Another well-deserved honor: Oeschger medal awarded to Michael Mann

Finally, we would be remiss to not mention that Mike has spent much of the past few months touring and lecturing on his experiences as an accidental and reluctant public figure in the debate over human-caused climate change, as detailed in his recent book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines.

P.S. For those at EGU, you should also check out glaciologist Ian Joughin’s award lecture (Wednesday evening) for the Agassiz medal, for his important work in documenting and understanding the acceleration of Antarctica and Greenland’s glaciers.

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97 comments on this post.
  1. Steve Fish:

    This is really great!

  2. Chris Colose:

    Congrats Mike!

    Well deserved.

  3. Jan Galkowski:

    AWESOME, Professor Mann! Congratulations!!

  4. owl905:

    And my congrats make tree.

  5. mike:

    Thanks so much Steve, Chris, Jan, and Owl. Really appreciate the support :)

  6. CM:

    +1!

    PS. The first link (“Oeschger medal”) dead-ended. Here:
    http://www.egu.eu/awards-medals/award/hans-oeschger/2012/michael-mann.html

    [thanks, fixed. -editor]

  7. Kevin McKinney:

    Indeed, congratulations!

    P.S. The Agassiz medal link needs a look, too… or perhaps it’s a browser issue. But it didn’t load for me.

  8. Marcus:

    If I had known this a little earlier, I would have shown up to congratulate personally… so on the virtual way: heartly congratulations!

    Marcus

  9. BillS:

    I believe the correct link for the Agassiz Medal is:

    http://www.egu.eu/awards-medals/award/louis-agassiz/2012/ian-joughin.html

  10. Kate:

    Congrats! Well deserved!

  11. MMM:

    Congratulations! Well-deserved!

    One question: on “Most will be aware, for example, that the conclusion that the past few decades are likely the warmest of the past millennium — i.e. the conclusion of the best-known of Mike’s papers in Nature and Geophysical Research Letters –has never been seriously challenged.” I was under the impression that the NRC assessment had slightly downgraded this conclusion, from “likely” to “plausible”. Now, unlike certain skeptics, I realize that even “plausible” is a fairly strong statement (eg, if I said it was plausible that my current hand of cards* was the highest hand of cards that had been observed at my table in the last 1000 games, that would be a fairly strong statement), but I thought it was somewhat lower than “likely”, maybe due to somewhat increased uncertainty bounds?

    (in general, whether for future projections or historical reconstructions or estimates of climate sensitivity, I tend to be sympathetic to arguments of more rather than less uncertainty because I feel like in general, models and statistical approaches are not exhaustive and it is “plausible” that additional factors could lead to either higher or lower estimates than seen with a single approach. I guess the counter-argument to this would be that there are often multiple studies examining the same phenomena, and given Bayesian updating, one could argue that as long as all the estimates are overlapping, the uncertainty could actually be less than any one individual study – see Annan et al, for example)

    *I’d used a specific type of card game, but the spam filter got me…

    [Response:I wrote that sentence, and I stand by it. For one thing, "downgrading" confidence levels somewhat is hardly the same thing as showing a result is wrong (i.e. that the opposite result is true). For another, much as I respect the National Academy, and the various members of the panel that did that assessment, it was in the end their informed opinion being expressed, and there are actually quite a few factual errors in that report (indeed, Steve McIntyre and I had a rare moment of agreement on this, regarding what they said about ice core records in Antarctica). It was not a serious challenge to Mike's work, which would entail someone publishing something in the literature, with a complete analysis. --eric]

  12. Chris Reynolds:

    Congratulations Dr Mann.

    Don’t ever think the shoddy way you’ve been treated by bullying denialists hasn’t been noticed. Their dishonourable, unworthy, and reprehensible attacks on you speak volumes for their failings, and contrasts starkly with your continued dedication and quality of work.

  13. SteveP:

    Congratulations Mike! Your work is so important. It is good to see it getting appropriate recognition.

  14. Martin Vermeer:

    Yes, congrats for this well deserved recognition!

    BTW where it reads

    … showing that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 during the glacial period was 50% lower than the pre-industrial concentration, a result predicted by Arrhenius nearly a century earlier.

    Is this really correct? 180/280 is quite a bit less than 50%. And IIRC Arrhenius theorized (and stated that this was the motivation for his CO2 studies) that the ice age cycle was caused in full by variations in atmospheric CO2; an idea that has not stood the test of time. But with the too-large value for doubling sensitivity that he obtained, 5.6K, this idea looked even plausible!

  15. Jim:

    Congratulations to Mike, a hero of our cause and our generation. The Oeschger award is particularly apt. Among his many key contributions, Mike showed that in the last 2,000 years, global temperatures have never risen as far or as fast. Carbon isotopes, which Oeschger pioneered, show beyond reasonable doubt that fossil fuel combustion is the source of the CO2 added to the atmosphere.

  16. Tim Kozusko:

    Congratulations Mike!

  17. Dikran Marsupial:

    Congratulations, well deserved, keep up the good work!

  18. mike:

    thanks so much Marcus, Kate, MMM, Chris, Steve, Martin, Tim, Jim, Dikran. The kind words and support really mean a lot.

    Jim: thanks so much for writing about the attacks against climate scientists so cogently and eloquently in “The Inquisition of Climate Science”.

  19. Robert Damon:

    Hi Mike,

    Congratulations on this award — well deserved.
    Oh, and I just finished reading your book — it was a good read. Almost unbelievable what you were put through, but I hope you and your colleagues keep it up.

  20. Edward Greisch:

    Congratulations Dr. Mann! How do you pronounce “Oeschger?”

  21. David Graves:

    It’s only a matter of time before the howls of outrage from WUWT/ClimateAudit.org corner.

  22. mike:

    thanks Robert(on both counts!), Edward, and Dave. Off to bed now…

  23. tamino:

    Congratulations again. The award is well-deserved for many reasons, including but not limited to pioneering work on paleoclimate, a very productive scientific output, and for aplomb in spite of being a “lightning rod” for personal attacks from anti-science forces.

    Maybe we should start the “Mann number” — Erdős number (“six degrees of Kevin Bacon”) but with co-author distance from Mike Mann.

  24. ScaredAmoeba:

    Congratulations.

  25. William P:

    Its good to see the truly deserving recognized.

  26. Phil Clarke:

    A great day. Congratulations and thanks to Professor Mann for his exemplarary achievements and career, all the more so for being attained under extraordinary duress.

    And I add my recommendations for the book. A must-read for anyone interested in the political as well as scientific debate.

  27. Juerg Luterbacher:

    I will be one of the convener of this session and I am looking very much forward to Mikes talk!
    Juerg

  28. S. Molnar:

    Well, yes, good for Michael Mann, but I expect RC to “provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary”, which it failed to do in this case: there is no information on what instrument(s) Oeschger played.

  29. barry:

    Congratulations. Well deserved!

  30. Hank Roberts:

    > no information

    Typical of the best teachers — leave something for the students to puzzle about and find out for themselves.

    RC provides the best teaching I’ve had access to in many decades. I hope the time spent on RC — directly, and by attracting and putting forward other scientists to the foreground — is included with everything else Michael Mann does that’s being acknowledged by the award. Thank you.

  31. adelady:

    Congratulations. Well deserved. (And not just because it happens to be an issue close to my heart and important for everyone else whether they know it or not.)

    It’s been earned by outstanding intellectual endeavour and exemplary scientific conduct. Backing it up with resolute integrity and a big dose of personal courage may not be relevant to the award, but it certainly adds to the regard and admiration of all of us.

  32. Steve Bloom:

    Congratulations, Mike!

  33. Susan Anderson:

    Fabulous and well deserved.

  34. David Horton:

    Yes Bravo Michael – and not just for the award!

  35. michael sweet:

    Well deserved recognition for an extraordinary scientist!

  36. tamino:

    I think John F. Kennedy once said that if a politician has no enemies, he’s not doing his job.

    It occurs to me that one of the reasons Mike Mann has been attacked so often and so viciously, is that he’s doing his job so well.

  37. climatehawk1:

    That’s excellent news. Thanks for the background and, of course, congratulations to Dr. Mann on this recognition of his extensive and valuable work.

  38. Jim Larsen:

    Tamino, here’s a short 2006 post where John Fleck attributes Gavin to linking coauthors to show McIntyre’s Mann number is at least as low as 4.

    http://www.inkstain.net/fleck/2006/02/erdos-lambert-and-fleck/

    and http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2006/02/whats_your_mann_number.php

    and http://www.inkstain.net/fleck/2006/02/eight-degrees-of-separation/

    And congratulations, Dr Mann. Well done.

  39. David B. Benson:

    Well done.

  40. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    Congratulation, Mike. I bought your book.

    I’ve been slogging it out with denialists elsewhere, and your work and the RC site have given me a firm foundation for refuting those guys. Some of them are so evil and mean. But then I guess the good guys would be accepting what the climate scientists have to say, and out doing their best to mitigate AGW, so that leaves only the bad guys in the denialist camps.

  41. Timothy Chase:

    Congratulations! On the award and on your recent book. I was quite impressed with the latter, with how you went into depth on a variety of subjects, the science, math, history, motives, strategies, but kept the work as a whole accessible.

  42. Jaime Frontero:

    Congratulations, Professor Mann.

    Some days it’s just worth turning on your computer…

    And I note, David Graves (@21); that perhaps we should start up a climate award equivalent to the motion picture Razzies. Then perhaps the esteemed Mr. UpWithThat wouldn’t feel so… left out in the cold?

  43. wayne davidson:

    Every Mann needs balance from injustice!

    Such Awards are the best way to express how wrong Mike’s detractors are.

  44. Martin Vermeer:

    Tamino #23, great minds think alike, as was mentioned in the book BTW (on page 165, endnote 11:26).

    …and an Erdős number of four isn’t half bad!

  45. Fred J:

    Was just watching Richard Feynman “The pleasure of finding things out” -
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7136440703094429927

    Would be interested what people here thought about his opinion on awards?

  46. Charles:

    Hearty congratulations, Mike! Aside from the tremendous contributions you have made to the scholarship on climate, you stand as an inspiration for those of us who are new scholars. In the face of some of the most horrendous attacks on your work and character, you have stood firm and yet open to genuine inquiry. You have been stellar example of grace under fire.

  47. mike:

    Thanks so much folks. I really appreciate all of the kind words and support. It really is this sort of support that has helped me through the toughest times (something I actually discussed in the book). Really does mean a lot. So thanks again :)

  48. bill:

    Congratulations indeed – and I’d also like to endorse your book, which I, like many here, thoroughly enjoyed.

  49. Hugh Laue:

    Wonderful and heart warming news. Well deserved Mike.
    Adelady at #31 reflects my feelings “not just because it happens to be an issue close to my heart and important for everyone else whether they know it or not.
    ….. outstanding intellectual endeavour and exemplary scientific conduct. ……. resolute integrity and a big dose of personal courage ….”.
    For me the uncompromising scientific integrity of Mike, indeed the whole RC team, sets a high standard for anyone who wishes to be considered a genuine scientist.

  50. Pete Best:

    its no suprise but still a nice one – congrats to Mike.

  51. Sou:

    Congratulations, Professor Mann on this and all your achievements. Well done.

    Kudos to the whole team at realclimate.org.

  52. mike:

    Thanks so much Bill, Hugh, and Pete. Was wonderful to be able to sign copies of my book for students & professional colleagues after my medal lecture. Part of what gives me optimism is the energy & passion among today’s younger scientists for not only doing good hard science, but communicating the science and its implications to the broader public. This come across loud and clear w/ the young scientists I encounter at public lectures and at meetings like EGU and AGU.

  53. mike:

    Thanks Sou (#51). I do believe that many of the awards that we receive as individuals implicitly reflect the larger group efforts like those here at RealClimate.

  54. Ron Broberg:

    Congratulations!

    Since reading the early bio in your latest book, I feel in some *slight* way that you are my ‘path not taken.’ I wish you a long and productive career, if only for vicarous selfishness! ;)

    Your continued spirit of engagement is noted and admired.

    I hope the talk is made public in some way?

  55. mike:

    Thanks so much Ron, really appreciate that anecdote :)
    Not sure if video link for talk will be available (will check into that), but I do plan to upload the ppt lecture to my “Talks” page:
    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~mann/Mann/lectures/index.php

  56. caerbannog:

    Dr. Mann,

    Don’t forget to start your acceptance speech with “Muahahahahah!”

  57. Hank Roberts:

    > Feynman on awards

    Well, that’s tangential.

    What stood out for me is that he misses something important early on in that video.

    So you know that a “brown-throated thrush” is a bird’s name in English.
    And Portugese, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and other languages each have a name for that same bird, he says

    Feynmann quotes his father as saying: “you only know about humans in different places and what they call the bird.” That’s not “nothing.”

    If what you think you know about the species and the names is correct — check each assertion — you know something about the geographic range and habitat of that bird species over time.

    What we call the bird, here, now, is ‘weather’ — birdwatching.
    What everyone has called the bird, over time, is ‘climate’– phenology.

    (Be wary; on climate blogs, reference to an Arctic robin is usually a red herring.)

    Pardon the digression ….

  58. Ron Taylor:

    Heartfelt congratulations, Dr. Mann. You are a hero of mine in this climate science war, one of the most critical issues humanity and science have ever faced. It has been painful to see you subject to disgraceful abuse from people who should know better. What a pleasure to see you receive this well-deserved honor!

  59. Brian Chow:

    Congratulations, Dr. Mann!

  60. WheelsOC:

    Some well-earned recognition!

  61. ghost:

    Congratulations, Dr. Mann. Many more to come, I shouldn’t wonder.

  62. John Pollack:

    Congratulations, Dr. Mann, and thank you!

    Your deft treatment of climate proxies with appropriate techniques grounded in physical reality (e.g. missing rings in tree series) is a real service to the climate community.

    Your stand against the attacks of the denialists is a service to humanity, and the other inhabitants of this planet, as well.

    I’m also enjoying your latest book. I think it has more footnotes than anything else in my library. It’s the only book I’ve used two bookmarks to read, and only the second popular work, after The Mismeasure of Man, to tackle PCA!

  63. caroza:

    Congratulations on a thoroughly deserved award.

  64. mike:

    thanks Caerbannog, Ron T, Brian, Wheels, Ghost, John, and Caroza. Really appreciate the kind words. John: particularly pleased you appreciated the Stephen Jay Gould tie-in. Both his and Carl Sagan’s writings provided inspiration. Caerbannog: sorry, I forgot ;)

  65. Deech56:

    More congratulations (again – did so already on FB, but what the heck). I would encourage anyone who read The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines to contribute a review to Amazon or B&N and/or “like” the positive ones. There was an onslaught of negative reviews and comments on Amazon after a certain “science” blog encouraged participation.

  66. mike:

    thanks Deech, really appreciate it :)

  67. Daniel J. Andrews:

    Hearty congratulations! I enjoyed your book, by the way, and am rereading it again. As well, I spent some time on Amazon and read the longer reviews and “liked” them.

  68. mike:

    Thanks so much Daniel, really appreciate the comments (and help!) :)

  69. Pete Helseth:

    Congratulations! I hope this kind of thing helps make up for the other side of the coin that burdens those of you in this critical line of work.

  70. Arjan:

    A very inspiring talk it was, and one of the best at EGU. Keep up the good work! Congrats!!!

  71. mike:

    thanks Pete, it does indeed. And thanks very much Arjan, really glad you were able to attend the talk, and I very much appreciate the kind words.

  72. Anteros:

    Splendiferous!

  73. Nat J:

    Congratulations! A well deserved honor, particularly with all you endured to achieve it.

  74. Brian Dodge:

    “Mr. Cuccinelli,

    As you may have heard, Dr. Michael Mann has been awarded the Oeschger medal from the European Geosciences Union, “for his significant contributions to understanding decadal-centennial scale climate change over the last two millennia and for pioneering techniques to synthesize patterns and northern hemispheric time series of past climate using proxy data reconstructions.”

    Would you care to comment?

    cc http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=9882

    Sincerely
    Brian Dodge”

    I’ll let y’all know if I get anything more than a boilerplate “Thank you for contacting the AG’s office…” Or not.
    Maybe he’ll post here – Although I doubt that anyone who reads realclimate knows anyone who knows anyone who knows anyone who knows anyone who knows Cuccinelli.

    FWIW – http://www.cuccinelli.com/announcement
    “March 22, 2012
    Dear Fellow Virginians,
    I wanted to let you know that today I formally announced my candidacy to be the next Governor of Virginia.”

    I wonder if the Virginia voters will reject science in favor of right wing ideology, to “…to promote the principles of smaller, more efficient,[less reality based] state government…?”

    [Response:I appreciate the humor here but I'm not sure it's actually very helpful or indeed relevant. Mike was being celebrated for his science. Full stop. For my part, I'd like to see the politics left out of it for once.--eric]

  75. Douglas Watts:

    Mike’s work is daunting but also very useful for us trying to figure out how fish got into New England after the last Ice Age. It shows a path forward.

  76. Hans Jensen:

    Wonderful news! Congratulations indeed, Dr. Mann.

  77. dbostrom:

    After you’ve offered your congratulations, create your own award in the form of a brief visit to the Climate Science Defense Fund. There you can contribute to the continuing effort to help Dr. Mann and others continue to be productive scientists as opposed to bogged-down, distracted victims of frivolous litigation.

    Despite accolades from those knowing better Dr. Mann is still in the crosshairs of others nursing a grudge against his findings.

  78. Tokodave:

    Congratulations! As others have noted notable not only for your work but what you’ve endured! Thanx and keep up the good work!

  79. MarkB:

    Congratulations, Dr. Mann. Maintaining the high road in the face of some fierce politically-motivated attacks I imagine is difficult to do, but you are to be commended for it. Your book is nearing the front of my reading queue. Looking forward to it.

  80. bibasir:

    Congratulations. I think this write up should be sent to Cuccinelli and Inhofe or perhaps a friendly congressman could read it at a hearing and put in the Congressional Record.

    I just finished reading Dr Mann’s book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars and I think I will use it as the main book I recommend to people who are uncertain as to whether and why there is Global Warming.

  81. mike:

    thanks Anteros, Nat, and the others. Really appreciate all of the kind words. Bibasir–really appreciate your positive comments about the book :)

  82. Philip Machanick:

    It’s fantastic to see this kind of recognition. On scientists communicating: we should not beat ourselves up so. It’s journalists who have failed big time. The denial cause is so obviously from the same playbook as the other big science denial causes of the last 50 years that it’s almost unbelievable that anyone, let alone a large number of otherwise skeptical journalists, would fall for it. It doesn’t take the ability to read an academic paper or science text to see that. Hence the need for efforts like RealClimate. Keep doing what you’re doing. They wouldn’t fight back so hard if it wasn’t working.

  83. Peter Adamski:

    Congratulations Dr. Mann. Another well deserved award.

  84. sydb:

    Congratulations, Mike. There are still many, many people round the world who honour and respect truth and those with the courage to tell it, despite the howls of the ignorant and the self-serving. “The truth will out,” as the old saying goes. Your fight is the fight of us all, and for those still unborn. Keep up the good work.

  85. mike:

    thanks Philip, Peter, Sydb: really appreciate the support. Sydb: I like to believe that expression.

  86. Kevin McKinney:

    “They wouldn’t fight back so hard if it wasn’t working.”

    ““The truth will out,” as the old saying goes.”

    I do think so… but may it be sooner, rather than later.

  87. WhiteBeard:

    #21, David Graves, 23 Apr 2012, 3:23 PM

    “It’s only a matter of time before the howls of outrage from WUWT/ClimateAudit.org corner.”

    It seems that half a towel was tossed from the SevieMc side of that tag team combo.

    http://climateaudit.org/

    At the end.

    captcha: lacksr this

  88. John Mason:

    Mike, very many congrats for this, and here’s to many more interesting years of discovery and contribution towards our understanding of what makes the planet tick!

    Best wishes – John

  89. John Mason:

    Mike, many congratulations for this and here’s to many more years of discovery and contribution to our understanding of what makes the planet tick!

    Best wishes – John

  90. Alexandre Costa:

    Very glad to see one of the biggest rooms at the EGU Assembly absoluteley full. Also very happy about the standing ovation that Mike received compared only to the ones we see in classical music concerts. Take this, delianist machine! Once again, congratulations, Mike!

  91. mike:

    thanks so much John, really appreciate these kind words :)

  92. Ryan Otte:

    Congratulations Dr. Mann! We all hope for more success in your future scientific endeavors.

  93. mark:

    Congratulations Mike

  94. mike:

    thanks Ryan! Thanks Mark!

  95. Bob Loblaw:

    Arriving at the party a little late, but one more “congratulations, Mike!”.

    I’m also willing to put my money where my mouth is. I bought your “Hockey Stick…” book last weekend. Picked it up at the local bookstore instead of on-line: wanted to encourage them to bring books like that in.

  96. tckev:

    I hope you have a very, very long life so that you will see some of the proof of your work.

  97. Jay McIntosh:

    I finished reading ‘Hockey Stick…’ a couple of weeks ago. I learned about it after hearing you on CBC radio. Thanks for all your hard work and your courage to educate the public. I’ve been debating AGW with my brother lately who is a Geophysicist. He’s in the oil industry so he’s in the denial camp. You have helped me very much with this debate. Thanks again Mike and congratulations on the Oeschger metal.