M&M Return

PNAS writes:

Dear Mr. McIntyre,

We are pleased to inform you that the PNAS Editorial Board has given final approval of your letter to the Editor for online publication. The author(s) of the published manuscript have been invited to respond to your feedback. If they provide a response, it may appear online concurrently with your letter.

This refers, of course, to our comment on Mann et al 2008.

122 Comments

  1. Ron Cram
    Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 3:56 PM | Permalink

    Congrats Steve. I look forward to reading your comment.

  2. Dave Andrews
    Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 4:12 PM | Permalink

    Yes congrats Steve.

    But what does “if they provide a response” mean? Would not PNAS ask Mann et al to respond in the interests of science?

  3. Craig Loehle
    Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

    ok….are we going to have to wait for it?

  4. Jonathan
    Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

    It means precisely what it says: PNAS will show a copy of Steve’s comment to Mann et al and ask them if they wish to respond. Any response will have to be rapid and brief, so Mann et al may prefer not to respond in this format.

    Congratulations Steve on this and Phil Trans B!

  5. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

    #3. Yep.

    But I will give the refs. In addition to the obligatory Mann et al, readers only guessed NR 2006. One reader thought that there would be some stat references – I spent a lot of time earlier this year on Brown and Sundberg 1987 on calibration: I thought that someone might guess this. We also had a generic ref on calibration (Osborne 1991- there was no real reason why anyone would guess this.) For a reference on the bias introduced by correlation picking – something that’s been observed on 4 different blogs: here, David Stockwell, Jeff Id and Luboš, I cited Stockwell, D.( AIG News 2006), a journal that is always in hot demand at CRU and UCAR.

    • Mike B
      Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 6:43 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#5),

      Well rats. Now I’m really miffed. Both the Stockwell AIG reference and the CCE reference from Brown were my next guesses…AFTER I had sworn off guessing anymore.

  6. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 4:32 PM | Permalink

    Maybe CA readers could try their hands at a Mann-style response. The bolded words are mandatory (we can add to this list.)

    The comment by They Who Must Not Be Named is disingenous. We only used conservative methods and our results are robust. Any criticisms are, by definition, speciousand spurious

    • jae
      Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#6),

      The comment by They Who Must Not Be Named is disingenous. We only used conservative methods and our results are robust. Any criticisms are, by definition, speciousand spurious

      Don’t forget the “silly and inapproriate thing to do” phrase (or something similar, relative to R2).

    • Demesure
      Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 4:39 AM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#6),
      Maybe something like this

      Mann et al (Gore) 2008 has detemined by robust statistical reconstruction there is 99% probability the past thousand/4 words by M&M are very wrong.

  7. pete m
    Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

    The published comment is without merit. Mann et al has clearly set out our methods and the manner by which the data was combined. It is disingenuous to criticise our conservativeapproach which undoubtedly produced robust results. We have carefully reviewed our results and find nothing in this specious and spuriouscomment to warrant further study or revision, as usual.

  8. fFreddy
    Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 5:02 PM | Permalink

    Add :

    … sigh …

  9. Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 5:08 PM | Permalink

    My guesses for Mann-style responses include:

    * failure to mention the dread words “McIntyre” or “McKitrick”
    * mention of M&M as “fossil-fuel funded” and “amateur bloggers”
    * no citations at all to standard statistical literature and no attempt to rebut M&M’s citations.
    * all citations are to articles written by himself or his close Hockey Team friends.
    * a plea to overwhelming scientific consensus
    * a link to realclimate.org where all of these rebuttals are given at much greater length (of course where McIntyre and McKitrick’s comments will be censored with prejudice)
    * ignoring M&M’s specific points in favour of arrogant dismissal of M&M as outside the scientific mainstream.

    I should open a book and start taking bets.

  10. Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

    Steve:

    “disingenous” is not a word from the English language.

    • Dave Dardinger
      Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 5:18 PM | Permalink

      Re: John A (#10),

      Should be disingenuous. As the old Buick commercial said, “BICK, BICK, the only thing missing is U. Actually Word wouldn’t let me misspell it. Corrected it automatically.

  11. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 5:43 PM | Permalink

    #7. That’s a good start. “without merit” is definitely essential Mann-speak. John A has a point about refs to other Mann et als. Something needs to be added to 7 referring to numerous independent studies. I should have thought of that in the first place. Perhaps a dismissive IPCC ref. It would be a good idea to re-read his Climate of the PAst review of Burger for a style refresher.

  12. Buck
    Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 6:39 PM | Permalink

    Um….peer reviewed, of course.

  13. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 6:53 PM | Permalink

    #14. you had a better sense of what we were up to than many readers. I thought that it was very important to place the concept of these being “calibration” problems into play. The discussions here on these topics have been at a very high level (thanks largely to UC, Hu, Jean S, Roman and others).

  14. Bill Illis
    Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 7:20 PM | Permalink

    Response predictions:

    “It would be foolish to” actually analyze the data statistically.

    “The comments are nonsense” even though they are perfectly logical.

    “This was explained in supplement A1″ which was never made available to anyone.

    “The symmetry of transient variable analysis has been fully accepted in the literature” in a vague non-published study from 4 years ago which actually said something completely different.

    “The effect is completely opposite to that supposed by the author” despite the fact the data says exactly that.

    • Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 7:33 PM | Permalink

      Re: Bill Illis (#16),

      Damn! I missed the Mannian reference to Supplementary Information which will be password protected and made available to PNAS only (so as to prevent M&M scrutiny)! And only three years later!

    • Jean S
      Posted Feb 3, 2009 at 6:08 AM | Permalink

      Re: Bill Illis (#16),

      Response predictions:

      “It would be foolish to” actually analyze the data statistically.

      Check. Actual (Reply to McIntyre and McKitrick: Proxy-based temperature reconstructions are robust):
      -McIntyre and McKitrick’s claim that the common procedure (6) of screening proxy data (used in some of our reconstructions)
      generates ‘‘hockey sticks’ is unsupported in peerreviewed literature and reflects an unfamiliarity with the concept of screening regression/validation.

      “The comments are nonsense” even though they are perfectly logical.

      Check. Actual:
      -McIntyre and McKitrick (1) raise no valid issues regarding our paper.
      -The claim that ‘‘upside down’ data were used is bizarre.
      -In summary, their criticisms have no merit.

      “This was explained in supplement A1″ which was never made available to anyone.

      Check. Actual:
      -The method of uncertainty estimation (use of calibration/validation residuals) is conventional (3, 4) and was described explicitly in ref. 2
      (also in ref. 5), and Matlab code is available at http://www.meteo.psu.edu/mann/supplements/MultiproxyMeans07/code/codeveri/calc_error.m.

      “The symmetry of transient variable analysis has been fully accepted in the literature” in a vague non-published study from 4 years ago which actually said something completely different.

      Check. Actual:
      -They ignore subsequent findings (4) concerning ‘‘strip bark’ records
      4. Wahl ER,AmmannCM(2007) Robustness of the Mann, Bradley, Hughes reconstruction of surface temperatures: Examination of criticisms based on the nature and processing of proxy climate evidence. Clim Change 85:33–69.

      “The effect is completely opposite to that supposed by the author” despite the fact the data says exactly that.

      Check. Actual:
      -The claim that ‘‘upside down’ data were used is bizarre.

      Re: Ron Cram (#26),

      M&M misread the statistical journal they cited. The citation actually supports the method we used.

      Check. Actual:
      -Finally, McIntyre and McKitrick misrepresent both the National Research Council report and the issues in that report that we claimed to address (see abstract in ref. 2).

      Re: John A (#9),

      My guesses for Mann-style responses include:
      * no citations at all to standard statistical literature and no attempt to rebut M&M’s citations.

      Check.

      * all citations are to articles written by himself or his close Hockey Team friends.

      Check. Actual:
      1. McIntyre S, McKitrick R (2009) Proxy inconsistency and other problems in millennial
      paleoclimate reconstructions. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:E10.
      2. Mann ME, et al. (2008) Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric and global surface
      temperature variations over the past two millennia. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:13252–
      13257.
      3. Luterbacher J, Dietrich D, Xoplaki E, Grosjean M, Wanner H (2004) European seasonal
      and annual temperature variability, trends, and extremes since 1500. Science
      303:1499–1503.
      4. Wahl ER,AmmannCM(2007) Robustness of the Mann, Bradley, Hughes reconstruction
      of surface temperatures: Examination of criticisms based on the nature and processing
      of proxy climate evidence. Clim Change 85:33–69.
      5. Mann ME, Rutherford S, Wahl E, Ammann C (2007) Robustness of proxy-based climate
      field reconstruction methods. J Geophys Res 112:D12109.
      6. Osborn TJ, Briffa KR (2006) The spatial extent of 20th-century warmth in the context
      of the past 1200 years. Science 311:841–844.

      * a plea to overwhelming scientific consensus

      Partial check. Actual:
      -Reply to McIntyre and McKitrick: Proxy-based temperature reconstructions are robust
      -McIntyre and McKitrick’s claim that the common procedure (6) of screening proxy data (used in some of our reconstructions) generates ‘‘hockey sticks’ is unsupported in peerreviewed literature
      -McIntyre and McKitrick’s claim that the common procedure
      (6) of screening proxy data (used in some of our reconstructions)

      I think the only key thing everyone missed is the used of the word “bizarre”. :)

  15. per
    Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 7:51 PM | Permalink

    congratulations.

    it will be interesting to see what PNAS allows by way of retort; they recently allowed-

    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/48/E98.extract

    I had this strange misconception that scientist were meant to focus on experimental detail. This retort also makes personal comments.

    Under any circumstances, the news that you have got through peer-review (!) to get in is great news, and I am sure Mike will enjoy the opportunity to have a frank exchange of views on an equal footing.

    per

    Steve: Curiously, we know one of the authors of that reply. His wife sent my wife some marmalade.

  16. PhilH
    Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 8:14 PM | Permalink

    “Under any circumstances, the news that you have got through peer-review (!) to get in is great news, and I am sure Mike will enjoy the opportunity to have a frank exchange of views on an equal footing.”

    You, of course, are kidding.

  17. MarkR
    Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 9:50 PM | Permalink
    .. the use of R2D2 is very wrong,…blah blah mining industry, blah economist blah de blah, by a group of my students, and mates….

  18. Sylvain
    Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 10:09 PM | Permalink

    It is a shame that your comment had to be limited to 250 words.

    Are they bound by the same rule in their response? or is it an M&M clause.

  19. mpaul
    Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 10:27 PM | Permalink

    In the interest of brevity, I think Mann will submit his response in the form of haiku:

    He who is nameless
    dare critique what is robust
    be gone oily stooge

  20. jeez
    Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 10:28 PM | Permalink

    It is the consensus of the climate research community that the typically disingenuous critique of Mann et al 2008 by, he who’s name must not be said three times lest he be summoned to appear, is without merit. It is at best spurious, and at worst, completely specious nitpicking with no relevance to the results which pass muster no matter how conservative the statistical method used. This is indicated by more than a dozen independent research groups and even more numerous studies all of whom confirm the level of robustness of the conclusions.

    These independent research groups have now reconstructed the average temperature of the northern hemisphere in past centuries time and time again and make up the strong foundational structure which demonstrates clearly, at least to those who understand the science, and are not simply oil money funded bloggers, that the proxy reconstructions, taking into account these limited and clearly defined uncertainties, indicate that the warming of the northern hemisphere during the late 20th century is unprecedented over at least the past millennium and it now appears based on peer-reviewed research, probably the past two millennia.

  21. Jonathan Schafer
    Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 10:46 PM | Permalink

    Maybe they will attempt to prove you wrong by refering to their as yet unpublished Mann et al 2011 paper, which cites additional proof in Mann et al 2013, which are both slated to appear in print just after the cutoff for inclusion in the next IPCC release. No data for you….one year.

  22. Ron Cram
    Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 10:48 PM | Permalink

    Based partly on Mann and partly on the weird retort Per linked to, here is my contribution:

    McIntyre, who represents the oil industry, and McKitrick, who represents the economy, put an industrial-strength economic “spin” on the data. Data which they never should have gotten hold of in the first place, since they obvously care more about the economy than they do the planet we live on. The Editorial Board of PNAS should never have printed their comment. It only takes up space in an otherwise decent journal. By printing the comment of M&M, PNAS has brought disrepute on the journal and on science generally.

    M&M misread the statistical journal they cited. The citation actually supports the method we used. We tried to point this out to the Editorial Board at PNAS to keep M&M’s comment from being printed but for some reason the Editorial Board did not believe us. I hope they have learned their lesson and take our word for it from now on. Boy, this is going to be embarrassing for them.

    • Deep Climate
      Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

      Re: Ron Cram (#26),

      By printing the comment of M&M, PNAS has brought disrepute on the journal and on science generally.

      Isn’t the letter to PNAS “online only”?

      I also notice that access to the full text of PNAS letters appears to require one-time payment or PNAS subscription. Will the full text of the letter be available on CA or elsewhere, or does that contravene the publication terms?

      Re: per (#18),

      Under any circumstances, the news that you have got through peer-review (!) to get in is great news …

      Is there a peer-review process for letters to PNAS? Presumably they are published at the discretion of the editorial board.

      • Ron Cram
        Posted Jan 1, 2009 at 6:31 AM | Permalink

        Re: Deep Climate (#38),

        The quote you used is my guess of Mann’s reply. Seeing it the way you quote me may make people think I am making that comment. My guess for Mann’s reply was not very eloquent. The contribution I was trying to make is I think Mann will try to claim M&M do not understand the statistics or other issues. So look for words like misread, misunderstood or misapprehend. Also, I think he will claim it was a mistake for PNAS to publish the comment. Mann has a habit of going after the person rather than the issue. I do not think he will stop with just going after M&M. I think he will go after the PNAS Editorial Board and try to embarrass them as well. Of course, he will only end up embarassing himself if he does.

        Regarding your question, I was under the impression the online publication of the comment was only the first step and that if it was published online then a hardcopy comment would almost certainly follow. Am I wrong on that?

        • Deep Climate
          Posted Jan 3, 2009 at 7:27 PM | Permalink

          Re: Ron Cram (#56),

          I was under the impression the online publication of the comment was only the first step and that if it was published online then a hardcopy comment would almost certainly follow.

          It’s possible, but the description of the “online” letters to the editor does not mention print publication at all; that’s why I raised the question.

          Introducing PNAS online letters to the editor – Randy Schekman, editor-in-chief

          We are pleased to begin an experiment during the last quarter of 2007 in which we will publish online letters to the editor concerning PNAS articles published within the last 3 months…

        • Deep Climate
          Posted Jan 3, 2009 at 9:30 PM | Permalink

          Re: Deep Climate (#67),

          Never mind – the answer to that question is clearly stated in the PNAS information for authors:

          Letters are brief online-only comments that contribute to the discussion of a PNAS research article published within the last 3 months. Letters may not include requests to cite the letter writer’s work, accusations of misconduct, or personal comments to an author. Letters are limited to 250 words and no more than five references. [emphasis added]

        • John Norris
          Posted Jan 3, 2009 at 11:08 PM | Permalink

          Re: Deep Climate (#68), and 38, and 67

          So it’s just the stinkin online letters to the editor, so no one really cares. Perhaps the best tactic for Mann is to not respond and the world will little note nor long remember what was said there.

        • Deep Climate
          Posted Jan 4, 2009 at 8:02 AM | Permalink

          Re: John Norris (#69),

          So it’s just the stinkin online letters to the editor, so no one really cares. Perhaps the best tactic for Mann is to not respond and the world will little note nor long remember what was said there.

          That’s not my take on this issue. It looks like PNAS didn’t have unsolicited letters to the editor at all before. Presumably the letters are “online only” for space and policy reasons.

          But there are interesting questions concerns the restrictions around disemination of the complete letter and reply (brief though they may be). For instance, do authors have the right to reproduce an online letter on their own websites? Can blogs, websites or mainstream media reproduce the entire text of the letter and reply once they have been published?

          The other remaining issue of interest has to do with qualification of the letter as “peer reviewed” publication as referred to by Per above (perhaps tongue in cheek, although it’s hard to tell).

        • John Norris
          Posted Jan 4, 2009 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

          Re: Deep Climate (#72),

          That’s not my take on this issue.

          Well it looked to me like it was approaching that, that’s why I said what I said.

          Re: Steve McIntyre (#73),

          … what matters is whether the points that we make are right.

          Concur!

          Re: Deep Climate (#72),

          The other remaining issue of interest has to do with qualification of the letter as “peer reviewed” …

          M&M’s comments will get plenty of critique in the warming blogosphere, if not at RC then certainly others. Whether their critique of M&M PNAS letter will matter or not? see above quote from 73.

        • Ross McKitrick
          Posted Jan 4, 2009 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

          Re: Deep Climate (#72),

          The other remaining issue of interest has to do with qualification of the letter as “peer reviewed” publication as referred to by Per above (perhaps tongue in cheek, although it’s hard to tell).

          I would have hoped the other remaining issue of interest would be whether the points in our letter are correct. That, of course, will be the last thing alarmist blogs will want to talk about. As Steve correctly notes, there is a track record here of (some) paleoclimatologists whistling past our earlier findings, even after they have been independently scrutinized and upheld. Huffing and puffing about the =yawwwwwn= end of the world (a la #74) doesn’t change the fact that experts who should know better have reused Mann’s PC1 and the bristlecones, and cherry-picked verification scores rather than reporting them all, even after we argued against these things and all our claims were upheld in the Wegman and NAS reports.
          And, at the risk of snippable tangencies, the paleo field is not the only case where the IPCC has grabbed at fabrications to avoid dealing with adverse findings.

        • Deep Climate
          Posted Jan 4, 2009 at 11:51 PM | Permalink

          Re: Ross McKitrick (#79),

          (Quoting DC): The other remaining issue of interest has to do with qualification of the letter as “peer reviewed” publication as referred to by Per above (perhaps tongue in cheek, although it’s hard to tell).

          I would have hoped the other remaining issue of interest would be whether the points in our letter are correct.

          Just to clarify, I’m not presuming that the points raised in the letter itself will not be worth disucussing – I was referring to those issues that can be discussed in advance of its actual publication. I’m sure there will be much discussion in the blogosphere, but I would prefer to draw my conclusions only after reading the actual text. Hence my questions about whether the full text will be available here or at your web page.

        • Mark T
          Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 1:01 AM | Permalink

          Re: Deep Climate (#89),

          Hence my questions about whether the full text will be available here or at your web page.

          Looks to me like you asked if it was “peer reviewed,” implying an attempt to impugn the quality of the paper prior to you reading it (aka, poisoning the well), not whether or not it will be available for you to read.

          Don’t worry, we all know you’re trying hard to avoid addressing the technical content if you can. Why not just drop the pretense and admit it. Disinformation, indeed.

          Mark

        • Deep Climate
          Posted Jan 6, 2009 at 5:14 PM | Permalink

          Re: Mark T (#90),

          Looks to me like you asked if it was “peer reviewed,” implying an attempt to impugn the quality of the paper prior to you reading it (aka, poisoning the well), not whether or not it will be available for you to read.

          It’s a brief letter to the editor, not a paper. Per referred to the “the news that you have got through peer-review” and I pointed out that this did not appear to be the case.

          The availability is a separate issue. It’s still not clear to me whether the text of the letter will be freely available to the general public.

          Don’t worry, we all know you’re trying hard to avoid addressing the technical content if you can. Why not just drop the pretense and admit it. Disinformation, indeed.

          This doesn’t make any sense – how I can be avoiding addressing the “technical content” of a letter no one has seen?

          Let me be clear: In my opinion, most of CA “technical content” is flawed or of marginal relevance. I would therefore characterize it as misinformation or obfuscation for the most part. I also strongly disagree with CA characterizations of climate scientists such as Mann, Schmidt and Hansen.

          But I tend to reserve the term “disinformation” for the deliberately misleading “science” peddled by PR professionals such as Tom Harris and APCO Worldwide.

        • Mark T.
          Posted Jan 6, 2009 at 5:32 PM | Permalink

          Re: Deep Climate (#114),

          Let me be clear: In my opinion, most of CA “technical content” is flawed or of marginal relevance.

          That’s my point, you do not understand the technical content herein and try your damnedest to marginalize everything based on irrelevant points that even you don’t understand fully. That Steve allows you to continue to post is, in my opinion, a gift.

          I also strongly disagree with CA characterizations of climate scientists such as Mann, Schmidt and Hansen.

          You’ve already made this clear, and I’ve already pointed out, as have others, that you simply don’t understand the arguments. The most fundamental I caught you on myself. It is a pity, really.

          Mark

        • Ron Cram
          Posted Jan 4, 2009 at 9:57 AM | Permalink

          Re: Deep Climate (#68),

          Thank you for digging up this info. I assume PNAS keep the letters online only in order to keep the impact factor of the journal as high as possible. I agree with Steve in #73. What really matters is whether the points made are correct. Enough people will see the online Letter to get the facts out there. Whether or not climate scientists “care” or not is another question. Steve and Ross pointed out Mann’s errors in the past and climate scientists did not care. They continue to polish the Hockey Stick even though it is broken beyond repair.

  23. Joshua Matthew
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 12:43 AM | Permalink

    There always inspiration to be had from the Alan Sokal – “Social Text” affair ( http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/ ) … one could use the Postmodernism Journal Paper Generator ( http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo/ ) to produce a more cryptic response.

  24. Louis Hissink
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 4:49 AM | Permalink

    #5

    :For a reference on the bias introduced by correlation picking – something that’s been observed on 4 different blogs: here, David Stockwell, Jeff Id and Luboš, I cited Stockwell, D.( AIG News 2006), a journal that is always in hot demand at CRU and UCAR.”

    That caused me some coughing an spluttering into my new year passing champagne!

    Congratulations Steve and I can assure you that since you left the mining game for more interesting due diligence tasks, that mob both of us know sooo well, haven’t stopped being innovative with stock exchange announcements. Surprise, surprise. Every time some new fangled technology appears, the mannians of the mining milieu come up with new ploys to part investors from their cash.

    LH – editor AIG News.

    • Ron Cram
      Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 6:11 AM | Permalink

      Re: Louis Hissink (#30),

      I have to admit the reference to AIG News 2006 meant nothing to me. I found the Stockwell article here using Google. The same edition also has a nice article by you. I especially liked the quote you selected from Brignell. Very well done.

      • MartinGAtkins
        Posted Jan 1, 2009 at 12:30 PM | Permalink

        Re: Ron Cram (#31),

        The link you gave was prefaced by an article written Pierpont (Trevor Sykes). A hugely funny writer for the Australian Financial Review. His persona was that of a director of a mining company called Blue Sky Mines. He was unscrupulously corrupt as were most of the other directors. If you have some time and want a laugh his columns are archived here.

        http://www.pierpont.com.au/archives-index.htm

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

      Re: Louis Hissink (#30), Shhhhh! Don’t tell Steve the mining promoters are still up to no good, he might dump us and go back to his old job!

  25. Pierre Gosselin
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 6:23 AM | Permalink

    John A
    First, you have to find people who are willing to bet. Good luck!
    So far I’ve only been able to find people all too ready to blow hot air, but unwilling (and too uncertain) to back their words in a bet, e.g. SLR. Shouldn’t be a surprise as they have enough problems making their data available.

    I personally sent an e-mail to WP Juliet Eilperin:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/24/AR2008122402174.html

    Offering to bet $10,000.00 on a sea level rise of 30 mm over the next 5 years (0.6 meters by 2108).
    Not a peep!

  26. kim
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 7:29 AM | Permalink

    Jack Frost pallid
    Sips carbon Kool-Aid.
    Old Mann leans on Crook’t Stick.
    ===================

  27. Perry Debell
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 7:34 AM | Permalink

    Oh, that’s what P’NAS means. http://www.pnas.org/content/96/8/4215.full

    mpaul (#23) Excellent!

    Louis Hissink (#30) Bookmarked your journal for future enjoyment.

    Happy New Year

    Perry

  28. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 8:38 AM | Permalink

    Louis, I noticed that the same AIG News issue reviewed the K-T dispute, mentioning a CA post. Does anyone know what’s happened to that issue since then?

    It’s nice to see how fresh my comments were about comparing the K-T data refusal to shorting a stock. I’ve become jaded wrestling with the Team. At least, mining promoters have fun.

  29. BarryW
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

    The comment by They Who Must Not Be Named is entirely without merit. The commenter is not one of the Chosen has no standing in the Climate community and is obviously in the pay of those whose interests are in opposition to the saving of the world from the coming climate catastrophe. His disingenuous rehash of objections to our previous work which we have shown to validated by our newly created and highly inventive, but conservative, methods rely on old and hoary statistical methodologies that have no relation to modern climate science. Our results are robust because they can be shown to match Global Climate Models and the climate communities consensus regardless of the divergence from actual temperature data. Any criticisms are therefore, by definition, specious and spurious.

  30. Graeme Olsen
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

    Too busy are we
    To refute claims by tiresome
    Macks with rocks in head

  31. H Hazell
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 11:33 AM | Permalink

    It’s truly futile
    To keep slicing cherry pie
    If you get apple

  32. Stan Palmer
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

    The smart thing for Mann et al to do is not to reply but to remain silent.

    Does anyone really think that the BBC, CBC, NBC New York Times etc. are going to have a report that indicates that Mann’s findings are doubtful? The government broadcasting agency in Canada is running “An Inconvenient Truth” in prime time tonight as a New Year’s Eve special. Aside from showing why no one watches the CBC, this indicates the degree to which the Mann hockey stick has become the received truth.

    The less Mann does, the easier it will be for the media to continue with the existing spin on AGW.

  33. Stan Palmer
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

    Mann has already reported that M&M are “two Canadians”. Hansen in his “He who must not be named” comment took Mann’s finding and called S.Mc. a “fellow from Canada”. If there is a reply, it could repeat these findings.

  34. John Norris
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 1:55 PM | Permalink

    Hockey sticks are true
    Don’t ridicule our proxies
    We’ll run for the ice

    apologies to S. Mosher for the 3rd line

  35. EW
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 2:39 PM | Permalink

    “An Inconvenient Truth” in prime time tonight

    Really? Now that’s interesting. In our TV, public or commercial channels alike, we have various fun stuff, comedians, dancers, old black and white Chaplin movies and clowns at the New Year Eve… or might that be that the “Truth” is now considered as entertainment?

  36. Dave Andrews
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 3:31 PM | Permalink

    Stan # 41,

    “The smart thing for Mann et al to do is not to reply but to remain silent.”

    I must admit that was my first thought also, despite my tongue-in-cheek remark about PNAS above.

    But we also live in a new internet world and silence by Mann et al in the PNAS sphere will not equate to silence in the blogosphere. So if they don’t respond it will be discussed widely in the latter, as also will any response they might make, but they may well feel they would lose more in those cicumstances by not responding to PNAS.

  37. Shallow Climate
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 4:25 PM | Permalink

    “I don’t know why I even deign to comment on such spurious, specious and disingenuous–I might add, egregiously disingenuous–twaddle as presented by M&M (who, I will remind you, are Canadians, and Canada is, technically, a foreign country). I have much more robust and conservative business to attend to (e.g., burnishing my own reputation). Let them talk all they want to about reality: All that matters is that I have spoken.”

    • mpaul
      Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 6:58 PM | Permalink

      Re: Shallow Climate (#46),

      I think ‘twaddle’ should be a required word. OK, one more:

      Oh Canadians
      challenge Ozymandias
      Spurious twaddle

  38. Craig Loehle
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 7:39 PM | Permalink

    “spurious twaddle”–my vocabulary increases daily by reading CA…

  39. DG
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 8:36 PM | Permalink

    Mann could always use the Homer and Bart Simpson approach.

    Facts are meaningless – you could use facts to prove anything that’s even remotely true! Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14% of people know that.

    I didn’t do it, nobody saw me do it, you can’t prove anything.

  40. Mark Smith
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 9:22 PM | Permalink

    the number of syllables in this Haiku
    has been adjusted
    upwards

    Happy New Year!

  41. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 10:28 PM | Permalink

    Don’t let the Canucks
    who have no degrees I trust
    into my data.

  42. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 10:35 PM | Permalink

    Kim still has the best Haiku so far, IMO.

    • kim
      Posted Jan 1, 2009 at 6:43 PM | Permalink

      Re: Dave Dardinger (#52),

      Thanks. lucia calls me
      For regular practice
      At the Blackboard.
      =============

  43. Mike Lorrey
    Posted Jan 1, 2009 at 3:37 AM | Permalink

    I bend on broke stick,
    hide data in occult place.
    For the children.

  44. Louis Hissink
    Posted Jan 1, 2009 at 4:26 AM | Permalink

    #31, #34,
    Ron and Perry,

    Thanks for the kind thoughts, and I’ll have to chase up that article in which I quoted John Brignell. Oh that was my first issue – I copped alot of flak for that issue from the usual suspects. Not sure what controversy the next issue will contain, but you can download ‘em at the AIG website http://www.aig.org.au
    #35,
    Craig, I doubt it, the market’s tanked though it happened so fast everyone is still in the shell-shock mode. Steve’s having much too fun mucking around with Mannian malfeasance though it can be exhausting mentally. In any case Roy Spencer has raised the bar with a new challenge for 2009 to the climate modellers on his new website.

    #36
    Steve,

    K-T extinction – thanks for reminding me – that fracas seems to have died very quietly. I think the protagonists ended up in a Mexican standoff. Definitely have to revisit that one in a future issue.

    Incidentally Bishop Hill’s summation of the issue clarified things for me – I was forced to review David Archibald’s new book “Solar Cycle 24″ for the next AIG News, (as well as the more academic Regolith Science text by CSIRO) over the Xmas break and David has Bishop Hill’s summation (Caspar and the jesus paper) as an appendix. First moment I had the time to sit down and think about it.

    I’m still leery of the methodology used to aggregate climate measurements into grid cells defined by lat and longs for various reasons but haven’t found the time to detail it since I am too busy with the plasma stuff. However it’s related to the mining industry idea of sample support and applying areas of influence to a data point. I don’t know how familiar you are with this but it might make an interesting change from managing Mannian messes. It’s based on Kriging and it works because if we get it wrong, we go bankrupt. (Actually I worked out what Matheron, and Blais and Carlier were doing in their papers on Geostatistics by reverse engineering the theory as you did with the HS. Aha sort of thing. Contact me via email if you want a change in intellectual challenges. The area of influence tack will be like an Exocet missile hitting a destroyer – poof! It’s quite likely that the global mean statistic computed for whatever variable you want, when properly aggregated , might produce interesting results).

    As for the mining promoters – hah – many are scrambling for new funds; And with the introduction of a new portable XRF analysing gadget producing quasi-accurate data, we on the AIG Complaints committee are looking forward to a busy 2009.

    Louis

    • Geoff Sherrington
      Posted Jan 1, 2009 at 11:36 PM | Permalink

      Re: Louis Hissink (#54),

      Used to be a member of the AIG at formation, used to read Pierpoint weekly. Was around before Trevor wrote his Poseidon book and was fascinated by the industry gossip and how desperate people can become. Even shapely blonde girls would seek aircraft seats next to known Poseidon people in order to get inside info. It’s not every day a 50 cent share climbs to $280.

      Used to be on Committee of WA Chamber of Mines and was 3 years Pres of NT Chamber. Just letting you know you are not a lone voice. I’ve been pushing geostats for analysis of temporal data too, as well as gridded data, and so far as I know it’s not been used much for co-semivariograms in climate stats. Geoff.

  45. John Silver
    Posted Jan 1, 2009 at 4:56 AM | Permalink

    “Stupid canucks, I hate them so much.”

    – Homer Simpson,citizen of the United States of USA.

  46. Posted Jan 1, 2009 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

    Steve: Curiously, we know one of the authors of that reply. His wife sent my wife some marmalade.

    Steve I guess that makes you a marmalade funded blogger. A very serious conflict of interest.

    The marmalade should have been rejected out of hand. It makes keyboards sticky and prone to error.

    Marmalade: Payoff or sabotage?

  47. Posted Jan 1, 2009 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

    Thank you, thank you, this is all so funny. Ron Cram I think you are right on target. And what a breakthrough, getting published. Just as well to have a good joke now. I get the funny feeling this is more significant than it might seem.

  48. mccall
    Posted Jan 1, 2009 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

    Have to agree. Even with the vocabulary word omissions, Ron Cram’s broke me up.

  49. Posted Jan 2, 2009 at 2:00 AM | Permalink

    #5 Steve:

    I cited Stockwell, D.( AIG News 2006), a journal that is always in hot demand at CRU and UCAR.

    Of my over 1000 citations, this one is the sweetest!

    I hope to continue my critique of all things related to statistical modeling this year, and wish all seekers of statistical significance and fighters of intuitive certainty the best for 2009!

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Jan 2, 2009 at 7:51 AM | Permalink

      Re: David Stockwell (#64), I am intuitively certain that your fight will be significant at the .001 level!

  50. jryan
    Posted Jan 2, 2009 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    You must trust in us
    Dendrochronology Truths
    Require no data

  51. jim
    Posted Jan 4, 2009 at 1:16 AM | Permalink

    Re: #69
    Actually the primary place most working scientists actually get journal
    articles is now the on-line version. This is an experiment by the
    editor to get timely comments on published articles out as soon as
    possible. I would not be so dismissive, the letters do have DOI numbers.
    By the way, in the editors intro to potential letter authors, one finds the
    comment
    “Readers are encouraged to point out potential flaws ..”

    • Jonathan
      Posted Jan 4, 2009 at 6:24 AM | Permalink

      Re: jim (#70),

      Actually the primary place most working scientists actually get journal articles is now the on-line version.

      Absolutely. I can’t remember the last time I actually read something in a paper journal, with the exception of Nature and Science (and even there I usually only read the news and views type stuff). It’s an on-line world these days.

  52. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 4, 2009 at 8:21 AM | Permalink

    #69, 72. y’know, what matters is whether the points that we make are right. The letters section of PNAS seems to be quite active. I browsed a few examples in other fields and, if you don’t know the field, I think that you get an idea of what people know and don’t know from such exchanges. As #69 observes, it’s not as though anyone in climate science cares [about whether our criticisms of Mann's paper are right or not].

    • thefordprefect
      Posted Jan 4, 2009 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#73),

      As #69 observes, it’s not as though anyone in climate science cares.

      What an despicable statement. Show your proof that nobody in climate science cares!!!! You have at least shown that you are not simply verifying FACTS. Your colours are known!!!

      Have you ever considered what would happen to the world if your acolytes are wrong and AGW is right. It will take decades to bring GW under control. The longer the profligate use of energy is left at the current level the more likely financial/humanitarian/ecological disaster must occur through GW.
      If the climate scientists are wrong then the world will suffer financially but your children/the next generations will still have a useful source of portable fuel and will have a cleaner environment. Perhaps the economy could even be stimulated into growth by engineering renewable energy.
      Which option is preferable?
      By all means criticise scientific data and its interpretation. But DO NOT make sweeping deprecatory statements (without proof) about scientists who, in the main, honestly believe in their results and predictions of impending disaster.
      Mike

      • Ron Cram
        Posted Jan 4, 2009 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

        Re: thefordprefect (#74),

        I did not want to reply to your post because I felt Steve and Ross are better prepared to do that. But there is one statement you made I want to respond to.

        By all means criticise scientific data and its interpretation. But DO NOT make sweeping deprecatory statements (without proof) about scientists who, in the main, honestly believe in their results and predictions of impending disaster.

        I realize I am in potentially snippable area here but there is something I believe needs to be said. The authors Steve mentions in comment #76 do not deserve to be thought of as [ snip ...] they would have addressed the issues raised by the NAS report such as the fact strip bark trees are not temperature proxies. If they honestly believed the strip bark trees are temperature proxies, they should have presented some scientific evidence to support it. But they have not tried to do that. They have [snip ] the NAS never came to that conclusion. And everyone turns a blind eye so their conclusions can get into the literature so they can claim MBH has been “independently” verified. Hogwash. The authors named above and the reviewers and journal editors responsible for publishing these bogus results are all [snip]

        • thefordprefect
          Posted Jan 4, 2009 at 8:34 PM | Permalink

          Re: Ron Cram (#80), you obviously hold very strong beliefs that certain Scientists are [ snip]

          I thought scientific method rather relied on proof that a hypothesis was WRONG. It is very difficult (impossible?) to prove that any scientific hypothesis is correct – Einstein said “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong”.
          http://www.holycross.edu/departments/biology/kprestwi/behavior/e&be_notes/E&BE_04_Sci_Meth&Philo.pdf links to a simple guide to THE NATURE OF SCIENTIFIC PROOF which seems to back the idea up to some extent.

          This being the case would it be possible for you to give me some links to your evidence for calling a number of scientists [snip] with regard to proxy data and temperature. (May I also say that I personally do not see that dendro/speleothems show much of a link to temperature but proof of this I do not have). However you seem to KNOW that they are unrelated in some if not all cases. This proof should therefore be available?

          The current problem is that absolute proof of temperature is not available for pre-instrument times and never will be. To design a multiproxy experiment to determine isotope/tree ring size/calcium depostion with respect to temperature will take decades if not centuries. If AGW is happening then such experiments will yield results far too late!
          Mike

  53. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 4, 2009 at 9:58 AM | Permalink

    #74. I’ve added a clarifying phrase (which seemed clear from the context but seemingly not):

    As #69 observes, it’s not as though anyone in climate science cares [about whether our criticisms of Mann's paper are right or not].

    Looking back at the MM 2005 papers, for the Mann papers to be valid, Graybill bristlecone chronologies would have to be valid. So you’d think that there would be some effort in the climate science community to show the validity of bristlecones. That was an approach that we took in MM2005b. The NAS panel said that strip bark chronologies should be avoided. Not to speak of Mann’s PC1. Ababneh’s update of Sheep Mt did not verify Graybill’s results.

    But the “community” has been impervious to such points and the Team continues to use strip bark, obsolete Graybill bristlecone chronologies and even Mann’s PC1: Rutherford et al 2005, Osborn and Briffa 2006, Hegerl et al 2007, Juckes et al 2007, IPCC 2007, Wahl and Ammann 2007, Ammann and Wahl 2007, Mann et al 2008. They have simply ignored the criticisms. So I think that my point stands.I think that this is a fair observation. People in the field are interested in the existence of abstracts saying that we are wrong (that’s why Wahl and Ammann was relevant to IPCC), but not in understanding whether anything in Wahl and Ammann actually holds up.

    I realize that you may not agree with my size-up of Wahl and Ammann, but I’ve read it carefully and am attentive to actual points. It’s a lousy piece of work and I think that the quick acceptance of their abstract points by the IPCC confirms my point.

    Unlike many readers, I’ve said on many occasions that, if I would were a policy maker, I would take advice from formal scientific institutions. So I’m not sure what you’re accusing me of. I’ve also noted that people have said that, if the HS is “wrong”, the situation is much worse than we think. My reaction has been consistently that people should re-double their efforts to determine whether it’s right so that we can govern ourselves accordingly and give no thanks to people who delay identification of problems.

    On a personal basis, I’m quite worried about the future and, for practical policy purposes, there are many points of common cause between people worried about energy future and the economic impact of huge oil imports and climate change worries have done much to rehabilitate nuclear as an option.

  54. Stan Palmer
    Posted Jan 4, 2009 at 10:14 AM | Permalink

    snip – I’m going to draw a line on policy arguments as such discussion, while popular, quickly overwhelms all other discussions.

  55. thechevyimpala
    Posted Jan 4, 2009 at 5:52 PM | Permalink

    Accuse thou me not
    of my errors, else I am
    a new Isle of Mann.

  56. Colin Davidson
    Posted Jan 4, 2009 at 7:24 PM | Permalink

    Re: #80, Ron Cram.

    Well said Ron!

  57. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 4, 2009 at 9:35 PM | Permalink

    #83. Please provide a reference justifying the use of Graybill bristlecones as a proxy post-NAS panel report and post-Ababneh. You can’t? My, my.

    Please note that the framework for considering motives isn’t “scientific” proof, but the weighing of evidence. I’ve been out; as Ron observes, he’s got into speculation on motives that is outside blog policies.

    • Ron Cram
      Posted Jan 4, 2009 at 11:37 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#84),

      I knew I was in snippable territory but not because I was looking at motives (except at the very end, for which I apologize). I was looking at and judging actions. I was potentially snippable only because what I had to say may hurt some people’s feelings. The actions of these authors are contemptible regardless of their motives. If they had a problem with the NAS panel’s conclusion that strip bark trees should not be used, the honest thing would be to do some science to justify the use of these trees. Publishing a paper pretending strip bark trees are reliable proxy for temperature is – snip. How can they pretend to calculate uncertainty when they know the reconstruction is dominated by an unreliable series? Pointing out the – snip- here has nothing to do with motives. At the end of the day, I don’t care – snip

      • Ron Cram
        Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 7:45 AM | Permalink

        Re: Ron Cram (#87),

        Steve, okay, I get it. A certain nine letter word is snippable regardless of whether it deals with motives or actions. Is there a CA acceptable word for such actions or are we precluded from discussing actions which are less than respectable?

  58. thefordprefect
    Posted Jan 4, 2009 at 10:56 PM | Permalink

    From Ababneh:
    “Therefore, a combination of factors seems to be limiting tree growth. Until these limitations are taken into consideration when modeling tree growth, and until further measurements are obtained that involve a longer instrumental climate record from the same elevation of the research sites, the positive or negative effects of temperature cannot be substantiated.”

    I.e. temperature effects are not ruled out. The hypothesis is not disproven. The thesis does suggest temperature affects non strip bark BCPs, it is odd that the same species of tree in similar area but with missing bark are not measurably affected (if the temperature were 100C or -40C one would expect zero growth so somewhere between these extremes there would be an optimum temperature and consequently a temperature variability?)
    NAS panel report – cannot find – any links?
    Mike

    • Ron Cram
      Posted Jan 4, 2009 at 11:45 PM | Permalink

      Re: thefordprefect (#85),

      Page 52 has this quote:

      While “strip-bark” samples should be avoided for temperature reconstructions, attention should also be paid to the confounding effects of anthropogenic nitrogen deposition (Vitousek et al. 1997), since the nutrient conditions of the soil determine wood growth response to increased atmospheric CO2 (Kostiainen et al. 2004).

      You can find it here.

      • thefordprefect
        Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 7:50 AM | Permalink

        Re: Ron Cram (#88), Thanks for that reference. An interesting read!
        After considering all of the available evidence, including the curves shown in
        Figure S-1, the committee has reached the following conclusions:
        • The instrumentally measured warming of about 0.6°C during the 20th century
        is also reflected in borehole temperature measurements, the retreat of glaciers, and
        other observational evidence, and can be simulated with climate models.
        • Large-scale surface temperature reconstructions yield a generally consistent picture
        of temperature trends during the preceding millennium, including relatively warm conditions centered around A.D. 1000 (identified by some as the “Medieval Warm Period”) and a relatively cold period (or “Little Ice Age”) centered around 1700. The existence of a Little Ice Age from roughly 1500 to 1850 is supported by a wide variety of evidence including ice cores, tree rings, borehole temperatures, glacier length records, and historical documents. Evidence for regional warmth during medieval times can be
        found in a diverse but more limited set of records including ice cores, tree rings, marine sediments, and historical sources from Europe and Asia, but the exact timing and duration of warm periods may have varied from region to region, and the magnitude
        and geographic extent of the warmth are uncertain.
        • It can be said with a high level of confidence that global mean surface temperature was higher during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period during the preceding four centuries. This statement is justified by
        the consistency of the evidence from a wide variety of geographically diverse proxies.
        • Less confidence can be placed in large-scale surface temperature reconstructions for the period from A.D. 900 to 1600. Presently available proxy evidence indicates that temperatures at many, but not all, individual locations were higher during the past 25 years than during any period of comparable length since A.D. 900. The uncertainties associated with reconstructing hemispheric mean or global mean temperatures from these data increase substantially backward in time through this period and are not yet fully quantified.
        • Very little confidence can be assigned to statements concerning the hemispheric mean or global mean surface temperature prior to about A.D. 900 because of sparse data coverage and because the uncertainties associated with proxy data and the methods
        used to analyze and combine them are larger than during more recent time periods. [...]
        The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes both additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and pronounced changes in a variety of local proxy indicators, such as melting on ice caps and the retreat of glaciers around the world, which in many cases appear to be unprecedented during at least the last 2,000 years. Not all individual proxy records indicate that the recent warmth is unprecedented,[...]

        Re: MJW (#91), A hypothesis is just that not true/valid or false/invalid until proven false. It becomes more valid as positive evidence is found. It will always remain only a theory unless proved false.

        Re: Steve McIntyre (#94), I had read the whole document and was not too impressed with the substance -pages of repetition, little original research. 50 trees cored (those bristlecones must be like seives by now!) but no real valid temperature data to compare against. Like all proxies definitive conclusions are difficult to draw.
        Mike

        • Ron Cram
          Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 8:14 AM | Permalink

          Re: thefordprefect (#98),

          I am glad you found the link interesting. Nothing of what you quoted from the report is very controversial. Everyone knows the 20th century was warmer than the 19th century or even the last four centuries. The big question is why? Is it anthropogenic or because we are still coming out of the Little Ice Age? Did you read the part about “less confidence” regarding reconstructions from 900-1600? This was a direct slap in the face to MBH9x which claimed a high level of confidence. The only statement I have a problem with is:

          This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes both additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and pronounced changes in a variety of local proxy indicators, such as melting on ice caps and the retreat of glaciers around the world, which in many cases appear to be unprecedented during at least the last 2,000 years.

          The problem with the statement is that the “additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions” have used strip bark trees or other non-temperature proxies. It is unfortunate they did not realize the later reconstructions were also invalid by their own conclusions, but they simply did not look closely enough. I am not certain which “local proxy indicators” they have in mind. I am certain the ice melt on Greenland was more extensive in the past.

        • Stan Palmer
          Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

          Re: thefordprefect (#98),

          • Large-scale surface temperature reconstructions yield a generally consistent picture
          of temperature trends during the preceding millennium, including relatively warm conditions centered around A.D. 1000 (identified by some as the “Medieval Warm Period”) and a relatively cold period (or “Little Ice Age”) centered around 1700. The existence of a Little Ice Age from roughly 1500 to 1850 is supported by a wide variety of evidence including ice cores, tree rings, borehole temperatures, glacier length records, and historical documents. Evidence for regional warmth during medieval times can be
          found in a diverse but more limited set of records including ice cores, tree rings, marine sediments, and historical sources from Europe and Asia, but the exact timing and duration of warm periods may have varied from region to region, and the magnitude
          and geographic extent of the warmth are uncertain

          Doesn’t this directly contradict a primary conclusion of MBH98 that temperatures were stable until the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration caused by the Industrial Revolution? This was how it was presented in “An Inconvenient Truth”. The flat handled hockey stick of CO2 concentrations was compared to the flat handled hockey stick of a Thompson temperature reconstruction. The desired implication was that the similarity indicated causation.

          This statement seems to be a complete disavowal of Mann’s conclusions that the MWP and the LIA did not occur and that, by implication, CO2 is the sole cause of the current warming.

        • jae
          Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 4:39 PM | Permalink

          Re: thefordprefect (#98),

          The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes both additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and pronounced changes in a variety of local proxy indicators, such as melting on ice caps and the retreat of glaciers around the world, which in many cases appear to be unprecedented during at least the last 2,000 years. Not all individual proxy records indicate that the recent warmth is unprecedented,[...]

          LOL.

  59. jeez
    Posted Jan 4, 2009 at 11:13 PM | Permalink

    cannot be substantiated

    does not lead to

    temperature effects are not ruled out

    any more than

    The use of dowsing rods, tea leaves, reading entrails, or [insert occult device here] cannot be substantiated

    would lead to their continued acceptance in the scientific community.

  60. MJW
    Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 3:27 AM | Permalink

    thefordprefect, you seem to have a rather quirky view of the scientific method. You seem to believe that a hypothesis is assumed to be true until it’s proved false. For example, you suggest that strip bark trees can be treated as temperature proxies until it’s proved they’re not.

    A little reflection on the implications should convince you that that’s nutty. You’d end up having to accept two opposite hypothesis until one or the other is proved wrong.

    The way it’s supposed to work according to Karl Popper is that the persons proposing the hypothesis must make testable predictions which would be true if the hypothesis is correct and (ideally) false for all competing hypotheses. This is where the “proving wrong” comes in. By this view of the scientific method — which seems to be the one you have in mind — those proposing that strip back trees are temperature proxies must make predictions to test the hypothesis. I’m pretty sure they didn’t.

    Though many question whether science actually follows Popper’s falsification method, Einstein, whom you mentioned, provides a clear example of how it works. In 1915, Einstein calculated that according to his general theory of relativity light is deflected a certain amount by gravitational fields, while Newtonian physics predicted it would be deflected by half as much. During a solar eclipse in 1919, astronomers measured the deflection of starlight near the Sun, and the results agreed with Einstein’s theory. So, Einstein made a testable prediction which was later verified. If the results had instead agreed with the Newtonian value, considerable doubt would have been cast on the general theory of relativity. That’s what he meant when he said, “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”

  61. Louis Hissink
    Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 4:20 AM | Permalink

    #63

    Geoff,

    Gee, you remember all that stuff? I knew Keith Biggs personally. ;-)

    Actually Geostats isn’t statistics in the traditional sense – it’s geomathematics in the Fritz Agterbergen sense, but with a South African/French flavour. (Estimating statistics of one object tends to suggest you don’t know what you are doing).

    Keep in touch via the usual channels via AIG, I am always looking for new articles to challenge the intellectually slothed.

  62. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 6:35 AM | Permalink

    #85, You also have to learn to read beyond the abstracts. The Ababneh results were discussed previously. Ababneh studied Sheep Mt and prepared a new “chronology” which did not have the distinctive HS shape of the prior Graybill chronology (which was the most active ingredient in the Mann HS). I observed than – and the point remains valid – until the Ababneh results and Graybill results are reconciled, neither should be used in a temperature reconstruction. In particular, the Graybill results should not be used.

    And yet they recur unabashed in IPCC AR4 where Mann’s PC1 is illustrated, in Juckes 2007, Hegerl 2007 and Mann 2008.

    How could a reviewer of Mann et al 2008 not ask about bristlecones?

    Whatever the reason, it’s pretty pathetic. It would be negligence if it were an engineering firm.

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 7:40 AM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#94), Personally, I don’t like being embarrased by using out of date data or methods, if I can help it. When friendly reviewers or journal reviewers point out a flaw or that a method/data is invalid, I take it seriously. However,those with no shame are not so constrained…

  63. henry
    Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 7:01 AM | Permalink

    Another problem with the Graybill data is the age – IIRC, it’s getting close to 30 years out of date.

    Might be great to show history (after the Ababneh results and Graybill results are reconciled), but cannot be used to show any relationship to the current climate.

    Some of the discussion about Mann08 talks about how far back the proxies go, but not how early they end. They use the “temperature record” to show the last 150 years…

  64. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 8:21 AM | Permalink

    #98. Have you read my posts on Ababneh e.g. 2208, 2310, 2344, 2371, 2504.

    It is irrelevant to me whether Ababneh’s thesis is clever academically; all that is relevant is whether her new sampling got the same results as Graybill. They didn’t. There’s not two ways about it. Whether she wrote well or poorly has nothing to do with it.

    The thesis is a bit bizarrely written in that it doesn’t go down the throat of the big non-replication issue, but dances around it. But remember that Malcolm Hughes of MBH was on her thesis committee, Hughes knew the role of BCPs in the stick (which was his claim to fame in U of Arizona), it’s inconceivable to me that Hughes didn’t understand the significance of her results (which makes Hughes’ non-citation of her results in Mann et al 2008 even more questionable)

  65. Andrew
    Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 8:32 AM | Permalink

    “high level of confidence” = sales pitch

    If a salesman has a good product, he or she shows it to you. They show you how good it works and you can test it out. Things that pop into mind are cars and appliances. You can sit in chairs and see how comfortable they are before you buy.

    If a salesman has to resort a phrase like “high level of confidence” and can’t show you anything working or won’t let you sit in the chair before you buy it…

    Draw your own conclusion.

    Andrew ♫

    Steve: no need to editorialize.

  66. Tom C
    Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

    Here we robustly refute, rebut, discredit and generally diss, the unprecedented myths and patently false claims of those two Canadians who operate non-peer-reviewed websites, and present proof of the universal consensus regarding our results (See Mann et. al. 20XY where X and Y are whole numbers <=9, in press, preparation, or dreams)

    Steve M #76

    On a personal basis, I’m quite worried about the future and, for practical policy purposes, there are many points of common cause between people worried about energy future and the economic impact of huge oil imports and climate change worries have done much to rehabilitate nuclear as an option.

    No doubt this is off-topic and snippable, but the fact is that the alarmists argue against rehabilitating nuclear, which is clearly the “low-hanging fruit” of CO2 mitigation strategies. That alone proves the fraudulent nature of the whole AGE alarmist enterprise.

  67. Shallow Climate
    Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

    Re: Ron Cram (#97): So, a certain nine-letter word is verboten on this site. Thus it is obvious that we need a valid proxy for that word. Perhaps an acronym. May I suggest “HS”?

  68. MJW
    Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

    thefordprefect says:

    A hypothesis is just that not true/valid or false/invalid until proven false. It becomes more valid as positive evidence is found. It will always remain only a theory unless proved false.

    From that, you seem to conclude there’s a scientific equivalence to the legal doctrine “innocent until proved guilty”: “All hypotheses are considered true until proved false in a laboratory of science.” That isn’t at all what Popper proposed. In his view, even if a hypothesis agrees with all currently known data, it has no support until it correctly predicts something that isn’t known. The burden of proof or disproof for a hypothesis does not, as you’ve suggested, fall on its critics.

    • Stan Palmer
      Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 4:25 PM | Permalink

      Re: MJW (#105), In his view, even if a hypothesis agrees with all currently known data, it has no support until it correctly predicts something that isn’t known. The burden of proof or disproof for a hypothesis does not, as you’ve suggested, fall on its critics.

      This isn’t what I remember from my reading of Popper. Popper proposed a method whereby a series of hypotheses could be created. Each one were to be created to overcome shortcomings found by test in its predecessors. According to Popper each one could, if properly constructed, be a closer approximation to the truth. Popper invented falsification to describe these tests.

      Ludwig Wittgenstein was the greatest philosopher of the 20th century. Popper gave a talk at Oxford about his ideas that Wittgenstein attended. Wittgenstein left the room before the talk was over and slammed the door behind him. This is evidence that Popper’s belief in falsification and the possibility of absolute truth is not universally accepted.

      Fortprefect’s ideas about the philosophy of science seem to be a mixture of the confirmatationism of Rudolf Carnap and the pragmatism of C S Pierce. Our host, Steve McIntyre, seems to prefer Pierce’s pragmatism almost exclusively. To Pierce, truth has no place in the evaluation of a scientific theory. A theory can be useful or it can be not useful. So as out host points out quite cogently, the theory of AGW could possibly be a quite useful tool for policy makers. As fordprefect points out, an absolute confirmation of AGW could take years and those years could make the effects of AGW irreversible. As I interpret our host’s efforts, they are to make AGW and possible competing theories more useful by putting them on a sounder basis, The problem with the refusal of some climate scientists to allow their theories to be fully evaluated is not one of truth or falsity. it is one of utility. If we are unsure of the mechanisms of AGW, how can we be sure that any proposed method of prevention or mediation will be useful? This is where fordprefect’s philosophy finds its shortcoming

  69. MJW
    Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 7:52 PM | Permalink

    Stan Palmer, in response to my comment,

    In his view, even if a hypothesis agrees with all currently known data, it has no support until it correctly predicts something that isn’t known. The burden of proof or disproof for a hypothesis does not, as you’ve suggested, fall on its critics.

    you say,

    This isn’t what I remember from my reading of Popper.

    followed by,

    Popper proposed a method whereby a series of hypotheses could be created. Each one were to be created to overcome shortcomings found by test in its predecessors. According to Popper each one could, if properly constructed, be a closer approximation to the truth. Popper invented falsification to describe these tests.

    I don’t quite see how this contradicts, or even relates to, what I said. The process of formulating a theory to match known facts is induction. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

    Popper, then, repudiates induction, and rejects the view that it is the characteristic method of scientific investigation and inference, and substitutes falsifiability in its place. It is easy, he argues, to obtain evidence in favour of virtually any theory, and he consequently holds that such ‘corroboration’, as he terms it, should count scientifically only if it is the positive result of a genuinely ‘risky’ prediction, which might conceivably have been false.

    You then go on to describe the ideas of some people who disagreed with Popper’s approach. Please note that in a previous comment I said,

    Though many question whether science actually follows Popper’s falsification method…

    • Stan Palmer
      Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 8:46 PM | Permalink

      Re: MJW (#109),

      Popper used falsification to identify the shortcomings in an hypothesis so that a better hypothesis could be formulated. This is what I do not see in your formulation of his theories. He saw science moving ahead as a research program – one hypothesis followed by another guided by falsification. Falsification is a tool not to confirm a theory, as you seem to be saying, but to show where it is deficient and needs to be reformulated.

      Fordprefect’s ideas disagree with those of Popper. However, in this, he is joined by many great philosophers.

      In my opinion, the object of AGW research should be to assist policy makers in making decisions that will be entail the best outcome possible. This should not be confused with a search for an absolute truth. Fordprefect’s ideas on this seem muddled. Our host’s viewpoint is much clearer and, in my opinion, of much greater utility.

  70. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 10:12 PM | Permalink

    enough editorializing about scientific method. Let’s stick to more finite issues.

  71. MJW
    Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 11:30 PM | Permalink

    Stan Palmer:

    Falsification is a tool not to confirm a theory, as you seem to be saying, but to show where it is deficient and needs to be reformulated.

    I’m saying falsification is a tool to confirm a theory, because it is. It’s also a tool to improve a deficient theory. By “falsification” I’m clearly not referring to actually finding the theory false, but rather to process of making and testing falsifiable predictions about the theory. If an experiment is conducted and the prediction fails, the theory is cast in doubt. If the prediction is verified, the theory is, in Popper’s term, corroborated. Obviously, the more a theory is corroborated, the more confidence we have in the theory. If you disagree that Popper viewed corroboration as confirmation, what exactly do you think he viewed as confirmation?

    Fordprefect’s ideas disagree with those of Popper. However, in this, he is joined by many great philosophers.

    In Fordprefects case, I don’t think it was so much a case of disagreement as it was of misunderstanding.

  72. MJW
    Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 11:37 PM | Permalink

    Sorry for the previous comment, Steve. I was composing it while you posted your admonition. (I don’t know why the time stamps are so different. I reloaded the thread shortly before I responded, and I certainly didn’t spend 45 minutes writing it.)

  73. Louis Hissink
    Posted Jan 6, 2009 at 4:53 AM | Permalink

    #93,

    Steve

    Oh? I did not notice but then I have to remember where I posted a comment usually, and since that happens when I remember it, I would not have noticed (says he as a geologist who is supposed to trained to notice the subtelies in nature). (Thinks he starting to sound like Bernard Woolley in the BBC Yes Minister series).

  74. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 6, 2009 at 5:51 PM | Permalink

    #114. DC, this sort of drive-by mudslinging -hurling epithets without particulars – is very distasteful.

    It is quite possible that, for example, the entire enterprise of trying to reconstruct the temperature history of the last millennium – the entire recent corpus of Mann, Briffa, Ammann etc is of “marginal relevance”, together with the corresponding IPCC chapters in AR4 and AR3 and all publications citing them. Given that IPCC AR4 was concerned about space, I suggested to them that they delete the entire discussion of these topics if they were not relevant to policy makers. I guess that the “consensus” was that these matters were relevant. So in that respect, your complaint should be addressed to them, rather than to me.

    You provided no support for your allegation that the “technical” content is “flawed”. If you want to support this allegation on a technical thread, then please do so on one of the many threads, but I really don’t want to engage in shadow boxing on this sort of spitball throwing.

  75. Posted Jan 8, 2009 at 5:15 AM | Permalink

    Having seen it (almost) all, I won’t believe the letter is going to be actually published until it is actually published

  76. Andrew
    Posted Jan 8, 2009 at 11:23 AM | Permalink

    I am a firm believer that there are not two sides to every issue, and that on some issues the jury is no longer out. The climate crisis is one of these issues.

    “the jury is no longer out”

    When did the jury come in? Does anyone know? Was the event recorded for posterity? Date and timestamp?

    Andrew ♫

  77. Larry Huldén
    Posted Jan 10, 2009 at 4:07 AM | Permalink

    thefordprefect (#98) said:

    “Not all individual proxy records indicate that the recent warmth is unprecedented,[...]”

    You are right, the overwhelming majority of proxies indicate the opposite.

  78. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 23, 2009 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

    I was browsing pnas to see if our article was in. They have a lively section for comments and replies, that’s for sure- good for them. Just so that readers don’t feel that these disputes are unique to climate science, this week inclueds:

    Validation of multivariate model of leaf ionome is fundamentally confounded. PNAS 2009 106:E6; doi:10.1073/pnas.0809853106

    Reply to Evens and Niedz: Multivariate ionomics models are robustly validated. PNAS 2009 106:E7; doi:10.1073/pnas.0811786106

    “robustly validated” – sounds like the Team.

    • Ron Cram
      Posted Jan 23, 2009 at 8:26 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#120),

      Yes, that does sound like the Team. This response sounds like someone who is facing a somewhat similar Team. I know nothing about the dispute but generating five letters against one paper, all by people who are connected to the research team whose hypothesis was tested… well, it certainly looks like they are passionate if nothing else.

  79. Posted Jan 5, 2009 at 4:53 AM | Permalink

    Re: Louis Hissink (#93),

    Err, in case I am being obscure, calculting statistics when N=1 is, er, hmmmmm?

    Hmmm, a good exam question :) ?

    see 1(f) http://www.stat.umn.edu/~dickey/classes/3021s01/ExQ7s00.pdf

    Steve: I accidentally deleted the prior comment thinking it was a duplicate. Sorry bout that.

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