Atte Korhola: political and social playground

There is an interesting, and, in my opinion, very bold,  comment (dated 9/27, here in Finnish; Google Translation) in a Finnish web journal by professor Atte Korhola entitled “Recession in Climate Science”. Korhola:

Esitän kärkeen heti teesin, jonka mieluusti alistan julkiseen kritiikkiin: kun myöhemmät polvet tutustuvat ilmastotieteeseen, he luokittelevat 2000-luvun alun tieteen historian noloihin lukuihin. He tulevat kummastelemaan ja käyttämään aikaamme varoittavana esimerkkinä siitä, kuinka tieteen keskeisten arvojen ja kriteereiden annettiin pikku hiljaa unohtua itse tutkimusteeman – ilmastonmuutoksen – muuttuessa poliittiseksi ja sosiaaliseksi temmellyskentäksi.

My translation:

I put immediately forward a thesis that I’m glad to expose to public criticism: when later generations learn about climate science, they will classify the beginning of 21st century as an embarrassing chapter in history of science. They will wonder our time, and use it as a warning of how the core values and criteria of science were allowed little by little to be forgotten as the actual research topic — climate change — turned into a political and social playground.

Later in the text he gives two recent examples, where the core values have been forgotten. The first example is “various reports and studies” that “describe ever increasing horrors of climate change” examplified by the recent UNEP-incident. The other example is worth quoting in full. Korhola:

Toinen esimerkki on arvovaltaisessa Science-lehdessä hiljattain julkaistu tutkimus, jossa arktisten alueiden keskilämpötilojen todetaan olevan nyt korkeammalla kuin kertaakaan aikaisemmin kahteen tuhanteen vuoteen. Tulos saattaa hyvinkin olla totta, mutta tapa jolla tutkijat tähän päätyvät, herättää kysymyksiä. Proksi-aineistoja on on otettu mukaan valikoidusti, niitä on pilkottu, manipuloitu, silotettu ja yhdistelty – ja esimerkiksi omien kollegoideni aiemmin Suomesta keräämät aineistot on jopa käännetty ylösalaisin, jolloin lämpimät jaksot muuttuvat kylmiksi ja päinvastoin. Normaalisti tällaista pidettäisiin tieteellisenä väärennöksenä, jolla on vakavat seuraukset.

Another example is a study recently published in the prestigious journal Science. It is concluded in the article that the average temperatures in the Arctic region are much higher now than at any time in the past two thousand years. The result may well be true, but the way the researchers ended up with this conclusion raises questions. Proxies have been included selectively, they have been digested, manipulated, filtered, and combined, for example, data collected from Finland in the past by my own colleagues has even been turned upside down such that the warm periods become cold and vice versa. Normally, this would be considered as a scientific forgery, which has serious consequences.

I took part in the discussion that followed. Also the current Yamal dispute came to surface, and this is what Korhola had today to say about it:

McIntyren ja ClimateAuditin esittämä kritiikki on otettava vakavasti. Mannin ja kumppaneiden RealClimate tekee siitä lähinnä pilkkaa uusimassa blogissaan. Se voi kuitenkin pitkän päälle koitua omaan nilkkaan.

The criticism by McIntyre and ClimateAudit needs to be taken seriously. RealClimate of Mann & co is mainly making fun of it in the latest post. It may well be in the long run that this is shooting oneself in the foot.

Finally, in order not to cause any unnecessary troubles to prof. Korhola, let me be very clear about this: prof. Atte Korhola is not a “climate skeptic”.

76 Comments

  1. Håkan B
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 9:49 AM | Permalink

    And besides from beeing a professor and a “non sceptical” he is a finn, a people I as A swede admire and respect more than any other people for their integrity!

  2. bernie
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

    Jean, Assuming that Finnish is not your native language, my wife, who is a linguist, says anyone who learns Finnish is either very smart or slightly crazy!
    Many thanks for broadening my horizons.
    It is interesting that this Finnish Professor has taken an even stronger tone than Steve McIntyre!

    [Jean S: Finnish is my native language, English is my third language. I find it generally hard to directly translate Finnish texts, especially when I want be sure that the exact meaning is preserved. It is much easier to express your own thoughts directly in English.]

  3. Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

    Sort of what I was expecting in the long run. The argument and evidence for AGW is so flimsy and political that there had to come a time when real science and criticism had to start having an impact no matter the powers that be wanting to assert their agenda.
    Ok I did not want to use the word (agenda) but could not find a better one. I am really proud that the human race is finally starting to overcome its basic instincts and thinking logically. Not true overall of course but we are getting there.

  4. MikeN
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

    Here’s his Wikipedia page, with a bad translation. He appears to be the head of ECRU, which is not in the page.

    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fi&u=http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atte_Korhola&ei=9yHGSpCgKIjP8QbfnNBJ&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=3&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3DAtte%2BKorhola%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26hs%3DQEQ

  5. John S.
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

    The unintentional irony of Korhola’s reference to “core values” is priceless. Indeed, much of what passes today for “climate science” will be judged ultimately in the same light as the Michelson-Morley experiment to find “ether.”

  6. Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 10:22 AM | Permalink

    Sorry Jean, I suspect the Professor will be deemed to have been “pissing into the tent”. Your protestations of his skeptic credentals will bear no weight.

    • kuhnkat
      Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 1:30 PM | Permalink

      Re: Geckko (#6),

      “Sorry Jean, I suspect the Professor will be deemed to have been “pissing into the tent”.”

      If the tent is on fire…

  7. DaveJR
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

    One of a number of scientists who believe the ends do not justify the means. Scientists have to stick to doing science, rather than pushing political agendas. People take science seriously because data doesn’t take sides. It must not be tortured to make it do so.

  8. Robinson
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 10:41 AM | Permalink

    These sentiments are very similar to those offered by Richard Linzden of MIT:

    Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age

    However I don’t think the bemused amazement will settle itself around just this issue. In all areas of Science the press release is showing itself to be of more value than the underlying hypothesis. I can fully understand the pressures on Scientists to big up their results, in the interests of supporting institutional funding. These arguments have been known since Eisenhower’s time:

    Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers. The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present — and is gravely to be regarded.

    Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

  9. deadwood
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

    Thanks Jean for making this translation available. I hope Geckko above is wrong, but suspect he is not.

  10. Patrik
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

    Kiitos, Prof. Atte! :)
    Greetings from a newly won fan in Sweden. :)

    To be sure, the scientists are the gods of our times? At least here in Sweden, science is seldom questioned at all. Politicians, artists and media have very low confidence with the public but scientists seem to have earned supernatural trust here lately. Quite weird, they are only human after all…

  11. dearieme
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

    “He has to get the public’s attention”, a smirking physicist told a friend of mine recently, when they discussed the inconsistent apocalyptic pronouncements of a leading scientist.

    Meantime, I’m just enjoying the paradox that it was action by the Royal Society that shook free the Yamal data. Perhaps we should rename “cherry picking” as “larch picking”?

  12. Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 11:06 AM | Permalink

    Jean S

    It may well be in the long run that what goes around comes around.

    I don’t read or speak Finnish, but we say “what goes around comes around” all the time in English and have since I was a kid!

    • Jean S
      Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

      Re: lucia (#13),
      Well, that’s the only English idiom that came to my mind somehow resembling the Finnish idiom “osua omaan nilkkaan” (he uses actually a modification of it: “koitua omaan nilkkaan”). What Korhola is saying in the last sentence is that the ridicule RealClimate is doing may well later hurt “oneself” badly. It’s not completely clear to me from the context if he means by “oneself” RealClimate or Climate Science in general.

      Before that there are also a few paragraphs that may well be of a general interest here:

      Tuoreimmat keskustelupuheenvuorot liittyvät “lätkämailaan”. Tunnen asian hyvin. Lätkämailan merkitys ilmastotieteesssä on sinänsä rajattu(joskin tärkeä), mutta ilmastonmuutoksen julkisuuskuvassa vertaansa vailla. Siitä on tullut eräänlainen ilmastonmuutoksen logo, ikonografinen symboli.

      Olen asiaan syvällisesti sotkeutuneena, sillä International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme:n (IGBP) PAGES ohjelma on hiljattain lanseerannut uuden ala-ohjelman nimeltä Arctic2k. Ohjelma keskittyy viimeisen 2000-vuoden ilmastohistoriaan pohjoisilla polaarialueilla. Olen ryhtymässä tämän ohjelman koordinaattoriksi.

      Mutta tiedän kyllä mihin pääni pistän. Lätkämailaan, tai pikemmin mailatehtaaseen, liittyy hyvin paljon avoimia kysymyksiä, jotka liittyvät proksisarjojen valintaan, aineistojen tilastollisiin analyyseihin ja datan arkistointiin ja saatavuuteen. Tulen tekemään kaikkeni, jotta datan saatavuus ja kaikenlainen avoimuus lisääntyisivät. Tulen myös hyödyntämään tilastomatematiikan eksperttejä aikasarjojen analyysissä.

      Latest discussion was connected to the “hockey stick”. I know the issue well. The importance of hockey stick to climate science is limited (although important), but in the public image of climate change [it is] unparalleled. It has become somewhat like a logo of climate change, an iconographic symbol.

      I am deeply involved as the PAGES project of International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) has recently launched a new subprogramme called Arctic2k. The programme concentrates to the last 2000 year climate history in northern polar regions. I am planning to be the coordinator of this programme.

      But I know well where I’m putting my hands into. Connected to the hockey stick, or actually to the factory of sticks, there are many open questions that relate to selection of proxies, statistical analysis of material, and archieving and availability of data. I will do my best that the availability and all kind of openess of data would incerease. I will also utilize mathematical statistics experts in the analysis of time series.

      • Scott Lurndal
        Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 12:10 PM | Permalink

        Re: Jean S (#17),

        Hmm. Shooting oneself in the foot seems an appropriate translation.

        [Jean S: Thanks! Corrected.]

        • Feedback
          Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

          Re: Scott Lurndal (#21),

          Shooting oneself in the foot seems an appropriate translation.

          How about “make a stick for one’s own back”?

  13. Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

    What we might call the Myth of the Noble Scientist was challenged decades ago by Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Here’s Wikipedia’s take on Kuhn:

    Prescience, which lacks a central paradigm, comes first. This is followed by “normal science”, when scientists attempt to enlarge the central paradigm by “puzzle-solving”. Thus, the failure of a result to conform to the paradigm is seen not as refuting the paradigm, but as the mistake of the researcher, contra Popper’s refutability criterion. As anomalous results build up, science reaches a crisis, at which point a new paradigm, which subsumes the old results along with the anomalous results into one framework, is accepted. This is termed ["]revolutionary science.["]

    This is exactly what is happening to climate science.

    The first modern research university was the University of Berlin, founded in 1806 by Wilhelm von Humboldt, Prussian Minister of Education. The idea was to make the state stronger so it could fight the French.
    It is not surprising that modern academicians in government universities dance to the tune of the politicians. Follow the money.

  14. Jason
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

    As I understand the translations, Professor Korhola is an experienced paleoclimatologist with a specialty in the arctic region. Exactly the sort of person who is most qualified to comment on Briffa’s methods and procedures.

    [Jean S: Let's clarify this here. Korhola's comment (a blog post) was made before the Yamal incident (the same day as Steve's original post, but earlier). The strong statement about a paper relates to Kaufman et al (2009). Only the very last comment, taken from the comment section (posted today) relates somewhat to Yamal. He is not taking any stance on Briffa's methods or procedures, only saying criticism of Steve and CA needs to be taken seriously.]

  15. DaveJR
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 11:28 AM | Permalink

    prof. Atte Korhola is not a “climate skeptic”.

    Personally, I find the use of the word “skeptic”, in place of more accurate descriptors such as “denier” or “disbeliever” an insult to me as a scientist. Scientists should be skeptics. Those who allow themselves to lose skepticism are far more likely to lose objectivity. They become emotionally attached to the hypothesis, such that arguments to the contrary are dismissed without proper evaluation while those that agree are accepted without question.
    .
    The, rather sinister, underlieing meme is that “climate science” should be accepted without question, so long as it gives the “right” answer, that is.

  16. Johan i Kanada
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

    These two sentences by Korhola:
    “I will do my best that the availability and all kind of openess of data would increase.”
    “I will also utilize mathematical statistics experts in the analysis of time series”
    bode very well. Perhaps science (real science) will prevail, after all, also in climate research.

    He must have lurked around at CA!

    • Jean S
      Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

      Re: Johan i Kanada (#18),

      He must have lurked around at CA!

      Yes, that’s the feeling I also had especially as the UNEP-thing was reported here only two days (maximum) earlier!

    • Robinson
      Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

      Re: Johan i Kanada (#18),

      Indeed, those sentiments are rather uplifting to read.

  17. Jimmy Haigh
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    I use “what goes around comes around” all the time too. Another way of putting it is this way: “you reap what you sow”.

  18. Good Captain
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    I agree w/ the general tone of both te article and comments. I am neither scientist nor researcher but like many others, greatly respect and appreciate the work of those who are. Perhaps fortunately, situations like those refered to here, serve as reminders that no one or body are immune from errors, whether intentional or not. I realize those who actively pursue data collection in the field may prefer to avoid release of that data to others who might otherwise gain benefit from their own efforts; nevertheless, credible research not pursuant to private or corporate interests should expect to be subject to full and open review. Failing to do this or alternatively, limiting review to “friendly” quarters risks tarnishing the great credibility that the public currently holds towards the scientific community.

  19. Markus Laine
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    Jean:

    Jean, ampua omaan nilkkaan: “Slang Dictionary
    shoot (oneself) in the foot

    tv.
    to cause oneself difficulty; to be the author of one’s own doom. : Again, he shot himself in the foot with his open and honest dealings with the press.” -almost literary translation (nevermind it’s from a slang dictionary :)

    Prof. Korhola’s list of publications here is impressive. He has also co-authored a study with K. Briffa: Snowball I. , Korhola, A., Briffa, K. & Koç N. (2004). Holocene Climate Dynamics in High Latitude Europe and the North Atlantic . In: Battarbee, R.W., Gasse, F. & Stickling, C. (eds.), Past Climate variability through Europe and Africa . Kluwer Academic Publishers: 465-494

  20. Ron Cram
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

    Jean, thank you for posting this. This is a most welcome development. I honestly cannot understand why it has taken so long for a paleoclimate researcher to attempt to raise the level of science, but I am glad he will do so. I look forward to seeing the results of his efforts.

  21. Jimmy Haigh
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

    Markus Laine:
    October 2nd, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    An impressive list of publications indeed. But I just love it that there is a climate scientist called “I Snowball!”

  22. Tom C
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 12:59 PM | Permalink

    Jean S –

    Based on his statement the post should be titled “…political and social playground”.

    Thanks for posting.

    [Jean S: Thanks! Corrected.]

  23. Pierre Gosselin
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

    Allowing Google to machine-translate Finnish to English is about as wise as allowing Briffa or Mann to translate tree rings into temperature graphs.
    I do hope a human with a commendable knowledge of both the Finnish and English languages translates the original text.

  24. Bill Wirtanen
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

    Jean S

    just a little correction

    “this would be considered as a scientific falsification, which has serious consequences.”

    the correct translation of “väärennöksenä” should read IMHO “forgery” and not “falcification” so the sentence should read “this would be considered as a scientific forgery which has serious consequences.”

    Bill W

    [Jean S: Thanks! Corrected.]

  25. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

    I notice that Korhola is an expert in chironomids. The abstract for the underlying NSF grant said that the Kaufman sediments would be analyzed consistently with one of the core analyses being chironomids – too bad they didn’t do what they had agreed to do and too bad that NSF compliance is so inert.

    • Jean S
      Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#32),
      he is also the second author of a (local) temperature reconstruction I consider mathematically one of the most mature ones I’ve seen. Incidently, I gave here the reference three years ago when Briffa’s chronologies were discussed in connection to Juckes et al.!

  26. John F. Pittman
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 2:21 PM | Permalink

    Jean S: I have always liked “SIW – self inflicted wounds” and “One should not complain of fleas when sleeping with dogs.” Perhaps the second is more appropriate for the “Team.”

  27. Gary Hladik
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for the article, Jean. English is my first and last language, so I obviously miss a lot from the non-English-speaking world. :-)

  28. Juraj V.
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 3:31 PM | Permalink

    I read that Finnish scientists found in their tundra, that the forest level was some 80km norther during the MWP than today. Arctic hockey stick must look suspicious at the first glance.

  29. Patrik
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 4:00 PM | Permalink

    Prof. Korhola is apparently active here also:

    http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/2009/09/planetary_boundaries_1.html

  30. Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 5:04 PM | Permalink

    Jean S.

    the ridicule RealClimate is doing may well later hurt “oneself” badly

    Given that the ridicule is intended to hurt CA, the idiom might be “hoist on their own petard”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petard

    When shooting your foot, you may not be intending to shoot someone else. But when you intend to fling a bomb at someone else, and it blows on you, that’s “hoist with your own petard”. (I don’t think anyone uses the word petard in english anymore. But the idiom is in Hamlet, so it’s not going away any time soon.)

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Oct 3, 2009 at 7:46 AM | Permalink

      Re: lucia (#40),

      But when you intend to fling a bomb at someone else, and it blows on you, that’s “hoist with your own petard”. (I don’t think anyone uses the word petard in english anymore. But the idiom is in Hamlet, so it’s not going away any time soon.)

      This particular idiom has been used by me or commenters at CA on 16 different occasions so it’s a popular idiom here and in no danger of disappearing though all of us, I dare say, were familiar with the phrase only in its use as an idiom and not in its etymology.

      One of the consistent themes here has been to try to apply procedures stridently advocated in one Team study to a different Team study – thus,”hoist with their own petard”.

      • Posted Oct 3, 2009 at 3:12 PM | Permalink

        Re: Steve McIntyre (#60),

        “One of the consistent themes here has been to try to apply procedures stridently advocated in one Team study to a different Team study – thus,”hoist with their own petard”.”

        Perhaps then we need a new word to describe the act post facto.

        I propose “petarded“.

  31. Tom
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 10:18 PM | Permalink

    Choice quote from the the latest RC post:

    The best studies tend to test the robustness of their conclusions by dropping various subsets of data or by excluding whole classes of data (such as tree-rings) in order to see what difference they make so you won’t generally find that too much rides on any one proxy record

    Note they don’t actually name one…

    To rename publishing cherry-picked data as “test[ing] the robustness of their conclusions” beggars belief.

  32. Dodgy Geezer
    Posted Oct 3, 2009 at 3:12 AM | Permalink

    “…When shooting your foot, you may not be intending to shoot someone else. But when you intend to fling a bomb at someone else, and it blows on you, that’s “hoist with your own petard”. (I don’t think anyone uses the word petard in english anymore. But the idiom is in Hamlet, so it’s not going away any time soon.)..”
    lucia

    Completely off-topic, but there seem to be a lot of English idioms for harming yourself unintentionally. I wonder if they exist in the same abundance in all languages, indicating that this is a human trait, or whether the Anglo-Saxons have a particular tendency to self-damage…

  33. fFreddy
    Posted Oct 3, 2009 at 5:50 AM | Permalink

    or whether the Anglo-Saxons have a particular tendency to self-damage…

    I dunno, ‘petard’ looks like a french word …

  34. stephen richards
    Posted Oct 3, 2009 at 6:10 AM | Permalink

    Petard is french but from the latin. Petard is a small explosive cartridge. We use them for killing taupe (moles) at the moment but that is not their only contextual use.

    • bernie
      Posted Oct 3, 2009 at 9:01 AM | Permalink

      Re: stephen richards (#58), From http://www.thefreedictionary.com/hoisted+by+own+petard

      Word History: The French used pétard, “a loud discharge of intestinal gas,” for a kind of infernal engine for blasting through the gates of a city. “To be hoist by one’s own petard,” a now proverbial phrase apparently originating with Shakespeare’s Hamlet (around 1604) not long after the word entered English (around 1598), means “to blow oneself up with one’s own bomb, be undone by one’s own devices.” The French noun pet, “fart,” developed regularly from the Latin noun pditum, from the Indo-European root *pezd-, “fart.”

      Which also explains the bad smell!

      • PhilH
        Posted Oct 4, 2009 at 7:53 AM | Permalink

        Re: bernie (#45), Well, we don’t need here to explore this any further, but Hamlet was probably written around 1586, by the 17th Earl of Oxford, Edward DeVere.

        • ChrisZ
          Posted Oct 4, 2009 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

          Re: PhilH (#52),

          sorry to continue OT (snip away if you like), but “Oxfordians” might find a more pleasant home over at RC – from reading both blogs for quite a while, I get the distinct impression that the good folks at that site are rather prone to accepting outlandish claims without a shred of … evidence, quite *unlike* here!

          For those who are at a loss what *this* bantering is supposed to be about, have a look here in your spare time: http://shakespeareauthorship.com/

          Steve: As an Oxford alumnus myself, I’m quite comfortable here.

        • PhilH
          Posted Oct 4, 2009 at 6:22 PM | Permalink

          Re: ChrisZ (#54), “Shreds?” I am looking at over 900 pages of evidence, Chris. In Charlton Ogburn’s magnificent work: “The Mysterious William Shakespeare.” Read it!

        • ChrisZ
          Posted Oct 5, 2009 at 3:03 AM | Permalink

          Re: PhilH (#59),

          ahem! Sorry it will take me some time until I get around to that one – apart from various IPCC reports, the fundamental works of Charles Dawson, Trofim Lysenko and Ron L. Hubbard are also on my reading list. /sarcasmoff/

        • PhilH
          Posted Oct 5, 2009 at 7:34 AM | Permalink

          Re: ChrisZ (#65), Chris: they, quite rightly, are not going to let us carry on about this, but you should knoow that your comparison of these nuts to Charlton (one of the finest men who ever lived) is beneath you, even for a Stratfordian.

        • ChrisZ
          Posted Oct 5, 2009 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

          Re: PhilH (#66),

          Phil, my last word on the matter: I’m not a “Stratfordian” nor any other “-ian”, merely an individual who enjoys good, but detests bad scholarship – that’s why I am appreciating the discussions here, and that’s why I got quickly tired of Ogburn’s shoddy reasoning many years ago (yes I did read all the 900 pages you speak of, and was not convinced, no more than Briffa’s or TomP’s methods are able to convince me here). Ogburn may have been an excellent man, but he should have stuck to fantasy writing instead of posturing as a researcher – just like Al Gore is more a politician than a climate expert. There’s good reason for “Oxfordians” being the laughing stock of most literary scholars (you will likely know this summary: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Troy/4081/Oxford.html ), and I see it as a very noble goal of this and similar websites to expose “the team” and their political followers in a similar way, by making clear the not-so-obvious fabrications and purposeful oversights they indulge in. I hope you have opportunity to read this, Phil, before Steve – very rightly – will snip the whole exchange.

        • PhilH
          Posted Oct 5, 2009 at 1:17 PM | Permalink

          Re: ChrisZ (#68), Okay, Chris, we agree to disagree. But, my God, he is a Kathman guy!

  35. Harry Eagar
    Posted Oct 3, 2009 at 7:46 AM | Permalink

    ‘factory of sticks’

    I like that.

    And I recall that the little pig’s house of sticks did not last any longer than the house of straw when the big bad wolf (that would be Mr. McIntyre) came around.

  36. Feedback
    Posted Oct 3, 2009 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

    Another word that comes to my mind when I read what Korhola says, is that this seems to be a guy with sisu.

    Sisu is one of the few Finnish words that are known outside Finland, and I beleive it means “guts”.

    Talking about Finland, Steve had two fine posts back in January about the “Supra-Long Finnish Chronology” where he says that

    I’ll also discuss [in a later post] IPCC AR4 handling of treeline issues; while the issue is not discussed in AR4 itself (nor are the Finnish studies), this point was raised by one reviewer and IPCC reasoning for excluding such results will interest some readers.

    I have tried to locate the post with the reasons for IPCC’s rejection, but have not been able to locate it (yet). Did this rejection refer to both treeline and the Finnish studies?

    It is not hard to guess who the reviewer was, but it would be interesting to see on what grounds IPCC rejected these studies. Maybe it also could prove interesting to re-visit in light of the new Yamal “implosion” – but that certainly will be the case for more than this point. The Yamal affair seems to have the power to send some echoes backwards in time and provide new understanding. (And I’m sure we will see some such re-visiting here.)

    I will try not to speculate, but it’s hard to imagine that it will have absolutely no consequences for the IPCC process.

  37. Posted Oct 3, 2009 at 11:04 AM | Permalink

    All–
    I just mean that I think the word “petard” appears in that idiom but otherwise, no one uses the word “petard” in English anymore. (They may have back in Shakespear’s day when pétard were actually used.)

    The full idiom is definitely used and isn’t going to go away– even if lots of English speakers who haven’t yet heard the phrase wonder what the heck a “petard” is.

    Dogdgy geeer

    Completely off-topic, but there seem to be a lot of English idioms for harming yourself unintentionally.

    Sure. But Jean S was looking for “just the right one”. Different idioms for hurting oneself can convey different levels of hurting yourself and different initial motivations:

    1) Shooting yourself in the foot: You hurt yourself pretty seriously, but weren’t intending harm to anyone.
    2) Hoist on your own petard: You hurt yourself badly when you were trying to hurt someone else badly.
    3) Cutting your nose off to spite your face: You hurt yourself because, oddly, you are stupid enough to knowingly do things to hurt yourself.
    4) Spit into the wind: Hurt yourself a little because you try to do futile things.

    Every language probably has equivalents for each of these things. I still remember a Chinese graduate student at UofI saying “We have an expression in Chinese. It’s ‘making a mountain out of a hill made by a very small animal’ “. I told him that’s “Making a mountain out of a mole hill”. He asked “what’s a mole?” He was also pleased to learn the English idiom for the Chinese expression that he explained as, “Taking a big ferocious wild cat by the tail”. It turned out we shared lots of idioms; he just needed to learn which animals went into the slots. (Tiger actually was the right word in Chinese too.)

  38. MikeN
    Posted Oct 3, 2009 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

    I read that in Chinese, the word for swallow, means both the act and the bird.

  39. Janice
    Posted Oct 3, 2009 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

    Petard appears to have a more specific meaning than just something that blows up. As anyone who has worked with explosives knows, an explosive is intended to blow up something specific, rather than just make a big boom. So actually a petard could be considered what we call a “shaped charge” that is going to be specifically damaging in a particular direction or to a particular object. The idea of “this side toward enemy” is rather long-standing in military terms. So I would suggest that in this case the term “hoist by their own petard” is used quite advisedly, since the shaped charge was intended to do harm to the “skeptics” and instead did harm to the “believers”. And it is even better than the phrase of “shooting oneself in the foot” because it is affecting a group of people, rather than any particular person.

  40. Posted Oct 3, 2009 at 2:13 PM | Permalink

    Sorry for the forbidden reference. The phrase “bit off more than he could chew” is just an old country idiom meaning the person attempted a more difficult task than they could complete. It was intended in the spirit of idioms of people injuring themselves. It has absolutely nothing to do with a person’s girth.

  41. Ian C
    Posted Oct 4, 2009 at 11:26 AM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre

    it is interesting to see the prfessor use the sentence “Normally, this would be considered as a scientific forgery, which has serious consequences.”

    On Melanie Phillips’ site you have suggested that her use of the word goes to far. Does it in this context and, in your view, justify MP’s use of the word?

  42. MikeN
    Posted Oct 4, 2009 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

    Ian C, Korhola is calling Kaufmann a forgery for using Tiljander upside-down.
    Not sure if that is relevant to Yamal and Briffa.

  43. Simon Evans
    Posted Oct 4, 2009 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

    “The importance of hockey stick to climate science is limited”

    Very true, Professor Korhola.

  44. Dave Andrews
    Posted Oct 4, 2009 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

    Also OT,

    But as an Oxford alumnus at roughly the same time as Steve (1969-1972), though I have absolutely no idea if our paths ever crossed, I have (some might say pedantically, though that is not really as I am) pointed out in the past that the Shakespeare quote is
    “hoist with his own petar”.

    Craig Loehle generously acknowledged this at the time and I guess we both thought that was the end of it :-)

  45. Robert Wood
    Posted Oct 4, 2009 at 6:30 PM | Permalink

    Apparently, Finnish, like Estonian and Basque. are not Indo-European languages.

  46. francisco
    Posted Oct 4, 2009 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

    Re: Feedback #46:

    [QUOTE]Another word that comes to my mind when I read what Korhola says, is that this seems to be a guy with sisu.

    Sisu is one of the few Finnish words that are known outside Finland, and I beleive it means “guts”. [/QUOTE]

    OT, but interesting, and illustative for the range of things you can learn at this site–I now know the derivation for the name of the ground-breaking high performance sailplane of the early ’60’s, the Sisu 1A.

    http://www.webcitation.org/5VlbKEJy9

  47. Posted Oct 4, 2009 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

    With respect to petards and shootings of feet, perhaps we can add another in honor of hockey sticks:

    Shooting the puck into your own net.

  48. Larry Hulden
    Posted Oct 4, 2009 at 10:34 PM | Permalink

    JeanS said:
    … “he is also the second author of a (local) temperature reconstruction I consider mathematically one of the most mature ones I’ve seen. Incidently, I gave here the reference three years ago when Briffa’s chronologies were discussed in connection to Juckes et al.!”

    The problem with diatoms is that they reflect the temperature of water and not the air. When looking at long term average summer temperature of water and air they don’t agree. The water temperature trend may diverge by +- one centigrade (ten years average). I presented these results on a climate meeting in Italy in 2001 (about). I never got it published (the Holocene) because one referee (from US) said that diatoms probably reflects the air better than the water temperature !! The referee was one of the “big” in the field, an advocate of teleconnections.

  49. whatever
    Posted Oct 4, 2009 at 10:51 PM | Permalink

    As he is not an AGW sceptic, by his own admission, I take he trusts the evaluation of the peer-reviewed papers. Korhola’s own work includes studies on the arctic mires and ponds which have been observed to be releasing CO2 and methane recently. I take it the capacity of the carbon capture potential by these ecosystems could be re-examined and audited here?

  50. Posted Oct 6, 2009 at 12:40 AM | Permalink

    From a Japan Times article:

    “Atte Korhola, a University of Helsinki professor, stressed that it is crucial that all countries are involved in the post-Kyoto climate change mitigation policy.”

    “Korhola noted that no linear relationship has been established between the increased emissions and the rise in global temperature.”

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20090210d1.html

  51. Hank Henry
    Posted Oct 11, 2009 at 9:15 PM | Permalink

    Maybe “cliche'” would be a better word than “idiom” in regards to the phrase “shooting oneself in the foot”? It also strikes me as awfully American. Does Finland have a second amendment or a westerns genre?

  52. MikeN
    Posted Oct 20, 2009 at 8:41 PM | Permalink

    Can anyone get a translation of the full thread? I’ve read that he has called Mann’s hockey stick a forgery, while others are bad science and confirmation bias.

    • Jean S
      Posted Oct 21, 2009 at 12:35 AM | Permalink

      Re: MikeN (#75),
      Where did you read that? He definitely did not state such things. I did say something along those lines about multiproxy studies in the comments in the defense of Atte’s wife Eija-Riitta Korhola, who was given hard time for saying in the other post that “classical hockey stick has been found out to be forged/faked”.

      Klassinen lätkämaila, graafi lämpötilan vaihtelusta viimeisen parin tuhannen vuoden aikana, jonka puhuja näytti ja jota minäkin olen aikoinani usein näyttänyt, on jo todettu tiedeyhteisössä väärennetyksi ja tekijä on itsekin malliaan korjannut.

  53. bender
    Posted Oct 21, 2009 at 8:14 AM | Permalink

    #74 is OT (dendro.junk.sci)

  54. Posted Nov 29, 2009 at 2:01 PM | Permalink

    The criticism by McIntyre and ClimateAudit needs to be taken seriously. RealClimate of Mann & co is mainly making fun of it in the latest post. It may well be in the long run that this is shooting oneself in the foot.

    But

    MBH have all responded to the same requests as IPCC got from the
    US Senate. Their responses are all posted at [2]http://www.realclimate.org/
    The skeptics have shot themselves in the foot over this one.

    ( http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=571&filename=.txt )

    “MBH can be reproduced”, yeah right.

    • Jean S
      Posted Nov 29, 2009 at 3:12 PM | Permalink

      Re: UC (#77),
      The comment right above is also funny:

      Bristlecones are only crucial to the issue if you are MM. They misused
      them, by their PCA application. This is all well-known to those in the know.

      “MM” misusing bristlecones by doing a textbook PCA?!? This Phil guy sure has a twisted logic.

      I have reviewed the CC paper by Wahl and Ammann.

      Ok, now I also know why W&A had such a smooth ride through the peer-review all the way to the IPCC 4AR.

      • Posted Nov 29, 2009 at 3:26 PM | Permalink

        Re: Jean S (#78),

        “MM” misusing bristlecones by doing a textbook PCA?

        ..and even mike says that

        http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=591&filename=1132094873.txt

        He almost had a point w/ the PCA centering, but as we all know,
        that doesn’t matter at all in the end. The issue isn’t whether or not he’s right, as we
        all well know by now, but whether his false assertions have enough superficial
        plausability to get traction

6 Trackbacks

  1. [...] climate scientists who AREN’T “climate skeptics” are complaining about politics producing bad science. when later generations learn about climate science, they will classify the beginning of 21st [...]

  2. [...] Interesting comment from a Finnish professor whose specialisations include climate change and carbon cycling: [...]

  3. [...] recently commented on the upside down use of Finnish proxy data, as follows (Jean S’s translation) (Google translation here): data collected from Finland in the past by my own colleagues has even [...]

  4. [...] recently commented on the upside down use of Finnish proxy data, as follows (Jean S’s translation) (Google translation here): data collected from Finland in the past by my own colleagues has even [...]

  5. [...] sharply criticized on different occasions by two eminent Finnish paleolimnologists – Atte Korhola here and Matti Saarnisto [...]

  6. [...] sharply criticized on different occasions by two eminent Finnish paleolimnologists – Atte Korhola here and Matti Saarnisto [...]

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