WSJ Editorial

The Wall Street Journal ran editorial today in which M&M were mentioned. They say:

Mr. Mann has never offered a serious rebuttal to the McIntyre-McKitrick critique. He has refused to fully explain his methodology, claiming he’s the victim of "intimidation." That’s odd when you consider that the sine qua non of real science is independently verifiable and reproducible results.

The WSJ editorial shows the pre-Mann temperature graphic from the IPCC 1990 report. It’s pretty remarkable how seamlessly IPCC went from the 1990 graph to the Mann hockey stick. When you think about it, most of the proxy data used in MBH98-99 (and especially the data that "matters") was already around in 1990.

Update: Here is a link to the editorial.

See link.

14 Comments

  1. John Hunter
    Posted Jun 22, 2005 at 12:46 AM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre:

    You say “it’s pretty remarkable how seamlessly IPCC went from the 1990 graph to the Mann hockey stick”. Indeed it is, if you read the relevant sections of the 1990, 1995 and 2001 IPCC Assessments (but I appreciate that the contrarian promotional line conveniently ignores the 1995 Assessment). Don’t you think that it is a good thing that these discussions followed a reasonably steady developmental course rather than consisting of one single quantum leap from one belief to another?

    It is therefore heartening that you accept that this process was “seamless”. Let me just provide a few observations on the IPCC reports:

    1990 Assessment:

    The “pre-Mann temperature graphic from the IPCC 1990 report” is, presumably, Figure 7.1 of Section 7.2.1, the caption of which reads: “SCHEMATIC diagrams of local temperature ….”. (My emphases.)

    Here is one quote from Section 7.2.1:

    “The period since the end of the last glaciation has been characterized by small changes in global average temperature with a range of probably less than 2 deg C (Figure 7.1), though IT IS STILL NOT CLEAR WHETHER ALL THE FLUCTUATIONS WERE TRULY GLOBAL”. (My emphases.)

    1995 Assessment (BEFORE Michael Mann was directly involved in the IPCC Assessment):

    “There are, for this last millennium, two periods which have received special attention, the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. These have been interpreted, AT TIMES, as periods of global warmth and coolness, respectively. Recent studies have re-evaluated the interval commonly known as the Medieval Warm Period to assess the magnitude and geographical extent of any prolonged warm interval between the 9th and 14th centuries ….. The available evidence is limited and IS EQUIVOCAL. A number of records do indeed show evidence for warmer conditions at some time during this interval ….. However other records SHOW NO SUCH EVIDENCE, or indicate that warmer conditions prevailed, BUT AT DIFFERENT TIMES.” (My emphases.)

    “However, at this point, it is not yet possible to say whether, on a hemispherical scale, temperatures declined from the 11-12th to the 16-17th century. Nor, therefore, is it possible to conclude that global temperatures in the Medieval Warm Period were comparable to the warm decades of the 20th century.”

    “The term Little Ice Age is often used to describe a 400-500 year long, globally synchronous cold interval, but studies now show that the climate of the last few centuries was more spatially and temporally complex than this simple concept implies ….. It was a period of BOTH WARM AND COLD CLIMATIC ANOMALIES that varied in importance geographically.” (My emphases.)

    “Bradley and Jones ….. developed a Northern Hemisphere summer temperature reconstruction since 1400 from 16 palaeoclimatic records ….. and THE WARMING SINCE THE LATE 19TH CENTURY IS UNPRECEDENTED in this record.” (My emphases.)

    “Overall, however, it appears that the 20TH CENTURY HAS BEEN AT LEAST AS WARM AS ANY CENTURY SINCE AT LEAST 1400 AD.” (My emphases.)

    “Alpine glacier advance and retreat chronologies suggest that in at least alpine areas, global 20th century temperatures may be warmer than any century since 1000 AD, and perhaps as warm as during any extended period (of several centuries) in the past 10,000 years.”

    So it was indeed a seamless development of ideas; the concept of a “hockeystick” was in place well before Michael Mann appeared on the IPCC scene.

  2. John Hunter
    Posted Jun 22, 2005 at 12:59 AM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre:

    There is also further discussion of the WSJ editorial at:

    http://mediamatters.org/items/200506210006

  3. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jun 22, 2005 at 1:29 AM | Permalink

    Steve, do you think paleoclimate research should have stopped in 1990? It increasingly seems to me like you, and everyone else here, do :( .

    You certainly seem to place great & unquestioning faith in the 1990 reconstruction – unless I’ve missed a post here pointing out any problems with it that there may be? Nope, it must be flawless – not…

  4. Posted Jun 22, 2005 at 1:46 AM | Permalink

    Here is already a comment:

    http://mediamatters.org/items/200506210006

    subscriber’s link to the editorial:
    <a href="http://online.wsj.com/public/search/results.html#SB111931466624264760&quot; Kyoto by degrees

  5. Posted Jun 22, 2005 at 5:43 AM | Permalink

    The editorial linked by Hans Erren is bizarre, although not unusually bizarre. It complains, in the title, that “WSJ ignored the most recent data”. As far as I see, the most recent data are in articles such as MM2005 which show that what is called “most recent data” in the editorial was not right. I am particularly amazed how often these people offer completely opposite, contradictory arguments to support their point.

    In the last paragraph, they complain that WSJ attacked the research of a single geoscientist – Michael Mann from University of Virginia – namely the hockey stick. In the same paragraph, however, they say that it does not matter if the scientific work about the climate history is based on wrong methodology and assumptions because WSJ stands against “scores of authors” and “hundreds of other scientists” who reviewed it.

    This is a typical behavior of a totalitarian groupthink. One first creates the impression that a group of people (or one person) is very innocent, weak, and exploited by another group (Jews, capitalists, men, anything you want to imagine), and then it applies brutal force to eliminate or at least suppress this “guilty” group.

  6. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 22, 2005 at 7:04 AM | Permalink

    John H,

    The comments that you quote from IPCC SAR are certainly on point. They seem to be based on Bradley and Jones [1993] and Hughes and Diaz [1994]. I agree that Jones, Bradley and Hughes have been at this much longer than Mann. I don’t think that the earlier studies are valid either. The history of the developing reliance on these very low-quality studies would be interesting to examine in detail. Steve

  7. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jun 22, 2005 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    Re 1, John, I must say I’d come to pretty much the same conclusion (having been lucky enough to be able to read the relelvant parts of relevant assessments). The quote from the 1995 assessment being particularily enlightening as to the chronology, if unlikly to be so acknowledged here….

  8. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jun 22, 2005 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

    RE#2

    ***”Bradley and Jones ….. developed a Northern Hemisphere summer temperature reconstruction since 1400 from 16 palaeoclimatic records ….. and THE WARMING SINCE THE LATE 19TH CENTURY IS UNPRECEDENTED in this record.” (My emphases.)

    “Overall, however, it appears that the 20TH CENTURY HAS BEEN AT LEAST AS WARM AS ANY CENTURY SINCE AT LEAST 1400 AD.”***

    The graphic the WSJ and 1990 IPCC uses is already in-line with these comments. It seems to me that most reports of the MWP have it ending (in terms of warming on a relatively global scale) no later than 1300-1400. So these 1995 IPCC comments added no new insight.

    ***”The term Little Ice Age is often used to describe a 400-500 year long, globally synchronous cold interval but studies now show that the climate of the last few centuries was more spatially and temporally complex than this simple concept implies ….. It was a period of BOTH WARM AND COLD CLIMATIC ANOMALIES that varied in importance geographically.”***

    I think “global warming” is also more spatially and temporally complex than this simple concept implies, too. Some locations warm more than others. Some may actually cool. It’s the “global average” that is presented on charts to show the impact, correct? Just because some locations may have been warm during the LIA or cold during the MWP doesn’t mean the global means weren’t abnormal in the opposite direction. Fort Smith, Arkansas, US, for example (just a quick internet search and a result from an unbiased source not a cherry-picked example), cooled from the 1920s and 1930s through the 1990s. Yet the 1990s were supposed to be “the hottest decade on record/ever.” Do examples like the Fort Smith temperature record dispell this statement? Certainly not, unless you’re talking specifically about Fort Smith or those locations. We have plenty of data locations for the 20th century and relatively good instrumentation. For the LIA and MWP, we have few data locations, mostly anecdotal evidence, and some limited questionable proxy data/interpretations.

    As the IPCC has concluded (at least at times) and as I believe it, we don’t have enough information about the MWP to know with certainty whether or not it was warmer or cooler globally than today. And I don’t think we will be able to conclusively say one way or the other, at least in my lifetime or with current means/information.

  9. Roger Bell
    Posted Jun 22, 2005 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

    The comments capitalized by John Hunter would have more weight if they gave citations to the refereed scientific literature. At present they carry little weight.

  10. John Hunter
    Posted Jun 22, 2005 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

    Roger Bell (#9): For brevity, I omitted some material (e.g. references) from my quotes for (my posting was still rather long). What my posting was doing was emphasising statements in publicly-available literature.[snipped]

  11. Louis Hissink
    Posted Jun 22, 2005 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

    Are these climate anomalies truly anomalous? How on earth can you derive anomalies below the detection limit of the measuuring equipment? This looks more and more like statistical gobbledygook.

  12. Larry Huldén
    Posted Jun 23, 2005 at 2:31 AM | Permalink

    Much of the comments here are meaningless.
    We all know that Jones, Bradley and many others made bad science and I can understand that they don’t want to admit it because of the enormous publicity of hockey stick.

    Mann, however, made falsifications and he is lying to the media. He knows what he is going to loose. This is a fact and this will gradually also reach media. Many people still want to think that he is honest in his views.

    Founding of IPCC was nothing else than a back step in climate science. IPCC promotes only certain views including bad science (at least in WG-II which I know better than WG-I) independently of the diversity of new scientific results that are accumulating. Synthesis have been made on “theological” grounds, not on scientific grounds.
    This has nothing to do with believing or not believing in something.

    We can see the two parts in the current drama:

    1. IPCC using trillions of dollars to hide results, methods, data etc.
    2. Those who use their brains to disclose results, methods, data etc.

    Only one of these parts will have a future.

  13. Max
    Posted Jun 23, 2005 at 11:29 AM | Permalink

    htere is also a take on this story by Mann et al on http://www.realclimate.org that tries to show your errors in analysing the hockey stick.

  14. TCO
    Posted Sep 19, 2005 at 8:54 PM | Permalink

    1. I very much agree with the WSJ on Mann being rediculous in not sharing his methods for inspection. Feynman would slit him up the belly.

    2. John H. has a very nice post. and gives some added info about the IPCC previous versions.

    3. Pete hits a point that I’ve wondered about. Just how good is that cartoony looking 1990 reconstruction that is often referred to?

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