 ThinkingScientist (ha ha)

    [edit – the rules against the abuse of other commenters go both ways. Please people, keep it substantive and not personal.]

    Comment by Hugh Laue — 23 Jul 2010 @ 1:52 PM

  114. RE: #109 by Didactylos says:

    “ThinkingScientist seems to swallow Monckton’s fictions without thinking at all.”

    I have no idea what you are referring to with regard to Monkton. If you will check my comment #83 the statement about testing with stationary random noise are taken directly from MM2005 which is published in GRL. Their procedure is an entirely reasonable and widely used technique in many disciplines for testing the validity and robustness of an algorithm.

    Your further comments:

    “If you create a long timeseries of random noise, then search through it, you will be able to find a section that looks like a hockey stick. You will also be able to find a section that looks like a puppy dog or a wheel barrow. This is why it is called “cherry picking”.

    If you select only the part of a random series that you like, it is no longer random. You might as well have drawn the graph yourself with completely fictitious numbers.

    This is so basically obvious that it barely even qualifies as “statistics”.”

    are exactly the point. This is not called “cherry picking” in science and statistics this is called spurious correlation. Any statistical method that is not robust when subjected to this standard test is invalid. The test of significance for statistics such as R is a test against the possibility of spurious correlation. For a complex and non-standard algorithm such as used in MBH98 then the test described by MM2005 GRL using random noise is entirely valid. MM2005 shows that MBH98 failed that tests. Your comments really should apply to the result of MBH98 – the findings of MM2005 in GRL show that what you describe is essentially what the MBH98 algorithm did with the data – find things that are not there (or, more properly I should say, not significant in a statistical sense).

    [edit – boring]

    [Response: You are incorrect (again). The test that MM2005 did was invalid for the reasons outlined in Huybers comment on that paper. Spurious correlation is of course something to be concerned with (and the implication that no-one was aware of this prior to McIntyre coming along is nonsense). That’s why you have validation intervals, that’s why you hold back data, that’s why you do monte-carlo tests with random noise, that’s why you do pseudo-proxy tests in climate models etc. But all of this is absolutely besides the point – if you think some other test should be done, then do it – that’s what science is all about. All of this data (and much more) is online. All of this code is online and you can do what you like. If you conclude something very different, then publish it – even if it’s very similar you should publish it. The whole point is to try and find out what happened in the past and Mann et al in 1998 were only the first step down that road. It wasn’t the last word on anything, and so treating it like it was the most important paper in the world is just bizarre. The fact is that later efforts with all sorts of improvements to the methods and different ways of testing show similar results. Why does MBH98 even matter to you? – gavin]

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 23 Jul 2010 @ 2:06 PM

  115. Re: 38 Andy Revkin

    They may have been perceived by the communicators as private conversations, but nearly all of the e-mail exchanges were done by people operating with public funding or, in some cases, on government e-mail accounts.

    Working for the government does not take away ones right for reasonable privacy. In fact, the US Government goes to great lengths to protect the privacy of it’s workforce.

    Joe Public has no more right to read my e-mails (even though they are on government computers) than he has a right to walk into my office and start telling me what to do. I work for the US Government, not individual tax-payers (imagine having 300 million people directly bossing around government workers without our current chain-of-command). We operate under a system of laws and regulations that balance the needs of a worker for reasonable privacy and government accountability to the public. Barring some sort of criminal activity, there is absolutely no reasonable expectation that a government employees e-mails would ever fall into the public domain.

    Comment by Ken W — 23 Jul 2010 @ 2:08 PM

  116. Keith, I suspect the reason Curry “thinks highly” of Montfords book is because he’s created a narrative that’s easily followed. We don’t actually know her reasons because whenever one tranche of evidence is dealt with she alludes without specifying to a mysterious other, different set as was evident on that thread on C-A-S backin April. And when inescapably confronted over Wegman for example, she chose to figuratively speaking stuff her fingers in her ears and announce she didn’t want to hear anymore about it.

    What Dr. Curry seems unaware of is that creating narratives is what writers do, and for various reasons. Montford’s book, as Tamino, Deep Climate and John Mashey are showing) is nowhere near as comprehensive as she appears to believe and selectively creates a narrative. How could Montford have examined GB’s of emails and interviewed any of the participants in the time available? That’s an easy question to answer – he didn’t. Some might call his expediency and haste to jump on the (co-ordinated?) bandwagon fabrication, or charlatanry, or creating a fiction but then, that’s what writers do. The one thing it isn’t is credible science.

    Essentially Montford is to climate science what von Daniken was to archaeology.

    Comment by chek — 23 Jul 2010 @ 2:11 PM

  117. RE: 99 Gavin says:

    “I can create any metric I want to test the prediction in the validation period.”

    The generally accepted approach to this in statistics is to determine the metric prior to the analysis. Which is why I will try and ask my
    question for a third time:

    What is the statistical authority for it being acceptable to fail an R test for this type of data and still claim the result statistically significant?

    [Response: Now you making accusations. The RE statistic is used frequently in tree-ring work for precisely the reasons I outlined. Your insinuation that it was chosen after the fact has absolutely no basis in fact. Neither does your claim that the only measure of statistical significance is the correlation. For instance, in looking at a climate model being run in an unforced mode, the correlation of year to year values with the real world will generally be zero. But the model does have skill in many aspects of climate. You thus appear to be inventing rules for your own convenience. – gavin]

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 23 Jul 2010 @ 2:18 PM

  118. Paleoclimate analysis relies on proxies – and to be more specific, proxies are “…biological, physical or chemical measurements made in sediments, fossil shells, ice cores, trapped air, speleothems, corals and other archives that serve as surrogates for climate parameters studied by modern climatologists with observations, instruments, satellites, and computer models. Proxies constitute the primary tools for reconstruction of climate-related parameters.” (Paleoclimates: Understanding Climate Change Past and Present, Cronin 2009)

    This kind of data is collected from geological archives – various Earth features that can be forensically sampled and examined down to the minutest details. This is different from analyzing a lot of data collected by the same instrument – a radiosonde or a climate satellite, in that the goal is to reconstruct (or create a model of) the climate and the ecosystem as it was at the time. The more kinds of data, the better the reconstruction tends to be.

    One other difference is that while you only get one change to sample the real-time data, you can return to geological archives again and again. Honest scientists would thus call for more data collection when faced with a real uncertainty, of course – which McIntyre would never dream of doing, except as a stalling tactic. The one thing that you pick up from ClimateAudit is that the authors don’t understand what the data is that they are looking at, particularly with proxies.

    However, since the “hockey stick” allegations came out, more work has indeed been done. Yes, Climate Audit attacked this new work too – although they ignored previous efforts by Kaufman and others on the Holocene Thermal Maximum, some 9,000-11,000 years ago. They use the same methodology – but if it’s not about the past thousand years, ClimateAudit ignores it…. if these guys were running tobacco PR, they’d be claiming that all molecular biology studies on carcinogenic substances were fundamentally flawed – which is what they did in the past, isn’t it? Hence, ClimateAudit is really just an assault on science itself by a slick PR person working for Canada’s oil, gas and tar sands industry. The real goal is probably blocking the EPA from interfering with plans for more Alberta piplines to deliver more dirty syncrude to Midwestern and Texan refineries?

    Nevertheless, they can’t refute the basic work on the issue:

    Science 4 September 2009 Vol. 325. no. 5945, pp. 1236 – 1239

    Recent Warming Reverses Long-Term Arctic Cooling, Kaufman et al.

    Essentially, this confirms and extends the earlier Mann et al. work. The figures require a Science subscription, but here’s the heading on their own “hockey sticks”, which if you can follow tamino should be informative:

    Fig. 3. (A and B) Composite of 23 high-resolution proxy climate records from the Arctic. Values are 10-year means standardized relative to the reference period of 980 to 1800.
    (A) Records subdivided by source of proxy information: trees, ice, and lakes, with the running count of records.
    (B) Records subdivided by those that extend 2000 years (n = 17) versus shorter records (n = 6), along with the 10-year-mean Arctic-wide summer temperature through 2000 from the CRUTEM3 data series (14) (red line).
    (C) Mean of all records transformed to summer temperature anomaly relative to the 1961–1990 reference period, with first-order linear trend for all records through 1900 (green line), the 400-year-long Arctic-wide temperature index of Overpeck et al. (2) (blue curve; 10-year means), and the 10-year-mean Arctic temperature through 2008 (red line). Gray lines encompass T2 standard errors of the proxy values as evaluated for each 10-year interval.
    (D) Time series of PC1 based on the 15 records that extend from 1 C.E. to 1900 C.E., showing a strong first-order trend.
    (E) Difference in the fractional proportion of records that exceed T1 SD for each 10-year interval. Gray lines are 95th percentile of distributions determined by 10,000 Monte Carlo realizations of shifting the time series randomly in time.
    (F) Change in summer (JJA) insolation at 65°N latitude relative to the 20th century.
    (G) Northern Hemisphere average proxy temperature anomalies (10-year means) reconstructed by Mann et al. (26) on the basis of two approaches (CPS, composite plus scale; EIV, error in variables) and by Moberg et al. Our Arctic regional reconstruction is overlaid in gray.

    Now, (G) in particular is worth looking closely at – that’s the comparison with the Mann et al. study, and the Moberg et al. study. There’s not much difference. There’s a slow cooling trend, as expected from the slowly decreasing insolation (the Milankovitch cycle), followed by an unexpected temperature spike at the end – the result of fossil fuel combustion on a global scale.

    The conclusions of all this statistical analysis of Northern Hemisphere paleorecords are also backed up by observations in other parts of the world – it’s For example, see Africa’s Lake Tanganyika

    Jessica Tierney, lead scientist on the project and currently a post-doctoral researcher with National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate and Global Change program, analyzed core samples from the lake floor to deduce lake surface temperatures over the past 1,500 years. Lake temperatures have fluctuated in the past but this warming is unprecedented. “The warmest it’s ever gotten was 24.3 degrees Celsius. It’s never happened to the degree it is happening now,” says Tierney. Lake Tanganyika last reached 24.3 degrees Celsius during a warm period between 600 and 900 years ago. It is currently 26 degrees Celsius, or 78.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

    The same thing is going on in freshwater lakes in other regions – Lake Tahoe, California for example. Only a blatant fraudster would deny the existence of the trend at this point.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 23 Jul 2010 @ 2:27 PM

  119. Tamino: “But applying the standard selection rules to the PCA analysis of MM indicates that you should include five PC series, and the hockey-stick shaped PC is among them (at #4).”

    Let’s get facts straight. First, “Preisendorfer Rule N” alladgedly used by Mann et al is by no means a “standard” selection rule. In fact, it’s an obscure ad-hoc method used by few climatologist and unknown in real statistical literature. Using some selection rules common in the true PCA literature the 4th PC does not get selected. Moreover, the rule as described in the original literature is based on variance arguments and therefore can not be even applied to “noncentered PCA” (whatever that is supposed to do) as used by Mann et al. Second, the use of “Preisendorfer Rule N” is not described in MBH98 (or related literature), and it is not found in any MBH9X relesed (or leaked) code. Moreover, it is easily demonstrated that Rule N was not consistently used in MBH98. Last, but by now means least, what on Earth one should conclude about work that is supposed to describe general temperature patterns of an entire northern hemisphere but is extremely depended on the _fourth_ most important pattern in a proxy network covering merely western USA? The word “robust” is definitely not on lips of any thinking man.

    Tamino: “It was also pointed out (by Peter Huybers) that MM hadn’t applied “standard” PCA either.”

    Huybers was mistaken. Tree ring series are already in common units. In such cases the covariance based PCA (as done by MM) is recommended. The correlation based PCA (as advocatd by Huybers) is used only in cases where no common units among variables exist.

    Tamino: “I computed my own reconstructions by multiple regression, first using all 22 proxy series in the original MBH98 analysis, then excluding the Stahle and NOAMER PC1 series.”

    Oh, I guess you simply forgot to exclude also the “Gaspe series” you later describe as “the most hockey-stick shaped proxy of all”. Why don’t you publish your results with the 19 remaining proxies?

    Tamino: “This is not at all an unusual practice, and — let’s face facts folks — extending 4 years out of a nearly 600-year record on one out of 22 proxies isn’t going to change things much.”

    Let’s face facts folks – Tamino’s claim is beyond reason and downright ludicrous – and Tamino knows it. The four year unreported ad-hoc extension makes all the difference whether “the most hockey-stick shaped proxy of all” gets included or excluded to AD1400 network. Without it (and the infamous bristlecones masked as “PCs”) the hockey stick is an endangered species.

    Tamino: “You get a hockey stick with standard PCA, in fact you get a hockey stick using no PCA at all. Remove the NOAMER PC1 and Stahle series, you’re left with a hockey stick. Remove the Gaspe series, it’s still a hockey stick.”

    How many times do you think you can play this leave-one-but-only-one-out -game and still people would buy the rotten argument?

    [Response: Do please calm down. You are incorrect on any number of issues – tree ring width and density proxies are not in the same units and there is a lot of variation in the amount of variance in the N. American network. And really, you think that starting the reconstruction from 1404 instead of 1400 would have made any difference to anything? What magical rule says that you can only do step-wise reconstructions in 50 year steps? I’m sure that Tamino will have more to say in response, but in the meantime, perhaps you’d care to suggest what selection rule for PCs you would use? Given that the data does actually contain a HS signal, I would be surprised that anything you suggest would have any material effect whatsoever. Go on, try and be a little constructive. – gavin]

    Comment by Jean S — 23 Jul 2010 @ 2:29 PM

  120. #96 Lynn Vincentnathan

    Check out the responses here re. Lindzen iris hypothesis:

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/richard-lindzen


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 23 Jul 2010 @ 2:39 PM

  121. #100 Geoff Wexler

    Exactly. I used to comment on CiF but the lack of moderation there results in a tedious repetition of the usual tired old long debunked myths, with at least a semi-organised rush of deniers to anything by Monbiot, for example. Any unmoderated climate change blog suffers the same. Sensitive moderation does not stifle debate, it allows space for debate to happen.

    Judith Curry – what are your views on this ??

    Comment by VeryTallGuy — 23 Jul 2010 @ 3:02 PM

  122. RE: #116

    Gavin, it was absolutely not my intention to make insinuations that this was what was done and I am sorry that my comment was not sufficiently clearly worded and led to that conclusion being drawn by yourself. I was trying to discuss accepted statistical practice, not imply wrongdoing.

    Perhaps if I re-phrase the point it would help. I do not disagree with you that there may be a range of statistics that can be calculated in any particular case. However, a very widely used statistic in many proxy cases, including my own work, is the R statistic. I have pointed out that both MBH98 and WahlAmman2007 fail a test of significance for R. I do not claim that the R statistic is the only test of significance but it is a very important one.

    You state that the R statistic is not favoured by dendro’s. My question therefore still stands: What is the statistical authority for it being acceptable to fail an R test for this type of data and still claim the result statistically significant?

    [Response: The reference given in the NAS report is Fritts (1976), so see what he says (I don’t have a copy). But the discussion in the NAS report is pretty clear – no single metric tells you everything interesting about a reconstruction’s validity. – gavin]

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 23 Jul 2010 @ 3:06 PM

  123. I work for a university, and do research supported by public funding. I don’t consider any email to be secure, but I have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Nevertheless, there are limits. I can imagine circumstances in which my emails might be subpoenaed by a court of law, and I would have no great worries if that were to happen. On the other hand, I have no doubt that somebody who went on a cherry-picking expedition through my emails could find some things that could be used to make it appear that I was doing something improper. Creating conditions such that scientists felt the need to write every single email so carefully that it could not possibly be misinterpreted by a hostile reader would impose an enormous burden in terms of time, slow the progress of research, and substantially increase its cost. It is hard to imagine how this could possibly serve the public interest.

    Comment by trrll — 23 Jul 2010 @ 3:11 PM

  124. Andy Revkin, may I also commend this, on researchers’ privacy:
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/07/and-so-it-drags-on.html?showComment=1279886737405#c7783741013556179367

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Jul 2010 @ 3:12 PM

  125. I think JC should:
    a) type her own review of the book here (worst option)
    b) write it somewhere else and link in comments
    c) get RC’s permission to guest post – and post her review

    What she has done so far, however, is to troll. And I guess she really does not want to be a troll. So, JC, pick an option. But quit trolling. Both you – and RC’s contributers and readers – deserve better than your two hopeless posts so far.

    Comment by Øystein — 23 Jul 2010 @ 3:24 PM

  126. ThinkingScientist says: 23 July 2010 at 11:46 AM

    [edit – discussions of comment policy are tedious from either side, please let this drop]

    Back to the topic you’re concerned with, Gavin has repeatedly invited you to apply your statistical skills to assuage the doubts you’re harboring over the nearly-fossilized MBH98. You imply you’ve got the skill to test your doubt, you are fixated on this doubt, why do you not go ahead and address your doubt rather than repeatedly demand that somebody else do your work for you? Why are you asking Gavin for more help?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 23 Jul 2010 @ 3:27 PM

  127. Re Gavin’s response #106:

    “It is not ‘the proxies’, it is one specific set of proxies”.

    It is not one set of proxies, it’s one type of proxy. Tree ring studies at Schunya River, Khadyta River, Nadim River and Jahak also show the divergence since mid-century.

    In order to use tree rings as temp proxies you need to explain the divergence problem, not dismiss it out of hand.

    [Response: ‘Dismiss out of hand’? Funny. But the fact remains that not all tree rings show this problem. But while I’d be very happy for this to be resolved, it hasn’t been. So you can either decide that there is some signal in the tree rings, or you can decide that there isn’t. If you think there is, you proceed as above with all the caveats necessary, and if you think there isn’t, try and look at exclusively non-tree ring proxies. You will still get something very similar for the last 500 years or so, and possibly even longer. Again, I just don’t see this as an important issue – no one is forcing you to agree with anything. But the fact is, there is a lot of concordance amongst boreholes, glacier-based reconstructions, non-tree ring reconstructions, etc. Perhaps we’d make more progress if you told me what key question you think all this affects? – gavin]

    Comment by D. Robinson — 23 Jul 2010 @ 3:29 PM

  128. Thinking scientist said…

    There is one small point forgotten about here concerning the MBH98 algorithm/methodology.

    When tested with stationary (no trend) noise the algorithm still produces a hockey stick. Therefore the method cannot be classified as “robust” or having any merit.

    Thinking scientist, did you compare the magnitudes of the leading eigenvalues produced by Mann’s data with the magnitudes of the leading eigenvalues produced by McIntyre’s “red noise” data?

    There’s an old saying: “Size matters”. And “size matters” every bit as much for hockey sticks as it does for other types of appendages.

    Comment by caerbannog — 23 Jul 2010 @ 3:38 PM

  129. chek,

    I’m currently reading his book, and if he spoke to anyone other than McIntyre (and I actually doubt that, it seems to be drawn almost entirely from CA) I’d be very surprised.

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 23 Jul 2010 @ 3:46 PM


  130. In all, this is so very, very tedious and tiresome, even for a bystander like me. I can only imagine the exasperation of the scientists involved. I did a “grep ‘trick’ * -R” on my source code directory containing computer code written by colleagues and myself, and got enough results to be very happy that I am active in a completely uncontroversial field of research (astronomy)…

    Another fun exercise:
    wget http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v2.6/linux-2.6.34.1.tar.bz2
    tar jxf linux-2.6.34.1.tar.bz2
    cd linux-2.6.34.1
    find . -name ‘*.[chS]’ | xargs grep ‘ trick[ .]’

    I tell ya, those Linux kernel hackers are a nefarious bunch. They’re almost as sneaky as those crafty climate scientists!

    Comment by caerbannog — 23 Jul 2010 @ 3:49 PM

  131. ThinkingScientist, why do you insist on finding an authority to tell you why Pearson r^2 is usually not a good idea and RE is? Wouldn’t it be much better if you actually understood why this is so?

    Gavin already linked you to the NAS report. Let me give you Wahl & Ammann 2007:

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/ccr/ammann/millennium/refs/Wahl_ClimChange2007.pdf

    Their explanation is well-written, extensive and clear. It worked for me, and I don’t think I’m so much smarter than you :-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 23 Jul 2010 @ 4:02 PM

  132. J. Curry writes (#107):

    “Once more people have read the book, and if Montford and McIntyre were welcomed to participate in the discussion, then I would be interested in participating in a more detailed discussion on this.”

    You’ve read the book (right?). You’ve read the response here (right?). Certainly, you must be able to support your assertion:

    “cons: numerous factual errors and misrepresentations, failure to address many of the main points of the book”

    Have at it.

    Comment by MarkB — 23 Jul 2010 @ 4:21 PM

  133. RE: #121

    Gavin thank you for the reference to Fritts (1976). I am not familiar with this reference but I will certainly locate a copy and review what is said about validation statistics.

    Regarding the NAS report and your comment that no single verifcation statistic tells you everything we are in agreement.

    RE: #114 and my response to Didactylus I have to point out that Didactylus was arguing that the use of random series as a means of establishing stastical significance or confidence intervals in general is invalid. This is not true. Didactylus’ comment is without merit and my reply to Didactylus stands.

    Because your (Gavin) reply is inserted in my response to Didactylus the first statement that I am incorrect (again) is not relevent to that response. The general principle that MM2005 set out to establish significance by using autocorrelated random sequences is an entirely valid approach and, as I said, is widely used in statistics: you acknowledge that in your own reply.

    Huybers did raise criticisms to MM2005. These were addressed by MM in a follow-up reply in 2005 in GRL. They re-ran their analyses taking account of Huybers comments and got the same result:

    “The apparent contradiction between verification statistics
    is thus fully resolved: the cross-validation R2 of approx 0.0
    demonstrates that the MBH98 model is statistically insignificant;
    the new simulations, implementing the variance rescaling
    called for by Huybers and newly-revealed in the
    MBH98 code, confirm our earlier finding that the seemingly
    high MBH98 RE statistic is spurious.”

    I can see nothing wrong with their analysis and response to Huybers.

    [Response: You aren’t paying close enough attention then… ;) This is actually quite clearly discussed in Amman and Wahl (2007) (section 4), where it is shown that the ‘noise’ that MM2005c used actually contains a fair bit of signal. Neither McI nor McK has ever submitted a paper or a comment subsequent to that (and they’ve had a fair while now…. ). – gavin]

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 23 Jul 2010 @ 4:32 PM

  134. Rattus @128

    Quite. Its deficiencies even as a piece of investigative journalism, let alone a definitive account are glaring, but only to those with eyes to see.

    Comment by chek — 23 Jul 2010 @ 4:33 PM

  135. Gavin:
    “But while I’d be very happy for this [divergence] to be resolved, it hasn’t been. ”

    If the present divergence illustrates a ‘problem’ with the highly resolved tree-ring proxies, what methods have been undertaken to show that the same ‘problem’ did not occur in the past? Can any procedure or method, be in fact, able to lend confidence to the idea that such divergence did not occur in the past?

    Thanks

    [Response: Short of inventing a time machine, no-one is going to be able to prove that 100%. However, you can look at what the concordance is of these tree ring density records are with other proxies – do they diverge only in the last few decades or does it happen all the time? As far as people have been able to tell, it hasn’t happened before (i.e. there is a concordance where there is overlap between proxies in the past). So, I think there is a reasonable case to be made that the divergence is unique to the modern period (and there are plenty of hypotheses as to why that might be). But of course there is always some ambiguity while the actual reason for the divergence is still unclear. So, it’s basically a judgement call. If you think there is no skill, despite the past concordance, then discount those studies, if you think there is some skill, than weigh them in with the rest. But overall, if you are overly bothered by ambiguity, might I suggest that paleo-climate studies are not for you… ;) – gavin]

    Comment by Anand — 23 Jul 2010 @ 4:49 PM

  136. RE: #125 Doug Bostrom
    RE: #130 Martin Vemeer (mostly this one)

    The point about statistical authority is important. Verification statistics cannot be arbitrarily selected (this argument applies equally to discussion of RE or R or any other test). The point made by MM in their reply to Huybers is that because R^2 is effectively zero it is not reasonable to conclude the RE is meaningful and therefore the MBH98 result does not have statistical significance.

    Reagrding the NAS report, I don’t disagree with either it or the comments by Gavin concerning the use of more than one statistic and I agree with Gavin on this point.

    Regarding WahlAmman2007 I already commented on this at #92 above – the explanation in WahlAmman2007 is based on a clearly artificial example, not a general case.

    Regarding the comment “why do you insist on finding an authority to tell you why Pearson r^2 is usually not a good idea and RE is? Wouldn’t it be much better if you actually understood why this is so?” the answer is I do understand, but in debates like this it is important to get the source ie the correct authority. Without that neither side is properly informed in the argument.

    [Response: Doesn’t follow. I can correct someone who claims that 1+1=3without reference to Russell and Whitehead. The example given by WA05 and the example given in the NAS report (fig 9.3) are both fine examples of what you get with different metrics. This really isn’t that difficult. – gavin]

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 23 Jul 2010 @ 4:54 PM

  137. ThinkingScientist: perhaps your repetition of Monckton’s arguments is pure coincidence. When you boil down MM into the same soundbite he did, it’s an easy leap to make. That doesn’t make either of you right, though!

    [edit]

    [Response: Do you mean Montford? Monckton is a whole other kettle of fish. – gavin]

    Comment by Didactylos — 23 Jul 2010 @ 5:00 PM

  138. RE: #132

    Its always nice when the topic of discussion finally gets onto your own specific area of expertise – autocorrelated data series :-)

    WahlAmman2007 state in Section 4:

    “To generate “random” noise series, MM05c apply the full autoregressive structure of the real world proxy series. In this way, they in fact train their stochastic engine with significant (if not dominant) low frequency climate signal rather than purely non-climatic noise and its persistence.”

    It is my understanding that MM2005 effectively uses the covariance (autocorrelation) of the proxies to establish the power spectrum of the sequence and then simulated this. This seems to me entirely reasonable. In the frequency domain this amounts to using the observed power spectrum and then creating an autocorrelated random sequence by using a uniform PDF for the phase spectrum. That does not introduce the “Climate Signal” and invalidate the result as suggested by WahlAmman2007 and I cannot see anywhere where they propose an alternative as to the correct power spectrum to use for the simulation – perhaps I overlooked it and you can point it out to me?

    [Response: Their point is that part of the auto-correlation structure in the data is due to the climate signal – that seems to be self-evident. If I have a trend over a century caused by a response (say) to rising CO2 or solar variability, then the auto-correlation will be larger than if I just had non-climatic noise (of whatever colour). Now the issue is of course whether there is a signal at all, but assuming the whole structure of the input data is noise makes the assumption that there is no signal – thus it is somewhat circular. What you would ideally want to do is know what the auto-correlation structure is for just the non-climatic part – and that is almost certainly smaller. – gavin]

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 23 Jul 2010 @ 5:10 PM

  139. @107 Judith Curry

    Once more people have read the book, and if Montford and McIntyre were welcomed to participate in the discussion, then I would be interested in participating in a more detailed discussion on this.

    Montford and McIntyre have their own blogs. No one is stopping them from participating.

    I am sure that I’m not alone in suggesting that you considering starting your own blog, or at least try to include something of substance in your comments when you do post here.

    I can understand the hesitancy to do so on your part, given the inevitable fact checking and potential embarrassment that can come with it, but complaining about the moderation policy and a rider don’t add much to the discussion, do you think?

    Comment by thingsbreak — 23 Jul 2010 @ 5:27 PM

  140. Dear Gavin
    One can live with ‘ambiguity’ or uncertainty, as you put it. The problem comes when our confidence placed in the implication of such conclusions, exceeds what they are deserving of.

    Paleoreconstruction statistical skill alone, is not our primary concern. The fact that such reconstructions as MBH99 and others, have lent credence to the notion of ‘dangerous’ and ‘unprecedented’ climate change, when speaking from within the realm of paleoreconstructions alone, such notions cannot be confidently supported as you indicate above – that is also a cause for concern.

    Thanks

    [Response: But here it is you that is over-reaching. The concern about future climate change because of human emissions of CO2 existed long before MBH98 – even the Kyoto Protocol predated this (1997). And the attribution of recent change to anthropogenic effects has nothing to do with whether recent temperatures are ‘unprecedented’. Obviously one can go back to the last interglacial, or the Cretaceous to find global temperatures far in excess of today’s (though not far in excess of where we might be by 2100). The title of MBH99 was “Northern Hemisphere Temperatures During the Past Millennium: Inferences, Uncertainties, and Limitations” – i.e. no-one is hiding the uncertainties. If you mistakenly think that all of this fuss is because of some statistical quirk in a single paper written in 1998, then I strongly advise you to read the IPCC reports more carefully. Mann et al 1998 could be completely wrong, and yet nothing would change with respect to the climate change problem. The interest in these records is for what they can tell us about natural variability, spatial patterns of change, responses to solar or volcanic forcing, teleconnections etc. – it’s all interesting and useful, but it is nothing like as important as the outside interest shown in these studies might suggest. – gavin]

    Comment by Anand — 23 Jul 2010 @ 5:28 PM

  141. RE: #137

    [Response: Their point is that part of the auto-correlation structure in the data is due to the climate signal – that seems to be self-evident. If I have a trend over a century caused by a response (say) to rising CO2 or solar variability, then the auto-correlation will be larger than if I just had non-climatic noise (of whatever colour). Now the issue is of course whether there is a signal at all, but assuming the whole structure of the input data is noise makes the assumption that there is no signal – thus it is somewhat circular. What you would ideally want to do is know what the auto-correlation structure is for just the non-climatic part – and that is almost certainly smaller. – gavin]

    With all due respect Gavin, your answer makes no sense.

    1. You are referring to a trend over half a century but we are talking about tests using stationary stochastic simulations. Over many simulations (say, 10,000 as I seem to recall were run by MM) the effect you describe is irrelevent: it gets averaged out and would not effect the verification statistics.

    [Response: Not so. The real world proxies contain auto-correlation structure that is contributed by both non-climatic noise, stationary ‘weather’, and climate signals that are forced by various drivers (CO2, solar, volcanoes etc.). Depending on the strength of each of these – which might vary in time as well and the sensitivity of the proxy, the actual auto-correlation one would deduce will be different. If you take that calculated rho and generate stationary timeseries from it, you are not mimicking merely the noise, but also the structure caused by the signal we are trying to extract. It does not ‘average out’. Maybe someone would like to generate some examples using a basic red-noise process overlaid with a climate signal (for instance from solar or volcanic forcing histories) and then compute the auto-correlations? They are not going to be what you started with. – gavin]

    2. You have asked the same question I did: WahlAmman2007 criticise MM2005 for using a particular power spectrum for the simulation but do not appear to offer an alternative. You have just stated that this is what you need to know in order to solve the problem of the validity of the verification statistics for MBH98. I don’t agree with you, but expanding on your point, if this spectrum is not known then I would suggest the best starting point is the observed power spectrum of the proxies and this is the usual starting point in my discipline. A further point to this is that even the PC’s don’t tell you which part of the signal is which. As you said earlier in this post: “PC’s are just a way of reducing data – they do not come with obvious interpretations necessarily.”

    Sounds to me like you are arguing the problem is not solvable, in which a claim of justification and statistical significance for these methods (MBH98, WahlAmman2007 etc) is not established.

    [Response: A priori knowledge of the non-climatic noise in a single proxy is hard to come by, but there are reasonable bounds. I am persuaded by the analysis in WA07/AW07/Huybers05 that RE>0 is a fair test for the data structures that are being used. It was certainly a reasonable test for MBH98 to use. You can impose a higher significance criteria if you like, in which case you would ignore the last century or so in MBH98, but you would still be able to go further back with the more up-to-date proxy networks. Again, you are free to take what you want. But we will never know exactly what the right answer was – all we can do is keep working at it. So far the additional data has not disagreed violently with what MBH came up with. Science will nevertheless move on. – gavin]

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 23 Jul 2010 @ 5:42 PM

  142. Gavin,

    I have enjoyed our discussions today and thank you for allowing every post through. Your final replies to my post #140 are a suitable neutral point for me to close at this point – in my time zone it is now after midnight.

    With regard to your point:

    “Maybe someone would like to generate some examples using a basic red-noise process overlaid with a climate signal (for instance from solar or volcanic forcing histories) and then compute the auto-correlations?”

    this would be interesting and I may even take a look at it. Got any suitable data I can use? :-)

    Best regards,

    ThinkingScientist

    [Response: Yes. Try the PMIP3 data for the next set of last millennium simulations. I am in the process of compiling a master file of estimated radiative forcings from it (but anyone can do something similar themselves). – gavin]

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 23 Jul 2010 @ 6:15 PM

  143. #130 caerbannog

    ROFLMAO. So much for those people who were arguing that English has only one meaning for the word “trick”, as in deceive.

    My favourite is in net/ipv4/ip_output.c:

    ANK: dirty, but effective trick.

    Just goes to prove that Linux really is a communist plot to destroy the American economy, I guess.

    Comment by CTG — 23 Jul 2010 @ 6:53 PM

  144. Judith Curry 107: Once more people have read the book, and if Montford and McIntyre were welcomed to participate in the discussion, then I would be interested in participating in a more detailed discussion on this.

    BPL: Let me explain this to you as simply as you can. Mann et al. 1998, 1999 were perfectly valid science. McIntyre is a crackpot right-winger with an axe to grind. His use of his blog to get his admirers to flood CRU with FOIA requests shows that he is simply out to harass and interfere with climate scientists by any means possible. Montford is one of his scientifically illiterate admirers. So participating in a discussion with them would be pointless and stupid.

    Should biologists sit down and have a nice, even-handed discussion with creationists? How about astronomers and Velikovsky freaks? Archaeologists and Erich von Daniken or Zechariah Sitchin?

    They tell me you’re a scientist yourself. If so, kindly get your act together and stop palling around with the dedicated enemies of science.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 23 Jul 2010 @ 7:00 PM

  145. Tamino: “I computed my own reconstructions by multiple regression, first using all 22 proxy series in the original MBH98 analysis, then excluding the Stahle and NOAMER PC1 series.”

    Jean S: Oh, I guess you simply forgot to exclude also the “Gaspe series” you later describe as “the most hockey-stick shaped proxy of all”. Why don’t you publish your results with the 19 remaining proxies?

    BPL: In other words, your criterion for what to exclude is “anything that looks like a hockey stick.” And you intend to use that to prove that there’s no hockey stick.

    Read my lips: It’s warmer now than in the past 2000 years. You don’t need MBH98-99 to prove it. Everybody else who does similar studies gets the same result.

    The Earth is warming. We’re doing it. And it’s the most serious problem civilization faces outside of nuclear war. Deal with it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 23 Jul 2010 @ 7:09 PM

  146. Shorter Gavin: keep your eye on the doughnut and not on the hole.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 23 Jul 2010 @ 7:27 PM

  147. Gavin,
    I agree with what you say above, but differ from you only to remind ourselves that, in the larger debate, well outside the paleoclimatology community, the hockey stick has supported important ‘tenets’ (as Anderegg et al say) of the anthropogenic warming concept. The issue of divergence may not be important as for our causal understanding, but is certainly important for understanding temperature equivalence of different climatic periods (as in, even with low CO2, was the MWP anywhere near as warm as it is today).

    [Response: Co2 has nothing much to do with the medieval period. The key forcings are solar and volcanic. But whether it was warmer than today or cooler is not an important issue – despite what you might read elsewhere. The fact is that the uncertainties in the forcings, the mean temperatures and the climate sensitivty mean that it is very unlikely that any one will be constrained by the other two at this period. Hence the interest in the spatial responses – bigger signals. -gavin]

    Confident assertions, for example, have been made in this very forum, that climatic states in the past 1000 years have never matched the present-state, based on the simple fact that the paleo temperatures of the MWP never reach the mythical heights the instrumental proxy of the present day.

    [Response: You grossly overstate what has been claimed. I doubt very much we have ever said we know for certain that temperatures are higher now than 1000 years ago. I certainly think it’s likely given the reconstructions that exist and the obvious mismatch in timings of putative MWP’s in the records (something that Montford and Monckton seems a little confused about). But don’t confuse a defense of what is likely with a defense of what is important. ]

    Present-day temperatures may very well exceed what ever was truly experienced in the MWP, and its drivers may be different. But even if a sizable fraction of the present warmth was experienced previously – irrespective of its cause, – our need to ‘understand’ divergence in its entirety only increases.

    Has anyone calibrated ‘divergent’ paleo-data against its corresponding instrumental period data, and compared the resulting reconstruction with existing reconstructions? I am (simplistically) assuming that such a reconstruction will then diverge in all presently non-divergent points, but might give an indication of the absolute temperatures reached earlier?

    [Response: Don’t know. But you would not end up with a very different picture except that the error bars would be larger and the resolved variance smaller – even if it validated… -gavin]

    Comment by Anand — 23 Jul 2010 @ 7:44 PM

  148. Some evidence that it is now warmer than it was quite some time ago at certain locations:
    90–7000 years ago:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=914542
    http://www.physorg.com/news112982907.html

    4300 years ago:
    http://www.livescience.com/environment/melting-ice-reveals-ancient-tools-100426.html

    7000 years ago:
    http://news.softpedia.com/news/Fast-Melting-Glaciers-Expose-7-000-Years-Old-Fossil-Forest-69719.shtml

    5200–5500 years ago:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7580294.stm
    http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/quelcoro.htm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%96tzi_the_Iceman

    Comment by David B. Benson — 23 Jul 2010 @ 8:14 PM


  149. [Response: You aren’t paying close enough attention then… ;) This is actually quite clearly discussed in Amman and Wahl (2007) (section 4), where it is shown that the ‘noise’ that MM2005c used actually contains a fair bit of signal. Neither McI nor McK has ever submitted a paper or a comment subsequent to that (and they’ve had a fair while now…. ). – gavin]

    If you generated a big ensemble of time-series of MM2005c “noise” and then computed a straight average, is it possible that a “hockey-stick” might emerge?

    Comment by caerbannog — 23 Jul 2010 @ 8:15 PM

  150. Re: #119 (Jean S)

    Thanks for stopping by to entertain us.


    Tamino: “But applying the standard selection rules to the PCA analysis of MM indicates that you should include five PC series, and the hockey-stick shaped PC is among them (at #4).”

    Let’s get facts straight. First, “Preisendorfer Rule N” alladgedly used by Mann et al is by no means a “standard” selection rule. In fact, it’s an obscure ad-hoc method used by few climatologist and unknown in real statistical literature. Using some selection rules common in the true PCA literature the 4th PC does not get selected.

    And thanks for appointing yourself judge of valid selection rules as well as “true PCA literature”!


    Second, the use of “Preisendorfer Rule N” is not described in MBH98 (or related literature), …

    I thought you wanted to get the facts straight. It is described in MBH98, Methods Section, sub-section “Calibration,” 3rd paragraph, lines 6-11, which states:

    “An objective criterion was used to determine the particular set of eigenvectors which should be used in the calibration as follows. Preisendorfer’s selection rule ‘rule N’ was applied to the multiproxy network to determine the approximate number Neofs of significant independent climate patterns that are resolved by the network, taking into account the spatial correlation within the multiproxy data set.”


    and it is not found in any MBH9X relesed (or leaked) code.

    Didn’t you just say you wanted to get the facts straight? The code is (and has been for five years) available at

    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~mann/shared/research/MANNETAL98/METHODS/multiproxy.f

    It’s not that hard to identify the section preceded by these comment lines:

    c now determine suggested number of EOFs in training
    c based on rule N applied to the proxy data alone
    c during the interval t > iproxmin (the minimum
    c year by which each proxy is required to have started,
    c note that default is iproxmin = 1820 if variable
    c proxy network is allowed (latest begin date
    c in network)
    c
    c we seek the n first eigenvectors whose eigenvalues
    c exceed 1/nproxy’
    c
    c nproxy’ is the effective climatic spatial degrees of freedom
    c spanned by the proxy network (typically an appropriate
    c estimate is 20-40)


    Last, but by now means least, what on Earth one should conclude about work that is supposed to describe general temperature patterns of an entire northern hemisphere but is extremely depended on the _fourth_ most important pattern in a proxy network covering merely western USA? The word “robust” is definitely not on lips of any thinking man.

    It’s been repeatedly shown that if you leave out the NOAMER PC1 (or PC4 as you’d call it) altogether you still get a hockey stick. But the words “extremely depended on the _fourth_ most important pattern in a proxy network covering merely western USA” are on your lips.

    It’s actually kinda funny that you repeat the sucker argument (did you get it from Ross McKitrick?) of characterizing PC4 as “fourth most important.” It’s the one with the 4th-largest variance (in the MM methodology) — but how “important” it is also depends on how well it correlates with temperature during the calibration period. Perhaps you’ll join Montford in complaining that hockey-stick shaped proxies dominate reconstructions because they correlate well with temperature.

    Did you miss the part about getting a hockey stick with no PCA at all?


    Tamino: “It was also pointed out (by Peter Huybers) that MM hadn’t applied “standard” PCA either.”

    Huybers was mistaken. Tree ring series are already in common units. In such cases the covariance based PCA (as done by MM) is recommended. The correlation based PCA (as advocatd by Huybers) is used only in cases where no common units among variables exist.

    You don’t flatter yourself repeating this argument. The NoAmer ITRDB tree ring series are not in common units — they’re not in any units at all.

    Ring-width series are scaled by the average ring width, so if the species or environmental conditions cause greater or lesser average growth, the year-to-year variance due to climate (or other factors) will be suppressed or enhanced. And since species type (they aren’t all the same kind of tree, are they?) and environmental conditions can cause greater or lesser average growth and response to climate, even if the data were in common units it would still be necessary to normalize the data.

    The real howler is that the NoAmer ITRDB data series aren’t even all the same type of data! While most are tree ring width, a few of them are tree ring density — care to explain how they can all be in “common units”?

    Normalization is the right thing to do. You really fumbled this one.


    Tamino: “I computed my own reconstructions by multiple regression, first using all 22 proxy series in the original MBH98 analysis, then excluding the Stahle and NOAMER PC1 series.”

    Oh, I guess you simply forgot to exclude also the “Gaspe series” you later describe as “the most hockey-stick shaped proxy of all”. Why don’t you publish your results with the 19 remaining proxies?

    I confess — you totally got me — I completely forgot to do a reconstruction leaving out all the data series you don’t like.

    I take it that you’re admitting Montford was wrong about getting a “completely different result” if you leave out just NOAMER PC1 and Stahle — that you have to leave out Gaspe too.

    The hilarious part is that even if we do, the result with the 19 remaining proxies gives peak warmth in the late 15th century comparable to about 1940, but nowhere near as warm as the late 20th/early 21st centuries. It’s still a hockey stick — in spite of allowing you all the cherries you can eat.

    How many times do you think you can play this we-have-to-leave-out-everything-that-looks-like-a-hockey-stick” rotten argument?


    Tamino: “This is not at all an unusual practice, and — let’s face facts folks — extending 4 years out of a nearly 600-year record on one out of 22 proxies isn’t going to change things much.”

    Let’s face facts folks – Tamino’s claim is beyond reason and downright ludicrous – and Tamino knows it. The four year unreported ad-hoc extension makes all the difference whether “the most hockey-stick shaped proxy of all” gets included or excluded to AD1400 network. Without it (and the infamous bristlecones masked as “PCs”) the hockey stick is an endangered species.

    This is pathetic. The saddest part is that you probably don’t know it.

    Missing 4 years out of 580 is not a valid reason to require removal of the Gaspe series. Extension by persistence is not at all an unusual practice. Start the reconstruction in 1404 if you want — hockey stick.

    Your real motive for insisting on the removal of Gaspe is clear: because it looks like a hockey stick.


    Tamino: “You get a hockey stick with standard PCA, in fact you get a hockey stick using no PCA at all. Remove the NOAMER PC1 and Stahle series, you’re left with a hockey stick. Remove the Gaspe series, it’s still a hockey stick.”

    How many times do you think you can play this leave-one-but-only-one-out -game and still people would buy the rotten argument?

    You and McIntyre can (and will) harp on MBH98 until the end of time but the fact is that, warts and all, they got the right answer. This has been confirmed repeatedly, including with data and methods over which McIntyre and McKitrick and you have had to wrack your brains to find new nits to pick. Every reputable reconstruction since MBH98 has confirmed the hockey stick, including those which use no tree rings at all and no PCA at all.

    When you admit that the hockey sticks (there’s a host of them) are right — only then — you might be able to participate in an honest discussion of MBH98. We’ll be interested in your answer to the question: if their work is so horribly wrong, how did they get the right answer?

    Comment by tamino — 23 Jul 2010 @ 8:45 PM

  151. Yes that’s right. Anybody, anywhere that dost protest or criticize any piece of climate science, clearly must be in the employ of Big Oil.

    Bash the deniers as conspiracy theorists and theorize about the big oil conspiracy all at once. Migraine inducing irony, bravo.

    Considering the involvement in the anti-global warming community of industry shills with a proven past involvement in industry funded conspiracies to cast doubt upon valid science (see e.g. “Merchants of Doubt” or
    http://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/plagiarism.conspiracies.felonies.v1.0.pdf), not to mention the criminal break-in to CRU’s email, I think the existence of a conspiracy against climate science is pretty well established. Given McIntyre’s long history of promoting misleading claims that appear designed to cast doubt upon climate science, along with the fact that he does not seem stupid enough to actually believe what he says, not to mention the role of his web site in disseminating the stolen emails, it is pretty reasonable to suspect that he is part of the same gang.

    [edit – I get it, but let’s not go there. It’s a little tedious]

    Comment by trrll — 23 Jul 2010 @ 10:11 PM

  152. Our friend Judy seems to be making a habit of asserting things and then failing to back them up, as with her offer to discuss the details of Montford’s book once a thorough review had been undertaken.

    Similarly, she seems to be making a habit of saying things that don’t make sense at all, as Eli excerpts from Steve Schneider’s last interview (with Rick Piltz).

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 23 Jul 2010 @ 11:29 PM

  153. [edit – no personal attacks please]

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 23 Jul 2010 @ 11:35 PM

  154. #137: “[Response: Do you mean Montford? Monckton is a whole other kettle of fish. – gavin]”

    It’s getting so hard keeping the MMs straight. Maybe color one set blue?

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 23 Jul 2010 @ 11:35 PM

  155. I very rarely do this,but today I am forced to use caps.

    Andy Revkin and Judith Curry. HAVE YOU ACTUALLY READ WHAT TAMINO POSTED?! Please, both of you, LOOK CAREFULLY at Fig. 4 above and reflect. Andy Revkin, please for the love of all that is that is ethical and moral, do you job and report on the science and the truth rather than making straw men arguments, and stop cow towing to the likes of Nigel Persaud.

    Judith Curry..you too showing your true colours by arguing straw men. Have you looked at Fig. 4 above. Have you?! To say that I am incredibly disappointed by your recent antics would be an incredible understatement….and FWIW, I am a scientist.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 23 Jul 2010 @ 11:43 PM

  156. Tamino @150, he shoots, he scores, right though the five-hole!

    Thank you Tamino, you exemplify the difference between a true statistician and a wanna be statistician with nefarious motives.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 24 Jul 2010 @ 12:01 AM

  157. I’m not bogged down to see other finns here, this is quite an accurate place. Often the writers here incorporate the recent findings in their reports, thus one may get a fuller picture of aspects of climate change than in the main stream political journals. It’s very hard to keep up with even some of the scientific journals, them having so much text. Doubly so as I’m not in contact with the university currently. It is very nice to have articles that compress this info, as there’s been quite a long time I’ve actually taken courses in alma mater. Your efforts are appreciated, this is how science journalism could work. Thank you and also Tamino for letting me keep somewhat up (can’t get everything) in this knowledge-based enterprise called natural science. The implications of this thing called climate change are worrying enough without having to mess with boggy politics, though I’ve thought taking some steps in that marshy landscape fully knowing the popularity contest that is politics is hardly won by sticking on actual science… cutting the science short attracts nitpickers and their goodfellas, but drying the message of the long articles in scientific journals is too tiresome to most voters.

    Comment by jyyh — 24 Jul 2010 @ 12:08 AM

  158. Re #153,

    Sorry, over zealous. Not sure how to state this diplomatically, but I’ll try. Readers, please keep in mind that McIntyre went to great lengths (e.g., using a moniker of “Nigel Persaud”) to attack MBH98 while simultaneously defending/promoting M&M 2005 (i.e., himself).

    McIntyre repeatedly using a pseudonym (Nigel Persaud) in a pubic forum is relevant, does in fact call into question his true intentions, his etHICS and also calls into question his claim in CanWest news papers that “Everything that I’ve done in this, I’ve done in good faith”. That is not an ad hominem, but an example that McI’s actions are not consistent with what he claims.

    Now Andy Revkin, described above IS a REALLY good story for you to investigate further and write up. Are you up for it?

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 24 Jul 2010 @ 12:22 AM

  159. trrll, astute observation. My summary of that phenomenon is that for them authorities matter, not facts. To them, facts are simply one tool among many to prop up or tear down an authority, so Gore’s heating bill, or random irrelevant comments by Darwin assume equal or greater significance for them. As they say, all is fair in love and war, and for them it is a war of authorities, so deceitful tactics are perfectly acceptable as long as they are effective. (Also as they say, know thine enemy, and don’t assume they are playing by the same rules or for the same goal.)

    Comment by James McDonald — 24 Jul 2010 @ 12:28 AM

  160. Could any of you guys help me..I’ve trying to find what percentage of additional evaporation there is now over the world’s oceans at the current increased temp of 0.7C over the mean. I know it a complicated question, ie. wave heights, relative temps of various oceans, relative temps of the air, rel. humidity and air pressures etc. etc. Has anyone got a good guessimation overall or maybe break it down into the various tropics. Another words how much more additional water vapour is there in the atmosphere now compared to 100yrs ago?
    Thanks guys.

    [Response: That’s hard to measure, but models suggest that it is something like a 2% global increase for a degree of warming. But this might well be affected by aerosol changes more than temperature is, and of course, the distribution will not be uniform. – gavin]

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 24 Jul 2010 @ 2:01 AM

  161. tamino #150:

    The hilarious part is that even if we do, the result with the 19 remaining proxies gives peak warmth in the late 15th century comparable to about 1940, but nowhere near as warm as the late 20th/early 21st centuries.

    Eh, didn’t it lose skill for 1400-1499 in this case? What did you do differently from Wahl & Ammann scenario 1?

    (This is why one doesn’t remove all the potentially suspect data simultaneously — remove enough data and the early part of any reconstruction will be all over the place, but in the absence of skill it means nothing.)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 24 Jul 2010 @ 2:43 AM

  162. 87 Scott Slaba: Thanks of the link on your web site to http://oilmoney.priceofoil.org/

    89 D. Robinson: So where are they getting their money? Is Montford getting rich on book sales?

    [Response: As a published author, I very much doubt it. But do not discount the propensity of people to disinform for free. – gavin]

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 24 Jul 2010 @ 3:33 AM

  163. Re #83 [Response: The test of whether this is useful is whether you have some predictability in the validation interval, and whether the basic patterns hold up when you add more data, change the method, hold back some data etc. And they are. – gavin]

    Re #97 [Response: You are very confused I’m afraid. Quantitative methods actually come up with numbers that can be checked by anyone. Your ‘99%’ is just pulled out of your .a**e. Look, the charge that the HS is simply a statistical artefact is just wrong. [..]– gavin]

    Well, you seem correct that a hockey-stick is still in the data when you remove the bristlecone pines, but my point was and is, that by removing this non-temperature proxis, the robustness of the result degreases and that seem to contradict your statement Re #83.
    These proxies don’t belong into any temperature reconstruction, because they are wrong, they don’t respond to temperature (at least not alone).
    To argue like Tamino, well we removed already this proxi, why should we remove all proxies which contain a hockeystick is flawed as well.
    Perhaps he should focus on proxies which don’t have issues and then perform a correct analysis without prejudgement – that sounds more like a scientific approach.

    [Response: Funny! But you have the history all wrong. The attempts to make multi-proxy reconstructions arose exactly from this desire. Yet people for some reason do not like the results – thus we have seen attempt after attempt to discredit each element in the mix – with the result that proxies are attacked in direct proportion to their 20th Century rise rather than anything intrinsic. This isn’t to say that every proxy is perfect – they are not, indeed, they are all imperfect (that’s why they are ‘proxies’!). And being imperfect, there is always a reason to pick on one you don’t like. But regardless of the reasons you can take away many of the individual proxies and the basic picture remains unchanged – but of course, the more you remove the less information you have, and eventually, you don’t have any information at all. This end point is a clear aim of some commentators. – gavin]

    Comment by Laws of Nature — 24 Jul 2010 @ 3:49 AM

  164. I can’t believe that we are still discussing the pathetic attempts by those that are either irretrievably ignorant still trying to debunk the hockey stick.

    I can’t believe that I am still updating the Hockey stick controversy page

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/the-hockey-stick

    I can’t believe that people still don’t understand that models are never perfect, but they can be illustrative and in the case of the hockey still the results are robust due to the fact that the same general results are found in multiple reconstructions including the reconstructions including the McIntyre/McKitrick corrections.

    AND THE HOCKEY STICK STILL REMAINS EVEN WHEN YOU DON’T USE TREE RING DATA!!!!!!!!

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/models-can-be-wrong

    Models are not perfect but we still get on airplanes.
    Models are not perfect and yet we still drive in cars.
    Models are not perfect and we still get on trains.
    Spacecraft still fly.
    Missiles can still hit targets.
    Infrared is still blocked by CO2
    Stuff still happens.
    Communities still plan.
    Economies are still functioning, kinda, sorta, do the degree of their capacity based on resources available and demand.
    Banks still rely on the Basel Convention and the world banks to manipulate the monetary system.

    Models are not perfect. But the human race seems to at least be functioning with relative capacity, even though we rely on models every day of our lives.


    A Climate Minute: The Natural CycleThe Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

    ‘Fee & Dividend’ Our best chance for a better future – climatelobby.com
    Learn the Issue & Sign the Petition

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 24 Jul 2010 @ 4:56 AM

  165. Tamino: “I thought you wanted to get the facts straight. It is described in MBH98, Methods Section, sub-section “Calibration,” 3rd paragraph, lines 6-11, which states:”

    Yes, that is my intention. I’m not sure what is yours. As you well know (it’s even in the name of the subsection!) the passage you quoted describes part of the MBH9X _calibration algorithm_ which completely different matter than the tree ring PC selection under discussion. The tree ring selection is described in MBH98 (first paragraph of the second column in the first page) simply as

    “Certain densely sampled regional dendroclimatic data sets have been represented in the network by a smaller number of leading principal components (typically 3–11 depending on the spatial extent and size of the data set). This form of representation ensures a reasonably homogeneous spatial sampling in the multiproxy network (112 indicators back to 1820).”

    I have no clue how “Rule N” is supposed to take into account “the spatial extent and size of the data set”.

    Tamino: “Didn’t you just say you wanted to get the facts straight? The code is (and has been for five years) available at

    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~mann/shared/research/MANNETAL98/METHODS/multiproxy.f

    It’s not that hard to identify the section preceded by these comment lines:”

    Again, I do not know what your intention is. The quoted selection of the _part_ of the full MBH98 code, which has been available only due to pressure of congress hearings at the time, is describing the same calibration procedure you referred earlier. (A lot of?) actual MBH9X tree ring PCA code is available in CRU files, nothing about Preisendorfer there.

    Tamino: “Did you miss the part about getting a hockey stick with no PCA at all?”

    Did you miss the part sayig MBH9X PC1 is nothing but masked bristlecones? Garbage in, garbage out.

    Tamino: “You don’t flatter yourself repeating this argument. The NoAmer ITRDB tree ring series are not in common units — they’re not in any units at all.”

    C’mon. They are all describing the same thing – treering growth, so there is no reason to use correlation PCA. If something should be done to that dataset, I would suggest log transform as the tree ring indecies are rather multiplicative than additive, but that is a different story.

    Tmino: “Normalization is the right thing to do. You really fumbled this one.”

    No, it is not. You would get F on this in my class.

    Tamino: “Missing 4 years out of 580 is not a valid reason to require removal of the Gaspe series.”

    Where did you get the idea that Gaspe seires was left out in the last 530 years of the reconstruction? It is used in every step starting AD1450. But unlike every other series in the MBH9X dataset, the Gaspe series was not used starting at the first step _after_ the beginning of the series (i.e., AD1450). Instead ad-hoc extension was applied to it in order to get it included to a previous (i.e., AD1400) step.

    Tamino: “they got the right answer” “We’ll be interested in your answer to the question: if their work is so horribly wrong, how did they get the right answer?”

    This is what sets us apart. Scientists do not have predetermined idea what is the “right answer”. They only have hypothesis which should be backed up by evidence. In my view MBH9X does not provide any evidence for _any_ hypothesis concerning past temperatures. And BTW, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

    [Response: Jean S first says “the use of “Preisendorfer Rule N” is not described in MBH98 (or related literature).” He’s proved wrong.

    Rather than just admit he was wrong, he changes the subject to the “_calibration algorithm_ which completely different matter than the tree ring PC selection.”

    It’s easy to verify that for the NoAmer ITRDB data, you get the same result using either Preisendorfer or a simpler ad hoc rule (e.g. just keep PCs retaining the leading 50% of data variance). Which goes to the point: that MM are wrong to keep only 2 PCs from their fully centered (but not normalized) PCA. Again, their selection rule was obvious: if it looks like a hockey stick, get rid of it.

    First he says “Tree ring series are already in common units.” He’s proved wrong.

    They’re dimensionless, each being scaled by its own mean, hence the mean of each series will profoundly affect the size of the variation — exactly what’s to be avoided. AND they’re not even describing the same thing, some are ring width data while others are ring density! Even if they weren’t dimensionless they couldn’t be in the same units.

    So he says, “C’mon. They are all describing the same thing – treering growth.” He follows this lame excuse with a lame suggestion about a log-transform, probably because his foolishness is so obvious for all the world to see, that he hopes offering some technical suggestion will make him look smart.

    Does he really expect us to believe that tree-ring width and tree-ring density are “in common units”? That scaling them by the mean value doesn’t affect the variation? That he can excuse the faulty MM PCA procedure just by calling it all “treering growth”?

    There’s a limit to how much attention should be given to those who invent one after another outlandish delusion to rationalize their refusal to admit the truth. Comments like those from Jean S contribute only one thing to the discussion of climate: a waste of time. – tamino]

    Comment by Jean S — 24 Jul 2010 @ 5:11 AM

  166. RE: #149 caerbannog says

    “If you generated a big ensemble of time-series of MM2005c “noise” and then computed a straight average, is it possible that a “hockey-stick” might emerge?

    No. The simulations are stationary so they would tend to a mean of zero over many simulation runs.

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 24 Jul 2010 @ 6:31 AM

  167. hveerten #95,

    http://www.cce-review.org/evidence/Vermeer.pdf

    ;-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 24 Jul 2010 @ 7:41 AM

  168. Although I am very busy at the moment trying to complete a paper before leaving on travel, my original drive-by is admittedly insufficient, so I am taking a few moments to clarify the weaknesses in Tamino’s review. Note, this is off the top of my head, I don’t have the HSI book with me.

    First, Montford’s book clarifies three weaknesses in the paleoreconstructions, from MBH 98/99 through Mann et al 08. These include problems with tree rings, the centered PCA analysis, and the R2 issue.

    [Response: Really? This is it? The PCA analysis is completely moot as has been shown in the literature Wahl and Amman (2007) and von Storch et al (2005) and above. And you think this is a big issue in 2010? Please. The ‘R2′ issue similarly – the NAS Chapter 9 deals with the issues there very clearly. The basic point is that when you get to the relatively sparse networks further back, the reconstructions don’t have fidelity at the year-to-year variability. If that is something you care about (i.e. whether 1237 was warmer or cooler than 1238), then you are out of luck. If instead you are interested in whether the 13th Century was cooler than the 12th C, it’s not the right metric to be using. And finally, ‘tree rings’? A whole community is just dismissed in your mind? The community that actually pioneered community-wide data sharing in climate science? A community moreover in which the literature has openly dealt with the many issues that arise in dealing with the nature of trees and tree rings – they are the ‘problem’? Again, really?

    The points are even more bizarre when you actually look at the latest work that shows that reconstructions without tree rings or off-centre PCA give good reconstructions back centuries and that they aren’t grossly different to the ones using tree rings. What more do you want? – gavin]

    The tree ring issue is admittedly murky, but unless the dendro community becomes more objective in its analysis, tree rings will become irrelevant. The centered PCA and R2 issues are much more straightforward. The centered PCA is bad statistics, and just because no single significance test is objectively the best in all circumstances does not mean that you can cherry pick significance tests until you find one you like and ignore R2.

    [Response: This is simply insulting. You have absolutely no evidence that this was the case. The RE/CE statistics are perfectly fine at describing what the authors thought were relevant and have a long history in that field (Fritts, 1976) and as we have seen the PCA issue is moot. The idea that people went looking for ‘bad statistics’ to fix their results is without merit whatsoever. Please withdraw that claim.]

    The key points of Montford’s book that Tamino ignores are:
    1. The high level of confidence ascribed to the hockey stick inferences in the IPCC TAR, based upon two very recent papers (MBH) that, while provocative and innovative, used new methods and found results that were counter to the prevailing views. Plus the iconic status that the hockey stick achieved in the TAR and Al Gore’s movie.

    [Response: You are misreading the IPCC reports. The relevant claims in the SPM and Chapter 2 in TAR were that ‘the increase in temperature in the 20th century is likely to have been the largest of any century during the past 1,000 years. It is also likely that, in the Northern Hemisphere, the 1990s was the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year’. “Likely” in TAR speak was 66%-90% chance, thus better than 2 in 3, but not as good as 9 in 10. Your characterisation of ‘prevailing views’ is simply wrong – the paleo community had long been aware that the medieval period had been very heterogenous (Hughes and Diaz 1994 for instance) and that the peaks did not line up in different records. ‘Likely’ was the appropriate distinction for the 20th C warming being greater than any century-scale warming in 1000 years, since there wasn’t (and isn’t) any evidence to the contrary and plenty in support. The only issue that one could reasonably have is the statement about 1998 or the 1990s. Those claims were based on the fact that 1998 was by far the warmest year in the warmest decade in the instrumental record, but without direct evidence that other very warm years in perhaps not quite as warm decades did not match or exceed it. Thus I would have been happier if that part of the statement had been downgraded to ‘more likely than not’.

    In AR4, the relevant statement was: Average Northern Hemisphere temperatures during the second half of the 20th century were very likely higher than during any other 50-year period in the last 500 years and likely the highest in at least the past 1,300 years.. Thus the statement for the last 500 years has been strengthened (which is appropriate given the increase in multiple lines of evidence for that period), and the longer term statement has been lengthened to 1300 years at the same level of confidence as before. Again a reasonable and supportable position. The differences are in the characterisation of the 20C rate of warming, and mainly the highlighting of a specific year in a millennial context. Instead, there is Eleven of the last twelve years (1995–2006) rank among the 12 warmest years in the instrumental record of global surface temperature (since 1850), indicating a move towards a (correct) realisation that the relative warmth of individual years are harder to assess. In toto, I do not see this as a significant downgrading of the conclusions – you may disagree, but this is not the stuff of conspiracy theories.

    In terms of ‘iconic’ status, showing the results in the SPM seems fair enough, but MBH are not to blame for how images get used or discussed in the media. At all times when the authors themselves were interviewed I have yet to see any statements that were not justified. And as for the AIT, the hockey stick only got a brief mention, and that was by mistake (he used the wrong panel from a Lonnie Thompson paper). This is irrelevant.]

    2. The extreme difficulties that Steve McIntyre had in reproducing the MBH results. Any argument that defends these difficulties by saying that Steve McIntyre is incompetent or lacking in persistence is just plain counter to the evidence that Montford provides. Science needs to be reproducible. Period. And authors need to provide all of the data and metadata needed to reproduce the results, not just draft or incomplete datasets

    [Response: Science is reproducible and this science was. Mann et al did not generate the underlying data themselves, they got it from public archives and from asking colleagues – and that was made public when the previously unpublished work was published. Wahl and Ammann replicated the code (as did McIntyre). There were minor errors in the data listing at Nature, but that was fixed when it was pointed out. Scientists are not obligated to hand-hold people trying to reproduce their results, especially when they have already gone public with a farrago of misstatements in non-peer-reviewed papers (try actually reading MM2003). However, you are making a big error in characterising the culture that existed in 1998. I guarantee I will not find complete public archives for every climate paper that appeared in Nature that year – are none of those papers ‘science’? Nonsense. Replication is not about repetition- it’s about finding new ways to address the same problem. Two ice cores are better than two teams measuring the same one.]

    3. The NAS North et al. report found that the MBH conclusions and “likely” and “very likely” conclusions in the IPCC TAR report were unsupported at that those confidence levels. How the hockey team interpreted the North NAS report as vindicating MBH, seems strange indeed.

    [Response: This is simply not true. There are no ‘very likely’ conclusions in the relevant sections of TAR (I quoted them above). The only thing they pointed out was in regards to the relative warmth of 1998 and the 1990s in the millennial context which I agree with. They did state with a ‘high level of confidence that global mean surface temperature was higher during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period during the preceding four centuries‘ – this is equivalent to the strengthening of the statements made in AR4 concerning the last 500 years. They went on to say that the ‘committee finds it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium‘ – and in further questions, clarified that plausible was equivalent to ‘likely’ in IPCC-speak (i.e. less confidence than the statement about the last 500 years). The statement about 1998 and the 1990s was that “Even less confidence can be placed in the original conclusions by Mann et al. (1999) that “the 1990s are likely the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium” because the uncertainties inherent in temperature reconstructions for individual years and decades are larger than those for longer time periods and because not all of the available proxies record temperature information on such short timescales” which is true enough. Of course, now it is likely that the 2000s were the warmest decade.]

    4. A direct consequence of the North NAS report is that the conclusions in the IPCC AR4 essentially retracted much of what was in the IPCC TAR regarding the paleo reconstructions. This is the only instance that I know of where the IPCC has reduced a confidence level or simply left out a conclusion that was in a previous IPCC report. This is discussed in the CRU emails.

    [Response: Again, this is not true. AR4 did in no way ‘essentially retract’ much of what said in TAR – for anything substantial concerning the nature of late 20th C warmth the conclusions both in the NAS report and the AR4 report strengthened the TAR conclusions (see the statements above). Perhaps you think that the ‘essential’ thing is the position of 1998 as the single warmest year? Well, in that case I strongly disagree, this is not ‘essential’ in anything very much. Much more important in actually understanding the climate are the relations between forcings and responses both globally and spatially over this period, and none of that relies on rankings of individual years. And as for IPCC changing conclusions this has happened many times – Lindzen used to point to statements about upper tropospheric water vapour for instance that became less confident from the 1990, 1995 and 2001 reports, similarly uncertainty in aerosol indirect effects has clearly grown over time. ]

    5. Even with this drawback in the AR4 conclusions and confidence level, somehow what was left was judged to hinge on the unpublished Wahl/Amman papers, one of which was having difficulty surviving peer review in GRL for a period of several years, and was finally pushed through quickly by Steve Schneider in Climate Change. IPCC deadlines were violated, and peer review in the context of the papers publication in Climate Change was a joke (all of this is described in the CRU emails). So all of these shenanigans to get these papers into the IPCC, papers that some have judged to have more methodological problems than the original MBH papers, have seriously degraded trust in the IPCC consensus, once this was illuminated in the CRU emails.

    [Response: This is nonsense. The conclusions in the Wahl and Amman papers, and their published code had been public since 2005 so there was no doubt about their results. Steve Schneider was exceptional in many ways, but his journal is not the speediest in terms of turnaround of manuscripts. Weird editorial decisions with respect to the responses to the MM05 GRL paper also did not help. But the authors of the IPCC chapter knew full well that the their statement in the first draft about MM05 was not right – there weren’t any unanswered questions about the impact of PCA centering on the results of MBH98. The WA07 paper was accepted in time for this to be cited (and it was an IPCC-wide decision to decide on the cutoffs, not Keith Briffa’s) and it was (no IPCC deadlines were violated). If it hadn’t been it would not have been the end of the world and I don’t see how anything subsequently would have changed. McIntyre has had 5 years to write a comment or a new paper on the subject and he hasn’t. As for Briffa talking to Wahl during the final drafting stage, I see nothing problematic with that in the slightest. The idea put forward by McIntyre and Montford that IPCC authors are supposed to sit in purdah while writing the reports has absolutely no basis in fact or in practice. Many people were talked to and many people made suggestions where their expertise was required. The fact is that the AR4 statements in the final version were more correct than in the first draft and that is something people should be happy about.]

    6. The dependence of the various proxy reconstructions used in the AR4 on essentially the same datasets is described, it is difficult to judge these reconstructions as independent.

    [Response: Long well-resolved paleo records are rare – I doubt that is a surprise to anyone. Should people not use what has been published to get the best characterisation of past climate change? Methods can be independent though, and since your earlier comments seem to revolve around methods, I don’t quite get what point you are making.]

    7. The Mann et al. 2008, which purports to address all the issues raised by MM and produce a range of different reconstructions using different methodologies, still do not include a single reconstruction that is free of questioned tree rings and centered PCA.

    [Response: Absolutely untrue in all respects. No, really, have you even read these papers? There is no PCA data reduction step used in that paper at all. And this figure shows the difference between reconstructions without any tree ring data (dark and light blue) compared to the full reconstruction (black). (This is a modified figure from the SI in Mann et al (2008) to show the impact of removing 7 questionable proxies and tree ring data together). In addition, there are many papers that deal with issues raised by MM – Huybers (2005), von Storch et al, (2005), Rutherford et al (2005), Wahl and Amman (2007), Amman and Wahl (2007), Berger (2006) etc.

    Judith, I implore you to do some work for yourself instead of just repeating things you read in blogs. (Hint, not everything on the Internet is reliable). ]

    8. The divergence problem is clearly explained, including how the graphs in the IPCC report were misleading, and how the splicing of the historical records with the paleo records is misleading. I.e., the trick to hide the decline. Why should we have confidence in paleoproxies that show a temperate decrease in recent decades, in contrast to historical measurements?

    [Response: The divergence problem is well known. And I absolutely disagree that the IPCC graphs are ‘misleading’. How perchance were you misled? The picture on the 1999 WMO report cover has nothing to do with IPCC, and frankly was completely unknown until November last year. Yet an incomplete caption on a report that no-one knew about is the biggest scandal in climate science? Get real. I’m with Muir Russell on this one. There is nothing wrong per se in splicing records together to get a continuous series – for instance I have just done the exact same thing in creating a series of solar forcing functions for climate model runs – but these things should be clearly explained. The divergence issue is predominantly an issue for the tree ring density measurements (Briffa et al), and while there is some reason to think that is a unique phenomena, it remains unresolved. So, feel free to ignore the Briffa et al curve if you want. This is not a general issue and doesn’t affect the MBH and Mann et al 2008 conclusions at all. ]

    9. Finally, Montford asks the question as to why the scientists and the IPCC promoted the hockey stick at such a high confidence level so prematurely, and why such extraordinary efforts were made to defend it when it arguably isn’t a critical piece of the climate puzzle, rather than to learn from outside statisticians and do a credible error analysis on the data and the inferences.

    [Response: Oh please. Why didn’t the first multi-proxy paper deal with all issues and try all methodologies and come to all the conclusions? Because that is not the way science works. People try new things, issues arise, issues are dealt with and a more sophisticated understanding emerges. Some data is used, more data is gathered and more complete pictures arise. No single paper is ever perfect – and I’m sure if any of your papers (or mine for that matter) got the attention that has been payed to MBH98 there’d be all sorts of potential issues as well. But you are again overstating the conclusions of those early papers, and there have been no extraordinary efforts to defend them. It is quite the contrary, there have been many and multiple extraordinary attempts to discredit them (unless you think Congressional review is ‘ordinary’). No-one is against efforts to learn from outside statisticians, that is just a strawman. People are against politically-driven hack jobs purporting to be analyses but that don’t even bother to work out what the consequences of any different choices might be. All of the data in Mann et al (2008) is online, as is all the code – where are the outside statisticians who are clamouring to have their ideas heard? They are welcome to try and do a better job. ]

    I’ve probably missed a few things, but those are the key points raised in the book that have stuck with me. I’ve tried to follow the debate by reading the journal articles and posts at both RC and CA. I was very frustrated in trying to sort all this out. Montford’s book sorted everything out into coherent, well argued and well documented arguments. There is a certain element of spin, so I wanted to see what RC had to say about all this. On the RC side, we have the outdated Dummies Guide to the Hockey Stick and Tamino’s review, plus the snarky replies to serious posters that include statistician Jean S. You need to do better than this to counter Montford’s book. Failing to do so will just push more people into the Montford/McIntyre corner of the ring. And how and why this issue has become so contentious and stayed so contentious is a serious issue in the field of climate science.

    [Response: The reason this has become ‘contentious’ has nothing to do the MBH and everything to do with people not wanting climate change to be a problem. Icons that arise for whatever reason attract iconoclasts. Noise in the blogosphere does not correlate to seriousness in climate science. As your comments make abundantly clear, you have very little knowledge on this issue and have done no independent investigation of the wild claims being made. Yet the more smoke there is, the more you appear to want to blame MBH for the fire. A ‘certain amount of spin’? Seeing conspiracies everywhere you look is not ‘spin’, it is paranoia. Real scientific controversies get resolved in the literature for the people who actually care about getting things right. For those that don’t, continued repetition of long debunked talking points seems to be their only tactic. I, for one, am pretty tired of that and heartily bored of pointing them out.

    The fact of the matter is that we are far beyond the point where people need to either s*** or get off the pot. Continuing to whine about what selection rules were used in a PCA analysis 12 years ago without coming up with any constructive alternative, continuing to complain about a centering convention that makes no difference whatsoever, continuing to moan about error analyses being inadequate without doing a single stitch of work to improve them… enough, already! Science moves forward because people do actual work. Nothing happens when people just sit in a room and [edit] complain about the state the world. The people who are actually publishing in this field are doing all of the things you seem to think are being ignored, while the people whose work you are reading are doing nothing but complain about how they are being ignored. I’m very confident about which group will make the most progress in future. – gavin]

    Comment by Judith Curry — 24 Jul 2010 @ 7:43 AM

  169. This is a bit off topic, but it is at least tangentially related.

    I am reading—actually listening to readings with an mp3 player—“The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”” by Edward Gibbon. It was written in the period 1776 to 1789. In it, Gibbon states that Europe was much colder than at (his) present during the time of his history, presumably, the first half of the first millenium CE. He notes that of course there were no thermometers available at the time but that indirect evidence suggest it was colder. He conjectures that the cause was the extensive forests, which were later cut down and replaced by cultivated land.

    Does modern research confirm any of this?

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 24 Jul 2010 @ 7:56 AM

  170. One of the problems that journalists like Revkin have never overcome is a factor I call “map distortion”. A map will use a dot and a label for a locale that might be a couple orders of magnitude smaller than the dot and the label. It gives the illusion the “East Nowhere” is about the same size as “Chicago.” Both show up on the map as a dot and a label. Journalists, allegedly under the thrall of “fairness”, give all the “dots” and “labels” the same weight in their writing.

    A career of that kind of thing and the careful reader can see that what the journalist is actually in thrall to is a paycheck.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 24 Jul 2010 @ 8:16 AM

  171. Re Gavin’s response to #127:

    “Perhaps we’d make more progress if you told me what key question you think all this affects? – gavin”

    I appreciate your responses. My point is that considering a miserable r2, a widespread divergence problem in tree rings, the unintended use of Tiljander and the fact that W & A had to make up their own statistical validation [RE] I would expect that an Oxford educated math expert might not expend so much energy defending the hockey stick. Especially if it doesn’t matter because of the reams of other data.

    [Response: If I had a choice I wouldn’t expend a single further electron on this subject, but then we’d get accused of ‘not dealing with serious issues arising’. I don’t think this is the most important thing in the world and hopefully this will be the last thread on this for a while. But your comment typifies the pointlessness of this (sorry). You are caught up in technicalities that just aren’t relevant for anything interesting. WA07 did not invent ‘RE’ – that was discussed in the NAS report (along with the r2 issue, page 94 I think) and dates back to at least Fritts (1976) in this context, and it is a useful metric for how well a reconstruction does in the verification interval. The Tiljander stuff is moot since the Mann et al (2008) paper showed both with and without and found no material difference. The divergence problem is more interesting, but only matters for a small subset of the proxies and however it is resolved it won’t make much difference to the broader conclusions. But all of these things you mention are means to an end (the end being a better understanding of the climate), not the ends themselves. The big picture stuff is made up of lots more than this and so the implications – however things get resolved in these small details – are going to be small. Thus, really, why do you care? – gavin]

    [edit – speculating about funding is boring and OT]

    Comment by D. Robinson — 24 Jul 2010 @ 8:16 AM

  172. Re: Laws of Nature #163

    These proxies don’t belong into any temperature reconstruction, because they are wrong, they don’t respond to temperature (at least not alone).

    The problem with proxies is that they are indirect measures that are influenced by factors other than temperature alone. So you pool a whole bunch of different proxies, and you hope that the errors more or less cancel out.

    It is a very risky practice to start deleting data once you’ve looked at the outcome, because no data is perfect, and it is human nature to be more suspicious of data that leads to a conclusion that you don’t like, and it is easy to rationalize deleting it–and that way lies self-deception. On the other hand, you do want to know if some single dataset is dominating the conclusion (because the whole point of pooling a lot of data sources is to avoid that), so scientists will frequently engage in sensitivity analysis, deleting one dataset or another, and checking to see whether the conclusion is altered meaningfully. You want to know that the conclusion is “robust,” not hanging on one particular bit of data that might be wrong. The point of Tamino’s article is that the hockey stick has been to subjected to this over and over, and it stands up.

    And it pretty much has to, because the blade is in the instrumental record, which is the most reliable dataset of the whole bunch.

    Of course, one could decide that proxies are too risky to use, throw out everything before the instrumental record–which would give you a hockey stick with a very short handle. But the critics don’t want to do this either, because their underlying hypothesis, rarely clearly articulated (probably because it sounds really shaky when you lay it out), is:

    a) There is some mechanism, not included in current models, which limits the the ability of CO2 produce warming. The fact that the modern increase in temperatures matches what was predicted from CO2 increase decades ago (and is still predicted in modern models) is an unfortunate coincidence.

    b) There is some other mechanism of producing global warming that has been active in the past, but occurs by a mechanism that is not included in current models, and which doesn’t have anything to do with CO2, and this, rather than CO2, is responsible for the warming seen in the instrumental record (and whatever that mechanism is, it is temporary and will go away by itself Real Soon Now).

    So the “skeptics” need proxies, because they want to believe that it has been this warm before (for some reason that the current models can’t predict), and it went away of its own accord. Indeed, one often sees skeptics clutching at “proxies” that are far, far more shaky than precise measures of tree growth, such as medieval vineyards.

    Comment by trrll — 24 Jul 2010 @ 8:25 AM

  173. Gavin: no, I really meant Monckton. He has waxed lyrical on the subject of hockey sticks and red noise. ThinkingScientist’s logic may be a little more technical, but it’s roughly the same misunderstanding.

    ThinkingScientist said: “No. The simulations are stationary so they would tend to a mean of zero over many simulation runs.” What more needs to be added to this? Hasn’t he answered all his own questions?

    Comment by Didactylos — 24 Jul 2010 @ 8:56 AM

  174. they want to believe that it has been this warm before (for some reason that the current models can’t predict),

    Consider: ‘Dire Predictions’ by Mann & Kump p.81 “The proxy temp. estimates match the model simulations well.. with climate sens. to 2 XCO2 of 2-3 degs.C”

    Suppose it was warmer in the past, would the current models really be unable to predict that?

    Acccording to RC, the uncertainty in the amount of aerosol cooling makes the twentieth century warming (the blade) a rather dodgy way of estimating the clim. sens. That is consistent with adjusting the estimated aerosol cooling for the 20th. century, upwards a bit. Now put in a greater climate sensitivity than the 2-3 degs.C. Result : a hockey stick with a much wavier handle and a less dramatic looking blade. No change in models.

    But look: The predictions for the future would be more dire than before especially as the aerosol cooling would not be expected to keep up.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 24 Jul 2010 @ 10:19 AM

  175. Re #169 Thank you for your post! I started to wonder if I really cannot be understood (Unlike Gavin’s, your comments are spot on and productive)! You say, that it is dangerous to “after-screen” your proxies in order to modify the result in a way, but in imperfect “pre-screening” is wrong in very much the same way. For example just google for a few pictures of a “bristlecone pine”, I think just by eye you can see that the environment must have a big impact on the growth! Later publications seem to have better proxies (and hockeysticks), but discussing this one as a milestone simply strikes me as very odd.

    [Response: It’s precisely because bristlecone pines respond to their environment that they are useful. Not sure what your point is. – gavin]

    Your comment also deals with another question I have for a long time (not completly on topic I am afraid): If a CO2-doubling provokes 3.7W/m^2 additional forcing and that leads (with feedbacks and so on) to about 3K temperature increase, how much temperature increase from the beginning of the instrumental record till now should we expect? (IPCC states 1.7W/m^2 CO2-forcing till now)

    [Response: Actual temperature increase is a function of the total forcing, not just CO2 (which, coincidentally, is around 1.7 W/m2 but with error bars of +/-1 W/m2 or so), the climate sensitivity and the thermal inertia in the system. With the best estimates of all of these things, we should have seen somewhere between 0.6 and 1 deg C warming by now. – gavin]

    Comment by Laws of Nature — 24 Jul 2010 @ 10:59 AM

  176. [edit – further funding-related discussions are OT]

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 24 Jul 2010 @ 11:19 AM

  177. About the bristlecones. It seems to me that Salzer, et. al. (PNAS, 2009) did a pretty good job of showing that bristlecones are indeed responding to temperature. So although the NRC panel said 3 years ago that bristlecones should be avoided, it seems as though they were actually pretty fair proxies all along. So why does McIntyre, as told to Andrew Montford, continue to insist that they are not proxies for temperature at all? Because they show a hockey stick. Salzer did show that there may have been a problem with the standardization used by Graybill on the stripbark samples, but the newly developed chronologies still show a hockey stick. But as Tamino points out, the McIntyre method of doing a sensitivity analysis is to eliminate all of the data he does not like. In his book Montford has a section which deals with McIntyre’s analysis of other proxies. It turns out that in McIntyre’s opinion any proxy which tends to show a 20th century increase is invalid. This is the McIntyre method, throw out all the data he doesn’t like. He used the same technique in his rather amateurish “analysis” of Briffa’s Yamal chronology which was ripped a new one both in his reply posted at the CRU website and in his comments to the Muir Russell committee (in considerably less polite language).

    BTW, the discussion of why RE is to be preferred over r^2 in Wahl and Ammann was excellent, and really ripped on Steve who clearly just dosen’t get it.

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 24 Jul 2010 @ 11:57 AM

  178. RE: #170 Didactylos

    If you want to understand more about stationary stochastic processes I would recommend that you consult a suitable undergraduate text. I would recommend “An Introduction to Applied Geostatistics” by Isaaks and Srivastava. You can find it on Amazon. It is very readable. Chapter 9 on Random Function Models, starting on p196, would be a good starting point.

    Concerning the idea of a “Climate Signal” proposed by WahlAmman2007 and also suggested by Gavin, this would not give rise to a hockey stick if the sequence is simulated as a stationary process. It is the phase spectrum that would cause this effect to happen if it were non-uniform and systematic. But the simulations of MM2005 are stationary and random, corresponding to uniform PDF for the phase distribution. This means that in some simulations the climate signal might be found at the start of a sequence, the end of a sequence, the middle of the sequence etc on different runs. On average they would cancel out. But unfortunately the MBH98 algorithm manages to find the hockey stick at the end of the signal notwithstanding it being a stationary stochastic series.

    Its quite important to note that WahlAmman2007 assert that the simulation of MM2005 contains the “climate signal” and hypothesise that this invalidates the result but do not offer an example or reference to support this statement. If I had reviewed that paper I would not have allowed that comment through without substantiation – it is pure speculation.

    [Response: No it isn’t. It is in fact trivially true as we discussed yesterday. An autoregressive non-climatic process plus a non-stationary long term signal and a stationary component of auto-regressive ‘weather’ will not have the same sample auto-correlation as the auto-regressive non-climatic process you started with even with an infinite time-series, let alone a finite length one. – gavin]

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 24 Jul 2010 @ 12:11 PM

  179. RE: #177

    [Response: No it isn’t. It is in fact trivially true as we discussed yesterday. An autoregressive non-climatic process plus a non-stationary long term signal and a stationary component of auto-regressive ‘weather’ will not have the same sample auto-correlation as the auto-regressive non-climatic process you started with even with an infinite time-series, let alone a finite length one. – gavin]

    Your answer makes no sense. You define the signal as

    An autoregressive non-climatic process +
    a non-stationary long term signal +
    a stationary component of auto-regressive ‘weather’

    Discounting the last one, which of the other two is the AGW signature? The autoregressive non-climatic process or the non-stationary long term signal?

    [Response: Sorry, I thought this was clear to you. No-one is interested in the non-climatic processes (at least in this context) – these involve residual age-related growth trends, disturbances, diffusion (in ice cores perhaps), bioturbation (in ocean or lake sediments) etc. These are the elements that might make one set of proxies, or an individual proxy record a signal that is not related to the climate. The long-term non-stationary part is of interest – that is the part that is related to some external driver (CO2, solar, volcanoes, orbital forcing etc.). This imposes auto-correlations on the proxy signal because that exists in the drivers. The last part is also of interest – it is the internal variability of the climate system and should be at least regionally coherent. But its time/space structure is also complicated – variations in the North Atlantic causing temperature changes in Europe for instance will have auto-correlation too. The last two components are what we want to derive (though the distinction between the two is hard to define). So when you are testing methods against noise, you are modelling the impact of the non-climatic processes only and I guarantee that they are not best modelled as a red-noise process with the sample auto-correlation from real proxies. – gavin]

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 24 Jul 2010 @ 12:49 PM

  180. This article would read better if the tone was a little less hostile, but at least directly addresses M&M which is a breath of fresh air here.

    MM meticulously publicly documented exactly what they did, and stated exactly why they thought the MBH analysis was incorrect. CA does show a compelling story for errors in the original calculations for anyone with an engineering degree.

    Some of this article has a “these are not the droids you are looking for” feel to it though. “Non-standard PCA” – No, the PCA analysis was (innocently) wrong, “the hockey stick is still there no matter what you do” – No, the claim that there is “unprecedented warming” becomes much more hazy when the normal PCA is done, etc.

    [Response: Not true. The anomalous 20th Century is seen regardless of PCA, regardless of tree rings, etc. Look at the glaciers or the boreholes for instance. – gavin]

    It really does not dispute any of CA’s technical results, it simply dismisses/disagrees with the conclusions, which is a fair argument that involves opinion.

    [Response: You misunderstand, the ‘issues’ raised have no actual consequences and so scientists end up with the same conclusions. McIntyre and Montford then repeat the same issues and same points, and complain when the scientific conclusions don’t change even when its been shown that those issues and points are not material. Then they start complaining about the process because they aren’t making headway on the science. This isn’t a ‘matter of opinion’, nor is it a ‘fair argument’. Please point out to me somewhere where McIntyre has acknowledged that the PCA centering issue is moot. Or that the farrago of complaints in MM03 were not justified? – gavin]

    I invite anyone to look at each separate proxy time domain series involved in the PCA by itself, one at a time. It is pretty intuitively clear for anyone who has a signal processing background that if there is a common signal in there, it is very well hidden and would need to be tortured out. If you simply averaged these signals you would not get a HS. You could probably use 10 signal extraction techniques and get 10 significantly different answers.

    [Response: And yet all the sensible methods people have tried don’t give random results. All the data is online – 1209 proxies in the Mann et al (2008) for instance – process away! – gavin]

    The simple fact that one has to resort to PCA in the first place shows that one is struggling to find any common signal here. CA clearly showed that the HS output was very dependent on one or two series and the rest of the series were heavily discounted. Yes, it is mathematically shocking that removing 2 out of 22 series changes the output that much, it shows the data is quite non-uniform.

    [Response: You mistake what the PCA method was used for here. There was a concentration of data from N. America which in any simple average would be overweighted. Thus the PCA was to reduce the number of series to a handful of patterns that would be regionally representative. Different methods deal with that potential problem differently, but the use of PCA in this case has no implication for the struggle to find a ‘common signal’ – precisely the reverse. – gavin]

    OK, so I believe the proxy reconstruction is unreliable, so what? It means almost nothing. What really matters is how well we can predict the future climate, and whether it constitutes an immediate threat. Prediction skill of the climate models is the issue that matters.

    Training (or tuning) climate models against highly questionable proxy reconstructions will self correct with how well they score in prediction skill. Time will tell.

    [Response: That isn’t what this data is used for. See Schmidt (2010) for some more discussion of this exact point. – gavin]

    Comment by Tom Scharf — 24 Jul 2010 @ 1:31 PM

  181. You have to wonder how McIntyre would have handled an effort to discredit other kinds of estimates of geological temperature histories – an important topic in oil discovery and exploration, Mr. McIntyre’s area of claimed expertise.

    For those who don’t know, the maximum temperature that an oil source rock was exposed to after burial is a key piece of information for oil companies:

    It isn’t enough to have organic-rich source rocks. The package of rocks has to go through an appropriate thermal history: hot enough to form oil but no hot enough to break all the oil into natural gas. The rocks has to have passed into the “oil window.” In effect, we want to ask the rock: “Are you now, or have you ever been below 7500 feet, and have you ever been below 15,000 feet?” Only those rocks that can answer yes to the first question and no to the second are candidates for oil exploration.” – Prof. Kenneth S. Deffeyes, Princeton U

    How do you ask that question? Via proxies – the same as with the climate record. Now, if McIntyre wanted for some reason to discredit these proxy methods or cast doubt on their conclusions – who knows why – what would he do?

    Let’s first consider some specific proxies used in oil exploration:

    1) The ratio of peat to lignite to bitumin to anthracite in rocks, even in trace amounts, is one way of guessing the temperature. (Similarly, in climate science, if you can date a relic peat bog to a given date, you know it was glacier-free at the time). However, marine deposits lack such vegetation.

    2) Pollen grains survive some of the harshest conditions, and as the rocks get hotter, they only turn brown. If you come upon an exposed outcrop with dark brown pollen grains in it, you can thus estimate the maximum burial temperature. (In climate, distribution of pollen reveals temperature and precipiation trends due to the ecological effects – the Younger Dryas, 12800-11500 years ago, is the name of a flower whose pollen was widespread at the time).

    3) Fossil teeth are made of durable enamel, and like pollen, some types are widespread – “conodonts”in particular, have been used to trace temperatures. Light brown is associated with oil – dark brown with natural gas. (Isotopic analysis of the oxygen in tooth enamel has also been used to study climate swings, including the onset of the Little Ice Age).

    If McIntyre wanted to discredit these methods and their conclusions, he could attack specific studies – for example, the original lab work with conodonts, heating them to see how they changed, was done in open air – so the conditions were unrealistic, it must all be rubbish. Don’t trust those consultants who tell you they can find oil with old teeth! Don’t fire me and hire them, more specifically…

    However, attacking methods can get you bogged down in detail – a disaster for anyone wishing to cast doubt on the conclusions. Details get the audience thinking – it’s better to drown them in gibberish. Hence, it might be better to attack all the methods together using statistical arguments based on datasets constructed for maximum ambiguity – right, Mr. McIntyre? Don’t vet drilling records for quality before including them, in other words.

    There are lots of tricks for doing this kind of thing, and Mr. McIntyre probably knows most of them. For example, let’s say a chemical manufacturer wants to downplay the effects of toxic process on its employees. They hire a consultant to study the issue – who conducts a medical survey of all 10,000 employees, and concludes that only 0.1% have any issues, well below the normal background incidence of the reported diseases/effects. What did we forget to mention? Yes, only 50 people actually were directly exposed to the process – 20% is a bit different from 0.1%, isn’t it?

    That’s the kind of statistical gibberish that McIntyre is schooled in – and it can be used to cast doubt on any scientific issue whatsoever, as long as someone is willing to pay for the effort.

    In this case, the Canadian tar sand consortium is probably the real interest backing the fraudulently dishonest claims of Mr. McIntyre – but it’s not just climate science, they are also claiming that they can use carbon capture and sequestration to clean up tar sand emissions – and that’s a claim that the U.S. State Department is using to justify their refusal to allow EPA to conduct a permitting process for any Canadian tar sand pipelines to the U.S. – yet another example of the quixotically bipolar U.S. government policy on climate and energy.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 24 Jul 2010 @ 1:54 PM

  182. Is there evidence there any botanical evidence that cedars respond linearly and positively to warmer temperatures? (The Gaspé series is a cedar chronology).

    Comment by ZT — 24 Jul 2010 @ 1:56 PM

  183. Via Stoat (via Hans Von Storch) comes a new paper by Jason Smeardon that will, as Stoat notes, probably be getting a lot of coverage soon. Points out a number of problems in recent Mann et al pseudoproxy papers. Paper here:

    http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/~jsmerdon/papers/2010b_jclim_smerdonetal.pdf

    Any initial thoughts?

    [Response: There is a comment submitted already. But this is off-topic here, take the discussion to Stoat. – gavin]

    Comment by SteveF — 24 Jul 2010 @ 2:18 PM

  184. Thanks Gavin. Have mentioned the comment over at Stoat.

    Comment by SteveF — 24 Jul 2010 @ 2:28 PM

  185. Gavin, the post I made in #167 was a summary of Montford’s book as closely as I can remember it, sort of a review. I did not particularly bring in my personal opinions into this, other than the framing of montford’s points. So asking me to retract a point made in a book in a review of that book is, well, pointless. your attempt to rebut my points are full of logical fallacies and arguing at points i didn’t make. As a result, Montford’s theses look even more convincing. Once you’e in a hole, you can try to climb out or keep digging. Well keep digging, Gavin. My final words: read the book.

    [Response: Thanks for passing by. In future I will simply assume you are a conduit for untrue statements rather than their originator. And if we are offering advice, might I suggest that you actually engage your critical faculties before demanding that others waste their time rebutting nonsense. I, for one, have much better things to do. – gavin]

    Comment by Judith Curry — 24 Jul 2010 @ 2:36 PM

  186. RE: #179

    Gavin,

    The discussion we have been having concerns the assertion by WahlAmman2007 that MM2005 simulations contain a “climate signal” and therefore their tests are invalid. MM2005 took the power spectrum of the proxies as the basis for stationary simulations and concluded that MBH98 algorithm is not robust and in fact finds a hockey stick when it should not. You have just stated in your reply to my post #179 that:

    “So when you are testing methods against noise, you are modelling the impact of the non-climatic processes only”

    But WahlAmman2007 criticise MM2005 for including the climate signal, not for only modeling a noise term. You have just described the climatic part as non-stationary but MM2005 specifically model a stationary process. You cannot be correct in your argument on either point in order to refute MM2005 using WahlAmman2007.

    [Response: We are still talking at cross purposes. If I create a red-noise time series I need an auto-correlation coefficient or ARMA parameters etc. If I take those coefficients from a real world proxy, I am including auto-correlations that arose not just from the non-climatic noise, but also the auto-correlations in the climate system. Indeed, the auto-correlations will be inflated over that you would have if you just knew what the non-climatic noise was. Thus when you do a test you will not be testing the system against the presence of unwanted noise. The redder the noise the worse these methods will behave of course so it matters. – gavin]

    You also state:

    “No-one is interested in the non-climatic processes (at least in this context) – these involve residual age-related growth trends, disturbances, diffusion (in ice cores perhaps), bioturbation (in ocean or lake sediments) etc. These are the elements that might make one set of proxies, or an individual proxy record a signal that is not related to the climate.”

    Ok, but of course we want to include these in the power spectrum because they are present in the proxies – the MBH98 algorithm being tested must not find a hockey stick in the presence of these confounding factors. These are included in the MM2005 simulations. But of course MM2005 include more than this – its not just “noise” as you describe it.

    You then state:

    “The long-term non-stationary part is of interest – that is the part that is related to some external driver (CO2, solar, volcanoes, orbital forcing etc.). This imposes auto-correlations on the proxy signal because there that exists in the drivers.”

    I think you are unclear as to what is a stationary and non-stationary process. A volcano is a very short term process – a transient and is effectively a localized (in time) noise burst. Orbital forcing is a stationary but periodic process, not non-stationary as you say.

    [Response: I’m not going to argue about terminology, but trends caused by external drivers are not representable as stationary random noise. They none the less increase the auto-correlation in the sample. Call it what you want. Note that orbital forcing over the periods covered by these periods is made up of monotonic trends. – gavin]

    With your statement, referring to non-stationary climatic signals:

    “This imposes auto-correlations on the proxy signal because there that exists in the drivers”

    You are conflating non-stationarity and auto-correlation. They are quite different. A linear increasing function with time would be described as first order non-stationary but it would not have an autocorrelation structure. A power spectrum such as used by MM2005, after adding random phase, has an autocorrelation structure but is deliberately modelled as stationary. By your definition it therefore does not include the “climate signal” as you have stated this is non-stationary.

    [Response: If I calculate the sample auto-correlation in a ‘trend+noise’ it’s higher than if I calculate it just from ‘noise’. That’s all I am saying. ]

    MM2005 model a stationary stochastic process but the MBH98 algorithm somehow detects what you describe as a non-stationary forcing attributed to CO2. Let me say that again so we can be clear:

    From a stationary stochastic process the MBH98 algorithm detects a non-stationary signal that is then attributed to CO2 forcing (the “hockey stick”). I think that clearly states the problem with the algorithm of MBH98: just how does it do that and still get described as robust?

    [Response: Attribution is a completely different issue, and is for another day. Why the climate signal is the way it is requires a whole other set of machinery and is not related to picking out the climate signal itself. – gavin]

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 24 Jul 2010 @ 3:05 PM

  187. #168 Judith Curry

    Judith 82, gavin 216. Go gavin!

    Comment by simon abingdon — 24 Jul 2010 @ 3:19 PM

  188. Tom Scharf:

    “Training (or tuning) climate models against highly questionable proxy reconstructions…”

    People who don’t understand how GCMs work should

    1. Avoid embarrassing themselves in public

    2. Ponder the notion whether or not being so confidently wrong on such an important point will lead people to wonder if you’re equally wrong with your other assertions.

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Jul 2010 @ 3:24 PM

  189. This thread is one of the best I have read at RealClimate for some time. Snipping off-topic remarks greatly increases the signal-to-noise. Let’s have more of that.

    Also, huge kudos to Gavin and Tamino for continually going in and correcting the same old arguments.

    The most interesting post for me has been Judith Curry’s #168 where she finally makes some specific and testable remarks (although prefaced with “I am very busy at the moment” and “this is off the top of my head”, which gives plausible deniability).

    Let’s home in on Judith’s paragraph 7 where she says The Mann et al. 2008, which purports to address all the issues raised by MM and produce a range of different reconstructions using different methodologies, still do not include a single reconstruction that is free of questioned tree rings and centered PCA..

    Gavin replies Absolutely untrue in all respects.

    Can we have a clear comment from Judith on this point? Does she acknowledge that her paragraph 7 is wrong? Or can she show that Gavin’s response is incorrect?

    Comment by Michael Ashley — 24 Jul 2010 @ 3:34 PM

  190. I encourage people to read Judith Curry’s comment #185 two or three times.

    My jaw drops closer to the floor on each re-reading.

    Let’s see … since Dr. Curry was only regurgitating Montford’s arguments without stating that she agrees with them (bad news for Judith – the intranets are all hooked up like altogether like and you *have* supported his points elsewhere), Gavin’s responses are invalid because he addressed them to Judith rather than Montford.

    Therefore Montford’s argument is strengthened. This is an ad hom argument – Judith attacks Gavin’s style, not substance, and without addressing a single factual point made by Gavin, claims victory for Montford as a result.

    Meanwhile, though she insists she’s not stating whether or not she agrees with Montford’s points, she tells people “read the book”. Why, Judy, unless you think Montford’s claims are true?

    Meanwhile my response to Judy … read your point #7. Then read Mann ’08. Then re-read your point #7 and, if it’s still not clear to you why Montford’s lying, repeat until it sinks in.

    Thank you.

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Jul 2010 @ 3:35 PM

  191. simon abingdon (186) — As much as 82?

    Biased umpire, methinks.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 24 Jul 2010 @ 3:40 PM

  192. > summary of Montford’s book … not … my personal opinions

    Shorter: There must be a pony in there somewhere! You do the shoveling.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Jul 2010 @ 3:45 PM

  193. Gavin

    Irrespective ofthe issues raised, I think that yours was the rudest response to an alternative opinion that I have come across. Could I sugegst a cold shower? To refer to someone as “bitching” is a very poor choice of words, you should know that. It is difficult to get to the substance of your response given your emoption. Do you not like contrary views?

    Very disappointed. You have done better but this was a low point.

    PW

    [Response: Contrary views are fine, but really Peter, this is not a new issue, nor is interesting in scientific sense. Untruths, insinuations, accusations, and conspiracy mongering are not part of what scientific discussions should be about. Judith can spend time on that if she likes, but forgive me if I think it is huge waste of time. The comment about ‘bitching’ was not directed at Judith and I sincerely apologise if that was the impression given. I have amended the post accordingly. – gavin]

    Comment by Peter Webster — 24 Jul 2010 @ 3:46 PM

  194. Secular Animist’s post #39 is an important one, and points out something that many of us have talked about for months now:

    Criminals hacked private emails, and managed to deflect any blame or curiosity away from themselves through members of the media eager to find a scientific “scandal”. The breakins- including the aborted one at the University of Victoria- have been weakly investigated, and little pressure has been applied by the press to encourage prosecutors to determine the responsible parties.

    Scientists’ response has been to commission reports to clear CRU of scientific wrongdoing, without realizing that these reports are ignored by the public, most of whom are still fixated on the “scandal” through corporate enabled organs of the press.

    This entire affair should have produced much more fighting spirit from scientists than mere data vindication, which most of us here knew would happen anyway. Intimidation of scientists, and twisting of their results, is an extremely dangerous indication of totalitarian tendencies. Scientist victims of slander and misdirection should have responded far more aggressively in public fora, and demanded media and police accountability. Baseless assaults on scientists is one of many trends that indicate our precious democracy may be slipping away. If scientists don’t step up to defend their freedom of expression, they will wake up one day to find it disappearing.

    And of course Andy’s bringing up the notion of complete public access to all scientists’ emails is ludicrous, and implies once again that it is the scientists who are to blame. As Hank and many others here have pointed out, this is an indefensible position to take.

    Comment by mike roddy — 24 Jul 2010 @ 3:48 PM

  195. I am gobsmacked by the audacity of Judith Curry’s #185.

    First, in #74 she claims that Tamino’s review has “numerous factual errors and misrepresentations, failure to address many of the main points of the book”. And then when her attempt to back up this statement in #168 is torn to shreds by Gavin she resorts to claiming that these weren’t “particularly” her “personal opinions”, but were just a framing of Montford’s points.

    What a wimpy, pathetic backdown. Sorry to be so blunt, Judith, but when you make a claim that Tamino’s review has “numerous factual errors and misrepresentations” it behooves you to actually list the errors and defend your point of view. Don’t just make vague allegations and run away when challenged.

    Unless you return and clarify your accusations, your credibility in the debate has now reached zero.

    Comment by Michael Ashley — 24 Jul 2010 @ 3:53 PM

  196. Judith Curry has stopped pretending to be neutral, I see. All to the good! Concern trolls are always a pain.

    “your attempt to rebut my points are full of logical fallacies and arguing at points i didn’t make. As a result, Montford’s theses look even more convincing.”

    Logical fail! And she’s not even attempting to explain how Tamino or Gavin are wrong in any way whatsoever. [edit – please stay polite]

    Comment by Didactylos — 24 Jul 2010 @ 4:00 PM

  197. Peter Webster:

    Do you not like contrary views?

    This reader understands that false statements are not “contrary views”. They’re simply … false.

    And serious claims of malfeasance such are made by Montford should not be regurgitated by anyone who wants to be treated as a credible source unless they’ve taken the time to confirm whether or not Montford is telling the truth.

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Jul 2010 @ 4:04 PM

  198. And of course Andy’s bringing up the notion of complete public access to all scientists’ emails is ludicrous, and implies once again that it is the scientists who are to blame.

    And note, as predicted, it was a drive-by. There’s no evidence whatsoever that he’s read any of the responses pointing out that he’s wrong on the law, and I am certain that he’ll repeat this falsehood in the future.

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Jul 2010 @ 4:05 PM

  199. re: #168, item 6 (proxy independence)

    I would guess that this comment goes back to:
    a) McIntyre directly talkign to Montford OR
    b) The Wegman Report, specifically Figure 5.8 on p.46 (p.45 of the PDF), which may possibly have come from McIntyre.

    That graph has many oddities, especially within the surrounding context, including oddity of being part of section devoted ostensibly to social network analysis, not the same topic.

    1) First, the Wegman Panel (WP) knowledge of proxies was such that it mostly cut-and-paste Bradley(1999), and made mistakes doing so. See #94 in this thread.

    2) pp.67-92 of the WR have summaries of 16 “important” papers plus Mann’s dissertations. Of the total words in those 16 papers, ~51% are cut-and-paste, in order, part of the total ~79% that bear “striking similarity” to the text of the articles they are summarizing, but also introducing many errors, meaning changes and biases. [The backup documentation for all this will appear fairly soon, with word-by-word highlighting of that entire section, which tends to make the changes in/near big blocks of cut-and-paste leap off the page.]

    3) Nevertheless, Figure 5.8 shows an exhaustive knowledge of proxies, because to get that chart, one needs to have identified every proxy, and sorted out the different names used in different papers. Some of these are not instantly obvious. For example, the WR references a Jasper proxy, whereas one of the DWJ06 proxies has one called Icefields. I happened to recognize that, since I’ve driven the Icefields Parkway on the way to Jasper … Anyway, it takes a *lot* of work to go through these papers and sort them out.

    4) In the 12 headings of Figure 5.8:
    5 are either summarized or seriously commented on.
    1 (DWJ06) only appears on pp.46-47, with minimal comment.
    5 are referenced only in passing on p.28 (klsit copied from Mann, et al (2005)
    1 (Briffa00) seems mis-referenced.

    5) ClimateAudit of course has at least 24 posts on these proxies through early July 2006. Hence, this does raise the question: did the WP:

    a) Do all this work themselves by reading the original papers?
    b) Read Mcintyre’s posts, but not cite any of them?
    c) Simply get the chart from McIntyre, again without citation?
    I cannot know, of course, but some people do know…

    6) But in any case, it does not matter, because the chart misleading.
    a) (Minor), the use of heavy black boxes is slightly unusual. Most people would just do a spreadsheet with X’s. Iti s slightly less work, but the black boxes are stronger visually.

    b) (Major) The caption of Figure 5.8 includes:
    “Indeed, the matrix outlined in Figure 5.8 illustrates the proxies that are used more than one time in twelve major temperature reconstruction papers. The black boxes indicate that the proxy was used in a given paper. It is clear that many of the proxies are re-used in most of the papers. It is not surprising that the papers would obtain similar results ”

    “It is clear that many of the proxies are re-used in most of the papers” seems misleading. It is certainly not clear. At best, it seems strange, imprecise language for statisticians. Of 12 papers, “most” means at least 7, but only 9 of 43 proxies are used 7 or more times. Is 9/43 “many”? Most of the 43 proxies (22) are used in 2-3 studies.

    BUT WORSE: note the careful wording “proxies used more than once”.
    Of course, display of proxies used only once would weaken the argument, would it not? So, how many of those are there? They do not say. This is odd, because the algorithm for finding proxies used more than once:
    a) Make a list of all proxies (after sorting out names).
    b) Fill in the matrix of proxy vs study.
    c) Only after the last study is done do you know for sure.
    d) That gives you the list in Figure 5.8, with 43 proxies.
    e) It leaves you X proxies used only once.

    It was easy enough to check each paper for total proxy count, and subtract from that the number found in Figure 5.8, giving the number of single-use proxies. Guess what, they totaled 44 proxies. WR FIGURE 5.8 OMITTED MORE THAN HALF OF THE RELEVANT DATA. SPECIFICALLY THE HALF THAT WOULD HAVE ARGUED THE STRONGEST AGAINST THE CLAIM.

    7) And of course, even that doesn’t matter much (as per Gavin’s comments). Good datasets are good datasets, and the world is full of overlapping studies that re-use them. “Independence” is hardly a binary term, and I cannot imagine anyone serious arguing that

    “No science study is valid unless it uses completely distinct data from any previous study.”

    Of course, if someone with serious field-knowledge wants to make the case, in credible peer-reviewed journals, that the frequently-used proxies are all wrong for some reason, and have that stand up, then that’s fine. But that doesn’t apply here.

    Comment by John Mashey — 24 Jul 2010 @ 4:09 PM

  200. Is there any way of knowing that Judith Curry actually authored the comment of 24 July 2010 at 7:43 AM? The author’s point #7 is so recklessly incorrect that I have a hard time believing somebody with a such a generally good reputation would commit a careless error of that type in public.

    [edit – it is she. Further speculation is OT]

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 24 Jul 2010 @ 4:12 PM

  201. Thanks Gavin,

    But I think that we are approaching new depths of interaction. This saddens me. I have always thought that realclimate was a bit of a “shining city on the hill’. That may be a bit Reaganesque but you may get the idea. Whether you believe it or not, many contrary points require detailed and dull reponses. This may be tedious but it is better than two camps throwing rocks at each other. I worry that we may not have the luxuries we have had in the past come November. So I think that we have to make sure that those enquiring comments may not be coming from enemies but from those who have serious questions and who may not be too far from majority opinion.

    For what that is worth.

    Peter

    [Response: If I never write another word about MBH I will be a happy camper. There have been patient and dull responses to all of these things in the literature that Judith hasn’t read. And there will be more in responses to lawsuits, petitions, inquiries and the like. But people who have loudly insisted that we address ‘issues’ come across as a little confused if they complain when we do. Either you want our opinion, or you don’t. Now you have it. For what it’s worth. – gavin]

    Comment by Peter Webster — 24 Jul 2010 @ 4:13 PM

  202. Gavin: ” If I had a choice I wouldn’t expend a single further electron on this subject,”

    I fully understand how frustrating this must be Gavin and thank you for sticking with it, because exposing the threadbare contentions of the various socks at play in this thread, and the pseudo-respectably that has been bestowed on them by real scientist/mascot Dr. Curry, (who has so far been shown herself to be equally bereft of any relevant point) is going a long way towards exposing the “white collar” acceptance of what is called ‘climategate’. The points you and Tamino are making as open and direct inline responses are exactly what needs to be made crystal clear to the Revkins and the Monbiots of this world.

    I suspect that more than a few of Montford’s and McIntyre’s readership and cheersquads have never been given such clarity and insight (at least those whose heads it hasn’t all zoomed over) into what they thought they’d signed up to before.

    Comment by chek — 24 Jul 2010 @ 4:34 PM

  203. “‘Have you noticed that a new kind of scientific expert has been born? It is the non-climate scientist “climate scientist’….”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-chameides/non-climate-scientist-cli_b_173422.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Jul 2010 @ 4:45 PM

  204. Is the Judith Curry that has been posting on this topic actually the Judith Curry that is chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology?

    It’s really hard to believe that someone in that position thinks that regurgitating conclusions from a book constitutes a “review”. The way I think about it, the term “review” implies that some critical intelligence has been applied to evaluate the significance and import of the book; which she states that she has NOT done. A “review” is not the same as a “summary”.

    This entire sequence of postings reminds me of the zombie movie, “Night of the Living Dead”: Scientists are falling asleep and waking up as apologists for denialist blogs.

    For shame, Judith! For shame!

    Comment by Neal J. King — 24 Jul 2010 @ 4:46 PM

  205. To Peter Webster,

    To repeat, Judith Curry first states that Tamino’s review contains (IN HER OWN WORDS) “numerous factual errors and misrepresentations, failure to address many of the main points of the book”.

    Now some, not Eli, he hastens to add, would think that an eminent scientist, expert in closely related matters, making such an accusation would have an excellent grasp of the background material.

    And indeed, when challenged Prof. Curry provides a list of many points, which most, not Eli, he hastens to add, would think were her views of what these factual errors are. Indeed, she characterized her actions by “so I am taking a few moments to clarify the weaknesses in Tamino’s review”

    Yet, when challenged, Prof. Curry demurrs that none of these reflect her personal opinion but were rather points that Montford made in his book, on which, of course, she has no opinion, but since gavin and tamino chose to rag on the rich dish she put on their plate, why, of course, Montford must be right.

    And, you, of course, chime in saying that Gavin was mean.

    Sorry Peter, but that is a bit much. There comes a point at which the dissembling is no longer amusing, and Prof. Curry is rapidly approaching that point. Were Eli Gavin, which he is not, both hasten to add, he would not have withdrawn a word.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 24 Jul 2010 @ 5:02 PM

  206. At this point the comments begin to remind me of the Japanese chef who comes to slice and dice at your table. What’s the style called again?

    Comment by David B. Benson — 24 Jul 2010 @ 5:02 PM

  207. [edit – it is she. Further speculation is OT]

    Sorry, and sorry to hear it. :-(

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 24 Jul 2010 @ 5:07 PM

  208. Heavens. As a Ga Tech grad from EAS (years before Judith Curry was there), I am embarrassed. This thread is simply distressing. I know Judy is an intelligent scientist – so this repetition of misinformation is simply baffling. I suspect she needs time to cool off and then will hopefully take time to (re)read the papers and reports. Perhaps she can post a retraction in the near future and try to repair some of the damage? Facts are facts are facts, and a careful, quiet analysis beats rhetoric every time.

    Comment by Jen — 24 Jul 2010 @ 5:13 PM

  209. Gavin, For what it’s worth, it was quite clear to me that your use of “bitching” was not in reference to Judith Curry.

    Comment by Rick Brown — 24 Jul 2010 @ 5:14 PM

  210. There are many discussions on “tipping points” in climate science. I think we have just witnessed one. JC has been tipped into a moral and intellectual black hole.

    Comment by Ian Forrester — 24 Jul 2010 @ 5:30 PM

  211. This is a stunning peice. I thank the climate scientists here for replying to so many posts and giving such in depth answers. Its time the so called skeptics (although not scientifically skepical as all scientists are in order to be scientists) were taken down once and for all. They dont print through the scientific process, they just go to meetings, are given column inches and blog which is all bogus nonsense.

    Shame really about the credence given to some of the stuff listed here in black. The gree literature is thorough, referenced and very well put. No one can berate RC for not answering all comers who post with some knowledge, merit and intelligence themselves however misguided.

    Comment by pete best — 24 Jul 2010 @ 5:38 PM

  212. Judith Curry seems to have picked her side in the debate: http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/06/21/the-climate-experts/#comment-8457

    see comment 28 by James G JamesG Says:
    June 22nd, 2010 at 5:13 am

    Well if you believe that the establishment is always correct then you may be happy to see this, which will be further confirmation of your herdlike tendency. If your experience though is of the harsh history that science largely progresses by maverick truth-seekers challenging the establishment (and on the way suffering many insults from them) then you are less impressed. Or is malaria really from bad air, are cauliflower ears really a sign of insanity, is the atom like a plum pudding and is the universe a steady state after all, etc, etc.

    Now when they compare the predictions of this compliant herd with actual reality and note that not once (so far) have any of them been proven correct with any theories that warming is other than benign or beneficial, then that’s real science, ie the comparison of hypothesis with real data. This effort is more like a show of hands of people being asked the question, “do you want to be among the winners or losers? choose wisely..because the winners get funded and the losers vilified”. I don’t think it’s a new low…it’s the same scenario that’s been played out many times throughout the inglorious history of various scientific establishments. We like to look back and laugh and say “how could they be so closed-minded, thank heaven we’ve moved on”. Except that we didn’t.

    I had seriously hoped that the idea that a consensus represented anything other than unimaginative groupthink had crashed and burned with the absolute failure of the academic economics establishment to predict this financial crash. Alas….

    And look how Curry reacts:
    Judith Curry Says:
    June 22nd, 2010 at 7:24 am

    JamesG #28 very well said!

    Comment by turboblocke — 24 Jul 2010 @ 5:49 PM

  213. I’m thinking of taking a page from “ThinkingScientist” and “Laws of Nature” and switching my handle to “Underlying Basis of Reality.” Consequently, all will be forced to give me the final word. :)

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 24 Jul 2010 @ 5:56 PM

  214. This turns out to be the most… interesting thread I have read on RC to date. Wherein Judith Curry is caught out on regurgitating denialist trope without bothering to even cursorily verify the veracity of the claims, and turns out to be nothing but a tone troll. For the record, I already formed this opinion several months back from her last drive-by here.

    I don’t expect this comment to make it through moderation. But it had to be said.

    If for some reason this comment doesn’t die an electronic death, I’d like to bolster the argument that the MBH98 proxy reconstruction isn’t the only one out there by reminding people of this article:

    Hey Ya! (mal)

    Funny how, except from the borehole one which finds an increase of +1 deg C in the last 500 yrs, all the other proxies mysteriously arrive at an anomaly of around +0.7 deg C. Must be a conspiracy, huh?

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 24 Jul 2010 @ 5:58 PM

  215. Judith Curry:

    First, Montford’s book clarifies three weaknesses in the paleoreconstructions, from MBH 98/99 through Mann et al 08. These include problems with tree rings, the centered PCA analysis, and the R2 issue…The centered PCA and R2 issues are much more straightforward…The centered PCA is bad statistics,”

    Is that really what Montford’s book claims, that “The centered PCA is bad statistics”?

    ..cuz Horatio thought that one of Steve McIntyre’s pet peeves was pretty much the opposite: that MBH98 had not used (standard) “centered PCA” but had instead used what McIntyre referred to as “non-centered PCA”.

    But now we learn from Montford (or from Curry’s interpretation of Montford?) that “centered PCA is bad statistics”?? (too??)

    Somebody better inform Ian Jolliffe and all the others who have made (standard) “centered PCA” their bread and butter, cuz they have undoubtedly wasted a lot of time (some their entire career!)

    Comment by Horatio Algeranon — 24 Jul 2010 @ 6:23 PM

  216. I keep trying, really I do, to understand the apparent position of people like Curry. If she does come back on perhaps she could explain this. The constant reiteration of “the hockey stick is broken” or variations on that theme (as in Curry’s point 9 comment #168)- what, exactly, do you think that means? Does it mean that the temperature rise (and concomitant effects) of the last few decades are not astonishingly fast in the context of the last thousand years or so? Or does it mean that the rate and extent of change in the MWP (and its geographic distribution and timing) so exactly matches the recent change as to completely negate its significance? Either way, are you seriously suggesting that the rapid rise in CO2 levels in the last few decades are just pure coincidence? Or are you merely knit picking? Are you just saying that the handle of the hockey stick just has a bit of a kink in it and therefore shouldn’t be called a “hockey stick” but a “kinked hockey stick” and therefore the “hockey stick is broken”? I mean, that sounds silly to me, and I don’t think any serious scientist would play those sort of word games in the face of the growing environmental catastrophe that clearly awaits us if we continue to do nothing to rein in CO2 output. Would they?

    Comment by David Horton — 24 Jul 2010 @ 6:30 PM

  217. @Tamino

    Praise and thanks for a most helpful, robust post.

    As I was reading through it, I thought I could feel little ripples of anger waves radiating from it. You clearly described errors as errors, and you correctly identified unhelpful agendas and motivations, but you were not once nasty or mean. What a decent person you are, even when riled.

    That’s definitely what we need here – more righteous anger.

    I was talking with a Member of the UK’s Royal Statistical Society the other day, and our conversation foundered because he’d read and heard about the mythological “statistical problems” with the Hockey Stick analysis.

    He hadn’t checked the story out, but he’d heard and believed the malicious sceptical viewpoint before even looking at the data. A lie travels all the way around the globe before the truth can put its trousers on, or some such quotation.

    Where did he come across this erroneous narrative ? The print and online Media, of course. How shameful ! How typical ! How irritating ! The journalists are participating in mass “divide and rule”, causing ruction and watercooler wars everywhere, even amongst people who have proper educations.

    Comment by jo abbess — 24 Jul 2010 @ 6:35 PM

  218. Why are we still talking about this same paper? This is absurd.

    If we must discuss that paper, let’s put it in context of what’s happened since then. While all the other reconstructions are hockey-stick-like as well, they tend to have more variability along the stick. Including Mann’s own subsequent work. Particularly also Moberg, which emphasizes low-resolution proxies.

    Can somebody comment on the primary reasons for this difference in variability? Is it in the mathematical processing, or is it a result of using different kinds of proxies?

    Comment by carrot eater — 24 Jul 2010 @ 6:58 PM

  219. @gavin

    I have been reading some of your replies to Judith Curry and I have to say I’m pleased at how polite, calm and informational you are being, in the face of what appears to be extreme provocation.

    Despite vindication after vindication, and corroboration after corroboration of Michael Mann et al.s’ work, she appears to be unable to read a simple graph and accept the natural conclusions.

    I keep asking myself, is she actually a real person ? And if she is for real, is she for real ? I mean, does she really believe what she is saying ?

    If I had the chance to chat with Judith, I’d probably say something like “You’ve got to get some headspace for the blindingly obvious correlations and probabilities, follow the big ticket trends, and stop getting bogged down with spuriosities !”

    Comment by jo abbess — 24 Jul 2010 @ 7:00 PM

  220. OT, but related to #69 (and now the Lake Delhi Dam has failed) and similar heavy rainfall events…
    Is there enough historical weather information to establish whether we are experiencing an increase in these deluge/downpours? Could be an interesting paper…or maybe it has already been written.

    Comment by AIC — 24 Jul 2010 @ 7:11 PM

  221. Those who are expressing shock and dismay that Judith Curry is uncritically repeating long-debunked talking points and disinformation haven’t been following her comments elsewhere in the blogosphere, e.g. Collide-A-Scape. It’s become an unfortunate and oft-repeated pattern:

    She regurgitates a claim made elsewhere by sources of dubious credibility without giving them even a cursory fact-check. She is subsequently shown refuting evidence and called out on it. She either ignores the criticism or claims that those rebutting the claims aren’t addressing the “real” issues, whichever they happen to be after the ones she raised initially are shot down. Rinse and repeat. She’s done this with claims by McIntyre, Pat Michaels, Montford to name a few.

    And lest anyone believes that she’s been unnecessarily and unfairly persecuted merely for disagreeing with RC, the IPCC, etc., it seems to me that the majority of criticism being directed her way is intended to help her gain some modicum of awareness of her own patterns of behavior. Her actions are about as diametrically opposed to skepticism as I can imagine, and it’s more than a little sad to witness.

    Comment by thingsbreak — 24 Jul 2010 @ 7:17 PM

  222. Gavin/Eli/Tamino: thanks so much. Long, carefully thought out, and articulate discussions such as those found on Real Climate, Rabbett Run and Open Mind have allowed me to remain confident in the scientific basis of concerns over global warming and ocean acidification (well sometimes Eli mystifies me). I know this takes a lot of your time. My “away from work” time is essential and so you’re work is all the more impressive. Finally, I must say that seeing someone else using my dad’s favorite saying “Sxxx or get off the pot” really makes my day. In regards to Dr. Curry; I guess it was just gas after all.

    Comment by Andy — 24 Jul 2010 @ 7:26 PM

  223. I keep telling people, don’t think of it as a hockey stick.
    It looks much more like a scythe — with curves.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Jul 2010 @ 7:32 PM

  224. Have I missed something?

    In physics, the choice of basis set is usually of little importance.It is just a matter of efficiency and saving machine time. If you know that your electrons are fairly free for example, it is sensible but not essential to start with a basis which includes that property as built in (e.g. augmented plane waves).

    [I am not 100% sure of what follows]

    The following is partly influenced by Tamino’s earlier article (hockey stick part 5) in Open Mind. But I no longer have the article so have to rely on memory and am taking it a bit further. So he might disagree.

    Isn’t it too weak to assert that non centred PCA gives almost the same results as centred? Isn’t it valid to have called it the natural choice? Wasn’t this demonstrated by the fact that that it converged faster than centred PCAs

    This could follow if the authors had good reason to predict that their data contained a hockey stick. Now the authors could have been wrong in their initial assumption, but if they had been, wouldn’t that have shown up as poor convergence, which was the opposite of what happened, excessively large error bars, or a substantially different output in the end? Since none of these things appear to have happened, the case for using non centered PCA’s was given a slight boost.

    One of the oft repeated criticisms * is that too little advice was taken from professional statisticians. Perhaps it should have been the other way around? This may turn out to be an interesting case study to be included in future statistics books? Instead, even after all this time, I still hear unsubstantiated allegations, undue reverence to statistical texts being cast in tablets of stone and slightly dodgy authority in an attempt to find something sinister.

    It is true that the proxy problem is not quite analagous to the condensed matter physics problem because it involves some quite tricky problems of removing noise and irrelevant variability. Perhaps there is an opportunity for some more research , not necessarily in the climate area?

    Sorry if all this has been said before.
    ——————-
    * The Oxburgh report echoed this advice, but it may have been because one of the authors had read Wegmann.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 24 Jul 2010 @ 7:37 PM

  225. Jo Abbess asks:

    I keep asking myself, is she actually a real person ? And if she is for real, is she for real ? I mean, does she really believe what she is saying ?

    Yes, Judith Curry is very real.

    That’s why people are so upset with her and insist on holding her to a higher standard than your typical science-illiterate denialist such as Montford, whose book she apparently believes to be a more reliable source of information on climate science than the work and statements of her peers…

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Jul 2010 @ 7:39 PM

  226. ” I know Judy is an intelligent scientist – so this repetition of misinformation is simply baffling. I suspect she needs time to cool off and then will hopefully take time to (re)read the papers and reports.” – 208

    There is a near universal lack of understanding and appreciation here for the nature of the “debate”.

    This is not a debate between rational scientists and some well meaning group of honest skeptics who use honest logic and honest reason to formulat honest arguments against the science.

    The motivation of the skeptics is entirely emotional. They are beyond reason, beyond rational thought, and have little concept of the scope and breadth of what is known or what is even possible.

    Their motivation is not truth, but to avoid change, using whatever means necessary.

    Change would mean that their world view is not viable, and since change therfore means the loss of what they feel is the real world, along with all that work they put into creating it, they will do or say almost anything to avoid that loss.

    Scientists who are generally rational men and women are generally incapable of comprehending this behaviour. The view is that once the situation is explained adequately, that reasonable people will be forced to draw the same reasonable conclusions as concluded by the consensus of the scientific community.

    The flaw in that logic of course is that the assumption that the current population (particularly the American population), is capable of drawing reasonable conclusions and capable of honestly applying unbiased logic, is demonstrably false.

    SCIENCE CAN NOT WIN THIS BATTLE in the short or even median term. It will only win once those who harbour this anti-science political ideology have died, and a new generation adopts an ideology that is more in tune with reality.

    I must point out as well that the ideology that is pathalogically ignoring and misrepresnting climatological reality is also working overtime to ignore and misrepresent economic reality. At least in America where dispite the fact that 2 out of every 4 dollars the U.S. Federal government spends is borrowed, Conservatives continue to demand that they are over taxed and that tax cuts – what has produced America’s $14 trillion dollare debt – are the solution to the budget crisis.

    As with the Climate, these American Conservatives can not be reasoned with. They believe that they can reduce federal spending by 50% without any impact on unemployment, or cuts to the U.S. military or significant cuts to the social insurance program. Three programs that far exceed the remainder after their budget cut delusion.

    On this issue, these denialists are even incapable of performing simple addition and subtraction.

    This behaviour is completely irrational of course, and it runs completely against the self interest of those who profess the denialist ideology – a fact that also runs counter to the tenants of their own ideology.

    And just as the climate issue is lost to the short and median term, so too is the American state lost. But permanently in this instance.

    The fate of the United States is oblivion. The fate of Climate Science in America is nill. Get out while there is still time, and try to internationalize as much of Climate Science as possible.

    We are entering into a new dark era.

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 24 Jul 2010 @ 7:44 PM

  227. 185 Judith Curry, amazing I read all this criticism stemming from Montford’s book, unluckily you support these ideas, without one iota of explaining the main conclusion which is rather hard to neglect: 2010 is likely the warmest year in history despite a weaker El-Nino than 1998, and despite solar activity being extremely low.
    Wouldn’t a proper scientific observation start from that point, as a matter to criticize Mike’s work, rather than nit picking details which seem at first glance totally irrelevant to the main issue, the recent warming curve with reconstructions corresponds exactly to what is happening. Would you consider this as a fluke of bad statistics ? Or rather successful science given and achieving good results. I find this disconnect rather glaring, I don’t think you are reasoning this subject with a sound premise to start with. Finding errors is nice, but errors if any does not change the main observation its warmer everywhere on earth, following the path of a reconstructed temperature curve quite well. What ever else you may find pales in comparison, at least acknowledge success, and abound in correcting science when it especially fails.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 24 Jul 2010 @ 7:52 PM

  228. 145 BPL: “The Earth is warming. We’re doing it. And it’s the most serious problem civilization faces outside of nuclear war.”
    We never had enough bombs to make ourselves extinct. We would have needed 10,000 times as many bombs as we ever had to equal an Extinction Level Event [ELE].
    ELE=100 Million Megatons= the impact energy of the bolide that killed the dinosaurs.
    BUT: GW can easily add up to an ELE. The sun can easily provide that much energy and much more if we keep making CO2. GW is worse than nuclear war, even if the nuclear war had happened when we and the Soviets had 30,000 bombs each.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 24 Jul 2010 @ 7:58 PM

  229. @dhogaza

    Ah yes. I see. Judith Curry is very real. Thanks for the link. It is ironic and almost surreal that she holds the employment role that she does and yet simultaneously holds the ideological position that she does.

    May I ask you, and perhaps the other commentators here too : which one piece of research would you beg Judith Curry to read if she could spare the time ? Which piece of data and analysis would shake her from her current energy well and into a new shell of comprehension/vision/getting-it-ness ?

    If she is contributing here, even only a drive-by basis, she must be close to the cusp of change. How can she be metaphysically nudged ?

    Why is she standing up for the rights of McIntyre et al. to hold forth from their various platforms of denigration ? Free speech is all very well, but a lie’s a lie and should not be propagated, especially if it’s couched in emotive, sensationalist, paranoid language.

    Can it be a problem to do with “hate speech at one remove” ? Let me explain. I have exchanged e-mails with a certain Ross McKitrick, whom I’m sure you all know (of) and he is an absolute gentleman in correspondence, most courteous and thoughtful, even though the paper he kindly sent me was full of holes.

    Apparently Steve McIntyre is fairly civil as well, as the British journalists have sucked up everything he’s oh-so-politely spewed recently.

    And we all know that Patrick Michaels is practically an archetypal North American god-spirit of fatherliness, restraint, wisdom and generosity (even though he can be a tad paranoid at times).

    Nigel Lawson is treated as everyone’s favourite wrinkled doting uncle in Britain – genial, congenial and a bit doddery, so give him some respect, shall we ?

    So what is it with these gentlemen denier-sceptic-contrarians ? Pleasant in company, but the content of their accusations, suspicions, doubt-formation, propaganda and dubious “facts” is littered with vile bile.

    It’s like assassination by robot. They didn’t do it. They weren’t there. But the victim was executed all the same.

    What we are dealing with here is over 25 years of active discouragement from the investigation and understanding of Climate Change. Who are the parties that don’t want the general public, the science “laity” to know what is really happening ? Their propaganda techniques are obvious, if you have the shallowest of knowledge about the manipulation of public perception.

    Comment by jo abbess — 24 Jul 2010 @ 8:10 PM

  230. Gavin: Is 2% more evaporation from the ocean sufficient to make all the floods we have had in the past 3 years? Somewhere else I saw 4%.

    Disinform for free: I would think they would get tired of it unless they are getting some kind of reward. What? Their operation looks like it must cost something.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 24 Jul 2010 @ 8:26 PM

  231. Gavin-

    Thanks for once again taking on the unpleasant task of refuting weak and nonsensical arguments in detail. You are really good at it, and I particularly appreciate your candor and impatience with fools. We need a lot more like you.

    Comment by mike roddy — 24 Jul 2010 @ 8:27 PM

  232. 226 Vendicar Decarian: The psychology of GW denialism is an interesting topic that we do need to understand. The question is: What is the key to unlocking it? I understand that you have given up, but I saw an advertisement for our side on CNN today.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 24 Jul 2010 @ 8:41 PM

  233. Re: #185 Judith Curry wrote:

    your attempt to rebut my points are full of logical fallacies and arguing at points i didn’t make. As a result, Montford’s theses look even more convincing

    To whom? Gavins responses were excellent and very convincing to a reasonably intelligent 3rd party observer.

    Comment by Ken W — 24 Jul 2010 @ 9:37 PM

  234. > floods
    Hmmmm …. that might be a question for Tamino, did he already address it somewhere?

    I found, well, not much. This seemed close:
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v415/n6871/abs/415514a.html

    But it’s just a “Letter” and it’s from 2002:

    “… detection of anthropogenically forced changes in flooding is difficult because of the substantial natural variability3; the dependence of streamflow trends on flow regime4, 5 further complicates the issue. Here we investigate the changes in risk of great floods—that is, floods with discharges exceeding 100-year levels from basins larger than 200,000 km2—using both streamflow measurements and numerical simulations of the anthropogenic climate change associated with greenhouse gases and direct radiative effects of sulphate aerosols6. We find that the frequency of great floods increased substantially during the twentieth century. The recent emergence of a statistically significant positive trend in risk of great floods is consistent with results from the climate model, and the model suggests that the trend will continue….”

    You might look at the rather large number of citing papers and see what’s been made of the idea in the past 8 years:
    http://www.nature.com/cited/cited.html?doi=10.1038/415514a

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Jul 2010 @ 9:40 PM

  235. re: #232
    Psychology yes, but please let’s not start from scratch again.
    at least look at this and this, and if that piques your interest, those are included with more context in Section 2 of PDF @ this. There’s a taxonomy of 25+ observed reasons why people go off into climate anti-science. I make no claim it’s complete or perfect, but it’s a start.

    Comment by John Mashey — 24 Jul 2010 @ 10:15 PM

  236. May I ask you, and perhaps the other commentators here too : which one piece of research would you beg Judith Curry to read if she could spare the time ?

    Given her parroting of Montford’s obvious lies regarding Mann ’08, she could at least read Mann ’08 to see of Montford (who is an accountant with no science training) is telling the truth.

    That’s not so much to ask, right, of a department head in her position?

    Which piece of data and analysis would shake her from her current energy well and into a new shell of comprehension/vision/getting-it-ness ?

    Rumor on the street is that she’s libertarian, and if that’s true, “nothing” is the answer.

    But I don’t know if the rumor is true. Still, she shows no sign of being sensitive to truth (note that her internet posting history, as others here have pointed out, is somewhat lengthy over the past couple of years – apparently she’s posting here to slay the dragon [of truth, sadly, and it won’t work]

    The links to her posts at collide-o-scape are worth following (though you might find my comments close-minded and offensive, though after her show here, maybe not so much).

    If she is contributing here, even only a drive-by basis, she must be close to the cusp of change. How can she be metaphysically nudged ?

    Personal opinion? A better sense of ethics, such as I hold, imparted to me by my conservative fundamentalist Christian mother. (I lost the conservative, fundamentalist Christian bits as I became an adult, but my mother’s condemnation of dishonesty is a lesson I’ve never slacked on).

    Why is she standing up for the rights of McIntyre et al. to hold forth from their various platforms of denigration ?

    Personal politics, I imagine.

    Can it be a problem to do with “hate speech at one remove” ? Let me explain. I have exchanged e-mails with a certain Ross McKitrick, whom I’m sure you all know (of) and he is an absolute gentleman in correspondence, most courteous and thoughtful, even though the paper he kindly sent me was full of holes.

    Apparently Steve McIntyre is fairly civil as well, as the British journalists have sucked up everything he’s oh-so-politely spewed recently.

    If you’re a Yank like me, don’t fall for faux British/Canadian pseudo-politeness. There’s a reason for the fact that European political leaders have sneered at it for centuries, and why Ike and Patton found Montgomery insufferable and (to be blunt) rather stupid.

    It’s an act. The problem, from an American point of view, is that if you ignore the act, and respond honestly, you’ll be told that “your argument is wrong because you’re impolite, regardless of the factual truth or falseness of your words”.

    Oh, wait, Curry just pulled that crap on Gavin in post #185 (and Gavin’s not even a yank!)

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Jul 2010 @ 11:14 PM

  237. re#233. Couldn’t agree more. The analyses and responses have been top-notch stuff. From an observer’s standpoint, there’s no question who appears to be more logical, thorough, knowledgeable and polite.

    I’ll be happy to revise that judgement should Ms Curry contribute something equally thorough, erudite and logical.

    Comment by adelady — 24 Jul 2010 @ 11:27 PM

  238. Hello Gavin,
    RE #175
    [Response: It’s precisely because bristlecone pines respond to their environment that they are useful. Not sure what your point is. – gavin]
    Well, they should not react to environment, but temperature, these trees look so tortured, they would react to anything..!

    [Response: Actual temperature increase is a function of the total forcing, not just CO2 (which, coincidentally, is around 1.7 W/m2 but with error bars of +/-1 W/m2 or so), the climate sensitivity and the thermal inertia in the system. With the best estimates of all of these things, we should have seen somewhere between 0.6 and 1 deg C warming by now. – gavin]

    Well, let me rephrase my question then (and again apologies for being a bit offtopic .. I don’t try to hijack this thread, but honestly puzzled by this):
    Are you saying:
    1.7 W/m^2 x forcing_for_CO2 + other = 0.6 to 1 deg C
    and
    3.7 W/m^2 x forcing_for_CO2 = roughly 3 deg C ?
    This would imply that the “other” could sum up to about -1 deg C?
    Do I see this correctly and what would that be?
    So far I always heard about positive natural forcings like “coming out of an ice age” and “sun spot numbers”.

    [Response: no, you are confusing a transient response with an equilibrium response (which is larger). This is OT on this thread though. No more please. -gavin]

    Comment by Laws of Nature — 24 Jul 2010 @ 11:40 PM

  239. 234 Hank Roberts: 109 articles on one list! Thanks! I had a hard time believing my ears on yesterday’s local TV news. A nearby area of Iowa got an incredible rainfall in one day. The city engineers have standard tables for 10, 25, 50, 100, 500, 1000 year floods. It seems that they need to move the flood size 2 steps to the left. The 1000 year flood becomes the 100 year flood or maybe the 50 year flood. GW also explains how all those old houses got built on what is now the flood plain. It is flood plain encroachment on formerly safe dry land. The psychological impact of a flood is so big that it may have something to do with the “Montford Delusion.” AS in: “That can’t happen. You said GW was in the future.”

    It isn’t all local fault for cutting down trees or paving parking lots. That is what we were told for the entire 20th century. RC: This could be a topic for a new article.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 24 Jul 2010 @ 11:46 PM

  240. Why would people without data and accurate numbers argue with Eli?

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 24 Jul 2010 @ 11:55 PM

  241. #185 Judith Curry wrote:

    “… your attempt to rebut my points are full of logical fallacies and arguing at points i didn’t make. As a result, Montford’s theses look even more convincing.”

    And #233 Ken W. replied: “To whom? Gavin’s responses were excellent and very convincing to a reasonably intelligent 3rd party observer.”

    I have to agree with Ken, Judith. Your “drive by” wasn’t very impressive. A more substantive response when you’re not rushing off somewhere might be more appropriate. However, I also think Gavin makes a really important point: MBH98 has received enough attention already.

    Comment by Charles — 25 Jul 2010 @ 1:19 AM

  242. Re: Judith Curry @ 168 & 185

    When a scientist makes false assertions such as yours: you discredit yourself; your university; and science itself. You should be deeply ashamed.

    Tamino,
    Thank-you for your careful dissection and debunking of the Montford Drivel.

    Gavin,
    Thank-you once again for your tireless rebuttals and explanations.

    Comment by ScaredAmoeba — 25 Jul 2010 @ 2:21 AM

  243. Another test you can apply to Montford’s book is the WPI test.

    You ask “who publishes it?”

    Is it
    Harvard UP?
    Yale UP?
    Oxford UP?
    Cambridge UP?

    Or any academic publisher?

    No, it is published by Stacey International (???!!!), that well-know International publisher of quality scientific works (sarcasm emoticon).

    Comment by calyptorhynchus — 25 Jul 2010 @ 2:58 AM

  244. “The psychology of GW denialism is an interesting topic that we do need to understand. The question is: What is the key to unlocking it?” – 232

    The problem of course, is that there is no cure for self imposed stupidity that results from ideologically based self deceit.

    The point is that you can not reason with the unreasonable. It is a waste of time and effort. This is not to say that you should not try to correct denialist perceptions in the public sphere. One must always fight the good fight, irrespective of the results. However… Putting out reasoned arguments and expecing the public to change it’s view by virtue of their ability to honestly reason is doomed to continued failure in the short and median term.

    Alternate strategies must be employed if there is to be reasonable mitigation of the negative effects of the projected change in climate.

    Scientists have been way too passive and way too accomodating to statements made by liars for hire, dishonest ideologues, and those denialist cheerleaders who tell the ditto-heads what to think and say.

    Any effective strategy must challenge and crush these people in the public arena. You take them one at a time, and you pummel them through all means possible, and through all forum’s possible, including the courts until each is defeated in turn.

    Lets see the APU review the collected works of Inhofe. Lets see Rush Limbaugh taken to court for slander. Grab the public’s attention though unprecedented actions like a national strike among the nations scientists.

    It isn’t rocket science.

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 25 Jul 2010 @ 3:06 AM

  245. Have I missed something here? Isn’t this whole debate a bit like someone finding an arithmetic error in Galeleo’s first paper and telling us all that we should still believe that the earth is still the center of the universe.

    Comment by Dale Park — 25 Jul 2010 @ 3:15 AM

  246. Oh dear, the swedish division of the denier zombie army have picked up on this thread and made Judith Curry their new beloved martyr and raves on about how she is schooling “the AGW lead sink” people of RealClimate. Good going dr Curry. There’s your fan base and they are prepared to do anything for you now. And it doesn’t matter what anyone else here is saying. What’s the point…

    Comment by Michael — 25 Jul 2010 @ 4:05 AM

  247. Tireless. Just the word I was looking for. (Ashamed is pretty good too.)

    As for Gavin, Tamino, et al. My admiration grows by leaps and bounds.

    Comment by adelady — 25 Jul 2010 @ 4:17 AM

  248. #226 Vendicar Decarian

    Yours is a really cheerful comment to read first thing in the morning: Summary;

    The pessimists guide to thermodymamics.

    1. If a constraint is removed within a system, the latter will reorganise in such a way as to maximise the misinformation.

    2. If two systems are allowed to interact, net misinformation will flow from the more ill informed to the other one.

    Ah… but 2 is incomplete. I forgot to add unless work is performed during the interaction .

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 25 Jul 2010 @ 5:27 AM

  249. Dale Park,
    You’ve almost got it. It’s like someone who can’t do math thinking that they’ve uncovered an arithmetic error in Galileo’s first paper and thinking they’ve overturned all of physics.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Jul 2010 @ 5:34 AM

  250. RE:#186

    Gavin is right. MM2005 did not “model a stationary process”, they modelled a non-stationary process as a stationary ARFIMA process and unusually did not attempt any validation statistics for their model. The autocorrelation of the ‘blade’ segment of ‘hockey-stick’ shaped proxies is significantly higher than the rest of the series, this biases their estimates of autocorrelation parameters because their model assumes a stationary autocorrelation structure, making their simulated series unrepresentative of most of the length of hockey-stick series, as can be seen in this graph of lag-1 autocorrelation coefficients.

    Comment by Lazar — 25 Jul 2010 @ 5:46 AM

  251. #244 Yes, and then having to admit that there wasn’t, after all, an error.

    Comment by David Horton — 25 Jul 2010 @ 5:51 AM

  252. @dhogaza
    Re: Comment #236

    Thanks for your recommendation for Judith Curry. May I politely ask that we politely campaign for her to read Mann (2008).

    I can’t recall if I have read this paper in full before, so I just gave myself the task. It took me precisely 3 minutes to find with Google (via Lubos Motl’s “Hockey stick is revived, alive, and well” post funnily enough) and precisely 20 minutes to read :-

    https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/~wsoon/Mannetal08-PNAS-d/Mannetal08-Sep2-PNAS-2008-Mann-0805721105.pdf

    Admittedly, there are some things I would need to look up to confirm I understand them, but the basic thrust of the paper is clear.

    I like this little dig at the denier-sceptic-contrarians who appear to be tree ring obsessed : “It is intriguing to note that the removal of tree-ring data from the proxy dataset yields less, rather than greater, peak cooling during the 16th–19th centuries for both CPS and EIV methods…contradicting the claim…that tree-ring data are prone to yielding a warm-biased ‘‘Little Ice Age’’ relative to reconstructions using other high-resolution climate proxy indicators.”

    The conclusions are excellently well caveated – nobody could accuse Mann et al. of over-egging the pudding-case :-

    “Conclusions : We find that the hemispheric-scale warmth of the past decade for the NH is likely anomalous in the context of not just the past 1,000 years, as suggested in previous work, but longer. This
    conclusion appears to hold for at least the past 1,300 years…from reconstructions that do not use tree-ring proxies, and are therefore not subject to the associated additional caveats. This conclusion can
    be extended back to at least the past 1,700 years if tree-ring data
    are used, but with the additional strong caveats noted. When
    differences in scaling between previous studies are accounted
    for, the various current and previous estimates of NH mean
    surface temperature are largely consistent within uncertainties,
    despite the differences in methodology and mix of proxy data
    back to approximately A.D. 1000…Conclusions are less definitive for the SH and globe, which we attribute to larger uncertainties arising from the sparser available proxy data in the SH. Given the uncertainties, the SH and global reconstructions are compatible with the possibility of warmth similar to the most recent decade during
    brief intervals of the past 1,500 years…”

    So that should be clear enough then, shouldn’t it ? The reference period that ended in roughly 2000, the chances that temperatures in the past were of the same order as the reference period (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), and the fact that the more recent time period after the year 2000 are likely (IPCC definition) to be anomalous on the warm side. Southern Hemisphere data sparse (obviously : as humans weren’t there really to monitor things, and there haven’t been so many data gathering environmental expeditions in the Global South), temperature threshold could have been punctured on the high end a few times in the last millenium and a half.

    Why should Judith Curry find tricky problems with those conclusions ? They all seem pretty clear, well-caveated and unthreatening to me.

    I have in the past read a little of Collide-a-Scape, but I found it rather sapping of the energy. Don’t know if I should put it back on my own special homegrown Internet Browser home page where I have Hypertext Links to all the other news sources and web logs I like to keep up with.

    By the way, I have a special “True Science” link, powered by Google, but filtering out some of the major denier-sceptics :-

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&tbo=1&tbs=qdr:d&q=climate+change+-site:climatechangefraud.com+-site:prisonplanet.com+-site:climatescienceinternational.org+-site:climateaudit.org+-site:wattsupwiththat.com+-site:climate-skeptic.com+-site:climatechangefacts.info+-site:friendsofscience.org+-site:climatedepot.com+-site:skepticsglobalwarming.com+-site:joannenova.com.au+-site:drroyspencer.com+-site:pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com+-site:rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com+-site:junkscience.com+-site:sepp.org+-site:icecap.us+-site:newsbusters.org+-site:weatheraction.com+-site:spectator.co.uk+-site:register.co.uk+-site:timesonline.co.uk+-site:site:worldclimatereport.com+-site:melaniephillips.com+-site:jamesdelingpole.com+-site:jennifermarohasy.com+-site:globalwarminghoax.com+-site:canadafreepress.com+-site:thegwpf.org&btnG=Search&aq=o&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

    Sadly, Google doesn’t take more words than this in a Search.

    Comment by jo abbess — 25 Jul 2010 @ 5:53 AM

  253. #168 Judith Curry
    #190 dhogaza I second that.

    Judith, just to clarify your stance. You are basing your ‘scientific’ opinion on what you read at “both RC and CA”.

    Have you, or have you not properly read the scientific papers related to your opinions as expressed?

    If you have not, and as you have said, you’ve only “tried to follow the debate by reading journal articles and posts”, and I think “tried” is your operative word; then from a scientific point of view, are not then your opinions more in the ‘less likely’ or ‘very unlikely’ category of confidence, from an objective or qualitative argument perspective?

    In other words, your perspectives on this matter seem to be more a part of the smoke, or shadows of the smoke? I wonder what Plato would say about your perspective. . . shadows generated by shadows that originated from shadow generators, that relied on shadows, not the light in the back of the cave?

    #185 Judith Curry

    Waste of time though it may be . . .

    You’re saying Gavin is committing a logical fallacy in the very same paragraph you commit a huge factual fallacy?

    YOU presented the POINTS as if they were YOUR opinion. To claim otherwise is to claim misrepresentation by inference.


    A Climate Minute: The Natural CycleThe Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 25 Jul 2010 @ 5:56 AM

  254. #193 Peter Webster

    Judith Curry is so far away for actual holistic reason in her points and logic that it is truly dumbfounding, mind-boggling, ‘jaw-dropping’, gobsmacking, and bamboozling, with the probably possibility of hoodwinking as well.

    If you can’t see this, and you have worked with her if that is you in her papers, then, huh? When the opinion she presents (from her presented posts no matter from whom she derived them, and then presented then as her perspective) is so far from the actual science, she loses credibility.

    She ignores facts, context, and relevance in order to support a meme that is so entrenched in the shadows as to be void of relevance.

    There is a real and tangible reality to the fact that ‘people’ are ‘bitching’ about ‘science’ using ‘nonsense’.

    That is ‘not’ an irrelevant point.


    A Climate Minute: The Natural CycleThe Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

    ‘Fee & Dividend’ Our best chance for a better future – climatelobby.com
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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 25 Jul 2010 @ 5:56 AM

  255. #201 Peter Webster

    Your insistence to relegate the argument to ‘new depths’ is reminiscent of many arguments we have seen in RC before, especially on this issue, hash, rehash, hash, rehash, ad infinitum it seems.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/the-hockey-stick

    This seems to have a motive. . . i.e. to present posts her eon RC that can then be used on deinalist blogs to say RC does not look at “alternative opinion” (even though those alternative opinions have no relevance to the reality that is behind the argument, that of global warming is happening, human-caused, and at this point, irrefutable. . . unless you have a legitimate refutation??? I’d love to see that!!!).

    This of course is bizarre on your part. Maybe because you really didn’t know that all these alternative arguments have been long debunked and the denial world merely makes up new irrelevant arguments in order to show that there is still debate?

    Or maybe you do know, and really don’t understand?

    Which is it?

    I ask this because if it is not one of those, then there are few other ‘alternatives’ for your ‘opinion’ other than you don’t know what you are talking about regarding these contexts and their respective relevance. Either that or you should simply claim naiveté.

    I don’t mind claiming naiveté because I know I don’t know everything and in fact am far form it by orders upon orders of magnitude. That does not mean I can’t reasonably understand various arguments points between science and rhetoric which is entrenched in “alternative opinion”.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 25 Jul 2010 @ 5:57 AM

  256. @JohnMashey
    Re: Comment #235

    Thank you so much for your links, your analysis and the evident hard labour of your 185 page report.

    I did not read your report in full when it was linked on DeSmogBlog. I have scanned a few parts of it now. I was not aware that you had done so much work on this problem. It’s very good.

    I first learned about the Science of Global Warming when I studied undergraduate Physics in the early 1980s (no mere pup, me). It was during this time that I also first encountered the basic sceptical position, and read how it could be refuted with several lines of evidence. For a period of about a fortnight, I was confused. I well remember the buzzing in my mind, trying to make sense of what was information and what was disinformation.

    What helped my internal resolution was that I had gone through that exact process of delineation of fact from fiction during my teenage years over the claims of the “creation scientists” (creationists). I was emmeshed in a fairly closed Evangelical Christian community, so it was particularly hard to break the shell there, composed of years and years of doctrinal teaching and the dripfeed of the assertion of theological authority.

    I finally settled on the evidence and disgarded the scepticism on both Evolution (helped by accepting the Geological Age of the Earth) and Global Warming, and I recall that I decided it was the choice of language to lay out their case that helped confirm who to trust and who to ignore.

    You can’t help reacting emotionally to certain styles of writing, regardless of the content, or whether you agree or disagree with it.

    The Climate Change sceptics create a duststorm of irrelevancies, and blind the unprepared seeker after truth. It is always right and proper to go back to basics, swat away the flies, find your centre and calmly read the documentation at the core of the so-called debate.

    But it is also right and proper to not be tricked into circling back to basics all the time. Progress has to be made. Ways forward have to be forged. I remember the attention I paid to a paper by Tom Wigley I believe – must have been in the late 1980s – on ocean heat content having risen since the 1950s. I remember thinking, this is the nail in the sceptical coffin.

    But no, the denier-sceptics have continued to stir up their mini-tornados, using first the research magazines, then the newspapers, and now the Internet to confuse and de-rail as many people as they can, including scientists.

    But the Science is now more robust than ever. And what we need are more people who can communicate it. And more people who can defend it from attrition. And more people to study it, learn it, know it. The mainstream Media have proved incapable of communicating Climate Change. I have been appalled that The Guardian newspaper held a public meeting on “Climategate” (the stolen and badly misinterpreted e-mails saga) and invited Steve McIntyre and Doug Keenan onto the platform. Their position should not be “rehabilitated”. Their views are not providing “balance”. With this kind of psychological failure on behalf of the most open-minded British newspaper, websites such as RealClimate are invaluable as a corrective.

    We don’t want to have to follow a strategy of “war is peace” – waging an assault on the village in order to save the village. We need peaceful means to counteract the cynical denier-sceptics. The undecided public, and partially educated academics, and popularity-seeking politicians – they all need to hear the evidence and the analysis. We need to bypass the denier-sceptics, and undermine falsehoods in the minds of others, through the best means possible. This is a propaganda war, but we are not the propagandists – however we are coerced into strategies to de-support the propaganda. It’s a tricky position. Probably best addressed by “accentuating the positive” – talking more about the discoveries of Science and including basic summaries of why this unseats sceptical opinion. John Cook at SkepticalScience.com is good on this.

    Comment by jo abbess — 25 Jul 2010 @ 6:52 AM

  257. Jean S:

    In my view MBH9X does not provide any evidence for _any_ hypothesis concerning past temperatures. And BTW, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

    So MBH9X had a 2 in 1,440 (minutes in a day) chance of being right and it just happened to fluke it. Sure, I believe you.

    Comment by Chris O'Neill — 25 Jul 2010 @ 7:25 AM

  258. Please read Gavin’s last inline response to Dr. Curry on comment #168. Then read it again. This is what the public needs to hear. Connect with people’s emotions and they relate. (D-A-T-A is a four-lettered word to many.) Thank you, Gavin.

    Thank you Tamino for your superb take-down of another truth-slayer. We need to keep pushing back against these dishonest people even if it means getting down into the mud with them sometimes.

    Tamino’s blog links to a superb book that you should all have in your back pocket. The book by Gant Foster is titled Noise: Lies, Damned Lies, and Denial of Global Warming and is a steal at $12.95 US. I posted a lengthy review of the book on my blog.

    Comment by Scott A Mandia — 25 Jul 2010 @ 7:41 AM

  259. jo abess, nice posts. Besides the published PNAS paper, there is a wealth of supplemental information at the PNAS site and at Mann’s PSU site, available here. You will also want to read their Science article, which will show where the state of their published material. This article is especially important in light of the charge that MBH got rid of the Medieval Warm Period.

    Comment by Deech56 — 25 Jul 2010 @ 7:53 AM

  260. When the opinion she presents (from her presented posts no matter from whom she derived them, and then presented then as her perspective) is so far from the actual science, she loses credibility.

    Think of it as credibility seppuku.

    Her utter lack of credibility at this point is, after all, self-inflicted.

    Comment by dhogaza — 25 Jul 2010 @ 8:29 AM

  261. I think the question of what the effect of doing an eccentric Principal Component Analysis is should be addressed.

    Principal Component Analysis is a translation of the data so the new origin is the mean and then a rotation so that the first axis is in the direction which explains the largest amount of variance, the second axis is the axis orthogonal to the first that explains the largest amount of the remaining variance, the third is the axis orthogonal to the first two that explains the largest amount of what remains and so on. There are as many principal components as there are original variables. The purpose is data reduction. You hope that the first few principal components explain. Most of the variance.

    Now if you choose an origin other than the mean and then perform a singular value decomposition as in Principal Component Analysis then what you end up with is a translation and a rotation of the principal component scores.

    Now if I recall correctly MBH98 and MBH99 fed the results of the Principal Components Analysis into a regression. Now if you perform a regression on the original independent variables and on any translation or rotation of them you get the same fitted values. That is a a regression on the original data, on the true principal components and on the eccentric principal components will all give the same fitted values.

    Now we would not use the full set of principal components. It would defeat the point. A subset explaining most of the variation would be used. If we have chosen enough components to explain most of the variance then the values fitted to the selected components will be not that much different from those fitted to the whole data set. In fact we hope that the smaller principal components are mostly noise and so the values fitted to the selected components are more accurate than those fitted to the original data set.

    Now if we perform an eccentric Principal Component Analysis the our first component will be nearly in the direction between the mean and the chosen center for the eccentric PCA. The next few will be roughly a rotation of the first few principal components. That is the first few components of the eccentric analysis will be approximately a rotation of the first few principal components plus an offset. Not quite. With one component partially wasted on the offset the eccentric analysis might need one more component but the fitted values in a regression on it should be almost the same as those from the true PCA. And this appears to be what has happened.

    If I have misremembered the papers could someone correct me. And if there is anything wrong with my argument could one of the other statisticians commenting here correct me.

    Yes, performing an improperly centered analysis was a mistake and it is a mistake to continue defending that choice. But it really made little difference to the results.

    And as plenty of others have said MBH98 and MBH99 were the first multi-proxy temperature reconstructions. They are not the state of the art. If someone continues attacking their flaws and avoids dealing with later work, and there have been plenty of later reconstructions, then we have reason to be suspicious of the attackers. It looks like attacking easier trgets and avoiding the real issues.

    Comment by Lloyd Flack — 25 Jul 2010 @ 8:31 AM

  262. Okay, I updated my Hockey Stick page yet again

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/the-hockey-stick

    In an apparently worthless effort to put the argument to rest I have proposed a

    ‘Conclusion About the Conclusion of the Conclusion’ regarding the ‘Hockey Stick’ controversy and included a circular reference to the final conclusion argument so that there is less chance that further non-controversial subjects presented as controversy can be entered into the chain of conclusions. . .

    It is my hope that this reasonably addresses the platos cave problem whereas denialists are using ‘shadows generated by shadows that originated from shadow generators, that relied on shadows, not the light in the back of the cave’. By shining a light on the shadows, maybe we can reduce the shadow intensity, or maybe I’m dreaming?

    Whew. I’m tired. . . wait, . . .wait, I’m fading, where’s my. . .

    oops, sorry someone turned on a light and my shadow diminished, glad I noticed that or I might have thought that I had disappeared when in fact I never left, only my shadow was diminished.

    Well, that solves it then. Now we can move on to more productive things. . .


    A Climate Minute: The Natural CycleThe Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

    ‘Fee & Dividend’ Our best chance for a better future – climatelobby.com
    Learn the Issue & Sign the Petition

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 25 Jul 2010 @ 8:56 AM

  263. Some odd scientifical points.

    Geoff Wexler says in 224

    In physics, the choice of basis set is usually of little importance.It is just a matter of efficiency and saving machine time.

    This is not true in any realistic system (e.g. chemistry). In most systems the scaling with number of particles is non-linear, so you soon find that you need some combination of infinite memory, infinite processors or infinite speed. The later, at least is limited by the speed of light. And oh yes, convergence is also not linear so you really do need to start with a good basis set. There is an old saying (ok Eli thought of it thirty years ago) that in theory the calculation works.

    Hank Roberts in 236 quotes from an article on flooding wrt to the Iowa dam break. There was an article in Science(?) about a year or two ago that said that sea level rise would be measurably higher if all of the water held back by dams would have flown into the sea without our building.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 25 Jul 2010 @ 10:05 AM

  264. Had a thought about floods and storms. Do insurance companies have a common database for records of storms, fires, floods in various regions to use in actuarial calculations? Or do they all maintain their own?

    I would have thought the reinsurance bodies at least would want some way of checking whether companies were using reliable information when estimating risks and setting premiums.

    Comment by adelady — 25 Jul 2010 @ 10:18 AM

  265. It’s been interesting to see something rarely observed here at Realclimate- hardheaded scientists trying to figure out why the deniers say the things they do. We’ve heard about denial “ideology”, psychology, inability to discern evidence, greed (an important one), libertarianism, and a few other things.

    Be careful here. Maybe it’s best to observe the deniers’ statements and actions and simplify their motivations thusly: this is the dark side, baby, whatever fetid well it sprang from. If they win, the consequences will be more horrifying than anything we’ve experienced since the near human extinction event of about 110,000 years ago, when there were about 10,000 of us left.

    You scientists are our most important line of defense, and it’s been heartening to see Schmidt, Tamino, Mandia, Abraham, and others showing some fight, each with his own personal style. When you just dawdle over data, and not fully call them out on their lies, they play games and disrespect you- as does much of the public. If ever a situation called for relentless anger, this is it. The public arena has an element of theater to it. Keep it up, and resist the temptation to just be the footnotes.

    Comment by mike roddy — 25 Jul 2010 @ 10:39 AM

  266. Mike, I’m inclined to think it’s the other way around. It’s non-scientists like me and lots of others who ought to maintain the rage.

    The scientists can go for it in terms of detailing facts and pointing out the errors (I’m also polite) of contrarians and innocent blunderers into the wrong room. But it’s not the scientists who should be the front-runners – some individuals are excellent in that role, but the first, prime requirement is that they should do good scientific work.

    Part of that scientific work is disseminating the information, but once it’s in the public arena, it’s down to citizens to drive the message more broadly. And drive it home. It may make the fingers bleed using a hammer to drive a very large nail into extremely hard wood, but this is one case where we should do it.

    Let’s face it, many of us are going to have bleeding hands filling sandbags by flooding rivers, and that *won’t* be an analogy, so we might as well get started.

    Comment by adelady — 25 Jul 2010 @ 11:07 AM

  267. RE: #186

    Gavin, sorry for the delay in replying but I had to cut my hedge.

    In #186 I said

    “From a stationary stochastic process the MBH98 algorithm detects a non-stationary signal that is then attributed to CO2 forcing (the “hockey stick”). I think that clearly states the problem with the algorithm of MBH98: just how does it do that and still get described as robust?”

    You answered:

    [Response: Attribution is a completely different issue, and is for another day. Why the climate signal is the way it is requires a whole other set of machinery and is not related to picking out the climate signal itself. – gavin]

    I was not asking a question about attribution, so let me re-phrase it so it is clearer:

    From a stationary stochastic process the MBH98 algorithm detects a non-stationary signal: just how does it do that and still get described as robust?

    [Response: I have no idea what this question means. ‘Robust’ means that the signal retrieved doesn’t depend excessively on the method used to get it. The signal any reconstruction method is trying to get is the signal of what actually happened in the climate system. The climate system is not a stationary stochastic process. There is a real history of the climate. It is imperfectly recorded in multiple archives. These archives can be corrupted with non-climatic noise, but by putting a lot of them together we hope to be able to figure out the common signal in time and space since the non-climatic noise will not be correlated across all proxies. The methods one develops for this should be able to handle a reasonable amount of non-climatic noise and still pull out the correct signal. – gavin]

    RE: #250 Lazar states:

    “Gavin is right. MM2005 did not “model a stationary process”, they modelled a non-stationary process as a stationary ARFIMA process and unusually did not attempt any validation statistics for their model. The autocorrelation of the ‘blade’ segment of ‘hockey-stick’ shaped proxies is significantly higher than the rest of the series, this biases their estimates of autocorrelation parameters because their model assumes a stationary autocorrelation structure, making their simulated series unrepresentative of most of the length of hockey-stick series, as can be seen in this graph of lag-1 autocorrelation coefficients.”

    The graph you showed has no attribution and no units on the y-axis, but
    notwithstanding this there are several problems with your argument based on this graph:

    (a) Some of the detrended proxies have a higher lag 1 autocorrelation than the original – this seems rather strange.
    (b) Is the same de-trend used for each proxy and are these the tree ring proxies of MBH98 and MM2005? And why do you show only proxies 60 – 70 on the graph?
    (b) It is not stated how the data are detrended other than the caption for the line at the bottom which is apparently derived after a spline detrend of the whole series. I assume that you think that ergo the non-stationary trend is correctly removed. It makes no difference whether a non-stationary component is estimated by linear regression, polynomial functions, splines, smoothing or any other approach that might be proposed: ANY such decomposition of a signal into a non-stationary trend plus an autocorrelated residual is entirely arbitrary.
    (c) You state “The autocorrelation of the ‘blade’ segment of ‘hockey-stick’ shaped proxies is significantly higher than the rest of the series”. Not according to your graph it isn’t. The “detrended” 1880-1981 line has a lag 1 autocorrelation for series 60 of 0.62 as opposed to 0.65 for the original series – a trivial change when compared to the spread of lag 1 autocorrelation values for the 10 series you show which vary from 0.65 to nearly 0.80. As the 1880-1981 interval contains the contentious “hockey stick” signal it would seem this is the one to consider. Even looking at the full detrend line the effect is small and unlikely to adversely affect a stationary simulation whichever was used.
    (d) Having a slightly higher magnitude of autocorrelation would slightly increase persistence but does not turn a stationary simulation into a non-stationary simulation. I think your graph rather neatly confirms whatI said earlier about WahlAmman2007: they assert but don’t demonstrate this point. Your graph demonstrates the effect is small and therefore trivial.

    There is a further point I would make concerning this graph and the significance of a trend which I think would further reinforce what I am arguing but for that I need to know what units the Y-axis autocorrelation is being measured in. Perhaps you can tell me? Also, if you and Gavin are arguing that the concern is over a non-stationary trend then you should be showing graphs of the autocorrelation vs lag for multiple lags, not just the first lag. Have you got a graph showing multiple lags?

    Finally, with regard to your statement “MM2005 did not “model a stationary process””. On the contrary, the following directly from From MM2005 (my italics):

    “We carried out 10,000 simulations, in each case obtaining 70 stationary series of length 581 (corresponding to the 1400–1980 period). By the very nature of the simulation, there were no 20th century trends, other than spurious ‘‘trends’’ from persistence.”

    [Response: The question is whether the persistence in those series is representative of the non-climatic noise in the proxies. It is not. – gavin]

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 25 Jul 2010 @ 11:07 AM

  268. Tamino,

    Thanks for writing this piece. It provides a very useful reference point that deserves circulation. From now on whenever someone robotically posts “the hockeystick is broken” I’ll put a link to here! They might not follow it but others will :)

    Cheers – John

    Comment by John Mason — 25 Jul 2010 @ 11:14 AM

  269. Lloyd Flack:

    Yes, performing an improperly centered analysis was a mistake and it is a mistake to continue defending that choice.

    What I see are people for the most part defending the *results*, not the novel PCA approach taken by Mann (who after all has abandoned it in his subsequent papers).

    But it really made little difference to the results.

    Because this is what’s really important, the results stand regardless, and subsequent work by Mann and many others have led to an entire team’s worth of hockey sticks.

    It looks like attacking easier trgets and avoiding the real issues.

    The point is solely to discredit Mann and his colleagues. Find a nit to pick in an old paper, regardless of its significance, scream “Piltdown Mann” as you accuse them of fraud, do your best to destroy their reputation, and then … political inaction is achievable. It’s a good plan, and has worked quite well, but obviously there’s nothing about science or adding to our understanding of the world in that plan.

    Comment by dhogaza — 25 Jul 2010 @ 11:15 AM

  270. I am a layman trying to get my head around this Hockey stick thing. I have been following the climate science debates on various blogs for a while but am not entirely clear. I wonder if I might ask a few questions, in particular about the suggestion that the algorithum (is that the right word?) that Mann used will produce a hockey stick if red noise is used instead of data. My questions are these;
    Is the above true?
    What is red noise (in simple terms please)
    Does it always produce a hockey stick for every run with red noise, or for only some?
    Does the blade bit of the hockey stick always appear at the end of the run or can it appear in the middle of the run?
    Is the blade of the hockey stick the same size with the red noise as it is when the data is used.

    Thank you for taking the time to answer. I have asked the same questions at Bishop Hill to get the view of the other side.

    Fred

    [Response: Red noise is produced by a kind of stochastic process that has more variability at longer time scales than at shorter time scales. Compared to ‘white noise’ which has variability at all time scales, red noise has the high frequencies damped. It arises naturally if you put in random forcing to a physical system with some memory. The MBH algorithm is made up of multiple steps and this are often ignored by the critics. The first step is a data preparation step – what do you include and how so that you get a good representation of the data. The second step is look for whether the data correlates with known patterns of climate variability that we can see in the instrumental record. The third step is to use those correlations to try and extend that variability back in time. And the fourth step is to check that in the reconstruction works for a period that you didn’t use in step 2 (‘the verfication interval’). Almost all of the talk about MBH revolves around a single issue in step 1.

    In that step, there was an attempt to take a set of very regionalised tree rings in North America and extract only the key patterns of common variability from that so that when the data was put in to step 2, there wasn’t an overweighting of the importance of these proxies compared to other scattered around the globe. To do that, MBH used a technique called PCA (principle components analysis). The various ways this was and could be done are discussed in the top post. The results of this PCA step then go on to be used in step 2. Regardless of how you do that step (as long as you are consistent), the same information goes into step 2, and so claims that the total MBH algorithm produces hockey sticks out of red noise are false. However, the centering of the PCA analysis (the period over which the input data is normalised – see above) does affect the ordering of the patterns coming out of the PCA. If you were only interested in the first pattern (which MBH are not), then there would be an affect. But the PCA is being used here simply to condense down the actual information in the N. American network, not to decide what is the single most important one. The blade part of the HS comes from instrumental data and so is unaffected by anything MBH or any other reconstruction method does. – gavin]

    Comment by Fred Windsor — 25 Jul 2010 @ 11:26 AM

  271. Gee,

    2010 and we’re still talking about the hockey stick.

    And we’re on pace to shatter the 2005 record.

    Is anybody laughing out loud yet?

    Let me put it another way: Who else realizes that it’s over?

    Mama Earth, she’s a-goona warm-a a whole-a lotta.

    NO MATTER WHAT WE DO.

    Now – Who wants to have the next conversation?

    (Or shall we dither about for another 20 years and blow the chance to adapt?)

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 25 Jul 2010 @ 11:30 AM

  272. RE #119 &

    Tamino: “You get a hockey stick with standard PCA, in fact you get a hockey stick using no PCA at all. Remove the NOAMER PC1 and Stahle series, you’re left with a hockey stick. Remove the Gaspe series, it’s still a hockey stick.”

    How many times do you think you can play this leave-one-but-only-one-out -game and still people would buy the rotten argument?

    It’s like this for global climate we need a global average. As it is I imagine the tree ring data are sparse. You wouldn’t want to leave out too much data.

    First one has to understand average (mean). It is X1 + X2 + X3 + . . . + Xn, divided by n. You could leave out one or a few (depending on the size of n) of those Xs, the results probably won’t be compromised or compromised much — assuming that data were not cherry-picked out, but deleted for some other random reason unrelated to biasing the dataset.

    Seems to me the whole denialist thrust is to totally bias all the data to fit their desired results.

    I also have the same desired results — that global warming is not happening, and we have nothing to worry about (which I assume is everyone’s desired result) — but I want the truth about it, not some false construction. I’m not afraid to face the truth, no matter how bad it is.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 25 Jul 2010 @ 11:32 AM

  273. Adelady, I see your point, and there’s truth in it.

    The problem here in the US is that journalists are afraid to counter deniers like McIntyre with the scorn that they deserve because most media outlets are owned by right wing corporations or depend on auto and gas advertising- or both. Reporters, even the few good ones,
    self censor, and lay spokespeople are not likely to be granted an audience to skewer the denier fantasists in MSM. The English press allows more taking them to task, but look how Monbiot choked over Climategate.

    As some here know, I and others have let it fly in blog magazines (google 14 most heinous climate villains), which reached a large youth and alternative press audience. We need to reach other niches, too, which people like me are too outspoken to do successfully.

    Scientists will have more success speaking bluntly about denier lies because they are the most credible, and more likely to see their remarks appear in the major media outlets, especially on TV. That’s where frothing at the mouth deniers like Morano have had success, but there are scientists around who can defeat them. First they have to show up, though, and not just sign another petition or scientific organization fact sheet.

    Comment by mike roddy — 25 Jul 2010 @ 11:46 AM

  274. #263

    Thanks for the comment Eli.

    My remark was an example of a simplification which suffers under close scrutiny.

    the scaling with number of particles is non-linear,

    Early band structure calculations were solutions of the one particle problem and for those there was usually a choice between quite different basis function sets all of which were equivalent but some of which might have been too slow to bother with. In nuclear physics the choice between the alpha particle model (for nuclei like that of carbon) and the shell model was somewhat analagous but closer to your chemical examples.

    More substantive:
    #261 concludes that it is a mistake to continue defending the use of non centered analysis. I may try to understand better some time, but it will not be a high priority. Perhaps Tamino might comment?

    Science is full of approximations; so is numerical analysis. I am looking forward to a chapter entitled “mistakes in approximation-theory which make no difference”.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 25 Jul 2010 @ 12:29 PM

  275. re : previous comment.

    I seem to have completely mangled the italics.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 25 Jul 2010 @ 12:31 PM

  276. Headline at Climate Progress: “Hockey Stick fight at the RC Corral – Schmidt to Curry: “In future I will simply assume you are a conduit for untrue statements rather than their originator.””

    The NYT opinion page is now on our side:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/25/opinion/25friedman.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

    Thanks 252 jo abbess for the link to the paper! Hockey Stick Lives!

    I smell the beginning of the end for fossil fuels. Now do whatever you can for the greenest politicians you can find for this November. And call your Senators a lot.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 25 Jul 2010 @ 12:53 PM

  277. Re. 252 Jo Abbess

    Try this Google Custom search engine as well: Warming101 Search Engine

    http://www.google.com/cse/home?cx=001477428771176214757:adhq_mnia_y&hl=en

    Comment by J Bowers — 25 Jul 2010 @ 1:11 PM

  278. RE: #267

    Gavin, you are arguing in circles :-)

    WahlAmman2007 clearly state in Section 4:

    “To generate “random” noise series, MM05c apply the full autoregressive structure of the real world proxy series. In this way, they in fact train their stochastic engine with significant (if not dominant) low frequency climate signal rather than purely non-climatic noise and its persistence.”

    Their criticism is too much persistence

    In #133 you agree with them by saying:

    #133:
    […This is actually quite clearly discussed in Amman and Wahl (2007) (section 4), where it is shown that the ‘noise’ that MM2005c used actually contains a fair bit of signal.

    In #267 you now say:

    [Response: The question is whether the persistence in those series is representative of the non-climatic noise in the proxies. It is not. – gavin]

    The effect of slightly increasing the correlation of the first lag but running the simulation as a stationary series is to slightly elongate the typical length scale of the simulated process (Isaaks and Srivastava, p196 et seq show this very elegantly). If WahlAmman2007 assertion about a climatic autocorrelation being present invalidates the MM2005 test of MBH98 then it can only follow that the algorithm used to generate MBH98 must somehow only work because the (unknown)length scale of the underlying background climatic and non-climatic autoregressive processes are just the right length for the algorithm and in any other circumstance (such as used by MM2005) the algorithm fails. The argument proposed by WahlAmman2007 is therefore absurd and would only have merit if MM2005 had used a non-stationary simulation – which they did not.

    [Response: While I’m perfectly aware you think that I am terribly confused, you are wrong. ;) There are obviously circumstances in which any correlative method (such as MBH or any other method that has been used) will fail. No-one is claiming that any method will work regardless of what the input data is! The question that we have to assess is how well they work given the input data that there actually is. To give an example, let’s imagine that all of the proxy data have non-climatic effects that cause millennial long trends that have nothing to do with what happened to temperatures or climate. Let’s further suppose that the high frequency components are absent or have relatively small amplitude. In such cases, you will get spurious correlation on the century scale between proxies even if there is no climate signal. This will produce erroneous structures in the reconstruction. Now, no-one thinks that tree ring records have millennial scale non-climatic trends (their problem is precisely the opposite, that the multi-century scale climate trends might be damped), the same is true for ice cores etc. So what is the persistence of the non-climatic noise? Since the actual proxies have a sample auto-correlation that depends on the actual climate signal as well as the non-climatic noise, using the sample auto-correlation overestimates the persistence due to the non-climatic part. It is not that climate related auto-correlation invalidates correlative methods (it doesn’t !), but that over-estimating the non-climatic persistence gives you an overly pessimistic view of the method skill under real world circumstances. – gavin]

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 25 Jul 2010 @ 1:56 PM

  279. Lloyd Flack produces a concise and useful summary of the most important conclusion we may draw from Montford’s book, unintentional though it may be:

    …MBH98 and MBH99 were the first multi-proxy temperature reconstructions. They are not the state of the art. If someone continues attacking their flaws and avoids dealing with later work, and there have been plenty of later reconstructions, then we have reason to be suspicious of the attackers. It looks like attacking easier targets and avoiding the real issues.

    Move on, or surrender credibility. Most people will make the wise choice, the fringes of the bell curve will continue nattering away about an obsolete analysis published some 12 years ago.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 25 Jul 2010 @ 2:49 PM

  280. One can easily get confused with all the back-and-forth with the innards of the statistics. A good way to maintain sanity is to remember two of John Tukey’s famous quotes:
    “―The combination of some data and an aching desire for an answer does not ensure that a reasonable answer can be
    be extracted from a given body of data.”

    “―Far better an approximate answer to the right question, which is often vague, than an exact answer to the wrong
    question, which can always be made precise.”

    For context as to why I quote Tukey, see the 1-page A.10.4 in PDF I mentioned earlier @ DeSMogBlog. I wish he were still with us, to comment on all this.

    re# 256, jo … thanks for the kind words.

    Comment by John Mashey — 25 Jul 2010 @ 2:57 PM

  281. At one time I had a good understanding of how Principal Components worked, at least for a collection of data points in R^n. But I’ve never really understood how it is supposed to work for a time series.

    Can anyone recommend a good text which goes into such matters? Don’t spare the mathematics. I’ve taught college level mathematics for almost 40 years, including the linear algebra used to find the eigenvectors.

    I do remember that not everyone thought that diagonalizing the appropriate symmetric matrix was the best way of detecting the most relevant factors explaining the data. It was my impression that there were other ways to proceed which made more sense conceptually, but that everyone used principal components because it was feasible computationally, whether or not the results made sense.

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 25 Jul 2010 @ 3:02 PM

  282. A new paper in press in Journal of Climate by Jason Smerdon et al from the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory documents errors in some previous pseudo-proxy studies by Mann and et al.
    Erroneous Model Field Representations in Multiple Pseudoproxy [pdf]

    Rutherford et al. have a response here. [pdf]

    They also assert that the errors have been corrected in subsequent studies. And yet, Rutherford et al. continue to show the wrong NH mean temperature simulated by the ECHO-G model – compare figure 1a in the manuscript by Rutherford and Figure 5b in Smerdon et al 2010. It is obvious that these error have not be corrected.

    [Response: Actually, the only thing that is obvious is that some are quick to spread falsehoods and innuendo before seeking the actual facts. Anyone can confirm for themselves that the issue raised by Smerdon for the GKSS ECHO-G simulation was indeed fixed in Rutherford et al (2008). That is in fact precisely what panel ‘a’ and panel ‘b’ in that paper demonstrate. As it happens, Scott Rutherford accidentally copied the wrong panel from that paper (the incorrect ECHO-G series of panel ‘a’ rather than the correct ECHO-G series of panel ‘b’) for the purpose of preparing Figure 1 in the latest response. This response has now been fixed to include the correct version of the figure, and that corrected version has been submitted (and is what is available at the link you provided above). Sorry to have to dampen your excitement. -mike]

    [Response: p.s. this topic is henceforth considered o.t. -mike]

    Comment by Jimbo — 25 Jul 2010 @ 3:39 PM

  283. Gavin:
    I found your response to ThinkingScientist (#278) thought provoking. I look forward to the extension of the discussion,

    Comment by Bernie — 25 Jul 2010 @ 3:51 PM

  284. Gavin

    Thank you for taking the trouble to reply. I will have to study the issue some more I think.

    Fred

    Comment by Fred Windsor — 25 Jul 2010 @ 3:55 PM

  285. very good post Tamino. very good comments by gavin.

    i have been watching the comments by Judith Curry over on the blog of Keith Kloor.

    she got the facts wrong multiple times, often because she didn t take the time to check her sources. she made an enormous number of simple logical errors.

    and for some strange reasons, during debates about how to “bridge the gap between the sides in this debate, she came to the conclusion that “WattsupWiththat” and right wing think tanks are valuable sources.

    in short, i think her reply is a typical example of lack of information and the bad sources she now uses on climate sciences issues.

    Comment by sod — 25 Jul 2010 @ 4:10 PM

  286. I’m speechless; dumbfounded.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 25 Jul 2010 @ 4:18 PM

  287. #267 ThinkingScientist,

    “The graph you showed has no attribution”

    My calculations using the MBH98 NAITRDB proxies.

    “and no units on the y-axis,”

    Dude correlation is unitless.

    “(a) Some of the detrended proxies have a higher lag 1 autocorrelation than the original”

    Nope. The dashed black line represents each series after detrending, and is always lower than the non detrended solid lines.

    “(b) Is the same de-trend used for each proxy”

    If you mean ‘by using the same method’, yes.

    “and are these the tree ring proxies of MBH98 and MM2005?”

    See above.

    “And why do you show only proxies 60 – 70 on the graph?”

    70 is the number of series. As the lag-1 coef reduces, you start getting series which don’t have the characteristic blade, and the lines converge. They are irrelevant to the points I am making.

    “(b) It is not stated how the data are detrended other than the caption for the line at the bottom which is apparently derived after a spline detrend of the whole series.”

    I can’t remember which specific algorithm was used. Spline detrends are fairly standard tho.

    “ANY such decomposition of a signal into a non-stationary trend plus an autocorrelated residual is entirely arbitrary.”

    Nope. There are tests for non-stationarity. The ‘hockey-stick’ series are non-stationary. Making a series stationary by detrending or differencing prior to estimating parameters is a standard procedure. My purpose was to illustrate the effects that removing the trend has on the autocorrelation estimates. By your same logic, you could argue that McIntyre’s decision to treat all variance, even the trending non-stationary component, as ‘noise’ is arbitrary.

    “(c) You state “The autocorrelation of the ‘blade’ segment of ‘hockey-stick’ shaped proxies is significantly higher than the rest of the series”. Not according to your graph it isn’t. The “detrended” 1880-1981 line has a lag 1 autocorrelation for series 60 of 0.62″

    You’re looking at the solid red line. The period 1880-1981 is censored but series are not detrended.

    “as opposed to 0.65 for the original series – a trivial change when compared to the spread of lag 1 autocorrelation values for the 10 series you show which vary from 0.65 to nearly 0.80.”

    The point is that the blade sections of 1880-1981 inflate the autocorrelation estimates, and that the inflated estimates are not representative of the majority of each ‘hockey’ series. And that by using the inflated estimates M&M created modelled series which had autocorrelation structure which was *stationary* and *generally too high* compared to the series being modelled which have *generally lower* and *non-stationary* autocorrelation structure. M&M’s model is misspecified. And the differences matter. If you graph and look at the simulated series most of them don’t even look like tree-ring series, much less any supposed noise process.

    “As the 1880-1981 interval contains the contentious “hockey stick” signal it would seem this is the one to consider.”

    Yes. You’re also looking at the lowest difference you can find. Series #67-#70 have a larger difference of about 0.05.

    “Even looking at the full detrend line the effect is small and unlikely to adversely affect a stationary simulation whichever was used.”

    Either you’re handwaving, or have you done the calculations? I did the calculations, ran the Monte Carlo benchmarking thing, a while back. Trouble is the results are on an old comment thread at Tamino’s place, and the post is no longer accessible, so I’m working from memory. But yeah, detrending does make a *big* difference, enough to change the conclusions of M&M regarding MBH98 failing significance.

    “(d) Having a slightly higher magnitude of autocorrelation […] does not turn a stationary simulation into a non-stationary simulation.”

    Of course. I’m not arguing that a stationary model will produce a non-stationary series, nor is Gavin. *That’s not the point*.

    “if you and Gavin are arguing that the concern is over a non-stationary trend then you should be showing graphs of the autocorrelation vs lag for multiple lags, not just the first lag. Have you got a graph showing multiple lags?”

    Why?
    And why don’t you produce such a graph, if you think that it matters?

    “Finally, with regard to your statement “MM2005 did not “model a stationary process””. On the contrary, the following directly from From MM2005 (my italics):

    “We carried out 10,000 simulations, in each case obtaining 70 stationary series of length 581 (corresponding to the 1400–1980 period). By the very nature of the simulation, there were no 20th century trends, other than spurious ‘‘trends’’ from persistence.””

    The process (the real series) they are *modelling* are not stationary. The output of their model *is*.

    Comment by Lazar — 25 Jul 2010 @ 5:21 PM

  288. I know that you won’t publish this but the amount of abuse for Dr. Curry that you are allowing to be published here is counterproductive to the cause of climate change. I have great difficult in understanding just what you think that this abuse accomplishes. Your blog and climate scientists in general already have a reputation of arrogance and being dismissive of contrary evidence. The abuse heaped on Dr. Curry here will only reinforce those views and further discredit the cause that you are trying to foster.

    AGW is a very important issue that has the potential for catastrophic consequences. It deserves a more thoughtful debate than that exhibited here.

    Comment by Stan Palmer — 25 Jul 2010 @ 5:24 PM

  289. Got a new essay up on my site, if anyone’s interested:

    http://bartonpaullevenson.com/MyView.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Jul 2010 @ 5:31 PM

  290. In case anyone has missed it, Steve McIntyre has posted on this issue over at climateaudit http://climateaudit.org/2010/07/25/the-team-defends-paleo-phrenology/. It would be interesting for RC to rebut McIntyre’s points, which are far more detailed and documented than the points i made in my review of Montford’s book.

    Comment by Judith Curry — 25 Jul 2010 @ 5:35 PM

  291. Stan Palmer,

    It’s hard to debate thoughtfully with people who bring up the same discredited issues again and again and again and again and again until your head wants to explode. Especially when you carefully explain what they got wrong and they completely ignore it.

    I’m sure Judith Curry is a fine human being in many ways. I’m equally sure that she is dead wrong about AGW, dead wrong that the deniers need to be taken seriously by science, and dead wrong that she is doing good rather than harm.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Jul 2010 @ 5:35 PM

  292. My respect for Dr. Curry continues to grow, as does my amazement at the number of closed minds here.

    Comment by Carmen S — 25 Jul 2010 @ 5:38 PM

  293. Re : #272

    I also have the same desired results — that global warming is not happening,

    Sorry to be tediously repetitive, but as you and we both know, they could not have achieved this desired result by breaking the hockey stick. Just in case some people from the media are reading this and misunderstand your point.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 25 Jul 2010 @ 5:50 PM

  294. I’m very pleased that there is back-and-forth going on about this topic from various folks that are in-the-know.

    Some of it seems to be the anti-Mann folks harping on a small part of (everyone else’s) argumentation, with that side hesitant to directly concede any points, for fear that it gives the former group traction.

    I’m pleased to see folks like Judith Curry contributing here, because it keeps the conversation moving, rather than just everyone agreeing with eachother all day. I see that Bishop Hill is conducting comments of their own (as well as MM providing his own salient commentatry on CA). It’s too bad everyone can’t just hash it out in one location so the rest of us can watch.

    Perhaps, in the end, it’s all about driving traffic and eyeballs to one site vs another. Though I must say some of the redundant vitriol (in any site) can’t be very inspiring.

    Comment by BB — 25 Jul 2010 @ 5:54 PM

  295. #186 ThinkingScientist,

    “MM2005 model a stationary stochastic process but the MBH98 algorithm somehow detects what you describe as a non-stationary forcing attributed to CO2. Let me say that again so we can be clear:

    From a stationary stochastic process the MBH98 algorithm detects a non-stationary signal”

    The MBH98 algorithm detects correlations between tree-rings and temperature, it does not detect “non-stationarity”. *Any* correlational analysis may detect spurious correlations between stochastic stationary noise processes and a deterministic non-stationary signal. That is a basic problem with correlational analysis, why do you expect MBH98 would be any different? That’s why everyone does significance testing — which is the issue that M&M were addressing, not that MBH98 detected a ‘significant’ correlation between a stationary noise process and a non-stationary deterministic signal, but that the chance of the algorithm doing so was underestimated. M&M created a noise model to show the effects of decentered PCA on Monte Carlo significance benchmarking, and that’s why their super-modelled noise matters, because the modelling choices change the benchmark estimates and the significance (or not) of the MBH98 1400-1450AD step. Which is why M&M assuming the whole series are noise matters, and why their model being misspecified matters. That’s the issue in a nutshell.

    Comment by Lazar — 25 Jul 2010 @ 5:58 PM

  296. Stan Palmer @288,

    Could you be specific about what constitutes the “abuse” of Dr. Curry on this forum? Has anyone posted anything you actually find abusive, or are you equating disagreement with abuse?

    Comment by Paul Daniel Ash — 25 Jul 2010 @ 6:20 PM

  297. Stan Palmer says: 25 July 2010 at 5:24 PM

    The abuse heaped on Dr. Curry here…

    The narrative arc of this thread is plain to see, published in black and white and thus it’s hard to understand the basis of your complaint.

    The tone here turned darker when Dr. Curry volunteered an unsupported “you’re all wet” remark herself, then when challenged to substantiate her remarks abandoned calm discussion and began swerving into empty rhetoric in place of substantive discourse, employing terms such as “Hockey Team” to describe a research community, “shenanigans” and “joke” to describe editorial functioning at Stephen Schneider’s journal, as well as crossing a conspicuous line by implying deceptive “cherry-picking” of statistical methods on the part of Mann et al. Very little mentioned of actual science as opposed to process by her, notably, and that apparently wrong. It’s ok to be humbly or circumspectly wrong but being arrogantly wrong has a way of producing blow-back.

    Shorter version: Read carefully and you’ll see that Dr. Curry dictated the cues on tone and volume.

    Dr. Curry has chosen to adopt the arguably offensive propaganda of a fringe interest group and employ it as a substitute for rational talk, so why are you waving your Dutch Finger at RealClimate?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 25 Jul 2010 @ 6:31 PM

  298. #288

    You have run together some quite different points. You will see that I only partly agree.

    1. That RC is arrogant and dismissive of contrary evidence.

    Your evidence for this is based on (a) its reputation (b) this thread.

    (a).As I see it some people want to discourage others from visiting this site. Still others are naive.They don’t realise that much of the so-called evidence is manufactured and has been recycled in lots of different ways. If is not genuine evidence, dismissing it quickly is not arrogant.

    (b). This thread. I thought that Tamino,Gavin and Mike have actually dealt with the evidence not dismissed it. If you think otherwise, you yourself have given no argued examples.

    2. “Abuse of Judith Curry will only reinforce… ”
    Perhaps that may be true, but Gavin and the other RC people have not been guilty of that. Perhaps you should read their comments again. I would describe their comments as forceful and critical not abusive.

    Some commentators have criticised JC’s behaviour. Why shouldn’t they ? This too is not abusive, especially if they back up these criticisms.JC is entitled to come back and defend herself.

    Yet other commentators have become so angry that they have attacked her personally. Some of this is a perfectly understandable response to JC’s unjustified attacks on RC. But it is a dangerous game.

    Here I think you may have a point. It is hard to concede anything to people who are being increasingly hostile, much easier to agree with some new admirers. I have seen this happen before in other areas.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 25 Jul 2010 @ 6:54 PM

  299. [edit – please stay on topic and be substantive]

    Comment by chek — 25 Jul 2010 @ 6:58 PM

  300. Carmen S:

    Seriously? All she did was stroll through here and make snide remarks, followed by basically copying her homework off the book jacket in an attempt to raise objections to Tamino’s treatment of rubbish claims.

    What is there to respect in that? It’s not scholastically commendable, and certainly not open minded.

    Comment by Paul Tonita — 25 Jul 2010 @ 7:13 PM

  301. @290 Judith Curry:

    In case anyone has missed it, Steve McI has posted on this issue over at climateaudit

    Sorry, I couldn’t make it past McI’s mocking of well-established phenomena like teleconnections, his pathological conflation of science with mysticism (“meridians”, “alternative”, “qi”, etc.), and his smearing dendro as “phrenology”. What grade does that kind of sneering, ingroup-coded writing earn on the Curry Curve?

    I wonder if this will bring an end to your claims that blogs such as McI’s are more respectful than mainstream climate blogs. Somehow I doubt it.

    Comment by thingsbreak — 25 Jul 2010 @ 7:58 PM

  302. I’m hardly the last word on this (!) but by my calculations yes, you can get a hockey-stick shape in the first PC by applying short-centered PCA to red noise. Actually there’s a tendency to get a “step-function”-like shape, but many would still call that a hockey stick. It even seems to me that PC#1 of short-centered red noise is likely to be hockey-stick shaped (especially if one calls step changes a hockey stick).

    BUT — and this is a big one — how strong that PC#1 is likely to be (how much of the variance it accounts for) depends on the autocorrelation we impose on the red noise; the whiter the noise the weaker is PC#1. Yet even when I “jack up” the autocorrelation to ridiculously high values, the hockey-stick-shaped PC#1 still doesn’t come close to matching the strength of PC#1 from the MBH98 analysis of the NoAmer ITRDB proxies. By this criterion, the hockey-stick PC#1 for NoAmer ITRDB in MBH98 is demonstrably NOT from “mining” that pattern from red noise.

    It’s also clear that the data contains both noise and signal, so the autocorrelation of the data is greater than that of the noise. Hence the noise series used by MM were forged with autocorrelation higher than representative of tree-ring noise. But as I said, even when I jack up the noise autocorrelation it still doesn’t give a strong enough PC#1 to come close to that of MBH98.

    Finally: none of that has anything to do with being robust. What makes it robust is that you get essentially the same PC for NoAmer ITRDB data using the MBH98 procedure, or the MM PCA procedure, or fully normalized PCA (a la Huybers). Hence that PC is insensitive to changes in the chosen method of PCA, i.e., it’s robust.

    That it would have been a better idea to use full-centered and normalized PCA (as Huybers recommends) is my opinion. That the result would have been the same is a fact.

    And the point is doubly moot since recent work (Mann et al. 2008) uses a method that doesn’t involve any data reduction step for representing regional proxy networks.

    Comment by tamino — 25 Jul 2010 @ 8:06 PM

  303. I for one, Gavin, would like to thank you for putting up with the frivolities and busting through the fog (or smoke). You’re one of those effective science communicators who can clarify essentials for the intelligent layman, without leaving yourself wide open to misrepresentation. Just be sure to take a moment for a cool one in the sun, eh? :-)

    Comment by Oregon Stream — 25 Jul 2010 @ 8:16 PM

  304. When I read Curry’s assertion that she hadn’t been providing her own views, I immediately thought of Mark Twain’s joke about the sleepwalking riverboat pilot in “Life on the Mississippi”.

    “And if he can do such gold-leaf, kid-glove, diamond-breastpin piloting when he is sound asleep, what couldn’t he do if was dead!”

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 25 Jul 2010 @ 8:22 PM

  305. tamino@302 — Most clear. Thank you again.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 25 Jul 2010 @ 8:27 PM

  306. Dr. Curry,

    Could you perhaps explain why you are “interested in participating” in the discussion at CA without the stipulation that Tamino and Schmidt be “welcomed to participate in the discussion?” What was the principle at play in comment 107 that is apparently not in play at CA?

    Comment by Paul Daniel Ash — 25 Jul 2010 @ 8:40 PM

  307. Excellent debate.

    Did you know that Anothony Watts is raising the dead in order to dredge up Nobel Prize winning global warming denialists?

    You’ve got to check this out …

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/25/seven-eminent-physicists-that-are-skeptical-of-agw/#more-22484

    Turns out, these Nobel Prize winners were skeptical of secondhand smoke as well.

    Now, back to the debate …

    Comment by David Mathews — 25 Jul 2010 @ 8:41 PM

  308. Let us keep the big picture in mind here:

    There are very few publishing scientists that do not endorse the IPCC (2007) conclusions that most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.

    Furthemore, there are no credible international bodies of science that hold a dissenting view.

    So we are left with three possible conclusions:

    1) An overwhelming majority of international climate experts agree about much of the tenets of AGW and are honest.

    2) An overwhelming majority of international climate experts are ignorant about their own expertise in a sudden and collective manner. Sometimes called “group think” to sound politically correct.

    3) These scientists have all agreed to conspire to delude the billions of folks on the planet and just a very tiny percentage of them (and mostly oil-funded and unpublished) are trying to save us all from this mass hoax.

    Common sense and a sense of probability should lead one to the likely correct choice above.

    We can argue about how to deal with manmade climate change and we can argue about how bad the impacts will be but arguing about whether there is global warming or whether humans are causing it is, quite frankly, absurd. We might as well argue about the link between smoking and lung cancer.

    I sense that the anti-Mann crowd, including McIntyre and perhaps Dr. Curry, thinks #2 is in play. It is a shame because their views are causing delay and delay is robbing my future grandchildren of a better life than I.

    Comment by Scott A Mandia — 25 Jul 2010 @ 8:49 PM

  309. JC 290: It would be interesting for RC to rebut McIntyre’s points

    BPL: Why? They have done so over and over and over again. McIntyre isn’t saying anything new. Just the same old song. Old dogs, you know.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Jul 2010 @ 8:55 PM

  310. CS 292: My respect for Dr. Curry continues to grow, as does my amazement at the number of closed minds here.

    BPL: “Closed” defined as “unwilling to entertain obvious pseudoscience,” I take it? Someone once said it’s not good to be so open-minded your brain falls out.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Jul 2010 @ 8:57 PM

  311. Dr. Curry,

    You did see that Steve’s first point was to deny the existence of teleconnection in climate. Off the top of my head I can think of at least three teleconnections connected with El Nino: increased precipitation in the SW US, decreased Atlantic hurricane activity and increased storminess along the SW coast of Africa and around the Cape of Good Hope. His very first point is wrong and unscientific and you take him seriously?

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 25 Jul 2010 @ 8:58 PM

  312. 74, Judith Curry: cons: numerous factual errors and misrepresentations, failure to address many of the main points of the book

    Details? Or are they in subsequent posts? I haven’t had time to read the entire thread yet.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 25 Jul 2010 @ 9:10 PM

  313. Strange. Judith Curry points us to McIntyre ridiculing the notion of teleconnections. A Google scholar search for teleconnections finds a pile of highly-cited publications in reputable journals – are you saying Judith that these are all new age nonsense, including the ones where you are an author?

    Comment by andrewt — 25 Jul 2010 @ 9:22 PM

  314. Vendicar Decarian (244), are you trying to win an argument or just feel good?

    Comment by Rod B — 25 Jul 2010 @ 9:28 PM

  315. Jean S says “Preisendorfer Rule N” is used only by a few climatologists and unknown in the real statistical literature but in a few seconds with google you can discover this is not true. The selection rule is discussed in a much-cited 1992 book by Ian Jolliffe on Principle Component Analysis. Its used in 50+ papers with 100+ authors mainly working in climatology/hydrology/oceanography but a few in unrelated areas.

    Comment by andrewt — 25 Jul 2010 @ 10:12 PM

  316. It seems like there are different representations of ‘robustness’ going around.

    Gavin, Mann, et al, maintain (to my estimation) that the robustness of the work lies in the ability to get at-least-some-degree of a hockey stick temperature pattern using just about all manner of statistical evaluation and data omissions.

    McIntyre et al, maintain (to my estimation) that the robustness lies in the ability of any final reconstruction to pass a gauntlet of statistical validations and verifications.

    [Response: No. No-one wants reconstructions that don’t have statistical skill. That’s why there are always verification data held back, and checks against the removal of specific proxies or classes of proxies. It just so happens that all of the reconstructions that pass these tests (though with skill that decreases in back in time) show hockey stick like features. The difference between the scientists working on this and McIntyre is that the scientists are actually interested in what the past climate was like and why. McIntyre seems interested only in criticising decisions made in those analyses without ever proposing any constructive alternatives and demonising anyone who makes an effort. -gavin]

    If more or less all reconstructions end up delivering some manner of a hockey-stick shape, then why not simply go with the reconstructions that satisfy both conditions of robustness, considering the first one is just about always met..?

    [Response: Sure – things have moved on a lot from MBH98 – both in terms of data and in terms of methodology. -gavin]

    Is it because this might eliminate various reconstruction images that have the best dramatic appearance, and therefore it must be preserved? At the very least, it would appear these differing views of robustness should each have their day in the peer-review literature, rather than using one to discount the other.

    There are many other journals with vehement disagreements in other fields that continue to publish disagreeing polar-opposite research conclusions.

    Comment by BB — 25 Jul 2010 @ 10:39 PM

  317. Gavin:
    I am not sure how what you say in your response to #316 squares with the results presented in Table 1S in Wahl and Ammann 2007. The NH r2s for the verification period are modest to the point of being vanishingly small. Those after 1820 look intriguing if not overwhelming. Those prior to 1750 account for less than 2% of the variance compared to 50% for the calibration period. This type of finding in my experience suggests that major problems exist in the PCs extracted. They are not robust.

    [Response: No one is claiming that the original MBH reconstruction is perfect. The data going back to 1400 are sparse. The question was whether it gave anything useful. The low r2 numbers indicated that it isn’t useful for the high-frequency variations in the earlier part, but that the overall mean does have some skill. Subsequent reconstructions with more data and different methods show very similar patterns (though not identical ones), and so, yes, the general impression of MBH is robust. – gavin]

    Comment by Bernie — 25 Jul 2010 @ 11:50 PM

  318. Just to point out, every utterance of “hockey stick” results in multitudes of counter posts by the “auditors.” Many thousands of words will be spewed, every sentence will be sliced and diced, and many backs will be slapped. McIntyre is up to his second post already.

    [Response: …and yet the points never rise to anything constructive, never address anything other than the 1400-1450 ad step in mbh98, never look at the larger data sets now available, and almost always mistakenly assume that this has some terribly important consequence that the world must be made aware of. Yes, we are aware. -gavin]

    Comment by cce — 26 Jul 2010 @ 12:48 AM

  319. Clearly, the body of scientific research on human-caused global warming pales as a serious issue in comparison to allegations regarding dastardly censorship in a particular blog’s comments section.

    Someone alert Senator Inhofe. Maybe he can get to the bottom of this blog-comments-censoring conspiracy before jackbooted government thugs politely mention why painting roofs white might be a good idea, or something equally Communist.

    Comment by Thers — 26 Jul 2010 @ 2:31 AM

  320. #74 Judith Curry said: “cons: numerous factual errors and misrepresentations, failure to address many of the main points of the book”

    So numerous that she is not able to name even one.

    Comment by Jesús Rosino — 26 Jul 2010 @ 3:05 AM

  321. Re Comments in #316
    [Response: No. No-one wants reconstructions that don’t have statistical skill. That’s why there are always verification data held back, and checks against the removal of specific proxies or classes of proxies. It just so happens that all of the reconstructions that pass these tests (though with skill that decreases in back in time) show hockey stick like features.[..] -gavin]

    Well, in his latest blog S. McIntyre (http://climateaudit.org/2010/07/25/repost-of-tamino-and-the-magic-flute/) claims otherwise for MHB98:
    “[..] If a sensitivity analysis is done in which the Graybill bristlecone chronologies are excluded from the AD1400 network, then a materially different reconstruction results – a point made originally in the MM articles, confirmed by Wahl and Ammann 2007 and noted by the NAS panel. In addition to failing the verification r2 test, a reconstruction without bristlecones fails even the RE test.”

    [Response: A classic of example of a misleading insinuation. What ‘material difference’ is this?

    Altogether new reconstructions over 1400–1980 are developed in both the indirect and direct analyses, which demonstrate that the Mann et al. reconstruction is robust against the proxy-based criticisms addressed. In particular, reconstructed hemispheric temperatures are demonstrated to be largely unaffected by the use or non-use of PCs to summarize proxy evidence from the data-rich North American region. When proxy PCs are employed, neither the time period used to “center” the data before PC calculation nor the way the PC calculations are performed significantly affects the results, as long as the full extent of the climate information actually in the proxy data is represented by the PC time series. Clear convergence of the resulting climate reconstructions is a strong indicator for achieving this criterion. Also, recent “corrections” to the Mann et al. reconstruction that suggest 15th century temperatures could have been as high as those of the late-20th century are shown to be without statistical and climatological merit. Our examination does suggest that a slight modification to the original Mann et al. reconstruction is justfiable for the first half of the 15th century (∼ +0.05–0.10º), which leaves entirely unaltered the primary conclusion of Mann et al. (as well as many other reconstructions) that both the 20th century upward trend and high late-20th century hemispheric surface temperatures are anomalous over at least the last 600 years.

    (WA07 (abstract) (also see fig2). So yes, a difference, but not one that changes anything important. Ho hum. – gavin]

    Comment by Laws of Nature — 26 Jul 2010 @ 4:09 AM

  322. #290 Judith Curry

    1. The issue has been argued here already.
    2. Why didn’t McIntyre jump in and defend himself here?
    3. Have you suggested he come here and defend his position?


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Jul 2010 @ 4:25 AM

  323. (#290)
    “… which are far more detailed and documented than the points i made in my review of Montford’s book.”

    Wait, stop right there Judy. You said those *weren’t* your points, and got very annoyed when it was naturally assumed they were. Now you claim them as your own again? Which is it? If they are your points, why did you refuse to defend them when Gavin critiqued them?

    Comment by Robert Murphy — 26 Jul 2010 @ 5:02 AM

  324. #288 Stan Palmer

    First, let me point out the glaringly obvious. This whole argument is just one big RED HERRING in the context of the scientific consensus that humans are influencing the climate and making it warmer

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/human-caused
    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/attribution

    While others are more qualified to deconstruct here quantitative arguments in pointing out apparently obvious errors when placed in the context of the quality of the argument itself, in the context of relevance pertaining to scientific consensus, Judith Curry’s argument loses substance as well as relevance. Generally, she is arguing in the noise and ignoring the signal in the scope of the science. There is not argument that science is not perfect, or ever will be

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/models-can-be-wrong

    which does not preclude the ability of humans to make reasonable decisions based on the science as understood.

    From everything I have gathered and examined, no matter how you reasonably slice the data with either accepted, or marginally accepted statistical analytic practice, in consideration of the data set at hand, we still end up with a ‘Hockey Stick’ at the end of the day, month, year, decade, whether or not tree ring data is included, or not.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/the-hockey-stick

    And you think she is being abused?

    What is your context? A ‘tea party’, or the climate science community?

    Here’s what the security community and concerned organizations are talking about:

    Various levels of accelerating economic degradation that has an inertia behind it that gets worse as we move forward in time, even after the entire planet wakes up to the reality, and even if we stop burning fossil fuels. The current ‘conservative’ estimates of human impact from the UN is 1.8 billion dead and dying by 2080.

    How do you define abuse?

    I think that the level of chaos that is being alluded to, and increasingly expected as described by the CIA, DOD, Joint Forces Command, Army War College, Center for Strategic & International Studies, Center for Naval Analysis, etc. shows abuse to the human race on a massive scale that has never before been considered seriously, by the human race (other than in global thermonuclear war or a global plague), due to our own actions against ourselves.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/security

    You can call it rude. I call it reasonable cognition of quantifiable and qualifiable evidence in relation to the problem of human-caused global warming.

    You can then respond by saying but if Dr. Judith Curry is correct about the fact that there were, or even are, flaws still in the ‘Hockey Stick’ (as I (and others) have pointed out over, and over, and over, all models have flaws, in fact all models are wrong to some degree) then you and she are still barking up the wrong tree.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/models-can-be-wrong

    The ‘Hockey Stick’ shows up in temperature records that have nothing to do with tree rings. Let me emphasize the last part of the previous sentence, PERIOD. And besides that, we don’t need the tree rings to know the planet is warming, the last 4 months are riding the top of the trend as the warmest in the instrumental record.

    Or are you referring to the idea that she may need a hug after being so completely wrong in her relative assertions?


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Jul 2010 @ 6:00 AM

  325. RE: #267

    I asked the question:

    “From a stationary stochastic process the MBH98 algorithm detects a non-stationary signal: just how does it do that and still get described as robust?”

    Gavin answers this as:

    “[Response: I have no idea what this question means. ‘Robust’ means that the signal retrieved doesn’t depend excessively on the method used to get it. …]”

    [edit]

    [Response: Ok, enough. I thought we were having an actual conversation, and instead you want to play games – boring. The initial PC data reduction step is not done to define what PC1 is, it was done to encapsulate the data in the N. American network. That encapsulation requires a proper selection rule (which is *not* defined as keep PC1 and throw away the rest), and when done properly (and if you don’t like Rule N, suggest something else), makes no difference to the final result as demonstrated over and over and over again, and is even admitted by McIntyre. That is the definition of robust in that very small and uninteresting context. If you want to continue discussions, please move on to something that hasn’t already been done to death in the original post. – gavin]

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 26 Jul 2010 @ 6:20 AM

  326. #323 Gavin

    “The initial PC data reduction step is not done to define what PC1 is, it was done to encapsulate the data in the N. American network”

    Indeed. Their purpose was data compression. Obtaining a significantly different result compared to not using PCA is *wrong* regardless of what selection rules if any are used.

    Comment by Lazar — 26 Jul 2010 @ 6:50 AM

  327. #317
    “and yet the points never rise to anything constructive, never address anything other than the 1400-1450 ad step in mbh98, never look at the larger data sets now available, and almost always mistakenly assume that this has some terribly important consequence that the world must be made aware of. Yes, we are aware. -gavin”

    Gavin, look at your answer to #17
    Would MHB1998 and MHB1999 not have looked quite different if the results of Vinther et all were known around the time Mann constructed the Hockey Stick? And you know where the HS led to.

    “temperatures during the warmest intervals of the Medieval Warm Period,” which they defined as occurring “some 900 to 1300 years ago, “were as warm as or slightly warmer than present day Greenland temperatures”

    Vinther, B.M., Jones, P.D., Briffa, K.R., Clausen, H.B., Andersen, K.K., Dahl-Jensen, D. and Johnsen, S.J. 2010. Climatic signals in multiple highly resolved stable isotope records from Greenland. Quaternary Science Reviews 29: 522-538.

    [Response: Well, MBH98 wouldn’t be different because it only goes back to 1400. But if you were going to redo any of these reconstructions you would use as much new data as possible – not just one set of new records in Greenland. But note too that Greenland is only one part of the world, and that it was already represented in the earlier reconstructions. In the more recent papers (Mann et al, 2009 for instance), Greenland is already shown as warmer in the medieval period – as are areas in Northern Europe (fig 2), so why you think that Vinther et al will affect these these materially is unclear. But having new data is good and it will surely be incorporated into the next sets of reconstructions. – gavin]

    Comment by Ibrahim — 26 Jul 2010 @ 7:34 AM

  328. More from Judith Curry:

    I’ve abandoned RC (for good, I think). I’ve posted a few comments on climateprogress, here is the text of my latest comment.

    ———–
    Consensus on a scientific issue is established as science evolves through the following successive stages (Funtowicz and Ravetz, 1990):
    1. no opinion with no peer acceptance;
    2. an embryonic field attracting low acceptance by peers;
    3. competing schools of thought, with medium peer acceptance;
    4. a dominant school of thought accepted by all but rebels;
    5. an established theory accepted by all but cranks.

    At the time of the TAR, MBH reflected an embryonic field (level 2). There was very little justification for any kind of consensus statements with “likely” and “very likely”, even by the standards of IPCC’s guidelines. By the time of AR4, the field had arguably matured to level 3, a more established field with competing schools of thought. The conflict that has ensued over the high confidence levels in the IPCC conclusions and the attempts to establish a premature consensus is described by Montford’s book.

    The response of a rational person considering the evidence from both sides (which is a necessity for level 3 science) is to weigh evidence from both sides and make both sides aware of arguments from the other side and emphasize the need for refuting arguments from the other side in justify your thesis.

    The response of an irrational person is to declare level 2 or level 3 science as “settled science”, “a fact on par with the theory of infrared radiative transfer of gases.”

    A number of points are worth raising. First off, whether Judith chooses to post here or not, her comments can still be read and commented upon. Second, I don’t see anything wrong the characterisation of degrees of consensus she quotes, nor is it worth quibbling about exactly where the situation was with respect to paleo-reconstructions in 2000 (I’d say much closer to 3 than 2 for instance). However, Judith still repeats the incorrect comment she later claimed was Montford’s, that TAR used the terms ‘very likely’ in relation to anything related to these reconstructions. It did not, and none of this palaver is related to an inappropriate rush to a ‘high level of confidence’.

    Third, the last two sentences appear to imply that anyone who disagrees with her is tantamount to being ‘irrational’ and is declaring that paleo-climate is “settled science”. I have no idea where this comes from – it is certainly not from us (we have recently discussed the inappropriateness of the ‘settled science’ soundbite, and also some interesting new questions in paleo-reconstructions). It is not from climateprogress as far as I can tell. And as for the quote about “radiative transfer”, I can find no trace (via google) that anyone has said anything of sort. Regardless of whether anyone did say it though (and it is not unknown for people to say silly things), it is not a statement that I would agree with.

    Thus, I conclude that Judith appears to be battling a strawman. Pointing out that statements by Montford and McIntyre are wrong and misleading is *not* the same as saying that everything is known about the climate of last millennium and that Mann et al’s papers are perfect. The truth of the matter is that much of what Montford and McIntyre say (and more of what they insinuate) *is* wrong *and* we still have some ways to go before we have a full understanding of climate over this period. That understanding will be advanced by new and more extensive data collection efforts, improvements to methods used to synthesise that data, and more extensive and collaborative use of climate model simulations over this period – both to understand the forcing/response of the climate, but also to serve as testbed for the various reconstruction methodologies. It will not be advanced by name-calling or declaring that anyone who thinks that teleconnections exist is a ‘phrenologist’.

    Comment by gavin — 26 Jul 2010 @ 7:44 AM

  329. Judith still repeats the incorrect comment she later claimed was Montford’s, that TAR used the terms ‘very likely’ in relation to anything related to these reconstructions.

    This is rapidly becoming a new myth. I think I may have read something similar in Mike Kelly’s submission to the Oxburgh inquiry. I don’t blame him because in characteristic fashion he appears to have set himself the strenuous task of reading lots of unfamiliar papers in a short time.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 26 Jul 2010 @ 8:05 AM

  330. Re: #325

    Hi Gavin,

    You have edited the remainder of my post which includes the relevent points I was making. As moderator it is your prerogative to conclude the argument in this way but I will not contribute under censorship. You made several minor edits of my posts earlier which were ok – they were generally off-topic remarks by me, your editing did not affect my argument and you similarly edited opposing views to mine. This kept it fair and balanced. By editing the rest of my points, that is no longer the case.

    Regarding my promised reply to Lazar #287 I will post at Bishophill on the Tamino thread – I am sure that any comments Lazar may wish to make there in response to my answers will be posted in full and received with great interest.

    I would appreciate it if you could post this in full.

    Thanks for the conversation while it lasted!

    Best Wishes,

    ThinkingScientist :-)

    [Response: Time is a precious commodity. Talking about the same thing over and again is a waste of it. Playing games by changing topics half way through and/or confusing different issues might be fun for you, but I’m not interested. Maintaining progress in comment threads is hard, and tight moderation helps with that. This is not censorship, it is focus. You are free to continue substantive conversation here at any time. – gavin]

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 26 Jul 2010 @ 8:21 AM

  331. Not following Eli’s cannonical advice of RTFR (mostly because who wants to bother after 12 years), if the method used in MBH 98, 99 retained several of the PCs to represent the NA tree ring series with most of the variation being in one of them, and a “better”, in the sense of more concise method pushes essentially all of the climate record into a single PC, arguably in the global averaging, it under-represented the climate forcing and increased the variability by including the other PCs.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 26 Jul 2010 @ 8:37 AM

  332. An observation from an interested observer . . .

    There are certainly a few “nutter” out there and from my experience these are equally represented on both sides of the debate. However, my opinion is that most people are geniunely interested in understanding the science and the discussion. This is certainly my position!

    From what I have seen MMM (I have added Monford) certainly do not appear to be in the “nutter” category by any stretch of the imagination. If you wanted to challenge their ideas and views the best way by far is with the Science. The truth is the truth and will always win through in the end no matter how much spin is thrown at it.

    A few years ago a film aired on network TV in the UK something along the lines of “The Great Global Warming Swindler” – or something similar. For several days afterwards there was a “torrent” of abuse through at the it, but that is all it was abuse! However, after about 4 days someone finally analysed the data and was quickly able to point out the obvious flaws.

    In my humble opinion going after the data is far more affective then simply saying how bad they are?

    Comment by Neil — 26 Jul 2010 @ 8:42 AM

  333. What a sad debacle.
    http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2010/07/hey_jc_jc_thats_not_alright_by.php

    One of life’s great ironies that we see our own faults in others. I can not imagine more “tribal” behaviour than Judith Curry has exhibited here. Gavin, I don’t see how you could have handled things better, well done!

    Comment by coby — 26 Jul 2010 @ 8:43 AM

  334. 74, Judith Curry

    I do not understand sceptics – if there are some mistakes (now corrected and very few) in the IPCC AR4 WP2, then the whole IPCC (WP1, WP2 and WP3) is wrong.
    If someone points out mistakes in a sceptics book – than he/she is missing the main point?
    Measuring in two different ways here, aren’t you?

    Comment by a_pericly — 26 Jul 2010 @ 8:53 AM

  335. Re #321:
    [Response: A classic of example of a misleading insinuation. What ‘material difference’ is this?
    [..](WA07 (abstract) (also see fig2). So yes, a difference, but not one that changes anything important. Ho hum. – gavin]
    Well, I cannot help but notice, that you did not dispute this part of my citation of S.McIntyre:
    “In addition to failing the verification r2 test, a reconstruction without bristlecones fails even the RE test.”
    Is it just me or does that quallifies as a ‘material difference’?

    [Response: This occurs only for the 1400-1449 step, and so you end up with a hockey stick from 1450 onwards, instead of from 1400 onwards. So no, not a material difference. And this is moot in any case – you can remove all tree rings and get a validated reconstruction back to 1000 AD using the a newer method and more data, as opposed to only 1760 with the MBH98 network/method. Of course, you can systematically remove all the data one-by-one and you will progressively have less information in the past, but that should be obvious no? – gavin]

    Comment by Laws of Nature — 26 Jul 2010 @ 8:57 AM

  336. U2 sums up the “skeptic-problem” pretty well in their classic Sunday bloody sunday with the line; “It’s true we are immune, when fact is fiction and [Fox?] TV reality”.

    Comment by Michael — 26 Jul 2010 @ 9:14 AM

  337. (Re #38) On privacy and emails: Ask yourselves this, should I as a professor at a public university be required to tape my work phone calls in case someone files a FOIA request about my work? It is a government phone, right? How then are emails different?

    I don’t work in climate science and it is very unlikely the press or blog-sphere would take any interest in my work. None-the-less, I’m switching to a private e-mail account. I can only imagine how stifled researchers in controversial areas feel.

    Comment by Mike — 26 Jul 2010 @ 9:30 AM

  338. Gavin,

    Thank you for posting my response in full – you have acted in good faith and I fully acknowledge it. I don’t agree with your comments about playing games (that is not my intention) but I do understand that you have multiple arguments/commentators simultaneously and that as both moderator and responder that gives you quite a high workload here. We have probably both exhausted the dialogue here for the moment and both are repeating ourselves.

    Thanks for your invitation to keep the door open for me to continue subtantive conversation – I am sure I will!

    Feel free to post or not post this – its meant as a personal acknowledgement that you posted my final message at this time in full and I do appreciate that. I will also acknowledge that at Bishophill where, as I am sure you have noticed, I cross-posted.;)

    Regards,

    ThinkingScientist

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 26 Jul 2010 @ 10:04 AM

  339. coby #333:

    That article on your site sums up my feelings about this whole affair *exactly*. It was almost if I had sat down and written an analysis myself.

    When you just look at all the refereed publications by JC:

    List of JC publications from Wikipedia

    you’d wonder about the shallowness of her posts here. Talk about an alter ego!

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 26 Jul 2010 @ 10:07 AM

  340. @330 “Thinking Scientist”

    Are you the same commentor posting at Montford’s who wrote:

    Gavin is a master of obfuscation and of course the “one critical only” post before being blocked means no right of reply. In one of my susbsequent posts to RC I pointed out to Gavin how their policy was really self-defeating in the long run. Even if they don’t post it, Gavin probably reads some of it. Have a read of the Gavin post on why CO2 lagging temperature in ice cores is not a problem for AGW and you will see a master obfuscator at work. The arguments are not rational, but of course no right of reply means that challenging it is a waste time. As a consequence RC builds up a back catalog of “smoke and mirrors” and maintains a public face that says only they know what they are talking about. It is a slick but naive exercise in spin and PR.

    Interesting.

    [Response: Nice find. I find it incredible that intelligent people still can’t get their heads around the fact that climate affects the carbon cycle *and* the carbon cycle affects climate. Not sure where the ‘master’ obfuscation is with that. Maybe I need a PhD? (needless to say, further discussion of this it OT ;-) ) – gavin]

    Comment by thingsbreak — 26 Jul 2010 @ 10:58 AM

  341. Further to JC’s list on the evolution of a scientific field (see Gavin’s post #328) she seems to be confusing the well established field of climate science which goes back at least 100 years (see Spencer Weart’s “Discovery of Global Warming) and the more recent field of the human influence on observed warming. The former field is between a 4 and 5 on her scale.

    The human component of warming is between a 3 and 4. The reason for the discrepancy is not that specific scientific findings are in dispute but that the warming is only recently emerging in a significant manner from the various natural short and long term background variations.

    To try and equate lack of scientific understanding with lack of statistical certainty is not what one expects from a “real” scientist.

    Comment by Ian Forrester — 26 Jul 2010 @ 11:07 AM

  342. I note without comment that The Hockey Stick Illusion is published by Stacey International Publishers.

    http://www.stacey-international.co.uk/v1/index1.asp

    Comment by Chris Winter — 26 Jul 2010 @ 11:28 AM

  343. Steve Metzler @ 339

    “Talk about an alter ego!”

    Stuff can happen to the best of us, sad to say.

    The list you linked to is one that she’s posted of on-line papers. Of those, it looks like the last one she took the lead on was 2006:

    “even senior scientists are ill prepared for their first major experience with mixing politics, science, and the media.”

    Mixing Politics and Science in Testing the Hypothesis That Greenhouse Warming Is Causing a Global Increase in Hurricane Intensity

    One can speculate about what’s been going on with her, but it may simply be that venturing outside the ivory tower was too much of a stretch for her. Reminds me of that chapter in “The Invisible Gorilla”: what smart chess players and stupid criminals have in common.

    Putting the con in ‘confidence.’

    Comment by Radge Havers — 26 Jul 2010 @ 11:35 AM

  344. My summary.
    Technically excellent but I still have worries about lack of good simplified versions of it.

    Technical summary. Perhaps this might be sufficient?
    1. The lead article
    2. Gavin’s comment following #270 here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/07/the-montford-delusion/comment-page-6/#comment-182095

    3. Tamino’s comment #302.
    ———–
    Thats it! (apologies if I have omitted some other significant contributions)
    ———————————–
    ————————————–
    Simplified summary ?
    It would have to be written for super-suspicious (ss) people? Remember that such people don’t have a calendar or a clock. They are stuck in the late 1980’s. They don’t or won’t understand that this is not of crucial importance. Their suspicions are still being fueled by propagandists who have echoed thousands of attacks on non-centered PCA’s.Remember that these people may not be able to follow the technicalities but have a sharp eye for anything that looks wrong. So what do they read here?

    Tamino’s

    That it would have been a better idea to use full-centered and normalized PCA (as Huybers recommends) is my opinion. That the result would have been the same is a fact.

    and the stonger but more tentative version from Lloyd Flack

    Yes, performing an improperly centered analysis was a mistake

    ss person.Reads the phrase ‘same in fact’ but fails to reconcile it with the rest. Cognitive dissonance; forgets the phrase. Shouts: RC admits that MBH made a mistake! The house didn’t fall down but that was sheer luck considering the rubbishy bricks they used.(Evidence based on one brick).
    ————–
    I still think it would help if these simplifications were clarified.
    Which of any of these possible additions/analogies are relevant?

    1. The quadratic equation scandal.
    School inspector:

    I see that your children have been taught to solve quadratic equations by substituting numbers into the formula:

    x= (1/2a)*[-b(+/-)(b^2-4a*c)^0.5]

    whereas the correct way according to the book is to calculate

    q=(-1/2)*[b+sgn(b)*(b^2-4a*c)^0.5];

    giving the two roots as

    x(1)=q/a ; x(2)=c/q.

    Teacher: But it made no difference!

    Inspector: But it might have done, in some circumstances #, and then your unauthorised version could cause us all to become victims of fraud. It’s very suspicious. Perhaps it would be safer to have new teachers, no perhaps a new school.

    [# e.g. if a and or c are small as a result of rounding errors]

    2. (Back to hockey).Yes this mistake could have made a difference in the wrong hands, but as the more technical arguments show, these researchers were very careful and knew what they were doing …

    3. Yes but this is paleoclimatology. What do you expect? Look at the size of the error bars. Look at the noise. It is just wonderful that they have managed to extract so much information. Your fuss reminds me of the student who, given rough data, provides his answers to 10 significant figures just because they are displayed on the calculator, and then complains that someone has dropped a digit in the 3rd. significant place.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 26 Jul 2010 @ 11:44 AM

  345. Last comment.
    The quote from Tamino should extend over two lines. Sorry about mess.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 26 Jul 2010 @ 11:51 AM

  346. As far as this historic period is concerned, the reconstruction of past temperatures based on deep boreholes in deep permafrost is one of the best past temperature proxies we have (for the global regions with permafrost – polar regions and mountainous regions) – as a signal of average temperatures it’s even more accurate than historic direct measurements of the air temperature, since the earth’s upper crust acts as a near perfect conservator of past temperatures – given that no water circulation takes place, which is precisely the case in permafrost where by definition the water is frozen. In general it will take the signal from a significant air temperature shift around 500-1000 years to reach a depth of some hundred meters.

    http://www.eos.ubc.ca/~mjelline/453website/eosc453/E_prints/AnnRev.28.1.339.pdf (see pages 345(propagation of temperature wave) and 356 (historic reconstruction) fx.)

    “The incorporation of geothermal data into a multi-proxy reconstruction therefore offers an independent estimate of long-term temperature trends that can be integrated with estimates of annual variability deduced from tree ring widths. Various efforts to effect that marriage (Beltrami
    & Mareschal 1992b, Beltrami et al 1995, Putnam et al 1997, Huang & Pollack
    1999) have yet to find uniform acceptance.” (p. 359). See also

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v403/n6771/full/403756a0.html

    http://www.emetsoc.org/annual_meetings/documents/2009/CL4_EMS2009-180.pdf

    Unfortunately the high mathematic and statistical finesses of this is beyond my capacity. But as a secondary school teacher in (among other subjects in physical geography) climate and climate change I wonder how far these records from permafrost boreholes are now being used in the general studies of the subject?

    (The whole hockey-stick-emails-“climategate”-discussion seems to me to be historic media dust more than anything else. Please remember that scientific historians fx. are still disagreeing severely about what happened on the evening the german Reichstag burned late february 1933 – even when it is rather well established since the early sixties that Göring later in private conversation admitted his central part in arranging the crime. But the interests in denying the obvious among certain (german) power-holders are surprisingly strong and – they still seem to be strengthening! For some reason…

    The climate science also sure is subject to severe political pressures from varying lobbyist groups, first and foremost the oil an coal interests which are huge financial powerhouses especially in the US Senate – a body which in reality dictates the whole global “climate policy” or rather the absence of any such – serious climate politicans round the globe in reality have – as we now have seen – no chance at all against the denying forces and their huge media apparatus, as long as the public don’t see some very serious consequences of climate change, fx. food shortages. The possibilities that political leaders will soon agree to effective climate policies seem to be close to zero, they are, as James Lovelock noted in “The Revenge of Gaia”, only seeking just as Chamberlain 1938 to gain time, and they are not very interested in the realm, because most or all of them subscribe to the by far leading religion of our times: the neoclassical so-called economic “science”, which is based on a lot of completely unrealistic assumptions, see fx. http://www.paecon.net/#_A_Brief_History . Please note, that all the world’s leading “climate sceptics”, fx. the danish statistican Bjørn Lomborg, are strong believers in the neoclassical (often called “neoliberal”) dogmas. They will continue to deny any facts whatsoever that are in conflict with their dogmas, as long as they can. Fx. they see nature solely simplistic as economic mathematical functions = “dumps” for vaste, and do not recognize that nature is the indispensable framework and base for any economy and will influence it strongly.

    Maybe we should limit our heroic efforts to scientific studies and their poularization among decent people and not hope to be “understood” or even accepted by big financial interests which are all too biased and cynical to even try to grasp the subject matter. But time is always on the side of the truth, and you can only lead the horse down to the water, it makes no sense to force it to drink. In my view, most evidence seem to support that mankind is not very able to deal with unpleasant problems before it’s too late. And in some strange way: the stronger the evidence, the stronger the tendency to deny it. I think, that if we appear more cynical about the whole thing, we have better chances of being taken serious.)

    Comment by Karsten V. Johansen — 26 Jul 2010 @ 12:19 PM

  347. From what I have seen MMM (I have added Monford) certainly do not appear to be in the “nutter” category by any stretch of the imagination. If you wanted to challenge their ideas and views the best way by far is with the Science

    Where’s the science? None of the “M”s are scientists, between them they’ve published what, one deeply flawed paper in total?

    So turn it around – if MMM have anything meaningful to say, the best way by far is for them to do so with science, and that means writing stuff up for publication and submitting it for critique and analysis by the scientific community.

    Comment by dhogaza — 26 Jul 2010 @ 12:22 PM

  348. Over the last few years I thought we had glimpses of a Judith Curry who could do some good. Alas, the one we now actually have is doing far more harm than good, in a devastatingly embarrassing way. The predictable complaints about bad treatment of her were sure to follow as a lame substitute for any actual scientifically useful arguments.

    [Response: Indeed. When she is talking in general about where science needs to go, I’m mostly in agreement though I think she has some specifics wrong. What I don’t get is why she doesn’t realise that she is being held to a higher standard than some anonymous blog commenter, precisely because she is who she is. It matters if she makes and repeats factually inaccurate statements without looking into things. Hopefully we can all learn from this. – gavin]

    Comment by Ric Merritt — 26 Jul 2010 @ 12:26 PM

  349. RE: #340 Comment by Thingsbreak

    Yes, those are my comments. If you have any substantive comment on them I am very happy to debate them with you on the thread from whence they came at Bishophill – probably best not here as Gavin has already said this is OT and I agree with him.

    [Response: The only comment that really needs to be made is that, along with your posts here, they reveal what you are all about.–Jim]

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 26 Jul 2010 @ 2:44 PM

  350. Re #337 In answer to your question about the need to record telephone calls, as far as the UK is concerned, there is no requirement to do so in order to generate information that might get requested under FOIA. There may be a need to keep a record of a conversation because of it’s importance.

    WRT email policies, this is off-topic but the relationship between records and email might need to be a subject of a future post, since the subject keeps recurring.

    Comment by Mikel — 26 Jul 2010 @ 3:33 PM

  351. ” …“settled science”. I have no idea where this comes from…”

    Either we have enough info to act or we don’t.

    Comment by Michael W — 26 Jul 2010 @ 4:01 PM

  352. [edit, off topic]

    Comment by Ron R. — 26 Jul 2010 @ 4:50 PM

  353. Speaking of delusions, how about a humor break for everybody? See Dr. Roy Spencer attempt to explain (with incredible patience) how the notion of greenhouse a gas does not violate the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics:

    Yes, Virginia, Cooler Objects Can Make Warmer Objects Even Warmer Still

    He never gives up trying to sort out his followers, through dozens of iterations of redundant comments leading inexorably to insults and invective (JC, take note, these people are seriously -fickle-). The man is a mountain of tolerance.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 26 Jul 2010 @ 4:58 PM

  354. 290 Judith Curry,

    Can you point me to your review of Montford’s book? I’ve seen a number of posts by you but nothing that looks like a review. This thread is now quite long so I suspect I’ve missed it.

    TIA.

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 26 Jul 2010 @ 5:05 PM

  355. Dr. Curry might’ve done better for herself had she realized ‘in for a dime, in for a dollar’ is a cautionary tale, not an optimal strategy (not least given the company she has thrown in with). And is it only me that wonders whether your woman’s domicile in the reddest of states is part of the story here?

    Groupthink indeed.

    Comment by Majorajam — 26 Jul 2010 @ 5:58 PM

  356. This last weekend, I had a house guest. He (Dr. F.) is a statistician who works for USDA in Washington, DC. Dr. F. was very aware of the quotes that were mined out of the CRU emails including use of the word “tricks”, discussions of deleting data, and charges against Dr. Mann.

    Dr. F. had not heard of the context of the data deletion discussions, which I thought was interesting because he uses proprietary data under non-disclosure agreements, and is routinely subjected to demands that he turn the data over to university researchers.

    Dr. F. had not heard that Dr. Mann’s work and ethics had been subject to multiple reviews and found to be correct and appropriate.

    And, Dr. F. uses the term “tricks” in his own emails to refer to normalization of proxy data, but thought that in the emails it referred to data manipulation.

    That Dr. F. was not aware of these issues tells me that we are winning the battles, and losing the war for the hearts and minds of the public. This is a well informed guy, and we did not get the truth to him via mass media.

    The really ironic thing is that Dr. F. studies the efficacy of various agencies communications.

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 26 Jul 2010 @ 6:13 PM

  357. for 534: Curry’s review is @168

    Note it is referred to as a review but it is really a critique of Tamino’s criticisms of the book. Or, in here words she took “a few moments to clarify the weaknesses in Tamino’s review”

    Many here seem to have now taken this as Judith’s Manifesto and labeled here a skeptic and a denier. I find this exceedingly strange and counter-productive.

    [Response: That is certainly not my position, nor was it implicit in my replies. She should be capable of discerning most of the false claims from Montford without any of our help, and the reaction is likely due to her apparent disinclination to do so. – gavin]

    Comment by Eric — 26 Jul 2010 @ 6:19 PM

  358. #356, Aaron Lewis:

    “That Dr. F. was not aware of these issues tells me that we are winning the battles, and losing the war for the hearts and minds of the public.”

    Some time back, I believe this point was essentially the message Judith Curry was attempting to bring. And it’s an important warning.

    Unfortunately, in this most recent attempt to bridge the gap between “dueling websites”, she chose to throw the paleoclimatologists under the bus. As a peace-offering to the skeptics, on their say-so, she condemned their work without understanding it or its context. And then she found that she didn’t have the intellectual backbone to decide whether she did, or did not, believe what she was proclaiming.

    This must be like some kind of nightmare for her: I wonder if, by so publicly failing to maintain an intellectually respectable position (right or wrong), she’s burned her bridges.

    Where does Anakin Skywalker go after he’s turned to the dark side?

    Comment by Neal J. King — 26 Jul 2010 @ 7:49 PM

  359. Geoff,

    I have to suggest that there is real value in stating errors plainly, particularly if one wants to leave them behind.

    On both sides there are the truly engaged and intelligent observers, and the sheep in various shades, all of whom just want to be on the “right” side but are not capable of identifying which that is themselves.

    The only thing that will ever convince a sheep of anything is the rest of the herd and where it is going. So both sides of the debate can safely ignore the sheep – there is no convincing them of anything, and they will not be leading anyone else anywhere.

    Your fight is for the conversion of the intelligent skeptics – get them and you get the sheep too. The problem with your suggestions is that they are transparent to intelligent skeptics. In fact, more than that, they are likely to raise the BS radar of intelligent skeptics. So my advice for whatever it is worth is go with the truth, admit mistakes promptly, and keep improving the science. The same goes, of course, for the intelligent skeptics.

    Just my two cents of course.

    Comment by Paul-in-CT — 26 Jul 2010 @ 7:56 PM

  360. Gavin:

    She should be capable of discerning most of the false claims from Montford without any of our help, and the reaction is likely due to her apparent disinclination to do so.

    She goes beyond simply not bothering to do the work required to determine that Montford’s book contains a large number of falsehoods. She touts the book. As she did here – she encourages people to read the book. Elsewhere, she’s been less coy about stating her belief that the book is mostly right.

    If she didn’t want to do the work to debunk Montford’s claims and wanted to take an honest approach, she should have come here hat in hand asking, “is he right about Mann 2008?” etc.

    It’s the indiscriminating swallowing of Montford’s (and much else from CA) claims, the touting of them being most likely correct without bothering to fact check, that has me riled up.

    Comment by dhogaza — 26 Jul 2010 @ 7:59 PM

  361. dhogaza @360:

    I certainly would not recommend reading the book, unless you like wasting a day or two of you time. After about 150 pages I had to really force myself to read the damn thing and even before that I realized that it was basically a rehash of CA posts. Unless you want to get deep into the denialist mindset (not an entirely bad thing, it is important to know your enemy) but at some point, perhaps where he claimed that there were boreholes reaching back to 1000AD, I began to go “what!?”.

    [Response: Err…. there are. You can even find boreholes that show remnants of the cooling from the last ice age. For sure the signals are small, and the coverage lousy, but they exist. – gavin]

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 26 Jul 2010 @ 9:12 PM

  362. Re 357:

    No manifestos or labels involved; it’s simply a morbidly fascinating repetition of a recent pattern. Dr. Curry’s initial post was of the drive-by caliber normally seen from a generic troll, to the degree that some here openly wondered if the poster was an imposter. Subsequent posts sunk only deeper into bizarro-land, with Dr. Curry ultimately reduced to working the Wounded Innocent angle on other blogs. Very odd and rather depressing.

    Comment by spilgard — 26 Jul 2010 @ 10:02 PM

  363. a repeat link, probably, but for those wanting to engage curry in a more free-for-all environment (she doesn’t benefit), chase the link, read, and comment.

    Comment by dhogaza — 26 Jul 2010 @ 11:14 PM

  364. I was just looking at the spaghetti graphs, which usually show boreholes going back only a few hundred years. My bad. Montford claims that Huang did a study which showed a large MCA (I hate MWP) which could not get published. Of course he provided no evidence, and I seem to recall that there was a borehole which did show a regional effect somewhat like this from Huang. Can you help?

    [Response: I’ve no idea what Huang didn’t publish, but here are two papers he did: Huang et al, 2008 and Huang et al, 1997. – gavin]

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 27 Jul 2010 @ 12:54 AM

  365. Re #364: FYI a couple of years ago someone (Eli or Stoat IIRC) worked those Huang papers over. There were some serious issues identified, although I don’t recall the details.

    Also, someone (IIRC Mike Mann) wrote a paper several years ago questioning borehole data utility.

    [Response: Boreholes are a wonderful, and truly independent source of information regarding temperature trends in past centuries. Leading researchers in this area such as Pollack and collaborator Huang done some groundbreaking work in this area. They have concluded that there is loss of sensitivity beyond about 500 years, and while more widespread but noisier geothermal heat flux measurements can be used to go back further, the resulting estimates are far more tentative and quite subject to a priori constraints in the required mathematical inversion. That notwithstanding, Huang et al, 2008 come to a similar conclusion as other recent studies (e.g. AR4 and Mann et al, 2008) regarding the “MWP”–that while it is indeed evident in hemispheric mean reconstructions, it does not reach the level of the warmth of recent decades.

    My collaborators and I have pointed out some potential problems in using borehole information (which reflect ground surface temperatures to interpret past changes in surface air temperatures. The main problem is that the two quantities can diverge substantially in the presence of changing seasonal patterns of winter snowcover. See Mann et al (2003), Mann and Schmidt (2003), Mann et al (2009). – mike]

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 27 Jul 2010 @ 1:56 AM

  366. re: #364 Rattus
    here is the story, as best as I can tell:

    1) Huang, et al (1997) as Gavin notes.

    Huang, Shaopeng and Pollack, Henry N. (1997) “Late Quaternary temperature changes seen in world-wide continental heat flow measurements,” Geophysical Research Letters, 24(15), 1947-1950.
    Figure 2. there offers wild 20,000-year temperature curves from boreholes.

    2) Huang, et al (2000)

    Huang, Shaopeng, Pollack, Henry N., and Shen, Po-Yu (2000) “Temperature trends over the past five centuries reconstructed from borehole temperatures,” Nature, 403 (17 February 2000), 403, 756-758.
    (I’ve only read abstract, but this is continuation and supercedes the 1997 paper, and they’ve pulled in 20,000 years to 500 years…)
    Likewise, there is:

    3) Pollock, et al (1998)

    Henry N. Pollack, Shaopeng Huang, and Po-Yu Shen, “Climate Change Record in Subsurface Temperatures: A Global Perspective,” Science 9 October 1998 282: 279-281. this says:

    “The combination of the predominant depth range of observations and the characteristic magnitude of noise has led us to choose five centuries as the practical interval over which to develop climate reconstructions. …
    …The geothermal reconstruction and all multiproxy reconstructions show that the 20th century is the warmest recent century and that the mean rate of temperature increase in the 20th century is well in excess of temperature trends of earlier centuries.”

    Now, 1) Huang et al (1997) and 2) Huang, et al (2000) are cited in the Wegman Report, but never actually referenced. That’s sort of strange. Where might they have come from?

    Well, we also have (cited in bibliography, but also not actually referenced):
    McKitrick(2005)

    McKitrick, Ross (2005) “What is the ‘Hockey Stick’ debate about?” APEC Study Group, Australia, April 4, 2005.

    and

    McIntyre, McKitrick (2005)

    McIntyre, Stephen and McKitrick, Ross (2005) “The Hockey Stick Debate: Lessons in Disclosure and Due Diligence,” 05/11/05 presentation @ George Marshall Institute.

    On p.6 of each of those, you will find a chart of the last 1,000 years, derived from the Huang, et al (1997) chart, and it shows a SERIOUS MWP.

    Alas, their scholarship did not extend to noticing that Huang, et al had decided by 1998 that 20,000 years didn’t really work (why I suspect Nature didn’t like it), but 500 years did [which is what got into Science in 1998 and Nature in 2000 and TAR in 2001. Of course, had they noticed that, the monster MWP would have disappeared.

    Now, go back and read HSI, pp.28-30 and see if you might hazard a guess as to where this came from…

    Comment by John Mashey — 27 Jul 2010 @ 2:32 AM

  367. #359

    I have to suggest that there is real value in stating errors plainly

    I couldn’t agree agree more.

    plain?
    It is not all plain to talk about an error which makes no difference, especially in a simplified summary.I could elaborate with more examples but should have thought that the ambiguity was obvious.

    errors?
    Are you sure about that term? As I stated earlier I intend to understand this better some time (perhaps), but this word needs to be used with care. Even if method B were substantially better than method A it would still be a false deduction or a misleading description to state that method A must have contained an error although it might have done.

    By the way, it is not just uncertainty which confuses non-scientists it is also levels of approximation.

    go with the truth

    Don’t you think that is a bit patronising? Thats what most of us here are trying to find?

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 27 Jul 2010 @ 5:44 AM

  368. #226 (2nd response)
    You mean…

    http://www.wissenslogs.de/wblogs/gallery/5/previews-med/an-inconvenient-truth.jpg

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 27 Jul 2010 @ 6:42 AM

  369. John Mashey #366, you really must read Section 2 of the 2008 paper (link in #364).

    So must Montford and the gang BTW. Perhaps a Lesson in Due Diligence?

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 27 Jul 2010 @ 8:09 AM

  370. I think one interesting thing about the tribalism idea is it tends to be framed in an ‘us vs. them’ context. I think its really ‘science vs. belief’.

    The denialist side seems to have settled into well there’s not enough certainty to start setting policy. Hmmm. . . sounds familiar.

    S. Fred Singer, 1990: “My conclusion can be summed up in a simple message: The scientific base for a greenhouse warming is too uncertain to justify drastic actin at this time. There is little risk in delaying policy responses to this century-old problem because there is every expectation that scientific understanding will be substantial improved within a few years. Instead of taking premature actions that are likely to be ineffective, we may prefer to use the same resources–a few trillion dollars by some estimates–to increase our economic resilience so that we can then apply specific remedies it and as necessary. That is not to say that some steps cannot be taken now; indeed many kids of energy conservation and efficiency increases make economic sense even without the threat of greenhouse warming.
    Drastic, precipitous, and especially unilateral steps to delay the putative greenhouse impacts can cost jobs and prosperity without being effective.”

    Interesting that we are still hearing basically this very same message echoed through the halls of our representatives.

    It all sounds so reasonable, until you realize that this is the same guy that says human-caused global warming theory is all bunk and then find that his efforts have been funded by fossil fuel interests.


    A Climate Minute: The Natural CycleThe Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

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    Our best chanceLearn the Issue & Sign the Petition

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 Jul 2010 @ 8:39 AM

  371. John, Gavin, Mike —

    You mean Montford might have been, hmmm…, mistaken about the unpublished paper, it was the 1997 GRL paper. Clearly the 1997 GRL paper was the one I recalled and was the one I was thinking about. The subsequent Nature paper seems to be a step back from the 20,000 year claim, something which Montford conveniently ignores. The Nature paper is here.

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 27 Jul 2010 @ 10:42 AM

  372. Here’s a working link to the Science paper.

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 27 Jul 2010 @ 10:54 AM

  373. 357 Eric,

    Thanks. I had seen that. It was so unlike a “review” that I had to ask if that is what she really was referring to.

    I was going to ask her more about it but it seems she’s bailed out. As dhogaza has mentioned, Joe Romm has picked it up, though, so CP might be a better place, if she’s still there.

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 27 Jul 2010 @ 11:33 AM

  374. (Trust me, this all bears on the Montford’s reseach, as will become clear by the end.)

    re: #369 Martin
    Read Huang, et al (2008) Yes, thanks, I have.
    That usefully pulls all this together, and of course, HSI manages to be very selective in its Due Diligence, as was clear from its Index, even before I got the book. See Wiki history of HSI discussion, where I ask some questions about that. (That was moved to Archive, those of masochistic bent may look at the ongoing discussion and the 3 archives accumulated so far. Based on ratio of discussion to amount of text in the actual Wikipedia page, this is a highly-discussed book and (as I suggest 23 July in the Current discussion, this is well recorded as a classic test case that may eventually help clarify reliable sources.

    But, back to the Huang topic.
    ops, I see I mis-edited (it was late), so the URLs were wrong. The right ones are McKitrick(2005) and McIntyre&McKitrick(2005).

    In any case, the original question was what Montford was talking about. So, let me try again. McKitrick(2005), speaking at an economics meeting in Australia, writes, p.4:

    “In the mid-1990s the use of ground boreholes as a clue to paleoclimate history was becoming well-established. In 1995 David Deming, a geoscientist at the University of Oklahoma, published a study in Science4 that demonstrated the technique by generating a 150-year climate history for North America. Here, in his own words, is what happened next.

    ‘With the publication of the article in Science, I gained significant credibility in the community of scientists working on climate change. They thought I was one of them, someone who would pervert science in the service of social and political causes. So one of them let his guard down. A major person working in the area of climate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.”5′

    “4 Deming, D. (1995). “Climatic Warming in North America: Analysis of Borehole Temperatures.” Science 268, 1576-1577.
    5 David Deming (2005) “Global Warming, the Politicization of Science, and Michael Crichton’s State of Fear.” Forthcoming, Journal of Scientific Exploration, v.19, no.2.’

    In McKintyre&McKitrick(2005), p.6, the footnotes got lost, and the story cchanged:
    “Not too long ago, another borehole researcher published an essay
    describing some things that happened to him after he published a paper on
    this in 1995. He published a paper in Science reconstructing climatic conditions in North America based on borehole record and concluded in the
    paper that present conditions still appeared to be within the range of natural variability. In his essay he comments,
    “With the publication of the article in Science [in 1995], I gained significant credibility in the community of scientists working on climate change. They thought I was one of them, someone who would pervert science in the service of social and political causes. So one of them let his guard down. A major person working in the area of climate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said, “We have to get
    rid of the Medieval Warm Period.”
    – D. Denning, Science 1995.”
    Ignoring the Deming => Denning gaffe, did you notice that the loss of the JSE reference in effect places in Science, not in JSE?
    Clever, clever.

    Montford, p.28 repeats that quote and then on p.29 quotes more of Deming’s essay from JSE. At least it is correctly cited and referenced.

    Now I’d guess most people are familiar with Science.

    How about JSE?
    Alas, it is a bit lower, far below Energy&Environment…
    For an excursion into the truly bizarre world of JSE, see Eli Rabett’s Ask for it under the counter in a plain brown wrapper. The contest for strangest paper was inconclusive, although I did think William the Sane’s selection of the one of weighing sheep while suffocating them was hard to beat. Alas, links in the discussion are broken, but you can find them a good selection at here, although the sheep article (Ishida) is now paywalled. Sorry, you will not be able to read this for a few years, but the older articles are available. (But I’d suggest any further entries in strangest article contest be posted over at Rabett Run, not here.)

    In any case, Montford seems to have used an unrefereed talk in Australia to economists to track down a quote from an ultra-obscure pseudo-science journal, and this is supplied as an important factual element in HSI.

    Comment by John Mashey — 27 Jul 2010 @ 11:36 AM

  375. I was going to ask her more about it but it seems she’s bailed out. As dhogaza has mentioned, Joe Romm has picked it up, though, so CP might be a better place, if she’s still there.

    She’s bailed out of CP as well. Apparently she’s decided Bishop Hill’s blog is the place to be.

    Comment by dhogaza — 27 Jul 2010 @ 11:50 AM

  376. Wm. did a better job on the boring holes. Start here. As for the sheep…….

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 27 Jul 2010 @ 12:35 PM

  377. 375 dhogaza,

    Thanks. I’m still catching up with the thread at CP. So far she’s not retreated one step from her stance here.

    Given that she’s gone out of her way, and even out on a limb (professionally), to support Montford’s book, Bishop Hill is the obvious place. BTW anyone know why Montford chose that name for his blog?

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 27 Jul 2010 @ 12:42 PM

  378. dhogaza says: 27 July 2010 at 11:50 AM

    She’s bailed out of CP as well. Apparently she’s decided Bishop Hill’s blog is the place to be.

    Some reasonable things were said there, Dr. Curry engaged for a while and actually helped my understanding of her stated purpose but she does not seem comfortable dealing with specifics, not even to stand behind what she’s written on her own account. The typical end result seems to be “I don’t like how I’m being treated,” as she implied here before engaging in any conversation whatsoever.

    There’s asymmetry to Dr. Curry’s requirements for proper comportment. At Climate Progress Dr. Curry complained about how she was treated by Gavin in an earlier thread here (April) concerning a raft of vague complaints she’d made, claiming he was “snarky.” Dredging up the apparent remarks in question, it turns out that Gavin was mildly objecting to the factually unsupported use of words such as “corruption” to describe the activities of the IPCC. Dr. Curry requires that she be free to use words such as “corruption” and “sloppy” but a request to support such adjectives is considered “snarky.”

    50 years from now people are going to be laughing through their tears if they should ever bother to look at all of this. What an embarrassing history we’re making.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 27 Jul 2010 @ 12:46 PM

  379. I haven’t read HSI, and after Tamino’s review, have no desire to do so.

    So I don’t know if Montford provides the purloined mail context for the ‘lose the Medieval’ quote or not. My guess would be ‘not’.

    > > Hi Phil, Kevin, Mike, Susan and Ben – I’m looking
    > > for some IPCC-related advice, so thanks in
    > > advance. The email below recently came in and I
    > > googled “We have to get rid of the warm medieval
    > > period” and “Overpeck” and indeed, there is a
    > > person David Deeming that attributes the quote to
    > > an email from me. He apparently did mention the
    > > quote (but I don’t think me) in a Senate hearing.
    > > His “news” (often with attribution to me) appears
    > > to be getting widespread coverage on the
    > > internet. It is upsetting.
    > >
    > > I have no memory of emailing w/ him, nor any
    > > record of doing so (I need to do an exhaustive
    > > search I guess), nor any memory of him period. I
    > > assume it is possible that I emailed w/ him long
    > > ago, and that he’s taking the quote out of
    > > context, since know I would never have said what
    > > he’s saying I would have, at least in the context
    > > he is implying.

    Jonathon Overpeck

    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=868&filename=1206628118.txt

    Comment by Phil Clarke — 27 Jul 2010 @ 1:00 PM

  380. I just posted this on climateaudit, I thought the RC readers would enjoy this also

    Judith Curry
    Posted Jul 27, 2010 at 2:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    All the heat that I get in the blogosphere is worth it to me because of the many thoughtful emails I receive, offering support, ideas and information. I just received this in via email, referring to an interview with Stephen Chu in the Financial Times, Feb 17, 2010 (registration required): http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a71cf176-1bff-11df-a5e1-00144feab49a.html

    FT: On the climate threat, do you think there is legitimate concern now about the fact that some of the science, even if it’s not flawed, it’s been misrepresented, which has undermined the case in many people’s eyes.

    SC: First, the main findings of IPCC over the years, have they been seriously cast in doubt? No. I think that if one research group didn’t understand some tree ring data and they chose to admit part of that data. In all honesty they should have thrown out the whole data set. But science has a wonderful way of self-correcting on things like that. What the public doesn’t understand is that as you go forward there will be these things and they will self correct. On balance if you look at all the things the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the body of experts convened by the United Nations to advise governments in responding to global warming] has been doing over the last number of years, they were trying very hard to put in all the peer-reviewed serious stuff. I’ve actually always felt that they were taking a somewhat conservative stand on many issues and for justifiable reasons.

    In all honesty, they should have thrown out the whole data set. And here I was trying to be polite . . .

    [Response: So now Stephen Chu is the expert on tree rings? Curious…. He is correct in his main point – science is self-correcting: better data is produced, issues that arise are dealt with, previously unrecognised problems are addressed, and the process moves forward. But who does this correcting and improving? People who are interested in the result and put in the time to see what is going on. Do things improve because every judgement call in every study is assumed to imply corruption and fraud? No. But let’s go back to Chu’s comment, what group and what tree ring study was he talking about back in February? He is almost certainly referring to the tree ring density record divergence highlighted by Briffa et al (Nature, 1998) post 1960, which you may recall got some press a few months ago. Given that the cause of that divergence is still unclear, and that it doesn’t appear to occur earlier, it is not a priori obvious that it should be ‘thrown out’ (and in my judgement it shouldn’t have been as long the caveats were made clear – which they were). But opinions may differ on this, and if you want to ‘throw it out’, go ahead. You’ll note that this has nothing to do with Tamino’s post, MBH98 or anything that has been discussed on this thread, including your previous comments. – gavin]

    [Further Response: It’s also worth pointing out what Chu says a little later on: “If you look at the climate sceptics, I would have to say honestly, what standard are they being held to? It’s very asymmetric. They get to say anything they want. In the end, the core of science is deeply self checking.” – Indeed. – gavin]

    [Response: I think we can pretty safely conclude that tree ring data is bogus and just chuck it all–cores, data, studies, lab groups, the whole nine yards. Waste of hard disk space. Good to know that according to you, the Secretary of Energy would probably back me on that–Jim]

    [Even Further Response: I think we can safely assume that Jim’s last comment will be widely quoted by the irony-unaware. ;) – gavin]

    Comment by Judith Curry — 27 Jul 2010 @ 2:53 PM

  381. I certainly understood Judith Curry’s ‘review’ comment to represent her own opinions, and was quite taken aback by some of the strong insinuations. If your point is only to paraphrase someone else’s opinion (and esp if that other person’s opinion is held in low regard within the setting you’re in), you’re better of making very clear that what you’re saying is not your own opinion.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 27 Jul 2010 @ 3:03 PM

  382. Question: Dr Curry’s claim that Mann et al 2008 contained no non-dendro reconstructions and used the ‘discredited’ PCA centering is false in both parts, as can be demonstrated by the simple precaution of actually reading the paper in question. For those of us who have not read the book, are these false claims from the book, or are they rather an artifact of a flawed memory?

    [Response: I have no idea, but Curry’s response to you in CA is still untrue. She says:

    Phil, your question is discussed in some detail throughout the thread. The punchline is that my statement was correct in spirit but incorrect in detail, but Gavin’s specific rebuttal to my statement was also incorrect. Thank goodness for the auditors :) .

    To whit, nothing in my response was incorrect. There was a no-tree ring reconstruction in Mann et al (2008) which was valid to ~1000AD for one method, back to ~1500AD for another. There are no PCA data reduction steps in that paper. The figure I linked to shows that no-tree ring reconstruction, as well as an additional variation added later to deal with a spurious claim (repeated again in the CA thread) that the non-tree ring Tijander proxies were substituted into the reconstruction to restore it’s HS-ness. That is demonstrably false as can be seen from the reconstruction without tree-rings and without 7 other potentially problematic records in light blue. All of the data and code for that study are online, and anyone can verify these claims, or any other variation on the theme they care to investigate. To be clear, I do not think that Mann et al (2008) is the be-all and end-all of paleo-reconstructions, but when specific claims are made about a paper, it behoves people to actually check what the paper and supplemental material says. – gavin]

    Comment by Phil Clarke — 27 Jul 2010 @ 3:31 PM

  383. Dr. Curry is cross-posting, so I’ll take a cue:

    As the old radio guy said, “the rest of the story,” or at least that part of the interview pertaining to the IPCC and climate science:

    FT: But as a distinguished scientist yourself, don’t you think that the IPCC crossed the line between scientific research and advocacy?

    SC: I don’t think so. My impression about watching them working is that it is one of the things where they have been held up to a very high standard.

    FT: In the last three months.

    SC: No, since the beginning. Since report number one. Their reports get reviewed. Lots of people are asked to take shots at this in a very serious way that I think is all right because what they’re saying is so important. It has economic consequences worldwide. They should be able to say that this is serious science and take a somewhat conservative view. If you look at the climate sceptics, I would have to say honestly, what standard are they being held to? It’s very asymmetric. They get to say anything they want. In the end, the core of science is deeply self checking.

    FT interview transcript: Steven Chu

    Further to cross-posting:

    Doug Bostrom says:
    July 27, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    In fairness, I wonder if the copy of the FT interview Dr. Curry received via email was truncated as she presented it there and copied it here? “Uncritical acceptance” is the term immediately springing to my mind.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 27 Jul 2010 @ 4:08 PM

  384. CRU has a new press release:

    Response to New Scientist editorial (17 July 2010)
    It is depressing that the New Scientist follows parts of the blogosphere, and some other sections of the press, in asserting that of the three independent investigations into Climategate “none looked into the quality of the science itself” (Editorial, 17 July 2010, page 3). Our hope was that New Scientist would have a more informed understanding of the method of science research.

    http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/rebuttalsandcorrections/newscientistresponse

    Comment by Snapple — 27 Jul 2010 @ 4:09 PM

  385. Snapple says: 27 July 2010 at 4:09 PM

    CRU has a new press release:

    Well-written, and with the excellent virtue of existence.

    I like especially this section:

    The Oxburgh Panel operated, and wrote their report, entirely independently and so we cannot answer for the precise form of words used, but it does seem entirely consistent with the way science works. New Scientist, when do science conclusions become “correct”? Science conclusions remain provisional, becoming more or less provisional over time, until/unless they are replaced by scientifically likelier conclusions, or unless they reach the elevated status of “fact”. In the observational sciences, that process develops through the honestly and scientifically justified interpretation of data.

    The compilation of a hemispheric or global land surface data time series from irregularly distributed (in time and space) historical thermometer observations can never be “correct” in an absolute sense. There will always be uncertainty, as there will be greater relative uncertainty in our knowledge of past temperatures from ”proxy indicators” such as tree-rings. The discovery, or utilisation, of more or better proxy records might improve our understanding of the Mediaeval Warm Period. Developing analytical techniques may also change our understanding; hence the provisionality of scientific conclusions.

    Good on ‘em.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 27 Jul 2010 @ 4:19 PM

  386. Dr Curry has kindly responded promptly to my question (382 above) which I also posed at Climate Audit. The main point (does the slip originate with herself or Montford) is not addressed. She writes

    “The punchline is that my statement was correct in spirit but incorrect in detail, but Gavin’s specific rebuttal to my statement was also incorrect. Thank goodness for the auditors”

    I am not going to cross-post my response, which you can read at CA if you wish, nor does it seem worth pursuing the question any further. I just end by repeating some Professorial wisdom from upthread:

    “Once you’re in a hole, you can try to climb out or keep digging”.

    Comment by Phil Clarke — 27 Jul 2010 @ 4:36 PM

  387. Phil Clarke@386 — “Boring boreholes, Batman!”

    Comment by David B. Benson — 27 Jul 2010 @ 5:10 PM

  388. “The auditors.” Anybody dropping by CA will notice frequent references to this cultish affectation, often embellished to be the more creepy-sounding “citizen auditor.” When I read “citizen auditor” the mental picture of a well-exercised guillotine pops into my head for some reason. Be careful around self-styled revolutionaries bent on fuzzily conceived destruction or the next head in the basket may be the last you’ll know of.

    By the way, I thought it was pretty much standard that if one loses an argument or one’s temper and departs in a dramatic flourish, one is supposed to be very sure of leaving the room with car keys, glasses, everything to make sure the exit is quite final. Coming back to say “And just one more thing…” then banging the door yet again without waiting for a reply is somewhat lacking in style.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 27 Jul 2010 @ 5:16 PM

  389. Perhaps Dr. Chu meant the IPCC should have ‘thrown out’ a study that reported some surprising differences from theory and invited it to come back in when it could explain itself better. But that’s awfully conservative advice, since climate change is expected to produce unexpected differences. You wouldn’t want to throw them out, eh?

    > Given that the cause of that divergence is still unclear,
    > and that it doesn’t appear to occur earlier, it is not
    > a priori obvious that it should be ‘thrown out’

    Remember this?
    http://www.math.uni-augsburg.de/stochastik/pukelsheim/1990c.pdf

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Jul 2010 @ 7:44 PM

  390. P.S.:
    http://youarenotsosmart.com/2010/06/29/subjective-validation/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Jul 2010 @ 7:48 PM

  391. Its so predictable, as soon as one climate scientist jumps ship to the sea of contrarians, they get all the press, I’ll bet getting as much attention as with 100 IPCC scientists combined… I believe this attention is important for ideas, theories not individuals. The press fallacy is attaching importance almost entirely to scientists reputation rather than adherence to solid science, Dyson, Lindzen and other massive geniuses basically can say anything valid or fictitious and get ink. So if an IPCC scientist for instance embraces Climate “Auditors” as Judith does, then huge spotlight to him, so wonderful being a star! You know, access Hollywood so nice to have!

    Comment by wayne Davidson — 27 Jul 2010 @ 8:59 PM

  392. #358
    Yes, Dr Curry’s ‘outreach program’ seemed to be motivated by the best intentions, which makes the bathetic spectacle of her public disintegration all the sadder to watch. A cautionary tale against entering a cult in order to de-program its members from the inside. And I’ve always found the accusation of ‘groupthink’ levelled by deniers against the scholarly community the height of hypocrisy. One need only compare the robust debate on a site such as this to the backslapping which characterises the comments on sites such as CA.

    Dr Curry would have done well to remember that ancient proverb qui cum canibus concumbunt cum pulicibus surgent, or as we would say today: If you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas.

    Comment by James Killen — 27 Jul 2010 @ 9:13 PM

  393. Re #380: I realize Judy is an experienced scientist, not a high school grammarian, but one of the latter might have a different view of the key passage from Chu:

    I think that if one research group didn’t understand some tree ring data and they chose to admit part of that data. In all honesty they should have thrown out the whole data set.

    Note that the first sentence is incomplete, and can only be made to make sense if it’s linked to the second with a comma. Once that’s done, the seeming assertion in the second sentence goes away and we’re left with an entirely clear conditional statement: Chu is not asserting anything about the data or how it was treated, but rather that *if* the data was bad *then* it shouldn’t have been used.

    That Judy missed this obvious point truly makes me wonder. Of course Gavin and Jim seem to have missed it too, but their error was taking Judy’s meaning at face value. Don’t make that mistake again, guys!

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 27 Jul 2010 @ 9:20 PM

  394. Re #393: Note that the FT site states that the text is an edited transcript of a (verbal) interview with Chu, not something Chu wrote. Transcription errors are understandable, propagating them without double-checking less so.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 27 Jul 2010 @ 10:20 PM

  395. Re: 248

    Your analogy only works when the system is thermodynamically isolated. In this case however, we have an input of disinformation funded by global energy interests.

    Since there appears to be zero interest or motivation in stemming that input, or countering it as energetically, there is zero potential to halt the flow if disinformation in the short to median term.

    In the long term, after the bubble breaks, the disinformation will eventually die out. The goal is to limit the damage though.. Isn’t it?

    Comment by Veidicar Decarian — 28 Jul 2010 @ 12:52 AM

  396. How much can be salvaged here. Are there any signs of wanting to add attacks by proxy on teleconnections to the flip dismissal of dendrochronology?

    Comment by Marion Delgado — 28 Jul 2010 @ 3:22 AM

  397. Gavin:

    I have often posted issues with McI’s criticisms which are exaggerated (overmodeled red noise, etc.). However, I would trust your comments more if they seemed more independant (allowing your differences with Mike to be seen).

    One very simple issue is that Mann short-centering was not even DISCLOSED in the methods. Tamino, at least, has indicated to me in the past, that Mike erred by not sharing this. [edit] What say you now?

    [Response: People should strive to include everything that is germane in the paper and methods description, but that doesn’t always happen since it isn’t always clear what issues are going to be important. There is always stuff that is left out (see my post on replication for some examples). In retrospect, had it been realised how much trouble it would cause, that PCA centering convention would probably not have been used at all – it’s likely that only because it wasn’t thought to be important that it wasn’t mentioned. This came up because of the online code. So, clearly, posting code deals with this kind of unanticipated issue and is useful in situations where what is actually done is more complicated than can be condensed into a paper. The latest Mann et al papers are pretty exemplary in that regard. – gavin]

    Comment by PolyisTCOandbanned — 28 Jul 2010 @ 4:31 AM

  398. #378 Doug Bostrom

    I unfortunately ‘still’ have to agree with your points here:

    “Dr. Curry requires that she be free to use words such as “corruption” and “sloppy” but a request to support such adjectives is considered “snarky.””

    This supports another contradiction. Dr. Curry’s main complaint seems to be tribalism, but she has wandered further into the forest tribe of ‘phrenologic climate science’ with her unsubstantiated comments/claims, and apparently still has not yet cleared the air with any specifics as to her contexts in those specific arguments.

    As always context is key, and I’m curious as to what or how many contexts are really at play here?

    I hope that this is not just an attempt to bolster potential book sales? The only reason I can think of that she would take such a position is that she has agreed to do a book with McIntyre on uncertainty.

    Assuming that may be the case: here we are with a ‘King Solomon’ challenge. If she does the book and it is released, we all know why she has taken her stance. If she now declines to do the book because, she realizes that there are other more important issues at hand (or decides to do the uncertainty book without McIntyre), then we may never know the real context.

    I hope she and McIntyre are not thinking about forming the ‘Institute of Climate Phrenology’?, which could be implied by her association of late, and her implications regarding climate tribalism.

    Point being, that I believe her generalized arguments about uncertainty have a real potential to become part of the denial infrastructure, due to her past reputation. This could cause further delay of meaningful policy adoption.

    No matter what her intentions, any such delay in meaningful action has strong potential to increase exponential costs due to climate change and it’s thermal inertia response time. I realize I am combining economics with moral responsibility, but I do believe it is important to make the ‘teleconnection’.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Jul 2010 @ 6:22 AM

  399. #380 Judith Curry

    re. Gavin’s response to Jim’s response to Gavin’s response to Judith Curry’s post:

    Irony is pretty ironic.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Jul 2010 @ 6:26 AM

  400. Steve: Ditto

    I see that the latest ‘rave review’ of Montford’s Delusion we are pointed to is in Quadrant Magazine.

    That’ll be the Quadrant Magazine hoaxed into publishing a nonsense piece of science because it fit their political agenda. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Windschuttle#Hoax

    Comment by Phil Clarke — 28 Jul 2010 @ 6:32 AM

  401. I would like to suggest that denizens of RC and CP read Peter Gleick’s testimony on scientific integrity. http://www.pacinst.org/publications/testimony/Gleick_Senate_Commerce_2-7-07.pdf

    He voices concerns about the following threats to scientific integrity (see especially the last page): appealing to emotions; making personal (ad hominem) attacks; deliberately mischaracterizing an inconvenient argument; inappropriate generalization; misuse of facts and uncertainties; false appeal to authority; hidden value judgments; selectively leaving out inconvenient measurement results.

    These tactics are common for merchants of doubt. The tactics are relatively uncommon for the watchdog auditors. I suggest that you evaluate your posts and comments by these standards.

    [Response: Wow. I think the term chutzpah is appropriate here. You could use your time to actually point out all these errors and misrepresentations you claim we’ve made, but instead you simply insunuate that we have no integrity (I think there is a name for that kind of argument….). When you ready to talk about something substantive, we’ll be more than happy to engage, but this kind of pot-shot is no way to encourage a dialogue. – gavin]

    Comment by Judith Curry — 28 Jul 2010 @ 6:37 AM

  402. Perhaps relevant is this, on the issue of online research/epistemology:

    http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2010/07/27/google-student-usage-study.html

    I know it rang a few bells for me.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 28 Jul 2010 @ 7:53 AM

  403. Some quotes shows here from OTHER blogs suggest that Judith Curry may in fact acknowledge that she made some errors in her posts here at realclimate… but she hasn’t actually said it herself here.

    She asserts that there are also errors in Gavin’s reply but we still don’t have specifics on what she thinks is incorrect from Gavin. Gavin has made errors here before; errors in general are completely plausible. But I haven’t seen any in this thread as yet.

    Is Curry actually insinuating some lack of integrity here?

    I call codswallop on that. It certainly wasn’t the original focus. She came in originally with substantive matters relating to the actual science involved; and THAT’S what scientific integrity is largely about: dealing honestly with specifics.

    She’s made some vague claims of “errors” in the review and in Gavin’s responses, but I don’t see anything specific. Where she did get specific was on some details of “hockey stick” research and she seems to have got those specifics mostly wrong. No problem with that; it’s no lack of integrity to make an error. But she’s failed to respond to substantive criticism (and you are in NO position to call “snark” on that, Dr Curry, given your own robust phrasings!) and she’s failed to acknowledge appropriately when she’s had useful corrections of her own errors. That’s not good.

    My one golden rule for myself in these kinds of topics is to acknowledge directly and with explicit thanks anyone who is good enough to find errors in my own work and posts. It’s a tactic which works very well for my own goal of simply advancing better scientific understanding. It is a win/win tactic; once you do find yourself in the position of having got some detail incorrect. Dealing with your own mistakes as quickly as possible can only help at that point, if you are serious about integrity.

    I would also think basic integrity would lean towards either withdrawing remarks about “errors” in the review or else being quite specific on what you mean.

    Comment by Chris Ho-Stuart — 28 Jul 2010 @ 9:18 AM

  404. Judith Curry:

    Please follow your own advice. Please! I am tired of you indulging in “inappropriate generalization; misuse of facts and uncertainties” and so on. You are an atmospheric scientist, not a social scientist, aren’t you? Why, then, are you unwilling to ever get specific about the actual science?

    And think for a moment: real auditors are highly qualified accountants. Would a Fortune 500 company invite strangers off the street to poke through their books? Do real auditors get in a tizzy because a paperclip is missing? I’m sure their citizen science efforts are commendable, but they are motivated by the wrong reasons, and they misjudge their conclusions. As such, why do you want to associate yourself with them? They want to tear down the science, not improve it. Don’t delude yourself otherwise.

    Comment by Didactylos — 28 Jul 2010 @ 9:35 AM

  405. Dr. Curry — Put down the shovel!

    Comment by cervantes — 28 Jul 2010 @ 9:38 AM

  406. Judith Curry wrote: “He voices concerns about the following threats to scientific integrity (see especially the last page): appealing to emotions; making personal (ad hominem) attacks; deliberately mischaracterizing an inconvenient argument; inappropriate generalization; misuse of facts and uncertainties; false appeal to authority; hidden value judgments; selectively leaving out inconvenient measurement results.”

    That’s a thorough and exact description of your behavior.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 28 Jul 2010 @ 9:40 AM

  407. Re post #400,. JC posted this on Climate Progress. However, she seems to have omitted the latter half of her CP post when she quotes Feynmann (perhaps Gavin has snipped it to save her from further embarrassment).

    It’s not dishonest; but the thing I’m [Feynmann] talking about is not just a matter of not being dishonest, it’s a matter of scientific integrity, which is another level. . . [A]lthough you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven’t tried to be very careful in this kind of work. . . The first principle is that you must not fool yourself–and you are the easiest person to fool.

    I think this describes JC’s behaviour.

    [Response: Nothing was snipped. But there is nothing more irritating than people coming along and telling scientists to read Feynmann as if we haven’t all been reading him since we were kids. So that was probably a good move on her part. – gavin]

    Comment by Ian Forrester — 28 Jul 2010 @ 10:01 AM

  408. Having waded through all the comments to the end, and seeing Dr Curry’s last post, I think I have just witnessed her admit that she has nothing else to offer but bluster : to divert attention from the fact that she has backed herself into a corner – in which she is digging herself deeper into a hole. I can’t take her seriously any more.

    Comment by JMurphy — 28 Jul 2010 @ 10:05 AM

  409. So, I guess, strip bark trees are still considered useful for temperature reconstructions then?

    [Response: Apparently. – gavin]

    Comment by Thor — 28 Jul 2010 @ 10:30 AM

  410. Judith Curry @ 400

    WTF?

    JMurphy @ 407

    “to divert attention from the fact that she has backed herself into a corner – in which she is digging herself deeper into a hole.”

    Maybe so, but this is starting to look like an infatuation with drama. I mean, I know technical types are sometimes lacking in self and social awareness, but really, you’d think she’d know better. Just when the comments on Curry start to wind down a little, up she pops again to stir the pot. It’s getting self-destructive.

    Gadz, it’s like trying to sit through an episode of TMZ…

    Comment by Radge Havers — 28 Jul 2010 @ 10:51 AM

  411. @400 Gavin:

    I think in that instance, Judith was drawing a distinction between the Fred Singer/Merchants of Doubt crowd and her new tribe of self-appointed “auditors”, rather than attributing those things to RealClimate directly. Although given some of her other statements in the thread (especially her initial offering), it’s easy to read it otherwise.

    [Response: Maybe, but her style of argument by proxy is becoming increasing extremely difficult to follow. – gavin]

    Comment by thingsbreak — 28 Jul 2010 @ 10:58 AM

  412. Comment #185 is a must-read. It illustrates how confused Curry’s arguments are. In summary:

    1. Proposition A is true.
    2. I never said I thought Proposition A is true. I was just repeating Proposition A from someone else.
    3. Your rebuttal of my repetition of Proposition A is faulty. I’m not going to elaborate. Read Proposition A from its original source. Goodbye.

    So where to next? Oh yeah. Tamino’s post.

    Comment by MarkB — 28 Jul 2010 @ 11:01 AM

  413. http://www2.mercer.edu/caring/speakers.htm
    http://www.creationcareforpastors.com/about/advisors/

    People do take her seriously. These are big groups actively involved in politics. I’d like to know what advice they’re getting. (Some of the other advisors are names everyone will recognize, this is an important area for informing a group of the public that wants to be informed.)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Jul 2010 @ 11:24 AM

  414. Whereas I am through reading these threads (anyone wanting to discuss something, pls email me), I do want to clarify the issue surrounding my statement:

    7. The Mann et al. 2008, which purports to address all the issues raised by MM and produce a range of different reconstructions using different methodologies, still do not include a single reconstruction that is free of questioned tree rings and centered PCA.

    This statement is an inaccurate reflection of what is in Montford’s book.

    [Response: Thanks for clearing that up. It really serves us all well to make sure that the details of claims we make (or repeat) are accurate, because, as you can see, people can waste a lot of time dealing with claims that aren’t true. – gavin]

    This statement has been source of much discussion both here and at climateaudit. I append here relevant excerpts from the discussion that clarify this statement and its rebuttal at RC in context of Montford’s book.

    Steve McIntyre: In respect to the published article, Mann et al 2008, it is my view that the published graphics in the original article and SI, including amendments in 2008, did not include a reconstruction showing a hockey stick that did not involve either strip bark bristlecones or contaminated Tiljander sediments. Andrew Montford’s point in HSI – a point previously made at CA – was the bristlecone rebuttal used Tilander sediments (contaminated and upside down); and to show that contamination of Tiljander sediments “didn’t matter”, used strip bark bristlecones. The point in the book was right. Judith’s point is consistent with the book.

    [Response: Logical fail. Making a criticism that is wrong is not ‘consistent’ with another criticism that might be made and might (or might not) be valid. – gavin]

    Steve McIntyre: Judith’s comment mentioning PCA in connection with Mann et al 2008 was an error that derived from her recollection, not from the book. Her point that there was something wrong with both alternatives in Mann et al 2008 was, I think, “correct in spirit”, but in these sorts of debates, it is important to be correct in letter, as any such missteps are pounced on to divert attention from the beam in the Team’s eye, as happened here.

    [Response: For once, we agree on something – people should strive to be correct. – gavin]

    Phil Clarke: In November 2009, just before Climategate, Mann placed a non-Tiljander non-dendro reconstruction on his website. He did not issue a Corrigendum at PNAS nor did he publish a notice of the new information at realclimate. That Mann did so in late 2009 long after the fact did not refute the claim in respect to Mann et al PNAS 2008.
    [edit – this from SM:] It’s very misleading for Gavin to pretend that a website addition in November 2009 was part of the corpus of Mann et al 2008, that should have been considered in CA commentary on Mann et al 2008 in late 2008 (which was what MOntford was reviewing).

    [Response: Pure spin. The additional graph was posted because of inaccurate claims that there was something wrong with the no-dendro reconstruction because of the inclusion of the already-acknowledged-to-be-problematic Tiljander proxies. The sensitivity studies in the original paper didn’t include that the no-dendro/no-Tiljander combination but that does not justify the claims made by Montford that such a combination was impossible or was not included because it undermined the results. Indeed, you can do a no-dendro and no-Tiljander reconstruction with the code that was posted with Mann et al (2008), and that was what was added to the figure I showed. Montford was apparently happy to make up results and conclusions in late 2008 that were just not justified, and for this you give him a pass? Curious. For further information, the no-dendro/no-Tiljander sensitivity test is also part of the SI in Mann et al (2009) (figure S8), where it is noted that it doesn’t validate prior to 1500 AD. Of course if you remove all data that is imperfect, you will end up with no results. But as Salzer et al point out, there is likely to be useful climate information in the tree rings so I wouldn’t throw them out unnecessarily. – gavin]

    Judith Curry:
 Too bad Tamino’s review was posted during a period when I don’t have much time to put into blogging. I felt obliged to pipe in since I challenged RC to do the review. My mistake has been an unfortunate distraction. Which wouldn’t have been a distraction if this mistake hadn’t been used to mischaracterize and discredit my broader points.
Mistakes happen, and they shouldn’t be a big deal when they are identified, acknowledged, fixed. However, the politics of expertise that is the basis of the consensus demands that the experts be oracles and never admit mistakes. Ravetz’s statements about the “radical implications of the blogosphere” are challenging the power politics of expertise. Here’s hoping that a saner environment for dialogue and argument can evolve in the blogosphere.

    [Response: Your comments here were wrong on a far more broad level than simply mis-remembering Montford’s point 7, though I appreciate that you have tried to clear that up. But this has been very illuminating – we’ve seen exactly how technical issue after technical issue is used to paint a misleading picture of supposed malfeasance (which you appear to have bought into without ever looking into the issue itself). Paleo-reconstructions are not anything special in science – they are simply the result of lots of people trying to see what they can discern of the past through a rather murky lens. Your ‘auditors’ have decided that any judgement call in doing that must be challenged and insinuate continuously that every issue is being fixed for some ulterior motive. This is not a useful challenge to the science, because it undermines the making of any judgement in the analysis whatsoever. The ‘auditors’ do not produce alternatives because they too would have to make decisions about how to proceed which would open them up to their own criticisms. That is what needs to change if they are going to make a contribution. For an example of how that ‘citizen science’ can really work, look at what Ron Broberg and Zeke Hausfeather are doing with the weather station data – they aren’t sitting around declaring that ‘it can’t be done’ or that the GISTEMP/CRU/NCDC methods are fixed, they are going into the data, making choices, seeing what impact they have and determining what is robust. Indeed, that is science without the need for the quotes. Would that there would be more of that. – gavin]

    Salamano: Do you think it’s possible that there could be a ‘trading of hostages’ here..?

    Comment by Judith Curry — 28 Jul 2010 @ 11:29 AM

  415. Intersting links HR @ 412

    I wonder if JC is aware of this:

    http://www.creationcareforpastors.com/science-info/

    Comment by sturat — 28 Jul 2010 @ 11:36 AM

  416. Judith Curry:

    At this point I have no idea how your credentials have carried you this far through everyone’s patience zone. There’s only so much tolerance you can be given for spewing nonsense just because you have expertise in other areas of atmospheric science.

    You have not addressed a single issue raised at RC, and when you post a comment, the responses by gavin have not been rebutted or accepted. Instead, you choose to outline sets of erroneous statements and then fall back on the line that they were not your opinion, you’re just summarizing what you got out of Montford’s book, or just link to what other people are writing. I call B*ll***t. All of your points so far have been ad hominem attacks on RC, and apparently you are not willing to come up with an independent though (which reflects that you actually read the back-and-forths of Mann et al), that you are willing to put up for cross-examination.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 28 Jul 2010 @ 11:41 AM

  417. Anybody else noticed the interesting developments at Dr Spencer’s blog? He is currently finding himself defending greenhouse gas theory in the face of a tide of Dunning-Kruger zombies. Kudos to the guy, he is trying very hard.

    Curry goes out, crossing paths with Spencer coming in!

    Perhaps he is beginning to realise the implications of the steadily warming air temperatures that his satellite data is revealing. I think he still has a way to go (he has commented that the link between CO2 and global warming is “tenuous at best”) but nobody is beyond redemption.

    Comment by Matthew L — 28 Jul 2010 @ 11:43 AM

  418. p.s. in the midst of the deluge at RC, it took awhile for me to sort out what might be an actual error/mistake, especially since i don’t have time to read the threads in details (i am mostly relying on emails that point out something I should respond to). I am more than willing to admit and rectify mistakes when I make them, but in doing so I want to make sure that i do not further confuse the issue. The discussion on the climateaudit thread regarding this statement clarifies Montford’s point and McIntyre’s perspective on this issue.

    Comment by Judith Curry — 28 Jul 2010 @ 12:02 PM

  419. One more point, in case i haven’t made it over here. It was not the intent of my original posts (on this thread or the one a few months ago) to get involved in a technical debate on issues surrounding the hockey stick. Although I have read fairly widely on this topic, it is not my area of expertise. So if you choose to hang my overall worth as a scientist and my professional credibility on a mistake made in a summary of a book that is outside my field of expertise, well you are certainly entitled to that judgement.

    My main interest in this issue is the way that the conflict has played out, and utter senseless of it all, and this thread just reinforces the concerns that I had when I read Montford’s book. This is a young field, with many uncertainties and contested ideas. The participation of the extended peer community in this field is a good thing. The story told by Montford of this conflict is something everybody should read so that we can all ponder how to avoid such unnecessary conflicts in the future that are causing so much damage to the entire field of climate science. This is the point of Montford’s book, which Tamino missed in his review.

    This situation raises a whole host of issues related to the integrity of science, which is why I made that post that included Gleick’s testimony (I embellished the post at CP; gavin didn’t snip anything). There are other highly uncertain topics such as hurricanes and global warming and cloud/aerosol feedbacks, that are arguably more important for the global warming argument than the paleo reconstructions. And we don’t see this kind of protracted animosity in the other fields, where uncertainties get acknowledged and productive discussion among opponents take place, even though there are occasional flareups.

    So I’ll throw this challenge out there, to figure out how facilitate constructive scientific debate on the topic of paleo reconstructions, so that the field can move forward in a way that makes these reconstructions more useful and credible. I won’t hold my breath tho . . .

    [Response: Paleo-reconstructions are not my field either, but as I indicated above, it is obvious to me that the problem here is excessive personalisation of these issues, the constant insinuations of wrong-doing, and the inability of the critics to ever make a single point cleanly and acknowledge when it is shown to be irrelevant. No scientists can deal with that kind of attack in a constructive way. The practice of science has built up a number of mechanisms to try and ensure that arguments get dealt with constructively, and a big part of that is through the peer-reviewed literature where i’s can be dotted, t’s can be crossed, and where the snark gets put aside. As Phil Jones said “I wish they’d just publish a paper, I’d know how to deal with that”. Papers are important (despite the sneers from McIntyre whenever this is brought up), because they do impose a discipline on the authors that simply doesn’t exist on blogs. It forces people to dis-aggregate issues if they are going to get things passed the reviewers. And most of the time it forces people to stop insinuating fraud every time there is a dispute. The literature is where these issues are resolved, not in blogs. If the ‘auditors’ want to make a contribution, it has to be there. – gavin]

    Comment by Judith Curry — 28 Jul 2010 @ 12:19 PM

  420. RE: Matthew L 28 July 2010 at 11:43 AM:

    I am not sure that Dr. Spencer is changing his beliefs; for his summary, please see the post to which he links. He also offered a critique of Lindzen and Choi, IIRC. I think he may be reacting to the comments of the previous article and wants to set himself apart from the “nutters”, but that is just speculation.

    Comment by Deech56 — 28 Jul 2010 @ 12:20 PM

  421. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) says: 28 July 2010 at 6:22 AM

    Point being, that I believe her generalized arguments about uncertainty have a real potential to become part of the denial infrastructure, due to her past reputation. This could cause further delay of meaningful policy adoption.

    Uncertainty does seem to be a major axle of Dr. Curry’s opinions. Paleo-Luntz revisited and refined, with a solid aura of professional credibility. Who says earlier work can’t be improved? Luntz explicitly emphasized uncertainty as a justification for inaction, perhaps we’re seeing the further cultivation of uncertainty, in a greenhouse under skilled hands. We can’t read her mind, only may read her words so we’re left to speculate from what she tells us.

    Who knows, really? Dr. Curry is becoming plain old Curry the pundit, that’s my best guess and is the most useful operative model I can think of at this point. For myself, as a member of the lay public selective quoting leaving the thoughts of the person she’s quoting truncated and inaccurately summarized in order to score rhetorical points cements this notion.

    If Curry the pundit does a better job addressing her mistakes than does George Will, she may yet once again be Dr. Curry the scientist. It’s really not technically necessary to be wrong in order to be a pundit so Curry could even be both a pundit and a scientist. Others have played that role with integrity.

    For folks interested in the taxonomy of advocacy and the phenotypes of advocates in this affair Curry’s becoming a pretty fascinating subject.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 Jul 2010 @ 12:32 PM

  422. This is OT; but for the record. What Roy Spencer is doing is no more than correcting the completely bogus “second law” argument against a greenhouse effect (promulgated by Gerlich and Tsheuschner). There’s no change of belief involved. He’s just (to his credit) dealing with errors found within his, uh, “tribe” and (to his credit again) doing so with considerable patience under fire.

    He’s refuting a ridiculous argument which he’s never accepted but which does get play with some of the other climate science denial folks. It doesn’t mean he’s any less into climate science denial himself; but it is still a positive contribution on this one issue of the “greenhouse effect falsified” confusion.

    Comment by Chris Ho-Stuart — 28 Jul 2010 @ 12:55 PM

  423. Doug Bostrom wrote: “If Curry the pundit does a better job addressing her mistakes than does George Will, she may yet once again be Dr. Curry the scientist.”

    George Will does not make “mistakes”. He deliberately, knowingly lies. He has done so repeatedly, while consistently ignoring the debunking of his falsehoods even by the very newspaper that sees fit to publish his lies.

    And with all due respect, Ms. Curry’s comments here — full of vapid hand-waving and baseless innuendo about “scientific integrity” — are more troll than pundit.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 28 Jul 2010 @ 1:30 PM

  424. Re. 377 above: Montford is based in rural Scotland I believe, so he can probably see Bishop Hill,go to http://walking.visitscotland.com/walks/perthangusfife/bishop-hill-kinross

    Does anyone really care? My personal thanks to all who take the time and trouble to take the witless meanderings of the Mountfords of this world apart on RC and other sites.

    Jeff Gazzard

    Comment by Jeff Gazzard — 28 Jul 2010 @ 1:38 PM

  425. “Your comments here were wrong on a far more broad level than simply mis-remembering Montford’s point 7, though I appreciate that you have tried to clear that up.”

    Note she only admitted that error when McIntyre said she was in error. I don’t give her much credit for that.

    Comment by MarkB — 28 Jul 2010 @ 1:43 PM

  426. So I’ll throw this challenge out there, to figure out how facilitate constructive scientific debate on the topic of paleo reconstructions, so that the field can move forward in a way that makes these reconstructions more useful and credible. I won’t hold my breath tho . . .

    I was under the impression that a constructive scientific debate on the topic of paleo reconstructions was underway. You’ll find it in the peer reviewed literature.

    Comment by SteveF — 28 Jul 2010 @ 1:46 PM

  427. By the way, this “tribe” notion is a terrific concept to introduce if you’re trying to equivocate between two groups with distinctly different properties, create the impression that they’re functionally indistinguishable. It suggests that group A is distinguished from group B only by their totems, otherwise exhibting no fundamental differences.

    Wrong and misleading in this case, perhaps expedient for rhetorical purposes.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 Jul 2010 @ 1:51 PM

  428. why does Judith not use the 5 minutes it takes, to figure out that her claim about Mann 08 was complete rubbish?

    why not admit that she was wrong, instead of a weak and misleading statement like: This statement is an inaccurate reflection of what is in Montford’s book.

    Judith, your claim was not just an “inaccurate reflection”. it was complete garbage!

    and why does Judith requote comments from another blog, instead of writing her own opinion? (i can only assume that she is trying to stick to her “i was just paraphrasing someone else story.) you are digging deeper.

    the time it takes, to copy paste this rubbish would easily allow you to scan Mann 08 and correct your biggest false claim. or to finally point out any error in the review by tamino!

    Phil Clarke: In November 2009, just before Climategate, Mann placed a non-Tiljander non-dendro reconstruction on his website. He did not issue a Corrigendum at PNAS nor did he publish a notice of the new information at realclimate. That Mann did so in late 2009 long after the fact did not refute the claim in respect to Mann et al PNAS 2008.
    It’s very misleading for Gavin to pretend that a website addition in November 2009 was part of the corpus of Mann et al 2008, that should have been considered in CA commentary on Mann et al 2008 in late 2008 (which was what MOntford was reviewing).

    Judith of course made another error here. this quote is a reply by McIntyre TO Phil Clarke. it was not written by Phil. it looks like Judith simply can t get the most simple things right these days.

    i would suggest a serious time out, AFTER the correction to your biggest errors, Judith.

    Comment by sod — 28 Jul 2010 @ 2:07 PM

  429. SecularAnimist says: 28 July 2010 at 1:30 PM

    George Will does not make “mistakes”. He deliberately, knowingly lies. He has done so repeatedly, while consistently ignoring the debunking of his falsehoods even by the very newspaper that sees fit to publish his lies.

    Looking in the mirror I see I’m wearing my SkepticalScience facepaint as Dr. Curry might put it. I suppose I said “mistake” because after all a lie is a mistake and John Cook has trained me to stick rely on ambiguity where I don’t have sufficient information to use a more precise term. In the case of Will the information we have does invite the more specific word, not so with Dr. Curry.

    The difference between groups is more than totemic. The trend on sites like RC, SkS is more toward facts, other places less so.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 Jul 2010 @ 2:14 PM

  430. Judith:

    Nobody holds being wrong against you. Don’t be so touchy! Mistakes happen. Clinging to mistakes long after they should have been laid to rest – that’s what gets you in trouble.

    And if you comment on something that “is outside my field of expertise” and are corrected, then repeating the claims and insulting the person correcting you is probably not a wise course of action. That’s just being polite, never mind proper scientific etiquette.

    If you imagine this is a way to “facilitate constructive scientific debate” then…. wow. Has it dawned on you that you have created the very fuss you are now complaining about?

    At RC, your audience includes your peers, special-ists in fields including and excluding your own, and interested third parties on both sides. Trying to argue from your own authority will only work within very narrow parameters, such as your own published work.

    Comment by Didactylos — 28 Jul 2010 @ 2:25 PM

  431. I am more than willing to admit and rectify mistakes when I make them, but in doing so I want to make sure that i do not further confuse the issue.

    what could be more confusing than your completely false claim about Mann 08?

    The discussion on the climateaudit thread regarding this statement clarifies Montford’s point and McIntyre’s perspective on this issue.

    i don t think that it does this. no real quote or citation of Montford. and why would Steve’s perspective matter?

    One more point, in case i haven’t made it over here. It was not the intent of my original posts (on this thread or the one a few months ago) to get involved in a technical debate on issues surrounding the hockey stick.

    sorry Judith, but you do understand that we can all scroll up to your post #168 above and read the 9 (NINE) technical points you name and number in that post. your defence is getting more bizarre with every post you make!

    http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=4431#comment-181895

    . Although I have read fairly widely on this topic, it is not my area of expertise. So if you choose to hang my overall worth as a scientist and my professional credibility on a mistake made in a summary of a book that is outside my field of expertise, well you are certainly entitled to that judgement.

    sceptics and denialists assume that you are one of the few experts on their side. please stop posting false claims in fields that you do not understand. it is adding immense confusion to the debate. (and more conflict!)

    The story told by Montford of this conflict is something everybody should read so that we can all ponder how to avoid such unnecessary conflicts in the future that are causing so much damage to the entire field of climate science. This is the point of Montford’s book, which Tamino missed in his review.

    i have not seen any hint at a part of the book, that does what you describe. the title of the book is “The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science”

    how would a book with such an aggressive title tell us about how to avoid conflict?

    [edit – please stay calm]

    Comment by sod — 28 Jul 2010 @ 2:34 PM

  432. “So if you choose to hang my overall worth as a scientist and my professional credibility on a mistake made in a summary of a book that is outside my field of expertise, well you are certainly entitled to that judgement.”

    I still haven’t heard a comment about this “hockey” stick from your part, I believe the reconstruction graph is robust by current all time high temperatures extending back in time since about 1998. However, you chose not to give it a least bit of credit for its success, I don’t see how you can possibly criticize the finer details.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 28 Jul 2010 @ 2:38 PM

  433. Didactylos wrote to Judith Curry: “Has it dawned on you that you have created the very fuss you are now complaining about?”

    Has it dawned on you — or other readers — that that is archetypal “troll” behavior?

    Create a “fuss” by posting intentionally inflammatory comments (e.g. casting unwarranted aspersions on other people’s “scientific integrity”), then when people respond negatively, refuse to engage them on substance but instead draw out the “fuss” with even more vague accusations, non sequiturs and hand-waving, and then go to a more friendly venue where you can loudly complain about how badly you were treated, thus proving how unreasonable “those people” are.

    If Ms. Curry is not deliberately trolling according to such an established formula, perhaps she has just instinctively found her way to trollishness.

    She does give the impression of someone who has not spent a lot of time engaging in open discussions on the “Internets”, so perhaps she does not even recognize what she is doing, unlike those of use who have seen it enough times to know that “this has all happened before and it will all happen again”.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 28 Jul 2010 @ 3:28 PM

  434. I want to underline the comment (currently #426) by SteveF. He is absolutely spot on with this remark. The “challenge” from JC was “So I’ll throw this challenge out there, to figure out how facilitate constructive scientific debate on the topic of paleo reconstructions, so that the field can move forward in a way that makes these reconstructions more useful and credible.”

    As SteveF points out: this is already being done in normal scientific channels. All the vapid insinuations about integrity and considering different “tribes” and so on miss the whole point. Science is marching on, all the time. There are competing ideas being thrown and and tested already by working scientists in this field. By their nature, studies of aspects of the past which can no longer be directly measured but which may be partially revealed by various proxies will never have complete reliability, but they ARE being properly and rigorously pursued by long tested scientific methods of working with any available empirical data that might help improve the picture. And the picture IS improving, though always it will be incomplete.

    It is conventional honest serious scientists that are already doing what JC wants, and it is the nature of paleoclimate studies the proxy reconstructions will never have the level of credibility of a direct measurement. It is the very people already doing what JC wants who are being attacked unfairly and improperly in material like Montford’s book — and in some of JC’s own comments.

    It is fair and reasonable and NORMAL to query and double check and revise the work done in this field. This has been done in spades for the papers from last century by Mann, Bradley and Hughes; the whole field has moved on. There’s nothing wrong with substantive criticism — and criticisms are ALSO subject to the same continuous questioning and review.

    The insinuations about integrity, however, are unhelpful and unjust. They are sidetracks that only distract from the real review of ideas that goes on all the time already.

    It is also a common error to think that these paleo climate studies are the basis for the conclusions of conventional climate science with respect to drivers of climate in the present. Studies of the past can be a useful adjunct to studies of how climate is changing right now; but the fundamental basis for study of climate impacts and global warming in the modern era is physics and measurement in the modern era.

    Comment by Chris Ho-Stuart — 28 Jul 2010 @ 3:39 PM

  435. I finally understand what is going wrong in this exchange, illuminated by SOD’s queries at climateaudit. To those of you who haven’t read Montford’s book, it is a history of science tome. It starts out with the rollout of the TAR report and how McIntyre got interested in the problem. It ends with a hastily added chapter on climategate, which broke just as the book was going to press. Its sort of who said/did what when, which is well documented, explanations of some of the technical details, along with a narrative that reflects on these events. The who said what when is accurate as far as i can tell, as well as explanation of the scientific details. The narrative is of course open to some spin.

    Tamino reviewed the book like it was a review of hockey stick science and another salvo in the RC vs CA war. This isn’t what the book is about, which is why i gave Tamino the C- grade for his review. So given what the book is about, it is not to hard to imagine what i meant when i said Tamino’s review was inaccurate: it simply did not portray what Montford said nor did it catch what the book was all about. I was not in any way attempting to counter Tamino’s “review of the science”. Like i’ve said 10 times before, this topic is not my expertise, it is an immature field with many uncertainties, so I am not motivated to dig into any scientific nuances here and debate them publicly in a forum like RC that has a great deal of hostility on this topic owing to pent up frustration, battle scars, whatever.

    The point of this history of science is to understand how this happened and why. In reading this, i saw many points where i said “if only something slightly different had happened, this would never have occurred.” This conflict is fundamentally different from a merchants of doubt conflict. Surely we all want to avoid such conflagrations in the future. So the issue that montford raises, and that i have raised in my posts, are general issues, about the integrity of science, how to avoid conflicts, how to deal with mistakes, how science should be conducted when there are alot uncertainties and the field is immature, when the situation is politicized, etc.

    So I have no intention of debating any aspects of the science on this topic. In spite of the fact that most people on this thread thought the point of all this should be defending Mann’s science (and Amman, etc) and identifying scientific “truth” in all this. This is highly uncertain science in a young field. So get over it, we aren’t going to get “truth” on this anytime soon. The challenge is to avoid these crazy conflicts and move paleo reconstructions forward

    [Response: Easy. Stop encouraging people who think that all climate science is corrupt and who refuse to make any constructive efforts to improve things. – gavin]

    Comment by Judith Curry — 28 Jul 2010 @ 3:43 PM

  436. I wish to make three short points that to some extent have been made by others as well.

    First, if dr. Curry claims to be “correct in spirit but incorrect in detail” in her defense of a book literally titled “The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science”, that reinforces the implication that she beliefs that Mann et al. have contributed to ‘Corruption of Science’ either because they are themselves corrupt, incompetent or both. If I were involved in temperature reconstructions, I would be seriously offended by that.

    Second, I think that by engaging on the particulars instead of pointing out the above, the RC members like Gavin have been exceedingly polite and accommodating.

    Third, for those who haven’t read it, I think the following interviews with Curry and Mann in Discovery Magazine are informative: http://discovermagazine.com/2010/apr/10-it.s-gettin-hot-in-here-big-battle-over-climate-science
    It seems to me that the scene is set there for the discussion that has so badly gone off the rails over here.

    Comment by hveerten — 28 Jul 2010 @ 3:44 PM

  437. > this quote is a reply by McIntyre TO Phil Clarke.
    Sod, where did you find an original source for that? Is it a real quote?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Jul 2010 @ 3:46 PM

  438. Dr. Curry, the “conflagration” you mention was synthetic, arson if you will. Dry but otherwise inert tinder was intentionally gathered and then ignited to produce a spectacle. It was a public relations stunt quite unrelated to improving the course of scientific progress.

    Please, please read what Chris Ho-Stuart says just upthread. Calm, useful, a reminder that after the dazzle of the flash-grenade of “climategate” fades it turns out that nothing is actually broken with this process.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 Jul 2010 @ 4:04 PM

  439. [edit – please, no more piling on]

    Comment by Didactylos — 28 Jul 2010 @ 4:04 PM

  440. Sod, where did you find an original source for that? Is it a real quote?

    i normally do not crosspost from CA. (i disagree with Steve on basically everything, but he has been extremely fair to all of my replies written on CA. so i wouldn t run over to another blog, making comments about stuff, that i could also write on CA.)

    but here is the quote again:

    In November 2009, just before Climategate, Mann placed a non-Tiljander non-dendro reconstruction on his website. He did not issue a Corrigendum at PNAS nor did he publish a notice of the new information at realclimate. That Mann did so in late 2009 long after the fact did not refute the claim in respect to Mann et al PNAS 2008.

    it is a reply by Steve to

    Phil Clarke
    Posted Jul 28, 2010 at 5:09 AM

    http://climateaudit.org/2010/07/25/the-team-defends-paleo-phrenology/#comment-236732

    Comment by sod — 28 Jul 2010 @ 4:14 PM

  441. Judith Curry:

    So I have no intention of debating any aspects of the science on this topic. In spite of the fact that most people on this thread thought the point of all this should be defending Mann’s science (and Amman, etc) and identifying scientific “truth” in all this

    You’re rather missing the point: if the science is essentially correct, Mann’s earlier work defensible, Montford’s thesis collapses. The hockey stick is not illusion, Mann and others not guilty of scientific misconduct, and climate science not corrupt.

    Therefore your insisting on not evaluating Montford’s argument about the state of the science, the foundation of his entire argument, totally undermines your claim that Montford necessarily has something important to say. His narrative is based on a series of false claims regarding the science, and therefore can be safely ignored.

    And, of course, we have your post #168 which repeats these falsehoods despite your apparently thinking the scientific foundation for his narrative is unimportant. Odd, that.

    To those of you who haven’t read Montford’s book, it is a history of science tome.

    Professional historians work hard to make sure that the facts underlying their narrative are *accurate*. Montford quite clearly does not share this trait, and to call his book a “history of science tome” insults the real historians.

    Sorry, Judy, credibility suppuku is not a reversible ceremony.

    Comment by dhogaza — 28 Jul 2010 @ 4:18 PM

  442. JC says: I finally understand what is going wrong in this exchange, illuminated by SOD’s queries at climateaudit. To those of you who haven’t read Montford’s book, it is a history of science tome.

    Come off it. Look at your own original post here.

    You said originally Tamino’s review has “numerous factual errors and misrepresentations”. That is NOT the same thing at all as what you are saying now.

    What you are saying now makes no sense either. Montford’s book is explicitly speaking of “corruption” of science. If you can’t deal with the science matters then I for one will continue to stick with those who DO. Montford is wrong. Recommending his book is not the way forward — it is the way backwards.

    Comment by Chris Ho-Stuart — 28 Jul 2010 @ 4:22 PM

  443. Hank,

    Rather confusingly, there are parallel threads happening here, at Climate Progress and Climate Audit, with crossposts to each. Steve McIntyre’s quote came from here: http://climateaudit.org/2010/07/25/the-team-defends-paleo-phrenology/

    I’d like to thank Dr Curry and Steve Mc for unambiguously answering my question. I thought it was important, and I hope my persistence did not come across as brusque.

    Comment by pjclarke — 28 Jul 2010 @ 4:30 PM

  444. In some ways…it’s also about the eyeballs. Each site wants the traffic all three are generating. Which is why the principals, with the exception of JC, aren’t cross-posting or commenting (nor probably have time).

    Comment by BB — 28 Jul 2010 @ 4:57 PM

  445. Judith Curry

    I have no intention of debating any aspects of the science on this topic.

    Shorter Curry

    Comment by Horatio Algeranon — 28 Jul 2010 @ 4:59 PM

  446. Judith Curry wrote: “… it is an immature field with many uncertainties …”

    What exactly are you saying is an “immature” field, and what exactly are the “many uncertainties” you refer to?

    It’s certainly an interesting comment, juxtaposed with the “35th Birthday” article here.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 28 Jul 2010 @ 5:12 PM

  447. #435, Judith Curry:

    You said: “Like i’ve said 10 times before, this topic is not my expertise, it is an immature field with many uncertainties, so I am not motivated to dig into any scientific nuances here and debate them publicly in a forum like RC that has a great deal of hostility on this topic owing to pent up frustration, battle scars, whatever.”

    And before that: “One more point, in case i haven’t made it over here. It was not the intent of my original posts (on this thread or the one a few months ago) to get involved in a technical debate on issues surrounding the hockey stick. Although I have read fairly widely on this topic, it is not my area of expertise. So if you choose to hang my overall worth as a scientist and my professional credibility on a mistake made in a summary of a book that is outside my field of expertise, well you are certainly entitled to that judgement.”

    You know, there is a part of being a scientist (or a scientifically oriented person) that is not a part-time job: maintaining intellectual integrity. This is what Feynman was talking about in that quote on cargo-cult science (and by the way, I was present at that talk).

    First: If you get something wrong, admit it. That also has the practical advantage that you don’t have to keep defending yourself.

    Second: If you don’t have expertise in a technical topic, why promote a strong point of view on it? Either put some energy into getting properly informed, or talk about something else.

    Ignorance is a valid excuse for not being right. But it is not a valid excuse for being actively wrong.

    Comment by Neal J. King — 28 Jul 2010 @ 5:21 PM

  448. SecularAnimist @ 423

    “George Will does not make “mistakes”. He deliberately, knowingly lies.”

    I believe on one of the ABC Sunday morning “news” talk shows a few years back, he described what he does as psyops. I can’t find the transcript, but it certainly fits.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 28 Jul 2010 @ 5:25 PM

  449. my # 329

    Levels of confidence at the IPCC
    If you don’t read the IPPC reports , and preferably refer to the sources as well, there are a variety of ways in which you can quote them incorrectly and misunderstand where they come from.

    Mike Kelly’s and Judith Curry’s errors in this regard, may perhaps belong to the same family without being identical.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 28 Jul 2010 @ 5:51 PM

  450. JC said in #435

    “Like I’ve said 10 times before, this topic is not my expertise”

    This brings to mind to mind an incident my brother described from years ago when he worked at NASA in Huntsville, AL. In a meeting he attended chaired by Dr Wernher von Braun, a presenter approached the podium and made the comment, “I’m not an expert on this, …”. Dr. von Braun replied, “Sit down. We don’t have time to waste with somebody who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”

    Advice you (and each us) should consider.

    Comment by sturat — 28 Jul 2010 @ 5:51 PM

  451. After browsing Judith Curry’s commentary on her “blogospheric experiment”: “On the Credibility of Climate Research, Part II: Towards Rebuilding Trust” available at her home page and seeing statements such as: “…has a combination of groupthink, political advocacy and a noble cause syndrome stifled scientific debate, slowed down scientific progress and corrupted the assessment process?” and,
    “In their misguided war against the skeptics, the CRU emails reveal that core research values became compromised.”, it’s become fairly clear to this layman that her presence in the blogosphere is geared to helping her fill out a narrative (or completing a story arc) in prep for her “paper”.
    It’s come so far to the point of posting teaser excerpts at CAudit. Posted Jul 28, 2010 at 12:38 PM
    Because she never addresses any direct question put to her (only responding with more generalized commentary regarding anyone else’s responses), all of the speaking of science in abstract and symbolic terms and the insinuations regarding integrity seem simply designed to provoke more content for her to write about.

    From an outside perspective the aim of the story seems, in a very selfish and single minded way, to have no room for factual correctness.

    Comment by Kristofer Larsen — 28 Jul 2010 @ 5:51 PM

  452. Judith Curry, 28 July 2010 at 3:43 PM: I was not in any way attempting to counter Tamino’s “review of the science”… I am not motivated to dig into any scientific nuances here and debate them publicly

    Judith Curry, 24 July 2010 at 7:43 AM: “Montford’s book clarifies three weaknesses in the paleoreconstructions… problems with tree rings, the centered PCA analysis, and the R2 issue. The tree ring issue is admittedly murky… The centered PCA and R2 issues are much more straightforward. The centered PCA is bad statistics… The high level of confidence ascribed to the hockey stick inferences in the IPCC TAR… used new methods and found results that were counter to the prevailing views. The extreme difficulties that Steve McIntyre had in reproducing the MBH results… Science needs to be reproducible. Period. The NAS North et al. report found that the MBH conclusions… were unsupported at that those confidence levels. The Mann et al. 2008, which purports to address all the issues raised by MM and produce a range of different reconstructions using different methodologies, still do not include a single reconstruction that is free of questioned tree rings and centered PCA.”

    If there’s any way to read the earlier post as anything other than a counter to Tamino’s review of the science, filled with nuances, I would genuinely, earnestly like to understand how.

    It’s as if Dr. Curry feels this is a cocktail-party debate, where one can just airily assert, “no, that’s not what I said” as if one’s earlier comments were not right there in black and white.As Dr. Curry herself accurately says, “credibility is a combination of expertise and trust.” How can either be maintained when the message is that of Chico Marx in Duck Soup: “Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?”

    Comment by Paul Daniel Ash — 28 Jul 2010 @ 6:24 PM

  453. An actual “history of science tome.” The difference begins with the title and expands from there.

    I wonder what actual historians of science think of Montford’s book?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 Jul 2010 @ 6:32 PM

  454. Dr. Curry has stated many times that climate science “is an immature field with many uncertainties” but then she stops. When does a real scientist stop when faced with a question? Scientists face uncertainty every day, and what do they do? They *quantify* the uncertainty. If Dr. Curry really believes that the uncertainty in climate science is so large that no conclusions can be made she ought to be able quantify that uncertainty and show that conclusions cannot be made.

    It seems she is turning to some sort of social or political science… I wonder if she has studied those fields any more than she claims to have studied the climate science she now condemns.

    Comment by Gator — 28 Jul 2010 @ 11:16 PM

  455. Hockey Stick aside: Ten observations that are consistent with a warming world

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 28 Jul 2010 @ 11:27 PM

  456. If uncertainty is the issue, remember Gavin posted this not long ago.

    The Uncertainty Prayer.

    Grant us…
    The ability to reduce the uncertainties we can;
    The willingness to work with the uncertainties we cannot;
    And the scientific knowledge to know the difference.

    My feeling is that the ability is fine. Unfortunately the “willingness” aspect requires more than just scientists.

    Comment by adelady — 29 Jul 2010 @ 12:17 AM

  457. The point of this history of science is to understand how this happened and why. In reading this, i saw many points where i said “if only something slightly different had happened, this would never have occurred.” This conflict is fundamentally different from a merchants of doubt conflict.

    I’ll likely regret this, but… what we know to be true is that McIntyre is well associated with what I am very comfortable calling the denialist machine. He takes pains to pick at what he cannot fail to know is irrelevant in the larger context. He associates with people who insult climate scientists and the body of work itself on a daily basis. You are known by the company you keep. And he refuses to, or is unable to, publish. Lastly, his work is virtually always shown to be in error and/or, as previously stated, irrelevant.

    Secondly, as others have pointed out, the title of a book means something. The title is pejorative. Period. This is not something you can debate, nor will I do so with you. If you believe that book to be a reasonable exploration of a few little conflicts, you are either beyond your expiration date or being pulled over to the dark side. Your original comments here were pejorative, as well. Tamino and Gavin would be well within their rights to ask your superiors to have a quiet word with you. Or a very public one, all the better.

    Your insinuation that the conflict lies anywhere but where it does, at the feet of the various denialist lackeys, think tanks and bloggers, is insulting to everyone making an effort to deal with this crisis, but mostly to the scientists doing the work.

    Essentially, what I see here is the latest stage in denialist evolution. We had the, “It’s all a hoax!” type. That was followed by the, “It’s not much, and it ain’t us!” type. Then came the, “It’s not enough to worry about, and if it is, we can’t afford to do anything (and it is only a little likely it’s us)” type. Next came the, “It’s nasty, but it’s natural. One world Government led by Fat Al Gore!” type. Now there’s the, “We can only drill our way out! We need money, and lots of it, and energy and lots of it, to mitigate (although most places will be quite nice to live in. Think I’ll buy property in Canada)” type.

    Now there’s Judith with the, “The Auditors will save us! They’ll stop all that… um… not really dishonesty, but, well, lying without REALLY being lying, ’cause I would never say you lied, tho you did… but *I* didn’t say that, that’s what the book said. And the book is right, though I don’t support the book on the details, just on this hyster…er historical look at all the wackiness that’s been caused by all this conflict because you guys lie… er… made some pretty big (yeah, right!) mistakes, so people had to check your work. And they’ve been ever so lovely in doing so!”

    Please, Judith. The folks you are supporting have no intention of finding the truth. They are looking for blood, and blood only, so as to fit their agenda. Sometimes I think McIntyre must believe his own press, but he couldn’t possibly be that deluded, could he? To attack and insult for years and years and claim he’s just correcting a few mistakes? I suppose stranger things have happened. But that gets annulled immediately because he allows many others to attack in his name and with his blessing while taking no pains to hold them in check or correct *their* factual errors.

    For whatever reason, you are feeling some satisfaction in poking your fellow scientists with sticks. It can’t be for good reasons, despite your twisted rationales.

    I strongly suspect you represent the latest incarnation of denialist. Even if you don’t, personally, you have likely created the mold.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 29 Jul 2010 @ 12:33 AM

  458. Judith,
    you are confusing many issues and from my reading of your posts it seems you need a good undergraduate science education.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 29 Jul 2010 @ 2:57 AM

  459. “correct in spirit”, maybe JC thinks this is a spiritual book?

    Are there any references to religion/Theology in there?

    There are religious sites to discuss the spiritual issues. Here it is mostly off topic (or maybe even totally, please confirm that?).

    If so, I might consider reading the sources for those refs, and discuss those on an appropriate venue. Just, as JC should have done on scientific issues before posting here or in peer-rewiewed journals. She appears to me like some kid throwing rocks at specific cars for some nice candyman promised some afterwards. Sad state to be, and sad thing to happen to a once not brilliant, but ok scientist.

    Comment by anonymous — 29 Jul 2010 @ 3:03 AM

  460. Denial of the greenhouse effect is not a prerequisite for being a denailist. Those who refuse to consider evidence also qualify–as do those who focus obsessively on the “hockeystick” to the exclusion of all the other overwhelming evidence that shows anthropogenic warming.

    We really need another term for those who deny the greenhouse effect. How about “wackaloons”?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Jul 2010 @ 4:36 AM

  461. #435 Judith Curry

    So it starts out by building up McIntyre (a known obfuscator in the debate that actually knows a lot about numbers and apparently very little about the context because he takes molehills in the Hockey stick and does his absolute best to McKi’trick’ everyone into believing that it is a mountain) as an expert;

    then at the end, you present their well documented version of climategate

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/climategate

    and their ‘version’ of the technical details (which as we all know and has been shown by multiple reviews to merely be cherry picked statements spun out of context by the denialist tribe) while you are not realizing that “The who said what when is accurate as far as i can tell, as well as explanation of the scientific details. The narrative is of course open to some spin.”, is in fact pretty much all spin.

    Okay, your C- made me go back up and check the article again. As always context is key. Your perspective is that it is about the history of climate science, which you state “starts out with the rollout of the TAR report”. Well:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.htm
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/timeline.htm
    http://www.slrtx.com/blog/climate-science-timeline/
    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/climate-science-history

    So, context is key. Tamino reviewed the Hockey Stick component of the book for this article (see above). He can clarify, but I would guess he did this because, MM seem to have a large arthropod in their rectal cavity about the Hockey Stick and by attacking it, by any means necessary, they can continue to undermine the foundations of climate science, which of course is a big Red Herring. The fact that they are concurrent if not complicit with Montford in their willingness to help further the illusion should not go unnoticed.

    Your focus on “immature field with many uncertainties” has been my point of contention. just because something or someone is immature does not mean it or they are not useful.

    Your redirection of the argument to deflect blame from yourself, to RC posters and commenters, is further evidence of your disconnect, or willing avoidance by apparent argument to your own authority.

    “So the issue that montford raises, and that i have raised in my posts, are general issues, about the integrity of science, how to avoid conflicts, how to deal with mistakes, how science should be conducted when there are alot uncertainties and the field is immature, when the situation is politicized, etc.”

    It would help if scientists such as yourself actually corrected your mistakes in the forums where you make those mistakes. To come into RC, make a slew of mistakes, and then say well mistakes should only be corrected in the peer review literature is very strange.

    “So I have no intention of debating any aspects of the science on this topic. In spite of the fact that most people on this thread thought the point of all this should be defending Mann’s science (and Amman, etc) and identifying scientific “truth” in all this. This is highly uncertain science in a young field. So get over it, we aren’t going to get “truth” on this anytime soon. The challenge is to avoid these crazy conflicts and move paleo reconstructions forward”

    So you come in to RC, make a bunch of accusations about how unfair we all are, while inferring McIntyre is a pillar of honor and integrity (so to speak); make a bunch of claims and arguments in the debate without providing evidence, and then say I won’t debate it here.

    I don’t know what is the best word to describe your illustrated behavior? Maybe, lazy, or confusing, or arrogant? How is it proper for you to come here, make a claim and then justify not substantiating your claim because claims should only be dealt with elsewhere; or that it’s okay for a scientist, such as yourself, to make claims and then not substantiate, leaving those of us that are not in the ivory tower to worship in awe your eminence in knowledge and understanding? Does this have something to do with setting up the ‘Institute of Phrenologic Climate Science’?

    Are you saying we should just believe you because you are a scientist?


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 29 Jul 2010 @ 4:39 AM

  462. JC 435: . This is highly uncertain science in a young field.

    BPL: This is a lying cliche from the deniers.

    Aristotle divided the world into torrid, temperate, and frigid zones around 300 BC.

    Galileo invented the thermometer in 1610.

    Torricelli invented the barometer c. 1660. Shortly thereafter he showed that temperature generally declines with altitude.

    Hadley worked out the basics of the general circulation in 1735.

    Fourier discovered the greenhouse effect in 1824.

    Agassiz established that there had been at least one ice age in 1837.

    Tyndall identified the major greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere as water vapor and carbon dioxide through spectroscopic lab work in 1859.

    Langley got a rough picture of the absorption intensity spectra of different gases c. 1880.

    Svante August Arrhenius proposed the theory of anthropogenic warming in a paper in 1896. In it, he prediced several features such as polar amplification, and made a numerical estimate of climate sensitivity.

    In 1901, Angstrom and Koch thought they had shot Arrhenius’s paper down with a lab experiment on saturation.

    In 1938, Callendar revived AGW theory.

    In the 1940s, high altitude observations made during the war showed that absorption parameters changed radically with pressure and somewhat less so with temperature. This invalidated the work of Angstrom and Koch.

    In 1956 Gilbert Plass once again reintroduced AGW theory. Since then, no one familiar with the field has doubted it.

    Smagorinsky et al. wrote the first tentative global circulation model in 1955. Manabe and Strickler wrote the first radiative convective model in 1964; such models are now a staple of planetary astronomy.

    So climatology is a very old field indeed, and even AGW theory predates relativity and quantum mechanics.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Jul 2010 @ 4:52 AM

  463. Ooops. I guess there may be a larger number of visitors from CA than usual for this thread, so I’d better modify my 4.30pm post to meet their expectations…. here goes

    ‘After a long period of stonewalling and a series of unlikely excuses, each less credible than the last, and including the eyebrow-raising assertion that it is apparently OK to make untrue statements so long as they were ‘correct in spirit’, Team Curry eventually and petulantly provided the answer to my straightforward question.’

    That’s better. Yeah I know, cheap shot and a trite point. Doubtless it is meant humourously and doubtless the regulars lap it up, but Mr McIntyre might gain a little more traction with a wider audience for whatever points he has if he eased up a little. On my rare visits to Climate Audit I find it v tiresome to wade through the constant background music of accusations of bad faith and insinuations of scientists behaving badly. Yes, I know that the Hockey Team epithet was first coined by one of its members, but the joke wore thin a long time back and its constant and pejorative repetition adds nothing, in my view.

    PC.

    PS and BTW As we are apparently talking History of Science I wonder where using a fake name to log onto discussion boards to ramp up support for your arguments sits in Dr Curry’s attributes of scientific integrity? Just askin’, Nigel.

    Comment by Phil Clarke — 29 Jul 2010 @ 6:57 AM

  464. My comment is short, and possibly unneccesary (so delete if you want).

    I think JC has identified a crucial issue: trust. However, her actions have been designed, it seems, to remove said issue towards herself. Her intentions are (I believe) good, but her communication fails, and she does not reach through. As a result, she has ended up losing the trust of several people – who will now look for ulterior motives in whatever she writes.

    The sad thing is that she brought it on herself, and it does not seem (yet) that she grasps that.

    Comment by Øystein — 29 Jul 2010 @ 6:59 AM

  465. It just occurred to me that while Tamino is attempting to critique Montford’s book the real impact of the work documented in the book is already manifest: McIntyre’s work, like it or not, has dramatically raised expectations and methodological and statistical standards around paleoclimatology and dendrochronology to an extent such that researchers in the field are far more careful in what they pull together and try to publish. One can almost hear the discussion between the authors – “Will it pass McIntyre’s scrutiny?” In addition, journal reviewers will question the attempted inclusion of certain proxies and will ask for the data and methods.

    [Response: You haven’t the slightest clue as to what you’re talking about–not that that seems to matter much when McIntyre’s claims are involved.–Jim]

    Now that is the real power of the peer review process!!

    [Response: No that’s the power of one person using the internet to play the role of self-styled rebel expert to a bunch of other people who want to hear that kind of thing.–Jim]

    Comment by Bernie — 29 Jul 2010 @ 7:53 AM

  466. Firstly, sincere thanks to Gavin for his indefatigability in contributing to the public understanding of science.

    I’m not a fanatical reader of the comments, but I did so today because I’ve come across some mutterings about Dr Curry, and never really understood what it was about.

    Now I understand.

    Dr Curry has adopted the irreconcilable approach of wanting to elevate the debate about the science while accepting at face-value accusations of “corruption” against scientists. As she has now said herself in this discussion, she hasn’t taken the trouble to personally check the veracity of the claims in the book, yet endorses it as a way forward.

    She accepts accusations of misconduct against her scientifc colleagues based on the allegations of non-scientist, self-appointed ‘auditors’, without bothering to verify their accuracy. Those who do check the accusations, and find them seriously wanting, are the subject of Dr. Curry’s ire.

    Astonishing.

    Comment by Michael — 29 Jul 2010 @ 8:03 AM

  467. At the request of the many emails I’m getting, here is one more salvo about trying to remind people of science should be done and how arguments should be conducted, and how disagreements can be resolved, and conflicts avoided.

    [Response: For a start, we could stop thinking of a discussion as a series of ‘salvos’… – gavin]

    Charles Sanders Peirce (from the Wikipedia) outlines four methods of settling opinion and overcoming disagreements, ordered from least to most successful:
    1. The method of tenacity (sticking with one’s initial belief) and trying to ignore contrary information.
    2. The method of authority, which overcomes disagreements but sometimes brutally.
    3. The method of congruity or “what is agreeable to reason,” which depends on taste and fashion in paradigms.
    4. The scientific method whereby inquiry regards itself as fallible and continually tests, criticizes, corrects, and improves itself.

    Much of the disagreement is often about ambiguity of statements, and these are easily resolved if the situation has not elevated into animosity and conflict. In the course of rapid exchange blogospheric discourse, people tend not to present formal arguments with carefully crafted premises and conclusions drawn using a specified logic (including myself and the scientists that host this blog), its more in discussion mode. I would personally be interested in a blog that consisted only of formal arguments, queries about ambiguities, and formal rebuttals. But that is not what we have here. Further, when trying to develop a specific thesis in a blog comment stream, other comments hone in on ambiguities in one of the premises as an attempt to dismiss the entire thesis. Yes, lets try to eliminate the ambiguities, but more importantly lets try to understand the main thesis in someone’s points. In the blogosphere, when all this is laced with heavy snark and appeal to motive attacks, it is very difficult get anywhere.

    [Response: Indeed, that’s why we have the peer-reviewed literature. – gavin]

    A critical element in avoiding conflict, justifying a thesis, and understanding someone’s statement or thesis is to ask the question “What would have to be the case such that this statement/thesis were true?” And then both the proponent and examiner should ask the reverse question: “What would have to be the case such that this statement/thesis were false?” The general idea is that the fewer positions supporting the idea that the statement/thesis is false, the higher its degree of justification. Verbal ambiguities can easily be resolved in this way. And it’s a good way to clarify scientific debates also. This is called looking at both sides of the argument and actually trying to understand them. Kudos to those of you who wandered over to climateaudit to try to see what was going on over there and understand their arguments.

    When there is a great deal of uncertainty and ignorance on a scientific topic (paleo reconstructions certainly qualifies here), the problem arises when we have conflicting “certainties” by two sides. Conflicting certainties arises from differences in chosen assumptions and the natural tendency to be overconfident about how well we know things. Most of this conflict can resolved by acknowledging and understanding the uncertainties. Conflicts about methodology can be more easily resolved than conflicts about scientific hypotheses (e.g. 1998 is the warmest year in the last millennia), although methodological issues are a key element required to support a scientific hypothesis.

    Uncertainty is complex beast, with multiple locations, different natures (imperfections of knowledge vs inherent variability), and different levels ranging from the unrealizable ideal of complete deterministic uncertainty to total ignorance. The IPCC has not done a very thorough job in characterizing uncertainties. In the first IPCC assessment reports, the executive summaries included lists of “we are certain of the following” and “we have confidence that”, and they included a list of four broad areas of uncertainty. For the IPCC third and fourth assessments, Moss and Schneider’s (2000) guidelines were followed, with a common vocabulary to express quantitative levels of confidence based on the amount of evidence (number of sources of information) and the degree of agreement (consensus) among experts. The actual implementation of this guidance in the AR3 and AR4 WG1 Reports adopted a subjective perspective or “judgmental estimates of confidence,” whereby a single term (e.g. “very likely”) characterizes the overall confidence. Now there have been all sorts of critiques of this method in the published literature, but lets accept the method for the sake of argument.

    With this in mind, lets examine the following aspects of my statement in #167:

    “3. The NAS North et al. report found that the MBH conclusions and “likely” and “very likely” conclusions in the IPCC TAR report were unsupported at that those confidence levels. How the hockey team interpreted the North NAS report as vindicating MBH, seems strange indeed.

    This statement is ambiguous, it can be interpreted in several ways. The verbal ways that the strength of the arguments in MBH, the IPCC, and the North report were described differently, I attempted a generalization using words that the readers would identify as confidence levels. The ambiguity could have been resolved with a longer statement that was more clearly worded. Remember, the point of my summary was to describe the overall content and arguments in Montford’s book to support my earlier statement that Tamino had missed much of what the book is about. This statement was just one statement in a post that included many points to support my thesis regarding missing elements in Tamino’s review, my intent was not to reproduce these arguments in any detail or immerse myself in the technical battle on this issue. This ambiguity in my statement is easily clarified, and does not detract from my overall thesis, and does not in any way reflect on the accuracy of Montford’s book.

    [Response: But your statement was based on false premises – that IPCC TAR had made very strong likelihood statements about paleo-reconstructions, that North et al had found them unsupported etc. Arguments that follow from false premises are just pointless – they serve no purpose in resolving any point of scientific dispute, and indeed are only generally found when people are making points purely for rhetorical effect. Lesson to be learned? Don’t predicate arguments on false premises, and don’t be surprised when people correctly distinguish rhetorical tricks from actual discussion. – gavin]

    Now on to the real point. My statement below is correct and unambiguous.

    4. A direct consequence of the North NAS report is that the conclusions in the IPCC AR4 essentially retracted much of what was in the IPCC TAR regarding the paleo reconstructions. This is the only instance that I know of where the IPCC has reduced a confidence level or simply left out a conclusion that was in a previous IPCC report. This is discussed in the CRU emails.

    A reminder, it is this statement in the TAR that is omitted from the AR4:
    “It is also likely that, in the Northern Hemisphere, the 1990s was the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year.” The word “likely” means a confidence level of 66-89%. Gavin and I both agree that this statement is unjustified. We disagree on the significance of this high level of justification in TAR and its retraction in the AR4. This is the only instance of a retraction in confidence from the IPCC. The statements that Gavin cites from Lindzen regarding uncertainties in clouds and aerosols are correct; the IPCC continues to acknowledge a high level of uncertainty and low confidence in these areas, and new uncertainties pop up as the frontier of the science is extended and the description of the nature of the uncertainties becomes more precise. The IPCC has never presented a statement of confidence at the very likely or likely level that has the words “cloud” or “aerosol” in it. The cloud-aerosol forcing/feedback includes much at the border of ignorance, which is acknowledged by the IPCC. But I argue that the ignorance surrounding global/hemispheric global temperature over the past millennia from paleo proxies is a topic where the ignorance level is even greater than the cloud-aerosol issue. I also suspect that the there will be further retraction of the confidence levels in the AR5 regarding global/hemispheric temperature reconstructions. This overconfidence in the IPCC reports on this topic is at the heart of the conflict described in Montford’s book.

    [Response: I strongly disagree. Your first statement was not at all specific and therefore ambiguous. AR4 did not ‘essentially retract’ much of what TAR had to say. What is ‘essential’? What is ‘much’? This will read by many people with many different opinions and they will infer many different things. My response to you on the other hand was very specific. I did not say that the sentence you quote was ‘unjustified’, I said that I would have been happier with a ‘more likely than not’ designation. Saying it was ‘unjustified’ could equally imply that it was completely wrong or that there was no evidence for it in the slightest – neither of which I agree with. Again, you are using language in a very ambiguous way which only adds to confusion. I would also add that using your own forecasts of what will be in AR5 as an argument to bolster your case is not useful. Finally, if you think that a difference in 4 words in the IPCC TAR is the only or even an important reason for this mess, you really have not been paying attention. – gavin]

    [Further response: It is also worth pointing out again that on the increase of temperature over the last 500 years and the length of time that is was likely that we had exceeded multi-decadal temperature levels (1300 years), AR4 substantially strengthened TAR conclusions. I consider that far more ‘essential’ and they were not ‘retracted’ in the slightest. – gavin]

    So going back to Charles Sanders Peirce and how to overcome disagreement. On the subject of Montford’s book, Tamino’s review, and the larger issue of the state of the science of paleo reconstructions, what have we seen over the past few days in the blogosphere? CP relies almost exclusively on strategies #1 and #2, my statements rankle so much with Romm because I am an “authority” that he previously referred to. At RC we have seen a mixture of all 4 strategies, with a heavy dose of appeal to motive and ad hom attacks. Given that the RC moderators reject many comments, it is not to their credit that they have been letting these through. BH tends to #3, they are very polite by blogospheric standards and Montford is amazingly snark-free, but not heavy on scientific arguments on the blog. CA scores highest on #4 (there are elements of the others, but they don’t dominate), they stick to mostly to arguments, evidence, identification and clarification of ambiguities, and ad homs and appeal to motives are snipped. With regards to snark, it is more evident in the main posts at CA than at RC, although the inline comments from McIntyre are relatively snark free, whereas those from Gavin are not. Snark is endemic to the blogosphere, makes it entertaining I guess, to some anyways. But snark neither adds nor detracts from scientific arguments, it merely distracts. So readers interested in the arguments should filter it out, and not keep tallies based on snarky gotchas that are minimally relevant to the argument.

    [Response: We snipped a lot of comments that were inappropriate directed at you, this is not perfect, but there is a limit to how much time people have to moderate these things. As for whether people can get past the ‘snark’, we are going to have to disagree on that. I find continual insinuations of misconduct, lying, and ‘hiding the pea under the thimble’ offensive. I also find continual misrepresentation tiresome. For instance, I made a comment mentioning that the NAS report had cited Fritts (1976) as a source on the use of the RE statistic (which is true). This was completely misrepresented by SM. I also made a statement about what happens in the no-dendro/no-Tiljander case with the Mann et al (2008) data and method – which is true, and yet was interpreted as yet more perfidy from scientists. SM knows the PCA issue is moot, and yet keeps on bringing it up. You may think whatever you like about CA, but as a forum in which truth-seeking can be done, it fails miserably. – gavin]

    And finally, since I am a glass half full kind of person, I am trying to see what we might have gained from this exchange across the four blogs. The insults that have been heaped upon me are irrelevant to me, if i want friends i can hang out on facebook. They are irrelevant to the arguments themselves, and are only of relevance if you are using Peirce’s #2 strategy, which isn’t very effective in any event. I am prepared to declare victory if anyone is seriously looking at both sides of the arguments, there are any new readers for Montford’s book, if people have wandered over to climateaudit to check it out, if people (especially the RC principals) are starting to get it that the watchdog auditors (e.g. McIntyre) are different from the merchants of doubt (I’m sure that CP won’t cede this). And most importantly I hope that the dialogue can change regarding uncertainty, to acknowledge that there is a high level of uncertainty in level 3 science (as per my previous post on Funtowicz and Ravetz classification), and still a significant level of uncertainty in level 4 science, and not too much of climate science is actually at level 5. The rebels who dispute the level 4 consensus are not irrational, and you need to differentiate rebels from cranks. An interesting case of this is Roy Spencer (a rebel) currently taking on the cranks that are denying that the greenhouse effect exists.

    It would be much easier if the public could just trust the experts to be right. This doesn’t work, and again Feynmann said it best: “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts. When someone says, ‘Science teaches such and such,’ he is using the word incorrectly. Science doesn’t teach anything; experience teaches it. If they say to you, ‘Science has shown such and such,’ you should ask, ‘How does science show it? How did the scientists find out? How? What? Where?’ It should not be ‘science has shown.’ And you have as much right as anyone else, upon hearing about the experiments (but be patient and listen to all the evidence) to judge whether a sensible conclusion has been arrived at.”

    [Response: No-one disagrees with Feynman, so I wish people would stop quoting him as if we have never read this. But this issue has nothing to do with anyone here saying that no-one should ask questions, or that everything that there is to be known is known, or that the IPCC or ‘science’ is perfect. At workshops, meetings and emails all of the issues are regularly being hashed out and looked at. It should go without saying (but obviously doesn’t) that people should ask as many questions as they want, that there is a lot more to be learned, and that neither I, the RC contributors, the IPCC, ‘science’ or the NAS are perfect. (Though that does not imply that we know nothing). Again (and this too should go without saying, but apparently it doesn’t), no-one in the scientific community is against openness, or transparency or data availability. None of these things are points of contention in the slightest (though neither are they always simple).

    What is being pushed back against is the continual barrage of innuendo, accusations of corruption and fraud, and insinuations of misconduct because people had the temerity to do their jobs and publish results which some people do not like. This has happened to Ben Santer, Phil Jones, Mike Mann, and many others and follows in a long line of similar tactics employed by the ‘merchants of doubt’. McIntyre might not fall exactly into that mold (almost certainly very different motivations), but he feeds that machine quite willingly – and not just in relation to MBH: read his posts on Hansen or his accusations against Briffa on the Yamal issue, for instance. Every time there is a puzzle or ambiguity or something he doesn’t understand, the first recourse is to accuse the scientists of bad faith. Montford’s book is just more of the same paranoia (‘the corruption of science’? Really?), and your championing of it simply further poisons the atmosphere of debate. Why is it so hard to realise that you can’t have a dialogue between scientists and people who accuse them of lying all the time?

    If McIntyre wants to be taken seriously by scientists (and it is not clear that he does), he needs to eschew that kind of nonsense despite the adoring Greek chorus who egg him on for their own reasons. Indeed, in the past you have made exactly the same point. It isn’t that these insinuations get in the way of understanding his points, it is that they appear to be his points. As I said earlier, science has indeed set up structures (peer-review etc) that allow arguments to be resolved efficiently. Those structures work remarkably well. It is time the ‘auditors’ started to use them. – gavin]

    Comment by Judith Curry — 29 Jul 2010 @ 9:35 AM

  468. Genuinely good people are scratching their heads over the Judith Curry phenomenon.

    But, as usual, I find the timing of all of this very interesting, just as the timing of the release of the stolen CRU e-mails was deliberate.

    I am beginning to think that this was a trial balloon launched by the Climate Denial Machine just in time to blow smoke in front of the latest report from NOAA on the 10 indicators of global warming. (Gee, did we see that story run in The New York Times? hmmm, no. But Bloomberg ran it, so there’s a start.)

    The only problem is, this balloon is not flying well. Curry’s ability to obfuscate is not yet well-honed, despite how it seems in these comments.

    [I’ll just leave out my ideas on why it is not flying well, lest I give aid and comfort to the CDM.]

    Perhaps we should call this entire affair “Currygate.”

    I think it has a nice ring to it.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 29 Jul 2010 @ 10:32 AM

  469. > history tome

    Ah, well then, what’s it doing in a science blog?
    There’s a big, profitable market for revisionist “history” books these days, quite well documented; many states prefer their own versions of history.

    Here’s another “history” book teaching lies about climate change (and about school prayer; there’s long been a movement in the US to teach children that big gummint threatens them, the ‘privatize it all’ idea).

    http://www.centerforinquiry.net/uploads/attachments/CFI_Textbook_Critique.pdf

    “Analysis
    I. Global Warming
    A. The Textbook Repeatedly Casts Doubt on the Fact of Global Warming
    B. Firmly-Established Science Contradicts the Textbook’s Assertions ….”

    Here’s a broadside about California’s failings to assess accuracy textbooks, with links:
    http://www.textbooktrust.org/CaliforniaConfesses.htm

    Look at the broader pattern of teaching falsehood to children.

    And remember, if you’re in the USA:
    “Vote Nehemiah Scudder in 2012 — the last president you’ll ever want”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Jul 2010 @ 11:12 AM

  470. Acolyte of Citizen Auditors:

    One can almost hear the discussion between the authors – “Will it pass McIntyre’s scrutiny?” In addition, journal reviewers will question the attempted inclusion of certain proxies and will ask for the data and methods.

    That is hysterically funny, what’s more the author’s obliviousness to the inherent absurdity of such remark is also pretty amusing. A joke inside a joke. How can DenialDepot do any better?

    The trouble is, we’ve got Senators here in the U.S. who also can’t distinguish Robespierre from Rousseau. Make a joke into a law and the laughter may stop.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 29 Jul 2010 @ 11:15 AM

  471. Dr. Curry’s remarks at 29 July 2010 9:35 AM improve my estimation of the IPCC process, and not only because of Gavin’s replies but because Dr. Curry is (despite some rhetorical quibbles I have) describing a process that is indeed self-correcting. Presumably she’s correct in her broad meaning despite the incorrect and odd use of words such as “retract.”

    The “I am prepared to declare victory…” part bothers be because Dr. Curry seems still to be missing the problem with applying an epistemological scale of assessment built assuming good faith to a situation where I think we all can agree some people are acting in bad faith.

    This is not a matter purely of “scientific camps” battling with integrity to best demonstrate the validity of their reasoning, this is a situation where actors outside of science are doing their level best to portray science as more than defective but actually corrupt, hence the title of Montford’s book. Epistemology after all must be able to describe a criminal element, if we consider vandalism of our cultural arc of knowledge to be a criminal act. Dr. Curry does not seem prepared to acknowledge that problem, or that is to say she does not seem to understand that the world of “auditors” she’s fond of is infested with bad faith. Gavin’s tried to explain that, I think polite explanations need to keep coming until somebody comes up with a description that fits for Dr. Curry.

    If there’s any consensus to be found among scientists it’s that progress is not possible without honesty. I think a lot of people don’t understand that concept, don’t understand that the word “fraud” means something entirely more dire and frightening to a scientist than it does to an accountant. As Gavin implies, scrupulously drop the freighted hyperbole and things will go more smoothly.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 29 Jul 2010 @ 11:43 AM

  472. (P.S. — yes, it’s ironic to see Heartland and Cato proclaiming textbooktrust — odd champions of factual accuracy in textbooks. Selective vision.)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Jul 2010 @ 11:49 AM

  473. I can’t believe what I just ran across on a google search of dear Judith’s name:

    http://revistaepoca.globo.com/Revista/Epoca/0,,EMI143938-16270,00-JUDITH+CURRY+NAO+TENHO+MEDO+DO+CLIMA.html

    She was down here in Brazil in May 2010 giving an interview to Época magazine (it is a bit like Business Week), and I am so sorry that I cannot translate it in about the next 10 minutes, but it is chock full of amazing statements, thus proving that her current performances on RealClimate and Climate Progress are not nearly so innocent as she would like us all to believe.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 29 Jul 2010 @ 12:07 PM

  474. 22 (Peter):
    Turned Out Nice: How the British Isles Will Change as the World Heats Up by Marek Kohn [Faber 2010] http://www.faber.co.uk/work/turned-out-nice/9780571238156/ is a book you should look at:
    ‘ . . Our main response to climate change might be draconian immigration controls, prompted by torrents of refugees from more catastrophic changes elsewhere.’ So you’d better move here quickly while you can still get in!

    Reviewed at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/e69dba82-69e4-11df-a978-00144feab49a.html

    Comment by Chris Squire [UK] — 29 Jul 2010 @ 12:12 PM

  475. Boy! Dr Curry writes a lot and casting spells of trivia left right and center. All while, always, she misses the topic, hemmm : the hockey stick. Which she cant make a comment about it, since she is not an “expert” on graphs I suppose. That is not a snark, but an observation.

    Being on topic is important, and Gavin is too kind in responding to mind numbing diversions, always, avoiding the success of the said reconstruction graph, especially with respect to actual current world wide all time high temperatures, as it should have been, if reconstruction and AGW theory is correct.

    Dr Curry, admit it, the reconstruction is a damn nice piece of work, and move on!

    Comment by wayne Davidson — 29 Jul 2010 @ 12:23 PM

  476. Tenney Naumer: Google translate does a good job.

    I was particularly struck by the way she claims Mann and Jones behaved inappropriately, while at the same time, agreeing with the conclusions of the investigations clearing Mann and Jones completely.

    Evidence that a little gossip and mean-spirited innuendo trumps rational enquiry any day.

    I wish she really meant what she says about improving the IPCC, when clearly all she wants is the inclusion of those views that she personally subscribes to. She says as much in the article.

    Comment by Didactylos — 29 Jul 2010 @ 12:23 PM

  477. Re Tenney’s post, here are some tidbits:

    Judith Curry: ‘I have no fear of climate’

    … We’re talking about bias in the time to adjust the temperature data to compensate for the effects of urban heat (the growth of cities, with the concentration of cement and asphalt, artificially raises the temperature in the region). Or fill in areas of the world where no data are available. …

    No one knows for sure how much of the warming occurred in the second half of the twentieth century can be attributed to human action.

    ÉPOCA – You see any lobbying campaign of the fossil fuel industry to increase the confusion?

    Curry – This also exists. But I see as an important factor in the general skepticism about climate change. Most people who write against the use of emissions control political or economic arguments. They do not care about science. Neither one could call them skeptics. There are other skeptics with scientific training. But few receive any money from oil or coal. Entities such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute are concerned about policies that affect U.S. competitiveness and our economy. So they spend time and money by organizing conferences and demanding information from climate researchers. …

    ÉPOCA – The messages exchanged by Michael Mann and Phil Jones show any signs of inappropriate behavior?

    Curry – There are several investigations to assess this. From what I know, the answer would be yes.

    [Response: Actually, the answer would be no, no, no, no, and no]

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 29 Jul 2010 @ 12:27 PM

  478. I don’t think it is appropriate to open up this thread to the topic of “Judith Curry” herself as the focus. The Época magazine interview cited by Tenney in in comment currently #473 above is a divergence down that trail. I can understand the interest (I share it, frankly!) but I think we are better to focus on claims rather than the person. (FWIW, that interview is generally a whole heck of a lot more reasonable that what we have seen in this comment stream; but it isn’t the topic here.)

    [Response: Agreed. Hopefully everyone is on board with that sentiment.- gavin]

    Comment by Chris Ho-Stuart — 29 Jul 2010 @ 12:32 PM

  479. McIntyre might not fall exactly into that mold (almost certainly very different motivations), but he feeds that machine quite willingly – and not just in relation to MBH: read his posts on Hansen or his accusations against Briffa on the Yamal issue, for instance. Every time there is a puzzle or ambiguity or something he doesn’t understand, the first recourse is to accuse the scientists of bad faith.

    Or his post on the network administrator who blocked him from downloading the full content (IIRC) of a NASA site, ignoring the contents of the robots.txt file. The poor network admin thought he was blocking a spider, while McIntyre’s response was deeply paranoid …

    Comment by dhogaza — 29 Jul 2010 @ 12:44 PM

  480. Judith Curry wrote: “… The insults that have been heaped upon me are irrelevant to me …”

    I haven’t read any of the other blogs but as for this one, it seems to me that the “insults” have been “heaped upon” what Dr. Curry has written here, not upon her person, and actually quite relevant to what she has written.

    And some might see Dr. Curry’s condescending lectures about Feynman, “scientific integrity” and so on as being themselves insults to the intelligence of other readers.

    [Response: Enough about this. thanks. – gavin]

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 29 Jul 2010 @ 12:49 PM

  481. Bernie #465

    One can almost hear the discussion between the authors – “Will it pass McIntyre’s scrutiny?”

    You don’t have to use your imagination any more to hear publishing scientists discuss McIntyre’s “contribution” to the science, Bernie. As it happens you can read the stolen emails, and I daresay the picture from those looks a wee bit different (hint: Yamal). Try it.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 29 Jul 2010 @ 12:57 PM

  482. Chris Ho-Stuart says: 29 July 2010 at 12:32 PM

    …I think we are better to focus on claims rather than the person.

    Chris, there are claims at play here, unfortunately repeated by a person who was incautious in attaching her name to those claims:

    ÉPOCA – The messages exchanged by Michael Mann and Phil Jones show any signs of inappropriate behavior?

    Curry – There are several investigations to assess this. From what I know, the answer would be yes.

    My instincts keep dithering here. One moment I think Dr. Curry is simply not very good at choosing words, the next I’m confronted with examples such as that interview snippet and then have to integrate that with my sympathies. Perhaps it’s truncated unfairly but on its face Dr. Curry’s remark seems unambiguous. Dr. Curry rendered her opinion even as she admitted she was not in command of all the facts of the case, a phenomenon we see repeated here and one of the main reasons for loss of patience. Her unfounded opinion was in concurrence with people far less credible so not only did she unwittingly ally herself with those folks, she lent her own credibility to the cause of public confusion, again a matter testing the tolerance of people who know better. Events subsequently appear to have proven her wrong in concurring with bad actors but she still does not seem prepared to defer to a more detailed exploration than her own, yet again confounding those of us inclined to think Dr. Curry to be engaged in some so-far inexplicable but well-intentioned mission.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 29 Jul 2010 @ 1:02 PM

  483. Jim, Doug, Martin;
    Are you suggesting that strip barked BCP, Gaspe Cedars, Yamal Larch and Tiljander sediments are going to be used in future multi-proxy temperature reconstructions?

    [Response: Almost certainly yes. See Salzer et al on the bristlecone pine record. See updates from Briffa et al on the Yamal record. See the use of the un-problematic parts of Tiljander proxies in Kaufmann et al etc. Remember that no proxy is perfect, but if it can be checked against others and validated, why would you not use them where you can? – gavin]

    Comment by Bernie — 29 Jul 2010 @ 2:29 PM

  484. Well, well.. I’ve been taught & confirmed true thru life & living for many years in various countries that REALITY is THE best/only friend, cus IT always shows up – sooner or later.
    This, me best friend, has also taught me to always keep to the truth, simply because by sticking hereto, you do not ever have to remember what you say – easy & rather basic/clever/common sensed.

    Brgds from Sweden!
    /TJ

    Comment by TJ — 29 Jul 2010 @ 2:30 PM

  485. @ Judith Curry

    Judith, a reminder of something one of your students pointed out concerning Climate Audit after an exercise that you assigned, which you posted there back in 2006:

    “Some people use statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts for support rather than illumination.” — Andrew Lang

    I’d personally feel more at ease with your own support of McIntyre if you were to ask him to “audit” Lindzen, Soon, Baliunas, Christy, Spencer, Douglass, and the other unusual suspects, instead of him masquerading as a ‘Climate’ auditor, which I find to be something of a pretention given his specific targeting of particular individuals on one side of the debate. It suggests nothing less than partisanship in my view.

    (H/T to Willard for the CA post)

    Comment by J Bowers — 29 Jul 2010 @ 2:32 PM

  486. J Bowers @ #484

    Very interesting link to the 2006 CA thread and Dr. Curry’s student’s exercise.

    Perhaps Dr. Curry would like to try that again with a few of her current students to get their analysis of this and the parallel thread at CP.

    Or, … how about get an analysis from some of the other professors in the GT department and see what their opinion of this whole mess is.

    Do I hear crickets …. ?

    Comment by sturat — 29 Jul 2010 @ 3:06 PM

  487. Hi
    What will we find when Interpol finds the CRU email hackers (who also tried to hack Realclimate.org)?

    Comment by cross trainer brochures — 29 Jul 2010 @ 3:49 PM

  488. I’m finding this situation as described to be increasingly Alice-in-Wonderland by the day.

    Few – at least in part for the reason noted by J. Bowers @ #485 – buy McIntyre’s ‘honest auditor’ schtick, which just so happens to reinforce the delaying tactics of the most powerful interests on Earth, much as he mostly maintains the appearance of an arms length of separation from them. But he’s certainly not an Oreskes and Conway style merchant of doubt we are assured by Curry. No siree.

    Yet here is this McIntyre character with an entry-level science degree, with a single paper puiblished years ago in a second rate tier social science journal presuming to comprehend and ‘audit’ the work of a roomful of PhD’s with decades of practical experience in their fields better than the well established process of peer review?

    If this is Curry’s Big New Idea, then along with her shilling of Montford’s masterpiece of innuendo, her recommendation seems to be nothing more than another step towards the triumph of mediocrity.

    Comment by chek — 29 Jul 2010 @ 4:21 PM

  489. re: #374
    H/T Timothy Chase, I must correct an error in my post .

    I wrongly ascribed the article on sheep suffocation in JSE to M. Ishida, but that contribution was really a comment on the original article, and if so, I apologize for any embarrassment, as Ishida’s comment is may be quite reasonable (but paywalled, so I haven’t read it). The actual sheep article is thankfully still available, by Lewis E. Hollander, Jr, Unexplained Weight Gain Transients at the Moment of Death, which reports some quantization of this effect.

    Of course, the main reason for mentioning JSE was HSI’s pp.28-29 quotation of Deming’s article there, which contains interesting citations consistent with Deming’s Wikipedia Entry.

    Anyway, it is important to correct errors.

    Comment by John Mashey — 29 Jul 2010 @ 5:22 PM

  490. Gavin:
    Many thanks for the references. I will check them out, though I am actually familiar with Salzer et al.

    [Response: The bigger point are that (1) one uses the site chronologies that appear most suitable to the task at hand, and (2) you don’t get hung up on supposed problems in a tiny fraction of your data. If you think a site’s problematic and can do without it, leave it out or address the problem somehow. You have to know what your goal is and how the characteristics of the data might affect that.–Jim]

    Comment by Bernie — 29 Jul 2010 @ 5:26 PM

  491. The original post, as well as the ongoing conversation across multiple blogs, has been both informative and, in a sick way, entertaining.

    I can only hope that the take away from this will be that scientists will finally give in and adopt some sort of system (for now, until we come up with a better name, let’s call it “peer review”). That system can vet papers before they are published, and correct uncaught or unexpected mistakes after publication with new publications, continually revising and advancing the science, and all without any sloppy public name calling, arguing, hurt feelings, etc., etc.

    Such a system would go a long way towards preventing sorry episodes like this one.

    The people involved should probably also have appropriate degrees and credentials, and like any other profession from plumbing to engineering to politics to medicine, participants will need to sort of climb the ladder from apprentice to journeyman to master, paying their dues, and always being forced to prove themselves along the way, with no shortcuts (like premature advancement because daddy owns the company, or because one has his own blog and isn’t afraid to use it, or just plain because one knows that one is right when everyone else in the corrupt, incompetent system is wrong).

    Not that it should be a closed circle, like an old boys club, but face it, every profession has a path that must be followed. No one gets to start the race right in front of the finish line, no matter how gifted they may appear to be.

    Can you imagine what would happen to, for instance, an aircraft manufacturer if they replaced their engineers with anyone who claimed to have a better understanding of what really keeps airplanes up in the sky?

    Being able to play well with others also helps (I got that juicy nugget from Mrs. Richmond in kindergarten, and it’s almost never failed me), especially if you’re the new kid on the block, trying to fit in and be taken seriously in a difficult and serious profession.

    If this idea is offensive to some, my sincere apologies. I don’t mean to step on anyone’s toes. But as an outsider, looking in, the way you scientists do your jobs looks really, really shabby. You need management consultants, or anger management therapy, or a group hug, or something.

    There must be a better way.

    Really.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 29 Jul 2010 @ 5:34 PM

  492. The defining thing about Currygate is her willingness to toss colleagues into the dumpster in order to establish credibility with the opponents of any action to deal with climate change. This speaks not well of her, nor does it require that others afford her any respect.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 29 Jul 2010 @ 5:59 PM

  493. Perhaps relevant here, the EPA has responded to petitions filed by various fossil fuel industry groups and “conservative” think-tanks seeking to overturn EPA’s finding in December 2009 that greenhouse gases endanger the health and welfare of Americans:

    EPA determined in December 2009 that climate change caused by emissions of greenhouse gases threatens the public’s health and the environment. Since then, EPA received ten petitions challenging this determination. On July 29, 2010, EPA denied these petitions.

    The petitions to reconsider EPA’s “Endangerment Finding” claimed that climate science can’t be trusted, and asserted a conspiracy that calls into question the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) , the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program. After months of serious consideration of the petitions and of the state of climate change science, EPA found no evidence to support these claims.

    The scientific evidence supporting EPA’s finding is robust, voluminous, and compelling. Climate change is happening now, and humans are contributing to it. Multiple lines of evidence show a global warming trend over the past 100 years. Beyond this, melting ice in the Arctic, melting glaciers around the world, increasing ocean temperatures, rising sea levels, altered precipitation patterns, and shifting patterns of ecosystems and wildlife habitats all confirm that our climate is changing.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 29 Jul 2010 @ 6:34 PM

  494. 493 (SecularAnimist),

    Nice to see. Lets hope that other departments and branches of the U.S. government use the same level of intelligence, consideration and responsibility.

    Comment by Bob (Sphaerica) — 29 Jul 2010 @ 7:42 PM

  495. The petitions to reconsider EPA’s “Endangerment Finding” claimed that climate science can’t be trusted, and asserted a conspiracy that calls into question the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) , the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program. After months of serious consideration of the petitions and of the state of climate change science, EPA found no evidence to support these claims.

    A “conspiracy.” That’s the best they can do? Same deal from the bottom of the food chain all the way to the top, it seems. “Hockey Stick Illusion” is of course just a “history of science tome,” not a middle-level bolus of bunk.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 29 Jul 2010 @ 7:51 PM

  496. Gavin:

    In light of the stir Judith Curry has created, both here and at Climate Progress (this post here: Consensus on a scientific issue is established as science evolves through the following successive stages (Funtowicz and Ravetz, 1990) ), perhaps this would be a good time for RC to weigh in with a post on the current scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming today in those same terms.

    The National Academy of Science recently touched on this back in May in their report Advancing the Science of Climate Change – Settled Facts. But as usual, the media failed to follow up on it.

    Such a post would go a long way towards reducing the noise level being generated by the usual denialist sites and their denizens.

    Just an idea.

    The Yooper

    Comment by Daniel "The Yooper" Bailey — 29 Jul 2010 @ 8:06 PM

  497. J Bowers,

    To add a bit to what you said above (#485):

    Judith Curry had two students make presentations in her class discussion, a while ago. The first student was “a 2nd year graduate student, slightly older and with a mature and broad perspective.”

    Here is how he generalize CA’s discussion:

    1. attacking a paper on global warming, before reading it very carefully or understanding the context of the paper, assuming that the author is either dumb or has an “agenda”

    2. a plethora of statistical activity of a fairly rudimentary nature

    3. realization that the issues are complex

    4. some attempts at trying to gain physical understanding of what is going on

    5. realization that the issues are even more complex

    6. give up and move onto something else

    Source: http://climateaudit.org/2006/09/22/more-bender-on-emanuel/#comment-64366

    Later on, the only real counter-argument offered is that step 5 never occured regarding any of **the Team**’s members works. This counter-argument was repeated at least three times.

    That might be true for CA, but it appears that it’s exactly what occured here:

    http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/06/16/the-main-hindrance-to-dialogue-and-detente/#comment-7824

    Please bear with me that it does in any way constitute a formal proof. It is presented to express a problem with “tribalism” meme: there are students who could see things as if they were tribe members. Does that mean that tribalism is innate? ;-)

    By the way, it is said that some “report cards” comment have been moved to another thread. I can’t find them. If someone does, that would be appreciated.

    PS: Thank you for the hat tip, but we must also thank TCO (!) for having worked endlessly in the ice corners and passed me the puck in front of the net.

    Comment by willard — 29 Jul 2010 @ 10:01 PM

  498. Jim (#490):
    As you know, there is no problem defining what is or is not a good proxy as long as the selection, physical or statistical, is in essence made on an ex ante basis then fine, otherwise basic statistical assumptions are not met. The challenges with relative small numbers of data sets that are hard to collect are very difficult.

    Comment by Bernie — 29 Jul 2010 @ 10:02 PM

  499. The challenges with relative small numbers of data sets that are hard to collect are very difficult.

    D’oh. Thus the relative large uncertainties associated with the relevant analyses, right?

    Do you think you’re saying anything that the relevant scientific community (including Jim) hasn’t thought of before?

    Your “very difficult” claim says nothing about whether or not scientists in this field have managed to overcome the difficulties.

    All envelope-pushing science and engineering, after all, involves overcoming the “very difficult”, and every time I fly safely on an airliner I’m thankful of our species having the ability to overcome “very difficult” problems.

    Comment by dhogaza — 29 Jul 2010 @ 11:30 PM

  500. PS: Thank you for the hat tip, but we must also thank TCO (!) for having worked endlessly in the ice corners and passed me the puck in front of the net.</blockquote.

    Now that TCO has proclaimed himself to be (relatively) sober, he's much more rational, so the (!) isn't quite as "!" as it would've been in the past.

    HIs disgust with the denialsphere seems pretty much complete, but of course he still thinks he's the 2nd most intelligent person on the planet after Feynman (someday, someone has to tell him that Feynmann's been pushing up worms for such time).

    Comment by dhogaza — 29 Jul 2010 @ 11:36 PM

  501. Doug “A “conspiracy.” That’s the best they can do?” – that is all they need to do as far as Deniaworld is concerned. You only need to say “conspiracy”, no matter how absurdly, for it to become self-evidently true.

    Comment by David Horton — 30 Jul 2010 @ 12:15 AM

  502. Science denialism is a mature technology, and the people who do it are paid to create uncertainty. But climate science per se is not that immature. It’s older than genetic engineering, DNA, continental drift, probably a couple dozen other fairly major sciences.

    As for the uncertainties, some of them are statistical artifacts.

    And one pattern in particular needs to be brought up over and over. I mentioned a thought experiment where 2 schools were among a bunch competing for funding based on the percentage in students’ improvements on standardized tests. The school system has used a number of different systems over the last few years, and records have been kept in a very informal way. Sometimes part-time teacher’s aides compiled scores. Sometimes substitutes. Etc. One of the schools asks for and is given control of the data, so they can “clean it up.” It so happens that they find every inaccuracy at their rival school which would make the test score improvement average higher. At their school, they eliminate every error where their score improvement percentage would be lower.

    Confronted with this, they respond that in their OPINION, with no evidence presented, the school system has been keeping fraudulent records all along in their disfavor. That if the rival school wanted to, they could petition to control the data and clean it similarly (though there’s no time left this year for that, sorry). They basically acknowledge their methodology.

    But, and this is the key point, they say their MAIN claim is this:

    1. We’re eliminating data errors. About 2-3% at our rival school, about 3-4% at our school. In no case are we throwing away an accurate record.

    2. Therefore, we are making our rival’s records more accurate. We’re making our records more accurate.

    Put so baldly, what’s wrong with this picture is obvious. But it’s the entire basis of the project at Watt’s Up with That. It’s the basis of everything Steve McIntyre does. If you eliminate random noise in a biased way, you introduce a bias.

    The school board in this case would be the media (and to a degree, the Congress). The rival school would be climate science, and the data “cleaning” school would be the denialist network. And the latter have run out the clock.

    Comment by Marion Delgado — 30 Jul 2010 @ 12:30 AM

  503. There’s a big difference between the statements:

    1) paleoclimate reconstructions are reasonably robust
    2) paleoclimate reconstructions are in their early days and the conclusions are still a bit tentative
    3) paleoclimate reconstructions are nonsense, and
    4) paleoclimate reconstructions are the products of a corrupt system engaged in corrupt practices (implictly with corrupt people).

    Montford is writing a history of science, and his conclusion is (4) – corruption. This is a serious accusation.

    I think tamino’s and gavin argue we were at (2 – early days) 15 years ago, and now we are at (1 – robust).

    I think judith argues that we are now at (2 – early days), but we have to be careful to distinguish (2) from (3 – nonsense), and if we are at (2) we must not claim we are at (1 – robust).

    So I am confused by judith’s defence of Montford’s argument. It’s a very serious accusation which Tamino counters by showing that paleo reconstrutions are at least not bad – therefore not the fruit of a corrupt tree.

    Comment by Patrick Caldon — 30 Jul 2010 @ 4:25 AM

  504. Erratum: I meant step 6.

    In any case, Dhog, for what it’s worth, your smugness shows too.

    I never understood why Feynman is idealized so much. Dismissiveness is still dismissiveness, even if it’s Feynman’s. Even philosophers can sometimes provide interesting criticism of Feynman’s ideas. Here’s one analyzing the atomic discourse in the Feynman lectures on physics:

    http://bit.ly/daJPre (JSTOR)

    Comment by willard — 30 Jul 2010 @ 6:15 AM

  505. But climate science per se is not that immature. It’s older than genetic engineering, DNA, continental drift, probably a couple dozen other fairly major sciences.

    At times i get the impression Judith’s talking about paleoclimatology, in which case she makes some sense (Patrick Caldon’s summary above in #503 seems very reasonable to me).

    But then she appears to apply the claim to all of climate science, and the risks we face when temperatures rise significantly due to our business-as-usual pouring of CO2 into the atmosphere. As though she thinks the fact that paleoclimatology being a relatively young field makes all of climate science, including the underlying physical science, “immature”.

    Comment by dhogaza — 30 Jul 2010 @ 8:03 AM

  506. Re: #505

    appears to apply the claim to all of climate science

    ‘Sociological’ Research
    I wonder if Judith Curry, Steve McIntyre and Montford have been asked recently for their best estimate of the climate sensitivity, together with uncertainty range and degrees of confidence?.

    This useful kind of investigation has been carried out with several other people.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 30 Jul 2010 @ 8:36 AM

  507. dhogaza: paleoclimatology is a logical extension of dendrochronolgy. The origin of dendrochronology was when Douglass discovered a correlation between tree rings and the sunspot cycle. So, attempts to reconstruct climate from proxies have been going on for nearly a century.

    Other branches of paleoclimatology aren’t exactly young, either. Ice cores have been drilled for a long time.

    But “mature”? That’s a value judgement.

    Comment by Didactylos — 30 Jul 2010 @ 8:54 AM

  508. Perhaps this is all a distraction from the main effort?

    “We believe the political response to climate issues should be based on sound science. Both a free society and the scientific method require an open and honest airing of all sides, not demonizing and silencing those with whom you disagree. We’ve strived to encourage an intellectually honest debate on the scientific basis for claims of harm from greenhouse gases…..”

    Koch Industries, as of this year the world’s biggest funder of, er, “debate” as they call it (owner of Georgia Pacific timber, among much else); quoted at
    http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2010/03/30/koch-denial-machine/

    Remember, as of this year, in the US, corporations are peoplehave the freedom to spend unlimited money on political opinion-making.

    Of course, any individual meat-based person can do the same, to the full extent of your means.

    For those outside the USA, watch the news you see from here very skeptically

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Jul 2010 @ 9:16 AM

  509. Georgia had a ‘biennial Climate Summit’ in 2006 and 2008:
    http://airsummit.gatech.edu/
    I haven’t found a page for 2010. Anyone heard anything?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Jul 2010 @ 9:40 AM

  510. “1. attacking a paper on global warming, before reading it very carefully or understanding the context of the paper, assuming that the author is either dumb or has an “agenda””

    Things haven’t really changed at CA. Their defamation against scientists has perhaps been stepped up since then.

    Comment by MarkB — 30 Jul 2010 @ 9:44 AM

  511. 502 – Marion Delgado says:
    One of the schools asks for and is given control of the data, so they can “clean it up.” It so happens that they find every inaccuracy at their rival school which would make the test score improvement average higher. At their school, they eliminate every error where their score improvement percentage would be lower.

    Unfortunately this seems to be what the deniers are saying as well.
    How do we move forward from here?

    Zorro

    Comment by Zorro — 30 Jul 2010 @ 10:04 AM

  512. Judith Curry’s appeal (in #467) to Peirce’s classification scheme on “fixation of belief” is an interesting approach – but I think its application to this particular discussion would be far more enlightening than her rather cavalier classification of various blogs by it. Are we to trust her authority on this classification, which she seems to cling to with a striking “tenacity” despite the protests of many of her peers here?

    Let’s look at the issue of belief in three points straight from the title of Montford’s book
    * is the “Hockey stick” an illusion?
    * is “climategate” significant?
    * is [any part of] science corrupt?

    On the method of “tenacity”, Peirce explained his meaning:

    why should we not […take] as answer to a question any we may fancy, and constantly reiterating it to ourselves, dwelling on all which may conduce to that belief, and learning to turn with contempt and hatred from anything that might disturb it?

    Once you have formed any opinion on a subject, it’s a perfectly natural human tendency to cling to that opinion, and “both sides” do it here. From the start most of us with some scientific background and trust in the methods of peer review would have tended to the “No” answer on each of the three questions, though many of us may have had doubts on each point. Clearly on the McIntyre/Montford side, the tendency was to answer “Yes”.

    The question regarding Peirce’s classification is to what degree those beliefs were *fixed* by this method of simply clinging to them, despite contrary evidence. Tamino’s review here and past discussions (Mann 2008 in particular, but even all the other reconstructions like Loehle’s) clearly show a certain “robustness” in the “hockey stick” form and the conclusion regarding recent warmth being highly anomalous. What is the evidence on the other side? There were clearly some mistakes made in the analyses (in Mann’s papers, and far worse in Loehle’s) but there doesn’t seem to be any modern reconstruction published in the peer reviewed literature that shows anything other than essentially the picture in MBH98.

    So the weight of the evidence on question 1 is very heavily in favor of those who fixed belief in the “No” side of the question, and heavily against those on the “Yes”. Have any of those on the “Yes” side changed their minds in regard to this evidence? If not, then they are clearly stuck in Peirce’s “tenacity” mindset.

    Similarly on climategate and corruption, we’ve now had 5 reviews that found at worst some poor communication and data sharing practices. The weight of the evidence is very strongly on the “No” side of these questions. Have any of the “Yes” folks changed their minds as a result? There are some examples: The Guardian’s George Monbiot, for instance, at first thought climategate was significant and called for Phil Jones to resign, but has now stepped back from that (his concern seemed to be chiefly from a deep faith in the importance of FOI-type laws).

    Peirce’s method of authority referred to imposition of belief by government or other institutional agents. On the above three questions and in the present discussion it doesn’t seem to me to apply at all. I don’t believe he was referring to “authority” in the sense of expertise; in some sense the role of the IPCC in fixing belief around climate science is similar to Peirce’s “authority”, but it has no enforcement power and to me it seems far more like a step in the process of fixation and communication of scientific information, part of the publishing process, than anything like what Peirce was talking about in method 2.

    Peirce’s last two methods of fixation are perhaps the most interesting for scientific discussion: that which is “agreeable to reason” vs that which “coincides with fact”. What is the source of “fact”? Observation of the world around us – raw data, collected and prepared according to scientific standards of care, self-doubt, and open honesty. On top of that data we have analysis and interpretation, which again require scientific care.

    As an example of the “a priori” “agreeable to reason” method, Peirce takes an interesting example – classical economics:

    Take, for example, the doctrine that man only acts selfishly — that is, from the consideration that acting in one way will afford him more pleasure than acting in another. This rests on no fact in the world, but it has had a wide acceptance as being the only reasonable theory.

    In this context, there are several groups that are practicing the scientific method in the sense of actually going out into the world and making observations. The people who study tree rings, those who study borehole temperatures, those who set up and monitor temperature stations, those who study glaciers, sometimes risking their lives, are gathering that basic factual data about the world. On top of that are folks like the CRU and Mike Mann, collecting that data together and analyzing it to see what it can tell us, what the larger-scale picture might be.

    That scientific method can have bearing on only the first question: is the “hockey stick” an illusion, an artefact, an accident of the way the work was done? And the only way to answer differently is to do your own reconstruction, go back to the raw data and see what difference it makes. As Tamino illustrates here, that seems to have been done repeatedly by others and they come back with the same answer. So the scientific method, as far as it seems to have been applied at all here, clearly shows a “No” answer to the first question.

    But the second and third questions are not matters where we can apply any observations of the non-human natural world to help fix our opinions. These are questions about what people said, what they meant, what in their hearts they honestly were feeling. Since the internal workings of another human being are fundamentally subjective and cannot be determined by any objective method, our only resort on this question, our best option, is to appeals to reason. The “facts” on scientific corruption may be eternally in dispute, but what conforms best to our understandings of the people involved, of reason in this matter? Conspiracy theories can certainly be logically self-consistent, but they are fundamentally destructive to human relationships and progress. The fundamental foundation of all of that has to return to the one question that can be answered by science here: “is the hockey stick an illusion”?

    If you want a scientific discussion, that is the only question of relevance. And Tamino addressed precisely that question in his review here. The answer is, No.

    Comment by Arthur Smith — 30 Jul 2010 @ 10:12 AM

  513. Dr. Curry has a long history of publication of scientific articles. If she really had a *scientific* argument to make, she knows how to do it. What she is doing now is a political act, not a scientific act. She is trying to promote the message that climate change is uncertain, the unsaid message therefore that we should do nothing. This is just one

    Claims that CA is free of “snark” are frankly ludicrous. SM’s entire writing style is based on snark and worse. “Hockey Team” anyone? Take a look at just about any post … SM cannot help but try to punch out at least a few sarcastic punchlines, usually capitalized for easy reposting. SM makes constant claims that “the Team” engage in fraud, disinformation, obfuscation etc. Clearly the auditors are not interested in science.

    But that should be the point. Who cares about snark if the science is correct? Who cares about politeness if the science is wrong? Dr. Curry’s latest @467 is exactly wrong. If a site (or book, or article etc) is WRONG then who cares how polite the people are discussing it? If she is “concerned” simply from a communication point of view then she should be worrying about the accuracy of the message first and the tone second. The fight she is fighting is first and foremost about the accuracy of the science. Dr. Curry has apparently chosen the other side, which explains why she is concerned about “snark”, “uncertainty”, “an immature field” — all things a scientist would not consider impediments to understanding the science. Engaging Dr. Curry as a scientist will not work anymore. She has chosen to publicly abandon that role. She should be engaged as a political hack, a role she has now very publicly adopted.

    Comment by Gator — 30 Jul 2010 @ 10:19 AM

  514. Some more “striking similarities” to unattributed antecedents (Wikipedia and a couple of text books) in the Wegman Report … in the background section on PCA and statistical models, no less!

    http://deepclimate.org/2010/07/29/wegman-report-update-part-1-more-dubious-scholarship-in-full-colour/

    Also of note (and definitely on topic here):

    Of course, PCA is at the heart of the McIntyre critique of the work of Mann, Bradley and Hughes and therefore central to Wegman et al. The short description above refers to the possibility that the first few principal components (PCs) might “account for” or “explain” most of the variation in the original larger data set. This implies that enough PCs must be retained to accomplish this. Normally at least enough PCs to account for most of the original data set’s variance should be retained, and typically other conditions (such as convergence upon retention of successive PCs) would be imposed.

    Tellingly, Wegman et al never once discuss this crucial aspect of PCA, even though a thorough examination of the issue of PC retention criteria was a key element in the most extensive peer-reviewed critique of McIntyre and McKitrick’s work, namely that found in Wahl and Ammann’s Robustness of the Mann, Bradley, Hughes reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere surface temperatures (Climatic Change 2007).

    Comment by Deep Climate — 30 Jul 2010 @ 10:19 AM

  515. Arthur Smith says: 30 July 2010 at 10:12 AM

    That’s a truly commendable analysis, makes me feel ashamed for my superficiality. Dr. Curry reads her email, apparently, perhaps you should send a copy to her?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 30 Jul 2010 @ 10:42 AM

  516. I agree that Arthur’s comment #512 at present is first rate. It’s well worth a careful read by anyone still here.

    It is devoid of snark, very fair minded in recognizing potential problems with unwarranted “tenacity” on all sides, and does a great job is isolating the actual substantive matters which apply for anyone aspiring to be an honest broker in these disputes.

    No doubt Dr Curry feels a bit overwhelmed at the all the comments her input here has provoked. The comment by Arthur is one that should stand out head and shoulders above the main pack as something well worth her serious consideration.

    Comment by Chris Ho-Stuart — 30 Jul 2010 @ 11:09 AM

  517. Peirce’s method of tenacity might be compatible with his method of science:

    > In this paper, I will claim that these two “methods” can coexist, despite
    their apparent conflict, so that pragmatism, relying on the method of tenacity, and naturalism, relying on the method of science, can and should coexist, both in science and in metaphysics.

    Source: host.uniroma3.it/dipartimenti/filosofia/personale/peirce.pdf

    If we don’t want to deal with problems in Peirce’s philosophy of science, simply talking about naturalism and pragmatism might be of help. I’m not sure that this parallel is exact, but it has more currency, nowadays, than tenacity and science.

    Comment by willard — 30 Jul 2010 @ 11:26 AM

  518. Arthur, one point that may be relevant. You quote

    > “… the doctrine that man only acts selfishly … has had
    > a wide acceptance as being the only reasonable theory.”

    Verb tense noted. I wonder about the correlation between believing that disproven notion of economics, and believing (any of the many different and often mutually contradictory ideas summed up as “anything but the IPCC”). http://ejpe.org/pdf/1-1-art-1.pdf

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Jul 2010 @ 7:43 PM

  519. While I add my enthusiasm to the growing pile for Arthur Smith’s analysis @512, I would take issue with him on his analysis of the second and third points–that is the significance of the set of cluster coitus known under the rubric of “climategate” and the question of corruption. That Judy thinks these two questions are even relevant indicates to me that she has a rather weak understanding of the scientific method.

    First, science is a human endeavor. In the UEA emails we see that very clearly. Research teams work to advance their interests. They disparage and seek to downplay research they perceive as incompetent. If they are wrong, their careers will suffer, and those of their opponents will rise. That’s science.

    Now on the question of “corruption”… Please! Are we to really believe that thousands of scientists have colluded to falsify the very science that they’ve dedicated their lives to unraveling? Are we to believe that all the other scientific fields–many of whom will be hurt as research priorities shift toward climate science–are complicit as well, since not a single scietific professional society dissents from the consensus theory of Earth’s climate? Are we to believe they have done so without a single scientist defecting from the conspiracy and thereby becoming a hero to society AND to science? Judy ought to know better.

    Scientists are human, so they act in their own interests–and they are smart enough, generally, to perceive that those interests are in exposing rather than hiding the truth. If they do not perceive thus, they tend to have very short careers.

    I am sorry, but I see no way to rationalize Judy’s current position with her duties as a scientist. I do not see an answer that does not call into question either her integrity or her judgment.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 Jul 2010 @ 8:37 PM

  520. A quote from that document I linked. I’ve wondered for a long time whether the suspicion that scientists must be cheating comes from this kind of “rational” — and clearly wrong — view of human nature.

    “this view leads people to expect others to defect in social dilemmas” (Frank, et al. 1996, 192)…. people who hold such expectations “are overwhelmingly likely to defect themselves” (Frank, et al. 1996, 192)…. they may be animated by a sense of justice in punishing the dishonest co-player, and in such ways come to behave exactly as a selfish person would.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Jul 2010 @ 9:27 PM

  521. This morning I ran across this, posted originally on July 27:
    http://mensnewsdaily.com/2010/07/28/the-difference-between-true-science-and-cargo-cult-science/

    The opinion piece sounded very much like post 467(the last paragraph — the Feynman quotes is the reason why it caught my attention), except FJ Tipler goes further than J Curry.

    [edit — sorry, I’m tired of hearing the same baloney]

    [Response: Ah yes, Tipler knows what cult science is, that’s for sure. He’s a bonafide expert. Take an answer you like (e.g. take the bible literally), make up some equations, and publish in book form (handily avoiding peer review). Here’s a sampling: ” [Tipler’s] discussion of the scientific possibility of miracles provides … scientific foundation for many of Christianity’s most astonishing claims, including the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, and the Incarnation.” I’m in no way challenging anyone’s religious beliefs, but this is not science.–eric]

    Comment by glen — 30 Jul 2010 @ 9:27 PM

  522. He who’s name must not be mentioned has a new “not a reconstruction” on Mann 08 w/o Tiljander or Dendro proxies. It didn’t feel like wading through the text to see if I could figure out what he did wrong. Previously (a long, long time ago) he claimed that he could not understand RegEM, so my guess is he did something wrong. Could someone who understands the ins and outs of the CPS and/or EIV methods explain?

    Heck, I just read his whole damn thing and he only covered the proxies which went back to 1000 CE. Oops.

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 30 Jul 2010 @ 10:59 PM

  523. #522
    There’s some discussion of it at DC, from here on:

    http://deepclimate.org/2010/07/19/open-thread-4/#comment-4646

    It’s CPS recon, so doesn’t involve RegEM I would think. It does not seem to match very well anywhere from 1000-2000.

    Comment by Deep Climate — 31 Jul 2010 @ 2:24 AM

  524. Oh well, here is my review, FWIW. BTW, I didn’t pay for my copy…

    Montford sets up the whole premise of his book with his rather inaccurate and truncated history of paleoclimatology in the first chapter. To Montford (as related by Stevie Mac) legitimate paleoclimatology begins and ends with the poorly sourced figure in the IPCC FAR which was based on Lamb. From then on all of paleoclimatology was an attempt to “get rid of the MWP”.

    There is just a slight problem with this thesis. Or maybe more.

    For one, the figure which appears to have based on Lamb’s work was dropped in the 1992 supplement, as our esteemed host has pointed out. Secondly (aren’t your glad I didn’t say “Primo” and “Secundo”), during the early to mid nineties I was an active participant in the climate change debates on sci.environment and there was an active disagreement about the extent and “beneficial” effects of the MWP. Gavin cited Hughes and Diaz (1994), but this was only one line of evidence which was apparent at that time.

    The truth of the matter, as opposed to Montford’s account, is that there was an increasing body of evidence that the MWP was not a global phenomena. In 1998 MBH decided that there was enough paleo evidence to do a reconstruction which stretched back to 1400 CE on a global scale. Note that 1400 does not include the MWP! In 1999 MBH did a reconstruction which went back to 1000 CE for the Northern Hemisphere and showed a MWP which might have reached mid 20th century levels, given the uncertainties. This seems to have been in line with recent (90’s) thinking on the subject, but the 98 and 99 papers were the first attempts to use all the available evidence to reach a conclusion on this subject. Since then there have been a variety of reconstructions using varying sub and supersets of the original MBH network and varying methods. They all come to the same conclusion (although most show greater long time scale variability than the original MBH study, which I consider to be one of the actual weaknesses of the original methodology. Of course Mann also recognized this…).

    Montford’s truncated and distorted history of paleoclimatology is the basis for his subsequent argument, but it must be accepted to make sense of anything else he says in his book. A good example is his argument (as related by Stevie Mac) is that using tree rings as climate proxies is worthless. In reality, work on using tree rings as climate proxies stretches back to the early 20th century and is fairly well established. But Montford (as related by Stevie Mac) boldly forges on trying to show that tree rings are lousy proxies, especially if they corrolate to local temperature! Of course the scientists who work with them admit that they are problematic, but so are all the other proxies — that is what makes this science. If it was easy it would be engineering. As a physicist at Argonne National Lab said on a recent show about the hunt for the Higgs Boson said “I get paid to try and understand things we don’t understand. The more things we don’t understand — that’s job security!”. Or, perhaps more famously, and unattributed AFAIK, “science is what we do when we don’t know what we’re doing”.

    The most fundamental flaw in Montford’s book is his (as related by Stevie Mac) refusal to recognize that science is an ongoing process. The back and forth as seen in the scientific literature, or more informally in the dreaded emails, is how progress is made. Montford’s (as related by Stevie Mac) refusal to see this is the basic flaw in the book. The fact that a plurality of the references are to CA posts with no attempt made to address the legitimate criticisms leveled at Stevie Mac’s broadsides just makes the book weaker.

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 31 Jul 2010 @ 3:00 AM

  525. RN – You would also need to be sure that the proxy selection ws the same, which I haven’t done. McI’s version is described as No-dendro, no Tilj while the Mann graphic is minus dendro and 7 other potentially dubious proxies, including Tiljander.

    Over at CA, while Dr Curry and Steve M have conceded that Dr Curry’s point 7 above was mistaken, commenters have been bending over backwards to try and demonstrate that it was correct ‘in spirit’, and – if you just add or subtract a few words – it was correct in detail. Heh.

    The basis for this is more of McIntyre’s impolite ‘pea and thimble’ [climate scientists are con-men] stuff. His contention being that in the various sensitivity tests the combinations were carefully chosen to leave a mix that gave a Hockey Stick. Remove Bristlecones but leave in the inverted Tiljander, exclude Tiljander but add the Bristlecones back in etc. I read this post as an attempt to demonstrate this by rolling his own No-dendro, no-Tilj version that does not resemble an item of sporting equipment. No modern instrumental temperatures are plotted so this is a comparison of the ‘shaft’ only.

    His surmise about why his reconstruction differs from the Mann figure (some commenters have done an overlay and the differences are really not that remarkable, to my eyes) is beyond my ability to parse. To do so seems to rely on having read previous posts where terms are defined. Fair enough, but two points are clear – the two warm periods reconstructed – Medieval and late 1700s are >0.6C cooler than recent NH anomalies of around 1C CRU], which means that while the details differ, McIntyre’s plot is fully consistent with the conclusion of Mann et al 2008 that recent warmth is unprecedented for 1,000 years or more.

    [Response: It’s also worth spelling out some of McIntyre’s thimble hiding here. First off, after a 7 years you’d think that he would be aware that the reconstructions are done in a step-wise fashion – i.e. you use as much information as is available as far back as you can. Back to 1500 you use everything that goes back that far, back to 1400 a little less etc. So a proper no-dendro/no-Tilj reconstruction will not just be made with what is available in 1000AD. Second, given all of the bluster about validation statistics, he never seems to compute any. Since the no-dendro CPS version only validates until 1500 AD (Mann et al (2008) ), it is hardly likely that the no-dendro/no-Tilj CPS version will validate any further back, so criticising how bad the 1000 AD network is using CPS is hardly germane. Note too that while the EIV no-dendro version does validate to 1000 AD, the no-dendro/no-Tilj only works going back to 1500 AD (Mann et al, 2009, SI). So again, McIntyre is setting up a strawman, not performing any ‘due diligence’ and simply making stuff up – all in order to demonstrate some statistical prestidigitation to the adoring commenters. – gavin]

    Comment by pjclarke — 31 Jul 2010 @ 5:36 AM

  526. Jumping way back to Andy Revkin’s comment at
    http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=4431#comment-181651
    Perhaps he was thinking of this very recent US 11th Circuit case (which of course doesn’t apply to British law or the CRU, but might well worry any US citizen in the 11th Circuit (Alabama, Florida, Georgia) who might have any private information in email.
    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/07/court-corrects-bad-email-privacy-decision-ducks
    “… a prosecutor used a sham grand jury subpoena to obtain the private emails …. the sort of abuse … — a rogue government official seeking to get your emails from your ISP with no court oversight and then turning it over to others who seek to harm you…. is very bad news …

    That’s not freedom of information. That’s freedom to misappropriate and misuse private information, by a public official.

    Think Cuccinelli, not Revkin, getting hold of the email.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 Jul 2010 @ 10:06 AM

  527. “prestidigitation” what a marvelous word!

    And, under the heading of “No good turn goes unpunished,” traffic to my blog has quadrupled because CD linked my translation of JD’s interview in Brazil.

    Thus, I have now pasted Dr. Smith’s excellent comment into the beginning of that post.

    [reCaptcha: earthiest year]

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 31 Jul 2010 @ 10:16 AM

  528. pjclark,

    You made the point I alluded to in my last sentence much better (and gavin, better still) than I did. I was just surprised that the error was so easy to spot. McIntyre really isn’t even trying anymore.

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 31 Jul 2010 @ 10:22 AM

  529. Gavin,

    So just to be clear with regard to your response to 525. Under either method (CPS or EIV) it is not possible to get a validated reconstruction to before 1500 without the use of tree rings, or the Tiljander sediments. I understand, of course, that as you remove proxies that the ability to project backward will naturally diminish.

    [Response: That appears to be the case with the Mann et al 2008 network. Whether you can say more general things about medieval times using these and other proxies (cf osborn and briffa 2006) is another question. -gavin]

    Comment by Nicolas Nierenberg — 31 Jul 2010 @ 10:35 AM

  530. Re: Hank Roberts #526.

    Perhaps encryption technology for emails and backups should be used. Although, ‘the horse has bolted’ on this.

    Comment by Mikel — 31 Jul 2010 @ 11:04 AM

  531. Gavin,

    Thanks for your response. I had been under the impression that a claim was that the “hockey stick” (which I’m sure is an undefined term) survived even when you eliminated the use of tree rings. Without the period before 1500 I don’t think that this would be a valid statement. Or are you saying that there are other potential non tree ring proxies that weren’t used by the Man et al 2008 network that would push the window back?

    [Response: Since the first ‘hockey stick’ paper was MBH98 which only went to 1400, and since almost all of McIntyre’s commentary has been concerned the 1400-1500 step in MBH98, I don’t think there is an implication that HS-ness is related specifically to medieval times. It’s more related to the increase over the 20th C relative to past centuries (which is why the whole issue is kind of moot for anything important). As to proxies that Mann et al 2008 don’t use because it doesn’t fit with that methodology (due to resolution, or whatever), there may well be useful information there. Note that the ‘very likely’ designation of exceptional late 20th C warmth in IPCC was only for the period to 1500 – quite likely because of the drop out of non-dendro proxies at this point. My comments here have purely been about the misrepresentations being made about the various papers, if you want to have a conversation about medieval times, that is a whole other topic. – gavin]

    [Further Response: Just to be even clearer – there is no problem in looking specifically at the no-dendro/no-Tilj 1000 AD network along with anything else you like to see what can be said – but showing that this is problematic while implying that someone has made some claim about it that that you are refuting is a classic strawman argument. As we discussed a few months ago, the exact level of the medieval warmth is not a very interesting scientific question (given the uncertainties in forcings) – despite what you might read elsewhere. – gavin]

    Comment by Nicolas Nierenberg — 31 Jul 2010 @ 11:15 AM

  532. McIntyre understands the “stepwise” method just fine.

    But he also claimed:

    Here’s where I think the difference lies. Mann’s graphics all show the results of spliced reconstructions rather than what you get with proxies going back to AD1000. The provenance of the network used in Mann’s November 2009 revision of a figure in his SI isn’t described as clearly as it might be. [Empahsis added]

    That claim of lack of clarity simply can’t be supported, as to both “stepwise” method and proxies to be included.

    I expound at greater length:
    http://deepclimate.org/2010/07/19/open-thread-4/#comment-4662

    Comment by Deep Climate — 31 Jul 2010 @ 2:12 PM

  533. “the exact level of the medieval warmth is not a very interesting scientific question (given the uncertainties in forcings)”

    from when on can we be certain about the forcings?

    [Response: Depends what the question is. At the last glacial maximum we know the forcings to a W/m2 or two, but the signal is large (~6 deg C) so the response/forcing ratio is relatively well constrained. At the medieval period, the forcing uncertainty is a maybe half W/m2 (I would estimate), but the signal is in tenths of a degree. The late 20th C is better – a larger signal and larger trend. – gavin]

    Comment by Ibrahim — 31 Jul 2010 @ 3:35 PM

  534. More McIntyre:
    To illustrate the calculation, I’ve picked the AD1000 Mann 2008 data set as an example since it covers the MWP. I’ve used the late-miss version (calibration 1859-1949) to work through, since it will give a look at any potential “divergence problems” in non-dendro data.

    So his AD1000 reconstruction appears to use only the calibration period up to 1949 for screening and calibration. No wonder even his 1000-1100 century doesn’t match.

    Comment by Deep Climate — 31 Jul 2010 @ 6:55 PM

  535. Hank Roberts (#526) writes:

    “Think Cuccinelli…getting hold of the email.”

    Mr. Cuccinelli is in hot water because he took campaign money from a crook named Bobby Thompson who ran a bogus charity. Friday the IRS and other agencies a raided a house connected with this bogus charity and seized documents and computers.

    Rep. Ward Armstrong has observed, \[Cuccinelli] can waste taxpayer dollars going after professors at our public colleges and universities . . . but yet we can’t take a look at Mr. Thompson and his group…You have to wonder if there’s a connection there with the $50,000 contribution.\

    http://legendofpineridge.blogspot.com/2010/07/federal-agents-raid-tampa-home-and.html

    Comment by Snapple — 31 Jul 2010 @ 7:19 PM

  536. Mr. Cuccinelli is in hot water because he took campaign money from a crook named Bobby Thompson who ran a bogus charity. Friday the IRS and other agencies a raided a house connected with this bogus charity and seized documents and computers.

    Ah, so it was a guilty conscience that led Mr. Cuccinelli to begin his witch hunt … :)

    Comment by dhogaza — 31 Jul 2010 @ 8:03 PM

  537. I haven’t visited RC for a long time. Returned a week ago. Oh boy what a return! Took me a week to read this entire thread from reply 1 to 536. I don’t feel I can really add anything to this discussion. However I do want to express my amazement about this all.

    Montford’s book portrays climate scientists as frauds and tells us we should deeply mistrust any product of the power hungry money machine that climate science is.

    Judith Curry is on a mission of rebuilding trust in climate science. How does the promotion of this book further that cause? I don’t understand, and from what she has posted here and on other sites, I take it that she doesn’t either.

    Another thing that leaves me completely puzzled is how she prefers to judge people on snarkiness rather than honesty.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 1 Aug 2010 @ 8:32 AM

  538. re: 537 “Another thing that leaves me completely puzzled is how she prefers to judge people on snarkiness rather than honesty.”

    Curry opened an early post on the thread with the statement that she just dropped by to say she must be going.

    Several lengthy posts by Curry later, I wonder if she ever managed to get there.

    reCaptcha: shirks of
    (I kid you not)

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 1 Aug 2010 @ 11:06 AM

  539. Another thing that completely puzzles me is the fact that if one simply averages temperature proxies, as Craig Loehle has done, one sees that the MWP was likely warmer than present times, and the largest problem of the previous 1000 years has been the LIA.

    Is there a Tamino/Schmidt rebuttal of this that I could be pointed to?

    [Response: Loehle’s reconstruction has dozens of problems – some of which were outlined here. It has no information on relative temperatures between medieval and modern times. To have a simple average work, you need a relatively even spatial sampling, and relatively equal representation in each proxy for a particular area. You can’t for instance average the mean Chinese temperature over the whole country with a single point in India and get a representation of the average variability in Asia. These things are not trivially commensurate. -gavin]

    Comment by ZT — 1 Aug 2010 @ 2:20 PM

  540. Several months ago I visited this site to educate myself about “Climategate” and AGW. A kind poster recommended Spencer Weart’s “The Discovery of Global Warming,” which I read, enjoyed and learned from. I then moved on to A.W. Montford’s “The Hockey Stick Illusion” to take a look at the other side. Returning to RealClimate I obviously found this thread and followed it. I have to say that I’m disappointed. Polemics and ad hominem insinuations are too frequent. I’m not competent to judge the science or the respective technical merits of different statistical methods, but I can recognize ineffective communication when I see it. This matter cries out for a common public forum–even a series of face-to-face encounters. Dueling websites– essentially mere cyber pep rallies– won’t resolve anything. More of the same serves only to undermine public trust in in scientists and science.

    Comment by two moon — 1 Aug 2010 @ 4:33 PM

  541. #540 two moon

    ad hominem insinuation? Where? Compared to what? Who?

    saying your stunned at how wrong something is is not ad hom. Telling someone they are wrong based on a string of evidence or even reason is not ad hom.

    If you don’t understand the climate science yet, keep studying because it is important that you do understand it.

    Try http://www.skcepticalscience.com
    or http://www.ossfoundation.us

    as they both do a good overall job of simplification and directly addressing the debate myths.


    A Climate Minute: The Natural CycleThe Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

    ‘Fee & Dividend’ Our best chance:Learn the IssueSign the Petition

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 1 Aug 2010 @ 5:10 PM

  542. two moon (540) — As Tamino’s review makes quite clear the book is factually incorrect and unworthy of further considerations as it has no content.

    Far better to continue from Weart’s excellent presentation. One direction is to see what happened in the far past with different amounts of warming. I suggest Mark Lynas’s “Six Degrees” and Peter Ward’s “Under a Green Sky”. There is also Wally Broecker’s new book, “The Great Ocean Conveyor”.

    Don’t waste your time reading anti-science, please.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 1 Aug 2010 @ 5:21 PM

  543. two moon,

    Montford’s book and most contrarians’ argument share a common theme: climate scientists are frauds that are only in it for the grant money and world domination, and that therefore their science can not be trusted. The contrarians’ position is actually one big ad hominem.

    Focus on the substance of the arguments, don’t allow yourself to be distracted by the form. What do you prefer: a polite lie or an honest snark?

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 1 Aug 2010 @ 5:29 PM

  544. Re: two moon above at #540:

    Glad you read Weart’s book. Don’t judge what Real Climate has to offer based on Montford’s book or the discussion on this thread. That would be too small of a sample size.

    To gain perspective on the ongoing conflict between the scientific consensus and that of denial, I suggest reading historian Naomi Oreskes’ most recent book, Merchants of Doubt, which can be found here.

    As always, the best scientific arguments are those that consider all the evidence. You will find that those exhibiting denial do not adhere to that maxim.

    The best,

    Re Captcha: the innately

    The Yooper

    Comment by Daniel "The Yooper" Bailey — 1 Aug 2010 @ 5:33 PM

  545. “Dueling websites– essentially mere cyber pep rallies– won’t resolve anything. More of the same serves only to undermine public trust in in scientists and science.”

    To the contrary, first off the temperature reconstruction curve is not perfect, but serves us well, it shows a recent warming, conforming with AGW theory. It is a success story, and needs respect and praise. Instead it gets assailed as fraudulent from the anti-science venom crowd. What should we do? Sit here , and let the propaganda flow unhindered? There is no debating people making allegations of corruption and cheating, especially when the result of the science work is correct. In this case the correct science is seen in nature now, look all over the world, its hot on planet earth… I’ll repeat this until most people (without a bent agenda) make the connection.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 1 Aug 2010 @ 5:35 PM

  546. two moon, I’m sorry, but where did you ever get the idea that science was resolved on websites? Why not look at what the actual scientists say? The most recent polling shows 97% agreeing that we are warming the planet? And after you have read Spencer Weart–an actual physicist, why do you then go on to read Montford–who has no particular expertise and no publication record in climate science.

    Do you also read the Discovery Institute to get the “other side” on evolution? Velikovsky for the other side of planetary science?

    If you really want to know the truth, look at which side is publishing and advancing knowledge of the subject.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Aug 2010 @ 7:06 PM

  547. The Yooper, the only problem with Oreskes’ book is that substantial portions are wrong as documented by our peer reviewed paper. (Check my web site). You can’t argue for science and against truth.

    [Response: Despite your objections to one particular aspect, there is much more to it, and the evidence amassed for their overall thesis is very impressive. – gavin]

    Comment by Nicolas Nierenberg — 1 Aug 2010 @ 9:14 PM

  548. It should be convention that every time Montford’s book is mentioned, something better is also on the menu. Further to two moon’s mention, for those who don’t know of it Spencer Weart’s book can be found here. It’s written by a real historian of science and is distinctly less “tribal” than Montford’s offering to his particular totem.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 1 Aug 2010 @ 11:32 PM

  549. Many thanks for the comments on Loehle’s reconstruction. The same even spatial sampling criticism can be leveled at Mann’s multi-proxy studies can’t it?

    It seems to me that Loehle’s elegant approach has the advantage of being less sensitive to the specifics of proxy selection (each component in the average has the same weight) and the method readily provides confidence intervals, which seem to be not present in the PCA studies.

    I see that Gavin’s important contributions in tightening the data handling are acknowledged in Loehle’s second paper.

    [Response: ‘Important contributions’? ‘Elegant’? Funny. As for spatial sampling, it is clear that you would ideally want as even a spread as possible, but any method you would actually want to use has to be able to deal with the certain heterogeneity. Climate field reconstructions (like Mann et al) do that by breaking down known variability into patterns and then reconstructing the means from the reconstructed patterns. Loehle’s study made no attempt to do any weighting at all, and has no attempt to validate anything. It adds nothing to the conversation unfortunately. – gavin]

    Comment by ZT — 1 Aug 2010 @ 11:35 PM

  550. [re-posting because of trouble with reCAPTCHA]

    Gavin,
    Does it not disturb you in the least that Oreskes seems to have knownlingly included refuted claims about the Nierenberg committe report in her book? What does that say about the rest of the evidence she amassed? Most readers can not verify her evidence, much less make sure that she did not cherry-pick it.

    [Response: Having read Nicholas Nierenberg’s paper and the relevant parts of MoD, the issue is in the interpretation of William Nierenberg’s actions on the 1983 report. NN claims essentially that the WN synthesis was reflective of the consensus on the committee, Oreskes and Conway see it as slanted towards inaction. It is a pretty nuanced issue, and while I can see why the parties involved have taken the positions they have, I’m not convinced that there is any obvious resolution of these opinions. But having said that, this is but a small part of the O&C case, and the evidence that they bring together overall is very convincing. Note, that further discussion on this is OT here. – gavin]

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 2 Aug 2010 @ 7:02 AM

  551. I see Mr McIntyre has got a whole post out of information that was published in Mann et al 2009, viz

    “”In addition to the tests described by ref. S1 which removed alternatively (a) all tree-ring data
    or (b) 7 additional long-term proxy records associated with greater uncertainties or
    potential documented biases (showing the temperature reconstruction was robust to
    removal of either of these datasets), we here removed both data sets simultaneously from
    the predictor network (Fig. S8). This additional test reveals that with the resulting
    extremely sparse proxy network in earlier centuries, a skillful reconstruction is no longer
    possible prior to AD 1500. Nonetheless, even in this case, the resulting (unskillful) early
    reconstruction remains almost entirely within the estimated error bounds of the original
    reconstruction.”

    Must be a slow news day. I notice also that he seems to conflate the 7 potentially problematic datasets – which encompasses Tiljander, Benson, Isdale and McCulloch – and places all the ‘blame’ for the reduced skill before 1500AD on Tiljander alone. Sloppy.

    Perhaps worth repeating the IPCC paleo-summary

    “”Average Northern Hemisphere temperatures during the second half of the 20th century were very likely higher than during any other 50-year period in the last 500 years and likely the highest in at least the past 1,300 years. Some recent studies indicate greater variability in Northern Hemisphere temperatures than suggested in the TAR, particularly finding that cooler periods existed in the 12th to 14th, 17th and 19th centuries. Warmer periods prior to the 20th century are within the uncertainty range given in the TAR.”

    As you were.

    Comment by Phil Clarke — 2 Aug 2010 @ 7:15 AM

  552. Update: It has been pointed out at CA that the non-Tiljander proxies dropped as problematic do not extend back past 1500. Looks like Tiljander must shoulder the blame for the reduction in skill pre-1500. One could argue that this should have been made clear, however it was me who was sloppy, not Mr McIntyre.

    Comment by Phil Clarke — 2 Aug 2010 @ 9:50 AM

  553. But I was of course, correct in spirit, if not in actual detail ;-)

    Comment by Phil Clarke — 2 Aug 2010 @ 10:51 AM

  554. Can Steve McIntyre respond to this post at your page? If yes, then I am going to believe that this is really about the science. Audiatur et altera pars …

    Comment by MilanS — 3 Aug 2010 @ 6:41 AM

  555. Can Steve McIntyre respond to this post at your page? If yes, then I am going to believe that this is really about the science

    Science, re-defined in front of our very eyes …

    Comment by dhogaza — 3 Aug 2010 @ 12:19 PM

  556. #546 Ray Ladbury: Thanks for recommending Weart. For the record, I believe that evolution is “settled science” and I never heard of Velikovsky. “Which side is publishing” is not such a simple metric. It might only indicate which side has power. That’s why a common forum would, in my opinion, do much to restore trust. All the best, I’m out.

    Comment by two moon — 3 Aug 2010 @ 6:03 PM

  557. Two Moon says, ““Which side is publishing” is not such a simple metric. It might only indicate which side has power.”

    Come on, Two Moon, do you really understand so little about science. Do you really think there is a massive conspiracy to suppress dissenters from the consensus? Do you really think that if the ideas of the dissenters had merit that they would not find a publication outlet–Nature, Science, JGR, PRL, EOS… Remember that what drives climate scientists–and what advances their careers–is a desire to understand climate. If the dissenters had anything worth saying, those who adopted their ideas would prosper, while those who rejected them would stagnate. Look who is publishing and look who is stagnating. It really is your best guide to truth in science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Aug 2010 @ 8:24 PM

  558. #557 Ray Ladbury: In every other field of human endeavor the ability to be heard is a function of power. There is no reason that science should be an exception. One does not need to believe in any conspiracy to acknowledge this; it is a commonplace of modern (or rather, postmodern) social science. And in any case, if the dissenters’ case is so weak, then the most powerful and efficient way to quash them is to meet them in a common forum. Best regards.

    Comment by two moon — 3 Aug 2010 @ 9:29 PM

  559. Ray Ladbury:

    Do you really think that if the ideas of the dissenters had merit that they would not find a publication outlet–Nature, Science, JGR, PRL, EOS…

    Anyway, assuming there were somehow the ability to suppress papers by tacit agreement among a plethora of individuals with disparate if not competing interests, the time when that was possible ended arguably 15 years ago. Particularly in this arena of investigation any “outsider” work would not lay hidden for long; there are ample facilities for publishing outside of “official channels.” To wit, the various contrarian carney shows, whose often freakish array of alternative perspectives are nonetheless inevitably scrutinized to the point of absurdity thanks to their enthusiasts’ proclivity for redundant presentation wherever actual scientists may be found to tap on the shoulder.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 3 Aug 2010 @ 10:18 PM

  560. two moon:

    And in any case, if the dissenters’ case is so weak, then the most powerful and efficient way to quash them is to meet them in a common forum.

    Well, yes, they’re met in a “common forum” known as the scientific press. If their work is sufficiently shoddy, they’re shown the door – before publication.

    That is how it should be. You may argue all you want that the earth has two moons, two moon, but you’re not going to get your hypothesis past the gatekeepers of the scientific press. Again, as it should be.

    Comment by dhogaza — 3 Aug 2010 @ 11:32 PM

  561. Re 558 two moon –
    if the dissenters’ case is so weak, then the most powerful and efficient way to quash them is to meet them in a common forum. Best regards.

    It would waste (assuming the goal is not satire) too much space to put research articles in publications proving the moon is made of cheese (it’s got craters, Swiss cheese has holes, by Glen Beck style logic: ergo…) or that the moon landings were faked or that the Earth is flat, or that purified water can do magic, or that you can get jewelry by staring at it through a shop window, or that a bacterial flagellum could not have evolved, – you know, common sense stuff like that…

    G&T managed to get their work out there; publishing it in Nature or Science would not have changed the fact that they’re arguments just don’t hold any water (they didn’t do any new science, they just took what was already known, and then tried to use that to argue against what is already known – a search for logical inconsistency, which might have been worthwhile if they’d known what they were doing and if they’d gone after contrarian ‘theory’) – unless it were edited, removing all the errors and non-sequitors, after which it would be no different than a physics book such as the kind a climate scientist would use…

    Point being, we don’t always need to wait for work to be published in a particular forum to know that it’s worthless. The more obvious junk generally tends not to get into quality publications.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 4 Aug 2010 @ 12:02 AM

  562. > the most powerful and efficient way to quash them

    Because as we all know, the green party runs the world

    That’s one of “the 50 best science blogging posts of the year” from http://scienceblogs.com/neurotopia/2010/01/announcing_open_lab_2009.php

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Aug 2010 @ 12:36 AM

  563. The key quote from that link:

    \Yes, there are mafias. There are those spared the kicking because they have connections. There are established cliques who decide what appears in Science, who gets to give a spoken presentation and who gets kicked down to the poster sessions with the kiddies. I know a couple of people who will probably never get credit for the work they’ve done, for the insights they’ve produced. But the insights themselves prevail. Even if the establishment shoots the messenger, so long as the message is valid it will work its way into the heart of the enemy’s camp. First it will be ridiculed. Then it will be accepted as true, but irrelevant. Finally, it will be embraced as canon, and what’s more everyone will know that it was always so embraced, and it was Our Glorious Leader who had the idea. The credit may not go to those who deserve it; but the field will have moved forward.

    Science is so powerful that it drags us kicking and screaming towards the truth despite our best efforts to avoid it. And it does that at least partly fueled by our pettiness and our rivalries. Science is alchemy: it turns shit into gold. Keep that in mind the next time some blogger decries the ill manners of a bunch of climate scientists under continual siege by forces with vastly deeper pockets and much louder megaphones.\

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Aug 2010 @ 12:38 AM

  564. Gavin, you’ll be pleased to hear furhter from Judith Curry.

    Apparently you’re all doing “shoddy science”.

    And she knows this because she’s getting emails from engineers and the like how tell her that they “don’t believe” in the confidence levels claimed by climate researchers, because, well, they just don’t believe it.

    Judith has outdone herself.

    Go and have a read over at Kloor’s….. if you can bear it.

    Comment by Michael — 4 Aug 2010 @ 3:20 AM

  565. Two Moon,
    In science, the ability to be heard is also a function of power–explanatory and predictive power. If your ideas do a better job of explaining the evidence and providing understanding of the subject, they will be heard. Those who adopt them early will prosper. Those who reject them will fail. Those of us who actually work in science know this is how it works. And we also know that it does in fact work. By all means apply social theory to science, but understand the frigging community you are applying it to–their motivations, values, etc.

    Or you can simply apply the maxim of a much more astute observer of human nature–the people and groups act in accord with their perceived interests. In this case, the interests of the scientific community are furthered by increased understanding of their subject matter. Telling the truth is in their own interest.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Aug 2010 @ 7:23 AM

  566. “This matter cries out for a common public forum–even a series of face-to-face encounters”

    What? Like the IPCC?

    There /is/ a global forum where Climate Science is discussed. It’s got quite a few publications, you know.

    Comment by Silk — 4 Aug 2010 @ 8:33 AM

  567. two moon @ 558

    “In every other field of human endeavor the ability to be heard is a function of power. There is no reason that science should be an exception.”

    Why? Just because you can’t think of a reason?

    “One does not need to believe in any conspiracy to acknowledge this; it is a commonplace of modern (or rather, postmodern) social science.”

    There’s power and then there’s power. Power in science comes largely from doing good science. That’s because the social structures supporting science are more tightly focused on promoting merit. There are exceptions, for example review the Sokal affair. Then just for larfs, swing on over to pomo and get down with some postmodern silliness.

    “And in any case, if the dissenters’ case is so weak, then the most powerful and efficient way to quash them is to meet them in a common forum.”

    Yeah right, because cynically created memes don’t take root in poorly informed peoples’ heads like kudzu. Naive.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 4 Aug 2010 @ 10:21 AM

  568. Regarding Judith’s appearance at Keith Kloor’s (there’s a follow-on interview with Gavin), she at least admits this:

    Doing drive-bys at other blogs is very hazardous (e.g. my drive by last week at RC).

    Well, Judy, the problem wasn’t so much doing a drive-by, but rather posting a drive-by full of factual error, then showing up again in a hissy fit when the errors were pointed out.

    It’s obvious she still doesn’t understand that the car wreck that resulted was a single-car accident with her at the wheel.

    Comment by dhogaza — 4 Aug 2010 @ 12:01 PM

  569. The interviews dghoza points out are pretty useful for assessment purposes.

    Gavin Schmidt

    Judith Curry

    A coherent synopsis, way better than fragmented discussion on multiple websites, helpful for discerning between offers of judicious, circumspect advice, claims founded on evidence.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Aug 2010 @ 2:24 PM

  570. #567 Radge Havers: I assume that you refer to “Fashionable Nonsense” by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont. It has an honored place in my library. And thank you for reinforcing my point: Sokal and Bricmont’s targets would similarly claim that authentic understanding of their disciplines exists exclusively within their peer-reviewed community. I do not believe that Sokal’s targets and climate scientists are on the same level; climate scientists make an incomparably more valuable contribution. The broader point remains nonetheless valid in my view: without a common forum for direct engagement with their critics, climate scientists risk continued erosion of public trust.

    Comment by two moon — 4 Aug 2010 @ 5:44 PM

  571. 570 @twomoon: “The broader point remains nonetheless valid in my view: without a common forum for direct engagement with their critics, climate scientists risk continued erosion of public trust.”

    I submit the engagement will remain relatively ineffective outside of two things: undeniable crisis (meaning something even Joe Average Just Let Me Get Through The Week would realize is some serious #$#$) and or a response similar to that given to Monckton of late.

    We simply are not wired to worry about very long term issues. Nate Hagen has written a good bit about discount rates at theoildrum.com.

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2592

    Thus, a little bit of beating over the head will be necessary. This has been well demonstrated by the presence of blogs such as RC during the same period when understanding of climate science and ACC actually declined seriously. While that decline is largely the result of inappropriate actions on the parts of a relatively small group of ideologues and their followers (who are only too willing to accept what the ideologues say due to the Discount Rate), it has still happened.

    It will take some serious %^&* to get past the hard wiring we have.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 5 Aug 2010 @ 10:47 PM

  572. re: #570 Two moon
    Let me an offer an analogy to what you’re saying.
    Medical researchers have published much research in peer-reviewed journals that strongly indicate linkage of smoking with disease. However, biology is a lot complex than the sophomore physics (conservation of energy, GHG behavior) behind AGW. If your 12-year-old (kid, grandkid) starts smoking regularly, nobody can predict whether or not they’ll die of luing cacner, heart disease, or whatever, or when. Folks like Steve Milloy are critics of the general medical conclusion. Therefore, until medical researchers are regularly willing to meet Milloy (and friends) in common forums and direct engagement, our trust in those researchers should erode, presumably to the point where you encourage any children or grandchildren to start smoking early, it’s good for the local economy. Also, the likelihood of death from smoking-related disease is lower than that of AGW problems, for most people.
    Meanwhile, if you’d like to get more informed on the organization behind the critics, try this. You will understand that the cigarette analogy was no accident. For example, apparently you would claim that scientists should meet Joseph Bast, whose job for years was helping tobacco companies, meaning helping them addict kids. Tobacco funding is down, so in last few years he’s been doing the adjacent market of climate anti-science, using all teh PR machinery and contact lists built over decades.

    Comment by John Mashey — 5 Aug 2010 @ 10:59 PM

  573. two moon (#570):

    The broader point remains nonetheless valid in my view: without a common forum for direct engagement with their critics, climate scientists risk continued erosion of public trust.

    It’s been tried and it doesn’t work. The well-intentioned posters who have substantive contributions to make get drowned out by the denialist Noise Machine™. Once McIntyre or Watts’ legions get wind of a forum discussion on AGW, it needs to be heavily moderated. They are just drones that ceaselessly regurgitate denier canards that have been debunked time and time again.

    reCaptcha: insights starved (how apropos!)

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 6 Aug 2010 @ 6:48 AM

  574. two moon @ 570

    “The broader point remains nonetheless valid in my view: without a common forum for direct engagement with their critics, climate scientists risk continued erosion of public trust.”

    Not much for me to add to the follow-up by other posters other than a) to point out the obvious that RC and quite a number of other sites already do a stellar job of presenting broad, interactive straight talk on climate and b) offer a little conjecture on my part.

    There is a even broader issue of how public discourse on a whole spectrum of issues, including climate, is being purposely polluted by propaganda and demagoguery. For example, critics often point to the role of the FCC and how some of its political appointees have, over the years, permitted consolidation of media outlets–to the effect that the free exchange of ideas has been stifled and respect for thoughtful analysis has been undermined. It may be worth examining those kinds of structural issues over blindly advocating a theory that turning all discussions into a kind of verbal mud wrestling will somehow sort it all out for the best. What’s fittest in that instance may also turn out to be what’s most perniciously idiotic.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 6 Aug 2010 @ 10:23 AM

  575. Oh wait though… there may be a way. How about a special forum where certain individuals are invited to post, *unmoderated*. They are given a password. The general public can’t post, but they can read all the interchanges between the climate scientists and the invited skeptics.

    I think that would fly. And it could be hosted on any forum, even here, because it can’t be hijacked by people that haven’t been invited to participate.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 6 Aug 2010 @ 11:53 AM

  576. “The broader point remains nonetheless valid in my view: without a common forum for direct engagement with their critics, climate scientists risk continued erosion of public trust.”

    Ignoring that a vanishingly small fraction (anybody care to guess?) of people actually bother to read any of this stuff. How decimal places out is this group?

    As an experiment, travel to various climate blogs, look at the names in comments, see just how microscopic this community really is.

    If there’s utility to comments on climate blogs, it’s in keeping track of whatever rubbish has been most recently launched into the larger and actually significant world of George Will etc.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 6 Aug 2010 @ 12:32 PM

  577. Is the Judith Curry who was recently involved in a sharp exchange of words with Gavin Schmidt the same Judith Curry who in October 2007 wrote in the Washington Post

    “In his Outlook essay “Chill Out,” Bjorn Lomborg rightly notes that skepticism about climate change is no longer focused on whether it the earth is getting warmer (it is) or whether humans are contributing to it (we are). The current debate is about whether warming matters, and whether we can afford to do anything about it.

    In this debate, Lomborg has positioned himself squarely in the skeptics’ camp. But he has some of his facts wrong — and he fails to appreciate the risks that global warming bring to us all.

    On the facts, Lomborg writes that the Kangerlussuaq glacier in Greenland is “inconveniently growing,” somehow undercutting the argument that the world is getting warmer. But NASA research shows that Greenland’s Kangerlussuaq glacier is not growing; it is simply spilling into the sea.

    Lomborg also misrepresents some conclusions of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He is skeptical about the claim that polar bears “will be decimated by global warming as their icy habitat melts.” But the report shows that, even under the best-case scenario, about two-thirds of the current polar bear population will be lost by 2050.

    Lomborg’s attitude toward risk is also troubling. He focuses only on the middle range of the panel’s projections, dismissing the risk from the higher end of the range. But if the risk is great, then it may be worth acting against even if its probability is small. Think of risk as the product of consequences and likelihood: what can happen and the odds of it happening. A 10-degree rise in global temperatures by 2100 is not likely; the panel gives it a 3 percent probability. Such low-probability, high-impact risks are routinely factored into any analysis and management strategy, whether on Wall Street or at the Pentagon.

    The rationale for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide is to reduce the risk of the possibility of catastrophic outcomes. Making the transition to cleaner fuels has the added benefit of reducing the impact on public health and ecosystems and improving energy security — providing benefits even if the risk is eventually reduced.

    In his cost-benefit analysis, Lomborg considers only one policy option for reducing carbon emissions — the Kyoto Protocol — and says its worldwide cost would be about $180 billion per year. But the debate over the economics of global warming is more wide-ranging than Lomborg would have it. More than a dozen different studies have examined the economic impact of Kyoto-level controls. Some have concluded that it could have relatively small negative effects, such as those cited by Lomborg. Others have predicted small positive effects. Moreover, by focusing only on the Kyoto Protocol, Lomborg ignores potentially better policies that could cost far less than Kyoto and deliver higher economic growth worldwide.

    Lomborg gets it right when he calls for an ambitious public investment program in clean-energy technologies. But he mistakenly assumes that existing technologies and strategies can’t make a big dent in carbon emissions at an affordable price. We’re developing hybrid and electric cars, building wind farms and ocean wave energy stations. New batteries, fuel cells and solar panels are smaller, better and cheaper than they were just a few years ago. I am in awe of the new technologies that I see being developed at Georgia Tech, and such research is happening at the nation’s major research universities and in the private sector.

    As scientists continue to challenge and improve the quality and understanding of climate records and models, skepticism by scientists conducting such research is alive and well. But oversimplifying the situation, using misleading information and presenting false choices is not useful in the public debate over global warming.

    Lomborg seems to have missed it, but a sensible debate has begun on how to best respond to global warming – in national and local governments, universities and the private sector — in the U.S. and around the world. There is no easy solution to this problem; the challenge is how best to develop options that are feasible, efficient, viable and scalable. Lomborg is correct to be concerned about the possibility of bad policy choices. But I have yet to see any option that is worse than ignoring the risk of global warming and doing nothing.”

    Comment by tempterrain — 8 Aug 2010 @ 8:36 AM

  578. “Thank goodness some of those who bought in to the false accusations, like Andy Revkin and George Monbiot, have seen fit actually to apologize for doing so.”

    Can anyone point me to the place where Andy apologizes? I must have missed it.

    Comment by melty — 11 Aug 2010 @ 12:10 AM

  579. Haven’t posted here before. I’ve read a few hundred of the previous posts but not all of them, and I’m obviously late to the party :)

    I have a question.

    The papers I’ve seen (which I’m sure are not all the relevant ones :) ) from MBH98 through to WA2007, all seem based on PCA. There are intricate on deciding how many principal components to retain before regressing against temperature….hmmm.

    Erm…these methods seem just a tad old-fashioned now. Has anyone done a Bayesian analysis, which would enable using different error models, and testing out models that, for example, might even cope with intermittently unreliable proxy series, in a principled way? Given that these reconstructions involve combining multiple series of different lengths with (presumably) different types of errors, and possibly time-varying reliability, … I’m assuming that a wider range of statistical techniques have actually been tried?

    Comment by Chris Watkins — 12 Aug 2010 @ 3:22 PM

  580. Heavily freighted w/political commentary and dog whistle assertions without cites such as “natural climate variability is not well understood and is probably quite large” though it is, can anybody w/expertise offer some commentary on this paper by a pair of B-school profs?

    A statistical analysis of multiple temperature proxies: Are reconstructions of surface temperatures over the last 1000 years reliable?

    It’s the fad du jour at WUWT. Notably circulated and celebrated even though apparently not yet quite published.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 15 Aug 2010 @ 2:47 PM

  581. Chris Watkins,

    AFAIK, Mann et al. (2008) also uses a screening out process that weeds out proxies of a certain time period that doesn’t correlate well w/ instrumental records (which is different from PCA in reducing overfitting). And yes, they do cross-validate estimation methods with each other.

    I’m sure RC will get to this, but there is a new paper out by McShane and Wyner (two statisticians) for the Annals of Applied Scientists that says the uncertainty in the “hockey stick” is understated.

    Comment by apeescape — 15 Aug 2010 @ 3:28 PM

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