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Hey Ya! (mal)

Filed under: — group @ 30 September 2009

Interesting news this weekend. 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?

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.

Al Gore apparently confusing a CO2 curve for a tree

Who should we believe? Al Gore with his “facts” and “peer reviewed science” or the practioners of “Blog Science“? Surely, the choice is clear….

Yamal sub-fossil larch trees in river sedimentMore seriously, many of you will have noticed yet more blogarrhea about tree rings this week. The target de jour is a particular compilation of trees (called a chronology in dendro-climatology) that was first put together by two Russians, Hantemirov and Shiyatov, in the late 1990s (and published in 2002). This multi-millennial chronology from Yamal (in northwestern Siberia) was painstakingly collected from hundreds of sub-fossil trees buried in sediment in the river deltas. They used a subset of the 224 trees they found to be long enough and sensitive enough (based on the interannual variability) supplemented by 17 living tree cores to create a “Yamal” climate record.

A preliminary set of this data had also been used by Keith Briffa in 2000 (pdf) (processed using a different algorithm than used by H&S for consistency with two other northern high latitude series), to create another “Yamal” record that was designed to improve the representation of long-term climate variability.

Since long climate records with annual resolution are few and far between, it is unsurprising that they get used in climate reconstructions. Different reconstructions have used different methods and have made different selections of source data depending on what was being attempted. The best studies tend to test the robustness of their conclusions by dropping various subsets of data or by excluding whole classes of data (such as tree-rings) in order to see what difference they make so you won’t generally find that too much rides on any one proxy record (despite what you might read elsewhere).


So along comes Steve McIntyre, self-styled slayer of hockey sticks, 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. These allegations have been made without any evidence whatsoever.

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. People have written theses about how to construct tree ring chronologies in order to avoid end-member effects and preserve as much of the climate signal as possible. 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.

The statement from Keith Briffa clearly describes the background to these studies and categorically refutes McIntyre’s accusations. Does that mean that the existing Yamal chronology is sacrosanct? Not at all – all of the these proxy records are subject to revision with the addition of new (relevant) data and whether the records change significantly as a function of that isn’t going to be clear until it’s done.

What is clear however, is that there is a very predictable pattern to the reaction to these blog posts that has been discussed many times. As we said last time there was such a kerfuffle:

However, there is clearly a latent and deeply felt wish in some sectors for the whole problem of global warming to be reduced to a statistical quirk or a mistake. This led to some truly death-defying leaping to conclusions when this issue hit the blogosphere.

Plus ça change…

The timeline for these mini-blogstorms is always similar. An unverified accusation of malfeasance is made based on nothing, and it is instantly ‘telegraphed’ across the denial-o-sphere while being embellished along the way to apply to anything ‘hockey-stick’ shaped and any and all scientists, even those not even tangentially related. The usual suspects become hysterical with glee that finally the ‘hoax’ has been revealed and congratulations are handed out all round. After a while it is clear that no scientific edifice has collapsed and the search goes on for the ‘real’ problem which is no doubt just waiting to be found. Every so often the story pops up again because some columnist or blogger doesn’t want to, or care to, do their homework. Net effect on lay people? Confusion. Net effect on science? Zip.

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. No doubt he has written to the National Review and the Telegraph and Anthony Watts to clarify their mistakes and we’re confident that the corrections will appear any day now…. Oh yes.

But can it be true that all Hockey Sticks are made in Siberia? A RealClimate exclusive investigation follows:

We start with the original MBH hockey stick as replicated by Wahl and Ammann:

Hmmm… neither of the Yamal chronologies anywhere in there. And what about the hockey stick that Oerlemans derived from glacier retreat since 1600?

Nope, no Yamal record in there either. How about Osborn and Briffa’s results which were robust even when you removed any three of the records?

Osborn and Briffa (2006) Supplemental Material

Or there. The hockey stick from borehole temperature reconstructions perhaps?

No. How about the hockey stick of CO2 concentrations from ice cores and direct measurements?

Err… not even close. What about the the impact on the Kaufman et al 2009 Arctic reconstruction when you take out Yamal?

Oh. The hockey stick you get when you don’t use tree-rings at all (blue curve)?


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)….


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.

759 Responses to “Hey Ya! (mal)”

  1. 151
    David Harrington says:

    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.

  2. 152

    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.

  3. 153

    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.

  4. 154
    Brian Dodge says:

    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.

  5. 155
    John N-G says:

    #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)

  6. 156
  7. 157

    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.

  8. 158
    Bernard J. says:

    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”.

  9. 159
    Oakden Wolf says:

    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.

  10. 160
    Alan of Oz says:

    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.

  11. 161

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

  12. 162
    Tom P says:


    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.

  13. 163
    WDS says:

    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]

  14. 164
    Bikeit says:

    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’.

  15. 165
    jyyh says:

    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.

  16. 166
    Marco says:

    #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.

  17. 167
    pete best says:

    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!

  18. 168
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    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]

  19. 169
    Paul says:

    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.

  20. 170

    This whole episode reminds me of how PZ Myers once characterized McIntyre
    ( 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, (…)

  21. 171
    AndyL says:

    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?


  22. 172
    Paul says:

    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!

  23. 173
    Tony Hirst says:

    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]

  24. 174
    Alan of Oz says:

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

  25. 175
    Mark says:

    “> 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.

  26. 176

    #107 spilgard


    #126 Jeff

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

  27. 177
    Mark says:

    “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?

  28. 178
    Mark says:

    “Why not make all the data and algorithms open?

    Put up or shut up, I say.


    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.

  29. 179
    Mark says:

    “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!

  30. 180
    Mark says:

    “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.

  31. 181
    Mark says:

    “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””


    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…

  32. 182


    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.


    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?

  33. 183
    SamG says:

    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.

  34. 184

    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


    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.

  35. 185
    Patrik says:

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

  36. 186
  37. 187
    Chris W says:

    Man, that George Will tripe certainly has a few kilometres on the clock. Here it is in Australia’s *cough* premier newspaper too …,25197,26151633-21147,00.html

  38. 188
    Patrik says:

    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.

  39. 189
    James Allan says:

    #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.

  40. 190
    Steve says:

    Or let’s go back to 1997

    or HadCRUt

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

  41. 191

    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.


    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?

  42. 192

    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.


    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.

  43. 193


    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:

    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.

  44. 194
    Ricki (Australia) says:

    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-.

  45. 195
    David Harrington says:

    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?

  46. 196
    David Harrington says:

    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.

  47. 197

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

    The house wins in the end.

  48. 198

    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).

  49. 199
    Patrik says:

    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.

  50. 200
    Tony Hirst says:

    [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]


    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]