Say My Name – February Rerun

Science has published a Correction and Clarification to Kaufman et al (2009), see here. Since they only needed to correct four out of 23 proxies, there is no need to name those who pointed out errors. ;) There is a small improvement over the draft version though; congratulations Hu!

We thank H. McCulloch and others who have pointed out errors and have offered suggestions.

Related News: Prof. Matti Saarnisto was in a discussion program (A-talk) on Finnish National TV (YLE TV1) on Thursday. My translation (and transcription!) of parts that may be of general interest here. [19:54-22:05]

Sari Huovinen (journalist): Matti, your own research result has been distorted in public. Tell us shortly, what was done.
Matti Saarnisto: Well, indeed, here … one of the persons who have been [lately] in public, professor Mann from The Pennsylvania State University. He has published several articles about the climate history of past thousand years. The last time it was last the history of last two thousand years [published] with many colleagues. In that [article], research material, from Korttajärvi near Jyväskylä, of my group was used such that the Medieval Warm Period was show as a mirror image.
SH: That is, the graph was flipped?
MS: The graph was flipped upside-down. And, and, … it was in Science in last August, and, …
SH: Why was that done, how do you interpret that?
MS: That is something I’ve tried to sort out … in this e-mail I received yesterday from one of the authors of the article, from my good friend prof. Ray Bradley in Chile, where he was traveling. There was a large group of researchers who had been handling an extremely large research material, and at some point it had happened such that this graph had been turned upside-down.
SH: So it was not done in purpose, it was a mistake?
MS: Well, when Bradley says so to me, I don’t doubt even a slightest moment. I hold him in high regard. He is one of the best paleoclimate researchers, and … a frequent visitor in Finland. But then that this happened yet another time in Science … in Apr… in November last year, a little before Christmas … again this Korttajärvi material, which was a part of Mia Tiljander’s PhD Thesis, Mia Tiljander is a known person worldwide, and … the article where the material appeared was published in 2003. Mia Tiljander was the first author, I was the second, and good, younger collogues of mine, Timo Saarinen and Antti Ojala, were then after…
SH: … yes …
MS: It has been turned twice upside-down in Science, and now I doubt if it can be a mistake anymore.

I’d like to point out to prof. Saarnisto that Michael Mann was not a coauthor in Kaufman et al. (2009). In fact, the only person who has been one of the authors in every three studies using upside-down Tiljander series is Raymond s. Bradley.

Later in the program (24:35-25:22) we have more.

MS: This group, who has now been in negative light in public, I know them and I have discussed with them, it has been slightly hard for them over the years … They have been somehow skeptical about this Medieval Warm Period and have tried to hide it to some extent. I have always thought that this was purely a case of scientific critique, but now in the last few days I have come somewhat to a conclusion that there is some purposefulness in this.
SH: That is, one is aiming at a truth?
MS: Yes, but how it is possible that this type of material is repeatedly published in these top science journals … it is because of the peer review process central to science. There is a small circle going around ["piiri pieni pyörii" (*)], relatively few people are reviewing each others papers and that is in my opinion the worrying aspect.

(*) This is a Finnish phrase (based on children’s song/play) I could not come up with an English equivalent (suggestions?). However, its meaning is clear from the rest of the sentence.

35 Comments

  1. Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 1:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    While I appreciate the mention, Steve’s point was far more important than mine.

    There is a small circle going around ["piiri pieni pyörii" (*)], relatively few people are reviewing each others papers and that is in my opinion the worrying aspect.

    (*) This is a Finnish phrase (based on children’s song/play) ) I could not come up with an English equivalent (suggestions?). However, its meaning is clear from the rest of the sentence.

    “Ring around the rosie?” —
    Children hold hands and run in a circle singing

    Ring around the rosie,
    A pocket full of posies,
    Ashes, ashes, we all fall [releasing hands] down!

    • Jean S
      Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 2:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Hu McCulloch (Feb 6 13:55),
      notice that you were not included in the draft version, your name was added in revision. This makes Steve’s case a deliberate act.

      ““Ring around the rosie” is a similar play/song, but I don’t know if it has a similar meaning as a phrase.

    • Dave Dardinger
      Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 2:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Hu McCulloch (Feb 6 13:55),

      Yea, that’s a better choice than “here we go round the mulberry bush” which I was thinking of. Of course the ring around the rosie verse is often claimed to be referring to the Bubonic Plague, though Snopes claims that’s bogus and was made up much later…. which makes it especially on-topic for this context.

    • Jimchip
      Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 4:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Hu McCulloch (Feb 6 13:55),

      Ring around the rosie is the best childrens translation, imo.

      For adult ‘auditors’ wary of dark alleys:
      This is the way we circle our wagons…

      Then they all play post office, garble the message, and Tijander gets turned upside down.

    • Ted L.
      Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 5:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Literally, it means “little circle goes around.” It’s from a Finnish nursery rhyme you sing when you are going around in a circle with a group of friends. (Direct translation from my Finnish son-in-law)

  2. Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 2:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    FWIW, my comments on Kaufman are at http://climateaudit.org/2009/09/18/invalid-calibration-in-kaufman-2009/. For some reason, the 33 comments on that post are not coming up for me under the new system (I just switched to Firefox and added GM, but haven’t added Assistant yet.)

    Jean — Thanks for the “song” link — I’m pleased to learn that Finnish sounds a lot better than it looks! ;-) However, the tune is not “Ring around the rosie”, and from the “play” link the game is not the same either.

    • Jimchip
      Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 4:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Hu McCulloch (Feb 6 14:22),

      Hu, add CA Assistant and then from the settings popdown uncheck “hide old comments”, save settings, reload the page. I fiddled with mine and all 33 comments were there.

  3. Jean S
    Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 2:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    There is another aspect to this Saarnisto’s statement about an e-mail from Bradley. Apparently Bradley has admitted that Tiljander series were turned upside-down. That puts the Reply to M&M in a rather funny light:

    The claim that “upside down” data were used is bizarre.

    • Skiphil
      Posted Dec 4, 2012 at 3:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Sometimes Mann forgets to ensure every pal has the same talking points, or some team members are not quite reliable as others about staying “on message” as the PR flacks like to say….

  4. Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 2:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: Hoi Polloi (Feb 6 14:26),

    Pertinent to CRU perhaps, but not a circle game.

  5. Henry
    Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 2:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    How does this affect the PNAS response? If they cannot now understand the bizarre point now, does it challenge the credibility of anything they say about robustness?

  6. AnonyMoose
    Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 2:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Another small circle example is the square dancing “Circle Family”. However, the Finnish performance has a number of gestures for other parts of the song, so it seems to more closely resemble “Hokey Pokey” if that dance featured a partner-circling move.

  7. Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 3:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    You’ll note that they say the corrections strengthen the conclusions.

    So, on that note people should thank CA regulars for their contribution to climate science.

    Also, this gives the lie to the position that CA regulars, steve in particular, are only interested in data and code because they want to raise doubt. Here, if we are to believe the authors, CA contributions strengthened their conclusions.

    Another argument bites the dust.

  8. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 3:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hu, did you verify that they implemented the changes that you suggested? Did you email them as well or was their information from Climate Audit?

  9. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 4:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

  10. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 4:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Or Eminem :

    • Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 4:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Moshpit approved.

      gotta represent for my michigan boy.

      maybe I should spit som climate rhymes

  11. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 4:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Mosh, I did some business years ago in Michigan. I visited his factory on Eight Mile Road in 1994 or 1995. Watched the movie on TV the other day.

    • Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 4:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

      One of my favorite’s. much to my kid’s chagrin.

      Ps. I posted to Revkin’s note on Circerone. I have no issue with these guys coming over to the “open” side of things, but they need to at least acknowledge

      A. that they havent always perceived the importance of this issue.
      B. they will do everything in their power to push for change.

  12. Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 4:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The Kaufman Correction: Before & After
    Science has published the “Correction & Clarification” to Kaufman et al 2009, but curiously the reconstructed temperature proxy has changed yet again between the draft clarification and the published clarification, to “hide the decline”? from the temperature anomaly 2000 years ago that in the draft was shown to be about the same as present.

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2010/02/kaufman-correction-before-after.html

    • Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 11:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Located the 12/09 Kaufman spreadsheet online and compared to the 10/09 version. Large changes in series 17 are found due to a new interpretation that “temperature is related more strongly to BSi than to the BSi:OM ratio” and the original post updated with the newly located data.

  13. Adam Soereg
    Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 6:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What about #YAD061? As far as I remember, the Briffa et al Yamal series were included in the Kaufman paper.

    This newborn arctic hockey stick is not supported by numerous older reconstructions, for example ice cores from Central Greenland.

    Alley, R.B. 2000. The Younger Dryas cold interval as viewed from central Greenland. Quaternary Science Reviews 19:213-226.

    The existance of the MWP seems to be obvious: http://www.foresight.org/nanodot/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/histo5.png

    Ice core data supports the general cooling trend in case of the last 2000 years, but the hockey stick shape is missing again: http://www.foresight.org/nanodot/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/histo4.png

  14. Bill Wirtanen
    Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 6:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Jean S,

    may I suggest “a merry-go-round*” for the “piiri pieni pyörii/small circle going around”
    * Webster Dictionary, 1913
    Merry-go-round”, n. Any revolving contrivance for affording amusement; esp., a ring of flying hobbyhorses.

    cheers Bill W

  15. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 6:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Mann had insisted claims he’d used the proxy-upside down were “bizarre,” even when it had been posted for all to see.

  16. John Whitman
    Posted Feb 6, 2010 at 11:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve,

    Looks like Science Magazine has a fearful respect for you. They have taken a page from J.K.Rowling’s books in the Harry Potter series. It looks to me that to Science Magazine you are “He-who-must-not-be-named”.

    Respectfully but not out of fear,
    John

  17. MikeN
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 4:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=1012&filename=1252233095.txt

    Kaufmann saw the higher modern values and associated it with warming. I suspect if Mann had conceded the error in PNAS, then things would have gone differently here.

  18. MikeN
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 4:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    When I asked Kaufmann some questions, including why HU wasn’t acknowledged, and encouraged him to participate in CA. He ended up not doing so, and only answered a few questions. I didn’t say so, but at the time while I wished he had answered some more questions, I thought the failure to acknowledge Hu was pretty low and the only black mark on his behavior.

  19. WillR
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 9:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Circle Games — Take your pick…
    Musical Chairs?

    • Jimchip
      Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: WillR (Feb 8 09:22),

      A bunch of buses driving around in circles, players in the center…Watch who throws who under the bus first? meh.

  20. Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 3:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Since the point of the piiri pieni pyörii game reference appears to be reciprocity, may I suggest ‘pat-a-cake?’ The two games are played differently, but in English we might make the same point by saying something like this group of scientists are reviewing each other’s papers in a sort of round robin game of pat-a-cake. That’s what it reminds *me* of, anyway.

    DHM- Not a scientist, but I am a mom to seven, grandmama to one, and unofficial weekend foster parent to two, so I am something of an expert on children’s games and nursery rhymes.=)

  21. Ruth
    Posted Feb 11, 2010 at 9:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    OT, but relevant, I think!

    From this week’s Nature – a book review about the difficulty of earthquake prediction(p755): “As examples of scientific integrity, some spectacular prediction failures win accolades of praise. After being made aware of a flaw in their promising method for predicting earthquakes, for example, the proponents of the ‘accelerating moment release’ theory were enthusiastic in refuting their own idea.”

    It’s sad that this should be noteworthy.

2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] Like Grand et al, Mann et al 2008 (M08) used contaminated data, in their case, the Finnish sediment data of Tiljander et al, the modern portion of which had been contaminated by agriculture and bridgebuilding. In addition to using the modern contaminated portion of the data, M08 made a second error by using the Tiljander lightsum and XRD upside down to the interpretation of its originators. Their handling of Tiljander data has been sharply criticized on different occasions by two eminent Finnish paleolimnologists – Atte Korhola here and Matti Saarnisto here. [...]

  2. [...] Like Grand et al, Mann et al 2008 (M08) used contaminated data, in their case, the Finnish sediment data of Tiljander et al, the modern portion of which had been contaminated by agriculture and bridgebuilding. In addition to using the modern contaminated portion of the data, M08 made a second error by using the Tiljander lightsum and XRD upside down to the interpretation of its originators. Their handling of Tiljander data has been sharply criticized on different occasions by two eminent Finnish paleolimnologists – Atte Korhola here and Matti Saarnisto here. [...]

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