UCAR and the NAS Panel

Readers of this site are familiar with various efforts by UCAR and UCAR personnel to discredit us, ranging from the April 6, 2005 presentation in Washington by Ammann, Bradley and Crowley discussed here , the long-standing effort by Ammann and Wahl to discredit us leading to the UCAR press release of May 11, 2005, announcing the submission of two papers (and their subsequent failure to report the GRL rejection), the use of UCAR’s press release by Mann, Houghton and others in evidence to Congress, the outrageous remarks to ES&T by UCAR scientists Trenberth and Mahlman, etc. etc.

It has obviously not escaped my attention that two of the proposed NAS panelists are from UCAR – something which I’m uneasy about To make matters worse, it turns out that one of the two panelists, Bette Otto-Bliesner, Deputy Section Head, Climate Change Research, is actually Caspar Ammann’s boss, shown (left) in a pastoral photo below and has co-authored many presentations with Ammann. The other, Doug Nychka, has co-authored with Ammann and is listed on one of Ammann’s webpages as a current collaborator not only with Ammann, but with Mann.


Paleoclimate Modeling Group, Climate Change Research Section, National Center for Atmospheric Research

They all look like nice people, but that’s not the question. It turns out that NAS has some quite nuanced policies about panel composition and balance and it seems inconceivable to me that these Ammann collaborators meet either the letter or spirit of NAS policies. There are 14 days left for feedback to NAS on these appointments and I hope that some of you will avail yourselves of this opportunity – feedback form here.

The 1997 Act of Congress
If you can imagine, in 1997, Congress actually passed a law setting out explicit requirements for committees empanelled by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Public Administration. I don’t know what the back story is for this particular legislation, but somebody must have got cross-eyed with the academies. The relevant section is shown below:

Section 15. Requirements Relating to the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Public Administration

(a) An agency may not use any advice or recommendations provided by the National Academy of Sciences or National Academy of Public Administration that was developed by use of a committee created by that academy under an agreement with the agency, unless –

(2) in the case of a committee created after the date of the enactment of the Federal Advisory Committee Act Amendments of 1997, the membership of the committee was appointed in accordance with the requirements described in subsection (b)(1); and

(b) The requirements referred to in subsection (a) are as follows:

(1) The Academy shall determine and provide public notice of the names and brief biographies of individuals that the Academy appoints or intends to appoint to serve on the committee. The Academy shall determine and provide a reasonable opportunity for the public to comment on such appointments before they are made or, if the Academy determines such prior comment is not practicable, in the period immediately following the appointments. The Academy shall make its best efforts to ensure that

(A) no individual appointed to serve on the committee has a conflict of interest that is relevant to the functions to be performed, unless such conflict is promptly and publicly disclosed and the Academy determines that the conflict is unavoidable,

(B) the committee membership is fairly balanced as determined by the Academy to be appropriate for the functions to be performed,..

NAS Policy
Pursuant to this legislation, NAS adopted a detailed policy on Committee Composition and Balance, here (of which I provide an excerpt). (Update: This policy is also described in a NAS brochure here)
They sensibly recognize that, in intellectual matters, problems are as likely to arise from "lack of objectivity" and "bias", which they define in intellectual terms and distinguish from "conflict of interest" defined in economic terms.

They make the following sensible observations about appointing panels:

Yet, if a report is to be not only sound but also effective as measured by its acceptance in quarters where it should be influential, the report must be, and must be perceived to be, not only highly competent but also the result of a process that is fairly balanced in terms of the knowledge, experience, and perspectives utilized to produce it and free of any significant conflict of interest. Conclusions by fully competent committees can be undermined by allegations of conflict of interest or lack of balance and objectivity….

Here’s the entire section on Committee Composition and Balance:
Questions of Committee Composition and Balance

All individuals selected to serve on committees to be used by the institution in the development of reports must be highly qualified in terms of knowledge, training, and experience — often highly specialized and particularized — to properly address the tasks assigned to the committee. The institution identifies such individuals by drawing upon a vast network of national and international contacts and resources, including in particular the distinguished memberships of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine, as well as thousands of other highly qualified scientists, engineers, public health professionals, and others who have contributed their talents and services to the national interest through the National Research Council.

Suggestions of potential committee members may also come from sponsors, from groups that have an interest in the underlying subject matter of a particular study, from professionals with knowledge and expertise in relevant disciplines who have an interest in the scientific and technical questions to be addressed, and from members of the general public who may have a special interest or concern regarding a particular study or the underlying issues involved in the study. In every case, the assessment of the qualifications of potential candidates for committee membership and the final determination of the individuals to be selected for membership on a committee rest solely with the institution.

Individual qualifications are not the only determinant in this process. Having a committee of highly qualified and capable individuals is a necessary but not sufficient condition for success. It is also essential that the knowledge, experience, and perspectives of potential committee members be thoughtfully and carefully assessed and balanced in terms of the subtleties and complexities of the particular scientific, technical, and other issues to be addressed and the functions to be performed by the committee. For example, if a particular study requires the expertise of microbiologists, epidemiologists, statistical experts, and others with broader public health expertise, the significant omission of any required discipline from the committee might seriously compromise the quality of the committee’s analysis and judgments, even though it is clear to all that the committee is composed of highly qualified and distinguished individuals. Even within a particular discipline, there may be very important differences and distinctions within the field, or regarding the particular subject matter to be addressed, that require careful consideration in the committee composition and appointment process.

The assessment of the necessary perspectives required for a particular study committee may also involve considerations that go beyond specific disciplinary scientific or technical concerns. For some studies, for example, it may be important to have an "industrial" perspective or an "environmental" perspective. This is not because such individuals are "representatives" of industrial or environmental interests, because no one is appointed by the institution to a study committee to represent a particular point of view or special interest.

Rather it is because such individuals, through their particular knowledge and experience, are often vital to achieving an informed, comprehensive, and authoritative understanding and analysis of the specific problems and potential solutions to be considered by the committee.Finally, it is essential that the work of committees that are used by the institution in the development of reports not be compromised by issues of bias and lack of objectivity. (Questions of conflict of interest are separately addressed below.) Questions of lack of objectivity and bias ordinarily relate to views stated or positions taken that are largely intellectually motivated or that arise from the close identification or association of an individual with a particular point of view or the positions or perspectives of a particular group.

Potential sources of bias are not necessarily disqualifying for purposes of committee service.

Indeed, it is often necessary, in order to ensure that a committee is fully competent, to appoint members in such a way as to represent a balance of potentially biasing backgrounds or professional or organizational perspectives. For example, an individual may be selected to serve on a committee conducting a broad study of proposed new scientific missions in space, although the individual is a consultant or an employee of an aerospace company that has a general business interest in such matters. Or an individual may be selected to serve on a committee conducting a general study of research alternatives and funding priorities and opportunities in a particular scientific field, although the individual is a faculty member or research scientist at an institution that conducts research in that field. In either case, while the factual circumstances might suggest the existence of a possible bias, this would not ordinarily disqualify an individual from service but would be a factor to be taken into account by the institution in the overall composition of the committee. Some potential sources of bias, however, may be so substantial that they preclude committee service (e.g., where one is totally committed to a particular point of view and unwilling, or reasonably perceived to be unwilling, to consider other perspectives or relevant evidence to the contrary).

The policy on Composition and Balance has a nuanced discussion of conflicts and biases, recognizing that conflicts and bias may be unavoidable in some circumstances. But Ammann’s boss and collaborator? Please. I was also interested in the very nuanced discussion of balance in the policy. I talked to the secretary of the panel last Friday about the seeming under-representation of expertise in topics like spurious regression and replication, suggesting that cross-expertise from the economics area would be relevant. The secretary was very nice, but his main position was that the panelists were all distinguished people and that I should direct them to any literature that I thought would be relevant. I’m not sure what I expected in this type of exchange; you’re always going to get Sir Humphrey-ed (and that’s not a knock on the secretary, it’s the nature of the job).
On the other hand, it does seem that NAS does have a pretty good policy on Committee Composition and Balance. It is hard to see how Nychka and Otto-Bliesner meet either the spirit or the letter of the policy. Anyway, the policy seems to at least provide a wedge for protesting their appointment.

With its report, NAS has to certify that they have complied with section 15 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act:

In accordance with Section 15 of FACA, the Academy shall submit to the government sponsor(s) following delivery of each applicable report a certification that the policies and procedures of the Academy that implement Section 15 of FACA have been substantially complied with in the performance of the grant with respect to the applicable report.

Might as well make them think a little about it. There’s 14 days left for feedback – so anyone wishing to comment on these appointments, please do so at NAS here.

References:
Ammann, C., J.T. Kiehl, Zender, C.S., B.L. Otto-Bliesner, and R.S. Bradley, in revision: Coupled Climate Simulations of the 20th-Century including External Forcing. J. Climate. http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/ccr/ammann/CSENT/publications.html

Ammann webpage http://www.assessment.ucar.edu/paleo/past_stationarity.html: Team/Collaborators: E. Wahl, C. Ammann (NCAR), N. Graham (Scripps and HRC), D. Nychka (NCAR), M.E. Mann (University of Virginia)

Oh, H.-S., C.M. Ammann, P. Naveau, D. Nychka, and B.L. Otto-Bliesner, 2003: Multi-resolution time series analysis applied to solar irradiance and climate reconstructions. J. Atmosph. Sol-Terr. Phys. 65, 191-201.

Ammann, C.M., P. Naveau, H.-S. Oh, F. Joos, S. Gerber, D.S. Schimel, and B.L. Otto-Bliesner, 2003: Multi-resolution methods for extracting fingerprints of external forcing during the last Millennium from model and proxy data. IUGG, Sapporo, Japan, Session MC14 invited presentation.

Ammann, C.M., and B.L. Otto-Bliesner, 2003: Climate impact from explosive volcanism during the late Maunder Minimum, 1675-1704 AD: Volcanic punches for Europe? IUGG, Sapporo, Japan, Session JSV02.

Otto-Bliesner B.L., E.C. Brady, C.M. Ammann, 2003: Tropical Pacific mean climate and ENSO variability over the last glacial-interglacial cycle. International Conference on Earth System Modelling, Hamburg.

Ammann C.M., B.L. Otto-Bliesner, J.T. Kiehl, W.M. Washington, 2002: Long-term Influence of Explosive Volcanism. A Model – Data Intercomparison. Poster at Chapman Conference on "Volcanos and the Earth’s Atmosphere, Santorini, Greece. http://www.agu.org/meetings/cc02babstracts/Amman-p.pdf

Ammann C.M., B.L. Otto-Bliesner, J.T. Kiehl, R.S. Bradley, 2002: Krakatau: Problems with the Reference Eruption. Poster at Chapman Conference on "Volcanos and the Earth’s Atmosphere, Santorini, Greece.

Otto-Bliesner and Ammann, together with Bradley, are on the Paleoenvironmental Arctic Sciences (PARCS) Steering Committee. http://siempre.arcus.org/4DACTION/wi_survey_authorResponse/736ARCSS Program NCAR


123 Comments

  1. Gary
    Posted Feb 14, 2006 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

    Unless this is like Olympic figure skating, the panel of judges obviously should not have affiliations (such as co-authoring papers) with the witnesses. At the very least, ethics require that they put such affiliations on record if they sit on the panel. Isn’t full disclosure a major point of this exercise?

  2. jae
    Posted Feb 14, 2006 at 1:25 PM | Permalink

    Steve: It seems unlikely that they could convene a panel of experts on this subject without using some of these hockey stick players. However, they certainly could get more people with statistical expertise, since that is the primary bone of contention. I would be glad to suggest this to NAS, if you like.

  3. Ray Soper
    Posted Feb 14, 2006 at 1:36 PM | Permalink

    Re 1. As Steve knows, standard practice in the commercial world requires those with an interest in a matter (before the board for example) to declare their interest, and to absent themselves from the discussion, or at least abstain from voting. Surely practices in the world of science are similarly responsible??

  4. Posted Feb 14, 2006 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

    Here’s a listing of the proposed panel with an extremely brief description of their expertise.

    Gerald R. North – CHAIRMAN (General Climate Modeling?)
    Franco Biondi (Tree Rings)
    John R. Christy (Satellite Measurements – MSU)
    Kurt M. Cuffey (Borehole Thermometry / Oxygen Isotopes)
    Robert E. Dickinson (Radiation/Heat Transfer?)
    Ellen R. M. Druffel (Ocean, Coral, C02)
    Douglas Nychka (Statistics)
    Bette Otto-Bliesner (Climate Variability Modeling?)
    Neil Roberts (Lake Sediments)
    Karl K. Turekian (Radionuclides, Marine Geochemistry)
    John M. Wallace (Natural Climate & Ocean Oscillations)
    Given the project title of “Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Past 1,000-2,000 Years: Synthesis of Current Understanding and Challenges for the Future”, at first glance, the list above looks like a nice cross section of the various disciplines related to the topic. However, since some sub-topics are already known to be more controversial than others, I would want to make sure that the panel would not be biased to give a summary and “self assessment” rather than a critical examination of these particular sub-topics. I’d especially want to make sure that panelist (especially those with expertise in these areas) would not have a conflict of interest in these areas. Would you say that the most controversial topics raised by M&M to be addressed would involve hard-core statistics and selection of valid tree proxies? If so, then I’d look especially hard at the selection of Franco Biondi and Douglas Nychka. Does anyone know anything about Biondi? He may be an excellent choice, though I can’t say. It may be hard to get a tree ring specialist that doesn’t get funding associated with climate research, though they should easily be able to get a well qualified statistician that works completely outside the field of climate change. Nychka’s background appears to be pure statistics, which is good, though I agree with Steve that his close collaboration with Ammann, Wahl, and Mann hints at a conflict of interest. Otto-Bliesner position gives me that impression as well.

    Jason

  5. jae
    Posted Feb 14, 2006 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

    It looks like Nychka has now specialized in statistics as applied to proxies. It would be much more objective if a statistician outside of the climatology field were on the panel. I can’t see anyone who doesn’t potentially have political and economic conflicts of interest. I doubt that any of these guys would get near as much funding if it were shown that their study methods are bogus.

  6. Neil Fisher
    Posted Feb 14, 2006 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

    Well, someone else other than Steve will need to make clear some of the potential conflicts of interest I think, because if Steve does it, he will himself be hit with claims of bias and conflict of interest, no doubt. I can hear it now “You obviously have had a bad experience in your previous contact(s) with the individual in question, and I suspect that you are questioning their appointment to this commitee as some sort of pay back”. Or something similar.

  7. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Feb 14, 2006 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

    As far as a statistician outside of the discipline, that may be a laudable goal, but the learning curve is steep enough, in terms of understanding the vernacular of climatic data, methods and such, that I think it would be a mistake to get too caught up in it. Wallace has generally been very up-to-date on statistical methods, and I must say, that most classical climatologists and atmospheric scientists take numerous statistics courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. I cannot speak for the physicists and such who then become atmospheric scientists.

    Steve, I wonder if it concerns you at all to see Christy on the panel, since he has seems to have an interest in the magnitude of the recent warming also (just a different interest from those you are at odds with). Maybe he’s there to balance the UCAR/NCAR folks.

    There should be no doubt that these sorts of panels are inherently imperfect. I imagnine that great pains were taken to select the panel, but contentious matters in that selection process seem unavoidable to me. The question is, who do you want evaluating your arguments? I can not imagine an intellectually competent person who does not have some sort of opinion on the matter, so the objectivity–in terms of purely unbiased presuppositions–clamored for on this thread, is DOA. In that case, you can only hope that everyone on the panel is committed to the aims of the panel, and can listen and follow the arguments. I say, all that said, that the panel looks about as good as it could be.

  8. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 14, 2006 at 5:23 PM | Permalink

    Kenneth, I’m not an idealist about these things. I realize that panels are inherently imperfect. In some ways, NAS made an honest effort under circumstances that are not easy. The panelists are very eminent and I’m flattered to have the opportunity to present to them. However, I think that the UCAR panelists are not fair choices. Since NAS legislation and policy provide people with the opportunity to comment, so I’m going to use that opportunity. I’m a believer in making people responsible for their decisions. If I don’t say anything, they can simply say: well, you had a 21 day period to comment and didn’t. What’s wrong with viewing this as a first draft of a committee selection? First drafts of anything are not always where you want to end up.

    To my knowledge, Christy has not taken any position on any of the proxy issues that I’ve been involved with. I have never co-authored anything with Christy, I’ve never met him. Otto-Bliesner is Ammann’s boss and close associate. There’s all the difference in the world.

    My philosophy in this sort of thing is: you either do something about it or forget about it. In this case, I’m going to file a complaint and make NAS respond. I’m going to complain within the four corners of their own policies. I don’t think that Otto-Bliesner and Nychka should have accepted the posting in the first place (which is a different decision from NAS making the offer to them) and that’s why I’ve publicized the matter here.

  9. McCall
    Posted Feb 14, 2006 at 9:30 PM | Permalink

    A similar bias may exist with UC-Berkeley’s Kurt M. Cuffey (Professor of Geography). Note the naked exploitation of tragedy in calling up the “tear-streaked faces of refugees from New Orleans” and other scientifically inadmissable rhetorical somersaults — but then, he knew that when he wrote the words. This and more from a recent sample of his work, AGW-certified for its over-the-top imagery in the Schneider alarmist mold.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2005/10/09/ING5FF2U031.DTL&type=printable

  10. john lichtenstein
    Posted Feb 14, 2006 at 10:38 PM | Permalink

    This discussion seems a little inside the beltway. I have a hard time following it and I don’t feel very guilty about it. (Unlike the linear algebra where I feel guilty.) It’s much easier to argue that someone should be included than that they should so if there is a list of people you would like to see added I think it would be sensible to suggest them. The folks who work on CART should know a lot about spurious regression.

  11. Mike Carney
    Posted Feb 14, 2006 at 10:51 PM | Permalink

    The prospect of a balanced judgement is beginning to look dim after reading the link on #9. My favorite phrase from that link is:

    The magnitude is precisely as expected…

    The meaning of that, of course, is precisely unclear.
    The fact, Steve, that you have to be concerned about the makeup of the panel is of course part of the problem. In addition to the technical issues, I hope you will have an opportunity to shine a light on the lack of transparency. The issue of transparency is the issue that has no effective response. No matter how firmly fixed a position on a particular issue, it is difficult for any scientist to argue against an open process. Even Dr. Cuffey hopefully will agree, after looking at those “tear-streaked faces”, that a free and open process is crucial “to plan for the future”.

  12. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 14, 2006 at 10:51 PM | Permalink

    #9 – here’s one phrase from Cuffey: “This is an event of historical significance, but one obscured from public view by the arcane technical literature and the noise generated by perpetual partisans.” Doesn’t sound like someone who’s going to be interested in things like statistical significance.

  13. jae
    Posted Feb 14, 2006 at 11:22 PM | Permalink

    I think, more and more, that this whole panel was cooked up to roast you, Steve. Beware!

  14. jae
    Posted Feb 14, 2006 at 11:46 PM | Permalink

    If I were facing that group, I think I would provide a very short presentation:

    1. Why can’t I get the data and code, so I can replicate the reconstructions?

    2. Why doesn’t anyone show me where my statistical analyses are incorrect?

    3. Doesn’t the scientific method require that it is possible to replicate them?

    4. How are all these spagetti graphs “independent?”

    I think that’s about all I would say. This is a setup, to discredit M&M. I can see the headlines: “The Experts Put Down the Skeptics.”

  15. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 2:40 AM | Permalink

    #13

    I think, more and more, that this whole panel was cooked up to roast you, Steve. Beware!

    Jae, don’t you suppose it would be easier for them to just not invite Steve than to go through the trouble of inviting him and coordinating a massive, interdisciplinary strike against him?

  16. fFreddy
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 5:38 AM | Permalink

    Re #15, Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Unfortunately, Kenneth, what should be an interesting question in science and maths has been grossly polluted by political advocates.
    Steve has done an extraordinary job of threatening their marketing campaign, and is gaining some traction in the scientific community. The Hockey Team are likely to be looking for material to turn into press releases to rubbish him in the court of public opinion.

  17. kim
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 6:40 AM | Permalink

    Correct me if I’m mistaken, but isn’t this a responsive committee, by that I mean one created in response to a call from another source? Wasn’t the question called, then the committee created by a responding, perhaps opposing, source? Am I way off base? If not, just another thing to keep in mind. This should all make no difference if science alone were concerned, but the muddle of policy settles in, and enveils.
    ===================================================================

  18. mik
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 6:44 AM | Permalink

    Yuh, we got here a picture of an envelope. Right upthread, on the left. Push that at your peril.
    =====================================================================

  19. jae
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 6:59 AM | Permalink

    re #15 What concerns me is that they have conveined a panel of 11 eminent scientists, the majority of which I think have a huge stake in maintaining the status quo. Usually, these panels are formed when there is a divergence of ideas among many scientists, and they are trying to sort things out. However, in this case the sole purpose of the panel appears to be to debate M&M’s criticisms of their sacred science (what else are they going to talk about?) They are good people, probably, but they have serious conflicts of interest, and it is very hard for me to see how they can fairly assess M&M’s work.

  20. BradH
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 7:15 AM | Permalink

    Jae, don’t you suppose it would be easier for them to just not invite Steve than to go through the trouble of inviting him and coordinating a massive, interdisciplinary strike against him?

    I don’t think so, Kenneth. Steve and Ross have been far more than a couple of midges in a stand of bristlecones. I’m sure that Mann, in particular, feels he has an especially aggressive pair of mountain lions stalking him. Now Mann has not, so far, been man enough to confront M&M either scientifically or statistically [in fact, if I were more like John A, per or the Governor of California, I might be inclined to suggest that he has been a Michael Girlie-Mann].

    But more seriously, I don’t think you can ascribe NAS’s motivations as mirroring those of the scientists who are 100% convinced of AGW and the dangers thereof. NAS’s problem is finding “credible” panelists in the climatology arena.

    The basic concept of “credibility” in essentially academic spheres has always been: higher degrees (and how high?); number of publications; tenure or appointment to publicly funded institutions; other awards from “peers”; media profile. If you don’t rank in the top 100 of these lists, fat chance of being recognized as an “expert”.

    If you oppose the general consensus of these experts, you’re either a skeptic or a nutter and both are equally scorned by both academia and the media. Who’d watch CSI if the bloke just had a heart attack? It’s really no surprise that Michael Girlie-Mann and Philip “We’re Doomed” Jones capture the media and the public attention with their Armegeddon dissertations. Fear and scandal have always sold better than dry scientific analysis.

    The problem in the broad family of climate “science” (academia, bureacracy, media) is that they work together – sometimes intentionally, other times due to a coincidence of interests – to ensure that one, consistent voice is raised in favour of the populist argument. Those who argue for the other side: do not have their theses accepted; do not get published; do not have their studies publicised; do not get follow-up grants; and do not get tenure or appointment to special interest government posts.

    The other problem is that the field of “climatology”, in it’s modern manifestation, is really very new. It’s only been around since the end of the “new ice age” scare of the mid-1970’s, so there really aren’t all that many “senior climate experts” to choose from, unless you want to pick some meterologists (say, what!??!!).

    By contrast, if NAS were impanelling an investigation into matters biological or astronomical, they could choose from any number of eminent parties with totally opposing (or more politely, “counter-balancing”) views. They are both “old” fields, with long histories of wildly wrong theories and, as a result, more circumspect experts.

    When NAS looks for eminent persons in climate science to serve as panelists, there is a confluence of the issues I’ve spoken of above. There are not many “experts” and those who are around will have invariably published, but they won’t have become academically and bureacratically recognised experts unless they support the current consensus…and so it goes in a self-serving, self-perpetuating cycle of reinforcement for as many years as is necessary until it, like all other “mature” sciences, can comfortably accomodate a range of views.

    Then again, a flat Earth was very popular once too, but in the end that theory went all pear apple-shaped.

  21. John A
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 8:15 AM | Permalink

    BradH,

    In that case, I would rather the academics were retired, and thus have no personal stake in one conclusion or another.

  22. beng
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 8:17 AM | Permalink

    Kenneth says:
    I imagnine that great pains were taken to select the panel

    You’re prb’ly right, and it may be impossible to change. However, the 1997 law that Steve_M alludes to is written to prevent this exact problem (which suggests it’s been a past problem) — conflicts of interest & lack of independence.

    Anyone who’s familiar w/this site sees that incompetent statistical (non)treatment, & the related data-hiding are the major problems in temp reconstructions. Until independent statisticians go over the data w/a fine-toothed comb (S_M has already done this to a large extent on the available data), reconstructions will never have any real validity.

    Yet, this is at least an opportunity to get a bigger foot in the ivory door.

  23. jae
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 9:28 AM | Permalink

    Perhaps someone should suggest to NAS that they add George Taylor, State Climatologist for Oregon, to the committee (or substitute him for one of the current selections). He’s at Oregon State U. I’ve listened to some of his presentations, and he appears to be very knowledgable and to have a very open mind, relative to AGW.

  24. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

    NAS has a brochure which describes the formation of committees here http://www.nationalacademies.org/onpi/brochures/studyprocess.pdf . The brochure promotes the selection of people from diverse disciplines – I wonder what happened in this panel. It also describes a screening and nominaiton process – I wonder how this was carried out.

  25. Jack
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

    Taylor doesn’t have sufficient stature for an NAS panel, unfortunately.

  26. John Hekman
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

    I can’t see how a panel that was formed due to a request from the House Science Committee could be a plot to suppress M&M.

    Steve, if they are playing fast and loose with the regs for balancing scientific panels, can’t you communicate this to the committee?

    Also, this NAS panel would be a good place where statisticians and others such as Martin Ringo who have valid criticisms of proxy methods could submit amicus briefs.

  27. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

    The context of the panel is that the House Science Committee is protecting turf against the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Let’s also not forget the letter from Ciccerone, the President of NAS, to Barton http://www.realclimate.org/Cicerone_to_Barton.pdf calling for Barton to butt out. So while the request has undoubtedly come from the House Science Committee, one presumes that there’s been some coordination between NAS and the committee prior to the request being made – not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  28. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 3:56 PM | Permalink

    #20

    Those who argue for the other side: do not have their theses accepted; do not get published; do not have their studies publicised; do not get follow-up grants; and do not get tenure or appointment to special interest government posts.

    Even though you do refute your own statements a bit later on (on publishing anyway), I’ll bite here.

    I have not tested this claim, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that skeptical viewpoints are getting proportionally more airtime in the popular media than the consensus side. Pound-for-pound, you are seeing more skeptical op-eds, more crossfire/hardball types of appearances and I think a more general acceptance of skeptic-side validity in the public at large…not at all representative of the AGW-to-skeptic ratio as it exists in science.

    Some of the most outspoken critics of either AGW, the way we estimate it, or its presumed impact–let’s for now say Lindzen, Pielke and Michaels–have huge publication records, have provided testimony before legislative bodies and have served as convening authors on big NAS panels. And they have all won academic awards for their work. That is hardly evidence of their exclusion. Pielke makes the New York Times when he leaves committees. The popular media are tapped in to these folks, to be sure. That doesn’t stop them from writing op-eds or blogging about how nobody is listening to them.

    #23

    Jae, what do you mean about George Taylor having “an open mind?” He appears to have his mind made up, and he speaks frequently about it. That would be a very different kind of open-mindedness than many people would recognize. If he has changed to a more neutral position, I’d be eager to see that.

  29. jae
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 5:05 PM | Permalink

    #28. Re: George Taylor. Well, I perceive him as open-minded, because he is interested in the UNCERTAINTIES associated with AGW and predicting climate change. He has a questioning mind, the essence of a scientist. He is certainly as open-minded as the hockey stick folks who take turns publishing “independent studies” using the same flawed proxies and statistical methods. The same “scientists” that will not even release their data and code so their studies can be replicated and cannot convincingly address the specific criticisms by M&M of their work. The same scientists that cite press releases before publication as “evidence” of some kind. George has demonstrated clearly (at least to me) that most, if not all, of the temperature rise in the instrumental record is due to the “heat island” effects caused by clearings, asphalt, buildings, building heating and lighting, etc. (It’s interesting that the proxy guys may be calibrating their data with instrumental records that are completely wrong!) He has also highlighted the enormous uncertainties in models which cannot even predict today, let alone the past or the future. The committee needs at least one person who might question the “scientific concensus” on spagetti graphs. It is extremely clear to me that the NAS has deliberately stacked the deck.

  30. BradH
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 6:24 PM | Permalink

    Re: #28

    I have not tested this claim, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that skeptical viewpoints are getting proportionally more airtime in the popular media than the consensus side.

    Kenneth, I honestly don’t know how you’d test such a thing. I guess it’s a matter of personal impressions (as well as the type of media you watch/listen to/read). My own impression is that these days, skeptical opinions are getting some airing, whereas a couple of years ago they were getting virtually none. However, at least where I come from, my sense is that the overwhelming majority of media coverage is still firmly in the “we’re all doomed” camp.

    Some of the most outspoken critics of either AGW, the way we estimate it, or its presumed impact–let’s for now say Lindzen, Pielke and Michaels–have huge publication records, have provided testimony before legislative bodies and have served as convening authors on big NAS panels.

    I’m not qualified to judge these people’s records or public stature in the field, so I’ll take your word for it.

    It is obviously too strong a point to say that the skeptics don’t get published – quite evidently, they do. However, it seems that they have far more difficulty being recognised as “experts” than the AGW-ers. I contend that this is in large part due to the alarmism of the majority’s claims.

    Indeed, it’s hard to argue with the multi-billion dollar money trail, which almost without exception ends up in the hands of those building the case for impending doom. Why fund someone who is saying, “Don’t panic! There’s nothing going on here which hasn’t happened before.”?

    More generally on the subject of this post, if the panel was to be a “representative” cross-section of experts in the field, there would be 10 pro-anthropogenic to every 1 neutral scientist. So, there is more than one way to define balance, in this case. I guess it just depends on how NAS views it. [I would note, however, that in their invitation to Steve and Ross, they did say they had taken great care to select an “unbiased” panel, which is a different thing.]

    Another aspect of the enacting legislation deals with conflicts of interest. As to this, almost every expert in a polarised field is going to be conflicted in the broadest sense of the word (having written papers primarily supporting one side of the argument, or the other). I don’t think it will be enough to say that a panelist is too conflicted, simply because they have done work which might be criticised by one or more of those giving evidence. Now, if the panel were established to investigate a specific paper and the paper’s author (or close associates) were on the panel, then there would be a clear conflict.

    While Steve and Ross might being going to criticise Ammann, et al., many others will be praising them. IMHO, insufficient grounds to claim that Ammann’s boss is conflicted or that her appointment is unrepresentative.

    Also, while it might be arguable that she is biased, I doubt the NAS will worry about one out of eleven. Unless there are four or five panelists who are quite clearly biased, with no offsetting bias on the other side, it’s difficult for me to see that NAS would view their overall selection as partisan.

  31. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 7:21 PM | Permalink

    Having followed this for ohhh almost 20 years, I would say that the “skeptical” viewpoint is getting more airtime, and I point to the internet and sites such as this for that, ignoring is not the option it was in the late 80’s or even early 90’s

    The doomsayers however are trying to fight this (futilely in my opinion) the actions of the hockey team (Flaming Bristlecones?) towards M&M and others is obviously one example of this. The consensus survey of Dr. Naomi Oreskes last year at this time is another (that was absurd on the face of it). On the “man in the street” front they simply mimic these attempts “That guy was totally discredited.” giving no evidence. Bjorn Lomborg is one in particular who gets this a lot, as well as Dr. Michaels and others. Luckily Steve gets a little less of this (From what I’ve seen) which I think reflects his good excellent work.

    But from what I’ve seen we are starting to reach a tipping point on public opinion. For one measure, less than a year ago AGW stories were on almost every day, certainly every week, over at slashdot. The number of reasonable posters (read skeptics) was in the clear minority. Today we see AGW stories about once a month there, usually on the weekends. At least among early posters, the reasonable sort are now the prevalent characters.

    Recently I had lunch with a buddy of mine, who up until then had been one of the regular masses (as much to oppose my opinion as anything else), believed in the AGW tripe hype, but had no real knowledge. I suspect he’s looked into it some, because besides his other failings he is relatively intelligent, and a critical thinker. His comment to me Saturday, paraphrased, was “In the past there has always been this mistaken consensus that something was one way until some good science came along that reversed the common belief. This will happen with the Global warming business too.” This from a patchouli smelling, leftie, Birkenstock wearing hippie*

    Of course all this evidence is primarily anecdotal. I haven’t counted the tree rings and run an arbitrary computer model on public opinion of AGW. The data is not cherry picked, I have simply isolated that data that appears to have the largest signal, so that the low frequency noise would not confound my results. I have calibrated my comments for the density variances of the average “man on the street”

    *Said in jest as he is my friend and would not accept anything less from me in way of a description.

  32. Frank H. Scammell
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 7:24 PM | Permalink

    May I suggest the following: Those who have taken the time to e-mail NAS, know perfectly well that their correspondence may never see the light of day. With Steve’s permission, perhaps you could post your comments here, if you wish to. In that light, I sent the following comments to NAS: How about a little balance here? “whether the points of views of individual members are adequately balanced such that the committee as a whole can address its charge objectively.” Perhaps, Dr. Richard Lindzen, MIT, and Dr Roy Spencer and Dr. Ross McKitrick and Dr. Sallie Baliunas would be be good candidates. An all-GW is real, dangerous, and controllable- group may be congenial, but it is far from balanced. i.e., a total waste of taxpayer dollars leading to a conclusion that could be written without holding any meetings, and producing a consensus among its members that is totally discordant with science. The public wants some value for its dollar, even if it requires a minority and majority set of reports. The National Academies reputation is declining rapidly due to politics, not science. Perhaps a good job here could stabilize things a little. Your new president has already made many politically motivated statements – opposing the current administration, but supporting special interest groups. Politics and policy do not mix well with science. Stick to the science.

  33. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 8:18 PM | Permalink

    This is a fun thread.

    Do we know who else has been invited to present before the committee, or are people just speculating?

    Jae, other than the two UCAR folks and Cuffey, how is the “deck stacked?” As far as the “committee need[ing] at least one person who might question the ‘scientific concensus,'” you have John Christy, who has been rather anti-consensus for a good decade or so.

    Frank, neat idea (about others posting their letters). I have to say, though, that nothing would spell “bunk committee” better than having Ross McKitrick serve on it; he is an invited guest! Of course, this would be a radical idea: have all the invited guests comprise the committee.

    Personally, I am a bit put off by both “sides” of this debate. If it were really about objectivity, about sticking to the science, about finding the “truth”–whatever that is–then you would find people wanting to work together. “Hey, let’s solve this thing!” Wouldn’t that be fantastic? But instead you have sides, factions, camps, “hockey teams.” The issue is so polarized, so imbued with lefty-righty dichotomous viewpoints, that most people would read what I just wrote and snicker at the very notion of a bipartisan (for lack of a beter term…I know Steve claims no partisan motivation) hockey team, or whatever you want to call it.

  34. Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 8:52 PM | Permalink

    Slightly OT, but relevant to what BradH and SidViscous have been discussing:

    I become an AGW “skeptic” when I heard people who probably should know better blaming Hurricane Katrina’s damage on AGW.

    The claim sounded pretty dubious to me. There have been bad hurricanes well into the past; it’s just bad luck when a big one happens to make landfall near a population center. I did some pretty basic research and found that there was no scientific basis for that assessment. Then I thought, if people who are supposed to be climate experts can make wild, unsupported claims publically in this fashion, perhaps their other claims were just as dubious. Someone pointed me to realclimate as an objective forum, but it only took reading a few posts there to feel that it was not neutral. After reading a number of articles by people like Lindzen which seemed fairly well reasoned, I came across the work of M&M and found that it was clearly based in reality, and here I am.

    I think the more crazy claims like that are publicised, the more people will come to realise that they’re not getting the whole truth. It’s unfortunate that it involves so much research to look past the hype and find some good science at work. I was pretty shocked when I found out how poor the science which is so heavily publicised is. Unfortunately, many people don’t understand scientific method that well and probably just trust anyone who claims to be a scientist. I guess that means it’s up to us to ensure they get both sides of the story.

  35. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 9:21 PM | Permalink

    #33. Kenneth, if I had a big policy job and had to make a decision on climate policy in the next 5 minutes, one would be obliged to follow the advice of the prestigious organizations. If I had a little more time to make a decision, I would try to get independent advice from qualified people who were capable of understanding the issues but without prior intellectual investment. I’d get form a commission with some geologists, some medical researchers, some statisticians, some aerospace engineers, that type of thing and see what they thought. I’d hire them for a contract period and spend actual money on the evaluation.

    I’m certainly not suggesting that Ross be on the panel (even if he were not a presenter) or that Pat Michaels be on the panel. I’d have no objection to someone who knew nothing of the situation – pick a name at random from the New England Journal of Medicine.

    However if NAS is going to put up Caspar Ammann’s coauthors and a guy who says that he’s not interested in "arcane technical details", then I’ll do what I can to put that in the sunlight; a lot of people seem to just passively accept institutional mistreatment; I’ll do what I can to make them account for such decisions. They have obligations under their own policies and enabling legislation and I’ll do what I can to hold them to it. None of them like it very much, but too bad.

    Also, if I were running IPCC, I would not have let the IPCC authors act like prima donnas on their data. I’d have made them archive data as a condition of submitting to IPCC over and above any journal requirements on the basis that it was an irrelevant dispute which was just making IPCC authors look bad. I would also have assigned someone to sort out the situation with Mann’s study. At present, Houghton and IPCC WG1 have pretty much relied on the say-so of Mann and his realclimate/Hockey Team cronies that everything’s OK without ever really trying to come to grips with things. I’d have long ago tried to see what people agreed on and what they disagreed on.

    That’s the very proposal that I made to Ammann, who seemed interested in San Francisco but must have got the riot act read to him when he got back to UCAR. The most outrageous comment that he made and I forgot to mention this before: he had already used his two submissions in his annual appraisal and, if he agreed to a new joint paper that superceded the submissions in review, that this would impact his recent appraisal (whcih presumably involved NAS panelist Bette Otto-Bliesner.)

  36. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 9:23 PM | Permalink

    “I become an AGW “skeptic” when I heard people who probably should know better blaming Hurricane Katrina’s damage on AGW.”

    What when they blamed Global Warming for the Tsunami in Indonesia 6 or 7 months previously that didn’t tip you off.

    “Global warming cause undersea earthquake shocka!”

  37. Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 9:29 PM | Permalink

    SidViscous: Well, I don’t pay much attention to the media, I probably just missed those claims.

    Kenneth: I think it’s unfair to blame the “skeptics” – or at least M&M – for the seperate camps problem. In my opinion, Mann and friends have been so obstructive and arrogant that they’ve ruined the possibliity of co-operation with any of the “hockey-stick” issues. Obviously they are not the only AGW proponents, but they are some of the most famous and heavily publicised.

    I have no doubt that M&M would have preferred to co-operate with them, pointing out their mistakes and allowing them to fix them, rather than “fighting” them. But if somebody refuses to give you a fair hearing, what choice does one have?

  38. Roger Bell
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

    I googled both Bette Otto Bliesner and Doug Nychka and am not impressed. Please look at their CVs. They just havn’t published very much recently. Papers which are quoted as being submitted in 1998 – see Bette Otto’s cv – just aren’t going to appear in the scientific literature.
    Roger Bell

  39. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 9:37 PM | Permalink

    #37: Nicholas, look at the proposal that I made to Ammann in San Francisco in December discussed here: http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=492.

    Our codes for MBH reconcile. Don’t you think that there would have been substantial interest in seeing what points we could agree on?

    A responsible program manager supervising Ammann who was interested in sorting out the issue as opposed to simply scoring debating points would have seized this offer.

  40. jae
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 9:38 PM | Permalink

    re: 33

    Personally, I am a bit put off by both “sides” of this debate. If it were really about objectivity, about sticking to the science, about finding the “truth”–whatever that is–then you would find people wanting to work together. “Hey, let’s solve this thing!” Wouldn’t that be fantastic? But instead you have sides, factions, camps, “hockey teams.” The issue is so polarized, so imbued with lefty-righty dichotomous viewpoints, that most people would read what I just wrote and snicker at the very notion of a bipartisan (for lack of a beter term…I know Steve claims no partisan motivation) hockey team, or whatever you want to call it.

    That’s right on! So why do the hockey stick benchers continue to withold data and algorithims?

  41. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 9:42 PM | Permalink

    At the Hockey Team’s blog RC, the following thread has just exceeded even my own (negative) expectations. A discussion of “Gaia” and the notion that interglacials are “fevers.” See it for yourselves in order to believe that the so called core of “Climate Science” have sunk so low:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=256

  42. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 9:55 PM | Permalink

    Nicholas

    Understandble certainly. For your own edification I thought I’d find a link or two for you. Unfortunately in this world of editable history it’s not that easy. Even the media figured out pretty quickly that it was an absurd claim. Searching for such articles I found more than a few links that no longer existed.

    But the articles condeming the claims still exist, with plenty of references as well. Many that printed them yjen however are far out of the mainstream. The damage was done, even woke up some of the media. To be sure the claims of AGW causing the earthquake were from the fringe.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,142991,00.html

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=Tsunami+%22global+warming%22

  43. jae
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 10:01 PM | Permalink

    re: 41: LOL, yes, isn’t that revealing? I am a scientist, and I can’t believe that realclimate will post this sh— and ignore my posts regarding Lomborg’s book. What a bunch of biased “scientists.”

  44. jae
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 10:04 PM | Permalink

    Let’s face it. Realclimate is a joke. I have to keep reading it to assure myself that I’m not crazy, but I am simply shocked to see what pap they allow over there.

  45. Ray Soper
    Posted Feb 15, 2006 at 11:37 PM | Permalink

    It seems to me that the most useful thing that we can ask of the NAS Panel is that, being scientists, can they please ensure that they stick to the scientific method, and particularly replication of results. As I have said on another thread, I did a google search on “scientific method replication of results”. There are of course many responses. However, I thought this quote (from http://www.psy.plym.ac.uk/year1/scimeth.htm – a commentary on a Year 1 course on Scientific Method) captures the essence of it rather well. The quote refers to a diagram that I won’t reproduce – you can see it at the source.

    “In the lecture I pointed out that scientific journeys can start from the wish to test a theory, the need to find a solution to a problem, or just plain hunch. The next diagram manages to convey a rather dry and boring feeling about science. It really isn’t like that at all. It can be the battleground for clashes between massive egos – you will meet plenty of those on your journey. But above all science is a public activity – with the communication of results at its heart. Curiously communication of results doesn’t get a look in on this diagram. As I said in the lecture in my book it isn’t science without public disclosure of methods and results. A full description of the method allows for replication in other labs by other scientists. It’s there that your results will come under the sharpest scrutiny when the question is asked “Does this result replicate?” The Introduction and Discussion sections of a scientific paper are where you can detect the clash of scientists’ egos.”

    There are many similar statements emerge from the search, such that I doubt few scientists would challenge this view.

    I acknowledge that I feel strange saying to the NAS Panel something that scientists would understandably find patronising, coming as it is from a layman. However, the course of the debate, and even comments in the above thread, seem to suggest that many people who call themselves scientists, either didn’t know, or choose not to accept, that being a scientist involves commitment to scientific method, including, as the quote demonstrates, the need to provide data and methods that allow replication of results. Failure to do so simply discredits the claims of the proponents that their science is good science, and risks throwing their whole position into doubt in the minds of the public.

  46. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 12:27 AM | Permalink

    Nicholas, SidViscous (including the GW tsunami attribution):

    I become an AGW “skeptic” when I heard people who probably should know better blaming Hurricane Katrina’s damage on AGW.

    Were those people reputable climatologists? If not–that is, if it wasn’t from somebody who is an authority of some sort on climatic issues–then why would it shape your opinion?

    In Physical Geography 101 you learn about the so-called earth system; how it’s interconnected, and how it isn’t. The notion that atmospheric processes feedback into the tectonic system often surfaces as a trick question on the first quiz. So excuse me for being “skeptical” that any climatologist/atmospheric scientist/geophysicist would even dare attribute a tsunami to AGW. And if one person did dare, this certainly was not the mantra of the “warmers.” We must remember to take care to decouple the research and the scientists from the journalists, hobbyists, lobbyists and activists who misunderstand or misrepresent their work.

    And Nicholas (#37), even though I was not actually blaming skeptics or M&M, I should point out the second ‘M’ has rather flocked to a camp, so he is fair game for my critique, as I see it.

    Jae, I happen to think realclimate is not a joke, and that they take on diverse and interesting topics. Like this blog, they have a diehard fan base, and like this blog, the level of comprehension varies considerably from one poster to the next. I think they should have decided beforehand exactly how they were going to moderate by committee, and I think they have a major disadvantage, from a PR perspective by having so many moderators. And I have said before that in the highly visible blogosphere(which is far more visible than the “journalosphere”), they should be ready to do battle with their intellectual opponents. All that said, I think it is an excellent resource and, say what you want about hockey sticks and PCs, they distill a tremendous amount of good information there. Sorry to go off-topic, though it does seem that every thread boils down to some realclimate-type issue anyway.

    I will continue reading this thread, but I am afraid I have enjoyed participating in it too much, so I must retreat to lurkerdom. I guess I was mostly saying that to anyone who responds to this post but then doesn’t hear from me for a while.

  47. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 12:35 AM | Permalink

    Yes Ken. Much like lawyers 95% of them (“warmers”) are giving the rest a bad name.

  48. Pat Frank
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 1:04 AM | Permalink

    OK, so following on from Frank Scammell’s suggestion (#32) and Steve’s assent, I posted the following letter in the NAS suggestion box.

    Despising all arguments from authority, I included my academic address. :-)

    Here’s my letter:

    “I’m concerned that your panel consists almost exclusively of climate and earth scientists, when the major issues surrounding proxy climate reconstructions concern statistical and normalization methodologies.

    “Although your panel includes Dr. Nychka, who is an expert in statistics, he is employed by UCAR and is deeply associated with a group that has engaged in some polemical controversy.

    “A dispassionate assessment of the statistical methods of proxy reconstructions is absolutely imperative. Therefore, I’d very much like to see the panel include at least one academic researcher, and better, two, specializing in statistical methods and principles such as wavelet analysis, SVD and principle components, and multivariate statistical analysis, and having no association at all with climate science. Methods assessment, after all, does not require detailed knowledge of the provenance of data.

    “Indeed, in my opinion, the fewer scientists directly involved in climate research, the more likely the panel will be to free itself from the tendentious methods and circular reasoning that seem to plague the field.

    “Yours sincerely,” etc.

  49. Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 2:24 AM | Permalink

    Were those people reputable climatologists? If not–that is, if it wasn’t from somebody who is an authority of some sort on climatic issues–then why would it shape your opinion?

  50. Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 2:24 AM | Permalink

    Oops, sorry, stuffed up the HTML tag.

    Were those people reputable climatologists? If not–that is, if it wasn’t from somebody who is an authority of some sort on climatic issues–then why would it shape your opinion?

    They were REPORTED AS being reputable climatologists. I believe one of them was from the UK meteorological service and was involved with climate modelling. However, my memory is spotty. At the time, I had no idea of who was, or wasn’t, a reputable climatologist, and neither do the majority of people, I would say. The journalists reporting the story certainly went out of their way to try to convince listeners that these people were experts in their field, which may or may not be the case.

    At the very least, it makes me question the process by which the media chooses what makes news, which leads to an obvious bias in public opinion, which drives the political side of science. That is a major problem.

    Why, just today I was talking to a biologist friend of mine who found some large flaws in studies published by his peers in reputable journals. I asked him if he had published his findings and he said something to the effect of “I don’t have enough of a reputation yet to be able to criticise these people. If I submitted my findings to a journal, it would likely be reviewed by those people of whom I am being critical, and rejected”. Amazing how clearly these processes work across disciplines.

  51. John A
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 3:17 AM | Permalink

    In Physical Geography 101 you learn about the so-called earth system; how it’s interconnected, and how it isn’t. The notion that atmospheric processes feedback into the tectonic system often surfaces as a trick question on the first quiz. So excuse me for being “skeptical” that any climatologist/atmospheric scientist/geophysicist would even dare attribute a tsunami to AGW. And if one person did dare, this certainly was not the mantra of the “warmers.” We must remember to take care to decouple the research and the scientists from the journalists, hobbyists, lobbyists and activists who misunderstand or misrepresent their work.

    I don’t think that anyone claimed that a tsunami is caused by AGW, but certainly the attribution of particular hurricanes to AGW reached fever pitch late last year, and it wasn’t just Ross Gelbspan, but people like Kevin Trenberth who were banging the drum.

    See Did Global Warming Boost Katrina’s Fury? for how Trenberth jumped on the Katrina bandwagon.

    In point of fact, the AGW crowd couldn’t resist linking the Boxing Day tsunami to global warming, by claiming that projected sea level rise have made the tsunami worse in terms of its destructive effect.

    See
    McKibben, B., 2005. Stranger Than Fiction. Mother Jones, http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2005/05/stranger_than_fiction.html.

    PBS.org, 2005. 6 Reasons Why You Should Care, http://www.pbs.org/strangedays/episodes/onedegreefactor/care/index.html

    [Hat tip to Pat Michaels, World Climate Report]

    So the answer is Ken, that if there’s a natural disaster out there, it has the potential to be used for AGW publicity purposes.

  52. Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 3:29 AM | Permalink

    Sidvicous, so you can’t find any examples of environmentalists blaming the tsunami on global warming. All you have offered is a Fox News column from Steve Milloy who claims that they did and offers some quotes which he claims are about the tsunami, but oddly enough, don’t actually mention the tsunami. You really are most remarkably gullible.

  53. John A
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 3:51 AM | Permalink

    Sidvicous, so you can’t find any examples of environmentalists blaming the tsunami on global warming.

    GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE MIGHT HAVE BEEN THE REASON FOR EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI IN INDIAN OCEAN

    GLobal Warming is possible cause of tsunami by displacing methane hydrates

    There are lots of others Timbo, but I don’t weant to wear out Google finding them all.

  54. kim
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 7:02 AM | Permalink

    Which of those panel members is the expert on anthropogenic tectonic shifts?
    ================================================================================

  55. Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 7:34 AM | Permalink

    Steve

    I too had noticed that many panelists are likely not equipped to follow the methodological controversies you have with Mann. You should therefore submit for the record
    1] the opinions on Mann by von Storch , Cubash, and other independent scientists
    2] show the several examples of data fudging — as laid out in yr E&E paper of Nov 2003; these will be convincing to the non -statisticians on the panel.

    Fred Singer

  56. MTB
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

    Can I ask: Do scientists belong to professional associations similar to the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) and similar organisations in the US, Canada, UK and elsewhere.

    These organisations have played a key role in developing clear codes relating to sound practice and delivery of high professional standards in the resource industry. Their members, as a condition of membership, are required to adhere to clear standards of professional and ethical conduct. For example, members of the AusIMM are required “to observe and be bound by the terms of the By-Laws, the Code of Ethics, or any other code of the AusIMM. Other important codes for members include the JORC Code (relating to ore resources and reserves), the VALMIN Code (relating to professional valuation reports) and the Code for Consultants.” Any member may notify the AusIMM of any breach of the codes, and the Ethics committee will investigate the breach and take appropriate disciplinary action, which it does very effectively.

    The development of these codes and requirement for high standards (arising originally from a recognition that standards were not adequate following the 1969 speculative mining boom in Australia, and more recently the BreX and other scandals in the 90s) has made a major impact on lifting professional standards all over the world.

    If science doesn’t already have such codes of conduct and clear standards for professional work, it should do something (quickly) about it. This whole debate on AGW has revealed appallingly low standards in some quarters, with what seems either to be ignorance or wilful lack of compliance with professional standards. Examples evident to an outside observer:

    1. Assumption of linearity between tree ring thickness and temperature when anybody can see that the relationship is not linear.
    2. Selective use of proxies that support one view over another.
    3. Use of “data-mining” techniques that seek for, and deliver the desired result.
    4. Refusal of authors to facilitate rapid and easy access to their data and methods to allow peers to replicate and audit there work (as is required as standard practice of scientific method).
    5. Refusal of journals to require that authors adhere to high standards in relation to 2.
    6. Clumsy misuse of statistical procedures.
    7. A tendency to make claims such as “a consensus of scientists agree” without of course providing any evidence that actually is the case when demonstrably many knowledgeable scientists don’t agree; “the issue that AGW is taking place is settled” when it demonstrably isn’t; “14 independent papers” when they demonstrably aren’t; and the arrogant dismissal of appropriate questions.

    There are many other examples that come up all the time in this highly visible situation.

    In the case of the AusIMM and other professional organisations in the resource industry, the organisations realised that the profession was losing credibility in the public arena through poor practice not being controlled, and took decisive and effective action to deal with the issues. It would seem that science is yet to get its act together in this area. The inevitable result of not dealing with this issue is that scientists and science are losing credibility in the minds of the public.

    The National Acadamies on Temperature Reconstruction has an ideal opportunity to demonstrate that it is focussed on ensuring that scientists adhere to high standards of professionalism. It can start by asking all authors to adhere to a standard requirement that scientists must expose their data and methods so that others can replicate their work.

  57. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 3:34 PM | Permalink

    RE: # 55 – Good to see one of the heavyweights weighing in!

  58. Dano
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 5:19 PM | Permalink

    John A [53],

    Uh, auditing your linkies shows that the Discovery linky says nothing about the specific cause of the big ‘un, and the second linky is a statement from a politician.

    Can you do better, plz?

    Thx so much,

    D

  59. MTB
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 5:44 PM | Permalink

    re: #56. point 5. should refer to point 4., not point 2.

    And, it is of course the National Acadamies Panel on Temperature Reconstruction.

  60. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for the assist John

    Timmy. How is that gullible? My opinion wasn’t formed by Milloy, it was simply a link. I was actually around on December 26th, it may have been my birthday, but it wasn’t my first. I can actually recall the event, and the media making the statements. I know your familiar with statements being deleted of the net when it’s absurdity is exposed, those that called them to task see no reason to remove such statements so that is primarily what we are left with.

    Ignoring things like the MWP, LIA, Global cooling scare of the 70’s and blaming the Tsunami on AGW doesn’t mean it never happened. Deleting something that was once on the net doesn’t mean it wasn’t there before.

  61. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

    58

    “and the second linky is a statement from a politician.”

    http://petersburgcity.com/city/personalities/chilingarov/

    Arthur Chilingarov: Hero of the Soviet Union, laureate of the USSR State Award, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.

    Born in 1939, in Leningrad. In 1963 graduated from the arctic faculty of the Leningrad Marine Institute named after admiral S.O. Makarov (the speciality – oceanologer). As an engineer-oceanologer was directed to Tiksi observatory of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute.

    Since 1974, during 5 years, was working in the West sector of the Arctic as a head of the Amderminsk Administration of hydrometeorology and environment control.

    A. Chilingarov is awarded with Orders of Lenin, Labour Red Banner, “Sign of Honor”, with many medals. Laureate of the USSR State Award. Author of more than 50 scientific publications.

    http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20050103/tsunamimaker.html

    Geologists and oceanographers have identified at least four causes of tsunamis, some of which conspire or can be triggered by yet other changes in the “¢’‚¬? even global warming.

    Even global warming could theoretically play a role in weakening undersea slopes if frozen gas hydrates locked in deep-sea slopes are warmed enough to shift from solid to gas state, said Driscoll.

    NEal Driscoll: http://sio.ucsd.edu/rab/act_detail.cfm?state=%26)%3E%2B(ULK%5C

    http://64.233.179.104/search?q=cache:XSl9bCwRqHMJ:canadafreepress.com/2005/morano010605.htm+%22Neal+Driscoll+%22+Tsunami+climate&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=6

    Sir David King, the chief scientific adviser for the government of the United Kingdom, said he believes that the recent tsunami served as a warming of what was yet to come through human-caused climate change.

  62. John A
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

    Unfortunately Sid, the mere existence of contrary data is not enough to persuade the Dano’s and the Lamberts of this world to stop upping the ante and just fold.

  63. John Hekman
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 6:23 PM | Permalink

    Sid, very impressive job of following up for Dano and Tim.

    It appears that in a technical discussion on a blog such as this one where many have qualifications in physics, math, statistics, etc., the hockey team does not hold that tsunamis and earthquakes are caused by global warming.

    but when a reporter calls…

  64. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

    Yeah I know. I don’t post the refutation of things like Dano’s politician comment for the others (the unswayed or straddlers) who would take his comment at face value and without looking further assume he was correct in that the Ruskie was JUST a politician. He is of course a politician, as well as a well respected scientist in a nation known for excellent scientists.

    Not worried in gettting the Danos/lamberts to change their opinion, I just hope to stop them from infecting others.

    It’s for the Nicholas’ that we work.

  65. Rod Montgomery
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 7:42 PM | Permalink

    In trying to keep heated discussions from overheating, I find Herman Kahn’s “Orders of Agreement” useful:

    1st-order agreement is agreement on substance.

    2nd-order agreement is agreement about =what the argument is about=. “If A and B have achieved it, either should be able to explain it to C and each should be willing to accept the other’s explanation.”

    3rd-order agreement is “an understanding on why second-order agreement cannot be achieved. … When third-order agreement is reached, each party can explain satisfactorily to a third why his opponent thinks the two cannot really come to grips on relevant issues and facts and eventually achieve a second-order agreement.”

    4th-order agreement is “the simple assertion by one or both [parties] that the other is too stupid or biased for further discussion to be worthwhile”.

    Ref: _Can We Win in Vietnam?_, Praeger, 1968, pp. 3-4

    I wonder whether it would be more fruitful for the NAS panel to try for second-order agreement than for consensus?

  66. MTB
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 7:51 PM | Permalink

    The Von Storch comment from 8 July 05 that turned up this morning as a pingback (whatever that is) on another thread seems to me to be very pertinent to the NAS Panel’s deliberations. I have therefore taken the liberty of excerpting it here (from: http://hockeysticks.phatsitez.com/2006/02/17/hockeysticks-the-tragedy-of-the-commons-and-sustainability/)

    ‘Hockeysticks, the tragedy of the commons and sustainability of climate science.

    Hans von Storch
    Talk at NCAR July 8, 2005

    http://w3g.gkss.de/staff/storch/ABSTRACTS/050708.boulder.pdf

    http://w3g.gkss.de/staff/storch/PPT/paleo/050708.ncar.ppt

    The "hockey stick" was elevated to an icon-status by the IPCC. While in the technical part of the TAR, the reconstruction of the last millennium’s temperature was presented with the proper caveats and uncertainties, in the publicly more visible parts of the TAR these caveats were less and less emphasized. The result is that in many quarters the hockey stick is considered to be an unquestionable indication of the detection and attribution of anthropogenic climate change.

    The problem was, and is, that the methodology behind the hockey stick has not been adequately tested. The methodology was not properly explained in the original "Nature" publication. Scientists still have difficulties what exactly is "in" the method. We have tested the method in the artificial laboratory of the output of a global climate model, and found it to significantly underestimate both low-frequency variability and associated uncertainties.

    Our work focuses on multi-century simulations with two global climate models to generate a realistic mix of natural and externally (greenhouse gases, solar output, volcanic load) forced climate variations. Such simulations are then used to examine the performance of empirically based methods to reconstruct historical climate. This is done by deriving "pseudo proxies" from the model output, which provide incomplete and spatially limited evidence about the global distribution of a variable. These pseudo proxies serve as input in reconstruction methods – the result of which is then compared with the true state simulated by the model. Obviously, this is a valid test of the reconstruction method, independently of the ability of the model to capture accurately the historical temperature record.

    Our simulation study was published in "Science" after proper review. The response was surprising – almost no open response, a bit in the media, and many colleagues who indicated privately that such a publication would damage the good case of a climate protection policy. It would play into the hands of the "sceptics".

    It seems that exaggerating claims pass the internal quality checks of science relatively easily, whereas more reasoned and scientifically accurate claims find an unwelcome audience among scientists. The practice of scientists exaggerating threatening perspectives of anthropogenic climate change and its implications serves not only the purpose of supporting a policy perceived as "good" but also personal agendas of career and public visibility. The problem is, however, that the desired public attention can only be achieved if these perspectives are continuously topped by even more threatening perspectives.

    Thus, the credibility of climate science is endangered, and its important role of advising policy (in the naive sense of "knowledge speaks to power") becomes an unsustainable practice. We have a situation similar to the case of "tragedy of the commons". In this talk I first present the methodical critique of the hockey stick methodology then engage in a rather personal discussion about the problem of post-normal climate science operating in a highly politicized environment.’

  67. jae
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 8:08 PM | Permalink

    re: #66. What a great speech! Sounds a lot like Crichton. Perhaps he should be on the NAS Committee.

  68. Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 10:50 PM | Permalink

    sidviscous, you claim that the discovery link attributes the Asian tsunami to global warming when, as Dano has already pointed out, it does not. Consequently your claims to have seen or heard other such statements are not credible — it is likely you were mistaken about them as well.

    So all you have is one Russian politician — this falls rather short of your claim that "environmentalists" were doing it. Your Milloy link reckons that Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth did it, why can’t you provide any evidence to suppport that?

    Also, this is the post that John A doesn’t want you to read. Check it out before my comment is deleted.

  69. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 10:55 PM | Permalink

    YEah they delete your inane links all the time don’t they.

    But your adressing points already backed up. You still claim that the head of the Amderminsk Administration of hydrometeorology and environment control with more than 50 scientific publications is just another politician, and I’m the one with credibility issues?

    Of course when Al Gore rants that’s gospel, sure you’ll be first in line for his movie. Bet you even have a signed copy of his book.

  70. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 11:19 PM | Permalink

    Tim,

    Why wouldn’t John A want anyone here not to read that junk post on Deltoid? We all know it’s lies and distortions. And we know why.

  71. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 11:51 PM | Permalink

    Cuz John likes some of us lads. He’d like to keep us from going mad reading it and all.

  72. Ed Snack
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 1:02 AM | Permalink

    Yes, and Tim, just a hint, believing anything Danny boy posts is a bit fraught, he does have the odd credibility problem. Oh BTW, written your “Mann stuffs (being polite here) it up again post” yet ?

  73. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 2:44 AM | Permalink

    Oh, it’s another of those falling over yourselves to insult X, Y ,or Z thread…

  74. John A
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 3:51 AM | Permalink

    Before anyone asks, the Tim Lambert advertorial is in the moderation queue for Steve to parse.

  75. MTB
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 4:30 AM | Permalink

    Re #72

    Peter, instead of engaging in sqabbling with the “kids”, how would you like to adopt a more thoughtful role and comment on the issues raised in posts 56 (+59) and 66 above. It seems to me that these issues are likely to be of more interest to an intelligent bloke like you, and I am certainly interested in hearing your views on these central topics.

  76. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 5:10 AM | Permalink

    Re #74.

    Ok, (though I guarantee I’ll be insulted one way or another)

    Re you points:

    1. They don’t just core any tree – if the did that there’s an oak just down the road at least 300 years old. You imply they assume what you say – any evidence?

    2. Any evidence (evidence, for confirmation, from more sources than this place).

    3. This place data mines. I just looks for evidence to rubbish the post Lamb recons. I BET if a recon comes out showing what this place likes we’ll either not hear about it or it will be acclaimed.

    4. This is, largely, a myth. There is stacks of data out there, intellectual propert is another matter.

    5. You say, evidence?

    6. Sure, some of the maths isn’t perfect. Everyone knows the recons aren’t *perfect*. Are they, as soooo many here hope, smashed? I (cue insult) don’t think so.

    7. Well, i think there is a consensus. I was in a meteorology library yesterday (UK Met Office). It’s huge. Full of journals. I’m certain the only papers backing you up are by Steve. If that isn’t a consensus what is?

    Finally, I don’t think VS thinks the science of recons wrecked – far from it.

  77. Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 5:59 AM | Permalink

    OK, I’ll bite, Peter.

    1. OK, so you seem to be suggesting they only core trees which have a linear response to temperature. How do they choose the trees in such a way that they know that over its whole life it responded to temperature linearly? I have yet to see any evidence that ANY kind of tree responds linearly to temperature, and in fact the only conditions in which it seems trees even respond in a predictable manner to temperature at all is when you can pretty much guarantee the other conditions which affect growth are very fixed over their life span. For example, when the trees grow in a very wet environment, so there’s little chance of dryness stunting growth (which would be mistaken for a cold spell), or if they grow in a very dry environment, so there’s little chance of sudden wet spells enhancing their growth for a while (which could be mistaken for a hot spell). But even under these restrictive conditions, where is the evidence that trees respond predictably and at least somewhat linearly to temperature changes? I thought we saw a discussion recently where it was shown trees in the same grove often responded in opposite ways to the same temperature delta, and that may be something which changes over the tree’s lifetime.

    What’s more, we know some of the proxies have been shown specifically that they are not responding to temperature (e.g. the “bristlecones”), yet those proxies are still being used in temperature studies. If they’re chosen so carefully to have a linear temperature response, how can you explain that?

    2. A number of recent posts on this site were about studies which seem to include particular proxies which are dubious in terms of being good temperature proxies. Frankly I’m not sure how we can possibly tell which proxies are good or not, considering that we can’t check them for correlation to temperature over the full study period, since that would require knowing the answer to the question before we ask it. You can check for recent temperature correlation but since that’s a relatively small sample, you are going to get some correlation even if the proxies are random. It’s especially bad if you simply flip any proxies which have high negative correlation, since negative correlation could just as easily mean the correlation is bad, as mean that the proxy responds in the opposite manner.

    3. Not sure what you mean by “this place data mines”, but I think you should agree that any technique which weights a single proxy, or a small subset of proxies, out of hundreds or thousands of inputs so that those few effectively control the final result is a poor technique, especially if it creates massive geographical biases when the studies are supposed to be reporting on a global phenomena.

    I bet if a study comes out which shows the opposite of MBH98, Steve would still like to check it for robustness and correctness. In fact, chances are it will be so heavily rubbished by the mainstream, I would say that would be a good idea. That way if it does turn out to use superior technique to these other studies, it will gain traction much more surely, and if it turns out to be just as flawed, or more so, I think we can happily consign it to the rubbish heap along with the others and wait until something better comes along. I’d rather wait for good answers, than settle for poor answers right now, personally.

    4. Aren’t most scientists publically funded? If so, shouldn’t their data be archived and freely available? What’s more important, protecting one’s “intellectual property” (a loaded term) or getting the data we need to work out how to live long and prosper as a species?

    If the scientists want to keep their data secret, that’s fine with me, but then they should keep their results secret too. Science just can’t operate properly with that kind of secrecy, so it’s better that we don’t pretend about it. Imagine if Niels Bohr and friends decided to patent Quantum Physics. Geez that would suck.

    5. Again, read more of this blog. The journals require the data and methods used in the studies they publish be available upon request, yet when Mr. McIntyre requests them, he typically gets excuses, not data. I get the impression that he gets what he asks for less than 50% of the time, and possibly significantly less. You’d have to ask him.

    6. I don’t think anyone would mind if the studies used non-ideal mathematical techniques, as long as they would be up-front about it. They could at least admit it when others discover they’ve made gross mistakes or used inadequate techniques. It may hurt one’s pride but it hurts one’s reputation even more in the long term to deny it.

    7. If there’s a consensus, why is it necessary to deride those who don’t agree? I’ve seen the vicious attacks, the attempts to assassinate the previous good works of those who dare to question the “consensus”. If there truly was a consensus I would think that that kind of defensiveness would be unnecessary. Defensiveness is usually a sign of insecurity. Of course, you can claim that what I’m describing is not the case, I’m imagining it, I’m making it up, etc. but I’ve seen it happen enough times to people like Richard Lindzen, David Bellamy and Fred Singer.

    These people feel “embattled”, with good reason, and that shouldn’t be the case simply because their opinion does not agree with the common wisdom of the day.

    Actually, I don’t mind particularly if you feel there’s a consensus. That’s fine. Just don’t use it as an excuse to silence your critics, as AGW propoents seem to do. “There’s no need to question our science – there’s a consensus!” Sorry, that’s not how science works. Even if 99% of people agree with something, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right. It’s better to take each case on its merits. Otherwise you have the danger of group-think.

    My usual disclaimer : I am not a scientist. These are just my opinions. Maybe I’m wrong. But my natural reaction is not to just jump on the current bandwagon, and take a long, hard look at the evidence presented to me in order to decide who is more likely to be right. And every time I look at the evidence presented by the AGW proponents, I smell something fishy. As they say, “when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me”, and there are just way too many assumptions for my liking.

  78. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 6:28 AM | Permalink

    Nicholas,

    I’m not jumping on the CA bandwagon am I?

    Just a couple of points, If you think people like me haven’t been, at best, derided here, you need to read this place more fully.

    Re point 1, you need to ask the experts. Again, NO ONE is saying any one proxy is perfect.

    I bet if a study comes out which shows the opposite of MBH98, Steve would still like to check it for robustness and correctness

    ahhh, but there are pre MBH studies (which don’t show stick form) and they’re not scrutinized AT ALL here – get it???

    I do agree, of course, more studies, and proxies, are needed.

  79. BradH
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 7:52 AM | Permalink

    Re: #76

    Way to go, Nicholas! Devastating!

    Re: #77

    Way to go, Peter. Lame!

    That’s not an “attack” on you, it’s the plain, unvarnished truth. Nicholas tried to answer you in detail, with well-reasoned, thoughtful arguments.

    You, however, picked two lines out of an 85 line post and say “ahhh”, as if you’ve check-mated his argument.

    You spent a pittance of time on an obviously earnest and extended post, addressed to you personally, yet you have the bad mannered arrogance to tell him, “get it???”

    Finally, you salve your conscience by saying, “I do agree, of course, more studies, and proxies, are needed.”

    No, Peter, you’ve never argued that. You’ve always argued that the consensus is that AGW exists and that all studies (including the pre MBH studies) prove that. You said it, in fact, in the paragraph above your “more studies” comment!

    Well, Peter, if all the pre and post MBH studies prove the case so conclusively, why would more be needed?

    Get that back brace out – it’s the only way you’ll sleep straight in bed tonight.

  80. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 7:54 AM | Permalink

    Peter, I can’t analyze everything in the world. I’m focussing on the spaghetti graph multiproxy studies – which is a big enough topic for now. I’ve got a lot of work in the pipeline which I need to finish.

    One of the big selling points for the Hockey Team studies was their grandiose claims of robustness and statistical skill, which lend themselves to examination of their statistical methods, which is something within my realm of competence.
    The earlier studies (Lamb, Bray, etc.) typically did not make similar grandiose claims. There is much of continuing interest in these studies, which I may post up on from time to time.

    The counter-attack on the older studies was led by the programmatic emphasis of Hughes and Diaz [1994] and Bradley and Jones [1993] that annual data had to be used – which led quickly to domination by tree rings. If you look back at Hughes and Diaz – another interesting exercise – you see that much of the criticisms of prior methods don’t really hold up and some of the evidencce cited was from series that turn out to have a lot of problems.

  81. beng
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

    RE #56 MTB, your experience sounds intimately familiar to long-term readers of this site. The situation in OZ seems remarkably similar to everywhere else.

    Therefore, I humbly submit — Anthro Global Warming (AGW) henceforth will be redefined as Anthro Global Obfuscation by Good Ol’boys (A-GO-GO).

  82. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

    #76. Nicholas – thank you for the thoughtful comments.

    BTW, I appreciate the efforts that people have made in summarizing what they believe to be the take-home points (BradH – I like your proposed structure). Obviously there are a lot of different issues raised here over the last year. It’s hard to boil things down and sometimes these things are easier for 3rd parties to see. I find it easier to edit other people’s work than my own.

  83. jae
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

    Peter: You are so far out in LEFT field that you can’t even see the pitcher. You work for Gore?

  84. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

    #76: Peter, you say: “I BET if a recon comes out showing what this place likes we’ll either not hear about it or it will be acclaimed.” Well, look at

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=42

    “I’ve heard rumors that a new reconstruction from Moberg et al. is about to be published in Nature and it looks like it’s going to be more bad news for Mann et al.”

    When Moberg came out, many in the skeptic community did acclaim it for its non-hockey stick shape and its “warm” medieval period. Steve, on the other hand, added it to the pile with the others, labouriously audited its data and methods: see http://www.climateaudit.org/index.php?cat=6, tracked every series back to its source, including querying cited authors about the provenance of the data, identified the discrepancies and unidentifiable series, and then presented Nature with a detailed Materials Complaint which is still being sorted out. During the many threads about this all you had to offer were a couple of snide comments, such as “NASA can be thankful Steve hasn’t decided to rubbish, sorry audit, space science.”

    It’s bad enough to make a derisive comment about what you think Steve ought to do under hypothetical future circumstances, but I’m baffled at how you can criticize him for not auditing a study that “this place” actually likes, when you watched him do it last fall, and had nothing good to say about it at the time.
    #78 — the pre-MBH recons are not ignored here, but they are not the ones being audited because they are not the ones the IPCC promoted (and intends to promote). In other words, if you’re going to fault people for ignoring non-hockey stick graphs, start with the IPCC.

  85. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 10:28 AM | Permalink

    RE. # 77. I am a scientist. I currently work in high tech. Your post is exceedingly well put.

    Here is what I perceive. There is a faction of Climate Professionals, some of them scientists from the “hard sciences” tradition, some more from either the “soft sciences” tradition or social sciences, who have become the core group embracing AGW orthodoxy. Most of them tend to view themselves as an group either opressed by, or somehow overshadowed by big business, by the political Right, and by those whom they would deem to be “non ecologically oriented.”

    There is, more or less, in various forms, a Gaia notion permeating the core AGW orthodoxy group, or at least, some form of Malthusianism. The orthodox embrace the notion that either we have exceeded, or have nearly exceeded, the Earth’s carrying capacity in terms of the impact of humanity. To give fair credit, rather than a crass political agenda or an income redistribution objective, at least a plurality if not a majority of the orthodox are honestly and truly concerned that a die off, or extinction, may loom, and that purported AGW plays a roll in the looming disaster.

    So as a result, we have an impasse. Because at least some of the criticism of the AGW notion has in fact come from non-scientists in the business and political communities, the orthodox have responded with a “circle the wagons” behavior. They perceive that they are like freedom fighters or other sorts of moral “warriors” who face a hostile world who do not share their beliefs.

    Somehow lost in all this is the fact that scientists like me, who are neither robber barrons nor Gaia worshippers, but walk the middle path, do actually have a bona fide concern that bad science has negatively impacted the current “climate science” orthodoxy, especially when we see things in the more traditional areas of geology, geophysics, astrophysics, physics, botany, ecology, etc that seem to contradict at least some of the assumptions, observations and interpretations being set for by the orthodox.

    How can this impasse be resolved?

  86. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

    Re #79, Brad, I can’t spend my entire time on here.

    “No, Peter, you’ve never argued that. You’ve always argued that the consensus is that AGW exists and that all studies (including the pre MBH studies) prove that. You said it, in fact, in the paragraph above your “more studies” comment!” The consensus *IS* AGW exists (the arguement is about it’s magnitude). Oh and if you can find where I’ve repeatedly said the recons ‘prove’ anything go ahead. I can’t remember such, it’s not what I think.

    #83, from your perspective yes no doubt :)

    Ross, as some spark here might irritatingly say ‘you don’t do jokes then?’ As those same others might say, don’t be so sensitive. Your reply to my #78 is a bit thin btw ‘we’re doing what the IPCC does’? When did you ever think that right?

    Steve, yup, I had a look at Hughes and Dias the other day. Weighty stuff. So, Lamb is good becuase it didn’t make gradiose claims? Nah, it’s because it say’s the right things ;)

  87. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

    Re #85, Steve Ok , I accept you think you’re middle of the road. Will you accpet I think likewise? I don’t think a lot of warming likely,but, equally, I can’t see it being much less than 2C. Is that biased? Or can I think that?

    What do you think I a reasonable middle of the road prediction for the effect of 450ppm CO2 in the atmosphere and other ghg’s additions?

  88. jae
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

    Re: 86. Yes, it is exactly this almost religious behaviour that should make any true scientist shudder and start questioning.

  89. jae
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

    OOps, I meant #85, not #86.

  90. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

    Re #88, So, one has to be a republican to be a scientist?

  91. Mark
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

    no, one has to be objective to be a scientist.

    mark

  92. jae
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 11:33 AM | Permalink

    Peter, why do you bring “Republican” into this?

  93. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

    Because he’s an either or kind of guy. Since he feels silencing of the opposing side is normal behavior it is his assumption that is what the “opposing” side is doing as well.

    And in his mind everything reverts to political beliefs, Jeff forbid people have opinions outside of political or religious dogma.

    In brief he is projecting his own personality and beliefs onto others.

  94. Dano
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    Re #61:

    The comment was about specifics:

    Sidvicous, so you can’t find any examples of environmentalists blaming the tsunami on global warming…[t]here are lots of others Timbo, but I don’t weant to wear out Google finding them all.

    The dsc linky is not specific (as you so helpfully quoted) as to cause.

    And my apologies on Arthur Chilingarov. I did not check his cred. I was surprised any one here (esp. expert commenters on global average mean temperature IN A NON-EQUILIBRIUM SYSTEM) would quote as credible anyone who says global average temp is rising at fantastic rates, so I checked no further. Esp. as I saw no mention of prominent climate scientists anywhere in the arty.

    I stand corrected. We should now count as credible scientists commenting on areas outside their expertise. My mistake for not thinking outside the box.

    Best,

    D

  95. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

    The Dsc link is not specefic as to cause. But since that is not what we are talking about I don’t quite see your point.

    Since when did we quote him as credible. We are quoting him as being not-credible and engaging in fear mongering. And at no time was the discusion talking about prominent climate scientists, I believe the grouping we are talking about are “people who should know better” from Nicholas, from my side it would be Warmers. This ranges from Mann to the hippie girl in the Tie dyed shirt selling organic twigs on the corner.

  96. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

    RE: #87. Here is my current view. I accept the MWE and the LIA as facts and will not spend energy debating them. So, given this, I believe that there has been warming since the LIA began to pull back. The question in my mind is, will we have another event of the magnitude of the MWE, or have we already seen the max? Or will things simply plateau for a while then drop back into the next “little ice age” within the interglacial.

    The general basis for my view is the characteristic frequency spectra of the exceedingly complex “network” known as global climate and its interactions with oceans, land and the biosphere. So I guess, in that, I have some small thing in common with the Gaia workshippers. In any case, I believe that the oscillations such as warm events and little ice ages (as well as ENSO, and others) are all part of the periodicity of the system. And there are harmonics too, so the peridicity is not at a single frequency – not an ideal sinusoid.

    The ultimate arbiter, in my view, is what I suspect to be the looming (at least in terms of geological time) return to the glacial. So ultimately, this whole debate is about the nature of a perturbation within an interglacial that will likely end.

  97. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 2:25 PM | Permalink

    Re #92 because you bought a democrat into it….

    Re #93 Sid, I wasn’t the one to bring politics into see #83

    Re #96 Steve, you’ve not mentioned CO2, or the gh effect. So, do you discount a IPCC like AGW? Further, do you discount noticable AGW (lets say 1C)? If you do, then your ‘middle of the road’ will seem way away from, say, mine. Finally, to ask again, what effect do you think 450ppm CO2 by, say, 2050-75 would have, indeed do you have an opinion on that?

  98. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 2:33 PM | Permalink

    Doesn’t change the validity of the comment, reinforces it in fact.

    “(lets say 1C)? ”

    While you’ve not confirmed it, you’ve already discussed and given evidence to signfigantly lower (50%) AGW warming of ~.42C – .56C in http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=523#comments why 1C now.

  99. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

    RE:#97. Apply a saw tooth wave form to a complex system and it might do very little. Or it might result in an overshoot response. Without understanding all the damping coefficients (which we don’t) and all the feedback mechanisms and innate filters (which we also don’t) no prediction can be made. I guess at this point, we’ll simply have to watch and see what happens. Then, someday, historians will either say “during the late 20th century, there was an apocolyptic fervor similar to what happened around 1000AD” or, they will say “there were visionaries who tried to convince the masses as well as fellow scientists who were skeptics, that doom loomed, but failed.”

  100. Dano
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 2:51 PM | Permalink

    Re 95:

    The comment was in reply and was about finding examples of environmentalists blaming the tsunami on global warming.

    That’s what it was about. Specific tsunami as to cause on GW. That’s what was being talked about. THE tsunami. Examples were given. Cause.

    And, I see your point about credible.

    In this instance, a not-credible fringe person was equated to lots of people, thus inferring that everyone had this view.

    A favorite point of mine is to point out how common it is that denialists use a common marginalization technique: take a fringe person and conflate that fringe person to the group you’re trying to marginalize.

    I see that happening in certain comments above.

    Best,

    D

  101. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 2:53 PM | Permalink

    I had posted this on another thread but I felt it fits in here too. My own, personal cautionary tale:

    I was a geophysics undergrad when I read “Greenhouse” by Dakota James. So, even though I was obviously studying a hard science (and working in high tech on the side) I also got sucked into the warmer camp, hook line and sinker. You see, from childhood I’d been groomed by liberal parents to become a Gaia worshipper. My, oh my, that programming was difficult to overcome.

    What started my own cycle of doubt were the following:
    * Referring to the James book, 1990 arrived, and it looked like in 7 years, “it” would not happen (alluding to “It Will Happen In 1997″‚Ⱡ- James’ subtitle).
    * As I aged, my formal education really started to kick in. I took a more data driven approach. I learned via hard knocks about noise, measurement system errors, selective data mining, and other problems.
    * 1997 came and went, and still “it” had not happened.
    * In the big picture, the sea ice continued to cycle as expected and the dramatic “evidence that the ice caps (sic) were melting” turned out to look more and more like observations taken in years that were in the lower range of extent. Got variation?
    * I listed out all the potential sources of bias in surface readings and could not really convince myself that a single one of them ought to be discounted. Then, I tried to imagine how I might correct for such biases and quickly got way beyond my own math capabilities. That was telling.
    * I ran into M&M’s 2003 paper and that pretty much sewed it up.
    * Since then, I drilled down on (pun intended?) the Bristlecone Studies orthogonal to my own personal knowledge of the White Mountains and Eastern Sierra, and concluded that no one in their right mind would want to use Bristlecones as temperature proxies. Later, I began to question using any tree rings as proxies.

    No agenda aforethought, only personal development at work for me.

  102. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 3:00 PM | Permalink

    I’m sorry Dano, apparently you’ve been reading things quickly and are making accusations without all the facts.

    Could I quote myself for you on my post #42 on 15th February “To be sure the claims of AGW causing the earthquake were from the fringe.”

    So I would ask, what is your point again.

  103. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 3:07 PM | Permalink

    Sid, because I said ‘lets say’ – it was an example. You’re getting a bet pedantic.

    Steve, OK, you think we don’t understand the ‘damping coefficients’. Well, fair and honest enough, I think your position is defendable. Others, many others, think we know enough about how the atmosphere works to predict it – my view. We’ll see, but while I do honestly hope you’re right, I also honestly don’t think you are. Before others jump in, not politics, not bias, but my view.

  104. Hans Erren
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 3:18 PM | Permalink

    Peter:

    “do you have to be a republican?”
    In the UK I’d vote LibDem, In America I wouldn’t vote at all, far to much polarised politics.

  105. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 3:52 PM | Permalink

    It is telling to read the fine print in recent reports from Arctic Studies. The caveats are typically “The record and extent of measurements is greatly limited” and “It is highly likely that….” etc. For example, these reports do not say “there has been an undeniable decrease in average sea ice extent” but instead” “it is highly likely that there has been a decrease in average sea ice extent.”

    Fascinating.

  106. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

    RE: “We’ll see, but while I do honestly hope you’re right, I also honestly don’t think you are. ”

    I am neither right nor wrong. I am making no specific prediction.

  107. jae
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 4:09 PM | Permalink

    Peter: Do you have scientific credentials, or are you in the liberal arts category?

  108. Roger Bell
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 5:32 PM | Permalink

    Does anyone posting here have access to the Science Citation Index? It would be good to know how influential the work of the panel nominees has been.
    Roger Bell

  109. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Feb 17, 2006 at 6:51 PM | Permalink

    My letter:

    As I see it, for this committee to be truly objective regarding this matter, members need to have a certain degree of separation from Mann et al.

    Of course, it may also be desirable to similarly ensure a degree of separation from McIntyre and McKitrick as well.

    Final recommendation is to include experts in network stabilty analysis, systems engineering and other fields where there is typically in depth exposure to issues with noise, harmonics, oscillatory responses, filter theory, feedback loops, fourier transforms, etc. Ideas regarding where to find them would include the geophysical, electronics and particularly, analog electronics for defense systems communities. In other words, content experts in complex systems who have little bias since they have typically not been close to climate science.

  110. Paul Penrose
    Posted Feb 18, 2006 at 12:01 AM | Permalink

    #107:
    As far as I can tell from Peter’s postings he has a very limited understanding of statistics, modeling, physics, and the scientific method. I could be wrong and he is in fact simply unwilling or too lazy to discuss technical issues in detail, preferring instead to rely on multitudes of logical fallacies like ad hom., appeal to consensus, straw man, etc. I have concluded that it is a waste of time attempting to debate him; he is impervious to reason. But by all means, if you like a challenge, keep trying, and good luck.

  111. BradH
    Posted Feb 18, 2006 at 5:49 AM | Permalink

    Re #86 Peter said:-

    Oh and if you can find where I’ve repeatedly said the recons “prove’ anything go ahead. I can’t remember such, it’s not what I think.

    Well, Peter, I went ahead and found it:-

    Early on in this places existance a few people, like me, made post to the effect that actually the recons are, broadly, right but we have been consistently derided (infact, usually worse).

    In your own words, Peter (post #23,http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=368).

    Furthermore, when I accused you of being lame for not taking some time to respond to an extended, thoughtful post by Nicholas addressed to YOU, PERSONALLY, you replied:-

    Brad, I can’t spend my entire time on here.

    This, when a quick google search of: +”Climate Audit” +”Comment by Peter Hearnden” brings up 112 results.

    So, Peter, you have plenty of time to spend here and the fact that you are so impolite that you can’t take the time to compose a reasonable reply to someone who has addressed a post to you says an immeasurable amount.

    No one has to assassinate your character – you do a perfectly good job of it, all by yourself.

  112. jae
    Posted Feb 18, 2006 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

    I doubt that Peter has really read much of the literature on “recons.” I’m sure he doesn’t understand the statistics. I doubt he understands the scientific method, either. Considering his postings, I’m not even sure he can construct legible sentences and spell many words.

  113. Paul Penrose
    Posted Feb 19, 2006 at 12:08 AM | Permalink

    RE #112:
    Jae, to be fair I don’t think that Peter’s native language is English, so I’d give him a break on spelling and grammar. Personally I would never even consider posting on a non-English blog, so I’ve got to give Peter some credit in this regard.

  114. BradH
    Posted Feb 19, 2006 at 7:51 AM | Permalink

    RE: # 112

    I doubt that Peter has really read much of the literature on “recons.” I’m sure he doesn’t understand the statistics.

    No, jae, I don’t understand much of it either (one year, undergraduate subject). Anyone reading my postings will know I’m skeptical of AGW, but I don’t post here on statistical issues – I leave those to the experts. I’m always ready to believe real scientists, with testable hypotheses, who are prepared to be proven wrong (even though they’d prefer to be proven right). The reason why I spend so much time on this site is two-fold.

    First, the writings of Mann, et. al. have played an enormous part in the public and press face of AGW over the past 8-12 years. Despite Mann’s claims of having “moved on” from those studies Steve & Ross have criticised, he would be appalled if things had moved on from his own studies, in toto.

    Despite my basic statistical education, my understanding of the most fundamental scientific principle – replicability – is the perfectly clear:-

    No replication = supposition. Replication = proof [for the moment].

    Everyone knows the consequences for Fleischmann and Pons of a non-replicable experiment. The fact that the Hockey Team can brazenly withhold their data, as if they were a pharmaceutical company, or an IT company, is absolutely astonosihing to me. This is NOT science, by any definition I’ve learned.

    There are two “sciences” I am aware of, where a lack of replicability has been deemed acceptable, simply because it is not possible – they are economics and meteorolgy.

    Now, neither of these are considered to be “science” in the true sense of the word – their theories can no more reliably reproduce the past, than they can predict the future. They are, insofar as their prediction capacity is concerned, no more useful than horseracing or stockmarket software [are there any posters out there who will rise to support these notorious computerised models?]. Yet, the proponents of AGW deign to forecast our demise 100 years or more in the future, based on their computer modelling. IT DOESN”T MAKE SENSE!!

    The second reason I spend so much time at this site is because I’m frustrated that the first reason hasn’t been enough to consign the likes of Mann to the rubbish bin of history. Think about it – they can’t tell you want it’s going to be like in 5 days (nor can Mann, just quietly), so how can they suggest knowledge over 100 years??

    It sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it? Yet, people continue to believe it and it seems to me that a significant part of the facade is the Hockey Stick (and its implications for the future). If people like Steve and Ross can prove the Hockey Stick to be a crock, the foundation of this particular house of cards becomes questionable. THis is the key. People underestimate the importanc eof Mann, et al. to the issue – they are the focal point of funding and attention – they have a profile which would make Greenpeace jealous!

    Should Mann, et al be disproven, others might wonder about the reliability of climate models generally. Someone might mention that during the MWP, people farmed the Greenland ice sheet (wasn’t so icy then, was it?). Someone else might point out that the Earth has survived all sorts of problems during the past 4.5 billion years, yet we’re panicking over a 25 year “trend”. Hmmm…4,500,000,000,000 vs. 25]. Despite the insanity of it all, it seems that the only way the media and various scientists will accept proxy modeling and other historical averaging methods as bunkom is if people like Steve and Ross deconstruct every last argument.

    So, the second reason why I spend so much time here is that. Despite the illogical nature of believing our generational experiance can gauge a multi-billion year history, it seems to me the only way people will see sense is if evey single aspect of Mann and others is deconstructed and proven to be flawed.

    Only once every pretence (in the eyes of scientists, first, and the public thereafter) that we are capable of predicting what might happen to our climate has been abandoned, will we really be able to prepare for the future.

    That prepation will involve contingencies for: heat; rain; cold; snow; etc. In other words, about tommorrow’s eather forecast, by my local bureau!

  115. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 19, 2006 at 8:23 AM | Permalink

    Re #112, wow, good ad homs (though #113 scores more sandpit points for subtlety)! So, it’s OK to be pathetically picky about spelling (typos) and grammar is it? It’s, all good playground stuff I suppose….

    Re #111. Brad, sheeshh, don’t you know the difference between ‘prove’ and ‘broadly right’? Indeed, are they the same word ‘across the water’?

    Re proof. Simply put, you’ll never get it. If it’s 2C warmer by mid century, do I think you’ll accept it as ‘proof’? I do not. If Co2 reaches 450ppm by a similar time will you be concerned? I doubt it.

  116. BradH
    Posted Feb 19, 2006 at 8:26 AM | Permalink

    RE: # 112

    I doubt that Peter has really read much of the literature on “recons.” I’m sure he doesn’t understand the statistics.

    No, jae, I don’t understand much of it either (one year, undergraduate subject). Anyone reading my postings will know I’m skeptical of AGW, but I don’t post here on statistical issues – I leave those to the experts. I’m always ready to believe real scientists, with testable hypotheses, who are prepared to be proven wrong (even though they’d prefer to be proven right). The reason why I spend so much time on this site is two-fold.

    First, the writings of Mann, et. al. have played an enormous part in the public and press face of AGW over the past 8-12 years. Despite Mann’s claims of having “moved on” from those studies Steve & Ross have criticised, he would be appalled if things had moved on from his own studies, in toto.

    Despite my basic statistical education, my understanding of the most fundamental scientific principle – replicability – is the perfectly clear:-

    No replication = supposition. Replication = proof [for the moment].

    Everyone knows the consequences for Fleischmann and Pons of a non-replicable experiment. The fact that the Hockey Team can brazenly withhold their data, as if they were a pharmaceutical company, or an IT company, is absolutely astonosihing to me. This is NOT science, by any definition I’ve learned.

    There are two “sciences” which come to mind, where a lack of replicability has been deemed acceptable, simply because we are only guessing – they are economics and meteorology.

    Now, neither of these are considered to be “science” in the true sense of the word – their theories can no more reliably reproduce the past, than they can predict the future. They are, insofar as their prediction capacity is concerned, no more useful than horseracing or stockmarket software [are there any posters out there who will rise to support these notorious computerised models?]. Yet, the proponents of AGW deign to forecast our demise 100 years or more in the future, based on their computer modelling. IT DOESN”T MAKE SENSE!!

    The second reason I spend so much time at this site is because I’m frustrated that the first reason hasn’t been enough to consign the likes of Mann to the rubbish bin of history. Think about it – Mann, et al. can’t tell you want it’s going to be like in 5 days, so how can they suggest knowledge over 100 years?? [I can’t either, but then, I don’t make predictions.]

    It sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it? Yet, people continue to believe it and it seems to me that a significant part of the facade is the Hockey Stick (and its implications for the future). If people like Steve and Ross can prove the Hockey Stick to be a crock, the foundation of this particular house of cards becomes questionable. This is the key.

    AGWer’s underestimate [or underplay] the importance of Mann, et al. to the issue – they have become the focal point of funding and attention – they have a profile which would make Greenpeace jealous!

    Should Mann, et al be disproven, others might wonder about the reliability of climate models generally. Someone might mention that during the MWP, people farmed the Greenland ice sheet (wasn’t so icy then, was it?). Someone else might point out that the Earth has survived all sorts of problems during the past 4.5 billion years, yet we’re panicking over a 30 year “trend”. [Hmmm…4,500,000,000,000 vs. 30]. Despite the insanity of it all, it seems that the only way the media and various scientists will accept proxy modeling and other historical averaging methods as bunkum, is if people like Steve and Ross deconstruct every last argument. Given the paucity of their arguments, this is sad, but apparently necessary.

    So, the second reason why I spend so much time here is that, despite the illogical nature of believing a few hundred years’ tree widths from our multi-billion year past can predict the future, it appears that the only way to convince scientific journal editors and the general public, is to prove every last statistical argument to be flawed.

    If that is what it takes, that [sadly] is what it takes.

    Steve and Ross, I salute you for attempting to knock down a house of cards, brick by brick.

  117. John A
    Posted Feb 19, 2006 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

    I salute you for attempting to knock down a house of cards, brick by brick.

    Never salute anybody under the influence of mixed metaphors.

    Just sayin’

  118. kim
    Posted Feb 19, 2006 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

    The Big Mann Wolf will huff and he’ll puff, but the M&M’s all snug in their logic, will laugh.
    ============================================================================

  119. kim
    Posted Feb 19, 2006 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

    Then they’ll pitch brick after brick at the louse of a coyote knocking by the latch.
    ==================================================================================

  120. BradH
    Posted Feb 19, 2006 at 5:00 PM | Permalink

    Brad, sheeshh, don’t you know the difference between “prove’ and “broadly right’? Indeed, are they the same word “across the water’?

    Semantics, Peter. Your consistent line of argument amounts to the same thing, even if you hedge your bets by saying “broadly right”, rather than “proves.”

  121. Paul Penrose
    Posted Feb 19, 2006 at 9:48 PM | Permalink

    Re #115:
    Peter, I was sincere. If English is your native language, then I take it all back.

  122. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 20, 2006 at 2:56 AM | Permalink

    Re#120. Brad it’s ‘you lot’ who are allways going on about how rigorous science needs to be, yet now you claiming the differnce between proof and broadly right is sematics?

    I DON’T think AGW is prooved, or the recons*, I do think that recons are broadly right, (think about it, Lamb’s recons would pretty much fit inside the SD’s of MBH…). I think now is probably as warm as any in the last 1000. I don’t, and can’t, KNOW that, as in proove it.

    Again, what would ‘proove’ AGW to you? I’m pretty sure the answer is nothing. Closed minds and all that.

    * for the picky here it’s a shorthand for reconstructions.

  123. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Feb 22, 2006 at 11:26 AM | Permalink

    RE: #122. Here is how to prove a few things to yourself. You claim to be a farmer. Well then, here is a challenge to you. You are a farmer in the UK. Try to grow what grew in your part of the UK in 1000 AD. Either you will succeed or you will fail. If you fail, then, while not being a complete raft of evidence of it, it would certainly be an indicator that today is not as warm as 1000 AD.

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