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Yamalian yawns

Filed under: — gavin @ 11 May 2012

Steve McIntyre is free to do any analysis he wants on any data he can find. But when he ladles his work with unjustified and false accusations of misconduct and deception, he demeans both himself and his contributions. The idea that scientists should be bullied into doing analyses McIntyre wants and delivering the results to him prior to publication out of fear of very public attacks on their integrity is ludicrous.

By rights we should be outraged and appalled that (yet again) unfounded claims of scientific misconduct and dishonesty are buzzing around the blogosphere, once again initiated by Steve McIntyre, and unfailingly and uncritically promoted by the usual supporters. However this has become such a common occurrence that we are no longer shocked nor surprised that misinformation based on nothing but prior assumptions gains an easy toehold on the contrarian blogs (especially at times when they are keen to ‘move on’ from more discomforting events).

So instead of outrage, we’ll settle for simply making a few observations that undermine the narrative that McIntyre and company are trying to put out.

First of all, it should be made clear that McIntyre’s FOI EIR requests on the subject of Yamal are not for raw data, nor for the code or analysis methodology behind a published result, but for an analysis of publicly available data that has not been completed and has not yet been published. To be clear, these requests are for unpublished work.

Second, the unpublished work in question is a reconstruction of regional temperatures from the region of Yamal in Siberia. Regional reconstructions are generally more worthwhile than reconstructions from a single site because, if there is shared variance, the regional result is likely to be more robust and be more representative – and that makes it more valuable for continental and hemispheric comparisons. The key issues are whether all the trees (or some subset of them) share a common signal (are they mostly temperature sensitive? are some localities anomalous? etc.). It isn’t as simple as just averaging all the trees in a grid box or two. The history of such efforts follows a mostly standard path – local chronologies are put together, different ‘standardisation’ techniques are applied, more data is collected, wider collations are put together, and then regional reconstructions start to appear. Places that are remote (like Yamal) have the advantage of a lack of local human interference, and plenty of fossil material, but they are tricky to get to and data collection can be slow (not least because of the political situation in recent decades).

UK FOI (and EIR) legislation (quite sensibly) specifically exempts unpublished work from release provided the results are being prepared for publication (or are incomplete). So McIntyre’s appeals have tried to insinuate that no such publication is in progress (which is false) or that the public interest in knowing about a regional tree ring reconstruction from an obscure part of Siberia trumps the obvious interest that academics have in being able to work on projects exclusively prior to publication. This is a hard sell, unless of course one greatly exaggerates the importance of a single proxy record – but who would do that? (Oh yes: YAD06 – the most important tree in the world, The global warming industry is based on one MASSIVE lie etc.). Note that premature public access to unpublished work is something that many people (including Anthony Watts) feel quite strongly about.

Worse, McIntyre has claimed in his appeal that the length of time since the Briffa et al (2008) paper implies that the regional Yamal reconstruction has been suppressed for nefarious motives. But I find it a little rich that the instigator of a multitude of FOI requests, appeals, inquiries, appeals about inquires, FOIs about appeals, inquiries into FOI appeals etc. is now using the CRU’s lack of productivity as a reason to support more FOI releases. This is actually quite funny.

Furthermore, McIntyre is using the fact that Briffa and colleagues responded online to his last deceptive claims about Yamal, to claim that all Yamal-related info must now be placed in the public domain (including, as mentioned above, unpublished reconstructions being prepared for a paper). How this will encourage scientists to be open to real-time discussions with critics is a little puzzling. Mention some partial analysis online, and be hit immediately with a FOI for the rest…?

The history of this oddity (and it is odd) dates back to McIntyre’s early obsession with a reconstruction called the “Polar Urals” Briffa et al. (1995). This was a very early attempt at a local multi-proxy reconstruction, using a regression of both tree-ring widths and densities. McIntyre has previously objected to observations that 1032 was a particularly cold year in this reconstruction (though it was), that the dating of the trees was suspect (though it wasn’t), and that no-one revisited this reconstruction when reprocessed chronologies became available. [Little-known fact: McIntyre and McKitrick submitted a comment to Nature complaining about the dating issues in 1995 paper around Dec 2005/Jan 2006, which was rejected upon receipt of Briffa’s response (which was an attachment in the second tranche of CRU emails). Neither this submission, the rejection (for good cause), nor the Polar Urals dating issue have been mentioned on Climate Audit subsequently.]

Around this point, McIntyre got the erroneous idea that studies were being done, but were being suppressed if they showed something ‘inconvenient’. This is of course a classic conspiracy theory and one that can’t be easily disproved. Accusation: you did something and then hid it. Response: No I didn’t, take a look. Accusation: You just hid it somewhere else. Etc. However, this is Keith Briffa we are talking about: the lead author of Briffa et al, (1998)(pdf) describing the “inconvenient” divergence problem in some tree ring density records, a subject that has been described and taken up by multiple authors – Jacoby, D’Arrigo, Esper, Wilson etc. Why McIntyre thought (thinks?) that one single reconstruction was so special that people would go to any lengths to protect it, while at the same time the same people were openly discussing problems in reconstructions across the whole northern hemisphere, remains mysterious.

Similarly, McIntyre recently accused Eric Steig of suppressing ‘inconvenient’ results from an ice core record from Siple Dome (Antarctica). Examination of the record in question actually demonstrates that it has exceptionally high values in the late 20th Century (reflecting the highest temperatures in at least the last 700 years, Mayewski et al.), exactly counter to McIntyre’s theory. McIntyre made these accusations public “a couple of days” – his words – after requesting the data, since apparently university professors have nothing more pressing to do than than respond instantly to McIntyre’s requests. In short, you have to give McIntyre what he wants within 48 hours or he will publicly attack your integrity. Unsurprisingly, no apology for that unjustified smear has been forthcoming.

So on to Yamal. The original data for the Yamal series came from two Russian researchers (Rashit Hantemirov and Stepan Shiyatov), and was given to CRU for collation with other tree-ring reconstructions (Briffa, 2000). As a small part of that paper, Briffa reprocessed the raw Yamal data with the regional curve standardisation (RCS) technique. The Russians published their version of the chronology with a different standardization a little later (Hantemirov and Shiyatov, 2002). McIntyre is accusing Briffa of ‘deception’ in stating that he did not ‘consider’ doing a larger more regional reconstruction at that time. However, it is clear from the 2000 paper that the point was to show hemispheric coherence across multiple tree ring records, not to create regional chronologies. Nothing was being ‘deceptively’ hidden and the Yamal curve is only a small part of the paper in any case.

Another little appreciated fact: When McIntyre started to get interested in this, he asked Briffa for the underlying measurement data from Yamal and two other locations whose reconstructions were used in Osborn and Briffa (2006). In May 2006, Briffa politely replied:

Steve these data were produced by Swedish and Russian colleagues – will pass on your message to them
cheers, Keith

Briffa was conforming to the standard protocol that directs people to the originators of data series for access to the underlying data, as opposed to the reconstructions which had been archived with the paper. McIntyre expressed great exasperation at this point, which is odd because in email 1548, McIntyre is quoted (from Sep 26, 2009 (and note the divergence in post URL and actual title)):

A few days ago, I became aware that the long-sought Yamal measurement data url had materialized at Briffa’s website – after many years of effort on my part and nearly 10 years after its original use in Briffa (2000).

To which Rashit Hantemirov responds:

Steve has an amnesia. I had sent him these data at February 2, 2004 on his demand.

Thus at the time McIntyre was haranguing Briffa and Osborn, McIntyre had actually had the raw Yamal data for over 2 years (again, unmentioned on Climate Audit), and he had had them for over 5 years when he declared that he had finally got them in 2009 (immediately prior to his accusations (again false) against Briffa of inappropriate selection of trees in his Yamal chronology).

Back to the main story. Of course, regional reconstructions are a definite goal of the dendro-climatology community and Briffa and colleagues have been working on these for years. Some of those results were published in Briffa et al (2008) as part of a special issue on the boreal forest and global change. Special issues come with deadlines, and as explained in a submission to the Muir Russell inquiry, a regional Yamal reconstruction putting together multiple sources of tree ring data was indeed ‘considered’ but wasn’t finished in time. McIntyre’s claim of deception comes from a strained reading of the MR submission (it is actually quite good reading). In response to extended (and yet again false) accusations from Ross McKitrick in the Financial Post:

Between these [two other reconstructions] we had intended to explore an integrated Polar Urals/Yamal larch series but it was felt that this work could not be completed in time and Briffa made the decision to reprocess the Yamal ring-width data to hand, using improved standardization techniques, and include this series in the submitted paper [Briffa et al., 2008].

Subsequently, in response to the issues raised by McIntyre, we explored the use of additional ring-width data local to the Yamal sub-fossil data. This work established the general validity of the published Yamal chronology information, albeit with significant statistical uncertainty, including during the medieval time and the late 20th century. [Refers to the online Oct 2009 response]

We still intend to publish an extended review paper that will compare and contrast features of the different published (and unpublished) versions of various regional composite chronologies in northern Eurasia and the effect on the character of climate reconstructions of calibrating them using different regression techniques.

So, Briffa et al did consider a regional reconstruction and are indeed working on it for publication, and it didn’t get into the 2008 paper due to time constraints. Clear, no?

However, a little later on in the submission, there is this paragraph:

(From McKitrick):

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.

McKitrick is implying that we considered and deliberately excluded data from our Yamal chronology. The data that he is referring to were never considered at the time because the purpose of the work reported in Briffa (2000) and Briffa et al. (2008) was to reprocess the existing dataset of Hantemirov and Shiyatov (2002).

(my highlights).

This is clearly a response to McKitrick’s unjustified accusations, and in using the reference to the 2008 paper is a little contradictory to the paragraphs above which were much more explicit about the background and purpose of the 2008 paper. However, to take a slight mis-statement in a single sentence, when copious other information was being provided in the same submission, and accusing people of deliberate deception is a huge overreach. Were they trying to deceive only the people who hadn’t read the previous page? It makes no sense at all. Instead, McIntyre conflates the situation at the time of the 2000 paper with the very different situation around 2008 in order to paint a imaginary picture of perfidy.

The one new element this week is the UK ICO partial ruling on McIntyre’s appeal for access to the (still unpublished) regional Yamal reconstruction. For reasons that are as yet unclear (since the full ICO ruling has not yet been issued), the list of components from which the regional reconstruction might be built were released by UEA. All of this data is already public domain. And of course, since Briffa et al have been working on regional reconstructions since prior to the 2008 paper it is unsurprising that they have such a list. McIntyre then quotes an email from Osborn sent in 2006 in support of his claim that the reconstructions were finished at that point, but that is again a very strained reading. Osborn only lists the areas (and grid boxes) in which regional reconstructions might be attempted since “most of the trees lie within those boxes”. It makes no statement whatsoever about the work having already been done.

McIntyre’s subsequent insta-reconstruction from the list is apparently the ‘smoking gun’ that the results are being withheld because they are inconvenient, but if any actual scientist had produced such a poorly explained, unvalidated, uncalibrated, reconstruction with no error bars or bootstrapping or demonstrations of common signals etc., McIntyre would have been (rightly) scornful. Though apparently, scientists are supposed to accept his reconstruction at face value. The irony is of course that the demonstration that a regional reconstruction is valid takes effort, and needs to be properly documented. That requires a paper in the technical literature and the only way for Briffa et al to now defend themselves against McIntyre’s accusations is to publish that paper (which one can guarantee will have different results to what McIntyre has thrown together). In the meantime, they can’t discuss it online or defend themselves because the issue with the FOI appeal is precisely their ability to work on projects prior to publication without being forced to go public before they are finished.

Finally, a couple of observations regarding the follow-through from Andrew Montford and Anthony Watts. Montford’s summary is an easier read than anything McIntyre writes, but it is clear Montford’s talents lie in the direction of fiction, not documentary work. All of his claims of “why paleoclimatologists found the series so alluring”, or that the publication “must have been a severe blow”, or “another hockey stick” was “made almost to order to meet the requirements of the paleoclimate community” and other accusations are simply products of his imagination. He also makes up claims, that for instance, McIntyre asking Briffa for the Yamal data “was, as expected, turned down flat” (not true – the actual response was given above) and he imagines even more ‘deceptions’ than McIntyre. Since he assumes the worst of the people involved, everything he sees is twisted to conform to his prior assumptions – if there is an innocent explanation, he expends no time considering it. As for Watts, the funny thing is that he immediately thinks that Michael Mann needs to answer these accusations, and attempts a twitter campaign of harassment when Mike, rightly, points out that Yamal doesn’t actually impact that much and, in any case, it has nothing to do with him at all. Watts is clearly a cheerleader for the ‘Blame Mike First’ campaign, so maybe his next post will be on why Mike is responsible for the Greek bank default (have you seen those bond yield curves?!?).

It should also go without saying that sometimes life gets in the way of work, and suggestions that academics have to work on issues according to a timetable dictated by hostile and abusive commentators is completely antithetical to the notion of free inquiry or the inevitable constraints of real life. McIntyre is of course free to do any analysis he wants, but he has no right to demand that other people do work for him under fear of highly public false accusations of dishonesty. We can nonetheless look forward to more of these episodes, mainly because they serve their purpose so well.


  1. K.R. Briffa, V.V. Shishov, T.M. Melvin, E.A. Vaganov, H. Grudd, R.M. Hantemirov, M. Eronen, and M.M. Naurzbaev, "Trends in recent temperature and radial tree growth spanning 2000 years across northwest Eurasia", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 363, pp. 2269-2282, 2007.
  2. K.R. Briffa, P.D. Jones, F.H. Schweingruber, S.G. Shiyatov, and E.R. Cook, "Unusual twentieth-century summer warmth in a 1,000-year temperature record from Siberia", Nature, vol. 376, pp. 156-159, 1995.
  3. K.R. Briffa, F.H. Schweingruber, P.D. Jones, T.J. Osborn, I.C. Harris, S.G. Shiyatov, E.A. Vaganov, and H. Grudd, "Trees tell of past climates: but are they speaking less clearly today?", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, vol. 353, pp. 65-73, 1998.
  4. P.A. Mayewski, K.A. Maasch, J.W.C. White, E.J. Steig, E. Meyerson, I. Goodwin, V.I. Morgan, T. Van Ommen, M.A.J. Curran, J. Souney, and K. Kreutz, "A 700 year record of Southern Hemisphere extratropical climate variability", Annals of Glaciology, vol. 39, pp. 127-132, 2004.
  5. K.R. Briffa, "Annual climate variability in the Holocene: interpreting the message of ancient trees", Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 19, pp. 87-105, 2000.
  6. R.M. Hantemirov, and S.G. Shiyatov, "A continuous multimillennial ring-width chronology in Yamal, northwestern Siberia", The Holocene, vol. 12, pp. 717-726, 2002.
  7. T.J. Osborn, "The Spatial Extent of 20th-Century Warmth in the Context of the Past 1200 Years", Science, vol. 311, pp. 841-844, 2006.

228 Responses to “Yamalian yawns”

  1. 101
    Salamano says:


    There seems to be some sort of difference of opinion on what ‘calculations’ means… From what I’m seeing, Steve is refering to at least going down the road to a regional chronology (making initial ‘calculations’, perhaps generating an ‘insta-reconstruction’ on the back of an envelope, enough to know at least ‘something’) — but you keep drawing it back as if it’s to mean that there was some “finished Yamal regional reconstruction”. I don’t think Steve is claiming that sort of fullness.

    [Response: McIntyre is claiming that the reconstruction was in the same state as the others in the 2008 paper but was not included because in was inconvenient. It beggars belief to claim that all he wants is the first calculation that anyone did regardless of whether it made any sense. – gavin]

    Also, there’s still got to be something in the FOI request that disagrees with your perception that all of this is ‘nowhere close’ to the “bar” upon ICO appeal. People disagree with rulings/appeals all the time. It doesn’t mean their reasonings are 100% fabrications or falsities.

    [Response: There are a number of issues where I think the ICO has made errors – for instance ruling that official-duties related emails on non-official servers (like gmail) are releasable. This is opposite of the rulings in the US Federal FOIA, which by and large are a very solid body of case law. Similarly, the ICO has missed opportunities to define what the lines are related to unpublished work that is likely never to be published (in the QUB case), or what aspects of the peer review process (for papers, grants, positions etc.) are properly exempt. So I don’t expect perfection. But on the issue of unpublished academic research, I think this is an important enough principle that it should be taken up at the next level if the ICO rules against UEA in any general way. – gavin]

    Finally, this paper is due to be published in October 2012… Isn’t the AR5 deadline at the end of July?

    [Response: Science is not determined by ad hoc deadlines from IPCC, and I don’t think this will be a big issue in the report in any case. There simply isn’t the space to devote to examinations of single proxies – even regional ones. – gavin]

  2. 102
    Phil Clarke says:

    he points to a further reply from UEA, which contains an very explicit statement from Osborn

    Wow. Not only does that reply show McIntyre’s insinuations of dishonesty (and Watts’ explicit accusations) to be baseless, it is nine pages that document CRU bending over backwards to try and identify and supply a dataset based only on McIntyre’s misreading of a leaked internal mail. I am not sure, as a UK taxpayer, that I appreciate public employees being diverted from useful work in this way.

    [Response: Ah, but you are forgetting how much tax money would be saved if only Britain just stopped supporting science altogether! –eric]

  3. 103
    Hank Roberts says:

    Steve, asking for evidence is not evidence of support, in this forum.
    Nor is it done as irony, sarcasm, poe’ing, or mimicry.

    It’s what it says — asking a cite, or to show the work if it’s unpublished.

    Remember, an audience of new readers will be coming along.
    Many of us have strong feelings that aren’t showing all the time, here.

  4. 104
    RB says:

    It doesnt matter if the chronology was done by 2006. If it was done by the time of the FOI/EIR request then it is disclosable (and previous ICO cases against UEA have held that if that “part” of some alleged future publication was finished then that “part” is disclosable. The chronolgy is itself a discrete piece of information. The fact that it might be included in some future publication doesn’t matter).

    The FOI/EIR request must be dealt with based on the information held at the time of the request and so the 2006 email of Dr Osborn is only a reference used to identify the chronolgy which, I think it is accepted, existed by the time of the request. So if it was completed post 2006 but before the request it is still subject to the request. Whether it existed in 2006 is completely irrelevant. Whether it existed at the time of the FOI/EIR request is entirely relevant. Schmidt’s and his commentators’ demands at RC for proof that the chronology existed at the time of the 2006 email are simply displaying ignorance of FOI/EIR legislation. No surprise there.

    [Response: You need to disagregrate the two issues. First, has there been ‘deception’? – it should be clear that I am mostly objecting to McIntyre’s flinging around of accusations of misconduct without anything like the requisite evidence. This rests entirely on whether this reconstruction existed in 2006. I maintain, following the evidence, my knowledge of the parties involved, the general context, and the copious statements on this point from UEA that the answer is no – I don’t know why you think this is ‘accepted’. Second, is there a reconstruction now? – that is entirely another matter, and the statements from Osborn and others indicate that there is now (or very close to it) a finished product. But the issue on whether this is releasable depends entirely on whether there is a ‘public interest’ in superseding exemptions for work that is intended to be published. The case for that overriding public interest has been made in large part on a) a mix of innuendo and accusation of misconduct, and b) the importance of this single reconstruction. Neither of these hold water. – gavin]

  5. 105
    DGH says:


    If I understood your most recent comment, Steve McIntyre exaggerates the importance of reconstructions that are ongoing work intended for future publication.

    Which begs, how unimportant must reconstructions be to merit publication?


    [Response: There are thousands of papers published in climate every year, very few have any ‘public interest’, let alone public interest at a high enough level to trigger an exemption to the FOI exemption. So to answer your question, much less important. Remember most science is evolutionary, not revolutionary. – gavin]

  6. 106
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Wow! Rant? Fulmination?

    To quote Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means, what you think it means.”

  7. 107
    Phil Clarke says:

    And so the tennis match proceeds, with the by now familiar highly selective quotation. McIntyre is now tilting at the straw man that Gavin claimed that a Yamal reconstruction was never calculated, when what he actually wrote was that the Yamal regional reconstruction was not finished in 2006. ‘Finished’ in context must mean no longer in an unpublished form and therefore capable of being FOI-ed.

    Remembering that the request was for the specific reconstruction mentioned in the mail, I don’t quite get the siginificance of the ‘single (nonbootstrap) chronology’ produced weeks after the mail from a group of trees that may (or may not) have been the same set of trees referred to?

    But this is presented as the ‘smoking gun’, along with another extract from the CRU FOI response:

    Regional chronologies have subsequently been produced from various data in the ‘greater Urals’ area of northern Siberia,

    Curiously, our brave auditor stops the quote mid-sentence. After the comma we have and one of those might be based on the URALS group of trees referred to in the email. (My bold)

    One can just imagine the drippng sarcasm had CRU released a chronology without being certain it was the one being requested…. yet somehow McIntyre just knows that CRU calculated a Yamal-Urals regional chronology in 2006. They didn’t like the result for some reason

    He is what we would call ‘a piece of work’.

    All these different versions, all these different tree sets … doesn’t sound like a ‘finished’ reconstruction to me. Sounds more like a work in progress.

  8. 108
    grypo says:

    We can break it down for him if necessary.

    His argument is thus:

    Had their Yamal-Urals regional chronology had been in accordance with their previous results, I am completely convinced that they would have used it in Briffa et al 2008 and/or their October 2009 online article without a second thought. My surmise is that the apparent failure of the (still withheld) Yamal-Urals regional chronology to accord with their expectations caused CRU not to use it in Briffa et al 2008.

    So in the first sentence, the “Yamal-Urals regional chronology” is what showed up in an email in 2006. As said by all, there was ‘a composite’ done then. There is conflation as whether the composite 1) should be freely available and 2) helps McIntyre’s argument that the results were withheld because “the apparent failure of the (still withheld) Yamal-Urals regional chronology” was not in “accord with their expectations”. We are discussing #2.

    The letter that McIntyre uses a his important exhibit tells us why the “Yamal-Urals regional chronology” was not used.

    The text of the stolen email shows that the aggregation and processing of data for the greater Urals region was being proposed as part of ongoing research and discussion about the representation and assessment of uncertainty: in tree-ring chronologies themselves and with regard to their value as indicators of regional temperature change. The production of the particular aggregate or composite chronology (i.e. for which the bootstrapped series were to be produced) was not being proposed as one likely to represent a reliable, or the most reliable, indication of tree-growth changes over the second millennium CE. The production of the series was merely being suggested as one possible aggregation of regional data that would offer insight when investigating the methods of regional chronology production and aspects of associated statistical uncertainty


    As part of this research some composites may be created that are sub-optimal and these need to be explained. We maintain that a completed composite is not just a series of data but also includes the associated metadata descriptors; this would include formal written explanation of how the composite was derived along with a candid critique of its value. In this sense the composite that you have requested is not complete.

    He repeats that ‘a composite’ was done in the comment section without realizing he is not adding to his argument. So we again, are left to trust his intuition that the results were not used for reasons other than said in the letter (that he supplied as evidence), and that reasoning being that scientists were hiding it because the results failed “to accord with their expectations”.

    In the comment section, McIntyre says:

    CRU calculated a Yamal-Urals regional chronology in 2006. They didn’t like the result for some reason. But it’s shall=we=say disingenuous – to use RC vocabulary = for Schmidt to continue to pretend that the CRU calculation was never consummated.

    Of course it is crucial to the argument what “reason” that was, or even showing how “they didn’t like the result” because the conclusion that has been drawn is accusing scientists of not disclosing results due to it not being “in accordance with their previous results”, not for the reasons disclosed to McIntyre in July 2011. This is how it should be reported. Whether this behavior is because of a misunderstanding, stubbornness, or malice is yet to be established.

  9. 109
    owl905 says:

    Looked for it again … can’t find it. It’s a statement by Planck Institute’s Von Storch around 2004. He was venting his frustration at the incredible nagging by McIntyre whenever SM wanted something (legit or not). There was even a swipe when he removed the single science credit he gave to SM, for something that turned out to be a minor stats tweak. It’s relevant here because it’s another example of SM’s whining pattern. And it’s a pattern that precedes a claim of non-cooperation (picture of Phil Jones goes here)with tin-can ties to the ‘conspiracy’.

    Mr McIntyre’s one challenge in the climate science field was the claim that the MBH formula would produce a hockey stick using any data. To repeat – any data. Didn’t his own attempt at reconstruction make the Little Ice Age disappear? Since the formula-fallacy fell apart, his agenda has been all data challenges.

    He has no scientific standing, no preeminent rights, and certainly nothing he has done could be considered progress, or helpful. If there’s a salute due to him, it’s his ability to somehow have his right to any cooperation considered legitimate.

  10. 110
    DGH says:


    Thanks for the quick reply on a Sunday evening.

    Paraphrasing Dr. Mann you wrote, “[it] doesn’t actually impact that much.” It’s rather hard to believe that this data has no import and no impact given the amount of attention it is receiving.

    I am looking forward to seeing the publication of this Yamal work in progress. Maybe then we will know what this fuss is truly about.


  11. 111
    Richard T. Fowler says:


    So if I understand correctly, it is being argued here that we all, the entire world … all of humanity … have to just sit tight and wait until October of 2012, to get our answer as to whether the 2006 composite is superior to what was published. And that having to suffer this delay is completely fair and just, and anything else would be a miscarriage of justice.

    [Response: Yes. Thats precisely right. Well actually no.. You might have to wait forever. Sorry, but most of humanity could not possibly care less. And what gives you the right to declare it some important that some government agency should declare otherwise (that’s what the FOI request amount to). What right do you have to make demands like this on speculative things about possible data that someone might or might not think is worth putting their time into? Ever heard of George Orwell? Go read him. –eric]

  12. 112
    Richard T. Fowler says:

    Actually, my comment was meant to reply to #106.


    [Response:Probably #104 actually. But my response to you stands. What kind of society do you want, exactly? One in which harassment by one individual leads to a group of government bureaucrats telling independent scientists what to do and when to do it. That’s the result of what McIntyre is trying to accomplish, if he is successful. Given the libertarian streak of many of McIntyre’s supporters, the irony is stunning.–eric]

  13. 113

    #112 re. Eric’s reply

    I find it both stunning and astounding that libertarians are so interested in quelling liberty. Irony is an awfully nice word for this… I can think of others.

    Oh, why not: foolish, ridiculous, hypocritical, counter-productive, obtuse, confounding… oh my, let’s not go too far down that rabbit hole.

  14. 114
    Richard T. Fowler says:


    Regarding whether I want a society “in which harassment by one individual leads to a group of government bureaucrats telling independent scientists what to do and when to do it.”

    I am not insensitive to the risk you raise. But there are property rights to consider. The information is the property of those who pay for it. Bureaucrats may be prone to getting out of control, and when that happens it is a tragedy. But then, is it really necessary to FOI that bureaucrats have the power to tell scientists what information they have to release? They set up rules for what has to be released, and when. That is not the same as setting up rules for what exact information they have to produce, right? So there is a distinction to be drawn.

    Frankly, your reference to Orwell seems backwards to me, because here individuals are going up against a monolithic, all-powerful, multinational government bureaucracy that literally holds almost all the cards, and are being told “trust us, you don’t need to see the information, it doesn’t say what you fear it might say.” THAT, to me, is the most Orwellian thing about all this. Sorry if you disagree. But I do not see the government funded scientists as being in the slightest way independent. Regardless of how they may want to see themselves, they are not.


    [Response:I am pretty sure are delusional, but let me see if I can get this straight. You think that the “world government” is hiding things from you via its scientist minions. And so you are appealing the government to make the scientist minions release the data? Presumably they will do so if asked by their totalitarian overlords, but why on earth would the overlords ever do that? By the way, what “multinational government bureaucracy” are you talking about? Whoever they are, if they indeed exist, the folks at UEA certainly do not work for them.

    Look: your understanding of the situation is complete fantasy. These are not “government scientists” we are talking about. These are independent scientists who work for a university. Much of their funding comes from the government, to be sure, but these are very very separate things. The government doesn’t tell the university what to do; and indeed, the university doesn’t generally tell the scientists what to do.

    As for “property rights”, I’m not sure what the U.K. laws are on this, but in the U.S. it is very clear. The intellectual property rights are actually those of the independent researcher, not of the “people” nor of the government. Certainly their are rules about availability of data and all that. McIntyre is asking for an exception to those rules, not that the rules be followed.–eric]

  15. 115

    “It’s rather hard to believe that this data has no import and no impact given the amount of attention it is receiving.”

    Really? In the world I live in, inordinate amounts of attention are devoted to what the darling of the moment wore to the ball last night–and more to the point, perhaps, there are people who devote serious attention (or at least claim to do so) to the magnum opus of Herr E.G. Beck.

  16. 116
    dhogaza says:

    because here individuals are going up against a monolithic, all-powerful, multinational government bureaucracy that literally holds almost all the cards

    Well, greece pretty much tosses that one into the toilet, even if you’re delusional enough to believe it was true at some point.

    “all powerful, multination government” ??/

    God, how delusional can one be?

  17. 117
    owl905 says:

    “The information is the property of those who pay for it.”
    By that logic, all the source code for the F-35 should be FOI available.

    “individuals are going up against a monolithic, all-powerful, multinational government bureaucracy”

    Caution, windmill under lance attack.

    “we all, the entire world … all of humanity … have to just sit tight and wait until October of 2012”

    (very good example of hyperbole – except for a few blogs, it’s getting less attention than Sunspot 1476.)

    Why not? The authors have put in the research, and you want a world where that research can be snatched by someone else. That’s just … strange. That’s usually the perspective of people who got through school having someone else do their homework.

    And October is about 150 days … then it’s all there for you. Maybe too many McIntyre apples in someone’s diet.

    Relevant evidence – NOAA used to publish the monthly global summaries 48 hours after month-end. It worked until there was a data-blip “scandal”. The tempest-in-a-teapot was Russian stations transmitting some bad spreadsheet data. McIntyre and Co. jumped all over it. Everyone lost – now the summary is more expensive, more scrubbed, and gets released two weeks later. That’s the real result Mr. McIntyre appears to produce just about every time out.

  18. 118
    J Bowers says:

    Eric — “As for “property rights”, I’m not sure what the U.K. laws are on this,…”

    With regards to scientific data:

    Crown Copyright in the Information Age

    For example, the Met Office is a Trading Fund which has to turn in a profit to pay its own way (a libertarian’s ideal government department?) and its parent, the Ministry of Defence, dividends each year. No mystery as to why they license their data commercially and are touchy about its dissemination. According to the report above, the Met Office made almost £22m.

  19. 119
    Craig Nazor says:


    Property rights? That’s good. Who owns the property rights to the atmosphere? We all need it to survive. Who will defend against the destruction of the atmosphere? Do you mean to imply that it is the “monolithic, all-powerful, multinational government bureaucracy that literally holds almost all the cards” that is trying to save the atmosphere, at the expense of your property rights? Boy, that has really worked out well, hasn’t it?

    All governments are flawed. Scientists, however, are mostly just curious people who are trying to get at the truth. Scientific communities and governments are two completely different things. Governments cannot control science, or it ceases to be science. That is why America generally outperforms more repressive countries in scientific discovery. It is also why, ironocally, that a principled scientist in the most repressive system can still produce good work. You can deny that all you want. But if you would actually take some time to get to know a scientific community, you would see how completely paranoid you really are.

  20. 120
    Dr Tom Corby says:

    @RTF “individuals are going up against a monolithic, all-powerful, multinational government bureaucracy that literally holds almost all the cards, and are being told “trust us, you don’t need to see the information, it doesn’t say what you fear it might say.”

    You don’t actually know anything about universities or scientists do you? Universities are private institutions that receive funding from multiple sources including state funding. Your tin-foil helmet fantasies about a monolithic state machine for which we work in obeisance is hilarious. Given climategate there’s enough email data in the public domain for you to prove this connection. Be careful though as the black helicopters might get to you first.

  21. 121
    andrew adams says:


    But there are property rights to consider. The information is the property of those who pay for it.

    No, it really isn’t. You might think you have some kind of moral claim to it, but you don’t own it any any legal sense and if you are going to make this an argument about the primacy of property rights over other considerations then you are on to a loser because the property rights of UEA and/or the scientists involved would logically trump your rights under FoI.
    Luckily they don’t and it is recognised that public institutions should be accountable to those who ultimately pay for them, through FoI and other mechanisms (and there are good reasons for this other than the fact that such institutions are paid for with our taxes). Personally I’m a strong supporter of FoI and I’m in favour of the laws being strictly applied. In general I take a very liberal interpretation of what should be released (although I have stronger views on this when it comes to those in authority than WRT academic institutions). But that doesn’t mean that scientists should have the public looking over their shoulders all the time – they should be allowed to get on with their work and then release it at the appropriate time, and if that means in October 2012 rather than May 2012 then, unless there is some overwhelming reason why the information is especially urgent, so be it. It’s not like the case we had in the UK with the NHS risk register where it was relevant to impending controversial legislation (unfortunately in that case ministers still refused to release the information despite being ordered to by the ICO).

    I would take issue with Gavin on one point though, which is about the ICO ruling that emails on non-official servers should be releasable. We had a case recently in the UK where ministers and officials in the Education Department were using private email accounts to discuss departmental business and the ICO ruled that the emails should be released under FoI. I think this is 100% right – otherwise it would be possible to use such channels for any discussions on matters which were likely to be controversial and thus escape proper scrutiny. And if it applies to the Education Department then by extension it has to apply to other institutions covered by FoI law, although there obviously has to be a distinction made between what actually constitutes “departmental business” and what is just people privately bitching about work. I appreciate that the US authorities take a different view, different countries may well have different rules in these kind of cases. I do think the ICO generally does an excellent job. If anything it does tend to err towards siding with complainants but I don’t have a problem with that and I think it’s important to consider what it does in the context of the many other cases totally unrelated to climate science where it has made rulings very much in the public interest.

    [Response: The problem with declaring that private email accounts should be included in FOI searches is that it is completely unenforceable. No FOI officer has the right to access private email accounts, no-one can search them independently, and none of the ISPs can be compelled to provide access. Thus the system is both open to abuse and vulnerable to endless appeals (how can the FOI officer demonstrate that an appropriate search was done?). The US FOIA has a very clear precedent that official records are records determined to be related to official duties and are under the control of the agency themselves. It simplifies proceedings amazingly. If you want to ensure that people do not use private email accounts for official work, then the way to do that is to mandate it – as in the Presidential Records Act for all White House related communications. Demanding that FOI itself substitute for unclear directives on records management is a very poor solution. – gavin]

  22. 122
    Hank Roberts says:

    Folks, remember, you can always ‘oogle

    Search: “that name” climate government warming

    Following the person’s posting encourages the person to elaborate.

    Ask yourself — predict — whether it will be a good use of your time (and the readers’ time) to follow the path across that particular bridge.

    If ‘oogle finds “that name” posts lots of red herring (primarily at denial sites, tens of thousands of responses, buzzwords) —


  23. 123
    Richard T. Fowler says:

    To Craig Nazor and Dr. Tom Corby,

    I attended university and was well-liked by the professors in my chosen field of science. Unfortunately, I was informed in very clear terms by certain of them that if I didn’t change my beliefs (beliefs, mind you) about AGW, that I would never work in research. Consequently, to this day I do not.

    So call it what you will; the point is, not only do I have personal experience with the monolithic bureaucracy and its effects on research, but I have it straight from the horse’s mouth: from professional university scientists that I used to study under in a field of Earth science.

    Furthermore, I posted a reply already explaining that I was not talking about “world government” but about U.S. and U.K. players working in tandem. But that comment was “disappeared” by Big Brother without explanation as to why. So there is further evidence for you of a lack of scientific independence.

    To Owl905 re: 150 days, my original post expressed concern that the information wouldn’t be made available then. That was also “disappeared”, but Eric’s reply explicitly states, “Well actually no.. You might have to wait forever. Sorry, but most of humanity could not possibly care less.”


    [Response: I am sorry to hear that some professor made you feel you could not succeed in research. This is still not the ‘bureaucracy’ though — it’s one professor’s opinion about you. And my apologies for deleting that email — but it’s actually not gone, it’s just in the borehole where I put it because I could not possibly imagine you were being serious. In any case, I really do not mean to be rude but… what on earth are you on about? Any of you regular readers? Does this guy think Gavin Schmidt is ‘part of the executive branch’ of the U.S. government? What am I missing here?–eric]

  24. 124
    dhogaza says:

    The text of the stolen email …

    Well, let’s look at the bright side, McI states that the CRU e-mails were stolen, in other words that a crime was committed. Next time someone tries to claim that it wasn’t a crime, quote McI to the contrary …

  25. 125
    Ray Ladbury says:

    RTF: “The information is the property of those who pay for it.”

    It always kind of amazes me when a tiny subculture of monomainics arrogates to itself the responsibility of speaking for the people so it can stop the work of civil servants serving all the people.

    And Richard, I rather resent the implication that by accepting a gummint paycheck I abandon my integrity. My first duty is to the truth of my discipline–it’s actually in my job description, and I get fired if I deviate from the truth. Yes, Richard, I get paid to tell the truth, not to lie. The only hold the gummint has on my scientific investigations is in terms of what they will pay me to investigate. However, if I feel a topic is worthwhile, I can continue to investigate on my own dime to the extent possible–and I have done this. Ultimately, if the investigations prove fruitful, my employer is usually more than happy to pick them up and claim credit for them.

    Richard, my oath was to the Constitution of the United States. I don’t remember anything in there about lying. Maybe you can refresh my memory.

  26. 126
    andrew adams says:


    Fair points – I agree that ultimately the best solution is for it to be mandated that the business of public bodies is conducted via “official” channels. WRT the UK Education Department I do think the ICO was right in the particular circumstances to rule that the emails should be released but it’s a situation which should not have occurred in the first place. UK FoI law is still relatively new and some institutions are still not fully adapted to it, so I think these kind of issues will iron themselves out once a clear precedent is set. I would guess that this, rather than any malicious intent, is also largely responsible for the failings at UEA/CRU in respect of FoI.

  27. 127
    Hank Roberts says:

    Eric, look him up. You’ll get a different selection from day to day and from different search engines, but there’s a theme that emerges over time.“Richard+T.+Fowler”+climate+government

    [Response: OK, let’s not make this personal though. I was just giving him the benefit of the doubt that he knew something I didn’t. –eric]

  28. 128
    John Mashey says:

    People may recall that the 2006 Wegman Report was:
    -done by request of Joe Barton for Congress
    -gave George Mason University affiliation for Ed Wegman

    but sadly, Wegman had mostly stopped using his GMU email in mid-2005, so the email one would really want was not FOIAble.

  29. 129
    Paul S says:

    dhogaza – That quote is from the letter to McIntyre.

  30. 130

    #123 Richard T. Fowler

    So what your saying that because some lilly livered liberal said you have to ‘believe’ in global warming or you won’t progress, you now ‘believe’ global warming science is unfounded because you ‘believe’ he was wrong, or wrong to say that? There’s a lot of belief going on there it seems.

    That’s a pretty weak argument. It’s also called a non sequitur since you are presenting a logical fallacy.

    You see math and physics don’t give a damn about your beliefs, or their beliefs.

    And who are these horses you are referring to. Name them. If you are telling the truth they would likely own up to what they said, unless of course there is some misinterpretation based on confirmation bias involved. You may have misread what they said, or they may have been trying to convey to you that you don’t get the math yet and therefore won’t do well in that field, possibly because they sensed that you were too steeped in your own confirmation bias. What University at least?

    Please do visit the borehole

    where bizarre comments go, not because of ‘big brother’ but because they have little to do with how actual science is performed on a day to day basis.

    I’ve worked in, out, and around government all my life and I can say with reasonable confidence that they could not pull of such a grand conspiracy even if they tried. There are just too many countervailing mechanisms at work that disprove such a thesis. Like math for example.

    4 pi r^2 is not subject to conspiracy, it just is.

  31. 131
    Hank Roberts says:

    “There may be haggling over how to handle intellectual property and access to data, for example, but … the biggest bugaboo is often agreeing on common standards for peer review.

    …. a meeting of 47 leaders of research funding agencies from 44 countries. And tomorrow, at the conclusion of closed-door sessions, the group will issue the first-ever global statement on the principles of merit review. Although the actual statement is embargoed until then, it is expected to touch on the importance of using experts in conducting a confidential yet transparent process to identify the highest-quality proposals.”

  32. 132
    Russell says:


    Multinational as the Libertarian bureaucracy may be, it is insufficiently monolithic to know whether to break into choral laughter at RTF’s paranoia , Mcintyre’s monomania, or, ceteris partibus, Eric’s invocation of libertarians at large.

    No law of nature defends data splicing debates against turning silly when villainous lawyers from central casting appear on the scene.

    [Response:When I talk about “McIntyre’s liberation supporters”, I’m merely repeating what McIntyre himself has said. I’m not making any comments (negative or positive) about libertarians in general.-eric]

  33. 133

    re: 132 and “Eric’s invocation of libertarians at large”

    I looked back through the thread since I didn’t remember any invocation of libertarians at large. I’m not really sure what that means except I sense that you find it comic and pernicious. And I really have no idea what your last sentence means. It sounds like “a pox on both your houses” but that’s just a guess.

  34. 134
    dbostrom says:


    By that logic, all the source code for the F-35 should be FOI available.

    If we were being logical, folks keen on abolishing arguably fraudulent waste of taxpayer dollars would first focus on badgering defense contractors rather than guileless absent-minded professors. The F-35 would be an excellent starting point; $162 million per aircraft copy at a total program cost of at least $1.5 trillion even though nobody can agree on what it’s for other than creating jobs for employees of the 5th branch of government, Lockheed (the same outfit that got gravity backwards on the Genesis spacecraft).

    If we were being logical. Logic has nothing to do with the dish at hand, which is instead a strange salad of hobbyist enthusiasts, paranoid psychotics and political romantics, tossed with an oil-and-coal dressing.

  35. 135

    #132–Russell, you must be bucking for the Bill Buckley Creative Vocabulary Award.

    “ceteribus partibus” = “other details (topics)”

  36. 136
    gavin says:

    McIntyre (unusually) has made a correct point in his latest post. I made an error in citing UK FOI legislation in the top post, when this case is being contested under the EIR legislation instead. There are a lot of similarities, but the rules are not quite the same. Instead of section 22 of FOI applying, effectively the same exemption is outlined in section 12 (4) d of EIR:

    4) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(a), a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the extent that—

    (d)the request relates to material which is still in the course of completion, to unfinished documents or to incomplete data;

    This makes no difference at all regarding the principle, and the difference in practice is slight. But I have edited the top post in two places where I made this error – see if you can detect where it impacts the substance.

  37. 137
    Phil Scadden says:

    RTF – if you insist on holding “beliefs” that are inconsistent with data, and hold ideological viewpoints as more important than data, then your professors were right – you will not get a job in science.

  38. 138
    Hank Roberts says:

    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur.

  39. 139
    BillS says:

    RE: 138 …. :-) and with McIntyre all we have is his ipse dixit

  40. 140
    DGH says:


    SM denies any insinuation vis-a-vis the works in progress on the reconstructions in dispute. Certainly he’s made no such statement – explicit or implied – in his blog. You acknowledged same with respect to one of his recent posts.

    This should be an easy point to clarify. Exactly what did he write in the EIR appeal on that issue?


    [Response: You are right, this is not an insinuation, it is an explicit statement. First he makes two statements that admit no uncertainty (but are not true): “A URALS regional chronology had been calculated as of April 2006. This was a version of the regional chronology which remained unchanged for many years” and then he ‘concludes’: “The regional chronology has not been a “work in progress” for years.” This is a very clear statement that of what he thinks (or rather he thinks he knows). But the reality of science is that finished products do not simply spring out of the first calculation one does. People generally try something, find something wrong, try something else, fix one problem, test something else, deal with whatever comes up next, examine the sensitivities, compare with other methods etc. etc. All of those steps contribute to the final product, and it is clear that the work on this reconstruction is indeed ongoing. For an analogous example, the idea that the first simulation from a climate model would be a finished product is laughable – regardless of the existence of that original output file. It would obviously be part of the work in progress. Although science is always in a work in progress in some sense, it is punctuated by milestones related to the papers that get published. They stand as the marker of whether a stage has been reached where something can be considered finished (though of course, it is always subject to revision). In summary, McIntyre is wrong in his premise, wrong in his interpretation, and wrong in his accusations of malfeasance. – gavin]

  41. 141
    Russell says:

    135 ,138

    Ceteris partibus anglice normaliter sic:

    all things being equal.

  42. 142
    owl905 says:

    @Gavin 136 – Nice correction update. Hopefully you washed your hands after visiting his website … you never know where it’s been.

    The EIR appears to have an even louder door-slam on his attempt to nick someone else’s efforts:

    “(4) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(a), a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the extent that—

    (d)the request relates to material which is still in the course of completion, to unfinished documents or to incomplete data;

    and from 5:

    (c)intellectual property rights;”

    The data is part of the research in progress. How does the latest Mac Attack dance past that one?

    [Response:None of these exemptions are absolute – thus a ‘public interest’ can be weighed against the interests academic have in being able to do their work and publish their results normally. McIntyre consequently exaggerates the ‘public interest’ related to disclosure and attempts to diminish the ‘academic interest’ related to not disclosing. It makes sense from a lawyerly point of view, but he goes too far, for instance, in describing the academic interest as mere ‘grant-grubbing’ ‘grant-seeking’ rather than acknowledging that there is a legitimate interest (as reflected in the FOI and EIR exemptions). – gavin]

    [Update: Quote corrected. – gavin]

  43. 143

    #122 Hank Roberts

    Gesundheit ;)

  44. 144
    Hank Roberts says:

    partibus =/= paribus

  45. 145
    Craig Nazor says:


    I have a doctorate (not in science), and have spent many years in an academic setting. But I also have spent a bit of time outside of academia. I can be outspoken about what I believe, and have occasionally offended people. But I have always been able to find allies and support for my best work. I have never allowed someone else’s opinion of me define who I am or what I do.

    So if you do not “believe” in the science that supports anthropogenic global climate change, what do you believe is causing the recently observed warming? Or do you believe that it isn’t actually warming? A career is not made by what you disbelieve; it is made by what you believe, and what you can convince others is true.

    Truth be told, I would bet that the AGCC deniers of the world make far more money than all the researching climatologists put together, but they don’t make their money from climate research. Why would that be? Do you really believe that the vast wealth of the dirty carbon corporations couldn’t find an alternative scientific explanation for the observed warming if one was out there to be found?

    By the way, I have read your “boreholed” comment. Your comment says nothing and provides no evidence (other than your own opinion) that convinces me that there is any lack of scientific independence in climate science.

  46. 146
    Martin Vermeer says:

    Eh, ceteris paribus. But my latin is rather rusty after never learning it or speaking it and only writing it to impress ;-)

  47. 147

    #144, 146–All of which proves that “diabolus in partibi est.” Or something like that.

    Especially when it comes to parsing Steve M, where the ‘partibi’ are both endless and little illuminating.

  48. 148
    DGH says:


    It’s hard to square SM’s absolute denial with the year old documents that you cite and it was naive for me to think that this issue might be easily resolved.

    His May 2011 appeal to Mr. Palmer continued, “Otherwise, the implication would be that institutions could permanently withhold tree ring chronologies as always being ‘work in progress’, leading to an absurd result.”

    [Response: It would also be absurd if there were no protections for work in progress at all. Clearly neither absolute position makes sense, but to claim that all protections of work in progress are absurd, is itself, absurd. So what should be the guidelines? I think evidence of active progress would count for a lot, as would drafts, publication schedules etc. The QUB case shows that this is necessary, and that without it, you’ll probably lose. It did not show that academics would always lose in exerting their right to the exemptions. – gavin]

    His point that your scientific method doesn’t square well with the more discrete requirements of FOI/EIR rules seems fair. Academicians may not like the rules requiring disclosure of publicly funded research – you clearly don’t – but the rules exist.

    [Response: Not at all. My arguement here is nothing to do with the principle of FOI for research. My argument is related to the abuse of these rules, by people who want all the exemptions undermined via innuendo and false accusation. There is a difference. – gavin]

    A Tribunal gets to make the call in this instance. It will be interesting to see if/how they deal with the issue of “work in progress.”


  49. 149
    SecularAnimist says:

    The plain fact is that McIntyre is engaged in slandering and defaming climate scientists, as part of a deliberate campaign to deceive the public about the reality of anthropogenic global warming.

    All of his dishonest BS about FOI requests is merely an attempt to gloss over that plain fact with a veneer of respectability. The attempt fails.

  50. 150
    grypo says:

    In trying to find more evidence for his accusations, McIntyre is now onto another idea which we are supposed to take without evidence, and it is this:

    A related point that I’m probably going to work up into a post. My original question – why didn’t Briffa do the regional chronology at Yamal in the same way as he’d done it at Taimyr? – is a question that a journal peer reviewer might have asked (if he’d been aware of what Briffa had done). The poor documentation of the article makes the question hard to ask, but that’s different.

    Asked by a journal peer reviewer, Briffa would have given a measured answer. I’m not sure what the answer would have been, but it wouldn’t have been along the lines of the RC Hey Ya-mal post, or the Yamalian yawns post. If he said that he hadn’t completed the Yamal analysis, the reviewer would undoubtedly have said: well, finish it.

    Now, is this an accurate portrayal of what the review process should have been? I wonder what the scientists who read here would say?

    [Response:No reviewer except Steve McIntyre himself would have said anything of the sort. Unlike McIntyre, most reviewers recognize that the world does not revolve around them.–eric]