Team Responses to MM2003

As I mentioned the other day, it’s very interesting for me to re-read the responses of Team members to the publication of MM2003. While Mann, Briffa and Bradley all start shooting bullets in every direction, Osborn’s reaction is thoughtful and nuanced and I urge readers to read it in full. Unfortunately, the Team paid little attention to Osborn’s suggestions. Had they done so, much time and effort would have been saved.

Mann’s response to MM2003 is, in retrospect, all too predictable. For example, Mann here:

The important thing is to deny that this has any intellectual credibility whatsoever and, if contacted by any media, to dismiss this for the stunt that it is..

Or in an email a few days later, one that provides an interesting insight into Mann’s idea of the “high road”:

Takinig the high road is probably very important here. If *others* want to say that their actions represent scientific fraud, intellectual dishonesty, etc. (as I think we all suspect they do), lets let *them* make these charges for us!

Bradley wanted CRU to make a statement on whether our study was “truly an audit” and whether we did it “right”. However, he didn’t want a statement that actually involved due diligence. He wanted a “quick and forceful statement” from the “Distinguished CRU Boys” to “quash further arguments”:

if an “independent group” such as you guys at CRU could make a statement as to whether the M&M effort is truly an “audit”, and if they did it right, I think that would go a long way to defusing the issue. ..

If you are willing, a quick and forceful statement from The Distinguished CRU Boys would help quash further arguments

Briffa’s reaction was to get Nature to write an editorial (perhaps presaging Nature’s later response to Climategate.) Briffa wanted a response along the lines of:

some cool statement can be made saying we believe the “prats have really fucked up someway” – and that the premature publication of their paper is reprehensible.

The only person with a reasoned response was Osborn. I read his October 31 response with considerable regret. Had Osborn’s direction been followed, an enormous amount of time would have been saved.

Osborn commences:

(1) The single worst thing about the whole M&M saga is not that they did their study, not that they did things wrong (deliberately or by accident), but that neither they nor the journal took the necessary step of investigating whether the difference between their results and yours could be explained simply by some error or set of errors in their use of the data or in their implementation of your method. If it turns out, as looks likely from Mike’s investigation of this, that their results are erroneous, then they and the journal will have wasted countless person-hours of time and caused much damage in the climate policy arena.

(2) Given that this is the single worst thing about the saga, we must not go and do exactly the same in rushing out a response to their paper. If some claims in the response turned out to be wrong, based on assumptions about what M&M did or assumptions about how M&M’s assumptions affect the results, then it would end up with a number of iterations of claim and counter claim. Ultimately the issue might be settled, but by then the waters could be so muddied that it didn’t matter.

I disagree with the premise that we had not attempted to investigate the differences with MBH results (our inquiries to Mann had been blown off). See our contemporary account here. However, today I don’t want to re-litigate this point, but instead to focus on new points arising out of Osborn’s response.

Osborn was far more aware than his associates of the potential for “claim and counterclaim” that could be set off by an injudicious response, resulting in a circumstance where by the time of an eventual settlement, the “waters [would be] so muddied” that settlement wouldn’t matter. Osborn was worried about on October 31, 2003 that “countless person-hours” had already been “wasted”, but I doubt that even he realized where the Team’s injudicious decision not to follow his recommendations would take them.

Osborn was also the only member of the Team that had actually looked at MBH methodology. The Climategate Letters show that Osborn had looked at MBH methodology in the previous summer with Mann even sending Osborn, as a “trusted colleague”, his residuals, which Mann described as his “dirty laundry”. Perhaps that was in Osborn’s mind in the composition of his comments.

Later in Osborn’s draft reply, he would urge “collaboration with M&M” to avoid such the eventuality of “claim and counterclaim”. We would have been very willing to do so and made offers to Osborn to involve CRU in reviewing the issues. Unfortunately, the Team did not follow Osborn’s recommendations.

Osborn continued with a discussion of whether CRU was compromising its own “independence” by signing on to support MBH at this early stage. (This isn’t reviewed here – see original.)

Skpping ahead a couple of paragraphs, Osborn urged a “very careful reading” of MM2003, as opposed to a kneejerk reaction:

I really advise a very careful reading of M&M and their supplementary website to ensure that everything in the response is clearly correct – precisely to avoid point (2). I’ve only just started to do this, but already have some questions about the response that Mike has drafted.

Osborn’s first technical question related to principal components. Although the use of stepwise principal components – a different issue than decentered principal components – is not mentioned in MBH98, Osborn was aware that Mann had used this procedure and reasonably wondered whether this might account for differences in our results. If so, matters might be resolved fairly expeditiously without the need for opprobrium on the Team’s part.

(a) Mike, you say that many of the trees were eliminated in the data they used. Have you concluded this because they entered “NA” for “Not available” in their appendix table? If so, then are you sure that “NA” means they did not use any data, rather than simply that they didn’t replace your data with an alternative (and hence in fact continued to use what Scott had supplied to them)? Or perhaps “NA” means they couldn’t find the PC time series published (of course!), but in fact could find the raw tree-ring chronologies and did their own PCA of those? How would they know which raw chronologies to use? Or did you come to your conclusion by downloading their “corrected and updated” data matrix and comparing it with yours – I’ve not had time to do that, but even if I had and
I found some differences, I wouldn’t know which was right seeing as I’ve not done any PCA of western US trees myself? My guess would be that they downloaded raw tree-ring chronologies (possibly the same ones you used) but then applied PCA only to the period when they all had full data -
hence the lack of PCs in the early period (which you got round by doing PCA on the subset that had earlier data). But this is only a guess, and this is the type of thing that should be checked with them – surely they would respond if asked? – to avoid my point (2) above. And if my guess were right, then your wording of “eliminated this entire data set” would
come in for criticism, even though in practise it might as well have been.

Osborn was right in his surmise that we had not used the unreported stepwise principal components method – we had described what we had done in our paper and attached source code to clarify this sort of question. “Stepwise” principal components is not a “conventional” methodology – at the time, I couldn’t locate other precedents nor have I seen any since. However, as most CA readers know, there was another shoe to drop. Even using stepwise principal components, it was not possible to directly replicate Mann’s principal components, because he had used decentered principal components – something that Mann had possibly not realized. In any event, it wasn’t mentioned in MBH98. This has been the topic of endless later discussion (and I don’t propose to even touch on these issues here.) This then led into discussion of how many principal components to retain and bristlecones and all that stuff – none of it particularly difficult, had the Team elected not to “muddy the waters”.

Osborn continued by expressing concern that we will “use the email record” if they mention “ftp sites and excel files” in their response, as he is aware that Mann’s allegations were contradicted by the actual email record. Osborn:

(b) The mention of ftp sites and excel files is contradicted by their email record on their website, which shows no mention of excel files (they say an ASCII file was sent) and also no record that they knew the ftp address. This doesn’t matter really, since the reason for them using a corrupted data file is not relevant – the relevant thing is that it was corrupt and had you been involved in reviewing the paper then it could have been found prior to publication. But they will use the email record if the ftp sites and excel files are mentioned.

This refers to Mann’s claim, then widely publicized, that we had asked for “excel” files, that an error had been introduced in the preparation of the “excel” files and various other untrue allegations that Mann had disseminated through David Appell on Oct. 29, 2003. Here’s an excerpt, but there are numerous other fantastic assertions:

In short, here’s what happened: M&M asked an associate of Mann to supply them with the Mann et. al. proxy data in an Excel spreadsheet, even though the raw data is available here. An error was made in preparing this Excel file, in which the early series were successively overprinted by later and later series, and this is the data M&M used….

The spreadsheet file they used was a complete distortion of the actual Mann et. al. proxy data set, and was essentially useless, particularly in the earlier centuries. The authors had access to the full data, which has been available on a public ftp site for nearly two years. When they noticed, as described in their paper, some signs of problems with the Excel spreadsheet version of the data, one might think that they would have bothered to check the data available on our public ftp site.

See our contemporary response here, showing that we had never asked for an Excel spreadsheet (something that is obviously foreign to my desire to work with original data) and that the file at Mann’s website to which we were directed was dated to 2002, long before our request. And far from “not noticing” the errors in this file, MM2003 contains a detailed listing of defects in the file.

Further color was added to events when, a few days later, Mann deleted the dataset in controversy. (The University of Massachusetts poured gasoline on the fire by deleting MBH99 data from their website a few days later as well. Upon protest, they restored their data a few days later, but Mann didn’t.) Osborn’s awareness of the deletions is evident on Nov 12 here when he emails Jones and Briffa:

I do wish Mike had not rushed around sending out preliminary and incorrect early responses – the waters are really muddied now. He would have done better to have taken things slowly and worked out a final response before publicising this stuff. Excel files, other files being created early or now deleted is really confusing things!

This incident was my first introduction to the Team just making stuff up. I couldn’t believe that someone described as a “Scientific American Visionary” would either stoop to making up stories or to be so foolish as to make up stories that were readily refuted by the email record. I was even more amazed that the climate science “community” acquiesced in this sort of fabrication. This was totally outside my experience.

Osborn’s response here shows that he is acutely aware that Mann’s characterization of the email record is untrue. However, Osborn does not show any awareness of any obligation on his part to ensure that the record is accurate – something that one would have expected of him as a scientist. Instead, his thinking is entirely tactical – mentioning the “excel files” will open them up to criticism. Osborn was not acting here as a scientist whose responsibility was to ensure that the record was correct, but an advocate.

Skipping ahead a couple of paragraphs – I am skipping commentary on all items only because this is already a long post – Osborn observed that we had mentioned the “decline”. Again, his recommendation on how to “handle” the point is primarily based on advocacy rather than science:

(f) The recent tree-ring decline they refer to seems related to tree-ring-width not density. Regardless of width of density, this issue cannot simply be dismissed as a solved problem. Since they don’t make much of an issue out of it, best just to ignore it.

Skipping further ahead, Osborn says that it would be incorrect for the MBH response to allege that we “used neither the data nor the procedures of MBH98″. Osborn observed that we had at least approximately done so with the materials available to us.

(h) To say they “used neither the data nor the procedures of MBH98″ will also be an easy target for them, since they did use the data that was sent to them and seemed to have used approximately the method too (with some errors that you’ve identified). This reproduced your results to some extent (certainly not perfectly, but see Fig 6b and 6c). Then they went further to redo it with the “corrected and updated” data – but only after first doing approximately what they claimed they did (i.e. the audit).

Despite Osborn’s objection, CRU published the MBH statement making the claim that he had objected to here as being incorrect.

Osborn then once again expressed concern that a quick reponse would simply “muddy the debate for most outsiders”. An accurate prediction. Osborn then proposed a very different response than the one eventually published. Here is Osborn’s very different draft:

The recent paper by McIntyre and McKitrick (2003; hereafter MM03) claims to be an “audit” of the analysis of Mann, Bradley and Hughes (1998; hereafter MBH98). MM03 are unable to reproduce the Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstruction of MBH98 when attempting to use the same proxy data and methods as MBH98, though they obtain something similar with clearly anomalous recent warming (their Figure 6c). They then make many modifications to the proxy data set and repeat their analysis, and obtain a rather different result to MBH98.

Unfortunately neither M&M nor the journal in which it was published took the necessary step of investigating whether the difference between their results and MBH98 could be explained simply by some error or set of errors in their use of the data or in their implementation of the MBH98 method. This should have been an essential step to take in a case such as this where the difference in results is so large and important. Simple
errors must first be ruled out prior to publication. Even if the authors had not undertaken this by presenting their results to the authors of MBH98, the journal should certainly have included them as referees of the manuscript.

A preliminary investigation into the proxy data and implementation of the method has already identified a number of likely errors, which may turn out to be the cause of the different results. Rather than repeating M&M’s failure to follow good scientific practise, we are witholding further comments until we can – by collaboration with M&M if possible – be certain of exactly what changes to data and method were made by M&M, whether these changes can really explain the differences in the results, and eventually which (if any) of these changes can be justified as equally valid (given the various uncertainties that exist) and which are simply errors that invalidate their results.

Obviously, we would have eagerly co-operated with CRU (or anyone else) to reconcile results. After publication of MM2003, we asked CRU to review our results (in the form of what would become our Nature submission.) I’ll review this in a separate post but here is one email from me to Osborn to give a flavor of our contemporary attitude:

Dear Dr. Osborn and others,
We have entered into discussions about a possible review by UEA/CRU in complete good faith. We do not have the slightest interest in presenting incorrect or defective results or to create debate which is merely at cross-purposes. Regards, Steve McIntyre

We continued our efforts to reconcile methodological particulars with Mann (for example here copy to Osborn, an email also occurring as a trailer in a Climategate Letter here) but these were repudiated by Mann, apparently without any objection from Osborn or CRU who elsewhere had urged that results be reconciled.

This is another interesting backstory which I’ll discuss in a forthcoming thread. If the Team had adopted Osborn’s recommendations instead of Mann’s, perhaps it would still have be conceivable to use the Bradley’s term – the “Distinguished CRU Boys” – without irony.


  1. vboring
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 12:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Is there a corrected MM2003 using the actual MBH98 method and different proxy data selection?

    Or is the MBH98 method still closed to inspection?

    Steve: There has been extensive work on MBH. Our results reconcile to Wahl and Ammann’s. There are some remaining mysteries: MBH provided source code when requested by the House Energy and Commerce Committee but didn’t include code for their retention of principal components – a battleground issue – or calculation of confidence intervals. Climategate Letters shed some light on confidence interval methods, but this is on the “dig here” list. Their principal component retention remains a mystery. But the underlying issue is the validity of Graybill bristlecone chronologies as a unique radio antenna for world temperature.

  2. Adrian
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 12:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I presume Mann’s use of ‘closet’ was a typo ?

  3. edwin
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 12:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Can’t find fault in Osborn’s replies, he sounded sincere and confindent in his work, at least on the surface.

    Steve: There are points of misunderstanding but they don’t detract from the apparent sincerity. It sure would have been nice to see something like this at the time. Hence my post. However, my next post will show that Osborn rejected our efforts to involve CRU in a review – perhaps responding to Jones and Briffa, but also not quite so sincere as at Oct 31.

    • Thomas
      Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 5:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I don’t find Osborn’s replies to be sincere. He is approaching the situation with the mindset of a lawyer than that of a scientist. His concern isn’t that Dr. Mann’s allegations are false. His concern is that they can be easily proven false by the e-mail record MM have in their possession. And when proven false Dr. Mann and the rest of the team would suffer damage to their credibility.

      • hotandcoldEV
        Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 8:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I disagree, he’s thinking much more like a scientist than a lawyer. He’s trying to restrain Mann’s excesses so that the science Mann will present (which Osborn trusts is extremely likely to be right) will be less confused, while entirely appropriately distancing himself/CRU – since he was neither an author of MHB nor had done cross-checking of MHB vs McMc himself.

        (He was also in an extremely weak position to exert influence – he was on soft money (it seems), as opposed to, eg. Mann, Wrigley and Jones. But it seems as though influencing Mann would have been difficult anyway.)

        • Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

          What’s MHB, and who’s Wrigley?

        • Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

          MHB should be MBH = Mann Bradley Hughes, authors of MBH98 and MBH99, the original hockey stick papers used heavily by the IPCC for its Third Assessment Report (TAR) in 2001

          Wrigley = Tom Wrigley, head of CRU before Phil Jones

          Note I used some acronyms – IPCC, CRU – assuming that you knew them. Inevitable in this area. A good wiki would help. (Allowing inline correction of MHB and creation of links rather than interrupting the flow here. All in good time.)

        • Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 10:00 PM | Permalink

          I know, I was trying to make a point about lack of proofreading before posting a comment. ;)

        • Keith W.
          Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

          I am assuming minor typos by hotandcoldEV for MBH98 (Mann, Bradley & Hughes) and Tom Wigley.

          Wrigley is a more common (and famous) name in the US, without the connotation of something squirmy (wiggly) that could appear in some people’s minds when trying to pronounce the good doctor’s last name.

        • Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

          Ha, quite right, by gum :)

        • Jimchip
          Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

          Re: Jeff Alberts (Jan 8 10:44),

          Here is a Nov 2003 “Staff Note” from UCAR. Approximately seven months after the many emails regarding the actual publication of MM2003.

    • Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 10:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I’d say the error in Osborn’s response is that he still, albeit more gently, accuses M&M of not using the right data and methods for replication, knowing full well Mann wouldn’t give either of them to you. That’s why Steve says his remarks are those of advocate and not scientist, at least that’s what I’m getting out of it. Basically, M&M had to read the entrails to get as far as they did.

      • Jimchip
        Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 11:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: Jeff Alberts (Jan 7 22:25),

        It is an error and Osborn had already been conditioned by Mann’s email. Osborn’s response shows that he is quickly moving down the path to consensus, being a good team player, but offering reasonable alternatives to the ‘kill all critics’ mentality. The team seem to be acting like lobbyists, perhaps for their friends in high places. What might have Osborn written if he hadn’t read the Mann email but had heard of and read MM2003? The suggestion of collaboration also might have been a ploy- Not for the sake of scientific propriety but as a way of having the enemies be close, more subject to influence.

  4. Raymond
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 1:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What is MM2003? M Mann perhaps? In my mind this type of crypticness does not serve the purpose of this blog. And this is not the first time. Being brilliant and insightful equals not talking in letters.

    Thank you for great blog
    with respect

    Steve: McIntyre and McKitrick (2003).

    • Raymond
      Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 1:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Thank you

      • David Bailey
        Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 3:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I wonder if dataset and paper names – such as MM2003 – could be hyperlinks pointing to a description of what they are.

        • WHR
          Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 7:24 PM | Permalink

          I believe that Mr.McIntyre has provided a link to the left with all the commonly used acronyms used in the AGW literature as well as his site. I have not been a frequent poster, but I have been reading for a while and find it helpful to reference it when I have a question. There is also a FAQ I believe. You have to be aware that this site is a “labour of love” for Steve and take ups a lot of his time without a lot of help in the process. I don’t think it is fair to ask him to write several articles every week, read and respond to posts, all while trying to appease every reader’s nitpick. This isn’t a pay site and the tip jar has probably only covered his bandwidth and research expenses over the years. My 2 cents.

        • Jimchip
          Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

          Re: David Bailey (Jan 7 15:11),
          Left column at the top of this page. Some articles and look at ‘categories’.

  5. geo
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 1:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “If *others* want to say that their actions represent scientific fraud, intellectual dishonesty, etc. (as I think we all suspect they do), lets let *them* make these charges for us!”

    Or as another beleaguered monarch of his domains said some time earlier, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”

  6. Skip Smith
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 1:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

    FYI, broken hyperlink in this sentence:

    “See our contemporary response here, showing that we had never asked for an Excel spreadsheet (something that is obviously foreign to my desire to work with original data) and that the file at Mann’s website to which we were directed was dated to 2002, long before our request.”

    • Skip Smith
      Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 6:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Still broken …

  7. stan
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 1:55 PM | Permalink | Reply


    In Ross’ paper with McCullough dealing with a number of erroneous studies, he says that Mann wrote his own software to do the PCA rather than using any of the the readily available commercially prepared software packages. And that he screwed it up, which is why you don’t get the hockey stick with the debugged, commercial PCA software, but Mann did get it with his homemade version.

    Questions — assuming that my recitation above is correct (please straighten me out where wrong), did the fact of his use of homemade code ever become a subject of discussion with any member of the team during all this? It seems to be such an obvious aspect to focus on. a) why would anyone risk writing his own homemade code?, b) if he did, wouldn’t that be the first place to look for a mistake?

    It seems to me that this would be something that any team member who operated in good faith would immediately see as something that required checking.

    • Jimchip
      Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 1:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: stan (Jan 7 13:55),

      Here is an email from ~10 years ago. I know McIntyre and McKitrick were accused of not checking their code for mistakes.

      Also, it’s not really a risk to write one’s own homemade/labmade code; One can’t do everything with excel or IDL or…
      Usually there are some others around, somewhere, to help check for boo boos.

  8. Jimchip
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 2:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    At the end of Osborn’s reaction: “Hope you find this all helpful, and despite my seemingly critical approach, take them in the spirit with which they are aimed – which is to obtain a strong and hard hitting rebuttal of bad science”

    He believes in Mann’s work over the last days but has pre-decided the overall issue and is cautious about appearing to be critical but that is not his aim.

    Osborn says earlier that he’s not qualified to judge: “…I found some differences, I wouldn’t know which was right seeing as I’ve not done any PCA of western US trees myself?”

    “accept Mike’s explanation because he’s looked at this stuff for 4 daysnand I believe he’ll have got it right – but that’s different to an independent check. That must come from Ray or Malcolm if possible.”

    I don’t believe Ray or Malcom are independent. Mann could never be considered to be independent. Once again, it appears that a typical tactic is that Mann handles the ‘investigations’ of criticisms and then circulates the results to the “team” and others. Once there is a consensus, Ray or Malcom (in this case) step in as an “independent check.” The pre-decided result: “a strong and hard hitting rebuttal of bad science”

    “(iii) If it does come to any independent assessment of who’s right and who’s wrong, then it would be difficult for us to be involved if we had already signed up to what some might claim to be a knee-jerk reaction to the M&M paper. If that happened, then you would want us to be free to get involved to make sure the process was fair and informed.”

    “Us” are already involved. It would difficult to make a claim of independent assessment if that were known publicly because of an early reaction. If no one knows then that makes them “free to get involved to make sure the process was fair and informed.”

    How do they make sure “the process was fair”? Wouldn’t the process be fair anyway without other members of the team getting involved.

    Briffa’s reaction is typical: Go the editorial route and make a vague claims, ‘fu’d someway’.

    Mann’s statement: “Lets let our supporters in higher places use our scientific response to push the broader case against MM.” It begs the questions, Who are they? Friendly editors? Policians?

    “If *others* want to say that their actions represent [...] (as I think we all suspect they do), lets let *them* make these charges for us!”

    Who would be fronting charges for the team?

    Osborn is sincere. He’s simply too close to one side to avoid bias.

    Steve: the idea that Bradley or Hughes are an “independent” check is insane. There are many examples of bizarre understanding of “independence” in Team effusions.

    • Dave
      Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 8:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

      “If *others* want to say that their actions represent [...] (as I think we all suspect they do), lets let *them* make these charges for us!”

      Might as well try to point out that the most important word in that sentence is ‘if’.

      • Jimchip
        Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 2:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: Dave (Jan 8 08:32),

        I’ll agree with word: “if” but phrase: as I think we all suspect they do is important. “We all” are ‘top’ scientists and if they “suspect” something…

        Not to put too fine a point on it.

  9. Jim
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 3:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    As someone with a background in architecture, engineering and construction I can only reach the following conclusion.

    The more I read about this issue the more I see that they are not just guilty of “hiding the decline”, but rather they are guilty of trying to hide the fact their entire field of study is NOT science.

    snip – too much venting

  10. theduke
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 3:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Bradley: “if an “independent group” such as you guys at CRU could make a statement as to whether the M&M effort is truly an “audit”, and if they did it right, I think that would go a long way to defusing the issue. ..”

    The placing of quotation marks around “independent group” here speaks volumes. It suggests there is no such thing and that Bradley knows it.

    • Jimchip
      Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 8:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: theduke (Jan 7 15:05),

      I think it says that Ray Bradley knows that he could not be considered to be “independent”. Osborn considered that Ray might be looked at that way.

      I’ll let the other volumes speak for themselves. Why would the CRU be experts on audits? They’re so great at everything, why is there a question about “if they did it right”?

  11. Shallow Climate
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 3:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Osborn: “M&M’s failure to follow good scientific practise…” WHAT?? My understanding–correct me if I am wrong–is that M&M always hold themselves to the most rigorous standards of “good scientific practic(s)e”; i.e., complete archiving of data and code, adherence to scientific principle above advocacy, speaking only to areas in which they have competence. As has been laboriously and painfully chronicled here, it is MBH that come not even remotely close to said “good scientific practice”. If Osborn cannot resolve differences between MBH and MM, then it is because of the recalcitrance and opacity of MBH and nothing to do with MM. Again, correct me if I am wrong.

    • Jimchip
      Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 7:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Shallow Climate (Jan 7 15:30),

      Mann’s rebuttal to MM2003 and the CRU statement (both referenced above in Steve’s post) reveal what they think “good scientific practise” is. Mann even defines for us lesser mortals what an “audit” should be. He’s wrong about what an audit can (or even should) be so he could be wrong about some scientific practice, too.

      I think it is interesting that CRU added a little apology for why Mann changed the original:
      “This is a slightly modified version of the original document (which is available below), following concerns made to Mike Mann that the explanation could be made clearer in certain places.”

  12. Anand Rajan KD
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 3:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Has anyone submitted a FOI request to CRU after Climategate to retrieve all emails and attachments? Could help resolve issues like this.

    • Jonathan
      Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 5:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Anand Rajan KD (Jan 7 15:31), I have made requests for some emails and been refused – see the CRU gong show thread for details.

      • Anand Rajan KD
        Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 8:55 PM | Permalink | Reply


        Look also at this very funny reply from David Palmer (Information Officer, UEA) to a FOI request for emails between Jones and the ‘Information Policy and Compliance Team’.

        He is saying that the FOIA request asking for emails between Jones and himself (i.e Palmer) is denied and that the denial can be appealed by adressing the appeal to…Palmer (!!)

        Are these snakes expert in swallowing their own tails or what?

        • Ron Cram
          Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 10:31 PM | Permalink

          It is strange that the first appeal would go to Palmer. However, the letter mentions a subsequent right of appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Jumping through their hoops is a pain but I truly hope you follow up and appeal as many times as necessary.

        • geronimo
          Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 2:10 AM | Permalink

          Ron the process in the act allows for an appeal to the Information Officer, presumably the thinking was that an individual within the organisation is refusing to divulge information, and the Information Officer, whose job it is to ensure that as much information as is feasible is in the public domain, will look at the case again and ensure that the refusal is within the terms of the act. If the requestor is not satisfied with the response they can then appeal to the Information Commissioner who will see if the response falls within the provisions of the act. The Norfolk Police are investigating the leaks, it is highly unlikely that the emails contain anything that will help them in that investigation, but provides a reasonable cover for not divulging informaion and may be accepted by the Information Commissioner as being within the terms of the act. Not sure that the provisions of the data protection act apply to emails in work when on public duty, the act is there to protect individuals from having any information held by a public, or private body on a database being shared/given to third parties. It seems to me to be a very weak argument that the mail server has data protected by the Data Protection Act on it, in any event the offending personal data could be redacted if it falls under the act.

        • Anand Rajan KD
          Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 2:03 PM | Permalink

          I am not sure the gravity of the situation has sunk in wholly.

          David Palmer is apparently the guy or one of the people Jones had to convince ‘one screen at a time’, about CA, to get him on board to deny FOIA requests from Steve. He adjudicates here that he cannot turn over emails between himself and Jones because the whole thing is under ‘criminal investigation’?? oo:). It just boggles the mind.

          How can you be am impartial arbitrator to a setting to which you are one of the involved parties? Shouldn’t he have reflected this highly apparent conflict of interest in his comments rather than denying the request?

          This whole scenario, although highly interesting, would have been OT to the discussion at hand but for the ironic similarities it has to Jones being a reviewer to criticism of his own work.

        • TerryMN
          Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

          “Information is held by the police in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation”


        • ErnieK
          Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

          Re: TerryMN (Jan 8 11:11), Don’t be surprised if the “criminal investigation” is limited to finding the source of the leaked FOIA files and not the wrong doings contained wherein.

        • Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

          And don’t be surprised if defeatism leads to defeat. The criminal investigation has been spun the way you suggest, sure. But PC Plod might just stumble on the truth – it has happened before. Better to wait and see or pray like crazy, depending on your presuppositions. But morale-puncturing pessimism wouldn’t have got out the door in the first place. Even if it’s just for that brave guy, let’s believe the best – and do all we can to pressure the authorities to meet that standard.

        • ianl8888
          Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

          It is limited ONLY to finding the source of the dump – and any subsequent report will NOT be released, unexpurgated, to the public

          Does the UK FOI cover Norfolk Police reports ?

        • Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 3:32 PM | Permalink

          Do you have an unimpeachable source for those very important statements Ian? On what basis was Phil Jones suspended? Do you know everything about why the ‘dark forces’ felt they had to do that? Do you know everything piece of evidence that is being considered by the police and the Director of Public Prosecutions? I don’t claim to know. Certainly the National Domestic Extremism Team is new to me – thanks Bishop Hill. But whatever the unit is called they surely haven’t found any evidence of hacking or we’d have heard about it by now. There will of course be forces trying to interfere with justice but there will be others – honest men and women shivering in snow-bound East Anglia and wondering whether to join the whistleblower in exposing the truth. They’ll need courage. I suggest from our easy armchairs that we en-courage them all we can, by our words and our attitude.

        • Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

          A big reason Steve putting down as much of the chronology as he can extract/reasonably surmise has got to be the right thing right now.

  13. Jim
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 3:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    From Mann’s 31 October 2003 email:

    “Lets let our supporters in higher places use our scientific response to push the broader case against MM”

    Anyone have an idea who these “supportrs in higher places” are. “Higher” is an interesting term — especially when used by someone with an obviously enormous ego like Mann. I doubt there are many people that he really thinks of as “higher” than himself….

    Steve: One of these early emails is copied to a staffer in Lieberman’s office.

    • ianl8888
      Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 4:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Who is Lieberman, please ?

      Don’t live in the Northern Hemisphere – and given the atrociously cold winter there this year, I’m quite glad :)

      • Carl Gullans
        Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 5:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I’m assuming that this is Joe Lieberman, U.S. senator from Connecticut… pretty powerful guy, moderate democrat, ran with John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.

        • Jon
          Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 5:57 PM | Permalink

          Actually he ran with Al Gore in 2000, John Edwards ran with Kerry in 2004.

  14. Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    All seems like “normal” human reactions.

    MBH98 helped awareness of the cause that they all believed in – dangerous 20th century AGW. They were all involved in promoting it (MBH98) and ensuring it had pride of place in IPCC 2001 including the summary for policymakers (complete with red crayon on the scary bit).

    So MM2003 presents a problem even for those who were aware – or became aware – that it had problems. Were we bad scientists to promote it in the first place? Were we bad scientists for promoting it to the poster boy for IPCC2001?

    That doesn’t sound right.. We’re great scientists. So the history and their personal and professional endorsement of the history pulled them strongly in one direction – showing that their original decision was right. Including Osborne (who is still going to give massive benefit of the doubt to Mann, and little or no benefit of the doubt to M&M).

    Like the title of an excellent (accessible) book of Cognitive Dissonance: Mistakes were made, But not by Me!

    Later someone who is independent – Wegman – comes along and supports MM2003 against MBH98. Two choices now, attack Wegman’s credentials or character, or just tell everyone he “broadly supported the original paper”. They chose the latter and still repeat it.

    Post Wegman it’s even harder for any of the involved parties to start at a neutral point.

    Once someone has committed themselves publicly to a cause and made sacrifices for that cause the most obvious (counter) facts in the world only make them more zealous to convert others to their cause. (To paraphrase Leon Festinger, author of the excellent and readable original work on cognitive dissonance, When Prophecy Fails).

    • DABbio
      Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 6:59 AM | Permalink | Reply


    • alex verlinden
      Posted Jan 9, 2010 at 2:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I wholeheartedly agree …

      and it also forebears what will be awaiting Steve, and all the others :

      … “Under certain conditions people who are presented with undeniable evidence that their beliefs are wrong will not change their beliefs but rather increase their conviction of their truth and act with great fervor to convince others to believe also.” …

      (thanks for tips on the books …)

      Steve: I’m not sure what “beliefs” of mine you’re talking about. That Mann’s verification r2 was 0? That the unreported Polar Urals reconstruction had elevated MWP values? The sort of things that I actually present and discuss. No one’s presented evidence that these “beliefs” are “wrong”.

      • AMac
        Posted Jan 9, 2010 at 4:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: alex verlinden Jan. 9, 1010 @ 2:27pm –

        One mustn’t forget SM’s belief that Mann et al (PNAS, 2009) used Tiljander’s varve proxies upside-down.

        Bizarre, that.

      • alex verlinden
        Posted Jan 10, 2010 at 12:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Steve, you look way too far and/or too deep :-)

        This is, again, a really interesting and entertaining post and I simply agreed with “scienceofdoom”s reasoning … not about r2 or something …

        The way I see it: 1. science and 2. politics

        1. The science in this will never be settled, because climatology is simply not the exact science as is e.g. Ohm’s law … so there will never be a conclusive and definitive answer.
        2. Politics love situations where they have “to do something”, while the day of reckoning for that doing something is in the far future.

        Therefore, science (that is not really resolvable) + politics (that always want to do something) have gone into natural partnership. They love each other. They grow on each other. Careers in politics and science are based on this partnership. Money is made. Nobelprizes are won, and will be won, by this partnership.

        I’m far from a specialist, but I do think that Festinger’s 5 conditions (see scienceofdoom) have been met here for the scientists and the politicians (as proponents in AGW) not to give up easily. See an example given here

        Therefore, there will be a lot of auditing to do … and who is doing the auditing? :-)

  15. Tolz
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 4:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Michael Mann = Malignancy Metastasized. The Team’s antics have been well chronicled on this blog over the years, so as a whole the Climategate emails have mainly confirmed already held impressions. But I must say Mann’s influence upon Osborn, Jones, Briffa….–seems like they’re all taking marching orders from Mann–is really profound and eye opening. He’s the YAD06 tree of the whole field of AGW it seems.

  16. Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 5:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    You can see why we never sent the paper to a “mainstream” climate journal in the first place (some people criticised us for it). The journal would have asked Mann and some of his pals to review it. He would have flooded the journal with phony accusations and misdirections without actually releasing the data and code needed to settle the issues, and his pals would have acquiesced. It would have been a total waste of time. At least as of 2003 there was no way to get a paper like that in print in a climatology journal. Nature’s later handling of our technical comment and Mann’s Corrigendum showed that they too had no intention of dealing fairly with the issue; it was all about circling the wagons.

    The glee with which people like David Appell inhaled Mann’s initial howler that we requested an Excel spreadsheet and then failed to notice the problems in it, despite the fact that we had released the text file he sent us and we had spent 22 pages in the journal explaining problems in it, shows how determined people were to accept and believe Mann’s scattergun responses, no matter how random.

    It is also noteworthy how Briffa’s shallow grasp of the situation did not progress one iota even up through the time he wrote the AR4 chapter. He still believed the meme that what we had tried to do was replicate Mann’s work but failed because we were a pair of dummies, but then Wahl and Ammann succeeded, proving there was nothing to our work. Mann spent so much time arguing against that straw man that a lot of his cheerleaders believed that that was what the actual arguments were. I suspect that when Briffa wrote the section of the AR4 he had never once read our papers.

    • stan
      Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 5:15 PM | Permalink | Reply


      Could you comment on my question about Mann’s homemade code? Why didn’t this raise a huge red flag for everyone early on?

      If, as I understand it, running standard PCA on the data fails to get the hockey stick, shouldn’t this stop Mann’s supporters dead in their tracks?

      Steve: there are wheels within wheels. And you’ll understand if I don’t want to spend time tutoring people on this. Read the blog!! If you use the same number of North American PCs as Mann using covariance PCs, then you don’t get a stick because the bristlecones are in the PC4. Mann’s salvage was to say that the “correct” number of PCs to retain with correct PCs was 5 PCs, purely to get the bristlecones in. But there’s no evidence that such a method was used in MBH. Wegman said that this tactic (adopted by Wahl and Ammann) had “no statistical integrity”. Needless to say, this was the approach adopted by IPCC – the one with “no statistical integrity”. The 2006 Climategate show that Wahl was coaching Briffa off the record, despite Overpeck’s instructions that all comments had to be on the record and above board. Instead, Wahl and Briffa exchanged Burn After Reading emails.

      • Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 6:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

        stan, bear in mind that Mann’s colleagues likely didn’t know what package he used since he didn’t release his code until after our paper came out. Remember, whatever screw-ups there were in his work, the main reason they didn’t cause any reaction was that nobody checked. We know from the emails that people like Briffa had doubts about Mann’s work, but kept quiet about them. After it came out what he had done, the issue quickly shifted from why he programmed in fortran to how his decentering affected the results. After all you could do what he did in any programming language.

        • stan
          Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 10:09 PM | Permalink

          Thanks Ross. The fact that nobody ever bothered to check Mann’s work given the prominence it enjoyed says more about the sad state of climate science than anything else (save perhaps for the failure to ever check thermometer siting). And there’s a lot of competition for that “honor”!

          I realize that any programming language would suffice, but there are quality and competency issues that arise when one chooses to re-invent the wheel. I guess it goes to the hubris that seems to arise so often with the team in general and Mann specifically.

        • kan
          Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 12:32 AM | Permalink

          Mann i think was a big proponent of “write your own”. Here he tells Irina Fast, who is asking for the code used in MBH98, (although having converted to Matlab by this point 02/2003):

          “[As an aside, on a pedagogical note, I would still encourage you to
          code this up yourself].”

          This also appears to be an explanation for the Matlab code on the FTP site.

        • Jimchip
          Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

          Re: kan (Jan 8 00:32),

          Kan, I don’t believe Mann is being pedagogical nor a proponent of write your own, unless ‘your own’ gets his exact results. If one does write their own and it disagrees then one is criticized: “McIntyre and McKitrick (“MM”) have done no such thing, having used neither the data nor the procedures of MBH98.”

          My meaning of ‘Data and procedures’ is ‘data, algorithms, the code’. Maybe a step-wise PC algorithm just needed some debugging. He wants it both ways: “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t”

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 5:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I have read the papers by Ross and Steve and I’m afraid I fail to understand why Mann and others fail to understand them. I have never seen so many red herrings thrown out–a whole smelly pile of red herrings. It would seem they reacted to the very idea of being criticized and were totally incapable of giving a technical response.

    • clivere
      Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 6:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Trying to understand some elements of the timeline leading up to publication.

      We know from the referenced Climategate email on 26th Oct 2003 that Mike Mann had been taken by surprise by the paper and only found out about it the day before publication – Quote from Mike Mann “It is clear, for example, that nobody we know has been asked to “review” this so-called paper”.

      From your email timeline you had email correspondence with Mike Mann from April through to 25th September.

      Did Mike Mann have any reason to believe you were getting close to publishing a paper?

      When was your paper submitted?

      Was more than one version submitted?

      Any idea who the reviewers were and when the reviews were completed?

      When were you notified of acceptance for publication?

      Were any draft versions of the paper in wider circulation prior to publication?

    • Tom C
      Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 9:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Ross M

      Over the past few years, many commenters on CA have criticized Steve for not attempting to publish in the peer-reviewed literature. I’m sure, though, that what you two experienced in these first submissions convinced him that he would never get a fair hearing. I think the strategy to publish on the blog rather than engaging in what would have been useless journal battles has been vindicated by the climategate E-mails.

  17. Braddles
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 5:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Mann’s remarks about taking the high road are interesting in terms of the debate. Now we have a clear statement from Mann that he encourages others to act as attack dogs while he can pretend to be above the fray. It is a very political tactic that Mann’s supporters have accused Steve of, unfairly. These accusations now look like a case of projection.

  18. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 5:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    You’re probably right about Briffa never having read any of our articles when he wrote AR4. In particular, for the 0 draft, Mann had sent Jones a Wahl and Ammann submission of Dec 2004 that Jones forwarded to Briffa. This didn’t turned up in the Climategate materials, but would be interesting to see.

    • kan
      Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 12:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I know that it is not conclusive – but this file hints that somebody at CRU had reviewed Wahl and Ammann. Jones is my candidate.

      link prior to publishing

      Steve: Jones’ review of Wahl and Ammann is in the Climategate documents. I’ll get to it sometime.

      • MarkF
        Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 1:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Hope you saved a copy, as it’s giving me a 404…

        • Don Jackson
          Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 3:33 AM | Permalink

          Use the entire link:

  19. Dave L.
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 6:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I receive the impression that the major players of the Hockey Team have limited expertise with statistics; and they seem to defer to Mann who is a physicist by training. One generally tends to be exposed to limited statistical training in physics. Not to say that someone can’t acquire expertise outside his specialized field. But I keep thinking that Mann doesn’t know what he is doing other than manipulating data to obtain a preconceived result. Am I way off base? Why are the other Team members not challenging Mann on some of these issue?

    • Shallow Climate
      Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 4:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I second your surmise about the lack of statistical expertise among the Big Boys of the Team. As has been mentioned here before, perhaps ad nauseum, so many climate studies are actually statistical studies in the area of climate. For my part, I have not yet encountered one (yes, one) Big Boy who has the statistical expertise of M&M, so that up against M&M they are in way over their heads. When you read the Climategate emails and, if you have the nose for it, RC, every so often they make allusions to their lack of understanding here.

      • Wondering Aloud
        Posted Jan 11, 2010 at 2:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

        In my experience physics types just assume they can do anything; and any “lesser field”, like statistics, we can handle without effort or training.

        We think we are just MUCH smarter than everyone else!

        This has bitten Mann on the backside and he refuses to admit it.

  20. EdeF
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 6:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I am still waiting for the team to do a valid technical critique of MM2003 pointing to specific methodological, statistical or mathematical errors.

  21. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 6:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    When Osborn says:

    “The recent tree-ring decline they refer to seems related to tree-ring-width not density. Regardless of width of (sic) density, this issue cannot simply be dismissed as a solved problem. Since they don’t make much of an issue out of it, best just to ignore it.”

    He becomes climate (or any other kind of) scientist toast in my view. Ignoring the decline has been a major issue with me in questioning the scientific motivations and instinct of these people – a true scientist just would not do that and by contrast would take it on as a challenge.

    Actually Osborn’s meandering, and at times babbling, email seems to want to give some political advice to the big boy(s) in this matter but with a few gratuitous criticisms of MM thrown in to make his advice a little more palatable. It makes him appear the better politician even if his advice is give so deferentially, but in turn makes me question his science inclinations.

    • Paul_K
      Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 8:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I strongly agree. Several people have commented on Osborn’s sincerity, and that strikes me as an unlikely interpretation. It appears to me that Osborn is adopting the tone of a courtier who is trying to influence an arrogant individual while knowing that (a) Mann cannot accept any criticism without overreacting and (b) that he has screwed up royally. Osborn has evidently read not just MM03, but also the background on CA; he is counselling Mann to take the least damaging actions for the Team, while trying to keep CRU out of the mire. He is certainly not acting as an objective scientist. As they say: sincerity is the most important element of character; once you can fake that…

    • Jimchip
      Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 10:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Kenneth Fritsch (Jan 7 18:53),

      I’m not disagreeing but “Since they don’t make much of an issue out of it, best just to ignore it.” could be, given the context, a plea to not open up the whole can of worms. The team has a singular goal and “Since they don’t make much of an issue out of it”, Osborn’s coaching or political advice is to simply ‘let it go’.

      I’m not saying the team is doing science in this context, either.

  22. jae
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 7:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re; scienceofdoom
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    “All seems like “normal” human reactions.”

    Yes. But a properly run peer-review system (especially prevention of the incestuous buddy-review system) would probably have prevented all the deceit. Some of the climate science journals have wounded science in a big way. Wegman warned the “community” a long time ago.

  23. Pat Frank
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 7:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Reading between Tim Osborn’s lines, it appears that his email was preceded by some sort of emailed critical analysis circulated by M. Mann, aiming to show that MM03 was scientifically wrong. It seems that everyone pretty much accepted Mann’s analysis at face value, and were confident that the science was on their side.

    That being true, one can see Tim Osborn’s attitude is the correct one, in that he wanted to make a clear strong scientific case, and is upset at the polemical tone.

    Michael Mann is a trained physicist and likely to be mathematically more adept than his colleagues trained as climatologists. That being true, it’s likely that most of them didn’t fully understand his demonstrations and ended up trusting him to have gotten them right.

    This happens a lot in science, where it’s impossible to be fully expert in all the methods necessary to a full scientific analysis of data. So, we end up trusting our colleagues to do their part correctly, checking things and asking questions as much as we can.

    Science absolutely requires the full professional integrity of oneself and one’s colleagues and their merit of trust. Science just cannot work without this reciprocal relationship of integrity and trust among colleagues.

    But no system is any better than the people within it, and I tremble to suppose that this is the awful lesson we’re learning.

    • justbeau
      Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 7:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Science is difficult and errors are made, even when unintended by bad actors.

      The epidemiologist Sir Ronald Doll some years ago was quoted in the NY Times saying something to the effect that epidemiology is a beautiful discipline, yet so much rubbish is published.

    • Jimchip
      Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 7:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Pat Frank (Jan 7 19:05),

      Mann worked for four days and then sent out a 30 Oct email here. Osborn replied the next day.

      • justbeau
        Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 7:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Jimchip: Can I say this email should elicit an ugh, or will I be snipped?

        • Ozark
          Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 10:35 PM | Permalink

          Agreed – Mann is referring to what I believe is the single proxy used in MBH for the Western Hemisphere in the reconstruction (I think?)

          One proxy for the whole western hemisphere sure helps to smooth out the Medieval Warm Period, doesn’t it?

      • Posted Jan 9, 2010 at 5:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: Jimchip (Jan 7 19:23), Mann comes across as a pathological liar and manipulator. Maybe Osborn sensed at least something of this.

        • Jimchip
          Posted Jan 9, 2010 at 7:02 PM | Permalink

          Re: Lucy Skywalker (Jan 9 17:58),

          I don’t believe in ‘guilt by association’. Being social animals, humans do ‘need’ trust in others. Has a trust been violated? Who did sense what, even though they didn’t or couldn’t act?

          Maybe others sensed something but just couldn’t quite put their fingers on it?

    • DJA
      Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 1:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Gavin Schmidt, a team member, who works at NASA (or Real Climate) has a BA with Honours in Mathematics from Oxford and a PhD in Applied Mathematics from University college Londaon. One would think that he would know everything about PCAs and centering them. Perhaps Mann asked his closet mate at Real climate for advice?

      • MrPete
        Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 7:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: DJA (Jan 8 01:53),
        Knowing math is not the same as knowing stats.

        • Michael Jankowski
          Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 10:29 PM | Permalink

          Mann himself has a degree in applied math (double major at Cal). Of course, as he has noted himself, he “is not a statistician.”

      • edwin
        Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 2:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I thought a BA with honour from Oxford would have earned Schmidt the title of MA automatically, we have that benefit in Cambridge, except for those who did not achieve honour and stuck with the title of BA. I couldn’t find any reference to his title except Dr, is he BA Oxon or MA Oxon?

  24. Steven Mosher
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 7:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    ur killing me dude.

  25. Geckko
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 7:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What I found immediately unusual was this:

    “If it turns out, as looks likely from Mike’s investigation of this, that their results are erroneous, then they and the journal will have wasted countless person-hours of time and caused much damage in the climate POLICY arena.”

    Surely he meant climate science, or climate research?

    • kuhnkat
      Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 8:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

      He said what he meant and he meant what he said.

      That is MY belief.

  26. dougie
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 7:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    hi Steve
    merry xmas & happy no/year by the way (was trudging thru’ snow in Scotland)
    i agree some precipitants in this fiasco come out better than others (at least tried to defend their results/be cautious).
    the more i read emails/see comments, the more i think agenda/grant/ego science was/is involved.

    i am now sick of so called experts (in every field) telling me how to live, how to resolve this? some smart (non expert preferably) person probably has a good idea, donno!!

    ps. looks like bender has headed off to pastures new, to look at the models (will miss his input).
    I think he thinks the proxy data is stuffed, do you agree?


    • bender
      Posted Jan 12, 2010 at 10:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I agree with Ed Cook, as cited in the CRU emails: I think the existing proxies are too imprecise to resolve the question of medieval warmth relative to modern warmth. It’s quite possible there’s no difference. Better proxies are badly needed. Until that time it makes no sense to try to constrain climate sensitivity using paleoclimatic approaches. The best approach is to go with modern radiative & convective physics and to keep collecting better data in that direction. Which is probably what Trenberth meant when he said “it’s a travesty” in the CRU emails. But collecting data is not good enough, and I’m sure Gavin Schmidt would agree. The new and old data need to be summarized in an engineering-quality report of the variety McIntyre has been calling for from Day One.
      That’s my opinion. See how much there is to agree upon with certain members of the climate community? It’s not all US versus THEM.

  27. Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 7:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Reading the article and the comments makes me wonder – snip me if too much off topic..

    - whether the lead authors for each subject in the IPCC reports are effectively representing their own points of view. After all, if Briffa for example, doesn’t really understand the statistics concepts involved in MBH98 vs MM2003 and the followon – (by they way I’m not claiming any statistical knowledge) – what kind of results are we going to get for his section of the IPCC report?
    Has anyone done an analysis of lead author’s published papers vs their chapter in IPCC? Maybe it’s really the work of “12 leading scientists” rather than 2,500+++.

  28. bill-tb
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 8:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It gets more clear with every passing day that pursuit of truth was not on the mind of the Team … They were acting more like a cover-up Team, than scientific search for truth.

  29. Barclay E MacDonald
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 9:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I think it’s important that readers of this thread do not gloss over but actually read the documents linked in the second to last paragraph in Steve’s comments above and Mann’s email linked in Jimchip’s response above at 7:23, January 7.

  30. geo
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 9:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What a textbook case of the value of collegiality. . . and what happens when it is absent. Collegiality doesn’t require that everyone largely agree. . .just that everyone is willing to assume the good faith of partners and let the analysis chips fall where they may secure in that good faith.

  31. geo
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 9:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Or to say it another way. . collegiality is about demanding the right to be heard respectfully. . .not the right to “win” in the court of colleague/public opinion.

  32. Jimchip
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 9:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: pat (Jan 7 21:09),

    He’s currently at Duke

  33. Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 10:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Thank you, Steve, for such painstaking work, and for the comments from Ross and others. This is the most foundational of the threads post Climategate for me, at least after unhiding the decline and replicating the front page of WMO 99.

    You are I feel being pretty generous to Osborn, sad to say – if his response was the most reasoned, it doesn’t say much for the others.

    Written around 3am on what is meant to be the coldest night in the UK for many moons. No more appropriate way to while it away somehow.

  34. Steve Oregon
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 11:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    This sure is incredible.

    I know making charges is discouraged here but there’s no getting around it. What M&M have described is blatant corruption. Especially in the broader context of other Team actions and conduct.

    Like many people I look forward to the severe consequences the offenders will eventually face.

  35. liamascorcaigh
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 11:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t think Osborn gets off the hook with these emails but he’s clearly far more intelligent and savvy that those he is attempting so vainly to tutor. He’s also lacking in a characteristic of the rest of the “Crew” – better than the innocuous “Team” in so many ways – he seems devoid of smugness and the disdain for dissent which such smugness inculcates. All this makes him appear more decent than the execrable “cru-members” but it also raises the question of why he expended so much time and ingenuity strategizing on behalf of his less accomplished mail-mates.

    Who would lie down with jackals except…another jackal?

  36. Geoff
    Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 12:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Perhaps “White Hat Bias” played a role in all this (see here).

    They see to have forgotten

    “…we scientists have, as a discipline, our own code of conduct.

    Central to it is a commitment to faithful reporting, to acknowledging our study limitations, to evaluating bodies of evidence without selectively excluding information on the basis of its desirability – in short, a commitment to truthfulness. The demonization of some aspects and sanctification of others, although perhaps helpful in spurring social action, may be more harmful to us in the long run by giving unconscious permission to breach that code, thereby eroding
    the foundation of scientific discipline”.

  37. Pete
    Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 12:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I keep getting the picture in my head of Jones, sat in his hiding place, dreading the thought of logging onto C.A. for Steve’s analysis of the emails.

    Thanks to Steve and all for helping us wade through the “muddied waters”.

    • markJ
      Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 2:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Jone and Mann would only be worried if their respective reviews looked here or asked Steve for his views. Are either likely?

  38. pat
    Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 12:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    checked him out and realise that. read these three pages!

    Duke Magazine:Pragmatic Problem Solver
    Volume 95, No.6, November-December 2009
    Tim Profeta, comfortable among scholars and respected within Capitol culture, brings a sure hand to the delicate task of inserting good environmental research into the national legislative discourse
    by Barry Yeoman
    Tim Profeta M.E.M. ’97, J.D. ’97, director of Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions…
    Duke had a joint program offering a law degree and master’s of environmental management; it seemed like a good match.
    Profeta found the two degree programs “cross-fertilizing,” he says. “When my law-school classmates’ eyes were glazing over on the seventeenth acronym of environmental law, I was interested because I understood the economics and the science that underlay those laws.” ..
    As he moves through Washington, talking with everyone from Congressional aides to Secretary Chu, Profeta remains nearly invisible to outsiders. He received just two mentions in major U.S. newspapers during the first nine months of 2009. Yet those who work with him say his imprint is ubiquitous. “I call Tim the marionette master,” says one Senate staffer. “He controls all the puppets.”…
    Profeta acknowledges that the current bill is “rife with imperfections because of politics.” Ever the pragmatist, he doesn’t let these shortcomings slow him down. “I don’t really reflect,” he says. “I just keep riding the boat down the river.”
    (Yeoman is a freelance journalist whose work appears in Audubon, AARP The Magazine, and O, The Oprah Magazine)

    amusingly, profeta founded an oil & gas exploration company called Captiva Resources Inc, which has Prof Stephen Schneider as a Director:

    • Jimchip
      Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 8:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: pat (Jan 8 00:33),

      Thanks for the summary, pat. A puppet master! I hadn’t read that far, perhaps fearing an OT :)

  39. ianl8888
    Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 2:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    There’s no doubt that these people were frightened of external auditing of their research. The reasons for this are patent and SMc’s persistence is rewarded – the HS is now dead to the scientific community, although

    I’m really not interested in wading through the AGW dendrochronological sewer any further. I’m not learning anything here at the moment and Judith Curry’s promised rebuttal of Lindzen & Choi 2009 hasn’t made any appearance yet

    Where did “bender” go to examine the GCM’s, please ? Anyone know ?

    Steve: Judith has sent in a thread on Lindzen and Choi. I’m going to be away in a couple of weeks and am saving it for my travel.

    • ianl8888
      Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 2:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

      unfinished sentence (phone call intervened) … ” … although I’m not holding my breath for any public statement on this”

    • Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 10:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

      the HS is now dead to the scientific community, although

      I don’t think so. And even if it’s dead to the scientific community, advocates believe it is vindicated and independently validated.

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 1:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

      if you say bender’s name three times he will appear. Right now he’s cleaning my pool.

      bender bender bender

      • bender
        Posted Jan 9, 2010 at 12:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

        just lurking … reading up on GCM junk in anticipation of Judith’s contribution

      • ianl8888
        Posted Jan 9, 2010 at 4:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Very droll :)

  40. P Gosselin
    Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 3:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Why would a Michael Mann & Co. in their right minds want to make “efforts to reconcile methodological particulars”? What interest could they possibly have in doing so? Their refusal to do so tells the whole story.
    That Osborn acted as he did ought not be a surprise. I’m sure you’ll still find some within that circle who still have some recollection of how the scentific process is supposed to work.

  41. Jos
    Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 3:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Noted this response in 2006 by Anders (Moberg, I assume) on MM2003 apparently done in the MITRIE project which may be relevant for this post.

  42. Norbert
    Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 4:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Apparently the article was published just 3 days before a related US Senate debate opened:

    ….yesterday in the US Senate the debate 
opened on the McCain-Lieberman bill to control CO2 emissions from power 
plants. Sen Inhofe stood up & showed the M & M figure and stated that Mann 
et al–& the IPCC assessment –was now disproven and so there was no reason 
to control CO2 emissions…..I wonder how many times a “scientific” paper 
gets reported on in the Senate 3 days after it is published….

    This of course goes some way towards possibly explaining the perceived need to come up with a response “ASAP”, and the comments on possible public (as opposed to scientific) consequences of any short-term response. What a timing.

  43. Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 4:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

    A thought re: the ‘Excel file’ / ‘ASCII file’ statements. In my experience, a lot of relatively computer-savvy people, who should know better, refer to comma-separated value (CSV) files as ‘Excel files’, even though they are actual a particular type of plain text, aka ASCII, file.

    This seems to be because, on a Windows machine with a standard Excel installation, the .csv file extension gets associated with Excel, so they display in Windows Explorer with an Excel icon and they open in Excel when double-clicked. This is enough to convince many people that CSV is a type of Excel file.

    How computer-savvy is Mann?

    • Rich
      Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 5:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

      This is a good thought. I run reports on a number of commercial software products which offer, “Download as Excel file” and which then deliver a CSV file.

    • Jean S
      Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 6:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

      The only problem with Chris’ thought is that there never was a CSV-file. The file (pcproxy.txt) provided to Steve is not comma-separated. Moreover, it looks very much like Matlab ASCII output of another file (pcproxy.mat) found (and later deleted) at UVA ftp-site. Both files are now available here:

      Based on all available information, my GUESS is that pcproxy.mat is originally something Scott Rutherford created for their RegEM experiments, which eventually lead to Rutherford et al (2005)-publication. The Matlab file has the time stamp “Thu Aug 8 10:18:19 2002″, which is plausable date as the Rutherford et al was mostly done during 2003 (even Rutherford’s code&data folder is labeled jclim2003).

      Steve: That was the date on the file on the original FTP site as well – a point that we made at the time. . See here . I agree with your surmise about pcproxy being related to RegEM experiments.
      There was a Rutherford diagram from August 2001 that contained a reference to pcproxy

  44. Jean S
    Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 5:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re: unreported stepwise principal components method

    I don’t know if even Steve (or Ross) has noticed, but this “stepwise” calculation is actually calculated only on some steps not all! Plotting PCs from the currently avilable proxy sets (from Nature Corrigendum) shows that PC calculations are only performed at certain steps. For instance, NOAMER PC calculations are perfomed at the following (MBH98) steps:
    AD1450 (used also: AD1500)
    AD1600 (used also: AD1700 AD1730)
    AD1750 (used also: AD1760 AD1780 AD1800 AD1820)
    The steps correspond exactly to the “BACKTO”-folders found in FOIA documents.
    MBH99 is even more curious as only AD1000 step is done. However, FOIA folders show that PCs (NOAMER) were also calculated for steps AD500, AD800, AD1100, AD1200, and AD1300. Why none (especially AD1100-AD1300) of these were finally used in MBH99 is another mystery…

    Steve: I did this analysis long ago. There’s no rhyme or reason to the PC recalculation steps.

    • Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Can’t be right, Juckes Fig 6 shows 1500 step

      Steve: The steps for the regression module don’t necessarily coincide with steps for PC recalculation. There is a 1500 step for the regression module but fresh PCs were not necessarily calculated for the 1500 step – plain as mud (Mannian inverted Tiljander mud.)

      • Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 7:36 AM | Permalink | Reply


        yep, mud.


        The dashed blue
        rectangles indicate some of the blocks of data used by MBH1998
        for their proxy principal component calculation, using fewer series
        for longer time periods.

        But how would Juckes know that AD1500 wasn’t proxy PC update step ;)

        • Jean S
          Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 7:54 AM | Permalink

          UC, well, they should have read the paper. Oh wait, that was not described in the paper… ;)

  45. Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 7:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, about a 2/3 of the way down your post, the line beginning: “See our contemporary response here, showing that we had never asked for an Excel spreadsheet …” The link on “here” is broken.

  46. Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 7:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    You know that there is an entire literature about the response of existing players to innovation in business. There is nothing unusual in the Team response. They simply cannot change due to social and psychological forces. They have no control over external forces (in this case the science) but they do control the internal political levers that they attempt to use to isolate the internal innovators.

    This is what the Team did. In business, these tactics would be taken even unto bankruptcy since to maintain their position, these people have no alternative.

    • Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 12:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

      The disciplines of science are meant to provide strong correction for such commonplaces of human psychology and sociology. That’s what’s so shocking here. The correction all came from the outside, from the man styled as the non-scientist. That should continue to shock us.

  47. Steven Mosher
    Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 1:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Just a heads up steve. Here is the first in a series of posts over at breitbart about climategate.

  48. Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 2:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Impelled into a Procrustean bed, Osborne’s legs are pulled by the evidence of his integrity and his feet cut by the ideal of scientificity, with seemingly more chopping to come.

  49. DeWitt Payne
    Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 3:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I still don’t understand the disdain for FORTRAN. Maybe it’s easier to write clean code in C, but it’s still possible to write bad, undocumented code. Is there any evidence that Mann is even capable of writing good code in any higher language?

    • Jimchip
      Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 4:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: DeWitt Payne (Jan 8 15:09),

      There’s nothing wrong with FORTRAN: FORmula TRANslation. Schmidt’s GISS site lists several FORTRAN compilers that his code should compile under. I didn’t own any of them but I had access to a similar: No go but I didn’t pursue it, in terms of adapting the code to make it just run.

      • Kan
        Posted Jan 10, 2010 at 1:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Nothing wrong with FORTRAN Back in the late 80′s early 90′s c became the rage, due to some things it allowed for that FORTRAN did not – dynamic allocation of memory (memory could be added to the program while it was running), and recursion among them. FORTRAN had static allocation of memory, and could not perform recursion (due to static memory allocation). Later version of FORTRAN added dynamic memory capabilities.

        However, for speed with heavy duty math calculations, FORTRAN was better hands down – due to static allocation of memory. Not so much today.

        Steve: Please do not coat-rack this into Fortran disucussion.

        • Posted Jan 10, 2010 at 8:54 AM | Permalink

          snip – computer coat-rack

  50. 1DandyTroll
    Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 8:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Uh hu. I think you aligning Osborn quite wrong.

    As I read mr Osborn he’s just hurrying slowly with caution, i.e. someone who don’t like to hurry at all, especially his conclusions, but still wants, or needs, or have to be, or more probably just are, on the same train. Notice that he’s actually not convinced (even from the “(1)” paragraph) but already running along an already established train of thought, reasoning/conclusion.

  51. Slabadang
    Posted Jan 11, 2010 at 9:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Hello all!

    I just want to remind everybody of the IPCC mandate.Reading this site and then compare with the official mandate is an allmost “out of the body” experience.


    The IPCC was established to provide the decision-makers and others interested in climate change with an objective source of information about climate change. The IPCC does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or parameters. Its role is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the latest scientific, technical and socio-economic literature produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change, its observed and projected impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy, although they need to deal objectively with policy relevant scientific, technical and socio economic factors. They should be of high scientific and technical standards, and aim to reflect a range of views, expertise and wide geographical coverage.

    Humor or tradgedy??

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