A New Divergence Problem

A reader has drawn to my attention that chapter 3 of the Ababneh Thesis, disussed previously at CA here here and here was published in Quaternary International (in Sept 2007 just prior to my initial post.) Since I did not refer to this peer reviewed publication in my earlier review, I wish to update these comments to consider this article.

The article as published essentially follows the corresponding thesis section, including the graphic below previously shown here:
ababne2.gif
Fig. 5. Cold and warm periods as inferred from tree-ring width fluctuations above and below the mean after normalizing (Ababneh, 2006). Whole-bark and strip-bark chronologies are grouped together from Patriarch Grove and Sheep Mountain

This graphic obviously does not show “unusually wide” ring widths in recent decades. As can be seen in the introduction to the Ababneh Thesis, one of her examiners was Malcolm Hughes, also of the University of Arizona.

As noted in one of my reports from AGU, Malcolm Hughes reported contrary results to AGU:

Unusually wide tree-rings have been observed in recent decades in bristlecone pines from widespread locations at high elevations (3100 m.a.s.l. and above) near the upper forest border in the western USA. We present an enhanced and extended dataset from such environments, and report only results based on unmodified raw ring widths. These wide rings are unique in the context of at least the last 3700 years. Sites at similar elevations, but further below the upper tree limit, do not show this increase. The implications of these observations for possible explanations of the growth increase will be discussed, in the context of environmental changes unique to recent times. These will include the possible effects of increasing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide on the trees’ water use efficiency, enhanced nutrient availability related to pollution, shifts in seasonal climatic patterns, and mountain climate conditions unique to the 20th and 21st centuries. Particular attention will be given to this last explanation, and in particular to the possibility of uniquely “Anthropocene” patterns of vertical change and their consequences for tree growth.

As noted in my report, in his slides, he definitely showed slides that illustrated these results, directly contradicting the results of Ababneh, who he had recently examined. Although he cited one U of Arizona student for his efforts in collecting from Sheep Mountain, Hughes failed to mention the diligent work of former U of Arizona student Ababneh.

At this point, a third party to this dispute can only observe that there is a major divergence between the most recently published peer reviewed article on bristlecone pine ring widths and the most recent presentation on bristlecone pine ring widths, even though both emanate from the work at the University of Arizona. It’s hard enough resolving real divergence problems, but when two different stories come out of the University of Arizona in almost the same month from examiner and examinee, neither referring to one another, it becomes absurd even for Mannian climate science.

Worse, none of the data has been archived. This particular divergence problem could probably be resolved if the parties archived their data and meta-data, but, hey, this is climate science, Hughes’ archiving is often dismal and so it will probably fester on without resolution.

This is not an incidental series, but the most influential series in Mann’s PC1 and several temperature recons. In some business disputes, you can get court-appointed trustees or monitors. In this case, think of the time that it would save if the National Science Foundation or the University of Arizona intervened and appointed a third party to liberate the data from the feuding parties and archive it.

44 Comments

  1. Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 9:56 AM | Permalink

    “. . . but, hey, this is climate science,. . .”

    “Climate science” or “climate silence?”

  2. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

    test

  3. Dev
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

    Steve, what I don’t understand is how NSF-funded research is NOT being archived.

    Since 2006, Hughes has received from US taxpayers a quarter of a million dollars for this research, yet somehow he is still allowed to keep the raw data SECRET.

    Here is the actual text from the grant award:

    http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=0551986

    The research aims to address important issues regarding the factors underlying past climate variability and the implications for understanding future variability. The research will examine present climate variability (e.g., recent droughts) in a multi-millennial perspective as well as providing a potentially important and unique tool for investigating the causes of extreme climate events. The bristlecone tree-ring records are at the center of the scientific controversy concerning the reconstruction of Northern Hemispheric temperature from recent centuries and the work should help better inform this debate. The researchers plan to spin off student research projects through a summer internship program. In addition, the research will provide information for an exhibit, highlighting bristlecone pine research, at the US Forest Service Visitor Center in the Inyo National Forest.

    Over the years, US taxpayers have given projects identified with Malcolm Hughes as the Principal Investigator over 1.8 MILLION DOLLARS. Perhaps the money spigot should be turned off until some accountability is restored to this process.

    I know you have covered this before, but for the benefit of newer readers please permit me to quote the actual NSF guidelines regarding data sharing:

    4. Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results

    a. Investigators are expected to promptly prepare and submit for publication, with authorship that accurately reflects the contributions of those involved, all significant findings from work conducted under NSF grants. Grantees are expected to permit and encourage such publication by those actually performing that work, unless a grantee intends to publish or disseminate such findings itself.

    b. Investigators are expected to share with other researchers, at no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable time, the primary data, samples, physical collections and other supporting materials created or gathered in the course of work under NSF grants.
    Grantees are expected to encourage and facilitate such sharing. Privileged or confidential information should be released only in a form that protects the privacy of individuals and subjects involved. General adjustments and, where essential, exceptions to this sharing expectation may be specified by the funding NSF Program or Division/Office for a particular field or discipline to safeguard the rights of individuals and subjects, the validity of results, or the integrity of collections or to accommodate the legitimate interest of investigators. A grantee or investigator also may request a particular adjustment or exception from the cognizant NSF Program Officer.

    c. Investigators and grantees are encouraged to share software and inventions created under the grant or otherwise make them or their products widely available and usable.

    d. NSF normally allows grantees to retain principal legal rights to intellectual property developed under NSF grants to provide incentives for development and dissemination of inventions, software and publications that can enhance their usefulness, accessibility and upkeep. Such incentives do not, however, reduce the responsibility that investigators and organizations have as members of the scientific and engineering community, to make results, data and collections available to other researchers.

  4. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 3:42 PM | Permalink

    #3. Lonnie Thompson is a much bigger fish and his archiving is beyond abysmal. Until 2004, he’d archived nothing from any Himalyan cores and then only archived 10-year summaries of O18 (one more inconsistent version). NSF doesn’t care, NAS doesn’t care, Science mag doesn’t care. I don’t get it.

  5. Dev
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

    WOW, you weren’t kidding Steve. After reading up on your experiences with him, I am even more dumbfounded at how NSF and PNAS permit this.

    To add insult to injury, Dr. Thompson’s funding is very pricey (due to I assume the remote locations and equipment required) for this important research.

    People can peruse his extensive NSF grant funding here:

    NSF Award Search Results for Lonnie Thompson

  6. Sylvain
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 5:46 PM | Permalink

    #4 Steve

    They don’t care because the result shows what they expect or want it to show. If the result didn’t support their expectation they would be all over them.

  7. jae
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 8:57 PM | Permalink

    It’s hard enough resolving real divergence problems, but when two different stories come out of the University of Arizona in almost the same month from examiner and examinee, neither referring to one another, it becomes absurd even for Mannian climate science.

    I didn’t think I could get gobsmacked by this bunch again, but I did.

  8. jae
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 8:59 PM | Permalink

    The U of A administrators had better get involved in this, or they are going to take some real heat. Is there a Dean at that Department?

  9. jae
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

    Excuse me, it’s been awhile since I “practiced” in academia. I meant, “Is there a Dean in that College?”

  10. Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 6:00 AM | Permalink

    Is there a method to force them to submit data? Congressional hearings or whatever?

  11. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 8:12 AM | Permalink

    Steve, let me play devil’s advocate. There may be a problem with the collection of the Ab data that is causing the blackout. That may be why the lawyer was invoked. There would be a tendency to sweep things under the rug and try to forget the whole thing.

    On the other hand,……

  12. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 8:23 AM | Permalink

    #11. The point of this post is that it’s incorrect to say that there’s a “blackout” – her results have now been published in a peer-reviewed journal and are in the literature.

    If there is a problem with her collection known to the U of Arizona, why were these problems not identified by her PhD supervisors? After all, U of Arizona is a leading dendro center. And shouldn’t Hughes have at least referred to this study in his discussion of modern bristlecones?

  13. Mike B
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

    Steve #12

    #11. The point of this post is that it’s incorrect to say that there’s a “blackout” – her results have now been published in a peer-reviewed journal and are in the literature.

    If there is a problem with her collection known to the U of Arizona, why were these problems not identified by her PhD supervisors? After all, U of Arizona is a leading dendro center. And shouldn’t Hughes have at least referred to this study in his discussion of modern bristlecones?

    I know you intended these as rhetorical questions, but I’m going to attempt to answer them anyway.

    In many cases, there is a big difference between being someone’s dissertation advisor, which implies some technical direction and supervisory responibility, and being on the examining committee, which implies substantially less involvement. It seems obvious that Hughes was more involved with the work of this other student. Any idea who Abanah’s advisor was?

    As with business decisions, I’m sure there are cases where the oversight is less than ideal, and an extremely busy examining committee member might not fully consider all the implications of the immediately presented work.

    With regard to different stories coming out of the same department, I don’t believe that is at all unusual in academia, and it isn’t necessarily bad. Short of the poor record of data archiving, I don’t see anything particularly alarming here.

  14. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 9:23 AM | Permalink

    Her adviser was Jeffrey Dean, one of the senior members of the department and respected in the field.

    My beef is not exactly with two stories coming out of the same department – Michael Mann and Pat Michaels were both at UVA. My issue is different.

    My understanding is that academic publications are supposed to consider the most up-to-date literature in their fields: so Ababneh needs to consider Hughes and vice versa, even to disagree with them. Also, to the extent that we’re talking about simple measurements and not theories, the two parties should be able to arrive at a common view on whether ring widths at Sheep Mt are increasing or not – there’s no theory there.

  15. BobL
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

    Steve,

    If you have a chance to put the shovel down, consider compiling a list of the research that has yet to be properly archived that is important to your work and the work of others.(It might exist already) We can then bring political pressure on our representatives to impact funding until this is corrected. Mr. Thompson has received $6.86 million, some of it mine and I expect accountability.

  16. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

    >> We can then bring political pressure on our representatives

    Don’t want to be negative, but this seems naive. Will it be credible that a representative will lose either votes or donations because he/she fails to do anything about this?

    Also, a university has received money, not Thompson, right? Besides, the government’s interest is to suppress any data that doesn’t help the cause of increasing government.

    The only solution is for someone to collect the data themselves, publish a paper and promote the results.

  17. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 11:27 AM | Permalink

    12
    Steve, I was still under the impression that her work was not being published. If it is published, then my post is no longer operative.

  18. henry
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

    Don’t want to be negative, but this seems naive. Will it be credible that a representative will lose either votes or donations because he/she fails to do anything about this?

    Also, a university has received money, not Thompson, right? Besides, the government’s interest is to suppress any data that doesn’t help the cause of increasing government.

    The only solution is for someone to collect the data themselves, publish a paper and promote the results.

    Another aspect to this whole thing may be to use peer pressure. Draft a letter for professors and researchers to sign, stating:

    Since the research into AGW touches the academic, political, and public worlds, we need to be sure that all papers meet a higher standard. Since public and private funds are being used, accuracy in our work is even more critical than before. As a result, we the undersigned:

    1. Refuse to co-author with those who refuse to properly archive data and programs.

    2. If we’re asked to referee a paper, we will refuse it if the data hasn’t been archived (stating that the process can’t be independently confirmed).

    3. We will not use papers as a reference in our work if the data supporting them is not archived. Funds can be limited, therefore we have no desire to waste OUR funds and effort trying to replicate YOUR data.

    4. We will not read, subscribe to, or submit work to journals that allows an article to be published without archived data.

    Get a couple of hundred scientists to sign THAT, and it might start to make a change.

    When researchers, journals, and organizations start to see they’re part of a minority, maybe they’ll change.

    Just a thought…

  19. Steve Moore
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    There are a couple of other explanantions:

    1. Hughes had prepared his AGU presentation months ago and chose not to include the Ababneh work.

    2. Hughes simply “rubber-stamped” the Ababneh work without examination, and could claim to be unaware of it.

    While both of these bespeak shoddy scholarship, neither suggests evil intent.

  20. Larry
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

    Henry, you’re a genius. Now all we have to do is find a dozen or so well-placed researchers to go out and do the legwork. And then watch the fireworks when the team figures out what’s going on…

  21. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 1:02 PM | Permalink

    #19. Again, please note that nowhere in my text do I allege “evil intent”. HEre’s what I said:

    At this point, a third party to this dispute can only observe that there is a major divergence between the most recently published peer reviewed article on bristlecone pine ring widths and the most recent presentation on bristlecone pine ring widths, even though both emanate from the work at the University of Arizona. It’s hard enough resolving real divergence problems, but when two different stories come out of the University of Arizona in almost the same month from examiner and examinee, neither referring to one another, it becomes absurd even for Mannian climate science.

    Worse, none of the data has been archived. This particular divergence problem could probably be resolved if the parties archived their data and meta-data, but, hey, this is climate science, Hughes’ archiving is often dismal and so it will probably fester on without resolution.

    Intent is irrelevant to this situation. I intentionally did not speculate as to how the situation arose. However, it is very unseemly that two authors from the same institution, not just two authors, but examiner and examinee, have reported different measurements without referring to one another or archiving their data so that others can sort out the mess.

  22. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 1:13 PM | Permalink

    #18, henry, of course, you’re right, those are great ideas. Someone should formulate those ideas into a “scientist code of ethics”, and get people to sign on.

  23. Steve Moore
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 1:22 PM | Permalink

    RE #21:

    #19. Again, please note that nowhere in my text do I allege “evil intent”.

    I did not mean to suggest that you had.
    It was an obviously misleading and, perhaps, poor choice of words.

  24. henry
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

    # 22 Gunnar (December 18th, 2007)

    #18, henry, of course, you’re right, those are great ideas. Someone should formulate those ideas into a “scientist code of ethics”, and get people to sign on.

    Feel free to copy, punch up, and pass among your scientist and researcher friends. Start the ball rolling.

    It would be interesting to see if the Dept heads of select universities would be willing to sign on.

    It would be even more interesting to hear the reasons why this wouldn’t work. Those opposed, let’s hear from you!

  25. Mike B
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 1:51 PM | Permalink

    Steve, I don’t know if this is illuminating or not, but according to the references in the “Abanah Thesis,” Salzer’s dissertation was completed in 2000. Abanah’s is dated 2006.

  26. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 4:41 PM | Permalink

    It wouldn’t work because:

    1. Nobody really cares
    2. Even if somebody cared, they’d be scared to sign it for one reason or another
    3. It’s climate science
    4. The tide hasn’t turned yet

    Something like that. Still, you could try. Might get some traction.

  27. Dev
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

    Here is a link to a webcast of Dr. Thompson’s keynote speech at the AGU Fall Meeting on December 12.

    AGU Webcast (Patience–will take several seconds to open)

    Dr. Thompson is obviously a very smart man and fine teacher. He has done important and valuable research under very difficult environmental conditions. He has been recognized for such being awarded the National Medal of Science in a ceremony with President Bush last July.

    But just remember as you watch him expound about isotopes and climate history: For reasons he won’t articulate, Dr. Thompson won’t let you, or any independent researchers, to examine his raw ice core isotope and chemistry data.

    His refusal to archive and allow access to his taxpayer-funded research data is frustrating. Governing bodies irresponsibly acquiescing to such bad behavior only compounds the aggravation. Keeping data secret is not good science.

  28. bender
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 7:08 PM | Permalink

    Re #27
    Interesting the faith that Lonnie Thompson has in the GCMs and IPCC calculation of error bars in what I call the GHG attribution exercise. See his slide at minute 7:12-7:42. I don’t have nearly the faith that he does in those pink vs. blue confidence envelopes, just as I had no confidence in the MBH99 confidence envelopes. In my experience those who buy into the consensus invariably accept that one argument wholly uncritically.

  29. bender
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 7:48 PM | Permalink

    3/4 through his talk Thompson unequivocally attributes tropical glacier melting to a rise in temperature, dismissing out of hand factors such as changes in cloudiness, radiation – which he has listed right there on his slide. I found this odd. Happily though, in the question period someone presses him on the lack of rising trend in Kilimanjaro surface temperatures. To which he responds: I asked Jim Hansen about this and he told me you can’t make silk purses out of sows’ ears.

    Well, which is it Lonnie: are the temperature records good enough to make the attribution, or not? You have to decide beforehand, not after the fact.

    More special pleading, followed by back-pedalling when called to task. Tsk tsk.

  30. bender
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 8:02 PM | Permalink

    #29: Refers to minute 31:47, slide 96. Immediately subsequent at 32:05 is his strawman mock skeptic.

  31. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

    Re # 29- The last words Thompson utters are “the temperature records are poor”, after being questioned whether temperatures have actually increased. Did Hansen and Phil Jones hear that? So how do we know we have global warming?
    Nobody questioned him on how those plants appeared under the glaciers? Doen’y that mean it was warmer at one time. Was that human caused?

  32. Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 10:22 PM | Permalink

    In Thompson’s defense, he only admitted that the temperature records in Africa were poor. And then he quoted some baboon scientist as saying the temperatures, according to his readings had risen 3C.

    The trust he apparently places in all other temp records, the certitude with which he delivers his doomsday scenarios, and his vigorous advocacy of political action is “alarming” to this observer.

    It seems appropriate to recall Wegman’s comments on the self-validating climatology clique here.

    Bender’s observation that Gavin Schmidt appears tired is applicable to Thompson as well. The mindset was formed in the 80s, in the 90s they found the ways to quantify it and have it sanctioned by an international body, and now that the quantifications are being examined more closely, they are condemned to repeatedly defend that which appears increasingly suspect (or even indefensible) to many people. He was probably giving the same basic talk ten years ago and has since updated it only when necessary.

  33. Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 3:31 AM | Permalink

    Re 27 webcast:

    Fascinating — I always get swept away by the graphs and start to worry about 60 metres of sea level rise. Some thoughts, though.

    At 14.15 there’s a graph of delta 18O. Isn’t it striking that as one goes back in time the variability decreases, as if the scale had been compressed in the Y axis. It seems reasonable to assume that this is an artefact and that in reality the variability was the same. One then wonders what the records would look like with this added as a correction.

    The Arctic ice retreat: I’d like to see cloud data to go with the retreat pictures.

    At 1645, look at the lake surface. I can see a lovely smoothed area on the water, but then I am an obsessive.

    A shame this great and distinguished man has sullied his reputation by refusing to share his data.

    JF

  34. Bill
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 11:45 AM | Permalink

    Development and Climate Change in Tanzania: Focus on Kilimanjaro is a thorough examination of the peak, replete with Thompson et al citations.

    The article points out that the glacier on Kilimanjaro has been in retreat since late 19th century.

    To summarize, available climate records reveal a declining trend in precipitation on the Kilimanjaro at least since 1880.

    A footnote:

    (A significantly drier climate than today occurred during the “Medieval Warm Period” (~AD 1000-1270)and a relatively wet climate during the so-called “Little Ice Age” (~AD 1270-1850), which was interruptedby three episodes of several decades of persistent aridity more severe than any recorded drought of the twentieth century (Verschuren et al., 2000)

    As far as Thompson’s glacier-shrinkage observations, it’s hard to contend with someone who has worked and studied at those elevations, in arctic conditions, for months on end (and has the cough to prove it). But it does seem counter to his (ostensibly scientific) purposes to gather evidence of anything in order to store it away unexamined. No doubt, the expanding “black box” of Thompson’s data must contribute to his mystique in some circles, but the peppering of questions at the end of his presentation suggest a growing impatience with that opaqueness. If you’re advocating action, certainly activism, you have to give good reasons for it. Thompson just does not seem interested in that dialogue, politely brushing off some of the questions aimed at opening it up.

  35. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

    Thompson did show a slide which said that Glaciers have no political agenda. If only that was true about the ones looking at them. Thompson seemed to suggest that as long as a glacier has decreased, it reflected global warming.

  36. Dev
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 4:48 PM | Permalink

    Here is Slide 96 that bender (#29) is referring to:

    Bender’s reference (#28) to IPCC confidence envelopes:

    The Thompson slide that says Glaciers have no “political agenda”:

    I like this slide. It shows all the sites where his OSU team have drilled ice cores–and of course, kept most of the raw data unavailable for study by others:

  37. bender
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 7:00 PM | Permalink

    Notice in slide #29 that black carbon/soot is NOT short-listed as a potential contributor to glaciaer melt. Has this possibility been refuted?

  38. Pat Frank
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 7:46 PM | Permalink

    #28 — Bender, the pink and blue envelopes in IPCC SPM Figure 4, nicely posted here by Dev in #36, are not really error bars, but standard deviations around the GCM means. That is, they only reflect the calculational divergence of the models and not the physical reliability of the underlying theory. But you’d never know that just reading the SPM or the Technical Summary. There, the numerical variations are allowed to be misperceived as true physical uncertainties. It’s a case of actively disingenuous silence.

    If you look *really* closely at the GCM projections, you’ll notice that the widths are typically narrower at the beginning of the projections and wider at the end. I used to think this was because they were reasonably showing an increasing uncertainty along the time-coordinate. We’d all expect that sort of appearance if the widths reflected true physical uncertainties — which always increase with projection distance — and so we get a kind of visual cue that this is the case with the temperature projections, too. But that’s not what they’ve done. Their plots show anomalies, usually starting near zero. What they’ve done is scale the standard deviations of the numerical divergences by the magnitude of the anomaly. Where the anomaly increases, the widths of the SD’s increase, and where the anomaly declines, so do the SD widths. This is not the way physical uncertainties work. But the net result is to make the SD’s of the numerical variations look generally like projected physical uncertainties.. And in showing SDs that reflect only numerical divergence, they’re making the implicit assertion that the GCMs are producing temperature anomalies that are physically exactly accurate. I suspect all of that is deliberate

    People typically make their conclusions by visual cues, and one really has to pay attention to the text to know what they’re actually showing. There’s almost a kind of plausible deniability at work here. They’re visually communicating one message, and textually communicating another.

    And look at the so-called observational data. No measurement error bars on those lines, either. More incredibly, the African and SA data are represented to be as accurate as the European, Australian, and NA data. The total figure is classic IPCC nonsense, in which the climate models are represented as physically complete, but numerically noisy, and the observed surface temperatures are represented as perfectly accurate.

  39. bender
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 8:04 PM | Permalink

    #38 Yes, Pat I know. That’s why I say I have no confidence whatsoever in them. The confidence that they have is FALSE confidence. And it is a deception that many sheep are willing to buy into.

  40. Pat Frank
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 10:20 PM | Permalink

    #39 — Sorry if I belabored the point, Bender. :-) I didn’t mean to suggest you’re imperceptive. I guess it’s just that either delusion or deception, I still don’t know which, is so rife throughout the AGW corpus that I get too upset, and tend to the occasional outburst. :-)

  41. bender
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 10:21 PM | Permalink

    Proposition:
    The percentage of unqualified scientists who uncritically accept the blue and pink confidence envelopes in #36 (thanks, Dev) is as high as the percentage of unqualified scientists who uncritically accepted the hockey stick’s confidence envelope, MBH99.

    I don’t know what the answer is to the latter, but, depending how you choose your denominator, I’ll bet it’s higher than 50%. Maybe even higher than 90%. Point is: there’s an awful lot of “trust” going around in this camp. Maybe the paleoclimatologists should take a closer look at what the GCMers are doing, and each of them should keep a closer eye on the instrumentalists, and so on – instead of merely trusting each other all the time.

  42. bender
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 10:24 PM | Permalink

    #40 Pat, I don’t mind at all when a point is being underlined. Saying the same thing in two different ways probably increases by 50% the size of audience getting the message.

  43. bender
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 10:40 PM | Permalink

    #400 In fact I will belabor the point further! I don’t think the GCMers understand that not only is the real climate system non-ergodic, but their models aren’t ergodic either. (And that ain’t the kind of thing you really call a match.) As a consequence their “ensemble” model runs (which are not real ensembles because they select out many of the “unrealistic” model realizations), i.e. those envelopes, have nothing whatsoever to do with internal climatic variability – the stuff that is empirically hidden from the real world because you can never generate “ensemble runs” of the actual climate system.

    In short, these guys believe their models. They use the term “ensemble” ambiguously, and yet they do not understand the most basic problem of ergodicity. Which is the problem of non-interchangeability of time-series statistics and ensemble statistics when your system varies chaotically at all time scales (Wunsch, Smith, Pielke, Hurst).

    This belief is spreading and it needs to be revealed for what it is: blind faith.

  44. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 3:25 AM | Permalink

    re # 38 Pat Frank

    On first seeing the pink and blue limits I realised at once that these were estimates of scatter of available results at various times, which is altogether different to the REAL error in the estimates. If they were real, of course they’d get thicker with age. (Like I do).

    On the other hand, some eggshells in the British Museum were found to be thinner as time passed. Not all, mind you. See for example the whole paper of –

    “Rhys E. Green & Jör n P. W. Scharlemann 165 Bull. B.O.C. 2003 123A
    Egg and skin collections as a resource for long-term ecological studies”, from which I selectively quote:

    A recent study by Green (1998) found that eggshell thickness of four species of thrush has declined over the past 150 years. This decline was evidently not caused by organochlorine pollution, because it began before the introduction of DDT and a step-like decline is not observed.

    Despite observations like this, many people still believe that Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” book was a landmark in environmental science. Later papers appeared to show that DDT caused eggshell thinning – without explaining the observation I quote, almost as if authors WANTED to involve DDT.

    In similar vein, the repetition of those blue and pink graphs has the capacity to become a landmark. This is despite them being wrong and unexplained. That is where I see the danger. Repetition begets Popularism begets Acceptance begets Belief.

    Just like the Hockey stick.

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