von Storch on MBH "Shoddiness"

von Storch made the following new comments also in German from Technology Review, translation again courtesy of Benny Peiser, about Mann’s "shoddiness":

Two aspects deserve attention in connection with the discussion of Mann’s Hockey Stick: On the one hand, who is going to win the arguement; it’s the Tragedy of the Commons of climate research. McIntyre found a technical error in Mann’s methodology; in a SCIENCE study published in October 2004, my team discovered another, in our opinion even more serious error. It is actually the task of reviewers of specialist science journals to identify such errors. Yet with regards to NATURE, there is another criterion apart from that of scientific quality, which is often enough reviewed shoddily: the public interest, which is essentially equated here with the sales figures of the magazine. Mann’s study was apparently so interesting that it was accepted. A precarious fact. But it is even more precarious that the powerful people in charge of the IPCC turned the publication into an icon, the symbol of proof of anthropogenic climate change. That was not only stupid, but irresponsible. As a result of this elevation, the entire hypothesis of anthropogenic climate change is being unjustifiably questioned. Which brings me to the second point: Is the hockey stick curve crucially affected by Mann’s shoddiness? We tested it by way of a one-thousand-year simulation with a climatic model and found that the effect wasn’t significant. The error is real, but probably not far-reaching. Nevertheless, it is a good thing that the debate about the temperature history of the last millenium can be conducted again unconditionally. Steve McIntyre contributed substantially to this development; he deserves to be thanked for it.

von Storch has sent me some very cordial emails and has sent me a copy of his argument that the effect of Mann’s "shoddiness" is "probably not far-reaching". It will probably come as no surprise that Ross and I believe that these effects are quite far-reaching, as we argued in our E&E article. I must say that it’s nice to engage in a discussion free of realclimate invective. I’m sure that the thanks in the last sentence extend to Ross McKitrick as well.


89 Comments

  1. Posted Mar 6, 2005 at 7:49 PM | Permalink

    Von Storch’s comments are of course both nice and entertaining – his idealized role is that of a careful scientist, unlike his colleagues, who is eventually going to save the basic statements of the orthodox global warming science just before the paradigm would collapse under the pressure of valid criticism of an outsider – criticism that is important, but of course less important than von Storch’s own criticism. ;-) Of course, there is some probability that this will eventually become the official resolution of this dispute that will be described in the future history textbooks of climate science.

    Steve: One of my favorite sayings from business is a description of the 5 stages of a project in a large corporation:
    1. Euphoria
    2. Disenchantment
    3. Search for the Guilty
    4. Persecution of the Innocent
    5. Rewarding of the Uninvolved

    One wonders where the MBH98 critics were before we waded into the morass. von Storch has corresponded with me on very cordial terms, but obviously wants to be seen as the person who breasks the hockey stick. I think that his analysis is incorrect for a very ironic reason mentioned previously in my post on Variance Re-scaling: vS et al argue that the variance in the shaft is too little because of regression based methods; I think that Mann re-scaled his variance so that the reason for the shaft-ness lies elsewhere (in the bristlecone pines) and that vS have missed this rescaling, because it’s not disclosed. So both parties are at cross-purposes, but the rebuttal to vS by Mann requires further admissions of inaccurate description of methodology.

  2. Posted Mar 7, 2005 at 8:44 PM | Permalink

    Steve: Do you have a proper reference to the translated quote that you claim is from von Storch? I can’t find it anywhere.

    Steve: http://www.heise-medien.de/presseinfo/bilder/tr/05/tr0503038.pdf same as the Cubasch "can of worms". I presume that it is merely academic reflex that makes you use pointlessly confrontational language as "you claim is from von Storch". Pretty strong stuff, isn’t it?

  3. Posted Mar 7, 2005 at 11:42 PM | Permalink

    Calm down Steve – if you take that as "confrontational language" then I’m sorry that you appear to have had such an easy life up until now. It just seemed strange that you would provide such an extensive (and apparently "confrontational" quotation) without providing any reference. What is even stranger (and more interesting) is the fact that you are happy to quote the statement of von Storch from the bottom left-hand column of page 8 of Marcel Crok’s article, but don’t quote the (similar length) statement in the bottom right-hand column of the same page (Crok was presumably aiming at some level of balance). And why don’t you quote it? Presumably because it was written by Michael Mann. Cherry-picking indeed.

    Will you now quote Mann’s statement as well?

    Steve: The previous post http://www.climateaudit.org/index.php?p=126 refers to comments by von Storch, Mann, Latif, Cubasch and provides a URL. I used Benny Peiser’s translations. Cubasch and von Storch are new inputs in this debate. It’s not a bad idea to translate Mann’s comments as well although there is nothing new in them.

    As to confrontations, I’ve had lots of real confrontations in my life. As a result, I’m not bothered much by the name-calling by Mann and his acolytes; I figure that most of that ultimately backfires.

    What amused me in your comment was the pointless and seemingly reflexive addition of the editorial comment that I "claimed" this was a quote from von Storch. There were other politer ways of asking the question and the incidental and pointless impoliteness on such an innocuous issue seemed odd. I view such things as saying more about the writer than the addressee.

  4. John A
    Posted Mar 8, 2005 at 6:48 AM | Permalink

    Perhaps, John Hunter, because you imply or impute that Steve manufactures quotations out of thin air, or does not comment or quote everything out of an article because he is "cherrypicking", you appear to be on a mission to smear Steve McIntyre with the same charges that he has made about the work of Michael Mann. Steve does not speak German, but even if he did, the statement by Michael Mann in the right hand column rehashes the same tired arguments about the work of McIntyre and McKitrick made by Mann and others on realclimte that Steve has already demolished on this website.

    For the benefit of non-German speakers, here are the highlights:

    1. Mann’s comments about the journal "Environment & Energy" being "controversial" – which I interpret to mean "Mann could not get to the editor to censor the publication". As Mann has also had a rant at Geophysical Research Letters for its peer-review policy which similarly failed to censor after Mann contacted the editor, we can see a definite pattern emerging (especially if we use de-centered PCA algorithms), that Mann does not like publication of studies that contradict his claims and tries to censor them. For another example of Mann’s attempts to censor (unsuccessfully on this occasion), see the endnote to this article

    2. The claim that "the deeply incorrect publication is promoted by special interest groups who question the scientific consensus that humans are affecting the climate" – a repeated refrain of Mann that begs the question as to who those special interest groups are . Since no skeptic I know of doubts that humans have affected the climate over the last 8000 years – it’s another straw mann argument. We can lump this with the larger barn of straw about skeptics "denying climate change" with the note that it is Mann’s reconstruction which specifically and unjustifiably removes natural climatic change from history.

    3. That McIntyre and McKitrick removed 80% of the proxy data of the 15th Century see this link and this paper

    4. That the reconstruction of McIntyre and McKitrick produced an abnormally warm early 15th Century which "was at variance with our own study and a dozen others and agreed with our study within our margins of error". Steve has talked about "the dozen others" at length on this weblog. Suffice it to say that the "abnormal 15th Century warming" is a result of properly treating Mann’s data through the statistical treatment that Mann claimed to have used but demonstrably did not. As McIntyre and McKitrick have already said, just because the proper treatment of the Mann data results in the early 15th Century appearing to be warmer does not mean that the 15th Century was warmer.

    5. That Mann stressed the uncertainties and limitations of his approach in that the 1999 paper by naming it "the temperatures in the northern hemisphere during the last century: Inferences, uncertainties, limitations". This bit I personally find the most risible sophistry. On realclimate and elsewhere, Mann has frequently hit out at people claiming "false uncertainty" about his work and others. In the case of Moburg et al 2005, Mann even claimed that this confirmed his original study, despite the lengths and pains of Moburg to explain the massive differences in the curve and the restoration of the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period as global climatic events, something that Mann and others specifically denied.

    Now John, does this answer your point about cherry-picking or do we play another round of "Spot the Moving Argument"?

  5. David H
    Posted Mar 8, 2005 at 7:10 AM | Permalink

    As for business of claim vs. fact, in seconds anyone can translate the originals with http://www.systranbox.com/systran/box. The result may not be flawless but it would save John Hunter the need to question the integrity of the post.

  6. John Hunter
    Posted Mar 8, 2005 at 3:34 PM | Permalink

    Again, Steve, calm yourself – you are being curiously oversensitive. You make a mountain out of my question “Do you have a proper reference to the translated quote that you claim is from von Storch?” and describe my use of the word “claim” as “pointless”, “reflexive” and “impolite”.

    My dear Steve, you seem to miss the point — this is simply the language of the AUDIT.

    P.S. Have you checked with von Storch that this is actually what he said?

  7. Dub
    Posted Mar 9, 2005 at 1:47 AM | Permalink

    I enjoyed reading John Hunter’s “What’s wrong with Waiting for the Greenhouse” – a pastiche of pointless pedantry that zealots use to attempt to discredit contrarians (I think that if skeptics are to be referred to as contrarians then it’s only fair to use a suitable name for those who have a religious devotion to the global warming cause). I especially liked the bit about whether the late John Daly received $50 in donations as he claimed, or really earned the princely sum of $Aus3000 per annum from his “contrarian activities” (I wonder how much Mann and thousands of other devotees have earned for their efforts?). I thought that the discussion of what the organisations that Daly might have once been associated with – or not – spent their money on was particularly relevant.
    Anyway, I digress if only slightly.
    The patronising and bullying tone of John Hunter’s replies is sadly also typical of the GW alarmist-zealots.
    The tactics of the bully when confronted are denial and feigned indignation: My Dear Steve, you misunderstood, I didn’t mean anything by it, really, calm yourself.
    It’s a shame that zealots feel the need to resort to this sort of behaviour.

  8. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 9, 2005 at 12:43 PM | Permalink

    ‘Dub’,

    It’s not difficult to see where you’re coming from.

    It’s my experience that people find it easier to insult others (‘alarmist-zealots’, (three times, yes, we get your point – sigh) ‘bully’ (twice)) from the securuty of anonymity….. Indeed, the bully often goes about their business pretty secretively so as not to be caught……

    FYI I was on good corresponding terms with the late J. Daly. We definitely disagreed, that was all. He rarely, if ever, resorted to insult (unlike you) and thus seldom invited a similar response. He had my admiration for that at least.

    I’ve seen no evidence *whatsoever* that John Hunter is a bully.

    Perhaps you still have some growing up to do?

  9. Dub
    Posted Mar 9, 2005 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

    Calm yourself Peter – you are being curiously oversensitive.

  10. Posted Mar 10, 2005 at 12:53 AM | Permalink

    Let’s just get back to the context of Steve’s original article, which bears the title ‘von Storch on MBH “Shoddiness”‘. This alone seems to be marginally “impolite” and my original query simply sought the source of the quote (and I thought my query was pretty polite bearing in mind the general tone of the M&M vs MBH debate). I felt it reasonable to ask for this information (audit the claim?) because (a) no proper reference was given, (b) the quote relied on an “unofficial” translation, (c) I had no idea whether the translated word “shoddiness” would have been less strong in the original German, and (d) I was somewhat surprised that von Storch would talk in this way, given the relatively low-key tone of the original paper in Science (von Storch et al., 2004). Steve then seemed to have a problem with my use of the word “claim” using the words “pointless”, “reflexive” and “impolite”, while presumably believing the word “shoddiness” to be quite neutral.

    On 8 March, I asked Steve “Have you checked with von Storch that this is actually what he said? and have so far had no reply ….. I guess if he doesn’t ask then I will have to.

    Incidentally, Peter Hearnden hit an interesting nail on the head with his phrase “from the security of anonymity”. I have no idea who “John A”, “David H” and “Dub” are, while readers would have little problem finding who I am, where I work and where I live. Do these people really need anonymity to say the things they do?

  11. Michael Mayson
    Posted Mar 10, 2005 at 1:57 AM | Permalink

    To John Hunter re #2
    You could have written “Do you have a reference to the translated quote from von Storch? I can’t find it.”
    I’m sure you can you tell the difference! One can only conclude that your intent was not to ask for information but to sneer.

  12. Michael Ballantine
    Posted Mar 10, 2005 at 5:34 AM | Permalink

    John Hunter, unless you have posted your bio somewhere in these comments, you are just as anonymous as Dub. Either name turns up an endless list of possibilities. The names we use are just a way of keeping track. The fundamental basis of this BLOG is substance and content. The facts can stand on their own. They don’t need the weight of someone’s credentials to make them valid.

  13. Dub
    Posted Mar 10, 2005 at 5:40 AM | Permalink

    Really “John” and “Peter”, you should calm yourselves, as you are totally overreacting to some very mild perceived criticism.

    After all, I’ve only adopted your methodology, and I thought that imitation was the sincerest form of flattery. Let’s consider a few excerpts from “What wrong with Still Waiting for the Greenhouse”.

    “Indeed, honest skepticism is a perfectly proper role for a scientist. On the other hand, a `contrarian’ acts in a way that is contrary to the evidence, as interpreted by the majority of experts in that particular subject.”

    Well, what is belief in a theory that isn’t supported by scientific proof? Isn’t that religion? And depending on the strength of a believer’s faith, wouldn’t it be fair to call that person a zealot? No offence was intended.

    “So, on his own admission, John Daly’s average annual income (over a period of 13 years) for his contrarian activities was $Aus. 3,407 (nearly 70 times as large as the $50 he wanted us to believe).”

    Daly claimed that he received $50 in donations. I suppose that we could argue about the difference between “donations” and income from “contrarian activities”, but that would be pedantic wouldn’t you agree? I could also argue that 70 times approximately nothing is still approximately nothing, but maybe that would be petty?

    I could go on, for example “The worst-case prediction for global average rise for the 21st century of 8.0 mm/year, if relevant to Tuvalu, could have disastrous consequences over time. This possibility has to be addressed and managed.”

    Well, I guess that we can’t prove that sea levels aren’t rising, so that justifies doing something. OK, if you say so.

    As for the old chestnut of anonymity that someone who calls himself “Peter Hearnden” (I don’t know if that’s his real name but I’ll call him that anyway) keeps harping on about, I still fail to see the significance, or how it provides me with “security” — unless of course someone would use my identity to harm me in some way. Is there an implied threat there somewhere? I could say that my name was “Peter Hearnden”. You wouldn’t believe me, but how would you prove otherwise, unless of course you tried to locate me – and why would you want to do that? (Then again, that “Peter” guy is so obsessive that he’s kind of starting to scare me a bit. Now I’m getting really paranoid!) When I start receiving government funding for contrarian activities, I’ll happily reveal my name, and disclose my data and anything else that’s relevant.

    Look, be honest, you’re using the old trick of provoking someone by, in this case, levelling a thinly veiled insult at them, and when they react (as you know they will), you throw up your hands looking all innocent and say, “look really I didn’t mean anything, you’re overreacting”, knowing that they’ll get even madder, and you look like the good guy and they’re the bad guy. You know you’re doing it, and I know you are, so let’s stop playing these childish games. And that identity stuff reeks of fascism (“your papers please!”), and is really pointless and tiresome.

  14. John A
    Posted Mar 10, 2005 at 6:04 AM | Permalink

    John Hunter,

    The key sentence of von Storch is “Ist die Hockeyschlàƒ⣧er-
    Kurve wirklich entscheidend von Manns Schlampigkeit
    betroffen?”

    The word “Schlampigkeit” could be translated as “sloppiness” or “shoddiness”

    To the other point about identities, I do not put my personal details on the Internet as a matter of personal policy, to protect from identity theft and the attentions of psychopaths. What you do with your identity is your business. I believe that the most important part of freedom of speech is what is said, and not who said it.

  15. Hans Erren
    Posted Mar 10, 2005 at 6:06 AM | Permalink

    Re: #10
    John ,

    Try this: Google “Die Kurve is Quatsch”

  16. John A
    Posted Mar 10, 2005 at 12:09 PM | Permalink

    The answer is: "What is the Mann Hockey Stick", Alex.

  17. David H
    Posted Mar 10, 2005 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

    I have previously suggested to Peter why some people might prefer to be anonymous. He took the hint and pulled his longitude and latitude from his web site. We do not get many “man bites dog” stories so he need not worry. Direct action may not be a feature life in Tasmania but in the UK pursuing perfectly legal lifestyles can result in a brick through your window or your late mother-in-law being disinterred. Activist action has closed perfectly legal businesses. While I am not saying that Climate Change activists have gone that far yet or will, my one exposure to them did not persuade me that I should invite them home.

  18. Posted Mar 10, 2005 at 5:41 PM | Permalink

    I think this has pretty well run its course and it does now seem reasonably clear to me that von Storch used some reasonably intemperate language in describing the work of Mann et al. (easy to do in a media interview!). But I guess what counts is von Storch’s 2004 paper in Science rather than reported media interviews (and I’m sure von Storch would agree) — and I have no problems with his paper.

    As to Michael Ballantine’s contention that “John Hunter, unless you have posted your bio somewhere in these comments, you are just as anonymous as Dub”, I disagree. Try the following Googles:

    “John Hunter” greenhouse (720 hits, with 7 obviously relevant ones on the first page — but note that there are two marine scientists named “John Hunter”)

    and

    Dub greenhouse (19400 hits with no obvious indication of who this “Dub” is)

    and I think you’ll see the difference.

    Now lets just agree to disagree on the various items of this thread.

  19. John A
    Posted Mar 11, 2005 at 5:39 PM | Permalink

    I’d say that von Storch used language in a media interview that he could not use in the Science article, because of the usual stylistic requirements of the magazine. I do not see that von Storch was inconsistent about this, as he had already indicated that just getting published with his analysis was as much about avoiding the “Mann & Co” censorship blockade as the scientific merits of what he had written. In any case you have not answered whether or not what Mann replied was valid or not – perhaps because it wasn’t the stunning response you were expecting (or wanting)

    Oh and John Hunter, please spare us all the spurious tactics of Usenet on this weblog to get people to shut up. What is important is that people feel able to express themselves, without the infantile posturing that unless the person uses their own name (an unverifiable step most of the time) what they say is invalidated. I have specified my own reasons for anonymity on the Internet, and expect that at the very least, there is a grudging respect for my reasons, even if they do not chime with yours. Personally, I am always suspicious of people who use their own names and insist that everyone does the same – it seems like a ruse to bolster the weakness of their argument with an attempt to silence opponents.

    I am not “agreeing to disagree”. So far you have not produced a coherent reason why McIntyre, McKitrick, von Storch, Cubasch are all individually wrong and Mann must be correct. Will there be a stunning refutation in our future or more whining about anonimity?

  20. Michael Ballantine
    Posted Mar 11, 2005 at 11:54 PM | Permalink

    John Hunter, if you want to “Publish” a paper in a science journal then full name and bio is appropriate. For comments here, “person a”, “person b”, etc, is good enough. Unless you are one of the moderators, such as Steve, the rest of us care more about what is said, not who said it. If you really want to crow about your bio then post a link. You’re just not worth our time to sort through a google search. Besides, there is no real way for the the rest of us to know you are that particular John Hunter or just some under employed shlub looking to stir things up by using a name that may or may not be well known in some circles. If you really want admiration, say something intelligent in your comments.

  21. Posted Mar 12, 2005 at 1:21 AM | Permalink

    John A: I am quite surprised by the ire that has been raised following my original use of that (apparently) offensive word “claim”. Initially, I simply asked for a reference to a quotation — is that so unreasonable? I have now acknowledged that von Storch probably did say these things (even though we still do no have any such assurance from von Storch himself, since Steve went mysteriously quiet on this question). I have also aknowledged that “I have no problems with his (i.e. von Storch’s) paper”. What else do you want? I have never offered to produce “a coherent reason why McIntyre, McKitrick, von Storch, Cubasch are all individually wrong and Mann must be correct” – it isn’t my field and I am happy to leave the proponents on both sides to argue their cases themselves (it may come as a surprise to some of you, but this isn’t a war in which I am fighting under the direction of General Mann). I did, in another thread (the spaghetti diagram one), suggest that Steve was misleading the reader by implying that the MBH method would give hockeystick RECONSTRUCTIONS from random data – but that is very far from mounting a defence of Mann. And please note that all the other issues that have arisen in this thread have been introduced by others (Dub on “What’s wrong with Still Waiting for the Greenhouse”, Peter Hearnden on anonymity, and David H on “Climate Change activists”).

  22. John A
    Posted Mar 12, 2005 at 3:33 AM | Permalink

    John Hunter:

    I have now acknowledged that von Storch probably did say these things (even though we still do no have any such assurance from von Storch himself, since Steve went mysteriously quiet on this question).

    On what basis do you require further assurance? The quotations from von Storch are in the article and are accurately translated. There is no “mystery silence” from Steve. If von Storch had not said these things then we can be sure that he would have complained. Do you have evidence than von Storch did not say these things? Are we meant to endlessly question the validity of quotations whose provenance is not in dispute?

  23. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 12, 2005 at 7:14 AM | Permalink

    David H. said

    “I have previously suggested to Peter why some people might prefer to be anonymous. He took the hint and pulled his longitude and latitude from his web site”

    When? I think that, sir, is not true! It’s still available. I haven’t changed anything thanks to hints from you. I also dislike the implication any of us might be a threat to anyone, what ever our views. It’s mud slinging – whatever side it comes from.

    That said it does seem that those who disagee with the idea the world will warm due to our atmosphere changing activites are more often anonymous when they contribute to debates on the net than those of my view and that thus they may fear the likes of me than I they. I’m sad about that.

    Any hints I may be a threat to anyone I regard with contempt, as any of us would.

  24. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 12, 2005 at 9:28 AM | Permalink

    John Hunter: as you observed in one of your earlier posts, I thought that this exchange had “run its course”. I wasn’t being “mysteriously quiet”; I just was doing other things. As Hans pointed out, von Storch elsewhere (der Spiegel) pointed out that Mann’s curve was “Quatsch” and acknowledged our criticism of the PC method (Natuurwetenschap & Techniek), so there is no prima facie reason to doubt the accuracy of the wording of this current interview.

    You consistently misunderstand the tone of my original comment and I doubt that the following will help you any. I like Oscar Wilde’s definition of a gentleman : not someone who is never impolite, but someone who is never impolite unintentionally. I have no objection to calling a spade a spade. I was merely observing that you have a tendency to be impolite in circumstances where the impoliteness is irrelevant and this was one example.

  25. John Hunter
    Posted Mar 13, 2005 at 2:46 AM | Permalink

    John A: You seem intent on manufacturing a disagreement where none exists. In my original posting I asked for a reference to support Steve’s claim — I was being SKEPTICAL (I assume that you have come across this word — it is not the same as “contrarian”). Having been provided with the reference, I later said “I have now acknowledged that von Storch probably did say these things (even though we still do not have any such assurance from von Storch himself, since Steve went mysteriously quiet on this question)” — I presume you have read this, as you actually quote it. Now I think most intelligent people would take this to mean that I do NOT “require further assurance” and that I am NOT going to “endlessly question the validity of quotations whose provenance is not in dispute”. I included the phrase “even though we still do no have any such assurance from von Storch himself” because I still think it is strange that someone who is currently pressing for more care in research should write an article with the inflammatory title “von Storch on MBH ‘Shoddiness'”, taking his information only from a press article and without having bothered to check with von Storch himself, even though they have both apparently been in “cordial email” correspondence.

    So, yes — I accept that Steve’s article probably does say something valid about von Storch’s view of Mann et al.’s work. But it also says something about the care with which Steve goes about his business.

  26. John A.
    Posted Mar 13, 2005 at 5:22 AM | Permalink

    John Hunter:

    In my original posting I asked for a reference to support Steve’s claim — I was being SKEPTICAL (I assume that you have come across this word — it is not the same as “contrarian")

    Unfortunately we do have a vivid example of your use of "contrarian" from your attack page on John Daly. Perhaps you’d like to look at the two terms in the dictionary:

    skeptical

    adj : denying or questioning the tenets of especially a religion; "a skeptical approach to the nature of miracles" [syn: disbelieving, sceptical, unbelieving]

    and compare this to

    contrarian

    n : an investor who deliberately decides to go against the prevailing wisdom of other investors.

    From these definitions, I think it’s clear that when John Hunter questions the evidence given by a non-believer, he’s being skeptical, and when the non-believer justifies his disbelief with reference to facts that are not in dispute, he’s a contrarian.

    I included the phrase “even though we still do no have any such assurance from von Storch himself” because I still think it is strange that someone who is currently pressing for more care in research should write an article with the inflammatory title “von Storch on MBH “Shoddiness’", taking his information only from a press article and without having bothered to check with von Storch himself, even though they have both apparently been in “cordial email” correspondence.

    Isn’t it amazing that you defeat your own objective with a single phrase? Steve knew that von Storch’s quotation was accurate because of personal correspondance, yet you find it strange that Steve should write an "inflammatory title". There is nothing inflammatory about describing MBH as shoddy – in fact many others have used much stronger adjectives to describe what Mann has done, and Steve is quoting von Storch, which is why the phrase is in "quotation marks".

    So, yes — I accept that Steve’s article probably does say something valid about von Storch’s view of Mann et al.’s work. But it also says something about the care with which Steve goes about his business.

    Yes, I think it says that Steve is careful to quote accurately from sources whose provenance is not in dispute.

    However it also proves that John Hunter is no skeptic, for he questions the motives of people who quote honestly and accurately to impugn the quality of their work which undermines that which John Hunter unquestionably believes.

    So if you have evidence that some part of what Steve McIntyre has done is wrong, then please present it.

    We’re all ears.

  27. John Hunter
    Posted Mar 13, 2005 at 7:15 AM | Permalink

    John A: As far as I know, you are wrong when you say "Steve knew that von Storch’s quotation was accurate because of personal correspondance". Steve has never indicated that here (Steve — please correct me if I’m wrong), which was exactly my point.

    As for the rest of your posting, again you seem intent on manufacturing a disagreement where none exists. It is quite wrong to say that my statement "it also says something about the care with which Steve goes about his business" question Steve’s MOTIVES. It simple comments on his CARE. It is also quite wrong to say that I "unquestionably believe" the work of Mann et al. As I said in an earlier posting, "I have never offered to produce ‘a coherent reason why McIntyre, McKitrick, von Storch, Cubasch are all individually wrong and Mann must be correct’ – it isn’t my field and I am happy to leave the proponents on both sides to argue their cases themselves".

    So, once again, you will not drag me into a discussion in which I have neither the competence nor will to engage. I have no desire whatsoever to "present" to you with "evidence that some part of what Steve McIntyre has done is wrong".

    You may well be "all ears" — that may be your problem — you seem unable to read what has actually been written.

    John replies:

    As far as I know, you are wrong when you say "Steve knew that von Storch’s quotation was accurate because of personal correspondance". Steve has never indicated that here (Steve — please correct me if I’m wrong), which was exactly my point.

    If you cast your gaze to the original post, you will find this (my emphasis):

    von Storch has sent me some very cordial emails and has sent me a copy of his argument that the effect of Mann’s "shoddiness" is "probably not far-reaching"

    So Steve does know what von Storch meant and could quote it with authority.

    If only every researcher were as "careless" as Steve….

  28. Michael Mayson
    Posted Mar 13, 2005 at 8:12 AM | Permalink

    It seems that Benny Peiser may have been too kind to Mann in his translation of von Storch’s quotation.

    Schlampigkeit; frowziness, grubbiness, slatternliness, slouchiness, slovenliness, sluttery, sluttishness

    And for John Hunter’s benefit, the source for the above is http://www2.dict.cc/.

    John writes: “frowziness” ?

  29. John A
    Posted Mar 13, 2005 at 8:32 AM | Permalink

    It is quite wrong to say that my statement “it also says something about the care with which Steve goes about his business” question Steve’s MOTIVES. It simple comments on his CARE.

    Does this set a new Tasmanian record for hair-splitting, or is it just me?

  30. Spence_UK
    Posted Mar 13, 2005 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    John writes: “frowziness”

    This got me as well, but can be explained – dictionary.co.uk reckons there is no such word, but dictionary.com has an entry, so it is a US word not a UK word.

    What I thought was amusing was dictionary.com example usage:

    1. Unkempt; slovenly: frowzy clothes; a frowzy professor.

    For John Hunter’s benefit, this was found from dictionary.co.uk and dictionary.com. I suspect these sites may be industry-funded, so please feel free to denegrate them on these principles.

  31. Michael Mayson
    Posted Mar 13, 2005 at 3:56 PM | Permalink

    Re #31
    The Oxford Dictionary (for John Hunter’s benefit, the proper reference is The Comcise Oxford Dictionary Published by Oxford University Press, Seventh Edition 1982 , ISBN 0-19-861131-5) includes “frowzy” as also meaning “ill-smelling, fusty, musty” but perhaps use of these words could be claimed to be marginally impolite.

  32. David H
    Posted Mar 14, 2005 at 8:06 AM | Permalink

    Sorry Peter.
    You are right about your web site and I was not suggesting that contributors to this discussion site will go beyond rhetoric.

    More to the point, can John Hunter tell us if he believes that Michael Mann should now make a full and complete disclosure of all his programmes and data?

  33. John Hunter
    Posted Mar 14, 2005 at 4:27 PM | Permalink

    David H: I am not sure whether some of you people are congenitally stupid of just plain perverse. I have already said "you will not drag me into a discussion in which I have neither the competence nor will to engage" and have expressed similar sentiments in other postings. Neither I nor you know all the subtleties and nuances of M&M’s argument with Mann et al. (if you have just accepted all M&M’s side without question, well I guess that is the contrarian way). I will, however, offer a question to you. Can you think of any valid reason why I should want to answer a question reqarding the disclosure (or otherwise) of Mann et al.’s data to people who are not even honourable enough to disclose their own identities?

    Steve: I’d be interested in Mann’s source code and my identity is here.

    One reason for my interest in source code, other than due diligence, is that my replication of MBH98 deteriorates in the problematic 15th century. We already know that MBH “edited” the early 15th century data in order to lower the 15th century temperature index; I’m very suspicious of the change in replication. I think that there may be another shoe to drop and that may explain why Mann won’t disclose his source code.

  34. Frankis
    Posted Mar 14, 2005 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

    Steven you hope as you say that "I’m sure that the thanks in the last sentence extend to Ross McKitrick as well". Yet I doubt that von Storch would voluntarily thank McKitrick for anything. Why would that be?

    On more substantive matters than the professional competence of individuals, in places where von Storch is on the evidence so far keen to remain, his message for the anti-scientists, the clueless and the gasbags seems quite clear: "Is the hockey stick curve crucially affected by Mann’s shoddiness? We tested it by way of a one-thousand-year simulation with a climatic model and found that the effect wasn’t significant. The error is real, but probably not far-reaching."

    Steve: I’ve had a chance to see von Storch’s analysis. They did not test the impact on MBH98 with its flawed proxies (where the erroneous method uncannily selects the most flawed proxies); they tested it on a climate model using “pseudoproxies” with much higher mean correlation to gridcell temperature than actually exists. Their findings are meaningless. That’s not to say that these findings won’t be promoted, but they are still meaningless.

  35. Frankis
    Posted Mar 15, 2005 at 12:42 AM | Permalink

    Steve I’d prefer to hear you expand a little on the problem with the von Storch analysis, if you would. I may have missed something along the way (if so my apologies) but are you suggesting that Mann’s proxies were such that any statistically competent analysis of them could not have found a trend reasonably similar to MBH’s, or is it your primary argument that some of the proxies analysed by Mann et al, crucial to the result they found, would have been better left out of their study altogether for known reasons, and secondly that the MBH analysis of them was statistically invalid anyway?

    In either case, is anyone to your knowledge doing what I believe you’ve been on the record as asking be done pronto, which would be to bring up to present date the proxy records that we do have (and to make them available to researchers)? Is it true that people are still making do with series that end not much later than 1980, despite the instrument record suggesting that it has been since then that temperatures have risen most rapidly?

    Steve: I need to determine protocol on what comments I can make publicly on von Storch’s material., which has not been made public. Until I determine the protocol, all I can say is to repeat what I said before: that vS did not explicit examine the effect of the error on MBH98 and his analysis of the effect on pseudoproxies is flawed by very unrealistic assumptions on pseudoproxy quality.

    I’m not sure that I want to categorize any MBH98 as “primary”. For example, I think that the statistical points on RE and R2 statistics and the points on robustness are very important, but have attracted little attention. I view the methods and data as being related: MBH98 contained a flawed method; it also contained flawed proxies; we were drawn to the flawed proxies by following the choices made by the flawed method. But even if you try to “fix” the flawed method, you can see the precise impact of the flawed proxies and you can’t fix one without the other. Before MBH98 thought that the North American PC1 was a “dominant” pattern of climate variance; now they are arguing that the PC4 is needed and appealing to Preisendorfer’s Rule N.

    The method-data relationship is even more transparent with the Gaspe series. Here the data is flawed and MBH98 edited the data to get it into the AD1400 roster and drag down 15th century temperatures. They then misrepresented the start date so that no one knew that the data had been “edited”. This is a unique extrapolation. From a business point of view, an ad hoc special treatment would have stuck out like a sore thumb in an audit and any auditor would have wanted to know why the special treatment. Academics seem totally uninterested in this issue, but it seems black and white to me and something that would be a real problem if a prospectus went bad.

    As to post-1980 proxies, I’ve been looking at this and will post some more thoughts up. Cook, E.R., Woodhouse, C.A., Eakin, C.M., Meko, D.M., and Stahle, D.W.. 2004. “Long-Term Aridity Changes in the Western United States”. Science, Vol. 306, No. 5698, pp. 1015-1018, 5 November 2004. is a recent analysis using 835 tree ring sites, of which many end post-1990 and even post-1995. I’m going to discuss this study, but, as a preview, it looks to me like post-1980 tree ring proxies are being characterized as “drought” indicators rather than temperature indicators.

  36. David H
    Posted Mar 15, 2005 at 3:42 AM | Permalink

    “congenitally stupid”? Thank you John Hunter,

    I was quite happy to tell you quite a bit about myself when I pointed out the error, which you eventually conceded, on your “what’s wrong …” web site. I assume from what you now say that we will not having that beer when I get down under.

    Back to the point. You said “you will not drag me into a discussion in which I have neither the competence nor will to engage”

    The only competence you need is in ethics and common sense. If you get a parking ticket and you think they got it wrong (and here they often do) most think it is perfectly reasonable to ask to see the evidence. Every one in the UK is beginning to pay much more for Kyoto than any parking ticket and many think it perfectly reasonable to ask to see the evidence upon which a significant part of the justification for Kyoto is based.

    If the Mann HS is not important to AGW theory as some are now saying, it is surely worth ending the argument so that you can get on with saving the planet. If on the other hand the HS is vital to AGW theory those that think so and so vigorously defend it should have the honesty to allow those that doubt its validity to fully test it.

    As for your “will” you seem to have plenty in preaching your point of view.

  37. David H
    Posted Mar 15, 2005 at 5:04 AM | Permalink

    Another thing Dr von Storch said is of interest. His website has a link to the translation so even John Hunter must accept it is “likely” an accurate translation.

    In Der Spiegel on 24 January 2005 he said (the emphasis is mine).

    “Public statements by noted German climate researchers give the impression that the scientific bases of the climate problem have essentially been solved. Thus science has provided the prerequisites for us now to react appropriately to the goal; meaning, in this case, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible.

    “This does not at all reflect the situation in the scientific community. A considerable number of climatologists are still by no means convinced that the fundamental questions have been adequately dealt with. Thus, in the last year a survey among climate researchers throughout the world found that a quarter of the respondents still harbor doubts about the human origin of the most recent climatic changes.”

    This is a bit different to what George Monbiot said in this mornings regular prime time radio AGW propaganda slot. He said “the consensus is as strong as you can get in science” I doubt that 25% of scientists in their day disagreed much with Newton, Faraday who published sufficient data for doubters to disprove them.

    However George Monbiot did say something new to me. He said the US is now only responsible for 21% of carbon emissions.

  38. Jeff Norman
    Posted Mar 15, 2005 at 10:56 AM | Permalink

    “John Hunter”,

    You asked: “Can you think of any valid reason why I should want to answer a question reqarding the disclosure (or otherwise) of Mann et al.’s data to people who are not even honourable enough to disclose their own identities?”

    In your opinion, should any researcher whose research results may influence government policy in a democracy (with the possible exception of National Defense) should be obliged to reveal how they derived their conclusions so that they may be replicated?

    I know you have already spent some of your valuable time reading this question so a simple yes or no answer will suffice? To make it even easier, I will infer any response other than “no” to mean “yes”. Thank you for your time.

    Jeff Norman

  39. Detlef
    Posted Mar 15, 2005 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

    Havid H,

    Do you mean this article?
    How Global Warming Research is Creating a Climate of Fear

    "In an article we published in the professional journal "Science" in October 2004, we were able to demonstrate that the underlying methodology that led to this hockey stick curve is flawed. Our intention was to turn back the spiral of exaggerations somewhat, but without calling the core statement into question, which is that human-induced climate change does exist. Prominent members of the climate research community did not respond to the article by engaging use in a dispute over the facts. Instead, they were concerned that the worthy cause of climate protection had been harmed."

    "Other scientists are succumbing to a form of fanaticism almost reminiscent of the McCarthy era. In their minds, criticism of methodology is nothing but the monstrous product of "conservative think-tanks and misinformation campaigns by the oil and coal lobby," which they believe is their duty to expose. In contrast, dramatization of climate shift is defended as being useful from the standpoint of educating the public."

    John writes: This article is too interesting not to share with everyone! Thank you for pointing it out.

  40. John Hunter
    Posted Mar 15, 2005 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

    Jeff Norman: This may come as a surprise to you, but most complex questions do not have the simple answer “yes” or “no”. I am also not sure which question you want answering. Is it: ‘do I believe “that Michael Mann should now make a full and complete disclosure of all his programmes and data”?’ (David H, 14 March 2005) or “should any researcher whose research results may influence government policy in a democracy (with the possible exception of National Defense) (should) be obliged to reveal how they derived their conclusions so that they may be replicated?” (yourself, 15 March 2005)? No doubt you understand that these are different questions. The first is specific and the second generic.

    So I’ll give you a generic answer, because I (and I am sure you, too) do not know all the facts surrounding the (specific) McIntyre/Mann argument. In general, I think a researcher’s data and techniques should be available to others. HOWEVER, just as with Freedom of Information legislation, this statement carries many caveats. To give just two examples: firstly, provision of such information (which, for a complex problem, could involve considerable work) should only be to competent scientists for serious work (otherwise it could well be misinterpreted, misused and abused); secondly, there should be some consideration of the age of the research (i.e. is it worth slowing the course of new science to “audit” some work that has now been superceded?) — this is an important one, as your generic question carried the clause “whose research results may influence government policy” — in order to answer his specific question, David H should perhaps ask himself “does the 6-year old work of Mann et al. still carry some small weight in influencing policy, or has it been superceded?”.

    Does that help? I have to wonder, now that you have prised a generic answer out of a little-known climate scientist, what on earth you are going to do with it! The answer seems to me to be about as valuable as the pronouncements of Steve’s anonymous followers …. but anyway, I hope it makes you feel better.

  41. David H
    Posted Mar 16, 2005 at 5:08 AM | Permalink

    It may be six years old now but when M&M first asked it was a lot less. No matter how old a piece of science is true scientists will want to see it replicated Many serious people sought to prove Fermat’s Last Theorem which is about 350 years old.
    More to the point showing the hockey stick to be unworthy of its place in the IPCC publications will bring about a major shift towards accountability in public affairs.

  42. Spence_UK
    Posted Mar 16, 2005 at 11:55 AM | Permalink

    firstly, provision of such information (which, for a complex problem, could involve considerable work) should only be to competent scientists for serious work (otherwise it could well be misinterpreted, misused and abused)

    Umm… how do go about defining that? It is all very well suggesting such lofty ambitions but in practical terms, this is a non-starter. I had an interesting, and similar debate, with a slightly prejudiced and short-sighted individual who felt that only people with a certain level of intelligence should be allowed to vote. He made an eloquent argument, but underneath his rhetoric it was a thin disguise of “only people with my political view should vote”. This sounds like a remarkably similar line to me. How do you define who is competent or “intelligent” enough to look at Mann’s data? Very subjective and open to abuse. Incidentally, I suspect any capable independent statistician would happily pull it to pieces. And before anyone asks, you don’t have to be a climate scientist to assess statistical methods.

    secondly, there should be some consideration of the age of the research (i.e. is it worth slowing the course of new science to “audit” some work that has now been superceded?)

    Right, let us throw out the theory of relativity and reinstate Newtonian mechanics because Einstein was just too late, Newton’s models had been around far too long. It also means the longer an obstructionist scientist holds out for, the greater “immunity” they acquire. Age of research is a classic Mann red herring – it is repeated endlessly and pointlessly. Age does not make a bad analysis better, nor does it reduce the widespread adoption of the curve. Furthermore, although the study is “six years old” (not really very old in science terms IMHO) it is still being extensively used all over the world. While this continues, you should not be surprised that it still attracts criticism. Incidentally, virtually none of the “scientific” or political websites carry the “likely” caveat that your article expounds – just as (at least one) of the comments that seems to come from the Mann study in the IPCC report for policymakers lacked the proper caveat, which your article on the subject conveniently ignores. Perhaps it should be submitted to peer-review? Or does any requirement for that depend on your political viewpoint too?

    PS. Your article is dated 10th March 05. Why are you still producing articles on such an old piece of science? Because people are still talking about it perchance? Glass houses, throwing stones etc.

  43. Jeff Norman
    Posted Mar 16, 2005 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

    John Hunter,

    Thank you for the thoughtful answer (to my question). You say: “To give just two examples: firstly, provision of such information (which, for a complex problem, could involve considerable work) should only be to competent scientists for serious work (otherwise it could well be misinterpreted, misused and abused)”.

    In your opinion should scientists refrain from presenting their conclusions to the media and/or NGOs in the form of press releases?

    You go on to ask: “secondly, there should be some consideration of the age of the research (i.e. is it worth slowing the course of new science to “audit” some work that has now been superceded?)”

    In the particular case of the “Hockey Stick” interpretation of climate history, I would have said yes, an audit was required. The reason being the “Hockey Stick” radically changed our understanding of climate history over the last 1,000 years, relegating the Medieval Climate Optimum and the Little Ice Age to little more than regional events. This conclusion was incredibly convenient support for the idea of anthropogenicly derived unusual global warming.

    The speed with which the “Hockey Stick” interpretation of climate history was embraced should have set off alarms in the climate community. In fact it did but it took some time before the public was allowed to hear them. Now they do.

    Jeff

  44. David H
    Posted Mar 16, 2005 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

    John Hunter’s pdf referred to by Spence_UK has something of the WMD about.
    When it became no longer possible to suggest that the 45 minute warning of imminent attack from Iraq had any credibility at all, our illustrious PM, like John, turned to demonstrating, statistically, how little mention there was of the 45 minute warning in the debate that took us to war. True but irrelevant. The 45 minute warning fib was so well sold – just like the hockey stick, that the debate had moved on and no one questioned it. This does not alter the fact that without one fib we (in the UK at any rate) would not have gone to war and without the other there would be no Kyoto.

    The reasons that some do not want to go over how and why we went to war in Iraq and others do not want to go into how and why we got into Kyoto are the same. They believe the means justifies the end. Funny thing is some at this discussion board support one fib but not the other.

    And John, why didn’t you chose this discussion board to release your work.

  45. Spence_UK
    Posted Mar 16, 2005 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

    Re:#45, not only is the context of John Hunters pdf off track, even his straw man argument is a half-truth. He only considers the caveated statements, but the IPCC report contains more than caveated statements.

    Within the IPCC report “facts” are shown something like this from page 2, second column top (my emphasis):

    The global average surface temperature has increased since 1861. Over the twentieth century the increase has been 0.6+/-0.2 degrees C

    Note that this is viewed as “factual” as it is an instrument temperature record. The interpretation of what was measured is up for debate, but the fact of what was measured is defined, and hence no uncertainty caveat is applied (although a measurement tolerance is).

    On the other hand, here is one of the four direct caveated references to Manns work (I make it four because I count repetitions of the same sentence), again my emphasis:

    It is likely that the 1990s have been the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year of the millennium

    But hold on! What’s this on page 3, figure 1(b), my emphasis:

    Nevertheless the rate and duration of the 20th century warming has been much greater than in any of the previous nine centuries

    Oops! That is the same language used to describe facts. Hmm but it sounds rather like something to do with the millennium temperature record to me. But surely the IPCC wouldn’t be so loose with language? Conveniently, as it isn’t caveated, it doesn’t appear in John Hunters count.

    Could I have taken it out of context? Perhaps a caveat isn’t appropriate here? Well the very next sentence in the same para does contain a caveat, so I don’t see why this one shouldn’t.

    This is all kind of moot anyway because this is the report that spawned endless copies of the flawed temperature curve, very few of which carry any such caveat. But I couldn’t resist the nitpicking, both of the IPCC report and John’s analysis; it just shows that these errors are multi layered. It is always possible to build assumption upon assumption and flaw upon flaw until you reach the answer you first thought of.

  46. Posted Mar 16, 2005 at 7:32 PM | Permalink

    Jeff: You say “the Hockey Stick radically changed our understanding of climate history over the last 1,000 years, relegating the Medieval Climate Optimum and the Little Ice Age to little more than regional events”. I think you are quite wrong, if you are referring to the influence of the IPCC Third Assessment Report. Section 2.3.3 of that report is entitled “Was there a Little Ice Age and a Medieval Warm Period?” — you should read it. It discusses many references (of which only few are attributed to Mann and the “hockeystick”), and concludes that “current evidence does not support globally synchronous periods of anomalous cold or warmth over this timeframe, and the conventional terms of Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period appear to have limited utility in describing trends in hemispheric or global mean temperature changes in past centuries”. I don’t think that Mann et al. have any special prominence in this section. A quick count (and I may have miscounted a bit) shows 19 papers of which only 3 have Mann’s name on).

  47. Posted Mar 16, 2005 at 8:22 PM | Permalink

    Jeff: Just an addendum – an issue which seems to have escaped the contrarians, who generally seem to accept the papers of Soon and Baliunas (2003, Climate Research) and Soon et al (2003; Energy & Environment), which also looked at the proxy data. However, even using their crazy analysis scheme (which happily picks Medieval Warm Periods and Little Ice Ages out of smoothed random data), they concluded that MBH99 DID detect a Little Ice Age (see Table 1 in either paper).

    Don’t you have a bit of a problem with reconciling this with your observation that “the Hockey Stick radically changed our understanding of climate history over the last 1,000 years, relegating the ….. the Little Ice Age to little more than regional event(s)”?

  48. Posted Mar 17, 2005 at 12:06 AM | Permalink

    Spence_UK: You say that the statement “Over the twentieth century the increase has been 0.6+/-0.2 degrees C.” is viewed as “factual” and “hence no uncertainty caveat is applied (although a measurement tolerance is)”.

    Now this is getting very silly: The “0.6+/-0.2 degrees C” is followed by a superscript “6”, which refers to a footnote which says “in general, a 5% statistical significance level is used, and a 95% confidence level”. If this isn’t a statement of uncertainty, then I don’t know what is. I don’t know what you mean by a “measurement tolerance” (the accuracy of a thermometer?!) — I assume that the uncertainty given (“+/-0.2 degrees C”) is simply the estimated range of the increase at a 95% confidence level.

    What I did in my little article was simply to indicate, in an approximate but quantitative way, the relative importance of Mann et al. in the IPCC TAR SPM. There would be other ways of doing the counting”, but counting the obviously caveatted statements was the easiest (and, I think, reasonably robust) way. You can waste your time doing an “MM” on this, but you won’t alter the overall message an awful lot — I don’t think my “article” is a “half-truth” — it’s probably around an “80% truth”.

  49. Michael Mayson
    Posted Mar 17, 2005 at 2:51 AM | Permalink

    Re #48: Compare Figure 1 with figure 4 at this site, http://www.john-daly.com/hockey/hockey.htm. The original figures have appeared in IPCC reports. ( I wish I could put them up side-by-side here) By simple obervation “the “Hockey Stick” radically changed our understanding of climate history over the last 1,000 years, relegating the Medieval Climate Optimum and the Little Ice Age to little more than regional events”
    I don’t think Jeff has any problem at all.

  50. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 17, 2005 at 3:32 AM | Permalink

    Re #33. Yes, thanks for that David :)

  51. Hans Erren
    Posted Mar 17, 2005 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

    John Hunter,

    If I only can draw you attention to the National Geographic magazine of September 2004, in which the Mann hockeystick, without error bars, was presented as the only millennium temperature reconstruction with the CO2 level scaled linearly on top of it.

    But that is of course the journalists twisting the science, and policymakers don’t read National Geographic.

  52. Jeff Norman
    Posted Mar 17, 2005 at 8:06 AM | Permalink

    John Hunter,

    Again thank you for the replies.

    Just to clarify, unlike you, I am not a climate scientist. When I said “our understanding of climate history” I meant the understanding of people like myself who are unsteeped in the vagaries of science journals and climate models. People who attempt to gleam some understanding of a global issue from the media, the internet and the summaries prepared for us by the climate scientists and/or the bureaucrats who are our keepers.

    I will look into the Section 2.3.3 of the IPCC Third Assessment Report entitled “Was there a Little Ice Age and a Medieval Warm Period?” as you suggest. I may be slow in responding however because I am off on vacation in an attempt to escape this interminal winter.

    Jeff Norman

  53. Jeff Norman
    Posted Mar 17, 2005 at 8:21 AM | Permalink

    Michael Mayson,

    Your link to John Daly’s web site and the Hockey Stick graph shown there reminded me of something. One of the first things that struck me about the original Hockey Stick graph was the error bars. In particular the uniformity of the error bars.

    At about 1600 there was a step change in the possible error in the graph. Before that it had a constant magnitude. After that it had a constant but smaller magnitude.

    I have some experience trying to calculate error bars for trended data sets and find the uniformity in the Hockey Stick somewhat surprising. If I had been a reviewer for the original paper I would have asked, “How did they calculate the error bars?”.

    Jeff Norman

  54. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 17, 2005 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

    Jeff, My surmise as to how they calculated the error bars is that they calculated the standard deviation of the residuals in the 1902-1980 period; and set the error bar at 2 sigma, after a very weak analysis purporting to show that the errors had a normal distribution. Obviously much of the data is highly autocorrelated, which plays havoc with this type of analysis.

    I presume that the differing error bars for different steps result from different residuals in each stepwise fit.

    Notice that they don’t talk about the verification period for error bars. The R2 in the verification period for the 15th century step is almost certainly around 0.0. I doubt that any statistician would sign off on their confidence interval calculation with a verification R2 of 0.0. Regards, Steve

  55. Posted Mar 17, 2005 at 6:10 PM | Permalink

    Michael Mayson: I first got into this thread because Steve made an unreferenced claim (when I asked for a reference, he took it as impoliteness, but let’s not go back there). Now you have given a SECONDARY reference (John Daly’s site http://www.john-daly.com/hockey/hockey.htm, Fig. 1) to a figure that was originally in the 1990 IPCC report. You present it with no caveats as something which should be compared directly with the "hockeystick" of MBH 1999 (also indicated by the secondary reference to John Daly’s site, Fig. 4). There are two problems with this, one minor and major. Firstly, "Fig. 1" is just called a "schematic diagram" in the 1990 IPCC report. Secondly, and more importantly, the text of the 1990 IPCC report warns that "IT IS STILL NOT CLEAR WHETHER ALL THE FLUCTUATIONS INDICATED (i.e. in "Fig. 1") WERE TRULY GLOBAL" (my emphasis and comment in parentheses).

    In a previous posting, I referred to Section 2.3.3 of the IPCC TAR ("Was there a Little Ice Age and a Medieval Warm Period?") which just continues this discussion of whether these fluctuations were indeed truly global, with reference to around 19 papers of which only 3 seem to be attributable to Mann. To suggest that a comparison of the 1990 IPCC report and the 2001 IPCC TAR indicates that "the Hockey Stick radically changed our understanding of climate history over the last 1,000 years, relegating the Medieval Climate Optimum and the Little Ice Age to little more than regional events" is simply an invention.

    Steve: John Hunter, as usual, you either completely misunderstand or choose to misrepresent my original comment. The claim was hardly unreferenced, since the prior post had provided the reference. I had thought that the reference was clear in the context, but I did not object at all to providing a reference for greater clarity. What amused me was that, in a case where you could simply have asked for a reference, you chose to insert impolite and gratuitous language. That was my comment.

  56. John A
    Posted Mar 17, 2005 at 7:50 PM | Permalink

    To suggest that a comparison of the 1990 IPCC report and the 2001 IPCC TAR indicates that “the Hockey Stick radically changed our understanding of climate history over the last 1,000 years, relegating the Medieval Climate Optimum and the Little Ice Age to little more than regional events” is simply an invention.

    Really? Can you demonstrate any studies done prior to the release of the Hockey Stick which do not show the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age as global climatic phenomena?

  57. Posted Mar 17, 2005 at 8:24 PM | Permalink

    John A: I suggest you read the 1990 IPCC report which, as I quoted, said:

    “IT IS STILL NOT CLEAR WHETHER ALL THE FLUCTUATIONS INDICATED WERE TRULY GLOBAL”

  58. Michael Mayson
    Posted Mar 17, 2005 at 8:38 PM | Permalink

    Re #56:
    What exactly is a “schemetic diagram” and how does it differ from the hockey stick diagram?
    Surely if it’s printed in the report it’s meant to be seen and to convey a message? A picture is worth a thousand words perhaps. Regardless of any accompanying text you might quote the two diagrams convey their own message and they are radically different. They are not my invention but that of the IPCC.

  59. Jeff Norman
    Posted Mar 17, 2005 at 10:10 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    I would have thought that the relative size of the error bars was a function of the number of proxy records available for a particular year. I found it surprising that the quality of the data for 1050 was considered to be as good as the data for 1150, 1250, 1350, 1450, 1550, and then suddenly getting even better after 1600.

    And what happened to the error bars on the 20th century instrument data? According to Spence’s and John’s discussion the increase during the 20th century was 0.6 ± 0.2°C. The proxy data prior to 1900 looks to be ~±0.25°C. There are thousands of weather station records in the instrument data while there are hundreds of tree/reef/ice core samples used to approximate temperature in the proxy data and yet the potential error is only 25% larger than the instrument error. I find this… puzzling. Why didn’t the referees?

    Jeff

  60. John A
    Posted Mar 17, 2005 at 11:53 PM | Permalink

    “IT IS STILL NOT CLEAR WHETHER ALL THE FLUCTUATIONS INDICATED WERE TRULY GLOBAL”

    That’s it? One sentence that overturns everything known? Did the IPCC in 1990 make any indication as to which fluctuations were most unlikely? Did the IPCC justify the statement (which I assume wasn’t in ALL-CAPS) with references to new information or new studies?

  61. John Hunter
    Posted Mar 18, 2005 at 4:07 AM | Permalink

    John A: You ask "Did the IPCC in 1990 make any indication as to which fluctuations were most unlikely? Did the IPCC justify the statement (which I assume wasn’t in ALL-CAPS) with references to new information or new studies?". Firstly, note that I did say in posting 56 that the emphasis (that means CAPS) was mine. Secondly, I suggested in posting 58 that you read the section in the IPCC and I again suggest that you read it (I’m not your messenger boy).

    Now, John, may I ask you a question. To make it fair, I’ll tell you about myself. I’m employed at the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre. I run a website called "What’s Wrong with Still Waiting for Greenhouse" — originally to counter John Daly’s site "Still Waiting for Greenhouse" — I cover the negligible costs myself, but anyway it is now pretty well defunct. But you probably knew that already because I have been pretty open and have nothing to hide. Now, I gather that you run climateaudit (possibly from the U.K.). Can you give some indication of who you are, who else is involved in running this site and how it is funded? I know most of this for realclimate but climateaudit, on the other hand, remains mysteriously obscure. Perhaps Steve can help a bit here too.

    John replies: For the umpteenth time, who I am is none of yours or anyone else’s business . Why is there such a fascination with knowing the identities of people who dare question the global warming hypothesis? Is it just a sheer lack of evidence that causes these people to scurry to personal attacks? Or is it just a desperate attempt to try to misdirect conversations by trying to involve people’s personal lives on the Internet for the benefit of no-one but a few psychopaths? I have not asked anyone to give personal information because I want to hear just debate on the issues in climate science, without unnecessary divertions into people’s personal motives or political leanings or anything else that is irrelevant. You want to disrobe in front of the Internet? – that’s your business. I choose not to.

    The funding from this site comes entirely from Steve McIntyre. The site hosting costs around C$12.79+GST per month from webserve.ca. I provide administration for the weblog at no cost. I am a computer consultant and I live in the UK. That’s all you need to know.

    You have plenty to hide, John Hunter. You have made statement after statement that you refuse to backup with actual evidence. You have made the claim that there was no paradigm shift in climate science when the Hockey Stick was published – now produce some evidence of that claim and stop trying to bore everyone else into submission. I’ll give you a clue: an ambiguous statement from the IPCC in 1990 is not evidence that the MWP and LIA were not strongly supported by evidence that the IPCC was aware of.

    I have read the IPCC section in question. Since it was written wholly or in part by Michael Mann, I do not regard it as an unbiased, authoritative commentary on the current state of climate science, but a supplementary justification for the unjustifiable inclusion of the Hockey Stick into the IPCC TAR – a reconstruction that McIntyre and McKitrick have since shown to be scientifically invalid, and other independent groups have come to the same conclusion.

  62. Michael Mayson
    Posted Mar 18, 2005 at 6:34 AM | Permalink

    John H: What possible relevance does this
    “I cover the negligible costs myself, but anyway it is now pretty well defunct. But you probably knew that already because I have been pretty open and have nothing to hide. Now, I gather that you run climateaudit (possibly from the U.K.). Can you give some indication of who you are, who else is involved in running this site and how it is funded? I know most of this for realclimate but climateaudit, on the other hand, remains mysteriously obscure.”
    have to the discussion?

    Do you mean to say that if John A. is funded by “BigOil” that suddenly his words undergo some transmutation?
    Would we then find some hidden ‘evil’ subliminal message – perhaps by reading it backwards?

    Surely, the ideas and arguments presented here stand on their own.
    The only reason I can think of for your disclosure request would be a need for ammunition for future ad-hominem attacks!

  63. David H
    Posted Mar 18, 2005 at 12:33 PM | Permalink

    If this forum was funded by the oil industry (which is most unlikely) it would still be more open than RealClimate. I do not see thread on that site posting comments that were rejected here.

  64. John Hunter
    Posted Mar 18, 2005 at 5:57 PM | Permalink

    John A: Well, if you expect future responses to your questions, then you’d sure as hell better tell me more about your identity. Talking to an anonymous person is a bit like talking into a toilet bowl (lavatory bowl, head bowl …. for non-Australians) and that’s one road I’ve come to the end of (forgive the mixed metaphor).

    John repliesI have no way to verify that you are John Hunter or that you do work where you say you work. Please post your telephone number, address, date of birth, credit card number and next of kin.

    Michael Mayson: you say "Surely, the ideas and arguments presented here stand on their own." I don’t know where this idea originally came from — presumably from an anonymous person trying to justify his/her anonymity. Look, I don’t buy a television from a company I know nothing about. I don’t buy snake oil from a snake oil salesman because I know all about snake oil salesmen. And I don’t buy ideas from people who insist on remaining anonymous. Things like qualifications and motivations do actually count for something in this game.

  65. John Hunter
    Posted Mar 18, 2005 at 10:53 PM | Permalink

    As a further comment on John A’s contention that identity is unimportant, I marvel at the remarkable hypocrisy of someone who can say IN THE SAME POSTING (number 61):

    "Why is there such a fascination with knowing the identities of people who dare question the global warming hypothesis? Is it just a sheer lack of evidence that causes these people to scurry to personal attacks? Or is it just a desperate attempt to try to misdirect conversations by trying to involve people’s personal lives on the Internet for the benefit of no-one but a few psychopaths? I have not asked anyone to give personal information because I want to hear just debate on the issues in climate science, without unnecessary divertions into people’s personal motives or political leanings or anything else that is irrelevant. You want to disrobe in front of the Internet? – that’s your business. I choose not to."

    and also:

    "I have read the IPCC section in question. Since it was written wholly or in part by Michael Mann, I do not regard it as an unbiased, authoritative commentary on the current state of climate science, but a supplementary justification for the unjustifiable inclusion of the Hockey Stick into the IPCC TAR."

    So, knowing the identitity of climate scientists is important so that contrarians can dismiss what they say, but the identity of contrarians is "irrelevant" — is this the way you guys would like it to work?

    John replies:

    Perhaps John Hunter you would like to explain why Michael Mann’s justification into the IPCC TAR is valid and my questioning of it is not. Since it is Michael Mann’s work that is causing me to pay higher taxes and deal with a political system based on a delusion, perhaps you’d like to explain why Michael Mann’s work is correct, and why no-one should be able to question it.

    Michael Mann was a lead author in the IPCC, and he put his name to it, therefore it is unassailable? Is that what you’d have use believe? Steve McIntyre put his name to the criticism of Mann’s work, why don’t you answer HIS questions about Mann’s work? Too bashful? Too afraid that he might be right?

    John Hunter appears to believe that people should be disqualified from getting answers unless they publicly disrobe on the Internet first.

    Even other climatologists and atmospheric scientists think that Mann’s work is wrong. Are they disqualified from questioning this “consensus” as well? Where does it stop?

    A piece of public policy (as it now is) backed by people whose work cannot be questioned unless you have the right qualifications and the correct political viewpoint is not a consensus. It is a CABAL.

  66. John Hunter
    Posted Mar 19, 2005 at 3:51 AM | Permalink

    John A: Hello "John" — please introduce yourself.

    John replies: I wish to know who wishes to know who I am. Please post your home address, telephone number, bank account number, credit card number and name of supervisor so that I may make a thorough background check before replying. On the other hand, this person could confine himself to answering questions posted by Steve McIntyre instead of trolling.

  67. Michael Mayson
    Posted Mar 19, 2005 at 5:06 AM | Permalink

    John Hunter writes ” Things like qualifications and motivations do actually count for something in this game.”

    I disagree completely.

    First of all, “appeal to authority” (qualifications) and “appeal to motives”(motivations) are well known logical fallacies. They are errors of reasoning and count for nothing in the debate.
    I repeat, ideas and arguments stand or fall on their content , not their provenance.

    Secondly, the debate may be a “game” to John Hunter – maybe for him a game of throwing insults – but it isn’t a game to me.

  68. Michael Ballantine
    Posted Mar 19, 2005 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

    To the person claiming to be John Hunter.
    In #65 you said “Look, I don’t buy a television from a company I know nothing about.” I think it highly unlikely that you know what you think you know. As an insider to the industry I know a lot about Television manufacturers (I have worked with all of them) that the public does not know. They don’t even know that they don’t know. For example, less than 10% of all televisions sold in the world are actually made by the company who’s name is on the set. In fact, most of the old big names in television no longer exist. The name is now used by a different manufacturer. The public does not know this. Even with large companies that make both tubes and final televisions it can still be misleading as it is common to use each others tubes in the televisions. No one is best at all sizes of tubes. I have not cited any of the actual names as I am still bound by non-disclosure agreements regarding the details. This general information is not really a secret but nobody draws attention to it because it would mess up the marketing of the brand names to the uneducated public who do not know that they do not know the truth. They buy brand “x” because their family has always bought brand “x”. They don’t know that for the last 10 years the only difference between it and brand “c” is the name on the box and the shape of the molded plastic case.
    The vast majority of the public and polititions only know what is marketed to them and it is not always the truth. It is whatever sells the product.
    AGW is a very expensive product that everyone is expected to buy into. So far, the facts are unsubtantiated, unverifiable through lack of full disclosure and disagreement with the party line is actively suppressed. The proponents of AGW apparently do not want the truth about AGW to get out, probably because there is BIG MONEY to be made off the party line.
    Global Warming is not really in dispute. Anthropogenic Global Warming is very much in dispute. To “scientists” who stand behind AGW I say “Put up or shut up. Full disclosure NOW or publicly remove your opinions until you do provide full disclosure and it is independantly verified.” Meanwhile, I AM NOT BUYING IT!

  69. Spence_UK
    Posted Mar 19, 2005 at 7:43 PM | Permalink

    To John Hunter

    Sorry I haven’t replied sooner I’ve been away on field trials

    Now this is getting very silly

    Yes, your article was silly, I cannot deny this. My decision to criticise your silly article was as silly as your article, accepted. My logic though, was sound, although I chose a bad example, so I’ve got a few more to illustrate the omission implicit in your analysis.

    The “0.6+/-0.2 degrees C” is followed by a superscript “6”‚ⱼ/blockquote>
    Yep, good point, I chose a bad example, but there are plenty of better ones: how about (from page 4, my emphasis)

    Since the start of thesatellite record in 1979, both satellite and weather balloon measurements show that the global average temperature of the lowest 8 kilometres has changed by 0.05 +/- 0.10 dg C per decade

    Oops no superscript 6 there was there? how about, from the same page (my emphasis)

    There has been widespread retreat of mountain glaciers in non-polar regions during the 20th century

    Gosh, no superscript there either!

    I notice in your comment above you talk a lot about the superscript (straw man, plenty of other examples to show) but didn’t address the uncaveated comment that could only come from Mann’s analysis? You also ignore the important point about the uncaveated “totemising” of Mann’s curve by innumerate groups including NGOs, political bodies, “scientific” groups etc. (see “spot the hockey stick” section of this site for many many examples). Straw man squared?

    You can waste your time doing an “MM” on this

    Umm… aren’t you doing an “MM” on “MM” by virtue of your article? So I’m doing an “MM” on your “MM” of “MM”. But your comment response is an “MM” on my “MM” of your “MM” of “MM”. Or maybe we’re engaging in a debate? I appreciate such a thing is shunned by most “real” climate scientists.

    What I did in my little article was simply to indicate, in an approximate but quantitative way, the relative importance of Mann et al. in the IPCC TAR SPM.

    David H.s comparison of the Iraq WMD is a good analogy here

    But your best line has to be:

    I don’t think my “article” is a “half-truth” — it’s probably around an “80% truth”.

    ROTFLMAO. This quote says it all. In the world of half-truths, you’re one of the better ones then. But I don’t think probability is descriptive enough. In Dempster-Shafer terms, I think your belief function is nearing total uncertainty.

  70. John Hunter
    Posted Mar 19, 2005 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

    Michael Mayson: Well, at least you have a net name that sounds as if it might actually be your real name, so I’ll give you two of the reasons why I would want to talk to people on the internet:

    1. To learn something: for this, I would need to be satisfied that the person I was talking to was actually experienced in the subject. This would certainly be true for the people who run realclimate — I can verify this be looking at their own home pages, reading their publications and communicating with them in private (since I know their private emails). It does not seem much sense to me trying to learn from someone who clearly does not have that experience, or who is unwilling to divulge any details that would indicate that they have. I would therefore want to know something about their QUALIFICATIONS.

    2. To convince someone of the things I believe to be true: for this, I would need to be satisfied that the person I was talking to was receptive to new ideas, could possibly be convinced about what I have to say and was not simply on a mission (e.g. greenhouse contrarianism). I would therefore want to know something about their MOTIVATION.

    Note that “John A” satisfies neither of these criteria.

    So, appeals to “authority” and “motives” may well be logical fallacies to you — they are, however, pretty good time management strategies, used by most people. To believe that you can have useful technical discussions with technically inept people seems to be not just a fallacy, but the height of naivety.

    Perhaps YOUR logical fallacy is to assume that the greenhouse issue is simply a “debate” where the object of the exercise is to convince the other side and onlockers that you are right. “Ideas and arguments” may well “stand or fall on their content” during this process, but if they are not well-informed, invalid “ideas and arguments” finish up “standing” while valid “ideas and arguments” finish up “falling”.

  71. John Hunter
    Posted Mar 19, 2005 at 9:02 PM | Permalink

    Michael Ballantine: You say “Put up or shut up. Full disclosure NOW or publicly remove your opinions until you do provide full disclosure and it is independantly verified.” Fine. Tell please tell me what (of the things I know) that you would like me to disclose.

  72. John A.
    Posted Mar 20, 2005 at 1:27 AM | Permalink

    To learn something: for this, I would need to be satisfied that the person I was talking to was actually experienced in the subject. This would certainly be true for the people who run realclimate — I can verify this be looking at their own home pages, reading their publications and communicating with them in private (since I know their private emails). It does not seem much sense to me trying to learn from someone who clearly does not have that experience, or who is unwilling to divulge any details that would indicate that they have. I would therefore want to know something about their QUALIFICATIONS.

    Appeal to authority fallacy

    When John Hunter believes something to be true, it is because the belief comes from someone he thinks is authoritative, regardless of the quality of their work.

    To convince someone of the things I believe to be true: for this, I would need to be satisfied that the person I was talking to was receptive to new ideas, could possibly be convinced about what I have to say and was not simply on a mission (e.g. greenhouse contrarianism). I would therefore want to know something about their MOTIVATION.

    argumentum ad hominem”

    “Greenhouse contrarianism” – when John Hunter can’t produce evidence to back up his claims, the problem is that the other guy is a contrarian.

    So, appeals to “authority” and “motives” may well be logical fallacies to you — they are, however, pretty good time management strategies, used by most people. To believe that you can have useful technical discussions with technically inept people seems to be not just a fallacy, but the height of naivety.

    They are fallacies to everybody. You have no proof that I am “technically inept” and this whole speil is an arm-waving waste of time to get away from the fact that you refuse to justify your beliefs with actual evidence. Climate science isn’t that hard (as I remember from doing it at Uni), neither complicated math nor difficult to follow technical procedure.

    You appear to want an “out” for your lack of evidence. When I speak to professors of physics in relativity theory, I don’t get this crap about “you asking these questions because you’re a “relativity contrarian” or “you’re not qualified to ask questions of someone like me” – I get chapter and verse of theory and experimental evidence that I can check for myself.

    I won’t be silenced from asking questions of climate scientists. I continue to ask scientists directly about their results (I have quite an extensive correspondence) and none of them have ever questioned my motivations or my prior beliefs. They’ve just given me chapter and verse and are quite happy to admit limitations of their evidence.

  73. Michael Mayson
    Posted Mar 20, 2005 at 3:12 AM | Permalink

    John Hunter: One last try. In the 1960’s there was a British scientist called Eric Laithwaite who taught at Manchester University and made a name for himself in the theory of electrical AC induction machines. Amongst other things, he developed the basis for modern maglev technology for high speed rail transport. He was successful and highly respected, so respected that he was invited to deliver the prestigious Faraday Lecture at the Royal Institution in 1973.

    Well, to say the least, it was a disaster. He had become fascinated with the world of gyroscopes. He gradually convinced himself that they broke known scientific laws and might be a new source of power and decided to make this the subject of his Lecture.
    He brought with him an array of gyroscopes, including one weighing 50lb that he spun up and raised effortlessly above his head with one hand, claiming it had lost weight and so contravened Newton’s third law. The world of science was scandalised. For the first time in its history, the Royal Institution failed to publish the Faraday Lecture and Laithwaite’s nomination for a Fellowship of the Royal Society was cancelled.

    Now, applying your principle – where authority counts – the Royal Society should not have so reacted – after all there was a man of authority, qualifications and standing making important announcements which overturned accepted knowledge.

    In fact, what the Royal Society did was employ my principle – they looked at the content – and they correctly identified it as rubbish.

    It was an ignominious end of career for a highly talented man but hubris was eventually his downfall. His qualifications and standing counted for nothing in the face of a dispassionate judgement of his lecture.

  74. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 20, 2005 at 4:17 AM | Permalink

    Michael, #74 exactly! Scientists CAN spot what’s right and what’s wrong (surely the RS was the authority?). And what is right is that CO2 is a ghg, that we are increasing it’s atmospheric concentration *like mad*, that this WILL have an effect, and that whether the hockey stick is right or wrong (I’m inclinded to accept it’s not perfect (never thought it was) just for the sake of arguement) wont make *a jot of difference* to that. That’s what people need to realise. They also need to realise that if climate varies more than the hockey stick indicate, then, in a way, we should actually be *MORE* concerned since that would mean climate is less stable. Those unconcerned about climate change should support the Hockey stick and rubbish Von Storch :O

    Now, since climate models aren’t very good the best we can say is that warming seems likely to be somewhere between 1-5C (or, given the latest evidence 2-4Cish). 1C will be OK, but 4C not. Yes, we don’t know which will be right. Yes, people can dismiss prediction of 4C warming but you do that on the basis of it possibly being wrong but not that it is wrong. Me, I’ve allways taken the mid point as perhaps being most likely – but I don’t know.

    I do know that those who say there will be no more warming are flying in the face of what we *know*.

  75. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 20, 2005 at 4:37 AM | Permalink

    From #65

    "John A: Well, if you expect future responses to your questions, then you’d sure as hell better tell me more about your identity. Talking to an anonymous person is a bit like talking into a toilet bowl (lavatory bowl, head bowl …. for non-Australians) and that’s one road I’ve come to the end of (forgive the mixed metaphor).

    John replies: I have no way to verify that you are John Hunter or that you do work where you say you work. Please post your telephone number, address, date of birth, credit card number and next of kin."

    John A, jese you’re being damn silly. It’s absolutely clear John Hunter is John Hunter – check out his website. As to who you are, I haven’t a clue, but, I am preparred, in a spirt of openness, to privately e mail you all my details bar my credit card number (why would you want that?) – though of course I’d need a e mail address from you and I’d expect you to reciprocate….Indeed, I think this a way forward. I’d be happy knowing who I was talking to but be quite preparred to solemnly undertake to maintain their anonymity in public if they so wished.

    This place is a bit like the UK TV programme ‘question time’ but on the net. The panel includes John Hunter, Steve McIntyre, Michael Mayson, Jeff Norman, and several blokes with brown paper bags over their heads. Fact is if you want your views considered and respected *widely* in the end you’ll have to be more open with people.

    John replies: I don’t want my views considered and respected *widely*. I simply want answers to straight questions. It is irrelevant who I am, and I will not compromise my privacy for the sake of a spurious “spirit of openness”. Unlike you, I live and work in a world where my professional reputation is paramount, and the behavior of GW believers to commit character assassination by spreading false and malicious lies is all too evident.

    In any case, you have spent 95% of your time attacking people for their motives, 5% making scientific statements without a scintilla of evidence and 0% actually replying to serious questions with serious answers. The pretence of just being a “simple farmer” is wearing rather thin.

  76. John Hunter
    Posted Mar 20, 2005 at 5:17 AM | Permalink

    Spence_UK: well your name certainly doesn’t give much away, so this is my last reply to you unless you introduce yourself properly. I don’t understand much of what you have said, but here ar a few responses to some of the things I did understand:

    >> Oops no superscript 6 there was there?

    I will excuse silliness once. However, twice strongly suggests mischief. You might have noticed that the FIRST occurrence of a "+/-" in the SPM was accompanied by the footnote that uncertainties were represented by "a 5% statistical significance" or a "95% confidence level". The writers clearly expected the reader to have the wit to remember this and so did not reference the footnote when further "+/-" occurred.

    >> Gosh, no superscript there either!

    So, you do not believe that "there has been widespread retreat of mountain glaciers in non-polar regions during the 20th century"? You think this should be qualified with an uncertainty? Can you suggest what the uncertainty should be (if you are going to answer this one, please provide adequate technical justification)?

    ——————————————————————————–

    Michael Mayson: I’m not sure what you are trying to say. What I am saying is that I see little point in carrying out technical conversations with people who (a) are not technically experienced or (b) have already made up their minds and will not be convinced any other way. To take this to mean that I would not question someone with technical experience (what you call "authority") seems a rather remarkable feat of mental gymnastics.

    John responds: But if that someone responds that you’re not as qualified as they are, and to question them is to be a “contrarian”, would you just accept that, or regard it as the height of arrogance for that person to behave like that?

  77. David H
    Posted Mar 20, 2005 at 1:08 PM | Permalink

    Peter (re#75)

    In terms of unravelling the science of climate we are in its infancy. So far as I am aware all we really know and can “prove” classically is that CO2 absorbs radiation at, among others, long wave infra red corresponding to about –27 degC. After that I think its mostly theory. When a scientist tells me the answer is between 1 and 5 I think he or she has some way to go before having a full understanding.
    For instance do we know how much of the long wave radiation that starts at the surface actually leaves the planet right now? I know the satellites see some but is that from the surface or radiated from CO2 in the atmosphere much higher?
    Has anyone done a “classic” experiment (not modelled) to disprove the possibility that at the current level of CO2 all the long wave energy that can be trapped already is? Presumably someone has set up radiating source at the right frequency and suitably modulated for ease of detection and seen how far it goes?

  78. Andy
    Posted Mar 20, 2005 at 2:18 PM | Permalink

    I really was tempted to publish a comment here under the name of Peter Hearnden or John Hunter, only to play the devil’s advocate and to show John and Peter how easy that is. Whether I fill in Bill Gates or Johann Sebastian Bach here, along with some real or not real e-mail address, the software will faithfully display this name with my comment. Or, imagine, a PR guy of Exxon Mobile (to serve some stereotypes) could infiltrate with some famous climatologist’s name, posting some subtle, not too strong criticism on main stream climatology, and Peter and John would stand in awe facing this big name…
    So, like many others have already said, these blog or usenet debates are all about contents, and nothing about status. I know how disturbing the electronic media are for some people in that, especially for those having to lose traditional status pieces gained mainly in pre-internet era, or those being accustomed to the (deceptive) security or comfort of certain status indicators in this era. No more “look, my Rolex”, “look, my Mercedes”, not even “look, my citations” or “look, my Google hits”, it is contents, nothing more. This has disadvantages, yes, but I am not sure if they offset the advantages, it is reality anyway. And, John Hunter, in a scientific debate a scientist, standing on his own two feet, rather quickly should be able to decide whether a contribution is well-founded or suspicious, well-worth to discuss or not, without knowing anything on the publications history, on the acedemic status of the contributor.

  79. Spence_UK
    Posted Mar 20, 2005 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

    So, you do not believe that “there has been widespread retreat of mountain glaciers in non-polar regions during the 20th century”? You think this should be qualified with an uncertainty?

    You really have lost the plot here haven’t you! Allow me to remind you of the tenor of my argument. I was providing examples where factual statements were used without caveats, to show that there were situations (generally dealing with factual statements) that did not bear caveats. I am NOT criticising the presence or lack of caveats on these statements. Given this, I also listed (in my original comment #46) an example of an uncaveated statement (i.e. read as “fact”) that could only come from the Mann curve. Therefore, the Mann curve is treated incorrectly as “factual” (i.e. necessary truth) in the IPCC TAR in direct contradiction with your article. I didn’t think my line of logic was that difficult to follow, perhaps I was mistaken.

    These points are broadly moot anyway, I was really just illustrating the biassed and meaningless nature of your article, since the IPCC TAR is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to promotion of the Mann temperature curve (see spot the hockey stick elsewhere on this site).

    John, you don’t have to debate with me on this blog, we are able to do so thanks to the generosity of the blog owners and the right we enjoy to freedom of speech. There is no obligation to expose identities and, in reality, our debate will probably achieve little in the greater scheme of things, except perhaps a marginally better understanding of each others positions, whether we expose identities or not.

  80. Spence_UK
    Posted Mar 20, 2005 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

    And what is right is that CO2 is a ghg, that we are increasing it’s atmospheric concentration *like mad*

    I take it you still haven’t read the Wagner et al article I gave you a link to? You know, the one that concludes

    Our results falsify the concept of relatively stabilized Holocene CO2 concentrations of 270 to 280 ppmv until the industrial revolution. SI-based CO2 reconcstructions may even suggest that, during the early Holocene, atmospheric CO2 concentrations that were greater than 300 ppmv could have been the rule rather than the exception

    So – “increasing like mad” or “high, but within natural variability”?

    It seems paramount of the current anthropogenic global warming argument to claim that the climate of the earth is some kind of highly stable system that barely changed at all until mankind came along; the Mann temperature curve and ice core records are the classic examples of trying to push this line. But it doesn’t sit well with the fact that climate is naturally chaotic, and under these conditions one would expect it to be highly variable. Most of the evidence promoted by groups like the IPCC “cherry pick” the studies which implicitly remove the underlying variability to promote acceptance of a falsehood which conveniently matches model output.

    I do know that those who say there will be no more warming are flying in the face of what we *know*.

    I guess I’m not one of those who claim there will be no more warming, since I don’t claim to be able to predict the future, so I’ll give you my view: I do believe it is more likely (not certain) that the current climate warming is within natural variability, anthropogenic effects are marginal and that the model-based projections are highly specious.

  81. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 20, 2005 at 4:51 PM | Permalink

    Re #75 – David, one of the many surprising aspects of the IPCC reports is that none of the 3 Assessment Reports contains a quantitative analysis of infrared frequencies affected by increasing CO2. If you look at infrared spectra, you will see that the most important CO2 bands are already saturated. The increasing absorption is said to occur in wings and weak bands. The best analysis that I’ve seen is by Shepard Clough, JGR circa 1995, who also analyzes the interaction with H2O absorption. (Some of the weak bands overlap with H2O bands).

    There are some interesting issues with near infra-red absorption (inbound) with water vapor, where there have been material changes in the parameterization since 2001 (plus there were some amusing clerical errors in HITRAN-96 (or GEISA equivalent) used in all the IPCC TAR GCMs for the NIR water vapor absorption. The clerical errors were larger than the effect of 2xCO2.
    I’ll post up some comments by Belmiloud on this.
    Regards, Steve

  82. Posted Mar 20, 2005 at 4:54 PM | Permalink

    Spence_UK: I’m sorry if I never responded to your earlier statement about
    the IPCC TAR SPM (posting 46):

    > But hold on! What’s this on page 3, figure 1(b), my emphasis:

    >> Nevertheless the rate and duration of the 20th century warming
    >> has been much greater than in any of the previous nine centuries

    > Oops! That is the same language used to describe facts. Hmm but
    > it sounds rather like something to do with the millennium temperature
    > record to me. But surely the IPCC wouldn’t be so loose with language?
    > Conveniently, as it isn’t caveated, it doesn’t appear in John Hunters
    > count.

    Firstly, the text to which you refer is a Figure caption, describing what the figure shows. Most readers would therefore expect such a description to implicitly carry the caveats of the work to which it applies.

    Secondly, I explained to you in posting 49 that “What I did in my little article was simply to indicate, in an approximate but quantitative way, the relative importance of Mann et al. in the IPCC TAR SPM. There would be other ways of doing the counting, but counting the obviously caveatted statements was the easiest (and, I think, reasonably robust) way. You can waste your time doing an “MM” on this …..”. If you think you can do a different analysis of the relative prominence of Mann et al. in the IPCC TAR SPM, and that it shows a substantially different result, then please do. But if you want to count all the “uncaveated” statement about Mann et al., you have to count all the other uncaveated statements too.

    Finally, you state (posting 80) that “the Mann curve is treated incorrectly as “factual” (i.e. necessary truth) in the IPCC TAR in direct contradiction with your article.” This is completely incorrect — perhaps you should re-read my article which was carefully worded. It says:

    > The IPCC TAR summarised its findings in a “Summary for Policymakers”,
    > which described the present state of climate-change research using
    > 52 statements.

    I DID NOT claim that the ONLY statements in the SPM were these 52, or that these 52 were the only statements which referred to Mann et al.

  83. Posted Mar 20, 2005 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

    Andy: I have no doubt that you could pretend to be me and post something under my name. However, pehaps we differ in outlook. I tend to trust other people unless there is clear evidence to suggest I shouldn’t. So, if someone says they are someone, then, in the first instance I believe them.

  84. Posted Mar 20, 2005 at 5:19 PM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre: If you want this site to be taken seriously and not viewed as a place where the loony fringe get together, I suggest that you counsel "John A" about making claims such as "the behavior of GW believers to commit character assassination by spreading false and malicious lies is all too evident" (posting 76).

    Now, I have never made those sort of general claims about contrarians, and I hope that I will never feel justified to. I know of one contrarian who has demonstrated a rather spectacular disregard for the truth (the facts of this particular case are rather easy to find on the web), but my general view of the contrarian "ethic" is as described at //www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=121#comments (posting 26). Maliciousness and overt lying are not characteristics that I would generally assign to contrarians.

    John replies: In regard to "the behavior of GW believers to commit character assassination by spreading false and malicious lies is all too evident". Presumably you’ve never read the charming comments of your intellectual peers on Usenet.

    As to the case of John Daly and your “demonstration” it appears that out of his considerable output, you managed to contest (never mind whether correctly or not) surprisingly little. Perhaps because John Daly got lots of things correctly, and gave one of the first thorough debunkings of the Hockey Stick that still stand today.

    Of course the idea that you don’t commit character assassination is a risible falsehood. One needs only to see your output on the “What’s wrong…” web page (it’s not long enough to be a website, IMHO) or your output here in the comments to realise that beyond the bluster, there’s precious little science to be had. Like Michael Mann, you clearly regard non-believers in the Hockey Stick with barely concealed contempt.

    Witness Michael Mann’s riposte about skeptics:

    “From an intellectual point of view, these contrarians are pathetic, because there’s no scientific validity to their arguments whatsoever,” Mann says. “But they’re very skilled at deducing what sorts of disingenuous arguments and untruths are likely to be believable to the public that doesn’t know better.”

    Nope, no character assassination there, either. Not that Steve notices these things…

  85. Spence_UK
    Posted Mar 20, 2005 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

    Firstly, the text to which you refer is a Figure caption, describing what the figure shows. Most readers would therefore expect such a description to implicitly carry the caveats of the work to which it applies.

    The sentence immediately following it (still within the figure caption) contains the likely caveat and superscript. This shows your statement here to be utter rubbish.

    Secondly, I explained to you in posting 49 that “What I did in my little article was simply to indicate, in an approximate but quantitative way

    Correction: in a subjective, and meaningless way, for the reasons I have given.

    You can waste your time doing an “MM” on this

    Still throwing stones at this particular glass house? Your article is an “MM” of its own. Get over it.

    perhaps you should re-read my article which was carefully worded. It says:

    > The IPCC TAR summarised its findings in a “Summary for Policymakers”,
    > which described the present state of climate-change research using
    > 52 statements.

    There is nothing carefully worded about this. The SPM contains more than 52 statements. I assume it contains (approx) 52 caveated statements, and many more uncaveated statements. You do not make it clear in your article that you have chosen a method of counting which rejects statements that do not support your argument. Very unscientific. But then I am assuming you are a scientist, which you may not be. The errors in this article would be more typical of a journalist.

    Once again I reiterate that the point is moot, the totemising of this curve by politicians and scientists alike means the IPCC TAR is really only the tip of the iceberg. Your whole article is a series of straw men carefully and neatly balanced on top of each other.

  86. Michael Mayson
    Posted Mar 20, 2005 at 8:06 PM | Permalink

    John Hunter: in #77 you write “Michael Mayson: I’m not sure what you are trying to say.” I’m sorry that the analogue passed you by. Try substituting “Mann et al” for “Eric Laithwaite” and “IPCC” for “Royal Society” except that the “Royal Society” did what the “IPCC” should have done and you might get the drift. The IPCC “appealed to authority” and did not examine the content!

  87. Posted Mar 20, 2005 at 8:34 PM | Permalink

    Steve: Your faceless flunky ("John A") is not doing you any favours. Today he claimed (posting 85):

    1. "One needs only to see your output on the “What’s wrong…” web page ….. or your output here in the comments to realise that beyond the bluster, there’s precious little science to be had." — Do you agree with this statement? You may not agree with my "science", either on my web site or here, but I think you would agree that it is "science" (even if only "bad" science). I certainly took a lot of trouble over "What’s Wrong With …." to ensure that I dealt only with subjects not too far from my own field, and that I had my facts right.

    2. "Like Michael Mann, you clearly regard non-believers in the Hockey Stick with barely concealed contempt." — Again, this is completely untrue. Even though John A has tried to bully me to say otherwise, I have been careful to make the point that I think the jury is still out on the "hockeystick" (for example, see posting 22 in which I said "I have never offered to produce ‘a coherent reason why McIntyre, McKitrick, von Storch, Cubasch are all individually wrong and Mann must be correct’ – it isn’t my field and I am happy to leave the proponents on both sides to argue their cases themselves (it may come as a surprise to some of you, but this isn’t a war in which I am fighting under the direction of General Mann)".

    Steve, I have a certain respect for you, stemming originally from some quite friendly (even useful) discussions on climatesceptics. I also have some respect for your analytical abilities and I suspect you really believe that what you are doing is useful (I don’t — I think it is destructive and time-wasting). I doubt that you are receiving direct support from fossil fuels industry. I don’t think you lie (although I have taken you to task in another posting for misleading the reader by presenting a PC as if it were a reconstruction). I think we can have useful discussions — even if you may regard me as "impolite". Unlike "John A" you are pretty measured in your replies. However, if you want to drive all "consensus" climate scientists from this site, entrusting your blog to "John A" seems to be a pretty good way to go.

    John replies: I counted at least six logical fallacies. Can you do better, readers? I loved the “I suspect you really believe that what you are doing is useful (I don’t — I think it is destructive and time-wasting)” bit. Steve will love it, too.

  88. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 21, 2005 at 3:49 AM | Permalink

    Re #79. Well, it seems you might not be preparred to lie, since not post has been added using my name falsely. Any one who does will be spotted.

    “So, like many others have already said, these blog or usenet debates are all about contents, and nothing about status” OK, on that basis I can simply ignore any status Wagner, quoted in post #81, might have?

  89. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 21, 2005 at 4:01 AM | Permalink

    From post #76, John A said,

    "I don’t want my views considered and respected *widely*. I simply want answers to straight questions. It is irrelevant who I am, and I will not compromise my privacy for the sake of a spurious “spirit of openness". Unlike you, I live and work in a world where my professional reputation is paramount, and the behavior of GW believers to commit character assassination by spreading false and malicious lies is all too evident."

    A classic John A response. The first few sentences gives hints of a lofty above the fray attitude the last is a stream of insult and invective, and since it was a reply to one of my post presumably it’s directed at me. OK, please point out where I’ve ‘commited character assassination of you (or anyone) by spreading false and malicious lies’. That sir, is a disgraceful accusation to make of me or anyone. I’d like you to put up or shut up – I doubt you’ve got the honour to do either LOL.

    I hope I have quite a good reputation. I certainly don’t go around liberally accusing others of being liars…

    John replies: the intention of Peter Hearnden is the same as John Hunter – to get me to shut up. I will not give up my privacy for some spurious reason of "openness". The behavior of GW believers to commit character assassination by spreading false and malicious lies is evident on many websites as well as Usenet – just ask Ross McKitrick or Steve McIntyre or Bjorn Lomborg or Patrick Michaels. Your tasteless comparison of me to someone who believed in the scientific fraud of Dr Andrew Wakefield and the MMR scare is a case in point.

    This trolling has got to stop because I’m sick of repeating myself for the benefit of two posters. Like John Hunter you like picking on someone not because of any scientific or factual issue, but a made-up argument about my identity, as if the entire world of science hinges upon this question. It doesn’t. It’s a smokescreen for poverty of your arguments. You certainly believe you have a good reputation but that belief does not accord with reality.

    Now either confine yourself to issues of climate science or go away.

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