Almagre Vistas

I hope that many of you have visited Pete Holzmann’s photo gallery here. If you click on each picture on this page, you get a separate “gallery”. Today, I’m going to post up a quick overview together with a few maps.

First here is a map showing the location of Almagre Mountain relative to Colorado Springs. We got to the site by driving up the main highway and then coming in from the back. An old geologist friend of mine warned me that in the mountains in Chile you often “went around your elbow to get to your nose” and this was the case here. The drive approaching the site from below went through some very picturesque meadows as you’ll see from Pete’s gallery.


Figure 1. Location Map, Almagre Mountain

As others have already observed from the gallery, we did make a point of literally documenting the Starbucks Hypothesis – we were not idly testing whether it would have been possible in principle to have a Starbucks (but instead only having roadside coffee). We convened on Day 1 at the Starbucks and one of the other customers took a photo of our little party. Pete and Leslie Holzmann are on the left; I’m in the center with my B&R Squash hat on; my sister Leslie is on my immediate left and my wife Nola is to her left.

almagr13.jpg

Here we are (Nola took this picture) up at a site that we christened “Elk Park” in front of a bristlecone – notice the distinctive bark.

bristlecones-026.jpg

Now one of the excuses made in dendro world for the lack of proper site location information is the lack of availability of GPS instruments in the 1980s. Don’t get me wrong – GPS instruments are great, but long before GPS became available, people drew maps. It would have taken negligible effort for dendro collectors to draw at least a sketch map showing their sample location. Geologists ALWAYS have proper location maps and geologists can routinely locate showings in remote areas from maps drawn 50 years ago. In the case of many U.S. dendro maps, there are excellent Forest Service maps and it is easy to mark site locations on a Forest Service map as shown below. I suspect that Forest Service maps were available in the 1980s, but even if they weren’t it would have been easy to draw a sketch map showing the roads and the sample location relative to the roads. In most mining jurisdictions, people with exploration licences are required to archive maps showing their work and it would be easy for the WDCP to also archive maps – it’s easy now in a digital world, but paper maps could have been archived in the past. The problem here seems to be – according to one dendrochronologist that I asked about this – is that dendrochronologists do not routinely make maps – or perhaps more accurately, routinely do not make maps. Thus the problem. Had a map like the one below been available, then it would have been relatively easy to locate the Graybill trees, when, in fact, the actual location required a considerable amount of serendipidity.

On the map, you can see McReynolds Reservoir to the north of “Elk Park” where our first samples were taken. The vista from the hill was really pretty, as the following picture form Pete’s gallery shows:

almagr14.jpg
Just for fun (and so as not to under-estimate the detail available using sun views from Google Earth), here’s roughly the same view from Google Earth and you can see the amazing amount of detail captured at Google Earth here.

elkpark.jpg

When we left this site, after a little while, we encountered the following situation in the road. It’s actually worse than it looks. The boulder would rip the underbelly of the truck we were in, stranding us on the mountain and the sides of the road on either side were pretty steeply pitched. Pete is a skillful 4-wheel driver in addition to other skills (computers, wood working) and figured out how to slalom the 4-wheeler down the gully, riding the wheels just to the side of the boulder with the truck at what seemed to be about 35 (Pete amends: 35-45) degree angle to the horizontal, while the rest of us held branches back at the side with all our limited might. We got off the mountain with a deep $500 scratch to the truck and thanked our stars that that was all. You’d want a different and less highway-comfortable vehicle for this section of the road, that’s for sure. But at least there was no precipice at the side and the pictures of a similar situation in Pete’s later adventures look much more hair-raising.

almagr4.jpg

In the second part of Day 1, we sampled at the site labelled above as “Almagre Base”. We were looking for Graybill’s “Frosty Park” site, which we figured was near this site. I don’t think that this site matched Graybill’s Frosty Park but did have bristlecones and the same lack of understory vegetation. I was very tired and getting affected by the altitude (to which I wasn’t used) by this point and look even more bedraggled than usual; however, the three women and Pete were doing fine. By this point, we figured that Graybill’s Mount Almagre site was somewhere up the road where it was eventually located, but we’d done enough for the day. We’d collected about 20 cores. I’m sure that Rob Wilson would have collected more, but typical dendro site collections were often around this size. Pete has some nice panoramas at the gallery – look at them full-size for a wonderful vista. Below is a scaled-down jpg of a panorama of Almagre Base showing just how little understory vegetation was on the top of the knoll where we sampled. Is this evidence of dryness as well as cold? The understory at Elk Park was equally sparse or sparser.

almagr2.jpg

By this time, Pete and Leslie were very keen on the project. It’s an interesting way to visit the mountains, that’s for sure. I had to go home, but they were determined to track down the Graybill sites. Here is Pete’s email to me on his second trip.

12 trees sampled, multiple samples from most
* Found enough bristlecones that we largely ignored the stripbarks
* I’m quite certain we were where Graybill was, at least partly.

I was able to re-take one of the photos he took ;)
* We ended up sampling a couple of trees that were already tagged!

Could these be exact matches?
– Bristlecones
– Round metal tags nailed on each tree
– One was labeled “252”, another “254”

* We were horrified to discover a major “offroad” group campsite, where ancient bristlecones were harmed by…
— makeshift latrines created by nailing boards to the trees
— one very large tree was “topped” about 1m off the ground;
the entire upper tree had been sawn off and used for a variety of other purposes
* Sad news: locked gates keep people away from the top of Almagre. Also, a locked gate blocks access to the road that leads to Ruxton Park… we could only go about 100 meters past where we turned uphill when you were here.

Recovery, some processing, and the materials will be shipped/uploaded

Here’s an interesting panorama from this part of the expedition. Look at this picture in conjunction with the two photos shown below.

almagr10.jpg

The picture on the left shows the location of Day 2 sampling; the picture on the right shows the location of Day 3 sampling where the Graybill trees were located. If you go back and look at the panorama, you can pick out the shapes of the two sample locations within the panorama. At present we’re not sure what program the identification tags located on Day 2 – “252” and “254” – refer to. On Day 2, Pete and Leslie were within a 100 feet or so of Graybill trees but a little bit off.

But on Day 3, Pete and Leslie found 17 Graybill tags with ID numbers 84-55, etc. Since these are definitely Graybill tags, the provenance of the 252, 254 tags is uncertain. You can also see just how flukey it was to have identified these tags – especially since we didn’t even know that the trees were tagged and Pete says that the tags were not easy to spot. Not all the tagged trees are included in the measurement data archive. In a post last year in connection with Graybill’s sampling at Niwot Ridge, I observed that there were a number of missing numbers in the measurement data archive and that auditors don’t like missing invoices. As noted previously, our tree 30 has a Graybill tag (84-55) but the tag numbers do not reconcile to archive identification numbers. Complicating matters, there are missing numbers in the archive sequence. As I’ve said before, auditors don’t like missing invoices and I’m certainly going to try to reconcile this information, but this sort of reconciliation is very time-consuming.

 almagr11.jpg  almagr12.jpg

Go visit the full gallery here.

We measured the elevation of Graybill’s trees to be at about 3550 m (Graybill reported 1,800 feet-3600 m.) There are not many archived sites that are higher than this and about half of the higher sites are also from Colorado-New Mexico (7); there are 4 sites in Nepal; one in Germany; one in Mexico and one in China (Wulan near Dulan, which we’ve discussed at CA.) The California bristlecone and foxtail sites are a little lower than this – Sheep Mountain CA – 3475 m; Campito Mountain CA 3400 m; Graunlich’s Upper Wright Lake 3519 m and Boreal Plateau 3420 m. Despite having lower treelines, the California sites are further south (Sheep Mountain is 37 22N; Boreal Plateau 36 20N versus 38 46N at Almagre.) Note that the Dulan sites in China (and the Dunde and Guliya ice cores are at similar latitudes.)

84 Comments

  1. Posted Oct 13, 2007 at 9:33 PM | Permalink

    I have and it looked like y’all have a fine ole time. I just hope that the fruits of your labors are sweet.

  2. Lhickey
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 12:01 AM | Permalink

    Did you find any cherry trees? The team likes cheery picking.

    ‘and I’m certainly going to try to find out what happened to the data from Graybill 84-55 and other unarchived tagged trees.’

  3. Jonde
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 12:34 AM | Permalink

    Yes, the site looks very dry, so it seems very likely that the lack of available soil moisture is playing a big role in the annual growth. I have never really focused on bristlecones, but I found this link where is clearly explained that the limiting factor for bristlecones is precipitation, at least in White Mountains (page 4).

    I just wonder…did Mann do any background research before he included the bristlecones into his temperature research.

    Steve: A couple of things. BAsed on a 1974 article, specialists have argued that upper treelines BSPs are temperature limited; lower treeline precipitation limited. This seems to me to be asserted rather than proven. MBH coauthor Hughes is a specialist and MBH knew that their results depended on bristlecones from the unreported CENSORED directory calculations.

  4. Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 2:09 AM | Permalink

    Steve,

    Note of no possible use: If the two of us stood side by side it would be hard to tell us apart. Except I don’t have a B&R hat. :-)

    I wonder if there is a negative correlation of moisture vs. temperature in that region. i.e. hotter drier vs colder wetter.

  5. paul graham
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 5:54 AM | Permalink

    Just think how mush quicker this could be done if you had some young grad students to do this.

  6. danbo
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 7:56 AM | Permalink

    Just a comment on the mapping and lack of GPS.

    Back in the 60’s I did archaeological surveys in the southern Rockies. Often miles from the nearest road.

    You don’t need to make a seperate map. You can plot the coordinates with a topo map and compass. And the ability to see two known locations. As two peaks, or if you’re on a ridge a known locations below. (There was this house with a bright metal roof miles away.)

    With the bearings for the two locations it takes little time to find your location on the map. And get your coordinates. Now we did occasionally need to climb a tree or find a high open spot to see two known locations. That took a little longer.

    Maybe these guys never learned about maps and compasses.

  7. jae
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    3:

    Yes, the site looks very dry, so it seems very likely that the lack of available soil moisture is playing a big role in the annual growth.

    Yes, soils at these locations are usually thin and very sandy/rocky. You can’t convince me that water availability is not a huge issue for these trees. Avg. June-July temperatures at Alamosa (elev. 2297 m) are 10-11 C, abs. humidity 8-9 g/m3; these conditions indicate very low moisture availability in the summer.

    • Alvin
      Posted Dec 20, 2009 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

      Quick, someone explain to me how CO2 and tree ring data are related. If you measure sheer three ring thickness on trees that are depleated by water, and get a sudden influx of rain….

  8. jae
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 8:38 AM | Permalink

    BTW, the sparseness of the vegetation shown in the pictures is also a very clear indication of low moisture during the growing season.

  9. Craig Loehle
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

    Speaking as a forestry guy, the rationale for high elevation sites being temperature limited is from the classic case where it gets very wet when you go up in elevation, lots of snow etc. Even in these cases the true situation is often that it does not rain in the summer, just snows in winter, so the trees end up being affected by moisture anyway. It is even possible for too much snow to slow them down (ground stays cold late in season). In the White Mountains I find it hard to believe that a temperature signal would dominate a moisture signal, or even be detectable.

  10. Jim Bailey
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

    When I read “… that dendrochronologists do not routinely make maps…”, or Post #3(Jonde) “MBH coauthor Hughes is a specialist and MBH knew …”, I start to loose faith in my fellow scientists.

    Science can only work under the assumption that every particpant, right or wrong, is acting and arguing in good faith. Not every discipline has been forced by law to develop rigorous practices concerning availability and sharing of data. But, at least in my past experience, scientists do quietly police themselves. But the quiet part has been as important as the policing.

    I am becoming more and more certain that this self monitoring breaks down when the issues become so public. We can’t quietly push somebody to the side, or even out of the profession when they have been trumpeting their incorrect claims to the public. And good faith requires that you publicly defend colleagues who have been publicly accused of wrong doing. This is very unfortunate, because it will significantly damage the publics consensus and faith in science and scientists, if they find that scientists are uniting behind bad actors in order to sway public policy.

    I think it is very important for science, that scientists should insist on rigourous sunshine procedures concerning all research that is used to sway public decisions. It would help tremendously if the research journals insisted the same standards for all publications, but scientists can achieve the same thing through demanding it in the peer review process. This will help protect scientists.

    We the public should do our share by asking our congressmen to make sure that the science agencies require research they pay for to be made public whether or not it is published. (Making exceptions for defense, intelligence, or anything that pertains to WMDs.) Government aid to industry is a mixed case, but I still lean to making the results available, with a reasonable delay to allow for patent applications. There is nothing more public than a patent. Keeping research results as trade secrets to get an edge over competitors, while risky, is fine and often done, but it can be done with their own money.

    Thanks for all you are doing.

  11. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

    #10. In my opinion, academic scientists place too much reliance on the cursory peer review at the journal stage as a form of quality control and do far too little to ensure that the data and truly accurate methods (including source code) are available for post-publication analysis.

    It is repugnant that Ralph Cicerone, President of NAS, has acquiesced in the withholding of data by Lonnie Thompson and other scientists, even when the withholding is in violation of PNAS requirements.

    In my opinion, part of the review process should be that the scientists warrant that their data is in public archives, that they have provided accurate data citations to such public data according to AGU policies, and that their source code for relevant calculations has been archived as journal SI. Also scientists should pressurize NSF so that they actually require compliance with federal policies already requiring data archiving.

    As to sunshine in peer review, as a peer reviewer for Climatic Change, I asked to examine source code and Stephen Schneider said that no one had ever asked for that in 28 years and he refused to ask for it. When I observed that Wahl and Ammann had provided dishonest answers to questions from me as an anonymous reviewer (among other things, continuing to cite their rejected GRL submission in review correspondence even after it had been rejected), I was terminated as a reviewer and the submission wended its way forward.

  12. SteveSadlov
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

    RE: #s 6 – 10.

    Looks like some nice country. Not all that different from the Whites and other nearby ranges. I am reminded of one of my own past field areas. RE: upper tree line. Indeed, I strongly suspect that certain notions regarding how trees near the timberline “ought” to respond are derived from experiences in Europe and Eastern North America, where conditions at timberline are often quite wet, year round. This is definitely not the case for a number of places West of 90 or so W and east of the direct influence of the Pacific. Even in the Sierra, due to the wet – dry climate (a consequence of the semi permanent Pacific High), things are more arid than one would find back East (or, in say, the central through northern Cascades and the Canadian ranges closest to the Pacific). The only moisture you are going to get in places like this site and others like it is from snow pack and the from occasional locally convective or monsoon imported gully washer during summer and early fall. There is barely even any dew or frost in such locations.

  13. John F. Pittman
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

    When reading the link provided in #3, it touches on some of the reasons (problems) for cherry picking.
    http://www.medscape.com/medline/abstract/14522716 an interesting overview.
    http://www.connix.com/~harry/treeline.htm This has a lot of interesting details concerning mortality and variables in species.

  14. brian
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

    I certainly agree with the general statements above re public access to data…well said. The movement towards public access to journals that have typically been behind subscription is also an important step.

    But, I guess I missed something…what is the significance of these samples? Which study are you auditing here? If whatever specific study you are auditing (maybe there’s a link somewhere i’m missing, so sorry) is bunk, what does it mean? While highlighting the sloppy ones does indeed show that a particular study may be erroneous…shouldn’t you then audit every single study ever done to get a good handle on the proportion? This will take some time and a tremendous amount of work, but seems to be the only way to truely address these issues.

  15. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

    One of the guys in the dendro lab, who was working on scrub oaks in the Oregon rain shadow, said that dry conditions lowered the tree line. It’s hard not to think that the White Mountains tree line wouldn’t be higher if there was more moisture. In this part of Colorado, I got the impression that Engelman spruce were at treeline in moister circumstances (e.g. the Pike’s Peak Engelman spruce) – although most of the high Colorado collections are Graybill bristlecones.

  16. John F. Pittman
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 10:46 AM | Permalink

    Presidential Range of the White Mountains in the link above, wind damage was a major cause of mortality and extent of the tree-line.

  17. Larry
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

    10

    And good faith requires that you publicly defend colleagues who have been publicly accused of wrong doing.

    Why? Tribal circle-the-wagons instinct? Or is there a pragmatic rationale? This sound a lot like what a lot of professions of ill repute (such as lawyers and accountants) stand accused of. Is it really necessary?

  18. Larry
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

    Just think how much quicker this could be done if you had some young grad students to do this.

    It’s becoming evident that collecting samples is only a small part of the mission of this enterprise. When this is all done, a gleaming example of how science should be done, complete with profuse public documentation, will be standing in contrast to the amateurish work of the professionals.

  19. JerryB
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

    Re #14,

    brian,

    The collection and measurements of these samples are not an audit of a study;
    they constitute a study. If some idea of the significance of recent sampling
    of bristlecone pines, and of publishing the results, does not occur to you, it
    would seem that you have missed something.

    You might check threads on bristcones, and on bringing proxies up to date, for
    starters.

  20. John F. Pittman
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

    http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol9/iss1/art16/inline.html

    For this change to occur, the migration rate of the trees would be in the order of 23–221 m yr-1, which is well within published migration rates for wind-dispersed deciduous trees. The remaining alpine areas would be strongly fragmented.

    Climate change is already influencing the distribution of plants and animals globally (IPCC 2001, Parmesan and Yohe 2003, Root et al. 2003). Generally, global meta-analyses have documented significant range shifts toward the poles, or toward higher altitudes, in response to warmer climates, earlier spring conditions, and milder winters (Parmesan and Yohe 2003). These changes may have significant effects on the structure and function of ecosystems (as new species assemblages may form (IPCC 2001)) and, thus, on both conservation values and human utilization patterns. Effects may include changes in primary productivity, extinction of rare species, invasion by more southerly species, and afforestation of previously unforested sites (IPCC 2001).

    http://www.connix.com/~harry/treeline.htm

    When reading thses two, it makes me wonder if extension, rather than extinction, is more probable. It would also indicate that the potential falsification has real promise. If global meta-analyses have documented this world wide phenomena of poleward and upward elevation migration, and the new updates do not show temperature increase for the past 25 years, using tree-rings as thermometers would look quite questionable.

    If others take up the gauntlet and get some more cores, I wonder if they could look for the extension of the treeline as indicated in the Harry/treeline and ecology&society articles; and take some cores in some of the newer stands. I would assume that on a good slope, one could start with the lower, assumed older, to the higher, assumed younger, and see if the temperature signal could be detected. The Harry article implies that as a stand gets older and broader some protection is afforded the older trees.

    Where the terrain and thus weather impact is uniform across an area, timberline may exist as an abrupt termination of a closed subalpine canopy (DiNunzio 1972). Individual trees altitudinally above the closed canopy face a trade-off: although there is the potential to have greater productivity due to increased access to light and heat resources, they must face the extreme conditions that are ameliorated within the lower continuous canopy that provides a measure of protection from the elements.

  21. brian
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

    JerryB said: “The collection and measurements of these samples are not an audit of a study; they constitute a study”

    I guess I misunderstood then…because in the post, SteveM says: “As I say, auditors don’t like missing invoices and I’m certainly going to try to find out what happened to the data from Graybill 84-55 and other unarchived tagged trees.”

    That language implies an audit of previously sampled trees…not a new study with new data.

    JerryB says: “If some idea of the significance of recent sampling of bristlecone pines, and of publishing the results, does not occur to you, it would seem that you have missed something.”

    I understand the significance, in general…I was asking about these particular locations/samples.

  22. MrPete
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

    We would be remiss if we did not publicly thank Tori Bommarito and Becca (Rebecca) Lee, who did almost all of the coring on Day 2.

    Their energy and enthusiasm were an essential part of the fun! Here they are, hard at work…

  23. MrPete
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

    No, they are not grad students. But they were happy volunteer labor, as were we all! :-)

  24. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    RE 14. GOOD questions brian. Let’s try to answer them all and if you come up with
    other folks will weigh in.

    YOU WROTE:
    “I certainly agree with the general statements above re public access to data…well said.”

    You cannot simply agree. You must work to free that data. If you think AGW is an issue,
    if you think the future of the planet hinges on it, then fight for public access.
    Go on RC. fight for it. Truth loves sunlight.

    THEN:
    “The movement towards public access to journals that have typically
    been behind subscription is also an important step.”

    Fight for open publication of science! Openit. Utterly Open. The facts of the universe belong
    to all of us. I know I’m a bit of a crank on this, but no individual human should own
    a fact, a series of facts, a collection of facts, a theory of facts. You can own
    your house, and your car, and your koy pond. You can’t OWN THE TRUTH; the truth pwns you.

    THEN:

    “But, I guess I missed something…what is the significance of these samples? ”

    Previous samples stopped at 1980. These samples are more recent. They help in testing
    the reliability of past work. Simply, they are are the hockey stick’s achilles tendon.

    Then:

    “Which study are you auditing here? ”

    Essentially it’s more than a “study” being audited. It’s a Process of collecting,
    documenting and distributing data that is being PWND.

    THEN:

    “If whatever specific study you are auditing (maybe there’s a link somewhere i’m missing, so sorry) is bunk,
    what does it mean? ”

    Nobody dedicated to the process of truth tries to figure out the fallout. What Does it MEAN? It will
    be a fact. A fact has only meaning in a web of belief. If you believe in AGW, you will find a way
    to ignore the fact. If you don’t believe in AGW, you will keep reminding AGW folks about this inconvient
    fact.

    THEN:
    “While highlighting the sloppy ones does indeed show that a particular study may be erroneous…
    shouldn’t you then audit every single study ever done to get a good handle on the proportion? ”

    You start auditing ONE CASE AT A TIME. attention to detail.

    You are looking at the government. You find the nixon white house breaking
    into the watergate hotel. Do you stop to say ” well, we should look all administrations to get
    a sense of proportion?”
    You are looking at Energy Companies. You stumble on Enron. Do you stop to look at all of them?
    You are looking at Iraqi detainees held in prisons. You find Abu Grabe. Do you stop to look at
    all of them and calculate proportions?
    You find lead paint in Toys.
    You find dog food from China that kills your pets
    You find a medicine that doesnt work
    You find a black man wrongly convicted
    you find a species going extinct

    In none of these cases would an auditor stop to consider the proportion.
    His job is to examine the BODY in front of him.

  25. JerryB
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

    brian,

    Having noticed “Graybill 84-55 and other unarchived tagged trees”, Steve has
    chosen to pursue them further, but that does not change the core study into
    an audit.

  26. brian
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

    StevenMosher says:

    “You start auditing ONE CASE AT A TIME” … and also says “Essentially it’s more than a ‘study’ being audited. It’s a Process of collecting, documenting and distributing data that is being PWND.”

    If the goal is to audit the process and this is done by looking at examples, all I meant when I asked which study is being audited, is which case is under inspection? If it’s one case at a time…which one is it? If it’s bristlecone studies in general, doesn’t there have to be specific studies to point to? What constitutes a “case”? How do you choose which cases to audit and which not to audit? I’m not attacking anything here, don’t read this as if I’m being combative (tone is always difficult to get across on comment threads)… I’m just trying to get a handle on this.

    As for the proportion argument…your point is well taken. But, if its the “process” that is under investigation and not specific studies, then multiple cases should be analyzed to see how the process differs from case to case, no? If it’s the process that is under investigation, and it is this process that is called into question, an anal-retentive observer would want to know how representative that process is overall. If it turns out the whatever process is being audited turns out to be rarely employed, this doesn’t excuse it…of course not…but it also doesn’t mean that process is representative and all related studies should be considered erroneous. See what I mean?

  27. Larry
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

    24, Steven: somebody with better photoshop skills than me can probably do better, but to drive home your point, we need a logo:

  28. JerryB
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

    brian,

    The taking, and analysis, of new core samples is dendro stuff, not auditing
    stuff. If you try to interpret it as auditing stuff, confusion will be the
    result.

  29. Larry
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

    28, true. BUT, isn’t one of the primary issues divergence? It’s not just what this shows on it’s own, but how it relates to older samples. Or are you saying that the publishing of the data is project 1, and the comparison with older data project 2?

  30. brian
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 1:55 PM | Permalink

    JerryB…i’m only interpreting this as auditing “stuff” because of these statements in Steve’s post above:

    “It would have taken negligible effort for dendro collectors to draw at least a sketch map showing their sample location.”

    “I suspect that Forest Service maps were available in the 1980s, but even if they weren’t it would have been easy to draw a sketch map showing the roads and the sample location relative to the roads.”

    “The problem here seems to be…is that dendrochronologists do not routinely make maps”

    “Had a map like the one below been available, then it would have been relatively easy to locate the Graybill trees, when, in fact, the actual location required a considerable amount of serendipidity”

    “We were looking for Graybill’s “Frosty Park” site, which we figured was near this site.”

    “I was able to re-take one of the photos he took”

    “Not all the tagged trees are included in the measurement data archive. In a post last year in connection with Graybill’s sampling at Niwot Ridge, I observed that there were a number of missing numbers in the measurement data archive and that auditors don’t like missing invoices.”

    I also interpreted it as auditing since its the name of the blog, and the overall goal of the work on CA. If this particular post is about doing original science, great! Then I misinterpreted it and my bad.

  31. Scott-in-WA
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 2:08 PM | Permalink

    Steve, as a mining man traveling through this country, I’ll just bet you were saying to yourself at various times — where is the silver, the gold, and the molybdenum?

  32. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

    RE 27.

    I’m working on it in the lizard part of my brain. Let me finish this first. http://www.openmoko.com

  33. Larry
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 2:45 PM | Permalink

    32, is it going to be cheaper than the gPhone?

  34. JerryB
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 2:48 PM | Permalink

    brian,

    As with many of Steve’s posts, this one mentions various items that interest
    Steve, and not just one item. However, nothing that Steve wrote in this
    thread, or in the “A Little Secret:” thread, state or imply that he is
    conducting an audit of dendro processes as some of your comments suggest you
    seem to have in mind. He has done/is doing, some “original science”. It is
    not incompatible with his auditing activities, but should not be confused with
    them.

  35. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 3:07 PM | Permalink

    RE 26.

    Thanks brian. lets see what you said.

    “If the goal is to audit the process and this is done by looking at examples,
    all I meant when I asked which study is being audited, is which case is under inspection? ”

    Lets see if I can explain. You have a number of examples of Scientitists saying things like:

    1. the data will archived in due course.
    2. core your own damn trees.
    3. Getting New tree rings is WAY TOO expensive.

    The list of scientists saying this is not short.There are notable exceptions. SteveMc documents them here pretty well.
    So, One thing, one process under inspection, one set of claims being auditing is the following
    set of claims.

    A. It takes a long time to archive data. So, in the course of an audit of a paper that audit is
    delayed because the author says ” data hasnt been archived” NOW, how does one address that?

    B. Core your own damn trees: An Audit is often stymied when the auditor relies on the good graces
    of the person being probed. The auditor ask nices; Ask forcefully: ask legally: Then he cores his
    own damn trees.

    C: Its too expensive. How do you audit this? Mann said to was too expensive. If he wouldnt share
    code, do you think he would share expenses? How does a wily auditor prove the deception? Core’s his
    own damn trees.

    Then:

    “If it’s one case at a time…which one is it? If it’s bristlecone studies in general,
    doesn’t there have to be specific studies to point to? ”

    I am going to resist the kind of comment you will get other places. They would just tell you
    to RTFM. Essentially, you proceed case by case. After a while you recogonize similar road blocks
    in every case. In particular you see the road block of bad data collection processess. Bad
    archiving processing. So, you procced case by case and then it dawns on you. Hey, a number of these
    guys are doing the same thing. Lets go focus on that crime.
    So, if you want the history of bristecones and why they matter I think the wegman report
    ( a third party) is a good grounding.

    THEN:

    “What constitutes a “case”? How do you choose which cases to audit and which not to audit?
    I’m not attacking anything here, don’t read this as if I’m being combative
    (tone is always difficult to get across on comment threads)… I’m just trying to get a handle on this.”

    What constitutes a case? Philosophically? anything an observer distinguishes from the background
    of other things. Lets consider how the IRS might decide to audit. They can do it randomly
    or they can do it based on a “measure” developed that predicts net revenue gain for them. I think
    it is safe to say that SteveMC doesnt have a scoring algorithm that tells him what to audit. He
    Looks at stuff and if it seems a bit odd, then he diggs in. Now, like the IRS he has flags. Things
    than make you go HMMMM. Like oddball statistics approaches. Like lack of documentation. Red flags.

    Lets say he has a nose for fraud.

    THEN:
    “As for the proportion argument…your point is well taken.
    But, if its the “process” that is under investigation and not specific studies,
    then multiple cases should be analyzed to see how the process differs from case to case, no? ”

    Well, I don’t see anyone here stopping you from doing your own study. Why do you think
    that SteveMc must do all the auditing? You want to see multiple cases addressed? you care about the issue.
    Roll your sleeves up, get busy. Further, nothing you suggest is presently precluded. To do a multiple
    case study you have to start WHERE? Where does one start grasshopper? Ah yes, with the first case.
    Micheal Mann is the first case here.

    THEN:

    “If it’s the process that is under investigation, and it is this process that is called into question,
    an anal-retentive observer would want to know how representative that process is overall.”

    Good. Let’s start with something as simple as step one.

    1. When you collect historical samples it is good practice to record the location you took
    the sample from and to provide an archive of this so that others can revisit your work
    and your site decades from now.

    So, brian, go google tree ring data. See if you can find a map of where the rings were take from.
    Now, google starbucks in mountainview.

    which location is better documented?

    THEN:

    “If it turns out the whatever process is being audited turns out to be rarely employed,
    this doesn’t excuse it…of course not…but it also doesn’t mean that process is representative
    and all related studies should be considered erroneous. See what I mean?”

    Of course not. Just because the CFO is a crook doesnt make the secretary is a whore.

  36. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 3:12 PM | Permalink

    RE 33. I hope not.

  37. brian
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 3:15 PM | Permalink

    JerryB says:

    “However, nothing that Steve wrote in this thread…imply that he is conducting an audit of dendro processes as some of your comments suggest you seem to have in mind”

    Maybe Steve should chime in then…otherwise we’ll go back and forth arguing about what we think his statements imply or don’t imply.

    Furthermore…I got the process-auditing impression from steven mosher’s comment saying:

    “Essentially it’s more than a ’study’ being audited. It’s a Process of collecting, documenting and distributing data that is being PWND.”

    JerryB says:

    “He has done/is doing, some ‘original science’. It is not incompatible with his auditing activities, but should not be confused with them.”

    I never claimed there was incompatibility. Where is the line drawn between auditing activities and science? This could get rather subjective…perhaps a tag on posts that are deemed audits vs. studies would help a reader like me not get confused.

  38. Larry
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 3:19 PM | Permalink

    37, why does it matter?

  39. brian
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

    38, Why does what matter?

  40. brian
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 3:38 PM | Permalink

    steven mosher, #35…thank you for your lengthy response…this helps

  41. JerryB
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 4:13 PM | Permalink

    Brian asks: “Where is the line drawn between auditing activities and science?”

    Both science and auditing include, among other things, attempts to replicate.
    Taking attempts to replicate for examples, if the attempt is to replicate some
    non-scientific activity, then it is not science; but if the attempt is to
    replicate some scientific activity, I do not know of a general statement that
    could dependably draw the line for someone other than the person performing the
    attempt.

  42. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

    But, I guess I missed something…what is the significance of these samples? Which study are you auditing here? If whatever specific study you are auditing (maybe there’s a link somewhere i’m missing, so sorry) is bunk, what does it mean? While highlighting the sloppy ones does indeed show that a particular study may be erroneous…shouldn’t you then audit every single study ever done to get a good handle on the proportion? This will take some time and a tremendous amount of work, but seems to be the only way to truely address these issues.

    This spot check isn’t about sloppiness. In blog posts, I don’t usually review the long dialogue that puts particular issues into the forefront. However, off the top of my head, here are some of the reasons why I was interested in Graybill’s Almagre bristlecone collection – as opposed to a cypress study by Stahle and Cleaveland in Arkansas, which might or might not have been sloppy.

    First, any regular reader of this site knows about bristlecones and their role in many Hockey Team reconstructions, including Mann’s PC1. And when you think about it, not just bristlecone chronologies, but Graybill bristlecone chronologies. But no one knows how these chronologies have fared in the past 25 years when there’s been an ideal opportunity for out-of-sample verification of the linear ring width vs temperature hypothesis.

    Second, in mining projects, sampling by an independent person is often part of the verification process – while the term “audit” is generally used for financial statements, in some circumstances, new data is collected. A classic example in the mining business – which I followed keenly – was the re-drilling of the Bre-X deposit in Indonesia, revealing the fraud. I made some posts on Bre-X in the early days of the blog. Under less dramatic circumstances, parties who take an option on a mining property often do their own drilling to confirm reported results. Due diligence can take many forms.

    An ancillary claim that was being verified was the claim that it’s “too expensive” to update the proxy data. I’ve got experience with the financing of geological projects and it seemed inconceivable to me that the proxy updating would be a huge ticket item, but without having some hands-on experience with cost structures and time involvements, it’s just an opinion. I would say that this spot check in itself refutes Mann’s claim that updating these studies is too expensive. Updating an ice core would be a different scale of financial commitment, but still, none are huge ticket items in the scheme of things.

    The information also spot checks the claim that there is no divergence problem in mid-latitudes and that this issue is limited to high latitudes. The NAS panel should never have acquiesced in this excuse without better evidence. An “audit” issue arising from this is the missing Graybill “invoices”.

    As to why Almagre rather than Sheep Mountain which is a more heavily weighted site in the Mann PC1, this was entirely a matter of practicality. I was planning to visit Colorado Springs anyway as part of my vacation visiting my sister. My sister knew her way around U.S. regulatory agencies. CA reader Pete Holzmann volunteered to organize logistics. I think that other sites should be independently investigated as well, but you have to start somewhere.

    As to “significance” – when all the cores are cross-dated and a chronology calculated – if the chronology shows a “divergence problem” in the 1990s and 2000s, as appears likely, it should have an impact on how the reconstructions are viewed. Whether it will have any impact on the TEam is a different story. There have been more uses of Mann’s discredited PC1 since it was discredited, than before. IT’s as though the millennial paleoclimate community has collectively decided to thumb their noses at statisticians from off the Island (including Wegman and the NAS panel.)

  43. brian
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 4:32 PM | Permalink

    JerryB says: “I do not know of a general statement that could dependably draw the line for someone other than the person performing the attempt.”

    I agree.
    You stated that the auditing activities should not be confused with the scientific ones. So, for you this work (i.e., this post) is science, but for others (presumably steven mosher, since he nicely laid out the auditing philosphy for me), it is auditing. So, is there really any confusion, or is it simply semantics? It seems there is likely a large region of overlap in what is considered what depending on who you ask…which is fine, I think that’s to be expected. Like I said, i’m not trying to be combative here…just poking and prodding a bit to understand more.

  44. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 4:34 PM | Permalink

    #43. I don’t think that there is any confusion as the distinction is irrelevant. Even if this particular exercise is a bit sui generis, so what?

  45. brian
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

    thanks SteveMc…that’s all I was looking for, a straightforward response with specifics…sometimes it seems some of the commentators here try to answer for you and confuse the reader more

    I look forward to the paper/report

  46. Larry Sheldon
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

    Off-the-wall question:

    The only Bristle Cone Pine I remember meeting in-the-flesh is on top of a rock (don’t remember which rock–it was accessible by car) in Yosemite. And my recollection of that tree is that it was pretty thin and weary looking. Given that–how much damage is done to the tree in taking the core? Does that put the tree at risk of infection? Does it “heal”?

    (Note I am not some ecoterrorist, but I do wonder about people taking “rubbings” of petroglyphs, corints of trees, and such.)

  47. Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

    Larry says: October 14th, 2007 at 10:53 am,

    When this is all done, a gleaming example of how science should be done, complete with profuse public documentation, will be standing in contrast to the amateurish work of the professionals.

    So funny. So true.

    I’m doing Open Source Engineering on a fusion project and I have had private communications from physicists and other professionals saying that my work is what they used to bring themselves up to speed. What I have done is describe what is to be done. Run the numbers and collected the most relevant papers pro and con. The way it’s sposed to be done.

    From my experience what Steve is doing here and others elsewhere in many fields is the wave of the future.

    Honesty and openness. You make a mistake – fix it. Something is unclear – clarify. You learn something new – announce it. All reviewed in the open. Progress is much faster that way.

  48. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 5:47 PM | Permalink

    Brian. I think between JerryB and SteveMc you can get a pretty good sense of
    What the process is. The distinction you are trying to draw between auditing and
    constructive science is a bit precious. My impression only.

    I could be and often am wrong being cast from heaven as it were.

    can you check my math? wait is that science or auditing?

    William Labov had a wonderful slide showing 25 different versions of cups, mugs and glasses.

    What is the difference between a cup and a mug?

  49. Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 5:59 PM | Permalink

    This is a bit off topic, but I would be curious at to comments on the following post at Sandwalk. Larry Moran (a Canadian) often has some excellent posts and I am an avid reader. But I think in this case, Larry has some wires crossed. He more or less says it’s OK to mess with the “science” to make those who are NOT scientists sorta understand the problem (!). Since my impression here at CA is that this is precisely what is NOT being done, I would love some short thoughts on Larry’s post. If it’s really about smoke and mirrors and “scientists” making political policy… well then… facts and real data seem somewhat irrelevant.

  50. steven mosher
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 6:16 PM | Permalink

    RE 49. Larry Moron is butchering the noble profession of being a sophist. Mooney did the same thing.
    They have both read Lakoff years after he was fashionable and concluded that science needs to tell
    good stories. Science fiction as it were. Or “metaphors we live by”, to steal a Lakoff Title.

    The Whole point of dumbing down science, of using rhetorical tools like, a NARRATIVE, or FRAME, or metaphor
    ( the planet has a fever) is to NOT TELL PEOPLE YOU ARE DOING THIS.

    When you tell people, like Mooney and Moron do, that your science is a frame or narrative, the Puppet
    show is exposed. I Don’t mind bad science. But bad puppet shows suck.

  51. Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

    RE:50 You have no idea how therapeutic your reply has been for me tonight!

  52. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

    #45 I’d add to Steve’s explanation, that a lot of the most prominent multiproxy reconstructions include Graybill’s bristlecone pines/foxtails (BCPs), despite the controversy over the explanation for their 20th century growth spurt (that it might be due to non-temperature factors). The BCP’s are influential in these reconstructions: as in MBH98/99, take them out and the late 20th century no longer looks exceptional in millennial context. In recent papers, like Wahl and Ammann and Juckes et al, they have strongly defended the use of BCP’s as essential climate indicators. Yet the record stops at 1980. So it should be of great scientific interest to test the hypothesis that they are key indicators of the climatic “signal”, which was Steve’s motivation to sample the region and, especially, to find Graybill’s original trees. If they really are genuine proxies they should be ramping upwards since 1980. If not, it raises a host of possibilities, all rather far-reaching. If they are missing the current warming, it raises the question whether they might have missed previous warm intervals; or, alternatively, if one maintains that they are in fact essential climate indicators, then one has to consider if the surface thermometer network post-1980 is contaminated; at the very least it puts into doubt their status as reliable climate indicators. That, in turn, indicates that multiproxy reconstructions which are not robust to their removal from the sample (or whose conclusions are overturned by switching in the updated versions) are unsound.

  53. MrPete
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 7:43 PM | Permalink

    Larry (#46),

    I’ve been on top of the Yosemite rocks myself ;)… at the time, I would not have known a bristlecone from an ice cream cone… but I sure understand about trees in ‘stressed’ environments.

    These bristlecones obviously have seen some stress over the years, but in general, they grow slowly-but-surely. As long as people are not sampling them frequently, I can’t imagine there being a problem. Although the previously sampled trees were found, it was well nigh impossible to see evidence that they’d been cored. Just that nice metal tag nailed on.

    For the most part, although the ground up there is quite rocky, it does have nutrients. Take a look at the photo below. To really see up close, click on the photo, then click on the magnifying glass (above/right) in the photo gallery. (Be patient, the original photos are 9mp!) You’ll find grass, soil, etc. Quite different from the top of Half Dome, etc.

    (From my conversations with Leslie H, her sense is that tree line here likely due to a combination of factors that make root growth difficult: low precipitation and low temperatures together.)

  54. Larry Sheldon
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 8:13 PM | Permalink

    Mr. Pete — thanks for the info–comforting. I y’all found tags but not old cores, that is truly good.

    Are those mushrooms?

    I’m still trying to work out what “nuance”, “frame”, and “narrative” mean out here in the blogosphere.

  55. MrPete
    Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

    Yes, mushrooms. We did not attempt to taste them ;)

  56. Posted Oct 14, 2007 at 9:16 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    The last two side-by-side images in your post are a stereo pair. With eyes focused just so, at 50 cm from the screen, I can see a marvellous 3D image.

  57. Gunnar
    Posted Oct 15, 2007 at 8:37 AM | Permalink

    I know others have commented, but I wanted to say that I was personally shocked to find out from the image at the top of this thread that the Graybill sites are at 11,000 feet. I’ve spent some time in the Rockies, and my experience and understanding is that this area of Colorado is extremely dry. We have seen rain falling and evaporating around 10 meters above the ground. Common sense and experience says the higher, the drier. Snow in Winter does not translate to significant moisture for plant life. It evaporates in spring sunshine or quickly runs down hill.

    What’s more, anyone who has tried to exercise strenously at 11,000 feet knows that oxygen levels are reduced. Of course, this means that C02 levels are also reduced. So, we’re talking about a plant that is water AND C02 starved. Temperature may determine when “spring starts”, but would have no effect on how vigorously the tree grows during the growing season, which is what really determines the length of the ring. What’s more, localized weather is what determines when the growing season starts and ends, not global average temperature.

  58. Gary
    Posted Oct 15, 2007 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    #53 – Too bad you didn’t take a few soil samples for a simple nutrient analysis. Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and pH would be good to know. Maybe next trip.

  59. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Oct 15, 2007 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

    Re: #50

    Larry Moran is not in agreement with Mooney in that Mooney advocates more scientists’ participation directly into policy issues while Moran says that will not happen. His point is that scientists are too “restricted” by scientific conventions in relating facts to policy, whereas someone like Al Gore does not have these professional restrictions and can do some of the “exaggerating” that is more less expected coming from politicians. Some scientists, like Hansen, appear to want to engage as scientists and also as politicos advocating policy. The problem (that Moran does not address) comes when the distinction between scientist and politician/policy advocate gets blurred or particularly the potential of the policy advocate thinking affecting the scientist thinking.

    I think that blurred distinction is best shown by the example of the IPCC.

  60. Larry
    Posted Oct 15, 2007 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

    59, I think you’ll find that scientist/advocates have been around for a while in the medical field. It’s just now getting to the physical sciences. This is an issue that we should have been talking about 30 years ago, or longer.

  61. MrPete
    Posted Oct 15, 2007 at 11:40 AM | Permalink

    Gary, #58,

    We did take soil samples :)

    One thing at a time…

  62. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 15, 2007 at 11:47 AM | Permalink

    To be clear, when those of us out West refer to “The Whites” we are referring to the 14K foot range out east of Bishop, Ca, where the mother of all BCP groves is found.

  63. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 15, 2007 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

    RE: #27 – Perfect!

  64. James
    Posted Oct 15, 2007 at 1:11 PM | Permalink

    RE: #27

    I suggest y’all use a Polar Bear instead of a Penguin…

  65. Larry
    Posted Oct 15, 2007 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

    63, my computer died right after I did that (I’m running off of a bootable OS right now). I want to make one with Tux saying “open the science, Dr. Mann”, and the BSD beastie saying “or else I’ll give you HE double hockystick”. Anyone out there who wants to steal that, please do.

  66. jae
    Posted Oct 15, 2007 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

    61, MrPete: Did you do any profiling of the soils?

  67. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 15, 2007 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

    RE: The mushrooms. I believe the Front Range has experienced an unusualy wet summer, correct? Also, those BCPs look very healthy, very non stressed. It’s all about precip. Be it snow pack, or, the less reliable summer convective / monsoon events, it’s all about precip. BCPs are a precip proxy.

  68. Pat Frank
    Posted Oct 15, 2007 at 8:02 PM | Permalink

    #67 — “BCPs are a precip proxy.”

    But I don’t see anyone daring to do a tree-ring PC analysis, and assigning PC1 to paleoprecipitation in water-cm per year, represented as (+/-)0.25 cm precision.

    Likely, anyone attempting that would be met with raucous incredulity and booted from the climatology field. And for very good reason.

    But assign PC1 paleotemperatures from the same data, represented as (+/-)0.25 C precision (MBH99), and you’re lionized.

  69. Gary
    Posted Oct 15, 2007 at 9:03 PM | Permalink

    #61 – You guys don’t miss a trick!

  70. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Oct 15, 2007 at 11:05 PM | Permalink

    I have a science project. Doesn’t take much work.

    For the next week, walk outside at various random times of the day at least 5 times, and use a temperature measuring device to check what temperature it is 100 feet away from any buildings or other possible influences on the temperature. Do this in each location at 1 foot, 3 feet, and 5 feet, in at least 3 different locations. Make sure you write down the times, and your lat/long down to around 100 meters. If there’s water around, measure it also.

    Do that every month between Oct 2007 and Oct 2008 Chart it as both absolute and anomaly. Put your results here as you do it. (Tree cores are bonus points.)

  71. Hans Erren
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 1:44 AM | Permalink

    re 70:
    Make sure to measure in Fahrenheit.

  72. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 3:35 AM | Permalink

    Re audits in general.

    My background is in mineral exploration, mining laboratories and (lesser) forestry. There are several levels at which audit type functions are performed by the best quality companies, both for internal health and when assessing takeover targets. As a rider, you can often pick the poor quality companies because of their inability, reluctance or refusal to undergo audit (as in refusing to release data). This leads to immense suspicion and we blue chips steered wide of such shy non-performers. Over the decades, you saw them come and go and sometimes you knew why – because you were part of the audit team doing due diligence and you did not like what you saw. Yes, there are shonks, they run but they cannot hide.

    There is a major difference between mining and what Steve is doing with collection of tree cores and their re-analysis. If he finds serious discrepancies and can identify and prove a case or two of non-scientific behavior, then the pentaly for the offender is a loss of reputation (maybe) or a rap on the knuckles. In the mining business, offenders can spend a long time behind bars. IMO, that option should be introduced for all scientific offenders. There is no logical difference between offences in the mining case and the climate case.

    Steve and team are to be applauded for this work. As I have several times noted on this blog, to the point of boredom, climate “science” is strewn with cases where a few simple, contemporary micro-experiments would solve millions of words and many strange hypotheses. Foremost among those remaining is UHI. Surely it is not beyond the wit of scientists of good intent to set up experiments for a year or more with a few thermometers around a city, to work out once and for all if an order of magnitude can be put on the effect. Sure, there are a couple of examples in the literature. Some are quite open, some are so heavily qualified that you feel that obvious outcomes are being suppressed.

    There are simple micro-experiments possible to get a better handle on a number of current uncertainties. Why are they not being done? Why do so many temporal datasets stop at 1991 or 1995 or 1999? Why are so many temperature “adjustments” made to raw data, why do they seem never-ending? Why was there so little published cross-calibration of thermometers with thermocouples when they were introduced, resulting in a belated need for yet another adjustment?

    I grew up with the rise of the green movement. I cannot recall a year when I have not had to rail about the abysmal quality of their so-called science. The IPCC and sycophants have hallmarks of a bigger green movement, making the same types of historical mistakes.

    Good on you, Steve and Co., for enforcing honesty and openness.

    p.s Re damage to trees. If a core is taken, then cannot be located some years later, chances are that a thin overgrowth of bark has done the coverup. The deeper cored part probably remains as a hole.

    p.p.s Please be cautious about soil analysis. Soil nutrient testing, despite a lot of research (including 4 years in my past career) remains a rather inexact semi-science.

  73. Gary
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

    #72 – Data may already be available for the UHI experiment you propose. TV weathermen now have networks of data stations around their studios that transmit data on temperatures, relative humitidy, wind speed and direction, etc . in real time. There probably are several cities around the country with some rural outliers for comparison. The stations probably have microsite issues (rooftops, parking lots, air conditioners, etc.), of course, but that can be factored in. If one could get a year or two of this data, it would provide at least a first cut analysis.

  74. Mark T.
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

    I believe the Front Range has experienced an unusualy wet summer, correct? Also, those BCPs look very healthy, very non stressed.

    No, not really… maybe a bit above average, though I would imagine the primary COS weather station reports something completely different than the rest of the front range. The weather station is located at the airport, which makes sense, but it is the least representative location of all of COS. Heck, it’s the only flat place in town, too. :)

    Mark

  75. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 2:44 PM | Permalink

    brian

    I think this entire discussion has been built upon the fact that some of us (myself included) parsed the various threads on the subject considered that Steve told us what he was doing and why he was doing it. His explanation is exactly what I thought he meant, and pretty deja vuish; I’ve read it before after all. :)

  76. Petr
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

    Hi Steve. A little forestry perspective on your sampling:

    006-4, 006-5 look quite odd. Trees do not put the same layer of wood on the roots, stump, trunk top. You may want to be careful using those.

    Vigor of a tree influences growthrings a lot. A treee in a poor shape, compared to when it was vigorous, will put on less wood (see your screenshot of the treee 30a, and if it comes from your 030-1 treee, it is quite obvious that the tree has slowed down due to its poor shape)

    Normally, a standard height and orientation of the sample shoud be used. While BCP are quite unique and the uniform height of sampling is difficult, some samples look low ( 26-6)Cannot say anything about orientation.

    Trees will put on less wood if they have competition for light (branches) or water (roots). A situation like 23-5 may be tricky – lot of vigorous growth around and partly above your tree. If it has been freestanding earlier, you may see some slowdown now.

    I am impressed by your work – very useful especially in these ‘results justify the means’ hysteria times.

  77. MrPete
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 6:27 PM | Permalink

    Petr #76,

    First, thanks so much for your comments and kind words! I love the fact that having a comprehensive visual record allows for such commentary and discussion.

    A few responses on your specific tree comments:

    * 006-4 and 006-5 are quite odd. That root was so large, we simply became curious! The fact that this sample is from a root is properly recorded. We just were interested to see what would be found.

    * Tree 30 (Graybill 84-55) is most definitely in poor shape. It’s good to have your informed confirmation of the cautions that so many others have expressed in the last couple of years. As you are probably aware, this is a “strip bark” BCP. Many in the field have been cautious about use of such trees as proxies. And that’s why we avoided coring strip bark BCP’s, except when necessary to re-sample the trees sampled by Graybill in 1983.

    * Photo 26-6 reflects an interesting conundrum. Look carefully and you’ll see the opposite side of the tree is over a steep fall-off. What is the meaning of “uniform height” when the soil line on one side of a tree is significantly higher than the other? I sure don’t know! Some of the trees were located at steep enough angles that it was almost impossible to core on the downhill side and reach above the uphill soil line.

    * Photo 23-5 is another case of curiosity. It is a very healthy tree, yes with close-in foliage. What will it show? We will soon find out!

    Your mention of overgrowth is interesting. Brings up topics such as long term forest succession growth. Over a period of hundreds (or sometimes thousands) of years, it seems reasonable that the tree ring record might show multiple cycles of slowed growth followed by “release” after a forest fire, an infestation-induced die-off, or other non-climactic events.

  78. SteveSadlov
    Posted Oct 16, 2007 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

    RE: #76 – Some readers may be unfamiliar with BCPs. They are very different in terms of form from pine species found in humid climates and even from most in more arid climates (for example, compare with Ponderosa and Yellow Pines). Some of the trees at California sites look like they are ready to die. They looked like that 500 years ago, and will look like that hundreds of years from now (assuming they have not died in fact prior to that). As BCPs go, the ones pictured here are actually remarkably full and vigorous looking. I have previously written that it may be instructive to think of BCPs more as a Pinus species that had adopted more of a cactus form …. ones in California are especially prone to that.

  79. Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

    At least Graybill did tag his trees, even if he didn’t take a topo map along or use all his cores. How did the CA team tag the trees it sampled/resampled? Similar metal tags? What is the numbering system? Are they color coded or some such to make them easy to tell from those of Graybill and anyone else who may have been up there? (Just curious.)

    Steve: We didn’t tag the trees, but documented the locations in exact detail. I’m not even sure whether the Forest Service would allow you to tag trees any more. The usefulness of the Graybill tagging is diminished somewhat by the fact that the archive ID numbers do not reconcile to the tag numbers. We’ll try to see if a concordance is available at Tucson, but am not optimistic.

  80. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

    I have previously written that it may be instructive to think of BCPs more as a Pinus species that had adopted more of a cactus form …. ones in California are especially prone to that.

    That’s an interesting turn of phrase. The White Mountain BCPs compete with big sagebrush. Whereas spacing in many forests is determined by canopy, that isn’t an issue with BSPs. I get the impression that spacing is probably determined by space occupied by root systems – is that what happens with cactus as well?

  81. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 17, 2007 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

    RE: #80 – Steve, I believe that to be true, but I am no cactus expert. In my practical experience, however, each cactus requires a certain drainfield to survive and therefore the root systems are what compete with each other. The most dense cactus in terms of actual individual plants (as opposed to cluster forms like choilla, barrel, etc) are prickley pear. Saquaros are very widely spaced and are probably the best known “tree form” cactus. Some consider Joshua Trees to be cactuses – and these provide another example.

  82. Bob Weber
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 1:37 AM | Permalink

    What core borers did you use? The dendro people have posted a lot of problems about one brand as quote from an ITRDBFOR@LISTSERV email below.

    Hello All,
    I have been buying Haglof increment borers every year for the
    North American Dendroecological Fieldweek. We have had the same
    problems as other have mentioned including the chuck that attached the
    bit to the handle breaking off as Maria mentioned, increment borers
    breaking off at the cutting tip-shaft junction, handle’s of spoons
    rattling off on their first use making them useless, and the poor tooth
    design. I have sent many borers back to Haglof and usually get them
    replaced. I have also spoken with them quite a bit and sent them our
    complaints the last time we had a discussion on poor borer design. I
    will send along these comments to Haglof as well so that they can know
    our dissatisfaction with their changes. I think Paul Krusic stated in a
    previous conversation that the companies are good about replacing broken
    equipment – just make sure that you carry a lot of extra borers into the
    field.

    Jim Speer

  83. MrPete
    Posted Oct 19, 2007 at 3:57 AM | Permalink

    Yes, it was Haglof. They may have issues; they are also quite popular. Ours was worn enough by the end that it is being sent in for reconditioning (the tip was so thin by the end that a chip broke off during post-coring cleaning after day 3.)

    Nothing so serious as described in the Jim Speer email though. In use it was wonderfully reliable, as long as we kept it clean. Then again, we devised an alternate (improved?) method of extraction from the borer that possibly puts less strain on the borer. Don’t know; still investigating so we keep that for another day.

One Trackback

  1. [...] demonstrates the proof of the Starbucks hypothesis here where he does his own sampling expedition, coffee in [...]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,302 other followers

%d bloggers like this: