Letter to Climatic Change

I was asked to review the Wahl and Amman submission in May 2005 and recently posted up my review here. The first recommendation in my review was that all Wahl and Ammann remove all arguments that depended on their rejected GRL article. They didn’t and now it’s come back and should haunt them. Despite providing a diligent review of the original submission, I was not sent a copy of the revised version for review (it’s at Ammann’s website). I’ve sent the following letter to Schneider today.

Dear Dr Schneider,
As you know, in May 2005, Climatic Change asked me to review the submission by Wahl and Ammann. In that capacity, I made a diligent review and raised many substantial issues. I have recently learned that the paper in question is now In Press, indicating that you have proceeded to accept the Wahl and Ammann submission without sending any revisions to me for re-consideration. The revised version of the paper posted up on Ammann’s website fail to address many of the issues raised in my review (which I once again attached to this email) the summary of which is recapitulated below:

The following is a list of tasks that the authors would need to do to begin to have a paper which could be reviewed in detail. Carrying out these tasks would require a completely re-written paper, and would reach quite different conclusions.
1. Delete all arguments depending on the rejected GRL submission.
2. Provide an accurate rendering of MM criticisms, including direct quotations from MM05a, MM05b, as they touch on the main criticisms of MBH98, including: failure of cross-validation statistics; inaccurate benchmarking of RE significance; withholding of adverse cross-validation statistics; lack of robustness to the presence/absence of bristlecone pines; the defects of bristlecones as a temperature proxy. Correction of inaccurate renderings would also require removing all references to MM “presenting” an alternative reconstruction; removing all reference to MM or MBH “centering conventions” and using neutral language such as covariance matrix, correlation matrix, or uncentered; removing all reference to tree ring chronologies being “unstandardized” (since they are all pre-standardized); etc.
3. Provide and discuss standard cross-validation statistics for all scenarios.
4. Either provide Monte Carlo simulations to benchmark RE significance in the context of the MBH98 model or remove all attributions of skill and/or significance as they relate to RE statistics.
5. Provide an accurate account of what steps in MBH98 have been replicated and what has not (e.g. Preisendorfer calculations, selection of gridcells, calculation of confidence intervals, etc”⤮)
6. Provide an accurate account of remaining shortfalls in replication of MBH98 results. Do not obscure the failure to replicate MBH results exactly by making irrelevant “simplifications” in the benchmark. Benchmark using MBH weights and methodology.
7. Provide an accurate account of differences between the WA emulation and the MM emulation.
More issues would undoubtedly emerge if a new and completely re-written paper were submitted.

Each of the above points is expressed in terms that are clearly separated from any controversial considerations and were documented in detail in a lengthy and thorough review. I will discuss a few points of the above, but all of them are problematic.

Arguments Based on the Rejected GRL Submission
In correspondence connected with my original review, Wahl and Ammann initially concealed the fact that their GRL submission had been rejected. Only when they were cross-examined on the date of the planned publication of the GRL submission did they confess that the GRL article had been rejected. They attempted to excuse themselves by saying that they intended to re-submit their article to GRL.

In their original article, they relied on the rejected GRL submission for some key points. In my review, I stated in no uncertain terms that they should “delete all arguments that depend on the rejected GRL submission” (item 1) and that they should “either provide Monte Carlo simulations to benchmark RE significance in the context of the MBH98 model or remove all attributions of skill and/or significance as they relate to RE statistics”. They failed to do either in their re-submission.

Now their re-submission to GRL has been rejected once again and both these problems have come back to haunt the CC paper. Contrary to my recommendation in review point (4), they continued to rely on claims regarding RE significance made in their GRL submission.

In McIntyre and McKitrick [2005a, 2005c], we had established a 99% benchmark for RE significance in an MBH98 context of 0.51. McIntyre and McKitrick 2005c is the most recent peer reviewed publication on the topic. In their rejected GRL submission, Ammann and Wahl had attempted to overturn this result, claiming

“Using our AC-correct PC1s, RE = 0.0 occurs at the 0.985 level of significance.”

However, they failed to address required network aspects of MBH98 simulation (discussed in our Reply to Huybers) and their submission was rejected.

Unfortunately, this rejected finding is what they relied upon in their CC submission as their test of statistical significance.

We consider the issue of appropriate thresholds for the RE statistic in Appendix 2, based on analysis and results reported elsewhere (Ammann, C.M. and E.R. Wahl, “‘œComment on “Hockey sticks, principal components, and spurious significance” by S. McIntyre and R. McKitrick’, in review with Geophysical Research Letters). p. 10

When theoretical distributions are not available for this purpose, Monte Carlo experiments with randomly-created data containing no climatic information have been used to generate approximations of the true threshold values (Fritts, 1976; cf. MM05a; Huybers, 2005; Ammann and Wahl, in review”€œnote that the latter two references correct errors in implementation and results in MM05a) (A&W, p. 45)

Numerically, we consider successful validation to have occurred if RE scores are positive, and failed validation to have occurred if RE scores are negative (Ammann and Wahl, in review; Appendix 2). This threshold also has the empirical interpretation that reconstructions with positive RE scores possess skill in relation to substituting the calibration period mean for the reconstructed climate values. (A&W, p.17)

Again, I repeat my comments from my original review. Wahl and Ammann should have deleted all arguments from their rejected GRL paper in the first instance. Climatic Change knew that this paper had been rejected once. There was no basis for Climatic Change to assume that it would be accepted on re-submission and it hasn’t been. Now Climatic Change is in a very unseemly position. I re-iterate my review comments (1) and (4).

Inaccurate Rendering of MM Criticisms etc.
Climatic Change editorial policy, which was sent to me as a reviewer, states clearly that:

technical or logical errors or factual misinterpretations “must be corrected by authors in revisions” often several revisions.

I provided an extensive list of such errors and misrepresentations – literally pages. However, virtually none of these errors and misrepresentations have been fixed. Here I am simply bewildered by Climatic Change editorial practices.

To pick merely one example, in my review letter, I categorically pointed out that we did not “present” an “alternative” reconstruction and yet Ammann and Wahl continue to misrepresent us as doing so. I provided documentation showing that this position had been explicitly stated on numerous occasions. To the references in my original review letter, I add Pearce [New Scientist 2006] which stated:

McIntyre and McKitrick say their work is intended to show only that there are problems with Mann’s analysis: they do not claim their graph accurately represents past temperatures. “We have repeatedly made it clear that we offer no alternative reconstruction” McIntyre states.

It is discreditable that a supposedly “peer reviewed” publication should make errors that are even acknowledged in general journals, such as New Scientist.

Subsequent to my review letter last summer, I met with Ammann in San Francisco in December 2005 and, at that time, categorically told him that we did not “present an alternative” reconstruction. For Ammann (and Climatic Change) to continue to make such misrepresentations is an intentional misrepresentation of the research record within the meaning of most scientific codes of conduct.

Once again, in MM05b[EE], we presented an MBH98-type reconstruction without bristlecones or with reduced bristlecone weight, which yielded high 15th century values. In MM05b {E&E], we interpreted this result as only demonstrating the falseness of MBH claims of robustness to presence/absence of all dendroclimatic indicators, not as an alternative reconstruction. W&A stated that an MBH98-type reconstruction with reduced bristlecone weights (which they called an “MM” reconstruction) was without “statistical or climatological merit”. We agree that an MBH98-type reconstruction with reduced bristlecone weights is without “statistical merit”, but this does not mean that an MBH98 reconstruction with high bristlecone weights has “statistical merit”.

The salient question arising from this is:

if an MBH98-type reconstruction with reduced bristlecone weights lacks statistical merit, then either all the other proxies are no good or the MBH98 method is no good or both.

We have never argued that an MBH98-type reconstruction with reduced bristlecone weights has “statistical merit”. We have vigorously argued that an MBH98-type reconstruction with high bristlecone weights lacks “statistical merit.”

Provide and Discuss Standard Cross-Validation Statistics
Wahl and Ammann (in Table 1S) have grudgingly and after prior refusals provided cross-validation statistics, but have failed to discuss these statistics. Their results for the AD1400 step are almost identical to the ones that we reported in our GRL article and confirm our claims that MBH98 failed key cross-validation statistics. Obviously this is inconsistent with the UCAR press release in connection with this article stating that all our claims were “unfounded”. Climatic Change should have insisted that these issues be discussed.

Other Issues
None of the review points (5-7) have been addressed.

Based on my prior experience with Climatic Change in connection with the submission by Mann et al in 2004, I had been impressed by your ability to seemingly set aside personal bias in order to maintain journal standards and policies. I understand the pressure on you to accept the Wahl and Ammann article. However, the Wahl and Ammann submission did not comply with journal editorial policies. I provided a detailed and constructive review, which has been ignored. Unfortunately, some of the concerns raised in that review- the reliance on results from a rejected article – have come back to haunt the present article. I can only express my extreme disappointment that, in this case, Climatic Change has betrayed its own editorial policies and has acquiesced in the academic equivalent of kiting checks.

Yours truly

Stephen McIntyre

79 Comments

  1. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 4:00 PM | Permalink

    For those with children, if your child were to ask you “Daddy / Mommy, what is intellectual dishonesty?” the example of the behavior of Wahl and Amman as decribed above would be a good first lesson!

  2. John A
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 4:29 PM | Permalink

    I simply don’t understand how Schneider can publish work which depends on key points to a journal submission that was rejected twice.

    He’s practically inviting opinions that his journal will print anything regardless of scholarship or scientific merit. Surely Schneider does not want that.

    Schneider should ask Ammann and Wahl to withdraw their paper, because if its published, then both Climatic Change and the IPCC have basically allowed known junk science into the science of climatology.

    It’s like a “tipping point”. If I was Caspar Ammann I’d withdraw the paper with as much good grace as I can, lest it blight my career. I’m sure he has lots of good science ahead of him as a climate scientist and shouldn’t risk it to try to save the unsalvageable.

    I’m not drawing a direct analogy here, but no-one will publish Hwang woo Suk or Martin Fleischmann or Jan Henrik Schoen ever again, no matter how good the paper.

  3. JerryB
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

    I don’t know if it has been mentioned in some other thread, but the notice at http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/ccr/ammann/millennium/MBH_reevaluation.html has been changed to delete the link to the GRL submission comment at http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/ccr/ammann/millennium/refs/AmmannWahl_GRL2005.html .

    It does not appear to me to mention the re-rejection.

  4. jae
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 5:05 PM | Permalink

    re: #1 I’m not sure which demonstrates intellectual dishonesty better–CC or AW.

  5. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 5:25 PM | Permalink

    #3. I guess that we all knew that the GRL paper would just vanish and that they would not provide any explanation of its disappearance, but it’s still interesting to observe in real time. There’s still a reference to the GRL paper on the R-code page; it will be expunged soon, I’m sure.

  6. jae
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 5:25 PM | Permalink

    Steve: you still don’t believe in conspiracies? It sure appears that the “political forces” of CC, UCAR, etc. have gotten together and decided that this paper HAD to be published so an official peer-reviewed study report could be cited to discredit your work, and thereby support the upcoming AR4. This is disgusting, and I hope it makes their eventual fall all that much harder. I will certainly write to my Congressmen about this.

  7. TCO
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 5:32 PM | Permalink

    I’m not saying it’s right (this is a perfect example of how it isn’t), but these sort of self-referential houses of cards are not unheard of in science. Sometimes it can happen innocently (grad student leaves, someone gets lazy, whatever). In some cases, even given the danger, it is reasonable to divide work into seperate publications and some self-referencing must occur because they are not completely independant.

    All that said, Amman knew the issue here and he’s pulling a fast one…

  8. Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 6:32 PM | Permalink

    Re:#6. Think what would happen if a significant number of US blog readers were to write their Congressional representatives and expose this promotion of junk science in AR4. Past IPCC ARs have been used to justify GHG reduction policies in California. If this junk science is used in AR4, it will be used to justify past policies which were based on hockey stick junk science. If we do not speak up, where will it stop? I am with jae, I am writing Congressman Doolittle and my State Reps as well. They need to get a heads up that more junk science will soon be used to set environmental policy in California if we fail at the federal level.

  9. Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 7:08 PM | Permalink

    That’s fun. Is it legal to publish all these things? I thought that the reviews were confidential.

  10. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 7:28 PM | Permalink

    #9. I think about things in terms of contract law and it’s something that I know about, short of being a lawyer. People can’t selectively rely on terms of a contract. Let’s say that there was an agreement between me and Climatic Change and think about what the terms and implied terms were. By agreeing to act as a reviewer, I agreed to do a conscientious job as a reviewer in accordance with editorial policies of CC which were sent to me. I did so. My review was better than any of the peer review of my articles. On its side, Climatic Change’s editorial policies and representations by Schneider were that articles would be revised (and sometimes revised “several” times) to meet CC editorial standards and that reviewers would consider such revisions. CC made a fundamental breach of its reviewer agreement with me by failing to send the revision to me before accepting it and by failing to ensure that the revision met CC policies for no errors and misrepresentations, or more general standards of no check kiting. After CC totally breached the reviewer agreement, they cannot selectively rely on confidentiality terms. Aside from that, Wahl and Ammann have posted their article on the Internet and it’s open game.

  11. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 7:33 PM | Permalink

    #7. TCO, you missed a nuance over and above the self-referential, which was bad. The self-referenced article had already been rejected once and was high risk. It wasn’t clean when referenced. A peer reviewer specifically asked that the self references be removed because of the rejection. They proceeded in the face of the reviewer request and the warning. So when it blew up again, it isn’t inadvertent or casual.

  12. TCO
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 7:42 PM | Permalink

    Give me some credit. I didn’t "miss" that.

    a. I read what you said, the first time.
    b. See the last sentence in my post (#7).

    Steve: OK, just crossed communications.

  13. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 7:44 PM | Permalink

    Re #6: This morning I wasn’t believing in conspiracies all that much, but having seen this news I think I’ve changed my mind. From now, I will assume that every component of the anti-AGW campaign is funded by ExxonMobil or some other branch of the fossil fuel industry until I see independently audited tax returns demonstrating otherwise. You guys all like audits, right?

  14. mark
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 7:47 PM | Permalink

    You just need ad-hominems to make your case, don’t you?

    Even if they are (they aren’t), what difference does it make who makes a discovery? Scientific discovery and mathematical fact are the same regardless of the source.

    Mark

  15. TCO
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 7:50 PM | Permalink

    There are a lot of abuses of non-profits and a lot of use by them to do things that would cause them to have to pay taxes (wrt political activities). I say good-on Exxon Mobil! Greenpeaers are probably breaking all kinds of laws.

  16. jae
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 7:52 PM | Permalink

    Dano is becoming another troll, methinks. Wouldn’t you challenge these scare-monger organizations if you were ExxonMobil? Read Lomborg’s book and see all their arguments castigated, one by one. Speaking of conspiracies, witness the thread on CC’s acceptance of Amman and Wahls’ “manuscript.”

  17. mark
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 7:54 PM | Permalink

    I have.
    Mark

  18. ET SidViscous
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

    Guilty until proven innocent hunh.

  19. BradH
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 8:27 PM | Permalink

    Re: # 10

    Steve,

    Well summed up. A party who has fundamentally breached a contract cannot rely upon the terms of that contract to their advantage.

  20. Louis Hissink
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 8:28 PM | Permalink

    Re #13

    Now let’s see, Exxon-Mobil pay taxes, so that makes climate funding also in receipt of Oil Industry funds, no matter how well hidden in the financials.

  21. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

    Re #15: Ah, TCO, commenting before reading. Other than the non-violent protest activities we all know about because of the accompanying media coverage, and which as the story notes the IRS was very much aware of, Greenpeace is not “breaking all kinds of laws.” We know this because otherwise the IRS would have pulled their 501(c)(3) status.

  22. TCO
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

    They are commie scum. I hate them.

  23. ET SidViscous
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 8:58 PM | Permalink

    I assume your excluding enviornmental laws.

    http://www.wstm.com/Global/story.asp?S=3322080

    And PS the IRS said that Greenpeace would have to change their procedures or they would loose their status.

  24. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 8:59 PM | Permalink

    No more Greenpeace discussion please.

  25. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 9:00 PM | Permalink

    Re #21: Steve, you say:

    Ah, TCO, commenting before reading. Other than the non-violent protest activities we all know about because of the accompanying media coverage, and which as the story notes the IRS was very much aware of, Greenpeace is not “breaking all kinds of laws.” We know this because otherwise the IRS would have pulled their 501(c)(3) status.

    Unfortunately, this is not true. There are a number of 501c3’s out there who simply haven’t been audited with this in mind … doesn’t make GreenPeace guilty, but you can’t use it to call them innocent. We do not “know otherwise”, unless you think that all criminals have been charged with their crimes …

    w.

  26. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 9:26 PM | Permalink

    Re #25: Pay attention, Willis. Greenpeace *was* audited with this in mind. They are officially as pure as the driven snow.

  27. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 9:28 PM | Permalink

    Re #24: Sorry, I didn’t see that before making the last comment. I do try to stick to the blog rules, however arbitrary they may seem at times.

  28. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 9:33 PM | Permalink

    Steve B, bring it on. I make my money from the AGW belief, at least some of it. I stand to gain immensely if GHG reduction becomes more aggressive. Bring it on, baby! So, why, might you ask, have I broken free of Gaia and why do I work to question AGW in opposition to my own financial interest? The only possibly explanation is – I believe in the truth.

  29. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 9:42 PM | Permalink

    Re #28: Steve S., sometime people do “break free” of appropriate environmental concerns, but it doesn’t always work out well. Rapa Nui, e.g.

  30. Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 10:00 PM | Permalink

    Steve, I can see nothing unreasonable in your letter. The feelings of disappointment with the breeches of protocol that are in place to protect everyone concerned are clear. In truth, one would only expect to see a paper citing an “in review” paper in a proceedings, not in a respected journal. For the paper in question to have already been once-rejected, and as central to the argument in question as a benchmark significance, is inexplicable. If this were due to ‘pressure’ from a major US institution, that would be a scandal. If this were the case, I hope that someone involved might come forward with documentary evidence, and do a major service to the scientific community.

  31. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 10:35 PM | Permalink

    #30. When you think of all the community furore over Soon and Baliunas at Climate Research, the hypocrisy of the community silence here is breathtaking.

  32. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 10:44 PM | Permalink

    Re 24 & 25, sorry, steve, messages crossed. Mea culpa.

    w.

  33. jae
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 10:48 PM | Permalink

    Bloom: get off the political s—t and contribute something, please. We know your politics already.

  34. Dave Eaton
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 10:58 PM | Permalink

    Bloom-

    Even if AGW is melting the plastic flamingo in the front yard, that doesn’t paper over the crap being passed off at CC. You can’t make chicken soup from chicken poop, no matter how delightful and desirable chicken soup may be.

    It should give one pause that a journal like CC violates its own standards. Maybe the evidence elsewhere is incontrovertible and obvious for AGW- notwithstanding this, the A & W article is seriously flawed, violates CC’s stated policies, and dissembles about other’s publicly stated positions. Even if you think AGW is good as gospel, this doesn’t bother you? If not, why not? Whatever reason, it isn’t scientific, and this is the realm in which we try to travel in peer reviewed journals. Like math class- getting the ‘right’ answer isn’t enough, you have to show your work. And if half-assed papers like A and W get published, it isn’t exactly going to help the AGW case in the long run, so maybe you might want to go ahead and audit them too- maybe they are ExxonMobil double agents…

  35. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 1:45 AM | Permalink

    #13: So what else is new about the politically-favored elite and their abuse of political power? Using the force of government to get what you want is nothing new to conservatives or liberals who have power. The only solution I see is to reduce the size, scope and power of government so the favored elite are less likely to get their way by force.

    #29: Re Rapa Nui. Maybe not such a good example. Recent discoveries put the settlement there at 1200AD, meaining no “living in harmony with the environment” period, and much of the environmental destruction there is blamed on rats.

    By the way, where’s your answer to the questiona about aerosols over at http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=554 (see #236)

  36. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 2:04 AM | Permalink

    I think it was kind of a sad day for Steve M. when John A. convinced him to start up this blog. On the other hand, it’s not John A.’s fault that the ad homs against various climate scientists are encouraged as they are. Any climate scientist who visits here here (and believe me, plenty of them do) wondering whether to give Steve any credit for interest in advancing the science as opposed to tearing it down quickly discovers the answer to that question. By all means feel free to ignore me, but Rob Wilson’s comments also disappeared right down the memory hole, didn’t they? Read what he said again and then consider comments 8, 15, 16, 31, 33 and 34 from just this thread.

  37. The Knowing One
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 2:05 AM | Permalink

    The article by A&W seems to claim that you, Steve M., do not know what you are doing—i.e. that you are incompetent. At least, some reasonable people would read it that way. Of course, the claim of incompetence is based on assertions that are easily seen to be falsehoods. Surely that means that the authors, or perhaps Climatic Change, are liable for defamation. Have you considered suing?

  38. John A
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 2:49 AM | Permalink

    I think it was kind of a sad day for Steve M. when John A. convinced him to start up this blog.

    Yes, it’s been downhill all the way. If only Steve had stuck with the vibrant freshness of http://www.climate2003.com then none of this would have happened. Never mind the work energy and rigor that Steve McIntyre has put back into paleoclimatology.

    I think you should blame the makers of WordPress for such wonderful and free software, which frees up so much of Steve’s time. I do.

    On the other hand, it’s not John A.’s fault that the ad homs against various climate scientists are encouraged as they are.

    You’re swimming in Egyptian rivers again, Steve. Beware of crocodiles.

    Any climate scientist who visits here here (and believe me, plenty of them do) wondering whether to give Steve any credit for interest in advancing the science as opposed to tearing it down quickly discovers the answer to that question.

    As a matter of fact, I do know a number of climate scientists who have confessed that they are addicted to climateaudit.org, the naughty people.

    Judging by the numbers of IP addresses from US universities and Congress that we register, I think the naughtiness is much worse than previously thought.

  39. John Lish
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 3:29 AM | Permalink

    Dr Schneider must dread opening any correspondance from yourself Steve. Talk about being hoisted by your own petard.

  40. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 5:00 AM | Permalink

    Re # 13 and #36 – When one is unable to comment constructively on statistics or the subject of this thread those are the off topic comments we get.
    RE **and believe me, plenty of them do** – And I bet they are learning a lot.

  41. bruce
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 6:15 AM | Permalink

    A serious question to Steve Bloom. Steve, I am seriously puzzled by your comments. I am geniunely interested in your reaction/views to the points that Steve McIntyre makes in his opening post to this thread. Is your position that Steve is incorrect in his assertions, and his account of events? If so, I think that it would be appropriate for you to explain where exactly Steve is incorrect. These are quite clear and specific statements. They are either correct, or incorrect.

    On the other hand, you may accept Steve’s account, in which case I am baffled by the tone of your comments in response. Surely, like many of us, you are interested in getting to the truth of the matter?

  42. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 7:04 AM | Permalink

    re#41

    I find it hard to believe you actually ask that question seriously. Surely it’s clear that the following are only here to waste people’s time (particularly Steve M’s)

    Peter Hearndon
    Steve Bloom
    John Hunter
    Dano
    Tim Lambert

    There are a comple of others that might be added but whose names escape me at the moment. And, of course their style and hobby horses vary. Peter and Steve have essentially never made useful posts. John & Tim are one trick ponies but Dano will actually make useful posts, though he does best to appear ann arrogant ass. [Sorry, I appear to have an axx to grind this morning.]

  43. TCO
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 7:32 AM | Permalink

    Am I in the list?

  44. Greg F
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 8:04 AM | Permalink

    RE:42
    Dave,

    A furniture maker comes to mind.

  45. andre
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

    re #13

    This morning I wasn’t believing in conspiracies all that much, but having seen this news I think I’ve changed my mind. Why killing those poor virusses and bactereae? They have a right to live too. From now, I will assume that every component of the anti-malaria is funded by ExxonMobil or some other branch of disease control.

  46. kim
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 8:40 AM | Permalink

    Bugs are our buddies. Would you rather have Darfurians dead by human or viral hands?
    =====================================

  47. fFreddy
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

    Re #36 Steve Bloom

    I think it was kind of a sad day for Steve M. when John A. convinced him to start up this blog.

    For the benefit of those who dont speak spindoctorese, Bloom is making the simple point that John A is a poopy-head. This is widely understood by all the cool kids in the climate science playground. Steve M is making a big mistake by sitting next to John in the canteen at lunch. Unless Steve stops this, he will be infected with poopiness, and none of the cool kids will want Steve to join their gang.

  48. Marlowe Johnson
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 10:24 AM | Permalink

    TCO,

    Surely comments in #22 were of the tongue-in-cheek variety? If not, I’m truly surprised as your comments are generally well thought out and persuasive…(and balanced).

  49. TCO
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

    Marlowe: yes and thanks.

  50. kim
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

    But we’re still not sure of their navigator skills.
    =============================

  51. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

    No, TCO, you’re not on the list. Though you do waste Steve’s time even while urging him to write more papers. But there’s enough wheat mixed with the chaff not to be TOO hard on you.

  52. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

    #36. Steve B., Subsequent to this, Rob Wilson emailed me in a very cordial way, admitting that he’d been thin-skinned, acknowledging some points, disagreeing with others and inquiring about the wavelet variance methodology, which I’m going to send him. I won’t get into further details, but I’d ask you not to draw any conclusions from the incomplete online record.

  53. Mark
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

    I’m doing some research into wavelet methods for blind-source separation at the moment (for other purposes). The wavelet decomposition doesn’t really seem to bring anything to the table other than orthogonalizing the data sets allowing faster convergence of any weighting algorithms. There are a few other niceties, but that’s the primary one.

    The fact that most of these methods were originally developed in the engineering world is likely why tutorial type papers aren’t around. Rather, they’re around, but coveted by organizations such as the IEEE.

    Mark

  54. Greg F
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

    The fact that most of these methods were originally developed in the engineering world is likely why tutorial type papers aren’t around. Rather, they’re around, but coveted by organizations such as the IEEE.

    I would suggest to Steve that he wander over to the EE department at the U of T and see if there is a professor or two that would be interested in getting in the game.

  55. Mark
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

    Could be a good idea.

    I’m sort of back-dooring my way into the game due to said research, which is intended to lead to a dissertation… This work (uh, Steve’s and Ross’) has certainly opened my eyes to the various applications outside of my particular interest (radar, communications, signal intelligence).

    Mark

  56. John A
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

    I don’t see that TCO is wasting Steve or Ross’ time at all. He is asking intelligent questions about methodology which forces Steve and Ross to get to grips with things that they’ve shortened for space reasons elsewhere.

    When I read the latest post by Steve on Principal Components and see it in action against simulated data, I am more and more amazed that this analysis by Mann ever achieved the prominence that it did. Steve may call it elementary but for those of us unused to statistics beyond mean, variance and standard deviation, its actually fascinating to watch and learn.

    It seems to me obvious (because that’s the way I think) that if the reaction of trees to temperature is non-linear, then applying linear methods is self-evidently going to produce nonsense. It is also obvious that to extract a signal which depends entirely upon tree rings from stands which are known to not have a correlation to temperature is also self-evidently nonsense.

    Anyway you slice it, what has been done in these multiproxy studies has been to make assumptions about the linear temperature sensitivity of trees, and then to produce perfectly good and perfect consistent nonsense.

    It was Dave Stockwell’s construction that opened my eyes to something I barely understood but Feynman warned about and psychologists understand – the human ability to see patterns of something or someone in sensory data that is not there, especially patterns which are right at the limits of resolution. Like the “Face on Mars” we all have the ability to detect something because of our human evolutionary ability to recognize patterns.

    In point of fact, it is that ability to recognize patterns that is the fundamental driver of that which we call “intelligence”, but what it means is that the more intelligent the person, the more likely it is that they will fall prey to the “Face on Mars” problem.

    As an exercise, I have been scouting the world looking for meteor craters using Google Earth, and apparently I may have spotted at least one largish crater (according to one expert), and I have several more examples that I suspect are meteoritic in origin. But, in doing so I have to reject thousands upon thousands of landform shapes that look like meteor craters but aren’t. If you spend any time looking with Google Earth for circular features you’ll find lots of them at all scales, but they’re not anything but volcanic remnents and other natural erosional features. I have become good enough to rediscover meteor craters on sight, but for the longest time I was finding circular shapes everywhere and it takes an effort of mind to discard them.

    So computer-based statistical experiments like climate models are fraught with the strong possibility that they are simply mechanizing their own ability to see patterns in noise, a kind of technological Rorshach test. The more intelligent they are, the more likely they are to see what they really want to see. But it comes from a computer, its fed real data from real trees, it must be real?

    No. And I work with computers all the time, and I have trained myself to be wary of results that I expect, because I can fool myself so easily.

  57. Paul Penrose
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 8:03 PM | Permalink

    People please, don’t feed the trolls! It only encourages them. I’ve been around the internet for a long time (almost since it’s inception) and I’ve seen their like many times. I don’t know what drives them, but they all have the same theme: drop a few logical fallacies and then step back and watch everybody get all upset with them. Then when it quiets down, do it again. They can’t be stopped, but they can be limited by ignoring them. Please, don’t let them take over this fine blog.

  58. John Hunter
    Posted Mar 30, 2006 at 12:13 AM | Permalink

    Re #57: “….. they all have the same theme: drop a few logical fallacies …..”

    You know, pretty well the only people I hear talking about “logical fallacies” are climate contrarians …..

    It would be interesting to learn when they first learned that ploy and how rapidly the virus spread through their system ….

  59. BradH
    Posted Mar 30, 2006 at 1:06 AM | Permalink

    Re: # 58

    Bizzare post.

  60. John Hunter
    Posted Mar 30, 2006 at 4:34 AM | Permalink

    BradH (#59): Bizarre perhaps, but a Google on (“logical fallacies” “global warming”) gives 28,700 hits. How about a competition for whoever can find the first instance of a climate contrarian accusing a “warmer” of “logical fallacies”. I’m serious — the spread of fads is interesting.

  61. fFreddy
    Posted Mar 30, 2006 at 5:35 AM | Permalink

    Re #60 John Hunter
    I notice that the first hit on that search presents the sceptic as being guilty of a logical fallacy.
    More to the point, a Google on “logical fallacies” -“global warming” gives 772,000 hits.

    I don’t think this is your best argument.

  62. John A
    Posted Mar 30, 2006 at 5:42 AM | Permalink

    How about a competition for whoever can find the first instance of a climate contrarian accusing a “warmer” of “logical fallacies”. I’m serious “¢’‚¬? the spread of fads is interesting.

    Like the concept of “Global Warming” itself, a fad which is 18 years old.

  63. bruce
    Posted Mar 30, 2006 at 7:07 PM | Permalink

    Re my #41 and responses #42 and #57. I can’t help but notice a total absence of response from Steve Bloom to my reasonable question asked politely, and nor have Dano, John Hunter, Tim Lambert and Peter Hearnden offered any comment either.

    In fact, I genuinely would like to understand their specific objections to Steve McIntyre’s points. Or does silence suggest acceptance in this instance?

  64. Dano
    Posted Mar 30, 2006 at 7:38 PM | Permalink

    63:

    nor have Dano [et al.] offered any comment either.

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I don’t read everything here and now that I see this I go back and don’t understand the question in 42. Had I read it earlier, I would have ignored it because it’s not clear. And I wouldn’t have seen this had I not just commented elsewhere.

    What is his opening post to this thread ? Is it comment 9 or his entire post, or is it the first para of his post, or is the numbers, or what?

    Best,

    D

  65. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Mar 30, 2006 at 8:14 PM | Permalink

    Re:#64

    …now that I see this I go back and don’t understand the question in 42.

    That’s because bruce’s questions are in HIS post, #41 (not #42), as he noted in the post you refer to.

    Bruce, from what I’ve observed, silence may not signify acceptance, but it usually at least signifies a desire to not discuss the subject. Why such otherwise quite voluble contributors wouldn’t want to discuss a particular subject, you’ll have to decide for yourself.

  66. Dano
    Posted Mar 30, 2006 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

    65:

    Thank you for clarifying.

    63:

    As I don’t have full access to the information being discussed, my comments are necessarily limited to supposition based on limited information – that is: I do not have enough information on which to judge whether Steve is correct in his assertions nor whether his account of events is correct.

    As to the specific statements, these are high-level arguments being carried out amongst scientists (although I reiterate Steve has no credentials in dendro, only stats), and such arguments are done all the time and this post should not be seen as unusual.

    As to why GRL rejected the comments, all we can do is guess until one of us reads their reply. I see there’s lots of wild guesses here, so I’m not going to around thinking I’m brilliant in forecasting this assertion, as this is status quo for here.

    There! There’s my comment bruce.

    Best,

    D

  67. Paul
    Posted Mar 30, 2006 at 9:24 PM | Permalink

    #66 –

    I reiterate Steve has no credentials in dendro, only stats

    What are “dendro” qualifications? A degree? It seems to me that Steve spends a lot of time trying to understand the dentro issues related to the math so that the math has a basis in reality (in other words “the math seems to work, but does it make sense in the real world). Methinks that Steve has done enough work in the past year for at least a master’s and is well on his way to a doctorate, if he keeps it up.

  68. TCO
    Posted Mar 30, 2006 at 9:27 PM | Permalink

    He’s got better than Ph.D. knowledge. He is one of the world’s experts. He has a very typical student tendancy not to write papers, though…

  69. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Mar 31, 2006 at 12:23 AM | Permalink

    As to the specific statements, these are high-level arguments being carried out amongst scientists (although I reiterate Steve has no credentials in dendro, only stats), and such arguments are done all the time and this post should not be seen as unusual.

    OK, I’ll bite. Which of the “specific statements” involved dendro rather than stats?

  70. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 31, 2006 at 12:41 AM | Permalink

    Re #41: It’s extremely difficult to tell without hearing the other side whether Steve is accurately representing what went on. There is of course no chance that the other side will be stated in a public venue, as that would unavoidably grant attention and credibility to Steve M. As I think I mentioned in another thread, GRL made the right call on this, and I’m mystified as to why Steve Schneider (or any other credible climate journal editor) would want to publish anything further on the MBH-derived aspect of the HS issue since it’s nothing more than an unhelpful distraction at this point, and will be only of historical interest after the AR4 comes out. BTW, I sometimes go for a couple of days in between looking at this blog, plus due to Steve M.’s high posting volume (= numerous threads open at the same time) I will occasionally miss a requested response since I don’t use RSS feeds.

  71. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 31, 2006 at 1:53 AM | Permalink

    Re #63, Bruce, it’s more that, after reading post #42 and #44 I couldn’t, genuinely, bring myself (so far…) to participate in such a thread. I’m sick of such posts. But, re #65…

    Lets see. Firstly, you didn’t ask me… Also Steve Bloom, Dano, (#66, #70) make a good points about wanting to hear both sides before pronouncing guilt. So would I.

  72. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 31, 2006 at 2:09 AM | Permalink

    Make that three deleted posts…

  73. TCO
    Posted Mar 31, 2006 at 3:36 AM | Permalink

    Steve B., if the Mannites cared about truth instead of tendentious argument, then they wouldn’t care about “giving Steve M. credibility”. Go read the Feynman lecture on cargo cult science.

  74. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 31, 2006 at 3:51 AM | Permalink

    Re #71, surely it tendentious to suggest ‘Mannites’ aren’t interested in the truth? Do you think I’m interested in the truth, or do you just dismiss those who disagree?

  75. TCO
    Posted Mar 31, 2006 at 4:11 AM | Permalink

    It’s tendentious if I don’t beleive it to be true. And, no.

  76. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 31, 2006 at 9:39 AM | Permalink

    Re #63, tried to reply, got karmared (twice, and umpteen times today…) gave up.

  77. TCO
    Posted Jun 10, 2006 at 5:23 PM | Permalink

    This is a very minor point: calling MM2005c, ‘the most recent peer-reviewed RE paper’ is maybe not the most apt description, since technically it was published simultaneously with the Huybers comment. I know what Steve means in terms of it being the latest in the flow of commentary, since thought-wise it comes after Huybers. Maybe there is a more apt way to express this.

  78. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 10, 2006 at 6:40 PM | Permalink

    #77. I thought “peer-reviewed” article were supposed to consider relevant up-to-date literature. How can they simply ignore the discussion in our Reply to Huybers? It was “peer-reviewed” just as much as Huyber’s Comment and it fully considers all aspects of Huybers’ Comment but the reverse is not true.

  79. TCO
    Posted Jun 10, 2006 at 7:15 PM | Permalink

    No disagreement with the above, Steve. It’s just that for a casual reader, they may not understand “most recent” to mean in terms of the debate flow rather than in terms of time of publication.

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