The Dendroclimatologists are Angry

Over at the Dendro listserv, Rob Wilson raised the issue of what dendros should do about climateaudit, noting that he felt a responsibility to “defend dendro practises and correct misinformation.” He went on to say:

Although some of the criticisms and commentary are valid, some of it is simply wrong and misinformed, and in my mind, it is dangerous to let such things go.

I responded to Rob by email and stated categorically that I had no interest or desire in contributing any misinformation and, if he would identify any such misinformation in any of my posts, I would correct it. He has not provided any examples, although he said that his objections were more with CA readers than with me. I have no particular dispute with dendrochronology; the only time that I’ve discussed dendrochronological dating questions was in connection with the dating of 3 tree cores at Polar Urals. Most of the criticism here has been with dendroclimatology (as a reader has observed.) In fact, the ability to reliably date trees seems to me to be a very big advantage to this particular proxy. One appreciates this quite quickly if you work through, say, ocean sediment data. I’ve used the term “dendro” on occasion below to describe the occupation.

On an earlier thread, Rob had objected to white spruce site chronologies in northern Alberta being construed as temperature proxies. I’m quite prepared to concede that white spruce in northern Alberta are not necessarily temperature proxies, although I am not going to concede that the way you find out whether they are temperature proxies is by seeing if the chronology goes up. And if Wilmking’s chronologies from the Brooks Range in northern Alaska do not qualify as temperature proxies, then I rather fear that it is going to be very hard to propose an objective criterion for eligibility. In any event, I’ve noted Rob’s objection in the original post; I note that the language in my original post was entirely conditional : “if” these chronologies were construed as temperature proxies, they did not show linear response to recent warmth. So Rob and Mike Pisaric could merely have observed that white spruce in northern Alberta were not temperature proxies with no further editorializing. I would probably have asked them to identify any temperature proxies in the data with values since 1995, since they didn’t volunteer any alternatives.

The responses to Rob’s listserv post have been very intriguing. One scientist wished for a “wisdom circle”

It’s always really nice for a starting scientist like I am to see that ideals are not bound to disappear with time or whatever… I would dream of a world where a kind of “wisdom circle” would have a control on executive power for example.

Sort of like a dendroclimatological Iran, I guess. Complete with Mullah Mike.

Matthew Salzer darkly hinted that I didn’t “play by the rules”. Salzer has not elaborated on what “rules” were broken. Maybe he’s accusing me of insufficient deference to Mullah Mike and the wisdom circle at realclimate, but it’s hard to say.

David Lawrence stated:

McIntyre’s work is a conclusion in search of evidence to support it: namely that all the proxy evidence for warmer temperatures in recent decades are statistical artifacts. (From what I’ve seen, it seems the only proxy studies he is statistically satisfied with are those that don’t show such warming.)

Hey, I don’t have a conclusion about temperature history and intentionally refrained from proposing an alternative history. I sometimes draw attention to studies yielding evidence of a warmer MWP (e.g. Naurzbaev et al 2004; Miller et al 2006; Newton et al 2006; Richey et al ), not because I am “statistically satisfied” with these presentations, but because I am concerned that extensive cherry-picking in the Hockey Team studies has biased the proxies that are in common use. But I’ve stopped well short of claiming that these other proxies are any sort of magic bullet on the other side. I presented a composite of such proxies to the NAS panel describing the composite as merely showing what could be obtained from “apple picking”, not because there was any statistical superiority in the results.

Thomas Wils said:

we live in a fragmented world flying from one extreme to the other. If you reply to McIntyre in a scientific way you will only increase this fragmentation. For society, it is the bigger picture that counts, not just what David said, but also the bigger bigger picture of which I have given some examples. Statistically we simply cannot defend global warming, therefore it is going on too short and it is too complex, but if we wait we are too late. I think actually that the tendency of scientists to insist that global warming is real and dangerous to convince stubborn governments is the primary cause of existence of such radicals like McIntyre.

I can’t imagine why anyone would regard me as a “radical”. My politics in American terms would be Clinton-ish, not Bush-y. I certainly don’t think that perfect certainty is a criterion for making decisions. Business people make decisions under uncertainty all the time and cannot wait for perfect certainty. I’m used to this. You try to cut down the uncertainty as much as you can by careful engineering, careful feasibility studies, but, at the end of the day, decisions have to be made and they get made. As I’ve said in the past, if I had a big policy job and had to make a decision, I would be guided by the opinion of the relevant environmental ministries and organizations like IPCC, even if, on some personal level, I mistrusted their advice. I don’t believe that decisions should be delayed until you have perfect certainty in all the “little” things and have never suggested that. Having said that, I would do whatever I could to improve the processes for disclosure, due diligence and verification in climate science, which, from my experience, are abysmal. (That these processes are abysmal doesn’t mean that the results are wrong, merely that they are equivalent of being unaudited. Unaudited financial statements are not necessarily wrong, but there’s why audited financial statements are required for public companies.)

David Lawrence went on to say:

He by undermining individual studies while studiously ignoring the big picture that renders his criticisms moot. I don’t know whether or not it is worth engaging him on ground of his own choosing. Remember what happened to Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden?

There’s idea that there should be no scrutiny of “little things” because such scrutiny might divert from the “big” picture is appalling. That’s like a WMD argument (and I’ve sometimes compared what I do to being a CIA analyst trying to decide if an aluminum tube is just an aluminum tube.) A lot of the times if you look after the little things, the big things will look after themselves. You hear hockey coaches and basketball coaches talk about “attention to detail” as being the hallmark of good teams. If my criticisms of “little things” are correct, then people should attend to the “little things”. The “big picture” has nothing to do with it. Dendroclimatologists and other scientists have an obligation to look after the little things that they are responsible for: to ensure that their own studies are replicable and meet the best possible statistical standards; to worry about the things that you have control over.

As to the accusation that CA contributes to “misinformation”, I re-iterate to any angry dendroclimatologists that might be listening: I have no interest in contributing to the spread of “misinformation” and, if there’s anything that I’ve said that needs correction, please advise me and I will correct it.

In his most recent post, Rob somewhat soft-pedalled (but didn’t entirely withdraw) the criticism of me personally and directed it more at CA posters, many of whom are more categorical in their views than I am. One suggestion made to Rob was that the angry dendroclimatologists make a post at realclimate. Hey, angry dendroclimatologists, if you want to correct misapprehensions at climateaudit, as Rob can confirm, you’re more than welcome to make a guest post here. Surely climateaudit is more logical place than realclimate to correct CA misapprehensions. The only conceivable reason for posting at realclimate rather than here would be to hide behind Gavin’s censorship, knowing that he has censored me in the past and would do so without compunction in the future if it suited him.

Rob complained that his efforts at climateaudit were sometimes “turned against” him. That’s one of the risks of clarifying methodology. For example, I welcome this new zeal by dendroclimatologists in correcting “misinformation” and I trust their intention to correct dendroclimatological “misinformation” wherever it occurs, and not merely deep within climateaudit threads. I particularly welcome the concern of both Wilson and Pisaric that proxies such as white spruce in northern Alberta not be misconstrued as temperature proxies. Welcoming their new zeal, tomorrow I’ll do a post on the tree shown in the picture below and discuss whether it is a “temperature proxy” with a positive linear relationship to temperature. (bender winced when I sent this picture to him.) This should give the Dendro Truth Squad something to cut its teeth on.


191 Comments

  1. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 2:44 PM | Permalink

    Over at the Dendro listserv, Rob Wilson raised the issue of what dendros should do about climateaudit, noting that he felt a responsibility to “defend dendro practises and correct misinformation.”

    The dendros should appear here to defend their practices and correct any misinformation. It’s that simple. Do they need a whole listserv discussion to figure that out?

    Maybe it’s “easier” for them to stay over there, avoid serious discussion, and dream of a day where a “wisdom circle” could take care of CA.

    I have this image in my head, whether right or not, of these folks spending significant amounts of time on their dendro list deciding what they “should do,” and in the end deciding that they don’t have significant amounts of time to do anything.

    It’s interesting how they drift-off into discussions about you and your “search,” the “fragmented world” we live in, etc. Who would have thought valid proxy site selection, updating proxies, etc, would require a group of scientists to get so deep into philosophical thought?

  2. Nathan Kurz
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 3:02 PM | Permalink

    I read through the thread on the list, and while some of the posts were distressing, I found Rob Wilson’s summary of the thread to be encouraging and helpful.

    Steve: is your post based on this summary? If so, I worry that your phrasing creates the wrong impression. Rob presents the RealClimate thread as something that was proposed to him, rather than ‘suggesting’ it as you say. He then goes on to (properly) dismiss it for the same reasons you do. I also found him more positive toward you than you imply: “Whatever we do, this should not be seen as a personal attack on Steve McIntyre. I met him last December at the AGU and we had a very civil chat over lunch. On the whole, I think he is well informed and his primary motivation is to see that palaeo science is done in an honest and open way.”

    Dendrochronologists: Please come by and correct any misinformation! Regardless of the impression you have, there are many people here (like Steve) who are not set in their ways, are primarily concernded with improving their understanding of the science involved, can be convinced of just about anything by a solid scientific argument. And if it feels more comfortable (and you are worried about collateral damage to your career), feel free to post under a nom de plume. The nice part of a sceptical group like this is that we are more likely to be influenced by your argument and information than by your title and CV.

  3. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 3:06 PM | Permalink

    Nathan – quite so, I will edit the sentence accordingly. Rob has taken a lot of criticism within his community for talking to me. He’s a smart and sincere guy; his concern seems to be not so much with me as with CA posters; perhaps I can say the same thing: my concern is not so much with Rob but with the listserv posters.

  4. Reid
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 3:44 PM | Permalink

    The Hockey Team is a wonderful example of a wisdom circle.

  5. pj
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 3:44 PM | Permalink

    It seems to me that these folks are upset that you could potentially upset the nice little world they inhabit. They go about their business getting grants from bureaucrats who really don’t understand the science they are doing or the difference between good and bad science, but are willing to dole out money for research as long as it supports the global warming agenda. They do the research and publish their work in journals that do a perfuntory review of their work and never asks them to actually produce their data or their methodologies. It’s basically a perpetual funding machine that doesn’t require a whole lot of effort. Now you come along and start demanding full disclosure of data and code, audits, rigorous statistical practices, etc, and suddenly their job could get a whole lot tougher. They don’t really appreciate that.

  6. Paul Linsay
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    Climate is a naturally varying system: what would we do if global warming was natural?

    Statistically we simply cannot defend global warming

    Unbelievable. An admission that it’s a religion not science.

  7. jae
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    Sort of like a dendrochronological Iran, I guess. Complete with Mullah Mike.

    Now THAT is good humor. Statements about some kind of “higher authority” silencing those that disagree with the elite really concern me. That appears to be a very common theme among the “AGW consensus” crowd.

    Various posters here have been begging the dendrochrons to explain how it is feasible to use tree rings as proxies for temperatures for two years. If they could, someone would have done so long ago. I don’t think they can. All we get is allusions to the general idea that tree growth is limited by temperature where trees can barely survive and that a skilled dendrochron knows just how to select those trees that show a “temperature signal.” I am not saying that no trees are suitable, just that you can’t tell which ones are. The sort of cherry-picking used simply cannot be justified, and there appears to be no unbiased method of screening the series to select a sample. And you evidently cannot take what is known as a “random sample” because all you get is noise. No wonder they are wringing their hands on the listserv.

  8. bernie
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 3:56 PM | Permalink

    I do think that some people here were quick to jump on Rob rather than recognize the spirit with which he was commenting on Steve’s leads. Clearly there is little love lost in general between the two camps, but I agree with Nathan that we should be more measured in our tone and responses. I understand the controversy “quickens the blood” and supplies the needed andrelin, but it will help to achieve the ultimate purpose of more rigorous research if we at least are encouraging and amicable towards the dendroclimatologists who recognize the need for better archiving and documentation of research data. We do not want to create our own “wisdom circle”.

  9. cbone
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 4:03 PM | Permalink

    Steve, let me just say this. I lurk here a lot, and post little. I agree wholeheartedly with your approach to science. If I may be so bold, I think your position could best be stated as “Trust, but verify.” Many, many other aspects of human endeavors weather they be scientific, business or political follow a similar belief. Your work has exposed a reticence in the field to submit to verification. We are all being asked to sacrifice a lot in the name of Anthropogenic Global Warming. I am ready and willing to make that sacrifice, but I am not willing to go on trust alone. I want to see verification. I want to see the data made public.

    I realize that in academic fields data collection is not ‘sexy’ or ‘glamorous’ and no one really likes to do the mundane chore of collecting it (unless your data happens to be in Tahiti!). I also appreciate that when folks do grind through and collect data they should be able to benefit from it and be the first to publish the results from a particular data set. However, once you publish you should make that data available publicly for any researcher to either verify your work or add it to their own work. Once you place an analysis of that data in the public sector (in the form of scholarly articles) and expect the public to make sacrifices based on your conclusions, then you owe it to that same public to allow them access to the data to perform the vital task of verification of your results. Otherwise you end up with a situation that is akin to Sledgehammer saying “Trust me, I know what I’m doing.” Anyone familiar with bad ’80s sitcoms can vouch for what happens when that is your strategy.

    Bottom line is, I think Steve is providing a vital service to the climate sciences and particularly the dendro folks that he likes to ‘audit’. His actions at the very least, make them do an extra check on their analysis before they submit it for review.

  10. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

    But these are dendroCHRONologists, not dendroCLIMATologists, yes?

    I think there’s a difference.

  11. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 4:19 PM | Permalink

    #8. the only real criticism of Rob and Mike Pisaric was that they were criticizing me in pretty sharp terms, while failing to apply similar standards to dendro usage in the multiproxy studies (Jean S’s criticism.) I agree with that criticism: if they think that analysis of white spruce in northern Alberta at CA is “flawed!!”, then that standard should be applicable to the multiproxy studies.

    I don’t think that their position in respect to double standards is defensible, but neither of them seem prepared to defend the point online.

    The other problem for even someone as good-spirited as Rob Wilson is that they don’t like their own work being discussed under a microscope. No one at an academic conference (or at least AGU conference anyway) is going to discuss how he did his principal components in any depth; my guess is that students are pretty deferential. I don’t think that Rob’s PC methods for the Gulf of Alaska are very appropriate, but I wasn’t bent out of shape about it. Since they don’t want their papers to be analysed, this presents a real disincentive to participating here, since I or someone else is likely to examine their own writings to see if a consistent policy is present.

  12. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 4:25 PM | Permalink

    I have been involved with numerous online discussions where an outsider comes into the debate to provide an opposing or alternative viewpoint or to defend a point of view being criticized. Those that are successful avoid the emotional comments and “getting into personalities” and make their points without retribution and invariably add extensively to the information base.

    Some of the less technical and specialized people who appear here with differing POVs seem frequently to engage more emotionally and get into personalities without adding to the information base. The more technical and specialized people with differing POVs who post here tend to be able to contribute at least something to the information base but often the contributions are far below my expectations. Part of the reason for their poor performances comes from their lack of “sticking to the issues” and either provoking or allowing themselves to be provoked into issues of personality. In my judgment two good examples of technical/specialized posters who have under performed for these reasons are Dr Curry and Dr. Wilson.

    I know from experience that anyone who wants to engage in these discussions to proffer an alternative POV can do it — if they are genuinely intent in doing so.

  13. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 4:32 PM | Permalink

    #10. Quite so – I’ve edited accordingly.

    #12. I agree – by and large, the specialist contributions have been very disappointing. Judith Curry was very keen on mixing it up on political issues and not very interested in statistical issues.

  14. Jaye
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

    Climate science should develop a website like NCBI. These guys know what they are doing.

  15. JohnM
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 4:42 PM | Permalink

    I suppose you could be perceived as threatening their livelihood to an extent as some of the recent blog entries could make it appear to some readers that their entire field is a complete waste of time. The Niagara Escarpment cliff-face white cedar studies by Larson and Kelly (1995) might be worth a mention as it is an example of a dendrochronology study that challenges rather than supports the Mann hockey stick.

    http://www.eman-rese.ca/eman/reports/publications/Forest/part9.html

    Larson and Kelly (1995) have discovered that the growth of cliff-face white cedar from the Niagara Escarpment is extremely temperature-dependant and can be used as a proxy mean summer temperature record for southern Ontario. A 2,791 year paleoclimate record has been established. This record indicates a general warming trend has occurred since about 1960 with the last decade being particularly warm. This followed a period of slightly cooler than normal temperatures of about the same duration. While unique to this century, and therefore reflected in the recorded climate record, this fluctuation easily falls within the observed prehistoric limits. A much more dramatic fluctuation occurred between about 1550 and 1600 and equably abrupt fluctuations occurred at the beginning of the chronology, about 600 BP. Therefore the recent trend towards warmer temperatures must be both longer and warmer before it is unique for Ontario.

  16. fFreddy
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

    Re #13, Steve McIntyre

    Judith Curry was … not very interested in statistical issues.

    She has juniors to do that for her …

  17. bruce
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 5:30 PM | Permalink

    Re: #9:

    We are all being asked to sacrifice a lot in the name of Anthropogenic Global Warming.

    Actually, for many people that is not quite an accurate statement. It could more accurately be worded: “We are asking other people (eg coal miners) to sacrifice a lot in the name of Anthropogenic Global Warming.”

    It is easy for an individual to sacrifice for AGW if his sacrifice involves selling his SUV and getting around on a Vespa. Not so easy if you are a coal miner with 6 kids living in a mining town, and the mine is closed because of AGW.

  18. jae
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 5:41 PM | Permalink

    15: Your link is to an article on environmental factors that includes the summary you provided. It would be interesting to read the full citation, if I can locate it. I wonder if it shows a good correlation of growth to local temperatures, or whether it is another one that is somehow teleconnected to “global average tempertature” (whatever that is). There are also some other studies, including ones done on Idaho trees, that show trends that seem to reproduce past temperatures quite well. This could be coincidence, or it could indicate that there are some valid tree ring/growth studies out there. I just don’t know.

    An interesting thought from the article you linked: it says droughts are associated with higher temperatures in that part of the world. But since droughts slow tree growth greatly, one would expect smaller rings when temperatures are higher and larger ones when temperatures are lower, which is not the way it’s supposed to work in dendrowarmology. But then, I guess the idea is that you carefully select those trees that are in a special place that is not affected by droughts. Maybe these Niagra escarpment cedars are in such a place.

  19. John Lang
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 6:30 PM | Permalink

    They were quite silent when Mann was trying to rewrite climate history with a complete distortion of their scientific field.

    If they are serious about correcting distortion, they should have spoke up then or they speak up now or they should ensure that dendrochronology is used properly with rigourous scientific methods in the future.

  20. trevor
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 7:14 PM | Permalink

    They could also explain how the assumption of linearity between tree ring thickness and temperature can be sustained in the face of observations that if there is any relationship between temperature and tree ring thickness (many other factors are likely to impact growth vigour – moisture, wind, insect infestation, soil fertilisation issues etc) it is likely that the relationship will be an inverse quadratic relationship.

    To us lay folk, this is a showstopper for the whole idea that past temperatures can be estimated from tree ring thickness. This is such a fundamental point for dendrochronology that it must have been addressed. It is therefore strange that the dendrochronologists decline to provide this information to this interested audience.

  21. bernie
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 7:25 PM | Permalink

    Steve:
    Though with considerably less precision and technical expertise than demonstrated by you and others, I also had many questions about Rob Wilson’s GOA paper. What I was hoping for was that he would remain sufficiently engaged in the discussion so as to provide more insight into why he interpreted the factor analysis the way that he did – in the hope of figuring out why a non-dendro viewpoint is so at odds with his and his other authors. Your basic arguments I believe are totally well-founded and I have seen nothing here or on Real Climate to remotely undermine your primary contentions. My point above was that some CA commentators really were unnecessarily aggressive with Rob – notwithstanding some of his less than politic comments on earlier strings. I am not naive but I really do see a need to avoid circles of wisdom. This is a great site with a high percentage of open and knowledgeable contributors. What’s generally missing is an “establishment” voice willing to engage in open discussions of methods and assumptions.

    I checked out the original post by Rob. He is clearly somewhat disparaging but he also seeks to engage and offers to provide a manual on how dendroclimatologists do their science.

  22. Sam
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 7:31 PM | Permalink

    Steve, how dare you point out inconvenient perspectives that make it clear that “statistically we simply cannot defend global warming.”

    My goodness, how descriptive this comment was. This is what it all is really coming down to and why anyone who questions the orthodoxy or religious view must be silenced. AGW cannot be proven by any empirical fact or statistical artifact….it must be accepted and believed on faith and reliance on what our betters tell us.

    How sad and pathetic. Science is what pulled us out of the superstitions that dominated the middle ages and here we go again, being coerced into accepting things only on the basis of authority.

  23. Barry
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 7:45 PM | Permalink

    It seems a problem with fragmenting the science into two opposing camps. Those who are convinced that humans have no discernable effect on climate come here for validation. It is very easy to get sucked into one side and lose objectivity. I am certain that we are causing temperatures to rise, but come here to listen to well reasoned contrary arguments. A lot of what Steve writes makes sense. Science can be done better (and that is not limited to climate science). However the comments can be rather one-sided and the whole blog gets coloured by them.

    Now if Steve is seen as part of the denialist community then that means that it is impossible for most climate scientists to engage with him and also that his work is misrepresented by denialists to show that AGW is not happening. Science loses out both ways. It is possible to be agnostic about AGW and sceptical of some of the science without being denialist. However those who pick up the latest bit of ambiguous science and trumpet it as proof that AGW does not exist are not agnostic, nor sceptics and don’t do science any good. The advantage of the IPCC process is that a large amount of science can be weighed up and a balanced assessment given.

    A lot of climate scientists do seem to take Steve’s work seriously. That is not to say that they agree with it, but science has a place for genuine doubters. Perhaps those who feel personally attacked by Steve (and there is some justification for the feeling) can be excused, but in general, science advances by listening to criticism and moving to either modify the conclusions or improve the process.

    There does seem to a lot of talking past each other, but I am sure that the process whereby a tree ring series is determined to be climate proxy can be nailed down.

  24. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 8:37 PM | Permalink

    It’s pretty funny to see Steve M. called a “radical.” With regard to science, exactly the opposite has proved true. Steve M. is a science conservative. He is continually touting those old time virtues of openness, repeatability, professional and intellectual integrity, mathematical rigor, and that most ivy-covered virtue of all, fair testing of fact against theory. Get with the climatology program, Steve. It’s all post-normal over there, where science serves the progressive interest.

    On the other hand, I’ll own up to being one of those dendroclimatological misinformchiki that Rob Wilson is worried about. After all, in a recent post here, I wrote that it’s a crock to suppose one can derive temperatures from tree rings. This was all discussed in some detail awhile back on CA, though I don’t know where anymore. I think it was Paul Dennis who was also deeply involved in some of those discussions.

    Anywaym it would be very wonderful if Rob, or Mike Pisaric, or maybe Mr. Wisdom, could direct me to a paper that shows how to explicitly derive a temperature from a ring width. Renormalizing a tree ring series against a measured temperature trend, and then calling that TR series a temperature record, is — putting it delicately here — a complete crock.

    It doesn’t matter that the tree is growing at the terminus of some latitudinal or elevational temperature cline. It also doesn’t matter that there may be a significant component of the purported temperature dependence in the ring widths of that tree and any others (but how would anyone know?). What matters is that there is no objective method — no physical theory — that allows the temperature component to be extracted from the mess of other influences. The assignment of temperature dependence in growth is never more than a qualitative judgment. No amount of “training” (renormalization) against a sesquicentennial temperature record is going to turn qualitative judgments into quantitative measures.

    And that leads me to PC analysis. The following point is never addressed, neither here nor anywhere else I’ve seen. That is, how does one assign physical meaning to the individual vectors of a numerically orthogonalized set of data? In dendroclimatology, it seems to be done by fiat. These trees were growing in cold-limited climates. Therefore PC1 (or whichever) represents temperature, because, after all, PC1 is the dominant EOF of the TR series of these temeperature-limited trees.

    But in real physical science, EOFs and PCs only take physical meaning when they are assessed within a mathematically expressed theory. Typically, EOFs are embedded within an expression of physical theory that relates their linear combination to observables. It’s the linear combinations of the EOFs, constructed within the physical theory, that attain physical meaning. Meaning is given by quantitative theory, and never any other way. But in dendroclimatology, if a TR series nicely trains against a local temperature series (or against the global “climate field,” if you’re a HT illuminatus), and the trees are qualitatively judged to be temperature limited, then presto-chango, the numerical EOF poofs into a physical observable and gives us paleo-temperatures going back for centuries.

    You know what Rob (Mike, too)? It’s a crock.

  25. bernie
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 8:38 PM | Permalink

    Barry:
    I guess I am an agnostic as to AGW: I also think that it is impossible to tell what Steve thinks about AGW – except that he has serious scientific questions about some of the pivotal climate studies that purport to indicate imminent catastrophic AGW and can support his questions through well gorunded statistical arguments. You are probably right that there are hardenened and hardening positions around AGW. But I have yet to read on this site a position that says that AGW is not possible – only that the some arguments for AGW are serioulsy flawed or incomplete and that few of the proponents seem ready or able to actually debate the point. The quality of the arguments at Real Climate are even more personalized than here and there is a remarkable reluctance to call Gore what he is – for whatever the reason.

    Like you I am very much interested in carefully looking at and understanding how tree rings serve as fine grained proxies for temperature. Unfortunately Rob Wilson, who had the background to provide an insider’s view, has decided not to participate and help ensure that we simply don’t just talk among ourselves.

  26. John Baltutis
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 8:42 PM | Permalink

    Interesting!

    From: Henri D. Grissino-Mayer
    Subject: divergence versus convergence

    http://listserv.arizona.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0703&L=itrdbfor&D=0&T=0&P=4359

    Nonlinearity in tree-ring response to climate is nothing new to dendroclimatologists. As near as I can tell, the first modeling attempts to extract this nonlinearity occurred in the 1980s when use of the Kalman filter was very popular. These early studies clearly show this nonlinearity:

    Visser, H. 1986. Analysis of tree ring data using the Kalman filter technique. IAWA Bulletin 7(4): 289-297.

    Van Deusen, P.C. 1987. Some applications of the Kalman Filter to tree-ring analysis. In: G.C. Jacoby, Jr. and J.W. Hornbeck, compilers, Proceedings of the International Symposium on Ecological Aspects of Tree-Ring Analysis, August 17-21, 1986, Tarrytown, New York. U.S. Department of Energy, Publication CONF-8608144: 566-578.

    Visser, H., Molenaar, J. 1987. Time-dependent responses of trees to weather variations: An application of the Kalman Filter. In: G.C. Jacoby, Jr. and J.W. Hornbeck, compilers, Proceedings of the International Symposium on Ecological Aspects of Tree-Ring Analysis, August 17-21, 1986, Tarrytown, New York. U.S. Department of Energy, Publication CONF-8608144: 579-590.

    Other studies have shown how this nonlinearity may be age dependent:

    Szeicz, J.M., MacDonald, G.M. 1994. Age-dependent tree-ring growth responses of subarctic white spruce to climate. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 24(1): 120-132.

    Carrer, M., Urbinati, C. 2004. Age-dependent tree-ring growth responses to climate in Larix decidua and Pinus cembra. Ecology 85(3): 730-740.

    The reality is that linearity is assumed simply for simplicity and the creation of parsimonious models; i.e., the Principle of Uniformitarianism. We have to assume that relationships we observe today were operating in a similar fashion in the past, and this is most certainly an over-simplification when applied to complex biological organisms. But it’s not just tree-ring data’€”this applies to any reconstruction that uses proxy data. Dendroclimatologists and palaeoclimatologists in general fully accept that nonlinearity exists.

    But rather than divergence, let me also suggest that convergence of multiple reconstructions of climate (especially temperature), not just from tree-ring data, but from other proxies, certainly strengthens the argument that tree-ring data are faithfully capturing trends in past climate. For example, see these articles (and many, many more exist that demonstrate use of multiple proxies):

    Hughes, M.K., Diaz, H.F. 1994. Was there a ‘Medieval Warm Period’, and if so, where and when?. Climatic Change 26(2-3): 109-142.

    Moberg, A., Sonechkin, D.M., Holmgren, K., Datsenko, N.M., Karlen, W., Lauritzen, S.-E. 2006. Highly variable Northern Hemisphere temperatures reconstructed from low- and high-resolution proxy data. Nature 433: 613-617.

  27. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 9:04 PM | Permalink

    #23 — Barry, science is ultimately about demonstration. Not about arguments, not about fragmentation, or politics, or -isms, or even about genuine doubters (or believers). If a positive claim is made, it must be demonstrable. If the claim can’t be demonstrated, it’s not supportable.

    In terms of CO2-induced AGW, it turns out to be easy to show that the claim is scientifically insupportable. Why, then, do so many clever scientists support the claim? That’s the $64,000 question. But their support, no matter how insistent, is scientifcally worthless without the demonstration. And the demonstration of AGW is impossible. It’s easy to show. Here’s a hint: Take any one of the 4AR SRES projections offered by the IPCC. Assume that the originating GCM is 99% physically accurate in projecting climate for one year (a wildly over-optimistic standard). Propagate the 1% per year error out across a century of SRES climate prediction. QED

  28. Gary
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 9:06 PM | Permalink

    I agree with #12 and would add that the trolls have pre-disposed a number of posters to giving emotional responses at the slightest provocation. On top of that its easy to misread statements that in face-to-face conversation wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. So every poster simply ought to develop a thicker skin and ignore what could be construed as an insult as just less than tactful wording.

    As for this blog, its delivering a message not welcomed by some so they attack the messenger because its easier than patiently making and defending a complex position. Kudos to Steve for not doing that and attempting to rectify things if they’ve been mis-stated or occasionally his frustrated sarcasm breaks through.

    So here’s a suggestion: How about a thread for the dendro-folks to state their case without there being any commentary. Maybe they can just address a set of questions that concern this blog community and not have to defend every challenge ad infinitum. Not a perfect idea, but a least a reasonable starting place that addresses their main objection to posting here.

  29. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 9:15 PM | Permalink

    #28. That’s an interesting idea – I recognize that one of the real issues for someone thinking about engagement here is the sheer problem of the overwhelming volume of response and that would be a way of dealing with it. I tried something like that with Martin Juckes but not as thorough a separation as you propose, in the sense that I entered into the thread.

    I’ve followed your suggestion and set up a thread where dendroclimatologists can take a free swing at CA and no CA posters are allowed to respond on that thread – although they will be entitled to discuss wisdom circle pearls on other threads.

  30. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 9:41 PM | Permalink

    Steve, how dare you point out inconvenient perspectives that make it clear that “statistically we simply cannot defend global warming.”

    Actually, I don’t view that admission as a gotcha. Businesses make decisions on uncertain information which can’t be proven statistically. If someone said – here’s the situation; we can’t prove the problem “statistically”, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a problem; I think that reasonable people could deal with that sort of situation in an appropriate way.

    THe point is: if you can’t prove things statistically, say so and don’t proceed to try to make a statistical argument. Don’t make statistical arguments and then say that they “don’t matter” or that you’ve “moved on”. If you make statistical arguments, as the Team does, then people are entitled to analyse the arguments. If the argument is no good, as the dendroclimatologist is indicating here, don’t make it. If you do, you lose credibility for the arguments that you think are important.

  31. bender
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 10:17 PM | Permalink

    Re: post title. A few are angry. Most are vewy quiet.

  32. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Mar 29, 2007 at 10:25 PM | Permalink

    Well, I just took a look at the original thread that created the furor, Wilson et al. 2007. I fear that I don’t see what he sees there. For example, on the dendro list Rob says:

    I doubt I make much difference as many of my criticisms of McIntyre have not been turned around and transformed into fairly aggressive attacks on my own work.

    First, I think that he does make a difference, as does every serious scientist posting on the list.

    Second, I don’t see anything being “turned around”. Rob’s criticisms of McIntyre have not been “turned around”, they have been answered directly.

    And I don’t find any problem with people aggressively attacking someone’s work. My own work, and Steve M’s work, and bender’s and jean S’s and UC’s work all gets aggressively attacked with great regularity … so what? That’s what real science is about, it’s not about sitting around on a congenial listserv answering softball questions and congratulating each other.

    The action that seemed to get Rob upset the most was when he was asked to comply with the requirements of the journal where he chose to publish his study, as well as to comply with scientific norms, by PUBLISHING HIS DATA. The fact that asking a dendroclimatologist to publish his data is perceived as an “aggressive attack” is a sad commentary on the state of the science. Others asked him nicely to publish his data. When he refused, I wrote to the Journal and asked them to follow up on it. At that point, rather than do so, he merely said that he was “sure it will only be a matter of time before the data are available at the ITRDB”. Well, yes, I’m sure it will only be a matter of time … but that doesn’t constitute compliance.

    The issue is simple. Science depends on replication. Until the data is published, we don’t know whether Rob’s work is valid or not. This means that it will be published without any serious review. This is not good scientific practice, and it is for this exact reason that responsible journals require, they don’t recommend but require that the data be published when the study is published.

    If Rob thinks that asking him to publish his data is an aggressive attack on his work, I fear for the future of science … but perhaps he is referring to some other attack that I overlooked.

    Me, I’m still waiting for someone to point me to a dendroclimatological reference where they discuss the upside-down quadratic nature of plant response to temperature, or where they discuss the interaction of moisture and temperature and how “temperature proxies” have been controlled for variations in precipitation … those are the elephants in the room. I did an extensive search of the ITRDBFOR archive, and found only a few posts even mentioning the precipitation/temperature problem, and none discussing the upside-down quadratic response problem.

    One discussion I found said:

    >Why is total monthly precipitation entered into the response
    >function in combination with different temperature variables (ie., monthly
    >mean, minimum, maximum)?

    Traditionally, the two variables used in response function analysis
    have been total monthly precipitation and mean monthly temperature,
    over a span of months leading back to the previous growing season. Of
    course, once can just as easily use minimum/maximum temperatures
    instead and this is fairly common.

    The analysis is basically a multiple regression using monthly climate
    variables that have been orthogonalized using principal components
    analysis so that the explanatory variables are now completely
    independent of each other, thus removing the interdependence that
    would have masked possible relationships with tree growth. The
    weights on each monthly variable are essentially the parameter
    estimates in the multiple regression, and their 95% confidence limits
    can easily be calculated to determine statistical significance as in
    any regression. Hal Fritts pioneered this technique, explained in
    detail here: Fritts, H.C., Blasing, T.J., Hayden, B.P., Kutzbach,
    J.E. 1971. Multivariate techniques for specifying tree-growth and
    climate relationships and for reconstructing anomalies in
    paleoclimate. Journal of Applied Meteorology 10(5): 845-864. Be sure
    to also read this article: Fritts, H.C., Wu, X. 1986. A comparison
    between response-function analysis and other regression techniques.
    Tree-Ring Bulletin 46: 31-46.

    While this makes sense, I don’t see anybody using this method to distinguish between the temperature and precipitation signals in the tree ring proxies, or to remove the precipitation signal from the proxies.

    w.

  33. JMS
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 12:18 AM | Permalink

    Willis, your request and subsequent attack on data in a thesis — a thesis which has not yet been defended — for not being archived is, how shall I put it, silly. Surely a student has the right to defend his ideas before the data is released. Give me a break. Hey, Rob even admitted that dendro archiving practices were not what they should be, he said explicitly that Steve has a good point here; a point which I wholehartedly agree with. I also feel that a scientist who has collected data is also entitled to work with it until it is exhausted to her statisfaction before it is archived. I would also defend that scientist’s right to not release it to contrarian amateurs if such a request for data is made. After all the raison’ de etre of most of the commenters, and the proprietor, of this blog is to attempt — rightly or wrongly — to impinge on the reputations of serious researchers who are honestly working on paleoclimatological problems. I know that Steve and his supporters will react to this charge negatively, but the repeated posts from Steve which call into question the honesty and veracity of scientists such as Curry, Mann, Jones, Schmidt, Hansen, Wilson et. al. bear witness to this fact. If you tangle with Steve, Steve will attack you.

    Now, on to the substance of this post. First the characterization of the dendro community as “angry” is wrong. Bender is right; they are “vewry quiet”. Most of the thread was about how to deal with the mis (or is that dis) information provided here. The “wisdom circle” post was from a young scientist who clearly had English as a second (or, given that it is Europe, third, forth or fifth) language. To take this literally, as Steve did is silly. Click the link if you want to see. The more active participants in the list wanted to figure out a way to answer the unfounded charges often made of this blog, both by Steve and the commentors, without taking large amounts of their time to answer charges post by post on CA. It seems that the decided that a FAQ would be a good way to handle this: see bad charge, point to FAQ. One of the suggestions was to point to The Ulitmate Tree Ring Pages which might be a good place to host the FAQ, but which currently does not have a FAQ. Another idea was to start a dendro wiki since it is probably too much work to keep a page of Wikipedia from getting polluted. If you want to know how hard it is to keep global warming pages clean, just ask William Connolley (I know you guys hate him, but he is hardly an “alarmist”, he strikes me as an honest broker). Connolley seems to subscribe to the sensitivity is 3C idea and he constantly questions the more alarmist scenarios. 3C is bad enough. Most of the scientists on the dendro list wanted to spend a minimal amount of time answering the unfounded charges leveled against the discipline because countering misinformation takes lots of time; time which is taken away from their real work and which is not credited to their possibilities for advancement. Quite frankly, all the really good scientific discussions happen at RealClimate. That is where scientists go to defend or explain in more detail the work that they have published. Scientifically, this place is a backwater. Get used to it.

    BTW, I did find an interesting article in Science Daily about the divergence problem. Rob is currently working on a different aspect of the problem: positve vs. negative responders. I do think that this is an important area of dendro research, as it may lead to more accurate reconstructions. To say that this invalidates all reconstructions is silly however, dendro people have learned how to disambiguate many of the influences on tree growth. I would recommend that people here read a textbook — I haven’t read it myself because I am willing to take the dendro people at their word — but if I had the time I would read this book by Fritts. I think that people should know the background before they criticise the entire field.

  34. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 1:23 AM | Permalink

    Re:#29
    It’s disappointing to me (and likely to dendroclimatologists as well) to see your new thread fill up with posts from someone who admits “I haven’t studied dendro at all…”.

  35. JMS
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 1:37 AM | Permalink

    Armand, nobody here seems to have studied anything except the statistical properites of some of the dendro proxies. Look, there are a lot of aspects to dendro which are not discussed here because nobody, except perhaps Rob, seems to know anything about it. At least I am willing to admit it, the rest of the crowd here are posers. Read a text book first, then I might listen to you. Personnally, I spend enough of my time trying to keep up in my own field of software engineering. I don’t have the time to learn an entirely new discipline.

    Have you read any textbooks on dendroclimatology or anything in a related field? Probably not, and until you have, you really don’t have any right to dis papers which are on the leading edge… Learn the basics first.

  36. John A
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 1:49 AM | Permalink

    If you want to know how hard it is to keep global warming pages clean, just ask William Connolley (I know you guys hate him, but he is hardly an “alarmist”, he strikes me as an honest broker)

    *cough* *splutter*

    Connelley’s primary contribution to Wikipedia is to present AGW as settled, that criticisms of Mann and the Hockey Stick are unfair, that natural climate variation is minor, and that skeptics should be treated like dirt or ignored. He has continually blocked or harrassed anyone who deviates from the AGW line and bent or broken the rules that Wikipedia Admins are meant to abide by on numerous occasions. He has also been the subject of complaint on more than one occasion for pushing an extremely narrow political agenda.

    There is a *reason* why the Wikipedia page on the Hockey Stick contains Mann’s invective and cuts off all substantive discussion of the work of McIntyre and McKitrick.

    Connelley is also a political candidate for the Green Party and member of the Oxford Green Party which advocates a cut in carbon dioxide production of 85% – noone has yet explained how much poverty and environmental destruction that would cause.

    There are many phrases to describe what Connelley has done and continues to do in rewriting history according to his poitical viewpoint, but “honest broker” isn’t one of them.

  37. Mark T.
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 2:15 AM | Permalink

    Have you read any textbooks on dendroclimatology or anything in a related field? Probably not, and until you have, you really don’t have any right to dis papers which are on the leading edge… Learn the basics first.

    That statement is 100% incorrect. The “basics” that you don’t seem to understand, are simple control theory, statistics and signal processing. Said dendros need to learn that before I’ll EVER believe what they are telling me is cause and effect. Also, if I were you, I’d be less critical of what others may or may not know, since, well, you really don’t know everyone’s background, do you?

    Mark

  38. Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 2:33 AM | Permalink

    The great thing about a tree ring is that is a physical object which can be dated exactly. Besides its width, what other signals does it contain? Does its structure, its chemical or isotopic composition alter with temperature? Does it contain a record of the atmosphere in any way?

    JF

  39. EW
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 2:58 AM | Permalink

    #33

    I also feel that a scientist who has collected data is also entitled to work with it until it is exhausted to her statisfaction before it is archived.

    Feel you may, but in my specialization it is either publish all data and deposit the material in a herbarium or collection or wait with publication until you are done with all analyses. And sometimes getting the fungal specimens is neither easy nor cheap. But such are the rules, take it or leave it.

  40. JMS
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 3:06 AM | Permalink

    Well John A I looked at the top entries for William Connolley and he does not seem to be standing as a Green Party candidate. He is active in the Green Party, but you are probably active in or sympathetic to the Tory party or someting farther right. Don’t lie when it is so easy to refute you via the internets.

    I would also argue that the IPCC presents the settled consensus of the climatological community, whether you like it or not. There is a lot of argument, for example over sea level rise but it is all over how much larger than the IPCC numbers (remember they left off rises due to unknown effects of ice sheet dynamics). I would say that Connolley is one of the less alarmist people out there. Sometimes I get pissed at him becuase he is so bound by the evidence and just the evidence — seems pretty conservative. Good for him; he is thinking with with his brain instead of his heart as you and I plainly do. Just because he thinks that something ought to be done does not make him an alarmist, simply sensible.

    Here in America I am stuck with the Democratic party, but at least their ideas are based in reality. I would be happy if the USA could just level off our carbon emissions. That would be a good thing. If the USA could get it’s carbon emissions down to the level of the EU it would be a big step forward. That will be a problem for the US as we have followed fairly dumb development policies.

    For example, I live in an area which 10 years ago was fairly compact, yet dumb development ideas have spread affordable housing all over the county so that people who by “starter” homes now have to communte 20 miles to get to work. When I moved here (and couldn’t afford to buy a house, as usual) affordable housing was available within 4 or 5 miles of where the jobs were (in the city center). Allowing so much sprawl to happen in the span of 6 years is bad urban planning, especially since so much land was available for development within a couple of miles of the city center. Better zoning and a harsher fist on the developers would not have made anyone poorer, but it would have resulted in more open space and less development on the farmlands surrounding beautiful Bozeman, MT. Infill and urban development boundries (a la Portland, OR.) would have done wonders. A decent public tranportation system that the lower paid workers in this town could have used — the current system, although well used by students at MSU, is inadequate to the needs of service industry workers who can not afford cars — is a joke. It works for some people, but it only runs from 8AM until 6PM, leaving out people (servie workers) who do not work standard hours. Life sucks for those people, they have to walk to or from work in the winter through chilling (and I mean below 0F temps) during the winter. Tonight it is 20F outside, do you want to walk in that? During the winter that frequently drops to 0F. Would you walk a couple of miles in that to work at McDonalds? The really funny thing about the temps this winter were that they were (and even tonight) are substantially above historical norms. Have been for several years. It is still cold when the sky is clear, but during storms? Heck, during storms we get rain here in the valley, snow is relegated to the mountains. Everyone who has lived here for a while (even me, and I’ve only been here for 6 years) recognizes that the climate here has changed. Talk to my friend Ryan, the city forester for Bozeman, he will lay it out for you. Changes in growing season, spread of pine bark beetles — stuff is ugly around here and we are going to have a huge fire season here. I know, fire doesn’t affect the UK quite like it does the American West, but get out here quick if you want to see the glaciers in Glacier National Park or see Yellowstone before the next 1988 style conflagration.

    Connelly really is a fairly conservative climate scientist; you should probably take a lesson from him; it doesn’t take huge global temperature changes to make the world change in ways which we do not want.

  41. JMS
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 3:07 AM | Permalink

    Well EW, that is all to the good of your specialization. I still think that priority has it’s priveledges.

  42. Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 3:11 AM | Permalink

    Although some of the criticisms and commentary are valid, some of it is simply wrong and misinformed, and in my mind, it is dangerous to let such things go.

    It would be good to know if I’m in the valid or wrong and misinformed side. Pl. let me know, I don’t want to spread misinformation. My posts were

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1285#comment-99110

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1285#comment-99188

    and

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1279#comment-97159

    BTW, I saw some discussion about Kalman Filtering there, it is very related to

    the problem of estimating the state of a stochastic dynamical system from noisy observations

    and that is a very essential part of rocket science. Thus, lots of good literature available. I suggest

    Stochastic Processes and Filtering Theory, A. Jazwinski

    Applied Optimal Estimation, A. Gelb

    Kalman Filtering: Theory and Practice Using MATLAB, M. Grewal, A. Andrews

    A. Andrews had something to do with Apollo moon project.

  43. T J Olson
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 3:48 AM | Permalink

    JMS (#40) writes “dumb development ideas have spread affordable housing all over the county….”

    Yeah. Such that home ownership rates in the US are the highest in the world – such a dumb place to actually serve consumer interests: housing is so meaninglessly materialistic.

    But then I’m a retired developer turned environmental science graduate student. No authority from here whatsoever. (Lets not hijack the illuminating discussion in this thread – I apologize for this digression.)

  44. fFreddy
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 4:13 AM | Permalink

    Re #40, jms

    I live in an area which 10 years ago was fairly compact, yet dumb development ideas have spread affordable housing all over the county

    Everyone who has lived here for a while (even me, and I’ve only been here for 6 years) recognizes that the climate here has changed.

    To what extent has this change in land use been responsible for the change in local climate ?

  45. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 4:20 AM | Permalink

    JMS, I must admit to intense confusion when I read what you say:

    Willis, your request and subsequent attack on data in a thesis ‘€” a thesis which has not yet been defended ‘€” for not being archived is, how shall I put it, silly. Surely a student has the right to defend his ideas before the data is released. Give me a break. Hey, Rob even admitted that dendro archiving practices were not what they should be, he said explicitly that Steve has a good point here; a point which I wholehartedly agree with. I also feel that a scientist who has collected data is also entitled to work with it until it is exhausted to her statisfaction before it is archived. I would also defend that scientist’s right to not release it to contrarian amateurs if such a request for data is made.

    and

    Learn the basics first.

    OK, here’s some basics for you. Almost every reputable journal has a policy that requires that an author publish enough data and information to allow some other scientist to replicate the work in question. This includes “Climate Dynamics”, where Rob published his study.

    But Rob didn’t follow that policy, in two very important areas. First, he didn’t identify the sites used, and second, he didn’t archive the data. As a result, his study cannot be replicated. That’s the problem. It can’t be replicated. This is contrary to the stated policy of the journal, as well as the scientific method.

    Basic enough for you?

    Note that the reason the data is missing is immaterial. If the missing data means the study can’t be replicated, it doesn’t matter if the data is in the hands of some unnamed PhD student or if the dog ate it.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly when you say:

    I also feel that a scientist who has collected data is also entitled to work with it until it is exhausted to her statisfaction before it is archived.

    This is 100% true, until the scientist decides to publish. At that point, she has to publish the data that supports her study. That’s what the journals say, that’s what replicability requires, that’s the scientific norm … you want basics, the requirement that science be replicable is perhaps the most basic scientific norm.

    You seem to think that Steve M started this blog to “impinge on the reputations of serious researchers”, which is laughable. My friend, we don’t have to work to damage the reputation of many in the dendroclimatology community … they’re doing that very well by themselves. Serious researchers don’t refuse to publish their data, and they certainly don’t defend the practice when questioned. Consider what’s happened to your reputation, not from anything we’ve said, but from the foolish things you’ve said in defense of bad scientific practice.

    w.

    PS – If this still seems confusing to you, flip the roles around, and imagine the student going to defend his/her thesis without the data. When questioned, s/he says, “Oh, I’ll provide you examiners with the data as soon as Rob Wilson is done with it, he needs it for a paper he’s writing that will be published someday”. How far do you think that would get? The examiners, quite rightly, would say “It’s not science without the data, come back when you have the data”. Which is exactly what the Climate Dynamics policy requires Rob to do … come back when he has the data.

    You are right … learn the basics first.

    PPS – I leave it as an exercise for the student to discover the several logical flaws in your statement that:

    I would also defend that scientist’s right to not release it to contrarian amateurs if such a request for data is made.

  46. MarkW
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 4:49 AM | Permalink

    Steve,

    I wonder if the poster who said this:
    “McIntyre’s work is a conclusion in search of evidence to support it:”

    Is the same poster who said this:
    “He by undermining individual studies while studiously ignoring the big picture”

    A case of the pot calling the kettle black.

  47. MarkW
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 5:00 AM | Permalink

    Barry,

    I have yet to see a skeptic, or even a denier claim that man has no influence on the climate.
    I have seen quite a few AGW alarmists make that claim about what the other side believes.

    What we question are the catastrophic predictions made by many on the AGW side. Like the govt guy in Britain who claims that by the
    end of this century, the only inhabitable continent will be Antartica.

  48. MarkW
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 5:13 AM | Permalink

    JMS,

    God forbid that people should be allowed to live the lifestyle of their choice, rather than yours.

    Since 2001, the US’s CO2 output has gone up 1.7%, while the EU’s has gone up 5.1%. Tell me again how wonderfull the European
    committment to reducing CO2 output is.

  49. John A
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 5:18 AM | Permalink

    Re #40

    JMS:

    Well John A I looked at the top entries for William Connolley and he does not seem to be standing as a Green Party candidate. He is active in the Green Party, but you are probably active in or sympathetic to the Tory party or someting farther right. Don’t lie when it is so easy to refute you via the internets.

    Then you’d be wrong on all counts. Connelley is (or has been) a candidate for the Green Party in local elections.

    I am not “probably active in or sympathetic to the Tory party or someting farther right” or anything like it. Like Steve McIntyre I would classify myself in American political terms as a Clinton Democrat and a classical liberal – I support none of the leading UK political parties at present and certainly none of the fringe ones.

    Don’t lie when it is so easy to refute you via the internets.

    Then you’ll have to find something substantive to discuss because at the moment you’re just insulting.

    I would also argue that the IPCC presents the settled consensus of the climatological community, whether you like it or not. There is a lot of argument, for example over sea level rise but it is all over how much larger than the IPCC numbers (remember they left off rises due to unknown effects of ice sheet dynamics). I would say that Connolley is one of the less alarmist people out there. Sometimes I get pissed at him becuase he is so bound by the evidence and just the evidence ‘€” seems pretty conservative. Good for him; he is thinking with with his brain instead of his heart as you and I plainly do. Just because he thinks that something ought to be done does not make him an alarmist, simply sensible.

    The only thing Connelley is bound by as far as I can see is his neo-Marxist political viewpoint and how much deletion and revision of history he can get away with. I think with my brain – if you think with a different organ then that’s your business. Connelley’s style is standard civil service passive-aggressiveness – I cannot understand why anyone should be beguiled by it.

    As far as Connelley is concerned “the science is settled” which was the title of a Wikipedia article that he started which claimed that such a phrase was “created by skeptics” – he then spent much time deleting quotations from AGW promoters which claimed precisely that, until eventually he gave up (after trying blocking of IP addresses and deletion of edit histories) and invited me to request the article be deleted. Eventually it was, but not by me.

  50. EW
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 5:20 AM | Permalink

    #41
    Privileges, yes, but only to the moment of publication.

    Listen, JMS, if someone wants to replicate my phylogenies, layman, contrarian or a specialist, then the sequences are freely downloadable in the databases, the software is either free on the web or available for purchase and the specimens in the museum. Agreed, they would probably not send away the specimens to a layman, but still the specimens are available for the study in the museum.

  51. MarkW
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 5:44 AM | Permalink

    JMS:

    When you state this:
    “I would also defend that scientist’s right to not release it to contrarian amateurs if such a request for data is made.”

    I can only conclude that you think it’s ok for “scientists” to only release their data to people who agree with their conclusions?

    I guess we’ve changed science from a “wisdom circle” to a big circle jerk.

  52. Stan Palmer
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 5:51 AM | Permalink

    This article at Science Daily http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/07/990707181851.htm , poinnted to in a posting above above contains this quotation from Hughes and a comment

    “The recent weaker correlation between tree growth and temperature clearly affects the reliability of our reconstructions of the past. Actually, it means past climate reconstructions (before the 1960s) are better than we thought they were. And, as a result of this, it means that we underestimated the differences between the present century and past centuries,” Hughes said.

    In a global warming study published last March in Geophysical Review Letters, Hughes and University of Massachusetts colleagues found the 1990s to be the warmest decade of the millennium, with 1998 the warmest year so far. The contrast between this century and previous centuries may be greater than thought, Hughes now suggests, because “our calibration is contaminated partly by this recent weaker correlation.”

    This seems to be a version of the U-shaped temperature response for tree growth that is mentioned here but in another form. Hotter summer temperatures in a shorter summer create less ring growth than cooler summer temperatures in a longer summer. The article relates this to more snow keeping the ground frozen longer. The covariancve between tree growth with the amount of snow cover is also U shaped

    Try as a might, I just cannot see how the evidence presented in the article proves Hughes point in any way. It provides no evidence of the snow cover in past centuries. So to my eye, instead of making prior reconstructions more accurate, it just adds a confounding parameter that creates even more uncertainty.

  53. Stan Palmer
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 6:13 AM | Permalink

    to clarify 52

    My expectation of U shape for snow cover comes from the depth to which the ground freezes. Less snow cover means that the ground freezes to a deeper depth. People in cold climates know that it is unwise to remove snow above buried water pipes. More snow means that the ground does not freeze to as great a depth but, according to Hughes, stays frozen for a longer period thus shortening the growing season. Thus there must be some optimal snow depth that maximizes tree growth.

  54. bernie
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 6:15 AM | Permalink

    The idea of a separate string for FAQ Dendro related questions makes good sense to me. In fact it is akin to what Rob is (was) thinking of doing. Perhaps there is common ground.

    Serendipitously this string is flushing out additional references and citations that go to the heartof the issue as to the value of tree rigns as temperature proxies. Many thanks for those references and the textbooks. Now if I can get my local library to get them, I will be all set.

  55. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 6:37 AM | Permalink

    If the USA could get it’s carbon emissions down to the level of the EU it would be a big step forward. That will be a problem for the US as we have followed fairly dumb development policies.

    Well off topic…but wasn’t it recently released that the US did a better job of slowing CO2 emissions growth over the last several years than the EU nations? I thought I read that (coming from an EU member).

    And isn’t one of Europe’s advantages the dependence on nuclear power in some nations? Would you like to see more of that in the US?

  56. Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 7:32 AM | Permalink

    Dear JMS #40, you’re not right. Does Connolley look insufficiently radical to you to be a green candidate? ;-) Well, so does he look to me, in comparison to others, but that’s how Britain works so far. At any rate, see

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jonqin/Cambsgreen/PEOPLE/People.htm

    “William Connolley – Cambridge University programmer and climate modeller, webmaster Eastern Region & gp-southcambs. William is the Green Party South Cambs District electoral agent.

    William Connolley the 2006 SCDC candidate Bar Hill (South Cambs). 2005 County Council candidate for Hardwick (South Cambs). In 2001 he stood as the Green Party County Council candidate for Girton.”

  57. Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 7:36 AM | Permalink

    I think that if these dendropeople liked trees, they wouldn’t like any regulations of CO2 because that’s what the trees love to eat. It’s kind of crazy that the current version of environmentalism includes the paradigms that trees and the third world must stay hungry.

  58. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 7:55 AM | Permalink

    Transfer from dendroclimatolosts thread:

    Nathan Kurz says:
    March 29th, 2007 at 10:25 pm
    edit

    Steve: I realize your frustration but remember that some members of the dendro list may well see this post as their first introduction to the to this blog. Perhaps a more genuine invitation would be in order, with less slant and fewer attempts at humor? I appreciate your acerbic tone, but that’s because I’m familiar with the solidity of the rest of the site. Remember that like this blog, there are many more members of that list than the few whose responses we saw, and that first impressions make a big difference. That said, I think an interference free thread like this is a great idea. Even better might be to find a way to turn moderation of a thread like this over to Rob, should he be willing. (please delete this comment after reading)
    2
    JMS says:
    March 30th, 2007 at 12:25 am
    edit

    Steve, the “wisdom circle” post was from someone who does not have English as her primary language. Give the poor girl a break. I would probably more charitably interpret a “wisdom circle” as a FAQ. Read in context the post made little sense.
    3
    JMS says:
    March 30th, 2007 at 12:47 am
    edit

    Steve, this post and your last illustrate to my statisfaction your disingenousnes. Your previous post mischaracterized the discusstion on the dendro list and you clearly do not understand the underlying science. Read a frikin’ textbook before you slag an entire discipline of science. It is fairly clear that looking at different species in the same area that disambiguation of the different influence of tree growth can be removed, but you have to understand the various ecological influences on the site before you can make a judgement on the quality of the tree ring proxies. Ecology is a difficult and complex scientific discipline and the dendro guys know way more about it than you do. That is clear from your post about “Up-to-date White Spruce Ring Widths” where you were clearly wrong about what the trees showed. I haven’t studied dendro at all, but I have done research (for my dad’s thesis) about bird populations and you don’t have any idea about how this stuff works. As Rob said, location, location, location and ecology, ecology, ecology. To which I might add species, species, species. Learn more than statistics and you might be a better gadfly.
    4
    JMS says:
    March 30th, 2007 at 12:48 am
    edit

    Oh, well something in WordPress left a huge link to something in a past post. Please ignore the link.
    5
    Larry Huldén says:
    March 30th, 2007 at 1:17 am
    edit

    Reply to JMS
    The question is not about what Steve understands or not understands. He is interested in what are the “dendro’s” exact criteria for selecting the series, including calculation methods (+ source code) and source data. This is the key question before we can ask if someone can understand things in this field. It is quite clear that you can’t understand the basics if the basics are hidden.
    6
    JMS says:
    March 30th, 2007 at 1:29 am
    edit

    Larry, Steve needs to understand why various sites are chosen. If he does not have a basic understanding of the field (meaning that he has read textbooks that undergrads read) I have a hard time taking him seriously. I must say that most of the commentors on this blog seem to have a suspicion of deep knowledge of a subject. That does not make for good science, you have to understand the basics before you can truly criticise the discipline.
    7
    fFreddy says:
    March 30th, 2007 at 1:29 am
    edit

    Re #2, JMS

    I would probably more charitably interpret a “wisdom circle” as a FAQ.

    Steve provided a link, and made a straight copy’n’paste of when the lady said:

    I would dream of a world where a kind of “wisdom circle” would have a control on executive power for example.

    So I am confused by your interpretation. Can you give an example in another field where a FAQ has “a control on executive power” ?
    8
    JMS says:
    March 30th, 2007 at 1:39 am
    edit

    Larry, the basics are not hidden. There are plenty of textbooks which explain the basics. Give me a break.
    9
    JMS says:
    March 30th, 2007 at 3:10 am
    edit

    fFreddy: I just meant to say that she might not have expessed herself well in english. That is all.
    10
    Maria says:
    March 30th, 2007 at 5:18 am
    edit

    JMS has had ample opportunity to begin explaining the “basics” that he drones on about. Instead he takes potshots. Since he has anointed himself as spokesman for the dendroclimatologic community (anonymously), perhaps he could bother himself to do a bit of educating?
    11
    Michael Jankowski says:
    March 30th, 2007 at 6:53 am
    edit

    Larry, Steve needs to understand why various sites are chosen.

    How about explaining this process, then providing some examples of both properly chosen and excluded sites as case studies to walk us through? Many posters have been requesting such information in the past…
    12
    rhodeymark says:
    March 30th, 2007 at 6:56 am
    edit

    I haven’t studied dendro at all, but I have done research (for my dad’s thesis) about bird populations and you don’t have any idea about how this stuff works
    Gee, thanks for that unintentionally hilarious bit of info. Hey, I’m up for a discussion of waveguides! Now that you’ve gone and voided into the punchbowl, Steve should rightfully clean it off and await the response that thread was set up for. I hope you expect no parting gift for playing.
    13
    bender says:
    March 30th, 2007 at 7:17 am
    edit

    Good question from Gary, in “dendroclimatologists are angry”:

    What is the best thinking about resolving mixed temperature and precipitation signals in the tree ring data?

    Any dendro-takers?

  59. Don Keiller
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

    I agree with a number of posters here that sometimes personal issues get entangled with what should be a scientific discussion. I apologise if I am guilty of this. As an experimental scientist, however, I believe that certain standards should be upheld. Those include that the theory should be testable and supported by ALL the data. That data is made freely available and that standard and reproduceable methods are employed at all stages of the investigation. Now let us examine the current situation in dendroclimatology. On the one hand we have Rob Wilson stating that tree ring series are matched to local climate conditions- which they clearly must do to have any validity. Then we have Juckes who claims that a tree ring series need not match the known local temperaure record, but instead is teleconnected to global/NH temperatures. Then again Rob says that you have to be selective in your choice of tree ring series. So on the one hand (as I see it) we have Juckes claiming some sort of metaphysical relationship between tree ring series and global temperature and on the other hand Rob Wilson engaging in a posteriori data selection.
    No wonder people outside the subject area are getting confused. It really is up to those scientists within the field of dendrochimatology to clarify matters.

  60. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

    #60. Don, this is a very deep-rooted issue in dendroclimatology. Juckes is one example. Mann is even more extreme – where his data mining method in effect posited relationships between the 6th PC of the Stahle SWM network and the 11th PC of global temperature gridcells. As a defence for the inclusion of bristlecones despite their lack of relationship to loca climate, he says : ha,ha, we merely assumed a teleconnection.
    Jacoby’s another dendro, who uses data without a local relationship if they have a HS-shape supposedly denoting a teleconnection to global temperature.

  61. Doug
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 8:22 AM | Permalink

    Again the question must be asked “what is wrong with someone expertise in statistics, commenting on the use of statistics, in a paper from any field which uses statistics”?

  62. MarkR
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    #56 Lubo. And Juckes was Green Party candidate for Oxford area constituency, is there some kind of pattern developing. Political motivation in all of this? Just asking.

  63. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    #61, this was essentially Wegman’s point. Many dendroclimatological papers are statistical in nature, once the data set is collected (and I don’t in any sense disparage the work that collectors do.) HOwever, once the scientist has thousands of ring width measurements, virtually everything afterwards is statistical. I get the impression that there are bunch of statistical recipes that have grown up in the field that are used by dendros. My interest is in the recipes. Some of the home-grown recipes can be equated to known statistical techniques. A couple of years ago, I corresponded with Rob about using linear mixed effects models to replicate site chronology calculations. It would be an interesting paper to write up since it would place a local recipe in a known statistical context.

    JMS, why would you presume that I haven’t read Fritts, Tree Rings and Climate. Whatever my defects, I try to be thorough.

  64. Craig Loehle
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 8:57 AM | Permalink

    For context, I am a forest ecologist and modeler. To my mind the problem is not that there is no physical theory for interpreting a tree ring PC or regression. Let’s stick with an empirical model and see if that is informative. The problem now is that the calibration period (say the 20th century) is insufficient to properly identify the model. Assume a “true” model that is parabolic in temperature and affected by precipitation. Let’s say that for the 20th century the range of temperature has been within the uptick of the parabola but tree growth has been not much affected by precipitation changes. We can now only estimate the linear term of the quadratic and can not estimate the precip portion of the model at all. Thus extrapolation of the model to past times is invalidated NOT by theory but by inadequate calibration data. There is of course the further complication that CO2 can also fertilize tree growth over the 20th century and this term is not factored out in any of the studies.

  65. Mark T.
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

    There is of course the further complication that CO2 can also fertilize tree growth over the 20th century and this term is not factored out in any of the studies.

    This is the problem with assuming PCA reveals a temperature signal. PCA, contrary to popular opinion, does not attach a little flag to each component stating “temperature,” “CO2,” etc. Given that CO2 has risen rather consistently over the past 100 years, the correlation between the PCs could just as well be with CO2, rather than temperature. PCA is most often used in image analysis, a field in which the effect of light impinging on, say, a CCD element is known a-priori. Therefore, the PCs are easily correlated to their original sources. I use it in various other signal processing problems, particularly radar and spread spectrum communications. I know a-priori the user codes are in the latter, and frequencies in the former.

    Mark

  66. Don Keiller
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

    re #65 My point entirely- and particularly at altidudinal treelines where the partial pressure of CO2 will be substrate limiting. Any increase in a limiting substrate concentration is going to promote enzymic activity (it is simple Michaelis Menten kinetics)- in this case carbon fixation, which, in turn, will lead to increased growth.

  67. MarkW
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

    Steve,

    On the new Dendrochronologist thread, would there be anyway for us heathens to ask non-threatening type questions?
    Say write a letter to you, and if the language is meek enough, have you present it to the high priests so that we can enjoy their
    enlightenment?

    Or is it just a thread so that dendrochronologists can pontificate to the rest of us about how we don’t know how to do science?

  68. Lee
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

    SteveM said:
    “I’m quite prepared to concede that white spruce in northern Alberta are not necessarily temperature proxies, although I am not going to concede that the way you find out whether they are temperature proxies is by seeing if the chronology goes up.”

    Steve, that sentence is overgeneralized to the point of meaninglessness – see below. You compound the error with your comment in 11:

    “if they think that analysis of white spruce in northern Alberta at CA is “flawed!!”, then that standard should be applicable to the multiproxy studies.”

    Remember that there is a first-order selection criterion for a dendro temperature proxy – first find trees near the limit of their range, for reasons that plausibly include temperature. ie, near the treeline for that species. Looking for a temp correlation is NOT the sole criteria for selecting a tree as a temp proxy – and you know it. There was a lot of discussion of treelines in those threads, and you participated in them. To grab an arbitrary set of tree cores from somewhere “in northern Alberta” is to ignore that first order selection criterion. To imply that because some white spruce in northern Alberta are not temp proxies, there are therefore no northern Alberta temp proxies, is simply wrong on these grounds.

    I’ve seen this kind of thing a lot recently here – it begins to look like a ‘splat argument.’ Throw a lot of s(tuff) at the walls, and hope some of it sticks.

  69. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

    It is fairly clear that looking at different species in the same area that disambiguation of the different influence of tree growth can be removed, but you have to understand the various ecological influences on the site before you can make a judgement on the quality of the tree ring proxies. Ecology is a difficult and complex scientific discipline and the dendro guys know way more about it than you do.

    That’s all that is of interest to most of curious and eager to learn laypersons posting here: disambiguation of tree growth effects, applying it a prior to trees and determining whether these scientists understand the serious and real statistical consequences of selections after the fact. And that is the discussion that seems difficult to initiate without hurting feelings or simply not getting a detailed response. Perhaps you could lend a hand by, first of all, giving an unambiguous definition and details of the disambiguation process.

    I know stock pickers who know way more than I do about stocks and the underlying corporations, but if they tell me that based on in-sample data that they can demonstrate this unfailingly successful stock selection filter (i.e. a process very susceptible to data snooping and model over fitting), I do not have to be their equal in stock knowledge to know enough to be very wary of their advice.

  70. Tom Vonk
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 10:12 AM | Permalink

    It’s always really nice for a starting scientist like I am to see that ideals are not bound to disappear with time or whatever… I would dream of a world where a kind of “wisdom circle” would have a control on executive power for example.

    English not being my native language either , it is ridiculous to pretend that the above quote is due to insufficient mastery of english .
    I understand it very well and can substitute for “wisdom circle” any other term X and it conveys still the same idea .
    The person’s dream is that some unelected group has control on executive power .
    In plain language that is a totalitarian dream .
    It is beyond me how a supposedly serious scientific web site can leave standing dreams of such nature .

  71. Bill F
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

    JMS,

    What is the point of learning why a dendro selected a given site, when they won’t tell anybody which site they are referring to in their paper and won’t allow access to the data from the site? They might as well throw darts at a map and create the data from scratch if they aren’t willing to share the data to allow replication.

    I am not questioning their honesty or scientific ethics with that statement, I am just saying that it is pointless to sit around discussing how sites are carefully selected for their location, ecology, species, etc….and then turn around and say “but I won’t tell you which site I am using or how I selected it, and I won’t give you any of the data I collected there”. It is pointless.

    I work in the environmental consulting industry doing site remediation and investigation. When we prepare a site investigation report, we include 1) a map showing exactly where our samples were collected, 2) a table of sample location information (x and y coordinates, depth, collection method, etc.), 3) a table showing the analytical results for every sample, 4) a copy of the complete laboratory data report for the analysis (including chain of custody documentation and QA/QC data from the lab), and 5) a data validation report where the lab report and its QA/QC data are examined against data quality objectives and evaluated to determine if the data is usable. If we don’t include that information, our report is considered incomplete and the state regulators will not review or approve the report and our client will not pay us for completing the project.

    Why should data that is being used to urge urgent and immensely costly action on a global scale be held to a lower data production standard than data for a single environmental site in the middle of nowhere?

  72. jae
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 10:21 AM | Permalink

    32 says:

    Me, I’m still waiting for someone to point me to a dendroclimatological reference where they discuss the upside-down quadratic nature of plant response to temperature, or where they discuss the interaction of moisture and temperature and how “temperature proxies” have been controlled for variations in precipitation … those are the elephants in the room. I did an extensive search of the ITRDBFOR archive, and found only a few posts even mentioning the precipitation/temperature problem, and none discussing the upside-down quadratic response problem.

    Me too. And I have read Fritts’ book, albeit a long time ago.

  73. Bill F
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 10:28 AM | Permalink

    Lee,

    I think Steve’s point in that quote is not relative to other northern Alberta proxies, but to bristlecone pines. If the dendros are all up in arms because Steve chose a species that is not a temperature proxy, why are they not similarly upset and speaking out about the continued use of bristlecone pines in multi-proxy reconstructions?

  74. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

    #71. Bill F, I completely agree. I think that one of the communication problems is that academic communications are done through little articles in academic journals which are little more than extended abstracts, whereas we’re used to seeing detailed engineering-quality documents. Also the academic articles are focussed on “originality” whereas engineering-quality site assessments don’t worry about “originality”.

  75. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    #67. It’s a pontification thread. The unwashed will have to post on this thread.

  76. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

    Rob Wilson has sent in a copy of an abstract of his discussion of the Divergence Problem at the Dendro listserv

    An anomalous reduction in forest growth indices and temperature sensitivity
    has been detected in tree-ring width and density records from many
    circumpolar northern latitude sites since around the middle 20th century.
    This phenomenon, also known as the “divergence problem”, is expressed as an
    offset between warmer instrumental temperatures and their underestimation in
    reconstruction models based on tree rings. The divergence problem has
    potentially significant implications for large-scale patterns of forest
    growth, the development of paleoclimatic reconstructions based on tree-ring
    records from northern forests, and the global carbon cycle. Herein we review
    the current literature published on the divergence problem to date, and
    assess its possible causes and implications. The causes, however, are not
    well understood and are difficult to test due to the existence of a number
    of covarying environmental factors that may potentially impact recent tree
    growth. These possible causes include temperature-induced drought stress,
    nonlinear thresholds or time-dependent responses to recent warming, delayed
    snowmelt and related changes in seasonality, and differential growth/climate
    relationships inferred for maximum, minimum and mean temperatures. Another
    possible cause of the divergence described briefly herein is ‘global
    dimming’, a phenomenon that has appeared, in recent decades, to decrease the
    amount of solar radiation available for photosynthesis and plant growth on a
    large scale. It is theorized that the dimming phenomenon should have a
    relatively greater impact on tree growth at higher northern latitudes,
    consistent with what has been observed from the tree-ring record. Additional
    potential causes include “end effects” and other methodological issues that
    can emerge in standardization and chronology development, and biases in
    instrumental target data and its modeling. Although limited evidence
    suggests that the divergence may be anthropogenic in nature and restricted
    to the recent decades of the 20th century, more research is needed to
    confirm these observations.

  77. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

    Since there seems to be a critical mass of dendro folks here, I’d like some opinions regarding the extent to which you would consider the following set to be “best of class” in terms of providing a “signal” (e.g. the metric being, ring width or applicable subset of it) for local temperature:
    1) Species specifically adapted for Marine West Coast, or northern, coastal margins of Mediterranean climate types
    2) Well drained locations where even the most extreme years in terms of high precipitations will not cause waterlogged root systems or fungal die backs
    3) Microclimates with excellent cold air drainage which have a number of frost free nights at the high end of the scale for the applicable climate type (for example, Sunset Western Gardening guide Zone 16)
    4) Closed forest with no nearby artificial or natural clearings
    5) Sufficiently removed from flowing or standing surface water so as to be free of any impacts of it
    6) Subject to either “purely natural” or mangaged fire repetition frequency (as opposed to say, areas like the Santa Cruz mountains, where there has been over a century of heavy ongoing surpression). Alternatively, areas subjected to managed, non clear cut seletive harvest forestry.

    Assuming sites even exist meeting all of the above criteria, would you consider them “best in class” local temperature signal candidates?

  78. mikep
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

    Re 76

    But isn’t the obvious explanation that the original relationships were chosen by goodness of fit tests within sample thus maximising the chance of picking up spurious relationships?

  79. jae
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

    Add “divergence problem” to the list of confounding variables in tree ring analyses. If we have a divergence problem now, isn’t it reasonable to assume that there have been other divergence problems in the past?

  80. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 11:27 AM | Permalink

    re: #77 Steve S,

    I wonder about #4. I was led to believe early on that one of the benefits of doing tree-line sampling is that it allowed you to avoid having to worry about competition with other trees. Or is that just for BCPs and not for some other sorts of temperature-sensitive trees?

    Anyway, I’d like a more physical discussion of what exactly allows a tree of whatever sort to reflect temperature, local or otherwise. Sometimes I’m with the “it can’t be done” school of tree-ring proxy skeptics. I’d like to see a paper concerning one or more specific sites where the rings were taken, all other relevant data measured and an exhaustive attribution of ring-width to factor produced. Once that’s done, preferably for several sites to determine the range of factors, then it’s reasonable to assume that the same factors were at work in the past and that we know what the size of the temperature signal should be for any one site and for any combination of sites.

    This, BTW, is where the dendro experts could be of value for people on this site. If they can produce specific examples of this sort of work then they can be audited at least for whether reasonable due diligence has been done in selecting factors, data and analysis methods.

  81. Bill F
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

    #74 Steve

    You know the answer you will get from the academics about that problem though don’t you? “We aren’t trying to change the world…we are just trying to report meaningful conclusions from our research. We can’t be held responsible for how our data gets used in the political arena.” Or they will say “we don’t have the benefit of having huge staffs to compile our data and a rich client funding our production efforts, so it is impossible for us to produce that kind of documentation”.

    Nevermind that every researcher doing any kind of climate research in the last decade spends his nights dreaming of his research playing a starring role in the next IPCC report…clearly a part of the political process. They want it both ways. They want to be rock stars leading the world to a better future free of the threat of AGW (while getting the expanded funding that goes with such status). Yet they also want to hide behind the image of a shy academic stuck in a little office next to their lab with no interest in the hoopla of AGW. They want to pretend that what they publish in journals is only read by other scientists in their field and is little more than an expanded coffee table discussion of scientific ideas and as such shouldn’t require the rigid rules regarding publishing their data.

    Originality of research is one thing, but recognizing the audience for your work is another thing. Nobody should seriously expect a journal article about temperature or climate reconstruction to only be read by members of their given field of research anymore. With the raised funding levels has come the higher stakes of political decision-making based on their work, and those raised stakes demand a higher degree of scientific diligence in making sure that their works is done in an open and reproducible manner, such that nobody can suggest that their data or methods are the cause of a flaw in their conclusions if their results are reproducible.

  82. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

    #32 — The following was in a discussion Willis quoted: “The analysis is basically a multiple regression using monthly climate variables that have been orthogonalized using principal components analysis so that the explanatory variables are now completely independent of each other,…”

    Herein exactly lies the problem. The assumption is made that numerical orthogonality is identical to physical orthogonality. It’s not. Each PC is a linear combination of all the physical variables, and the coefficients of the combinations are unknown. Every PC, in other words, is an unknown mixture of the physical variables. The PC method has just extracted all the physical data from all the variables that lies along some arbitrarily chosen numerical axis, and assigned them according to numerical orthogonality criteria.

    PCs do not represent physically orthogonal data. To assume they do so is to completely misunderstand their meaning. If the thinking in dendro-climo follows Willis’ quote, then the result is completely circular. They are assuming what they set out to prove.

  83. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

    RE: #80 – Good thoughts. Put somewhat differently, I am trying to define a space near the top of the inverse quadratic where trees spend most of their lives in a temperature sweet spot and therefore ought to be quite sensitive to temperature excursions. I am also trying to limit it to places where hot excursions really don’t happen. Further, I am selecting climate types where, all things being equal, even during, say, a once in 100 or even once in 500 year drought, the trees would still have enough moisture to survive. Take the so called “fog belt” of the zones I mentioned. Even during a drought, there is enough coastal fog to provide adequate local moisture (and of course, reduction in peak temperatures). Limit it further to the “banana belts” within such areas (e.g. so called “thermal belts” where cold air drainage is excellent) and you’ve effectively so reduced dependencies on extreme heat events and drought, that, all other things being held relatively stable, the dominent factor may very well be temperature. Of course, if so, what would the signal actually look like? Hmmmmm…… ;)

  84. Mark T.
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    Every PC, in other words, is an unknown mixture of the physical variables.

    There is an interesting parallel to the problem of independent component analysis (ICA) here. In general, starting with an assumption of independent variables, a PCA-type analysis cannot accurately reconstruct the original signal with any certainty. This is because PCA delivers, as you stated, uncorrelated (orthogonal) vectors. However, it is easy to show that, given initial independence, there is only ONE possible independent solution, but multiple orthogonal solutions (it is very easy to rotate an orthogonal vector set to create another, completely different, orthogonal solution). Without knowledge of the original signals, or their mixing matrix, one can never be sure what the “solution” from PCA actually represents. This is why PCA works so well with known relationships, but not so well with unknown relationships.

    PCA is often used to initialize an ICA algorithm, btw. This is because it allows the ICA to restrict its search to the set of orthogonal vectors rather than the entire space of possible mixings. The process is known as pre-whitening. Fun stuff. I recommend the Hyvarinen, Karhunen, Oja book Independent Component Analysis for anyone that wants a fairly concise explanation of both.

    Mark

  85. Tom C2
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 12:24 PM | Permalink

    #24, #60, #82

    Pat Frank’s comment in #82

    PCs do not represent physically orthogonal data. To assume they do so is to completely misunderstand their meaning. If the thinking in dendro-climo follows Willis’ quote, then the result is completely circular. They are assuming what they set out to prove.

    … is exactly right. I can’t understand how so much bandwidth, ink, and time has been spent arguing about the details of PC analysis when it is not a proper analysis to begin with.

    In the absence of any physical meaning, looking at the PCs is a fishing trip aimed at finding one that suits preconceptions.

  86. Mark T.
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

    Yes, the assumptions of the hypothesis are used to prove the hypothesis itself.

    Mark

  87. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 12:43 PM | Permalink

    This phenomenon, also known as the “divergence problem”, is expressed as an offset between warmer instrumental temperatures and their underestimation in reconstruction models based on tree rings.

    It seems like all the effort is going to explaining what is “wrong” with the recent tree rings with the implicit assumption that instrumental temperatures are somehow perfect. There are lots of papers out now showing that the instrumental records are heavily contaminated with UHI’s. Estimates range from anywhere to 40% to 100% of the warming trends. Dendroclimatologists and climatologists in general are too quick to dismiss UHI’s.

  88. bernie
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

    #70
    Tom:
    Plato’s utopian dreams of the philosopher kings/queens! However, I took the subsequent use of “circle of wisdom” to suggest discussions of ideas within a limited and self-defining group of people and that the “wisdom” was meant ironically if not sarcastically! Presumably JMS did not care for the implications. But those following this board should be concerned about creating our own “circle of wisdom”.

  89. Mark T.
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

    What’s interesting, btw, is that the hypothesis actually disproves itself. By assumption, tree-rings are a proxy for temperature. Also, either CO2 forces temperature, or temperature forces CO2, but in any case, they are correlated. Both CO2 and temperature are known growth factors for trees, whether linear or otherwise, for this point, is immaterial. Since PCA requires uncorrelated sources, it is therefore impossible to separate CO2 and temperature from any PCA outcome unless one far outweighs the other (which has not been demonstrated).

    Mark

  90. bruce
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 1:05 PM | Permalink

    Re #76:

    An anomalous reduction in forest growth indices and temperature sensitivity has been detected in tree-ring width and density records from many
    circumpolar northern latitude sites since around the middle 20th century.
    This phenomenon, also known as the “divergence problem”, is expressed as an
    offset between warmer instrumental temperatures and their underestimation in
    reconstruction models based on tree rings.

    Now I am just a lay person. But it seems to me that there could be another explanation for the divergence problem that could save the reputation of dendrochronologists. What if, just possibly, the instrumental temperature records used are those prepared by Dr Phil Jones et al, which have been “corrected” by Dr Phil in ways that he doesn’t feel inclined to disclose?

    Can I suggest that Rob Wilson and the dendrochronologists compare their temperature signals from tree ring analysis with the uncorrected temperature record. What would it mean if there was a close matching between the dendrochronological work and the uncorrected temperature record?

    Maybe the divergence problem would disappear overnight, and dendrochronologists would be redeemed in the eyes of the world community.

  91. bernie
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

    Mark:
    This again follows from the relationships among tree ring width and the other variables being unspecified and no interaction effects being included in the equations. However, I know so little about how dendroclimatologists work, I am prepared to list to how they use the selection of proxies to putatively control for all these variables. Presumably that is what the selection at the margin is all about. My concern is that there are potent interactions – like the one you mentioned – and controlling for them will be very difficult if not impossible. Too many unknowns and too few equations.

  92. Bill F
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 1:24 PM | Permalink

    Bruce, if you start by throwing out tree ring series that don’t match their local temperature records, then you could probably eliminate the divergence problem. However, that also tends to remove most of the hockey stick shaped series…so that probably won’t ever happen.

  93. Don Keiller
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 1:26 PM | Permalink

    Steve, re #76, still no mention of CO2 limitation, yet a massive red herring thrown into the discussion “Another possible cause of the divergence described briefly herein is global dimming’, a phenomenon that has appeared, in recent decades, to decrease the amount of solar radiation available for photosynthesis and plant growth on a large scale. It is theorized that the dimming phenomenon should have a relatively greater impact on tree growth at higher northern latitudes,consistent with what has been observed from the tree-ring record.” As any plant physiologist can tell you, light at anything like normal daylight intensities is not going to be a limiting factor if temperature is limiting. Hey, I thought these trees were growing in temperaure limited environments?!

  94. Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

    From the Science Daily article cited by JMS (#33):

    The recent marked weakening in the correlation between tree growth and temperature means that past climate reconstructions are even more reliable than previously thought, but forces scientists to rethink the role of the vast northern forests in the global carbon cycle, said Malcolm Hughes….

    “The recent weaker correlation between tree growth and temperature clearly affects the reliability of our reconstructions of the past. Actually, it means past climate reconstructions (before the 1960s) are better than we thought they were. And, as a result of this, it means that we underestimated the differences between the present century and past centuries,” Hughes said.

    Uhm, am I missing something? Doesn’t it mean that there is LESS chance your reconstructions of the past and predictions of the future are not as good as you thought, since there is now yet another climate dynamic / variability that is revealed and not factored into your current models?

    jae (379) nails it:

    Add “divergence problem” to the list of confounding variables in tree ring analyses. If we have a divergence problem now, isn’t it reasonable to assume that there have been other divergence problems in the past?

    Signed:

    Sonicfrog, the unqualified Geology School drop-out!

  95. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 2:15 PM | Permalink

    “The recent weaker correlation between tree growth and temperature clearly affects the reliability of our reconstructions of the past. Actually, it means past climate reconstructions (before the 1960s) are better than we thought they were. And, as a result of this, it means that we underestimated the differences between the present century and past centuries,” Hughes said.

    So the “present century” was pre-1960?

  96. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

    #92. That’s not actually the case. The two most HS Mann series are Gaspe and bristlecones – neither match local temperature and would be rejected on that test.

  97. Mark T.
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 2:35 PM | Permalink

    My concern is that there are potent interactions – like the one you mentioned – and controlling for them will be very difficult if not impossible. Too many unknowns and too few equations.

    If the original “signals” are correlated, I do not believe it is possible to differentiate any linear combination of the two without a-priori information, if at all.

    Mark

  98. Bill F
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 2:39 PM | Permalink

    That was specifically my point Steve. That if you throw out the ones that don’t match local temperature, that you are also throwing out the ones with the hockey stick shape. By throwing out the ones that don’t match local temperature, all of the series should have a temperature signal that is really related to temperature, hence the composite shouldn’t diverge from temperature. However, the hockey team won’t do that, because it would also result in removing the hockey stick shape from the reconstruction.

    After all, what is the point of doing a reconstruction if it doesn’t create a hockey stick?

  99. bernie
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 4:04 PM | Permalink

    Mark:
    If two variable are highly correlated then the issue comes down to the causal link between the two. They can simply be labeled as a new compound variable – in effect a pc – or you can chose to ignore one (if you have a basis for doing so.) The challenge is when there is a true interaction. For example, moisture is not growth limiting until the temperature reaches X. Under such circumstances a given width can reflect temp level, moisture level, temp and moisture level. And we haven’t talked about 3-way interactions!!

    #94
    I will have to look at the Science Daily article. It is hard to believe that someone said that with a straight face. Perhaps there is something we are all missing?

  100. Basil Copeland
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 4:19 PM | Permalink

    #94 I think what they are saying that if the current warming is not producing as much tree ring growth as expected, then in their reconstructions tree ring growth in the past likely understates the warming that actually occured. Makes sense to me. It just demonstrates the significance of Steve’s mantra — “Update the proxies.”

  101. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

    RE: #98 – Whereas, I would be willing to bet that those series Steve M posted from Vancouver Island probably do match local temperature quite well. And of course, no HS there!

  102. Mark T.
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 4:52 PM | Permalink

    If two variable are highly correlated then the issue comes down to the causal link between the two. They can simply be labeled as a new compound variable – in effect a pc – or you can chose to ignore one (if you have a basis for doing so.)

    I agree completely. However, the PCA methods that are used in many of these papers then attempt to link the proxy to temperature alone, when in fact it may be the compound variable that they’re actually linking to. It’s a self-licking ice cream cone.

    Mark

  103. John Baltutis
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 5:34 PM | Permalink

    I guess the dendro community is taking a Spring Break or off for the Easter holidays. No responses on the new Dendroclimatologists Answer Back thread: http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1304

  104. Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 8:27 PM | Permalink

    #94 I think what they are saying that if the current warming is not producing as much tree ring growth as expected, then in their reconstructions tree ring growth in the past likely understates the warming that actually occured. Makes sense to me. It just demonstrates the significance of Steve’s mantra ‘€” “Update the proxies.”

    If Malcolm Hughes wants to assert that point, then what it means is — “MWP, Welcome Back”!!! If there is divergence here during this warm period, and the margin of error increases the farther you go back in the time series of TR samples, then you could easily argue that the same divergence likely happened during the MWP. Hope that makes more sense that Hughes statement did.

  105. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Mar 30, 2007 at 9:13 PM | Permalink

    Pat F., thanks for your post above where you say:

    #32 ‘€” The following was in a discussion Willis quoted: “The analysis is basically a multiple regression using monthly climate variables that have been orthogonalized using principal components analysis so that the explanatory variables are now completely independent of each other,…”

    Herein exactly lies the problem. The assumption is made that numerical orthogonality is identical to physical orthogonality. It’s not. Each PC is a linear combination of all the physical variables, and the coefficients of the combinations are unknown. Every PC, in other words, is an unknown mixture of the physical variables. The PC method has just extracted all the physical data from all the variables that lies along some arbitrarily chosen numerical axis, and assigned them according to numerical orthogonality criteria.

    PCs do not represent physically orthogonal data. To assume they do so is to completely misunderstand their meaning. If the thinking in dendro-climo follows Willis’ quote, then the result is completely circular. They are assuming what they set out to prove.

    That was exactly the reason that I chose that quotation, because I couldn’t for the life of me figure out whether they really meant what they were saying. PCs are not some magic bullet that lets us disentangle the various factors that affect tree growth. This is particularly true when the factors are temperature and rainfall, where both the genesis of the factors themselves as well as the effects of the two factors on plant life are closely intertwined.

    But at least the folks in the quotation recognize the problem and are doing something to try to disentangle the effects of temperature and precipitation. This is in stark contrast to the majority of the folks who are doing long-term historical reconstruction, who seem to just ignore the problem entirely.

    w.

  106. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 31, 2007 at 8:14 AM | Permalink

    TRansfer:
    risten Byrnes says:
    March 30th, 2007 at 11:29 am
    edit

    I think what Mr. McIntyre is offering is the right thing to do.
    I think that it would be a good learning experience for everyone if the dendrochronologists would demonstrate any mistakes he may have made and allow him to make any corrections that should be made.
    3
    Steve McIntyre says:
    March 30th, 2007 at 4:46 pm
    edit

    Kristen, welcome here.

    Kristen is a high school student whose thoughtful website was brought to our attention by Paul http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=640#comment-99573” rel=”nofollow”>here
    4
    bernie says:
    March 30th, 2007 at 6:22 pm
    edit

    Welcome Kristen:
    We , including those from RealClimate, will all now try harder to act like grown ups.
    Excellent paper on your site. You can learn a lot from Mr. McIntyre about how science should be done.
    5
    Lubos Motl says:
    March 30th, 2007 at 6:29 pm
    edit

    Wow, Kristen Byrnes’ website is pretty impressive.
    6
    Kristen Byrnes says:
    March 30th, 2007 at 6:59 pm
    edit

    LOL It’s not even finished or spell checked!
    7
    JMS says:
    March 31st, 2007 at 12:02 am
    edit

    Kristen,

    I hate to throw a wet blanket on all the kudos you are getting here, but you studiously ignore the generally accepted hypothesis that the post WWII cooling was caused by particulates related to the rapid increase of industrial output during this time period. This resulted in a large increase in sulphate aerosols in the atmosphere (sulphate aerosols tend to have a cooling effect because they reflect sunlight). These aerosols began to decline in the early 1970’s with the passage of the US clean air act and later with similar measures in Western Europe. There is some evidence that they are again increasing with the industrialization of China and India, neither of which have strong environmental protection laws; thus the “global dimming” hypothesis. As you may know the cloud effects of global dimming were observed over the US during the days after 9/11. This is because jets flying in the stratosphere tend to increase cirrus cloud formation; when no planes were flying cirrus cloud formation went down and average temperatures in the US went up.

    While your hypothesis of nuclear weapons tests causing the cooling is interesting, most of the tests during the 1945-1963 period were conducted above ground (or in the south Pacific for US and French tests) and probably did not produce enough particulates to influence the climate. Such tests were basically pretty rare. After 1963 above ground tests were banned and we went to underground tests. However such tests were still fairly rare; at the end of the 1960’s I seem to remember (brain fogged by marijuana and time) such tests occured maybe once a year or so. They just weren’t that common and a large test doesn’t come close to the magnitude of the energy released in a volcanic eruption. (21000 megatons for Krakatoa vs. about 100 megatons for our largest thermonuclear devices). Even Pinatubo, a fairly average (but on the large side) eruption probably released about 1000 megatons. There is a big power of ten problem with your hypothesis.

    I happen to live in Bozeman, MT. and a suggested city motto (our current one is boring) was “Welcome to the Yellowstone Supervolcano! Now go Home”. Nobody here is really worried about it because if it goes ‘€” we are all dead.
    8
    cytochrome_sea says:
    March 31st, 2007 at 1:33 am
    edit

    #7, JMS,”but you studiously ignore the generally accepted hypothesis that the post WWII cooling was caused by particulates related to the rapid increase of industrial output during this time period”

    Sounds interesting, surely pyroheliometer measurements/data must be available (online?) which reinforce this hypothesis?

    ‘€”-
    Regardless, quick critique, 2001 rather than 2000 for the IPCC tar,(small typo) and I think it might be possible that the estimate for Pinatubo might be a bit small.
    9
    Mike says:
    March 31st, 2007 at 6:26 am
    edit

    JMS # 7

    I hate to put a wet blanket on your lack of reading Kristen’s paper. If you read to the end of her essay you would have noticed she hypothesized nuclear weapons as having only a short and small cooling effect from about 1956 to 1963. In her conclusion she shows correlation between a lower temperature and and a multidecadal negative trend in the ENSO. From 1975 to 2006 she shows a positive trend in the ENSO that correlates with late 20th century warming. In addition, she made 2 home made graphs showing the effects of ENSO on temperature from year to year. THAT was impressive in that it shows a natural and OBSERVED cause of temperature changes in the past 70 years. Now apologize to the kid and read the rest of her essay!
    10
    rhodeymark says:
    March 31st, 2007 at 7:45 am
    edit

    As you may know the cloud effects of global dimming were observed over the US during the days after 9/11. This is because jets flying in the stratosphere tend to increase cirrus cloud formation; when no planes were flying cirrus cloud formation went down and average temperatures in the US went up.

    Hey JMS, don’t you have some bird droppings to analyze? Everyone now knows that killer contrails are warming the earth and jets must be forced to fly lower and longer, and emit massive more CO2 to save the earth. Get with it, my man!
    Oh to live down the rabbit-hole, what fun…
    11
    Gaudenz Mischol says:
    March 31st, 2007 at 8:08 am
    edit

    Hey this thread is for dendroclimatologists…

    Don’t spoil it. Go to unthreaded for this stuff.

  107. rhodeymark
    Posted Mar 31, 2007 at 8:46 AM | Permalink

    Just for clarity, my snark to JMS (and I only tweak him because of his recommendation to Steve to “read a frikin book”) included a link to an article about contrails at LiveScience

  108. Kristen Byrnes
    Posted Mar 31, 2007 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

    LOL JMS, spill some bong water on that blanket? LOL Sorry, I couldn’t resist. LOL j/k

    Like I said yesterday, the site is not finished but I did add the appendix A that shows the source of the nuclear weapons data and a table that tells what tests were used in my calculations and why. As Mike pointed out above, the nuclear tests may only have caused a small amount of cooling for a short period of time. As I pointed out in my paper, volcanoes cool much more because they put dust and sulphur gases into the stratosphere while nuclear tests only put dust into the stratosphere. As for your estimation of Mt Pinatubo to nuclear yeild, I saw many estimates and none matched. That is why I used the cloud top information from Wikipedia and cloud radius from the satelite photo and applied those to the FM 3-3-1 military calculator to estimate Pinatubo to yeild. I also provided a table that estimated the 5 Pinatubo eruptions in 1991.

  109. Kristen Byrnes
    Posted Mar 31, 2007 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

    JMS

    As for your discussion about global dimming, I already read the Real Climate article you linked. I did consider the possibility that global cooling from 1945 to 1975 was due to smog. But that is all hypothetical and seemed to always be used to justify computer models that could not figure the cooling of that time period. But given my observations of how much El Ninos and La Ninas (Southern Oscillation Index) effect global temperature added to the fact that the Southern Oscillation was observed to be running negative at that time, I have to side with the observation.

  110. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Mar 31, 2007 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    you studiously ignore the generally accepted hypothesis that the post WWII cooling was caused by particulates related to the rapid increase of industrial output during this time period. This resulted in a large increase in sulphate aerosols in the atmosphere (sulphate aerosols tend to have a cooling effect because they reflect sunlight). These aerosols began to decline in the early 1970’s with the passage of the US clean air act and later with similar measures in Western Europe. There is some evidence that they are again increasing with the industrialization of China and India,

    Yes, aerosol production is up in China over the last 20 years or so.

    Funny thing is, for the same time period we see warming in that region, not cooling.

  111. bernie
    Posted Mar 31, 2007 at 12:10 PM | Permalink

    JMS:
    You just got pinned by a real HSer!!

  112. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Mar 31, 2007 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

    This paper, using pyrheliometers:

    Hoyt, D. V. and C. Frohlich, 1983. Atmospheric transmission at Davos, Switzerland, 1909-1979. Climatic Change, 5, 61-72.

    showed no trend in atmospheric transmission in central Europe between 1909 and 1979. It is where the IPCC claims the biggest trends in aerosols were occurring. The pyrheliometric ratioing technique used in that paper is very sensitive to aerosol changes and insensitive to calibration changes. It easily picked up changes due to explosive volcanic eruptions and the method even discovered one eruption previously overlooked as described in:

    Hoyt, D. V., 1978. An explosive volcanic eruption in the Southern Hemisphere in 1928. Nature, 275, 630-632.

    There are plenty of papers that measured atmospheric transmission and only one of them (published in Science) claimed a trend was occurring and it was pointed out that that paper was erroneous because the paint used on the detectors was degrading and turning green causing an apparent trend.

  113. bernie
    Posted Mar 31, 2007 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

    Douglas:
    I am further amazed if what you say is true. How could the IPCC allow the aerosol argument to stand?

  114. trevor
    Posted Mar 31, 2007 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

    Kristin,

    Can I suggest that you put an e:mail on your web-page (perhaps a new hotmail or similar account specifically for the purpose) so that interested folk can provide you with input, guidance, comment (and particularly) appreciation.

  115. Kristen Byrnes
    Posted Mar 31, 2007 at 3:43 PM | Permalink

    114

    Trevor,

    A “contact” link was added last night but some servers have not caught up yet. I would be really greatful to hear what anyone has to offer regardless of the issue. Thank you very much. ponderthemaunder@earthlink.net in case it has not shown up yet.

  116. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Mar 31, 2007 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

    How could the IPCC allow the aerosol argument to stand?

    They had to put aerosols in the climate models to avoid runaway heating compared to actual temperature observations. The modelled aerosol trends had no relationship to the aerosol observations.

  117. JMS
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 12:10 AM | Permalink

    Kristen, I looked at your estimation of the amount of energy released during the Pinatubo eruption, but you seem to have missed the aspect of time. The final event took place over almost a month in time. However you seem to have calculated the energy release only at one moment in time. The range of estimates I found on the web for the Pinatubo eruption ranged from 1000 Mt to 21000 Mt. I would think that your estimate of 16 Mt is on the low side by at least 2 or possibly 3 orders of magnitude. You need to look at this over the period of time during which the final eruption took place (which was nearly a month) and integrate dx/dt (I am sure that someone will argue with me over this, but my calculus training is over 20 years in the past and I have never had to use it since I learned it, my specialty is in computer operating systems where it really does not play a major role so I have not used it since my classes).

    Btw, the water spilled on the blanket was Scotch and Soda, bongwater is too dangerous to fool around with these days :(. Damn the war on drugs, pot is so much easier on the body than alcohol.

    I would also say that citing people like John Daly and Nir Shaviv does not help. Daly is (or was) a shill for the fossil fuels industy and Shaviv is just a crank who has really not been able to produce any real evidence to back up his theories. You probably (although I have not perused you entire site at this point) have or will cite the recent Svensmark results. However he still needs to show that the proposed mechanisms work outside of his experimental apparatus and that there is a shortage of low altitude CCN, somthing which seems doubful. See this for more information.

    There is no doubt, and nobody who studies climate science would dispute this, that TSI plays a major role in determining earth’s climate, the question is has there been a trend in TSI over the last 50 years or so, and the answer is no.

    There is no doubt that you are a smart kid, and you should continue your studies in college, you could well be a good scientist. One thing you should be careful of is emeritus disease. I know he’s snarky, but he does make some good points (like don’t cite Gray…). Here is another snarky post from Eli which shows the pitfalls of relying only on the published literature.

    Steve is going to like this, because after reading this blog for quite some time I have become convinced that peer review is mainly works to screen out howlers. Everything else seems to get through and is left to be argued out by the relevant community. I tend to think that this is correct. On your site you condem Mann for not being honest about his initial multiproxy studies, yet if you look at RealClimate you will find that he actually did answer Steve’s criticisms and showed that they did not make any difference in the final results. I also don’t think that Mann’s reputation (where did you read those “emails”, here?) has been wounded, as you say. He has continued to produce papers, in many areas not related to paleoclimate, with top scientists working in various areas of climate change. Bloomfield, a member of the NAS panel, stated that he thought that MBH98/99 was a honest attempt to create a data analysis framework. Yes, it might have been flawed, but the continued attacks on Mann’s honesty (which I see here constantly) are not warranted, as you pointed out this was an early attempt at generating an accurate paleo reconstruction of global temperature for the last 600 years (MBH98) and for NH temps for the last 1000 years (MBH99). I think that he did the best he could given the state of knowledge at the time.

    BTW, Steve, I will admint that my “north facing sloped” was wrong. North facing slopes have a shorter gowing season than south facing slopes. I should have thoght that through, but there are a priori reasons to choose one site over another, however I think I did point out that is a complex decision process. The main idea is to choose sites where the lower limint of temperature (growing season lenght) is the limiting factor. If you choose sites such as these the (as is so popular here) inverted U should not play a large role, if any at all. The ecology of the site and the needs of the particular species are important. Rob had is correct, and you had it wrong. I also think that Jacoby’s dumping of data which did not interst him (ie, trees which were “negative” responders) is not unethical. He is not trying to answer the question of what creates a negative respoding tree (wrt recorded gridcell temps). Other people are workign on that problem and it may eventually prove to be genetic as hypothesised by a poster on on a Dendro Listserv link I provided in a previous post. As I said in that post, that is what makes science intersting, not statiscal niceties.

  118. Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 1:00 AM | Permalink

    Btw, the water spilled on the blanket was Scotch and Soda, bongwater is too dangerous to fool around with these days :(. Damn the war on drugs, pot is so much easier on the body than alcohol.

    JMS, thanks! That was good for a laugh. Glad you are still around. Hope we can get through the disagreements and still be on friendly terms.

  119. Hans Erren
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 3:38 AM | Permalink

    re 117:

    …and integrate dx/dt (I am sure that someone will argue with me over this, but my calculus training is over 20 years in the past and I have never had to use it since I learned it, my specialty is in computer operating systems where it really does not play a major role so I have not used it since my classes).

    Btw, the water spilled on the blanket was Scotch and Soda, bongwater is too dangerous to fool around with these days :(. Damn the war on drugs, pot is so much easier on the body than alcohol.

    I would also say that citing people like John Daly and Nir Shaviv does not help. Daly is (or was) a shill for the fossil fuels industy and Shaviv is just a crank who has really not been able to produce any real evidence to back up his theories.

    At least Shaviv knows his calculus….

  120. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 3:46 AM | Permalink

    Kristen, a couple of things. First, congratulations on the work that you have done. You have an inquiring mind and a healthy mistrust of the things that you read, both of which will serve you well in your life.

    Second, a few words of caution. JMS is an excellent example of someone who uses “ad hominem” arguments. As you probably know, an “ad hominem” argument is an attack against the person making a statement, rather than discussing the statement itself. Here’s an example of an “ad hominem” argument from JMS:

    Daly is (or was) a shill for the fossil fuels industy and Shaviv is just a crank who has really not been able to produce any real evidence to back up his theories.

    Note that JMS carefully abstains from saying anything substantial about John Daly’s scientific beliefs. He does not mention one thing that he has found wrong with Daly’s work. He doesn’t list any errors that John might have made. He just says that John was a “shill for the fossil fuels industry”, as if that settles the question once and for all …

    Now, having corresponded extensively with John Daly during his lifetime, I know that this is a vile slander of a good man … but more to the point, it is immaterial to any scientific question at hand. Either John was right or wrong, regardless of whether he was a shill or not.

    This kind of “ad hominem” argument is unfortunately all too typical of people who don’t have a scientific argument to make, and is a very good indication of the moral caliber of the person making the argument ‘€” note that JMS does not hesitate to blacken a dead man’s good name just to try to convince someone whom he has never met that he, JMS, is right, right, right.

    John Daly was not a “shill” for anyone, he found the idea quite funny when he was accused of it, he was his own man and not anyone’s puppet. I find it despicable that JMS is so willing to falsely attack him when John cannot defend himself.

    Does this lack of common decency mean that JMS’s scientific claims are invalid? By no means. His scientific claims must be judged on their own merit, like anyone’s claims, regardless of his personal strengths or shortcomings.

    However, it does mean that you should be very careful of his judgments of the various climate scientists, or the validity of their work, as he clearly is making those judgments on other than scientific grounds …

    My very best to you, Kristen, I am most impressed with your work to date and foresee that you will likely both have an interesting future, and also suffer outrageous abuse because of the independence of your thought … read the studies yourself, make up your own mind, don’t believe anyone, and you’ll go far.

    Keep it up, you go, girl …

    w.

  121. James Lane
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 6:12 AM | Permalink

    JMS: “Daly is (or was) a shill for the fossil fuels industy”

    Do you have anything to back up that slur?

  122. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 7:46 AM | Permalink

    JMS,

    I thought about bringing up a couple more of the ad homs in your post, but decided it was best to switch to the opposite tack. You state:

    if you look at RealClimate you will find that he actually did answer Steve’s criticisms

    I would love to see you try defend this anti-adhom (i.e. damning Steve by praising Mann). The process would be fairly simple.

    1. State something you think is a criticism by Steve M (preferably via a direct quote from one of the M&M papers or from a blog post here.

    2. Provide a quote from a RealClimate post which answers that criticism (as well as a link to where that quote can be found on RealClimate.

    3. Be willing to defend your analysis that this was an answer (BTW, I’m assuming you mean more by “answer” than, “Hello, this is Michael Mann. Can I help you?”)

    My fearless prediction, you won’t even try once. However if you do, I suspect it will get a rise from Steve and he’ll post a few more important questions which Mann didn’t answer, and with which you won’t be able to follow this procedure and defend any of them.

  123. bernie
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 8:08 AM | Permalink

    JMS:
    Much better wrt to Kristen.

    As to the north face vs south face and length of growing season, what you say makes perfect sense. If there are a set of critical a priori considerations for the selection of temperature proxies then so be it. However, each a priori criteria represents an hypothesis which needs justification. Second, any proposed proxy should be scored against these parameters with the score archived. Part of the central case made by Steve and others is that such careful documentation seems to be missing.

  124. beng
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

    RE 106: JMS says:

    but you studiously ignore the generally accepted hypothesis that the post WWII cooling was caused by particulates related to the rapid increase of industrial output during this time period.

    Particulates from localized point-sources from areas that were mostly NH US and Europe caused the whole globe to cool down in the 40s-70s? How did those local emissions cool down the SH? Aren’t emissions right now in SE Asia/Indonesia on par or greater than the 40s-70s? Do those local areas show cooling now (they don’t), let alone globally? Inquiring minds like to know.

    RE 108:
    Kristen, I commented elsewhere here on your site here at reply #51. Us guys like football analogies. :)

    Keep up the excellent work, stay objective & resist taking sides.

  125. george h.
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

    re 117,124

    The hypothesis that sulfate-aerosols were responsible for mid-20th century cooling has been largely discredited it seems to me, but we keep hearing it. It looks good in the models but not in the real world. Because these aerosols are produced mainly in the more industrialized northern hemisphere, it would presumably warm more slowly than the southern hemisphere. But observations show exactly the opposite. The highest rate of warming in the last 25 years has occurred at northern mid-latitudes.

  126. bernie
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

    Can someone provide a list of citations on the aerosol issues? The 1945-75 cooling is such an anomaly wrt CO2 AGW thesis, I would like to clearly understand the underlying data and arguments.

  127. Jesper
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

    Re 117:

    I think that he did the best he could given the state of knowledge at the time.

    I think you are getting to the heart of the issue here. In just a few years, temperature reconstructions from tree-rings have shifted from A Scientifically Interesting Technique to The Most Dramatic Piece of Evidence in Favor of Reorganizing Civilization. I don’t think I exaggerate. It is one thing to publish uncertain data in a paleoclimate journal, and quite another to encourage its use as a clarion call for a global economic overhaul.

    It is apparent to me that paleoclimatologists are excellent at posing plausible hypotheses, but that the real mechanics of climate on decadal to century timescales are very poorly understood in a general sense. Interesting correlations and hypotheses abound: greenhouse, aerosols, solar, ENSO, gyre circulations, thermohaline, ocean-atmosphere exchanges, etc., and some compelling but unexplained quasi-oscillatory patterns are evident (e.g. PDO, AMO, Bond cycles). The point is, from the literature on any and all of these topics, there is little certainty about how these pieces originate or interact, nor about the null hypothesis of naturally-forced 20th century variability, (and therefore about how to rigorously assess the greenhouse hypothesis, which must be compared to this background). Moreover, given the low-frequency signal which we are trying to extract, we have very few degrees of freedom with which to produce meaningful correlations in the modern calibration period, making it a difficult problem to tackle, even in theory.

    That is to say, ‘the best we can do’ may still be hand-waving over noisy, possibly illegible low-frequency paleoclimate signals. That seems to be the state of affairs, combined with a hubris that tends to ignore these uncertainties. I don’t buy into any conspiracy theory on this issue, but I think climatology is rife with overconfidence – I would call it an ‘expert bias’. Scientists are supposed to have answers to the important questions in their fields of expertise – admitting anything less is essentially self-nullification. Given the option one will tend say ‘yes I know’ rather than ‘no I don’t’. No scientist wants to admit that he has spent a career analyzing noise. As a student in the field, I can say that one must come to grips with this situation – you are analyzing, intepreting, and predicting the behavior of a rotating fluid, which is an inherently dicey task, with the real possibility of spending a lot of time and effort processing paleo evidence which amounts to garbage, or pissing in the wind on plausible, but untestable theories. There is a long line of people who have convinced themselves they could understand and forecast the climate, but were ultimately proven wrong. If you figure it out, you have the golden ring in a sense, so it’s an inherently high-risk, high-reward proposition, and one which attracts a hubristic sort, IMO. In the case of the Hockey Stick saga, and the 90% confidence levels of the 4AR, the specific certainty expressed over dendro temperature chronologies, model outputs, and 20th century forcing is at odds with the primitive state of understanding in the field in general.

    I too applaud Kristen for her work. The ENSO/PDO correspondence to the 40s-70s temperature downturn is an elephant in the living room, and an issue which has received relatively little attention. It is well-accepted that global temperatures are enhanced by ENSO dynamics (El Nino) on short time scales; there is no reason that dynamical forcing in the same direction should not play a role on longer time scales as well, involving either real low-frequency oscillations or the residual/nonlinear effects of high-frequency oscillations. Asking simple, largely unaddressed questions like Kristen has, is the way that scientific advance is made. Trying to form theories (i.e. the sulfate hypothesis for the temperature downturn) to fit other uncertain theories seems backwards to me, and involves assumptions which are not yet justifiable.

    From your post, JMS, it appears that you do see problems with the hockey stick. I think all Steve is asking, as I discern, is that if $billion-$trillion decisions are riding on such forms of evidence, we at least bring the added rigor and scrutiny that normally accompany such economic judgments. The traditional dendro approach (discarding insensitive data, and going with the best we’ve got cause it’s the best we’ve got) is understandable, but not appropriate for enormous economic decision-making.

    For Kristen, a couple of references on the ENSO-temperature topic which might be useful. Good luck in your efforts, and welcome to the brigade of those seeking meaning in squiggly lines. :^)

    Tsonis, A.A., et al., Unfolding the relation between global temperature and ENSO. Geophysical Research Letters, 2005. 32(9).

    Latif, M., R. Kleeman, and C. Eckert (1997), Greenhouse warming, decadal variability or El Nino? An attempt to understand the anomalous 1990’s,Journal of Climate, 10, 2221’€” 2239.

  128. Kristen Byrnes
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 5:49 PM | Permalink

    JMS

    I spent the day with my mom shopping and am getting ready for dinner and school tomorrow so I will answer in parts as time allows.

    Before I begin, there two things to remember about SO aerosols; ALTITUDE ALTITUDE ALTITUDE
    Also, SO aerolols do not have any cooling effect until they combine in the atmosphere to form sulphuric acid droplets. (that would explain the observations by Mr. Hoyt in 112 above)

    As for Pinatubo: Your comment that Pinatubo equalled thousands to tens of thousands of Megatons of nuclear yeild is based on the web sites you read. You may have noticed my comment on my page “There were many different comparisons of the Mount Pinatubo eruptions to nuclear yield on different web sites, none matched. Therefore, a method of comparing the eruption of Mount Pinatubo to nuclear yield is necessary.” I read the same web sites that you did but they only guessed and repeated rumors. If I repeated those rumors, that would be bad science. Science can not be based on rumor, guesses or gossip. I can not base my understanding of science by gossip I hear at the salon by the girl who does my nails, read on the cover on National Enquirer in line at the store or what is posted on politically motivated web sites.

    I listed the 5 erruptions (June 3, 12, 13, 14 and 15 1991). The volcano may have belched gas, ash and lava every second in between making the yeild seem higher, but that material did not make it into the stratosphere. (ALTITUDE ALTITUDE ALTITUDE) When SO aerosols are in the troposphere they combine with water vapor and quickly precipitate. But when SO aerosols make it to the stratosphere they combine with water vapor and freeze, thus the droplets of sulphur acid do not grow in size like those in the troposphere and are not pulled down by gravity as quickly. That is how SO aerosols blown into the stratosphere cool the Earth. And that is why SO aerosols released by man do not.(ALTITUDE ALTITUDE ALTITUDE) That is why I listed the 5 eruptions that I did. I calculated their nuclear yeild by cloud top height using altitude provided by Wikipedia and applied that data to the military FM 3-3-1 nuclear yeild calculator that was provided in that section. I feel this was sound scientific reasoning using sound scientific method and sound scientific data. If you can show me better data, reasoning or method, send it to my email and I will look at it. If it is better than what I have, I will correct that section and thank you publicly for your contribution.

  129. Mark T.
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 6:09 PM | Permalink

    JMS: “Daly is (or was) a shill for the fossil fuels industy”

    Do you have anything to back up that slur?

    Even if he was, who cares? Why is it that anyone who recieves millions from the gov’t is a “scientist” and anyone that receives a few grand from any corporate entity is a “shill?” Why also, should it matter if his message and/or work is sound?

    Mark

  130. Kristen Byrnes
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 6:12 PM | Permalink

    As for the comment about the Late John Daly being a shill for the fossil fuels industry:
    You must have missed my comment “This political environment created difficulty in writing this paper as the politcal, financial, and organizational motives of each source of information needed to be assessed.”
    I did research John Daly for this reason. He was a retired military communications specialist. He never worked for the fossil fuels industry. I have seen no evidence that he worked for or with the fossil fuel industry nor have I ever heard this suggestion before.
    My feeling is that you need to retract that false accusation and write his widdow and apologize for it.

    My mention of the Late John Daly’s web site was about a guest paper that was published there on the nuclear issue. This may be where I discovered the issue, but I was critical of that particular paper. After you are done apologizing to Mrs. Daly, you need to reread my section on nuclear weapons.

  131. Kristen Byrnes
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 7:17 PM | Permalink

    JMS

    As for your comment that Nir Shaviv is a crank

    I read (with the help of my stepdad) Nir Shaviv’s paper about the meteorite. We also read Rahmstorf’s review. We also read Royer’s review. We also read Shaviv’s responses to both. We also read Veiser’s papers on the subject and Svensmark’s Cosmoclimatology paper. Jan Veiser emailed them to us. Did you by chance read any of these? And by the way, I also read the Real Climate article you linked.
    Shaviv is a respected Astrophysicist. Rahmstorf does not even work in the same field, he works in oceanography, do you see the problem there? One up, one down? His review looked more rhetorical than thoughtful. As for Royer, his observation that Shaviv’s results were “tuned” was an honest mistake that was pointed out by Shaviv in his review and on his Science Bits web site.
    Also, consider that Nir Shaviv lives in Isreal, a country that does not get along with many oil producing countries. Why do you suppose that Shaviv would come to scientific conclusions that would have the effect of supporting his countries normal enemies unless he was being honest?

    Funny note:
    When we were reading all these papers we thought Jan was a female and kept referring to him as “she” LOL!!! Now I call him Juanito to keep from getting confused. LOL!!!

  132. Kristen Byrnes
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 8:03 PM | Permalink

    127

    Sweet!

  133. Kristen Byrnes
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 8:12 PM | Permalink

    JMS

    On me being a smart kid: Maybe :) My stepdad said to tell you “She works her a$$ off too.” His words, not mine. Schools in Maine have really good teachers too.

    As for emeritus disease. I have heard this term before. But since you linked me to the natural versus man made CO2 controversey, I will remind you of something in my paper. “To me, this argument was put to rest by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory whose sattellites and sensors have been able to track CO2 sources and have concluded that the current increases in atmospheric CO2 are coming from raw coal burning family home heaters in the third world, primarily in China.”

  134. Kristen Byrnes
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 8:32 PM | Permalink

    JMS

    As for your comment about Michael Mann’s credibility and where I read the emails and blog posts.

    My criticisms of Michael Mann were mostly about his behavior during the debate and how his congressional testimony was different than his public statements. How he should have considered criticism rather than escalate the arguing.

    My wish is that both sides of the debate should sit down and first tell each other what they agree on. Then both sides need to find out how to find the answers to what they do not agree on.

    Emails and blogs: One of the first people I emailed, a graduate student who was working on a tree study in New Mexico. He uses O18 for a temperature proxy instead of ring width and density. He often refered to “the rantings of Michael Mann.” There were two local college professors here in Maine that pretty much agreed. There are plenty of blogs on the internet, one of them is here. As for his continued work, I read the studies he has on Real Climate, especially how he tried to claim that forcings affect SOI, NOAA clearly disagrees with him. Too much to do with computer models for me, I do not believe they work. But like I said, he will always have supporters on one side of the debate.

    I’m being sent to bed now, thanks all for the nice comments and thanks for being so polite.

  135. JMS
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 8:43 PM | Permalink

    Yes, I read Veizer, Svensmark and the Rahmstorf review of Svensmrk and a rather long argument between Gavin and Shaviv. Also I don’t think that Shaviv is being dishonest, but he doesn’t seem to have a trend in GCR’s over the period in question nor any trend in low cloud cover or any evidence of a lack of CCN’s in the lower atmosphere (lower troposphere). He is going to have to show that all these conditiions hold in order for his hypothesis to be taken seriously.

    As far as Veizer’s paper, did you read the discussion over at RealClimate?

    And the recent Svensmark result was hardly revolutionary. He has also been unable to show that this mechanism is at work in the climate or what the magnitude of such an effect is if it does indeed have an influence on the climate. Without supporting evidence we are left with an unsupported hypothesis. Svensmark has been working on this line of argument (it is solar effects) since the early 1990’s but really hasn’t gotten anywhere with it in the 15 years or so he’s been working on it.

    As afr as John Daly being a shill for the fossil fules industry, his association with the Western Fuels Association pretty much says it all. For more detailed critiques Waiting for Greenhouse this site has a rather lengthy critique.

  136. bernie
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

    JMS:
    The site you mention is appalling. I know little of John Daly, but the attacks on a dead man are in such poor taste. Interestingly despite the innuendo John Daly does not seem to have gotten rich doing what he did. Are you going to suggest that Steve McIntyre is in somebody’s pocket? Can you cite something that is fraudulently wrong on his web site? I all ears?

    I have to hand it to Kristen, she talks straight and seems to have done her homework. That is quite a comment from the NM grad student on MM.

  137. Pat Frank
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 9:29 PM | Permalink

    #105 — Yes, thanks Willis. Your usual perspicacity took you right to the heart of the problem.

  138. MarkR
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

    #135 JMS. RealClimate ran away from Nir Shaviv after he had hit everything rasmus threw at him out of the ground.

    Sorry if I hang up on this debate for now, Nir, but I really have many deadlines and a lot of other things to do the next weeks. We can take this up another time, so I say good bye for now… -rasmus]
    Comment by Nir Shaviv ‘€” 24 May 2006 @ 5:43 pm

    Link

  139. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 1, 2007 at 9:52 PM | Permalink

    #134. Kristen, you wrote:

    My wish is that both sides of the debate should sit down and first tell each other what they agree on. Then both sides need to find out how to find the answers to what they do not agree on.

    I made exactly this proposal to Ammann in person at lunch in San Francisco in December 2005 and formally by email. I described the exchange here as follows:

    Anyway, this gave me a really interesting idea. Rather than trying to hash out the rights and wrongs of who did what to whom, I tried a completely different tack. I pointed out to him that there was very little remaining community interest in more controversial articles on the same topic, which would undoubtedly leave the situation pretty much where it stands. However, I surmised that there would be very strong community interest in a joint article in which we summarized clearly:
    (1) the points of agreement;
    (2) the points of disagreement and
    (3) how these points of disagreement could be resolved.

    Because our algorithms were fully reconciled and almost identical to start with, I expressed optimism that we could identify many results on which we could express agreement. We could each write independent supplements to the joint text if we wished. If we were unable to get to an agreement on a text within a finite time (I suggested the end of February), we would revert back to the present position, with neither side having lost any advantage in the process. Pending this, both parties would put matters on hold both at journals and at blogs

    Ammann did not respond to my emails even to refuse. He said that doing such a paper would interfere with his career advancement. It is impossible for me to think anything other than they have no interest in the straightforward reconciliation of calculations along the lines that any business would have done long ago. What they wanted was not clarification and understanding, but an article that could be cited by IPCC AR4 as giving comfort to Mann.

    Ammann’s refusal – which I presume was coordinated with Mann – was pretty pathetic.

  140. JMS
    Posted Apr 2, 2007 at 12:34 AM | Permalink

    Kristen, I have to apologize for citing an expolsive force of 21000Mt for Pinatubo. Here is a link to a NASA site which states that Pinatubo was a VEI 6 volcano which corresponds roughly with a release of 100Mt of energy. You still have that factor of 10 to deal with :). I got that page after refining my search; I didn’t realize that there was a volcano equivalent of the Richter scale.

  141. James Lane
    Posted Apr 2, 2007 at 5:06 AM | Permalink

    JMS, the largest soviet bomb (any bomb actually) was the “Tsar Bomba”, exploded in 1961, with an energy release of 50 or 57 megatons, depending on who you care to believe. That’s not a “factor of 10″ or anything like it. It seems like you have your own order of magnitude problems.

    Interestingly, the Tsar bomb was a de-tuned 100mt device, the tertiary uranium stage being replaced by lead. The test was sufficient to prove the full-design, and was very “clean” with 97% of the energy coming from fusion reactions. The full-design would have been horrendously dirty. This bomb was apparently never weaponised, as it had no military value.

    The link you provide does not show that Daly recieved one cent from the Western Fuels Association. It’s just innuendo, and your reluctance to correct your slur against a dead man does you no credit.

  142. MarkW
    Posted Apr 2, 2007 at 5:13 AM | Permalink

    Kirsten,

    According to many in the alarmist camp, anyone who says something that might agree with what someone in the oil industry might say,
    is by definition a shill of the oil companies.

    I’m not making this up or exagerating. I’ve been in “discussions” with a number of people who have made that exact claim. The fact
    that they can’t point to an explicit payment is just proof that the payments are being made secretly.

  143. EW
    Posted Apr 2, 2007 at 6:07 AM | Permalink

    #133

    Kristen, can you kindly send me a link about that CO2 from raw coal heaters?
    Thanks.

  144. Sudha Shenoy
    Posted Apr 2, 2007 at 7:24 AM | Permalink

    #71. Well said mate.

    ?? How expensive is this sort of documentation? Too expensive for academic studies?

  145. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Apr 2, 2007 at 8:14 AM | Permalink

    re: #136

    I exchanged a few messages with John Daly and in particular asked him why he was pretty flamboyant, shall we say, in some of his claims. His reply was that, yes, he knew he exaggerated in some cases, but he wasn’t countering the scientists in those cases, he was fighting the scaremongers, and as long as they considered such rhetoric valid he wouldn’t dilute his message with the weasel words a scientific debate would require.

    IOW, if John Daly were around today he’d be circumspect around the Rob Wilsons and Peter Browns, but pull no punches with the Al Gores of the world.

  146. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Apr 2, 2007 at 9:07 AM | Permalink

    Re#135

    For more detailed critiques Waiting for Greenhouse this site has a rather lengthy critique.

    Ah, John Hunter’s site…for a brief response to it in defending Daly to a degree (in response to correspondance containing Hunter’s familiar conescending tone), see here.

    “…John Daly gets many things wrong. I am prepared to make allowances for this, as he is a lone amateur scholar. I make no allowances for the likes of CRU, with 40 staff and millions of pounds of taxpayer money. 40 was our number of the month for August 2001 in their honour. The likes of Daly have as opposition not only the whole of the “scientific” establishment, but also the whole of the media establishment. Times Newspapers and the BBC, for example, go in for large scale ratchet reporting of warm weather and completely ignore devastating examples of cold. They also cold-bloodedly fake their charts, as O’Ronain and Daly cogently pointed out. Why, if they think they are right?…”

    I think that’s pretty fair.

  147. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Apr 2, 2007 at 9:16 AM | Permalink

    Re #136, pretty unfair. That site was written while John Daly was alive. It’s not been added to since his untimely death.

    Both SWFG and the rebuttal remain online.

  148. Mark T.
    Posted Apr 2, 2007 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

    You’re right, Peter, since he made the website prior to his death, it’s not in bad taste to criticize him now, make unfounded accusations, etc.

    Mark

  149. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Apr 2, 2007 at 11:06 AM | Permalink

    RE: #48 – I have to wonder how much of the 1.7% increase in the US is due to needless humongous forest fires in the Western US, which, with selective sustainable logging, might have been prevented? Assuming of course the 1.7% is even a real, as opposed to calculated, number ….

  150. Posted Apr 2, 2007 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

    interesting how a high school essay can both engage and irk some of the regular posters. We would do well to remember that Kristen’s website started as a school project: suddenly people are asking if she’s read this, read that and asking if she has fully replicated the IPCC process by herself and, if not, why not.
    I would think it far more instructive of us if we took her admonition to be civil and focussed to heart and not critique her work but rather praise her for having waded through as much as she has. It is my impression both from her site and from her responses to earlier posts that she is very much “up to speed” on the various issues and has formed her opinion based on what has read.
    The importance of this is: (1) that she has read and developed an informed opinion for herself; (2) she seems more well informed in her opinion than many journalists, advocates, environmentalists, academics, commentators and politicians; and (3) ultimately this issue is more political than scientific as the science is not indisputable — in this respect Kristen offers all experts an insight into how the various arguments are or are not received by the average citizen who takes time to sort through all the rhetoric, to do some research and to think for themselves.
    Bottom line, we can either have as the next generation people who know how to think for themselves or a bunch of drones who only know what the prevalent dogma tells them. Personally, I find Kristen’s educational initiative to be the most inspiring aspect of climate change discussion in a long time.

  151. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 2, 2007 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

    #150. even if Kristen decides 10 years from now that her views were adolescent, it’s a thoughtful piece of work. Kristen seems well able to handle herself in debate and she’s obviously not intimidated by any pushback so far.

  152. MarkW
    Posted Apr 2, 2007 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

    #150,

    I think critiquing her work is all right. After all, that’s how we learn. Just keep in mind that she is a high school student and
    not a doctoral candidate.

  153. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Apr 2, 2007 at 2:05 PM | Permalink

    From the dendro thread which has received almost no attention from the dendro folks, which now contains a “don’t shoot the messenger” post of an anonymous dendro (forwarded care of an agreeing Rob Wilson):

    Only a small portion of what is happening here is of academic or scientific value.

    I’ve read this blog for ~6 months now

    …Free time is evaporating in the life of academics; most of the people you talk about work 6+ days/week and sleep much less than they should…

    Apparently, Mr Wilson and Mr Anonymous have discovered another “divergence” problem: indicators suggest they have no free-time for leisure activities, and yet they spend months on a website they consider worth little more than leisure reading.

    Something is amiss.

    Of course, as I predicted earlier (it used to show up in #58, but has been deleted), the dendro folks would spend significant time squabbling as to how to handle CA and in the end would have the excuse that they don’t have significant time to spend on CA.

  154. Kristen Byrnes
    Posted Apr 2, 2007 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

    JMS re. # 140

    I will have to do this in parts again.

    Let us start with Pinatubo. I read the site you linked and it did say that Pinatubo has a VEI of 6. But it made no mention of what that equals in nuclear yield. I accept your apology for coming down from 21,000 Megatons to 100 Megatons for Pinatubo, but where did you get the 100 Megatons figure from for a VEI of 6???? The way you said it makes it look like NASA came up with the 100 MT figure for a VEI of 6.
    Once again, I gave the source of my data, the reasoning I used and the method I used to CALCULATE the size of Pinatubo to nuclear yield. I did not repeat what uncle Joe said he heard from his friend Sam who works at the library who knows a guy who read it on a website. Please, show me their estimate with their data, reasoning and methods. So, if you could, PLEASE, next time use valid information.

  155. Kristen Byrnes
    Posted Apr 2, 2007 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    JMS

    #135

    Let’s start with Shaviv, Veiser, Svensmark, Rahmsdorf and etc. I had not read the Real Climate article until now. So I had to look over some of my notes after reading the article. It seems to me that Real Climate was trying to defend their hope that CO2 has been the climate driver since the beginning of Earth. When you read what they claim what Veiser says about cosmic rays being the climate driver, they distort what he says. They take his graphs and points out of context. They turn the words “perhaps, may and can” into “is, was and does.”

    My paper uses a graph from Svensmark that shows very good corellation between low altitude clouds and cosmic rays. I also pointed out that the effect was recreated in the lab. But the rhetoric in response to that is, like on the Real Climate page, that Svensmark’s work is not revolutionary, that he has to show a lack of cloud condensation nuclei in the atmosphere and that he has to show the magnitude to the climate.

    Whether his work is revolutionary is irrelevant rhetoric. My sections on C14 and Be10 quote Wikipedia on how those isotopes are formed in the atmosphere. Science is fully aware that many isotopes are formed in the atmosphere by cosmic rays.

    Saying that he needs to show a lack of cloud condensation nuclei in the atmosphere is irrelevant and rhetorical. The whole point is that more cloud condensation nuclei is being formed, so of course there will be more clouds. The condensation nuclei being created by the Svensmark effect is being added to the condensation nuclei already in the atmosphere (such as dust or salt) cloud condensation nuclei is going to form with water vapor to start the condensation process the moment the dew point is reached. So the clouds begin to form once all three conditions exist. Why they form low clouds rather than clouds at all altitudes is beyond me. MAYBE because there is a density requirement there, or MAYBE because the particles that cosmic rays react with have a certain specific gravity so they happen to be at that particular altitude?

    As for magnitude of the effect in the climate, that is what they are going to get together about later this year, to try to model the whole effect. Hopefully, when they make their model, they will consider the effect of ENSO over decades that is discussed in the conclusion of my paper that so many others seem to have missed.

    As for the cosmic rays and cloud cover being a hypothesis that is taken seriously, I think the 50+ scientists at the SKY experiment answers that one.

    So do you or the people at Real Climate have any evidence that the effect is not real?

  156. Kristen Byrnes
    Posted Apr 2, 2007 at 9:00 PM | Permalink

    JMS

    About John Daly: Because the website you linked changed things around, let us put things in order by time.

    2000 report of Western Fuels Inc. He was called their “newest scientific advisor”

    Two years later he writes to your web site’s editor:
    “In 13 years, my total earnings from book royalties, articles, seminar fees, reports etc. amounts to $44,300 Australian (equivalent to $22,150 U.S.). This works out at $3,407 Aust. per year, or $65.50 per week ($33 US). 22 Oct. 2001″

    The following year he writes an article promoting cheap solar cells because they were a good investment.

    In 2004 he writes:
    “In the last 12 months, this website has received funding of – wait for it – $50. That `lavish funding’ took the form of a single donation cheque to this website.” 24 Jan. 2004

    The website you link calls him a liar because he tells them about his personal income from speaking fees, book royalties and etc. one year and a donation for a different amount to his website from a different year. I guess they do not know the difference between personal income and donations to websites.

    But look how things went for John Daly. One year he is a science advisor for a coal mining company, two years later he has made an average of 33 dollars per year from all of his climate work, the following year he is telling his readers to invest in cheap solar cells and the following year his web site was given a 50 dollar donation. Does this sound to you like some one who is a shill for the fossil fuel industry? Shouldn’t it be that one year he is the science advisor, two years later he is fat in cash, the following year he is getting fatter from selling stock in coal mines to his readers and the last year his website is being run by a company while he sits on his private beach in Malibu?

    And 33 dollars a week? Oh boy! I should work for the fossil fuel people because I would get 3 dollars a week more than my allowance of 30 dollars a week.

    But I guess that I have now “heard” that John Daly is a shill for the fossil fuel industry.

  157. Kristen Byrnes
    Posted Apr 2, 2007 at 9:13 PM | Permalink

    # 143

    EW, I had that quoted in my notes and I am mad that I did not save that link because there was a sweet graphic I wanted to use that was there. I wanted that site for my bibliography. My stepdad said he will look for it tomorrow if he is not busy. But it was at the JPL site and I was looking for stuff on photon/molecule interaction then. If you look for it and find it please let me know.

  158. bender
    Posted Apr 2, 2007 at 10:43 PM | Permalink

    Gentle admonition to try, whenever possible, to stay on topic. When planning a comment, check the thread title and opening post. This blog is huge. There are several threads on water vapour, volcanoes, SO, etc. where these contributions would have better fit and impact. Happy blogging.

  159. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Apr 3, 2007 at 12:04 AM | Permalink

    In the “dendro reply” thread, our anonymous dendroclimatologist says in part (http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1304#comment-100472):

    Those in the know, who really know the science, know not to use that chronology and know who still use that chronology. The work that uses that chronology for a temperature reconstruction is less-respected than others.

    This seems plausible, and similar to the situations in other fields of science. However, the prominence and extensive use of such flawed data in what should be the showcase of the field, the IPCC reports, are NOT similar to the situations in other fields. Presumably those writing the reports are the “best and brightest” dendroclimatologists; their failure to report the “less-respected” nature of prominent reconstructions reflects poorly on the field and suggests that much (most?) of the field is either unaware of the problems or unwilling to alert non-specialists to their existence.

  160. bernie
    Posted Apr 3, 2007 at 1:47 AM | Permalink

    #147
    If that is the case, then my apologies for the “can’t defend himself” slam. It is still out of line IMHO in so far as it does not address what Daly has on his site – let’s assume that Daly received a salary from Exxon or a Coal Company, does that mean his data is wrong or that your first assumption is that he is being less objective than those who are paid up members of the Sierra Club, etc. It makes more sense to focus on any of his factual misrepresentations.

  161. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Apr 3, 2007 at 7:05 AM | Permalink

    RE#156:

    But I guess that I have now “heard” that John Daly is a shill for the fossil fuel industry.

    If you’re not careful, people will start saying the same about you! :)

  162. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 3, 2007 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

    On the Dendroclimatologists Answer Back thread, it was observed of this thread:

    And, finally Steve M, though you are more civil than most here, you cherry-pick pretty well in making your arguments. One case in point – the quotes you copied from the discussion on the dendro listserv.

    I try to diligently to avoid cherry-picking and to accurately characterize what people say. I make a point of using extended quotations from people in their words. (By contrast, you’ll find our critics nearly always paraphrase and frequently create straw men in the process). I’m not sure what “argument” I’m supposed to making in this particular post – the only morale or conclusion that I made in the post was:

    As to the accusation that CA contributes to “misinformation”, I re-iterate to any angry dendroclimatologists that might be listening: I have no interest in contributing to the spread of “misinformation” and, if there’s anything that I’ve said that needs correction, please advise me and I will correct it.

    That offer stands. In this particular case, I was primarily interested in references at the listserv sites that were direct criticisms of me. I’ve re-read the listserv correspondence and I don’t think that I left out any relevant criticism of myself. If any dendroclimatologist thinks that there is a relevant criticism of myself that was left uncanvasssed, please mention it and I’ll be pleased to respond.

    I intentionally did not refer to discussions involving creationism at the listserv, as discussion of that topic is not permitted here.

    Here are some other comments from the listserv discussion. I don’t see that not mentioning them in a short topical like this rises to “cherry-picking”, but just so nobody feels left out, I note for the record that Peter Brown said:

    I have to admit I am a lurker on CA, and while some of those that comment there appear to be quite sensible (in fact often have some good points) most are in the realm of far-out absolute deniers of anything that smacks of global warming. .. For example, this series of recent posts on your recent Climate Dynamics paper; for goodness sake, they’re berating you for not immediately posting data that hasn’t even yet been defended by the student that gathered it!

    The point about data archiving has already been discussed and I stand by my view that data should be archived concurrent with publication, as it must in econometrics. I agree with Peter Brown that the comments “often have some good points”, but I don’t agree that “most are in the realm of far-out absolute deniers of anything that smacks of global warming.” I would challenge you to support that from any of the thousands of words that I’ve written here. I do not endorse comments by individual posters. Many posters – on both sides of the debate – hold views that I do not share. It’s impossible for me to discuss or rebut each of the tens of thousands of comments here – so just because a comment is up here doesn’t mean that I agree with it. I also disagree with the characterization of the views of active posters like Willis, bender, Jean S, UC etc. as “far-out deniers”. My understanding of their views is that they agree that the climate has warmed, are interested in the proxy studies and are dissatisfied with the quality of the canonical studies, but, like myself, do not have a final view of what actually happened in the past and hope that future studies are better than the ones in the past.

    Grissino-Mayer
    The reality is that delving into controversy and policy, for many of us, could wreak havoc on our careers.
    Perhaps so, perhaps not. The point is interesting to some, but not relevant to my original post.

    Barry Cooke suggested:

    It would be a good idea to make sure that the dendro bible (e.g. the ultimate tree-ring pages) is always up-to-date vis-a-vis specific issues that arise in cyberspace discussions on dendroclimatology research.

    Wils somewhat rebuked the language of other posters:

    ‘he does not seem to play by the rules’
    ‘dendro bible’
    ‘authoritative backing’
    ‘The job of a scientist is producing knowledge’

    Rules, bible, authority? This is the wrong rhetorics. If we claim that established science (we) is the and the only access to knowledge or truth, we become quite arrogant or even tyrannical.

    Rob Wilson concluded by saying:

    The overall consensus view is that we should ignore CA. I can understand why people would choose this option but it could be dangerous to leave Steve McIntyre unchecked. After all, his auditing work had great influence in dragging Mann, Bradley and Hughes to the US Senate.

    and then canvassed various alternative reponses, preferring the route of a direct reply at CA.

    If the dendroclimatologist in question feels that someone has still been left out, he’s quite free to draw my attention to it and I will respond.

  163. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 3, 2007 at 9:32 AM | Permalink

    Michael Jankowski says:
    April 2nd, 2007 at 1:58 pm
    edit

    Only a small portion of what is happening here is of academic or scientific value.

    I’ve read this blog for ~6 months now…

    …Free time is evaporating in the life of academics; most of the people you talk about work 6+ days/week and sleep much less than they should…

    Apparently, Mr Wilson and Mr Anonymous have discovered another “divergence” problem: indicators suggest they have no free-time for leisure activities, and yet they spend months on a website they consider worth little more than leisure reading.

    Something is amiss.
    9
    Armand MacMurray says:
    April 2nd, 2007 at 4:45 pm
    edit

    Re: #7
    An. Dendroclimatologist said:

    Why would anyone come here to defend their methods when the same battles are occurring within the science?

    This is encouraging news! Would it be possible to get pointers to the fora where the battles on (for example) site/tree selection for temperature response, non-invertibility of tree ring temperature-response functions, and appropriateness of PCA in temperature reconstructions are being fought?
    10
    bender says:
    April 2nd, 2007 at 5:30 pm
    edit

    Re #9

    pointers to the fora

    See my recent comment in the Bunn et al 2005 thread for a sample reference from the literature – the usual place where scientists exchange ideas.
    11
    John Lang says:
    April 2nd, 2007 at 6:52 pm
    edit

    The dendroclimatologists are really saying that we just jump all over them when they try to comment or explain themselves. Very few people want to expose themselves to that kind of negativity, so it is understandable.

    We need to engage them from a more positive standpoint. We need to be less confrontational and try to understand their point of view. We need to understand the science they are publishing.

    The field is evolving. Eventually, they will come to the conclusion that dendrochronology cannot be used to “prove the MWP did not exist” the way Mann tried to misuse/abuse the field. It seems to me this discussion is already happening. Let’s be more positive and science will prevail.

    Global warming exageration will not be stopped by questioning the field of dendroclimatology only. The only thing that will be stop the exageration is solid positive science prevailing again in the long-term.
    12
    Ken Fritsch says:
    April 2nd, 2007 at 9:00 pm
    edit

    The dendroclimatologists, I think, after all these histrionics have answered and the answer is that answers from them will not be forthcoming. I find these exercises very tiring and a waste of time with little or no insights gained.

    We learned that dendroclimatologists are hard working and honest people just like you and me and that they have disagreements amongst themselves. I had a pretty good idea that was the case but I guess it’s nice that someone from within confirmed it.

    I do not want to sound cynical about the replies, but a number of these people have noted how their busy schedules prevent them from answering the more direct question sincerely put forth here and then spend time getting into personality issues and very little science (I do not accept being directed to a tree ring manual as a scientific reply).

    I really think that with all the edginess involved in just these preliminary discussions that little will be gained in scientific content and much time will be wasted in turf battles if engagement is pursued. This is Steve M’s blog and he may see merit in further attempts to initiate engagement, but for my preferences and selfish purposes for learning I would like to move on, or actually back to the standard format of discussing the literature that Steve M so diligently researches and peruses for our edification.
    13
    bender says:
    April 2nd, 2007 at 10:17 pm
    edit

    John Lang’s approach is the productive one. Ken Fritsch, you are tired possibly because you are impatient. The insights are coming. Not fast enough, I agree. But there’s a there’s a healthy new skepticism out there. You want to get them talking.
    14
    MarkR says:
    April 2nd, 2007 at 11:29 pm
    edit

    It is no use saying that the blog is too intense, and that one person cannot defend his point of view.

    The www is a hive, a swarm, there are millions of people out there with a point of view, and probably millions with a relevent speciality.

    The internet allows an idea to be critiqued in a fraction of the time it took using the old methods of scientific literature exchange. The traditional ways allow the Juckes and Manns of this world to evade and delay, the web is instant and sometimes overwhelming, but if your idea cannot withstand it then it is indefensible.

    To try to protect posters from criticism is in principle the same mistake that the Scientific Journals have made in disallowing on-line criticism, or indeed in many cases, any criticism.
    15
    Sudha Shenoy says:
    April 3rd, 2007 at 4:55 am
    edit

    Re n. 7:

    Those in the know, who really know the science, know not to use that chronology and know who still use that chronology. The work that uses that chronology for a temperature reconstruction is less-respected than others.

    Please can we have a reference? Otherwise all we have (us lay types) are the statements made by the IPCC & the AGW types. All we have is: accepted scientific opinion’ says, tree-ring data show that temperatures are rising.

    Many thanks.
    16
    Armin says:
    April 3rd, 2007 at 4:59 am
    edit

    Although I’m not a dendroclimatologist, and can imagine mr McIntyre will remove this post, I do feel I should put something in defence of them. This although I also feel, that the dendroclimatologists are being overly sensitive and exaggerate that “the majority of responses to Peter and Rob are so accusatory (or worse)”. They do have a point.

    That is, until about ten years ago they just did their honest and hard work. Then the Hockeystick saga entered and putted their field into the spotlights. Although some may feel that this is all positive, I disagree. Especially after the Hockeystick collapsed because of the many problems (duplicate usage of datasets, suspicious datasets, suspicious statistics, not archiving data and actively refusing to assist in solving this last matter), the reputation of the field was damaged in the eyes of at least parts of the public. And again, many of the dendroclimatologists had nothing to do with this HS-saga. Now, they are also putted on the spot and asked to speak out against the HS. If they refuse, they must be on their side. I can imagine they being frustrated by that.

    I guess most dendroclimatologists just want to continue what they were doing all the time: hard and honest work.

    OK, so far the defense. Still this site brings up two valid points the dendroclimatologists are to simply in ignoring. As I stated, I do feel the dendroclimatologists are being overly sensitive in two areas

    1) The data archiving. Apparently the field has been a bit sloppy in data archiving. I honestly think there is no bad motive there, and judging is easy from hindsight, but mr Mc Intyre made clear that this field of science should become a bit less sloppy. No problems there, but why is it so hard for the dendroclimatologists to say Point taken, we’ll do this from now on And of course, as they are humans, mistakes will be made too (even mr McIntyre did it once), but I doubt anyone will blame them. Same applied for the student-data issue that was discussed here. If there was said Indeed, we should have handled that differently., they story would have ended there I guess. But for some reason some dendroclimatologists seem to have a very hard time acknowledging this!?

    2) I can imagine some dendroclimatologists feel as if they are not trusted because of the HS-saga. And that no one is criticising their work, but only questioning the data. That’s not fair, as they are hard working and honest people. Still, regardless of how unfair this is, they must understand that they should really point the finger at some other person. Even if they feel, that the HS-saga was overhyped, they should understand that it is not that weird trust is a bit gone.

  164. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Apr 3, 2007 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

    Steve,

    I didn’t note links in your compilations of Peter Brown’s messages on the Dendroclimatists Answer Back to the original message you’re cross linking. This will make it difficult for any Dendroclimatists wanting to check the context to find it.

  165. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Apr 3, 2007 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

    From a Peter Brown response (to Willis’ nice list of questions) collated by Steve in the “Answer Back” thread:

    5) Are proxy reconstructions which do not have a validation period, but only a calibration period, scientifically defensible?
    Why not, dendroclimatology is the only discipline that I am aware of that routinely does any sort of calibration/verification process. Validation of a reconstruction may be done through comparison of other reconstructions, historic records, etc, to provide some idea of how well it compares to historical understanding.

  166. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Apr 3, 2007 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

    Another nomination (along with the quote in my post above) for your Funniest CA Quotes collection:
    Your quote of Rob Wilson from above where he concludes: “…it could be dangerous to leave Steve McIntyre unchecked.”
    Too bad there’s no “ominous music” sound effect available on the site. Perhaps you should consider creating a false identity before you next travel to a dendro-related conference. :)

  167. Mark T.
    Posted Apr 3, 2007 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

    Dum Dum Duuuummmmm!

    Ominous enough? :)

    Mark

  168. Jonathan Schafer
    Posted Apr 3, 2007 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

    have to admit I am a lurker on CA, and while some of those that comment there appear to be quite sensible (in fact often have some good points) most are in the realm of far-out absolute deniers of anything that smacks of global warming. .. For example, this series of recent posts on your recent Climate Dynamics paper; for goodness sake, they’re berating you for not immediately posting data that hasn’t even yet been defended by the student that gathered it!

    I am mostly a lurker here as well, although I post occasionally. I’m sure I qualify in your opinion as one of those far-out deniers, although I certainly would disagree that I am either far-out or a denier, as are most of the people on here, at least from what I can tell. What Rob Wilson fails to note, is not that people are denying AGW, it is that they are disagreeing that CO2 from the consumption of fossil fuels is the major driving force of any warming that may be occurring. And not because they don’t believe it, but because the research has so far failed to produce results that prove that to be the case.

    The overall consensus view is that we should ignore CA. I can understand why people would choose this option but it could be dangerous to leave Steve McIntyre unchecked. After all, his auditing work had great influence in dragging Mann, Bradley and Hughes to the US Senate.

    If your only motivation to engage Steve and others on this site is to avoid appearing before a congressional committee, then perhaps you’ve chosen the wrong line of work. Your motivation for engaging anyone in a discussion of your research should be to ensure that your work is valid, repeatable, and your conclusions defensible. This is one of the problems with peer review, and the Wegman report touched on this. While your peers certainly can review that you utilized the appropriate methodologies specific to your field of work, they are likely unqualified to properly review the methodologies you used that are outside your sepecific field of work. IOW, engage with statisticians to eview your statstics. Review with climatologists to review your climate related conclusions. Review with geologists, botanists, archeologists, etc., for those parts of your study that are their forte.

    Free time is evaporating in the life of academics; most of the people you talk about work 6+ days/week and sleep much less than they should…

    As if the many of those outside academics don’t experience the same issues. I work 7 days a week, although weekends aren’t spent quite as much on work as weekdays. It’s nothing for me to work a 12, 14, 16 hour day. Last year, I didn’t leave the office for 6 straight days, sleeping about 2 hours a night on a cot, trying to complete a project with a fast approaching deadline. I rarely saw my family for nearly two months. And yet, in spite of that, I managed to spend a little bit of my precious time trying to stay informed on various issues, including climate change, AGW, etc. Why? Because policy decisions based on research are going to be made, and I want to be informed so that I can make decisions and take appropriate measures. I am not a sheep, relying on 10 second sound bytes on the evening news, or the histrionics of various news media with their sky is falling attitudes.

    If you want to engage the public so that they understand your message, then do so in a way that is meaningful to them. They aren’t going to understand or even want to understand all the nuances of your field. But they are smart enough to see through the obsfucation, deception, etc., and will hold those policy makers who provide your grant money responsible.

  169. Kristen Byrnes
    Posted Apr 4, 2007 at 10:22 PM | Permalink

    # 139

    Mr, McIntyre,

    I wanted to respond to this one but I have been busy. But there is so much global warming here that we have a snow day tomorrow and I get to go boarding on 12 inches of fresh powder. But it means I get to stay up late while my parents are snoring away!

    One thing I have noticed from the hundreds of emails that have come to my website is there is a difference in the people.

    People who say they found out about my page from your site are very polite and willing to offer their view. They spoke nicely and did as I asked and offered corrections. You probably know I mispelled your AND Mr. McKitrick’s names. But what made me spit water all over my keyboard was when I mispelled your names the second time LOLOLOLOL!!!!!
    Sorry, I am still laughing at that one!!!!
    The best thing was that so many scientists and college professors helped with mostly terms and some reasoning. They sent so many studies and were very kind.

    When the average person who is just looking for research looked at my page they had only nice things to say.

    But when it came to people who do not agree with it, and there were few of them, they were usually pretty rude. My mom warned me in advance that their emails were not very nice. But when I looked at the emails, and they were pretty rude, they were only trying to change my words around. But what I did was thank them and reword sections so they could not do that again in the future. So I learned from them.

    I suppose you learned from the man you had lunch with. What makes me think though is that he would not work with you because of him feeling his career was threatened. I have seen this complaint a few times. Scientists do not want to be kicked away from their income or the respect they get from their click. That sounds sooooo like high school. But it is real.

    So I hope you will still leave that offer open to other people who work in your area of climate. I hope that you will always leave that door open to them and give a warm welcome to anyone who accepts. I hope you will start a new thread once a week or so just like the Dendroclimatologists answer back thread. Even if it seems impossible, I hope you will never give up trying.

  170. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 5, 2007 at 7:59 AM | Permalink

    Transfer:

    bender says:
    April 3rd, 2007 at 12:39 pm
    edit

    The science is self-corrective as all science is.

    No one’s doubting that. The question is: does it correct itself on a fast enough time-scale to avoid major policy mistakes? And while society has to wait for the science to correct itself, who shall pay the bill?
    13
    Steve McIntyre says:
    April 3rd, 2007 at 1:37 pm
    edit

    The science is self-corrective as all science is.

    bender, I agree with your objection to this truism as justifying bad behavior. Hypotheses about WMD were eventually corrected.

    Markets are self-correcting as well. Enron eventually became worthless. However, considerable effort is spent trying to protext investors – not always successfully. Much of my approach derives from how securities commissions try to improve market performance and thereby protect investors. Disclosure of relevant data and methodology is an obvious way of improving performance. The articles in economics about archiving data and code observe that this reduces the cost of replication, which, at present, is prohibitive in many cases if you have to spend years in quasi-litigation to even find out such things as what stations Jones used in his UHI study or Briffa used in his MXD study (information obtained recently merely 10 years after the original article) or reconciled Thompson’s ice core information (still unavailable nearly 20 years after the Dunde ice core was drilled).
    14
    bender says:
    April 3rd, 2007 at 2:04 pm
    edit

    Corporate failure, intelligence failure, science failure. Self-correction does not guarantee people won’t get hurt while waiting for the correction to occur. If the lag time for corrective action is too long then you’re essentially driving drunk. So what, dear scientists, are you doing to shorten the lag time? Or are you “too busy” to care?

  171. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Apr 9, 2007 at 3:31 PM | Permalink

    I could not resist putting in a plug for a highly useful research facility (actually, a set of them) which is perfect for doing dendro (and all other) research in the White Mountains / Upper Owens Valley / Long Valley / High Sierra region. Interesting cooperative efforts may be possible:

    http://www.wmrs.edu/

    Disclosure, I am a U of C alum.

  172. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Apr 9, 2007 at 6:09 PM | Permalink

    RE: #171 – I noticed a lecture later this week, at the Owens Valley Lab (which, BTW, is a nice facility for such a lecture, convenient to Bishop / US-395). Anyone who’s within a reasonable distance is encouraged to attend.

    April 12, 2007 Adelia Barber Dept. of Ecology and Evol. Biology, UC Santa Cruz Long term population changes in Bristlecone Pine

  173. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Apr 9, 2007 at 6:19 PM | Permalink

    Kicking around the WMRS web site …. ah, days of yore …. a cold Coors after a rigorous day of field work …. just like some danged TV commercial …. “make it yers”

    Lookie what I found in their reference data base:

    Database : ISSLR.enl
    Ref Type : Journal
    Ref ID : 4152
    Title : Robust estimation of background noise and signal detection in climatic time series
    Authors : Mann,M.E.; Lees,J.M.;
    Pub Date : 1996
    Web/URLs : ://1996VB19700011
    Notes : VB197

    CLIMATIC CHANGE

    Alternate Journal: Clim. Change
    Keywords : GREAT-SALT-LAKE; GLOBAL TEMPERATURE; SPECTRAL-ANALYSIS; VARIABILITY; FLUCTUATIONS; OSCILLATIONS; OCEAN; SCALE; MECHANISMS; RECORDS;
    Reprint : Not in File
    Journal Name : Climatic Change
    Volume : 33
    Issue : 3
    Start Page : 409
    End Page : 445
    Abstract : We present a new technique for isolating climate signals in time series with a characteristic ‘red’ noise background which arises from temporal persistence. This background is estimated by a ‘robust’ procedure that, unlike conventional techniques, is largely unbiased by the presence of signals immersed in the noise. Making use of multiple-taper spectral analysis methods, the technique further provides for a distinction between purely harmonic (periodic) signals, and broader-band (‘quasiperiodic’) signals. The effectiveness of our signal detection procedure is demonstrated with synthetic examples that simulate a variety of possible periodic and quasiperiodic signals immersed in red noise. We apply our methodology to historical climate and paleoclimate time series examples. Analysis of a approximate to 3 million year sediment core reveals significant periodic components at known astronomical forcing periodicities and a significant quasiperiodic 100 year peak. Analysis of a roughly 1500 year tree-ring reconstruction of Scandinavian summer temperatures suggests significant quasiperiodic signals on a near-century timescale, an interdecadal 16-18 year timescale, within the interannual El Ninio/Southem Oscillation (ENSO) band, and on a quasibiennial timescale. Analysis of the 144 year record of Great Salt Lake monthly volume change reveals a significant broad band of significant interdecadal variability, ENSO-timescale peaks, an annual cycle and its harmonics. Focusing in detail on the historical estimated global-average surface temperature record, we find a highly significant secular trend relative to the estimated red noise background, and weakly significant quasiperiodic signals within the ENSO band. Decadal and quasibiennial signals are marginally significant in this series.

  174. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Apr 10, 2007 at 10:56 AM | Permalink

    RE: #173 – Any comments?

  175. twq
    Posted Apr 10, 2007 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

    The world will continue to work in its way. This is a way of waste of time. I doubt someone here come here all day through and it seems that this blog is his career. It is strange. I find that famous dendroclimatologists never come to this place, and perhaps they have their work to do. The climate is warming, and some people are also heating with the earth. Do you have your own job? Time flies and time is money!

  176. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Apr 10, 2007 at 6:34 PM | Permalink

    Re: #175

    Twq, you are quaint and you are funny. My only question is: Are you serious? Well, make that two questions: What is it that you are serious about?

  177. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Apr 11, 2007 at 11:20 AM | Permalink

    MBH “early roots” bump – RE: #173.

  178. Posted Apr 11, 2007 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

    Steve S, that’s the MannLees96, available here

    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~mann/shared/articles/MannLees1996.pdf

    One of the worst papers I’ve read, H0 is hand-waving, some king of AR1 process with unspecified p . I hope some more math-oriented person would go it through and comment, my or Mann’s mistake?

  179. Posted Apr 11, 2007 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

    some kind of or some king of , no matter :)

  180. Phil B.
    Posted Apr 11, 2007 at 2:30 PM | Permalink

    Re #178 UC, what bothered you the most?
    Median smoothing of the spectrum, the use of “Robust”, or 99% confidence level for everything. Or perhaps, assuming the noise and signal are stationary, or even doing signal processing without having a model for your signal.

    I having been following your comments on the use of Kalman Filters and agree with your thoughts. After reading the Evans et. al 2006 paper from the forward modeling thread, I think the Dendro folks have a long row to hoe. Using a correlation calculation (.58) for model vs truth comparison was foreign to me, along with filtering the data with a 5 year filter to get .65.

  181. Posted Apr 12, 2007 at 12:53 AM | Permalink

    #180

    That’s a difficult choice :) No model for signal, but no proper model for noise either. Fundamentals of statistical signal processing are again rewritten.. But maybe the most bothering part is this

    A non-robust analysis of the un-detrended series leads to the highly questionable inferences that the secular trend is not significant relative to red noise..

    1) Emphasis is not mine

    2) Why is it highly questionable? Because results are decided before looking at the data? Because we would have to drop A from AGW if it is not significant?

  182. Phil B.
    Posted Apr 12, 2007 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    RE 181, UC, you are preaching to the choir (engineer) who has practiced signal processing and estimation theory for 30 years. I have never seen the word secular used in signal processing/data analysis before.

    The positive aspect of MannLees 96 paper is the number of equations that are presented. Almost all the reconstruction papers I have read contain only a few unnumbered equations or none. References are provide for the methodology/equations and after chasing down the references one finds no equations or detailed discussion there either. Very frustrating, as it make it difficult or impossible to follow or replicate the results.
    The devil is in the detail.

  183. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 12, 2007 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    #182. However Mann and LEes is of no help in trying to figure out how MBH99 confidence intervals were calculated. UC, Jean S and I have all tried and are stumped. I’ve tried to get Cicerone of NAS and North of the NAS panel to obtain a clarification but Cicerone refused and North has been unsuccessful.

  184. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Apr 12, 2007 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

    The main value to me of Mann and Lees is to show the general point of view of Mann. It’s a starting point from which his own “mission” seems to have gone into full speed.

  185. Posted Apr 12, 2007 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

    and here we need to remember Kerry Emanuel’s

    This exercise has been repeated using many different climate models, with the same qualitative result: one cannot simulate the evolution of the climate over last 30 years without including in the simulations mankind’s influence on sulfate aerosols and greenhouse gases.

    So, we have two choices:

    1) use Mann’s robust method (chops the peak of AR1 with p close to one. Then you’ll need the A in AGW

    2) Forget Mann’s statistical signal processing, use AR1 with p=0.93, and then you can simulate the evolution of the climate over last 30 years. Without A.

    Why 1) is better than 2) ? I’ve read many Mann’s papers so I would choose 2), if these arguments are the best they can give.

    #183

    I think that reproducing figure 3 b would help to solve that problem. But the not so surprising fact is that Jean’s code that reproduces fig 2 doesn’t reproduce fig 3 b. I think is very hard to find something that is correctly calculated in MBH9X. No smiley here.

  186. Phil B.
    Posted Apr 12, 2007 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

    Re #183, Steve are you referring to figure 3 in mbh99? What was the time frame that you, Jean S, and UC were looking at this, so I can look at the discussion. A quick reread and I didn’t see any mention about how it was calculated. How did it pass peer review?
    So sorry for the rhetorical question.

  187. trevor
    Posted Apr 12, 2007 at 9:31 PM | Permalink

    Re #186:

    How did it pass peer review?

    Those who have frequented this site over the past couple of years would know that the climate scientists’ ‘golden seal of quality’ is ‘peer review’. If it is ‘peer reviewed’ it is A OK in the team and the IPCC clique who represent themselves as the ‘consensus of scientists’.

    The term ‘peer review’ is represented as meaning that the papers have been quality checked by appropriately qualified, and independent, peer reviewers and have been approved of as being up to golden seal of quality standard.

    Unfortunately, the reality is, as has been clearly exposed on this site, that for the team, ‘peer review’ actually appears to mean that a mate or colleague has cast his eye over the paper and pronounced that it is A OK. Peer reviewers apparently didn’t bother to really check the work for soundness. Nor did they check that basic requirements of sound science such as use of good quality statistics, proper archiving of data and methods etc have been met. When a truly independent peer reviewer turns up, and starts asking awkward questions, he is frozen out of the process.

    It has become abundantly clear that the term ‘peer review’ in climate science means very little.

  188. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 12, 2007 at 10:11 PM | Permalink

    #186. Phil, our efforts to understand the confidence intervals are reviewed at http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=647 See also pages p=200, 201, 502 and 520.

    You ask how this stuff passed “peer review”? WEll, it didn’t just pass review – stadiums of climate scientists reviewed for IPCC TAR and none of them understood what he did either. What makes me more irritated is that I asked the NAS panel to find out – it was relevant to their mandate but they didn’t. Any business auditor would have.

  189. MarkR
    Posted Apr 12, 2007 at 10:28 PM | Permalink

    Re Where the statisical analysis is coming from and how they did what, a few clues maybe at The Singular Spectrum Analysis – MultiTaper Method (SSA-MTM) Toolkit is a software program to analyze short, noisy time series, such as the one below, as well as multivariate data. M Mann and Myles Allen (M Juckes pal) are listed as part of developing group.

    Plus I didn’t see this one before, it has a table in it with predictions based on the above method. Sorry if you all know this already,

    ADVANCED SPECTRAL METHODS FOR CLIMATIC
    TIME SERIES
    M. Ghil,1 M. R. Allen,2 M. D. Dettinger,3 K. Ide,1
    D. Kondrashov,1 M. E. Mann,4 A. W. Robertson,1
    A. Saunders,1 Y. Tian,1 F. Varadi,1 and P. Yiou5
    Received 28 August 2000; revised 3 July 2001; accepted 18 September 2001; published XX Month 2001.

    [1] The analysis of univariate or multivariate time series
    provides crucial information to describe, understand,
    and predict climatic variability. The discovery and implementation
    of a number of novel methods for extracting
    useful information from time series has recently
    revitalized this classical field of study. Considerable
    progress has also been made in interpreting the information
    so obtained in terms of dynamical systems theory.
    In this review we describe the connections between
    time series analysis and nonlinear dynamics, discuss signal-
    to-noise enhancement, and present some of the
    novel methods for spectral analysis. The various steps, as
    well as the advantages and disadvantages of these methods,
    are illustrated by their application to an important
    climatic time series, the Southern Oscillation Index. This
    index captures major features of interannual climate variability
    and is used extensively in its prediction. Regional
    and global sea surface temperature data sets are used to
    illustrate multivariate spectral methods. Open questions
    and further prospects conclude the review. INDEX TERMS:
    1620 Climate dynamics (3309); 3220 Nonlinear dynamics;
    4522 El NinËœo; 9820 Techniques applicable in three
    or more fields; KEYWORDS: climate; dynamical systems; El
    NinËœo; prediction; spectral analysis; time series

  190. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 12, 2007 at 10:55 PM | Permalink

    #189. Been there. How do you think one goes from A to B?

  191. Posted Apr 12, 2007 at 11:21 PM | Permalink

    SteveM, I can’t find More on MBH Confidence Intervals , and your link in #186 doesn’t work.
    Synopsis for new readers: code by JeanS, http://data.climateaudit.org/data/MBH99/MBH99_figure2.m , replicates figure 2. Reverse engineering shows that those residuals are obtained using sparse temperature data. Makes the residuals look less red than they are. Nobody knows how to compute those CIs, http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/ei/ei_data/nhem-standerr-labeled.dat
    I have a theory, but as I can’t reproduce fig 3b, I can’t verify it.

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