Hey Ya! (mal)

M08

No. Well what about the hockey stick blade from the instrumental record itself?

And again, no. But wait, maybe there is something (Update: Original idea by Lucia)….

Nah….

One would think that some things go without saying, but apparently people still get a key issue wrong so let us be extremely clear. Science is made up of people challenging assumptions and other peoples’ results with the overall desire of getting closer to the ‘truth’. There is nothing wrong with people putting together new chronologies of tree rings or testing the robustness of previous results to updated data or new methodologies. Or even thinking about what would happen if it was all wrong. What is objectionable is the conflation of technical criticism with unsupported, unjustified and unverified accusations of scientific misconduct. Steve McIntyre keeps insisting that he should be treated like a professional. But how professional is it to continue to slander scientists with vague insinuations and spin made-up tales of perfidy out of the whole cloth instead of submitting his work for peer-review? He continues to take absolutely no responsibility for the ridiculous fantasies and exaggerations that his supporters broadcast, apparently being happy to bask in their acclaim rather than correct any of the misrepresentations he has engendered. If he wants to make a change, he has a clear choice; to continue to play Don Quixote for the peanut gallery or to produce something constructive that is actually worthy of publication.

Peer-review is nothing sinister and not part of some global conspiracy, but instead it is the process by which people are forced to match their rhetoric to their actual results. You can’t generally get away with imprecise suggestions that something might matter for the bigger picture without actually showing that it does. It does matter whether something ‘matters’, otherwise you might as well be correcting spelling mistakes for all the impact it will have.

So go on Steve, surprise us.

Update: Briffa and colleagues have now responded with an extensive (and in our view, rather convincing) rebuttal.

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759 comments on this post.
  1. Sean:

    I love this blog, but I have to say that the dripping sarcasm and condescension evident in your tone here does the world of true science no favors when it comes to the public. I understand the frustration, but we can never give pseudo-scientists a toe-hold, especially an emotional one.

  2. Steve Missal:

    This is a recurrent theme with the McIntyres of the world. I just read a column this morning by George Will in our daily rag, the Arizona Republic (Phoenix) that represents another public personality weighing in on something about which they have zero expertise. He also lets fly with sly innuendo and barely disguised ridicule that he feels towards climate change proponents, and you know that the layman, upon reading this, will not understand the absolute lack of credentials and understanding on the part of Mr. Will. I guess I am still amazed that people who seem to have at least the ability to write whole sentences, drive cars and operate cell phones lack the insight to go the simple next step of actually reading and understanding the current research and literature ‘out there’, as in sites like RealClimate. I think what most bothers me with these naysayers is the sarcasm and arrogance with which they address both the issue of climate change and the scientists working so diligently to find out what the reality of the situation is. I would love to have Mr. Will actually engage in a dialogue on this site with some of you all…in fact, consider this a public and direct invitation to do so, Mr. Will.

  3. Tom P:

    Reports of the death of Biffra’s hockey stick have been much exaggerated.

    Steve McIntyre actually dealt the deathblow to his own analysis when he graphed the live tree data in the Briffa/H&S set with his preferred Schweingruber alternative. McIntyre’s alternative was dominated by trees much too short to detect any centennial trend, as I pointed out to him.

    Here is what I hope is close to the final exchange at Climate Audit, for the benefit of those who don’t visit often:

    Steve McIntyre:
    “However, I disagree that the trees in the CRU archive are “much longer-lived”, other than the trees selected for the modern comparison.”

    Tom P:
    “But the modern comparison was the subject of your original sensitivity analysis that was supposed to have broken the Yamal hockeystick!

    “All you have done is inject noise into the Biffra/H&S series by adding in much shorter lived trees. This also explains why the Schweingruber series did not well correlate with the instrumental temperature.”

    I wonder how Steve is now feeling with all the attention he is getting. Hubris might describe it.

  4. Greg:

    >I love this blog, but I have to say that the dripping sarcasm and
    >condescension evident in your tone here does the world of true
    >science no favors when it comes to the public. I understand the
    >frustration, but we can never give pseudo-scientists a toe-hold,
    >especially an emotional one.

    Are you kidding? The attitude is absolutely necessary. Are you proposing that cranks and crackpots are put on the same pedestal as real science? To treat them in any other way makes them seem more important/accurate than they actually are. Especially when you see how the data clearly do not match the assertion, and the hypocrisy of claiming a conspiracy around cherry-picked data, when that claim is the one based on cherry-picked data.

  5. Pete:

    What do you think of Oppo, Rosenthal and Linsley’s temperature reconstruction using sea surface temperatures from the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool? They found that sea surface temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period are approximately equal to today’s temperatures. What reconstructions do you think are more accurate, land based or sea based? It would seem to me that sea based temperature reconstructions would be more accurate because 75 percent of the earth is covered in water, but that is just a guess. Any thoughts?

    [Response: Its a nice paper. The conclusion that certain regions were similarly warm (i.e. comparable to late 20th century) during medieval times is uncontroversial (for example, this is true w/ the Obsorn and Briffa, 2006 study mentioned in the main article). Other evidence indicates that the eastern and central tropical Pacific, by contrast, was quite cold at that time. Such an enhanced east-west temperature gradient across the tropical Pacific during medieval times is suggestive of a La Nina type pattern, something that too has been discussed in the recent past. Stay tuned for more on that theme in the near future. – mike]

  6. Stephen:

    There is a notable contrast between Professor Briffa’s measured and dignified response, which acknowledges that Mr. McIntyre’s work merits further investigation, and the vituperative tone of this piece which does the latter little credit.

    [Response: You should note that we specifically welcome, nay encourage, further work on climate proxies. Our objection is to the exaggerations and the unfounded accusations of wrong-doing that permeate the discussion of these issues. – gavin]

  7. Andrew J McKeon:

    Mixing up Mann’s Hockey Stick with Gore’s Cherry Picker moment re: CO2 projections just shows how shallow and lacking in curiosity this group really is.

  8. FredB:

    If you want to cut McIntyre’s feet out from under him then all you have to do is release the raw data and the processing code. Until you do this he will always appear to have a convincing case.

    I really can’t see why you don’t undertake this simple and devastating step.

    [Response: All of the data and models for any of our recent papers are online and downloadable by anyone. You must have us confused with someone else. – gavin]

  9. John:

    The comments regarding George Will are accurate. He is not a scientist and for him to comment on the science is wrong.

    Let’s use the same standard for Al Gore.

    [Response: Talking about science is not the problem. More people should be encouraged to do it. The big difference is that Al Gore actually asks scientists about the science beforehand. – gavin]

  10. Mark:

    Hmm, Sean.

    I take it you’ve popped along to Monkton’s blog at Bishop Hill to tell him off about his dripping sarcasm, condescension and language?

    How about ClimateAudit?

    What about WUWT?

    Of course, Orlowski doesn’t let there be any feedback on his climate stories because he doesn’t like to be shown how wrong he is, but you can still mail him too about his language and phraseology.

  11. Jonas N:

    What is the message here? Regarding Briffa’s Yamal-chronology:

    Are you saying that there likely was a sharp shift uppwards in 20th century temperaturs on the Yamal peninsula? Or do you think that this assertion may be questionalbe?

    [Response: All assertions are questionable (of course). That’s why you try and use as much information as possible from as many different sources as possible so that conclusions are not dependent on any one piece of the puzzle. – gavin]

  12. Sean O'Connor:

    What is the truth behind the claim that Briffa’s data was not made publicly available until he was forced to make it available?

  13. Mark:

    “[Response: All of the data and models for any of our recent papers are online and downloadable by anyone. You must have us confused with someone else. – gavin]”

    I suspect you give Fred too much credit: he doesn’t care to check, even if he doesn’t know at the moment. And it’s fairly likely he knows he’s telling porkies anyway, but this doesn’t matter to him.

  14. John:

    Gavin,

    This is not sarcasm, but rather a serious question –
    Which scientists does Al Gore speak to in forming his opinions?

    [Response: He has a pretty wide network and has had from before he was VP. He’s been quite interested in stuff we’ve been doing on interactions between air pollution and climate for instance. – gavin]

  15. Richard Pauli:

    Perhaps we are missing the psychological forest in these trees of denial.

    It is strangely fascinating how humans can wrangle through such contorted thinking. How is it possible that we can so easily nurture denial, use pseudo logic to dismiss logic, manufacture skepticism, and generally try to defeat science?

    It is as if a ranting, delusional, maniac interrupts our work – we protect our field and spend time describing their craziness… eventually we need to move beyond defending ourselves and ask why and how this kind of thinking and behavior is so common.

    The risk is in moving the science exploration from the external, to the internal. Perhaps not now on this blog, but examining the reasons for such common human limitations should not be ignored. Thanks for taking the first steps in defining the problem.

  16. thomas hine:

    re Tom P:

    What if (using similar logic) you only use instrumental temperature stations with 100 years of data or more to construct the instrumental temperature record. Recent warming marginalized indeed (even with most of the long records missing huge chunks of 1920-1940s data)!

    The defense (apparently) for not doing this is robustness (GISS). The problem in this case (dendrochronologies) and the temperature record is how to handle the fusion of “data” to make it “complete.” ASSUMPTIONS are used in parsing, etc.

    “Curiously no-one has ever suggested simply grabbing one set of data, deleting the trees you have a political objection to and replacing them with another set that you found lying around on the web.” BE CAREFUL OF THE VICE VERSA HERE – there ARE problems with all of your graphical defences, but by the time they are examined in depth, the audience is all but asleep.

  17. PaulC:

    OK but I am troubled – I am a supporter of this site but I am a layman. I regularly debate issues with skeptics and rely on comments from the folks here to defend my position – mostly successfully I might add.

    I do read (because they are often thrown at me) comments from the other side of the debate yet when I posted, what I thought was a reasonable request for some response to this latest attack, my post did not even appear! Why not?

    I am regularly questioned by folks as to whether the scientists leading the ‘alarmist view’ (as they call it) are hiding key data. I have to say I think they have a point and this latest episode does not help our case.

    I simply do not see why any data or methodology should be withheld from wider scrutiny unless you have something to hide and I find it deeply unnerving.

    We desperately need to get the wider public more onside with the the threats of climate change but equally the science needs to made open and accessible. Let the skeptics verify it in all its glory then they might actually shut up. Why are we hiding the facts?

    [Response: No one is hiding the facts. There is abundant data available for anyone who cares to look. Is it absolutely complete? No. Could it be better? Yes. Will it ever be so complete that the skeptics will be happy? No. Because you can always ask for more. People that have no trust in anything we say will never be satisified with any degree of openness. – gavin]

  18. Mathias:

    You should take a look at the book Idiot “America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free” (ISBN 9780767926140) by Charles P. Pierce. It describes very well how science is in a crisis because in this country, everyone can be an “expert”. Which is great, unless you actually are an expert.

  19. Hank Roberts:

    > how humans can … try to defeat science?

    Relevant, from a sociologist who understood ecology early on and has been writing cautionary pieces ever since:
    http://www.thesocialcontract.com/pdf/eleven-four/xi-4-233.pdf.

    Summer 2001
    Reactions to Unwelcome Knowledge
    by William R. Catton Jr.

    “… the idea of an inexhaustibly cornucopian world remains an inordinately seductive dogma. It has been embraced in the industrial era “with almost ferocious loyalty,” according to a retired director of research for an oil company (Carr 1976, p. 252)…. “Without a steadily growing economy,” he said, “Keynesian economists … are like dogs without noses.”
    …. These faithful have supposed the finiteness of our planet poses no insoluble problems for a burgeoning population. Technology-based economic progress is, in their ideology, inherently perpetual. Together with economists’ presumed infinite substitutability of one resource for another, it ensures that growth can continue forever (Maurice and Smithson, 1984).”

  20. Nylo:

    In his response to McIntyre, Briffa says that “We do not select tree-core samples based on comparison with climate data”.

    However I have read in RealClimate, on a post called “A New Take on an Old Millenium” from February 2006, that “They make use only of those proxy records which demonstrate a statistically significant relationship with modern instrumental temperature records”.

    How are these two statements true at the same time?

    [Response: Because they are talking about different things? The first is associated with which physical tree cores go into a particular chronology (like Yamal) which are composites of hundreds of trees. They do not pick their trees based on what the eventual chronology will look like. The second statement is with respect to a particular question relating to temperatures at multiple sites during the Medieval Climate Anomaly – what would be the point of looking at rainfall proxies? – gavin]

  21. FredB:

    “All of the data and models for any of our recent papers are online and downloadable by anyone. You must have us confused with someone else.- gavin”

    Delighted to hear it. May I suggest that all future responses to McIntyre’s ravings should include the URL of the relevant archive. That would really help readers to judge for themselves.

  22. Paul Gosling:

    I shouldn’t get too upset Gavin. I have come to the conclusion that you are wasting your time. There is no appetite, either amongst politicians or the public to take the necessary steps to stop climate change. I am sure we will get lots of promised action at Copenhagen, followed by a great deal of tinkering around the edges, without actually doing anything of substance. The developed world will keep on consuming and the developing world will still do all they can to catch up – you can’t blame them. Only when temperatures are up by 3 or 4 degrees will anything happen and then I think we will see a massive program of geo-engineering on the scale of what the USA did in WWII. Will it work? Who knows/cares most of us will be dead by then anyway.

  23. mike roddy:

    This is the best smackdown of the entire denier oeuvre that I’ve ever read, Gavin, thanks.

    The humor was absolutely called for. If you got into a sober exchange of data with McIntyre, he could fool a reader who did not understand the science. Better to spank him and send him to his room.

  24. Dan Hughes:

    Maybe I’ve missed it in the highly-technical and extremely on-point information presented in the post and comments here.

    Could someone point out the errors in the methods that Steve McIntyre has used, or in the applications of these methods.

    [Response: Hmmm. where to start? perhaps here and then here. -mike]

    McIntyre has extensive expertise and experience in statistical analysis. In what ways do his recent posts on the subject of the post here depend on subject areas other than those for which he has expertise and experience?

    Lacking any errors, or, heaven forbid, straying outside his primary areas of extensive expertise, in what ways is he contributing to the destruction of science?

    Pointers to specific examples in McIntyre’s recent posts relating to this post would be very useful.

    Thanks in advance.

  25. TCO:

    Steve needs to drop the stream of consciousness blog-processing with all the instant hit gratification from the peanut gallery…or at least supplement it with proper PAPERS. I say this as someone MORE CONSERVATIVE than Steve, someone who would love for hoaxes to be exposed or for orthodox thinking to be strengthened…whichever way the tests come out.

    It’s not even about peer review per se. It’s about EDITORIAL review. The guy does not even write clear white papers. If Steve has something, let him write it clearly and mathematically describe the extent and show clear references and label axes and eschewing snide remarks, meanders, and the like.

    His stuff is going on a 5 year tease…since his single “real paper” (GRL05). It’s just not worth diving down the rathole one more time. If he wants to challenge the conventional thinking, FINE. But do it in a manner that makes it easy for someone to READ IT. Pairing anti-orthodox science with lazy explication is just a waste of everyone’s time. It just becomes a big social blog game.

    The guy loves to have his cake and eat it too. He will say that his blog is just doodling and a lab notebook. Then say that people should read, refernce and respond to it.

  26. Jan Galkowski:

    @Sean,

    Regarding

    “I love this blog, but I have to say that the dripping sarcasm and condescension evident in your tone here does the world of true science no favors when it comes to the public. I understand the frustration, but we can never give pseudo-scientists a toe-hold, especially an emotional one”,

    I think there are limits to tolerance, whether you are Pharyngula or RealClimate. At least RealClimate is addressing the issues raised by McIntyre and ilk rather than going after their methods, something which might be considered ad hominem, but I personally believe is legitimate. The trouble is that folks in the public and the media don’t understand that it is very difficult to establish the truth of anything, as the late Professor Feynman was fond of noting, and it takes a LOT of work. It would suffice to note that McIntyre and company have not done their homework.

    But, R.C. has the courtesy of taking their arguments at face value and dismantling them. That’s more than I would do.

  27. Jason:

    McIntyre addresses all of the proxy studies you mentioned in a post dated September 29th, 2009.

    Why act as if was somehow unaware of (or deliberately ignoring) these studies when they are explicitly discussed on his home page?

  28. Jim Galasyn:

    John, the difference between Gore and Will is that Gore is representing the science; Will is misrepresenting the science. Is Will incompetent/lazy, or is he willfully lying? You be the judge.

  29. Jim Galasyn:

    TCO says: If Steve has something, let him write it clearly and mathematically describe the extent and show clear references and label axes

    TCO, if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll enjoy Tamino’s blog: Open Mind.

  30. Jack Mott:

    Jason,

    That post does not address all of the proxy studies mentioned here. It fact it excludes two of them quite explicitly

  31. James Allan:

    If McIntyre was doing serious science, he’d table his objections in a serious scientific forum. Instead, he dropped it into the middle of the denyosphere and watched as the ripples move outward. Besides the ridiculous headlines that have cropped up over the last few days (c.f. “The Day the Hockey Stick Died”) his very snide insinuations of dishonesty have snowballed to the point where you have websites like The Registry using it to call into question the entire peer-review process and by extension, anything any that any scientist has ever said (I hope the irony of that being on a technology-based website isn’t lost on them). This isn’t furthering science, it’s just muddying the waters amongst the general public. McIntyre knows exactly what he is doing and in my opinion deserved no more respect from Gavin than he got.

  32. Maurizio Morabito:

    Kudos to Briffa for having decided to “review the details of [McIntyre’s] work”.

    Is it too much to state that most of what has happened, would not have happened had the data been made available upon (first) request?

    On that topic, I believe that NASA changed its policy regarding space probes a decade ago or more, in order to avoid (crackpot) accusations of being in the business of airbrushing aliens out of the photos. That is why mission websites like MER’s _prominently_ show the just-received “raw images”, especially in the first days of the mission (please correct me if I am wrong).

    Wouldn’t it therefore make sense to apply the same rules to all just-published papers, i.e. presenting the “raw data” to the visitor, rather than simply leaving it “available for anyone who cares to look”? Especially in a field such as climate change, where any accusation/finding is bound to elicit plenty of reaction.

  33. Tim Jones:

    Ah, the howls of the accusers that turnabout has become foul play! Good work. …not to mention that the continuing explanations of the hockey stick graphs always sorts out in the end to substantiate the alarming trends of anthropogenic climate change. Thanks for the comeback, as well as the entertaining sarcasm.

  34. Larry Saltzman:

    Research scientists are fighting two different problems in getting the world to take action. There are obviously special interests out there prepared to spend a great deal of money to slow progress. But then there is the vexing issue of why people can’t absorb the information about global warming and take action. You all need to open a dialogue with social scientists on how people change. here is an example of the thinking going on in social sciences:

    http://wellsharp.wordpress.com/2009/06/25/the-social-organisation-of-denial-understanding-why-we-fail-to-act-on-climate-change-and-what-we-can-do-about-that/

    The social organisation of denial: Understanding why we fail to act on climate change, and what we can do about that.

  35. spilgard:

    This is one Massive Lie too many. I can’t keep up. I refuse to become righteously indignant over this latest Massive Lie because it would compromise my indignation over the GISS Massive Lie, which itself detracts from my outrage over the SST Massive Lie, which diminishes my lather over the 2nd Law Massive Lie… on and on, until I can’t even work up a decent snit over the MWP conspiracy.

    It’s no wonder that the entire world science commuity is involved in the coverup, given the sheer number of Massive Lies that have to be maintained. As a government scientist, I’m holding up my end of the conspiracy, but it’s getting harder as the annual budget shrinks. For FY10, I’m funded to tell Massive Lies only through August, after that it will have to be Small Lies or even The Truth until FY11. The real tragedy is that I don’t have a project number for conspiracy maintenance, so it ends up getting billed as Administrative Overhead.

  36. Mike G:

    “May I suggest that all future responses to McIntyre’s ravings should include the URL of the relevant archive. That would really help readers to judge for themselves.”

    How does that help readers judge for themselves? The methods are already outlined in the papers. If you don’t understand why one method is appropriate and another isn’t, which is what it takes to judge for yourself, looking at the code isn’t going to help.

  37. Scott A. Mandia:

    RC Group,

    I am mad at you! (grin)

    When this story first broke at CA and WUWT I posted on WUWT that Mann et al. (2008) reproduced the hockey stick with and without tree rings and that all of the data and supporting materials were free to download. I thought that that was pretty clearly the death blow to the CA controversy. Of course, the thing just took off at WUWT.

    So, I have spent the past several days and many hours working on a reply that was similar to this thread but, of course, you guys beat me to it and did a much better job than I could ever have done.

    I will say that in my brief research, I think boreholes look very promising as perhaps the best temperature proxy.

    Huang, S. (2009). Brief introduction to the geothermal approach of climate reconstruction. Retrieved September 20, 2009 from Borehole Temperature and Climate Reconstruction Database: http://www.geo.lsa.umich.edu/climate/approach.html

    Huang, S. P., H. N. Pollack, and P.-Y. Shen (2008). A late quaternary climate reconstruction based on borehole heat flux data, borehole temperature data, and the instrumental record, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L13703, doi:10.1029/2008GL034187.

    Pollock, H. (2005, December). Reconstruction of ground surface temperature history from borehole temperature profiles. Retrieved September 29, 2009, from http://home.badc.rl.ac.uk/mjuckes/mitrie_files/docs/mitrie_borehole.pdf

  38. Scott A. Mandia:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/09/hey-ya-mal/

    Sweet!

  39. Jan Galkowski:

    @Dan Hughes,

    “McIntyre has extensive expertise and experience in statistical analysis”

    Indeed. Show me some.

  40. Mark:

    “Wouldn’t it therefore make sense to apply the same rules to all just-published papers, i.e. presenting the “raw data” to the visitor, rather than simply leaving it “available for anyone who cares to look”?”

    No, it wouldn’t.

    Why would it?

    After all, the surfacestations whole grist was that the siting of weather stations was not condicive to direct use in climate studies.

    But the data was corrected for poor placement and other errors.

    Hence not raw.

    And how “raw” is raw anyway?

  41. The Lorax:

    I find what is going on at CA deeply troubling. I also find it almost impossible to discern what McIntyre is actually trying to say, he needs to learn how to write an abstract and to prepare proper graphics– for example to overlay his temperature reconstruction superimposed on the traces for that **same region** derived from pervious work. Context, context, context.
    Those in denial have now somehow come to the bizarre conclusion that the Hockey Stick is broken, not b/c of problems with the MWP (i.e., the “shaft”) as originally alleged, but b/c of the “blade”? But we do not need proxy data for the “blade” do we? Have I got that much right? Just what is is point anyhow? That Briffa et al. allegedly “fiddled” the data so now all climate proxies are bunk?
    McIntyre’s initial crusade was to show that the MWP was warmer than today, and so that there is nothing to worry about interms of AGW. However, his own analysis of the Siberian data (hang on , is that just not one small portion of the globe?) shows that even if one excludes the alleged incorrect data, then his curve and that of the CRU are almost the same, and that the only differences arise in the 20th century when McINtyre’s data show cooling. To me it seems he has shot himself in the foot. So now it seems McIntyre has conveniently shifted focus from the Hockey Stick “shaft” to the “blade”, but there is not doubt as to the warming that has been observed since 1880, not only from the instrumented SAT record but numerous independent data sets as was clearly demonstrated above.

    I’m hoping that the experts here can explain something to someone not familiar with tree ring analysis. Did Briffa perhaps choose those records (as alleged) which showed warming b/c that is indeed what the regional climate was doing in the 20th century? If a proxy was not reflecting recent warming/cooling does it not call into question the validity of that particular proxy? Should the proxy be first checked to see whether or not it reflects the most recent, and observed, temperature record for that region? If not, then should it not be left out of the analysis as bad/corrupt/suspect data? Thanks in advance.

    Can someone who is an authority on this subject (hint!), please write guest editorials in the mainstream media on this matter/fiasco. Someone has to counter the steady stream of misinformation from CA, WUWT etc, this blog does that but is is a very small audience and thus does not cut it. The public is listening– just read the opines posted on AGW stories in major newspapers. I think that we scientists have too much faith in the public, when they hear McItyre’s stories in the media it becomes truth, whether it is right or wrong. McIntyre et al. could post a correction, but the seed has been sown, and it confuses people and makes them even more loathe to change. It is, alas, a very effective tool used in the industry of misinformation, denial and Mann et al. need to start putting the record straight, not just in journals, but in the mainstream media. Sorry for the verbose message, as you can see I am very disheartened.

  42. Patrik:

    Gavin, you are a bit unclear when you answer Nylos question above.

    “They make use only of those proxy records which demonstrate a statistically significant relationship with modern instrumental temperature records”.

    You describe the context of the above as follows:

    “The second statement is with respect to a particular question relating to temperatures at multiple sites during the Medieval Climate Anomaly – what would be the point of looking at rainfall proxies?”

    Can you please explain better, because I can’t see how these two sentences are talking about the same thing.

    [Response: There are multiple stages to this whole problem. First off you need the raw data. For tree rings these come from individual trees – some living, some fossil – and in each area people will generally collect many hundreds for tree cores for analysis. Now since each tree only lives a few decades (or a couple of centuries or more if you are lucky), constructing a ‘chronology’ of what has happened in that area over a longer time period is hard. You need to find ways to join up the different individual trees in standardised way that aligns the dates and deals with any potential non-climatic trends in tree ring growth. This gets you into the RCS vs. corridor methods that are the difference between the Russians and Briffa’s treatment of the individual trees. It is at this stage that you don’t pick and choose individual trees based on how you think the final record will pan out. Once you have a standardised long chronology that tells you about tree growth in your study area, you will want to assess what it represents. Depending on your goals to start with, you might have an idea that it will be related to precipitation (if you are in an area where tree growth is constricted by water resources), or (as in Yamal) you might have an a priori expectation that it will reflect summer time temperatures. Now if you want to say something about the medieval period vs the modern at your site, then you need to check whether your chronology actually reflects local temperatures – if it does, that’s well and good. If it doesn’t then it isn’t likely to help with your comparison. – gavin]

  43. Mark:

    “Delighted to hear it. ”

    But not so delighted that you’ll apologise for haivng made an accusation with no attempt to see if it was true.

    How very unpleasant of you Fred. You do the denialists argument a great disservice with your lazy attitude to research and scurrilous approach to instigation of rumour.

    Where’s Sean to berate you when we need him…?

    PS Gavin: “Will it ever be so complete that the skeptics will be happy? No. Because you can always ask for more.”

    See for a perennial example, the “missing link” meme for creationists to “disprove” evolution. For each missing link found, there are now two gaps created…

  44. tamino:

    Re: #32 (Maurizio Morabito)

    Is it too much to state that most of what has happened, would not have happened had the data been made available upon (first) request?

    Do you really believe that? Do you think, if all data from every study for all time were freely and easily available, that would have stopped McIntyre from useless unfounded FUD? Or even slowed him down?

    I don’t.

  45. helvio:

    Scientific results should not only be peer-reviewed! They should be peer-re-reviewable! If the class of scientists where you guys claim to belong decide to hide their data, and/or the algorithmic methods used to process it, then all the conclusions that you publish are not scientific! If it’s not peer-re-reviewable, then it’s as good as claiming that you have an answer to the question of the existence of God, but you do not provide the evidence.

    [Response: But of course. However replicability is not just about checking arithmetic or running turnkey code. The important things that need to be replicated are the conclusions about the real world – and that requires multiple approaches using different source data and different methodologies. It’s much better that there were two independent Greenland ice cores than it would have been if everyone was simply checking the calibration on a single mass spec. It’s better that tree rings and lake varves and ice cores and corals tell similar stories than obsessing over single chronologies. We’ve discussed this many times. – gavin]

  46. Sekerob:

    Hey, let’s face it, the blogarrhea is caused by one more Briffacone up the wrong esophagus of the baksheesh paid mining industry employee SMcIFy paid. All the fanfare, yet the snow off expanse continues, the arctic sea ice continues several standard deviations below, and my regional weather is highly anomalous… whats more watching plants and everything else living outdoors, nature is to me in panic mode… let’s also ignore the bark beetle in the US pine forests… it’s ain’t true they say, the lobotomized.

    But, all else, reading that its really the Freemasons, Bilderbergs, the Illuminati, and hold on, Barack M. Obama the decendent of the inticrist as it was intentionally misspelled recently on a ‘humanitarian goals’ forum to get passed the word-filters.

    Lost for words.

  47. PaulC:

    Gavin.

    Thank you for your response – I hope you know that I have the utmost respect for your work but this chap McIntyre (who seems to me to have an unbelievably large ego) repeatedly cites instances where he cannot get the data or the methodology used. I think we have a really strong argument on Climate Change thanks to all the work you and your colleagues have done so why don’t we give him what he wants and ask him to ‘put up or shut up’?

    [Response: I think we just did. But there is a bigger issue here. Take the GISTEMP product for instance. This takes public domain data provided by the Met Services, homogenises it and makes a correction for urban warming based on nearby rural stations. The method was amply described in a number of publications and lots of intermediate data was provided through the web interface. Good right? But the descriptions of the algorithms were not enough, and a number of people complained that the full code wasn’t available and how that meant GISTEMP was somehow hiding some secret manipulations. Now the code isn’t particularly pretty but it worked and so in response to that pressure, they put the whole thing online. Finally the secrets were going to be exposed! Except that….. people looked over it briefly, there was one formatting error found, there were some half-hearted attempts to look at it…. and nothing. McIntyre et al got bored and went off to find another windmill to tilt at. And people still complain that the data and the code aren’t available. This happens because people (in general) are much keener on the political point scoring than they are in doing anything with the data. The reality is not the point. Given that I share your desire for open science and transparency, why do these antics bother me? Because it sends completely the wrong signal. These politically driven demands for more code, more data, more residuals, more notes, more background are basically insatiable and when the people that provide the most, end up being those who are attacked most viciously, it doesn’t help the cause people claim to espouse. So when you hear this demands for more openness look at what those people have done with what is already there and judge for yourself whether it is genuine or merely grandstanding. – gavin]

    [Response: Just two recent examples for how serious such claims are: it was brought to my attention that McIntyre made a big spiel out of me supposedly using a “secret” data filtering code in a Science publication, when in fact I used a publically available software package, described in the AGU newsletter Eos. When someone e-mailed me asking for this software, I pointed them to the authors of the code where they could get it (and where I got it) – and voila, that was enough for the allegation of me not providing the code… I guess next thing I will be accused of not distributing the matlab software package.
    Later, without asking me and as a clear breach of copyright, McIntyre published my own computer code used for another Science paper as if this was some kind of scoop. Yet, this code had long been freely available as supplementary online material on the website of the journal Science. -stefan]

  48. dhogaza:

    There is a notable contrast between Professor Briffa’s measured and dignified response, which acknowledges that Mr. McIntyre’s work merits further investigation

    Uh, he points out that McI stated that his (McI’s) work merits further investigation due to possible problems.

    The actual quote from Briffa:

    I note that McIntyre qualifies the presentation of his version(s) of the chronology by reference to a number of valid points that require further investigation. Subsequent postings appear to pay no heed to these caveats.

    This is being spun now by the denialsphere to mean that Briffa’s saying McI raises points regarding Briffa’s work that require further investigation. Briffa said no such thing. But the spin doesn’t surprise me…

    Briffa’s being kind, actually, as he’s drawing a line between McI and the frothing mass of denialists at CA and WUWT. McI acknowledges that his versions require further investigation, i.e. McI does *not* claim that he’s “smashed the hockey stick”. Briffa notes that subsequent postings ignore the caveats and jump to the conclusion that McI’s work proves that the “hockey stick is smashed” (again!), that Mann and Briffa are guilty of scientific fraud (again!) etc.

    I admire Briffa’s being kind here but c’mon, it’s time to call a spade a spade and to quit pretending that McI’s not trying to paint a picture of fraud and an overturning of all evidence of recent, uncharacteristic warming.

    I’m glad that RC is hitting back.

  49. Richard Rosas:

    Global Climate Change is Historical,it is nothing new to the planet. Our present Global Climate Change is uncompared to any prviously found. We are presently in an accelerated and extreme period of Change. The increase in Natural and Biological Disasters are Pandemic; with the worst yet to come.It is up to all you good folks to find out what the future has in store for our planet and how we can best prepare and Adapt to the forthcoming Change. May God have mercy on our blindness!

  50. Jerry Toman:

    This may be slightly off-topic, and I apologize if somehow I have missed it, but, after nearly half a decade, where is the scientific community’s follow-up to “Inconvenient Truth”?

    This would be (is?) a video giving a much more scientifically rigorous depiction of the “Greenhouse Effect”. It would show the role it plays in the earth’s energy budget, and clearly illucidate what is meant by the term “forcing”. The climate models, of which it forms an integral part, could be projected first into the past (with animation) to show how it “fits” the data, and then into the future.

    It could be shown in one of PBS’s documentary series, the Discovery Channel, or, if unavailable, run as a short film in theaters, or, at least be available on U-tube.

    I would assume that it would need to break down the troposphere into 3-5 layers or zones and include an animated portrayal of the radiative and convective activity that goes on there.

    The purpose would be not only to educate the public to a much greater extent, but also to preempt attacks from the deny-o-sphere. They would be forced to say exactly which part of the model they consider to be “wrong” or otherwise disagree with.

    It might also take Al Gore out of the picture as a favorite “punching bag” for the denialist camp.

    “One picture (video) is worth a thousand words.”

  51. joshv:

    “who declares without any evidence whatsoever that Briffa didn’t just reprocess the data from the Russians, but instead supposedly picked through it to give him the signal he wanted”

    Unless I have missed something, McIntrye himself has made no such declaration. Can you please provide a reference for your claim here? If not, retract it.

    [Response: That’s a joke right? – gavin]

  52. MarkB:

    “Do you think, if all data from every study for all time were freely and easily available, that would have stopped McIntyre from useless unfounded FUD? Or even slowed him down?”

    Nope. He would just insinuate that the data was fabricated (which he’s done before) and end up with thousands of like-minded individuals cheering him on in unison. McIntyre excels (like some journalists) because there’s a large public demand for global warming denial, and there are those with basic rhetorical skills to meet such a demand. If he and others simply write boring old posts examining some scientific detail and keeping it in the proper context, they put their politically-oriented readers to sleep and bore media outlets that are looking to promote certain claims. It’s when they make more outrageous claims, such as asserting the hoax has been revealed or referring to climate scientists as “jihadists”…

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=6912

    that they get the attention and notice they crave, far beyond what an objective scientist gets by publishing rigorous peer-reviewed research.

    The concern I have is whether or not it’s productive for RC to be spending time on these sorts of matters. It tends to validate antagonistic behaviors. Gutter-snipers would like nothing more than for scientists to pay attention to them. On one hand, disinformation shouldn’t go unchecked, but if it takes away from other important activities and posts covering topics such as…

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090923143337.htm

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090930174655.htm

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090927151132.htm

    which I get a lot more out of than posts addressing garbage claims.

  53. FredB:

    “Do you really believe that? Do you think, if all data from every study for all time were freely and easily available, that would have stopped McIntyre from useless unfounded FUD? Or even slowed him down?”

    I think it’s worth a try. More to the point I think it has to be SEEN to be tried. Otherwise you’re giving him an open goal.

  54. co2isnotevil:

    Even if the hockey stick of tree growth is not exaggerated, all it tells us is that trees are consuming more energy and CO2 and turning it into wood. While temperature is one thing that affects the robustness of biomass, the list of other things that do the same is long. One of these is CO2 levels. It seems far more plausible that any additional growth is a result of dramatically increasing CO2 levels and not a tiny increase in temperature that might have occurred during the same time. I don’t see any point in using dendrochronology to tell us that CO2 levels are rising; we already know this. Linking this to temperature increases assumes that rising CO2 levels are causing the temperature increase in the first place. I know that many in the climate science field have rallied around this speculative conclusion, but the tree ring analysis does nothing to establish any significant causal relationship between CO2 levels and temperature.

    [Response: Of course! What was Arrhenius thinking? – gavin]

  55. D Robinson:

    I’ll try to ask some yes / no questions without starting a fight!

    Is RC stating that all of the data Briffa recently uploaded to his website, the dataset from Yamal and the larger dataset by Hantemirov and Shiyatov from which the Yamal data was selected, was publicly available prior to being posted on Briffa’s CRU site?

    [Response: We have no knowledge of that. I would ask H&S since they originated the data that Briffa used. – gavin]

    Any idea if Briffa selected the subset of 12 cores, or was it selected for him by H&S?

    [Response: He stated very clearly that he processed the data from H&S. – gavin]

    Is it true that Briffa’s work gives more weight to tree ring cores that match the instrumental records than those that do not?

    [Response: Presuming you are discussing the Yamal chronology, no it is not. – gavin]

    Thanks.

  56. wbexo:

    “We need answers not more data” quote (Vern Soumi)

  57. Tilo Reber:

    Gavin:
    “Except that….. people looked over it briefly, there was one formatting error found, there were some half-hearted attempts to look at it…. and nothing. McIntyre et al got bored and went off to find another windmill to tilt at. And people still complain that the data and the code aren’t available.”

    That is not how I remember it. First of all, no one seemed to be able to get the code to work. I don’t know if anyone ever has. Then there were operations in the code that didn’t make sense. For example, the way that station data was weighed when it was being used to correct other station data made no sense. It looked like weighing for the 500 km cirle was the same as weighing for the 1000 km circle. So depending on the method used, a station at 400 km could have the same weighing as a station at 800 km. I’d have to go back and get the details, and I can if necessary. Then there is the Hansen time hinge, where data is adjusted up and down depending on which side of the hinge it was on. No one ever understood how such a hinge would correspond to anything in the real world.

    [Response: And then they got bored and went home. Precisely. (PS. all of the methodological choices are discussed in the relevant (peer-reviewed) papers). – gavin]

  58. Ray Ladbury:

    Isn’t it just a wee bit ironic that the side crying out for access to the data demonstrates over (and the latest McFraudit effort is a prime example) that when they get data, they haven’t the foggiest notion of what to do with it?

    We hear over and over again that McI is an expert in statistics, and yet he sees no problem mixing in demonstrably unrepresentative data in a painstaking analysis and then crowing that the results change. Can I get a collective “Duh!” While the cries of fraud by McI’s minions are reprehensible (lower than snake excrement, in fact), this whole episode is more prone to inspire pity in me at just how gullible and incompetent they are.

  59. Tim G:

    Here’s what I don’t understand:

    Why not make all the data and algorithms open?

    Then we wouldn’t have this silliness. Science is supposed to be about replicating the work of others /and/ knocking it down. The childishness shown on both sides of this debate is extremely disheartening. Especially when one considers what is at stake.

    Put up or shut up, I say.

    Tim

  60. dhogaza:

    First of all, no one seemed to be able to get the code to work

    Cry me a river. All they can do is release the code, not give you people a god-like touch imparting the gift of competence.

  61. tomw:

    The characterizations used above, that McIntyre has based his ‘critique’ on a test conducted by randomly adding in one set of data from another location in Yamal that “he found on the internet.” and later “found lying around on the web.” weakens, rather than strengthens, this critique. It completely glosses over the ten years of requests leading up to the public archiving of this data. Failure to deal forthrightly and straighforwardly with the facts of this delayed release of data makes the sarcasm far more irritating, in my opinion.

    [Response: The russ035w data has been ‘lying around’ on the web since 2001 (at least) judging from the file stamps. And there have not been ’10 years’ of requests. That’s just crap. – gavin]

  62. Richard Pauli:

    Robert Kennedy once said something like
    “No matter what the facts, 15% of the people will disagree”

  63. Sean Houlihane:

    Two parts of this story do not greatly fill me with confidence. Firstly, most of the convincing temperature proxies seem to only go back a few hundred years. The tree ring chronologies are maybe best placed for cross dating things like tree-line advance – but if recent events have taught us anything, the error bars for a tree-ring temperature reconstruction are large. Other long term proxies seem to differ fairly significantly, so all I’d be certain of for the last 2000 years is ‘not much change.
    The second and more contentious issue is that of the recent instrumental record. CET for this year simply didn’t seem above average to me, and various different recent detailed measurement series seem to offer the potential for divergence (although this probably is more of a wait and see problem).

  64. FredB:

    “Isn’t it just a wee bit ironic that the side crying out for access to the data demonstrates over (and the latest McFraudit effort is a prime example) that when they get data, they haven’t the foggiest notion of what to do with it?”

    Absolutely. Publish all the data, publish all the code. Then watch them hang themselves with it.

  65. Tilo Reber:

    gavin:
    “(PS. all of the methodological choices are discussed in the relevant (peer-reviewed) papers). – gavin]”

    Yes they are, but they don’t explain why a hinged ajustment mechanism is a good mechanism to imitate a natural phenomena, and while it explains the transition from 500 km to 1000 km, it doesn’t give a justification for why a weighing at 400 km and 800 km would be the same when switching cirles. One needs to be able to look at code to spot those kinds of detail. In my mind that kind of weighting is still a flaw in the code.

    [edit]

    [Response: Then come up with a better way, edit the code to accommodate your thoughts and see what difference it makes. This is what I tell grad students and it’s what I’m telling you – don’t spend time sitting around wondering whether something is important. Test it and see – and then we can discuss. – gavin]

  66. co2isnotevil:

    The Arrhenius equation *ASSUMES* that the reaction is not otherwise limited. The growth of biomass is generally not energy limited. Add CO2 to a greenhouse and it becomes more productive. Reduce the water and they become less productive. All of this occurs without any changes in energy or temperature. Of course, baseless assumptions and a failure to examine all the information is not unique to this case and are endemic among ‘peer reviewed’ AGW biased papers.

    [Response: Clueless. Absolutely clueless. – gavin]

  67. caerbannog:

    Just a quick note: A news.google.com search on the keywords “mcintyre” “yamal” (as of a few minutes before this post) brought up just a handful of hits, with this RealClimate article at the top of the list.

  68. Marcus:

    Sean Houlihane: Contentious recent instrumental record? When 4 independent databases, using two very distinct methodologies, give the same answer for the last 30 years? http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/mean:60/from:1979/offset:-0.15/plot/uah/mean:60/plot/rss/mean:60/plot/gistemp/mean:60/from:1979/offset:-0.24

    “CET” doesn’t seem above average to you? First, never use a local regional temperature record to diagnose global change. But… http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcet/

    And yes, one of the major points of the last 2000 years is “not much change”: probably a little cooler, occasionally a bit cooler than that (little ice age), maybe once or twice as warm as present – but no wild multiple degree celsius swings on the global scale – and _that_ is what we are going to see in the next century if we’re not careful.

  69. hmmm:

    “Peer-review is nothing sinister and not part of some global conspiracy, but instead it is the process by which people are forced to match their rhetoric to their actual results.”

    In that spirit, wouldn’t you agree that the data and methods from Briffa should have been made available quite some time ago for review by anyone that might not be confidential colleagues?

  70. co2isnotevil:

    Well Gavin, if you think I’m wrong, explain why biomass responds to changes in energy, water and CO2 while holding temperature constant? Photosynthesis consumes these as it’s only raw materials and converts them to glucose. Changes in any one of them will affect glucose production. All else being equal, then the dependence of chemical reactions on temperature will matter. The simple fact is that all else is not equal. A snarky little ‘clueless’ response will not suffice.

    [Response: Because we are not even on the same page here. I have no interest whatsoever in photosynthesis kinetics. I, my work, this site, the whole debate is about the role of CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Something Arrhenius knew very well and which still appears to be a mystery to some. – gavin]

  71. Jim Heath:

    I just don’t get why it was so hard to get the original data from Briffa. What’s to fear? If I were a leading scientist in a mostly new field of study, I would want my work to be validated for the recognition.

  72. oakwood:

    gavin, you say:

    “These politically driven demands for more code, more data, more residuals, more notes, more background are basically insatiable and when the people that provide the most, end up being those who are attacked most viciously, it doesn’t help the cause people claim to espouse”.

    You do not seem to realise that the case for man made global warming will require us to spend billions and billions of dollars to address it. Thus, the papers and data that make the case are much more than just ‘intersting studies’, but are critical. It is a very simple scientific principle that the data should be available for cross-checking and scrutiny. If not, then we cannot have confidence in the case. To claim that this is politically rather than scientifically motivated is at best misleading, and does your own case no favours.

  73. BlondieBC:

    RE: #44

    “Do you really believe that? Do you think, if all data from every study for all time were freely and easily available, that would have stopped McIntyre from useless unfounded FUD? Or even slowed him down?

    I don’t.”

    I believe the release of all data, freely and easily available, would make McIntyre’s arguments less persuasive to the general public.

    [Response: First off, there are no limits to statements such as ‘all data’ – you can always ask for more. Second, the general public are busy people, and don’t generally check everything people tell them. I still see claims that GISTEMP’s code is secret, or that no GCM code is public regardless of the facts. The joy of this as a talking point (as you illustrate) is that it has good traction among people who haven’t been paying attention to how it is being used. – gavin]

  74. dhogaza:

    In that spirit, wouldn’t you agree that the data and methods from Briffa should have been made available quite some time ago for review by anyone that might not be confidential colleagues?

    1. It wasn’t Briffa’s data. And as was noted above, at least one dataset has been available for years.

    2. I assume you’ve read Briffa’s paper yourself and can confirm that Briffa didn’t explain his methodology in his paper, and aren’t just parroting a McI talking point?

  75. TCO:

    I don’t think that publishing all data and code would “shut the denialists up”. But that does not mean it still should not be done!

    And in general in this field, there is a lot of gray data running around and a lot of incompletely described methodology. Compare for instance to crystallogrophy where Acta Cryst requires you to archive your data to a repository, before REVIEW. It is very easy to mess up a crystal structure and this process has led to much better and faster correction of false structures. As well as a wealth of publically accessible information for researchers doing followup work, phase diagrams, etc.

  76. Todd Albert:

    Another phenomenal post. In fact, it is one of my favorite RealClimate posts in some time, and that is saying something. I’ll certainly link to it from my own blog. Keep up the good work and continued patience in educating the non-climatologists. My own patience is drawing thin.

  77. caerbannog:

    To oakwood:

    Data and code have been made available for years. Examples are
    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/sources/
    http://www.ccsm.ucar.edu/

    Now, have you or anyone else you know of actually *done* anything with this code/data? Can you tell us about any errors/deficiencies that have been uncovered? Can you provide examples of patches that have been submitted to the climate-model code maintainers?

    How much cross-checking and scrutinizing of this code/data has been performed? Much of this stuff has been freely available on line for *years*. So what have you done with it?

  78. per:

    you ask what would happen when you take out the Yamal data from Kaufman et al.’s reconstruction, providing a graph. When you look closely at the graph, it appears that removing Yamal lowers temperatures by ~0.15-0.2Celsius (difficult to tell from the small scale).

    Is that not quite a big effect on temperature in a reconstruction ?

    per

  79. Mark A. York:

    Will is a piece of work. I wrote a column for his paper on deniers and their place in the news. Since it’s a columnist contest I know they’ll read it. Ten years of temperature stability is his claim. Revkin was no help either. Fed Will his lines. Pity, that.

  80. jack:

    I have a perhaps naive question: The hockey sticks represent GLOBAL average temperatures, right? It would seem that tree ring data represents a small fraction of the earth’s surface and therefore have a negligible effect on the global average numbers, especially tree ring data from a small region such as Yamal.

    [Response: Actually many of them only represent the Northern Hemisphere, and some only summer-time temperatures over land. It will vary depending on the sources of the data and their limitations. However, proxy records are not as well distributed as weather stations, and so for these multi-centennial reconstructions there is more weight attached to each proxy than it would be for a weather station at the same spot in an instrumental estimate. In more recent reconstructions, the number of proxies is increasing strongly (especially after 1600) and so each individual proxy is becoming less important. – gavin]

  81. Tim G:

    “Peer-review is nothing sinister and not part of some global conspiracy, but instead it is the process by which people are forced to match their rhetoric to their actual results.”

    “Peer review” is not a substitute for replication.

    I’m sorry. I do have some sympathy for your position. At the same time, I just can’t get my head around the idea that since it is peer reviewed, someone who is skeptical (as all good scientists /should/ be) shouldn’t be able to reproduce it.

    You may be against properly releasing the code and data because you don’t want to waste your time with skeptics. I can get that. But from the outside it looks a lot more like you are afraid of what they’d find. Again, I’m sorry, but that’s just the way it is.

    I work in software. I know nothing about climate. But what I do know is there is a way to make code and data available “turnkey” so that others can use it. If you are confident in your science, then that’s what you should do. It’s more work, yes, but it is less work than all this silly sniping.

    Tim

  82. FrancisT:

    dhogaza @721. It wasn’t Briffa’s data. And as was noted above, at least one dataset has been available for years.

    The data as used in the H&S 2002 paper seems to be a different subset of the total data gathered than the data used by Briffa (the numbers of cores used at any one time is significantly different – Briffa uses more which I would regard as a good thing). Until Briffa finally detailed what data he used there was no way to replicate what he had done and see if it was robust.

  83. Vinny Burgoo:

    If you ignore all the allegations of insinuation, insinuations of allegation etc, justified or otherwise, from all quarters, and especially all the nonsense pumped out by the like of James Delingpole in the Telegraph, doesn’t Steve McIntyre still have a point? For ten years or so, the ‘hockey blade’ in the much re-used Briffa (or H & S) Yamal chronology has been based entirely on a tiny number of cores from living trees. Additional cores made from the same species in the same area (indeed in one of the three river valleys used in the Briffa Yamal chronology) have always been available to boost the sample used for the 20th century to an acceptable size, but they weren’t used. Why?

    Isn’t that a valid question? One with all sorts of valid possible answers, the provision of which might be ‘meaningful’ to the advancement of palaeoclimatology?

  84. Rob:

    Gavin:
    “I, my work, this site, the whole debate is about the role of CO2 as a greenhouse gas.”

    What conclusion do you make? -CO2 being a greenhouse gas explains why tree ring width only responds to a change in temperature? Or are you saying that you want respond to the question because it is not within you area of expertise?

    I don’t follow you? Please help me out.

  85. Hank Roberts:

    Here ya go, ‘snotevil:

    http://jxb.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/erp096v1
    April 28, 2009 Journal of Experimental Botany, doi:10.1093/jxb/erp096

    REVIEW-ARTICLE
    Elevated CO2 effects on plant carbon, nitrogen, and water relations: six important lessons from FACE

    You’ll probably be bouncing and giggling with glee, but only until you get to the conclusion.

    Warning, spoiler follows:

    “the stimulation of yield by elevated CO2 in crop species is much smaller than expected”

  86. Sean Houlihane:

    Marcus: “CET” doesn’t seem above average to you? First, never use a local regional temperature record to diagnose global change. But… http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcet/
    My point is that what I observe personally doesn’t match particularly well with the local regional temperature record – despite that record being one of the better respected series in existence. This leads me to ponder if temperature is a good proxy for heat/weather/climate. Not a question of if the record is accurate, but what is the global significance of that variable.

  87. Jammer:

    Gavin
    In response to PaulC #47 you miss the point about availability of data. The complaint is not that there isn’t enough data. It’s that (in the cases McIntyre complains about) there isn’t ANY data. In order to reproduce the published results, all the original data must be archived and made available. It’s not “more” data that is being requested here. It is the actual (raw) data used to obtain the results and conclusions in the peer-reviewed and published papers.

    If the raw data has been corrected to adjust for local factors then this correction process too must be described. Descriptions of algorithms are similarly insufficient. The actual algorithms are essential. Otherwise it looks like you are trying to hide something. Real Science can stand up to the scrutiny. Make (all) the data available and then, as in your example of GISTEMP, there can be no argument. McIntyre and other sceptics have no basis for challenge and must move on.

    As Helvio says in #45, if you don’t provide the evidence, it’s not scientific. Your reply there similarly missed the point. Science is PRECISELY about replicability.

    You put the cart before the horse when you say that it is important to replicate the *conclusions*. I hope this is just a bad choice of phrase but I’m struggling to understand how any scientist could hold this view. You need to be able to replicate the results. The conclusions are what you draw from the results and, as any good scientist will tell you, the results may not always support the hypothesis.

    In summary, every instance where the raw data and methodologies used are not published, leads to a significant weakening of the climate “science”. I struggle to understand the apparent reluctance for some (many) climate scientists to make their evidence available.

    [Response: Let me try again then. I am not against the maximum transparency we can achieve – as I said above, my code is open source, my results and the model output from which they derive are all available. There are huge amounts of this kind of stuff all over the place and there is certainly plenty for any student of climate science to spend lifetimes on. Thus this idea that we don’t want to make evidence available is simply nonsense. However, not everything that goes on is in the public domain for various reasons. One is the understandable desire for scientists to get the fruit of their labour in terms of publications etc. before other people (who are often better funded and have more graduate students) come in and pick out the best stuff. Those are valid concerns. As are issues with commercially valuable data such as the national met offices retain rights to. Sometimes data is held back purely out of the desire to tidy it up and make it more usable, but for which time doesn’t get found very readily. Some data is lost due to computer breakdowns, technological obsolesence or bad data management practices (those would be bad reasons). However, some results need work to resurrect – intermediate steps that were erased due to data storage constraints for instance – but that somehow become interesting to someone. That might involve serious work to make public, and given various pressures might not get done. But much of this is besides the point. Many people, and you perhaps, seem to think that exact replication of a result is a key part of it’s validity. It isn’t. I can claim to forecast the climate by counting hairs on the back of my hand. I can provide photos of each hair, spreadsheets of the count and exact locations that can be verified by anyone and replicated perfectly. However, that doesn’t prove the method correct. And that is the point, We want to know something about the real world and it’s history – all of these proxies and methods are just means to an end. It is far more important to see whether there is a consistency between corals and deep sea sediment and ice cores and models than it is to validate someones spread sheet. Sure sometimes people make mistakes in analyses, sometimes methods are inappropriately used. But this stuff comes out in the wash usually because of comparisons with other ways of getting to the same thing, not because half the population of scientists are engaged in checking what the other half did. – gavin]

  88. co2isnotevil:

    Gavin, you say the debate is about the role of CO2 as a GHG. I don’t see that as debatable, everyone knows that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. I also don’t see that man has been increasing CO2 is subject to debate either. The real debate is about the magnitude of the effect incremental CO2 has on the climate.

    This article is about tree ring data as temperature proxies and whether or not those on either or both sides cherry picked data to support a particular position. My point is that it really doesn’t matter since tree ring data is affected by many things and can be considered reasonable temperature proxies only when everything else that affects tree growth is held constant. To me, your mention of Arrhenius referred to the equation named for him that quantifies the rate of chemical reactions as a function of temperature, not that Arrhenius considered CO2 a GHG, for I don’t consider that to be wrong. Excuse me for assuming you were using a scientific principle to justify your argument. I should have known better, assumptions are generally incorrect.

  89. Thor:

    You forgot the Hanno stick from the UNEP report ;-)

  90. Alex Horovitz:

    I just love the use of the word “deniers” to describe those of us who are not yet convinced that the climate data we have supports the claims much less the conclusions of the IPCC. I really wonder why people have such a hard time keeping an open mind. I am open to the possibility that there is a warming trend being caused by man, but nothing about the data is conclusive. And just because people are willing to say it is conclusive does not make that statement so.

  91. Lucy:

    “that he found on the internet.”

    Hey, you’re on the internet!
    Is there something wrong with what he found on the internet?

  92. Lucy:

    >Absolutely. Publish all the data, publish all the code. Then watch them hang themselves with it

    Exactly. Giss published, and it is not attacked as much. If Briffa had published everything sooner, this would have been cleared up. Isn’t the point to have your work stand up to scrutiny? Let everyone see it and try to find something wrong with it.

  93. co2isnotevil:

    Hank,

    The paper you cited isn’t available, except via PPV or subscription access. The abstract says that the influence of elevated CO2 is less than expected, but it doesn’t say what was expected and it certainly doesn’t say that it was zero.

    George

  94. James Anderson:

    The hockey stick of CO2 is what we want to know the effects of, surely, rather than evidence of warming? There’s a pretty good hockeystick in sunspots, which all qualified comment seems to conclude is pretty much irrelevant. Just a thought.

  95. bsneath:

    Briffa wrote this in his response to McIntyre.

    “My colleagues and I are working to develop methods that are capable of expressing robust evidence of climate changes using tree-ring data.”

    Did he really mean to say this?

    Would others in this field of science agree that this is an appropriate objective?

    Perhaps you can elaborate

    Thank you

    [Response: Yes of course. He wants to find robust methods that can used to how climate has changed. Why is that objectionable? – gavin]

  96. Kevin McKinney:

    LOL, Spilgard, LOL. (#35.)

  97. dhogaza:

    What conclusion do you make? -CO2 being a greenhouse gas explains why tree ring width only responds to a change in temperature?

    This snippet … posted in ignorance … actually gives the lie to what McI et al are claiming.

    No, Briffa and other scientists don’t state that tree ring width only responds to a change in temperature. Quite the obvious.

    Thus the need to *carefully* select data from trees where there’s solid evidence that THOSE PARTICULAR TREES are responding primarily to temperature. For instance, in Briffa et a 2001 they talk about trees being near altitudinal or longitudinal limits being good candidates because range is limited by temperature (not CO2 concentrations, or precip) and therefore relatively minor changes in temperature cause a relatively larger change in growth rate than trees growing in an area where conditions are more optimum.

    It’s McI (to some extent) and the chorus (to an overwhelming extent) saying “ALL THE TREE DATA MUST BE USED! ANY SELECTION CRITERIA IS CHERRY-PICKING!”. And McI sweetens the deal by insisting that those chosen by Briffa’s methodolgy be ignored.

    Sweet irony.

    So, to repeat:

    What conclusion do you make? -CO2 being a greenhouse gas explains why tree ring width only responds to a change in temperature?

    I would now hope that Rob will go to WUWT and CA and explain to people that trying to use tree ring data without any kind of selection methodology to weed out those which don’t appear to be mostly responding to temperature changes is wrong, wrong, wrong.

  98. Tilo Reber:

    “I can provide photos of each hair, spreadsheets of the count and exact locations that can be verified by anyone and replicated perfectly. However, that doesn’t prove the method correct.”

    I think that you are a little confused in your concept of the scientific method, Gavin. The objective of replication is not to prove something correct. Rather it is that a failure of replication proves it to be incorrect – assuming that the correct proceedure was followed. If you are a good scientist you want to know if there could be a failure to replicate. To that end you want as many people to try to replicate as you can get. When you hide any of the means of replication it indicates that you don’t want the attempt to be made because you fear failure. You also make the faulty argument about your own methods and then transfer that to saying that all climate scientists are trying to be transparent. I shouldn’t have to explain why that argument doesn’t work.

    [Response: Don’t be so obtuse. The general point is perhaps something we can agree on – replication does not imply correctness. Far more important given the fact that we are dealing with climate proxies in this instance is whether we are interpreting them correctly. And much more progress is being made by looking at that, than is being made checking anyone’s arithmetic. – gavin]

  99. Hank Roberts:

    PaulC writes:

    > but I am troubled – I am a layman. I regularly debate
    > issues with skeptics and rely on comments from the folks
    > here to defend my position …. I simply do not see why
    > any data or methodology should be withheld from wider
    > scrutiny unless you have something to hide ….

    Sounds like you haven’t learned the science or the facts yourself, and this means you’re playing their game, on their terms, in their context. You may do better by not trying to debate by copypasting science, but instead learning how to look up the information and helping people get past the notion that “debate” is useful in educating people about science. It generally fails.

    And it sounds like they’ve suckered you into believing their nonsense about this issue. I’d be troubled too.
    Concerned, even.

  100. James Allan:

    Just got to get another two cents in regarding all this stuff about openness and transparency.

    First off, I think it’s a good idea. For my part, most of the funding for the work I do normally comes with the condition that the data be made publicly available at the end of the project and I, for one, don’t have any problems doing that. However, there are many reasons for withholding data, at least in the short term, so people shouldn’t be so quick to accuse Briffa of being sneaky.

    One specific issue which I don’t think has been mentioned yet is the replication of the result using completely different data and/or methods. With any good experiment, it should be possible to replicate the conclusion without the original data and in some ways, it is desirable to not cross-pollinate data too much in order to preserve independence. I’m not saying that data should be withheld permanently, but competing groups finding the same answers without each other’s help (as has demonstrably happened here) definitely benefits the overall science in the long run.

  101. EmilyP:

    Do you think the Washington Post would accept your reply to this? I’m so tired of George Will being given such a platform on this topic.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/30/AR2009093003569.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

  102. TCO:

    James, the existence of released data and methods does not prevent replication by alternate routes. Really that is a robustness test.

    I think this feild is a little different than say semiconductor physics, where making a new batch of doped main group compounds is not tricky and checks can be made by redoing experiments. Instead in this feild, we have a relatively small amount of previous (some several years old) field experiments and a lot of the work being done is reprocessing, adding in more results, etc. Essentially “meta analysis”. In that case the real contribution is in the methods used and decisions made…and it is important to share the details of these so that the assumptions/decisions can be evaluated and so tests can be made of sensitivity to alternate choices.

  103. John N-G:

    #51 joshv –

    For an instance of McIntyre’s unfounded allegation of apparent scientific misconduct, see here:
    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=7168#comment-357407

    #83 Vinny Burgoo asks “…but they weren’t used. Why?”

    Scientists have all manner of worthwhile things they can do to improve studies. Science is inherently a triage process: you do what (a) fits your expertise, (b) will be of the greatest importance, and/or (c) you are being paid to do. The possible impact of the Schweingruber trees did not seem to be of particular importance until McIntyre pointed it out, and it seems Briffa will take a look at it.

    Meanwhile, of course, some other worthwhile project will be put aside.

  104. TrueSceptic:

    48 dhogaza,

    I confess I misread Briffa’s statement too.
    I note that McIntyre qualifies the presentation of his version(s) of the chronology by reference to a number of valid points that require further investigation. Subsequent postings appear to pay no heed to these caveats.

    I think that this could have been worded better: “that require further investigation” could be read as requiring further investigation by either McIntyre or Briffa (or anyone, really).

    But regardless, McIntyre is too clever to make explicit accusations. He just presents the “evidence” and lets the denydiots run with it. He is clever enough to censor the extreme ASS sufferers at his site, as they would make CA less credible, but makes no effort to correct them elsewhere. He makes no effort to correct Watts, D’Aleo, etc., no matter how incompetent their “science” or obvious their lies, because they are on on the “same side” and he can always claim ignorance.

    One more thing: despite accusations here of his incompetence, I think he knows enough stats (more than some of us, perhaps) to present the case he wants, and to do so in a way that convinces many.

  105. MarkB:

    Alex (#90)

    Hope you don’t mind a bit of satire…

    I just love the use of the word “deniers” to describe those of us who are not yet convinced that the data we have supports the claims that the Earth is not flat, much less the conclusions of the major scientific academies and organizations. I really wonder why people have such a hard time keeping an open mind. I am open to the possibility that the Earth is not flat, but nothing about the data is conclusive. And just because people are willing to say it is conclusive does not make that statement so…

    Point being, the more one examines the data and reads the studies, the more difficult it is to deny the significant human impact on global warming. I actually find so-called climate “skeptics” to often be the least open-minded, contrary to what genuine skeptism is supposed to be. Climate “Skeptics” only see what they want to see.

  106. Hank Roberts:

    Word missing in Gavin’s inline reply above.

    I think the poster was trying to be snarky and suggest the scientist was “trying to find a way to prove” something existed rather than trying to find a way to determine whether it’s possible to determine an effect in the material.

    The inline quote’s missing a word or six; Gavin wrote:

    … He wants to find robust methods that can used to how climate has changed. ….

    And I’m sure means something like

    He wants to find robust methods that can used to
    [[determine whether a trend exists that would show]]
    how climate has changed.

    This is the big thing Stat 101 teaches — given a lot of data collected over some length of time, some ways to figure out whether it’s possible to conclude that there is a high probability it demonstrates a change over time and if so which way it’s changing.

    And the choice of the statistic has to be made early on.
    Deciding how to analyze data is what the scientist and statistician spend a lot of time working on.

    [Response: Err… yes. Thanks. What I should have said is “He wants to find robust methods that can be used to find out how climate has changed.” (3 missing words). – gavin]

  107. spilgard:

    Something peculiar is that this Massive Lie iteration harps on the crime of NOT USING enough data, while a previous iteration harped on the exact opposite: the crime of USING all data. The event was the glorious crusade to invalidate the GISS surface temperature record. After painstakingly winnowing the family of surface stations to exclude those not meeting a standard of correctness, a new and “truthier” temperature curve was produced. Unfortunately, the new curve had the same shape as the GISS curve. When the curve refused to look different from GISS, enthusiasm for the endeavor faded away — rather sad, because all of that painstaking effort expended to validate the GISS curve might have made an excellent journal article.

  108. TrueSceptic:

    51 Gavin,

    I’m sorry but what’s required is specific quotes, with URLs of course, to refute nonsense immediately. Replies like yours just feed nonsense claims of “snark”.

    [Response: Fair enough, so here goes (a couple of allied quotes as well): 1) “In my opinion, the uniformly high age of the CRU12 relative to the Schweingruber population is suggestive of selection”, 2) “It is highly possible and even probable that the CRU selection is derived from a prior selection of old trees”, 3) “I do not believe that they constitute a complete population of recent cores. As a result, I believe that the archive is suspect.”,4) (Ross McKitrick) “But it appears that they weren’t randomly selected.”, 5) (Anthony Watts) “appears to have been the result of hand selected trees”, – gavin]

  109. Halldór Björnsson:

    I find this replication discussion to be a bit strange. I am currently mulling over a method used by a collegue in a paper. I could be lazy and email him and ask for his code. But if I really want to use his method what I should do is to write my own code based on what he describes in his paper. Replication is checking if I get the same results as he did.

    A few years ago I wrote a paper describing what I felt was an improvement to a method that had been used to calculate temperature maps. Recently I saw a talk where someone else approached the problem from a different angle, and derived a more general way of doing this. My method was a special case in his analysis. And in that case the results where the same. – I felt it was a nice replication of my work, – not because the guy needed my code but because he showed that the results were robust.

    The “audit” philosophy of asking for code and data and then looking for bugs is of limited use for advancing science. Replication is hard work.

  110. Greg Craven:

    Disclaimer: This post is NOT a pitch to buy my damn book. It will never sell enough to make me another penny. But I want people to at least look at the tools proposed in it, and give them a shot at breaking the logjam in the popular debate. Steal the book, borrow it, check it out from a library, scan the damn thing and post the PDF on the Internet*, I don’t care! Just get the ideas out there, because …

    It specifically addresses the questions, frustrations, conundrums, and challenges expressed in comments #’s 2, 11 (Gavin’s response), 15, 17, 18, 22, 34, ****, proposing I effective solutions (I think) to all.

    And especially important: it addresses the central question at the start of the article: “Who should we believe?” by _circumventing_ that question. The problem is, in the great unengaged majority out there—which is where, after all, this war will be won or lost—John Q. Citizen’s brain will believe whoever reaffirms what he _wants_ to believe. It’s hardwired into our brains (confirmation bias), and the current culture of the U.S. (anti-intellectual) feeds that. Confirmation bias is central to the popular debate (I’ve come to think), and immunizes the general populace from _any_ appeal to “trust” or “belief” or “evidence” short of their own weather going wacky.

    Over the last two years, I’ve developed quite a bit of expertise on the thinking of the common man in the U.S. about climate change (sparked by my posting of “The Most Terrifying Video.”) So when I went to write my book, I predicated the whole thing on an exploration of the psychology of denial, and reverse-engineered the book from there.

    Not saying I’m an expert in anything. Just that I’m really freaking thorough, I’m trying a method that hasn’t been tried before (as far as I can tell), and it’s got enough potential (demonstrated by the ridiculously surprising success of my ten-minute whiteboard exposition on climate change—7.5 million views with zero marketing by me; I gave the URL to less than 150 people, and did nothing after to publicize it), that it’s worth giving it a shot, and then _enlisting_others_ to do the same (viral spread).

    I may be wrong, I may be obsessive, I may have delusions of grandeur in thinking that I’ve “found the answer.” But this late in the game, is it worth risking that I’m not?

    Thanks for your indulgence.

    Sincerely,
    Greg Craven
    The book: “What’s The Worst That Could Happen? A Rational Response to the Climate Change Debate.”
    The Amazon listing: http://www.amazon.com/Whats-Worst-That-Could-Happen/dp/0399535012

    * Even though my publisher has now explicitly told me they will do no more marketing for me—I’m on my own—I’m still not willing to risk a breach of contract (and the return of my advance) by posting such a file myself. That said, if someone “comes across” such a posting, please send me the URL via gregcraven.org, so I can refer others to it. ;-)

  111. TrueSceptic:

    63 Sean,

    Why do you bring CET into this?

    If you want to discuss CET, Open Mind (Tamino) has a current thread.

  112. John Mashey:

    1) Other than those restricted for legal reasons, it is clear that all of the following should be archived, with a good browser interface so that any random person could find anything:
    – all input data, including all versions, iterations, down to scribbles on lab notebooks, and especially any corrections that have happened on any iteration, so those can be checked.
    – all code, including every iteration, to make sure that no funny business has gone on. A full set of RCS / CVS files might be good enough. Every makefile also.
    – all versions of any compilers, libraries and operating systems used, because they might make a difference, and might be required to reproduce the exact results. Actually, the source code of these might be needed also, to make sure generated code is correct, although one has to be careful, as there is at least one famous case where a C preprocessor did something magic to itself and hid its tracks.
    – actually, since not everyone understands F90 (for example), alternate, proved-equivalent code should be provided in Java, COBOL, and Excel.
    – a really extensive set of regression tests, so that people can run numerous cases themselves and evaluate whether or not the code is robust.
    – all outputs, including OCR’d versions of any printed output, and movies of any interactive 3D simulations.
    – Adequate documentation and tutorials, especially if someone who isn’t a programmer needs to find errors in F90 code, or so anyone can learn the equivalent of a physics PhD as needed. This should also include detailed numerical analysis of all relevant code to make sure
    – All emails discussing any of this.
    – Ideally, records of discussions on whiteboards (via one of those electronic whiteboards).

    And probably, it would be a good idea for NASA, GFDL, NCAR, etc to provide compute clusters of similar size to what they use for general use by auditors.

    2) Now, to fund the vast increase in staffing, facilities, and computers, I propose that we first increase the taxes in Ontario (where McIntyre is located), to fund these efforts worldwide (especially in USA and UK, from whom he has demanded data), but anyone else can pitch in, too. *I’m* not interested in my tax money being spent this way, but others may want to spend their own money for such.
    So, how much are people willing to pay? I’m sure Gavin & co could use lots more budget. Anonymous calls for someone else to spend their time doing more of this … are not worth the bits on disk to keep them.

    3) More seriously:
    a) Doing commercial-grade software products is *very* different than doing software for research, and the tradeoffs are very different.

    b) Chris Mooney’s book mentions the Data Quality Act and what it was really for (i.e., hold up inconvenient research results, and ideally keep demanding further study and wasting time so that the inconvenient research slows to a halt.)

    c) I strongly urge those who are honestly confused or unsure about this to read that book, and the brand-new one Climate Cover-Up about the general tactics.

  113. freespeech:

    Hank Roberts says[85]:

    “the stimulation of yield by elevated CO2 in crop species is much smaller than expected”

    Can you confirm that the Yamal proxies were of crop species, grown in otherwise ideal conditions, which is what this quote is referring to? My understanding is that they are of trees in the Arctic. The study specifically confirms elevated carbon gain (that’d be wood for a tree) in drought conditions and lower water use. I wonder if this might be advantageous in permafrost?

  114. TrueSceptic:

    70 Gavin,

    (Sorry, still catching up.)

    Can I suggest what Greenfyre does? Anyone posting off-topic is invited to move their post to a relevant thread as it will get deleted in 24 hours.

    I see this as an identifying denydiot characteristic: regardless of the current thread, they jump in and repeat their obsession with whatever they think is wrong with Science. Do they even read the OP?

  115. John Finn:

    In addition to my earlier ppost. I’ve checked out this link and we have the same problem.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/09/progress-in-millennial-reconstructions/

    The instrumental records obscure the proxy reconstructions which gives a completely misleading impression. I’m sure that’s not what’s intended, but it’s clear the reconstructions fail to simulate the observed temperatures – by some distance. Is it possibe to view the spaghetti graph without including the instrumental record.

    [Response: The instrumental record is shown along with the reconstructions. Some methods do not produce a reconstruction per se over the calibration period. In such cases, validation experiments are done (and described in detail in the paper), wherein one part of the record (e.g. the earlier part) is used to calibrate the proxy data, and a reconstruction is independently performed over the other part of the record (e.g. the late part), where it can be directly compared against the part of the instrumental record not used in the calibration process. the role of the early and late periods are then alternated for completeness. The ability of the reconstruction to independently reproduce the observed instrumental temperature changes over the independent interval is used as a crucial diagnostic in establishing the skillfulness of the reconstruction. This is true of the “EIV” reconstructions in Mann et al (2008) for example shown above, where these validation experiments were featured in the main article (Figure 2 and surrounding discussion). Attempts to imply that such comparisons were not done or not taken into account are at best willfully naive. – mike]

  116. Jim Galasyn:

    Tim G: I know nothing about climate. But what I do know is there is a way to make code and data available “turnkey” so that others can use it. If you are confident in your science, then that’s what you should do. It’s more work, yes, but it is less work than all this silly sniping.

    Exactly, and since you work in software, you can go ahead and write a nice user interface for all that FORTRAN code. When you’re done, I’ll happily run it on my desktop — thanks in advance!

  117. Hank Roberts:

    John, I recall reading somewhere the story that Linus T. simply emails anything important to his friends, thereby letting the Internet back it up for him.

    Those who want all available information could post their email and invite people to send it to them, eh?

  118. Walter Pearce:

    RE: #100 (James Allan)
    Let’s hear it for Mr. Allan! I’ve been away for some months, and it’s quite sad, though not unexpected, to see the cast of deniers change somewhat but the same old intellectual dishonesty — not to mention sheer laziness — remains.

  119. Jim Galasyn:

    Halldór: If I really want to use his method what I should do is to write my own code based on what he describes in his paper. Replication is checking if I get the same results as he did.

    Just so.

  120. Doug Bostrom:

    Jammer 1 October 2009 at 3:14 PM

    “The complaint is not that there isn’t enough data. It’s that (in the cases McIntyre complains about) there isn’t ANY data. In order to reproduce the published results, all the original data must be archived and made available. It’s not “more” data that is being requested here.

    Science is PRECISELY about replicability”

    Your understanding of what “replication” implies in the context of science appears to be wrong.

    Redoing the calculations behind a result is not what is meant by replication of a result.

    The fundamental objective of replication is to either increase or decrease confidence in a prior claim or result. If you want to attempt to reproduce a result you can use the same methods described for the original experiment, or you can devise another, independent method that may or may not result in congruence with the original report. Preferably the latter.

    In sum, you do not need the original data to attempt replication.

    In fact, this overweening clamor for raw data seems to miss the obvious point that if Mann or Briffa or the legions of others working in this arena are so wrong in their conclusions, it should be an easy task to disprove their claims using various experiments entirely independent of the data in question.

    But this noise about original data is not really about science, it’s more about slinging accusations of misconduct and obfuscation in lieu of contradictory experimental findings.

  121. Jim Galasyn:

    Richard: May God have mercy on our blindness!

    I think we may be certain that God will not have mercy on our species. The Archbishop of Canterbury has said so himself.

    God won’t rescue world from ‘stupidity,’ says top Anglican

  122. TrueSceptic:

    87 Gavin,

    Some data is lost due to computer breakdowns, technological obsolesence or bad data management practices (those would be bad reasons). However, some results need work to resurrect – intermediate steps that were erased due to data storage constraints for instance – but that somehow become interesting to someone.

    This is absurd. Are these people so incompetent that simple backups, easily affordable by any home computer user, are not taken?

    We are not talking about the huge data requirements of video or the much smaller ones of still images; we are talking about plain text.

    Perhaps scientists assume they have competent IT departments when they don’t?

    [Response: I was not excusing it, simply acknowledging that this happens. Some data was taken in the 1980s and people are asking now for auxiliary information from field campaigns that happened then. Say 20 years. That’s maybe 5 generations of computer systems and the transition from 8 inch tapes, to floppies, to zip disks, to USB sticks etc. Do you still have access to a floppy disk drive? Sometimes key people move, retire or die. Cultures shift. Is this a problem? Absolutely. Is it fixed simply by someone on a blog demanding that it should be? No. – gavin]

  123. Chris McGrath:

    Naomi Oreskes crystalises in a brilliant, pithy way the basis for the scientific consensus over the reality of anthropogenic global warming as, “multiple, independent lines of evidence converging on a single coherent account.”

    She has an excellent slideshow on the topic of “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change: How Do We Know We’re Not Wrong?” that explores how the consensus view meets a wide range of scientific methods and standards at http://www.ametsoc.org/atmospolicy/Presentations/Oreskes%20Presentation%20for%20Web.pdf (the quote above is in slide 83).

    This post reflects the need for using “multiple, independent lines of evidence.” The tree ring data is just one part of the evidence being used.

  124. Greg Craven:

    Whoops. In my post (#110), I didn’t finish the list of comment numbers that I think my book directly addresses. Should have read:
    #2 (Steve), #11 (Gavin’s response), #15 (Richard), #17 (both PaulC and Gavin’s response), #18 (Mathias), #22 (Paul), #34 (Larry), #41 (Lorax), #72 (Oakwood), #90 (Alex), and #99 (Hank).

  125. glen:

    #78 “you ask what would happen when you take out the Yamal data from Kaufman et al.’s reconstruction, providing a graph. When you look closely at the graph, it appears that removing Yamal lowers temperatures by ~0.15-0.2Celsius (difficult to tell from the small scale).

    Is that not quite a big effect on temperature in a reconstruction ?

    per”

    Actually the Yamal(nw siberia) is only 1 of 4 sites(others; gulf of alaska, fennoscandia, and siberia) used in the report for tree ring proxy. In the study, a compilation of 12 lake, 7 ice, and 4 tree rings proxy sites were used.

    You mention ~0.15-0.2C — the temperature reconstruction spike for the tree ring proxy occurs early in the 20th century(for about 60yrs), but for 1000ad to 1900ad the tree ring proxy is in good agreement with the ice and lake proxies.

  126. John N-G:

    Re: #103 John N-G, #108 TrueSkeptic with response by Gavin:

    McIntyre asserts that he did not accuse Briffa of picking through the data in his latest blog entry http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=7257 and specifically explains what he meant in the quotation that I referenced above at #103 here: http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=7257#comment-358440 . I accept his explanation, which applies to Gavin’s flagged quotes at #108 as well.

    However, as Gavin’s third-party quotes at #108 show, Gavin and I are clearly not the only ones who had read the text differently, despite McIntyre’s inability to see how there could be any misunderstanding.

  127. Jeff:

    I personally think it highly unlikely that there is anthropologically caused global warming taking place. Throughout history, there has been a tendency to believe the world is ending based upon some predicted catastrophe. Cf. Richard Malthus. These Malthusian prophecies, so far, have not materialized. Of course, given the stakes it is admittedly wise to at least consider the possibilities, if human intervention could possibly prevent it.

    But perhaps you can dispel my skepticism. Here are just a few questions:

    1. When the weathermen can’t accurately predict the weather out more than a few days at best, why should anyone believe that global warming models going out even several decades are reliable? This question is sort of a common sense gut check. Logically, it is conceivable that we are better at macro-climate predictions out many decades than micro-weather predictions out a few days. Still, we have a lot more data for weather predictions, and the predictions are closer in time to the event, so it seems odd to suppose that we can do better with a thinner data set and a longer time horizon.

    2. What is the prediction as to when anthropologically caused global warming will become irreversible? I seem to recollect announcements 10 years ago that we only had 10 years to stop it. Has the date been moved? On what basis? What is the current time frame?

    3. If the global warming models are reliable, why has the earth’s temperature been in decline in the past 10 years? Was that decline predicted by the models? Or do you deny there has been a decline and believe that there has been accelerated warming during the past 10 years?

    If anyone has good answers to these questions, I’ll ask my follow ups.

  128. caerbannog:

    Jeff,

    There’s an old saying: To ask an intelligent question, you first must know some of the answer. To help you get to that point, I’d like to provide you this link to a National Academy of Sciences document: http://dels.nas.edu/dels/rpt_briefs/climate_change_2008_final.pdf

    Study it thoroughly, and you be in a position to ask more well-informed questions.

  129. Geoff Russell:

    Great post. and the smart a.se sarcastic tone is entirely appropriate. A flat
    diffident tone may well be interpreted by non-scientists as a sign that confidence is
    lacking. All too often sarcastic insults are a substitute for data and solid
    argument. But you have both, in spades, so you might as well lay it on thick … this is
    a blog after all!

  130. Karen Kohfeld:

    Thanks for providing clear and irrefutable proof that US Gavins are warming the planet. ;-)

  131. dhogaza:

    I think that this could have been worded better: “that require further investigation” could be read as requiring further investigation by either McIntyre or Briffa (or anyone, really).

    Yes, but the *object* is very clearly McI’s work, and Briffa’s jab, though a bit subtle, is a good one. Briffa, you, joe blow, McI, whoever further investigates the flaws in McI’s work … it doesn’t matter. McI’s claim to have blown up Briffa’s work is itself flawed – according to McI.

    See?

    Jeff … such a boring post, but here are some answers, on the unlikely possibility that you’re actually interested in learning (I’m a bit jaded, sorry):

    1. When the weathermen can’t accurately predict the weather out more than a few days at best, why should anyone believe that global warming models going out even several decades are reliable?

    Gee, I dunno. Why should anyone believe our models that predict that July 2010 will be warmer than January 2010 in the northern hemisphere? We can’t predict two weeks into the future, how the heck can we predict that summer will be warmer than winter?

    2. What is the prediction as to when anthropologically caused global warming will become irreversible?

    Never.

    I seem to recollect announcements 10 years ago that we only had 10 years to stop it.

    Then you misunderstand what’s being predicted. Time to hit the books …

    3. If the global warming models are reliable, why has the earth’s temperature been in decline in the past 10 years?

    It hasn’t.

    Was that decline predicted by the models? Or do you deny there has been a decline

    Given that it hasn’t, why wouldn’t one deny it?

    On the other hand, since climate is noisy, it’s almost *guaranteed* that we’ll see short-term runs of cooling as well as short-term runs of warming noticably above the trend.

    Just as flipping a fair coin can result in runs of a few heads or a few tails in a row.

    If you don’t understand such basic things, you probably don’t understand why slot machines are for losers.

  132. Jim Eager:

    As is usual, it is abundantly obvious that none of the terriers clamoring here for release of all data and code have any idea what the concept of replication of results actually means.

    To be of any value replication must be independent, using different data and different code.

    It’s also abundantly obvious that none of them would have the slightest idea how to go about doing so.

  133. Ray Ladbury:

    Jeff, It is clear that you have not done much research into the current warming epoch. As to your questions

    1)Do you have a 401k? Can you tell me what the closing value of the S&P 500 index will be in 5 days? Hell, 1 day? The average behavior of a complicated system can be much simpler than predicting detailed short-term behavior. People bet trillions of dollars on it.

    2)It may already be irreversible. However, it is not unsustainable yet. We can certainly make things much worse. We have been for 20 years even as the science has become indisputable

    3)You are misinformed. 1998 was a very strong El Nino year, and so much warmer than the norm. 2008 was a strong La Nina, and so cooler. See

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/breaking-records/

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/07/14/warming-interrupted/

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/01/15/what-if/

    I am afraid that without an understanding of the science, one can easily be misled by liars or by those ingnorantly repeating a lie. My recommendation would be to learn as much of the science as you are able OR go with the consensus of the experts in the field.

    To learn more, go to the START HERE button at the upper right corner of this webpage. As to the consensus–90% of all scientists publishing in climate science agree that the planet is warming and that we’re causing it.

  134. dhogaza:

    Maybe OT, maybe not, but I find it hard to believe at times that WUWT isn’t heavily infested with sockpuppets, just like Uncommon Descent (if you’re familiar with that site, there’s a small army of scientists devoted to infiltrating it under pseudonyms, making ridiculously idiotic posts, which are thoroughly embraced by those who run the site).

    For instance, from one of the current AGW-as-fraud threads at WUWT:

    Isn’t it just amazing that the entire field of climate change was resting on just 10 or 12 trees! The whole temperature record for the last half of the 20th century was a few trees, and now we know it’s all wrong!

    This can’t be real, can it? Someone, please tell me it can’t be for real …

    Poe reigns, though … it just might be real.

  135. Ray Ladbury:

    John N-G, If you believe that McI is SHOCKED!!! SHOCKED!!! that his little digs would be taken as allegations of fraud, then you and I need to play Po–ker sometime. Are you really that naive. Where have you spent the last 10 years?

  136. Dan L.:

    >dhogaza: I’m glad that RC is hitting back.

    Indeed.

    McI is a coy, sneaky b… uh, fellow. He is cunning enough to avoid directly exposing his nitpicking to peer reviewed publication, relying instead on the usual suspects to shriek on his behalf. Congratulations to RC for knocking the pins from under the WUWTs of this world and their hockey stick obsessions.

  137. Hank Roberts:

    Jeff, it’s even worse than you thought.

    Looky here: they can’t predict the tide height accurately within a minute or two, yet they claim to publish tide tables that go out into the future for months. Who can trust this kind of information?

    Look at how messy these results are, for example.

    In the top chart, each little X is an observed height at the moment, and the curve is the predicted height:

    http://tidesonline.nos.noaa.gov/temp/1617433_2750114.png

    Much like weather and climate, isn’t it?

  138. Jim Eager:

    Re Jeff @126:

    1. Apples to oranges. Meteorologists (weathermen) try to predict the weather at a particular place at a particular time in the future. Natural day-to-day weather variation is a chaotic system, which makes it very difficult to make accurate predictions of its behaviour more than the few days out.

    Climate is by definition the average of weather over time, nominally around 30 years. Averaging smoothes out day-to-day and year-to-year natural weather variability and extremes, removing much of the chaotic behavior, revealing any underlying long term trends in climate, such as a long term increase or decrease in temperature, or long term shifts in precipitation patterns.

    Climate modelers are not trying to predict the weather at a specific place at a specific point in the distant future, they are projecting the most probable direction, sign and magnitude range of underlying trends in climate based on the underlying physics of the climate system and how much we have perturbed the climate and will continue to perturb it in the future.

    2. It is already irreversible. We have only begun to see the change in temperature and climate caused by the amount of CO2 that we have already added to the atmosphere (+38%), and it will continue to change until the ocean-atmosphere climate system fully responds to that addition. But of course, in the mean time we will continue to add more.

    Moreover, because the added carbon is now part of the active carbon cycle, which exchanges carbon into and out of the atmosphere naturally and permanently removes carbon from the cycle very, very slowly, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere will remain elevated for several centuries, unless we can come up with a way to draw down what we have added.

    3. Earth’s temperature has not been in decline for the past 10 years. The temperature record clearly shows this. The underlying trend clearly shows a positive slope, although that slope is not as steep as it was in the previous 20 years.

  139. Aaron:

    I am a frequent visitor to Real Climate and Climate Audit. Unlike so many others I am only interested in the science and that of course leads one directly to the statistical mathematics behind the assertions about global warming. There is no doubt that despite all the emotional capital being invested into the debate, climate science is perched on a statistical argument and nothing more. How on earth could there be so much rancorous disagreement about the results? If a person is qualified to handle the data competently and also publishes the raw data and the mathematical treatments used to produce a particular result then all should be clear. Replication of these results may come in many forms but re analyzing the original data and use of modern statistical modalities in the hands of recognized experts in the fields of statistics and paleo-dendro-climatology ought not to be feared and is a perfectly acceptable form of applying the scientific method. This latest tree ring data re investigation is both refreshing and intellectually stimulating. I am glad to see that Briffa raw data has been released and hopefully his results will not only be validated but even more insight gained into the behavior of tree growth in the Russian Arctic circle and exactly how the resultant tree ring record is or is not a reliable indicator of temperature and if so, what it tells us about the Arctic climate record.

    Putting another set of eyes on the data by a recognized statistical wizard like McIntyre is nothing to be frightened of. If you actually read his comments, his motives are quite pure as I believe Briffa’s to be. Let’s allow these two men discuss this matter like gentleman and we will all benefit from the fruits of their labors. We are lucky to have them both. Name calling from either side is a just a waste of time. I for one am keenly interested in how this re analysis will ultimately play out and plan on keeping an open mind. And by the way, hats off to the two gnarly Russians Rashit Hantemirov and Stepan Shiyatov who did the dendro field work. How hard was that? Brrrrrr. They deserve the best efforts of the brightest we’ve got. If someone made an unintentional error, it will soon be obvious.

  140. jyyh:

    I guess Dhogaza you meant by the answer to 2.When the AGW is irreversible? Never, that never is a quite long time.

  141. Doug Bostrom:

    Jeff 1 October 2009 at 7:18 PM

    “But perhaps you can dispel my skepticism. Here are just a few questions…”

    I suppose it’s remotely possible that we’re hearing your own personally derived “skepticism”, but if you’d bothered to take a brief look at literally hundreds of other persons using exactly the same overworked, exhausted and factually bankrupt talking points in prior postings on this site, you’d understand why I personally think it highly unlikely that you’re actually seeking any answers here as opposed to making yet another ineffectual attempt at scoring rhetorical points.

    “If anyone has good answers to these questions, I’ll ask my follow ups.”

    The real enthusiasts here I’m sure would prefer to work with original material. Do you have any?

    Surely you can do better.

  142. vg:

    I have a new found respect for this site today. You have allowed considerable questioning. This raises your profile well done!

  143. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    I just can’t get into reading this entry or the article on which it’s based (total lack of time).

    However, I am taking time (since I’m writing an article on GW’s impact on food) to listen to the conference tapes and download the presentations of the Oxford conference: 4 Degrees & Beyond at http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/4degrees/

    According to a link Hank Roberts gave a while back, you can’t really talk to these people….they are beyond reasoning with. They’re pretty much like those fundies who refuse to believe in evolution and have even developed their own parallel & bogus science for creationism – see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TKLdE6hf8s

    The main point is: “You can’t reorganize village life to suit the village idiot.”

    Every sane person who cares about life on planet earth has to ignore these climate denialists.

  144. Hank Roberts:

    > tides
    Aww, they don’t keep’em around for too long.

    Try this link:
    http://tidesonline.nos.noaa.gov/plotcomp.shtml?station_info=1617433+Kawaihae,+HI#

    Or a month from now, go back and look at Sept. 28-Oct. 1, for a particularly interesting period that’s just about over.

    (Looks like they lag the plotting of the archive by a month. You’ll see the difference between the two kinds of prediction and acquire an example by analogy that may help understand why having many observations over a long term makes long term projections workable, while not helping a lot with the short term detailed answer.
    weather prediction (minute by minute sea level); climate (tide)

  145. dhogaza:

    I guess Dhogaza you meant by the answer to 2.When the AGW is irreversible? Never, that never is a quite long time.

    Actually, by now hopefully it’s apparent that I interpreted the question to mean “runaway warming” (ala Venus).

    Ray Ladbury (who I deeply respect) and Jim Eager (who I also deeply respect) interpreted it differently (more like “is it irreversible that it’s going to screw us?).

    I don’t know which of the interpretations of the question is correct, but I’m certain that our different answers are based on different interpretations of the Q.

  146. Wayne Davidson:

    McIntyre does not impress, will never impress unless he does a guest blog here, on RC, and withstands criticism
    in one piece after a few days. This dialogue about him being full of pontifical nonsense flows one way, without a response, this silence is a buffer extending his life span as a legitimate skeptic by default, since he can’t stand the heat from real climate scientists left on the way side, crushing legitimate science away from any chance to reach a badly mislead audience, simply because he is more popular in the fringe right wing media world dwelling on sound bites and stupidity. Somehow, one day will come, he will have to face criticism in the first person by climate peers who can predict the future with a successful track record, and realize that popularity and being grossly misleading can be a tandem, and perhaps for him, it will not be too late to learn…

  147. dhogaza:

    Now something interesting is happening at WUWT …

    Something that has long been observed at modern biology denialist sites (i.e. creationists) has been that when something embarrassingly wrong has been posted, and when it’s pointed out, a veritable flood of unimportant (but “on topic)” threads are started which cause the possibly embarrassing rebutted post to be pushed off the front page.

    I think we’re seeing this from WUWT, which after multiple top-posts on “Briffa and Mann are frauds” blah-blah, and after various challenges, has moved on.

    Last three headlines as I type this:

    “NASA Goddard climate scientist charged in nepotism money scheme”

    May be true, may not be true, but if true, what the hell does it have to do with science? And nothing to do with the screamfest.

    Then the old reliable “market proves climate science wrong” meme:

    “Carbon Credit Market Imploding: CCX now 10 cents a tonne”

    And most oddly, since tree ring analysis is so evil and wrong:

    “A tree ring study estimating past rainfall and drought shows the southeast USA drought was mild compared to past events”

    Huh.

    Without even reading the Watts post, I’d say that if the current devastating SE USA droughts are mild, than rather than be comforted by this fact, one might be asking “holy shit, and when they get worse as predicted?”

    Anyway, it appears that WUWT is pushing the “briffa fraud” posts off the front page …

    Curious.

  148. joshv:

    Response: Fair enough, so here goes (a couple of allied quotes as well): 1) “In my opinion, the uniformly high age of the CRU12 relative to the Schweingruber population is suggestive of selection”, 2) “It is highly possible and even probable that the CRU selection is derived from a prior selection of old trees”, 3) “I do not believe that they constitute a complete population of recent cores. As a result, I believe that the archive is suspect.”,4) (Ross McKitrick) “But it appears that they weren’t randomly selected.”, 5) (Anthony Watts) “appears to have been the result of hand selected trees”, – gavin]

    1) You managed to omit the second half of this sentence – which says that the selection was most probably done by the Russians. “In my opinion, the uniformly high age of the CRU12 relative to the Schweingruber population is suggestive of selection – in this respect, perhaps and even probably by the Russians” Impressive intellectual honesty there Dr. Schmidt.

    2) Similarly, the rest of the quote speaks for itself:
    “The subfossil collection does not have the same bias towards older trees. Perhaps the biased selection of older trees an unintentional bias, when combined with the RCS method. This bias would not have similarly affected the “corridor method” used by Hantemirov and Shiyatov themselves, since this method which did not preserve centennial-scale variability and Hantemirov and Shiyatov would not have been concerned about potential bias introduced by how their cores were selected on a RCS chronology method that they themselves were not using.”

    3) Again, further down we see “This doesn’t “prove” that a selection was made, but it is reasonable to “suspect” that a selection was made and to ask CRU and their Russian associates to provide a clear statement of their protocols. ” McIntyre is not suggesting anything, he admits he doesn’t know the source of the selection, or the reasons behind it, and is asking for more data.

    Quotes 4) and 5) are not McIntyre’s and are not relevant to your accusations against him.

    [Response: Oh sure. He’s just ‘asking questions’ – and yet the innuendo and implication was perfectly clear to his friends and to the greek chorus and no correction of McKitrick’s or Watts’ comments were made. Strange that. At absolute minimum McIntyre is complicit in propagating slander – and if that makes you feel better about this, than good for you. It doesn’t do much for me. – gavin]

  149. Radge Havers:

    PaulC at #17

    OK but I am troubled – I am a supporter of this site but I am a layman. I regularly debate issues with skeptics and rely on comments from the folks here to defend my position – mostly successfully I might add.

    Gavin’s response to your comments and to Jammer @ 87, plus Halldór Björnsson’s comment @109 and possibly some others make the case and should provide you with plenty to respond to deniers.

    Maybe this is tangential, but you got me to thinking. RC can sustain a well modulated tone because it’s well moderated. Elsewhere on the Internet, let’s face it, attacks on AGW are part of a pattern of using words as a proxy for violence. Responding to them is as much about responding to bullies and making their attempts at mob politics onerous as it about the science.

    Now I have occasionally seen a scientist enter the blogosmear and diffuse tension with an even tone, but that’s mainly because they have the strength of their expertise behind them. I can’t help thinking that things might be a little better if more of them had gotten more involved a little earlier, rather than disdaining to deal directly with the ignorant rabble. As it is, much of the defense of climate science gets left to cutting and pasting — not necessarily a bad thing in the sense that, unless you’re doing original science you are doing some form of cut and paste anyway.

    Lots of professions make the claim, but it really is true that the best and brightest minds are on the cutting edge of science. If a strategy can be found anywhere to deal effectively with this political mess, odds are that at least part of the solution can be found there. It’s one of the reasons I keep coming back to RC–for approaches, not just arguments.

    Anyway, here’s to success in dealing with the wingnuts!

  150. Bernard J.:

    Gavin said:

    All of the data and models for any of our recent papers are online and downloadable by anyone. You must have us confused with someone else.

    which drew, from FredB, the response [at #21](http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/09/hey-ya-mal/comment-page-1/#comment-136642):

    Delighted to hear it. May I suggest that all future responses to McIntyre’s ravings should include the URL of the relevant archive. That would really help readers to judge for themselves.

    May I suggest FredB, that anyone who does not have the nouse to find by themselves the freely available files to which Gavin refers, probably does not also have the requisite understanding to analyse and interpret the data properly?

  151. David Harrington:

    Steve McIntyre has offered to allow someone from this side of the debate a post on his Climate Audit site which will be without editorial interference. Will anyone here take u that offer?

    I do hope this make it through your moderation process.

  152. Philip Machanick:

    I’ve been working on bioinformatics for the past year, and exactly the same issues around data and algorithms occur, even though there are numerous standards and official repositories for biological research data. It’s not uncommon to look for the data and code referred to in a paper, and find the versions publicly available don’t correspond to the paper, have pieces missing, are unclearly explained or the web site has moved.

    There is no big conspiracy here. This is how science generally functions. There is too little credit given for professional preparation and archiving of data sets, amidst the various other pressures academics work under (writing grants, getting high-impact publications, looking after students, dealing with dumb bureaucracy). Anyone who is demanding an improvement is to be commended; I suggest they lobby their elected representatives to include funding for quality data archiving as an addition to normal research funding.

  153. Philip Machanick:

    The denial bunch are quick to cry fraud. Yet their own side is guilty of serious and probably deliberate misrepresentation and certainly being loose with the facts. Point this out and you are accused of missing the main point, ad hominem attack, etc.

    A good debating trick when you know you have nothing of substance is to accuse the other side of a litany of errors, before making those errors yourself.

    Hence, a ready way to tell a bogus argument from reality is to see if the argument presented applies to the side making the case more than those they accuse. Take all the criticisms WUWT, McIntyre, Bob Carter, Ian Plimer et al. make against the mainstream and apply those criticisms to them. No surprise who looks worse.

  154. Brian Dodge:

    As many have pointed out, the reasons weathermen and climatologists have limited accuracy in predicting temperature, rainfall, etc over intermediate time periods is noise, and the chaotic propagation of energy throughout the atmosphere, aspects of which are referred to as “the butterfly effect”. It is basically the same reason that denialists inaccurately predicted McCain/Palin would win the presidential election, and put an end to all this AGW carbon cap and trade soc- ialist scientific conspiracy nonsense – noise generated by Limbaugh, Beck, WUWT, and various other political butterflies swirled chaotically throughout the dittosphere, preventing accurate rational assessment of the intermediate term political climate.
    Of course, there are some differences – the butterfly effect has a basis in physical reality, so as our understanding of physical processes and the ability to mathematically model them improves, so will our ability to bridge the gap between predicting weather and climate.

  155. John N-G:

    #134 Ray Ladbury – Since you didn’t detect any hint of irony in my last sentence, game on. How about Tex-as Ho-ld ‘Em? (gotta love those spam filters)

  156. Edward Greisch:

    34 Larry Saltzman: http://wellsharp.wordpress.com/2009/06/25/the-social-organisation-of-denial-understanding-why-we-fail-to-act-on-climate-change-and-what-we-can-do-about-that/
    does not work on my computer, but I would like to hear more.

  157. Edward Greisch:

    I continue to be amazed at RealClimate’s ability to remain non-violent in the face of extreme provocation. RealClimate deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

  158. Bernard J.:

    Jeff said at #21:

    I personally think it highly unlikely that there is anthropologically caused global warming taking place. Throughout history, there has been a tendency to believe the world is ending based upon some predicted catastrophe. Cf. Richard Malthus. These Malthusian prophecies, so far, have not materialized.

    Perhaps your problem is that you don’t even have your reference correct.

    It was Thomas Malthus who wrote of the limits of resources in sustaining population growth. Given that he could not have predicted the capacity for humans to use hundreds of millions of years of ‘fossilised’ energy to exploit ever more resources previously untapped, or for other technological advances to postpone arrival the inevitable asymptotes for growth, he was nevertheless remarkable prescient.

    The fundamental issue of Malthusian limitations to growth remains: it is not a matter of “if”, but “when”.

  159. Oakden Wolf:

    First of all, regarding the lengthy reply in #87: WORD. I wish more scientists could explain as cogently to non-scientists how checking the validity of results is done. You don’t check the validity of results by doing it the exact same way! You check the validity of results by doing it a different way and seeing if the alternate method of analysis reaches the same conclusion. If it doesn’t, that might mean something interesting. (If it does, less interesting, but nonetheless important.)

    This most recent event is however another example of the need for a skeptical early-warning (not early warming) system. The tsunamic intensity by which the “news” of another “refutation” (or overturn or revolution or noxious scandal) sweeps through the skeptical blogosphere, and even reaches the heights of the remaining traditional news outlets (tabloidal though they may be) is stunning. It carries away reason on its tide of illogic. By the time the waters have receded and an assessment of the damage can be commenced, there has already been another cementation of thought within the cognitive framework of those who will not be easily persuaded. The problem with this is that such are an unduly high percentage of the population of many states with only one or two representatives in Congress: thus their voices are disproportionately affective on the formulation of policy. I.e., they call their Congresspersons and tell them what they think, even though what they think is wrong.

    I have to get Craven’s book, because maybe that’s one way out of this conundrum. Another might be my earlier “climate class” suggestion, where true skeptics are confronted with the same type of arguments that are regularly produced here at RealClimate and which fall into the general category of “plenty, but way too late”, rather than the commonplace “too little and too late”. If skeptics saw their cherished arguments uprooted and burned to ashes, and have them admit that they have been, that might make an impression on others.

    What you don’t conceive, RC, is that your fabulous arguments and convincing repartee rarely reaches the other side. Don’t be content just simply to reinforce the communal understanding of the knowledgeable. Be creative and devise ways to convince the unconvinceable — and you’ll ended up realigning the lean of many of those who have not completely closed their minds.

  160. Alan of Oz:

    AGW psuedo-skeptics have been reduced to a fringe group like creationists, truthers, birthers, etc. I simply can’t see how a detached observer could possibly believe hundereds of thousands of man-years, numerous sattelites, and billions of dollars have been spent looking at our climate over the last few decades but for some reason nobody spotted that it was all based on the rings of 5 fossilised trees.

    I mean c’mon, a lobotomy patient would have a hard time swallowing that. If that’s the best argument they can come up with then they really are a spent force who can do nothing more than preach to the shrinking ranks of the faithfull few.

  161. Edward Greisch:

    While reading the book: “Climate Code Red” I came across this URL on page 234:
    http://www.climateemergencynetwork.org/
    More URLs are found at that web site including: http://www.climatecodered.net/
    and a lot of Australian URLs that are related.

  162. Tom P:

    Re:145

    It’s gone rather quiet at Climate Audit too.

    Yesterday morning Steve McIntyre promised a graphical rebuttal to my criticism that his sensitivity test of the Yamal data was just injecting noise.

    I am still waiting to see the response.

    I find this episode rather sad. Steve McIntyre’s failed sensitivity analysis has been used by a much wider audience to dispute the Yamal hockey stick, accuse scientists of fraud and undermine the credibility of climate science in general.

    The blogs may hastily move on to other matters, but real damage has been done.

  163. WDS:

    I’m a little confused over an issue.
    With respect to training data to the instrumental record (either by pre-selecting or weighting individual samples, or post flushing of aggregates that do not correlate well).

    Are you saying that this is acceptable or are you saying that this was not done?
    thanks, WDS

    [Response: It isn’t what is done in constructing the specific records. Once the chronologies are made (whether at Yamal or elsewhere), they can be used by anybody to investigate any questions they want with any criteria they prefer and put their ideas and conclusions to the peer-review test. – gavin]

  164. Bikeit:

    There are a lot of comments today whereby people seem quite taken aback at the strenght of the denialist movement. What you have to remember is that if we are to have a positive impact that will ensure a future satbilised climate then we must DRASTICALLY alter our lifestyles. We’re not talking a few tweaks here and there that might cause us a bit of inconvenience. We’re talking about an upheaval possibly greater than either of the 2 greats wars in terms of societal disruption. A lot of the deniers know this and are not willing to commit to that level of change. Another important point: if you believe that your life doesn’t need to be drastically altered and can continue within the “buisiness as usual” models with a few minor alteration to your lifestyle then you are in denial too.

    Modern humanity is dependent almost solely on fossil fuel and we have not the infrastructure in place for a quick change (less than 20 years) to a low carbon way of livinig AND keep our lifestyles similar to what they are now. It’s a hard truth to swallow but it gives you some perspective on why the denial machine is so ‘strong’.

  165. jyyh:

    OK, Dhogaza. I keep forgetting the Venus-type warming, since there are others like Pliocene-level of warming (almost there, if not already, some problems expected), Miocene-level of warming (+50m on sea-level or what was that?), and the Palaeocene-level warming (hothouse?, parts of Earth unhabitable due heat and drought, others by excessive rain). Venus-type would be way hotter than any of these, and irrevesible, I admit.

  166. Marco:

    #145: it’s all about ‘connecting the dots’. The NASA scientist did what he did, ‘because’ so much money is being poured into climate research (as per Anthony Watts). The tree-ring study is accompanied by the line “Trees may be better rain gauges than they are thermometers”. That is, yet another example that the hockeysticks are ‘wrong’. And the Carbon Credit Market is ALSO linked to the hockeystick ‘issue’, using the simple, but very telling, by-line:
    “I wonder if the investors are reacting to the Hockey Stick Implosion news?”

    That’s how it works in the world of the “Great Global Climate Conspiracy”-believers: “connect the dots”, however questionable.

  167. pete best:

    Deniers, denial and denialists seems to be inherent in the USA political system. Gavin makes perfect sense to me here. I note that Climate science is as empirical a science as any other science (quantum pyhiscs for example) and goes through the same rigerous and exacting scientic process and methods as is possible.

    When Quantum Physics was first empricially thrashed out it had its problems and philisophically it still does with its wave/particle duality issue. However I doubt it ever got a whole load of deniers frothing at the mouth and claiming it was wrong probably becuase it did not mean giving up fossil fuels and changing the system.

    This entire issue is nothing more than a joke. These deniers have no scientific credibility, they have no papers in the subject matter to which they try to discredit. Whay should they get away with avoiding the scientific method and not putting their ideas inot the peer reviewed realm. Probably because they would not get published in the firts place so they use the media and a web site.

    I for one hate this method and it just goes to show that when it comes to needing science to lead us some of us would rather not know and carry on as we are in the status quo. The USA has the best science in the world but obviosuly the most vitriolic and sckeptical media and public as well!

  168. Lawrence Coleman:

    Hi all, In light of the powerful earthquakes that have rocked Samoa and Indonesia lately..I was wondering if anyone knows any connection if any between earthquakes and climate change?. I for one cannot see any direct connection but I also know that most things do not happen in isolation. Here’s a lowdown on climate extremes in my neck of the global woods.. s/e queensland australia.. after recovering from a one in a hundred year drenching in may/june..we have not have a drop of rain since then, this september was the driest on record!. The interia of the country in in record drought conditions and we have had a massive record dust storm last week. I have my eyes focussed on two countries since my wife is a filipina and you have all seen the damage that ketsana caused to the philippines and vietnam. Incidentely Luzon incl. Manila are expecting an even more severe typhoon tomorrow (palma..catagory 5.
    This my friends in climate change in action..better get used to it!.

    [Response: These kinds of earthquakes have nothing to do with climate change. – gavin]

  169. Paul:

    To add a little icing to the cake as it were.
    Maybe in future Al Gore could use a ‘Cherry Picker’ as an alternative to the ‘Stair Lift’.

    I think it would be quite funny and he could make a joke about it in the presentation.

  170. Bart Verheggen:

    This whole episode reminds me of how PZ Myers once characterized McIntyre
    (http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/11/hello_stan_palmer.php). Apart from the derogatory words (it’s hardly an example of constructive communication), the substance of his critique may well be valid:

    My expertise is not in climate, but in biology, and I’m familiar with his type — it’s a common strategy among creationists, who do dearly love to collect complaints. There are people who put together a coherent picture of a scientific issue, who review lots of evidence and assemble a rational synthesis. They’re called scientists. Then there are the myopic little nitpickers, people who scurry about seeking little bits of garbage in the fabric of science (and of course, there are such flaws everywhere), and when they find some scrap of rot, they squeak triumphantly and hold it high and declare that the science everywhere is similarly corrupt. They lack perspective. They ignore everything that doesn’t fit their search criterion, (…)

  171. AndyL:

    Can we get to some of the specifics of the alleged concerns with the Briffa data:

    Are 12 cores enough to be used for RCS?
    Is there a clear and valid reason for preferring these Yamal data to other published data such as Schweingruber Yamal data?

    thanks!

  172. Paul:

    Re. 8 FredB

    Unfortunately there is a significant proportion of the population that believes that the data that scientists use to do their work on climate change is kept secret from them and anyone that might question it.

    I have recently had to correct someone myself on this issue. Typically the conspiracy is about the IPCC and green taxes imposed by whatever nation you happen to live in. This then leads to the idea that the data is hidden somewhere. The people that believe the conspiracy stories are often busy workers that don’t have time to find out for themselves about the details.
    They just read the popular media and reinforce existing prejudices.

    Even if you point them to the data, they’ll probably go quiet for a while and then come back later still not believing any of it!

  173. Tony Hirst:

    The point of Steve Mcintyre’s critique of Briffa’s work is that it draws into question how such graphs are constructed. First there is the issue of the data (give the claims that recent studies are online – irrelevant), it wasn’t available in the past when it was required to be, then there is the issue of the source of the samples, then the issue of how the samples are used and finally the statistical methods employed. You may choose to take blogs such as Climate Audit personally and create a populist witty rant, but that helps nobody.

    The implication of Steve’s findings is not that the science is crooked, but that it is fundementally incomplete. It is your job to complete it and produce something robust. As for the other hockey sticks that don’t include Yamal, well I’m sure capable people will get around to those too to validate or critique as required.

    Real Climate should be encouraging people such as Steve Mcintyre to get stuck in and get a proper dialog going. The defensive stance only adds fuel to the fire.

    [Response: Yet again, people can’t seem to be able to read. It would be great if more people got stuck in and analysed data and models (clear enough?). The problem with McIntyre is that ‘getting stuck in’ is code for slandering people and institutions without any evidence instead of actually making a constructive effort to improve human knowledge. I’m puzzled though, how can you read the Telegraph blog piece and think that it is RealClimate that is adding fuel to the fire? Get real. – gavin]

  174. Alan of Oz:

    Re#50: I like the idea, get Attenbourough to narrate it ;)

  175. Mark:

    “> Isn’t it just amazing that the entire field of climate change was resting on just 10 or 12 trees! The whole temperature record for the last half of the 20th century was a few trees, and now we know it’s all wrong!

    This can’t be real, can it? Someone, please tell me it can’t be for real”

    Actually, McIntyre’s “destruction” of the Yamal work is based on 10 or 12 trees.

    The incredulity is right. Just the aim was poor.

  176. Scott A. Mandia:

    #107 spilgard

    Brilliant.

    #126 Jeff

    Let me add to the list of links that can answer your questions:

    http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/

  177. Mark:

    “I think it’s worth a try. More to the point I think it has to be SEEN to be tried. ”

    FredB, it HAS been tried.

    But you didn’t even KNOW that Gavin had done this.

    So if people don’t know it happens, how does trying help?

  178. Mark:

    “Why not make all the data and algorithms open?

    Put up or shut up, I say.

    Tim”

    Tim, they do.

    This is what is in the papers produced for Nature et al.

    You don’t need the data, just the methods and algorithms.

    I didn’t need Millikan’s data to find the value of the electronic charge at the University Lab. All I needed was the method.

    I got my own data.

    And strange that you should demand “put up or shut up” when you don’t shut up even though you’ve never put a damn thing up.

  179. Mark:

    “Jim Heath says:
    1 October 2009 at 2:32 PM

    I just don’t get why it was so hard to get the original data from Briffa. What’s to fear?”

    One may ask the same of the surfacestations site.

    After all that work and all that time and all those promises, why has Anthony Watts kept his data and methods secret? To the extent that he hasn’t even published his results!

  180. Mark:

    “You do not seem to realise that the case for man made global warming will require us to spend billions and billions of dollars to address it.”

    And the US spent a trillion on the Gulf War2 without blinking.

    The UK spent billions on propping up the banks without a second thought.

    And billions means that each person has to spend literally dollars each …

    How much to you spend on toothpaste to protect your teeth? You could ignore the toothpaste and just brush the detritus off.

  181. Mark:

    “This may be slightly off-topic, and I apologize if somehow I have missed it, but, after nearly half a decade, where is the scientific community’s follow-up to “Inconvenient Truth”?

    This would be (is?) a video giving a much more scientifically rigorous depiction of the “Greenhouse Effect””

    Why?

    Where is the followup to TGGWS, with al those errors and outright falsifications? Whenever anyone denies AGW and points to TGGWS, they point to the lying version that had to be officially retracted.

    Given that AIT only missed out small caveats about likelihood, rather than outright lies (like plotting data up to 199? but saying it was data up to 2005), what’s the need for an update? When shown in schools, these caveats are with the teachers notes on the work.

    I guess if it were made you’d be crowing about how the AGW scientists “backed down”. Completely ignoring the complete capitulation of TGGWS fairy story…

  182. Barton Paul Levenson:

    John:

    The comments regarding George Will are accurate. He is not a scientist and for him to comment on the science is wrong.

    Let’s use the same standard for Al Gore.

    BPL:

    Al Gore was one of Roger Revelle’s students in the 1960s, which means he’s taken at least one more climatology course than George Will has. Do you know who Revelle was? Do you know what he did?

  183. SamG:

    I agree with Sean No. 1 (Not the part about loving this blog)

    The nature of your writing is caustic and belligerent. I think it’s quite telling of your motives. Yes, C.A are predominately skeptics and you’re pro-AGW….so what? Get out of the gutter.
    Feel free to defend your points on Steve’s Blog. I’m sure he will be courteous to you but show the same respect and stop moderating this place with an iron fist.

    Diplomacy people.

  184. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Richard Pauli:

    How is it possible that we can so easily nurture denial, use pseudo logic to dismiss logic, manufacture skepticism, and generally try to defeat science?

    It is as if a ranting, delusional, maniac interrupts our work – we protect our field and spend time describing their craziness… eventually we need to move beyond defending ourselves and ask why and how this kind of thinking and behavior is so common. </blockquote

    BPL:

    I think part of the problem is the way Americans overextend the political idea of democracy to fields where it is inappropriate. Americans tend to feel any opinion on any subject is equally valid, no matter what your qualifications, or lack thereof, in the field in question.

  185. Patrik:

    dhogaza>> WUWT always keeps a very high rate of posting. Nothing new or unusual about that. :)

  186. Patrik:

    Jeff & dhogaza>>
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/from:1998/to:2009/trend
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/from:2001/to:2009/trend

  187. Chris W:

    Man, that George Will tripe certainly has a few kilometres on the clock. Here it is in Australia’s *cough* premier newspaper too …

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,26151633-21147,00.html

  188. Patrik:

    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/from:1998/plot/wti/from:1998/trend

    Using woodfortrees composite T-data, T has sunk since 1998 and also from every year after 2000.
    Not if one selects 1999 or 2000 as starting year though.

    So, it’s not untrue to state that T according has sunk during the past 10 years.

    Depends on dataset and the exact timespan.

    However, when looking at the WFT composite data trend, I find it hard to agree that T has risen.

  189. James Allan:

    #102 TCO:

    I’m not saying that sharing of data intrinsically prevents fully independent replication, more that it shouldn’t be needed in an ideal situation. Granted, there is a lot to be said of replication through reprocessing of the same raw data, but when a result is replicated using completely different methods applied to completely different raw data, the science becomes much stronger. I would argue that this has already happened to an extent with the climate record data, certainly enough to make the hockey stick more robust than the denyosphere makes it out to be, which in turn renders arguments like those of McIntyre’s insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

  190. Steve:

    Or let’s go back to 1997 http://woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1997/plot/rss/from:1997/trend

    or HadCRUt
    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1998/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1998/trend

    Yes, good old cherry picking – which is exactly what dhogaza chooses to do.

  191. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Jim Heath:

    I just don’t get why it was so hard to get the original data from Briffa. What’s to fear? If I were a leading scientist in a mostly new field of study, I would want my work to be validated for the recognition.

    BPL:

    Am I mistaken, or is this the 4th or 5th post in less than 24 hours by a name we’ve never seen before making the same (false) accusation that Briffa withheld his data? Has anyone checked the IP addresses on these posts? Could they be by the same person?

  192. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Alex Horovitz:

    I really wonder why people have such a hard time keeping an open mind. I am open to the possibility that there is a warming trend being caused by man, but nothing about the data is conclusive. And just because people are willing to say it is conclusive does not make that statement so.

    BPL:

    I have a hard time keeping an open mind on questions that were settled a long time ago, like whether the Earth orbits the sun or vice versa. There’s no point keeping an open mind about phlogiston or vital force or the collision theory of planetary formation, either.

    The fact that people are willing to say the data is conclusive does not prove it is conclusive, true. The many, many independent analyses of that data which all come to the same conclusion do, however.

  193. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Jeff:

    1. When the weathermen can’t accurately predict the weather out more than a few days at best, why should anyone believe that global warming models going out even several decades are reliable? This question is sort of a common sense gut check. Logically, it is conceivable that we are better at macro-climate predictions out many decades than micro-weather predictions out a few days. Still, we have a lot more data for weather predictions, and the predictions are closer in time to the event, so it seems odd to suppose that we can do better with a thinner data set and a longer time horizon.

    You’re confusing weather with climate. Weather is chaotic, an “initial values problem,” and cannot be predicted beyond a week or two. Climate is a long-term statistical average of weather — the World Meteorological Organization defines climate as “mean regional or global weather over a period of 30 years or more.” It is a “boundary values problem” that can be predicted even though weather can’t be, in exactly the same way that a ca-si-no can predict long-term winnings even though there’s no way to know how a hand of bla-ckj-ack will turn out.

    Example: I don’t know what the temperature will be tomorrow in Al Aziz, Libya (weather). But it will almost certainly be higher than the temperature tomorrow in Oslo, Norway (climate).

    2. What is the prediction as to when anthropologically caused global warming will become irreversible? I seem to recollect announcements 10 years ago that we only had 10 years to stop it. Has the date been moved? On what basis? What is the current time frame?

    It is already irreversible. All we can do now is try to mitigate the damage. Another 0.5 K of warming is already “in the pipeline” due to ocean heat storage no matter what we do.

    3. If the global warming models are reliable, why has the earth’s temperature been in decline in the past 10 years? Was that decline predicted by the models? Or do you deny there has been a decline and believe that there has been accelerated warming during the past 10 years?

    The Earth’s temperature has not been in decline for the past 10 years:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Ball.html

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Reber.html

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/VV.html

    In addition, if you regress NASA GISS temperature anomalies on year for 1999-2008 (“the past 10 years”) you get a statistically significant rising trend. Rising, not falling. Try it yourself. If you need help understanding how to calculate a trend, let me know and I’ll email you the details.

  194. Ricki (Australia):

    This is great. Thanks Guys.

    Sorry Sean (1) I think it is quite appropriate to use some satire. The time is long past to keep turning the other cheek to these people. I love the string of -hockey sticks-.

  195. David Harrington:

    160 >> Oakden Wolfe – AGW psuedo-skeptics have been reduced to a fringe group like creationists, truthers, birthers, etc. I simply can’t see how a detached observer could possibly believe hundereds of thousands of man-years, numerous sattelites, and billions of dollars have been spent looking at our climate over the last few decades but for some reason nobody spotted that it was all based on the rings of 5 fossilised trees.

    And yet to the layman, i.e. me!, it appears that the the whole hockey stick concept relies on just that, or have I got things completely wrong?

  196. David Harrington:

    193 Jeff >> The Earth’s temperature has not been in decline for the past 10 years:

    That statement only holds true if you use GISS as your source rather than the more accurate, and global, sattelite data.

    Surface temperature measurements are largely concentrated in the continental USA and suffer from some siting and heat island issues that satellites do not. To make any progrtess in this debate we first of all need to agree on what we use for measuring what are after all very small changes in “global” temperatures.

  197. Martin Vermeer:

    What’s more, ten, eleven year stretches of stagnant temperatures are quite common.

    The house wins in the end.

  198. Bart Verheggen:

    Joshv (148)

    Your rebuttal comes back to bite you, it seems:

    “3) Again, further down we see “This doesn’t “prove” that a selection was made, but it is reasonable to “suspect” that a selection was made and to ask CRU and their Russian associates to provide a clear statement of their protocols. ” McIntyre is not suggesting anything, he admits he doesn’t know the source of the selection, or the reasons behind it, and is asking for more data.”

    Sounds to me like a very suggestive comment: He “suspects” something (even stronger than suggesting if you ask me, but admittedly I’m not a native speaker).

  199. Patrik:

    Revision to my own #188>>
    I should have said:
    However, when looking at the WFT composite data trend, I find it hard to agree that T has risen during the last 10-11 years.

  200. Tony Hirst:

    [Response: Yet again, people can’t seem to be able to read. It would be great if more people got stuck in and analysed data and models (clear enough?). The problem with McIntyre is that ‘getting stuck in’ is code for slandering people and institutions without any evidence instead of actually making a constructive effort to improve human knowledge. I’m puzzled though, how can you read the Telegraph blog piece and think that it is RealClimate that is adding fuel to the fire? Get real. – gavin]

    Gavin,

    What has the Telegraph article (which I haven’t read) got to do with this? The mainstream media has never understood the issues and is irrelevant to any debate on the science. Unless one is worried more about the popularity if the science rather than its robustness.

    Anyway, back accusations of Steve ‘the slanderer’ McIntyre – this very article says:

    “Having said that, it does appear that McIntyre did not directly instigate any of the ludicrous extrapolations of his supposed findings highlighted above, though he clearly set the ball rolling.”

    There is nothing in Steve’s writings to suggest that he was accusing anybody of malpractice, if anything he commented on the rational for the selection of the cores without implying anything about the character of Briffa with regards to the study. The criticism is to do with access to the data and methods (one out of two isn’t bad) and the proclamation of so called “independent” studies which no longer seem so. The reality is that it is up to Briffa’s team to justify its methods, should be straight forward if the Yamal study is robust and presently relevant to the science as it now stands.

    If anything, Steve has invited a critique of his findings. If his work is shown as invalid then one assumes that Briffa’s work with be further validated and understood – how can that be bad? If Steve has some valid points, then it encourages such work to be bolstered in whatever way it is lacking, thus enhancing our understanding. Heads we win, tails we win.

    Unfortunately, it seems that climate debates are all about who has the best put downs.

    [Response: Climate science debates are all about the work that gets into the primary literature. But sure, let’s be generous and agree to agree that McIntyre meant not to cast any aspersions. Don’t you think it’s a little odd that Mckitrick, Watts, Delingpole, Horner and a ton of other commenters did get that impression? That would really be a terrible piece of communication, and if I was misunderstood on such on massive scale on such a point, I would be mortified and move quickly to correct people’s false impressions. My objection is to that kind of innuendo and smear, not to anyone reanalysing published data. – gavin]

  201. CM:

    Patrik (#188), what does the sensitivity to the choice of starting year tell you about alleged climate trends based on a time series ~10 years? Discuss.

  202. Tuomas:

    Was these irregularities in McIntyre’s critique noted somewhere already:

    http://agwobserver.wordpress.com/2009/10/02/comments-on-mcintyres-claims-on-briffa/

    According to this blog posting there seems to be some mis-referencings in the critique in ClimateAudit. Check it out and confirm if you will.

  203. John:

    Mr Levinson

    BPL:

    Al Gore was one of Roger Revelle’s students in the 1960s, which means he’s taken at least one more climatology course than George Will has. Do you know who Revelle was? Do you know what he did?

    I would be embarrassed to cite a single undergraduate course as qualification to weigh in as an authority in anything. A curiosity and interest can lead to great knowledge, but put in the hands of a politican scares me to death (no confidence in politicians whose livelyhood depends on deception – republicans and democrats alike)

    Revelle pioneered the greenhouse effect and CO2 contribution – common knowledge.

  204. Luis Dias:

    Oh sure. He’s just ‘asking questions’ – and yet the innuendo and implication was perfectly clear to his friends and to the greek chorus and no correction of McKitrick’s or Watts’ comments were made. Strange that. At absolute minimum McIntyre is complicit in propagating slander – and if that makes you feel better about this, than good for you. It doesn’t do much for me. – gavin

    Perhaps I’ll be snipped, but I think this is important. You do realise the difference between imagination on your part and real empirically proven “slander” (didn’t you mean “libel”?)? What McIntyre says is what he says. You accuse him directly of something he did not do, and this is a fact, innuendos aside. If you want to accuse Anthony Watts, that strange newspaper and others of misrepresenting SM, be my guest, release the panters, I’ll enjoy the show personally! But if the quality and rigor of your accusations is of this quality, I do not hope for the best. You are making a disservice to this site, mr Schmidt, specially considering how much you have complained of how bad the press is to misrepresent what scientists are actually doing. In those cases you cautioned everyone against thinking that what goes into blogs and newspapers is a good objective representation of a paper or finding. I hope a less boiled blood will convince you to do the right thing.

    [Response: If there was a paper or a finding, then one would clearly prefer to discuss that. That there isn’t a paper is exactly the point. Sometimes the press does get things wrong – people are misquoted or misrepresented – and in those cases the people (especially if they have a blog) can make that misrepresentation clear. Perhaps this is all just a mistake. Maybe “suspect” means something else in Toronto than elsewhere. I’m happy to acknowledge that McIntryre now claims that he didn’t mean this at all. Great. Maybe all of his supporters can dial it all back too. – gavin]

  205. Rene:

    James Allan #31 seems to capture the feeling of many here who resent the calling into question the entire peer-review process, eg by The Registry. This negative attitude will surely only come across as a smoking gun of ongoing systemic academic finagling.

  206. greg kai:

    160 >> Oakden Wolfe – AGW pseudo-skeptics have been reduced to a fringe group like creationists, truthers, birthers, etc. I simply can’t see how a detached observer could possibly believe hundereds of thousands of man-years, numerous sattelites, and billions of dollars have been spent looking at our climate over the last few decades but for some reason nobody spotted that it was all based on the rings of 5 fossilised trees.

    They are not, and, as a recently-turning-skeptic myself, I think that it is quite counterproductive to compare AGW-denyalist to creationist, or even flat-earthers…

    When you are scientifically-minded and educated but not a specia-list in the domain (my case in both both paleontology and climatology), it is still extremely easy to see that creationist claims are a pile of junk. Flat-earthers are even more easy, just look at the huge amounts of satellite photos….

    But on the other hand, the case for AGW is much much less clear. In fact, I was by default not doubting the global warming classic interpretation till I started reading multiple sources on the net, and as my self-confession as a recent skeptic shows, the argument from the denialist camp are not only convincing to petrol gulping rednecks, but also to a very scientifically minded, atheist european (although, I must admit, I like motor sports ;-) ). As a friendly advice from someone moving more and more to the “adverse” camp, I would suggest not to underestimates the denialists (and then maybe forge another ephithet, denialist let you think they will be easy to debunk). This debate is, objectively, in a completely different class from flat-earthism or creationism, and just mentioning those is in fact detrimental to official AGW theory…

    BTW, I am an engineer working in numerical simulation, and it was (here?) mentioned that those seems to be surprisingly highly represented in the “denialist” camp. I agree with that, and kindly suggest to think of this type of guy as worth to try to convince. The arguments, and kind of opposition you will get, will not be the same as with a creationist…

  207. Steve Bloom:

    Re #155 (John N-G): Like Ray, I missed the irony on the first pass. Until I saw your clarification, I was going to refer you to the WP article on “dog whistle” politics, but obviously you already got the point. After all this time, our friend McI knows just how to cue the response he wants without himself saying anything unseemly.

    An interesting and gratifying aspect of this recent outburst is that, in sharp contrast to some prior episodes, McI didn’t get any traction with the media. For them, it seems, his pitch has become audible and very much off-key.

  208. pete best:

    Re #200, Tony, I say the public perception is generally (60-80% of the general population) informed and influenced in their opinions of issues by the media rather and hence that story told by that reporter needs to be factual and not just a political one to suit the agenda of people who only wish to hear what they can find to back all their already distored version of the truth of the matter.

    The Daily Telegraph (DT) is considered to be a right wing paper (in UK terms) and the right is sympathetic to the BAU approach and hence listen to denial stories that attempt to undermine the rational orthodox scientific explanation for AGW.

    The Guardian (UK left wing newspaper) does sometimes over state climate change (alarmist cry from the right most often) but its and the Independents coverage of AGW is fair and balanced relative to the DT sometimes.

    The science rejects the deniers submitted papers on their take on the subject from denying that the temperatures have risen at all to other explanations for the recorded (and accepted) warming from to its the Sun (totally wrong) to Galactic Cosmic Rays. If any of the work was submitted as it should be via the peer reviewed scientific process (as all valid scientists have to do) that it has been rejected on scientific grounds.

    The truth is that only scientists working in or a related field can with any certainty state what is causing observed AGW. There is no reason apart from selfish ones (political and economic more than likely) to not try and tell the public the real take on AGW and it cause. Its not funny to lie.

  209. Patrik:

    CM #201>> It tells me that the selected time span is of utmost importance – which is exactly why this hockey stick issue is totallu decisive when it comes to deciding our future attitude towards climate changes.

  210. Bart Verheggen:

    To quote Michael Tobis: “I’m surprised when global trends aren’t hockey sticks.”
    http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2009/04/hockey-stick.html

  211. SamG:

    What’s an ‘AGW pseudo-skeptic’?
    You mean to say that I’m only pretending not to believe?

    Damn it, you got me!

  212. Scott A. Mandia:

    Here we go for the nth time:

    Skeptics of the current global warming now refer to the period between 1998 and 2008 and claim that global warming has ended. Some go one step further and claim that global cooling has begun. Of course, the observed data shows that this is nonsense. GISS, HadCRU, RSS, and UAH represent the four organizations that publish online the global average temperature estimates.

    View the data and trends between 1998 and 2008 at:

    http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/images/temperature_trends_1998-2008.png

    Three of the four global average temperatures indeed are decreasing in their trends (although the actual global mean temperatures are still warmer than the previous decades).

    Now view the data and trends between 1999 and present at:

    http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/images/temperature_trends_1999-2009.png

    Simply by shifting our starting point by one year, all four global average temperatures are increasing in their trends!

    So why did the 1998 – 2008 plot show cooling? 1998 experienced an historic El Nino event (more than 2 standard deviations above the mean) which caused a large warming spike that year. 2008 experienced a La Nina which causes cooling and also an absence of sunspots which also caused some cooling.

    The point made here is that if one cherry-picks a small subset of the data, one can make just about any claim with a nice plot to back it up. The correct way to view global temperature trends is to look at ALL of the data.

    View: http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/images/temperature_trends_1880-2009.png

    This plot shows the global average temperatures along with trends from 1880 to present. (Note: UAH and RSS data does not exist before 1980) It is quite obvious that global temperatures have been increasing since 1880 and at a faster rate in the past two decades!

    Here is a more technical analysis of why global temperatures have not “cooled since 1998″ nor “cooled since 2001″ as some global warming critics claim: Embarrassing Questions from the Open Mind Blog at: http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/embarrassing-questions/

    Furthermore, much of the heat that is delivered by the sun is stored in the Earth’s oceans while only a fraction of this heat is stored in the atmosphere. Therefore, a change in the heat stored in the ocean is a better indicator of climate change than changes in atmospheric heat.

    Change in energy content in different components of the earth system for two periods: 1961-2003 (blue bars) and 1993-2003 (pink bars).

    http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/images/energy_content_copenhagen.jpg

    The two links below are plots of ocean heat content which shows warming.

    http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/images/ocean_heat_content_copenhag.jpg

    http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/images/heat_content55-07.png

    (Tamino, 2009) clearly shows that surface temperatures north of latitude 60o are warming at an accelerated rate in the past few decades. Tamino (2009) retrieved 113 station records at latitude 60oN or higher with at least 30 years of data.

    http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/images/tamino_arctic%20warming-1.jpg

    The Arctic has experienced a sudden, recent warming.
    In the last decade extreme northern temperature has risen to unprecedented heights.
    Over the last 3 decades, every individual station north of 70o indicates warming, 13 of 17 are significant at 95% confidence, all estimated trend rates are faster than the global average, some are more than five times as fast.
    Oft-repeated claims that “it was warmer in the 1930s” or “it was warmer in the 1940s” are wrong.
    The idea that present arctic temperatures are about equal to their 1958 values is wrong.

    Further signs of this warming trend can be seen in the Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Extent from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. As the link below shows, sea ice extent has been dramatically reduced since 1979.

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/n_plot_hires.png

    Sea ice extent is just part of the picture. Sea ice thickness is also being measured since 2004 and there has been a dramatic decrease in thickness according to NASA’s press release, NASA Satellite Reveals Dramatic Arctic Ice Thinning dated July, 2009. (http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/icesat-20090707r.html)

    Some excerpts:

    Using ICESat measurements, scientists found that overall Arctic sea ice thinned about 0.17 meters (7 inches) a year, for a total of 0.68 meters (2.2 feet) over four winters. The total area covered by the thicker, older “multi-year” ice that has survived one or more summers shrank by 42 percent.

    In recent years, the amount of ice replaced in the winter has not been sufficient to offset summer ice losses. The result is more open water in summer, which then absorbs more heat, warming the ocean and further melting the ice. Between 2004 and 2008, multi-year ice cover shrank 1.54 million square kilometers (595,000 square miles) — nearly the size of Alaska’s land area.

    During the study period, the relative contributions of the two ice types to the total volume of the Arctic’s ice cover were reversed. In 2003, 62 percent of the Arctic’s total ice volume was stored in multi-year ice, with 38 percent stored in first-year seasonal ice. By 2008, 68 percent of the total ice volume was first-year ice, with 32 percent multi-year ice.

    Figure 27f (NASA, 2009) below shows that overall ice thickness and multi-year ice (MY) thickness are decreasing.

    http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/images/NASA_sea_ice_thickness.jpg

    Honestly, anybody who claims that “there has been global cooling or that global warming has halted since 2000 (or whatever)” really does not understand climatic trends nor the difference between a long-term underlying trend vs. short-term fluctuations which have a larger magnitude (in both directions) than the trend. Or, if they do, they are purposely misleading (lying) to support some agenda.

  213. Oakden Wolf:

    David Harrington and Greg Kai:

    My reply was 159; you are replying to “Alan from Oz” at 160.

    1. Regarding a different name for the denialists, I have suggested “dissonauts”, but agnotologists is better, if you want to get technical.

    2. Greg Kai: some of the most potent creationist proponents were, and many still are, engineers. Research this historically using Google Groups. It is interesting that climate change skepticism also might be appealing to engineers. (I say “might be” because I haven’t really attempted to determine if that is true or not.) When this was discussed vis-a-vis creationism, it was stated ofttimes that scientists and engineers are fundamentally trained for different ways of thinking — and thusly different ways of framing, investigating, and “solving” problems.

  214. dhogaza:

    Yes, good old cherry picking – which is exactly what dhogaza chooses to do.

    (and others)

    Jeff, not I, made the “decade” claim, which is why I chose 10 years rather than 8 or 11.

    It’s not cherry picking to use the timespan used by someone who doesn’t realize the “decade” claim was long-used as a cherry pick to use 1998 as the start point, and that as time’s moved on, you can no longer say “decade”.

    It’s a sign that Jeff’s just parroting something he’s read some where.

    Now, when the slope of a linear regression changes drastically when you choose different end points of (say) 11, 10, 9, or 8 years, this tells you something important about the underlying time series.

    Something which every denialist on the planet seems to miss.

    Can you tell us what it is?

  215. FredB:

    “May I suggest FredB, that anyone who does not have the nouse to find by themselves the freely available files to which Gavin refers, probably does not also have the requisite understanding to analyse and interpret the data properly?”

    May I suggest, Bernard J., that approaching the general public like that is unlikely to convince many people?

    Gavin, thanks for your answers so far, very helpful. I am managing to locate some of this material, but it’s a bit harder to tell when it was put there. Do you happen to know when Briffa/Melvin first made the data at http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/people/melvin/PhilTrans2008/ available?

  216. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Aaron:

    climate science is perched on a statistical argument and nothing more.

    Garbage! It’s based on physics! The theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming, in particular, is based on radiation physics. Statistics can only give confirmation.

  217. dhogaza:

    Steve McIntyre has offered to allow someone from this side of the debate a post on his Climate Audit site which will be without editorial interference. Will anyone here take u that offer?

    I hope not. McIntyre needs to play by the rules, write up a proper paper, and submit it for review and publication.

  218. Barton Paul Levenson:

    David Harrington:

    That statement only holds true if you use GISS as your source rather than the more accurate, and global, sattelite data.

    “Satellite.” That’s only true for UAH satellite data; the RSS series shows the same warming as the surface measurements. And satellite temperatures are less, not more, reliable guides to the surface temperature. When you estimate the Earth’s temperature from a satellite, you have to weigh how much of the signal is coming from each layer of atmosphere, which means you have to build a model and hope it’s accurate. UAH is notorious for getting it wrong (see the work of Santer et al. in Science for a good overview).

  219. dhogaza:

    But on the other hand, the case for AGW is much much less clear.

    Actually, the notion that laboratory-proven physics is less clear than the notion that over billions of years, selection on self-replicating chemicals will lead to creatures as complex as human beings is just bizarre.

    If evolutionary theory is so clear, why do so many people conflate it with abiogenesis and why do so many get “survival of the fittest” (selection) wrong?

    In fact, I was by default not doubting the global warming classic interpretation till I started reading multiple sources on the net

    In other words, you’re letting liars and the lies they tell cloud your mind.

    and as my self-confession as a recent skeptic shows, the argument from the denialist camp are not only convincing to petrol gulping rednecks, but also to a very scientifically minded, atheist european (although, I must admit, I like motor sports ;-) ).

    Apparently you’re overestimating your science skills, or at least your bullshit detector needs fine-tuning.

    As a friendly advice from someone moving more and more to the “adverse” camp, I would suggest not to underestimates the denialists (and then maybe forge another ephithet, denialist let you think they will be easy to debunk). This debate is, objectively, in a completely different class from flat-earthism or creationism, and just mentioning those is in fact detrimental to official AGW theory…

    1. The same techniques are used by AGW denialists as are used by creationists.

    BTW, you’re using one of them here – “I used to believe in [evolution/HIV/AGW] until I started studying about it myself on the internet”. This makes you suspect right off the bat, I’m afraid.

    2. They’re often the same people, i.e. Roy Spencer is a creationist, creationist sites like Uncommon Descent post fairly often on “AGW fraud” which they explicitly link to the “evolution fraud” as being evidence that science is thoroughly corrupt.

    3. They grasp at tiny uncertainties in science and proclaim that it overthrows vast amounts of knowledge (in AGW, primarily the “hockey stick”, which isn’t even the basis for the AGW hypothesis).

    This list could go on and on but you get the idea.

    BTW, I am an engineer working in numerical simulation, and it was (here?) mentioned that those seems to be surprisingly highly represented in the “denialist” camp. I agree with that, and kindly suggest to think of this type of guy as worth to try to convince. The arguments, and kind of opposition you will get, will not be the same as with a creationist…

    Really? Engineers are over-represented among creationists, too…we see supposedly scientific arguments from engineers applied to evolutionary biology all the time.

  220. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Tony Hirst, who appears to have put on horse blinders, writes:

    There is nothing in Steve’s writings to suggest that he was accusing anybody of malpractice,

    I take it you haven’t been reading his site very long. His whole shtick is to insinuate that mainstream climate scientists are frauds. If you’ve missed that, you don’t know how to read.

  221. dhogaza:

    “May I suggest FredB, that anyone who does not have the nouse to find by themselves the freely available files to which Gavin refers, probably does not also have the requisite understanding to analyse and interpret the data properly?”

    May I suggest, Bernard J., that approaching the general public like that is unlikely to convince many people?

    Your suggesting that the general public believes they have the requisite understanding to analyze and interpret the data properly?

    I rather doubt that.

  222. Barton Paul Levenson:

    John:

    Revelle pioneered the greenhouse effect and CO2 contribution – common knowledge.

    Well, no. The greenhouse effect was proposed by Fourier in 1824, the greenhouse agents responsible were identified by Tyndall in 1859, and the theory of AGW was proposed by Arrhenius in 1896. Revelle was instrumental in setting up regular CO2 readings and in showing that new CO2 in the air was coming from fossil fuels (Revelle and Suess 1957).

  223. Barton Paul Levenson:

    greg kai:

    As a friendly advice from someone moving more and more to the “adverse” camp…

    BTW, I am an engineer

    No comment.

  224. James Allan:

    #205 Greg:

    There are plenty of AGW sceptics out there who come from a wide range of intellectual angles. Like it or loathe it, there are cartloads of deniers whose arguments mainly stem from incredulity and romanticised notions of how they think science works. I would say talking to them is indeed very akin to debating a creationist and thanks to the nature of the denyosphere, it is often difficult to separate this kind of thing from those who have more thought-out objections. And even when talking to the more scientifically literate objectors, it is often then difficult to separate the genuine sceptics from the cynics who will never be convinced no matter what.

    I think the main reason it is often difficult to convince a lot of people of global warming science is because it is simply harder to present a tangible and irrefutable example of the science at work. The hockey stick is one attempt at doing so because it provides a very visual impression of what is happening, but this in turn means a lot of people get the false impression that it is some kind of cornerstone that the whole of global warming theory is built on.

    To any genuine sceptics out there, I always suggest reading the WG1 executive summary of the last IPCC report first and take it from there. Many people are just simply unaware of the real nature of the arguments that the scientists are putting forward beyond what they read in the mainstream media (which has this annoying habit of being either dumbed down or oversensationalised) or the bloggosphere (where you can find literally anything).

  225. pete best:

    The deniers still appear to have the upper hand in the USA.

    http://climateprogress.org/2009/10/01/george-will-temperature-plauteua-lie/

    20% of 2005 levels by 2020 is not good enough is it ? It needs to be 20% of 1990 levels. The USA is the worlds greatest historic polluter along with the UK and Germany. We here in the UK are just a lamentable as we have mitigated our emissions by expering them via manufacturing to China and demanded emissions be based on production and not consumption.

    Each USA citizen is commited to 20 Tonnes of CO2 per annum and 10 here in the UK. Our cuts have to be deeper and quicker.

  226. spilgard:

    Re #200,
    The science community has long awaited the opportunity to engage Mr. McIntyre on his findings. Unfortunately, he has yet to bring his findings to the venue wherein such matters are discussed, i.e., the body of peer-reviewed literature. Until then, he remains merely the science equivalent of the chap who reassures his drinking buddies that all judoka are wussies, yet is perpetually too busy to stroll down to the dojo, don a gi and step onto the mat.

  227. Jim Eager:

    Are you innumerate Patrick? (@186)

    1998-2009 is 12 years, except that 2009 is not even over yet.

    How about showing the data 1990-2009, which shows with abundant clarity that 1998 was an anomalous outlier, combined with the actual trend for the “past 10 years” which would be 1999-2008:
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1999/to:2008/trend/plot/gistemp/from:1990/to:2009

    Oh, look, the 10 year trend slope is positive. How inconvenient for Jeff’s argument.

    Or, you may want to use GISSTEMP, which actually includes the Arctic and Antarctic:
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1999/to:2008/trend/plot/gistemp/from:1990/to:2009

    Oh, look, 1998 is not longer so anomalous.
    How very inconvenient for Jeff’s argument.

  228. Jim Eager:

    Re David Harrington @196:

    OK, here’s UAH:
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1999/to:2008/trend/plot/rss/from:1990/to:2009

    And RSS MSU:
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1999/to:2008/trend/plot/rss/from:1990/to:2009

    You were saying?

  229. Mark:

    “When you estimate the Earth’s temperature from a satellite, you have to weigh how much of the signal is coming from each layer of atmosphere”

    BPL, you should have said:

    “When you estimate the Earth’s ***surface*** temperature from a satellite…”.

    Since this is what the trees, animals, and all the Stevenson Screens measure.

    Add in that if it’s the sun, the entire atmosphere will warm, since there’s just simply more energy put in to the system, whereas if it is CO2 or other blanketing method, there’s no extra energy put in, therefore the ground will warm and the upper air cool (since the upper air isn’t getting the warming from the lower layers it used to get and the lower layers aren’t losing the heat they used to).

    And satellites measure energy radiance along a line. Which goes *down* through the atmosphere. Therefore the overall effect is to measure the temperature through the entire depth of the atmosphere.

    Teasing out the temperature *profile* is needed to determine even approximately the surface temperature and that is fraught with uncertainties and errors.

    But in measuring at a far greater density of sampling than even the best surface network, and measuring volumetric, rather than spot, values, it is a good indicator of how representative your spot values are compared to their neighbours.

  230. Mark:

    “May I suggest, Bernard J., that approaching the general public like that is unlikely to convince many people?”

    May I suggest, FredB, that those who aren’t convinced yet will not be convinced even should the All Mighty appear in front of them and tell them to their face that it’s happening.

  231. Bart Verheggen:

    Here’s a crazy idea*:

    In my student town (Wageningen, NL), two competing student organizations with a very different culture and following had the tradition to swap members for one night during the introduction week: The barmen and –women of the one organisation (“Unitas”) would go to the other (“Ceres”) and vice versa. This resulted in the hilarious situation that in an otherwise very alternative, goth-like atmosphere there were suddenly people in suit and tie and tightly trimmed hair serving the beer and managing things, while alternative looking, long haired woolen sock types did the same over at the “corps” (more ‘corporate’ style organisation/fraternity/sorority). This was the best night of the year. Even though it underscored the huge differences between both cultures, it increased mutual understanding and respect.

    How about having Steve McIntyre and/or Anthony Watts put up a post at RC (and engage in the discussion sure to follow) about their ‘bottom line’ and have Gavin and/or other RC contributors do the same over at CA or WUWT?

    Some things should probably be agreed upon beforehand, such as the general focus of the post (e.g. “what do we know and what don’t we know about climate science”), and no allowance of namecalling or broad-brush accusations, neither by the author of the post nor by the commenters.

    Just maybe we could all have a beer afterwards.

    * I don’t claim it’s original; it’s probably been suggested before. Properly executed, I think it could be good though.

  232. Mark:

    “SamG says:
    2 October 2009 at 8:24 AM

    What’s an ‘AGW pseudo-skeptic’?
    You mean to say that I’m only pretending not to believe?”

    Yes, Sam.

    It also applies when someone *says* they are skeptic but actually are merely selectively credulous. I.e. those who point to McIntyre’s paper refuting Mann’s 98 hockey stick and say this proves Mann’s work is wrong, but don’t think to point to Amman’s paper refuting McIntyre’s work as proof that Steve paper is wrong.

    Or indeed those who demand absolute proof (100%) that AGW is right, yet do not require that level of proof anywhere else.

    Merely calling yourself “skeptic” doesn’t make you one. Hence you are at best “pseudo skeptic”.

  233. Mark:

    “Since plant life grows faster with increased CO2, could it be that tree rings are better correlated with changes in CO2 than temperature?”

    Did you wear sunglasses to avoid optic nerve damage at that blinding flash of the obvious there, James?

    Here’s another one: since it’s so well known that plant life can grow faster if given increased CO2 concentrations, could it be that the people who study this for a living have already accounted for it?

  234. Hank Roberts:

    > this side of the debate
    > publishing in a journal

    If the farmer takes on the pig on the pig’s terms, it’s mud wrestling.
    If the pig takes on the farmer on the farmer’s terms, it’s a barbeque.

  235. Lawrence Brown:

    “…..everything we’ve done in our entire careers is a “MASSIVE lie” (sic) because all of radiative physics, climate history,……. turn out to be based on 12 trees in an obscure part of Siberia. Who knew?
    Indeed, according to both the National Review and the Daily Telegraph (and who would not trust these sources?), even Al Gore’s use of the stair lift in An Inconvenient Truth was done to highlight cherry-picked tree rings, instead of what everyone thought was the rise in CO2 concentrations in the last 200 years. ”

    Who are we going to believe on say radiative physics? James Clerk Maxwell or William Krystol, right wing fanatic editor of the national review. A great man or a political hack? The choice is clear.

  236. Tom P:

    I have defined on Climate Audit a non-biased sensitivity analysis of the Yamal CRU data for Steve McIntyre:

    “…a sensitivity analysis based on recalculation of the Briffa Yamal plot only using trees with ages above a certain value. It would be very useful to see how sensitive the shape is tree age – we’d see how the snake bends as its bones grow older…”

    The hockey stick might hold up as the shorter cores are removed from the entire record. On the other hand we might see a medieval warm period emerging.

    I have no idea what will be the result, but I am impatient to see it. This is potentially publishable work.

    McIntyre’s original sensitivity test, which was effectively throwing short cores in to the end of the record to suppress the blade of the hockey stick, had no validity, even if it created a stir. This new sensitivity test will really tell us if the original Yamal hockey stick holds up.

    If this test is invalid, it would be good to understand why before it is performed.

  237. Dean:

    Gavin says “That’s maybe 5 generations of computer systems and the transition from 8 inch tapes, to floppies, to zip disks, to USB sticks etc.”

    I remember when I once worked on a project for managing arctic ice rafar data in th 90’s, the NASA project manager said that he had access to a room full of computer tapes of satellite data collected in the 70’s that nobody had ever looked at, and that nobody he knew had equipment any more that could even read the tapes. But they couldn’t bring themselves to dump them anyway.

  238. Jeffrey Davis:

    Regarding pseudo-skeptics

    I once spoke with a man who wouldn’t believe AGW because Ayn Rand didn’t believe in Environmentalism. And since he equated climate science with Environmentalism, AGW had to be false.

    And there are those who are like the John Cleese character in the Monty Python Argument sketch. They aren’t skeptics. They’re automatons.

    Add in the cranks and the paid hacks and there are lots of pseudo-skeptics.

    To be a skeptic you must have a reason. The word means something. You have to earn your skepticism.

  239. Steve:

    dhogaza. #215. No, you chose Gistemp – because it shows what you wanted it to show, namely a rise over the past 10 years. UAH, RSS and HadCRUt all show either flattening or a downtrend in temperatures, but you chose Gistemp – that’s cherry picking. Gistemp is not representative of global temperatures because they use a proxy from over 1,000 miles away for their Arctic temps. Even Phil Jones of the CRU thinks this is wrong!

    Look, the people who believe in AGW cannot have everything their own way. Sceptics have to accept some things, and so do the pro-AGWers too, and you should start by accepting that the last 10 years has either flattened or cooled. Then you have to ask yourself if this was seen by any models? No. Then you may start to ask yourself if models can really foresee little dips? No. Is this a little dip? No, because it’s been a decade. So what good are models? The simple fact is that temperatures have not responded in the way that pro-AGWers thought they would. Fact.

  240. Aaron:

    Dhogaza:

    I will accept your criticism on my comment “climate science is perched on a statistical argument and nothing more.” Your comment was:

    Garbage! It’s based on physics! The theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming, in particular, is based on radiation physics. Statistics can only give confirmation.

    Naturally all science is based on physics and no educated person is arguing that these laws be suspended. In perhaps a clumsy fashion, my comment was really aimed toward how one goes about understanding the climate record. This crucial and fundament insight is based on the work of dedicated honest individuals toiling in field to bring us various types of raw data from which we carefully attempt to tease out a climate pattern. Rigorous application of the appropriate statistical mathematics is the right tool of the job. My point is simply this: McIntyre’s efforts are purely mathematical in nature and I believe Briffa understands this. It is entirely possible when all is said and done, this episode regarding the Yamal/Ural tree ring growth and its use as a proxy for arctic temperature may strengthen Briffa’s original claims. Of course another possible result is that it may not. In either case climate science will be the ultimate benefactor. Think of it, a collaboration of these two brilliant minds, strained though it may be, will in the end give climate science a vastly improved and powerful statistical protocol for use in handling all complex climate data analysis. I am excited about this prospect, truly cutting edge stuff. However, I remain baffled by the animosity toward McIntyre here at RC. Many RC regulars here simply do not understand who their friends really are. Thank God he is taking the time to sharpen the statistical tools. Think of it this way; he is trying to give climate science a gift. Don’t end up on the wrong side of history on this one. If he is guilty of anything, it is his passion for accuracy.

  241. Steve:

    Jim Eager #229. Now you’re at it! For crying out loud, the “last 10 years” is 1998 to 2008! 2009 isn’t over yet! How difficult can it be to understand?

  242. Deep Climate:

    #242
    Jim Eager in #229 showed graphs of the linear trend of monthly data from January 1999 through December 2008. That’s 120 months, also known as 10 years.

  243. dhogaza:

    “Since plant life grows faster with increased CO2, could it be that tree rings are better correlated with changes in CO2 than temperature?”

    Growth rates are sensitive to many things, this is why so much care is taken to select samples that one might rightly suspect will be highly sensitive to temperature changes (such as trees growing near their altitudinal and latitudinal range extremes, which typically is due to the species limit of cold tolerance).

  244. Tom Dayton:

    Re: Aaron #241:

    Aaron, there is much more to statistics than mathematics. If you collect a sample inappropriately to your goal, then it doesn’t matter what mathematical treatments you apply to the resulting data. There is no brilliance in McIntyre’s approach.

    This reminds me of grad students who could compute statistical tests by hand because they paid attention in statistics class, but had absolutely no idea which statistical test to use on their own experiment’s data.

  245. dhogaza:

    Jim Eager #229. Now you’re at it! For crying out loud, the “last 10 years” is 1998 to 2008!

    Actually that’s 11 years, not 10 years, not Jeff’s “decade”.

    Here, maybe this will help:

    1998,1999,2000,2001,2002,2003,2004,2005,2006,2007,2008

    Count them yourself. Eleven years.

  246. Jeffrey Davis:

    Re:240

    I went to WoodForTrees and every single graph I ran for the time in question was either up or flat. The flat one was for the Southern Hemisphere.

  247. Patrik:

    Tom P #237>> Very good initiative! :)

  248. Jim Galasyn:

    Steve claims: you should start by accepting that the last 10 years has either flattened or cooled…Fact.

    False:

    Despite the brevity of the time span, there’s still a statistically significant warming trend in both data sets. GISTEMP indicates warming at a rate of 0.028 +/- 0.019 deg.C/yr, HadCRU indicates 0.018 +/- 0.016 deg.C/yr. Note that the time span is so short that these results are far less precise than the 30-year trend; for the trend from 1975 the error range was only 0.003 deg.C/yr, but for the trend from 2000 the error range is +/- 0.019 or 0.016 deg.C/yr. The brief time span of the most recent data, and the strong autocorrelation of temperature time series, combine to make the error range considerable. But even for the brief period since 2000, the trend is still positive, and the estimate is larger than the error range: it’s significant.

    Garbage is Forever

  249. dhogaza:

    Steve says:

    dhogaza. #215. No, you chose Gistemp – because it shows what you wanted it to show, namely a rise over the past 10 years. UAH, RSS and HadCRUt all show either flattening or a downtrend in temperatures, but you chose Gistemp – that’s cherry picking.

    1999-2008 RSS trend.

    It goes up, not down. Thank you for playing.

  250. Dan:

    “Is this a little dip? No, because it’s been a decade. So what good are models? The simple fact is that temperatures have not responded in the way that pro-AGWers thought they would. Fact.”

    Absolutely wrong! Seriously, you need to learn the fundamental difference between a “fact” and an “opinion”.

    The fact is that a decade is not long enough to separate out the signal (from GHGs) versus the noise (natural influences). This has been discussed many, many times. Thirty years has been determined to be the the length of time needed re: climate trends per the WMO. It’s also used to determined long-term daily temperature averages.

    Another fact: No one is “pro-AGW”. This is a misnomer if ever there was one. Scientists use data to determine the trends. They are not pro or anti. The data speak for themselves. And they are unequivocal.

    Another fact: The idea that a layman somehow knows something about climate trends that literally thousands of climate scientists who have spent their careers working with the subject (and who have published their results in peer-reviewed journals and at scientific conferences) is ludicrous and the height of arrogance.

  251. Ray Ladbury:

    Re: “the warming has stopped” lie

    At the end of this decade, there will be one–yes, one–year that was not among the 10 warmest of the instrumental era. That is 2008, a year with a strong La Nina. 2008 is at present one of the ten warmest, but will be bumped by 2009. Now, prithee, does that sound like cooling?

  252. dhogaza:

    Then you have to ask yourself if this was seen by any models? No. Then you may start to ask yourself if models can really foresee little dips?

    You’re wrong, *individual* model runs show exactly this kind of variation. In a noisy system like the earth’s climate, we expect to see such things. What the individual models don’t do is exactly predict *when* such dips will happen. One run one might show a flat or dipping period from 2015 to 2020, another from 2018 to 2021, etc. But the *behavior* of climate, i.e considerable variation around a trend, is captured by the models.

    You’re being fooled (or lied to) by those who think that the nice, steady, upward line you get when you *average* dozens of model runs (which supresses the variability about the trend) means that *individual* runs (and expectations of modelers/climate scientists) also show monotonically increasing temperatures.

    They don’t.

    Now, if you’re honest and not just trolling and are paying attention …

    You’ve learned something.

    Are you going to apply that knowledge, or continue to spew baloney?

    No. Is this a little dip? No, because it’s been a decade. So what good are models? The simple fact is that temperatures have not responded in the way that pro-AGWers thought they would. Fact.

    No. Not a fact. Not at all. Temperatures aren’t responding the way that strawmen-builders like yourself say that climate scientists expect. The fact is, climate scientists have never said any such thing.

  253. Hank Roberts:

    Steve, you’re sounding desperate now, insisting the only acceptable interval to consider is calendar years, but oh no, not ten year time spans.

    Back off, son, and look at the whole thing, not just the interval you prefer.

    Read something that will help, like this:

    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/03/misleading-yourself-with-graphs.html

    or this:

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/05/the_significance_of_5_year_tre.php

    or this:

    http://atmoz.org/blog/2008/01/29/on-the-insignificance-of-a-5-year-temperature-trend/

    or these:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-stopped-in-1998.htm http://www.skepticalscience.com/How-do-we-know-global-warming-is-still-happening.html

    or just keep looking at the ten year span, next January, if you believe nature goes only by calendar years for some odd reason I can’t imagine.

  254. stevenc:

    “Then you have to ask yourself if this was seen by any models? No.”

    But they have been seen by the models so why argue so much over something that means so little.

  255. Hank Roberts:

    Oh, Steve — you did read the note at the site, right?
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/notes.php#trends
    You know what you’re doing?

  256. luminous beauty:

    Steve #242,

    For crying out loud, the “last 10 years” is 1998 to 2008!

    You are confusing ordinal and cardinal numbers. 1998 to 2008 is 11 years.

    1.) 1998
    2.) 1999
    3.) 2000
    4.) 2001
    5.) 2002
    6.) 2003
    7.) 2004
    8.) 2005
    9.) 2006
    10.) 2007
    11.) 2008

    I confuse them sometimes, too.

  257. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    It’s amazing that silliness spreads like wildfire on a high wind, zero humidity day in the middle of a SoCal Santa Ana (Santana), and truth spreads like tree sap…, among certain cultures.

  258. Jim Eager:

    Steve @240: “over the past 10 years. UAH, RSS and HadCRUt all show either flattening or a downtrend in temperatures”

    Nope, they don’t. Not a one of them.

    1999-2008, the past 10 full years:
    hadcrut3: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1990/to:2009/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1999/to:2008/trend
    uah: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:1990/to:2009/plot/uah/from:1999/to:2008/trend
    rss http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1990/to:2009/plot/rss/from:1999/to:2008/trend

    Not even 2000-2009, the past 9.75 years:
    hadcrut3: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1990/to:2009/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:2000/to:2009/trend
    uah: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:1990/to:2009/plot/uah/from:2000/to:2009/trend
    rss: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1990/to:2009/plot/rss/from:2000/to:2009/trend

    All positive slope, and not a gisstemp in sight. You’re not just inumerate, you’re blind.

    You’re also clueless about the difference between trends in short term natural variation, which is all a ten year trend illustrates, and long term trends in climate (30 years):

    hadcrut3: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1980/to:2009/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1980/to:2009/trend
    uah: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:1980/to:2009/plot/uah/from:1980/to:2009/trend
    rss: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1980/to:2009/plot/rss/from:1980/to:2009/trend

    You want all the data and code? You can’t handle all the data and code.

  259. dhogaza:

    Ross McKitrick is now accusing Briffa of scientific fraud in Canada’s Financial Post:

    “Thus the key ingredient in most of the studies that have been invoked to support the Hockey Stick, namely the Briffa Yamal series, depends on the influence of a woefully thin subsample of trees and the exclusion of readily-available data for the same area. Whatever is going on here, it is not science.”

  260. dhogaza:

    Link to Financial Post opinion piece by Ross McKitrick…

    Disgusting.

  261. MarkB:

    Perhaps I’m wrong, but reading through some of these comments, I get the impression there’s a bit of “concern trolling” going on.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)#Concern_troll

    It starts with someone claiming to be generally supportive of this site (in an attempt to win over the audience) then proceeding to defend McIntyre’s rhetoric (which, based on #108, is really not really defensible) and attacking the scientists here for calling it out. Clearly identifying trolls isn’t always easy, but how far do we go in assuming good faith?

  262. FredB:

    Dhogaza, all I’m suggesting is that people don’t like being patronized. Even when (perhaps especially when) they “deserve” it. I’m not sure why this trivial observation is being treated as controversial.

    Anyway I’m making a little progress on my question about when http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/people/melvin/PhilTrans2008/ became available. It seems from the file dates that this was last modified on September 8. But if I understand what Gavin is saying then this is just a modification date, and the page has been around for several years?

  263. Ray Ladbury:

    Steve@240 says “Sceptics have to accept some things, and so do the pro-AGWers too,”

    Great. Why don’t you start by acccepting physical reality. The reality is that the only way you get a negative trend is by choosing 1998 (a strong El Nino year) as your starting point and 2008 (a strong La Nina year) as your endpoint. Choose 2009:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/from:1999/to:2009/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1999/to:20-09/trend/plot/gistemp/from:1999/to:2009/trend/plot/uah/from:1999/to:2009/trend/plot/rss/from:1999/to:2009/trend

    Choose 2007:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/from:1997/to:2007/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1997/to:2007/trend/plot/gistemp/from:1997/to:2007/trend/plot/uah/from:1997/to:2007/trend/plot/rss/from:1997/to:2007/trend

    So in other words, unless one is enough of an idiot or a liar to cherrypick those two years, your contention is false.

  264. Jim Bouldin:

    David Harrington states in 151:

    “Steve McIntyre has offered to allow someone from this side of the debate a post on his Climate Audit site which will be without editorial interference. Will anyone here take u that offer?”

    That’s not what he offered. Rather, he magnanimously offered to allow “Briffa or any of his associates” to respond. How genuinely sincere of him to attack Briffa’s work and then, noting that he now has an apparently serious illness, allow him to respond on McIntyre’s very own web site. What a guy. And as to your last question, they already have, in two locations.

  265. spilgard:

    I suppose that there’s an unintended upside to all this: people who, only a short time ago, sneeringly dismissed the use of tree rings as a temperature proxy, now enthusiastically embrace the use of tree rings as a temperature proxy. It’s a start.

    [Response: Only if you think that they’ll remember this the next time they are required to think the opposite. – gavin]

  266. Tim McDermott:

    Steve: If 2008 is the last of a ten year span, then 1999 is the start year.

    How difficult is that to understand?

  267. Jim Eager:

    Tim (264), I kinda don’t think steve is still here any more.

    You might find him over at ClimateFraudit or WhatTheF’sUp bragging about how the mean ol’ warmies slapped him down, but frankly, it’s not worth looking.

  268. Hank Roberts:

    Benny Peiser sinks to a new low in covering this issue, for anyone’s tracking what passes for science news coverage from an academic perspective.
    Here’s what he features in his current newsletter:

    (1) TREEMOMETERS: A NEW SCIENTIFIC SCANDAL
    Andrew Orlowski, The Register, 29 September 2009
    (2) ANALYSIS: DEFECTS IN KEY CLIMATE DATA ARE UNCOVERED
    Ross McKitrick, Financial Post, 1 October 2009
    (3) OPINION: CLIMATE DATA BUSTER Terence Corcoran, National Post
    (4) OPINION: COOLING DOWN THE CASSANDRAS George F. Will
    (5) U.S. THROWS SPANNER INTO CLIMATE TALKS Times of India, 2 October 2009
    (6) CAP AND TRADE MAY SINK OPPOSITION LEADER DOWN UNDER The Australian
    (7) THE MET OFFICE AND CRU’S YAMAL SCANDAL: EXPLAIN OR RESIGN Jennifer Marohasy
    (8) COOLING?
    (9) RESOURCES DEPLETION WORRIES
    (10) COPENHAGEN SUMMIT: DO SCIENCE AND ECONOMICS SUPPORT GOVERNMENT
    ACTION ON GLOBAL WARMING?
    (11) A DEATH SPIRAL FOR CLIMATE ALARMISM?

    CCNet is a science policy network edited by Benny Peiser

    /www.staff.livjm.ac.uk/spsbpeis/

  269. CM:

    Dhogaza, Jim Eager, Deep Climate, luminous beauty (wow!), and Tim McDermott, I think you will find that at woodfortrees.org, “from” is inclusive but “to” means “up to” (exclusive), so Steve happens to be right about the number of years at #242 — quite accidentally so, one suspects.

    Steve, Patrik, et al are of course still missing the point that I (#201) and Dhogaza (#215) already dangled before them. Want to try again? Patrik (#209), OK, so when looking at a ten-year period, picking the time span is of “utmost importance” to the results you get. So what do you think, is a ten-year span a reliable guide to any underlying trend?

  270. dhogaza:

    Hmm, CM is right, choosing 1999-2009 actually plots jan 1 1999 to dec 31 2008.

    Ten years.

    RSS goes up

  271. Hank Roberts:

    CM’s right, as it says in the Help:
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/help

    Processing step Value Function
    From Year Selects data from the given year onwards
    To Year Selects data up to the given year (not including it)

  272. Jim Eager:

    You are right about the “To” not being inclusinve, CM.

    The slope for all three data sets is still positive when you use To=2009 though:
    hadcut3: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1990/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1999/to:2009/trend
    uah: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:1990/plot/uah/from:1999/to:2009/trend
    rss: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1990/plot/rss/from:1999/to:2009/trend

  273. Shelama:

    I appreciate RealClimate, as the most solid and valuable source on the Internet, or elsewhere, on climate and climate change. I recommend it frequently, and know it has converted a couple of people to AGW.

    I’m a little bit disappointed that, however much deserved, the mocking, sarcastic tone of some more recent articles approaches that of so many of the deniers and their sites. Perhaps it is to be expected after grinding away so long and hard against these nitwits, some of whom personalize their attacks on RealClimate and its contributors.

    I believe that for the American public at large, most of whom do not believe in Evolution, the debate is probably over; the skeptics have won: there is no AGW.

    The mocking sarcasm probably does not help. Although a careful reading of this article should make the honest and interested person take note, the tone will be used by many others to discredit the substance and the authors among folks tending toward denial.

    Don’t stoop to their level.

  274. NickH:

    > Update: enabling comment preview caused unacceptable loads on the
    > server, possibly because it conflicts in some way with caching.

    “possibly”? I spend half my life dragging clueless sceptics to your site, telling them “here’s where humanity’s finest researchers actually tell you what’s happening, to the best of all human knowledge” — and you can’t make a website work, and you don’t know why, and you’re too naive to stop and work it out before posting your own cluelessness?! Oh FFS!!!???

    I’m struggling to believe you now. Sincerely: you’re muppets.

  275. Ben Lawson:

    Re: 261 – dhogaza says: Link to Financial Post opinion piece by Ross McKitrick… Disgusting”

    Indeed. I commented on it at the National (also Financial) Post site, including a link to this article:
    ————————
    How surprising to find self-serving denialist hand-waving at the National Post!

    The author McKitrick and the subject McIntyre have a long history of mutual back-slapping, conspiracy theories, carefully arranged “misunderstanding” of actual science and arbitrary exclusion of unhelpful data.

    For an deconstruction of McIntyre’s analysis and McKitrick’s Da Vinci Code-style claims, read something from actual working climate scientists: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/09/hey-ya-mal/
    ————————

  276. Chris:

    The trend over the last 10 complete calendar years, i.e. from 1999 (La Niña year) to 2008 (La Niña year), after adjustment for ENSO, is 0.00°±0.05°C/decade, according to the UK Met Office.
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2009/global_temperatures_09.pdf (see page 2 first column).

  277. Phil. Felton:

    Re 240
    Steve says:
    2 October 2009 at 11:03 AM
    dhogaza. #215. No, you chose Gistemp – because it shows what you wanted it to show, namely a rise over the past 10 years. UAH, RSS and HadCRUt all show either flattening or a downtrend in temperatures, but you chose Gistemp – that’s cherry picking. Gistemp is not representative of global temperatures because they use a proxy from over 1,000 miles away for their Arctic temps.

    And the other three certainly aren’t any more “representative of global temperatures” because they don’t include the polar regions (or in the case of UAH do so in a way that is inappropriate for their technique).

  278. Phil. Felton:

    Dhogaza, Jim Eager, Deep Climate, luminous beauty (wow!), and Tim McDermott, I think you will find that at woodfortrees.org, “from” is inclusive but “to” means “up to” (exclusive), so Steve happens to be right about the number of years at #242 — quite accidentally so, one suspects.

    Certainly accidental since he thought it was relevant that 2009 wasn’t over yet!

  279. MarkB:

    I would encourage anyone who believes scientists here are being too critical of McIntyre & Co. to check out this trash piece:

    http://www.financialpost.com/opinion/story.html?id=2056988&p=3#ixzz0SnxlaZRq

    McIntyre is at most perhaps a bit more subtle with his baseless insinuations. Many of his colleagues are less so.

  280. MarkB:

    “Gistemp is not representative of global temperatures because they use a proxy from over 1,000 miles away for their Arctic temps. ”

    They extrapolate from the Arctic stations in the region. HadCrut makes the implied assumption that the Arctic is warming at the same average rate as the rest of the globe. The GISS assumption is very likely much more realistic. There are clearly other indicators that the Arctic is warming at a much more rapid pace than average.

    Nonetheless, all data sets, even the much-maligned and corrected UAH, show warming over the last 10 years.

  281. luminous beauty:

    Perhaps this is the best estimate of ‘the last ten years':

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/last:120/plot/hadcrut3vgl/last:120/trend.

    However, ten years is too short a time span to have much statistical significance as Jim Galasyn has already pointed out:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/09/hey-ya-mal/comment-page-5/#comment-136978

  282. Arthur Smith:

    On the replication discussion – as has been repeatedly noted here and in previous RC posts, the real scientific question is whether a result can be replicated by competing groups through use of *different* source data, different measurement techniques, different analysis methods, etc.

    If the results are robust under such widely differing approaches (and there are at least hundreds of such “physical and biological” measures documented in IPCC WG2’s report, the vast majority of which agree on recent warming) that’s a major part of what makes a scientific conclusion compelling.

    There may be interesting things hidden in people’s data that are useful for purposes other than the original group looked at – that’s certainly a piece of useful serendipity that does happen on occasion. So making original measurements (or even computed data from models) widely available is a good thing.

    But the only reasons for wanting to exactly reproduce an *analysis* are when there is suspected incompetence or malfeasance on the part of the original researchers. That is the whole, fundamental premise of “climate audit” – implication of fraud – and in fact requiring a vast conspiracy – on the part of climate scientists. Scientific fraud does very rarely happen, but the instances brought to light are always confined to individual researchers who have fabricated results in some fashion. The normal stance of science is to assume honesty (and competence) and work from that point – if there’s some conflict between one group and another, then it should be resolved by continued research and improved data. Irresolvable conflicts could be the sign of something interesting. The rare cases of fraud are a great disappointment to all involved, not just from the waste of the individual who committed it, but because many researchers usually have wasted their time looking at what they thought was something interesting when it wasn’t real.

  283. sidd:

    I thank the realclimate scientists for providing the best web site on climate science.

    Mr. NickH seems displeased at the limitations of this forum. Perhaps Mr. NickH might see fit to donate some hardware, software, bandwidth, some of his own time, money or putative skills so that our gracious hosts might be better able to serve his needs ?

  284. CM:

    Hm, back to tree-rings, this may be a good place to ask for a pointer: Could anyone recommend a good discussion of the “divergence problem”, its significance and possible causes? In a nutshell, what are the grounds for assuming that the divergence is unique to the 20th century and that there wasn’t similar divergence in the past, possibly hiding earlier periods of similar warming? So far, I understand from the 2006 NAS report and the Cook et al. 2004 reference therein that the divergence is unique to high latitudes, and that a similar pattern of north-south divergence is not observed before the 20th century. Is there more that can be said about this now? (Sorry if I appear to have been sleeping in class, but I’m a bit of a latecomer to this debate.)

  285. Mr Henderson:

    I would just like to add my support to Sean’s point (right back at #1). Sarcasm and sneering really can’t help. Why descend to the level of the denialists? They only do it because they haven’t any real science. I can understand the frustration, but when both sides in an argument adopt the same childish tone, it looks to an outsider as if they’re on an equal footing. Making fun of the crazy stuff is fine (I laughed out loud at the end of Spilgard’s piece), but if there’s an attempt at science, please just disprove the point scientifically, and show who the real grown-ups are.

  286. Don Keiller:

    Gavin, there appears to be a tension between the climate record as reconstructed using tree rings and that from tree lines.

    Rashit M. Hantemirov* and Stepan G. Shiyatov (2002) A continuous multimillennial ring-width chronology in Yamal, northwestern Siberia. The Holocene 12,6 pp. 717–726
    http://www.nosams.whoi.edu/PDFs/papers/Holocene_v12a.pdf

    Page 720 shows how tree lines have moved South over the last 7000 years, reflecting decreasing temperatures at the Northern tree line.
    Conversely the tree ring data, from the same location, says that 20th Century temperatures are unprecedently high.

    What’s going on?

    [Response: Forest ecosystems respond to climate forcing on multi-generational timescales. Evidence from fossil pollen, tree lines, etc. can thus in general only be used to infer climate change on multi-century timescales. They cannot be used to infer decadal timescale changes such as the anomalous warming of the past few decades. – mike]

  287. Deep Climate:

    Mea culpa – I checked the start not the end. Anyway, 9 or 10 years is way too short, as can be seen by varying start and end dates.

    Anyway … back to the subject at hand.

  288. pjclarke:

    Tony HirstThere is nothing in Steve’s writings to suggest that he was accusing anybody of malpractice …

    Are you serious? where I come from this would evoke the response ‘you are aving a larf’. Here’s a typical slice of McIntyre..

    If you can get a single dendrochronologist to support Briffa’s use of 10 trees in 1990, I’ll be flabbergasted. They will be astonished and appalled at the procedure. The young dendros will be wincing and some of them will probably be bit shell-shocked at this news. It’s very embarrassing for the field. I don’t expect any of them to announce their disappointment, but make no mistake: no young dendro will stand up for what Briffa did here

    Note he is not so dumb as to make his accusations explicit; no he puts words into the mouths of un-named and imagined ‘other’ dendroclimatologists, add in a side order of ageism and you have a comment that has no place in a thread that McI had denoted as being for discussion of the ‘science’. By no means an isolated example.

    Phil Clarke.

  289. Doug Bostrom:

    NickH 2 October 2009 at 2:40 PM

    “Sincerely: you’re muppets.”

    And you sound like the place at the very bottom of the muppet where all the cloth is stitched together.

  290. Scott A. Mandia:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/10/01/response-from-briffa-on-the-yamal-tree-ring-affair-plus-rebuttal/

    See my comment on post dated 10/2 at (03:31:13).

    I was discussing consensus in science and why we need to trust the experts. I used a medical analogy that I thought was appropriate. I said:

    “Doctor #1 through Doctor #9 say: “You have cancer and you must quickly start chemotherapy. It will not be pleasant but it can cure you. If you wait you will surely die.” Doctor #1 – #9 are well-respected and well-published in the field of oncology.

    Doctor #10: “You have bad allergies that will likely not continue if you wait a few years. Waiting will not kill you and it might actually help you. There is no cure but you will save money by taking no action.” Doctor #10 is well-respected and well-published in the field of allergies.

    So who are you going to listen to?”

    Watts snipped my comment and stated: “[snip – Scott what kind of insensitive dolt are you? Briffa’s seriously sick and you use this sort of analogy? Don’t do this again – Anthony]

    Watts also sent me an email telling me that I must apologize if I wished to continue to post there.

    My apology posted at (08:45:04) :

    “Anthony asked me to make an apology and that is why I am posting this comment.

    There has been serious cancer in my family (father-melanoma, brother – cat 3 brain cancer, mother – brain tumor) so I am well aware of the issue. I chose cancer as the ailment because it is a well known serious condition that must be treated immediately. That seems to me to be an appropriate analogy to the dangers of climate change and the various choices we face.

    IN NO WAY WAS THIS INTENDED TO BE INSENSITIVE TO DR. BRIFFA’S CONDITION. I SINCERELY APOLOGIZE TO HIM OR TO ANYBODY ELSE THAT WAS OFFENDED.

    Now I ask for fair play. To Anthony W, Steve M, and everybody else who has been directly or implicitly calling Dr. Briffa a cheat or a fraud while he was too sick to respond to these false allegations, you owe him a public apology.

    Step up to the plate, folks.”

    So it would appear that calling Briffa a liar, cheat, and a fraud before he even gets a chance to defend himself is OK but when somebody defends the science that Dr. Briffa uses but happens to use a medical analogy, he is required to apologize.

    BTW, nobody at WUWT has stepped up to the plate.

  291. dhogaza:

    Note he is not so dumb as to make his accusations explicit; no he puts words into the mouths of un-named and imagined ‘other’ dendroclimatologist

    Who exist, but seeing as they’re part of the vast conspiracy of science …

    I don’t expect any of them to announce their disappointment

    The level of paranoia and belief in conspiracy in the statement pjclarke posted is just … stunning.

  292. David B. Benson:

    What a teapot tempest!

  293. Eli Rabett:

    You know McKitrick and Watts are getting pretty close if not over the line to actionable libel. The newspapers and blogs where libels appear also have a responsibility.

    Briffa made a serious mistake in being considerate of McIntyre and saying there were things that could be looked into. Never offer an olive branch to someone trying to club you.

  294. dhogaza:

    You know McKitrick and Watts are getting pretty close if not over the line to actionable libel. The newspapers and blogs where libels appear also have a responsibility.

    I commented over at Open Mind that Canada follows the UK legal example when it comes to defamation, which is far stronger than here in the US where First Amendment considerations makes it much more difficult (not just the Constitution, but in some sense the spirit in which it was added and the fact that horrific mudslinging by the press was a fact of life from the moment of adoption).

    So McKitrick and the Financial Post could be walking a tapering limb …

    But I imagine Watts can pretty much do what he wants without worrying about much more than the damage to his soul.

  295. SteveF:

    Mike wrote:

    Evidence from fossil pollen, tree lines, etc. can thus in general only be used to infer climate change on multi-century timescales. They cannot be used to infer decadal timescale changes such as the anomalous warming of the past few decades”

    Whilst I agree in general, pollen can be surprisingly sensitive, on the decadal scale. See, for example, the results of the Krakenes project:

    Birks, H.H. et al. (2000) The development of the aquatic ecosystem at Krakenes Lake, western Norway, during the late glacial and early Holocene – a synthesis. Journal of Paleolimnology, 23, 91-114.

  296. Martin:

    David B. Benson says: What a teapot tempest!

    I say: But at least it’s a storm we can definitively attribute to global warming.

    Cheers,

    Martin

  297. David B. Benson:

    Martin (297) — Oeh vey! :-)

  298. Peter Williams:

    Re comment #1 (the arrogance of scientists)

    I myself have commented on this as well. As a physicist working now in industry and seeing academia from the outside, there is a certain arrogance from academia that at times is positively galling. However, while I think it’s fair to point this out, I don’t think it’s fair to pick on Gavin for this (although I myself have in the past), because it would take an absolutely superhuman Zen master not to respond in such fashion to the complete lies and fabrications of people like Steve McIntyre. And even then, it’s not clear that this Zen-masterish response is really what’s called for. People need to know what a complete load of horse dung the whole climate skeptic community is composed of.

  299. Ramon:

    We are now at the end of 2009, I would like someone to point me out to a graph that goes beyond 2000.

  300. don:

    I’m curious about horse dung temperature. A selection of dung from Yamal shows a hockey stick rise in temperature while a selection of more dung from a nearby area shows a straight cue stick temperature. I ask you, which one is the genuine horse dung temperature? Hockey stick or cue stick? And what does the answer to that question have to do with the price of skepticism in China?

  301. Franks:

    Who was it that said that the amount of emotion expressed in support of an opinion is inversely proportional to the number of facts supporting the opinion?

    [Response: Glenn Beck? – gavin]

  302. truth:

    Peter Williams [299]
    If you believe, as you say, that Steve McIntyre’s views are ‘complete lies and fabrications’, why don’t you specify exactly which of his claims are lies —and exactly what it is in his reasoning that’s a fabrication?
    Invective without reasoned argument = panic.
    As to the sceptic community , it does include many scientists who have hitherto been treated with respect by the international scientific community, so on what grounds do you think they have turned into ‘horse dung’?

  303. doug W:

    Unlike many of the people posting here, I have actually cored trees and studied the rings. I did a simple study of growth rate vs. altitude for an undergraduate Alpine Ecology course. Even in that study, I used a larger sample size than Briffa did for the hockey stick portion of his Yamal series. I collected the samples myself, and yes, it took time, but in the end I felt certain my numbers could be replicated.

    I have to say, McIntyre sounds reasonable when he questions the wisdom of attaching significance to such a truncated data set, and I wonder how the work of Briffa obtained such prominence.

    If nothing else, the observations of climate audit should serve to point out that serious subjects need first class data collection before analysis and conclusions. If the data set is large, reproducible, and available, there should be fewer opportunities for this sort of second guessing.

  304. Walter Manny:

    264. Ray, thanks for those Woodfortrees data, which are indeed fun to play with. I linked to your 1999:2009 graphs, and changed the start dates from 1999 to 2000, 2001, and then 2002. Try it if you’re curious.

    As to your point in 252 that to say “warming has stopped” is a lie, you offer as evidence that this decade’s temperatures are flat (all of them hot but one). I’m guessing you did not mean to imply that “hot” is the equivalent of “getting hotter” and might want to clarify? – Walter

  305. natural_feedback:

    I certainly appreciate the time and effort of the RealClimate blog to educate non-expert readers on climate issues. I come to this web site to find a counter balance to various challenges to measurements and conclusions about climate. A question was raised about methodology.

    I don’t care about past ideological battles. I don’t care about the questioner’s motivation. It looks to me like an interesting and relevant question. It would be helpful to see an impartial response. Is there a website which makes a strong counter argument with facts and less passion?

  306. spilgard:

    Re #294,
    Eli, I agree completely. Yet, we all know how the affair would play out.
    1) “Graasroots” organization covers defendant’s legal fees.
    2) Legal decision is inconclusive.
    3) Defendants bray that “warmists are so desperate that all they can do is attempt legal action to silence dissent”.

  307. John Phillips:

    I’m usually just a lurker, but since engineers have been criticised by you wonderful scientists, I feel compelled to respond. Engineers are different than scientists because they are usually confronted with reality sooner than most scientists. This does not allow us to color the practice of our profession with our political beliefs. There are plenty of engineers on all sides of the political spectrum, but if the engineering analyses are not correct the plane doesn’t fly, bridge doesn’t stand, manufacturing process is inefficient or doesn’t work, etc. Scientists, especially academic ones have the luxury of being starry eyed and dreamy. Since their chance of humiliation is less than engineers, they tend to be more arrogant. I have worked with scientists on occasion, mainly with the development of design basis accidents for nuclear reactors. In my experience, scientists I worked with did not use theoretical statisticians to help and review their work to ensure proper sampling, and the overall set up of their design of experiments. That may be why many engineers tend to be sceptical of the climate change science.

    [Response: We’ve had tons of discussions based on generalisations about what ‘engineers’ and ‘scientists’ do or don’t do or think or don’t think. They are very rarely enlightening. – gavin]

  308. John:

    I found your blog from a friend who follows it closely. She and I go round and round on AGW. Here is my response to her after reading this post and most of the comments:

    “I don’t think all scientists are scamming us. And all deniers don’t take their position because they are lazy and want their SUV’s – to hell with the planet, let the kids figure it out (like generations have done with other hard political problems like Social Security, etc). This “motive issue” clouds the understanding of the opposition both ways.

    As I see it:
    I hear a news report that the North Pole ice is melting. (Read AGW might be true). But then I hear a news story that some scientists have found a correlation between sun spots and Earth’s temperature. (Read, AGW probably not true). This happens back and forth a dozen times or more. To me, there is no convincing proof that it is really Man-made (just considering the news/studies that are reported/etc). Then I look at the people who are promoting each side. Al Gore – hypocrite, not a scientist, making money off of carbon credits, etc – charlatan. I’m not buying what he’s selling. Then the UN promotes the view of AGW. Another Left-leaning global body that does almost no good in the world from my perspective. Again, another strike against AGW. To me, it seems that all the front men for AGW seem to have something to gain to push their agenda (something more than saving the planet). When I hear people like the creator of The Weather Channel, former head of NASA, other smart people who have scientific degrees standing on the opposing side, I think to myself, “Well, if there are people like this who know something about something and they don’t buy it, I’m on pretty safe ground.” So at the end of the day, when there really are equally valid scientific claims (as I understand them), with equally valid scientific minds defending the claims, and I see no tangible evidence to support AGW (record cold spells, 30-40 year cycles of cold/warm/cold/warm that have been traced), I conclude someone is getting all excited for nothing. That’s how simple this gets. And yes, I know you think not all rebuttals are credible. But I don’t see Al Gore willing to debate? You even wince at watching a Fox News video. And the times when some news channel gets two opposing views represented, it generally seems like the guy who is the denier seems more level-headed to me. What am I to do.

    So standing in “a complete load of horse dung” as commenter 299 describes it, this is how simple it gets for those of us on the “outside”. I admit it’s not that scientific. But hakim’s razor works for me. The burden of proof really is on the believers in AGW to prove we have the ability to radically change the global climate in 50 years with our single-digit percentage of CO2 contribution to the atmosphere. And, as with anything else, the default position is always going to be “doubt first until evidence is convincing”. This is not the same as always asking for more data. It comes down to “common sense”. It really seems unbelievable that we humans can have such a huge impact. Can you show me how this is solidly demonstrated in any study (even with a hockey stick and where the sun spot “theory” isn’t just rejected out of hand)? I’m telling you guys, this is where most “deniers” are at. And to help with the believability issue, get the charlatans and hypocrites out of the spotlights/media and your position might have more credibility to the average Joe. When President George Bush has a more eco-friendly house on his Crawford, TX ranch than Al Gore, I don’t care how much you hate George Bush, it just makes Al Gore (and by proxy) the AGW position look laughable – and this has nothing to do with science. Sorry if this is not the blog for these comments. But it might help bring some perspective to some very intense commentary here.

  309. Tilo Reber:

    dhogaza:
    “It goes up, not down. Thank you for playing.”

    Hmm, it’s interesting that people who voiced such strong objections to starting with a strong El Nino have no problem at all starting with a long La Nina.

    In fact, the effects on the plot of the strong El Nino and the long La Nina basically cancelled each other out. Now you have more El Nino’s than La Nina’s and you are starting with a very long La Nina. Try Gavin’s ENSO correction method and you will find that the plot is very close to flat. The question is why. The answer is given by Svensmark.

  310. Lawrence Coleman:

    Re: 168. Thanks Gavin. I was also scratching my head seaching for a correlation..I only thing I could think that was worth a shot was imbalances in the thermocline gradient at the seabed..getting warmer and therefore less dense..lifting somewhat the water pressure on the seabed just enough to trigger tectonic activity that would previously have been held in place by heavier denser colder water. Cheers!

  311. Rene:

    The point that still needs addressing in the wider world, is that it stands to reason that scientists in the pay of governments will tend to come up with arguments that promote the interests of government. And AGM fits this bill so perfectly – legitimising green taxes, bureaucracies (and more climatologists) galore. Certainly seems more than a coincidence. Formal peer-review is not much help here either, since this process is also politically funded. I don’t see mainstream climatology’s reputation recovering until it uses some other funding and so ceases to be politically driven.

    [Response: This is simply paranoia. Governments seem to be doing just fine at creating bureaucracies and taxing people all on their own. – gavin]

  312. Dan:

    What I find remarkable is the contempt those who are trying to prove AGW hold those that have yet to be convinced (or denialists as you would say).

    [edit]

    [Response: This is completely false. We spend a huge amount of time talking to people who have questions or want to know more about this issue and have written multiple books, articles etc. to help people understand what is going on. They are a completely different group of people than those who parrot long-debunked nonsense for political purposes because they think that IR absorption of CO2 is a communist plot. People who insinuate baseless accusations of scientific misconduct based purely on their dislike of a scientific result are the ones being criticised here. Remember, ignorance is a curable disease. – gavin]

  313. Eli Rabett:

    Let us ask a few basic questions:

    1. The “data” the tree ring samples/records, belongs to the Russians. True or false.

    2. If 1 is true, the Russians are the ones to approach for the “data”. True or false

    3. Briffa and colleagues received the “data” and used them to construct a proxy record by joining the entire series they had received from the Russians. True or false.

    4. Briffa and colleagues disclosed their methods which had previously been described in enough detail that a skilled dendrologist could duplicate them given the Russian records. True or False.

    5. If 1..4 are true, what is the “data” that McIntyre is asking for?

  314. Bart Verheggen:

    Scott Mandia,

    Your analogy hits the nail on its head if you ask me. I have often used medical analogies as well, as I think they are both valid and easily understandable by everyone. My late brother had cancer, but that doesn’t stop me from using these analogies.

    Anthony Watts clearly has a double standard, though he probably doesn’t see it like that himself.

  315. Neil Craig:

    “Apparently everything we’ve done in our entire careers is a “MASSIVE lie” (sic) because all of radiative physics, climate history, the instrumental record, modeling and satellite observations turn out to be based on 12 trees in an obscure part of Siberia. Who knew?”

    Who indeed? Your explanation doesn’t actually mention whaat the 12 trees have to do with it. McIntyre alleges that there were 34 trees & that Mann decided to choose only 12 of them, which were atypical. [edit]

    [Response: You are extremely confused. a) this has nothing to do with Mike Mann, b) the tree cores were collected by the Russians of which these 12 were a small part, c) Briffa just reprocessed the cores the Russians gave him, d) The ’34 trees’ were collected later and come from a different location and were not part of the Russian collection, e) no-one has provided any reason why the ’12’ are special in any way other than they give a result some people don’t like, f) will more cores help improve the chronology? Probably yes. Are there more data around? Yes. Will the chronology change once they are included? Maybe or maybe not. Does McIntyre’s calculation have anything to add? No. – gavin]

  316. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Steve:

    you should start by accepting that the last 10 years has either flattened or cooled.

    It hasn’t.

    Then you have to ask yourself if this was seen by any models? No. Then you may start to ask yourself if models can really foresee little dips? No. Is this a little dip? No, because it’s been a decade.

    Do you know what you’re talking about? No, because 10 years tells you nothing about climate, since climate is “mean regional or global weather over a period of 30 years or more” (WMO).

    So what good are models?

    Models are good for making projections if current trends continue.

    The simple fact is that temperatures have not responded in the way that pro-AGWers thought they would. Fact.

    The simple fact is that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Fact.

  317. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Aaron:

    I remain baffled by the animosity toward McIntyre here at RC.

    You remain baffled at the animosity of scientists for a guy who regularly accuses scientists of being frauds, tolerates very blatant and hostile comments to that effect on his blog, and uses his blog as his venue instead of submitting papers to peer-reviewed journals?

    Many RC regulars here simply do not understand who their friends really are.

    It sure ain’t McI.

    Thank God he is taking the time to sharpen the statistical tools. Think of it this way; he is trying to give climate science a gift. Don’t end up on the wrong side of history on this one. If he is guilty of anything, it is his passion for accuracy.

    If he is guilty of anything, it is pontificating about a subject he’s never formally studied (climatology), pushing pseudoscience as hard as he could, blatant dishonesty about real scientists, and trying to block society from dealing with one of the biggest problems it has ever faced.

  318. Don Keiller:

    Mike, you say “Response: Forest ecosystems respond to climate forcing on multi-generational timescales. Evidence from fossil pollen, tree lines, etc. can thus in general only be used to infer climate change on multi-century timescales. They cannot be used to infer decadal timescale changes such as the anomalous warming of the past few decades.”

    Yet Esper and Schweingruber report “larger-scale patterns of treeline changes related to decadal-scale temperature variations”.

    Esper and Schweingruber (2004). Large-scale treeline changes recorded in Siberia. Geophysical Research Letters 31.

    Again this is confusing since I know that Esper is one of your co-workers.
    So do tree lines shift on centenial or decadal timescales?

    [Response: This characterization is misleading. Esper and Schweingruber were not looking at the shift of treelines in the usual sense (e.g. as determined in the more distant past by looking at relict stumps, etc.). Instead, they were looking at the modern past (20th century) where other sorts of evidence can be established to look at far more subtle shifts in the ecotomes, e.g. the germination dates of saplings, whether they were upright or not, etc. This sort of more subtle evidence cannot be extended to past centuries, hence they are unable to provide a quantitative reconstruction of past temperature in the past, and certainly don’t attempt any such thing in this paper. Moreover, even if they were able to do this, the migration of the treeline depends on factors such as permafrost distribution which is greatly influenced by winter temperatures. Tree-ring growth in these regions, however, is generally reflective of summer temperatures. So even if a quantitative reconstruction from treelines were available, it wouldn’t even be comparable in terms of the seasonality reflected by the record. In short, there is nothing there that challenges the quantitative climate reconstructions provided by tree-rings. Take your talking points elsewhere. -mike]

  319. Paul A:

    The way the denialists/pseudo-sceptics have leapt upon and have championed these baseless accusations demonstrates yet again that they have given up on science and are now simply looking for evidence of a conspiracy. That is all their case now rests on.

  320. Tkearney:

    For an deconstruction of McIntyre’s analysis and McKitrick’s Da Vinci Code-style claims, read something from actual working climate scientists
    ….

    Um, Einstein was not an ‘actual working’ physicist…Copernicus was a priest and ran a mint…

    [Response: … from which we should conclude what exactly? – gavin]

  321. Tkearney:

    from which we should conclude what exactly? – gavin]

    That innovations can and do come from outside the guild.

    [Response: Fine. But that doesn’t mean that every idea from outside has merit. Quoting Carl Sagan (almost) “They may have laughed at Galileo, but they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” Ideas and contributions have to evaluated on their merits, not from where they come from. – gavin]

  322. Chris:

    #314
    It has (flattened). See my post at #277 which I think people have missed as it took some time to appear.
    10 years does tell you something about climate. It gives you exactly a third of the data for your thirty year averages. If we get to half the data and the trend (ENSO-adjusted) is still flat, then it will tell you something more:
    “The simulations rule out (at the 95[per cent] level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more, suggesting that an observed absence of warming of this duration is needed to create a discrepancy with the expected present-day warming rate.”
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2009/global_temperatures_09.pdf
    I suspect that less than 15 yrs is needed to create a discrepancy with the warming expected by models using higher climate sensitivities (and producing the more “scary” scenarios).

  323. Rene:

    I earlier commented on the notion of a link between political funding of science and peer-reviewing, and the findings of such science tending to serve as support for political expansionism – additional taxes and bureaucracies.

    Gavin: This is simply paranoia. Governments seem to be doing just fine at creating bureaucracies and taxing people all on their own.

    Yes, but obviously the more excuses they find, the more they’ll get away with.

    I think, Gavin, you are burying your head in the sand here. Effective climate science peer-review is largely in tatters, thanks to the bias of eg Nature and Science, [edit] The price science pays for political funding, will always be to favour politically correct answers.

    [Response: Absolute rubbish. Look at the grants being funded in climate science by NSF (all of which are listed in the public domain), perhaps you could discern the ‘political correctness’ in explorations of atmospheric dynamics, interpretations of ice cores, ocean mixing processes, satellite calibrations and the like. Instead of just asserting that there is a bias in funding that twists results, try actually demonstrating it with real examples. Until that happens (and I doubt it will), your assertions are pretty much worthless. – gavin]

  324. Chris:

    p.s. note i was replying to the post from 6.27am (it has now become #316)

  325. Tkearney:

    [Response: Fine. But that doesn’t mean that every idea from outside has merit. Quoting Carl Sagan (almost) “They may have laughed at Galileo, but they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” Ideas and contributions have to evaluated on their merits, not from where they come from. – gavin

    …..

    True; that’s why I read the ‘skeptics’ and have come to see that there is much there besides “DaVinci Code conspiracies’

    [Response: Maybe you’d care to enlighten us? A single new idea perhaps that isn’t just the reworking well-known issue that has been worked on for years? – gavin]

  326. Ray Ladbury:

    Chris,
    Horse puckey! Hadcrut shows 1999-2009 with about the same slope as 1979-1989, and Gistemp shows a rate closer to 1989-1999. This likely indicates that the far North has warmed more than the rest of the hemisphere–an observation consistent with the rapid ice melt we’ve seen in the last 10 years.

    Your contention that 10 years of data gets you a third of the way there is utterly ignorant. Uncertainties in information metrics like likelihood. AIC, etc. scale exponentially with the amount of data. And since the current decade shows a warming trend, your reference to 15 years without warming is a contrary to fact supposition.

  327. Jim Eager:

    Chris @320: “It has (flattened).”

    No it has not, no matter how many times you say it has.

    The slope has reduced, but ten years is not enough to determine a _climate_ trend.

    “10 years does tell you something about climate.”

    No it does not, no matter how many times you say it does.

    “It gives you exactly a third of the data for your thirty year averages.”

    You have no clue.

  328. Ray Ladbury:

    Tkearney says, “Um, Einstein was not an ‘actual working’ physicist…Copernicus was a priest and ran a mint…”

    So, is your ignorance finite or unbounded? Einstein worked in the patent office AS a physicist. His technical expertise was why they hired him. And during the evenings, he was actively involved in theoretical research. As to Copernicus, look at the dates–there were no scientists during his life. Science dates from roughly 1600, the work of Galileo and Bacon.

    In science, expertise matters. That’s why students study 10 years to get a PhD, spend another 5-10 years in post docs and only then starta career as scientists.

  329. Jim Eager:

    John @309: None of your points have anything to do with the science. Not a one. This is a science site. If you have questions about the science, this is the agood place to ask them. If they are not about the science, you might want to try other places.

  330. Jim Eager:

    Dan @313: The contenpt is not for those who are merely not convinced, it is for those who make up their own facts and deliberately fabricate and spread disinformation.

    You would do well to learn the difference.

  331. Tkearney:

    Ray Ladbury wrote: Einstein worked in the patent office AS a physicist

    Yes, the physics of patents. Yes, he had the training. But he was from outside the guild.

    [Response: Oddly enough Einstein published all of his research in the technical literature, didn’t go around implying that Bohr and Lorenz were frauds, or that Fitzgerald was guilty of scientific misconduct, made constructive improvements to theory and dominated the research landscape of the field for decades. You were saying? – gavin ]

    I don’t think science was invented in the 1600s, was it?

    Fact is, my post was to simply point out that people outside the guild can contribute to the debate and are not necessarily crackpots. As you might be aware, it was economists who were outside the mainstream who overthrew the 1970s belief in big models which were garbage in/garbage out. But those models were inside the guild (at the time) and so generated plenty of grants, peer reviewd articles and prizes (including Nobel Memorial Prizes).

  332. Ray Ladbury:

    John@309 First, what the hell are you doing getting your news on science from mainstream media. They’re as ignorant as you are!! Talk about the blind leading the blind.

    What matters, John, is what the vast majority of the scientists actively working in climate science think. Fully 90% of scientists actively publishing in climate science say the globe is warming and that we’re behind it. This is not controversial. As far as science goes, there is no other side. If you decide to get more educated, you can look at how often these guys publish and how many times their work is cited. Google Scholar and this site
    http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/

    are invaluable. This isn’t beyond your ability to comprehend. Listen to the real scientists, the real experts, the real professionals, try to learn enough of the science so you understand the basics, and you will see why scientists are concerned.

  333. Hugh Laue:

    For the skeptics posting here:

    Read Greg Craven’s book “What’s the worst that can happen?” to understand that, if your skepticism is used to justify taking NO ACTION to limit fossil fuel combustion, then essentially you are taking a bet that any damage to the short term economic health of the planet is going to be MORE SERIOUS than any damage to the health of the planet through long term climate change.

    The way I see it now (after reading Greg’s book) is that RC provides a site where those seeking a better understanding of climate science can share their insights with intelligence and respect for the scientific method and the scientists practicing it seriously (this means publishing one’s arguments in the peer reviewed literature). For them it is not really an argument about “is AGW true or false” – for them it is real and quite well understood (it appears to me). Their interest is “how is the scientific understanding progressing in narrowing the range of uncertainty in both the longer and shorter term projections, and what is most likely to unfold regionally rather than just globally?”

    So skeptics, what would convince you that your bet (the one NOT to take action now) is a high risk bet to take? It’s a bet that you have only one shot at, because if you’re wrong then it will be too late to change your bet. Will you continue to believe economists, who have a very poor track record of projecting the future, or scientists who have a very solid track record? If the world were your business, who would you consult to help you evaluate the risk that AGW might just turn out to be true and catastrophic, and potentially much worse that taking mitigating action now? As Greg asks – what is the pragmatic thing to do?

    In that light, the likes of McI’s contribution can be ignored completely.

  334. Ray Ladbury:

    Walter Manny, As I am sure you know, a positive trend–and all trends for the current decade (1999-2009 are positive), is not “flat”. Temperatures are still rising. The only way anyone can conclude the opposite is by cherrypicking 1998-2008–and that is dishonest.

    You are placing your hope on the 2nd derivative, even though determination of the 2nd derivative with any confidence can only be done with even more data than is required for the first derivative! To try to draw conclusions about the 2nd derivative with 10 years of data is simply silly.
    (Where’s Graham Chapman when you need him (I know, I know…dead))

  335. Ray Ladbury:

    Re: the eternal scientists vs. engineers meme

    Look here: http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/

    You will notice that there are many physicists (with no climate expertise) on the denialist petitions. These educated idjits, put the lie to any attribution of profession as an indicator of crackpotness. What matters is realizing the limitations of one’s education when it comes to fields of study well outside your expertise. This is Dunning-Kruger in action.

  336. Chris:

    I am not engaging with those kinds of replies (8.02/8.07am.) I leave it to the objective/respectful/open-minded to read what I actually said (in relation to *ENSO-adjusted trends*, from 1999-2008) and the link that I gave.

  337. Scott A. Mandia:

    Some of the statements appearing in the Non-IPCC (2008) by S. Fred Singer (cough) include:

    The IPCC is pre-programmed to produce reports to support the hypotheses of anthropogenic warming and the control of greenhouse gases

    (IPCC) was an activist enterprise from the very beginning. Its agenda was to justify control of the emission of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide.

    From the very beginning, the IPCC was a political rather than scientific entity, with its leading scientists reflecting the positions of their governments or seeking to induce their governments to adopt the IPCC position.

    Certainly its agenda to find evidence of a human role in climate change is a major reason; its organization as a government entity beholden to political agendas is another major reason; and the large professional and financial rewards that go to scientists and bureaucrats who are willing to bend scientific facts to match those agendas is yet a third major reason.

    One can simply play devil’s advocate to quickly dismiss these claims. If there were a massive conspiracy by hundreds of climate scientists to perpetuate a global hoax and if the IPCC truly misrepresented the facts due to politics one must consider the following:

    Where are the secret emails and memos that detail this elaborate hoax? If there are hundreds of conspirators surely at least ONE communication could be found to blow this massive conspiracy out of the water. Where is this smoking gun?

    If the research from hundreds of scientists were misrepresented by the IPCC due to political considerations, where is the massive backlash by these scientists who have been “wronged”? The IPCC Fourth Assessment has been publicly available for over two years now. Why do the overwhelming majority of scientists support the IPCC findings if in fact they are not a true representation of the current science?

    The Bush Administration made it no secret that it believed global warming may not be real and that it was questionable that human activities could play a major role in climate change. How was it possible for hundreds of American scientists to get funding if the NIPCC’s claim were true that these scientists were reflecting the positions of their governments? Surely during the eight year tenure of the Bush Administration, climate change skeptics should have dominated the literature – instead the evidence that human activities were causing unprecedented global warming was cemented.

    Any reasonable person who carefully considers all the evidence must conclude that there is no conspiracy nor any real incentive to delude billions of people about climate change. To the contrary, there is a large financial incentive for the fossil fuel industry to promote the massive conspiracy argument because to combat climate change humans must reduce the use of fossil fuels.

  338. Chris:

    Just in relation to this comment at 8.02am:
    “This likely indicates that the far North has warmed more than the rest of the hemisphere–an observation consistent with the rapid ice melt we’ve seen in the last 10 years.”
    The far North appears to have cycles which are particularly lagged/out of synch with ENSO etc.
    As there was a pronounced peak in far North temps in 2007 (RSS 60-82.5N average anomaly +0.87C) and a pronounced trough in 1999 (+0.17C), it is not surprising that the 1999-2007 trend shows rapid warming.
    However, since then the average anomaly has been +0.41C (Jan 2008 to Aug 2009), which is comparable to 13 years ago (+0.42C for Jan 1995 to Aug 1996).
    So the trend in RSS temps for 60-82.5N is already downwards for nearly 8 years i.e. from Jan 2002 to Aug 2009. You can check it out for yourself using the data at http://www.remss.com/data/msu/monthly_time_series/RSS_Monthly_MSU_AMSU_Channel_TLT_Anomalies_Land_and_Ocean_v03_2.txt
    Not so far behind the global trend then.
    Also with a bit of trigonometry you can calculate what fraction of the total area north of 60N is north of 82.5N i.e. not included in RSS. I seem to recall it’s less than a fifteenth?

  339. greg kai:

    @334: on realizing the limitation of our own education.

    It is partially true, in any field, for the small details and some traps…But the git of a theory should be quite convincing, and usually more so the more deep you dive in the details, up until you finally discover the different schools disputing not the core of the theory, but new details, applications or fine-tuning.

    For AGW, I have the feeling, maybe untrue, that many outsiders are “believer” by default, but then when they start to scratch a little bit (because they have the basic math and physics skills to do so) they doubt more and more. It is certainly my case, and, while it may be skewed because it is an effective rhetoric tactic, many skeptics claim the same.

    Even if this is only a feeling and it is in fact not true (most non-climate scientists have less doubt when they start to dig into climate science), this is a common idea on skeptics site, and one that is hugely convincing. On the other hand, exagerations a la Al Gore and argument from authority, while thay may be effective convincing non-scientific or technically-minded public, are devastating AGW credibility for any scientifically skilled amateur (engineer, physicist, geologue, historian, paleontologist…).

    So back to the subject: what global temperature reconstruction should I trust, now, what is the most widely accepted curve among mainstream climate scientists for the last 2000 years???

    [Response: You are perhaps asking the wrong question. It is very unlikely that any single curve is correct. Each different method produces slightly different results and no proxies are perfect. The latest papers use more proxies from a wider selection and with more regional information and so are likely to be more representative. But maybe it is better to ask yourself why you think it matters. Do you think that finding a period warmer than the modern period makes a difference to the detection and attribution of climate change today? Well, that wouldn’t be correct – we know of plenty of periods that were unambiguously warmer than present (the Pliocene, the Eocene, the Cretaceous etc.) and D&A for the 20th Century is independent of any of these reconstructions. Is it because you want to see how big natural variability was and look for signatures of solar and volcanic forcings in the past? That’s fine, but the differences of 0.1 or 0.2 deg C that we are talking about in the uncertainties don’t really make that much difference. Is it because you want to know how global temperature has changed in the last 100 years? Well you should be looking at the instrumental record, not the proxies. There is plenty to learn about the climate of the last 2000 years – particularly at the regional and decadal scales, but nothing that has been discussed this week has any bearing on that whatsoever. – gavin]

  340. dhogaza:

    dhogaza:
    “It goes up, not down. Thank you for playing.”

    Hmm, it’s interesting that people who voiced such strong objections to starting with a strong El Nino have no problem at all starting with a long La Nina.

    Once again, Jeff, not I, insisted on “ten years”.

    You and I know that’s an obsolete phrase that once cherry-picked 1998 as the start point, and which now cherry-picks 1999. Ain’t my fault.

    I also stated that the fact that changing the starting point by one year causes the slope to switch from negative to positive tells us something about using ten-year time periods, and asked “can you tell us what that is?”

    So your statement that I have no problem starting with a La Niña year is incorrect. My implicit point was that 10 years is too short a period to be significant, and the fact that choosing different start points has such a strong effect on the slope of the regression should be a dead giveaway that this is true (given that you can get a good linear fit for sufficiently long periods of time).

  341. Eukaryt:

    “The 20th Century was fueled by dirty oil, dirty cars and dirty coal,” Schwarzenegger said, imploring leaders to put workers from coal mines into solar panel factories and oil workers into biodiesel refineries.
    http://solveclimate.com/blog/20091001/governors-global-climate-summit-opens-eye-toward-copenhagen

  342. Boris:

    Perhaps it would be helpful if someone like Briffa wrote a piece for RC describing the process of dendroclimatology from site selection through taking cores and then onto calibration and testing. For the layperson there might seem to be some “hidden step” whereby a trend can be chosen rather than deduced. Some skeptic blogs use these gaps in knowledge (and some expert quote mining) to spread accusations of fraud.

  343. dhogaza:

    Even if this is only a feeling and it is in fact not true (most non-climate scientists have less doubt when they start to dig into climate science), this is a common idea on skeptics site, and one that is hugely convincing.

    For those of us who’ve tracked the creation/evolution “debate”, the “HIV doesn’t cause AIDS” “debate”, the anti-vaccine debate, and yes, the anti-AGW debate, it’s not hugely convincing at all.

    Rather, it reeks of being a common tactic meant to legitimatize the anti-science position. I, a reasonable person who claims to have a resonable education, have looked into evolution, the HIV-AIDS connection, the vaccine-autism connection, and the more I look into the science, why, the more fraudulent it seems!

    This act of claiming to be reasonable and objective, and educated, and to have deeply studied “both sides”, and to conclude that the anti-science side has “better evidence”, is nothing but a tactic. When asked to explain what they believe the scientific position is, such people *invariably* paint a strawman version of the science (“climate scientists claim that temperatures should rise monotonically as CO2 concentration increases”, etc etc).

    Writ large, you get junkscience.com, WUWT, etc, where the science is always misrepresented, scientists always portrayed as being dishonest and lying in order to push a political agenda, all the reasonable people “know” this, etc.

  344. Jim Cross:

    #314

    I don’t think the ultimate origin of the data is pertinent to this. Once Briffa used the data for evidence and argument, in a sense, the data became Briffa’s. According to McIntyre, he had an obligation from the journal it was published in to archive it and make it available. This seems reasonable to me especially if the data is not widely available. But apparently this didn’t happen in this case and McIntyre had to make repeated inquiries and petitions for it.

    #316

    I keep hearing this ’30 years is climate” ROT (Rule of Thumb) but there is good evidence that this too short a time period for making multi-decadal predictions. In light of recent studies of the influence of PDO on global temperatures and the suggestions that there may be factors that magnify the solar irradiance influence, fifty or sixty years (or perhaps 100) might be more useful.

    So naturally I agree that 10 years is too short to draw any conclusion; however, by the same token, extrapolating the last part of the 20th century into the 21th may not be valid either. Of course, looking at 100 years, we still see a CO2 influence on climate but the magnitude of it may be harder to gauge when the consider the effect of longer term solar cycles.

  345. chris:

    Re #302 truth

    “skeptical community”? What does that mean? Can you clarify? Can you list a selection of the particular scientists you speak of “who have hitherto been treated with respect by the international scientific community”?

    Please be specific, truth.

  346. chris:

    re #303

    I have to say, McIntyre sounds reasonable when he questions the wisdom of attaching significance to such a truncated data set, and I wonder how the work of Briffa obtained such prominence.

    Has it “obtained such prominence” doug W? I would say that Dr. Briffa has done a substantial amount of solid work in paleoclimatology. His work is part of a large body of paleoclimatological analysis that informs us on climate in the past. I think you’ll find that this particular tiny piece of work has “obtained such prominence” because some wannabe with a blog has chosen to attempt to trash it, instigating a nasty (but happily, short lived if past experience is a guide) pulse of unpleasantness through the blogosphere…

    …If the data set is large, reproducible, and available, there should be fewer opportunities for this sort of second guessing.

    There will always be “opportunities for second guessing” doug, when there are opportunists out there who revel in second guessing. Happily, the scientific process is pretty robust, and while Dr. Briffa will no doubt feel nonplussed by the cowardly opportunist second guessing he’s been subjected to, he can feel proud of his contributions in this field, and the fact that his work has informed a large and broadly consistent body of paleoanalysis of the past decade and more.

  347. chris:

    Re #304

    As to your point in 252 that to say “warming has stopped” is a lie, you offer as evidence that this decade’s temperatures are flat (all of them hot but one). I’m guessing you did not mean to imply that “hot” is the equivalent of “getting hotter” and might want to clarify? – Walter

    Warming certainly hasn’t stopped Walter. The earth continues to accumulate heat even during the period (2003 – 2008) that has seen the sun progress to the bottom of its solar cycle, and a substantial La Nina episode in 2007/8.

    The most recent analysis of ocean heat uptake shows that the period 2003-2008 has resulted in substantial absorption of solar energy at the rate of around 0.8 W.m-2 during this period.

    von Schuckmann, K., F. Gaillard, and P.-Y. Le Traon (2009), Global hydrographic variability patterns during 2003–2008, J. Geophys. Res., 114, C09007, doi:10.1029/2008JC005237.

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2008JC005237.shtml
    (see Figure 11a).

    This extends the period of large heat absorption into the earth system characterised since the middle of the last century, right through to the near-present:

    Murphy, D. M., S. Solomon, R. W. Portmann, K. H. Rosenlof, P. M. Forster, and T. Wong (2009), An observationally based energy balance for the Earth since 1950, J. Geophys. Res., 114, D17107, doi:10.1029/2009JD012105.

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009JD012105.shtml

    The earth is getting hotter Walter, because it is accumulating heat under the influence of a positive radiative imbalance

  348. JBob:

    #281-Try this one:
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1850/plot/hadcrut3vgl/detrend:0.7/fourier/low-pass:4/inverse-fourier/detrend:-0.7

  349. Tom P:

    I’m afraid I lost my patience and have kludged Steve McIntyre’s code to do my sensitivity analysis (code is posted on Climate Audit).

    First, here is the chronology without YAD061:
    http://img515.imageshack.us/i/oyad06.pdf/
    Whatever that tree was drinking, it looked like it shared the round.

    Now for the sensitivity analysis for the CRU archive:
    1) Removing the cores less than 72 years old – the drooping tail at the end of the distribution I posted on CA:
    http://img406.imageshack.us/i/cru72.pdf/
    As I suspected, these cores don’t contribute much to the chronology.

    2) Removing the cores less than 100 years old:
    http://img25.imageshack.us/i/cru100.pdf/
    Not much difference.

    3) Removing the cores less than 150 years old:
    http://img156.imageshack.us/i/cru150.pdf/
    Still not much of a shift.

    4) Removing the cores less than 200 years old:
    http://img59.imageshack.us/i/cru200.pdf/
    This has removed YAD06 amongst other cores, but the profile remains the same. The noise is increasing but the shape is till clear. There are now 64 cores left, with an average age of 262 years, or an average of 8 cores at any one time.

    5) Removing the cores less than 250 years old:
    http://img202.imageshack.us/i/cru250.pdf/
    Now there are just 32 cores left with an average age of 303 years, or just four cores at any one time. The hockeystick has finally been broken, but only by removing so many cores that the noise has finally overcome the signal.

    Briffa’s result appears robust to a very demanding test. I await Steve McIntyre’s response to this.

  350. Bob Coats:

    Be sure to check out Bill Maher’s comments on the climate change deniers:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/03/bill-maher-slams-gop-clim_n_308501.html

  351. caerbannog:


    In light of recent studies of the influence of PDO on global temperatures…

    Are you referring to the study where the authors removed the long-term trend from their temperature time-series by differentiating it and then concluded that there was no long-term warming trend?

  352. chris:

    Re # 305

    I don’t care about past ideological battles. I don’t care about the questioner’s motivation. It looks to me like an interesting and relevant question. It would be helpful to see an impartial response. Is there a website which makes a strong counter argument with facts and less passion?

    Try here:

    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/people/briffa/yamal2000/

    or Tom P’s post #349 above…!

    I’m surprised you don’t care about the “questioner’s motivation”, natural feedback. That’s worthy of consideration I should think. In the case of the instigator of this particular storm in a teacup there does seem to be an extraordinary history of preemptive accusation of wrong-doing against scientists, that leads in essence precisely nowhere, while wasting a large amount of serious people’s time. The awesomely misguided “attack” on the so-called “hockey-stick”, for example, was shown to be scientifically without merit:

    Wahl ER, Ammann CM (2007) Robustness of the Mann, Bradley, Hughes reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere surface temperatures: Examination of criticisms based on the nature and processing of proxy climate evidence
    Climatic Change 85, 33-69

    http://www.metapress.com/content/h483676101066104/

    Ammann CM, Wahl ER (2007) The importance of the geophysical context in statistical evaluations of climate reconstruction procedures
    Climatic Change 85, 71-88

    http://www.metapress.com/content/c668835m747q4823/

    and McIntyre’s “critique” of Mann et al’s most recent paleoreconstruction:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/36/13252.abstract?ijkey=632a6e9c17f95c223f5ea8f18bb9c3f9dfe38df3&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

    was simply pathetic (see links on same page)

    From a scientific point of view, we are interested in the entirety of the large body of paleoclimatology that informs our understanding of past climate and natural variation. That’s the value of Dr. Briffa’s work together with that of the multitude of other scientists who develop methodologies and analyses of this subject.

    Fundamentally, it’s all about the science. That’s how we find out about stuff of interest and value in the natural world. All the rest is self-serving rubbish, and it’s worth coming to a personal decision about what we think is important. When we’ve done that we might consider that the “questioner’s motivation” is actually of interest in how we use our valuable time…

  353. mike roddy:

    This is only tangentally relevant, but as long as you’re talking about trees…

    Real Climate rarely addresses deforestation in detail, other than to give a nod to IPCC’s attribution of a 20% contribution to global emissions, and then maybe talking a bit about Brazil or Indonesia. Specifically, as with other sites, deforestation is not mentioned with respect to its impact in North America. This may be because the industrial forestry model, with replanting etc, is assumed to be less conducive to CO2 emissions than the kind of deforestation that occurs in the tropics.

    My own research indicates otherwise, and I have published an article on the subject that received no response from RC when I emailed it to you last year. The data came from post doc students in carbon forestry.

    This issue has enormous policy implications for the US and Canada. As Stern pointed out, avoided deforestation is a cheap and immediate way to reduce emissions- including right here in North America. It is also the one area of IPCC where the some of the data and language is not
    complete. This is because it was collected from academic foresters, many of whom are umbilically connected to the timber industry.

    Please look into this. I can refer you to the most highly regarded carbon forestry experts in the US, whose voices are often drowned out by industry. The media has also shied away from this issue, because they are big consumers of newsprint, which often comes from places such as the Canadian Boreal. Real Climate does not have this limitation, and this entire issue deserves a comprehensive look.

  354. Jonas N:

    From # 321 ” Ideas and contributions have to evaluated on their merits, not from where they come from. – gavin”

    Ehh … did I really again miss the entire message of this post?

    [Response: Apparently you did. This post is about the overhyping of technical details into critiques and false assertions about scientist’s integrity and the dramatic jumping to conclusions evident in the various responses. It is not, and never has been about the right of people to question or investigate the science themselves (despite what you might read elsewhere). – gavin]

    Isn’t the entire post, and many of the comments just an outcry over that Briffa and some more have been subjected to exactly what you claim to uphold so dearly?

    He Briffa (and some of you) have been reviewed by a peer. In this case somebody who points out the number of datapoints used for a certain chronology really aren’t that many, and that other data is available, and that the statistically significant conclusions that can be drawn from one tree (YAD061) really aren’t that robust.

    Why then the fuss? And why so much about the person, the press, and everything else completely irrelevant. If Steve M is wrong, then he is. Bad for him. But I don’t really se anybody questioning his assertions. But I see an aweful lot about completely other things.

  355. Tim S.:

    I look forward to Keith Briffa (when he is feeling better, of course) writing a detailed article in which he explains his data selection process regarding the Yamal tree-ring controversy. I think that science benefits when questions are both raised and then answered. The politics of climate change (from both sides of this issue) all too often muddy the waters of understanding.

  356. Jeffrey Davis:

    Ocean temps are the hottest ever recorded.

    If we want to talk about where the action is for Earth’s temperature: ocean temps are the hottest ever recorded.

    (Why are we still debating this? The word on this came out, I believe, over a month ago. Don’t climate septics read?)

  357. Hank Roberts:

    Tom P, or anyone, ImageShack says the Mac (OSX, Intel) needs a plugin but there isn’t one to see the images there. Any pointer welcome.

  358. Hank Roberts:

    Mike Roddy, can’t get your link to work; pointer?

  359. Rod B:

    Is Bill Maher the new climate science poster child??

  360. jd:

    I can help wondering about tree ring data from Yamal which is tree-less tundra. What about tree ring data from Antarctica or the Sahara desert or the middle of the ocean?

    At least bristlecone pines are actual long-living trees.

    This whole thing looks like a stunt.

  361. Ray Ladbury:

    Greg Kai,
    Don’t look for the “definitie” reconstruction–a new one will take its place in a year or so. Rather, ask yourself what all the reconstructions in aggregate are talling you–e.g. it’s warmer now than in the past 2000 years! That is how science works. Don’t focus on one data series in one paper for over a decade. That is not science. This is what the McAuditors are missing (well, that and about 30 IQ points).

  362. Ray Ladbury:

    Tim S. says, “I look forward to Keith Briffa (when he is feeling better, of course) writing a detailed article in which he explains his data selection process regarding the Yamal tree-ring controversy. I think that science benefits when questions are both raised and then answered. The politics of climate change (from both sides of this issue) all too often muddy the waters of understanding.”

    Fine from a history of science, perspective–but it ain’t science. Science will have moved on by then to new understanding.

  363. Tom P:

    Here are the chronologies perhaps a friendlier format:

    With and without YAD06:
    http://img340.imageshack.us/i/oyad06.png/

    and with increasing core length:
    http://img121.imageshack.us/img121/1029/cru72.png/
    http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/7109/cru100.png/
    http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/369/cru150.png/
    http://img514.imageshack.us/i/cru200.png/
    http://img251.imageshack.us/img251/8273/cru250.png/

  364. Solomon Green:

    I do not understand dendrology. However before I bacame a statistician, I was for several years involved in growing trees professionally. Growth depends on many things, light, moisture (both atmospheric and ground, temperature, nutrients, age and parasites are some that spring immediately to mind.

    As a statistician I believe that it is necessary to eliminate the effect of all other variables before one can be sure that there is a genuine correlation between any two. It is not even sufficient to hold all but two of the variables stationary while examining the correlation between the remainder, since until proved otherwise they are all interdependent.

    Tree rings are useful for determining age but to draw any firm conclusions as to temperature or other short term atmospheric conditions from ancient tree rings is to put faith before math.

  365. Ray Ladbury:

    Chris says, “However, since then the average anomaly has been +0.41C (Jan 2008 to Aug 2009), which is comparable to 13 years ago (+0.42C for Jan 1995 to Aug 1996).”

    Please, tell me you are joking! You guys are down to comparing averages over 18 months! Thanks, next time I want to know whether to wear a jacket, I’ll tune into what you have to say–or the Weather Channel. They’re equally relevant to climate science.

  366. Steve Fish:

    Hey jd (~360, 12:30PM):

    Because I share your concern about stunts offered up in serious communication (what this topic is about), I recommend that you re-post some serious and respectful questions so that you might actually get a substantive answer.

    Steve

  367. Tilo Reber:

    dhogaza:
    “I also stated that the fact that changing the starting point by one year causes the slope to switch from negative to positive tells us something about using ten-year time periods,”

    Not really. The switch is from a very small negative to a very small positive. In both cases the .2C per decade temperature increase that you would expect from the CO2 increase is missing.

    Also, Gavin and Hansen have published papers that only included 10 years of data and they drew strong conclusions based upon that 10 years.

    [Response: I did? Hmmm… Perhaps you could remind me of where I drew a ‘strong conclusion’ based on linear trends that weren’t even close to significant? or where Jim did either? – gavin]

    The problem with the flattening of the temperature trend, whether it be slightly positive or slightly negative is not its length, but rather that it is not explained by any known elements of natural variation. The only element of natural variation that seems to point to a solution is the Svensmark cosmic radiation theory.

  368. David B. Benson:

    Tkearney (331) — Roger Bacon was an early European advocate of empiricism:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Bacon
    but the scientific method didn’t thoroughly take hold until Francis Bacon:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Bacon#The_New_Instrument
    I don’t give him sole credit.

  369. Jim Galasyn:

    One of the “young dendros” speaks!

    Unlike many of the people posting here, I have actually cored trees and studied the rings. … I have to say, McIntyre sounds reasonable when he questions the wisdom of attaching significance to such a truncated data set, and I wonder how the work of Briffa obtained such prominence

    Great, so you’ll be publishing your critique in the peer-reviewed literature soon, yes?

  370. Hank Roberts:

    Solomon Green says:
    > I do not understand dendrology

    Yes you do, you were doing it, before you became a statistician.
    http://www.google.com/search?q=define%3Adendrology

    Dendrochronology is what you don’t understand.

  371. mike roddy:

    Hank Roberts, #358:

    The link is
    http://forestcouncil.org/pdf/CO2emissions-Roddy.pdf

    You and others would probably be more interested in the background research, detailing the methodology. I don’t have a link, but will send it to you on request if you email me at greenframe@aol.com.

    I’ve been at this a long time, and have been before Congressional committees on timber industry subsidies. As you probably know, there are a lot of problems with our timber consumption in addition to CO2.

  372. Steve Fish:

    Solomon Green (~364, 1:00PM):

    I know very little about this area of science although I generally trust the scientists, especially when they have a body of work on a subject. Because of your strong assertion regarding tree rings being valid for age but not for any other variable, could you please explain your analysis of Briffa’s methods in his research articles on the subject?

    Steve

  373. Tilo Reber:

    Gavin:
    [Response: I did? Hmmm… Perhaps you could remind me of where I drew a ‘strong conclusion’ based on linear trends that weren’t even close to significant? or where Jim did either? – gavin]

    No problem:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1110252

    From abstract:
    “This imbalance is confirmed by precise measurements of increasing ocean heat content over the past 10 years. Implications include (i) the expectation of additional global warming of about 0.6°C without further change of atmospheric composition; ”

    [Response: Those trends in that OHC data set are very significant indeed. And they remain significant in recent updates to the OHC numbers by Levitus and others. The issue is not the period of time, but the ratio of signal to noise. 10 years is not enough for the global tempertures, it can be enough in other metrics. – gavin]

  374. Cumulus:

    For those of you are not aware, Ross McKitrick published an intriguing diatribe in the Canadian newspaper the National Post on Friday, 2 October, that ran under the title:

    “Ross McKitrick: Defects in key climate data are uncovered

    Only by playing with data can scientists come up with the infamous ‘hockey stick’ graph of global warming

    By Ross McKitrick”

    Read the entire missive at:

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2009/10/01/ross-mckitrick-defects-in-key-climate-data-are-uncovered.aspx

    or using this link: http://tinyurl.com/yg4d7pu

    Aside from the clearly libelous title, you will notice that McKitrick’s missive contains misinformation, bias and distortion. The angle is clearly to try and paint the whole AGW theory as a big lie which is built on a house of cards.

    McKitrick assures readers at ClimateAudit.org that he was not informed by the newspaper that they were going to run with “Only by playing with data can scientists come up with the infamous ‘hockey stick’ graph of global warming”.

    McKitrick has stated at ClimateAudit.org that he is not interested in asking the paper to issue a correction, and has been quite dismissive and cavalier about the whole sad affair.

    Anyhow, I urge all those concerned to contact the National Post and request them to (at the very least) issue a correction, those expressing their concerns should also point out the misinformation and misleading parts included in McKitrick’s missive. Really, this is the kind of thing I would have expected from Lord Monckton.

    I urge readers who are offended/concerned by this piece to please express your (polite and quantitative) concerns to all of the following people at the National Post:

    Tcorcoran@nationalpost.com
    kmcparland@nationalpost.com
    jturley-ewart@nationalpost.com

    Somebody should probably also notify Briffa.

  375. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Jim Cross:

    In light of recent studies of the influence of PDO on global temperatures and the suggestions that there may be factors that magnify the solar irradiance influence, fifty or sixty years (or perhaps 100) might be more useful.

    Variance accounted for in NASA GISS temperature anomalies, 1900-2007:

    Solar cosntant: 2.5%

    PDO index: 4.0%

    Ln CO2: 75%

    Exercise for the student: Can you arrange these numbers in descending order by magnitude? Which process is having the largest effect? The smallest?

  376. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Tilo Reber:

    The only element of natural variation that seems to point to a solution is the Svensmark cosmic radiation theory.

    What part of “cosmic ray flux has shown no trend for 50 years while temperatures have increased sharply” do you not understand?

  377. luminous beauty:

    Solomon Green,

    As a statistician I believe that it is necessary to eliminate the effect of all other variables before one can be sure that there is a genuine correlation between any two. It is not even sufficient to hold all but two of the variables stationary while examining the correlation between the remainder, since until proved otherwise they are all interdependent.

    Perhaps while growing trees professionally you heard of something called Leibig’s Law of the Minimum? This is primarily why climate sensitive dendro specimens are carefully chosen according to strongly limiting criteria rather than randomly selected from general population stands of a given species. Furthermore, information beyond mere ring width such as cell size and number, chemical composition and atomic isotope analysis are used to remove confounding effects. A simple explanation is provided here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqicp4PvHrY

    If you want to learn more, good introductory textbooks are:

    http://www.amazon.com/Tree-Rings-Climate-H-Fritts/dp/1930665393/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_1

    And:

    http://www.amazon.com/Tree-Rings-Basics-Applications-Dendrochronology/dp/9027724458/ref=pd_sim_b_3

    For more up-to-date graduate level study, there’s:

    http://www.amazon.com/Tree-Ring-Analysis-Biological-Methodological-Environmental/dp/0851993125/ref=pd_sim_b_2

    And:

    http://www.amazon.com/Methods-Dendrochronology-Applications-Environmental-Sciences/dp/0792305868/ref=pd_sim_b_2

  378. Phil. Felton:


    Tkearney says:
    3 October 2009 at 7:04 AM
    For an deconstruction of McIntyre’s analysis and McKitrick’s Da Vinci Code-style claims, read something from actual working climate scientists
    ….

    Um, Einstein was not an ‘actual working’ physicist

    He certainly was, his office was within half a mile of where I’m typing this! That he was working as a technical assistant in the Swiss Patent Office while completing work on his PhD in order to support his family because he hadn’t been able to get a teaching position is irrelevant.

  379. Steve Bloom:

    Re #353: Mike, I don’t think it’s so much a lack of interest as a consequence of where the expertise of the RC authors is focused (not in the biological sciences), and of the fact that ten times as many posts still wouldn’t be keeping up with the breadth of the science. That said, there was a recent forestry-related RC guest post by Jim Bouldin, who I believe does have the expertise to address the issue you raise, so getting in touch with him seems like the thing to do.

  380. Cumulus:

    Someone by the name “The Lorax” has been trying to ask some questions at ClimateAudit.org about the Briffa case and the perils of conducting audits in the public forum. It has been interesting, no depressing, to watch. CA closed ranks and bombarded Lorax with vitriol, ad hom attacks and childish remarks. To say that they rallied to McIntyre’s and McKitricks defense (no questions asked) would be a gross understatement. They even chided Lorax by offering to “baby sit him/her” and telling him/her to “read THE BLOG” (“The Blog” being the entire CA site, which apparently is of biblical importance).
    Other than the poor Lorax, it has been crickets at CA, everyone high-fiving everyone else, and continuing to make allegations against Briffa.
    I can understand that they are frustrated after having to wait almost 10 years, but why should anyone be under any obligation to release their data for public audit by a private individual on the internet of all places? There are more official and appropriate means for doing audits. Lorax tried to tell CA that but they just got more aggressive and condescending.

    I think that this needs to be said. Briffa erred by delaying, he also made some perplexing choices of which tree rings to include or which not to include. He did have options, he could have said “I will have my data audited, but it will be done in private by an unbiased and independent third party. The findings of that audit will only be released upon its conclusion.” The tree-ring matter needs to be resolved, but to draw that work into the public forum as has been done by McIntyre, McKitrick and Piekle Jnr. before it has been resolved is absolutely nuts.

    Also, what we need to do to mitigate the imnpacts of AGW is independent of the tree ring proxies. There are several other temperature reconstructions (which do not use tree rings) which we can use to place the warming of the 20th and 21st century in context. Question the tree rings all you want, fair enough let us do the analyses properly and be transparent, but at the end of the day those tree ring analyses are not a make or break for the theory of AGW as McKitrick is implying.

    Why are people who are posting here, not there (at CA) asking some difficult questions about McKitrick’s paper, how McIntyre ties in with McKitrick’s paper, the contents of McKitrick’s paper?
    There are obviously some CA trolls here trying to be disruptive. Don’t go to CA to be disruptive but to try and start some dialogue, to present a n alternative view and to debate the science.

  381. Hank Roberts:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL040142.shtml

    “… increase in solar-cycle averaged TSI from the Maunder Minimum to the present amounts to (0.9 ± 0.4) Wm−2. In combination with climate models, our reconstruction offers the possibility to test the claimed links between climate and TSI forcing.”

    Citation: Steinhilber, F., J. Beer, and C. Fröhlich (2009), Total solar irradiance during the Holocene, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L19704, doi:10.1029/2009GL040142.

  382. Hank Roberts:

    Simon Green wrote:

    > As a statistician I believe that it is necessary to eliminate the
    > effect of all other variables before one can be sure that there is
    > a genuine correlation between any two.

    Are you referring to something like this?

    Estimating the strength of genuine and random correlations in non-stationary multivariate time series
    M. Müller, G. Baier, C. Rummel and K. Schindler 2008 EPL 84 10009 (6pp) doi: 10.1209/0295-5075/84/10009
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1209/0295-5075/84/10009

  383. wayne davidson:

    #365 Ray, correct reasoning would dictate a reflection of Temperature Vs CO2, as a mirror, in the short term, not driven by astronomical cycles as the lags of distant past, but a CO2 forced reverse lag tempered by winters. World wide sst’s are the warmest ever, along with GT’s as high as recorded, even with a much weaker El-Nino than 1997, 2.5 times weaker, we are warmer . it is astounding to read someone claiming flat temperatures.
    I cant explain why some do not study climate in a comprehensive way, coming with incoherent conclusions.
    Reading the numbers with an agenda perhaps warps intellectual processing? If those who claim temperatures as being flat care to reason, a little bit more, then why are they? As they claim……. flat? If CO2 doesn’t have any radiative powers, why are the temperatures so high? Should the temperature anomalies vary up and down the 0 degree mark? Despite variances driven by ENSO?

  384. Marion Delgado:

    It’s a worse-than-unserious question/objection in this case to talk about hiding data. The data was not Briffa’s but the Russians’. Assuming PaulC above is sincere and not trolling, all the people that bring that up to him are either abysmally ignorant or completely dishonest. They don’t really merit a response in the latter case, and I wish him luck in the former case.

  385. Tom P:

    Cumulus,

    Read what I have written on the Climate Audit here:

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=7241

    as well as posted above. Briffa’s CRU archive is extremely robust to an age-sensitive test. There is no reason from the statistics to think that there has been any conscious or inadvertent bias in constructing the Yamal chronology.

    Steve McIntyre’s critique was rather uncooked (to be kind) but he appeared to be in quite a rush to find fault and has left behind a bit of a mess.

  386. Eli Rabett:

    Jim Cross is wrong in #344. Data, like it or not is intellectual property and if someone has shared data with you, you cannot give it to a third party without their permission. More bluntly put if anyone tried it no one would ever share data with them again because no one would trust them. This is a well established ethical constraint

    It appears that what we have here is McIntyre berating the wrong party. Without wading through the morass, did McIntyre ever ask the Russians for the cores or the associated data??

  387. mike roddy:

    Thanks, Steve Bloom, for the reference to Bouldin’s post. The problem is that he says nothing about human impacts at ground level, which is of course mostly industrial logging. Reducing these practices is where we could really make some headway.

    I suggest that you ask Dr. Hansen of UC Davis to make the next post on the subject.

  388. MarkB:

    Solomon Green (#364),

    You stated:

    “Tree rings are useful for determining age but to draw any firm conclusions as to temperature or other short term atmospheric conditions from ancient tree rings is to put faith before math.”

    after stating:

    “I do not understand dendrology.”

    Perhaps you should work to understand dendrology by reading the variety of studies in the literature. Else, you’re strong conclusion about its usefulness is putting faith before facts.

  389. CTG:

    Isn’t it about time there was a ClimateAuditAudit site, where the work of McIntyre could be subject to independent scrutiny?

    After all, by removing 12 cores and substituting 34 different cores, isn’t McIntyre guilty of precisely the offence that he (didn’t) accuse Briffa of? Who is holding McIntyre accountable?

  390. Hank Roberts:

    Mike, follow the link to Jim Bouldin’s website; what you see here is the climatology aspect but his website will have much more of interest to you.
    He’s taught me a lot just as an amateur reader and wildland restoration geek.

  391. Walter Manny:

    Ray (334), thanks for the follow-up, though I’m not sure why you brought up the 1998 cherry-pick. I didn’t. Once again, though, to try to stimulate your curiosity about post-1999 data, I would refer you to:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/last:111/mean:12/plot/hadcrut3vgl/last:111/trend

    Absolutely, I picked data in and around sample size 111 to find the flat linear trend, and while there is nothing special about the “double-Nelson” 111, there is surely nothing special about 120 either, is there? With the UAH data, I can find the flat trend line at 115:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/last:115/mean:12/plot/uah/last:115/trend

    Yes, farting around with these graphs proves nothing, but I am intrigued by the lack of curiosity exhibited by so many posters here about other than “hot” interpretations of recent temperature trends. Isn’t it trying to have it both ways to critique decadal temperature flatness as mere “weather” and in the next breath talk up the record-breaking 2009?

    In any event, it’s back to the Ministry of Silly Graphs with me (Cleese and Palin still live!)

  392. Deep Climate:

    Decadal doesn’t mean “over the course of a decade”. It means from one decade to the next. So there is no “decadal flatness”. So far there has been global warming in every decade since the 1970s.

    I discussed this misunderstanding in these recent posts:

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/09/25/nyts-andy-revkin-backtracks-but-not-nearly-enough/

  393. Ray Ladbury:

    Walter Manhy, If you want to play areound with short time series, that is your business–not particular illuminating in my opinion. Where I object is when you and others contend that 10 years worth of data invalidates 30 years worth, or 130 years worth. The only way you can get “cooling trend” is by fooling around until you find the right starting and endpoints. To contend that that has any meaning at all is dishonest.

    On the other hand, to say that ocean temperatures are higher than they’ve ever been in the instrumental period or to call attention to record low ice extent in 2007 is perfectly valid when those facts are viewed as part of a long-term trend toward higher temperatures or shrinking icecaps. At this point, to contend that the planet is not warming well beyond anything experienced in human civilization requires one to ignore a mountain of facts.

    In contrast, denialists must distort the data to the point where it is utterly unrecognizable before they have anything that supports their sanguinity. Silly is only one adjective that applies.

  394. Ray Ladbury:

    Cumulus, Now hold on just a wee minute. One does not release data one has obtained elsewhere without the express consent of the individual one got it from AND from whoever signs the paycheck of said individual. There is nothing to stop McI or any other Frauditor from going to the Russians and asking for the data. There is no reason why, given McI’s lack of publication record, the Russians should take him seriously, but if they did, McI could then audit the data to his hearts content. Ignoramuses who know nothing of how science is done have no business criticizing Briffa or other working scientists. NONE! Science doesn’t advance by “audits”. It advances when other researchers improve on a previous result and in so doing either confirm or refute it.

    To date, ALL reconstructions show a hockey-stick like rise in the 20th century. Some hockey sticks have long handles, some shorter, but the anomalously large rise in temperature in the 20th century AND EXTENDING INTO THE 21ST, is undeniable. Briffa’s work is thereby confirmed.

  395. CTG:

    Re #391 W Manny

    You are right that there is nothing special about 111 or 120 months as a sample size. Why? Because at that length of time, most of the variance in the graph is coming from internal variability (i.e. weather), not the long-term trend.

    The minimum trend length that has any statistical significance (in the global temp record, not as a general rule) is 21 years, as discussed here: http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/01/results-on-deciding-trends.html.

    That would be 252 months, which would make the graph look like this: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/last:252/mean:12/plot/hadcrut3vgl/last:252/trend

    Flat, much?

  396. Russell Seitz:

    Barton Levenson asks:

    “Al Gore was one of Roger Revelle’s students in the 1960s, which means he’s taken at least one more climatology course than George Will has. Do you know who Revelle was? Do you know what he did?

    Roger’s achievements as an IGY organizer and godfather of CO2 monitoring should not be confused with his very popular survey of environmental science for humanities students .

    As a subsequent record of peer reviewed primary publications even shorter than than McIntyre’s indicates, the keystone of Al’s Sixties science education was a gut course as celebrated as Physics for Poets and Rocks for Jocks,

    So sophomoric an introduction to climatology could only benefit complete tyros like, well, Steve McIntyre and the Climate Audit audience, so I suggest we club together to buy Steve a copy of the course materials , or better still, a Gore Vice Presidential Library card, so he can check out the originals, and benefit from the marginal notes by Al’s long suffering and never ending stream of science tutors.

    As to Gavin’s objection that ;

    “This post is about the overhyping of technical details into critiques and false assertions about scientist’s integrity and the dramatic jumping to conclusions ”

    Is the debate over, or are we waiting for the station to stop at the next death train?
    In the run up to Copenhagen, hyperbole is contagious as swine flu, and instead of investing in a vaccine, both sides seem to be doubling down on their advertising budgets.

  397. Walter Manny:

    Ray: “To contend that that has any meaning at all is dishonest.” Here is where you and yours get yourselves in the soup, repeatly. To conflate disagreement and dishonesty, to me, is a dull rhetorical axe. I don’t believe all this animus advances the ball one way or the other, but that said, I do appreciate your observations on the subject, as always.

  398. Mike:

    Ray Ladbury says:
    “At this point, to contend that the planet is not warming well beyond anything experienced in human civilization requires one to ignore a mountain of facts.”

    I understood the Holocene thermal maximum was warmer than the current climate? As shown by the vostok/greenland ice core climate reconstructions. So it “may be the warmest its been in the last couple o centuries(i wouldnt debate that) And possibly for the last couple o millennium(it was declining from the maximum) but the warmest during human civilization may be a bit o a stretch.

    I dont believe what is being implied by the tree ring reconstruction critique is that the current instrumental trend is flawed, more so that the possibility of the historical oscillations may be understated?

    [Response: Actually it’s not clear if the early Holocene was warmer globally. It certainly was in northern hemisphere summers (as a function of orbital precession – closest approach to the sun was in August instead of January at present times), but there was less tropical insolation and evidence of cooler tropics at that point. However, whether it was or not, it was driven to a large extent by the slowly changing orbit – not something that is relevant over the last 50 years. – gavin]

  399. Hank Roberts:

    Walter, you’re claiming that the math used in statistics — how to determine how many samples are needed to assess a trend — is a matter of opinion over which reasonable people can disagree.

    Reasonably innumerate people may well disagree with the math.

    But you know it’s dishonest to claim as meaningful a span that’s insufficient to be meaningful mathematically for the statistical test being done.

    If it doesn’t add up, that’s not a matter of honest disagreement, except among people who can’t count that high.

  400. dhogaza:

    McKitrick assures readers at ClimateAudit.org that he was not informed by the newspaper that they were going to run with “Only by playing with data can scientists come up with the infamous ‘hockey stick’ graph of global warming”.

    This actually would appear to be one of the rare cases where McKitrick is telling the truth. Copyeditors, at traditional newspapers (and I’m sure their online editions), not columnists or journalists, write headlines, and news articles may appear with different headlines in different editions (back when newspapers had multiple editions per day, at least!).

    McKitrick has stated at ClimateAudit.org that he is not interested in asking the paper to issue a correction, and has been quite dismissive and cavalier about the whole sad affair.

    Of course. His article is every bit as bad as the headline. After all, he ends the article by saying “this [briffa’s research] is not science”.

  401. dhogaza:

    To conflate disagreement and dishonesty, to me, is a dull rhetorical axe.

    Well, there are only two possibilities for disagreement on something as basic as this:

    1. absolute ignorance of statistics

    2. dishonest

    Since you are offended by Ray’s having chosen #2, that leaves us with #1. Rather than disagreeing, why not go learn a bit so you understand that this is the statistical equivalent of stating that 2+2 equasl 4, and there’s no room for “disagreement”.

  402. dhogaza:

    In both cases the .2C per decade temperature increase that you would expect from the CO2 increase is missing.

    Tilo Reber, you know very well that climate science does not claim that temperatures will increase 0.2C every decade in monotonically increasing style, that natural variability is known about and acknowledged within climate science, and that all that’s stated is in terms of statistically valid, long-term trends.

    Building strawmen versions of science to knock down is nothing short of lying.

  403. Cumulus:

    Ray #394, I mostly agree with your comments. There needs to be a permanent group out there, some third party, to which scientists can go and have the data or methods in controversial papers reviewed/audited in **private**. Such a group would be comprised of independent experts in the relevant field. Upon conclusion of the investigation they would release their findings in a report for all to see. That is one, ethical and fair way, to conduct an audit.

    Anyhow, I’m not sure where the confusion crept in with my earlier message, probably me, I’m tired and wasn’t making myself clear. Please go and try and tell the “group think” at ClimateAudit what you just told us here. The auditing of these sensitive and complex issues in the public forum, nay the internet of all places, is ludicrous and destined to end in a circus. McIntyre will deny that until he is blue in the face, but that is the reality. Truth is, he probably wants a fiasco, how can people take AGW seriously when it is in the middle of a circus? Doesn’t matter if the allegations are wrong, doesn’t matter if they do not change the conclusions of the research. The idea is to caste doubt and undermine the credibility of the science.

    I think someone should ask for McIntyre to have his income taxes audited for all to see in the public forum. All of it, including everyones opinions and what he may have done wrong, or could have done, or should have done. Even if there was no wrong doing, at the end of the day he would look bad. That would not be right, it would not be fair, but if was someone’s intention to cast doubt on his credibility, they would have succeeded.

    Now I’m not seriously suggesting that someone do that. But I hope people get the analogy that I am trying to make here.

    NB: Ray, I urge you and Tom P to please contact the National Post and express your concerns and views on this matter (see my earlier post for their contact details). They really do need to get the message.

  404. Mark P:

    Gavin

    Interesting article. Stripping away the hyperbole, ad-hominems, debates on the scientific method and the merits of archiving data on both sides of the debate, I just want to ask some specific, clear questions about the Briffa (2000) paper and McIntyre’s allegations.

    My understanding is that McIntyre has made a specific criticism of the science in the Briffa (2000) paper. His criticism is that the tree core sample set used in the calibration period is statistically poor. He further alleges that this significantly weakens the scientific conclusions of the Briffa (2000) paper. More specifically, he seems to make the following criticisms of Briffa (2000):

    1) In the calibration period, too few tree cores are used. He alleges at http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=7142 that”The counts decline from 24 in 1956 to only 10 in 1990 and 5 in 1995-96″. He further claims at http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=7257 that this is too few to be statistically valid given the RCS method used in Briffa (2000): “… it was not of an adequate size in the modern period for Briffa’s RCS standardization”.

    [Response: I’m not a tree ring person, so my opinion on this is perhaps not worth much, but RCS creates one single tree-ring growth curve for the area, which is used to detrend all the trees. I can certainly see that having enough trees to calculate the growth curve would be cruical, but once that is defined, you can apply it to as many or as few as you want. Thus the claim that 10 or 12 trees is too few for one particular portion seems a step too far. Obviously more is better, but whether 10 or 12 is enough depends on what uncertainty level you are ok with. It isn’t going to be a hard and fast rule. – gavin]

    2) The calibration tree cores appear highly atypical compared with the rest of the sample population. They are at the upper end of the age range and some of them show statistically extreme growth spurts in recent times. At http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=7241 he states “There is a profound inhomogeneity in the age composition of the living trees in the [Briffa (2000)] CRU archive relative to the subfossil archive” and on the same thread he shows example of growth spurts in some of the trees.

    [Response: If you look at the fossil trees you will see similar things, and of course there is a systematic issue related to sampling living trees that might well be younger on average than the fossil ones. Tom P. above showed that the Yamal curve was robust to homogenising the age structure, and frankly I have a lot more confidence in Keith Briffa to do this right than I have in McIntyre. – gavin]

    Your article above and Briffa’s response here http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/people/briffa/yamal2000/ both seem to focus on the ad-hominem parts of McIntyre’s threads, ie they address the implied allegation of cherry-picking of the calibration set. While this may be interesting, it does not in my view address McIntyre’s specific scientific criticisms of the calibration set which I have tried to summarise above.

    [Response: Perhaps you will notice that it is the implied allegations that were objectionable. No-one has any problem with McIntyre making his own chronologies or his own reconstructions as long as the decisions he makes about what to include or not and how to process the data is sound and properly described in a paper. – gavin]

    Questions to you, Gavin. Do these specific criticisms of the science in Briffa (2000) have any merit? If they are without merit, what are the specific rebuttal points which defend Briffa (2000) against them? If they do have some merit, how much do they weaken the scientific conclusions of the Briffa (2000) paper?

    [Response: I doubt very much that the issue raised have much merit. That reconstruction was the one that was made with that source material. With more source material (which is apparently being processed and added in) the chronology will change somewhat I suppose, but I’m happy to wait and see what comes out. – gavin]

    Just to be clear, I am not interested in
    – ad hominem answers (motivations, accusations of cherry picking, etc)
    – defences based on the fact that other scientific studies produce similar results to Briffa 2000,
    – discussions of what calibration set pre-selection or pre-processing might or might not have been done, and whether it was or was not valid. If it is not explicitly mentioned in Briffa (2000) or other contemporaneous referenced material then I’m not interested in it.

    I am genuinely trying to understand the science behind dendroclimatology, but I often struggle to find the science behind the personalities – I hope your reply can help me.

    Mark

  405. Ray Ladbury:

    Walter Manny, OK, what would you call it when someone KNOWINGLY uses a time series too short to be representative and draws conclusions for a LAY audience who is not sufficiently sophisticated to recognize the invalidity of the exercise. Personally, I think dishonesty is a charitable label. It borders on criminal fraud.

  406. Kevin McKinney:

    Walter, the point is that there are statistical tests for significance. If those are too much trouble, there are rules of thumb, such as the “30-year climatological trend” idea, which is floating around.

    But if you’re fussing about with trends at 111 versus 120 months, do you really feel that that is an “honest” endeavor? A significant endeavor? And just which group of people keeps harping on this short timeline, anyway?

    Responding to these (IMO, foolish) claims doesn’t add up to “trying to have it both ways.”

  407. ghost:

    RE: Barton’s post 376 “What part of “cosmic ray flux has shown no trend for 50 years while temperatures have increased sharply….”, I have not yet seen a denial theory trumpeted to the effect that ‘temperature simply lags cosmic flux by about 50 years, as illustrated by this graph of the past…50 years’ but I imagine it is/will be out there somewhere.

    On the general denial topic, if we are able to reduce GHGs enough to slow AGW, then the continuing cry will be ‘See–the temperature is cooling, so AGW never existed. That SOB Al Gore cost us a lot of money for nothing.’ We’ve seen the same spin about Y2K–‘they got all cry-wolfed up about Y2K problems, and they never happened, so it was just a bunch of hysteria’ (ignoring the massive commitment of money, time, and personnel that was responsible for avoiding the problem.’) In a way, the short-circuit about hurricane warnings is similar–‘the government said Hurricane X could be deadly, but looky here, the hurricane landed, but no one died. They scared the residents for nothing.’ (Nevermind that the reason no one died is that everybody evacuated the area.)
    On the general denial topic, if we are able to reduce GHGs enough to slow AGW, then the cry will be ‘See–the temperature is cooling, so AGW never existed.’

  408. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #396 Walter Manny

    Here is where you and yours get yourselves into the soup:

    Actually, your reply is more easily connotatively rhetoric, while Ray is more clearly and connotatively described as responsive, informative and descriptive.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rhetoric

    How is your statement not dishonest?

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dishonest

    In other words, since your statement is not trustworthy with regard to relevant context, why would anyone trust if, i.e. the statement/implication that the last 10 years (or whatever) is flat is dishonest when weighed in consideration of the overall warming trend caused by human contributions to greenhouse gases. You can of course use the lame argument that you only meant to discuss the short term, but it is a ridiculously weak, even pathetic, argument…, considering the fact that you already know 10 years is meaningless in the context of AGW.

    How is being honest about other peoples dishonesty a bad thing? Or are you going to claim that those bloggers in RC are mean because they are attacking my dishonesty with honesty?

    If what you are representing is not representing honestly the relevant perspective, it is dishonest.

  409. Richard Sycamore:

    Tom P’s analysis is intriguing. Perhaps he can write it up in full so that we can benefit from the wisdom of his insight?

  410. Eli Rabett:

    For the Yamal thread:

    CTG at 389 asks if the auditors have been audited. Been there, done that

    BTW, Nigel is Steve in drag. Something that would have been useful to know.

  411. Hank Roberts:

    The ‘emeritus effect’ has been quantified:
    http://www.nature.com/naturejobs/2009/091001/full/nj7264-681a.html

    Likely the same applies to auditors.
    This is a strong argument for having many journals, many reviewers, and for that matter many, many auditing firms — not only a few large ones that can be dominated by older people who have lost their edge and critical sense.

    It’s, as one person interviewed in the article says, rather depressing if you’re among the older people, but we knew it happened.

    It’s good news for the younger people coming up who still have their critical edge on.

  412. Deep Climate:

    #404
    Good to see some of the issues with McI’s analysis coming out.

    Meanwhile, I’m having trouble posting here on my analysis of McIntyre’s evolving charges of cherry-picking. Some of the outrageous language (reference to addicts etc.) he used is getting caught in the spam filter.

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/10/04/climate-auditor-steve-mcintyre-yamal/

  413. Hank Roberts:

    > in drag
    As in using a sock puppet? Just to be clear.

    [Response: Tim Lambert at Deltoid has looked into this before. – mike]

  414. EW:

    Cumulus said:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/09/hey-ya-mal/comment-page-8/#comment-137195

    I can understand that they are frustrated after having to wait almost 10 years, but why should anyone be under any obligation to release their data for public audit by a private individual on the internet of all places?
    This may be a new concept for you, but for e.g., in the phylogenetic studies based on DNA sequences, the said sequences, all software used for processing and the parameters of the analyses, often with the whole input files, must be archived prior even submitting the paper in the completely open internet databases as GenBank and Treebase. Otherwise it would not be even considered for submission.
    So, if anyone wants to check the calculations, be it a private individual, or a colleague working in the field, they can. Even most of the software is open source.

  415. Hank Roberts:

    Erm, if you look at Eli’s link to the old Usenet info, don’t click the link in that page to “climate2003.com” without your Javascript guard up; it appears to me that the URL is in the hands of one of those superficially convincing marketing companies that puts up a maze of endless links to stuff, or worse.

    Just googling for doublequote Steve McIntyre doublequote space doublequote Nigel Persaud doublequote finds ample documentation of the sockpuppetry.

    Aside: at least where I live, being ‘in drag’ is unlike a sock puppet in every way — not lying, not deceptive, and fun to be around. Theater, not bunkum.

  416. Ron Broberg:

    re47:

    Gavin,

    I want to publicly thank NASA/GISS for putting source code for GISTEMP and ModelE online. I am one of those that have downloaded the code. I was able to compile the code on an Ubuntu Linux system with some additional downloads. Except for ‘step 5′ in GISTEMP. Had some problems there.

    Having access to the code was a cool treat for me. Made me look much closer into the published accounts of GISTEMP and USHCN. It help educate me. It made me a better advocate for AGW science.

    And maybe I’ll be able to crack ‘step 5′ yet! :-)

    With sincere thanks.

  417. Mark P:

    Gavin

    Thanks for your response. I appreciate your time, your response raises a few more questions for me:

    >> I can certainly see that having enough trees to calculate the growth curve would be cruical, but once that is defined, you can apply it to as many or as few as you want. Thus the claim that 10 or 12 trees is too few for one particular portion seems a step too far. Obviously more is better, but whether 10 or 12 is enough depends on what uncertainty level you are ok with. It isn’t going to be a hard and fast rule. – gavin

    I disagree, there IS going to be a hard and fast rule. McIntyre refers to a paper [Bunn et al, Tree Ring Research Vol 60(2)] which shows some evidence that the RCS method is weak with small numbers (15) of trees unless the signal amplitude is very large. What test does Briffa (2000) apply to its calibration set during the RCS process, and does its 12 tree set pass this test?

    [Response: Knowing what Briffa (2000) does or does not do would be best served by reading Briffa (2000) and not asking me. Similarly, understanding Bunn et al is best started by reading Bunn et al (online here). In it you will find that the statement about numbers is related to the construction of the RCS growth curve (for which a minimum of 15 trees was suggested). This is exactly in line with my previous comment and does not support your contention in the slightest. To quote (my highlighting):

    The RCS method is sensitive to the number of series used to generate the regional curve. If the model runs containing 15 trees are subset (115 of the 10,000 models runs), then the mean coherency between the input signals and the RCS chronology for the multi-centennial time scales is 0.76.

    I should once again point out that I don’t know very much about tree rings – though I am capable of checking references. – gavin]

    >> Tom P. above showed that the Yamal curve was robust to homogenising the age structure,

    Tom P has done some great work – kudos to him for doing so. But I think he’s on the wrong track. McIntyre alleges that the calibration trees are atypical compared with the total data set. He appears correct – they are atypical at least as far as age goes. Tom P has demonstrated that making the rest of the data set atypical in the same way has little impact on the results. Fair enough. But that absolutely does not address the criticism of the calibration trees. Given what we know about the entire Yamal data set, the calibration trees are still atypical. Making the rest of the data set atypical won’t help that. We are still left with questions:- Does Briffa (2000) mention the atypicality of the calibration trees? If not, why not? If it does, how does it compensate for their atypicality, or does it show that it doesn’t matter?

    As an aside Tom has shown that the results are highly sensitive to the calibration trees:- removing a single tree out of the 250-plus in the sample set has a significant impact on the Briffa (2000) results. It reduces the hockey stick height from about 2.75 units to about 2.35. That’s about 20% of the entire result attributable to one out of the 250 plus trees in the sample. Does Briffa (2000) test the robustness of its results to the type, or number of the calibration trees? Does the fact that Briffa (2000) results shows significant variation with the removal of just one tree mean that McIntyre’s criticism has merit at least in part?

    [Response: That’s nuts. Do you think that anyone trusts a paleo-curve so much that a 0.4 sigma unit change on an individual year or decade has any consequence? Your definition of ‘significant variation’ is clearly at odds with mine. – gavin]

    >> and frankly I have a lot more confidence in Keith Briffa to do this right than I have in McIntyre

    That’s ad hominem – exactly what I didn’t want, it’s unhelpful

    >> I doubt very much that the issue raised have much merit. That reconstruction was the one that was made with that source material. With more source material (which is apparently being processed and added in) the chronology will change somewhat I suppose, but I’m happy to wait and see what comes out.

    So on the one hand you’re happy to wait and see, but on the other you’ve published a 1300 word blog entry stating that McIntyre is categorically wrong? Again I find that unhelpful.

    [Response: Perhaps you should read the top post again. I think it’s pretty clear that the objection is to McInytre’s unfounded implications that something underhand was going on. And yes, his rejection of 12 trees he doesn’t like with no justification to create a new chronology (which we are now to understand wasn’t meant to be a chronology at al) was wrong. – gavin]

    Looking forward to some clarity

    Mark

  418. Cumulus:

    Dhogaza, you may or may not be right about the Financial Post fabricating that inflammatory blurb. Even if the Financial Post did, if McKitrick or McIntyre did not agree with that statement why have they not contacted the post to issue a correction? If they don’t, we can only conclude that they agree with the statement that:

    “Only by playing with data can scientists come up with the infamous ‘hockey stick’ graph of global warming”

    And that speaks volumes as to the real motive of their public “audits”.

  419. Tilo Reber:

    dhogaza #401:
    “Tilo Reber, you know very well that climate science does not claim that temperatures will increase 0.2C every decade in monotonically increasing style, that natural variability is known about and acknowledged within climate science, and that all that’s stated is in terms of statistically valid, long-term trends.”

    Yes, I’m well aware that natural variability is able to mask the supposed effects of CO2. I have no problem with natural variability. And I have no problem with the idea of using a long enough time period so that most of the natural variability can be removed when drawing a trend line. But here is my issue. The period of time we are talking about is history. We have all of the data about it. We should be able to say that the current relatively flat trend is caused by ENSO or PDO or Volcanoes, or whatever. But we cannot identify an element of natural variability that is responsible for the flattening. For that reason the flattening becomes important, even though it is only 11 years.

    [Response: Can we move off this topic? some people might find the endless discussion of 10 or 11 or 9 years trends endlessly fascinating, but that would not include me. Pretty much everything that can be said has been said a dozen times. – gavin]

  420. Tilo Reber:

    Gavin:
    [Response: If you look at the fossil trees you will see similar things, and of course there is a systematic issue related to sampling living trees that might well be younger on average than the fossil ones. Tom P. above showed that the Yamal curve was robust to homogenising the age structure, and frankly I have a lot more confidence in Keith Briffa to do this right than I have in McIntyre. – gavin]

    Actually, Gavin, Tom P’s data shows that the Briffa results are not robust. As Craig Loehle has posted, Larches seem to get more sensitive to temperature variation as they get older. Maybe that’s because their roots are deeper and they have less issues with water – who knows. But what we do know is this – the trees that Briffa has to represent the modern era are on average much older than the trees that Briffa has to represent older history. So when Tom begins to pull out trees, most of the trees that come out first are the trees in the older version. What we can see from his graphs is that the now older data begins to climb as compared to the contemporary data. Finally, when all of the younger trees have been removed from the older history we see Tom’s last chart. Now the trees from the earlier history are as old as the trees in the current era. The result shows that there is a peak around 800 that is larger than that around 2000. And there are peaks around 200 and 1450 that compete with 2000.

  421. dhogaza:

    And that speaks volumes as to the real motive of their public “audits”.

    I’m extremely aware of their real motives. Just pointing out how things work in the press. I used to write an occasional column on natural history topics for my local daily and at times, the headline provided by the copywriter would make me cringe.

  422. Tom P:

    Richard Sycamore,

    Thanks. I’d certainly be willing to put together a concatentation of my comments for RC and/or CA, although I’m waiting to see what Steve McIntyre’s promised response is first.

    I think there is some merit in taking on McIntyre’s criticism head on. I’m also rather impressed by the robustness of Briffa’s analysis having put some fairly stringent sensitivity tests on it.

  423. dhogaza:

    We have all of the data about it. We should be able to say that the current relatively flat trend is caused by ENSO or PDO or Volcanoes, or whatever.

    You’re suggesting that climate scientists aren’t aware that 1998 was an El Niño year, or 2008 La Niña?

    Whatever, Tilo, whatever.

  424. Tom P:

    Tilo Reber,

    Cross-posted from CA:

    You say:
    “What we can see from his graphs is that the now older data begins to climb as compared to the contemporary data.”

    No it doesn’t – the noise increases but the average remains the same at around an index of 1 until the 20th century – the hockeystick is maintained.

    http://img121.imageshack.us/img121/723/yamal72to200.gif

    If you look more carefully you can discern a slightly warmer period around 1100 (index of 1.2) and a cooler period from around 1500 to the 1800’s (index of 0.7). These would be the MWP and LIA.

    You said:
    “Finally, when all of the younger trees have been removed from the older history we see Tom’s last chart. Now the trees from the earlier history are as old as the trees in the current era. The result shows that there is a peak around 800 that is larger than that around 2000. And there are peaks around 200 and 1450 that compete with 2000.”

    The last chronology excluding all but the cores less than 250 years is statistically invalid. I posted it for completeness to show that the only way to break the hockeystick was to take out so many cores that the all we are seeing for most of the record is noise.

    I was concerned that there might be a few people with a weak grasp of statistics who might want to claim sudden very warm periods of a few decades scattered around the last two thousand years on the basis of this invalid chronology – at least you are not alone in making this error.

  425. Phil. Felton:


    Cumulus says:
    4 October 2009 at 12:19 PM
    Dhogaza, you may or may not be right about the Financial Post fabricating that inflammatory blurb. Even if the Financial Post did, if McKitrick or McIntyre did not agree with that statement why have they not contacted the post to issue a correction? If they don’t, we can only conclude that they agree with the statement that:

    “Only by playing with data can scientists come up with the infamous ‘hockey stick’ graph of global warming”

    And that speaks volumes as to the real motive of their public “audits”.

    When challenged on this by Lorax I think McKitrick squirmed out of it by saying that he never had any input about the title and text immediately following. When I pointed out “And as an author when that title/comment does not accurately represent your comments don’t you have an ethical responsibility to write a clarifying comment to the publication? If they don’t publish it why would you ever write for them again?”
    McKitrick replied: “I don’t have a problem with the title. As far as I am concerned what this story is about it that a data set has been revealed to have a defect: the sample collapses just at the time the most prominent feature of the series emerges, a feature not shared in a comparable data set.” and “As for the NP article blurb, it is ambiguous because it refers to the “infamous ‘hockey stick’ graph”, which I take to refer to the MBH98 graph, and calling that episode “playing with data” is not inappropriate for what happened there.”

    So yes McKitrick does agree with the FP statement.

  426. Tilo Reber:

    dhogaza:
    You’re suggesting that climate scientists aren’t aware that 1998 was an El Niño year, or 2008 La Niña?

    I’m saying that they are aware, but that it doesn’t explain the flat trend. And neither do any of the other natural elements of variation. Compensate for ENSO and you still get a near flat trend.

  427. Sean:

    Hi there, I have what I think should be a straightforward & fundamental question about this topic, although as a layman I could be way off. I appreciate that the details of the algorithms used by Briffa and Mcintyre are beyond my scope so I won’t even touch it; so, I will leave those two to duke it out.
    However, I am wondering how the Siberian Yamal tree ring data can be used to extrapolate worldwide temperature. Perhaps these trees serve as decent proxies for determining local temperatures (given adequate treatment of the dataset). But, as I understand it this data has been used to generate [edit] global mean temperatures. In today’s world ‘Just because Antarctica is cooling doesn’t necessarily mean that the globe is as well’. If someone could reconcile these issues for me I would be grateful.

    [Response: Global mean temperatures are obviously the average of all the local temperatures. When you go back in time, the coverage of local temperatures gets worse than when compared to the modern instrumental record and so you have to assess how much weight to give the (fewer) records and over what time period that is valid. No single time-series for a specific location is simply assumed to be equivalent to global mean or hemispheric temperature, and that was never assumed for this Yamal record. Read Mann et al (2008) for an up-to-date summary of what is involved in these things. – gavin]

  428. Richard Sycamore:

    Tom P,
    I think we should look very closely at what you’ve done. Perhaps it can be applied more generally to some of the other questionable analyses that have been perpetrated by that unsavory character. If he had any credibility he’d publish papers instead of launching half-cooked half-analyses from the confines of his comfortable echo chamber. What are his credentials, anyways?

  429. dhogaza:

    What are his credentials, anyways?

    He has a BS in Mathematics, just like me.

    Which makes him as much an expert as I am.

    And no one mistakes me for an expert …

  430. Walter Manny:

    Ray (405) If someone were knowingly to use a time series too short to be representative and to draw conclusions for a lay audience not sufficiently sophisticated enough to recognize the invalidity of the exercise, that would be dishonest, yes. Who dunnit? McIntyre, Briffa, Gore, Watt, Hansen? (In other words, I admit I have not had time to read this entire thread word for word.)

  431. Hank Roberts:

    Beware trolling; google the name +climate and consider, before responding.

  432. Hank Roberts:

    Hmmmm, Tom P, I see you responded already. Please think twice and check.

  433. Lawrence Brown:

    Re;339
    “For AGW, I have the feeling, maybe untrue, that many outsiders are “believer” by default, but then when they start to scratch a little bit (because they have the basic math and physics skills to do so) they doubt more and more….”

    I’ve found the opposite to be true. If you take a zero dimensional model and equate the rate at which energy from the Sun is absorbed to the energy at which energy is radiated back to space, you obtain a value of Earth’s average temperature of about -18 C. The actual value of the Earth’s average temperature is about 15C.The reason for the difference is the natural greenhouse effect. Then it would seem to follow that adding more greenhouse gases would enhance that natural greenhouse effect.

  434. Jerry:

    I live in a democracy, not in a technocracy. I am sorry about that, but that’s the fact jack. The snark and sarcasm that you folks use won’t win anyone over except for the converted.

    I’ve been using open source software for 20 years, and am a big believer in open sources, and transparency.

    I really would like to know why various data sets have been archived so poorly. Science is nothing if not repeatable, and I’ve never thought closed data said much about science.

    I think Steve McIntyre should be publishing, or presenting his publishing efforts and how they are denied or whatever his excuse is.

    But I just cannot take your site seriously, in large part because of the snark and sarcasm that is often used to bully people and seemingly shut them up.

    I just don’t recall any of my physics, or engineering, or chemistry, or biology professors acting that way towards the cranks that approached them, or telling us about how the great scientists would act that way.

    Once again, I live in a democracy, of the people, by the people, for the people. If talking to the people is frustrating to you, I can understand that, I can sympathize with you, I really couldn’t give a shit though, because the end result of your act is to encourage the people to treat all scientists and engineers and mathematicians and doctors etc., as the man behind the curtain.

  435. Hank Roberts:

    Jerry, look people up before you believe the snark is sincere.

    The recent nastiness above is probably misrepresentation to try to make it appear someone concerned about climate change is writing that stuff. But look up the name of the poster +climate and consider the track record.

    You can’t assume anyone is nasty or evil — they may just be pretending to be a nasty person on the side they imagine is their enemy. People are weird.

  436. Cumulus:

    Jerry if you think this is bad….go and see how they deal with dissenting views at CA. I come here often, and this is one of the very few times RC has adopted this tone. Can’t say I agree with it– perhaps they finally got fed up taking the high road and trying to engage McIntyre et al. on an intellectual level. Anyhow, be careful to extrapolate beyond this story.

  437. Hank Roberts:

    Thankyou to

    Tom P (who) says: 3 October 2009 at 12:57 PM
    > Here are the chronologies perhaps a friendlier format

    Those links display fine in my (Mac/Intel/FF) browser, thank you very much.

  438. Ron Broberg:

    re: 443 I live in a democracy, not in a technocracy. I am sorry about that, but that’s the fact jack. The snark and sarcasm that you folks use won’t win anyone over except for the converted.

    In one of my first physics classes, my professor posed a question and asked how many students supported one proposed solution. Then asked how many supported an alternative. Then he told us: “Let this be a lesson to you all. Science is not a democracy. And you are all wrong. If you care to know the answer, go look it up.”

    And that’s not only a fact, Jack. That there is an anecdote.

  439. Eli Rabett:

    Jerry, a huge amount of the paleoclimate data is available on line. Noaa is one archive.

    What the noise here is about one series that until recently has been held as research material by a group which shared it with some others. You may be a huge believer in open access, but intellectual property is also important. The balance between them can be tricky, but jihads against the group that did not own the data for not sharing it are, well, very typical of Steve McIntyre.

    Hank: In drag as in wearing the clothes of others. No fun. We could have gotten through the thing a lot faster if we knew it was Steve (should have suspected tho). What is interesting is the huge number of wrongnesses that McIntyre through up. At the end only a few remained but that is all that anyone remembers. The same thing is happening with Briffa.

  440. Ron Taylor:

    Jerry, the people who run this site are working scientists who volunteer their time to help people understand climate science. Yet, they all too frequently encounter posters here who are like the smart-assed freshman who struts into class and tells the professor he does not know what he is talking about. I am often amazed by the patience of the people at RC.

    Yes, we live in a democracy. But guess what? The outcome of global warming will not be determined by popular vote, but by the laws of physics. The people here know where we are headed based on those laws and they get understandably distressed with scientifically incompetent or dishonest efforts to discredit the science.

  441. Jim Eager:

    Sorry, Jerry, science is not a democracy, and that’s a fact jack.

  442. Jonathan Baxter:

    RE 433: “Then it would seem to follow that adding more greenhouse gases would enhance that natural greenhouse effect.”

    It does. By 1 degree for a doubling of CO2. No-one disputes that (well, some do, but not many). The dispute is over the feedback multiplier: you need 4X or more to justify the alarmist scenarios. The best the current state of climate science can do is put the multiplier somewhere between 0.5 and 5.0 (Lindzen has evidence for the smaller end of the range).

    [Response: And the ice age provides evidence for a number of around 2x (i.e. giving a 3 deg C/2xCO2) change. Who do you trust more – a geological processes that dominated climate for 2.5 million years, or Lindzen? ;) – gavin]

  443. stevenc:

    Intellectual property is the property of the entity paying for the study. If Monsanto pays for it then it belongs to Monsanto, if Ford pays then it is Ford’s property, if the study is paid for with tax dollars then the intellectual rights belong to the tax payers. If you pay for the study yourself then you have absolute rights to the intellectual property.

  444. Eli Rabett:

    Climate2003, as Hank said, has gone the way of all bad pages everywhere. fortunately we have the Wayback machine, and most of the links are there

    I give the link as a tinyurl, because the spam filter here clobbers USENET and web.archive links

    http://tinyurl.com/y9wynex

  445. Jack DeBeers:

    Regular lurker, rare commenter.

    Sorry to interrupt the conversation but after reading the head post, it’s hard to believe that Steve McIntyre could pick any random set of tree rings from the internet and use them as temperature. Is anyone familiar with the data he chose or are they just unknown selections? And apparenlty he just writes his own software to make it all look good. Isn’t the original software good enough?

    Is this a scam or something, are these trees temperature sensitive, has anyone checked his numbers? Sorry if this has been covered somewhere else in this seriously long thread.

  446. Ron Broberg:

    BTW, Jerry and SteveNC. I actually agree with ‘open sourcing the data and methods.’ It’s McIntyre&Co’s greatest contribution to the fields. But it’s a change from the way things used to be done. Like all change, some people and institutions resist more than others. But its change that is coming.

    Traditionally, peer review of results prior to publication was the standard by which reliability of analysis was determined. Careless or biased mistakes were supposed to be caught at that point. “Independent confirmation” wasn’t taking the original scientists’ raw data and running your own analysis, it was to develop an independent data sets (such as the satellite data sets) which helped to bolster or put in doubt the original published results. In essence, you were supposed to ‘repeat the experiment.’ Not just ask for the scientists’ data and ‘repeat the analysis.’

    But like I said, times change. More climate scientists, maybe even most, are becoming comfortable with idea of publishing raw data. Now there is more data and code for climatology available on the web than for any other science field that I am aware of. The number of places for deniers to hide behind their cries of Fraud! and Cheaters! is rapidly shrinking. The pitchfork and torches crowd is getting restless as their arguments continue to fall apart.

  447. Martin Vermeer:

    Jerry (and others), nobody seems to recognize the tone of this post as an artfully crafted pastiche of McIntyre’s standard mode of discourse — the snark, the sarcasm, the routine assumption of bad faith, the lot. Yes, it grates. Yes it does ;-)

  448. Philip Machanick:

    Tilo Reber: maybe you’ve read about the paper by McLean, de Freitas and Carter alleging that ENSO accounts for all variability. That claim has been thoroughly debunked here and by Tamino.

    Do a bogus correlation of derivatives of the style of McLean et al. and you get a positive correlation between SOI and temperature. Correlate the actual data, and you get a negative correlation – all over the recent years you think are so important. Tilo, how about downloading the data sets and checking for yourself? Not too hard for someone so confidently sneering at professional scientists.

  449. Philippe Chantreau:

    In 426, Tilo Reber says this: “Compensate for ENSO and you still get a near flat trend.”
    That is false. John Cook had a recent post on it at Skeptical Science.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Global-warming-and-the-El-Nino-Southern-Oscillation.html
    It refers Fawcett 2007 and Thompson 2008.

  450. Eli Snyder:

    “The snark and sarcasm that you folks use won’t win anyone over except for the converted.”

    You sure? It works great for SNL, John Stewart et. al.

    There is a point of incredibility past which to engage a completely ludicrous argument in a serious and straightforward manner merely legitimates it. Most issues of political weight in our culture have long since passed that point. Beyond it, the only reasonable response is ridicule.

    The problem is that most people who are capable of following a serious debate on this technical a subject have already made up their minds. Anyone still on the fence must be there because they can’t follow the substance of the “debate” (put in quotes because a series of real, cogent arguments vs. a series of blatant falsehoods, misrepresentations and fallacies is not much of a debate).

    Therefore I think a little sarcasm is warranted, to remind people of how utterly silly the opposition arguments really are.

  451. Peter Dawe:

    Time to fight back!

    Surely this community needs to sue authors like this for Libel and slander!

    I’ll contribute to a legal fighting fund…

    Peter Dawe

  452. Barton Paul Levenson:

    dhogaza: You’re suggesting that climate scientists aren’t aware that 1998 was an El Niño year, or 2008 La Niña?

    Tilo: I’m saying that they are aware, but that it doesn’t explain the flat trend. And neither do any of the other natural elements of variation. Compensate for ENSO and you still get a near flat trend.

    BPL: You’ve said this before, it’s wrong, I’ve shown you it’s wrong, and you keep repeating it anyway. For anyone who wants to see the details, here they are:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Reber.html

  453. CM:

    stevenc (#442), if the study is paid for with tax **roubles**, which taxpayers should you ask?

    Mark P (#404), to be an ad hominem it has to be irrelevant. Whether it’s relevant depends on what you think ClimateAudit is doing: science or Psy-Ops.

    Case in point: McIntyre’s rhetorical manipulations with Gavin’s inline reply to you, posted yesterday on CA (“Gavin’s guru”).

  454. Mark:

    “Intellectual property is the property of the entity paying for the study. If Monsanto pays for it then it belongs to Monsanto, if Ford pays then it is Ford’s property, if the study is paid for with tax dollars then the intellectual rights belong to the tax payers.”

    Ever heard of Public/Private Initiatives?

    Please tell me what happens when the taxpayers pay for 60% of a medical study and GSK pay 40%.

    Please tell me what happens if a University, completely government funded, wishes to gain some more income by licensing the research they’ve done. Should this be disallowed because “you paid for it”? If so, you have to pay the universities more, because they cannot license their research.

    How about US universities giving away data to European ones? How could this be stopped if all their research has to be freely available?

    100% of your military budget is taxpayer funded. Are all the designs for military hardware free and open? If not, then this shows your dogma is incorrect.

  455. Mark:

    “I live in a democracy, not in a technocracy. I am sorry about that, but that’s the fact jack.”

    So many people here vote for sneering and condescention of you.

    Because this is a democracy, you must accede to this.

  456. Tkearney:

    325.[Response: Fine. But that doesn’t mean that every idea from outside has merit. Quoting Carl Sagan (almost) “They may have laughed at Galileo, but they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” Ideas and contributions have to evaluated on their merits, not from where they come from. – gavin

    …..

    True; that’s why I read the ‘skeptics’ and have come to see that there is much there besides “DaVinci Code conspiracies’

    [Response: Maybe you’d care to enlighten us? A single new idea perhaps that isn’t just the reworking well-known issue that has been worked on for years? – gavin]

    ….

    Dr. Schmidt I sent back an answer to your (snarky) query; not sure why my response is not here. I’ll re create it

    As I mentioned, I believe in Global Warming. My hometown of Scranton PA was back in the day buried underneath a glacier. That is why I see Global Warming as a good thing. That fact made me a skeptic, since it begs the question of ‘how did the glacier retreat b/4 the coal underneath it was burned. :)

    [Response: Mostly due to orbital forcing changing the amount of solar radiation during the northern hemisphere summer combined with the greenhouse impacts of consequent increases in CO2 and CH4. This is pretty conventional so I’m not sure why you think it deserving of a smiley face. – gavin]

    Some other ideas that I’ve picked up: A) The Hansen forecast from 1988 and reviewed in realclimate.org on May 15 called “Hansen’s 1988 Projections” were already trending towards the Scenario C (do nothing). And that was before two plus years of even colder data being recorded. The Scenario A (keep doing what we’re doing) is not in the ballpark. I would like to see your site update that chart to see how much below Scenario C we are right now.

    [Response: The long term trends from 1984 in both B and C are easily within uncertainties on the observed trends, but since C makes assumptions that just didn’t happen (no further GHG growth after 2000) it is hardly relevant. B is much closer to what actually happened (though is slightly on the high side), and so is still interesting to look at. The real world has warmed at about 0.2 +/- 0.05 deg C/dec since 1984, and scenario B has a trend of 0.25 +/- 0.05 deg C/dec. That really isn’t so bad given that the naysayers at the time said it wasn’t going to warm further at all. – gavin]

    B) The Martian polar caps have melted: From National Geographic “Mars Melt Hints at Solar, Not Human, Cause for Warming, Scientist SaysKate Ravilious
    for National Geographic News, February 28, 2007
    “Simultaneous warming on Earth and Mars suggests that our planet’s recent climate changes have a natural—and not a human-induced—cause, according to one scientist’s controversial theory. Earth is currently experiencing rapid warming, which the vast majority of climate scientists says is due to humans pumping huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. (Get an overview: “Global Warming Fast Facts”.) Mars, too, appears to be enjoying more mild and balmy temperatures.

    [Response: This is nuts. First off, I’d like to know whether you think that the rapid thinning of the Pine Island Glacier over the last 3 years is proof of global warming on Earth? If yes, I’m astounded, but if no, then why do you think a completely analogous event is proof of global warming on Mars? Second, over the time period covered by the Martian glacier measurements, solar forcing was going down. Third, even if solar hadn’t been going down, I’m sure you’ll agree that correlation does not equal causation? Fourth, the direct impact of solar changes is small – it’s mesaured and it’s small. People have proposed mechanisms to enhance the correlation to solar cycles (via GCR impacts on clouds for instance), but perhaps you might like to think about why that wouldn’t apply on Mars. Fifth, Mars is very different planet – and it turns out that the biggest impact on temperatures is the episodic occurrences of gigantic dust storms that can cover a hemisphere, and that in fact, dust cover changes to albedo are the leading theory for why Martian climate changes on interannual timescales. Sixth…. oh I give up. – gavin]

    C) The amount of grants from governments to support science which calls for more government intervention dwarfs the funding from carbon interests

    [Response: Rubbish. You are simply playing with words here. If you think that understanding the Earth and all it’s subsystems is leading scientists to say that further emissions of GHGs might not be a great idea, you would be correct. But that research is completely indpendent of calls for greater governement intervention – no-one gets a grant to investigate the impact of ocean mixing processes on bugetary deadlock in the Senate. The difference between the funding for scientists to do science, and non-scientists to propagandize is pretty clear to me. Or perhaps you’d prefer that economists weren’t given grants to actual research but just to write op-eds? – gavin]

    D) The term ‘denier’ is a tell that the science is far from settled. One can be a skeptic about the forecasts, esp since as noted in A) they are not very solid. However, one can not be a ‘denier’ of those forecasts, since once can not deny the future.

    [Response: Terms like this are best reserved for people who repeatedly bring up long-debunked talking points not because they think they are valid, but because they think they can find some new people to fool. But this behaviour is easy to see whatever name is applied. BS by any other name would smell as bad. – gavin]

    E) There does appear to be data collection and transparency issues in the AGW research area.

    [Response: Give me all the data you have used to publish a paper from in the last 10 years. What? It’ll take time? Your graduate student has it? You aren’t sure where you put it? There is only 90% online – I want the last 10%! I claim conspiracy! Appears to me like there’s a transparency issue there, and you haven’t even responded. (See how easy that is?). – gavin]

    BTW My PhD is in Economics, w/ a field in Econometrics. I can easily follow the data.

    [Response: Try following the logic. – gavin]

  457. Jeffrey Davis:

    re:426
    “Compensate for ENSO and you still get a near flat trend.”

    Jerry: So, we’re going to make the post office pay for my new stereo, now?
    Kramer: It’s a write-off for them.
    Jerry: How is it a write-off?
    Kramer: They just write it off.
    Jerry: Write it off what?
    Kramer: Jerry all these big companies they write off everything.
    Jerry: You don’t even know what a write-off is.
    Kramer: Do you?
    Jerry: No, I don’t.
    Kramer: But they do – and they are the ones writing it off.

  458. Tilo Reber:

    Tom: #424
    Tom, since you cross posted your responses to me on CA here, I will do the same.

    I have three questions for you about your work.

    First, you say:

    “The last chronology excluding all but the cores less than 250 years is statistically invalid. I posted it for completeness to show that the only way to break the hockeystick was to take out so many cores that the all we are seeing for most of the record is noise.”

    And in an earlier posting where you first show your results you say this about the trees that are over 250 years old.

    “Now there are just 32 cores left with an average age of 303 years, or just four cores at any one time.”

    So if the small number of cores produce a statistically invalid result, then why doesn’t Briffa have statistically invalid results when the last years of his chronology have only 5 trees.

    My next question is about tree overlap. Let’s use your sample where trees are over 200 years old, since you seem to believe that is still statistically valid. Take the 50 year time slice going from 1940 to 1990. This time slice is made up of live trees that reached their maximum age within that time slice. Another words, all the data that you are getting for that period comes from tree rings that are old tree rings greater than 150 years. Now, take a time slice from 940 to 990. Your selection method insures that all of those trees lived to be over 200, but it does not insure that they were over 150 in that time slice. Trees in that time slice could have been in their first 50 years of life – or their second – or their third. So while your method insures that all the tree rings used in the second half of the twentieth century are over 150 years old, the tree rings used will, on average, be much younger for all of the earlier periods.

    My third question has to do with this. The sorting based on age is valid because, as Craig Lohele has found, Larches become more sensitive to climate as they get older. But, as we all know, elements such as water, nutrition, sunlight, etc. still play a part in tree growth as well. Briffa has stated that chronologies that do not match the surface temperature record of the region are thrown out. But that only serves to bias the chronologies to the ones that have trees that are sensitive to climate in the 20th century. Earlier trees in the same chronology receive no selection bias benefit. It seems to me that this would give you a better representation of 20th century climate, but it would make comparisons to warming in earlier periods invalid.

  459. Mark:

    Walter, #430. what makes you think this story is ANYTHING to do with making a track too short to draw conclusions from, never mind done deliberately et al?

    It’s about removing any large trees (that are generally the ones who lived longer) from a dataset through time.

    This may be why you don’t know who dunnit.

    And since the story isn’t about what you want to know, re: who dunnit, there would be no value in reading any of the story or thread to find the answer.

  460. Mark:

    Cumulus: “There needs to be a permanent group out there, some third party, to which scientists can go and have the data or methods in controversial papers reviewed/audited in **private**.”

    There is:

    The Review Process.

    Problem is, when the denialists can’t get their stuff through this rigorous test, they complain they are being silenced and avoid the process. They complain that the conspiracy includes the review process.

  461. Mark:

    Solomon states: “As a statistician I believe that it is necessary to eliminate the effect of all other variables before one can be sure that there is a genuine correlation between any two.”

    How do you eliminate the effect of all other variables, without finding a correlation between these variables and the data?

    If you remove the correlation by any means, you’ve just had to do what the Biffa study.

    IF this cannot be done for CO2 effects on tree growth, how would you do it for moisture effects on tree growth, and why is that one possible?

    If it can’t be done by any means, how do you actually manage to get any answers in your work as a statistician?

  462. Solomon Green:

    My thanks to Hank Roberts 370, MarkB 388 and luminous beauty 377 for attempting to put me right. I still do not understand how anyone can deduce past climate from the growth of a living tree without first uprooting the tree or, at least doing such excavation round its roots as to do it serious damage.

    In part of the fruit plantation that I helped to manage, one orange tree was at least half as big again as its neighbours. When I askes why this was it was explained to me that when the young trees were being planted the donkey that had carried many of them dropped down dead. It was buried at the spot and one of the young trees was planted on top of it. This was the tree that so outgrew its neighbours.

    Would cell analysis of the core have pointed to the dead donkey? The other variables affecting growth were identical for all the trees that had been planted in that section of the plantation.

  463. dhogaza:

    Intellectual property is the property of the entity paying for the study. If Monsanto pays for it then it belongs to Monsanto, if Ford pays then it is Ford’s property, if the study is paid for with tax dollars then the intellectual rights belong to the tax payers

    No, it belongs to whoever the contract or grant says it belongs to.

  464. Jeffrey Davis:

    re: 459
    “I still do not understand how anyone can deduce past climate from the growth of a living tree without first uprooting the tree or, at least doing such excavation round its roots as to do it serious damage.”

    I don’t think Science waits on Perfection. Or the Gigantism of rhetoric. It sounds to me like Briffa (et al) were doing the trench work of Science: assembling a couple of the pieces of the mosaic. To this layman, it sounds like his critics fell upon his careful work and measured conclusions because they don’t understand careful work and measured conclusions.

  465. Mark:

    “I still do not understand how anyone can deduce past climate from the growth of a living tree without first uprooting the tree or, at least doing such excavation round its roots as to do it serious damage.”

    Aye, but these trees are dead.

    Do you know what the story is about at all?

    And you haven NEVER considered “drill a core out of a tree then pack the hole” as a method of doing tree age estimation with a live tree?

    How little imagination you have.

  466. PaulD:

    Steve McIntyre responds, at length: http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=7278

    [Response: Apparently I have a guru. Good to know. Relevant much? – gavin]

  467. stevenc:

    “In essence, you were supposed to ‘repeat the experiment.’ Not just ask for the scientists’ data and ‘repeat the analysis”

    True Ron, but if all the data and methods are made available then other scientists may come to the conclusion that further study is not warranted, or they may find an error that was previously missed, or they may decide that the results are not conclusive and a new study is warranted. It would be rather difficult to make these decisions without all the information available I would imagine. It’s good to see the trend towards more openess.

    CM, if the study is paid for with Roubles then it makes sense that those who paid for it with Roubles make that decision.

    Mark, if the study has economic value then they should get a patent. If the study has military value then they should get a security classification. If the only value of the study is the furtherance of mankind’s knowledge then it is valueless unless shared.

  468. Radge Havers:

    456 Tkearney

    My PhD is in Economics, w/ a field in Econometrics.

    This is shocking if true. Why would anybody with a PhD in anything post such a poorly conceived list of bullet points to a site run by professionals?

    For instance:

    My hometown of Scranton PA was back in the day buried underneath a glacier. That is why I see Global Warming as a good thing. That fact made me a skeptic, since it begs the question of ‘how did the glacier retreat b/4 the coal underneath it was burned.

    Leaving aside the issue of trolling, there seems to be an underlying assumption that the pinnacles of earth science can be realized off hand in reasoning fit for middle school science fair projects. No. Not even that!

    Truly, I’m beginning to think one of the requisites for becoming a climate scientist is the patience of a saint.

  469. Tilo Reber:

    RE: Jeffrey Davis #457

    Here is the plot Kramer. Gavin computed the ENSO corrected data. I just plotted it and the unajusted data. This happened near the end of last year, but I don’t expect that there are any big changes.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/__VkzVMn3cHA/SHLOM1k5XJI/AAAAAAAAADE/u7AlyoBk0EU/s1600-h/ENSO+Adjusted+HadCrut3v+Data.bmp

  470. stevenc:

    “No, it belongs to whoever the contract or grant says it belongs to.”

    True dhogaza, I was wondering who would point out the obvious to me. Perhaps new contracts would be the way to go if cooperation between academics is so difficult to achieve.

  471. dhogaza:

    Perhaps new contracts would be the way to go if cooperation between academics is so difficult to achieve.

    What makes you think cooperation between academics is so difficult? I haven’t heard academics screaming that they can’t get hands on data – the russians willingly shared their data with Briffa, for instance. What you’ve seen is McI screaming that *Briffa* should make the *Russian* data available, while a decade ago, I would guess that neither Briffa nor the Russians could possibly have imagined that Briffa would be pilloried by certain people for not having gotten permission to redistribute data …

    Face it, McI is playing a political, monkeywrenching game here, whose only purpose it to confuse the public and political understanding of the science in order to delay or prevent any meaningful action to curtail CO2 emissions. He’ll do anything to achieve that goal, and you can’t blame scientists for thinking a decade ahead trying to imagine “how will McI try to screw us in the future”.

    This isn’t how scientists or other technical people work. Constantly worrying about the robustness of their s***-umbrella because McI et al are out their taking dumps on their head.

  472. dhogaza:

    you can’t blame scientists for thinking a decade

    for NOT thinking …

  473. Rattus Norvegicus:

    On the dead donkey question:

    No, analysis of the tree rings would not have pointed to the dead donkey. Nor would it have been mistaken for a temperature effect. In fact, if all of the trees in the orchard had been cored, no temperature signal would have been observed in any of them because temperature (growing season length) is not the limiting factor in this scenario. In order to get a temperature signal from a tree core or group of cores temperature needs to be the limiting factor on growth at the site where the cores were taken.

  474. Jonathan Baxter:

    “[Response: And the ice age provides evidence for a number of around 2x (i.e. giving a 3 deg C/2xCO2) change. Who do you trust more – a geological processes that dominated climate for 2.5 million years, or Lindzen? ;) – gavin]”

    Firstly if the multiplier is 2 then it implies a sensitivity of 2C does it not? (Stefan-Boltzmann or zero-feedback sensitivity is 1C).

    Secondly, the ice-age evidence is suggestive but not determinative as it does not tell us the sensitivity in today’s climate. It could well be that the sensitivity was much greater during the ice ages (note: I am not talking about Ice Albedo feedbacks which of course amplify the sensitivity relative to today. One can imagine that the water-vapor feedback was also greater in the ice age since the Earth was starting from a drier state).

    Thirdly, are you arguing that we should discount all scientific argument that is not based on at least 2.5 million years of geological evidence? Had humanity followed that course we’d never have accepted Newtonian Mechanics, Special Relativity, Quantum Mechanics or in fact most of modern science.

  475. Timothy Chase:

    dhogaza wrote:

    This isn’t how scientists or other technical people work. Constantly worrying about the robustness of their s***-umbrella because McI et al are out their taking dumps on their head.

    If they did it would be that much attention taken away from the actual performance of science. Likewise, if climatologists or evolutionary biologists were constantly considering how their words might be twisted by denialists of one or another stripe this would greatly reduce their ability to communicate their thoughts or for that matter even think about what it is that they are studying. To the extent that they actually give consideration to such things it should only be as an afterthought — and even then I (for whatever my personal opinion might matter in this regard) would suggest that they shouldn’t devote that much time to it.

  476. Hank Roberts:

    Solomon, you claimed expertise in dendrology, and I pointed out that what you’re claiming you lack is any knowledge of:
    — dendrochronology.

    Can you be as blank a slate as you claim?

    For the next youngster who comes along and needs homework help, I’d suggest starting with

    1) a dictionary, a generally reliable method for any word:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=define%3Adendrochronology

    and, for tips on posting style:
    2) http://www.urban75.com/Mag/troll.html

    See also:

  477. John N-G:

    I think we now have a new slang expression for the process Gavin describes as:

    Terms like [denier] are best reserved for people who repeatedly bring up long-debunked talking points not because they think they are valid, but because they think they can find some new people to fool. But this behaviour is easy to see whatever name is applied. BS by any other name would smell as bad.

    It is called “beating a dead donkey”.

  478. Maikdev:

    Grudd H, (2008): Torneträsk tree-ring width and density AD 500 – 2004: A test of climatic sensitivity and a new 1500-year reconstruction of north Fennoscandian summers. Climate Dynamics, 31: 843-857. DOI:10.1007/s00382-007-0358-2.
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/8j71453650116753/fulltext.pdf

  479. Tony:

    #471 Rattus Norvegicus

    Are you saying that the only limitation on tree-ring width in Yamal, has been temperature?

  480. Dappled Water:

    Uh, oh, denialists are now invoking the dead donkey defense. Watch out!.

  481. Lawrence Brown:

    Who do you trust more – a geological processes that dominated climate for 2.5 million years, or Lindzen? ;) – gavin]

    With all due respect to(where have I heard that phrase before :) ) Richard Lindzen. I’m inclined to go along with the geologic record. It would be nice if skeptics varied their sources more and considered them more carefully.

  482. Mark:

    “Mark, if the study has economic value then they should get a patent.”

    And this still requires complete secrecy. And who are “they”? Are you saying that at this time, government funded universities AREN’T selling their work to commercial interests?

    They are.

    This isn’t anything to do with patents.

  483. Kevin McKinney:

    dhogaza, I know it was a typo, but your original version has, sadly, come true: “you can’t blame scientists for thinking a decade ahead. . .” (That is, in the chess game of denialist monkeywrenching.)

    Or at least trying to. What a nightmare. . .

  484. Russell Seitz:

    321:

    ” Quoting Carl Sagan (almost) “They may have laughed at Galileo, but they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” Ideas and contributions have to evaluated on their merits, not from where they come from. “– Gavin

    Quoting Carl Sagan more exactly: ”
    “Apocalyptic predictions require, if they are to be taken seriously , higher standards of evidence than do other matters where the stakes are not as great.”

    Please compare ,and if possible contrast , the respective hazards to the reputation of science of ignoring modeling uncertainty caveats, and making worst-case outliers the central focus of publicity , in the run-up to Copenhagen and the Cold War media extravaganza styled ‘nuclear winter.’

    It is cautionary to recall how that one petered out because the models failed to quantitatively converge on the rhetoric – and the images – its publicists provided. Today we are witnessing an even larger investment in political PR , and the rhetorical overkill has remained constant despite all the progress in modeling. Though the list of patrons subsidizing the hype has remained the same, the process has certainly become more transparent , and one hopes sociologists will record the present comedy of manners to help avoid repetition if the failure , or worse, the selective exercise, of collective memory continues.

    From what they produce for TV, some activists view climate policy as strategy for preserving civilization, and accordingly seem bent on persuading us that we face a unique moment of threat (and opportunity.)

    Those among them who see science as a vehicle for politicizing revolution seem prepared to reduce popular science to the carrying on of war by other means, and the comedy of manners consists in their being shocked, deeply shocked that their actions should provoke the bumptuously anti-scientific counter-propaganda of Planet Gore and Climate Depot.

    Might RC persuade Jim Hansen & Steve Schneider to engage in a dialog as to the vicious cycle of apocalyptic advertising by the environmental left and apoplectic responses by the grassroots right ?

  485. Ray Ladbury:

    Jerry says, “I just don’t recall any of my physics, or engineering, or chemistry, or biology professors acting that way towards the cranks that approached them, or telling us about how the great scientists would act that way.”

    So, Jerry, did the cranks that approached your profs keep coming back for a decade or so with the same zombie arguments? Did that flatly accuse them of fraud? Did they have them subpoenaed to appear before committees of notjob congressmen who can’t even program a VCR, let alone understand a scientific analysis?

    Reality doesn’t give a flying f**k what “the people” think. It doesn’t even care if our species survives. If we do not learn to develop a sustainable economy, we will become extinct. And that, Jerry, is the only fact that really matters.

  486. Scott A. Mandia:

    http://www.lsu.edu/highlights/2009/10/antarctic.shtml#

    Headline: Algae and Pollen Grains Provide Evidence of Remarkably Warm Period in Antarctica’s History

    In the press release it states that “…proof of a sudden, remarkably warm period in Antarctica that occurred about 15.7 million years ago and lasted for a few thousand years.”

    For those of you who are aware of this study, do you know what is meant by “sudden” and “remarkable”? How fast and how warm?

    Thank you.

  487. ATHiker:

    Gavin thank you for the tolerance you have demonstrated for dealing with Steve McLier! It is very much appreciated.

  488. Ray Ladbury:

    Johnathan Baxter says “Thirdly, are you arguing that we should discount all scientific argument that is not based on at least 2.5 million years of geological evidence? ”

    Don’t be obtuse! Gavin is alluding to the fact that a sensitivity >2 has >2.5 million years of evidence in favor of it, while Lindzen’s “analysis” has… well, none. See the difference?

  489. Martin Vermeer:

    Tilo Reber #458:

    > So if the small number of cores produce a statistically invalid result,
    > then why doesn’t Briffa have statistically invalid results when the last
    > years of his chronology have only 5 trees.

    I know even less about tree ring proxies than Gavin, but even I understood his explanation: The validity of the chronology constructed is a very different thing from that of individual annual values.

  490. stevenc:

    Dhogaza, this isn’t an issue just involving tree rings nor is it an issue just involving climate research. This is an issue affecting nearly every field of research. See the opinion piece by Schofield et al in Nature 461 dated 10SEP 09.

  491. Rattus Norvegicus:

    Tony,

    I am not saying that temp is the the only factor, however sites are chosen on an a priori basis where temp is likely to be the dominant factor. This is why sites at altitudinal and latitudinal tree lines are commonly chosen since growing season is the limiting factor for most species northern and upper ranges.

  492. Jim Bouldin:

    Mark P states (404):

    Questions to you, Gavin. Do these specific criticisms of the science in Briffa (2000) have any merit? If they are without merit, what are the specific rebuttal points which defend Briffa (2000) against them? If they do have some merit, how much do they weaken the scientific conclusions of the Briffa (2000) paper?”

    A few points here in response to this, and to other various posts that I don’t have the time to cite:

    1. Briffa did not collect the original data. The Russians, Hantemirov and Shiyatov did, in the 1980s and 1990s. Briffa’s modern sample was thus limited to a maximum of 17 tree series. McIntyre says straight up that he does not accuse Briffa of cherry picking the 12 of these 17 series, which is good, because it is not even clear that Briffa had all 17 to begin with.

    2. The Russians state that they use 224 series in their chronology, chosen based on being the longest and most sensitive of the larger set of series, with sensitivity defined by inter-annual response to instrumental temperatures. It is thus highly likely that they chose their 17 modern cores based on these same criteria. This is perfectly valid dendroclimatic practice, and indicates that the 12 cores Briffa used in the modern chronology are sensitive to temperature.

    3. Briffa’s response to Mcintyre states that these 17 trees were taken from at least 3 locations in the Yamal sampling area. Conversely Schweingruber’s 34 cores according to Briffa, came from just one location in the area. The latter would thus lack the spatial coverage of the H & S sample, even though the sample size was higher than the 12 Briffa used. Microclimatic effects could thus play a role in any of the 4 or more sampling locations.

    4. The proper weighting of the modern trees, from a spatial perspective, would thus be at least 3:1 (Briffa:Schweingruber), although perhaps with some adjustment for any differences in variance between the two sets. This is why Briffa mentions in his online response that it did not appear that McIntyre weighted the modern series properly, although McIntyre’s response that he could levy the same argument against Briffa is also valid (but not beside the point, as he states; it is entirely germane to the composite graph McIntyre created).

    5. McIntyre’s focus on the decline in the sample number from 1990 on is almost completely misplaced. I say almost, because yes, it would be great to have a good sample right up to the present to see how the trees are tracking the instrumental record, and you can bet the Russians are collecting same. But that’s not McIntyre’s objection. Rather, he seems to think that low sample sizes in these years will strongly affect the RCS standardization procedure, when in fact it will have almost no impact at all, because there are already over 225 cores used in the RCS sample. This is because all cores are used in RCS standardization, not just modern cores. It is not clear that McIntyre understands this, or he wouldn’t be making such a big deal about it.

    6. McIntyre, in spite of making 9 posts now on this topic, has still not explained exactly why he thinks non-homogeneity of tree ages through time is a critical issue, other than vague references to Briffa’s discussions of this issue. The vast majority of the series used were from short lived trees, so there’s not much Briffa could have done about that, and long lived modern trees allow an easier crossdating of the dead material, especially given the large percentage (5-10%) of missing rings in these trees.

    7. Analogies of subsequent users of the Yamal chronology to crack cocaine addicts is completely out of line, and additional oblique references to the sloppiness of the science (“…But maybe this is a coincidence. One never knows – it’s climate science”), reference to “the Team” etc., further undermines the supposed neutrality of McIntryre’s position. The condescension towards Gavin and Tom P in his latest post, which is in fact a diatribe, essentially seals this.

    8. The more appropriate place for this debate is in the peer reviewed literature. This should be obvious.

    Does that help?

  493. David B. Benson:

    Tkearney (456) — I strongly recommend reading

    “Plows, Plagues and Petroleum” by climatologist W.F. Ruddiman,
    “Earth’s Climate: Past and Future” by the same author,
    “The Long Thaw” by climatologist David Archer,
    “The Discovery of Global Warming” by physicist Spencer Weart:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html
    after Andy Revkin’s review:
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F04E7DF153DF936A35753C1A9659C8B63

    and maybe some of the other books found on the sidebar.

    Rather than wasting patient Gavin Schmidt’s time. And, oh yes, he has a well-regarded recent book out as well…

  494. Lawrence Brown:

    Jonathan states:
    “It does. By 1 degree for a doubling of CO2. No-one disputes that (well, some do, but not many).”

    Actually the best estimates for climate sensitivity are between 2C to 4.5C for a doubling of CO2 concentration from the pre industrial value(~280ppmv).The IPPC gives values in the range of 1.5 to 4.5C.But the statistical distribution of possible sensitivities has a long tail at the high end, so there’s a significant possibility that the sensitivity can be considerably than 4.5C.

  495. Eli Rabett:

    While the paper posted by Maikdev in 476 has something for everyone, it does have a nice explanation and a lot of references as to why using a large number of young trees in the calibration period to compare with the instrumental record is not considered to be a very good idea by dendrologists. Since even Eli was generally aware of these issues, there is no doubt that McIntyre is also. Thus, his injection of a mess of relatively young trees is, let us say cherry smashing.

    This apparent widespread loss in the sensitivity to temperature is, however, not fully understood and several different explanations have been proposed, e.g. relating the phenomenon to changes in the atmospheric composition (Briffa et al. 1998b, 2004); to drought stress (Barber et al. 2000); physiological threshold effects (D’Arrigo et al. 2004; Wilmking et al.2004); and to changes in the length of the growing season (Vaganov et al. 1999). However, such ‘‘end effects’’ or biased trends in a tree-ring chronology could, potentially, also be related to the methodology used for standardization and chronology development (Cook and Peters 1997; Melvin 2004).

  496. Eli Rabett:

    Here are the relevant references

    Briffa KR, Schweingruber FH, Jones PD, Osborn TJ, Shiyatov SG,
    Vaganov EA (1998b) Reduced sensitivity of recent tree-growth
    to temperature at high northern latitudes. Nature 391:678–682

    Briffa KR, Osborn TJ, Schweingruber FH (2004) Large-scale
    temperature inferences from tree rings: a review. Glob Planet
    Change 40:11–26

    Barber VA, Juday GP, Finney BP (2000) Reduced growth of Alaskan
    white spruce in the twentieth century from temperature-induced
    drought stress. Nature 405:668–673

    D’Arrigo RD, Kaufmann RK, Davi N, Jacoby GC, Laskowski C,
    Myneni RB, Cherubini P (2004) Thresholds for warming-
    induced growth decline at elevational tree line in the Yukon
    Territory, Canada. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 18, GB3021.
    doi:10.1029/2004GB002249

    Wilmking M, Juday GP, Barber VA, Zald HSJ (2004) Recent climate
    warming forces contrasting growth responses of white spruce at
    treeline in Alaska through temperature thresholds. Glob Change
    Biol 10:1724–1736

    Vaganov EA, Hughes MK, Kirdyanov AV, Schweingruber FH, Silkin
    PP (1999) Influence of snowfall and melt timing on tree growth
    in subarctic Eurasia. Nature 400:149–151

    Cook ER, Peters K (1997) Calculating unbiased tree-ring indices for
    the study of climatic and environmental change. Holocene
    7:361–370

    Melvin TM (2004) Historical growth rates and changing climatic
    sensitivity of boreal forests. Ph.D. thesis, University of East
    Anglia

  497. dhogaza:

    Thirdly, are you arguing that we should discount all scientific argument that is not based on at least 2.5 million years of geological evidence?

    No, the argument is that you don’t ignore 2.5 million years of evidence, which appears to be what you wish to do.

    Had humanity followed that course we’d never have accepted Newtonian Mechanics, Special Relativity, Quantum Mechanics or in fact most of modern science.

    Each of those theories was adopted because it explained more of the available physical evidence (observations) than available alternatives. Your suggestion that Newton, Einstein, Bohrs etc created their theories after having thrown out all available evidence is just bizarre.

  498. Auden Schendler:

    Anyone have a link to a direct response/debunking to this from Ross McKitrick? http://www.financialpost.com/opinion/story.html?id=2056988

  499. Jim Eager:

    Re Tkearney @456, where in he cites a *news* story about MArtial polar melting.

    I) This is a news item in National Geographic News. It is not a science paper published in a scientific journal.

    2) But did you even bother to read the entire news item, or just jump at the headline?

    3) For sure you did not follow the story forward in time, say to this follow-up two months later:
    Mars Warming Due to Dust Storms, Study Finds
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/04/070404-mars-warming.html

    “I can easily follow the data.”

    I doubt it, you can’t even find a news article.

  500. Richard Sycamore:

    #488 Jim Bouldin:
    What Hantemirov and Shiyatov did to arrive at their 17-sample ensemble, and how it got whittled down to 12, is unclear. It is possible they were following “valid dendrochronological procedures”. The methods of sub-sampling were never disclosed. It is also possible that practises considered “acceptable” or “valid” by mainstream dendrochronologists are not, in fact, statistically defensible. That can not be judged without knowing how the sub-sampling was done. But while waiting for Dr. Briffa’s detailed reply, it is worth noting that Tom P’s analysis shows clearly that the smaller, but more extensive (we are told; we have no maps) CRU/Briffa chronology, now matter how you dice it, is quite different from the larger, but less extensive (we are told) Schweingruber chronology. The reason for the 20th century divergence in the two chronologies is not known, but it is the subject of a research grant held by Dr. Briffa. We must therefore wait patiently for Dr. Briffa’s reply. Meanwhile, perhaps it would be possible for someone versed in paleoclimatology to field these questions, since Dr. Schmidt is out of his domain and surely overworked? Excellent coverage of the issue.

    Not that any of this matters, because the physics of greenhouse warming is beyond question.

  501. Jim Bouldin:

    On the other hand Timothy (and I agree with your point, 473), it does force people to learn more about the technical issues in order to follow and/or contribute to the discussion. And that’s a good thing.

  502. Hank Roberts:

    Jonathan states:
    “It does. By 1 degree for a doubling of CO2….”

    Jonathan, that’s the instantaneous, hypothetical value achievable by doubling the total number of CO2 molecules in the atmosphere, all at once, with no other change.

    You knew that, right? If not, who fooled you? Where did you get the notion this is a number that means whatever you think it means? Seriously, it would help to know your source for the number and how it was presented to you.

    Now perhaps some day, a string theorist/knitter will come up with a way to instantly change the number of CO2 molecules in the atmosphere.

    Say you could just pull an extra loop from each string and thus double the number of molecules in the air; or remove a loop from each string and reduce the total number of molecuels by half.

    That would produce the one degree change you speak of.

    The latter procedure, if practical, would be very useful as a geoengineering tactic (although removing that much carbon and oxygen from the total available might have some consequences for life on the planet in the longer term).

    Now, who told you this “one degree” change was possible?

    You do understand that in reality, it can’t happen?

  503. Tilo Reber:

    Eli: #491

    From the paper that you referenced.

    The update of the Tornetra¨sk data, including relatively young
    trees in the most recent period, has significantly reduced
    the mean cambial age of MXD data in the twentieth century
    (Fig. 1a). As a result, the loss of sensitivity to
    temperature, apparent in earlier versions of the Tornetra¨sk
    MXD chronology (Briffa 2000), is now eliminated. Hence,
    this study shows that data with a disproportionately high
    cambial age in the most recent period can create a similar
    ‘‘divergence phenomenon’’ in the late twentieth century.

    “The late-twentieth century is not exceptionally warm in
    the new Tornetra¨sk record: On decadal-to-century timescales,
    periods around AD 750, 1000, 1400, and 1750 were
    all equally warm, or warmer. The warmest summers in this
    new reconstruction occur in a 200-year period centred on
    AD 1000. A ‘‘Medieval Warm Period’’ is supported by other
    paleoclimate evidence from northern Fennoscandia,
    although the new tree-ring evidence from Tornetra¨sk suggests
    that this period was much warmer than previously
    recognised.”

  504. Jim Bouldin:

    Ray, and especially:

    Briffa, K.R., F. H. Schweingruber, P. D. Jones, T. J. Osborn, I. C. Harris, S. G. Shiyatov, E. A. Vaganov, H. Grudd, J. Cowie (1998). Trees Tell of Past Climates: But Are They Speaking Less Clearly Today? [and Discussion]. Philosophical Transactions, Royal Society of London, Biological Sciences, 353:63-73.

  505. Deep Climate:

    Oh dear – Andy Revkin has weighed in.

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/05/climate-auditor-challenged-to-do-climate-science/

    Sigh … He just doesn’t get it.

  506. Hank Roberts:

    Tilo, that’s why they called it the ‘Medieval’ warm period.
    Because it happened thereabouts and then.

    Have a look at any of the contemporary references. This one has a good clear summary of some of the issues, and the whole idea is fun, if you like neural networks:

    http://www.ann-geophys.net/27/1097/2009/angeo-27-1097-2009.pdf

    —excerpt—

    “… dendroclimatic reconstructions based on linear and nonlinear transfer functions have not yet been compared for palaeotemperature proxies such as temperature-sensitive tree-ring chronologies of millennial length.

    Our tree-ring data comes from palaeontological and biological wood samples from northernmost Finland: Lapland. There are several reasons to focus on this region and data. Previous studies have shown that tree-ring growth in this region is highly sensitive to variations in summer temperature (Hustich and Elfving, 1944; Siren, 1961; Lindholm, 1996). Consequently, these tree-ring chronologies have served as proxy records for several palaeotemperature reconstructions ….

    … Due to the similarity of dendrochronological time-series to other palaeoclimatic proxy records such as sclerochronologies and fish otolith series (Strom et al., 2004; Black et al., 2005; Helama et al., 2006, 2007a), we hypothesize that our results could provide information for studies on growth increments of modern and fossilized corals, bivalves and fishes and their relationships to climate ….

  507. Jim Bouldin:

    McIntyre, quoted by Revkin:

    “Can you honestly think of anyone in this field who is subjected to more criticism than I am? Or someone who has more eyes on their work looking for some fatal error?”

  508. dhogaza:

    Jim, I saw that, too, and almost fell out of my chair …

  509. ChrisD:

    TKearney #456:

    <My hometown of Scranton PA was back in the day buried underneath a glacier. … That fact made me a skeptic, since it begs the question of ‘how did the glacier retreat b/4 the coal underneath it was burned.>

    Good heavens. I don’t have a PhD in anything–just a forty-year-old BA–and even I know the answer to that: Things Can Have More Than One Cause.

    People have been dying for millenia, which begs the question of “how did people die b4 there were any guns?”

    (PS: An annoying note on English language usage: “begs the question” doesn’t mean what you think it means.)

  510. Ray Ladbury:

    McI: “Can you honestly think of anyone in this field who is subjected to more criticism than I am? Or someone who has more eyes on their work looking for some fatal error?”

    Anyone? Beuhler?

    Gosh, Stevie McI, you know what the real bitch about being a martyr is? You have to find somebody else to drive in that last nail!

  511. Former Skeptic:

    “Can you honestly think of anyone in this field who is subjected to more criticism than I am? Or someone who has more eyes on their work looking for some fatal error?”

    SOCRATIC IRONY ALERT!!

  512. Eli Rabett:

    Eli has put up an extended comment on making the Yamal tree-ring data base public. In short, it wasn’t Briffa’s obligation

  513. Eli Rabett:

    As Eli said, Tilo, there is something in there for everyone.

    Hank, neural networks, having no conscious, are ideal for dendrology.

  514. Deep Climate:

    Maybe Andy Revkin (and Steve McIntyre) should read this (not my post so much, but the new blogger I discovered).

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/10/06/delayed-oscillator-on-divergence/

    Introducing “Delayed Oscillator” or D.O. as I call this blogger. Some key quotes:

    In other words, Yamal’s “enormous HS blade”, said by McIntyre to be like “crack cocaine” for paleoclimatoligists, is much reduced in DO’s first version, using a standard RCS implementation instead of McIntyre’s home-grown version.

    And DO’s conclusion:

    my quick review of these data here shows that including Khadyta River raw data in the Yamal chronology does not result in a more accurate nor precise understanding of past temperatures in the region.

    Yep, he actaully went and compared the two series to the corresponding gridcell temp, and found the new Khadyta series showed modern divergence from 1970 on, while Yamal tracked quite well.

  515. Tilo Reber:

    Hank:

    “Tilo, that’s why they called it the ‘Medieval’ warm period.
    Because it happened thereabouts and then.”

    I know that the Medieval warm period happend around 1000 AD Hank. I’m not sure what point you are wanting to make, however.

    My point, is that Rudd gave us an example of a chronology where the MWP is warmer than today. And it’s a northern european chronology. There are many such examples.

    Ely also said that McIntyre was reducing the accuracy of the Briffa chronology by including young trees. Grudd said in the quote I gave that they needed to include younger trees to overcome loss of sensitivity in the 20th century. So what get’s included or deleted in terms of the age of the trees is whatever is needed to reflect 20th century warming. But that same age distribution doesn’t seem to be maintained into the past. In Briffa’s case, the tree rings that defined the second half of the 20th century were, on average, much older than the tree rings that defined the earlier period. Briffa was using Larches, Rudd was using scots pine. The response to aging seems to vary depending on the tree type. What does that do to the uniformitarian principle when the tree rings that you are using for calibration are older than the tree rings that you use for the rest of the period? What does the 20th century divergence problem, as discussed by Briffa, do to the uniformitarian principle. And if you cannot trust the uniformitarian principle how can you make a meaningful comparison between the 20th century and earlier periods. The uniformitarian priciple would seem to make sense. But it requires that you maintain a uniformity of all elements that are sensitive to temperature. Since tree age is one of those element, and since Briffa did not maintain it, there would seem to be a problem.

  516. Lawrence McLean:

    Real Climate:
    I notice that global temperature graphs for individual years exhibit a repeating pattern of high temperatures followed by a few declining temperature years, for example:
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/globalwarming/images/pollackreconbig.gif
    To me, it seems to be a very consistent pattern superimposed on the general global warming trend.

    The pattern seems to be similar with my own experience with the seasons in South Eastern Australia. In every year that I remember, as the season progresses from Winter to Summer, at some stage after the initial warming, the weather returns to Winter conditions that persist for quite a few weeks, followed by a more consistent warming into Summer conditions. Note, that even up to the end of December cold snaps can still occur, but this late, they are of short duration. When average climate conditions are examined however, such as:
    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_068069.shtml
    the pattern that I describe is not evident.

    It may be interesting to ask for the reason for the Winter to Summer pattern that I observe, however more important is, has any one else noticed the global temperature pattern that I describe and if so has there been any attempt to explain it? Or is it just my imagination!?

  517. Hank Roberts:

    Scott asked about the Andrill story and what they might mean by “hard evidence that Antarctica underwent a brief but rapid period of warming about 15 million years before present.”

    Earlier on the page they give some idea: “Among the 1,107 meters of sediments recovered and analyzed for microfossil content, a two-meter thick layer in the core displayed extremely rich fossil content.”

    So the “brief” period lasted long enough to add two meters to the sediment on the seabed. Google ‘Andrill’ for much more, but you’ll find more conference proceedings and news releases than finished and published science papers; it’s early days yet.

    Example:

    http://www.ipyyouthnz.org/educational_materials/ANDRILL_resource.html has some pictures of sections of the core identifying changes from diatomite to other kinds of sediment and explaining them.

    This isn’t work that can be hurried.

    Aside — here, the ‘raw data’ consists of huge freezers full of long cylinders of ice.

  518. Rattus Norvegicus:

    One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is that Steve has only been after the Yamal data for a couple of years. Not 10 years. Steve is a chronic dissembler, I’m not calling him a liar here, only a dissembler. He has also ignored the issue about who owns the data. In this case, it was only the derived data (the RCS curves and core analysis based on those curves) which Briffa had to disclose. Anything else is governed by agreement between the originators of the data and Briffa.

    In his answer to Tom P, he misses the point: Tom P showed that the RCS method worked as is it should. Eliminating trees by age class produced little change in the reconstruction. At the point where so many trees had been eliminated that a statistically significant recon could not be produced the “hockey stick” was broken.

    Steve is pretty good at hiding what he means when he says “the hockey stick is broken”. The 20th century rise is never shown to be false, the broken hockey stick invariably involves a spike in reconstructed temperature during a period prior to the instrumental record. And the spike is always not statistically significant.

    What Steve has done is show that if you create an invalid reconstruction (he will never call it a reconstruction, but it is invalid) you can show that the MCA (medieval climate anomaly) was warmer than today. He also shows that the LIA (little ice age) was warmer than today. Hmm. If this doesn’t make any of his backers wonder what is going on, it should.

    The only thing McI has going for him is innuendo. His style of argument is to claim a conspiracy, fail to show any evidence of same, post an article which strongly “implies” misbehavior on the part of the researchers he is attacking. Of course when the rest of the world picks up on the obvious implications of his post he says “I didn’t really mean that.” Yeah right. If you keep doing the same thing over and over again, at some point people think that you’re crazy. McI is crazy.

  519. Marco:

    Don’t know whether others have already submitted this, but a blogger called “delayed oscillator” has wieghed in with some interesting observations:
    http://delayedoscillator.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/yamal-emulation-i/
    http://delayedoscillator.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/yamal-emulation-ii-divergence/
    Obligatory reading!

  520. Mark P:

    re 453
    “to be an ad hominem it has to be irrelevant”
    No, ad hominem means an attack on the person or their beliefs, not their science.
    Ad hominem attacks are unhelpful to me.
    I want to understand McIntyre’s science, not his beliefs.

  521. AndyW:

    I agree with the posts above that don’t like the tone, either here or blogs with the opposite viewpoint. Rather than talking about science in the manner I grew up with it has become a battle and war against an enemy for some reason, a heated bar argument. Perhaps too many laymen and not enough scientists adding their tuppence worth? Too much emotion and not enough clear thinking.

    Considering, if past history is any guide, AGW will be put on the back burner as regards the general public like acid rain and ozone holes before it so all this aggressive chatter is just rather pointless.

    Regards
    Andy

  522. Bart Verheggen:

    Jim Bouldin (492),

    Thanks for your thoughtful review of the issues; it clarifies a lot.

  523. Tom P:

    Marco,

    Thanks for finding this.

    There are severe statistical contradictions in what Steve McIntyre presented, as I have posted directly on CA concerning his preferred series. He has yet to respond.

    But delayedoscillator has put together the best analysis of why the inclusion of the Khadyta data is invalid.

  524. Tom P:

    … for the application Steve McIntyre is presenting – I’ve no reason to doubt the data itself!

  525. Peter Dawe:

    @AndyW
    The tone and “War/Battle” stuff is a relatively new social manipulation technique. Historically called the BIG LIE!

    The technique is to repeat the LIE as often as possible and simply refuse to make any justification of it, apart from any opportunity to discredit the opposition, however small. It came out of the “FEAR, UNCERTAINTY AND DOUBT” (FUD) system.

    Its great asset is you can practice it without any resources apart from access to the media. No R&D etc.

    One of the main objectives of the technique is to consume the oppositions resources in futile rational arguement.

    Possible responses:-
    Ignore them:- Don’t respond, Get on with the real work

    Sue them:- The lie is a lie, and it damages scientists reputation

    Threaten them with future retribution: Start to keep a public list of them and demand that when rationing comes in they are last in the queue

    The New Noah

  526. CM:

    Jim Bouldin, thanks for the clear exposition. It’s good to finally have a “tree person” going over this (confirming that Gavin knows his trees, actually: #404, #417). McIntyre hasn’t commented yet as far as I can see.

    One question for clarification: you say (my emphases)

    The Russians state that they use 224 series in their chronology, chosen based on being the longest and most sensitive of the larger set of series, with sensitivity defined by inter-annual response to instrumental temperatures. It is thus highly likely that they chose their 17 modern cores based on these same criteria.

    Hantemirov and Shiyatov 2002 say (at 721)

    These were the longest and most sensitive series, where sensitivity is measured by the magnitude of interannual variability.

    I take it that this means the more sensitive trees are those where tree rings differ most from year to year, without regard to how this variation correlates with a temperature record. This seems to accord with the explanation you subsequently gave at CA of how sensitivity is generally determined in trees before the instrumental record. That still left some people there wondering why the 17 modern series wouldn’t be selected on the same criteria, as I understood your comment to mean that they probably were.

    Was the reference to “instrumental temperatures” just a fluke in your text (which I’ll be saving it for future reference!), or am I missing
    the point here?

  527. Mark:

    Ah, Andy is being “an even-handed Voice Of Reason In A Troubled Time ™”.

    Andy, have you said the same complaint on these other blogs, like WUWT and ClimateAudit?

    I know you won’t have done so for The Register (Orlowski doesn’t have talkbacks: he wants One World View in his theses) and neither with Pielke Sr have let comments in his blog.

  528. Mark:

    “I want to understand McIntyre’s science, not his beliefs.”

    Well, there’s your problem: no science in McI’s work.

  529. Mark:

    “Please compare ,and if possible contrast , the respective hazards to the reputation of science of ignoring modeling uncertainty caveats, and making worst-case outliers the central focus of publicity , in the run-up to Copenhagen and the Cold War media extravaganza styled ‘nuclear winter.’”

    But the apocalyptic extremes are the ones that deniers are working on: the extreme edge that the sensitivity of global temperatures is so very far away from the mean calculated that it ventures into the realms of impossibility.

    The number of AGW scientists promoting a sensitivity over 6C per doubling is infinitesimal.

    The number of AGW denialists promoting a sensitivity of 1C or less is huge.

    Who is working at the extremes here?

  530. Mark P:

    Re 492

    Jim, thanks very much for this. A measured, helpful response to my post. I agree with most of your points and find them useful. Cross posting to CA as well.

    I can see where you’re coming from. The objective is to find the “climate signal” in a low signal to noise environment. Your approach (and H&S’s approach) was to pre-select the older trees which may be best responders to the signal. That should pull more signal out of the noise (the non-responding, younger trees). I’m coming from a signal processing background where to get more signal, you increase your sample size and do more and more averaging. Different approaches.

    Your approach kind of makes sense to me if we have a luxury of a large sample size. However it makes me very itchy when we have a very small sample set. The sampling error becomes tremendous.

    >> McIntyre’s focus on the decline in the sample number from 1990 on is almost completely misplaced. […] Rather, he seems to think that low sample sizes in these years will strongly affect the RCS standardization procedure, when in fact it will have almost no impact at all, because there are already over 225 cores used in the RCS sample. This is because all cores are used in RCS standardization, not just modern cores. […].

    I see where you’re coming from, but I disagree. Only the modern cores are used in the calibration. As I see it, RCS is an algorithm whose inputs are 225 tree cores and some calibration factors. Its output is a temperature record. The problem I see is that the only information from which to derive calibration factors is contained in trees which were alive in the instrumental period. This information set is very limited, and no algorithm (RCS or otherwise) can increase the amount of calibration information.

    Let me try and explain my point in more detail. Sorry for the mickey-mouse language, it’s the only way I can think.

    The Briffa (2000) methodology goes as follows
    (1) take a set of tree samples
    (2) define some a-priori selection criteria to select “good climate responders”:- eg species, location, age
    (3) extract the set of tree samples (“responders”) which meet the criteria:- 225 trees in Briffa (2000)
    (4) confirm that the set of tree samples does show a statistically significant climate response
    (5) confirm that any climate response observed in (4) is statistically strong enough to be extrapolated across the entire “good responder” set.
    (6) if (5) is valid, use the entire “responder” set as a thermometer.

    The only information we can use to carry out steps (4) and (5) is embodied within trees alive during the instrumental record:- the “calibration trees”. We must infer the properties of the rest of the set (“long dead trees”) from the calibration trees. In step (4) Briffa (2000) must show a statistically valid correlation between the calibration trees and instrumental temperature and in step (5) it must show that it’s statistically valid to pass properties observed in the calibration trees to the long-dead trees.

    So the results stand or fall on the information embodied within the calibration trees. RCS can’t add more calibration information than there is. The fact that there are 225 trees in the “responder” set isn’t relevant to this part:- RCS is inferring the climate response of around 200 long dead trees from only the information contained in the handful of calibration trees.

    And to paraphrase McIntyre “how can you infer anything useful from so few trees?”. This small a set seems sensitive to sampling errors. Is it enough to disprove spurious correlation in step (4)? Is it enough to be confident we can infer the properties of the long dead trees from the calibration trees. Tom P’s first graph shows this sensitivity. Removing just one of the calibration trees (albeit the most important one, YAD06) changes 20th century results from 2.75 to 2.35 “units”. That seems to me to indicate a large sampling error. When we draw error bars on the Briffa (2000) results they are going to be pretty big – which weakens its conclusions.

    Do you think I have a point?

    Mark

  531. ChrisD:

    MarkP 520:

    <“to be an ad hominem it has to be irrelevant”
    No, ad hominem means an attack on the person or their beliefs, not their science.>

    Actually, if B’s “attack” is relevant to A’s argument and provides evidence that A’s argument could be wrong, it’s not ad hominem even if it’s directed at A rather than specifically at his argument. Discussions of McIntyre’s motivation and accusations of cherry picking aren’t ad hominem arguments, as you suggested in 404.

    There’s a rather good discussion here; one of its key points is how ad hominem is one of the most widely misused terms on the Internets.

    “Ironically, the fallacy is most often committed by those who accuse their opponents of ad hominem, since they try to dismiss the opposition not by engaging with their arguments, but by claiming that they resort to personal attacks.”

  532. Hank Roberts:

    > divergence
    Can be caused by acid rain (from coal burning):
    http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es048759o

    The blog scientists are proclaiming that because the dendro folks aren’t arriving to blog about Briffa, this proves, well, something.

    Looking with Scholar at the publications shows a whole lot of work being done across a wide range of questions. Try ‘ dendroclimatology ‘ and ‘ dendroecological’ as search terms.

    McI was aware of this stuff in 2007 when he presented at the AGU meeting:
    http://www.agu.org/cgi-bin/SFgate/SFgate?&listenv=table&multiple=1&range=1&directget=1&application=fm07&database=%2Fdata%2Fepubs%2Fwais%2Findexes%2Ffm07%2Ffm07&maxhits=200&=%22PP51C%22

    But read the other presentations on the same page for more discussion about other changes associated with recent fossil fuel use: changes in wind, changes in sulfur dioxide from coal burning (without, and in some areas with, scrubbers), changes in aluminum mobility from acid rain, and much else.
    None of this is news, nor being noticed by the blog scientists it appears.

  533. pjclarke:

    Yamal – Good news, to Mr McIntyre’s credit he has emailed or commented on the blogs of ‘journalists’ guilty of the more fanciful extrapolations from his Yamal post, Specifically, Melanie Phillips, James ‘MASSIVE Lie’ Delingpole and The Register. To Ms Phillips he pointed out …

    “While there is much to criticize in the handling of this data by the authors and the journals, the results do not in any way show that “AGW is a fraud” nor that this particular study was a “fraud”. There are many serious scientists who are honestly concerned about AGW and your commentary here is unfair to them. […] In my opinion, scientific journals reporting on climate and IPCC would serve the interested public far better if they focused on articulating these issues to the scientific public at a professional level than by repeatedly recycling and promoting some highly questionable proxy studies that deal with an issue that interests me, but which is somewhat tangential to the large policy issues.”

    And in similar emails to the Register and to Delingpole he points out You’ve conflated two different studies. There are many issues pertaining to the Mann hockey stick, but the Yamal controversy is not one of them

    And despite some thinly-veiled insinuations and interesting linguistic excursions, he also said explicitly that whatever else Briffa may be guilty of, he does not believe that Briffa ‘crudely cherry-picked’ his core selection.

    (nb I look forward to quoting that ‘somewhat tangential’ remark next time I am told that alleged flaws in the HS are fatal to the case for action on AGW, ‘who said this…?’…;-). So far it does not seem that the Telegraph or The Register has given their readers the benefit of McIntyre’s update.

    Yamal – Bad news, seems to me that whatever the merits of his other criticisms, the above opinions expressed by McIntyre effectively pull the rug from under most of the assertions of malpractice and Hockey Stick mortality made by Anthony Watts on his blog, and Ross McKitrick in the FP/NP. One wonders when they will be issuing corrections or updates? Perhaps m’learned friends are sharpening their quills, as Eli speculates…

  534. Hank Roberts:

    This, though, is news:

    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/122374111/abstract

    hat tip, heck, make that a sweeping bow and grateful thanks, to:
    http://delayedoscillator.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/yamal-emulation-ii-divergence/
    pointed out by:
    http://deepclimate.org/2009/10/06/delayed-oscillator-on-divergence/

  535. Mark:

    “Considering, if past history is any guide, AGW will be put on the back burner as regards the general public like acid rain and ozone holes before it”

    One reason why acid rain and ozone holes are no longer talked of is because WE DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

    Sheesh. There used to be a lot of talk about smallpox.

    When it was eradicated, what happened to all that talk?

    Does this prove that the talk about smallpox was worthless??

  536. Mark:

    “And to paraphrase McIntyre “how can you infer anything useful from so few trees?”.”

    Mark P, you are presuming that these are too few a number of trees to make an inference from.

    Yet this is a question asked and answered by statisticians.

    And the paper comes to the conclusion “yes, you can infer something from these numbers of trees”.

  537. Jonathan Baxter:

    RE #488: “Don’t be obtuse! Gavin is alluding to the fact that a sensitivity >2 has >2.5 million years of evidence in favor of it, while Lindzen’s “analysis” has… well, none. See the difference?”

    You are wrong Ray. It is very difficult to get published with no evidence in favor of your position. I suggest you read Lindzen’s paper: http://www.drroyspencer.com/Lindzen-and-Choi-GRL-2009.pdf

    [I am not claiming Lindzen’s sensitivity estimate is the correct one, just that Gavin’s ground for dismissal are not reasonable.]

    [Response: Sorry, but I disagree. If someone claims to have made a perpetual motion machine I don’t need to read up to page 10 to know that they haven’t. The ice ages could not have happened if sensitivity was as low as 0.5 deg C/2*co2. Therefore there is something wrong with an analysis that says it is. -gavin]

  538. Theo Kurten:

    Regarding acid rain and ozone holes. Some of the effects of acid rain (e.g. on tree mortality) may have been overestimated, but concerning ozone depletion it looks like the risk was under- rather than overestimated at the time the Montreal protocol was signed. See “What would have happened to the ozone layer if chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) had not been regulated?”, http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/9/2113/2009/acp-9-2113-2009.html. Mark’s smallpox analogy is apt.

  539. Ian:

    Delayed Oscillator has an interesting take; first of 2 posts here:

    http://delayedoscillator.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/yamal-emulation-i/

    from Post #1: “Steve McIntyre has once again stirred the hornet’s nest of online climate change denial with a hasty modification of the Yamal tree ring data published by Keith Briffa and colleagues…

    “The first thing was to emulate the steps that McIntyre had performed (an audit, if you will), leaving aside for the moment whether they are even proper steps from a data point-of-view.”

  540. dhogaza:

    “One reason why acid rain and ozone holes are no longer talked of is because WE DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT.”

    Mark beat me to it … let’s hope the poster is right, and that eventually AGW will be put on the back burner for the same reason: that we did something about it. Something sufficient.

  541. Alfio Puglisi:

    516 Lawrence McLean:

    in my admittedly limited understanding of the topic, climate oscillations over a few years are mainly caused by the global ENSO oscillation (“El Nino”), the bottom curve on this graph: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.E.lrg.gif. See wikipedia for an introduction to the subject. See also this article on this very blog.

  542. Jonathan Baxter:

    [Response: Sorry, but I disagree. If someone claims to have made a perpetual motion machine I don’t need to read up to page 10 to know that they haven’t. The ice ages could not have happened if sensitivity was as low as 0.5 deg C/2*co2. Therefore there is something wrong with an analysis that says it is. -gavin]

    Likening Lindzen’s argument to one in favor of a perpetual motion machine is, putting it politely, hubris. Not to mention rather denigrating of the editors and reviewers of GRL.

    Lindzen is not saying sensitivity was 0.5 in the last ice age. He only addresses short-term sensitivity in the Earth’s current climate state. However, his results have bearing on the question of long-term sensitivity. As I said above, sensitivity is likely a function of climate state, so it could well be true that today’s sensitivity is different from that deep within an ice age. You may have sensitivity of 6C/2*CO2 (ignoring ice albedo) when things are cold, reducing as the Earth gets hotter and wetter. Nothing I’ve seen in the ice-age studies rules that out.

  543. Jim Bouldin:

    CM and Mark P:

    I’ve read your posts (good questions!) and will try to respond at length as soon as I can. Have not read anything at CA since my posts.
    Jim

  544. Hank Roberts:

    AndyW — acid rain and the ozone holes remain a problem, and we are still doing something about those, of necessity. Interesting to see someone like you, a multi-issue denier, surface here claiming these are no longer talked about. Try reading, it’s informative.

  545. Eli Rabett:

    Mark P, My impression is that as the RCS method joins the individual cores to each other, it produces a single proxy record. This blending of the older cores with the more recent ones propagates the effect of the older ones into more recent times and visa versa. The final stage is to impose the instrumental record on the single proxy reconstruction, not to fit the most recent ones alone. At least that is what I think is happening.

  546. Eli Rabett:

    Well, Eli has been harping on the ownership of measurement data, and it looks like Steve M has finally copped to what happened. He asked Science to force Briffa to give him the Yamal data and Science told him that the Science article did not rely on “measurement data” but on the RCS reconstruction.

  547. TCO:

    Steve McI is bloviating about the “silence of the dendros” on his blog. I get so tired of the penny ante blog rabble rouser crap. And this is from someone more conservative than Steve and WAY sympathetic to fault finding in AGW…and even someone who like internet playing around.

    Steve hasn’t even defined WHAT his issue is with Briffa. He comes on and says, “this is the most momentous thing I’ve ever put on my blog…and than doesn’t say exactly WHY. He claims NOT to be alleging fraud (though he sure seems to hint at it and his hoi polloi go right there). So what is his CASE?

    This is a normal part of his bad writing style. He should have a thesis and then SUPPORTS for that thesis. Not a teaser…than a bunch of details…and than a “tada!” without any specific conclusion/allegation.

    This guy needs to write for publication just so that others can efficiently READ and parse his thoughts. Heck, he would improve his OWN ANALYSIS if he forced himself to write real publications.

    And this is not even some “stuffy science thingie” or English prof wannabe attitude. Good BUSINESS WRITING is the same way! I am so amazed that this guy touts himself as some sort of “prospectus writer”. If he tried to sell a company, other than miserable Canadian shell company mining penny stocks, (don’t snip…it’s true and non-actionable) a private equity buyer or sophisticated buyer would laugh at him. No one will bother unwinding the snail shell…things need to be LAID OUT.

    While he has a good vocabulary…it doesn’t MATTER. His disorganized content is an insult to readers. And it is a pattern with the guy from his blogs to his draft publications to his posters to his presentations.

    The guy has a very high IQ. Even poses interesting issues. Heck, I thought just his “grass plots” (tree ring versus age) were “pretty” (in the sense that a scientist would use that word) and could contribute some grains of good practice and insight to the field. But he doesn’t finish off ideas. 5 year tease now!

    After all kinds of time spent parsing the guys stuff (and it was fun at times), I’m just TIRED. I will wait to see what gets settled. If he has something…it will come out. The Y2K and polar station fixes got solved pretty fast (despite the annoying coy manner of presentation by Steve). Even with Briffa…if there is some BREAKTHROUGH insight and Steve is just too lazy to write it up…it will get taken care of. If the point is more subtle and debatable…well, his insights may not find a home, but then that is Steve’s fault for his crappy, lazy, hoi-polloi-playing-to, self-publishing.

    There is NO EXCUSE for this sort of behavior. You don’t have to be a grad student or have a Ph.D. to write properly. Anyone with years of work experience and a high IQ, should be able to write a clear contribution to the science literature just from the Notice to Authors and from reading the literarature (let alone a quick parsing of some of the books that advise on how to write better science papers).

    I honestly think a lot of the issues this guy has in gettin stuff published is because of disorganized arguments, poor writing, etc. I actually think a lot of the issues ALL SCIENTISTS* have in review, come from poor writing, from lack of clarity.

    Finally…it is annoying that the guy claims that his blog is a “lab notebook” and a place for him to do work in progress…then thinks that people need to respond to it! SHEESH!

    *And I believe this to the extent that I would “James Annan Bayesian bet” that several of the RC contributors could help themselves sail through review better with clearer writing! ;) And while I think all scientists could (easily) up their game here…Steve McI is a MESS.

  548. MRick:

    All of the temperature charts above all tell a similar story…

    MBH Hockey Stick = Warming started in 1900
    Oerlemans Glacier Retreat = Warming started in 1850
    Osborn/Briffa = Warming stared in 1900
    Borehole = Warming started in 1890
    Kaufman = Warming started in 1820
    Hockey Stick w/o Tree Rings = Warming started in 1900

    What caused the warming from 1820/1900 to 1940 or so? And what caused the pause in temperature rise from 1940 to 1970 or so?

    The CO2 chart shows that CO2 level has been steadily increasing for the past 7500 years, and shows an acceleration of the increase in CO2 level starting sometime just prior to 1750.

    What has been causing CO2 levels to increase for the past 7500 years and what is causing the acceleration in the increase?

  549. Stephen:

    Hi Gavin,

    you say:

    “The ice ages could not have happened if sensitivity was as low as 0.5 deg C/2*co2″

    That’s an interesting and definite statement which I’ve not seen before (and boy have I read a lot!). I would like to learn more – can you point me in the right direction please?

    [Response: read up on our articles about climate sensitivity from the index button above. – Gavin]

    Thanks,

    Stephen

  550. dhogaza:

    I honestly think a lot of the issues this guy has in gettin stuff published is because of disorganized arguments, poor writing, etc

    I thought it had more to do with the fact that he doesn’t submit stuff for publication …

  551. David B. Benson:

    Mark P in comment #520 wrote “I want to understand McIntyre’s science, not his beliefs.” Thanks for the morning’s chuckle.

    MRick (547) — Read climatologist W.F. Ruddiman’s popular “Plows, Plagues and Petroleum” for much of an answer to your question. His professional papers, usually quite readable, about this matter can be obtained from his website.

  552. Richard Sycamore:

    Is it true that Steve McIntyre was an IPCC reviewer? This seems hard to believe.

  553. Snowman:

    Last week I had to cut two trees in the garden. The cuts were clean, and the rings separation very clear. Just out of interest I looked at the ring formation from the middle to the outside. The differences stood out, and do you know what? They correlated with my diary record of rain fall in the last ten years (my records don’t go beyond 1999. Why should this be? Why should the rings correlate with rainfall. I presume that the CO2 levels have been rising in the last ten years, whereas rainfall fluctuated. I would have expected the rings to get incrementally bigger each year. What’s wrong with the bloody trees? Why cannot they do as you are suggesting they should. Could you help before I give up altogether?

  554. Scott A. Mandia:

    Regarding the press release at:

    http://www.lsu.edu/highlights/2009/10/antarctic.shtml#

    Which states: “Palynomorphs from sediment core give proof to sudden warming in mid-Miocene era”

    Dr. Warny was kind enough to send me the PDF of this paper. The “sudden” time scale the press release refers to is 50,000 years and the “brief” warming was 200,000 years. Looks like the anti-AGW crowd cannot use this for their claims of natural causes. Bummer.

  555. WAG:

    A version of the story for laymen like myself:
    http://akwag.blogspot.com/2009/10/lesson-in-denial-rick-cantor-videos.html

    There’s a lot of math to slog through on the blogs, and I found it hard myself to tell alot of what was going on. I don’t know what a Gaussian filter is, for instance. So I’d love to get some “peer review” on my layman’s interpretation of the story, to make sure I’m being honest.

  556. caerbannog:


    Is it true that Steve McIntyre was an IPCC reviewer? This seems hard to believe.

    Anyone who wants to sign up can become an IPCC “reviewer”. It’s no harder than signing up to become a Microsoft beta tester.

    TCO said,

    5 year tease now!

    McIntyre is quite possibly the brightest (with the possible exception of Dr. Lindzen) of all the AGW “skeptics”. The fact that he (or Lindzen, for that matter) hasn’t produced anything substantive in the past 5 years should tell you something about the strength of the skeptics’ position with respect to AGW…

  557. Martin Vermeer:

    Richard, anybody can become an IPCC reviewer… the beauty of it is that it exposes those putting it on their resumés as the ignoramuses (ignorami?) they are ;-)

  558. caerbannog:


    Is it true that Steve McIntyre was an IPCC reviewer? This seems hard to believe.

    Becoming an IPCC reviewer is about as hard as becoming a Microsoft beta tester. All you have to do is sign up.

  559. Bart Verheggen:

    I assembled some McIntyre quotes, which seem to vary between thinly veiled insinuations of fraud, and retractions of those statements after the damage is done: http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2009/10/06/mcintyres-role-in-the-latest-teapot-tempest/

  560. Jim Eager:

    Re MRick @547: “What has been causing CO2 levels to increase for the past 7500 years and what is causing the acceleration in the increase?”

    Same advise David Benson gave @549: read Ruddiman’s “Plows, Plagues and Petroleum” and/or his published scientific papers.

    Basically human caused increases of methane (which rapidly oxidizes into CO2 in the atmosphere) from agriculture, particularly from growing rice in paddies, and deforestation from clearing agricultural land, thus reducing CO2 absorption.

    The acceleration was caused by the advent of burning fossil carbon fuels on an industrial scale, beginning ~1750, which has, of course, been accelerating ever since.

    The pause in temperature rise from ~1945-1976 was largely due to particulates from accelerated and unregulated WWII and post-war emissions, particularly sulfates — the same stuff that volcanoes eject into the atmosphere that can cause world-wide cooling for a year or so, and that geoengineering proponents advocate injecting into the upper atmosphere to counter current and future warming. These were subsequently greatly reduced by clean air emissions regulations that came into effect in the 1970s in the US and Western Europe. The collapse of the Eastern Bloc in the 1990s cleared even more from the atmosphere.

  561. CM:

    MRick (#547), for answers to questions like these, try the reading materials via the START HERE button on the top of the page; for more specialized questions, try the INDEX button.

    Briefly and AFAIK: Current thinking is that the slow 7,000-year rise in atmospheric CO2 was likely a slow refill from the ocean, and from growing coral reefs, after a dip caused by CO2 uptake from spreading forest; the role of early agriculture is disputed. The recent steep rise is undoubtedly from burning fossil fuels, and partly deforestation. Some of the industrial-era warming was due to a stronger sun, and early 20th century warming could be largely natural, though humans likely played a role. But the warming over the 20th century as a whole and since the 1970s in particular, can only be explained by human influence, in particular the warming from CO2 and other greenhouse gases. The 1940-1970 breather likely has to do with other air pollution offsetting greenhouse warming by reflecting sunlight. — For expert knowledge, try those buttons.

  562. Jim Eager:

    Richard Sycamore @550, yes, McI is in fact listed as an “expert reviewer,” the IPPC’s own unfortunate term. But keep in mind that virtually anyone could request a review copy of the IPPC’s draft report and submit their unsolicited comment, as long as they agreed not to publicly comment or disclose its contents prior to the publication of the final report. Even Monckton.

    Note the word unsolicited, and the lack of any requirement that those commenting must actually be an expert.

  563. Jim Eager:

    Snowman @551, no you are beyond help, just give up. The science is obviously not within your grasp.

  564. caerbannog:

    Re: my posts 554 & 556 — my browser crashed as I was posting the first one, so I assumed that it didn’t get through. Sorry about the duplicate.

  565. Jim Eager:

    Snowman @551, are you aware that yours is the only comment out of 551 to assert that tree rings should get wider as CO2 increases?
    You might want to at least get on the right page before sitting down at your keyboard.

  566. pjclarke:

    >>Is it true that Steve McIntyre was an IPCC reviewer?

    Its an open review process, all one has to do to become an expert reviewer is ask for a copy of the draft, agree to a few T&Cs, and submit comments, so I believe. It does not imply any particular degree of recognition by the IPCC or authority in the subject matter.

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2006/05/you_too_can_be_a_leading_clima.php

  567. Hank Roberts:

    Is this the same Richard Sycamore with the long blog track record, or someone new and uninformed who happens to be using the same name?

    The naivete of the questions and occasional excursion into rhetoric that the old Richard would have mocked as ‘warmist’ or credulous is very strange in the context.

  568. Jonathan Baxter:

    RE #502: “Jonathan, that’s the instantaneous, hypothetical value achievable by doubling the total number of CO2 molecules in the atmosphere, all at once, with no other change.

    You knew that, right? If not, who fooled you? Where did you get the notion this is a number that means whatever you think it means? Seriously, it would help to know your source for the number and how it was presented to you.”

    I understand the physics. The way climate sensitivity is usually derived is as a no-feedback number based on purely radiative thermodynamics (hence the application of Stefan-Boltzmann’s law), modified by a feedback multiplier the largest contribution to which is from water-vapor.

    The radiative (non-feedback) number is (relatively) uncontroversial, well understood, and largely independent of climate state. The full (feedback-modified) sensitivity is much more difficult to pin down, depending as it does on not-as-yet fully understood cloud dynamics, and the overall climate state.

    Your assumption that I am being fooled is interesting. You may be surprised to learn that original climate science papers are quite readable for someone with an advanced degree in maths and physics.

  569. Mark:

    Further to 560, you don’t have to even submit an opinion on the paper or even read it at all.

  570. Mark:

    Strawman ponders: “I would have expected the rings to get incrementally bigger each year.”

    Why?

    You need more than carbon to make carbohydrates. They require Carbon, Oxygen AND … wait for it … HYDROGEN!

    How what do you think is H2O (water)?

    Strawman then builds his FEG: “Why should the rings correlate with rainfall. I presume that the CO2 levels have been rising in the last ten years, whereas rainfall fluctuated. I would have expected the rings to get incrementally bigger each year.”

    Well the reason for that will be answered by saying “Because your brain isn’t working as shown by your erroneous expectation”.

  571. Tony:

    Anthropic burning will reduce the amount of O2 in the atmosphere.Anyone know if there has been any work done on the possible effects?

  572. Hank Roberts:

    Tony: yes.
    http://www.google.com/search?q=Anthropic+burning+will+reduce+the+amount+of+O2+in+the+atmosphere

  573. Mark:

    Tony, the dropping level of O2 has been discussed and measured.

    The change in CO2 is a greater percent and therefore of greater concern.

    I’m *certain* that some biologist would like to accept a donation to work on it, though…

  574. Mark:

    “The full (feedback-modified) sensitivity is much more difficult to pin down, depending as it does on not-as-yet fully understood cloud dynamics, and the overall climate state.”

    However, it IS absolutely measureable by the historical records.

    And those records can only be reconciled if the sensitivity of global temperatures to a doubling of CO2 is between 2 and 4.5 C per doubling.

    No need to work out the unworked cloud dynamics or the overall climate state, but just the rather mundane assumption that cloud dynamics were not considerably different in the past and that if clouds had a greater feedback to remove warming from CO2 then there must have been a countervailing process that increased it in spite of this effect and stopped the temperature rising being anulled.

  575. CM:

    Re: expert reviewers. – Folks, you make the IPCC review process sound like the Oregon Petition. I know it’s an open process, but…? The IPCC Principles, Appendix A: Procedures, states that expert reviewers “may be nominated by Governments, national and international organisations, Working Group/Task Force Bureaux, Lead Authors and Contributing Authors.” Elsewhere it refers to “appropriate” organizations. Doesn’t say asking for a copy will get your name listed in the report. Citation please?

    Besides, it makes fairly good sense to have McIntyre write review comments for the IPCC draft. He was no doubt thorough.

  576. Hank Roberts:

    CM: http://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+become+an+expert+reviewer+for+the+IPCC

    Among the results:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2006/05/you_too_can_be_a_leading_clima.php

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2006/05/yet_another_pointless_pile_of.php

  577. Mark:

    “Folks, you make the IPCC review process sound like the Oregon Petition.”

    Lets just say that the mere accusation of being an IPCC expert reviewer has as little to do with whether they have anything relevant to say as the accusation of being on that petition, hmm?

    PS, no McI wasn’t thorough, he was a pain in the arse.

    You can read all the comments and the points he raised were assinine.

  578. Mark:

    Heck, CM, Tilo Reber could cite himself as a widely read authority on climate by having posted so many times on RC recently.

  579. Dan L.:

    Richard Sycamore at 550: “Is it true that Steve McIntyre was an IPCC reviewer?”

    In the same sense that ketchup is a vegetable, yes.

    Anyone may have preliminary IPCC reports for review, simply by requesting them and agreeing to restrictions on their use. Deniers are fond of doing this and then claiming they have some sort of formal status as part of the IPCC. Monckton is even given to bragging that he shares in the IPCC’s Nobel Prize.

  580. Jim Eager:

    CM @573: “Folks, you make the IPCC review process sound like the Oregon Petition.”

    Well, Monckton is also listed as an “expert reviewer”, so feel free to draw your own conclusion on that comparison.

  581. Hank Roberts:

    And for next time, this is how you become an expert reviewer.
    Please note that comments are now closed, this is posted solely as an illustration of the process:
    http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/ipcc/wg14ar-review.htm

  582. Marcus:

    “That’s an interesting and definite statement which I’ve not seen before (and boy have I read a lot!).”

    You might also try the IPCC 4th Assessment Report, where they discuss different methods of determining climate sensitivity, one of the major ones being examination of the last glacial maximum (LGM) and using that to constrain climate sensitivity. Or Knutti and Hegerl: http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/knutti08natgeo.pdf : See Figure 3, which shows how almost every method that has been used to determine climate sensitivity comes up with a number that is almost certainly greater than 1.5, and probably greater than 2, mostly likely to be around 3, and possibly greater than 5…

  583. Eli Rabett:

    Hmmm. All talk of IPCC reviewers has made Ethon hungry. Did anyone retain a copy of the agreement you needed to join. Eli would not be surprised if that great formalist Persaud was in violation of the agreement he made to join the august circle.

  584. Ray Ladbury:

    Jonathan Baxter, Lindzen’s publication relies on some pretty questionable uses of the satellite data, as Chris Colose has pointed out previously. It looks like GIGO to me. The fact of the matter is that every one of the different threads of evidence for climate sensitivity points to a most probable value of 3 degrees per doubling. Every single one. Lindzen’s value doesn’t even fall within the 95% CL for any of these distributions. What is more, you simply cannot get a climate model to produce a climate that is anything like Earth’s with a sensitivity that low.

    It comes down to evidence, and Lindzen has none in his favor and a mountain against him. I have also learned to take anything Lindzen says with enough salt to raise the blood pressure of an entire city. Once I see a scientist making arguments he knows to be false to a lay audience, I know not to believe anything he says.

  585. Hank Roberts:

    Ah, there’s always a precedent.

    Found here:
    http://www.andrew-may.com/asf/fort.htm
    http://www.andrew-may.com/asf/lo.jpg

    —- excerpt follows —-

    The essence of the Fortean approach is to present the data — the anomalies, the possibilities — without any further processing, analysis or value judgments. This infuriated many of Fort’s critics, including John W Campbell himself. Campbell felt particularly strongly about this because, unlike Fort’s traditional opponents, he believed fervently that Fort was onto the Truth. In Campbell’s eyes, Fort shot himself in the foot by presenting his data in an obscure, undigested, belligerent form that no scientist was ever going to take seriously. He made this point in a letter to Eric Frank Russell dated October 1, 1952:

    Fort refused to take the trouble to translate his observations into coherent language — language of science. He made the mistake. If you have something to say, it’s up to you to say it right…. It counts when you can reach an understanding that is valid, and communicate that understanding to others. Fort couldn’t. He did it wrong. He angered the best thinkers, the clearest, straightest-thinking minds who could have helped most. His writings appealed largely to muzzy-minded people who went in for fortune-telling, crystal-ball readings, and the like; they were the bulk of his audience…. His data was valid. It contained important understandings, and important clues. In that, he was right. But why didn’t he do some of the hard work of integrating it and finding the pattern, instead of frothing about how everyone else wouldn’t do that work?

    From The John W Campbell Letters, volume 1 (AC Projects Inc, 1985).

  586. Karl E:

    Ok. I don’t get it. Why the sic for the MASSIVE lie? Is it just the orthographic styling or is it something else?

  587. Bart Verheggen:

    The foremost Dutch climate skeptic, Hans Labohm, also frequently mentions that he was an IPCC reviewer, and is therefore qualified to comment on the reports as an authority. He’s more Moranesque than McIntyrian though. According to him, the NIPCC report (the latest of which he was a co-author on) is the best report ever written on climate change. (http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2009/06/13/the-nipcc-report/)

  588. Dappled Water:

    #553 – whew, I thought Snowman was going to say all the large growth rings correlated with dead donkeys.

  589. CM:

    Re: IPCC review process

    I don’t materially disagree with anyone that in principle any flake can be an IPCC reviewer if nominated, and nomination is open to many interests. Question is, is it really as simple as asking for a copy and signing a non-disclosure statement, or is this just a meme doing the rounds?

    (If you think this is a silly question to waste time on while the ice caps are melting, well, you’re right, I just got stuck in. Please skip ahead.)

    Hank (#576), apologies, I should have mentioned I’d already looked up Deltoid referencing Stoat. Looked meme-ish. As for that open call for reviews (#581), it was solicited on behalf of the State Dept. to inform the U.S. Government Review. It explicitly asks people to keep this apart from the direct expert review we’re talking about.

    Mark, Dan (#578-9), the individual IPCC reviewers are listed, with affiliations, in annexes to the WG reports (http://www.ipcc.ch).

    Jim (#580), Monckton is not listed as an expert reviewer as far as I can see (AR4 or TAR). Though I would not be in the least surprised if he’s convinced himself as well as others that he is. Meme.

    McIntyre and McKitrick, on the other hand, are both listed in WG1 (as are such phenomena as Vincent Gray and Miklos Zagoni). McIntyre cites a letter of invitation from the IPCC informing him he’d been nominated.

    Eli’s (#583) instincts are keen. In the same post, McIntyre boasts how Susan Solomon admonished him to stop abusing his reviewer status to pester JGR for supporting materials…

  590. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Richard Sycamore:

    Is it true that Steve McIntyre was an IPCC reviewer? This seems hard to believe.

    It’s true. Anyone can become an official “IPCC reviewer” simply by requesting that the IPCC send you a copy of the report.

  591. Nige:

    I am a published author and wholey support RC

    However.
    There is an issue here over communication.
    If scientists want to carry on reseaching, publishing, researching, publishing thats fine.
    If scientists want to change the world, or even Public Policy, they/we need to communicate more effectively.

    We have made a Massive Balls of this debate. No doubt. And I am sorry if that comes as a shock to you.

    We have unequivocal data on atmospheric change in CO2, and somehow, we have called the result ‘Global Warming’. This is dumb, (not because it wont happen), but because it is not understandable by Public Polciy makers, Broadcasters, nor the public.

    When we have a couple of cool summers, or when folks quote the MWP, or when another el nino occurs, the fabled ‘Global Warming’ is ridiculed.

    We need to keep on shouting about the rise in CO2 data (especially ice-core measurements) and ramming home the hypothesis about the link between rise of C02 and burning fossil fuels, and the alterations man has made to the Carbon Cycle.

    Once this link has been accepted, then we can communicate what will inevitably follow – in my humble opinion.

  592. Mark:

    “Question is, is it really as simple as asking for a copy and signing a non-disclosure statement, or is this just a meme doing the rounds?”

    Strange. Did you post this before or after Hank gave a link in #581?

    If you did, read the link.

    It isn’t a meme.

  593. Mark:

    Bert, doesn’t “sic” stand for “as it is stated” (i.e. “well, they said that”).

    If so, then MASSIVE (sic) is correct.

    Denialists call it a MASSIVE lie (not even massive, MASSIVE). But it is neither massive nor a lie. It’s just what they said, admitting no validity to it.

  594. Mark:

    Sorry that should have been addressed to Karl.

  595. Tony:

    The point about man’s burning of carbon is that it combines with oxgen to form co2, and we know that a proportion of the co2 is absorbed in the oceans, and in biomass. And so, we are also losing that equivalent amount of oxygen from the atmosphere. Such a loss will cause a reduction in overall sea-level atmospheric pressure. This will result among other things in an adiabatic cooling of the atmosphere, and a lowering of the average sea-level temperature.

    As there is a history of sea-level barometric pressure readings, is there such a thing as global average sea-level pressure graphs, similar to those global average sea-level temperature graphs, which shows the pressure drop from the sequestration of O2?

  596. Hank Roberts:

    http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=htulve5KkQMC&oi=fnd&pg=PA219&dq=IPCC+expert+review&ots=r4Pq0wzoti&sig=TP8mAtJ389NL0zGiT6ttHlIQGvw#v=onepage&q=IPCC%20expert%20review&f=false

    on IPCC review and politics, worth reading

  597. CM:

    Mark (#590), of course I read it, since Hank (#581) was nice enough to find it for me. As you might have noticed, I pointed out (#588) that the link solicited input to the U.S. government review, not individual participation in the expert review. Maybe this open call is where the meme originated.

  598. Jim Bouldin:

    CM (526):

    Yes, you interpreted correctly. When I mentioned the instr. record, I didn’t mean comparing to the sub-fossil wood, which is of course, impossible. I meant that one’s ultimate confidence that certain trees (defined by taxon, site conditions, geography, etc.) will in fact function as thermometers, is based on comparisons of modern trees against the instr. record, often in the form of extensive field experience (Shiyatov for example has been working with Siberian Larch in the Urals area since the early 70s, so you can bet he knows very well how that species responds to various site and climate conditions). One then looks for the same types of high to medium frequency patterns in the old wood, as well as the spatio-temporal coherence in particular patterns that would indicate a common response to a given forcing, which in this case is surface temperature. Having said that, this ultra-long chronology work involving buried tres is entirely unique and presents some challenges that most dendro work does not have. There is much more to it then what I’ve said here.

    Mark P:

    Yes you do have a point regarding calibration, but are also sort of missing some points that come from knowing about dendro science practice. My argument was that McIntyre has argued that there’s been this drop in sample size recently (10 trees in 1990, 5 in 1995), and that this somehow affects or is related somehow to the RCS standardization procedure (although he’s said quite a number of things and I’ve lost track of exactly what all). It’s not. That procedure simply averages the up to 241 tree ring widths (224 sub-fossil and 17 modern (Briffa used 10 or 12)), and then subtracts that average from each of the individual tree ring series (to thus estimate, and remove, the size-related growth trend from each). There are no “calibration factors” involved in the RCS process–it’s just an averaging and subtracting algorithm. The resulting growth ‘residuals’ are then averaged, this time by calendar year not ring year, and this mean anomaly is then used to estimate the former temperature anomalies, using the relationship from the calibration of modern trees and the instr. record. (As an aside, we have to assume that McIntyre in fact detrended the Schweingruber data using the RCS method on the 224 + 34 series, but I’m not sure).

    The calibration is based on any trees that grew during the instrumental period for the Yamal region. These trees were collected from several locations (as they should be). Although a larger sample size is always better, exactly how big a sample is big enough depends on the growth variance between the trees, which could be small if the trees are strong responders and the Yamal is characterized by a relatively homogenous summer temperature regime. The one extreme tree you mention is not enough to establish that the 10 or 12 Briffa used were faulty, particularly since the magnitude of the high frequency variance in the sub fossil wood is also a factor here. All of this is what Gavin was referring to when he said it ‘depends on what you are comfortable with’ in his earlier response to you (comfortable in the sense that the calibration is good enough to extract a temperature signal from the old wood).

    Although I don’t know for sure, what I strongly suspect is that the Russians have such an extensive, working knowledge of the area, and the growth response of larch and spruce in it, that they were quite confident that the 17 live trees they used captured the essential summertime temperature pattern of the region. This also is not an uncommon practice in dendroclimatology, although I agree strongly that the details of the calibration relationship should be presented, as well as the details of how the sub-fossil specimens were selected from the larger set, including their spatial info.

    If I had the time, I’d do some analysis of all the data. But I don’t. And thus that’s it for me on this topic–have given it way too much time that I don’t have already. Hope this helps.

  599. Mark:

    What meme, CM?

    Are you taking the meaning of meme in its exact sense, in which case, this can be replaced with the word “fact”.

    If so, can we use that word instead of meme.

    Ta.

  600. Hank Roberts:

    CM, no, I’m not sure where you’ve gotten the idea that we’re not telling you the truth. Can you tell us your source?

    Yes, the government invited comments, I pointed you to an example, but no one needed to wait on an invitation to submit comments–anyone could, and did.

    Try the Wayback Machine if you don’t believe everyone who’s been telling you this. The IPCC pages no longer have the active links that were there when comments were being accepted but you can find the old archived copies, or spend a little time and find it for yourself.

  601. Hank Roberts:

    CM, Google’s native language search tool keeps getting better. Write your question as a sentence ending with a question mark like this and you’ll get a fairly good simulation of an intelligent response, though wisdom is still not available and you have to read and think about what it gives you. But this should help:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=who+could+submit+comments+to+the+IPCC%3F

  602. CM:

    Jim (#593), thanks for your time!

  603. stevenc:

    Still, there is a difference between public commenting and an expert reviewer. The expert reviewers were invited to make comments by the IPCC. These people were selected based upon their knowledge in the selected areas. I believe page 235 of “changing the atmosphere: expert knowledge and environmental governance”, the book that Hank previously linked, explains the process of appointing expert reviewers as part of the peer reviewing process. If just anyone could become an expert reviewer then probably the IPCC would be saying they had 500,000 or 5,000,000 expert reviewers. But that would be rather rediculous wouldn’t it.

  604. stevenc:

    As a follow-on to my last comment, if you are trying to make people wonder if the IPCC reports have any validity at all then I can’t think of a better way then propogating these self-appointed expert reviewer myths. Perhaps I am wrong. If so then what were the people selected by the criteria on the page I referenced called exactly?

  605. Tony:

    Guys, I need a steer.

    I see the summary view is that CO2 was 280 ppm but is now 380 ppm in the atmosphere. Also that Anthropic CO2 production estimates based on carbon use indicates that CO2 concentration should have been around 480 ppm, but that ~100ppm has been absorbed by the oceans & greenery.

    But I can’t seem to find the definition of the ‘ppm’ units used. Is that by mass, or by volume?

    Can anyone advise ?

  606. Hank Roberts:

    It’s no myth that any wacko out there can call himself an ‘expert reviewer’ — those words simply do not mean what you think they mean.

    “If you buy an outfit, you can be a cowboy too” in the words of the children’s song.

    Example: http://clareswinney.wordpress.com/2009/09/18/ipcc-reviewer-dr-vincent-gray-updates-global-warming-scam-paper/

  607. Hank Roberts:

    Look stevenc, you’re way off topic, and you’re chasing a hobbyhorse that’s not going to be worth riding if you catch it. Look this stuff up, there’s nothing there to squawk about. Anyone added to the comment process who wanted to.

    From one of the old flyers early on, pointing out that the material would be circulated so anyone could comment:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/press-ar4/ipcc-flyer-low.pdf

    “… Both expert reviewers and governments are called upon to comment on scientific and technical matters. A wide circulation process ensures contributions from independent experts in all regions of the world and all relevant disciplines. Differing views are reflected in the documents….”

  608. Mark:

    stevenc, there is nothing damaging about showing how saying “McI is an IPCC reviewer” has ABSOLUTELY NO BEARING on whether McI knows what the heck he is talking about.

    It’s a bare statement of fact.

    Likewise, IPCC authors may have some autority, but only about the sections the work they authored was on about.

    There’s one submitter who is a CEO of an aluminum smelting factory and asked to write a piece of the IPCC report on it. They were listed along with another person.

    That was all.

    Yet despite having no knowledge of climate or the science involved, he is touted by denialists as credible when he says “there is no warming” and promote him as the lead author of AN ENTIRE SECTION of the IPCC report.

    1) It wasn’t an entire section. It was a sub-sub section.
    2) He wasn’t even “lead author” on that small section (never mind the work he’s being attributed with)
    3) The work he was writing about was about his job, which has NOTHING to do with climate science

    Now is saying “that IPCC author has no authority with the climate science” weakening the authority of the authors that wrote about the climate science sections in the IPCC report?

    No.

    But you’d like that to be drawn so that you and your pals can manage to tout your “experts” as far more expert than they deserve.

  609. Mark:

    “Still, there is a difference between public commenting and an expert reviewer. The expert reviewers were invited to make comments by the IPCC.”

    And that invite can be “you’ve asked to review the IPCC report. Here’s a copy. Please let us know you comments”.

    And anyone can get that.

  610. Hank Roberts:

    See the “expert and government review comments” — here:
    http://hcl.harvard.edu/collections/ipcc/

    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2006/05/leak-of-ipcc-ar4.html

  611. Mark:

    “But I can’t seem to find the definition of the ‘ppm’ units used. Is that by mass, or by volume?”

    And do you know what the difference in that is? For 1ppm CO2 by volume, what would that be in ppm by mass?

  612. t_p_hamilton:

    Tony,

    380 ppm by volume.

  613. Deep Climate:

    Not sure if anyone else has noted this yet, but apparently updated Yamal reconstructions, using more live-core data, were made available by Rashit Hamerintov last summer. The information comes in an email to an anonymous third party that was released by Steve McIntyre today.The Yamal hockey stick is alive and well, apparently …

    Let the backpedalling begin …

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/10/07/let-the-backpedalling-begin/

    The charts I show are from this PDF (in Russian of course).

    http://vak.ed.gov.ru/common/img/uploaded/files/vak/announcements/biolog/2009/13-07/KHantemirovRM.pdf

  614. Tony:

    Thanks t_p_hamilton

  615. stevenc future IPCC expert reviewer:

    Hank, then why does the IPCC talk about how it has been reviewed by 2500 expert reviewers if the comment has no meaning? Try putting the SM controversy aside for just one minute and think of this statement in its entirety. If this is actually true then how many expert reviewers were actually experts? Why should I have any faith that the IPCC report was properly reviewed? If I’m just squaking so beit but it seems to me to be a much larger issue then just if SM is qualified to be an expert reviewer or not.

  616. stevenc future IPCC expert reviewer:

    I never once, in the couple of years since I have been reading on this topic, suspected that I would be on Real Climate trying to support the integrity of the IPCC report from Real Climate regulars. Yet here I am and even I, skeptic that I am, do not believe that the IPCC could have possibly been as sloppy as you want to make them sound. But perhaps you are right and they were. I have nothing more to say on the matter until I, or someone else,comes up with the IPCC definition of an expert reviewer.

  617. Hank Roberts:

    Steve, put “vincent gray” or “richard courtney” in the Harvard archive search box and look at what they wrote.
    Then look at the right hand column vetting their squaking.
    It was done, you can see how. You can work it out.

  618. Deep Climate:

    Close up of Yamal temp recon using larger data set from Hantemirov:

    http://deepclimate.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/khantemirovrm-fig-5-zoom.jpg

    Also note that Hantemirov is co-author of the paper that I and others have been recommending to McIntyre et al

    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/122374111/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

    I wonder if there are more hockey sticks lurking in there …

  619. CM:

    Hank (#601), I meant no personal distrust (sorry if you, or anyone, got that impression). I just wondered if what everybody was repeating was technically accurate and could be sourced (apart from desmogblog citing
    Deltoid
    citing Stoat). I agree that it’s not even much of a point to be right about and that it’s way off topic. Let me just clarify, since I think you must have misunderstood me, and I’ll shut up about it and get back to tree rings.

    The issue: How one got listed as an IPCC reviewer in the back of the IPCC Assessment Report. Wackos claiming to be IPCC reviewers, but not listed, are irrelevant.

    Common ground: It’s an open process; nearly anyone could be a reviewer; it required no particular scientific qualifications and bestowed no particular recognition nor authority. (None of this is meant to disparage the process or the many perfectly competent scientists who took part. But some screwballs got in too.)

    I doubt: That anyone could get themselves listed just by unilaterally requesting a copy of the draft and signing some confidentiality clauses.

    I think: IPCC reviewers were, according to procedure, nominated by governments, IPCC authors, and organizations taking part in the process; nominees were more or less automatically accepted, and got letters inviting them to take part (case in point: McIntyre).

    The link you gave: Yes, there anyone could ask for a copy and send comments. But that was the U.S. Government soliciting comments in spring 2006 to inform the development of the Government‘s review of the AR4 second order draft. It explicitly said not to confuse this with submitting comments to the IPCC TSU. The individual IPCC reviewers were long since named and had started reviewing the first order draft the previous fall.

    Sorry about the excursion. Back to Yamal.

  620. CM:

    Re: Deep Climate’s #614,

    A 7,000-year hockey stick! That’s nice. My Russian is a bit rusty, but I note that next week Hantemirov will be defending his PhD thesis, “Dynamics of tree growth (?) and climate change in the north of Western Siberia in the Holocene”, of which the PDF is a summary. Reason enough to be nervous, even without the blogosphere watching and furiously google-translating McAuditors on his case… I wish him well.

  621. Deep Climate:

    Maybe there are not more hockey sticks in Esper et al 2009 (it’s more methodology focused), but very interesting none the less. The authors claim to have resolved the “divergence problem”. Sounds like a great future post idea for RC.

    Anyway, there already are plenty of hockey sticks to go round.

  622. Deep Climate:

    CM, Hank,
    I wouldn’t mind getting to the bottom of the Expert Reviewer process, although it’s not the be-all and end-all for me.

    Is it possible that self-nominated TAR reviewers got invitations for AR4? Undoubtedly, there are different ways in, and there does seem to be a distinction between first-draft and second-draft reviewers. So it’s not very clear to me.

    Leaving McIntyre aside, how the heck did AR4 get saddled with Vincent Grey?! He takes the cake for convolution of idiocy and sheer volume of comments.

  623. Brian Dodge:

    @ Snowman — 6 October 2009 @ 12:32 PM
    from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebig's_law_of_the_minimum
    “Liebig’s Law of the Minimum, often simply called Liebig’s Law or the Law of the Minimum, is a principle developed in agricultural science by Carl Sprengel (1828) and later popularized by Justus von Liebig. It states that growth is controlled not by the total of resources available, but by the scarcest resource (limiting factor). This concept was originally applied to plant or crop growth, where it was found that increasing the amount of plentiful nutrients did not increase plant growth. Only by increasing the amount of the limiting nutrient (the one most scarce in relation to “need”) was the growth of a plant or crop improved.”

    Your observations indicate that water was the limiting factor in the growth of those trees during droughts. The exceptional growth of the orange tree planted over the dead donkey indicates that perhaps N (from donkey proteins) and/or P(from donkey bones) were limiting in that grove. The comparisons performed by Briffa, Hamerintov, and other paleoclimatologists of tree rings ant the instrumental temperature record show that their trees growth is (in aggregate) temperature limited. McIntyre’s results show that if you pile enough random data onto your analysis, you can bury the truth.

  624. Rattus Norvegicus:

    My guess is that to get listed in the “official” list of AR4 reviewers you had to have: both submitted a comment and not had said comment laughed at. After all, even a jerk like Grey can find a spelling or punctuation error.

    As far as McIntyre goes, here is my speculation. McIntyre had a paper published in 2005 which was pretty high profile and was picked up by both the media and the US Congress. Because of his paper, he was instrumental in getting an NRC panel (I’ll ignore the Wegman work, since it was worthless since the author clearly lacked domain knowledge) to investigate the claims of his paper. Because of his notoriety the IPCC invited him, since he might have constructive comments.

    On the other hand, because of his attempted abuse of his “status” as an “expert reviewer”, I strongly doubt that he will be invited back again. He does have an amazing was of making enemies.

  625. Hank Roberts:

    Deep, you’ll find Marhoasty and Morano making much of ‘IPCC expert reviewer’ stuff recently. Maybe that’s where these questions are arising. I don’t think helping the amateurs add their opinions to the next round would be a service, though likely they’ll find a way.

    Last round the Bush (US) government flooded the IPCC in amateur opinions, which I don’t think any other government did — by publicly posting the draft, giving a password to anyone who asked, to send in comments, and pointedly telling people to keep separate any other opinions they might have emailed directly to the IPCC, hint hint. Duh.

    The info is all there for anyone willing to read the docs.
    http://docs.google.com/gview?a=v&q=cache:iuZlTd6EDG0J:www.ipcc.ch/pdf/meetings-2007/november-january-letter.pdf+email+comments+to+the+IPCC&hl=en&gl=us&sig=AFQjCNFRIpU7xpgEkBZS7BgnETyS2SbzsQ
    which references
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ipcc-principles/ipcc-principles-appendix-a.pdf
    (PROCEDURE FOR USING NON-PUBLISHED/NON-PEER-REVIEWED SOURCES IN IPCC REPORTS)
    That’s what the opinion letters are.

    Enough homework help, the kid must have enough to get an A by now.

  626. Tom P:

    I detect more than a hint of backpedalling from Steve McIntyre over at Climate Audit. He’s certainly confusing his usual camp followers with his latest post:

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=7320

  627. stevenc:

    Great job Hank you do get an A. It is clear from the definition of expert reviewer that they must be nominated and that should put to rest the myth that anyone can declare themselves an expert reviewer and be listed by the IPCC as one. This has always bothered me when I have seen it written since it woud have shown a complete breakdown in quality control.

  628. stevenc:

    OK Hank I see your argument a bit more clearly now. You are saying that the US government allowed anyone to make themselves a designated expert by posting the access to getting a password. Clearly this was not the intent of the IPCC but I can see how it could work that way. I suspect that this is not how it worked but if you wish to hold on to this belief then you have found a method that it could have.

  629. Igor Samoylenko:

    CM says: “My Russian is a bit rusty, but I note that next week Hantemirov will be defending his PhD thesis”

    It is not his PhD thesis actually; he already has a PhD (he must be already a “kandidat nauk” in Russian). The referenced manuscript is in support of his application for the degree of doctor of science (DSc), the highest post-graduate academic degree in the Soviet Union. See Doktor nauk for more info.

    Also, your translation of the manuscript’s title is close but to be precise it is: “Dynamics of tree vegetation and climate change in the north of Western Siberia in the Holocene”.

  630. Mark:

    That isn’t right stevenc.

    The US government allowed anyone to make themselves a designated expert.

    The IPCC guidelines allows anyone to make themselves a designated expert.

    Because here “designated expert” means that they have designated themselves an expert and used the fact that they asked to review the IPCC report as their note of expertise.

    I can just as well call myself a statistical expert after having compared myself with Girma’s “statistical” work on deltoid. As long as you don’t check how low that bar of expertise is, you may give me near oracular power wrt statistics, even though undeserved.

    But both the US government and the IPCC intended that experts would ask to review and, being expert, have something worthy to add.

    Denialists don’t care to add anything and don’t care they have not shown expertise.

    And they hope you won’t check the level of expertise.

  631. Mark:

    “My guess is that to get listed in the “official” list of AR4 reviewers you had to have: both submitted a comment and not had said comment laughed at.”

    In the case of Steve McI, his comments were laughed at.

    He still demands recognition as an IPCC expert reviewer.

    What you suggest would be a good filter.

    But that filter is not in place.

  632. Mark:

    CM read again what you wrote:

    “The link you gave: Yes, there anyone could ask for a copy and send comments. But that was the U.S. Government soliciting comments in spring 2006 to inform the development of the Government’s review of the AR4 second order draft. ”

    Now, where does Steve McIntyre live?

    US?

  633. Mark:

    “I never once, in the couple of years since I have been reading on this topic, suspected that I would be on Real Climate trying to support the integrity of the IPCC report from Real Climate regulars.”

    Because you want to let Steve McI keep his unwarranted authority as an “IPCC expert reviewer” to lend credence to his inane speculations.

    Fairly easy to predict.

  634. Mark P:

    Jim Bouldin – re 598, thanks very much, interesting and highly useful answer. I had actually got of my behind and read up on RCS so I now think I understand. Nice to hear how a branch of science (dendro) deals with the same kind of problem we all face.

    But it still makes me itchy:- a handful of trees to represent the properties of a huge set of trees.

    I could understand it if these were widgets coming off a production line. In that case we could say “we measured 12 widgets, they all showed identical responses, therefore we can be confident that thousands or millions of widgets will show the same response”.

    But these are some trees responding to “all kinds of stuff”. From eyeballing McIntyre’s plots of individual trees within the calibration set, and from deletion of the strongest contributor, they do seem to show a wide variability, not like the widgets.

    Hence my itchiness about such a small set saying anything “useful” about the huge set.

    Thanks for your time over the last few days. Sorry you seemed to get somewhat flamed at CA. Reinforces your point 9 from above – whether the peer reviewed literature is the best place to do this (would love to debate this with you!)

    Over and out!

    Mark

  635. stevenc:

    Mark, you always try to place motives on my comments when it seems to me my only motive is accuracy. As far as SM goes my impression was that he was Canadian. I’m not sure that would prevent him from being listed as a US expert however.

  636. Jim Eager:

    No, Mark, McI lives in Canada.

  637. stevenc:

    As far as the US government allowing anyone to make themselves an expert reviewer, I have no evidence that this didn’t happen other then the lack of numbers does not support the hypothesis but rather then picturing president Bush deciding who can or can not comment as an expert reviewer I picture some career GS-7 being told to sit there and sift through the names and affiliations that were asked for by the form to decide who should be allowed a password. I guess that’s just the difference in how we think our government works.

  638. Hank Roberts:

    stevec replies to each response and pointer by restating the talking point. Eschew.

  639. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Tony,

    ppm is just “parts per million.” For gases, it usually refers to volume, and is more properly abbreviated ppmv.

    CO2 in the atmosphere is presently 387 ppmv. The atmosphere, with a mass of 5.14 x 10^18 kilograms, cannot be multiplied by that fraction to give the mass fraction, however. You would also need to multiply by the ratio of mass of the carbon dioxide molecule (44.0098 AMU) to that of the mean molecule in Earth’s atmosphere (usually about 28.92 depending on how much water vapor is present). There is thus 5.14 x 10^18 x 0.000387 x 44.0098 / 28.92 or 3.03 x 10^15 kilograms of CO2 in the air.

  640. CM:

    Igor (#629), thanks for the correction. My apologies to Dr Hantemirov for understating his academic credentials. It was a late night, but I should have checked. I’ll try to correct it if my mistake gets quoted elsewhere.

  641. CM:

    Hank (#625), your latest homework help (ouch!) raises a new question that needs clearing up. Why do you suggest that Annex 2 of the IPCC procedures document (on unpublished/non-peer-reviewed sources) is about “opinion letters” from would-be reviewers? Isn’t it about how lead and contributing authors should deal with “industry journals, internal organisational publications, non-peer reviewed reports or working papers of research institutions, proceedings of workshops etc” that they think are relevant to cite in the report? What does this have to do with unsolicited reviews, or even about the review process at all? Does it have any relevance to the review process except (a) that review editors are charged with ensuring consistency in use of such sources across the report and (b) that reviewers may request copies of such sources?

    [editor-we’re going to let this be the last word on this off-topic subject]

  642. stevenc:

    And what talking point [edit–that’s enough of this thread]

  643. Deep Climate:

    #629 Igor Samoylenko
    I was wondering how someone who had been publishing for that long could be a PhD candidate. DSc makes sense of course.

    When I have a chance I’ll update my post (with hat tip) with the additional information concerning this manuscript. Also, if someone could translate the captions on the charts, I would be much obliged.

    Once again, the post on the Hantemirov “report” (his word) and Yamal results is at:

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/10/07/let-the-backpedalling-begin/

    P.S. Sorry I asked an OT question before. Mea culpa.

  644. Mark:

    Stevenc, may you then strive for such accuracy in all endeavours on this site.

  645. Phil. Felton:

    Deep Climate says:
    8 October 2009 at 12:21 PM
    #629 Igor Samoylenko
    I was wondering how someone who had been publishing for that long could be a PhD candidate. DSc makes sense of course.

    I recall from a visit to Moscow that it was a very big deal and one of my colleagues there was about submit his thesis for it. He was very nervous because in the true Russian style the examination was very confrontational (but buddies over vodka afterwards). I remember a similar style with my seminar there although I was fortunate to have the buffer of a translator to slow things down. ;-)

  646. Cake:

    Say humans are to blame. How are you going to going to stop people all over the world from using fossil fuels to heat their homes and drive their cars and use their computers to bicker about warming?

    You may be right, but your efforts are futile. Nothing will change. CO2 will continue to increase until supply runs dry. Temperatures will continue to increase regardless of carbon credits or limits on emissions. And there is not a damn thing any of you people here can do about it. Cry and blow your whistles while you feel energetic…but it will not change anything.

  647. Mark:

    By not using fossil fuels, Cake. That would be how. It is going to have to happen anyway, when fossil fuels run out. But that will be preceeded by a huge scrabble for resources (see the old Chris Roberts game, Strike Commander)

    But you also forget we are no longer in the stone ages where the only way to get heat is to burn something. This is the 21st Century. We are smart enough to do better.

    And the same complaint can be made about drug addiction or unwanted pregnancies. These problems will NEVER stop.

    But we don’t stop trying to crack down on heroin (no pun intended).

    Do we.

  648. Ray Ladbury:

    Cake, You know, the thing I don’t understand about idjits like you is that you refuse to consider what would happen to human civilization when fossil fuels run out even if climate change were not an issue. In effect, what you are saying is that affluence is a temporary condition. Given your extreme myopia, why should we give any weight to what you say.

  649. Jim Bouldin:

    CM, Mark P: Glad to help, if in fact I did.

    Mark btw, forgot to mention this foundational ref you might like:
    Cook, E.R., 1987, The decomposition of tree ring series for environmental studies, TRB 47:37- (doesn’t cover RCS, but lays all basic foundations):

    http://www.treeringsociety.org/TRBTRR/TRBvol47_37-59.pdf

  650. Jim Galasyn:

    Hey Cake, fatalistic much?

  651. Chris Dudley:

    Over at Dot Earth, McIntyre is taking another shot at Mann et al. 2008.

    http://community.nytimes.com/comments/dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/05/climate-auditor-challenged-to-do-climate-science/?permid=302#comment302

    He seems to still be worried about inverted data despite Mann et al. publishing a formal reply to this. At this point bizarre is not the word any more.

  652. Pat Cassen:

    Jim Bouldin (#649) — Thanks very much for that very nice reference.

  653. stevenc:

    ref# 642: I said nothing untoward. My comment was eschew right back at you Hank, I don’t argue anyone’s opinions but my own. It seems to me a fair statement in reply to being told I am using talking points and I would expect that it would be placed as written instead of edited in such a manner to make it seem like I was much less polite then I actually was.

  654. Jon:

    Can you just show a graph of the actual temps, not this so-called anomaly.

  655. Mark P:

    Jim,

    Thanks for the reference, very interesting. Dr Kalman is a very clever guy, his filter crops up everywhere :).

    I have one more question, for you (just one!), I hope that by bribing you with some possibly useful information I can encourage you to break your “no more posts” vow…..

    The search for the exogenous and endogenous signals described in sections 3 and 4 of your reference make me think of channel estimation in cellular phone systems. Maybe this is a technique which might be of interest? Let me explain

    In a cellular system a sequence of data bits is transmitted. The channel between transmitter and receiver consists of a number of individual paths, each with its own time delay and amplitude – echoes, if you like. The receiver receives the vector sum of the signals from the paths. This makes the channel look highly dispersive. However by occasionally feeding a known sequence of bits (a training sequence) into the channel, and setting a receiver algorithm (a channel estimator) to look for those bits, we can derive the channel response function (often called the channel impulse response) and use this to get a much better estimate of subsequent transmitted data bits. Usually the receiver contains some form of maximum likelihood sequence estimator like the Viterbi algorithm.

    This looks a bit like the intervention analysis described in Section 3. A pulse (caused eg by logging) is fed into a stand of trees. Each surviving tree introduces species characteristic attenuation and delay to the “signal”. We observe this signal at a later time. Perhaps it would be possible to use algorithms analogous to the above to extract the tree response function and then use it to determine the characteristics of previous, unknown events like a forest fire?

    Long shot, the cellular problem is highly constrained (each echo has only an amplitude, phase and timing delay) and there is only one measurement signal (the vector sum at the receiver). In dendro you’ll have a much less constrained problem, but many more measurement signals.

    My question…..

    You mentioned in a previous post that good dendros like H&S can use their skill and experience to identify “responder” trees. My question is not a new one, it’s been posed eg on CA before, but I’ve never heard a decent answer amongst all the foaming at the mouth on there :)

    What characteristics do dendros use to determine responder trees, and are these characteristics equally present in living trees and long dead trees?

    At the extremes, do they use characteristics like foliage or proximity to other trees, which won’t be preserved in dead trees; or do they use the cellular structure of the wood, or isotopes, or bark, which might be preserved in a dead tree for thousands of years.

    Putting the question in more statistical language:- If we take a dendro to a site which has a set of living trees, and a set of similar but long dead trees, will he be able to identify “responder” trees in the living and dead sets with equal success?

    cheers

    Mark

  656. Hank Roberts:

    Google: site:IPCC.ch “terms of reference”

    http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports//sres/emission/index.php?idp=501

    “As required by the Terms of Reference, the SRES preparation process was open with no single “official” model and no exclusive “expert teams.” To this end, in 1997 the IPCC advertised in relevant scientific journals and other publications to solicit wide participation in the process. A web site documenting the SRES process and intermediate results was created to facilitate outside input. Members of the writing team also published much of their background research in the peer-reviewed literature and on web sites.”

  657. Mark:

    stevenc, eschew means to avoid.

    How much of a come-back is “avoid right back at you” intended to be?

  658. Mark:

    “The expert reviewers were invited to make comments by the IPCC. These people were selected based upon their knowledge in the selected areas.”

    We know that isn’t true, stevenc.

    Please, if you think this is true for McI, please show us the invite.

    US didn’t do anything other than ask anyone if they wanted a read.

    UK did something fairly similar.

  659. dhogaza:

    Can you just show a graph of the actual temps, not this so-called anomaly.

    Why? You can’t visualize things easily if you do, given that summer temps are so much higher than winter temps. Showing the anomaly (why do you say “so-called”?) gets rid of that.

  660. stevenc:

    “Some of the most outspoken global-warming skeptics in fact participated in the formal
    peer review of the SAR, including Chapter 8. Since Seitz is not a climate scientist, and
    Singer is no longer active in research, they did not qualify as formal reviewers. However,
    Singer regularly attends IPCC meetings. In 1995, as the IPCC prepared the SAR, Singer
    was present at both the Madrid meeting and the IPCC plenary at Rome. Representatives
    from a number of NGOs which typically take a skeptical stance, including the Global
    Climate Coalition and several energy and automotive industry lobbies, also participated
    in the SAR peer review. Other skeptic referees included Patrick Michaels, Hugh……”

    This is from Chapter 7. Self-Governance and Peer Review in Science-for-Policy: The Case of the IPCC Second Assessment Report

    Written by Paul Edwards of the University of MIchigan and Stephen Schneider from Stanford.

    It is clear from this statement that persons were excluded from the formal review process based upon lack of qualifications.

  661. Hank Roberts:

    > skeptics in fact in fact participated in the formal review
    > Seitz … and Singer … did not qualify as formal reviewers
    > Singer regularly attends IPCC meetings
    > NGOs … lobbies, also participated in the SAR peer review
    > Other skeptic referees included Patrick Michaels, ….

    You’re confusing two different things
    —- being qualified as a formal reviewer
    —- participating in the formal review, which was open to people who did not qualify as formal reviewers.

    The comment process was open; people other than those who _reviewed_ the comments made comments. That’s what that multiple-column table available from Harvard shows you, the comments, and what the reviewers did with’em;

    You are restating the same misunderstanding, over and over, and misreading what you find yourself.

    It’s over. Gavin has tried to put a stop to this previousl. No more from me. A heartfelt plea to anyone who would argue more with Stevenc — eschew.

  662. t_p_hamilton:

    stevenc doesn’t understand what However means: quotes examples of skeptics participating in the IPCC process “Since Seitz is not a climate scientist, and
    Singer is no longer active in research, they did not qualify as formal reviewers. However,” and concludes “It is clear from this statement that persons were excluded from the formal review process based upon lack of qualifications.”

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ipcc-principles/ipcc-principles-appendix-a.pdf

    4. EXPERT REVIEWERS
    Function:
    To comment on the accuracy and completeness of the scientific/technical/socio-economic content and
    the overall scientific/technical/socio-economic balance of the drafts.
    Comment:
    Expert reviewers will comment on the text according to their own knowledge and experience. They may
    be nominated by Governments, national and international organisations, Working Group/Task Force
    Bureaux, Lead Authors and Contributing Authors.

  663. Mark:

    “Since Seitz is not a climate scientist, and Singer is no longer active in research, they did not qualify as formal reviewers. However, Singer regularly attends IPCC meetings.”

    Singer isn’t McIntyre. And as you say, he wasn’t a formal reviewer.

    Patrick Michaels was put in by the lobbying group (I.e. not individually invited). Nor is he McI.

    Hugh?

  664. stevenc:

    Hank, if Singer and Seitz are listed as expert reviewers then obviously I am mistaken. I’m done with this topic and I’m sorry for taking up so much of everyone’s time. It isn’t my report after all.

  665. JM:

    He seems to still be worried about inverted data despite Mann et al. publishing a formal reply to this. At this point bizarre is not the word any more.

    The word we’re all groping for is “dishonest.”

    I’m sure everyone is as shocked as I am.

  666. CM:

    that multiple-column table available from Harvard [http://hcl.harvard.edu/collections/ipcc/] shows you, the comments, and what the reviewers did with’em

    Actually, those would be *review* comments and *author* responses.

  667. Mark:

    Stevenc, you don’t even have to be wrong for that reason. There are plenty other reasons for your position to be incorrect.

    This isn’t your fault, however. You’ve been given a half-truth and no way to locate the rest of it.

  668. Philip Machanick:

    Another beat-up doing the rounds: CRU is being accused of destroying the raw data on which their published temperature numbers are based. Search for “We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?” and you will find this all over the denialosphere. This arose out of New Zealand denialist (living in Australia) Warwick Hughes asking after the original data, and getting this response from Phil Jones in 2005. If Jones said this, it’s a bit unfortunate though you can see where he’s coming from. The two problems with releasing the raw data are that limitations on disk space in the 1980s meant it could not all be kept, and much of the data was released to CRU under limited proprietary licenses. There’s not much you can do about the former, but it amuses me how people who would ordinarily be raving loony capitalists are demanding something for free. In a perfect utopian social-ist world (hyphen for spam filter), all data would be free. Let’s see if they keep campaigning for that :) As for the 1980s problem, just the subset of the data that CRU is able to release publicly (still not raw data but closer) amounts to about 6.5GB per year. The total data is probably at least double this amount. Those who were using computers in the 1980s will remember that by 1990, a 40MB disk was pretty big for a personal computer, and 1GB of storage was very expensive (over the decade, the cost of disk storage dropped from around $200/MB to $12). No doubt in the social-ist utopia these guys would like, scientific organizations would have the kind of funding they need to pay for this kind of thing, and an army of clerks and database administrators to curate the data.

    But more seriously, some good answers are: this is not the only data set out there; others like GISS, various proxies and satellite data follow the same trend. If the temperature data is bogus, someone please explain what is causing sea levels to rise, and sea ice and glaciers to melt.

    Nonetheless we know the purpose in all this is not to improve the science but to undermine it. I wonder how many other research projects in the 1980s have all their data preserved. Somehow you have to know in advance that you are going to be the subject of an anti-science campaign. In retrospect, the fact that the science runs contrary to the short-term interests of a major industry is clear, but in the 1980s, we had not yet seen the full impact of campaigns like that of tobacco against science.

  669. mike roddy:

    The key point is that McIntyre is way, way out on the fringe, with the same veracity as a 9-11 conspiracy theorist or moon landing was staged type of person. Even these guys apparently have an opportunity to talk at an IPCC public comment session themselves, so what?

    Steve Mc showed up at Dot Earth, with several comments, and we gave him a pretty good whuppin, in honor of what Gavin did. Since even the oil and coal companies would be ashamed to come up with the claims that he does, it’s time he was officially assigned to a seat on Planet Ozone. We’re used to the rifraff on Dot Earth. You smart guys need to keep up the good work here.

  670. pjclarke:

    Jones’ wording was unfortunate, though the remaining text where he mentions intellectual propery rights is frequently truncated; remember also that this was meant to be a private communication.

    Scientists should of course be delighted to expose their data to scrutiny, and pleased when someone finds faults [Ok I am being idealistic], this being a key aim of peer-review, enabling conclusions to be reconsidered, and understanding refined.

    But this presupposes that the scrutiny will be performed with some integrity. Given Hughes’ record of dishonesty a more fitting response would have been along the lines of …

    “Dear Mr Hughes, I am refusing your request for data. Nothwithstanding various ownership and commercial issues, your website contains many instances where you have distorted and misrepresented scientific data in a manner incompatible with our standards of academic integrity. This data was collected under the imprimateur of a British University and we are unwilling to risk it being abused in a similar fashion.
    We are of course willing to share results and data via the normal medium of journal publication”

    or something.

    Steve McIntyre publishes some correspondence with CRU here

    http://www.climateaudit.org/correspondence/cru.correspondence.pdf

    he describes CRU’s actions as ‘concealing’ which I guess is one step above ‘stonewalling’. A more reasonable observer might see an organisation, limited by commercial, historical and contractral constraints bending over backwards to comply with an increasingly unreasonable request….

    I wonder when we can expect a McInytresque ‘audit’ of Piers Corbyn’s data and methods? He does, after all, charge money for his ‘forecasts’….

  671. caerbannog:


    The total data is probably at least double this amount. Those who were using computers in the 1980s will remember that by 1990, a 40MB disk was pretty big for a personal computer, and 1GB of storage was very expensive…

    When I graduated from college in the early ’80s and went to work, a 300MB hard-drive cost tens of thousands of dollars and was the size of a Maytag washing-machine. The multi-gigabyte disk-farm in the lab where I worked back then looked like a laundromat! Needless to say, raw data were rolled off to reel-to-reel tapes ASAP to avoid project-draining disk storage charges. I remember many times where I rolled off data to tape Friday evenings (and restored the backups the following Monday mornings) to avoid weekend disk-storage charges.

    People forget (or if they are younger, don’t appreciate) what an expensive hassle it was dealing with large raw datasets not so long ago.

  672. alex verlinden:

    hi all … I’m a civil engineer and I don’t completely understand some numbers, and being an engineer, numbers are sacred ! :-) … I googled the H & S data, referenced in the post, and was directed to http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/hantemirov2002/hantemirov2002.html … downloaded the data there (Calendar year, summer temperature anomaly reconstruction (.01 deg.C), larch tree ring chronology index value, and sample depth.) in a simple excel and sorted the data by larch tree ring chronology index data … if I then take a LTRCIV of 14, there are 7 values for the summer temperature anomaly reconstruction, ranging from -1.64°C in 287BC to -2.71°C in 550BC … in the middle of the table, a LTRCIV of 100 gives 30 STA values and a range from -1.09°C in AD436 to 0.87°C in 1317BC … towards the end of the table, a LTRCIV of 196 yields 7 STA values ranging from 1.68°C in AD1782 to 2.87°C in AD206 … can someone direct me to some explanation as to how I get from the one
    (LTRCIV) to the other (STA) ? many thanks beforehand …

  673. Benjamin:

    r.e. 665

    “He seems to still be worried about inverted data despite Mann et al. publishing a formal reply to this. At this point bizarre is not the word any more.”

    The word we’re all groping for is “dishonest.”

    Could someone point me to where this “inverted data” issue is addressed by Mann or someone else who knows? I’ve so far been unable to debunk McIntyre’s claims that there was an error there.

    Thanks!

    [Response: The original commenter appears to be referring to: Mann, M.E., Bradley, R.S., Hughes, M.K., Reply to McIntyre and McKitrick: Proxy-based temperature reconstructions are robust, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 106, E11, 2009. – mike]

  674. Jim Bouldin:

    Mark:

    What characteristics do dendros use to determine responder trees, and are these characteristics equally present in living trees and long dead trees?

    At the extremes, do they use characteristics like foliage or proximity to other trees, which won’t be preserved in dead trees; or do they use the cellular structure of the wood, or isotopes, or bark, which might be preserved in a dead tree for thousands of years.

    Putting the question in more statistical language:- If we take a dendro to a site which has a set of living trees, and a set of similar but long dead trees, will he be able to identify “responder” trees in the living and dead sets with equal success?

    In most dendrochronology work, it’s site- and taxon-based, not individual tree based. That is, you identify, beforehand, via observations of the variability of your response variable (esp ring widths, maximum latewood density, latewood percentage. etc) against the instrumental record, how a particular taxon repsonds in particular environmental situations. The textbook example is the 5-needle pines, including bristlecones, in the Sierra Nevada and Great Basin: they are sensitive to temperature near treeline. Because it’s open subalpine woodland, competitive interactions are minimal to begin with, and because decay is extremely slow (dead wood lays around a long time) there is some ability to corroborate an individual’s former competitive environment by simple observation. And whatever inter-individual growth differences there may have been are presumed averaged out in the (typically) ~15 trees that constitute one chronology (one specific geographic location). In that situation the answer to your last question is yes, but it’s based on site identification as much as tree identification.

    What HS are doing is a horse of another color though. Not only are they going WAY back in time (like the bristlecone work), they’re doing it with short lived trees, many of which may have been moved from their growing location by alluvial processes, or if they didn’t move they grew at a time that the tundra hydrological conditions were different, all of which serve to complicate the simple assumption that the trees used to calibrate the growth-instr. record relationship, grew in the same site conditions as the sub-fossil trees did. This means that cross-dating the 241 samples is a hugely important task, not only because of the long time factor, but because it is a way of identifying the sub-fossil specimens that most closely respond the way the calibration set do, from the complete set of over 2000 slabs. That is, the very ability/necessity to cross date to extend the series back in time (and establish a decent sample size for a given time), which depends on inter-annual ring variability, insures that you will at the same time be selectiong specimens from the past that responded in a way similar to the modern, calibration trees. And this conclusion is further strengthened if you find these spread across an area for which it is reasonable to conclude would have been fairly homogeneous for the climate variable of interest, in this case summer temps.

    In short, typically it’s based on site and species criteria, mainly, which are roughly constant through time, but in the HS case, it’s also greatly aided by the fact that cross-dating inherently insures a degree of similarity of response between samples in which the confidence of similarity of growing conditions may be lower.

    Hope that helps.
    Jim

  675. Chris Dudley:

    Mike (in response to Benjamin #673):

    That is the correct reference. I note that McIntyre has again ignored it by failing to acknowledge the existence of your in line comment. http://community.nytimes.com/comments/dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/05/climate-auditor-challenged-to-do-climate-science/?permid=379#comment379

  676. Deep Climate:

    Re: Jim Bouldin 598 etc.

    I’m just catching up on the latest discussion from one of the supposedly “silent” dendros.

    I’m planning to do a post on McIntyre’s “sensitivity analysis” and Jim’s points will certainly be part of it. In comments at my DeepClimate blog I’ve already noted the weighting/geographic sampling problem (i.e. Briffa says the Hantemirov live 17 are taken from at least three different locations).

    Another salient fact I’ve noted is that McIntyre has now acknowledged that the live 17 were present in Briffa’s version of the Yamal data set all along. Apparently McIntyre missed the 5 earliest live series. Also the Schweingruber set of 34 (although it looks like 33 to me) contains both dead and live trees. (I didn’t see these points made above, sorry if they were).

    So McIntyre’s rhetoric about the 12 “picked” trees was completely off base. And the “sensitivity analysis” is a mess, if the idea was to substitute the Schweingruber live tree series for the H&S live tree series (aside from the fact that this was misguided in the first place).

    Some questions for Jim:
    Are you saying that the selection for “sensitive” (wider tree-ring variance) tree series would be unnecessary at a “regular” site like Schweingruber Khadyta River? Or to put it differently, should the utility of such a site for paleoclimatology be evaluated on an “all or nothing” basis?

    As far as I know this site has not been used in a published study even by Schweingruber himself (at least I can’t find one). Is this likely because of the apparent “divergence problem” at this site, or some other reason? (I guess that calls for speculation, and I probably should ask Schweingruber that question … still I’d like to know your thoughts).

    Assuming the Schweingruber site were considered useful, is there a “proper” way to include Schweingruber into the H&S Yamal network (e.g. weighting), or are the incompatibilities between H&S approach and Schweingruber too great?

  677. Mark P:

    Re 674

    Thanks again Jim for your time, very helpful. V interesting problems & nice to learn about a new field!

    Mark

  678. Mark P:

    Re 672

    I can’t answer that question, but maybe I can answer a different one which will help!

    I looks like you are referring to a 2002 publication. Most of the discussion here is about a Briffa paper published in 2000 and based on earlier H&S work. So maybe the data you found is from an unrelated reconstruction. Also the fact that the data you found goes back to 550 BC makes me think this is a different paper. Briffa (2000) only deals with a 2000-year reconstruction from 1990, ie back to around 10 BC.

    But that’s just a guess

    Mark

  679. Deep Climate:

    Continuing #676

    It could be that I’m just misunderstanding what Schweingruber was up to.

    There are many, many Schweingruber sites – 36 for Siberian larch alone. Kadhyta River just happens to be the one in the same region as H&S Yamal.

    The idea seems to be have sampled many sites, but not to go back very far in time, using only easily available living and dead trees (as opposed to the sub-fossil tree-series of H&S). Like Khadyta River, all the other Schweingruber sites seem to go back to the 1790s and no further, except for one: Polar Ural-historical, another bete noir of McIntyre’s if I recall correctly.

  680. David Horton:

    This stuff becomes entrenched in the denialosphere very quickly as gospel truth carved in stone. The BBc is running a blog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/climate_issue.html by “Richard Black, environment correspondent” to answer all the criticism of their appalling recent “global warming has stopped” article. And sure enough, here is one contribution “May I ask why the totally discredited hockey stick appears on your blog? Others have commented already. I add only that this hockey stick chart ends with a wild upswing that was based on a few tree rings and trees do not make really good thermometers. Your text does not mention the graph. Why? You have put this graph with a statement about being unbiased and that seems to show exactly the opposite of what you say in the text. Odd!” Note especially “this hockey stick chart ends with a wild upswing that was based on a few tree rings and trees do not make really good thermometers”. Do you ever get down-hearted Gavin?

  681. Richard Sycamore:

    #676 Deep Climate
    Why bother?
    1. We have esatblished that the guy is unqualified to be an “expert” IPCC reviewer.
    2. IPCC argues that nothing hinges on the paleoclimate data.
    3. If you want to replicate somebody’s work, read the methods section in his papers. Or go get your own samples.
    You are just giving the other guys some attention. Ignore them.

  682. Hank Roberts:

    You do a poor parody, Sycamore, of the kind of position you like to pretend others hold so you can dismiss them as foolish.

  683. Richard Sycamore:

    #682 Hank
    -Perhaps you can do a better job summarizing? I’ve tried my best.
    -Are you deliberately ignoring my previous question about polar ice melt and lack of temperature rise? If so, why? Is it ill-posed?
    Thanks.

  684. Deep Climate:

    Richard,
    I’m not sure where you’re coming from, although HR who knows all and sees all, seems to be on the right track.

    Be that as it may, did you happen to notice that I answered your previous “question” about how the 17 H&S live tree series got “whittled” down to 12 in Briffa? In case you missed it, that was yet another mistake by McIntyre – all 17 were in the H&S/Briffa data set all along.

  685. Richard Sycamore:

    The opening post mentions the Kaufman et al 2009 Arctic reconstruction. Has that paper been discussed yet? Because I have a question about it.
    Thanks.

  686. Deep Climate:

    By the way, I have a big problem with McIntyre’s definition of “replication”, at least as it applies in this case.

    Removing selected data from one research team’s data set, and adding in other sample data, collected and screened with a different set of criteria by another research team, is hardly a valid replication test.

    When you boil away all the rhetoric and mistakes, we’re left with the fact that Schweingruber’s Khadyta site chronology does not corroborate H&S’s regional chronology in the 20th century. And the fact that this discrepancy is due to a “divergence problem” in Schweingruber’s chronology, which fails to match the temperature record.

    I suppose one could argue that this is significant or needs to be explained. However, it should also be noticed that this observation/analysis could have been made years ago. McIntyre didn’t need the H&S Yamal raw measurement set to make that point, whether or not he knew he had it in his possession all along.

  687. Richard Sycamore:

    #682
    Hank, maybe you forgot to read this. I guess your melting ice cubes model doesn’t explain the pause in warming after all. Seems your time scaling was off by an order of magnitude. Confirmation bias will get you every time if you don’t think skeptically! Enjoy:

    Mark C. Serreze says:
    18 November 2008 at 10:30 AM
    Note that we’ve got a paper soon to come out in “The Cryosphere” (and we’ll have a poster at AGU) looking at recent “Arctic Amplification” that you discuss (the stronger rise in surface air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean compared to lower latitudes). We make use of data from both the NCEP/NCAR and JRA-25 reanalyses. JRA-25 a product of the Japan Meteorological Agency. It’s a pretty impressive signal, and is clearly associated with loss of the sea ice cover. You see the signal in autumn, as this is when the ocean is losing the heat it gained (in summer) back to the atmosphere. Very little happening in summer itself (as expected) as the melting ice surface and heat sensible heat gain in the mixed layer limit the surface air temperature change.

  688. Deep Climate:

    #683, 685, 687
    Richard Sycamore, please stay on topic.

  689. Hank Roberts:

    Sycamore’s trolling. There’s no “melting ice cubes model’ — not from me nor anyone. Sycamore misrepresents a good desktop experiment answering a question about heat measurement as an arctic climate model, a stupid one.

    Sycamore’s doing fairly good trolling; he distracts from this topic, gets attention, reiterates bogosity from another topic, and sets up for concern trolling afterward.

  690. Jim Bouldin:

    Deep Climate:

    Are you saying that the selection for “sensitive” (wider tree-ring variance) tree series would be unnecessary at a “regular” site like Schweingruber Khadyta River? Or to put it differently, should the utility of such a site for paleoclimatology be evaluated on an “all or nothing” basis?

    No, not saying that at all. You always want sensitive trees–in all specimens–that is the only way to infer past environments. This is regardless of condition–living, dead, buried, etc. The first criteria is always that you have functioning thermometers.

    As far as I know this site has not been used in a published study even by Schweingruber himself (at least I can’t find one). Is this likely because of the apparent “divergence problem” at this site, or some other reason? (I guess that calls for speculation, and I probably should ask Schweingruber that question … still I’d like to know your thoughts).

    It would be very inappropriate for me to speculate on why Fritz Schweingruber has or has not used his Yamal-area chronology, or what his purposes were in collecting it originally, but I most definitely do not believe that he has avoided using it because it doesn’t act the way he would “like it to”, with the exception of possible ring complacency, which is always a valid reason. Same for Keith Briffa.

    An important but un-emphasized point in this thread is that the main point of multi-millenial dendroclimate work is to estimate the more distant PAST, not the present and recent past: those we can get from the instrumental record (with some important caveats that I will ignore here). The divergence problem is not helpful, but neither is it fatal, because in most cases I’ve seen, there is still a significant overlap between the instr. record and the portion of the ring series not affected by divergence (i.e. for calibration), the latter being almost entirely a problem of the last few decades only as far as I know.

    Assuming the Schweingruber site were considered useful, is there a “proper” way to include Schweingruber into the H&S Yamal network (e.g. weighting), or are the incompatibilities between H&S approach and Schweingruber too great?

    I don’t know enough about the specifics of his chronology, but in theory there’s no reason why not. Certainly some weighting based on spatial location and/or differences in standard errors could be involved. The major difference between the two is the use of buried logs by HS; I think they both used mainly Siberian Larch, so no problem there.

  691. Mark:

    Hank, #689. I just was happy for Sycamore that he at last had something.

    It’s nice to have things, even if they’re only questions.

    Be happy for him! He’s the RC Eeyore with a Useful Pot For Keeping Things in and Something To Put In A Pot.

    :-)

  692. Richard Sycamore:

    #689 Hank, I asked you to clarify how you thought your desktop experiment had relevance for the real world question being asked, and you chose not to. I didn’t mean to be insulting calling it an “ice cube model” – but is that not what it was? If this is so far off-topic, why not just transfer it to the “warming pause” thread?

  693. Mark P:

    Thanks a lot Jim. Wow. I’m even more confused now.

    Hmmm, with respect I think that the actual answer to my question “If we take a dendro to a site which has a set of living trees, and a set of similar but long dead trees, will he be able to identify “responder” trees in the living and dead sets with equal success?” seems to be No.

    In a nutshell, dendros identify living responders using information which simply isn’t available about dead responders. Instead for dead trees they rely upon weaker correlations and assumptions. I would conclude from this that the ability to detect dead responder trees is worse than the ability to detect living responder trees. How much worse seems hard to quantify, it might only be quite a small difference, but given the low signal to noise regime I doubt it can be ignored.

    For living trees they can use:

    i – known growth location

    ii – measured correlation with instrumental temperature

    For dead trees they can use:

    a – an assumption about averaging growth differences over the sample set

    b – an assumption about site homogeneity

    c – (for H&S) a daisy chain of correlations from the dead trees back to the living responder trees

    The dead tree assumptions seem a lot weaker than the live tree hard data. Therefore the ability to detect responders must be worse in the past than the present.

    In my view this causes a problem. The averaging-across-samples step includes a larger percentage of responder trees (good thermometers) for living trees than for dead trees. This is a selection bias which increases the temperature sensitivity in the present vs the past. In mickey mouse language, if we have 10 thermometers, in the present we get an average temperature from 10 known good thermometers by adding their readings and dividing by 10. In the past we might have 5 good and 5 broken thermometers. If we average across them all by adding the readings and dividing by 10, our average temperature will be very wrong. Exactly how wrong depends on the number of broken thermometers and in what way they are broken.

    There’s also a signal to noise ratio issue:- older parts of the reconstruction have degraded signal to noise with respect to recent parts, because of the presence of more non-responding trees in the average over dead trees. This could be important since most reconstructions seem to have quite low SNR even in the present day.

    How do dendros correct for this temperature bias? It seems intractable to me. If you could quantify the selection bias with accuracy you could correct it by having some kind of temperature gain adjustment with time. But quantification seems awfully difficult. And gain adjustments are a nightmare in themselves since you apply gain to the noise as well as the signal. If you assume the noise is additive white & Gaussian you could instead over sample the past set of trees to get the temperature sensitivity and the SNR to match the present day. But that would rely upon a very accurate model of the bias, and the assumption of AWGN seems very weak.

    When a scientist like Briffa receives a chronology from field dendros like H&S, does he receive a lot of metadata and analysis of this temperature bias, or does he get some kind of bias correction curve estimate? It seems to me impossible to do the gain correction based purely on the samples themselves, he’d need a bunch of out of sample data to build any such.

    Or am I completely wrong? I often am :)

    Cheers

    Mark

  694. Deep Climate:

    #693 Mark P,
    Jim will no doubt have better, more complete answers.

    But as far as I know, chronologies are never constructed by comparing live trees to instrumental temperature. The calibration comes after any screening and mean chronology construction.

    My understanding is that sensitivity can be imputed by the degree of variability in tree ring width. As explained by H&S in (Hantemirov & Shiyatsov, Holocene, 2002):

    In one approach to constructing a mean chronology, 224 individual series of subfossil larches were selected. These were the longest and most sensitive series, where sensitivity is measured by the magnitude of interannual variability.

    It seems to me this method could be applied to trees of any age, living or dead. I’m not sure about the details. For example, I suppose one could normalize measures of interannual sensitivity against trees of the same age.

    What I’m not clear on, though, is whether a similar method was used by Schweingruber. I tend to think not. If one looks at the “raw measurements” and “chronology” files for Khadyta River, we see the same number of samples for 1990 in both: 18.

    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/treering/chronologies/asia/russ035w_crns.crn

    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/treering/measurements/asia/russ035w.rwl

    http://www.nosams.whoi.edu/PDFs/papers/Holocene_v12a.pdf

    I could be way off too. I guess we’ll both have to wait for Jim.

  695. Rattus Norvegicus:

    Deep Climate,

    Selecting “sensitive” trees is fairly standard in dendro. One reason this is useful is that it aids in crossdating.

  696. Deep Climate:

    #694
    Just in case anyone is confused by the files I posted, the first one contains four different ring width chronologies (crn):
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/treering/chronologies/asia/russ035w_crns.crn

    And the second the raw sample data (rwl):
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/treering/measurements/asia/russ035w.rwl

  697. Deep Climate:

    #695 Rattus Norvegicus

    Selecting “sensitive” trees is fairly standard in dendro. One reason this is useful is that it aids in crossdating

    Sure, that makes sense. But presumably the samples in the raw measurements file for the Schweingruber Khadyta site represent the whole site data set before selecting for sensitivity. If so, then that implies that sensitivity screened data from H&S was mixed with unscreened data from Schweingruber by McIntyre in his “sensitivity test” (whether or not Schweingruber himself selected sensitive trees in his chronology).

    Or am I on the wrong track?

  698. Mark P:

    Re 694, 693

    Deep Climate, thanks for your comments. Sounds like I might have been premature in my comments on selection and my strawman above. Apologies. I thought I didn’t understand selection of dead trees, it sounds like I also don’t understand selection of living trees!

    Re my assumption (c) it sounds like I might have it wrong, but I need to think through the implications. Jim says:-

    “That is, the very ability/necessity to cross date to extend the series back in time (and establish a decent sample size for a given time), which depends on inter-annual ring variability, insures that you will at the same time be selecting specimens from the past that responded in a way similar to the modern, calibration trees”. And your quote from the H&S paper says something similar.

    I guess the question then becomes “how do they select LIVING trees”. If living trees are also only selected on inter-annual ring variability, then Jim’s comment seems correct. I can see this working if dendros took a truly random sample of living trees (eg walk past 100 trees, roll a dice at each tree, if you throw a 6 take a sample) and then performed the same inter-annual ring variability selection among those random samples. But my (limited) understanding is that living tree selection is an on-site process looking for trees at the right location within the stand. Jim’s comments earlier kind of support this understanding.

    The upshot is I still don’t understand how to reconcile the selection process for living trees with that for dead trees.

    Thanks

  699. Mark P:

    Re 694

    Deep Climate, Jim, I really don’t understand how H&S’s selection criterion pertains to climate. (I’m spending waaaay too much time on this). Can you help me understand?

    I agree that selecting the samples with the highest inter-annual variability helps develop the most accurate chronology (x-axis). But the climatological signal is (literally) orthogonal to this (y-axis). (also comments 695 and 697).

    What H&S have done seems to involve a hidden assumption:- that the inter-annual temperature variation was high at all times in the past. I can’t see any justification for this assumption, without a-priori knowledge of inter-annual temperature variations in the past.

    During periods when inter-annual temperature variation is low, the trees which best represent temperature will be those with low inter-annual variability. But H&S’s algorithm in such periods will select the wrong trees:- ones which have suffered from small-scale events which were spatially inhomogeneous.

    So for example if there was a long period of stable temperature, but during that time there was a localised event affecting part of the region (eg a flood), H&S’s algorithm will select the trees in the flooded region, because they show a larger inter-annual variation. But that variation was a result of the flood, not temperature changes. This won’t affect the chronology, but it will affect the temperature reconstruction.

    Analogy:- if you’re studying history, war and famine events are great ways to date your chronology. But they are very bad ways of inferring the average citizen’s lifestyle during a long historical period.

    A while ago I kind of liked Jim’s argument that responder trees in the present have high inter-annual variability, so trees in the past with the same property are probably responders too. But now I think that all we can say about highly variable dead trees is just that – they are highly variable. I don’t understand how that variability can be attributed to temperature without a-priori information.

    I guess H&S would argue that events which are small spatially will be small temporally, and that selecting long-lived trees will average them out. But I think that even if this is true, their selection algorithm will perform worse with respect to a climate signal than using the entire data set. H&S’s algorithm will always have some bias (however small) towards spatially inhomogeneous events which are not temperature related. Using the entire data set will have the best chance of averaging these out.

    Do you or Jim have any views on this?

    Cheers

    Mark

  700. dhogaza:

    If so, then that implies that sensitivity screened data from H&S was mixed with unscreened data from Schweingruber by McIntyre in his “sensitivity test” (whether or not Schweingruber himself selected sensitive trees in his chronology).

    Or am I on the wrong track?

    I think that’s exactly what he did.

  701. Deep Climate:

    #698
    Mark P,
    First of all, I don’t think “live” vs “dead” trees is the correct distinction. Rather the crucial distinction for your question appears to be that between sub-fossils (which have generally been moved from the original site by alluvial processes) and live or dead trees at a specific site. Almost half of the Schweingruber Khadyta River tree series were from dead trees.

    Having said that, I see site selection as important for choosing locations where variations in tree growth are more likely to be constrained by temperature than, say, moisture. In fact, some of the sites in ITRDB are specifically marked as “moisture sites”. But I’m not sure how one could decide if a site or an individual tree had enhanced sensitivity in advance of sampling. As far as I can see, H&S don’t explicitly say that their living trees were screened for sensitivity the same way as the sub-fossils, but it would make intuitive sense.

    For me, the bottom line is as yet we don’t know enough about the purpose and methodology of Schweingruber’s Khadyta site to judge if that set of samples is a valid addition to the H&S chronology as is without further screening. That’s in addition to the weighting problem and inconsistent deletions and substitutions already noted above.

    One way to resolve this would be to ask the scientists themselves directly. I’ve done that before in other situations (e.g. Mojib Latif’s so-called cooling prediction), and will do it again in this case when I have time.

    Asking the right questions to the right people. What a concept!

  702. Mark P:

    Re 701, thanks DC

    I think that’s the crux of it:- H&S explicitly say how they selected the dead (sub fossil) trees but not how they selected the living trees. The living trees are crucial to the correlation with instrumental temperature. I’m not worried about Schweingruber’s trees – so far I don’t understand how the Briffa (2000) tree set was established in an unbiased way.

    The problem I have is that the H&S selection criteria seem to be:-

    dead trees:- random plus inter-annual variability (random because as Jim says alluvial processes will have scrambled any location info)

    live trees:- Mk 1 eyeball of skilled dendros possibly plus inter-annual variability, if used not stated (???)

    unless the live trees were truly selected blindfold, and then subject to the same inter-annual variability filter, there’s a change in sampling between live and dead trees and a potential temperature bias.

    Mark

    PS You’re not supposed to ask questions of the right people, you’re supposed to jump up and down and say U R WRONG, BIG LIE!!!!!! :)

  703. Deep Climate:

    #703 Mark P
    Also note this passage from the Hantemirov email (which was forwarded to McIntyre by an anonymous correspondent, and which I quoted in my “Backpedalling” post).

    We had to select the longest series. The same concerns to living trees. There are not much old living trees in this area (in contrast to Polar Urals), therefore we used only 17 (not 12) samples from living trees.

    This suggests:
    a) They didn’t have a lot of living trees to choose from, and
    b) They selected the samples by the same criteria (although admittedly Hantemirov doesn’t say so explicitly).

    Also don’t forget that the vast majority of sub-fossils came from trees along the river. In H&S 2002, the authors describe the typical sub-fossil sample this way:

    Living trees, growing along the river terraces, are undermined and often fall into the running water (Figure 2). This occurs mainly in spring and early summer, when water level and stream velocities are high.

    So even though the exact site is not known, it would be reasonable to suppose sites of live trees “growing along the river terraces” should be roughly equivalent to the sites that gave rise to the sub-fossils in the first place.

  704. CM:

    Mark P (#699, I think),

    During periods when inter-annual temperature variation
    is low, the trees which best represent temperature will be those
    with low inter-annual variability. But H&S’s algorithm in such
    periods will select the wrong trees:- ones which have suffered
    from small-scale events which were spatially
    inhomogeneous.

    I don’t see why. Assume that you get it right for the most recent trees in the chronology: these are selected for high inter-annual ring variability, and this variability indeed reflects sensitivity to temperature. So far so good. But once you have your recent trees, you go on to add older trees to the daisy chain. I assume you are fitting them in by determining, from the patterns of ring variability they share with younger trees, what part of their lifetime overlapped. If so, I assume you select the older trees into the chronology based not so much on the magnitude of the variability, per se, as based on the shared pattern of variability. (But the pattern happens to be one of high magnitude, both because that was what you looked for in the first trees, and because it makes the pattern stand out better).

    In your example of the trees that had experienced a local flood (or perhaps grew in a flood-prone locality — not one event but several): these will show pronounced year-on-year variation around the flood year(s). But the pattern will not be a good match to that on your more recent, overlapping trees, trees that were also alive in the flood year but did not experience the flood because they grew elsewhere. So any tendency to select these trees for their apparent but spurious temperature sensitivity (an artifact of the flooding) would be countered by a tendency to deselect them because they don’t match neatly into the overlapping patterns in the chronology.

    Did that make any sense? And could it actually be right? I’m just thinking out loud and know next to nothing about this subject — a treacherous combination…

  705. dhogaza:

    Assume that you get it right for the most recent trees in the chronology: these are selected for high inter-annual ring variability, and this variability indeed reflects sensitivity to temperature.

    You guys should spend some time reading about the use of tree rings as temperature proxies.

    It’s interesting.

    One thing the denialsphere keeps harping on is whether or not you can differentiate between variability due to changing temperature vs. other limiting growth factors. The reference I link about says …

    Traditionally ring width (RW) is the primary variable utilized for dendroclimate work but more recently tree-ring densitometry has also been used. In densitometry, precise thin sections are cut from cores, x-rayedand negatives scanned to produce a continuous, high resolution density trace orthogonal to the rings.Several ringwidth and density variables can be obtained from these scans. Maximum latewood density(MXD) reflects the thickening of cell walls at the end of the growing season and represents a narrower climatic window than more traditional ringwidth parameters. (Schweingruber, 1988). MXD in northern conifers is very strongly related to summer temperatures and has been used in several important recenttemperature reconstructions.

    People, especially McI et al, seem blind to the fact that we know anything at all about tree physiology, or that folks like Briffa use known facts about tree physiology as part of their selection criteria. For a really crazy example take a look at Lucia’s latest post (or, maybe not, you’ll gag, I’m sure).

    Anyway, there’s a lot more to all this than the denialist camp is making it seem to be – it’s not just statistics thrown at datasets chosen by arbitrary selection criteria. The selection criteria is based on physiology, including one of the most basic things of all, the fact that growth is typically limited mostly by a single factor and that trees at their northern or altitudinal limits tend to be limited by temperature.

    Not precip? Well, yeah, in arid ranges (this is a problem for bristlecone pines), but soil moisture remains high in many northern and high-altitude stands during the growing season – they’re deep in snow through late spring and water just isn’t a problem. LIkewise soil nutrients vary over the landscape but vary year-to-year in one spot (remember, trees don’t walk)? Typically, no. You might find individual trees that have sprouted in an inconvenient place (crack in a boulder, that might be nutrient limited) but you’ll find many that aren’t.

    Also at northern and altitudinal limits stands tend to be open, thus limiting variation due to “forest dynamics” (as my reference puts it) – shading by other trees, competition for nutrients by other trees, complications due to structural complexity as you find in lower-elevation, old forests, etc.

    Anyway … I think it’s safe to say that Briffa and the like know far more about their profession than people like McI and Lucia (or any of us) … and the whole naive meme that they just run around picking trees they think will show a hockey stick is crap.

  706. Kevin McKinney:

    “. . . the whole naive meme that they just run around picking trees they think will show a hockey stick is crap.”

    Well, naive might be kind; if bad will on the part of investigators is assumed ab initio, then it is going to be easy to “debunk” the results. Which is why we see so much of this assumption in certain corners.

  707. dhogaza:

    Good post by “delayed oscillator” on Yamal issues …

  708. Deep Climate:

    dhogaza #705

    Easily available (and readable) tree-ring references I have found helpful:

    * Principles of Dendrochronolgy, summary from Henri D. Grissino-Mayer’s Ultimate Tree-Ring Web Pages
    http://web.utk.edu/~grissino/principles.htm

    * Chapter 10 of Bradley, Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary (Keith Briffa). Available at Keith Briffa’s web page:
    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/people/briffa/

    Also the new paper by Esper et al 2009 in Climate Change Biology, which goes a long way to resolving false detection of “divergence” in Siberian tree networks.

    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/122374111/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=1

    Results indicate that common methodological and data usage decisions alter 20th century growth and temperature trends in a way that can easily explain the post-1960 DP. We show that (i) Siberian station temperature adjustments were up to 1.3 °C for decadal means before 1940, (ii) tree-ring detrending effects in the order of 0.6–0.8 °C, and (iii) calibration uncertainties up to about 0.4 °C over the past 110 years
    Despite these large uncertainties, instrumental and tree growth estimates for the entire 20th century warming interval match each other, to a degree previously not recognized, when care is taken to preserve long-term trends in the tree-ring data. We further show that careful examination of early temperature data and calibration of proxy timeseries over the full period of overlap with instrumental data are both necessary to properly estimate 20th century long-term changes and to avoid erroneous detection of post-1960 divergence.

    That study examines seven “clusters” of sites in Siberia and uses a much larger set of live trees up to 2000 than previously available. Over the coming months, I would expect publication of more robust reconstructions based on enlarged data sets, use of RCS for detrending/standardization, and more careful calibration with temperature record.

  709. Rattus Norvegicus:

    Thank you for posting that link dhogaza. I was pleased to see that I understood what Briffa was talking about w/regards to replication and that McIntyre didn’t get it. I even understood the bit about “modern sample bias”, something that Steveie Mac never mentioned, and which might have affected his chronology by increasing the number of modern samples from 17 to 39 (out of 241).

    BTW, the chapter he points to on RCS is quite good and provides and excellent discussion of the strengths and pitfalls of the RCS methodology.

  710. Mark:

    “So any tendency to select these trees for their apparent but spurious temperature sensitivity (an artifact of the flooding) would be countered by a tendency to deselect them because they don’t match neatly into the overlapping patterns in the chronology.”

    I believe that is what’s being relied upon and why you have to have more trees than just one that goes from year a to year b another going from b to c, another from c to…

    And then the distribution of CO2 growth can be self-validated by other tree sensitivities over a long overlapping period AND you can deselect those that go haywire under the supposition that they’re not representative.

    Finding the connection between the tree record then becomes a case of putting a jigsaw together. The overlap becomes the key to say whether you have the right piece.

    It also shows why McI’s attempt is bogus: there would be no key and no self-validation. It becomes impossibly easy to make a match then, just like in a jigsaw where you’re doing the sky and all bits are the same shade of blue (or near enough). You can find out later that the piece you have put there doesn’t fit because getting more pieces out there and fitting shows that it has the wrong shape elsewhere.

    McI doesn’t do jigsaws, obviously.

  711. Mark P:

    Re 704

    CM, yes that’s what I thought they meant, and that’s what Jim alluded to in 674. The concept is that your recent trees correlate well with temperature, and you can assume that older trees which correlate well with the newer trees also correlate well with temperature. You can identify responder trees in the past using a daisy chain to the present responder trees. (I think this approach has its own problems – see below).

    But that doesn’t seem to be what H&S do. Instead H&S explicitly say that they selected the trees with the largest inter-annual variability. They selected the “best” trees before any correlation took place. That is definitely not the same as selecting older trees which correlate well with newer trees, which would be selection based upon the correlation output.

    There’s more on this at your post 526, Jim’s reply at 598, and at Jim’s helpful post on CA which you linked to. Jim says on that post http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=7278#comment-359804 “Those that vary the most strongly are the most sensitive to the environment”. That’s where I think the hidden assumption comes in:- this is true only if the environment varies strongly during that period. That’s making some a priori assumptions about past climate. If past climate was quite stable, H&S’s algorithm will select for trees which are responding to factors other than climate. Jim does then go on to talk about a spatial test as well. But I don’t see that in H&S. Even if there were, I don’t think it solves the problem of a priori assumptions about climate.

    In a nutshell:- if climate was very stable for a period, H&S’s result won’t show it. Instead their output graph will show a variable climate during that period, which would not be correct. A simple average across all samples in the set for that period would show a result which better reflects the true (stable) climate during that period, because it will include more responder trees than H&S’s algorithm. Regardless of H&S’s (undoubted) skill as dendros, their selection algorithm seems to make a priori assumptions about climate being highly variable.

    Regarding the idea of daisy-chaining trees together as you and I both thought. Sounds plausible, the problem I can see is that your correlation between generations will be imperfect, so your confidence that you have selected the climate-sensitive trees in the past will be lower than in the present. As you extend the daisy chain back your confidence will be lower and lower. You’ll start to bring more non-responding trees into the average and lower the temperature sensitivity of your tree-mometer. You’d need to correct for this in some way which my brain can’t cope with.

    I still don’t get how, having spent ages gathering cores and turning them into wiggly lines, it’s a good idea to reject a large part of the data sample simply because the lines aren’t wiggly enough. Surely the wiggles are the wiggles, and unless there is some external metadata which gives you good cause for not using them, all the wiggles should be included??!

    Mark

  712. Jari:

    dhogaza: your link states “MXD in northern conifers is very strongly related to summer temperatures”.

    Grudd (Clim. Dyn. 2008) updated the Tornetrask MXD data to 2004. Grudd’s conclusions were:

    “Tornetrask MXD does not show this ‘‘divergence problem’’and hence produces robust estimates of summer temperature variation on annual to multi-century timescales.

    The late-twentieth century is not exceptionally warm in the new Tornetrask record: On decadal-to-century timescales, periods around AD 750, 1000, 1400, and 1750 were all equally warm, or warmer. The warmest summers in this new reconstruction occur in a 200-year period centred on AD 1000. A ‘‘Medieval Warm Period’’ is supported by other paleoclimate evidence from northern Fennoscandia, although the new tree-ring evidence from Tornetrask suggests that this period was much warmer than previously recognised.”

    The late-twentieth century temperatures in northern Fennoscandia seem to be perfectly normal, no hockey stick there.

  713. Mark:

    “I still don’t get how, having spent ages gathering cores and turning them into wiggly lines, it’s a good idea to reject a large part of the data sample simply because the lines aren’t wiggly enough. Surely the wiggles are the wiggles, and unless there is some external metadata which gives you good cause for not using them, all the wiggles should be included??!

    Mark”

    But you don’t get the wiggliest jigsaw piece and slam it in the jigsaw, do you.

    It has to fit with all the other pieces else you won’t get the real picture.

  714. dhogaza:

    That’s where I think the hidden assumption comes in:- this is true only if the environment varies strongly during that period. That’s making some a priori assumptions about past climate. If past climate was quite stable, H&S’s algorithm will select for trees which are responding to factors other than climate. Jim does then go on to talk about a spatial test as well. But I don’t see that in H&S. Even if there were, I don’t think it solves the problem of a priori assumptions about climate.

    Well, let’s see, if temperature and precipitation are stable, what will those other factors be? Again, it’s not as though we know nothing of tree physiology, right, and they’re not looking at raw ring width but at a kind of growth known to correlate well with summer temps.

  715. dhogaza:

    Thanks, Jari, now, if RCS analysis on MXD data from tree ring chronologies work well in Northern Fennoscandinavia, is there any reason for us to believe that these techniques don’t work well on the Yamal pennisula in Siberia or the other areas where “hockey stick” reconstructions have been made?

    Or are you suggesting that since one regional reconstruction doesn’t show a pronounced “hockey stick”, then all the other regional reconstructions using the same techniques must be wrong?

  716. Mark P:

    Re 695, 713

    I’ve got it – we’re arguing violently about two completely different things! I think there is a strong distinction here between dendroCHRONOlogy and dendroCLIMATology and how the sampling should work in each case.

    dendroCHRONology is about looking for extreme trees. The more extreme a tree’s growth pattern, the easier and better you can reconstruct a chronology. DendroCLIMATology is (or should be) about looking at average trees, because in a region with localised non-climate events, only widespread averages can give you a proper climate signal.

    In dendroCHRONology you are NOT interested in what caused a change in ring width. In particular you are not interested in how spatially widespread the change in ring width is. You are only interested in building the cross dating jigsaw, and you are looking for a few long lived trees with “distinctive patterns” of growth. In this case selecting the small number of trees with the widest inter-annual variation makes perfect sense:- it gives you the most distinctive pattern and the most accurate cross dating.

    In dendroCLIMATology you are ONLY interested in what caused the change in ring width. You want to detect changes caused by climate and reject changes caused by localised events. The way to do this is to measure how spatially widespread the change in ring width is. For a random sample set like H&S you need to measure how widespread it is across the sample set. The more widespread the change, the more likely the effect was caused by climate as opposed to localised non-climate things. The more samples you use, the better able you are to distinguish climate effects from localised effects.

    It looks to me like H&S have performed a very valid dendroCHRONological assessment:- they have taken 2000+ samples, and selected the 200+ longest lived with the highest inter-annual variation (“most distinctive growth pattern”). This will give them a highly accurate dendroCHRONOlogical reconstruction.

    But for a dendroCLIMATological reconstruction we need to look for ring width changes that are widespread among the sample set. That’s much harder to do from the small set of post-selection samples than it is from the large set of pre-selection samples. Particularly since the selection algorithm was targeted at dendroCHRONOlogy and might not always select the “best” climate responders.

    At any given time in history (say AD 1500), H&S rejected of the order of 90% of their data set to build their chronology. But when it comes to reconstructing climate, the reconstruction suffers very badly from sampling error:- they (or Briffa) are trying to estimate wide-area climate signals from just the 10% of selected trees, rather than from the 100% of the whole sample set. And given that that 10% of trees have been selected by a non-random algorithm (as, possibly, have the living trees) there is the potential for systematic bias. In low signal to noise studies like these, bias is deadly.

    That explains why we are at cross purposes. Your position is that you can build a very accurate dendroCHRONOlogical reconstruction from a handful of trees, and I fully agree with that.

    But as far as dendroCLIMATology goes, my two original questions still stand:-

    1 – “how can you infer anything about climate from a handful of trees?”. Specifically, how can you infer anything with confidence about the climate in the Russian forest at AD 1500 from examining a few tens of trees

    2 – “don’t H&S’s selection criteria introduce a temperature bias into the deep past climate reconstruction?”. This comes in two parts:- how they selected the living trees vs selecting the dead trees; and how they selected the ~10% and rejected the ~90% of dead trees in the deep past reconstruction.

    And the answers I’ve been getting are (1) yes you can and (2) it doesn’t matter. But those answers I think are referring to dendroCHRONology in which case I agree entirely.

    Hope this makes some sense.

  717. Mark P:

    A much more flippant answer:-

    At a given time in the past, say the 15th century, you have 100 randomly selected tree samples.
    – 90 of them show a very similar variation in ring width over that period, say a slow increase
    – 10 of them show much larger variations over the period, the variations significantly different from tree to tree.

    Which set “best represents climate”….
    (a) the 90?
    (b) the 10?
    (c) the 100?

    A: it has to be (c) doesn’t it?? You have no information with which to say some of these randomly selected trees are better than others. You can’t select the 10 more variable over the 90 less variable without making the a priori assumption that climate was highly variable during the 15th century. You can’t select the 90 rather than the 10 for the same reason. You have to use the 100 and infer climate from what the majority of trees were doing with appropriate confidence statistics.

    Sorry for the flippancy, it’s getting to beer time.

  718. dhogaza:

    Hope this makes some sense.

    Not really, sorry to disappoint. You could start by reading some of the references that have been posted. I learned a lot by doing so. I humbly suggest that learning how things are done is more sensible than, say, building your own strawman version to shoot down.

  719. Deep Climate:

    #713, #716
    As was already pointed out the “more wiggly” lines are easier to crossdate precisely, besides containing more climatic signal. And presumably the selection is for interannual variation relative to other trees of the same era.

    Also note that H&S say:

    The percentage of successfully cross-dated samples that contain more than 150 rings is about 80%.

    So in this case, the main limiting criterion was the length of the tree series. As I noted in some detail at my blog, though, a forthcoming Yamal study from Hantemirov uses RCS and includes shorter series, and many more live tree series. That reconstruction is still similar to Briffa et al 2008.

    I agree that the selection of live trees is not 100% clear, but we do know they were selected for age as well. Crossdating is not an issue, so there may or may not have been selection for sensitivity. To what extent the age was determined pre- or post-sampling (i.e. to what extent they could determine age and not bother sampling younger trees) is unknown. But this is probably not relevant considering that Hantemirov has now boosted its live tree set to 200 series.

    I also note that most of your questions could be answered by reading the paper. For those interested, here it is:

    A continuous multimillennial ring-width chronology in Yamal, northwestern
    Siberia, Rashit M. Hantemirov* and Stepan G. Shiyatov, The Holocene 12,6 (2002) pp. 717–726

    http://www.nosams.whoi.edu/PDFs/papers/Holocene_v12a.pdf

    To me the crucial point is this: A lot of the “analyses” out there imply or even state that any regional reconstruction showing a hockey stick is simply the result of “cherrypicking” the subset of noisy data that happens to correlate with temperature in the modern era. That’s simply not so.

    #712
    Something that has been lost in the shuffle is that Briffa et al 2008 also covers Fennoscandia, and Avam-Taymir, not just Yamal. It is thus a super-regional reconstruction of temperatures in Norhwest Eurasia.

    Full text PDF available at:

    http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/363/1501/2269.full.pdf

    Of the three regions, Fennoscandia shows the least variation. The smoothed reconstructions (Fig. 3) shows 20th century and MWP have roughly equivalent peaks, although a 200-year filter might well show more sustained warming for the MWP. Overall for the three regions, Briffa et al do show 20th century above MWP.

    A final thought: For me, the point of temperature reconstructions is not so much the exact relative warmth of MWP and current era globally, although previous Eurocentric notions of a much stronger MWP are almost certainly erroneous. But the real take away is the unprecedented rate of current global warming relative to the last two millenia.

  720. CM:

    Deep and Dhogaza, thanks for the reading list. I promise at least to get through it before extemporizing on tree rings again!

    Mark P, just a couple of last thoughts that shouldn’t depend much on physiology:

    if climate was very stable for a period, H&S’s result won’t show it. Instead their output graph will show a variable climate during that period, which would not be correct.

    I’m not convinced your account of their method is quite adequate, but even if it were, I don’t think this would follow. High *overall* interannual variability in a series is compatible with the series showing *relatively* less variability over a period of relatively stable weather. (And *climate*, by definition, is something you get by *averaging out* interannual variation.)

    To all of you for being civil and educational, and to Mark P for raising interesting questions, thanks; it’s been a glimpse of the RC comments section as it could be.

  721. David Onkels:

    I notice a lot of ad hominem here, and a lot of “kill the messenger” as well.

    I have to say that I see very little of that at Climate Audit, especially from Steve McIntyre, who couches his observations in extremely careful language.

    I’m not persuaded by noise, and I read a lot of noise here.

  722. Kjell T Ringen:

    —————————————————————–
    RE #488: “Don’t be obtuse! Gavin is alluding to the fact that a sensitivity >2 has >2.5 million years of evidence in favor of it, while Lindzen’s “analysis” has… well, none. See the difference?”

    You are wrong Ray. It is very difficult to get published with no evidence in favor of your position. I suggest you read Lindzen’s paper: http://www.drroyspencer.com/Lindzen-and-Choi-GRL-2009.pdf

    [I am not claiming Lindzen’s sensitivity estimate is the correct one, just that Gavin’s ground for dismissal are not reasonable.]

    [Response: Sorry, but I disagree. If someone claims to have made a perpetual motion machine I don’t need to read up to page 10 to know that they haven’t. The ice ages could not have happened if sensitivity was as low as 0.5 deg C/2*co2. Therefore there is something wrong with an analysis that says it is. -gavin]
    ——————————————————————–

    This might be THE most important paper this decade and you won’t even read it?? And please tell us why the ice age could not happen with a sensitivity at 0.5 C/2*co2. If you follow your line of thougth this result would be in line with the abolishment of the medieval warm period and the little ice age in the various hockeystick grafs.

    [Response: Of course I read it. The issue with the ice age is that we have reasonable estimates of the forcings and reasonable estimates of the temperature changes and they imply that sensitivity is around 3 deg C. If sensitivity is only 0.5 deg C, then we would have had to have made an error of a factor of six in temperatures – i.e. it was only 1 deg C colder instead of 6 deg C colder, or that we have underestimated the forcings by a factor of six – i.e. a forcing of -48 W/m2 instead of -8 W/m2. Doesn’t sound very likely. The same goes for the Little Ice Age – you’d have to find 6 times the forcing that we think was happening. Thus it is highly likely that Lindzen’s paper will not turn out to be a robust analysis – time will tell! – gavin]

    [edit]

  723. Mark P:

    Re 719

    Thanks for the link, it didn’t answer any of my questions, but it is very interesting. Having read it, I can boil my criticism and all previous questions down three words:- no error analysis.

    H&S Figure 8 has no error bars. It’s a statistical study; in a low signal to noise regime. It must have error bars. where are they? Even more, H&S contains no section called “error analysis”. It contains no instance of the word “error”, or of the word “confidence”.

    With respect to the climate reconstruction, the error analysis section should cover….

    – errors due to the selection methodology for living and dead trees

    – errors due to the imperfect chronology reconstruction

    – errors due to the imperfect instrumental record

    – errors in confidence due to the imperfect correlation with the instrumental record

    – errors due to the low number of samples in the climatic reconstruction set

    – errors due to H&S’s choice of that site vs other sites in the area

    – loads of other stuff that would occur to a smart statistician or dendro.

    But there’s not a mention of the word “error” in the whole paper.

    It’s impossible to draw any conclusions about the science in Figure 8 without error analysis.

    To be absolutely clear “error” does not mean “we got it wrong”. It means “Mother Nature is a b***h, but we’ve taken account of that, and our result is still valid”.

    :)

  724. Mark P:

    I had no inkling that H&S did not show a hockey stick in their reconstruction (Fig 7)! But Briffa (2000) uses the same data set, and a different methodology, and derives a humungous hockey stick in its RCS reconstruction.

    The methodology is simply a way of extracting the signal from the data set. Does the data set contain a hockey stick shaped growth signal or not?

    If yes, then H&S’s methodology is not sensitive enough to detect it. H&S’s error bars on Fig 7 need to be large enough to accommodate the idea that there might be a hockey stick signal, but the methodology can’t find it.

    If no, then Briffa (2000)’s hockey stick is an artefact of the methodology. Briffa (2000)’s error bars need to reflect the fact that the hockey stick might be an artefact, not a real signal.

    In summary, the error bars on H&S and Briffa (2000) should overlap. If they don’t, at least one of the analyses is wrong.

    [Response: H&S remove any possibility of capturing century scale variability because of their standardisation method. Briffa (2000) does not. Therefore the century scale trends cannot be expected to overlap – it’s like comparing high frequency variability in the temperature and demanding that the error bars include the global warming signal. Not appropriate. – gavin]

  725. Jim Bouldin:

    Mark (693):

    I think some wires got crossed somewhere from the difficulty of explanation. I’ll back up and try again, but since you have a real interest here, and there are numerous issues, you will need to wade into the literature. Fortunately all the online stuff like (especially) ALL the old TRB issues, the stuff at e.g. LTRR, Lamont-Doherty, Birmensdorff and Henri Grissino-Mayer’s web-site, Tom Melvin’s dissertation linked to here, etc., can get you a long way. If you can get hold of a copy of Hal Fritts’ bible, Tree Rings and Climate, DO IT.

    Two things are absolutely required:
    (1) The ability to cross-date the samples and
    (2) Responsiveness of ring variables to temp

    1. Living trees are selected based primarily on taxon and site characteristics, as informed by previous observations/samples informing of the general response of such to some limiting climate factor. The higher you can make the s:n ratio, by constraining the site factors (and hence the influence of other environ. factors), the better. But once defined, you then sample +/- randomly within that environmental space, with the constraint that you are also trying to get the oldest specimens, to carry the chron. back as far as possible before having to resort to dead wood. Unless you have legitimate reason (e.g. strong ring complacency combined with frequent missing rings, making cross-dating very tenuous to impossible), you do NOT bias the sample by the observed ring patterns of given trees, once collected; you do not artificially lower the variance by choosing only the ones that correlate most strongly with the instr. recod. When I said that having working thermometers is criterion #1, I meant within these constraints. Thus, as I also said, sampling is based on site and taxon stratification, as informed by previous understanding of response to climate, and NOT by the characteristics of the rings of particular trees post facto.

    2. All of your sampling of any dead wood is then constrained to be within the same strata as the live trees are. This is straightforward in most dendro studies, but is complicated in the Yamal work by the fact that for some fraction of the trees, you do not know where they grew. But you do know they most likely grew in the riparian zone, and can thus sample the living trees in that same zone.

    3. HS’ use of inter-annual variability as a selection criterion for the buried trees is necessary for cross-dating the samples. It also inceases the odds that the trees are responding to some environmental influence.

    4. Evidence for the possibility that something other than temp was operational in the past is provided by examining the spatio-temporal patterns, and magnitudes, of ring variations. If these are similar to current, you have a very hard time arguing that some other factor was primary, and absolutely no way to prove it. Hydrologic effects on tree growth typically operate at very different (generally smaller) spatial scales than temperature effects do, even in relatively flat and wet terrain like the tundra, where you might not expect this. How does the snow deposit?, where does it melt out first?, how dry does the rooting zone of hummocks get in mid summer?, where is the flood plain and what’s the flooding pattern?, etc. etc. These points are critical, and are but examples of why I said before–and will say again, and then again, and again–that the on-the-ground understanding of someone like Shiyatov (whom I note in correction, has been studying Siberian larch since at least 1965), of the response of a given taxon to the fine-scale spatio-temporal climatic patterns of the region, is utterly invaluable. You cannot imagine how much working knowledge about tree growth and tree rings is held by people like H&S, Briffa, and Schweingruber. The latter two, as far as I can tell, know as much about tree rings, and their analysis as env. proxies, as any two people on the planet probably ever have. They are the experts; I’m a hacker (but I do try hard).

    I see there has been a bunch more comments, but I have not had the time to read them. I will try to do so and give my view as time allows.

  726. Mark:

    “Which set “best represents climate”….
    (a) the 90?
    (b) the 10?
    (c) the 100?

    A: it has to be (c) doesn’t it??”

    Not really, if

    (a) 90 good numbers
    (b) 10 bad numbers
    (c) 100 made up numbers

    Worse, H&S want to use the 10.

  727. dhogaza:

    Jim, thanks for your detailed post, very informative …

    I’m finding it very frustrating that the McI crowd seems to think that researchers shouldn’t apply their knowledge of tree physiology (response to changes in various environmental factors), site attributes, etc when doing such studies. They seem to think all trees are created equal, and that either every tree responds mostly to temperature changes or none do, regardless of site considerations.

  728. Jim Bouldin:

    It boggles the mind dhog. Dendroclimatology critiques of world experts, via the web, sans knowledge of tree behavior or intentions of the data collectors.

  729. Deep Climate:

    #724

    I linked to the H&S paper so you could understand methodology and see how and why samples were selected, including rates of retention based on ability to crossdate.

    Briffa took the same data and applied RCS, which permits analysis of multi-decadal and centennial trends of interest (as Gavin said).

    #725

    Jim, thanks for weighing in again – much appreciated. The one question still outstanding for me is whether H&S applied the same criteria of sensitivity to living tree samples as buried ones, even though it’s not strictly necessary for cross-dating. So far, the answer seems to be that one would have to ask Hantemirov directly, which I still intend to do when I have the time to formulate my questions (now that his DSc session is out of the way)!

    Dendroclimatology critiques of world experts, via the web, sans knowledge of tree behavior or intentions of the data collectors.

    It would be bad enough if it were just a question of sloppy analysis accompanied by what appears to be a complete lack of domain knowledge. That the “analysis” is conflated with implicit and explicit accusations of scientific misconduct makes it even worse.

  730. Deep Climate:

    #721

    I notice a lot of ad hominem here, and a lot of “kill the messenger” as well. I have to say that I see very little of that at Climate Audit, especially from Steve McIntyre, who couches his observations in extremely careful language.

    I had to reread that a couple of times to make sure that wasn’t a joke. Here’s what you really find at ClimateAudit:

    * Constant referrals to cherrypicking. 913 ClimateAudit posts refer to this somewhere in the post itself or in comments. I’m sure they’ll reach the 1000 mark some time next year. WUWT is only at 765; clearly Watts and co need to step their game. (Hmmm – I’m getting a good idea for a future DC post).

    * Regular explicit and implicit accusations of plagiarism and other scientific misconduct.

    * Comparison of Yamal (in at least three different posts) to “crack cocaine” for multi-proxy studies.

    Those are the facts – please don’t shoot this messenger.

  731. Mark P:

    Gavin, re your 724,

    >> “H&S remove any possibility of capturing century scale variability because of their standardisation method. Briffa (2000) does not. Therefore the century scale trends cannot be expected to overlap – it’s like comparing high frequency variability in the temperature and demanding that the error bars include the global warming signal. Not appropriate.”

    thanks for pointing this out, you are absolutely correct, the H&S text says “However, fluctuations of summer temperatures on annual , decadal and part-century timescales are discernible.”. The question is, of course, what does “part century” mean?

    Overall it’s a very helpful example of what I mean in 723 re “Errors in the imperfect chronology reconstruction”. We can’t understand what H&S can and can’t detect without a detailed error analysis, particularly the impact of their standardisation method on Figures 8 through 11.

    The text makes a couple of statements which and seem to contradict your 724 and certainly confuse me. With reference to Fig 11a H&S state:

    “… other, longer, cool periods included 500 to 280 BC (perhaps even to 190 BC), and AD 1600–1750.” and “The long warm period that lasted from about 10 BC to AD 160 is also a remarkable feature of the reconstruction”. These time periods are, respectively, 220 years (perhaps 310 years); 150 years and 170 years.
    – How can H&S make these statements with confidence if the methodology is only sensitive to part-century timescales?
    – If they can detect with confidence two-century long changes, how come they didn’t detect the hockey stick in any shape or form?

    This is exactly what I mean by error analysis:- H&S themselves seem to be confused about what their methodology can and can’t detect; if they can detect 220 year long periods, why didn’t they detect the hockey stick?

    [Response: It’s a function of what is called the ‘segment length curse’ (look it up) – you generally have longer-lived trees further back in the chronology. However, since I am not H or S, nor am I any kind of dendroclimatologist, nor do I have any special insight into how or why they wrote this paper the way they did, I’m afraid I can’t answer any questions about that. Why don’t you email them to ask? – gavin]

  732. mondo:

    In his helpful post 725 above, Jim Bouldin refers to (2) “the responsiveness of ring variables to temperature”, but then (so far as I could see anyhow) doesn’t discuss it.

    Being a gardener, planting and nurturing quite a few trees over the past few years, I can’t help but notice that trees do best when temperature and moisture conditions are optimal (and when other factors such as soil type, availability of nutrients, degree of compaction, surrounding weed control etc are supportive).

    I have two questions (which no doubt have been answered many times at this site).

    1. When temperatures are too low, trees don’t thrive. When temperatures are too high, trees don’t thrive. This means that the tree has an inverse quadratic response to temperature. Narrow rings can represent either temperatures that are too low or too high. Thick rings represent temperatures that are “just right”. In my readings on dendroclimatology, it appears that the assumption is made that thicker tree rings mean higher temperatures. How does this work?

    2. When moisture is too low (or too high), trees don’t thrive even if temperatures are optimal. How does dendroclimatology take moisture variations from season to season into account.

    I did google “inverse quadratic response of tree rings to temperature” and noted numerous references including from C Loehle and Fritts 1976 that seem to support my observations, but none from names that I recognise as being associated with this site.

    Thank you.

  733. dhogaza:

    Narrow rings can represent either temperatures that are too low or too high. Thick rings represent temperatures that are “just right”. In my readings on dendroclimatology, it appears that the assumption is made that thicker tree rings mean higher temperatures. How does this work?

    Remember, they’re selecting climate-stressed trees to start with. Trees near their northern latitudinal and altitudinal treelines, where the growing season is short. It’s knowledge of tree physiology that tells them that near the treeline, the temperature during the very short summer growing season is the dominant factor controlling growth. They’re also looking for a tissue type that is known (through studies into tree physiology, one presumes) to be sensitive to late growing season temps.

    These claims aren’t made for *all* trees in *all* circumstances. Just *some* trees in *specific* circumstances.

    2. When moisture is too low (or too high), trees don’t thrive even if temperatures are optimal. How does dendroclimatology take moisture variations from season to season into account.

    Jim talks about it above. Please re-read the #4 section of his post.

  734. Journeyman:

    I don’t get how McIntyre can say such things about experience scientists. His armchair dendro work is not useful in any way. Perhaps he should get out of his basement, and read some actual papers and he might understand how things actually operate in that field of science.
    Here’s a hint. Esper, another accomplished dendroclimatologist, has explained why sample levels might be low.
    “However as we mentioned earlier on the subject of biological growth populations, this does not mean that one could not improve a chronology by reducing the number of series used if the purpose of removing samples is to enhance a desired signal. The ability to pick and choose which samples to use is an advantage unique to dendroclimatology.”

  735. Rattus Norvegicus:

    Journeyman,

    Steve doesn’t need to read actual papers, he needs to take a few actual undergraduate classes in plant biology and some lower level grad classes in dendrochronology and dendroclimatology.

    BTW, he has another post up about how he likes Polar Urals better than Yamal. Both seem fairly consistent with each other until about 1000 AD. at which point Polar Urals shows a substantially higher value than Yamal. Steve pushes using Polar Urals (updated, I think, but it is hard to tell just from reading his turgid prose) since Polar Urals is more “highly replicated”. While this is true during the instrumental period, Yamal has consistently the same or more cores going back in time. During the period of interest, Polar Urals has about 1/2 the number of cores that Yamal has.

    Since I posted this at CA, I have my asbestos suit on. However I will maintain, as Steve often does, that more data is better than less data. My guess is that Polar Urals (updated) suffers from modern sample bias which is why Rob Wilson didn’t trust the RCS results for Polar Urals (updated).

  736. Jim Bouldin:

    From 699:

    “What H&S have done seems to involve a hidden assumption:- that the inter-annual temperature variation was high at all times in the past. I can’t see any justification for this assumption, without a-priori knowledge of inter-annual temperature variations in the past.

    During periods when inter-annual temperature variation is low, the trees which best represent temperature will be those with low inter-annual variability. But H&S’s algorithm in such periods will select the wrong trees:- ones which have suffered from small-scale events which were spatially inhomogeneous.

    So for example if there was a long period of stable temperature, but during that time there was a localised event affecting part of the region (eg a flood), H&S’s algorithm will select the trees in the flooded region, because they show a larger inter-annual variation. But that variation was a result of the flood, not temperature changes. This won’t affect the chronology, but it will affect the temperature reconstruction.”

    Mark, you are stuck on this point and getting it wrong, and it is because you are making too much of HS’ statement about employing interannual variability in choosing their buried samples. They do not assume that inter-annual variation was high at all times in the past, and I have no idea where you got that idea. Let’s go step by step.

    Many of their samples could not be cross-dated–about 65% of those under 100 years, some unstated % between 100 and 150 years, and 20% of those over 150 years. If you cannot cross-date your samples, pack up your bags, see what you can get for your borers, and start scanning the want ads, because you CANNOT construct a chronology. Therefore, their emphasis on longer series (which also helps cut sample prep time), and, in general, those series whose high freq variability is highest…so that you can cross-date them.

    To cross date, you do not need consistently high sensitivity (high freq variability) throughout your various series. You just need enough so that you can readily, visually identify diagnostic “pointer” years, or groups of years, in what are known as skeleton plots–plots of unique and identifiable years of high or low growth, or groups of consecutive years with a certain pattern that you can look for across your full set of ring series. In between these pointer years you may well have little or no variability for some time, depending on the climate patterns, and if that even-ness also recurs across multiple samples, it also becomes a pointer and you know you’re onto something–some type of common environmental signal across your trees in a defined time and space domain. There are also computer programs that do this same thing, but they require that you’ve got the ring measurements first, whereas skeleton plotting does not (thus potentially saving a lot of potentially needless, and tedious, ring measurements).

    The very nice thing about this, is that, as I’ve already stated, the fact that you can cross-date trees across a big space (many miles in this case) MEANS, NECESSARILY that you have a common environmental driver forcing those patterns. There are far too many rings involved for this to occur by chance. Why are you not getting this?

    So the cross-dating kills two birds with one stone–it lines up the cambial years according to their calendar year, and provides spatio-temporal information on some external driver of ring widths (or density or what have you).

    As a sort of larger, general point, I think in some respects you are making one of the same mistakes that McIntyre makes, which is to assume that all the issues involved here are strictly statistical and strictly explicit, with no allowance for the fact that there might be a whole body of subtle, discipline-specific knowledge that comes into play, but which is not always explicitly stated by people writing for their peers in a space limited publication. There’s more to it than meets the eye, as is almost always the case with anything.

  737. Mark P:

    m, I’ve finally got it! Thanks for your patience. I don’t think we’ll ever agree about whether or not “largest inter-annual variability” is a good criterion or not. But I fully understand and agree with your point “The fact that you can cross-date trees across a big space (many miles in this case)MEANS, NECESSARILY that you have a common environmental driver forcing those patterns”

    So the most important selection criterion for trees in the climate reconstruction seems to be good spatial diversity (trees from across a big space). Without a good spatial diversity, the climate reconstruction fails, because you might be looking at localised events. Got it. Thanks.

    Can you help me find that criterion mentioned in H&S (20002)? I’ve been through it again and again, particularly the chronology and climatic reconstruction sections, and I can’t find any mention of a spatial selection criterion. The start of the corridor standardisation section explicitly states “224 individual series of subfossil larches were selected. These were the longest and most sensitive series, where sensitivity is measured by the magnitude of inter-annual variability”

    As far as I can see, only two selection criteria are mentioned:- age and variability. Is there a third, much more important spatial selection criterion which is not mentioned in the paper? What is the precise nature of that criterion (kilometres, metres?)

    Given H&S’s earlier statement that” Living trees, growing along the river terraces, are undermined and often fall into the running water (Figure 2). This occurs mainly in spring and early summer, when water level and stream velocities are high” and your helpful explanation in 674 that “many of [the trees] may have been moved from their growing location by alluvial processes” what kind of spatial criterion can H&S apply? It would have to be very carefully designed to avoid spurious capture of trees which were in close proximity during life but have been spatially separated in death.

    Of course, the validity and impact of such a key selection criterion would also have to be very carefully assessed during H&S (2002)’s error analysis……..

  738. CTG:

    Re 737 Mark P

    “So the most important selection criterion for trees in the climate reconstruction seems to be good spatial diversity”

    No, that’s not what Jim said at all.

    The most important thing in constructing the chronology is that you can cross-date the overlapping cores.

    Say you have a living tree that goes back to 1800. The first 20 rings in that tree are (W is wide, N is narrow): WNWWNWNWNWWNWNWWWWWW. If you have a dead core which also contains the sequence WNWWNWNWNWWNWNWWWWWW, you can be pretty confident that the dead core overlaps the period 1800-1820.

    Now, I have only used two categories of ring-width, wide and narrow, whereas in reality the widths are all over the place – what you are looking for is the relative widths of the rings within each sequence.

    A tree which expresses high inter-annual variability will make it much easier to detect these kinds of patterns, especially as we are talking about measurements of a small number of millimetres.

    Take these two sequences of numbers, and assign them to W/N:
    11-12-11-11-12
    11-18-9-12-19

    You could say that both are N-W-N-N-W. But it is equally valid to say that the first one is N-N-N-N-N, given that all of its values are within the band you have assigned to N in the second sample. The first sample may or may not be responding the same way as the living tree you are trying to match it to, but there is no way to be sure, so it will be rejected.

    The second sample can be matched against your reference sample with much higher confidence. If it matches, then it must have been responding to temperature for at least the period where it matches the living tree, and is almost certainly a good thermometer.

    On the other hand, if you can’t cross-date the second sample to another known core, then you cannot use it, even though it has large inter-annual variance. The variance alone is not the criterion for whether or not it ends up in the chronology.

    (at least, that is my layman’s take on it – I’m an animal biologist, so I don’t really understand trees :-)

  739. Jim Bouldin:

    Mark, it’s inherent in the very objective of their paper–a multimillenial chronology of the entire southern Yamal region, as defined in their Figure 1, showing their sampling sites across the four main rivers over a ~ 10,000 sq. km area. That’s how they defined it, therefore we can be pretty sure they didn’t spend time traveling up and downstream, cutting out samples from sandbanks and peat mires while being sucked dry by mosquitoes, then transporting, surfacing, examining and measuring them, so that they could then use only those from some smaller area. Right?

  740. Mark P:

    CTG, Re 738, I absolutely agree with what you say as regards crossdating. I fully understand that and your excellent example shows how high inter-annual variability gives confidence in cross dating.

    My problem comes with the climate reconstruction part. I think the selection criteria which work well for cross dating work very poorly for climate reconstruction. You’re a biologist:- I hope you can agree that dating is about extrema and “unusual” events; widespread climate response is about averages. I hope you would also agree that avoiding selection bias is vital.

    I like the idea of a selection methodology for CLIMATE which matches old to new samples which is what you describe. That’s not what H&S do, but we’ll come on to that.

    >> “The second sample can be matched against your reference sample with much higher confidence. If it matches, then it must have been responding to temperature for at least the period where it matches the living tree,

    Your definition of “matches […] with much higher confidence” can only mean “correlates well with”. I can’t see any other relevant way to define “matches”. Extending your excellent example to the CLIMATE reconstruction:-

    In the overlap period 1800 – 1820 the living tree ring widths go 2-4-6-8-10-12-14-16-18-20-2-4-6-8-10-12-14-16-18-20 in millimetres.

    We then have two dead trees, both died in 1820. We want to select the dead tree that “best matches” the living tree “and is almost certainly a good thermometer”. During the overlap period the two trees go:

    Tree 1: 1-30-1-30-1-30-1-30-1-30-1-30-1-30-1-30-1-30-1-30 mm
    Tree 2: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 mm

    Tree 1 correlates very badly with the living tree. Tree 2 correlates perfectly with the living tree. Tree 2 “matches” a living thermometer much better and therefore probably is a good thermometer.

    But Tree 1 has higher inter-annual variability, so H&S’s selection algorithm will select Tree 1 and reject Tree 2. Tree 1 is not a good thermometer, but it’s been selected into the CLIMATE reconstruction.

    If H&S want to select older samples that match well with newer samples, they need to choose Tree 2. The only way to this is to do the correlation match and test the output against some threshold – “are these trees a good match?”. To be absolutely clear, that is not what H&S do. my position is that for the CLIMATE reconstruction their “highest inter-annual variability” criterion is inappropriate and causes a bias.

    Mark

  741. Mark P:

    738, CTG. Several people (including me) have independently come up with this idea of what H&S are doing. I think it’s a great idea, but it has its problems. I don’t think that it is what H&S are doing (see the other post I’ve just sent) but even if it is I think that there is a selection bias problem.

    As you’ve already spotted, the key words are “[the older tree is] ALMOST certainly a good thermometer” (my emphasis). You’re right, if the newer tree is a good thermometer, and the older tree “matches” it, then there is a high probability that the older tree is a good thermometer. But that “high probability” is necessarily less than unity, since there is only a finite number of years over which to compare the trees, and that overlap is less than the trees’ entire lives.

    The problem is then you daisy chain back through time, comparing the older tree with an even older tree and trying to judge whether the even older tree is a thermometer.

    Say the “high probability” that two trees match is 95% (or pick a number).

    You are 100% confident that your living tree is a thermometer.

    The 1800 AD tree matches well with the living tree, you are 95% confident that the 1800 AD is doing the same thing as the living tree, so you are 95% confident that the 1800 AD tree is a thermometer.

    The 1600 AD tree matches well with the 1800 AD tree, you are 95% confident that the 1600 AD tree is doing the same thing as the 1800 AD tree. But you are only 95% confident that the 1800 AD tree is a thermometer, so you are only 95% x 95% = 90% confident that the 1600 AD tree is a thermometer.

    Repeat for 1400 AD, 1200 AD etc etc back to 2000 BC.

    Your confidence that long dead trees are thermometers is (confidence in the match between two overlapping trees) ^ n where n is the number of trees in temporal daisy chain.

    H&S go back 4000 years, that’s of the order of 20 tree lifetimes. Even if their confidence between generations was 95%, 0.95 ^ 20 = 35%, using this example they would be only ~35% confident that the 2000 BC trees are thermometers.

    That means when they come to reconstruct temperature there is a selection bias. For example if for any period in time they have 10 core samples, In AD 1990 their sample set consists of 10 good thermometers. Their 2000 BC sample set consists of perhaps 4 good thermometers and 6 broken thermometers. When they generate the temperature for AD 1990 they average across these 10 good thermometers. When they generate the temperature for 2000 BC they average across 10 thermometers of which 6 are “broken”. Say the good thermometers all read 10 Celsius and the broken thermometers all read 0 Celsius. For AD 1990 they would get an average temp of 10 C. For 2000 BC they would get an average of 4 C. Even though the “actual” temperature was 10 C in both cases. Their 2000 BC thermometer reads very low. There is a selection bias.

    Of course the actual bias depends on the confidence between generations; the number of trees in the temporal “daisy chain”; and the exact nature of the “broken” thermometers. But I think unless the confidence between generations is very, very high the bias exists.

    You could correct for this, but it would take some pretty fancy maths and argument. H&S describe none of this kind of thing. And of course it would need to be tested in the error analysis.

    Does this make any sense to you? I have been going over and over this in my mind and can’t see a way around it.

    Thanks

  742. Mark P:

    Re 736 and inter-annual variability, Jim I apologise, I’ve thought about it some more and I think you are absolutely correct on this. PROVIDED there is a strong spatial selection criterion ensuring that samples are very well spaced across the region, then choosing samples based on highest inter-annual variation is probably not an unreasonable thing to do.

    Please ignore my comments addressing 738, I think that whole strand is a red herring.

    I see why you got so frustrated with me. I’ve posted another bunch of stuff here as well re the spatial selection criterion, that all still stands, this comment is purely addressing the temporal selection criterion. Hope you can help me with it.

    Mark

  743. dhogaza:

    Re 736 and inter-annual variability, Jim I apologise, I’ve thought about it some more and I think you are absolutely correct on this

    Oh, gosh, someone working in the field as a professional might be right, and you might be wrong.

    Who could’ve imagined this outcome?

  744. Jim Bouldin:

    Mark,

    No problem. I don’t know how it appeared, but I wasn’t that frustrated, a little yes, but I know you are trying hard to wrap your mind around it, and I appreciate it. I’ve been there myself, including at this site when I first arrived. If HS had in fact been selecting trees strictly on the basis of high freq variability, then your questions are perfectly valid. And certainly, questions about what past ring variables actually indicate about past climates are not only important, they are central to the science.

    Regarding the spatial aspect, the key thing there is the different scales at which the likely important climatic variables operate, relative to the physiology and anatomy of a tree. In many cases, temperature and rooting zone moisture (not precip per se), including sub-annual values thereof, are the dominant drivers. So when HS observe a ring pattern on a larch growing on a hummock near the river bank, and see that same pattern on others, even of other taxa, on similar hummocks, but 1, 10, 50, 100 km away, and at the same time observe a very different ring pattern on larches growing only a few meters away, but in a depression that never dries out throughout the season, they are justified in making strong inference about the drivers of these differences, both in the present and in the past. That’s the key idea.

  745. Mark P:

    Re 743. Fair enough, I’ve got no problem with that. I know nothing about dendro at all. My problem all along was to read and re-read H&S (as recommended by you) where they make no mention of a spatial criterion. In the absence of a spatial criterion, a variability criterion makes no sense at all. Sorry to waste your time and impute your reputations.

    [edit]

    Cheers now :)

    Mark

  746. Jim Bouldin:

    Not a problem dhog. We’re all here to learn–Mark more than most I’ve seen. And it’s tough to wade into the literature of an unfamiliar topic which has lots of subtleties/complexities.

  747. CTG:

    I know you have retracted your position, but I just want to point out something from your comment 740. You give the example of a living tree with ring widths: 2-4-6-8-10-12-14-16-18-20-2-4-6-8-10-12-14-16-18-20 and two dead trees that are putative matches:
    Tree 1: 1-30-1-30-1-30-1-30-1-30-1-30-1-30-1-30-1-30-1-30 mm
    Tree 2: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 mm

    You claim that the H&S selection method would pick tree 1 and not tree 2. You are completely missing the point about cross-dating.

    Tree 1 does not share that unique signature for the time period 1800-1820, therefore it would be rejected. As Jim pointed out in #736, a large proportion of the samples are rejected because they cannot be cross-dated.

    Inter-annual variability is used to select the trees that they attempt to cross-date, but it is the cross-dating that determines whether or not it gets used.

    Tree 2 does share the same pattern of ring widths as the living tree, so if it had been selected because it met the variability criteria, it would be included in the chronology.

    Including tree 1 in the chronology would be a false positive (because it may come from a completely different time), and doing so would have a deleterious effect on the chronology, so it is good that the cross-dating avoids that.

    Excluding tree 2 from the chronology is a false negative – here is a tree that you can cross-date, but you chose not to try cross-dating because of its low variability. This matters less to the analysis – it just means you have fewer data, which is a lot better than having bad data such as tree 1.

    Sorry, don’t want to labour the point. I’ll shut up now.

  748. dhogaza:

    Not a problem dhog. We’re all here to learn–Mark more than most I’ve seen.

    Yes, kudos to Mark P for making the effort, and for being willing to learn and to admit to his misunderstandings.

    And it’s tough to wade into the literature of an unfamiliar topic which has lots of subtleties/complexities.

    Naw, it’s easy, just ask McIntyre or those polymaths who wrote superfreakonomics …

    (umm, that’s sarcasm folks)

  749. Kevin McKinney:

    I’ve been haunted by that phrase “the silence of the dendros.”

    Eventually it turned into a question in my mind:

    Does McI see himself as Clarice or Hannibal?

    OK, it sounds like a cheap shot (and I suppose it came to me as a cheap shot, quite honestly.) But as I pondered it, it became a bit more serious, and maybe does offer a small insight into the psychology of denialism generally. Consider:

    Clarice: the naive, goodhearted rookie, who outperforms seasoned veteran investigators and ends an abomination decisively?

    Hannibal: the superhuman outlaw, who, despite horrific excesses, after all promulgates his own “justice,” according to his warped but nonetheless exquisitely fine-tuned perceptions–and who consistently out-manoeuvres the “professionals,” even when strait-jacketed?

    Archetypes for the romanticized “rogue scientist?”

  750. David Watt:

    I went on to the IPCC “facts” section just now. Unfortunately it appeared to be blank.

  751. Barton Paul Levenson:

    I went to the David Watt “facts” section just now. Unfortunately, I wound up chasing a rabbit who–incredibly–pulled a pocket watch out of his waistcoat and said, “Oh, my ears and whiskers, I’m going to be late!” I wound up falling down the rabbit hole, terribly concerned to find out whether cats ate bats.

  752. Hank Roberts:

    This may well be just a mistake in typing:

    http://www.ipccfacts.org/about.html <— valid real website

    "ipccfacts.com" Server not found <— not

  753. Richard:

    “It’s amazing what people can do to make the world a better place. Though, I have to say, this wouldn’t have had happened if we were more cautious about our environment (debatable as it may be), it’s still nice to know that alternative sources of fuel are being more of a trend.”

  754. Kevin McKinney:

    Perhaps a little navigation help would have helped Mr. Watts (David, not Anthony.) (The “about” page is a little light on links; I suppose the assumption was that it wouldn’t be a “front door.”)

    Try this page:

    http://www.ipccfacts.org/facts.html

    Or this:

    http://www.ipccfacts.org/

  755. Richard:

    Sometimes, people really conduct studies against global warming to forward self-interest. that’s just sad.

  756. Joe Horvath:

    I see that Briffa has written a rather extensive debunking of McIntyre’s claims:

    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/people/briffa/yamal2009/

    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/people/briffa/yamal2009/cautious/cautious.htm

    Not that I imagine for a second that this will satisfy the folks over at CA.

  757. PeterPan:

    Keith Briffa and Tom Melvin have posted a detailed examination of the Yamal chronology:

    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/people/briffa/yamal2009/

    *Maybe it would deserve an inline update on this blog post.

  758. Deech56:

    There is another link in the article worth following:

    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/people/briffa/yamal2009/sensit.htm

  759. Deep Climate:

    #756, #758

    Thanks to Deech56 for pointing out Briffa’s response on my blog as well.

    I was working on a post enumerating various problems in McIntyre’s Yamal analysis and that post now incorporates the highlights of Briffa’s analysis (including the sensitivity analysis mentioned by Deech56).

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/10/30/briffa-teaches-but-will-mcintyre-ever-learn/