von Storch and Zorita blog on the Hockey Stick

At a Nature climate change blog, von Storch and Zorita write:

In October 2004 we were lucky to publish in Science our critique of the hockey-stick’ reconstruction of the temperature of the last 1000 years. Now, two and half years later, it may be worth reviewing what has happened since then.

The publication in 2004 was a remarkable event, because the hockey-stick had been elevated to an icon by the 3rd Assessment Report of the IPCC. This perception was supported by a lack of healthy discussion about the method behind the hockey-stick. In the years before, due to effective gate keeping of influential scientists, papers raising critical points had a hard time or even failed to pass the review process. For a certain time, the problem was framed as an issue of mainstream scientists, supporting the concept of anthropogenic climate change, versus a group of skeptics, who doubted the reality of the blade of the hockey stick. By framing it this way, the real problems, namely the wobbliness’ of the shaft of the hockey-stick, and the suppressing of valid scientific questions by gate keeping, were left out.

They then proceed to discuss various articles on the Hockey Stick mentioning Bürger, Moberg, borehole papers, the NAS report, but failing to mention McIntyre and McKitrick. Pretty annoying.


84 Comments

  1. Jaye
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

    Not only that but if you look at the links section of the page CA is left out of the blog list with RC being at the top.

  2. Dave Dardinger
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    So in other words they complain about “gate-keeping” while minding the biggest gate themselves? I think you deserve at least one of them coming here and explaining themselves in the matter. I hope you’ve sent them a copy of this entry for that purpose.

  3. cbone
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 1:16 PM | Permalink

    Even more astonishing than CA being left off the list is William Connoley’s personal blog being on the list. For those that don’t know him, Mr. Connoley’s prime job seems to be keeping any non party line AGW view out of any wikipedia entry regarding climate change.

  4. Pat Frank
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

    It’s likely that climate scientists suffer from the NIH syndrome, i.e., “Not Invented Here.”As someone from outside the field, you’d be a more likely target of exclusion. In my own field, one sees competetitors who don’t cite the literature honestly, referring to their own work while ignoring the advances made by others.

    That even includes a tacit claim of credit by a deliberate silence about the prior work of others. Ideas are the currency of science, and the stealing of credit is as larcenous as it gets.

    I suspect that’s what’s going on here, Steve. von Storch has probably convinced himself that it was his work that broke the hockey stick open to critical evaluation, while any fair reading of the field shows it was the work of you and Ross. Really, it was you, personally, who started the critical ball rolling, and you and Ross who battered down the stonewall around the HSness of climate science. It was only after your 2003 E&E paper that critical evaluations of the HS and other climate spaghetti graphs began to appear. Prior to that, the entire field was either blind to, or silent about, the speciousness of tree ring temperature reconstruction.

    This isn’t a scientific opinion, but it has seemed to me that among European scientists there is more of a wont than elsewhere to aggrandize credit to themselves by crowding out the work of others. Maybe it has something to do with Old World intellectual priggishness.

  5. Steve Sadlov
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 1:25 PM | Permalink

    That is quite damning. A bold and courageous blog by the two of them!

  6. bernie
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    Eduardo has commented earlier today on von Storch et al in IPCC AR4. Perhaps he could elaborate here.

  7. Bill F
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

    I just find it hilarious that they talk about excluding outsiders as if it is a bad thing, and then they turn around and exclude the outsiders from their discussion of the topic.

  8. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 1:48 PM | Permalink

    It’s frustrating because I’m on pretty good personal terms with both of them, especially Eduardo. Also for the most part, uniquely among climate scientists, they’ve been pretty fair in their public comments. Hans even credited our 2003 paper in opening up the possibility of debate in a public comment. For example, he said in 2005 in Technology Review discussed at CA here

    Nevertheless, it is a good thing that the debate about the temperature history of the last millenium can be conducted again unconditionally. Steve McIntyre contributed substantially to this development; he deserves to be thanked for it.

    But not I guess, at Nature, where there was, as many of you recall, a little gatekeeping. Some of you might well ask them what they know of the gate keeping in connection with our January 2004 submission to Nature.

    BTW last year, in their reply to Wahl et al in Science, they did a similar stunt. They discussed bristlecones in connection with MBH without citing our prior discussion and I objected to this to Eduardo. He was apologetic and blamed it on the need to get their Reply through Science editors. So I was surprised to see this a second time in a blog entry.

  9. Posted May 3, 2007 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

    #8

    Some comments by Maxine Clarke of Nature on data archiving on a thread at my site.

  10. PHE
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

    Von Storch has only two listings, as primary author, in AR4 WG1 Chapter 6 (plus 3 as non-primary author). You have 5 as primary author.

  11. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 2:08 PM | Permalink

    #9 Typical – muttering dark allegations without anything to back it up. BTW Nature has agreed sufficiently with the the Materials Complaints that I filed in connection with MBH98 and Moberg that Corrigenda were issued in each case.

  12. Tom C2
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

    Steve M –

    I can well understand your chagrin. I’m frankly amazed you have kept your sanity and sense of humor throughout this long episode of lunacy. In this case, though, there might be a certain political savvy to excluding reference to your work. Maybe it is a message to Mann et. al. that “the ousiders are not the only ones critical of your work.”

  13. Mark H
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    For what it is worth, I posted the following comment at their blog. Let’s see if it is published:

    While I agree that the hockey stick has decayed, I am somewhat stunned by Von Storch and Zorita’s new found pollyanish view of paleoclimate science culture.

    As they well know, the hockey stick debate advanced in spite of intolerance and obstructionism by their peers. It advanced because of two investigators outside of the walls of climate science (McIntyre and McKitrick 2003 & 2005) relentlessly investigated, and published pointed critiques that outraged the science’s gatekeepers. And then it continued to advance because a few vetted “non-skeptic” climate researchers (starting with Von Storch and Zorita) were willing to risk the firestorm to challenge the methods behind the stick’s orthodoxy.

    And finally it advanced because of unwelcome politics – a Congressional investigation and request that made scientists confront the issues.

    More disappointingly, the authors also seemed to have forgotten that the hockey stick was jsut the immediate symptom, that both they and M&M had raised more fundamental issues regarding paleo-climate science core culture – the lack of full disclosure, the acceptance of journal unenforced policy, the lack of informed and robust peer reviews, etc.

    What then has really changed? Von Storch, et. al. have recently gotten fairer hearings, and they are back within the walls of acceptable opinion. None the less, the cultural practices that led to this crisis have NOT changed, and that Von Storch and Zorita found it necessary to studiously ignore mentioning the two researchers that are most responsible for the stick’s decay suggest they know the walls remain, and the gatekeepers are vigilent.

    Von Storch and Zorita should not confuse their own serenity with peers as a change in culture – nor should they give up fighting for their (former?) ideals.

    I can see why you are annoyed – seems like VS and Z are no longer marginalized by the debate and are trying to reconcile with the establishment.

  14. bernie
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 3:21 PM | Permalink

    Mark #13,
    I posted a similar sentiment about 2 hours ago but it has yet to appear. Perhaps they are trying to get the kinks out of their site – or they are screening each post for content. It is odd, that Eduardo’s comment on TAR4 here is so agreeable.

    The comment in #4 on Old World academics being priggish – after I got over the affront to my heritage – reminded me of the way Milton Friedman was treated by my Economics Professors at Cambridge. I have become truly embarrassed at the pettiness and intellectual myopia of the vast majority of their comments. Like Economics, this climate stuff ain’t rocket science and good statisticians and modellers can add real value to the field.

  15. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 3:40 PM | Permalink

    There’s a business phrase about the five stages of a project that applies here to the HS in one degree or another:

    1. Euphoria
    2. Disenchantment
    3. Search for the Guilty
    4. Persecution of the Innocent
    5. Rewarding of the Uninvolved

  16. Ken Fritsch
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 3:45 PM | Permalink

    Re: #13 and #14

    In my view, the excerpt from the Von Storch and Zorita statement below, gives away the reason M&M are not mentioned or referenced in their statement. For what ever reasons, they see things in the current climate world as something akin to peaceful bliss, while M&M are continuing to fight the (good) fight.

    The insiders say we have corrected the problems and now can’t we all just get along and the outsiders say just a moment here, it will take a bit more than that to correct it. Not at all an unexpected difference in insider versus outsider viewpoints. It would appear to me to be a case of more climate science spin and M&M should not take it personally.

    Hopefully, sociology of science will later study this unfortunate period of climate science, but we may conclude now that science itself has indeed corrected claims of premature knowledge. We see now a healthy and broad discussion of the issue.

  17. Eduardo Zorita
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    this text is a post on our work on the MBH methodologies and not a review of all the scientific issues surrounding the hockey-stick. There are many other papers that are not cited, and that also to had shed doubts on the MBH99 reconstructions, for instance Esper et al. Pollack et al (yes, perhaps you are not convinced but the Esper et al paper percieved as opposed to the HS and Mann et al. publised a rebuttal of this paper in Science). By the same token other papers that tended to support the hockey-stick are not cited in this entry either.

    This is a comment on the work related to what we think is a specific and serious drawback of the *statistical methods* applied for reconstructions, namely the underestimation of the low-frequency variability. The first paragraph is quite clear in this respect, and the word ‘methods’ is repeated throughout the post. This is unrelated to all other issues about the quality of the proxies, about the de-centered PC analysis of the proxies, and others that you have adressed in your papers.

    I think one should be allowed to post a comment on a specific paper and its *posterious* derivations, without having to make a review of the whole subject, and without being accused of trying to negate the work of others. If the reader has got the impression that we suggest our paper was the initiating spark, this impression is wrong.

    In any case, there is no gate-keeping here: I assume that comments to this text can be posted as well.

  18. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

    #17. Eduardo, I’m not going to get into a war with you about this or sulk about it, but I’m also going to get it off my chest: You listed papers that “assessed critically the merits of methods used to reconstruct historical climate variable from proxies”. You didn’t talk about papers that focused on the variance of the reconstructions.

    Well, our papers fall into that category and, whether you like it or not, we were the first to do in the field (and absorbed most of the counterattacks and abuse). You should have mentioned us in this entry especially in a Nature blog – although it wouldn’t have pleased Heike Langenberg.

    I do agree with your point that it has almost got to the point where the issues can be discussed in a sensible way, but there’s still a way to go. If it were truly as you say, Juckes et al wouldn’t be written the way it is.

  19. Mark H
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

    Re: 16

    One of the reasons I admired Von Storch, et. al., was that they were the first from within the cloister to publish a study that confirmed something was amiss with the iconic stick. I am sure it took some courage to take on peers, and refer to M&M as having some merit. It also took some courage to openly point out the lack of full disclosure and to quote Jones – one reason I loved their NAS powerpoint presentation.

    Unfortunitly we see what happens when the strident beat on the principaled nice guy – the nice guy compromises and returns to the fold. Right now the priorities have shifted from defending science to healing insider wounds. I guess the fear of burning bridges with peers is understandable, but it is none the less sad that they have set the limits to legitiment dissent – question methods, not “findings”.

    I am sorry they gave up their ideals for the alms of peer acceptence.

  20. James
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

    RE: 17
    Dr. Zorita, I find your excuse for not giving credit to M&M quite feeble. As an outsider (but a practicing geophysicist with a doctorate in physics), I’ve read plenty on CA and RC on the hockey stick. Considering what abuse M&M have had to put up with, I think not giving credit in this instance is awfully poor sportsmanship, as well as poor scientific practice.

  21. Eduardo Zorita
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 5:21 PM | Permalink

    #18.
    Steve,

    I do not request that you sulk about it- on the contrary. Blogs are fora for discussions. My reading of your postings is that you think that you and Ross were the first mover in the decay of the Hockey Stick. This is fine with me (why should I not like it?), although perhaps other people could make similar claims – to be the first-, I do not know. I personally have absolutely no claims in that direction.

    But I have learned something about me today. Now I know that I had some ‘ideals’, since apparently I have given them up. I was not such a bad guy as I thought of myself.

  22. Mark H
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

    Eduardo,

    I don’t know Steve, and I don’t know you – so naturally I don’t feel constrained from delivering some plain talk. If I seem a bit curt, please try to appreciate that my pet peeve is that I don’t care to argue over the obvious with individuals who should know better.

    Your text was not a review of your work, but a bit of historical revisionism beginning with the origins of the controversy – your paper apparently the being the seminal date for the beginning of the “healthy” debate (at least in your minds). To wit: “the publication in 2004 was a remarkable event, because the hockey-stick had been elevated to an icon by the 3rd Assessment Report of the IPCC. This perception was supported by a lack of healthy discussion about the method behind the hockey-stick. In the years before…” which is a back-handed way of saying the publication of M&M 2003 critique was inconsquential noise. Your summary reads like any other ‘pre-history’, a ‘before time’ where unnammed forces wrestle over the wrong issues and in the wrong causes (well before the ‘light’ provided by VS and Z).

    Naturally, in reviewing the “events since” your publication you then found it necessary to not only leave out M&M, but also the history that resulted in the NAS/NRC Panel and Barton committee – after all, whose work was it that forced paleo-climate science to confront the issues of methods, data integrity, peer review, and the reporting of results?

    Hopefully the ‘sociology of science will later study’ this period in full, and not just the sanitized ‘outsiders had no effect” and “all is well” version your blog post. You might recall that integrity was something you fellows once championed.

  23. DocMartyn
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

    Steve, it is quite possible that either an Editor or Referee ask for references to you to be removed. Some referees have been know to demand that a citation is removed, for one reason or another.

  24. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 7:29 PM | Permalink

    #23. IF that event happened, then there is still some sociology going on.

  25. Ross McKitrick
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 8:22 PM | Permalink

    Eduardo, like Steve I am not going to sulk about this, it’s just one of many things that makes me chuckle as I watch folks in your field carry on business. Your essay describes, without embarrassment, your fall 2004 paper as a “remarkable event” and points to the “lack of healthy discussion about the method behind the hockey-stick” that preceded it. Well, you may have missed it but there was a lot of healthy discussion about the method behind the hockey stick before your paper came out, e.g. in November 2003 after our E&E paper; proceeding to our Materials Complaint in winter 2004 and the ensuing Corrigendum of Mann et al in Nature in July 2004. By then our diagnosis of the PC error was in circulation–in October 2004 Richard Muller published a healthy discussion of it in the MIT Technology Review, the same month Steve’s and my paper on the PC error was accepted for presentation at the 2004 AGU meetings and was posted on the net, etc. etc.

    You are purporting to tell the history of the episode, starting when the hockey stick icon could not be publicly challenged, and ending where it now is supposedly subject to free and happy methodological scrutiny. You have inserted your late contribution at the heroic juncture, and in your re-telling there is no M&M03, 05a or 05b, no Corrigendum, no concealed r2 and miscalculated RE significance levels, no battles to get code released, no passive silence from the paleoclimate community in the face of Mann’s dissembling over data and methods, no painstaking diagnosis of the influence of bristlecones, no Wegman panel; the NAS panel just somehow “happened” and had nothing to do with the Barton letters; etc.

    Yes, future historians and sociologists of science will study this unfortunate period, but I think your blog post will be seen as an exemplar of the problem, rather than a chronicle of its resolution.

  26. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 9:15 PM | Permalink

    #21. MM03 was published in October 2003. It attracted considerable attention. While this article did not precisely diagnose the exact problem with Mann’s PCs, it correctly diagnosed that there was a problem with the PCs, which were critical to MBH. The exact problems with Mann’s PCs and the role of bristlecoens were diagnosed in our Nature submission (first in Jan 2004, revised March 2004).

    In fairness, von Storch and Zorita’s OCtober 2004 article was proceeding concurrently with our Nature submission. von Storch et al 2004 was submitted on 27 January 2004; accepted 23 August 2004, and published online 30 September 2004. Zorita et al had previously published an uncritical article on MBH submitted in 2001 (Zorita et al 2003). They were evaluating at different aspect of MBH. As I’ve said before, I think that their criticism of MBH is valid and I’ve defended them relative to Wahl et al. However, MBH is a smorgasbord of error and their particular criticism hardly exhausts the Little Shop of Horrors. Their Comment on the issues that we raised assumes away the problem as we’ve discussed previously.

    BTW Our Nature reviews were received in Feb 2004 and August 2004. In this context, readers might also re-examine the our Nature referee reports – see if there are any turns of phrase that have a little more meaning in the context of some of the subsequent debate. Gluttons may be interested in re-reading our Nature correspondence – NAture’s requirement that our arguments be expressed in 500 words was important to the gatekeeping function.

    The new publisher of Nature Geoscience handled the Mann Corrigendum. It was not externally peer reviewed as can be seen by one of the Referee Comments. Nature grudgingly admitted this to Marcel Crok.

  27. bender
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 9:31 PM | Permalink

    To be fair – and I’ve said this before – the hard word limits imposed by Nature are at the root of some (only some) of the problems. Mann struggled to explain his methods in as short a space as possible. As a result they were dense and opaque. He took undisclosed shortcuts (like fabricating data for Gaspé cedars for 1400, 1401, 1402, 1403) as a quick-fix for a hard-coded algorithm that would have avoided picking that 1404 cherry. He could have done things properly but hten he would have been publishing in a much less prestigious journal.

    I don’t want to go on and on. Just to say: I don’t think mother nature’s true complexity can be described in 1600 words or less, or that it is possible to debunk someone’s failed attempts to do so in 500 words or less. This word limit is a real problem.

    Just as publish-or-perish – the ethic which had MBH pushing their half-cooked work up to the highest levels of influence. It’s a cut-throat business. And that’s what Von Storch and Zorita are doing right now. Carving out their space. That’s how the game is played, folks. You think the universities care about the public interest?! Don’t make me laugh.

  28. Mark H
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 10:29 PM | Permalink

    There are several realities, one of them being the world of popular imagination. An article in Wikipedia, written by a member of the hockey team, gives thier view on the origins of the non-decay of the of the hockey stick:

    This dispute centered on technical aspects of the methodology and data sets used in creating the MBH98. The issue was originally highlighted by former mining executive Stephen McIntyre and University of Guelph economics professor Ross McKitrick. The major criticism was the claim that Mann et al.’s processing largely suppressed two notable climatic variations: the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) around the beginning of the second millennium and the Little Ice Age centered around 1600-1700 AD.

    And…

    The hockey stick controversy has to a large extent been focussed on Mann and on the MBH98 reconstruction on which he was the lead author. Scientific American magazine described him as the “Man behind the Hockey Stick,” referring to this reconstruction of temperatures…

    In 2003, Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick published “Corrections to the Mann et al (1998) Proxy Data Base and Northern Hemisphere Average Temperature Series” Energy and Environment 14(6) 751-772, raising concerns about their ability to reproduce the results of MBH. The IPCC AR4 reports that Wahl and Ammann (2007) showed that this was a consequence of differences in the way McIntyre and McKitrick (2003) had implemented the method of Mann et al. (1998) and that the original reconstruction could be closely duplicated using the original proxy data. [4]. In 2004 Mann, Bradley, and Hughes published a corrigendum to their 1998 article, correcting a number of mistakes in the online supplementary information that accompanied their article but leaving the actual results unchanged.

    Hans von Storch and colleagues claimed that the method used by Mann et al. probably underestimates the temperature fluctuations in the past by a factor of two or more;[5] however, this conclusion rests at least in part on the reasonableness of the global climate model (GCM) simulation used, which has been questioned;[6][7] Wahl et al. assert errors in the reconstruction technique that von Storch used.[8]. The IPCC AR4 reports that the extent of any such biases in specific reconstructions… is uncertain … It is very unlikely, however, that any bias would be as large as the factor of two suggested.

    Anders Moberg and his Swedish and Russian collaborators have also generated reconstructions with significantly more variability than the reconstructions of Mann et al.[9][10]

    Look at the bright side, they know who started the hockey stick debate and they got the order of ‘remarkable’ critiques correct.

  29. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 10:38 PM | Permalink

    I get awfully tired of paraphrases. Our articles are short. The abstracts don’t mince words. We didn;t mention either the MWP or LIA in our abstracts or conclusions and we did not assert either of the following as major or even minor criticisms:

    The major criticism was the claim that Mann et al.’s processing largely suppressed two notable climatic variations: the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) around the beginning of the second millennium and the Little Ice Age centered around 1600-1700 AD.

    We took no position in our articles on whether the LIA or MWP even existed. Our criticisms were entirely based on methodology and proxy validity. We asserted that Mann’s methods and data were insufficient for him to assert 20th century uniqueness and that key warranties attached to the reconstruction were false. Why does it seem so hard for people to describe things accurately?

    Steve: This comment was edited slightly to make a correction in response to William Connolley’s comment below.

  30. bender
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 10:40 PM | Permalink

    M&M were first, no question. But it’s who carries the momentum forward that will make the history books. Are VS&Z going to turn the AGW boat around?

  31. Mark H
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 10:53 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    I don’t know if it is worth your time but you might visit the Wiki article “Hockey Stick Controversy” and leave a few comments (or edits). I have noted that other articles often carry the caveat of “objectivity in question” – seems appropriate here.

  32. Mark H
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 11:53 PM | Permalink

    Bender,

    History is fluid, I would not worry about the history books. In a hundred years, most likely the controversy will be overshadowed by major new understandings in climate science, and far more sophisticated models that show paleohistory in a far different light. Some slueth will dig around the stacks and find M&M and exclaim, “why these fellows were before their time, how interesting”.

    It seems to me that von Storch has been to premature. While the concern over methods has finally gained some traction, it remains unresolved and staticians are not routinely consulted. More importantly, I think the second great battle will come over data – its quality and selection. The house of proxy climate history is built on untested assumptions and ‘the art’ of cherry picking, as well as dubious manipulations of data. Hopefully fellows like Steve will continue to dig and publish, and spawn another re-examination of the edifice.

    My only regret is that most of this would be unnecessary if their were rules of full disclosure. What takes years to resolve would only take months if climate science took the scientific method seriously. Without the ability to audit, years are wasted uncovering bogus methods and manipulated data – a pointless protection of the group.

    It is worth recalling that a hundred years ago the Progressive movement ushered in open government and professional stamdards of administration. Sunshine laws and public audits, assisted by muckrakers who exposed public corruption, limited the influence of political bosses and their machines. It happened because grassroots ‘outsiders’ got fed up with the corruption of their governments and shined a light on the back rooms, boards, and good old boy networks spoils system. It was not easy, the bosses and machines fought back with smears, frameups, slander, and fear – a lot of middle class reformers found out how ruthless an entrenched system is.

    So is it any wonder why a sunshine concept called “climate audit” is equally threatening to certain influentials?

  33. bender
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 12:54 AM | Permalink

    Mark H,
    I agree with what you write.

    But from where I sit, the pendulum’s actually swinging *harder* the *other* way. Less accountability, stronger gatekeeping, weakening links between scientists and policy-makers, greater entrenchment of established paradigms & programs, manicured optics, stronger illusions of openness & accountability.

    If I’m right, then the anonymo-blogo-sphere will play an increasingly important role as one of those checks that helps ensure the public’s full interests are served.

  34. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 2:11 AM | Permalink

    bender, I was astounded when you wrote:

    He took undisclosed shortcuts (like fabricating data for Gaspé cedars for 1400, 1401, 1402, 1403) as a quick-fix for a hard-coded algorithm

    Fabricating data is not an “undisclosed shortcut”, it is blatant, outrageous scientific fraud. Period. You are actively participating in that fraud by your weasel words..

    My apologies for speaking so strongly, but fraud is fraud. He MADE UP DATA!!!, and that doesn’t seem to bother you in the slightest. Quite to the contrary, you try to excuse it. If he did this anywhere but in academia, it would be a prosecutable offense. As I said in another context, you can piss on my boots … but it is still fraud.

    w.

  35. bender
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 7:10 AM | Permalink

    It bothers me enough to mention it explicitly. Which is more than you will hear from any of the Dendro Truth Squad.

  36. bender
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 7:47 AM | Permalink

    My argument has to do with Editorial policy at Nature. Nothing else.

    It is important to understand the link between that word limit policy and the approach taken by those who wrote MBH98. Those four data points did not contribute materially to the patterns in the data. What they did was force that proxy to not be overlooked in the 14th c. reconstruction. My point is: the exact same effect could have been achieved (with no fabrication) by changing the proxy selection criteria. The problem is that the extra detailing in the methods would have cost precious words. Believe me, when you’ve only got 1600, you have to cut to the bone.

    My point, Willis, is that the same problem Steve M is complaining about – Nature’s cut-to-the-bone word limits – were likely a factor in the non-disclosures by MBH.

    Now, I ask you, does it make sense to you that hugely complex arguments about the way nature works should be so rigidly limited? The journal Nature is a victim of their own editorial policy, and yet they don’t quite see it that way. We are all victims of their editorial policy, and yet they don’t see it that way. I think what’s fradulent is the idea that nature can be canned up in this ridiculously overly simplistic way.

    Hopefully my weasel-word quotient is dropping with this comment.

  37. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

    In economics, you have to archive your data and source code. One econometricians interested in replication characterized the article itself as no more than an advertisement for the data and code. I don’t have trobule with sensible word limits. However I asked for further particulars and was denied. I asked politely; I asked repeatedly. IF I’m strident now, it’s after being stonewalled.

    But on a going-forward basis, if Nature wants to continue publishing climate articles that barely rise above being brochures, then they need to require archiving data AND code so that people can see what they actually did.

    This is occurring one more time with Hegerl et al 2006 – the one with the confidence interval crossovers that I criticized last year. They’ve replaced their SI. Tapio Schnieder tried to find out what they did, but they stonewalled him.

  38. Tim Ball
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

    I am not surprised by the failure to credit you and Ross by the egregious usurping of credit. I have watched for years as people like Lonnie Thompson, Gordon Jacoby and latterly with D’Arrigo in tow attended and were part of the annual Symposiums on Climate fluctuations of the last 20,000 years we held at the Museum of Nature in Ottawa. They listened to presentations by Lou Josza, Marion Parker, Peter Scott and other Canadian dendrochronolgists then went away and published articles with little or no reference to their work at all. Cherry picking is not restricted to data.

  39. Gerald Machnee
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

    Re #15 **There’s a business phrase about the five stages of a project that applies here to the HS in one degree or another:**

    It works very well in government circles too.

  40. Ken Fritsch
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

    Re: #21

    But I have learned something about me today. Now I know that I had some ideals’, since apparently I have given them up. I was not such a bad guy as I thought of myself.

    Where else but on a blog could one obtain insights like this one.

  41. Pat Frank
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

    #36 “My point, Willis, is that the same problem Steve M is complaining about – Nature’s cut-to-the-bone word limits – were likely a factor in the non-disclosures by MBH.”

    Typically, the way these things work is that a fully complete paper providing far more extensive coverage of the same results are published elsewhere. Sometimes it’s in an official report, more oten it’s in a specialist journal where all the details are spelled out. Professionals in the field typically consult the specialist journal if they want to evaluate the research, and build on it.
    We all know of Nature’s snobbery and of their word-limits, and even of their unspoken editorial policy of hyping results to self-aggrandize status. For that reason, what is published in Nature is often seen as a summary result meant to bring an advance to a larger audience; not to say more fame to the author.

    One can gather from the contents of CA that Mann & co. never bothered to publish a detailed exposition of their work in any of the many specialist journals available to them. That oversight is their fault, and not the fault of Nature, nor of its policy on word-limit.

    In light of their negligence, one might turn around your exculpation, bender, and suggest that MBH used the concision of Nature as an opportunity to skirt the need to fully disclose their methods. The obdurate stone-walling that attended Steve M.’s eminently reasonable requests from very early on, and the continued obscurantism, foot-dragging, and outright blockading that has followed without end, far more supports a conclusion of [snip] than it does one of victimization by a policy of word limits.

    As a working scientist, I also resent your careless tarring of an entire professional class in #33. In my field there is no such trend. Indeed, the only place I see such things as you describe is in climate science, and then only among those politically committed to AGW. There is a kind of paradigmatic subversion that channels explanations a certain way in all branches of science. This is typical of human thinking, and readily overcome by adherence to the scientific method. The proponents of AGW, however, are unique in having overthrown the scientific method in favor of sentiment-driven conclusion-mongering. They’ll eventually pay for that with their reputations. Meanwhile, casting aspersions on all working scientists is not helpful.

  42. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 1:37 PM | Permalink

    There are a number of comments at the Nature blog about the HS today. The little VZ stunt about M&M seems to have backfired as nearly all the commenters, including William Connolley, have criticized this omission. VZ don’t have Gavin at the helm deleting MM mentions and are stuck with the comments. Nature probably didn’t want to start off their new blog by getting into censoring comments criticizing the MM omission and didn’t do so.

    There are more MM mentions than if VZ has dealt with us fairly in the first place. VZ would have been better off being upfront about it in the first place. Their only reward for aggrandising their own work is simply to look bad. Blogs work differently than journals that way.

  43. Posted May 4, 2007 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

    Steve, #29 is uncharacteristically careless, as you’ve taken on trust that someone from the “hockey team” (whatever that is) wrote the text you’re talking about. I suggest you audit the page history.

    But someone has been reading you: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hockey_stick_controversy&curid=8838284&diff=128251197&oldid=127511381

    #42: I’ve changed my mind a bit :-): http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/05/another_perspective_on_von_sz.php

  44. MarkR
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

    SteveM

    They do censor comments. I tested it. It had to do with fences and mouths and two sides and a Latin.

  45. John A
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    Yesterday CA got 22,248 hits, so its probably more than just the one reader.

    And totems don’t disappear even when they’ve been as thoroughly discredited and without statistical merit as the Hockey Stick. Al Gore cites it. James Lovelock cites it. Even critics of “the Great Global Warming Swindle” criticize that documentary for not citing it. The “Rough Guide to Global Warming” cites it. And the IPCC AR4 cites it repeatedly (although hides it behind spaghetti of other equally meritless reconstructions)

    Totemization indeed. But not by skeptics.

  46. Mark T.
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

    #42: I’ve changed my mind a bit

    Re-reading this entire thread I can find no instance where Steve M. claims “priority” on this matter. In fact, his only comment is that his (and Ross’) work should have at least been mentioned, and he duly noted that the submission of his studies was in process at the same time as VS/Z. Your revised “perspective” doesn’t really make sense in this light, and your mention that their sole scientific argument rests on the MM05 GRL is immaterial. Also, comment 22 wasn’t made by Steve, but just another one of us that frequent the blog, again an immaterial citation.

    The question of whether the chicken or egg came first isn’t really material, either, as the ultimate discovery of the HS shenanigans has come from this location, and the resulting “healthy debate”* is a direct result of the fact that the work continues to fall under scrutiny by otherwise disinterested parties, as it should. Credit should always be given where credit is due, and the fact of the matter is that Steve and Ross have made major strides over the course of the past several years in outing flawed science and scientific practices.

    Mark

    * I’d hardly call the debate healthy in any context, but that’s another matter.

  47. John Baltutis
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 5:04 PM | Permalink

    WOW!!! Steve M. is really getting under every AGW alarmist’s skin. Even the grand vizier, gatekeeper of wikipedia’s GW postings, has joined the fray and posted (won’t be censored, BTW) at CA, of all places. They’re bringing on the heavy hitters (note the absence of S. Bloom, Peter H., and Lee from the thread’€”they must have been benched).

  48. jae
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

    (note the absence of S. Bloom, Peter H., and Lee from the thread’€”they must have been benched).

    Nah, they just gave up on the stubborn CA crowd who are only interested in the boring facts.

  49. Posted May 4, 2007 at 6:06 PM | Permalink

    A new collection of well-known links to some papers and reports related to the hockey stick:

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2007/05/decay-of-hockey-stick-who-did-it.html

  50. bender
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 8:10 PM | Permalink

    Re #41
    Something of an apology.

    Typically, the way these things work is that a fully complete paper providing far more extensive coverage of the same results are published elsewhere. Sometimes it’s in an official report, more oten it’s in a specialist journal where all the details are spelled out. Professionals in the field typically consult the specialist journal if they want to evaluate the research, and build on it.

    Steve M has described this before as Nature’s strategy of externalizing the cost of having to report details, basically exporting that responsibility to the specialist literature. I agree with you both.

    One can gather from the contents of CA that Mann & co. never bothered to publish a detailed exposition of their work in any of the many specialist journals available to them. That oversight is their fault, and not the fault of Nature, nor of its policy on word-limit.

    Agreed. I was making a different point. It’s more than once that Steve M has complained about the 500-word limit, you know.

    In light of their negligence, one might turn around your exculpation, bender, and suggest that MBH used the concision of Nature as an opportunity to skirt the need to fully disclose their methods. The obdurate stone-walling that attended Steve M.’s eminently reasonable requests from very early on, and the continued obscurantism, foot-dragging, and outright blockading that has followed without end, far more supports a conclusion of willful fraud than it does one of victimization by a policy of word limits.

    One COULD do that if one wanted to impugn motive, and risk being snipped. You are bolder than me.

    As a working scientist, I also resent your careless tarring of an entire professional class in #33.

    I think I’ve been misunderstood here, and it’s probably my fault for being too cryptic when I said “from where I sit”. This was not a comment on science in general, but a very focused comment on a particular trend in a particular field “where I sit”. I probably should not say in anything if I am going to be that vague. My apologies for any offense. None was intended.

    In my field there is no such trend.

    I wasn’t commenting on your field. I do not know what goes on in your field from where I sit. You should probably try to being a little more careful yourself about overinterpreting what other people say.

    Willis’s comments this morning, too, were a little over the top, I must say. But that’s ok by me because his posts are great – as are yours. I hope to drop this and “move on” now.

  51. John Norris
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

    This is a pretty funny thread. A few observations:

    1. A little friendly competition amongst the hockey stick debunkers is good. The M&M and VS work complement each other. Ultimately they both contributed to the HS decay. Any good author sees their own paper as the most important milestone. Please keep it friendly.

    2. Pretty funny when an RC contributor chimes in on the debate elsewhere and then has to revise and extend on CA. And states they don’t know what the hockey team is. Didn’t Gavin and Mann start the term on RC? origin

  52. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 9:20 PM | Permalink

    bender, my comments were perhaps over the top, in fact I apologized for my bluntness at the time. But I’m not sure we’re not talking about different things here. The MBH 98 article was not 500 words or 1,500 words, it was over 7,500 words. That’s plenty of space snip

    As you point out, they could easily have chosen a different ex ante proxy selection criterion, but they didn’t.
    w.

  53. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 9:28 PM | Permalink

    #43. You’re right that I did rely on the attribution of the comment by the prior poster. I’ll take the comment that this was “uncharacteristically careless” as a form of compliment. I don’t know how to blackline things in comment boxes and have therefore gone back edited the comment and have noted up the change here.

  54. Pat Frank
    Posted May 5, 2007 at 12:35 AM | Permalink

    #50 — thanks, bender, you’re a gentleman and a scholar. My own apologies for being too tart. It would have helped had “scientists” in #33 been qualified.

  55. Mark H
    Posted May 5, 2007 at 11:04 AM | Permalink

    #43

    Actually it was my possible error. I wrote it under a misimpression of how wikipedia works, and only noted your extensive commentary in the discussion area…so I supposed you were/are the main author. Anyway wihout using a trackback (which I suppose Wiki provides) that specific comment ‘s source is unknown.

    Just out of curiousity, is it known who first wrote the main content?

    Mark H.

  56. Mark H
    Posted May 5, 2007 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

    Regarding Wikipedia and M&M, LIA, MWP

    After looking at some prior pages, I may have found how the error was first innoculated into the text.

    “90.144.113.77 (Talk) at 13:02, 12 February 2007″ seems to have loosely tied it to M&M, then it got reshuffled into the more recent form.
    It was quite an education for me on the doings of Wiki, I had no idea how raw an article starts and how many revisions it goes through.

    Hopefully no one is too offended by my unwarranted presumption, if so please accept my apologies.

  57. Bob Meyer
    Posted May 6, 2007 at 5:27 AM | Permalink

    There is a lot at work here regarding the treatment of M&M by climatologists. It is more than that M&M are “outsiders”. By comparison look at Edwin Land, the inventor of the Polaroid Land Camera. He was always looking for ways to improve the color reproduction of his films and decided to investigate how the human eye worked as a means to making a better film. Land concluded that the existing theories of color perception were wrong and devised many clever experiments that proved it. Before he was done, the consensus vision theories were in shambles.

    Land, a college dropout, was not greeted with derision. In fact, R.L. Gregory, perhaps Great Britain’s top vision expert, refers to Land as “the American inventive genius” due to his revolutionary ideas about color vision. Land was even asked to write an article for Scientific American about his discoveries.

    So what’s the difference between Edwin Land and Steve McIntyre? Land only disproved some of the particulars of orthodox vision theory, he did not undercut scientists’ world view. M&M broke one leg of a three legged table when they showed Mann’s claim that the 20th century was the hottest century in a thousand years was not justified by the data. Without that leg, the global warming table collapses and many scientists’ entire universe of belief collapses with it.

    Of all of humanity’s discoveries surely Galileo’s demonstration that the earth went around the sun and not vice-versa was among the least consequential for the average man. The sun still rose, the birds still sang and sex was still good so why was Galileo threatened with being burned at the stake? Because he challenged a world view and that is never a way to win friends and influence people.

  58. Charlie (Colorado)
    Posted May 6, 2007 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

    Just out of curiousity, is it known who first wrote the main content?

    Mark, re #55, yes, it is: look at the page’s “history” tab and you can see a listing of all contributors. because of Wikipedia’s attribution policy, the name may be a pseudonym, or may even be a simple IP quad.

  59. Mark H
    Posted May 7, 2007 at 2:18 PM | Permalink

    Unless I am misreading the history, I suppose thie in the original contributer: 9 January 2007 William M. Connolley. Thanks for the tip.

  60. Mark T.
    Posted May 7, 2007 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

    Wow, I think we just witnessed a group blog hug. :)

    Mark

  61. Climate Tony
    Posted May 7, 2007 at 5:32 PM | Permalink

    Based on what I see over at Nature Blog and here, Steve McIntyre has a noisy mob on his side.

    But which of them has read “It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times” by Phil Jones, 1998, Science.

    Am I misreading it, or is this early comment on MBH killing with faint praise while raising most of the key issues.

    Can the mob offer an opinion? Is it actually club member P.D. Jones to whom a share of the credit for first (politely) raising serious questions should go, not to MM or to VZ?

    REFERENCE
    Science 24 April 1998:
    Vol. 280. no. 5363, pp. 544 – 545
    DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5363.544
    Prev | Table of Contents | Next

    Research Commentaries
    CLIMATE CHANGE:
    It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times
    Phil Jones
    A slight warming trend has been observed in global temperature data over the last century, but is it caused by human activity? This important question is discussed in the Research Commentary by Jones, who looks at a recent reconstruction of the temperature trend since 1400 made with several high-resolution records by Mann et al. of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Such reconstructions are a start toward resolving the debate over human impact on climate.

    ——————————————————————————–
    The author is with the Climatic Research Unit, School of Environmental Sciences, Norwich, UK NR4 7TJ. E-mail: p.jones@uea.ac.uk

  62. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 7, 2007 at 5:47 PM | Permalink

    #61. Jones made no attempt to see what Mann actually did. He did not observe: (1) the severe bias in Mann’s principal components methodology; (2) the false MBH verification statistic claims; (3) the false MBH claims to robustness to dendro indicators (when they were not robust to even to bristlecones); (4) the dependence on bristlecones. The faux sophistication of Mann’s article paralyzed the situation as it was not easy to determine what he actually did.

    HAd Jones actually observed the problems, presumably IPCC TAR would have been different.

  63. fFreddy
    Posted May 7, 2007 at 5:48 PM | Permalink

    Re #61, Climate Tony
    Don’t be a tease. You quote the part where Jones asks the question, but what answer does he come to ?

  64. Climate Tony
    Posted May 7, 2007 at 7:13 PM | Permalink

    Jones’ paper hasn’t the resolution of an McIntyre blog; and i’ll defer to others on technical matters. As a lay reader, I found the flavor of Jones’ critique to be very substantial and pointed, including what I read as direct suggestions that MBH lacked statistical significance, provided incomplete data, relied too heavily on tree rings, and ran into problems using instrumental records for calibration.
    McIntyre is right that Jones didn’t replicate MBH, but I suppose a member of the “Team” wouldn’t need to to sniff out some of the general issues. As a lay reader, I would have concluded that something was amiss with MBH when I read not just Jones’ title, but his closing line: “It is far, far better work that all paleoclimatologists need to do, better than they have ever done; it is far, far better reconstructions that are needed by the climate community.”

    FFreddy. I would like to post the Science article, but I haven’t the copyright to do so.

  65. bender
    Posted May 7, 2007 at 9:38 PM | Permalink

    No need to put “team” in quotes, Climate Tony. It’s the Team’s own phrase for themselves.

  66. Brian
    Posted May 8, 2007 at 8:14 AM | Permalink

    M&M hold the high ground on the hockey stick issue. Why not just walk away from it? Less can be more in this case: more words cannot improve upon the debate.

    Focus on the next debunking.

  67. Ken Robinson
    Posted May 12, 2007 at 10:56 AM | Permalink

    Von Storch and Zorita have, rather belatedly, added this comment over at Climate Feedback;

    In our submission to the nature-weblog, we have presented how we have perceived the fate and responses of our paper to science about the methodical problems behind the hockey-stick technique. In this account we have not mentioned many other articles, which have been critical to the hockey-stick result.

    It has been noted that we have made no reference to Steve McIntyre’s work. This was on purpose, as we do not think that McIntyre has substantially contributed in the published peer-reviewed literature to the debate about the statistical merits of the MBH and related method. They have published one peer-reviewed article on a statistical aspect, and we have published a response ‘€” acknowledging that they would have a valid point in principle, but the critique would not matter in the case of the hockey-stick.

    In our understanding, McIntyre has raised two objections to the hockey-stick reconstruction; one was the statistical problem just mentioned, the other the selective selection of proxy data (the bristlecone question). It may very well be that this critique is valid; it has never been properly discussed, as far as we know ‘€” among other things because McIntyre has not published a regular review paper on this issue in a peer-reviewed journal. We have advised Steve McIntyre several times that he should write a paper just on this issue, without blending many other aspects into such a paper. He has not done so, it seems. The example of the GRL paper on the EOF problems has demonstrated that he has a chance to publish in peer-reviewed journals.

    Thus, we see in principle two scientific inputs of McIntyre into the general debate ‘€” one valid point, which is however probably not relevant in this context, and another which has not been properly documented.

    On the other hand, Steve McIntyre is to be applauded to have made the hockey-stick result an issue in the public debate; without his efforts, we guess, there would have been not Barton letters, thus no inquiry by the National Research Council and subsequently no hearing in a subcommittee of the House. This was a political achievement, not a scientific one. And the Barton letters were questionable.

    Another important aspect was his insistence on free availability of data, for independent tests of (not only) important findings published in the literature. It is indeed a scandal that such important data sets, and their processing prior to analysis, is not open to independent scrutiny. The reluctance of institutions and journals to support such requests is disappointing.

    We would also like to emphasize that we consider Steve McIntyre often unfairly treated by the scientific community. He has, as everybody else, the right to be heard and to participate in the debate as long he is contributing scientific arguments. His GRL paper has demonstrated that he is qualified to participate. We have supported Steve McIntyre in his quest to be heard; that does not mean that we agree with all his views and knowledge claims. Indeed, we mostly do not.

    Hans von Storch and Eduardo Zorita

  68. Ken Fritsch
    Posted May 12, 2007 at 12:24 PM | Permalink

    The comment from VS&Z entered by Ken Robinson in post #67 confirms, in my mind, the insider versus outsider view of things in the world of climate science.

    the other the selective selection of proxy data (the bristlecone question). It may very well be that this critique is valid; it has never been properly discussed, as far as we know ‘€” among other things because McIntyre has not published a regular review paper on this issue in a peer-reviewed journal.

    The NAS suggestion on BCPs of course means little because it was instigated by that bad old Rep Barton. Politics and science are to be kept completely separate in climate science — at least on certain occasions and under certain circumstances.

    We have supported Steve McIntyre in his quest to be heard; that does not mean that we agree with all his views and knowledge claims. Indeed, we mostly do not.

    I am sure this was an important disclaimer (as unspecific as it is) for insider to make and comes as no surprise to me.

    What is it that VS&Z have done outside of remarks in passing to insure the transparency of peer-reviewed articles and the data used in them?

  69. bender
    Posted May 12, 2007 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

    Outsiders are not to be given credit for reform; that would suggest that the inside is rotten. It would suggest the science is not self-correcting. If insiders can scoop up the credit, the science is saved. Von Storch and Zorita are the new saviors.

    Hey Hans, Eduardo, news flash: the journals you publish in are less influential than this blog. Don’t kid yourselves. Post your comments here, and we’ll talk about it.

  70. KevinUK
    Posted May 12, 2007 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

    #69 bender

    I totally agree. As can be seen from many of the posts over the last 12 to 18 months or so on this blog, there are many ‘new’ visitors to this web site.

    I doubt whether any of them read the papers published in scientific journals or know about the antics of the Royal Society and its now ex-PR man Bob Ward. If they read this blog then they get to see just what these people are up to and in particular just how poor the so called science is that underpins the case for man caused global warming. Steve, bender, Willis et al, keep up the good work.

    KevinUK

  71. Ken Fritsch
    Posted May 13, 2007 at 5:44 PM | Permalink

    Re: #69

    Hey Hans, Eduardo, news flash: the journals you publish in are less influential than this blog. Don’t kid yourselves. Post your comments here, and we’ll talk about it.

    That’s pretty much what I wanted to say without sounding like a brash young man –which I am not — but could not pull the trigger. Thanks for doing it for me, Bender.

  72. bernie
    Posted May 13, 2007 at 6:56 PM | Permalink

    Von Storch and Zorita’s addendum IMHO is frankly pitiful. Better that they keep silent, than damn with faint praise. What is ironic is that much that is commented on here passed the peer review muster – but as others have made clear that is not a certificate of anything except reputation and adherence to form. Professions and disciplines do have to police themselves, but there are also always the auditors and lawyers to keep them honest.

  73. MrPete
    Posted May 14, 2007 at 5:38 AM | Permalink

    Wow, what a great commentary and admission, even if not stated as such! Highlighting VS&Z’s key points makes their presumption of status quo sooo clear:

    we do not think that McIntyre has substantially contributed in the published peer-reviewed literature to the debate

    “McIntyre has raised two objections…It may very well be that this critique is valid; it has never been properly discussed…because McIntyre has not published a regular review paper on this issue in a peer-reviewed journal.

    We have advised…that he should write a paper…The example of the GRL paper on the EOF problems has demonstrated that he has a chance to publish in peer-reviewed journals.

    “Thus, we see in principle two scientific inputs of McIntyre into the general debate ‘€” one valid point, which is however probably not relevant in this context, and another which has not been properly documented.”

    So the only substantial contributions come from peer-reviewed commentary in the traditional journals. Nothing else is substantial, nothing else is a proper discussion, nothing else is actually a publication, and nothing else is scientific.

    My bottom line: if the current state of peer-reviewed journal discussion on the issue is the only proper form of substantial scientific discussion, then science is in big trouble.

  74. per
    Posted May 14, 2007 at 6:02 AM | Permalink

    In our understanding, McIntyre has raised two objections to the hockey-stick reconstruction; one was the statistical problem just mentioned, the other the selective selection of proxy data (the bristlecone question). It may very well be that this critique is valid; it has never been properly discussed, as far as we know ‘€” among other things because McIntyre has not published a regular review paper on this issue in a peer-reviewed journal. We have advised Steve McIntyre several times that he should write a paper just on this issue, without blending many other aspects into such a paper.

    It seems to me that these comments have some merit. This blog does raise substantial public interest; but I have to take many of the comments here on face value, because I do not have the knowledge to evaluate them myself. Peer-review, for all its well documented faults, does have the merit of putting an imprimatur of quality on comments- and sometimes it is a constructive process.

    I think I would rather say that steve has covered substantial ground, that could be made into a paper. Undertaking that process would formalise the work that he has done into a coherent package that could enter the literature, and I hope that Steve sees this as a constructive process. I think that the literature would benefit greatly.

    per

  75. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 14, 2007 at 6:39 AM | Permalink

    I’m not going to make a full response to VZ right now. We’ve been invited by Nature to write our own entry on the HS and have accepted their invitation.

    As to the VZ comment:

    They have published one peer-reviewed article on a statistical aspect, and we have published a response ‘€” acknowledging that they would have a valid point in principle, but the critique would not matter in the case of the hockey-stick.

    We have 5 articles cited in IPCC AR4, including both E&E articles and two replies, each of which contained original work. Our E&E articles were discussed at length by Wahl and Ammann who were also cited. Bristlecone issues were discussed at length in our E&E article. It wouldn’t do VZ any harm to read our other 4 articles.

    As we observed in our Reply to VZ, they did not show that Mann’s erroneous PC method did not matter to his study; they showed that with pseudoproxies each of which contains a temperature signal plus white noise, it wouldn’t matter. This is not the same thing as showing that it didn’t matter in the MBH case. In our Reply to VZ, we discussed what happened when you included any contaminated data, showing that the MBH method rapidly broke down. This was a complete response to VZ. Their discussion would be more interesting if they responded to our reply, rather than simply re-iterating their original comment as though it were revealed truth.

    This is not to say that I shouldn’t submit more articles. However the gatekeeping is not quite as unproblematic as VZ assert. I recently had an article rejected with extraordinarily antagonistic and even defamatory review comments. The comments were completely amusingly inconsistent: one reviewer said that the results were all wrong and therefore the article should be rejected; the other reviewer said the results were already published in the literature and well-known to climate science and therefore the article should be rejected. The editor did not observe the irony and adopted the consensus that the article should be rejected.

    If I’d been in their shoes, I would have just simply amended my original post to mention us. It’s puzzling that they should bother with this negative and personal sort of blog entry. It simply invites and incites controversy.

  76. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 14, 2007 at 6:48 AM | Permalink

    #73. I view the blog more as a type of seminar than as an alternative to science journals. Journals are indexed and this blog is now so big and sprawling that it’s hard to find things on it.

    I quite agree that there are many things that can and should be written up. However climate scientists are opportunistic in their attitude to blogs. Virtually all of the public perception of our articles has not been shaped through peer reviewed literature, but through realclimate and my attempts here to counter them. Many climate scientists accept realclimate statements on the HS, although these were not peer-reviewed journal entries.

  77. bender
    Posted May 14, 2007 at 7:06 AM | Permalink

    We’ve been invited by Nature to write our own entry on the HS and have accepted their invitation.

    That is terrific news!
    Let us know if you need our services as internal reviewers.

  78. PaulM
    Posted May 14, 2007 at 8:17 AM | Permalink

    All very interesting! The debate is now not whether the stick is broken, but who can claim credit for breaking it. I find the response #67 grudging and patronising. It is a sad illustration of how science works these days. If you are not already regarded as an established expert in the field, it is likely that your contribution will be ignored and others who are in the field will adopt your ideas and take the credit. I have seen this happen in other fields.
    Anyway, the comments on the Nature blog seem to be putting things straight.
    Steve, I am interested in your point in #75 – is there somewhere a listed of the articles you have submitted to the mainstream literature that have been rejected? How many are there? You could even post them with the referee comments…

  79. Jeff Norman
    Posted May 14, 2007 at 8:38 AM | Permalink

    Re: #78, “grudging and patronising”

    BINGO

  80. MarkW
    Posted May 14, 2007 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

    Step 1) Declare that only those who publish recognized, peer reviewed journals are worth listening to.
    Step 2) Work behind the scenes to insure that anyone who’s work upsets the consensus view doesn’t get published in “recognized”, peer reviewed journals.
    If step 2 fails.
    Step 3) Declare that any journal that publishes works by those who challenge the consensus are no longer “recognized” because their standards have fallen so low.

  81. C_G_K
    Posted May 14, 2007 at 11:03 AM | Permalink

    #73

    if the current state of peer-reviewed journal discussion on the issue is the only proper form of substantial scientific discussion, then science is in big trouble

    We shouldn’t forget that the Internet was created in the first place mostly as a tool for scientists to use to share information with each other to speed up the pace and quality of research and the exchange of ideas. This is something most of us take for granted now when doing research. To downplay the importance to science of this information sharing and open forums like climateaudit is a mistake IMO.

  82. MrPete
    Posted May 14, 2007 at 3:28 PM | Permalink

    #76 I agree. My emphasis is that journals are not the ONLY valid source of scientific discussion and discovery. That’s the height of [choose your favorite epithet, mild or strong].

  83. bender
    Posted May 14, 2007 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    Re #77
    In this invited submission, may I suggest focusing on the width of the confidence interval/envelope? This would not only help to highlight the extreme uncertainty over the current data, but also help to move the science forward. (I guess UC has still not quite figured out what MBH99 did. And now we have IPCC AR4 Fig. 6.10c to contend with. It seems to be a hydra. Something needs to be done to anchor this slippery problem down.)

  84. Posted Jun 4, 2007 at 2:52 PM | Permalink

    M&M’s response is now up at Climate Feedback

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