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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)?

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.


759 Responses to “Hey Ya! (mal)”

  1. 251
    Ray Ladbury says:

    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?

  2. 252
    dhogaza says:

    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.

  3. 253
    Hank Roberts says:

    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.

  4. 254
    stevenc says:

    “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.

  5. 255
    Hank Roberts says:

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

  6. 256
    luminous beauty says:

    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.

  7. 257

    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.

  8. 258
    Jim Eager says:

    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.

  9. 259
    dhogaza says:

    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.”

  10. 260
  11. 261
    MarkB says:

    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?

  12. 262
    FredB says:

    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?

  13. 263
    Ray Ladbury says:

    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.

  14. 264
    Jim Bouldin says:

    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.

  15. 265
    spilgard says:

    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]

  16. 266
    Tim McDermott says:

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

    How difficult is that to understand?

  17. 267
    Jim Eager says:

    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.

  18. 268
    Hank Roberts says:

    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/

  19. 269
    CM says:

    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?

  20. 270
    dhogaza says:

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

    Ten years.

    RSS goes up

  21. 271
    Hank Roberts says:

    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)

  22. 272
  23. 273
    Shelama says:

    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.

  24. 274
    NickH says:

    > 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.

  25. 275
    Ben Lawson says:

    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/
    ————————

  26. 276
    Chris says:

    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).

  27. 277
    Phil. Felton says:

    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).

  28. 278
    Phil. Felton says:

    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!

  29. 279
    MarkB says:

    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.

  30. 280
    MarkB says:

    “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.

  31. 281
    luminous beauty says:

    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

  32. 282
    Arthur Smith says:

    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.

  33. 283
    sidd says:

    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 ?

  34. 284
    CM says:

    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.)

  35. 285
    Mr Henderson says:

    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.

  36. 286
    Don Keiller says:

    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]

  37. 287
    Deep Climate says:

    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.

  38. 288
    pjclarke says:

    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.

  39. 289
    Doug Bostrom says:

    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.

  40. 290

    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.

  41. 291
    dhogaza says:

    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.

  42. 292
    David B. Benson says:

    What a teapot tempest!

  43. 293
    Eli Rabett says:

    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.

  44. 294
    dhogaza says:

    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.

  45. 295
    SteveF says:

    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.

  46. 296
    Martin says:

    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

  47. 297
    David B. Benson says:

    Martin (297) — Oeh vey! :-)

  48. 298
    Peter Williams says:

    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.

  49. 299
    Ramon says:

    We are now at the end of 2009, I would like someone to point me out to a graph that goes beyond 2000.

  50. 300
    don says:

    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?


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