The “PR Challenge”

The multiproxy world has been a little quiet since AR4. Eerily quiet. But the Team has plans to liven things up in the June 2008-9 year with plans for a:

Broad announcement of [PR] Challenge to paleo, modeling and statistics communities (e.g., EOS, BAMS, PAGES, CLIVAR, PaleoList, AmStat, EGGS, Nature Reports).

They didn’t mention Climate Audit on their list. But we here at CA are always happy to help the Team. So allow me to notify the CA community that Caspar Ammann and other organizers have announced the Paleoclimate Reconstruction Grand Challenge, which has what appear to be a new website here unveiling its new website here. In theirstatement of goals, the Team stated:

The “PR” component of the name doubles for Public Relations (PR).

Before I discuss the Grand Challenge, let me mention how I learned of the Grand Challenge, which is sort of interesting. A few days ago, I checked the glacial progress of the former Osborn et al (2004, submitted), now Osborn et al (2008, submitted) and noticed the following submission on Osborn’s website involving the Jones group (Jones, Briffa, Osborn), the Mann group (Mann, Ammann, Wahl, and, in a special cameo appearance, Gavin Schmidt), the AR4 chapter 6 Coordinating Lead Authors (Jansen, Overpeck) and the Climate of the Past editor and editor-in-chief who handled the Juckes article (Goosse, Wolff).

Jones PD, Briffa KR, Osborn TJ, Lough JM, van Ommen TD, Vinther BM, Luterbacher J, Wahl ER, Zwiers FW, Mann ME, Schmidt GA, Ammann CM, Buckley BM, Cobb KM, Esper J, Goosse H, Graham N, Jansen E, Kiefer T, Kull C, Kuttel M, Mosley-Thompson E, Overpeck JT, Riedwyl N, Schulz M, Tudhope AW, Villalba R, Wanner H, Wolff E and Xoplaki E (2008) High-resolution paleoclimatology of the last millennium: a review of current status and future prospects. Submitted to The Holocene.

It’s like having a lot of syndicate bosses in the same place at the same time and it definitely caught my eye. Given the recent surveys of millennium paleoclimate methods by these authors (Jones and Mann, Rev Geophys 2004; Mann, Ann Rev Earth Plan Sci 2007; IPCC AR4 chapter 6), not to speak of the NAS Report, it seemed odd that they’d do yet another methodological review. [Note – for clarification of a concern expressed by a reader below, I do not imply that these scientists double as syndicate bosses or, in a later comment, as members of the Politburo. It is a common practice for analysts to look at who was at a meeting, with particular interest in new faces. This paper had some new names not previously linked to the core Hockey Team and the term, while probably too provocatively colorful, is intended only to be satirical of the parsing of who the new authors, including some self-satire.]

While I was familiar with many of the other names on the list, indeed some of their articles have been discussed here from time to time, there were some names that I was unfamiliar with. So I thought it would be interesting to look at the “new” members, in the way that an analyst might look at new members of the Politburo, one by one, and see what they did and see if there were any patterns. I went down the list one by one, considering in particular whether any of their work impacted prior discussions of MWP-modern relationships.

The “other” authors fell into a couple of distinct groups. Luterbacher had published several articles with detailed reconstructions of European climate after 1500, three of which were cited in AR4. A number of his co-authors, primarily modelers, are on the list (Kuttel, Riedwyl, Wanner, Xoplaki). I’m not aware of them getting involved in the MWP, but maybe they were expanding into new territories.

Some of the authors had published articles on individual proxies, in particular, corals (Lough, Cobb); ice cores (van Ommen, Vinther, Wolff and Mrs Lonnie); glaciers (Kull); dendros (Esper; Buckley from the D’Arrigo group; Villalba; Graham, a Malcolm Hughes coauthor). There were a couple of authors mentioned in AR4 chapter 6 in connection with glacial-interglacial contrasts (Schulz, Tudhope). Zweiers is a statistical specialist who’s co-authored a book with von Storch; he’s been prominent in attribution studies (e.g. IPCC chapter 9), and it’s interesting to see him in a paleoclimate context, being their token statistician, I guess. Curiously, nobody from the von Storch- Zorita group and nobody collecting high-resolution tropical ocean sediments.

After I’d gone through a first pass, there was one name left over – Kiefer. He wasn’t mentioned in AR4 and isn’t a name that I’ve encountered before. But it’s amazing what googling names turns up. Attaching a tag or two (perhaps climate, I’m not sure), I encountered his name in the minutes of the GCOS/WCRP ATMOSPHERIC OBSERVATION PANEL FOR CLIMATE, FOURTEENTH SESSION, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, 21 – 25 APRIL 2008, online here. Phil Jones reported to the session:

Paleoclimatology has made significant advances recently, exemplified by the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of IPCC giving the subject a chapter to itself in the 2007 WG1 Report. Rightly or wrongly, the importance of the subject (particularly reconstructions for the last few millennia) is the highest it has ever been.

He then described both the origin of the paper by Jones and the gang of 29 and the Grand Challenge:

PAGES/CLIVAR organized an interdisciplinary session in Wengen, Switzerland in the summer of 2006 and a follow-up meeting will take place during May 2008 in Trieste, Italy. A large review paper from the Swiss meeting has recently been submitted (Jones et al., 2008). The aims of these meetings are to improve reconstructions of the climate of the last millennium as well as improving the simulations from climate models of the same period. Taken together, the Wengen meeting has led to a project called the Paleoclimate Reconstruction (PR) Challenge. The project to produce the climate model output and the required datasets is being funded by NOAA.

The PAGES newsletter in January 2008 contained a brief description of the Paleoclimate Challenge written by Caspar Ammann, stating:

Individual reconstruction groups (and anyone who would like to participate) will be brought together and issued a small set of realistic pseudo-proxy series and calibrated “instrumental data” drawn from the model output. They will be asked to reconstruct the simulated climate evolution to the best of their technique’s ability. By comparing reconstructions with the full, “true” model climates, each group can assess their performance in great detail. A key objective of this project is to document how much of the true climate can be described with the combined set of reconstruction results, to determine which aspects of the overall or regional climate are captured well, and whetheri mportant elements are being missed.

Kiefer was a coauthor of this article, described there as representing the “PAGES International Project Office”. The concept was also noted at the EGU in April 2008. Had I attended the EGU, I might have learned of the Grand Challenge on an earlier occasion. But in fact, learned of it only by trying to figure out who Kiefer was.

Now there is a website for the Grand Challenge, which appears to be hot off the press. The “Timeline” on the website commences in June 2008:

Year 1 (June 2008-April 2009):
– Form Challenge Steering Committee and launch communication for the 3 key groups.
– Broad announcement of Challenge to paleo, modeling and statistics communities (e.g., EOS, BAMS, PAGES, CLIVAR, PaleoList, AmStat, EGGS, Nature Reports).
– Collection of reconstruction codes, documentation, and related data.
– Collect existing model run data and prepare for pseudo-proxy calculation.
– Identify networks and develop forward models or off-line regression models for pseudo-proxies in consultation with key specialists. Pre-implementation review.
– Solicit input on reconstruction targets from reconstruction community. Review.
– Build Open Reconstruction Access Point Web Site.

Year 2 (June 2009-April 2010):
– Start Open PR-Challenge Intercomparison: pseudo-proxies from existing runs.
– Collect Open PR-Challenge Intercomparison results, summarize on website.
– Workshop “Data-Model-Integration” extension to PAGES Open Science Meeting.
– Prepare and run double-blind experiment at NCAR, disseminate data.

Year 3 (June 2010-April 2011)
– Collect and summarize results of the Grand PR-Challenge.
– Hold special session on the Grand PR-Challenge at AGU or EGU.
– Post-Challenge Assessment Workshop: New Horizons in Climate Reconstructions. Identify important issues to be addressed by individual communities or through collaborative working groups.

Events:
To be announced.

In their “Motivation” page, they note, without actually mentioning me, the following concerns as “clouding” their efforts:

Most concerns regarding available climate reconstructions arise from:

- The small number of proxies of acceptable quality
– Changes in proxy sensitivity to climate over time
– Small sample sizes
– Uncertainties in the ability of statistical algorithms to recognize and reproduce climate variations against the noise at various timescales.
– Differences in implementation of the “same” reconstruction algorithms
– ‘Tuning’ of algorithms and/or choice of proxy networks in order to achieve a desired result.

Such criticisms cloud efforts to provide an extended record that forms a crucial basis for climate change predictions. The paleoclimate community needs to find ways of reassessing its methods to build confidence in the reconstruction efforts.

Some of their “Broader community goals and benefits” are ones that readers of CA can hardly cavil about:

– Transparent discussion on the state of knowledge about climate of the last 1 – 2 millennia.
– Open access to reconstruction codes, documentations, data and validation methods and stimulation of use of NOAA Word Data Center for Paleoclimatology as the repository for proxy data.
– Enhance interaction between proxy-paleo, modeling and statistics communities.
– Enable the development of novel methods through well-documented presentation of current status (including successes and deficiencies).
– Emphasize the need for new approaches in handling uncertainty for both the reconstruction methods and the proxy data.
– Promote rigid intercomparison between climate interpreted from real world data, and that simulated by coupled climate models.

Excellent!! Now maybe we can find out how MBH99 confidence intervals were calculated; maybe Mrs Lonnie will get Lonnie to archive his data; maybe Caspar Ammann, the Grand Poobah, will release the Supplementary Information to Ammann and Wahl 2007.

Another of their goals:

- Identification of bad proxies: Test if standard pre-screening, or the reconstructions themselves, can identify questionable, non-consistent proxies within a proxy network.

Again, something that readers of CA can hardly cavil about. Indeed, it’s something that we’ve been suggesting for a long time.

Since Caspar Ammann is going to be the coordinator for this imposing new Team repository, we note that three years ago, Ammann announced a related plan on the UCAR website aiming to provide details of climate reconstructions at the UCAR website.

The general goals of these pages were stated above (see Millennium Home Page). In short, we want to provide the available climate reconstruction methods in an accessible format to the climate research community so that everybody can not only reproduce the individually published reconstructions, but that everybody can study the method’s behavior and evaluate strength and weaknesses.

That particular project did not result in accomplishing the stated objectives; its proximate objective seemed mostly to attack M&M. I hope that Ammann’s new enterprise remains more up-to-date than his last enterprise, where we still are told:

We are working on an update of this site and a cleaned-up version of the code since the Wahl and Ammann paper is accepted by Climatic Change and in press. Once GRL has reached a decision, we will also post the appropriate codes and illustrations here.

Ahem, Caspar – GRL rejected your submission in March 2005. Doncha think it’s time to announce it? In the description of the Grand Challenge to the public, Caspar Ammann stated:

Overall, the Challenge provides an opportunity for this branch of climate research to open up to the other disciplines, as well as to the interested public.

Sounds like a laudable goal. But when I recently asked Ammann for information on Ammann and Wahl 2007, his surly answer was:

why would I even bother answering your questions, isn’t that just lost time?

Answers like that aren’t going to win many PR Challenges.

Be that as it may, I hope that the Grand PR Challenge is successful in ensuring “open access to reconstruction codes, documentations, data and validation methods” from its own members and, if applicable, their spouses. I certainly expect to be near the front of the line asking for all of the above.

122 Comments

  1. kuhnkat
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 9:17 PM | Permalink

    Cool, now we will get to see the past through the eyes of the modellers to match their future!!!

  2. jae
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

    LOL! The Energizer Bunny keeps running and running and running. But he doesn’t seem to arrive.

  3. EJ
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 9:38 PM | Permalink

    “Such criticisms cloud efforts …….. ”

    Tsk, Tsk, Tsk.

    Critisisms help us solve problems. They do not “cloud efforts”.

    This is the mentality of weakness.

    Climate Scientists Beware what tangled web you crawl on.

  4. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

    WOW!!! I am impressed. Almost enough to write a poem. I bet Steve McIntyre will be the only one who does not get paid. There will be lots of food for thought and auditing.

  5. Jemezkid
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 10:13 PM | Permalink

    Be very suspicious,, May be another effort to re-write the past to support current and
    future climate modeling. Wonder how the “reconstructed” proxies will compare with original proxy data.

  6. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 10:16 PM | Permalink

    [G]roups … will be … issued a small set of realistic pseudo-proxy series and … model output. They will be asked to reconstruct the simulated climate evolution to the best of their technique’s ability.

    So, let’s see: Pseudo-proxies will be used to reproduce pseudo-climate. Success will mean real proxies can reproduce real climate; at least to a pre-defined group of “key specialists.”

    Never mind that no one knows how a real climate works. And put out of your mind the fact that there is no physical theory relating tree rings to temperature. Nor is there any way to definitively remove non-temperature hydrological effects from paleo-isotope series.

    So, we can all be excited about the prospect of employing a mystery to elucidate an enigma. Statistical methods, no matter how sophisticated, cannot substitute for physical theory. These people have lost all sense of scientific propriety.

    And don’t bother packing your “Event” bags, Steve. :-)

  7. Harry Eagar
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 10:19 PM | Permalink

    What EJ said.

    I suspect, though, that they wrote exactly what they meant and object to: being critiqued.

  8. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 11:00 PM | Permalink

    What Pat said.

    Does anyone know what a “realistic pseudo-proxy series” is?

  9. RJ Hendrickson
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 11:10 PM | Permalink

    “why would I even bother answering your questions, isn’t that just lost time?”

    The arrogance of these people is unbelievable. Anyone who isn’t a card-carrying member of the cult isn’t worth talking to. If this is what we get for our money, I say let’s turn off the spigot.

  10. Ian Castles
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 11:19 PM | Permalink

    In addition to their major book on statistics referred to above, Francis Zwiers and Hans von Storch co-authored the paper “On the Role of Statistics in Climate Research”, which was published in the International Journal of Climatology in 2004 (vol.24:665-680). One key conclusion of that paper was:

    “We feel that the cooperation between the statistical and climate sciences does not function as well as that between, for example, statistical and biomedical science … [B]etter communication between statisticians and climatologists requires a better understanding by statisticians of the specifics of climate science, and a greater effort by climatologists to communicate the specifics of open problems to statisticians.”

  11. Barclay E. MacDonald
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 11:19 PM | Permalink

    “The project to produce the climate model output and the required datasets is being funded by NOAA.”

    I’m wondering how NOAA requirements would overlay the above. Would such requirements be contained in the specific Project grant? NOAA requirments or NASA requirments? I know we’ve been through a lot of this before. Any helpful links?

    “Personal” emails between contributors regarding their contributions to the Project would seem to be included in their broad disclosure “goals”, but no such initial “requirements”. So far disclosure is just a goal and a concern.

    Your criticism of the choice of Caspar Amman as repository coordinator would not seem to be unfair.

    The almost complete lack of any outsiders from the “Gang of 29″ is also not exactly reassuring and makes the project less than Grand. I do, however, love their choice of meeting places, until I’m reminded that I’m probably paying for this.

  12. henry
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 11:20 PM | Permalink

    Individual reconstruction groups (and anyone who would like to participate) will be brought together and issued a small set of realistic pseudo-proxy series and calibrated “instrumental data” drawn from the model output.

    1. I expect that the “anyone who would like to participate” list will include well-known bloggers. Somehow, though, they’ll find a “rule” that excludes M&M from the party.

    2. Do you think that the “small set of realistic pseudo-proxy series and calibrated instrumental data” includes data we’ve been wanting to get from them?

    3. What do they mean by a “realistic pseudo-proxy series”, anyway?

    4. And the “calibrated” instrumental data will already be adjusted. No-one will be using raw data?

    They will be asked to reconstruct the simulated climate evolution to the best of their technique’s ability. By comparing reconstructions with the full, “true” model climates, each group can assess their performance in great detail.

    So they’ll be comparing their output against the hockey stick and see if the shape remains. They’ll use this to claim “robust” results (and they’ll even remove the BCP to prove it); and they’ll claim a “consensus” has been reached (after all, multiple disciplines participated).

    A key objective of this project is to document how much of the true climate can be described with the combined set of reconstruction results, to determine which aspects of the overall or regional climate are captured well, and whether important elements are being missed.

    They’re really wanting to make a paper that is peer-written. It will be kind of hard to do a “peer review” if all the peers wrote it. Who else would be left to review this?

    BTW, how many people think this sounds just like what Loehle has already done?

  13. Philip_B
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 11:24 PM | Permalink

    Does anyone know what a “realistic pseudo-proxy series” is?

    Probably means invented (fake) data that looks like real data. That’s how they test the GCMs, except in the case of the GCMs there is no real future data. So it’s someones guess at future climate.

  14. Anthony Watts
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 12:06 AM | Permalink

    “Answers like that aren’t going to win many PR Challenges.”

    Like Hansen’s recent curt one liner, “not interested“, the arrogance is stunning.

  15. Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 12:47 AM | Permalink

    If anyone has read any of my threads (currently one on historic sea ice records) they will know I prefer evidence/observation over theories. In particular I like referring to ‘old’ records (pre IPCC) as they don’t tend to follow the PC climate of our times. If the team intend to reconstruct the past the value of old records will become even greater.

    TonyB

  16. kim
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 1:11 AM | Permalink

    15 (Tony B) Lives there an ‘old record’ not adjustable teleconnectedly?
    ==========================================

  17. Timo Hämeranta
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 1:15 AM | Permalink

    About tree-ring reconstructions please don’t forget

    Helliker, Brent R., and Suzanna L. Richter, 2008. Subtropical to boreal convergence of tree-leaf temperatures. Nature, published online June 11, 2008

    “…We show a remarkably constant leaf temperature of 21.4 2.2 °C across 50° of latitude, from subtropical to boreal biomes. This means that when carbon assimilation is maximal, the physiological and morphological properties of tree branches serve to raise leaf temperature above air temperature to a much greater extent in more northern latitudes. A main assumption underlying the use of 18O to reconstruct climate history is that the temperature and relative humidity of an actively photosynthesizing leaf are the same as those of the surrounding air3, 4. Our data are contrary to that assumption and show that plant physiological ecology must be considered when reconstructing climate through isotope analysis. Furthermore, our results may explain why climate has only a modest effect on leaf economic traits5 in general.”

    Public release date: 11-Jun-2008
    University of Pennsylvania

    From Canada to the Caribbean: Tree leaves control their own temperature, Penn study reveals

    “…For decades, scientists studying climate change have measured the oxygen isotope ratio in tree-ring cellulose to determine the ambient temperature and relative humidity of past climates. The assumption in all of these studies was that tree leaf temperatures were equal to ambient temperatures…

    This new study is an unfortunate finding for the potential to reconstruct climate through tree-ring isotope analysis…”

    See also

    ScienceNews June 11th, 2008

    Goldilocks tree leaves

    “…Those paleoclimatology methods for using isotopes in tree rings to reconstruct climate have been validated by observations, says Jan Esper of the Swiss Federal Research Institute in Birmensdorf. “From this perspective, the findings by Helliker and Richter are indeed surprising, as I would have expected a closer association between leaf and surrounding air temperature,” he says….”

    So, let’s wait and see…

  18. Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 1:25 AM | Permalink

    The multiproxy world has been a little quiet since AR4.

    Indeed, there is a clear downward trend in Mann’s publications :

    However, underlying trends might be more clearly seen if the apparent El Nino events were taken out of the way.

  19. MarkR
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 1:31 AM | Permalink

    No Juckes? Is the Oxford group missing? Have they retired hurt? Perhaps they will do some peer reviewing? These people have some brass neck to pass themselves off as experts after the drubbings they have had. How come peopls keep giving them money?

  20. James Erlandson
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 4:37 AM | Permalink

    Climate Science meets Fantasy Football.

  21. MrPete
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 5:06 AM | Permalink

    My yellow caution flag was raised by the following statement on the front page of the website. Emphasis mine:

    By comparing reconstructions with the full, “true” model climates this Challenge offers an indirect but independent evaluation of the overall skills currently available in climate reconstructions.

    I can just see the headlines: Independent Evaluation Confirms Validity And Accuracy Of Hockey Stick

  22. Allen
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 5:31 AM | Permalink

    The “challenge” sounds good “on paper”. It could work if accurate reproductions of data, codes, methods are made public on a timely basis.

    The downside is this: They could still ignore outside “help”. Yet, publish with the note that the project was open to the world — and no valid objections were found. Consequently, as a result of the all-world “challenge”, the “science is truly settled”.

    Anyhow, being an optimist, I’ll assume this is on the up and up.

  23. Greg
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 5:49 AM | Permalink

    It’s hard to see how this endeavour can work, since they don’t know the true relationship between the climate parameters and the proxies. If they did, they wouldn’t need this exercise in the first place. It’s the same problem, just in reverse. If the psuedo-tree-ring proxy is produced with the assumption that growth is related to temperature, and the reconstructors run their reconstructions with the same assumptions… then hey presto you have agreement. Is there something I am missing? For the psuedo proxies to have any use at all, they can’t be random, so they need to have human assumptions/models built in to them. No surprise that they will match up to the human models on the other side of the equation.

  24. bernie
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 5:54 AM | Permalink

    Steve:
    Did you get an invitation to this workshop? Seems to me that you would be admirably qualified, especialyy re #1, #2, #3. Anthony Watts may have a few suggestions for #4.

    PAGES/CLIVAR Workshop: Reducing and representing uncertainties in high-resolution proxy climate data – 09 – 11 June 2008, Trieste, Italy

    The primary goals of this workshop are to:
    1. Identify the main sources of uncertainty in the different types of proxy data.
    2. Make recommendations for how to better represent proxy error to non-specialists.
    3. Develop strategies for reducing uncertainties associated with each proxy type.
    4. Develop internationally coordinated strategy for re-sampling existing key proxy sites and sampling key new sites for each climate proxy.

    Download the agenda here.

    By invitation only.
    Contact: Kim Cobb (kcobb@gatech.edu)

  25. MrPete
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 6:03 AM | Permalink

    Trying to be optimistic here, how is this effort validly and/or accurately termed “independent”?

  26. IanH
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 6:23 AM | Permalink

    UC:18 together with ared:20

    Brilliant….

  27. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 6:31 AM | Permalink

    #24. I would have been delighted to visit Trieste, Italy in June, but they didn’t invite me.

  28. Yorick
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 6:34 AM | Permalink

    I don’t know. It sounds like a good thing to me. I say give them a chance. They see how their heavy handed propaganda approach only creates skeptics. I wouldn’t mind seeing something that looks more like science, for example. Maybe we can get a clearer handle on sensitivity.

  29. Dave B
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 6:37 AM | Permalink

    henry #12

    1. I expect that the “anyone who would like to participate” list will include well-known bloggers. Somehow, though, they’ll find a “rule” that excludes M&M from the party.

    “That would be a foolish thing to do…”

  30. bernie
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 6:45 AM | Permalink

    Yorick:
    I absolutely agree we should give them a chance. I would give them more of a chance if they reached out to
    some of their critics. As a man once said: “Trust but verify.”

  31. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 6:48 AM | Permalink

    There is a list of participants at this workshop online here

    http://cdsagenda5.ictp.trieste.it/full_display.php?smr=0&ida=a07181

    JEG was one of the participants (as was Juckes). Some of the conference “white papers” are online.

  32. Jon
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 7:14 AM | Permalink

    They didn’t mention Climate Audit on their list.

    Wow. You consider this blog to be of the same standing as EOS, BAMS, PAGES, CLIVAR, PaleoList, AmStat, EGGS, Nature Reports, et al.?

    syndicate bosses

    members of the Politburo

    What’s that phrase you love to use so much? Puh-lease.

    Before I discuss the Grand Challenge, let me mention how I learned of the Grand Challenge, which is sort of interesting.

    Let me guess- you read about the proposal during the 2008 EGU general assembly like everyone else?

    No? For someone who pretends to be so interested in such a subject, odd that you missed this. Unless of course your goal here is to make it seem as though this has been a secretive effort only recently come light.

    Steve: Given that much of their ffort deals with issues that I’m prominently associated with and that I was asked to speak on such matters by the NAS panel and at the AGU Union session on these topics in Dec 2006, it would not necessarily have been a bad idea to invite me to the conference. In their shoes, I would have invited Michael Mann and Caspar Ammann and given them at least the opportunity to refuse. I met conference organizer Kim Cobb at Georgia Tech, where she was very pleasant to me, but she didn’t mention the forthcoming conference and ask me if I was interested in attending. Your post here is misleading in that my post specifically noted that the conference was announced at EGU and in the PAGES newsletter – and therefore it would have been possible for me to learn of its existence in the way that the general public might have. My post discussed how I learned of the conference – and I made this very clear.

    Please read what I say and not what you imagine that I say. Here’s what I said. “They didn’t mention Climate Audit on their list.” This is a true statement. Did I say: I consider this blog “of the same standing as EOS, BAMS, PAGES, CLIVAR, PaleoList, AmStat, EGGS, Nature Reports, et al.?” No, I didn’t say that. If I wanted to say that, I would have. I didn’t say or imply that they had any obligation to notify Climate Audit; I merely reported that they didn’t. For that matter, realclimate isn’t on their list either, though the audience for both blogs is very large,

    As to the nouns, I was having a little fun, which is seldom a good idea in such a dour community, but the image while colorful corresponds to the analysis that I did. Back in the 50s and 60s, when there was a picture of the Politburo or the famous Allentown mob meeting, analysts pored over who was at the meeting. If there were new faces, the analyst wanted to know. I was genuinely interested in who the new faces in the Jones gang were, so that I’d have a bit of a heads up as to what to expect when Jones et al 2008 finally emerged.

  33. bernie
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 7:22 AM | Permalink

    Steve:
    The Steig paper is very interesting. Seems like there is a bunch of uncertainty out there and a great need to standardize, recalibrate and share data. Who would have thought. A propos the Steig paper, Lonnie Thompson was not there and is not mentioned?

    Jon:
    Whence the anger?

  34. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 7:23 AM | Permalink

    Big trends have little trends – Looks like a mini IPCC. The only hope is that all the comments will be posted (or will they be limited to participants?). In the end there wil be a “consensus” or “verification” of the “true” facts. In any case there will be fodder for chewing. Will Dr. Wegman be consulted re statistics? After all, some of the climate scientists are not “statisticians”.

  35. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 7:28 AM | Permalink

    Re #31 – There is also a group mug shot online.

  36. Jon
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 7:29 AM | Permalink

    Whence the anger?

    No anger. A little disgust for the quite transparent attempts to cast this all in a shady light when it is pretty much exactly what certain people claim to want.

  37. Mike B
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 7:34 AM | Permalink

    Out of curiostity, Steve, did Kim Cobb happen to mention this in your visit to Atlanta? Do you think Judith and JEG were aware of it during your visit? Did they mention it?

  38. Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 7:37 AM | Permalink

    I’m baffled by the reference to “independence” in these tests. Does that mean we have to add that word to our list of sophisticated cliches like “rigorous” and “conservative”?

    There IS a standard by which scientific testing is done to decide results and it is called DOUBLE-BLINDED testing. Its the sort of thing familiar to medical testing yet seems to be completely unknown in climate science.

    The challenge seems to setup a self-reinforcing delusion that if one group gets near the “right” answer then it has the “right” method, without any consideration of the role of chance (or cheating).

    And you can bet that they won’t be calculating the R2 coefficient. That would be foolish.

  39. George Tobin
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 7:38 AM | Permalink

    I predict that when this group is finishing its work, there will be a newly discovered 400 year cold wave sweeping over over the Roman Empire. I also predict that the Vikings will have been stuck in port for two centuries due to frozen fjords–besides what would have been the point of raiding the frozen tundra of Western Europe during the High Middle Ages?

    The blade on the hockey stick may be falling off but the handle is about to get another hard sanding nonetheless.

  40. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 7:38 AM | Permalink

    The key assumption of the effort is:
    “[G]roups … will be … issued a small set of realistic pseudo-proxy series and … model output. They will be asked to reconstruct the simulated climate evolution to the best of their technique’s ability.”

    If you run a GCM, assume tree ring width is a linear function of temperature plus noise, and generate your pseudo proxy, then you are assuming what you should be trying to test (I have a paper coming out on this). Sorry: circular reasoning. The other goals are great but it all hinges on this assumption.

  41. Dave Andrews
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 7:47 AM | Permalink

    Jon,

    Steve M notes that the proposal was announced at EGU, but that he didn’t attend and only found out about it by trying to find out more about one of the authors of a paper submitted to The Holocene.

    My take is that this initiative, if it is indeed to be a truly transparent one, is to be welcomed. But it also says to me that there are problems with previous reconstructions, despite what ‘we the scientific community involved might have said in the past when we intimated that the science was settled’

  42. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 7:47 AM | Permalink

    #37. No, none of them mentioned it to me and I’m a bit disappointed in this. But I’ve been around the block enough times not to take things personally. In particular, I have no beef with JEG on this as he’s young and untenured and a bit of a free spirit and is himself only a participant and not an organizer; he was already in trouble for my visit to Georgia Tech. Young people always have lots of worries and it’s rare that I get annoyed with them (Caspar Ammann being an exception.)

    My guess is that Judith either didn’t know about this conference or it wasn’t on her mind at the time. IF she did know and didn’t mention it, I’d definitely be cross with her.

    If I were to be disappointed in anyone right now, it would be Kim Cobb, the organizer of the conference. She was very pleasant to me at GaTech (while not agreeing with anything). But as I recall, either her or Judith got reamed out real good by the NSF for even having me at Georgia Tech and I could see why she might not want to go to the wall right away on my behalf.

    But either way, personal slights don’t particularly bother me. My criticism is more that the organizers are probably making their efforts more ineffective by not inviting me.

  43. Dave Andrews
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 7:50 AM | Permalink

    Oops, sorry, my post “41 above referred to Jon’s # 32. Also my post crossed with Steve adding his reply to Jon

  44. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 8:01 AM | Permalink

    #32. I’ve clarified the perhaps overly provocative mataphors and added the following clarification in the thread.

    For clarification of a concern expressed by a reader below, I do not imply that these scientists double as syndicate bosses or, in a later comment, as members of the Politburo. It is a common practice for analysts to look at who was at a meeting, with particular interest in new faces. This paper had some new names not previously linked to the core Hockey Team and the term, while probably too provocatively colorful, is intended only to be satirical of the parsing of who the new authors, including some self-satire.

  45. Jon
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 8:05 AM | Permalink

    Steve M notes that the proposal was announced at EGU, but that he didn’t attend and only found out about it by trying to find out more about one of the authors of a paper submitted to The Holocene.

    And my point is that it’s rather odd, for someone to be ostensibly keeping tabs on the subject and in particular specific participants (to the point where he refers to them in conspiratorial and demeaning terms), to have completely missed something that was well-documented.

    If he didn’t allude to these persons being organized criminals (“syndicate bosses”), I probably wouldn’t have bothered.

    Steve: Jon, do you think that these people should have notified me directly of the meeting and invited me?

  46. Glacierman
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

    Is it worse to be likened to a syndicate boss, or a jester?

  47. Max
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 8:17 AM | Permalink

    Great, as if temperature proxies weren’t enough, now it seems they want to validate their past results by proxy.

  48. bender
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    Jon is kidding himself. This is a direct response to CA and CA alone. The PRists are to be congratulated for admitting their weakness, and doing something about it. But more credit is due to Mr McIntyre, as none of this would have happened without his efforts. They will never give him that credit, but I will.

  49. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 8:23 AM | Permalink

    snip

    jon was in an uproar over this comment by Hansen. Remember Jon? remember how you condemned Hansen? I thought it was your best moment.

  50. bender
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 8:23 AM | Permalink

    The other person who should be credited with facilitating this shift back to pre-Mannian scientific rigor and replicability is Rob Wilson.

  51. Glacierman
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 8:26 AM | Permalink

    Bender,

    You are right. I hope the rigor returns to the “science”. But it appears that the PR is the most important thing to them. This takes me back to Steve’s trip to GT. They seemed the most interested in fine tuning their message to be attach proof. Seems that if the science is settled it would easily stand up to all scrutiny.

  52. bernie
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

    I was going to remark on the metaphors that would appear if a bunch of fossil fuel executives got together to talk about how their industry could respond to current climate concerns and did not include any of their critics, but that would be a waste of time. More appropriate would be a set of guidelines that would help this group achieve its stated objectives. Some of the Trieste Workshop papers seem to make a pretty good start, though for the 40 minutes they were allotted are short and appear to have been written on the transatlantic flight. Given the GT event, Steve’s paper if he had been asked to give one would have certainly filled the 40′. (Jon, that’s a joke as is this.)

  53. Jon
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 8:38 AM | Permalink

    Jon, do you think that these people should have notified me directly of the meeting and invited me?

    No offense intended, but why? Given your personal feelings towards several of those involved, it would seem to me that the project would be better served by having someone else play the role of auditor. Unless you consider yourself the only person capable of filling such a role?

  54. bernie
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

    Jon:
    Do you have some suggestions?

  55. Bob Koss
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 8:54 AM | Permalink

    I think their intention is just to burn up some grant money. Doesn’t seem like there is much use for a technique that only matches sham proxies to sham climate.

    Evidently real proxies don’t match the sham climate or they wouldn’t have to use sham proxies. That leads to the question. How would a set of sham proxies be constructed without data-mining the sham climate?

    If that is close to how it’s done, how can they fail to match technique and data?

    Wonder what kind of odds my bookmaker will give me on their success. :;

  56. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 8:58 AM | Permalink

    #54. This meeting was “by invitation only”. I submit that my statistical credentials in this field are more substantial than most of the people invited to the meeting and are directly relevant to the topic at hand. I don’t really have “personal feelings” about people at this conference; I’ve objected to publications and actions taken by some of the people, but I think that the overall tone of the blog shows a lack of personal animus on my part. I really don’t think that the issue arises from my “personal feelings”. While I’ve been very critical of some of Ammann’s decisions, I noted in the past that he seemed like a nice young man; I privately urged him not to make some of the decisions that he later made, as I would be obliged to criticize them (which I have done.) But that was a route that he chose, so he shouldn’t pout now.

    Over the years I’ve learned that it’s generally a good idea to confront problems and deal with directly rather than avoid them and treat them as “PR Challenges.” I think that the conference organizers made a mistake in giving in to their “personal feelings” because it opens them up to criticism afterwards. Less petty people would have been more professional.

  57. Michael Jennings
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

    Jon has no interest in ANY independent source auditing this group of like minded “scientists”. He is quite convinced the debate is over and all of us who ask questions or point out mistakes are just troublemakers. Starting with the worst offender, Steve McIntyre. Do yourself a favor Jon, open your eyes and close your mouth and you might just learn something from Steve.

  58. Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 9:12 AM | Permalink

    This reminds me of one of the old “Where’s the meat?” commercials. There was a sign on the wall in one of them that read “Testing proves testing works!”

  59. Jon
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 9:33 AM | Permalink

    I don’t really have “personal feelings” about people at this conference

    You made a snide remark about Ammann (Grand Poobah) and stated that you were annoyed by him in this very thread. Sorry, given these and past comments about him, Mann, and the rest of what you call “the Team”, I doubt objective observers will agree.

    Less petty people would have been more professional.

    As professional as referring to them as organized criminals? As professional as leading insult-via-poetry towards them?

    Puh-lease.

    Steve: As I stated above:

    Note – for clarification of a concern expressed by a reader below, I do not imply that these scientists double as syndicate bosses or, in a later comment, as members of the Politburo. It is a common practice for analysts to look at who was at a meeting, with particular interest in new faces. This paper had some new names not previously linked to the core Hockey Team and the term, while probably too provocatively colorful, is intended only to be satirical of the parsing of who the new authors, including some self-satire.]

    So please stop saying that these statements meant things that I’ve explicitly said that they didn’t.

    I do not think that there was anything inappropriate about my particular efforts starting with:

    Bull dogs have little dogs…

    As to my most recent contrbution,

    Big trends have little trends,…

    a respected author in the field complimented me on this quatrain and says that he plans to use it in a forthcoming paper.

    I didn’t like many of the submissions as being too angry and said so.

  60. Jon
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

    Jon has no interest in ANY independent source auditing this group of like minded “scientists”.

    On the contrary, I would be thrilled with an independent source doing so. I would imagine that CA readers would as well.

    He is quite convinced the debate is over and all of us who ask questions or point out mistakes are just troublemakers. Starting with the worst offender, Steve McIntyre.

    Delusions of persecution. My point was that given the evident hostility displayed by the purveyor of this site towards participants of this project, it would seem best to allow a neutral person perform whatever role he sees for himself.

  61. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

    Re 53. Hmm. if Hansens metaphor was apt, why did he apologize for it?

    Sorry you missed the sarcasm, but nice of you to defend a metaphor that hansen
    himself apologized for.

  62. Jon
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

    snip – H-word is automatic delete

  63. jae
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 10:05 AM | Permalink

    40, Craig says:

    If you run a GCM, assume tree ring width is a linear function of temperature plus noise, and generate your pseudo proxy, then you are assuming what you should be trying to test (I have a paper coming out on this). Sorry: circular reasoning. The other goals are great but it all hinges on this assumption.

    Exactly. I don’t understand what is to be gained by this overfitting exercise. Perhaps the “Challenge” should just concentrate on:

    Most concerns regarding available climate reconstructions arise from:

    – The small number of proxies of acceptable quality
    – Changes in proxy sensitivity to climate over time
    – Small sample sizes
    – Uncertainties in the ability of statistical algorithms to recognize and reproduce climate variations against the noise at various timescales.
    – Differences in implementation of the “same” reconstruction algorithms
    – ‘Tuning’ of algorithms and/or choice of proxy networks in order to achieve a desired result.

    Such criticisms cloud efforts to provide an extended record that forms a crucial basis for climate change predictions. The paleoclimate community needs to find ways of reassessing its methods to build confidence in the reconstruction efforts.

  64. Jon
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

    snip –

    Steve:
    Hansen has nothing to do with matters at hand and is just a food fight (for which Jon is not alone). I’m snipping this as notice and deleting others.

  65. Andrew
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 10:22 AM | Permalink

    They say their results will be compared with the “true” climate which they know from….a climate model. You must be joking.

    Hmm…Jon, are you saying it is insensitive but true so while he shouldn’t have said it…he’s still right? Wow, bending over backwards a bit there, eh?

  66. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    Jon,

    While somewhat off topic, since you’re making an issue of it, would you care to mention some of the species which have become extinct because of GW, let alone AGW? In the only case I’m aware of, a SA tree frog if I recall, the demise of the frog was from deforestation rather than any change in local temperatures.

    OTOH, if this species extinction is only future, I think it’s a bit presumptuous to assume species can’t handle a degree or two of temperature rise.

  67. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 10:43 AM | Permalink

    So Jon,

    Do you have a specific issue with the politburo metaphor.

    What exactly about this metaphor is inapt.?

  68. Stan Palmer
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

    Assume that there are a number of independent methods attempted using the “pseudo-proxies”. The data will be input to the computer and after much whirring and grinding and flashing of lights, climate reconstructions will be printed out for each and every method.

    Then, the quality of these reconstructions will have to be evaluated. Presumably, this will be done with appropriate statistical tests. One of tehse tests will undoubted;y be r2.

    Suppose the r2 test for a proposed method results in a result that is near 0. Would this method be hailed as effective and given worldwide publication.

    Suppose that there are methods which have significant r2 results. What would this mean for previously accepted studies that had r2 results that were essentially 0.

    Or is this jsut a silly thing to do?

  69. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

    #42 — “But as I recall, either her or Judith got reamed out real good by the NSF for even having me at Georgia Tech…

    Steve are you saying that the National Science Foundation hierarchy — appointed officials — came down on Judith Curry and/or Kim Cobb for having you at GaTech? Is it a matter of national science policy now to censor discussion on proxy reconstructions? Intimidation by the NSF would amount to government oppression of working scientists, by threat against their funding.

    Can that interference be documented? If so, it would be quite a story.

  70. Robert Wood
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

    The goal is to see how much of the true climate can be described with the full set of reconstruction attempts,

    But there isn’t agreement on what the “true cliamte” was, let alone starting boundary conditions.

  71. MrPete
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

    Jon, you say

    Delusions of persecution. My point was that given the evident hostility displayed by the purveyor of this site towards participants of this project, it would seem best to allow a neutral person perform whatever role he sees for himself.

    Your standard for independence will be quite difficult to achieve. Steve began his effort with zero axes to grind. The history of CA is 200% convincing that any concern or opprobrium directed at individual scientists or teams is VERY very well-earned.

    That’s exactly the issue: Steve is a truly independent inquirer. He is a well-qualified statistician (the most appropriate specialty by far), and has no financial nor political interest in this. He’s self-funded and wants to learn the facts. And he has been rebuffed and scorned time after time.

    Any other review method I’m aware of would be less independent, not more.

    You don’t need to take my word for it. But to become convinced, you will have to wade through some history here. There’s no funding source paying for nice summaries and indexes. :-D

  72. Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 12:59 PM | Permalink

    george #39 said

    “I predict that when this group is finishing its work, there will be a newly discovered 400 year cold wave sweeping over over the Roman Empire. I also predict that the Vikings will have been stuck in port for two centuries due to frozen fjords–besides what would have been the point of raiding the frozen tundra of Western Europe during the High Middle Ages?

    The blade on the hockey stick may be falling off but the handle is about to get another hard sanding nonetheless.’

    Coming from the historical/hard evidence side of things I would certainly relish the opportunity of combating some very hard to understand theories with actual facts.
    Tony Brown

    Jon seems a bit angry. I don’t know his background but I for one relish the idea

  73. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 1:16 PM | Permalink

    Jon, again I repeat that I think that it is quite possible to make sharp criticisms of how people do things without holding grudges. I’ve learned over the years to avoid nursing grudges as they are counter-productive and, while I am critical of Mann, Ammann etc, I honestly don’t hold grudges against them. In particular, I definitely don’t feel “hostile” toward them. It’s not an emotion that I indulge in. MAny readers and commenters here demonstrate hostility to these people and I am constantly asking people not to be angry. Rather than be “hostile” to these people, I view my tone as ironic or sarcastic. I do admit to making fun of them from time to time, but that’s quite different to being “hostile”. Mind you, I get the impression that they don’t like being made fun of, but they’ve made themselves into public figures.

    As an example of my not holding grudges, at the time of the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearings, Crowley had just written had a savage personal attack against me in Eos. Despite this, I took initiative after the hearings in organizing a trip to a pub for drinks, making sure to include Crowley and chat with him. As it turned out, we had a few unrelated interests in common – we both like basketball – and we had a very pleasant time. I thought that it was rather saucy to have Tom Crowley and Myron Ebell having beers together, but I like that sort of thing. The next week, I went and introduced myself to Michael Mann, who was a bit startled, but could hardly run out of the room, as he had at the NAS panel hearings. I saw him again in San Francisco at AGU walking along the street and said hello, but he wouldn’t even turn his head. If I were 30, I would have got agitated by these things, but Ive been around long enough and seen enough of the world that petty slights don’t bother me nor would they interfere with my ability to discuss matters professionally at this sort of workshop. On the other hand, some of these folks have gotten used to petulant behavior and Hansen has set a very bad example for younger scientists – such as his refusing to appear on the same platform as John Christy, an earnest and serious scientist.

  74. DaveR
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 1:27 PM | Permalink

    Hang on Steve, din’t you once describe the RC folks as “those nasty little men”? You may claim you don’t hold grudges, but it’s hard to reconcile that claim with your constant and rather personal criticisms.

  75. MrPete
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

    DaveR, you can test your rumor for yourself. Just to to the search box and type “nasty little” (in quotes to get the two words together.)

    The only time it shows up here, even as those two words, is in a couple of reader comments. And not at all the context you suggest.

    I recommend you withdraw the suggestion (for the record), and next time do at least a simple search to verify your rumor before passing it on, let alone making such an accusation.

  76. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 2:04 PM | Permalink

    I criticize Science and Nature for not requiring authors to comply with the data archiving policies professed by the journals and I’m going to continue to do so. Does that mean that I hold a grudge against Sciencemag? Of course not. I’m not saying that I don’t get annoyed by the hypocrisy of these journals in not enforcing the policies. I do. But one of the nice things about having a popular blog is that I get my say, get it off my chest and then I’ve done what I can do. I’m not going to keep stewing about it. But the next time that the same thing happens, I’ll write it up again. Unfortunately the same thing keeps happening over and over. I try to treat like a game. Same with the Team.

    There are hundreds of thousands of words at this blog and some are less judicious than others. I’m snarky too often, but that’s quite different than sulking about things. I don’t. Indeed, being snarky is a way of not holding a grudge.

    If you look at the overall blog, I constantly ask readers not to be angry about things and spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with excessive angriness on the part of readers. T

  77. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 2:27 PM | Permalink

    One of the suggestions that I’ve made over and over is that source code be archived in order to make replication and understanding much more efficient. How many excuses have we heard?

    Here’s what David Anderson of NOAA said in his White Paper about data bases:

    To reduce uncertainty in calibrations, databases need to be developed in such a way that recalibrations can be efficiently changed and revised. One way to make re-calibration easier would be to archive the computer code and the methodology alongside the data

  78. Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 2:33 PM | Permalink

    It seems to me that these climate change chappies want to have their cake and eat it. They want to inject themselves into politics, like Dr. James Hansen, but then they are outraged that people treat them like cheap politicians rather than eminent scientists.

    Someone should remind Dr. Hansen and the rest that politics ain’t beanbag. When you become a public figure you set yourself up as a punching bag. The Greatest Generation of politically-active scientists–Oppenheimer and Teller–learned that lesson well.

    The climate change chappies do not quite belong in the same league as J. Robert Oppenheimer and Edward Teller, either in eminence or in classiness, and it shows.

  79. Jack Linard
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

    snip – please do not make personal comments

  80. MrPete
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

    Expect the best of others and every once in a while you’ll be pleasantly surprised. In the meantime, you yourself will have nothing to apologize for.

    For everyone who actually says something here, there are probably ten, or fifty, who say nothing.

    Remember, Steve’s wanting everyone to play reasonably nice. Avoid name-calling and boorish behavior. Yes, there’s a fine line sometimes and this is quite the rough-and-tumble site, not a kiddie playground. Still… we have no need to devolve to the level of others.

  81. Jack Linard
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

    I have probably commented here 5 or 6 times – on subjects where I know more than most (eg, hydrology)

    Like most commenters I have, in the past been invariably courteous. This time, I stand by my assertion.

    Possibly, if we expect the worst of others, we will be pleasantly surprised once in a while.

  82. Robert in Calgary
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

    Ditto on #79

  83. henry
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 7:46 PM | Permalink

    Jon has no interest in ANY independent source auditing this group of like minded “scientists”.

    Jon replied:

    On the contrary, I would be thrilled with an independent source doing so. I would imagine that CA readers would as well.

    Ok, mention some names or forums that you consider to be “independent”.

  84. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 10:14 PM | Permalink

    With Steve M.’s indulgence: #49, #53, #65, and #69 — Jon, s

    snip – sorry, Pat, we can’t discuss this here,

    Let’s take this a little further. If you had bothered to read back on this site, you’d know that climate models are neither credible nor reliable. Steve McIntyre has asked climate modeler visitors to this site for a derivation of the 4 W/m^2 ascribed to doubling of CO2. After confident pronouncements, they have not been able to provide one.

    The same holds true of the supposed 3 C increase in global temperature due to CO2 doubling. Michael Tobis on this site claimed this number was “nailed.” Steve M. asked for the derivation from physics, and Dr. Tobis could not provide one.

    Likewise, Jerry Browning has shown here that nonincluded sub-grid enstrophy feeds up into large scale turbulent structures and makes climate prediction impossible.

    Even in the 4AR, the large errors of climate models documented in the Supplemental part of the WG1 Report fully gainsay the confident certainties written into the Summary for Policymakers.

    These and other faults mean that climate models cannot resolve a CO2 effect. It means that no one knows what the extra CO2 will do to climate. It means that there is no evidence that human-produced CO2 has done anything to climate or is responsible for any of the warming since 1900.

    There is no scientific justification for Hansen’s hyperbolic accusations or for his (and your) vile analogies. And yet you make them.

    There’s another point to be made here. As a biologist, you know that species regularly drive other species to extinction. This has been going on for 4 billion years, ever since the first bacterium emerged from the rocky pore that gave it chemical birth. Apart from geological or extraterrestrially caused mass extinction events, interspecies competition and predation has likely been the primary cause of species extinction.

    The extinctions you claim will be the consequence of warming are speculations based, first on an uncritical acceptance of predictions made by entirely unreliable climate models. These unreliable physical climate predictions are then fed into even less reliable biological models. And from that doubly unreliable extrapolation come the apocalyptic predictions of mass species extinctions. How is it possible to rationally defend such a position? It’s all handwaving with numbers.

    Pre-modern humans have arguably destroyed far more species than recent humans, considering the post-glacial megafaunal extinctions. Archaic Homo sapiens probably drove Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalis into extinction as well. Given the indifferently cruel, continuous, and still continuing massacre of species by unfettered nature, your fastidiousness with respect to the aggregate behavior of humans is biologically unjustifiable. So, unless you can come up with an objective reason for why aggregate humans should be held to a different standard than the one nature’s evolutionary endowment has amply encouraged, your position on human-caused extinction is as ethically irrational as it is scientifically specious.

    But somehow, despite all this easily demonstrable ignorance, and all the lack of objectively rational merit, you find enough internal righteousness to approve of analogies between coal use and genocide, and of analogies between coal users and sadistic murderers. That is, except for “socio-political concerns;” presumably meaning that you merely don’t want to make a political mistake. I.e., it’s not the ethics or the morals of the accusation that bothers you. It’s just a troublesome political climate that disallows you from speaking plainly.

    How about if you actually do some investigative work and engage some creative thinking before making indictments of mass murder. Smart people recommend it.

  85. Bernie
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 11:22 PM | Permalink

    Pat:
    Well said. I do think Jon was trying to provoke – as I think were Michael Tobis and Julien beforehand. Fortunately largely because Steve made a prolonged effort to keep the discussion civil, they left with somewhat modifed opinions. We will probably see about Jon in the next spate of comments.
    snip

  86. Pierre Gosselin
    Posted Jul 12, 2008 at 3:40 AM | Permalink

    Looks to me like they’ve outlined a grand and noble let’s-get-our-house-back-in-order plan.
    Clearly Steve & Co. have embarassed them into doing so. That’s a big success.
    They even seem to be admitting sloppy and slobby science.
    However, the question remains: Can they live with the results an orderly house produces?
    My feeling is that they can’t.

  87. Pierre Gosselin
    Posted Jul 12, 2008 at 4:11 AM | Permalink

    Concerning grudges:
    What good are Nature and Science if readers have to devote huge parts of their lives checking up on every article to see if they’re being truthful? Of course this is not grounds for a grudge, but arrogant replies such as those from Amman, Hansen and Mann are grounds to grind an axe.
    Personally, I think their offices need serious pest control services.

  88. fred
    Posted Jul 12, 2008 at 4:31 AM | Permalink

    Its got to be the end of the Hockey Stick, surely? Once insiders start writing about the need to “archive the computer code and the methodology alongside the data”, and other insiders start alluding to difficulties with both proxies and statistical treatment, it must be all over. Movements like this are destroyed when insiders lose faith, not when outsiders attack. A modest proposal for reform from a few insiders, at the right moment, can destroy a regime. Once it starts, you can’t keep the lid on any more.

  89. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Jul 12, 2008 at 4:54 AM | Permalink

    On the “Motivation” page of the header is this line:

    - Changes in proxy sensitivity to climate over time

    Logically, I cannot see this as having meaning. A proxy is used to estimate climate over time. If a proxy changes sensitivity over time, how can this be separated, in hindsight, from a real change in climate?

    There is a bad dream that proxies of various types are set to be calibrated against each other by a series of “adjustments” so they are concordant and therefore correct beyond dispute because their mean is closest to the “truth”, shows the best “skill” and has the tightest error bars.

  90. Jon
    Posted Jul 12, 2008 at 10:22 AM | Permalink

    @84

    Nice to see that my posts get removed and yours get to stay. I’m sure the purveyor of this site will whiz in after I’ve made this post and claim he didn’t see yours, didn’t have enough time, or some other excuse that conveniently has allowed yours while mine were nuked- or will delete both without acknowledging the disparity.

    Fair and balanced this place ain’t.

    BTW- you aren’t the only one with relatives who died then and there. So go and be outraged on someone else’s time. You don’t speak for all of us.

    Steve: Food fights about Hansen’s injudicious remarks are really not needed here. I deleted numerous anti-Hansen posts.

  91. John M
    Posted Jul 12, 2008 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

    Jon,

    Nice to see that my posts get removed and yours get to stay. I’m sure the purveyor of this site will whiz in after I’ve made this post and claim he didn’t see yours, didn’t have enough time, or some other excuse that conveniently has allowed yours while mine were nuked- or will delete both without acknowledging the disparity.

    You might want to check the time stamp on this.

  92. Jon
    Posted Jul 12, 2008 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

    @85

    I do think Jon was trying to provoke

    You’re wrong. Why would I? To what end?

    as I think were Michael Tobis and Julien beforehand.

    They think they can reach readers of this site. Then they get dogpiled with the conspiracy theories, the BS “climate has always changed ergo there’s nothing to be worried about”, etc.

    They get their posts deleted. They bring relevant published literature, and they are met with “but that’s hypothetical/theory/etc.”

    It’s not a conspiracy. We’re not evangelists.

    Steve: Neither Julien nor Michael Tobis have ever had a single post deleted. Stop making up falsehoods. Quite the opposite. I offered Michael Tobis password privileges to start his own threads if he wanted. I’m sure that he would confirm this. This isn’t realclimate. I prefer having opposing views around,

  93. Posted Jul 12, 2008 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

    PatFrank #84

    snip

    How I agree also about climate models. There are far too many of them of little merit, no doubt because powerful computers can readily create them. However, learned discourse and impressive graphs don’t turn a plausible theory into actual fact. We are far too polite in not pointing out more forcibly that many models are seriously flawed as they’t cant model the essential ingredients of sun and cloud. Whilst this seems of no concern to modellers and their acolytes in the scientific community and media, the IPCC themselves recognise the substantial limitations of modelling by admitting in their 2001 report;

    “In climate research and modelling we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non linear chaotic system and therefore that the long term predictions of future climate states is not possible.”

    If that is not explicit enough, in 2007 they said;

    “At each step (of the CO2 calculations) uncertainty in the time signals of climate change is introduced by errors in the representation of earth’s system processes in modelling.”

    Kevin Trenberth, one of the lead authors of the IPCC report wrote,

    “…the startling climate state in several models may depart significantly from the real climate owing to model errors.”

    Even the most political of documents, the latest 2007 SPM, continues to state

    “…cloud feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty…”

    Modelling climate without taking clouds into account is a little like modelling tide height estimates without calculating the gravitational attraction of the moon, it renders the study rather flawed (British understatement there!) The analogy can be taken further in as much the effects of tide on the height of the sea become apparent over hours and days, whilst that of climate trends operates in decades and centuries.

    In another thread I expressed my somewhat sceptical view of our current understanding of the science;

    “If we compared the current scientific knowledge of climate change to an ascent on Everest, the experts are still in Katmandhu drinking coffee at an internet cafe.”

    We really don’t know as much as we think we do as to what drives weather and the climate, and all the models, graphs, and learned words in the world can’t disguise that. To suggest-as politicians are doing- that we in effect will need to dismantle western economies to meet CO2 levels based on computer models that even the IPCC say are unreliable is absurdly insane.

    Tony Brown

  94. Richard deSousa
    Posted Jul 12, 2008 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

    “… realistic pseudo proxies…” jeez. what sort of mumbo jumbo “scientific” terminology is that???

  95. RomanM
    Posted Jul 12, 2008 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

    #92 Jon

    I do think Jon was trying to provoke

    You’re wrong. Why would I? To what end?

    as I think were Michael Tobis and Julien beforehand.

    They think they can reach readers of this site.

    Let me take a guess. Arrogance? Just what were they trying to reach the readers with? The “Truth” about AGW? Of course, I should be aware that there has been no change in the climate in the past 1000 years, since that is in the published literature and it has been peer reviewed so it must be true! And there are so many models that they can’t all be wrong, so it is not hypothetical/theoretic – it’s a fact! But somehow, the gaps in the scientific arguments are just a bit too large to buy the whole package, so I need to examine it for myself. If you want to discuss the science behind it, great, I’ll listen. Play the arrogance card and you don’t bring much to the table.

  96. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 12, 2008 at 8:32 PM | Permalink

    RE 84. thank you pat.

  97. harry9000
    Posted Jul 12, 2008 at 8:39 PM | Permalink

    Coming from a visit to Realclimate, (especially their version of the “Hockey-stick” debate, I’d say what ever invective Steve McIntyre has even been accused of uttering to be extremely mild in comparison. Maybe Jon should go march over there and issue them the same sermon.

  98. bernie
    Posted Jul 12, 2008 at 9:31 PM | Permalink

    Jon:
    You completely misrepresented what I said and misrepresent what JEG and Michael Tobis have subsequently indicated.

  99. George M
    Posted Jul 12, 2008 at 9:46 PM | Permalink

    I would like to add my thanks to Pat Frank (July 11th, 2008 at 10:14 pm) for the excellent summary of the ‘answers’ which are given to legitimate questions about the models. I have wanted a summary like this for some time and have lacked the time to assemble it. I plan to print a copy and keep it handy for the inevitable encounters with true believers.

  100. Andrew
    Posted Jul 12, 2008 at 10:42 PM | Permalink

    92 (Jon): Jeez man, don’t lose your cool and make caricatures of arguments and call them BS, conspiracy theories, etc.

    I specifically gave Mr. Tobis a reference to the literature that contradicted one of his claims and he treated it like it was not a result to be taken seriously. “If it pans out” “we have less to worry about” but “we still don’t have a right to burn all the oil”. I mean, you totally missed that exchange didn’t you? He did every thing you just said skeptics do-except he isn’t one, I am.

    Wow.

  101. Jon
    Posted Jul 13, 2008 at 12:56 AM | Permalink

    I should be aware that there has been no change in the climate in the past 1000 years

    This is par for the course.

    All of you people that claim you’re rational, interested in the facts, etc., who let this go- you’re part of the problem.

    This is a BS canard that the anti-science camp throws around, as if the YD didn’t happen. As if no one has been talking about paleo evidence for rapid climate change.

    Why don’t you stomp this out?

  102. Jon
    Posted Jul 13, 2008 at 12:58 AM | Permalink

    @bernie

    You completely misrepresented what I said

    That happens a lot to you, it seems. I apologize if I contributed to it once again. I take back anything I said that misrepresented your views. What did I do wrong?

  103. Pierre Gosselin
    Posted Jul 13, 2008 at 4:50 AM | Permalink

    George M,
    Ditto!
    Pat Frank’s summary deserves to appear at other websites like Watts, JunkScience, IceCap, etc., etc.
    to remind us that science is neither the art of dodging inconvenient questions, nor unscrupulous mudraking.

    In debate there’s a good saying that ought to come to mind:
    “Better to keep one’s mouth shut and thought a fool, then to open it and remove all doubt.”

  104. MrPete
    Posted Jul 13, 2008 at 5:23 AM | Permalink

    Jon, if you want to be treated with scientific respect, learn to read with maturity and respond likewise:

    * You ignored the science in Pat Frank’s response, -snip

    * You responded to a salient phrase with complete nonsequiters. Clearly, you’re not up to speed on the issues. The Hockey Stick made a mockery of previous understanding. In one fell swoop, the MWP and LIA disappeared, and “unprecedented climate change in 1000 years” become the new mantra. Sure, others still do research, even on the last 1k years. “We” (readers of CA) know that — we’ve done our own blog-response to a published 1k year proxy study right here. Your response? “We know about the YD” (Younger Dryas, cold event 10k+ years ago). That is not exactly helpful.

    What do you think those responses tell serious readers?

    Sure, we have people who respond in the extreme. Mature readers learn to read for the valuable material, and not rise to the bait.

    If you want to be seen as a Professional (scientist or otherwise), please don’t act like a Troll. I’m a very patient guy, and definitely understand what it’s like to go through a change of perspective.

    But what you’re writing is starting to look less like science-interest and more like trollish dreck. That’s what the evidence listed above tells me.

    (If you wonder why ideas are not “stomped out” here, well, we are actually a community that appreciates ideas. When it comes to truly whacko stuff, Steve does his best, but it’s just as hard to manage the crazy stuff in any corner of the playing field.)

  105. Michael Smith
    Posted Jul 13, 2008 at 5:34 AM | Permalink

    Jon demanded, in 101:

    Why don’t you stomp this out?

    I can’t speak for Mr. McIntyre, obviously, but from my personal observations those who are skeptical of the AGW theory are generally not of the mind-set that seeks to “stomp out” dissenting views. That is a mind-set far more prevalent on the pro-AGW side of the debate.

  106. RomanM
    Posted Jul 13, 2008 at 5:51 AM | Permalink

    Jon
    #92

    … the BS “climate has always changed ergo there’s nothing to be worried about”, etc.

    #101

    This is a BS canard that the anti-science camp throws around, as if the YD didn’t happen. As if no one has been talking about paleo evidence for rapid climate change.

    Thank you for the clear and concise explanation. I think I have it now: It was all BS (that was the part I didn’t see before). The climate has always changed, sometimes rapidly, but I should be worried. The IPCC could have saved a lot of time and effort had they simply phrased their argument in such a concise fashion.
    However, I am still curious. How much of your self-assured certainty in all of this is based on belief and how much on actual looking at (and understanding) the pieces of evidence yourself?

  107. SunSword
    Posted Jul 13, 2008 at 6:10 AM | Permalink

    Archiving source code is typically unnecessary. Source code is normally version controlled by a source code control system (also known as revision control). Examples include SCCS, RCS, PVCS, etc. See the wikipedia list of revision control software for a partial listing.

    Source code at least has been version controlled for 20 plus years. And the source repositories are always backed up. So — while not being formal archiving, the code at least is preserved. And since the version control system maintains the code all the way back to the first version checked in — archiving per se is not necessary.

    For the data on the other hand….yeah it is a problem.

  108. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jul 13, 2008 at 6:15 AM | Permalink

    Ok Jon: you weren’t trying to provoke anyone by defending …whatever. Try this: this site is about the details, just like a financial audit. In a financial audit, the question is not: do you believe Toyota is a great company? But: do the public reports match the actual numbers and are proper controls in place? Very different questions. So at CA it is asked: does the code do what is claimed? Is what it does statistically valid? How do you detect a trend? What are the adjustments and are they documented and are they valid and do they affect the trend? These are science questions, not politics questions, not questions of belief but of proof. If it does not set off alarm bells for you that only when strip bark pines are included can you get a hockey stick (for example), then this site will seem pointless or boring. What one concludes after parsing the audits conducted here is up to you. I would urge you to consider that even AGW true believers like Judith Curry who talk science on CA get considerable respect (and fewer insults) than those who act like they are superior to everyone else.

  109. Hans Erren
    Posted Jul 13, 2008 at 7:04 AM | Permalink

    Do I see it correctly that the ice cores of Lonnie Thompson are not split in length and kept in seperate archives, as is best practise in geological exploration?

  110. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 13, 2008 at 8:25 AM | Permalink

    re 101. Why don’t we stomp this out?

    A very interesting metaphor. I happen to agree with AGW as the best
    explanation to date of the apparent warming we see in the observation
    record. Watch how carefully I chose those words. Best explanation
    to date of the APPARENT warming. There may be other explanations, I haven’t seen them. But when people offer alternative explanations, I don’t think STOMPING them out with the jackboot of consensus is a very civilized method of handling disagreement.

    I happen to disagree with Pat. He makes the positive claim that there has been
    no change in the climate in the past 1000 years. Others, perhaps you, claim there has been a change. Looking at the data and the analysis and the observation record, My position is that we can barely even speak scientifically about the climate of the past 1000 years. So I suspend judgment. We don’t know. That’s not anti scientific; that’s epistemic rigor. Pat is free to make his arguments. I would never suggest STOMPING out his
    voice in the conversation, even though I may disagree with him.

    All that said I find an interesting pattern in tropes used by those
    who have historically repressed dissent and those who currently seek
    to repress dissent in climate science.

    How is this relevant to the topic at hand, The PR challenge?
    The “strategery” works thusly: you have institutional power: paleo politburo.
    That power comes under assault: StMAC. The first response is always
    stonewalling, You’ve got institutional power. Then, you attack the attacker,
    with your media power. Then you give a little. Release the tapes, but with gaps. And basically you are buying time hoping to put it behind you and get it
    off the front page. THEN comes the final move: Co-opt. You take the message
    of your critic and make it your own.

    This is simply how organizations function and survive. I make no judgement.

    Frequent readers will see a similar approach in the surface stations history.

  111. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jul 13, 2008 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

    Re: #108

    Try this: this site is about the details, just like a financial audit. In a financial audit, the question is not: do you believe Toyota is a great company? But: do the public reports match the actual numbers and are proper controls in place? Very different questions.

    Craig, this has been the point I have been attempting to make to science-oriented visitors to CA for some time now. I have no problems with these visitors making pronouncements about their policy advocacies or even some friendly jibes about posters here, but when that is all they offer I keep thinking what a waste of their scientific presence here.

  112. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 13, 2008 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

    #111 Steven Mosher wrote, “I happen to disagree with Pat. He makes the positive claim that there has been no change in the climate in the past 1000 years.

    If you mean me by that “Pat” (there’s another one occasionally here), Steve, I have never ever made the positive claim that there has been no change in climate for 1000 years (or for any other length of time). Not here on CA, not in Skeptic, and not privately.

    If anyone, it’s Michael Mann in MBH98 who makes that positive claim about climate — no particular change up until the 20th century emission of technological CO2.

    Regards to all who have written their appreciation of #84. AGW has made the predictable transition into neo-Lysenkoism. If the US were not a democratic republic, we’d soon see show-trials.

  113. Pat Keating
    Posted Jul 13, 2008 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    114 Pat Frank
    Just for the record, I have never expressed anything like that statement, either. ;>)
    In fact, I am a believer in the MWP and the Little Ice Age.

  114. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 13, 2008 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

    RE 114. I apologize for my mistaken characterization, Pat.

    See Jon. That is how grown ups act. no stonewalling, no mealy mouthed crap.
    I got it wrong. And Pat deserves my apology. and he gets it.

  115. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 13, 2008 at 9:13 PM | Permalink

    #115 — hmm, were Pat K and I set up? :-)

  116. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 13, 2008 at 11:46 PM | Permalink

    #84 “snip” — not a problem, Steve. I honor your principled commitment to reason-based arguments. The necessary point was carried home. That’s sufficient.

  117. Pat Medog
    Posted Jul 14, 2008 at 12:26 AM | Permalink

    Not me either!

  118. Postman Pat
    Posted Jul 14, 2008 at 5:51 AM | Permalink

    Hey, I just deliver the mail, guys.

  119. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 14, 2008 at 6:47 AM | Permalink

    RE 117. I see my mistake. post 101 was refering to 95 and not a post by you.
    sorry

  120. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jul 14, 2008 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

    Steven Mosher, your actions surely deserve several Pats on your back.

  121. Stephen Richards
    Posted Jul 14, 2008 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

    SunSword re:Archiving

    Agree ! BUT, I have been involved in auditing many, many software projects and I cannot say honestly that many of those have been version controlled in a way that would allow auditing of the past versions. Also, as you will know, for each version there should be a release note explaining what has changed, why it has changed and its affect on the data. It is that connection which is so important in climate systems. HOW has the software changed the data and why is the change valid and that is why achiving is so important. With archiving, we can take the data of that “era” and apply it to the software of that era and the latest version and make a comparison between the results then and now.

    et voilà, an audit!

  122. old construction worker
    Posted Jul 16, 2008 at 4:32 PM | Permalink

    This is a copy of te letter I have sent to one of my Senator.
    To:
    Senator George Voinovich
    524 Hart Senate Office Building
    Washington, DC 20510

    Dear Sir;
    You may be aware of the PR Challenge or Paleoclimate Reconstruction Challenge. http://www.pages.unibe.ch/science/prchallenge/index.html Many scientists of this group are the same “scientists” which give us the famous “Hockey Stick” reconstruction of our past climate. I should not have to remind you of the boondoggle surrounding the hockey stick stating with “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period to any input number resulted in the same graph being reconstructed.

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

    I demand as a tax payer and citizen that:
    A) An independent audit done to validate and verify all works from Paleoclimate Reconstruction Challenge before any government body and/or government employee can refer to and/or use in full and/or in part for any government function including the IPCC.
    B) If any government funding is used in all and/or part of this reconstruction, the reconstruction shall be subjected to the principle of forecasting as described in Principles of Forecasting handbook.
    C) If any government funding is used in all or part of this reconstruction, the reconstruction shall be subjected to the Data Quality Act.
    D) If scientist and/or institution that does not comply with independent audit and/or principle of forecasting and/or Data Quality Act shall have his and/or hers and/or institution government funding suspended immediately.

    Thank you,
    Sincerely,

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