Hometown Coverage

There’s another story about climate blogs in the Toronto Globe and Mail – one of my neighbors told me while I was walking out to Danforth Ave that Gavin had paid me a backhanded compliment – probably more emphasis on the backhand than the compliment. See here.

While Schmidt complains that I’m supposedly causing a “reduction” in human knowledge, I think that that distinction more properly belongs to his realclimate associate Michael Mann, also interviewed for the article.

236 Comments

  1. WillR
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

    A great article. I particularly like this line.

    Mr. McIntyre has been an outspoken critic of the CRU’s research on his blog, Climate Audit, and has launched countless freedom-of-information requests for data used by its scientists.

    I am curious: Who had to take off their shoes? You? Or Jeet? Countless???? Someone is numerically challenged.

  2. Alan Bates
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

    I like the sub-heading:

    AN EPIC GAME OF NITPICKING

    The devil is in the detail and Steve seems to be able to handle the detail rather better than some of the others.

  3. Skip Smith
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

    It’s worth mentioning that while these climate scientists criticize McIntyre from not producing “real science,” they have also rebuffed his offers to collaborate on research projects.

  4. Speed
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 4:23 PM | Permalink

    Michael Mann said,
    I think the climate-change-denial movement has … really invested a lot of effort and resources in creating this huge infrastructure of online disinformation.

    Okay Steve. Open the books. Where have you been hiding the huge infrastructure?

  5. Sean Peake
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 4:41 PM | Permalink

    The only reduction in human learning you’ve contributed towards is our forgetting many of the over-blown, unsubstantiated claims made in supposed peer-reviewed papers. And that’s a good thing. And thanks.

  6. rick
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

    As a fan and an interested lay person, I’ve been casually following this page for a couple years now even though much of the statistical stuff goes over my head.

    That said, I need to ask – what exactly is the sum total of FOI requests submitted by Mr. McIntyre and Mr. Watts to Jones, Mann, Briffa, et. al.? – preferably separated by the release of the CRU “FOI” zip file. Googling for the answer gives a whole range of answers, so I thought I’d query the source.

    When debating AGW in other forums, one of the hardest arguments to refute is that these poor chaps just don’t have the time to answer every crackpot who wants to dig into their work.

    I appreciate your attention!

    Steve: I submitted one FOI request to CRU in 2007 (for JOnes et al 1990 station data); in 2008, for the MXD data that they had sent to Mann; in 2009, for the station data and, after that refusal, for the confidentiality agreements for 5 countries. MOst of the FOI requests were for confidentiality agreement and JOnes said required only a “short document” to comply with all with them. The idea that these were a major inconvenience is a fabrication.

    • kim
      Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 4:48 PM | Permalink

      Hammer ‘em with replicability.
      =================

      • rick
        Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 5:28 PM | Permalink

        Thanks Steve, that was what I thought I’d read but couldn’t find it.

        I don’t know the answer to AGW, but thanks in part to the fine work you do, I’m convinced that neither does the “Climate Science Consensus”.

        Whatever it is these folks think they’re doing, ignoring, marginalizing and demonizing critics is not science, it’s activism.

      • Dave N
        Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

        So by my count, that’s 4 requests. Scientists who consider that number (or even if it’s out by more than a few) to be “countless” need to find another job.

        • kim
          Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 5:39 PM | Permalink

          The fuss is being made over the 5 nation at a time requests, which were only needed because of obstreperous UEA behaviour. This should be pointed out.
          =================

        • kim
          Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 5:43 PM | Permalink

          Another critical point is that were it not for FOIA requests, ClimateGate would still be in the future.
          =================

        • Skip Smith
          Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 7:09 PM | Permalink

          The author of the article might be counting the FOI requests by people who read this blog as among the “countless.”

        • L Nettles
          Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 7:46 PM | Permalink

          The quote from the article is “Mr. McIntyre has been an outspoken critic of the CRU’s research on his blog, Climate Audit, and has launched countless freedom-of-information requests for data used by its scientists.”

          The author of the article does not say he inspired FOIA requests by others, it says Mr. McIntyre…has launched countless..” Until someone shows me those “countless” FOIA requests, I will consider that charge to be a scurrilous lie.

        • AnonyMoose
          Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 9:39 PM | Permalink

          It shouldn’t be hard to count them. Just ask the FOI officer to tally up the requests from his FOI log. Such a request doesn’t need FOI unless the FOI officer won’t answer the inquiry. Or start by asking the total number of FOI requests which the institution has had each year, as that establishes an upper limit for “countless”.

        • Skip Smith
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 3:38 AM | Permalink

          “Launched” can be a synonym for “organized” or “set in motion.”

        • JohnM
          Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 2:45 AM | Permalink

          The only reason for “launching” multiple FOI requests is because none of the previous ones achieved re-entry from UEA’s outer space.

          The UEA and others don’t get to complain about FOI requests that would never have been made had they been willing cooperate in the first place.

        • danbo
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 8:05 AM | Permalink

          I assume: if the original request for data had been honored. There would have been no FOIs.

        • David A
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 8:33 AM | Permalink

          Exactly!!. If “denial” of a few early requests had not become epic, they would have never recieved the “countless” requests later, which, as Steve points out, were anything but countless, and generaly redundant.

        • Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 9:05 AM | Permalink

          One of the places where the reversal of the truth is the weirdest. Scientific integrity and good practice should have meant that these guys were delighted to ship their data and code for Steve – or anyone else expressing an interest – to check out. The use of multiple subsequent FOI requests is indeed a disgrace, as this article aims to imply. But only because it should never have gotten to that stage. Resorting to FOI should be seen as trying to save climate science from itself. But those refusing to release data persisted (potentially breaking the law in the process) and thus wrecked the reputation of their discipline. In their rage they turned against the one person who was entirely blameless. The word scapegoat has seldom been more apt.

        • Craig Loehle
          Posted Feb 23, 2010 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

          So FOI has succeeded in separating the sheep from the scapegoats?

        • PaulM
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

          Danbo, quite right, but in fact it goes back another stage – if the original papers had given full details of the methods in supplementary information, there would have been no need for the original enquiries (such as the famous one by Warwick Hughes to Jones).

    • WillR
      Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 8:10 PM | Permalink

      Re: rick (Feb 20 16:44),

      Rick:

      What is also interesting is that Jeet Heer lists his occupation as journalist, and provides details of his education in History. He is working on his PhD in history and will probably complete it some day. As a journalist his writing style is acceptable.

      I expect that Historians would go back to original documents for their references, and I expect a journalist to use a verifiable source. After I realized that he suggested there were countless FOI requests — where I was only aware of “a few” (not recalling the exact number” — I became suspicious of the rest of the article.

      It would be interesting to read the source notes for the article, and to see the “fact checking” portion of the article.

      I think that requesting an opportunity to respond would be a reasonable idea.

    • Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 8:54 PM | Permalink

      Re: rick (Feb 20 16:44),

      I did a count of FOI requests based on a Phil Jones email, 1228922050.txt (this is one of the ones eastanglia clipped). Santer asked Phil. “How many?”. Phil says he doesn’t know for sure but one could check CA and find out, which he won’t do :) Anyway, Phil goes on to count them out for Ben:

      “requests have been of three types”

      observational data= 5
      paleo data = 2 + 2
      and who made IPCC changes and why= 4 (Briffa is dealing with those)

      Total (12/10/08)= 13

      Phil says “So since Feb 2007, CRU is in double figures.”

      A couple from Steve claims Phil. Keenan is part of the total. A larger recent number are from the ones requesting confidentiality agreements as mentioned by others. “Countless”? Not really.

  7. Fred Harwood
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

    Steve. You’re winning, and rightly so. Keep on keeping on.

  8. MrCPhysics
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

    That compliment translates to “you’re so smart–why are you so evil?”

    Schmidt and Mann use more ad hominem and red herring fallacies than the worst editorialists in tabloid magazines. They really should be ashamed to resort to character assassination. Scientists indeed…

  9. Dave L.
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

    I see blue sky in one respect: Free advertising! Climate Audit and Steve were referenced multiple times, including the comment: “Mr. McIntyre’s Climate Audit is the most highbrow of the climate skeptic blogs.” Even Watts and Morano had their websites advertised. But poor Gavin: Real Climate received not a whisper.

    • Paul Kronberg
      Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

      You are right to notice that RealClimate received no mention. But I consider this to be a knock against the article. Mann and Schmit criticize the use of blogs in science, meanwhile they use RealClimate to get their message out, respond to critisism and release corrections in response to Steve’s critique.

      • Steven
        Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 6:10 AM | Permalink

        Which came first – RealClimate or Climate Audit? :-)

        Steve; realclimate started in Dec 2004; climateaudit in mid-Jan 2005. A couple of posts from my old website were transferred over.

  10. UK John
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

    Gavin said, Mr. McIntyre found in an analysis of global temperatures, which “we fixed in a day and thanked him for his attention.

    Don’t quite remember it like that, and anyway Gavin hadn’t the wonderful, brilliant, always right, scientific community not even noticed the mistake!

  11. windansea
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 5:02 PM | Permalink

    Mann’s ego is so fragile he can’t come to grips with the fact he is getting beat by a bunch of bloggers.

    It has to be a vast conspiracy funded by big oil or something.

    None of the sceptic blogs I know of have any funding beyond a tip jar.

  12. Paul
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

    As it is said:
    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, next they fight you and then you win.
    Looking at the press coverage of AGW skeptics we are at stage three.

  13. Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 5:16 PM | Permalink

    Canadians should tell the rest of the world, that the Globe and Mail is Canada’s establishment newspaper. To the G&M the idea that individuals could have insights that the scientific establishment misses is unthinkable. It is no surprise that they interviwed whom they did for this piece. They are the newspaper that prints the opinions of the politcally powerful

    • The Man
      Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 5:33 PM | Permalink

      Canada has many “establishment” newspapers. The Globe and Mail is just the one in Toronto, rather than Montreal, Calgary or Vancouver. A small nit to pick perhaps but that’s one of the charm of Climate Audit.

      • Tim
        Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 9:11 PM | Permalink

        The G&M is a Toronto paper in the same way the NYT is a New York paper.

        • charles the moderator
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 5:24 AM | Permalink

          Re: Tim (Feb 20 21:11),

          Every time I’m in New York I pick up a copy.

        • TGSG
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 7:10 PM | Permalink

          HA, and how often would that be CTM?

      • Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 7:50 AM | Permalink

        The G&M is the newspaper of the people who see themselves as the “elite” of Canada. They are the newspaper of the Liberal Party. This is the party which sees itself as the natural governing party of Canada. The fact that the G&M regards Toronto as the center of the universe (actually the north west corner of Yonge and Bloor is the true centre) simply reflects the views of their constituency.

        The oil that Alberta produces is environmentally bad and should be subject to a stringent carbon tax. While the oil burning cars that Toronto produces and bases its economy on must be subsidized heavily to prevent the companies from failing. These are self-evident truths to the G&M.

        • The man
          Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 5:07 PM | Permalink

          Fair enough. I missed the irony first time around.

  14. L Nettles
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

    Question for Steve (Since I’m helping finance his disinformation campaign ) Where you contacted by the reporter for the quotes?

    Yes I’m part of the Great Tip Jar Disinformation Campaign. And proud of it.

  15. TAC
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 5:35 PM | Permalink

    There is something peculiar about describing Steve McIntyre as a “retired mining executive.” It is true, of course, in the same sense that Einstein can be described as a “retired patent-office clerk” — and it similarly misses the point: McIntyre is one of the most capable mathematical statisticians on the planet. Those who have disagreed with him on technical issues know this; he has proven to be right in every case.

    On a personal note, I was disappointed that the article failed to mention that the blogs, and specifically ClimateAudit, have made science into a spectator sport. Each day I look forward to the latest chapter.

    Admittedly, in exposing so many blunders, ClimateAudit has likely led to a loss of respect for climate science and its practitioners. That might annoy some people.

    • Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 9:28 PM | Permalink

      IIRC, Steve has been called a

      “mining-exploitation consultant” – Nature
      “data terrorist”

      and now,
      “scientific superstar” – Gavin Schimdt

  16. Steve Robbins
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 5:48 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    Would we be wrong to take away from your seeming expression of surprise (re: the Gavin Schmidt comment) that you were not contacted by Jeet Heer, the author of the article for a response to that?

    Even if you were generally contacted, basic journalistic practice would demand that if they were printing an obvious personal attack comment, such as the one by Mann or the one by Schmidt, that you should have at least been contacted for an opportunity to respond to the slap. Schmidt might as well have said, “McIntyre is smart, and, therefore, he knows better.”

    And, I also take it that you were not specifically contacted by Heer or anyone on the editorial staff, for certain fact-checking purposes, especially as related to the obviously dishonest “countless” characterization. It would have been such a basic thing to just ask you — “Steve, how many FOI requests did you file?” — and perhaps to ask you to forward copies of the requests.

  17. Steve Robbins
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 5:57 PM | Permalink

    Hey there, “grandaddy!” Newsweek! http://www.newsweek.com/id/233887

    • Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 6:12 PM | Permalink

      …As every climate scientist must know by now, McIntyre’s skepticism of the hockey stick launched him on a midlife career change: he has become the granddaddy of the global warming “denial” movement….

    • MikeN
      Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 9:33 PM | Permalink

      Never thought Newsweek would write a column on global warming that would upset Joe Romm. He or someone else has already gotten Newsweek to withdraw parts of the article. They originally wrote that Gore used Mann’s hockey stick.

      Steve; Gore did use Mann’s hockey stick. :) See posts on Dr Thompson’s Thermometer.

      • Posted Feb 23, 2010 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

        Re: MikeN (Feb 21 21:33),

        Thompson admitted that an error had been made, and even had a slide ready that showed the data of the Mann Hockey Stick plus Jones instrumental data that Gore’s figure was based on”. I read somewhere(?) that Thompson’s graph was deleted and Mann/Jones was substituted by a producer ‘cuz it looked better. They didn’t tell Thompson in spite of the fact he was a technical adviser for the movie and he was miffed when he found out.

  18. The Naked Emperor
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 6:39 PM | Permalink

    “…Schmidt complains that I’m supposedly causing a “reduction” in human knowledge”

    Enlightenment is a double-edged sword.

  19. Allen
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 6:40 PM | Permalink

    What is coming out of the mouths of the disgraced is pure comedy now. I await the next head to roll, preferably from the IPCC.

  20. GrantB
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 7:04 PM | Permalink

    Given that they apparently didn’t bother to obtain your views for the article, perhaps you are entitled to a response. If you care to make one of course.

    Perhaps at a minimum, some comments on the relication data, methodology and scientists involved in Mr Mooney’s quote “Since its original publication, the graph research has been replicated by nearly a dozen studies.”

    And your FOIA count mentioned above.

  21. Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 7:11 PM | Permalink

    Here are the quotes I object to: because they are written to give the impression of objectivity

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration responded to this critique by calculating temperatures minus Mr. Watts’s list of objectionable stations. Ironically, the new data showed a slight rise in temperatures.

    Although the hockey stick has been battered and bruised by many critics, it still works.

    To read their online work is to enter a dank, claustrophobic universe where obsessive personalities talk endlessly about small building blocks – Yamal Peninsula trees, bristlecones, weather stations – the removal of which will somehow topple the entire edifice of climate science. Lost in the blogging world is any sense of proportion, or the idea that science is built on cumulative work in many fields, the scientists say.

    First is misleading; second is untrue; third misses the point that here is the epicentre of the degradation of science, and that the widespread degradation cannot be easily conceded without the exposure of this prime issue.

    • Shervin
      Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 3:26 AM | Permalink

      I think you nailed it. The Wegman report said that the “hockey stick” does not work especially because it does not show the medieval warm period. I don’t know about NOAA but I hope Andrew Watts would comment on that. As for the third point, this is the problem that nobody has really dug into in the media but once it is done, people would realize how flimsy the data over which the paleoclimatology is built upon really is.

      The theory of man-made global warming is summarized in the following statement, “Today, on the average, the world is warmer than it has been over the past 1000 years due to emission of green house gases into the atmosphere by human activity.” To support this theory we need three things: a “global” temperature record of the past, a “global” temperature record of the present, and to show, scientifically, that human activity is causing the warming that is when the present record is compared with the past.

      The biggest problem with this is the construction of the temperature data for the past 1000 years. Since there are no accurate temperature records, proxy data have to be used. Unfortunately, the same proxy data is not available across the “globe.” Trees that grow in Siberia do not grow in the Sahara desert or for that matter in the oceans. Therefore, there has to be some fundamental assumptions have to be made about how to translate different proxies into a uniform set of temperature measurements. The other problem is that the data set has to be “dense.” As someone who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, I can tell you that microclimates do exist and that distances as short as 40 miles (the distance between San Jose and San Francisco) could create substantial variations in the temperature. Summers in San Jose are rather hot but in San Francisco they are rather cold. To quote Mark Twain, “The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco.” Therefore, to focus on proxy data in the shape of Yamal trees and bristlecones is to focus on the fundamental underpinnings of the whole theory of manmade global warming.

      As for the weather stations, they are the data that are used to construct the “present” temperature series. The problem is that the biases and the accuracy of these stations are not to the level needed to construct the proper data series, nor do they present the needed density even though they are denser than the proxy data sets. The changes in the station environment can change the fundamental biases in the data series and changes in the equipment, change the accuracy of the measurements. These biases and inaccuracies do not matter for the purpose to which these data are primarily used, namely meteorological reporting, but for measurements of global warming were we are talking about changes of less than 1 C over a century, we need to be very careful about using this data. It is true that the central limit theorem would take care of the accuracies but they would not necessarily take care of the biases. Lacking a complete pedigree, the data series from the same station site are fundamentally suspect.

      Also comparison of the “past” data series with the “present” temperature records create a fundamental problem because they are not the same thing. Let me give you an example. The proxy data would be equivalent of trying to estimate the average weight of human beings based on skeletons discovered in few disparate parts of Earth, say a graveyard in Mongolia, another in France, a couple in south America.First of all, the weight could only be approximated from the size of the skeletons based on some assumptions. Next for places like India we may not have any skeletons because they mostly burnt their dead (this is equivalent of not having trees in the Sahara desert). Since we know India has been historically heavily populated then that could create a big uncertainty about the average weight of human beings in the past. Compare that to now where we pretty much can go around, do a statistical sampling of the weight of the people across the planet and from that derive an average weight value. This kind of sampling would include people from India whereas the proxy data would not. That would mean that comparing the proxy data to the present data is not a valid comparison. There are two ways around this, though. One is to exclude the data from India from the present data set in which case the comparison would not be truly “global” the other is to use say Mongolian data for India in the proxy set in which case you could cause a fundamental problem because Mongolians ate a lot of meat making them much bigger than the mostly vegetarian Indians. I am sure there are statistical techniques that could better deal with this disparity between the proxy data and present data but the commonsense dictates that such techniques would create greater uncertainty bands around the proxy data.

      Given this, I think it is fundamental to look at how current temperature data is gathered (I trust the satellite data the most and they indeed show recent warming) and how the proxies are used. These are fundamental building blocks of climate science.

    • MikeC
      Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

      No, the first one is untrue, the NOAA made no such claim, it was an activist named Peterson who created an unsigned “talking points memo.”

  22. ZT
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 7:13 PM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre is a “scientific superstar”.

    Mr. G. Schmidt et al – fresh from eliminating the MWP and other excursions into book burning and peer review tampering – are simply jealous.

    • rick
      Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

      Shervin:

      This kind of analysis is what is missing from the lay debate, and where it is toughest to get concrete references to back it up. You are exactly right, that to prove AGW needs those 3 things – 1) warming is happening (few discount this point, only the amount and the rate) 2) the warming we’re seeing now is unprecedented and 3) man is causing it.

      For the sake of argument, concede 1).

      Only the climate modelers can prove 3) through the predictive powers of their models. The greenhouse effect is fairly established science – proven in controlled environments. the problem is that the global climate system is anything but controlled and predictable. The models’ predictions have been spectacularly wrong over at least the last 10 years, so the jury is still out on that point – not established science, as even the IPCC’s last report which is predicting anywhere from 2C to 6C rise over the next few decades.

      That leaves us with 2. Without the past temperature record we can never be sure if current warming is unprecedented, and thus man-caused.

      The lay debate has now moved to “Even if we throw out Mann, Jones et. al. there is still plenty of scientific evidence of AGW.

      If we were to throw out Mann, Jones, Briffa, et. al. what evidence is left for the temperature record over the last 1000 years? That’s not a rhetorical question – I really want to know.

      • gimply
        Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

        Perhaps more than 1000 years, and keep the data we know NOT to have been “adjusted”, which includes, of course, correcting data which have been so corrupted by MJB et. al. Hmmmm. Bad coffee?

      • Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 7:00 PM | Permalink

        Re: rick (Feb 21 11:30),

        “If we were to throw out Mann, Jones, Briffa, et. al. what evidence is left for the temperature record over the last 1000 years? That’s not a rhetorical question – I really want to know.”

        There may be many valid approaches to that question but I think a lot of good research has been shut out. Also, one might not want to ‘throw out’ Paleodendrothermometry or whatever, just The Team :) Once the science is “unequivocal” (which to me always meant Shhhhh! Be Quiet!) then more research doesn’t get funded…”We already studied that, it’s not new” is a typical gatekeeper ploy. Satellite data is a proxy, too, which is why it has to be calibrated. The major point is that uncertainties have to be honestly faced and then decisions can be made instead of everyone just being told “It’s a fact, live with it!”. Always the optimist, there could be a type of renaissance in climate science once the blood and gore is cleaned off all the busses.

        • Geoff Sherrington
          Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 5:24 AM | Permalink

          You are strongly urged to read of very recent developments on Warwick Hughes’ blog at

          http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=510

          A large amount of pre 1986 raw data from CDIAC is now available in downloadable for, for both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

        • Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 9:28 PM | Permalink

          Re: Geoff Sherrington (Feb 22 05:24),

          Thanks for that. I got to spend some time but I’ll need to read more closely. Do I have it right? The data that Phil ‘lost’ has been obtained from a friend of Warwick, who got it on an interlibrary loan. It goes back to 1986, uncorrected and corrected.

        • Geoff Sherrington
          Posted Feb 23, 2010 at 6:59 AM | Permalink

          Yep, that’s how I read it. I have not had a a chance to study it closely because I’m between old and new computers and have a quite ill wife just now.

          It would be interesting to do a global temp graph of the raw data to 1986, then add Dr Phil’s sort of comment that there has been no global warming since 1995. I’m not a betting man, but I think it would just about show that global warming is level within reasonable probability bounds. That is, the usually-accepted warming of 0.7 deg last century might be almost entirely artificial.

        • Posted Feb 23, 2010 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

          Re: Geoff Sherrington (Feb 23 06:59),

          I played with this part and got some qualitative information for regions I am very familiar with. I’m pretty sure Anthony Watts will like the information, as will many others. For a quick look one gets the graph and a list of nearby stations. It’s even sorta fun.

      • S. Geiger
        Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 8:47 AM | Permalink

        “This kind of analysis is what is missing from the lay debate, and where it is toughest to get concrete references to back it up. You are exactly right, that to prove AGW needs those 3 things – 1) warming is happening (few discount this point, only the amount and the rate) 2) the warming we’re seeing now is unprecedented and 3) man is causing it.”

        uh, this sounds confused to me. Seems we don’t need number 2 at all if we have number 3, right? If we KNOW man is causing it, then who cares if the warming is ‘unique’ yet? I think the great push to demonstrate point 2 is to buttress the argument for point 3.

  23. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 7:21 PM | Permalink

    I was interviewed at considerable length for this article. I wasn’t asked to comment on Mann or Schmidt’s comments – perhaps they were interviewed after me.

    • Steve Robbins
      Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 8:10 PM | Permalink

      Okay. They probably were interviewed.

      But they really should have gotten back to you and asked you if you wanted to respond to the personal attacks from Mann and Schmidt. If you had said something similar about them — which you would never do — they would have immediately given them response time. I consider what Schmidt said was a “bitch-slap” for the reason I gave above — he was, in essence saying you are a very smart guy, and that, therefore, you should have known better than to challenge the wisdom of their “world-saving” wisdom. It was the old left-handed compliment trick!

      Steve, it looks like the the British-dominated press run on this has just about played itself out, and that the American, Canadian and Australian MSM are now going to jump in and take a crack at it. It looked for a while like they were going to try and ignore it. But with the Globe and Mail, and now Newsweek jumping in, that should only be the start. They’ll have to cover it. I’d expect you will be contacted for interviews and comments by a number of media outlets, even though some of them have a real conflict from a business perspective because they are heavily invested in saving cap-’n-trade.

      Also, they don’t know the first damn thing about math, Steve, and they know their viewers don’t either. My guess is that they will try to paint you as either a crank or a gadfly, with no appreciation for the “big picture” of saving the planet.

      • Steve Robbins
        Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 8:24 PM | Permalink

        Okay. They probably were interviewed later (that is).

    • Lance
      Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 9:42 PM | Permalink

      So you were interviewed at length yet Heer didn’t bother to quote you or even present your view of the issues presented?

      He quotes people making very negative remarks about you such as calling you the “self-appointed Joe McCarthy of climate science” and a “bozo” yet doesn’t give you a chance to even present your reasons for all the work you have done let alone its impact on the science?

      Were you tempted to contact Mr. Heer to correct the record or at least present a more balanced presentation of the facts?

      I almost emailed him and I am just an occasional visitor to CA. I can only imagine how annoyed you must be.

  24. mpaul
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 7:21 PM | Permalink

    “…actually indicated that a short-term warming trend appears to exist at levels “quite close” to scientifically significant.”

    That’s a bit like saying — ‘excluding expenses in excess of revenues, we report results that are within a statistically significant proximity to profitability’.

    Oh brother.

  25. Tom P
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 7:24 PM | Permalink

    There’s a simple way you could prove Gavin wrong and add to the sum of human knowledge by answering a couple of questions:

    http://climateaudit.org/2010/02/19/world-dendro-2010-withdraws-invitation/#comment-222741

    • Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 2:29 AM | Permalink

      Piker,

      Do the work yourself and try not to screw it up

    • Skip Smith
      Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 3:41 AM | Permalink

      Tom P, the Climate Auditor Auditor.

      • Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 4:31 AM | Permalink

        Tom P, Gavin’s Guru, mad an interesting appearence in the lead up to climategate. As the mails show gavin and company were struggling to respond.
        Briffa was sick and only Melvin had the knowledge to explain what was done.
        But Melvin, according to osborn, was a loose canon.

        Thank god Tom P was there to help Gavin, along with DO who appeared.
        Proxies.

        Tom’s a Piker, ignore him.

        • Tom P
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 4:56 AM | Permalink

          Steve McIntyre wrote yesterday of climate scientists:

          “They’d rather avoid criticism than confront it.”

          Are you now advising Steve to do the same?

        • BillyBob
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 10:38 AM | Permalink

          At a certaqin point the “flat earthers” were no longer debated and people just started ridiculing them.

          We are at the ridule AGW’rs stage Tom.

        • Tom P
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

          So there’s no need for any further response from Steve McIntyre to the scientific issues? Just a few good chortles?

          In fact the issues of age homogeneity of the chronologies and correlation to the site temperatures were first brought up by Steve himself with respect to the Yamal chronology. He now seems a little reticent when asked to further discuss these aspects concerning his preferred substitution.

        • Skip Smith
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

          To be fair, I think he’s kind of busy right now.

          I agree that it would be hypocritical if he refuses to answer your questions.

        • Tom P
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

          The questions were originally asked more than three months ago, but I do appreciate that Steve’s attention might have been otherwise focussed.

          One unfortunate side effect of the December site migration that the increase in traffic necessitated is that the link to Steve’s R code libraries no longer appears to work. This makes any direct comparative analysis of Steve’s results rather difficult.

          Steve; Just change climateaudit.org to climateaudit.info in the relevant scripts and everything works.

          Y’know, I don’t ask Mann or Briffa to do sensitivity studies for me. these guys all fret that if they provided me with data, I would ask them to babysit me through their methods in their published papers – something that I don’t do. And yet here you are asking me to do sensitivity studies that interest you.

          The purpose of providing code is to enable people to see what was done at various points where the author didn’t turn his mind to describing corners of his methodology. While I try to provide turnkey materials, there are sometimes lacunae and I generally try to fix those. But I make no commitment that room service will extend to doing sensitivity studies on request. If I have time and the file is open and the matter interests me, I’m generally pretty cooperative. However, you will understand that our priorities will not always coincide.

          You keep referring to things that you asked 3 months ago – but without a link, I can’t sort out what on earth you want.

        • Tom P
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

          Thanks for the new link for the scripts. As you said:

          “The purpose of providing code is to enable people to see what was done at various points where the author didn’t turn his mind to describing corners of his methodology.”

          Precisely. I’m not asking for a sensitivity study – all I asked for back in October was the code you had used to extract the relevant gridcell temperature series and calculate your correlation and t-statistic with the reconstruction:

          http://climateaudit.org/2009/10/19/re-visiting-the-yamal-substitution/#comment-199413

          I’m not asking you to run anything, although it’s quite possible you have the relevant figures already calculated. After all, you’ve done the calculations for Yamal and the Polar Urals, so I’d be surprised if you hadn’t turned your mind to running these numbers for Khadyta.

          My first question is your response to an issue you left hanging in a post to which I’ve already provided a link, despite what you say. Here it is again:

          http://climateaudit.org/2009/10/04/gavins-guru-and-rcs-standardization/

          Here you claim “The most distinctive feature of this graphic is something quite different than the guru reported to us: given the similarity of the two series [young and old trees in the combined Khadtyta-Yamal series] up to 1970, their divergence thereafter really is quite remarkable. Readers should not presume that it is the young tree chronology that is the exception. Tomorrow I’ll show this with a graphic comparing these two series to the NSIB temperature reconstruction of Briffa et al 2001.”

          In fact as I pointed out at the time out there are larger historical divergences between the two series than those of the recent past:

          Your expected post did not appear. Nor did a response to the contradiction I had pointed out between your statement and the data, although you did write: “I’m busy on personal things today. I will reply to this point, which is on topic.”

          I trust this clarifies things sufficiently.

        • Poly
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 6:25 PM | Permalink

          It may (or may not) be reasonable for you to decline the sensitivitiy studies. Certainly you are not at people’s beck and call and should not be distracted maliciously. however, DISCUSSION of sensitivity and the lack fo sensitivuty studies is well relevant and MUCH more purposeful than the chest thumping by your hoi polloi.

          Also, my honest considered opinion is that you avoid sensitivity studies and avoid answering questions where it will hurt your talking point. I base this on too much time spent reading your stuff and a brain and consideration of other fields.

        • Tom P
          Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 3:26 AM | Permalink

          [I just noticed the original comment has been held up for some considerable time in moderation. Here's a version that can be removed without the links.]

          Thanks for the new link for the scripts. As you said:

          “The purpose of providing code is to enable people to see what was done at various points where the author didn’t turn his mind to describing corners of his methodology.”

          Precisely. I’m not asking for a sensitivity study – all I asked for back in October was the code you had used to extract the relevant gridcell temperature series and calculate your correlation and t-statistic with the reconstruction:

          [Link to 2009/10/19/re-visiting-the-yamal-substitution]

          I’m not asking you to run anything, although it’s quite possible you have the relevant figures already calculated. After all, you’ve done the calculations for Yamal and the Polar Urals, so I’d be surprised if you hadn’t turned your mind to running these numbers for Khadyta.

          My first question is your response to an issue you left hanging in a post to which I’ve already provided a link, despite what you say. Here it is again:

          [Link to 2009/10/04/gavins-guru-and-rcs-standardization]

          Here you claim “The most distinctive feature of this graphic is something quite different than the guru reported to us: given the similarity of the two series [young and old trees in the combined Khadtyta-Yamal series] up to 1970, their divergence thereafter really is quite remarkable. Readers should not presume that it is the young tree chronology that is the exception. Tomorrow I’ll show this with a graphic comparing these two series to the NSIB temperature reconstruction of Briffa et al 2001.”

          In fact as I pointed out at the time out there are larger historical divergences between the two series than those of the recent past:

          [Link to img32.imageshack.us/img32/7910/yamkhaoldlessnew.png]

          Your expected post did not appear. Nor did a response to the contradiction I had pointed out between your statement and the data, although you did write: “I’m busy on personal things today. I will reply to this point, which is on topic.”

          I trust this clarifies things sufficiently.

        • Tom P
          Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 9:03 PM | Permalink

          Steve,

          I’ve been able to process the Briffa09 chronologies and grid temperatures (it took a little editing to fix the broken links and match some names up in your scripts). YAMALAD is the original series including the twelve recent trees (the CRU 12), and YAMAL-KHAD is the Khadtyta series. These have already been shown to be in good agreement with your version of these chronologies. I’ve plotted them here with the June-July growing-season temperatures of the Yamal grid square:

          img251.imageshack.us/img251/4577/yamaltemp.png

          I can’t say this is one of the most disquieting images presented at Climate Audit. There was never much doubt that if two chronologies differed by so much, at least one of them would not correlate so well with the temperatures. It is clear that it is in fact the Khadyta chronology that shows considerable divergence from the instrument record. Its inclusion in any analysis needs some justification.

          Putting some numbers on the this, the correlation and t-statistic for the two series with growth-season temperature are:
          Yamal: r = 0.54, t = 4.2
          Khadyta: r = 0.38, t = 2.6

          The first set of figures is in good agreement with the values you presented for your calculation of the original Yamal chronology (r = 0.55, t = 4.3). The second set is the one that you have been a little too busy to calculate.

          Robert Wilson in his 2007 JGR paper sets a series of criterion for inclusion of tree-ring data for analysis:

          “The TR proxy series must correlate at >0.40 against an optimal seasonal parameter of ‘‘local’’ gridded mean temperature data from the CRU3 land only data set. Even if a series correlates at <0.40, but the inferred association is significant at the 95% confidence limit, it was still rejected from further analysis."

          If these figures are correct, it looks like you need to make the case that Khadyta should be included despite falling below this threshold. In any event it is clear that including the Khadyta series will not increase human knowledge with an improved combined chronology better correlated to the instrument record.

        • Nathan Kurz
          Posted Feb 23, 2010 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

          re: http://climateaudit.org/2010/02/20/hometown-coverage/#comment-223249

          Hi Tom —

          I didn’t see a ‘reply’ link to your last message, which should be a sibling to this one. I’m guessing it’s at some limit for nested comments. But I wanted to say that it was great!

          I’ve found the attitude in some of your other messages here offputting, but this one was solid. It’s a good formula: I’ve done A, it seems to contradict B, how do you explain this?

          I’m not capable of evaluating your approach, but I hope you get an answer. Right or wrong scientifically, it’s a polite and well-crafted message, and I’m eager to see Steve’s response.

        • Tom P
          Posted Feb 24, 2010 at 2:56 AM | Permalink

          Nathan,

          A response would good, but it looks like Steve may have “moved on”.

    • Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 5:51 PM | Permalink

      Re: Tom P (Feb 20 19:24),

      So, TP, why don’t you just go hang out over there and give a ping from there every once in a while (pretend you’re ringing a bellhop for service.) Somebody might show up and help you with your R code or Matlab scripting or whatever. Don’t worry, people will see you’ve pinged under the recent comments column. One of these days I’m sure somebody will think “Oh, I better go run and help Gavin’s Guru out”.

      • Tom P
        Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 3:29 AM | Permalink

        I’m not asking for help with the code, but the code itself. Only Steve can provide that.

    • MikeN
      Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

      TomP,
      your questions are based on a faulty premise as I pointed out to you, but you refused to correct or even acknowledge your error.
      You can’t reuse Steve’s provided R code to do an age sensitivity test as you did. You simply removed the trees that live beyond a certain age to do your test, but that doesn’t work. You have to rewrite the RCS function to account for the age differential. Otherwise you are measuring the effects of trees that go on to live for 200 years, instead of just those that are that old at the time. When you fix that error, and rerun your tests, then you’ll have a question that is not a nonsense question.

      • Tom P
        Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 3:14 AM | Permalink

        “You have to rewrite the RCS function to account for the age differential.”

        I’m not at all sure what you mean by this. The test is to separate the trees by age and do an RCS on that series separately followed by the calculation of the chronology. The RCS method will immediately account for any difference in the growth caused by selecting a subset of the trees by age by calculating a new curve. There is no need to “rewrite the RCS function”.

        This is exactly what Steve did in constructing his plot of the older and younger trees in the combined Khadyta-Yamal series in his post of 2009/10/04.

        • MikeN
          Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

          Suppose you want to test for trees older than 200 years.
          You did this by manually selecting trees that lived for more than 200 years, and ran the RCS function on them.
          However, look at an individual year. You have a combination of trees that are 10 years old, 60 years old, and 220 years old, for that year. A proper test should rewrite the RCS function so that it only considers trees in each year that are older than your threshold number.

  26. Jim from Anaheim
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 7:43 PM | Permalink

    Others have suggested this could be a misreading of the e-mails, most of which, though not all, simply suggest working professionals wrangling over contentious issues and occasionally slagging their critics.

    If the emails are “working professionals wrangling over contentious issues, why don’t the “contentious issues” show up in their output? This very excuse for the emails implies gatekeeping on their parts.

    • Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 6:08 PM | Permalink

      Re: Jim from Anaheim (Feb 20 19:43),

      Ya, one thing that strikes me about claims like “FOIs are meant to be a distraction from our important research”” is that any ‘contrary’ publication gets an inordinate amount of attention on the team’s part that may finally lead to a publication but doesn’t really involve new data or research. The EOS rebuttal against Soon and Baliunas (a mere review paper) is a glaring case. They dropped everything and got lots of authors to pile on, etc. Normal science would be that maybe there was some complaining because of disagreement but people would just keep doing their own research and get their next pub out…finally Soon & Baliunas would be one review paper in the literature along side all the other papers. Extremely reactionary. As Phil said, “The Empire Strikes Back!” Lot’s of gatekeeping; because of the barbarians I guess.

      • Geoff Sherrington
        Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 5:31 AM | Permalink

        If it matters in the count, I received a reply to an email to CRU, the reply email being labelled as under FOI. It would not appear to have involved anyone doing scientific research – it was about administration.

  27. stansvonhorch
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 8:18 PM | Permalink

    climateaudit.org, keeping science high-brow since 2005 or so.

  28. stan
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 8:23 PM | Permalink

    Where are the quotes from all the scientists who back up the quality of Steve’s work? Where are the criticisms from recognized scientists about the poor quality of the work by Mann and Schmidt?

    Pretty poor effort. If this guy interviewed Steve for a while and couldn’t come up with anything better than this, he didn’t try very hard.

    • Steve Robbins
      Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 9:12 PM | Permalink

      “If this guy interviewed Steve for a while and couldn’t come up with anything better than this, he didn’t try very hard.”

      Precisely. Many reporters are very, very lazy people. They have an assignment, and they do a story — this story is NOT the “grande messe” for most reporters, by any stretch of the imagination.

      In my opinion, the best thing Steve could do at this point, would be to agree to be interviewed by a really good interviewer, at length — a first-class interviewer, like Brian Lamb on C-SPAN.

      There are others, but Brian Lamb is simply the best in the business. He is an intellect, and will appreciate what Steve has done here.

      The trap would be for Steve to agree to be interviewed by an air head, or some polemical jerk. Steve’s ultimate strength is, as someone said above . . . that he can (and has) proven that “the devil is in the details.”

      Even a lengthy interview by one of the talking heads in the MSM can be edited down to what amounts to an exercise in irrelevancy. It is what goes on the air that counts.

  29. Jon
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 8:31 PM | Permalink

    Heer’s notion of technicalities is frustrating. Something that’s really stuck with me reading these debates has been Wegman’s concise statement (paraphrased): right answer + wrong method = bad science.

    It sure would be nice if MBH98 had been independently reproduced, but the technicalities (the Globe cites Yamal, bristlecones among others) undercut those efforts.

    Heer then makes a second mistake by citing “the massive and converging lines of evidence that are coming in from many disciplines.”

    It is not just a question of whether ‘CO2 induces warming’. There are indeed plenty of “converging” lines of evidence” that that is so, but the millennial reconstructions are at best weak endorsements of that particular claim. i.e., they purport to evidence that the 20th century warmth is unprecedented, but such a claim does little to endorse of AGW per-se because the dynamics are so complex.

    The real value of the millennial reconstructions lies at the nexus with the precautionary principle. That is the necessity of action depends upon that notion of unprecedented warm. If we’re within ‘normal’ variability, the impetus is vitiated.

    So in this way the author’s argument is faulty. The value of the millennial studies stems from their determination that the 20th century warmth is unprecedented, and that’s not a claim bolstered by “the massive and converging lines of evidence that are coming in from many disciplines.”

  30. James Chamberlain
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 10:41 PM | Permalink

    Let Gavin be Gavin. His comments and attitudes only assist the skeptics.

  31. Pat Frank
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 11:12 PM | Permalink

    It’s a high irony that Jeet Heer called Steve “an arm chair scientist,” when he demonstrably is not, but didn’t call Michael Mann and Gavin Schmidt arm chair scientists when they demonstrably are.

    I, too, thought the article was extremely unfair. This sentence, for example: But to his critics, who include some of the most eminent names in climate science, he casts a very different image, as a gifted pest whose scattershot criticisms indiscriminately mix a few valid points with a larger body of half-truths, a potent concoction that produces much confusion but little benefit.” gives Mr. Heer the opportunity to denigrate Steve’s work with the purported paraphraseology of the opinions of others providing grounds to exculpate himself through a plausible personal deniability.

    Steve has produced a large body of critical work that is internally very coherent, and not at all scattershot. It has also proved correct, time after time.

    And this sentence: “Mr. McIntyre, 62, came to the climate-science debate in 2002 when he became suspicious of the political passions surrounding the Kyoto Protocol.” is not true at all.

    I’ve been reading CA virtually from the beginning, and Steve has posted many times that he came to climate science because Michael Mann’s 1998 hockey stick graph looked like the drill-plot of a specious mining promotion. Steve’s impetus had nothing to do with Kyoto or with political passion.

    And this: “Since its original publication, the graph research has been replicated by nearly a dozen studies.</em" neglects to mention that the HS was replicated because analogous errors were also made in the subsequent papers.

    And this: "Although the hockey stick has been battered and bruised by many critics, it still works.” It still works politically. It never worked scientifically and neither do the tendentious replications.

    One could go on. For a guy based in Toronto, Mr. Heer has written as though he never met Steve, and in any case apparently doesn’t really care about getting it right.

    • Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 12:07 AM | Permalink

      Re: Pat Frank (Feb 20 23:12),

      “It’s a high irony that Jeet Heer called Steve “an arm chair scientist,” when he demonstrably is not, but didn’t call Michael Mann and Gavin Schmidt arm chair scientists when they demonstrably are.”

      I was struck by the irony, too. Has Gavin ever been out in the field helping to collect samples or is that what realclimate is for him? I don’t think he’s visiting US surface stations. Does Mann take his own samples? He poses with corss-sections. There is an email (Briffa, IIRC) wherein Mann is snickered at (behind his back, of course). Something along the lines of ‘use of Mann’s data, er, not his data but the others’ data that he uses’. In addition to your other points, “most eminent names in climate science” made me think, “Right now, climate science isn’t looking to good. Does it help to be eminent?” Aw, Cicerone will fix it.

      • Laws of Nature
        Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 4:25 AM | Permalink

        Hi Steve et al. :)

        Well, one course of action might be to tell the story of your little field trip to the strip bark trees.
        I think once you had a picture like this one:

        (I just found that one in the net, please credit Jan Esper et al. if you use it)

        This might be an easy understandable story/letter to the newspaper, where M. Mann and his team simply were wrong.
        You found the original trees and were able to get different data from it, how much clear can a result be?

        In the meantime may I ask for a favor:
        Could you write one more post answerig Mann’s asumption all the mistakes in his dendro-magic would not matter?
        (It’s probably a lot of simple copy and paste from your answer to his last paper)

        All the best adn thanks lot,
        LoN

  32. Stu
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 1:36 AM | Permalink

    I think it will take a couple of years or so atleast for the mainstream (media) to catch on to the importance of people like Steve and others work in regards to climate science. It took many years for the AGW position to rise to the position of social prominence it now enjoys. AGW used to be punk rock. Now it’s just cynically contrived corportate rock… totally sold out.

    Steve’s band isn’t ‘commercial’ just yet- the record companies aren’t interested. While ‘Dr Phil and the Manns’ shifts units and reaps MTV awards, people are hungry for that new sound.

    The papers are oblivious…

  33. L.T.
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 1:51 AM | Permalink

    I do have to say that, in all honesty, Gavin is one of the more hotheaded people of that group. There’s been some background talk for several years about dropping him entirely and letting the sharks get him. Or, perhaps, exposing him as the -snip – he is and lauding it as an example of the scientific process working as it should.

    Of course, the problem with dropping him is his big mouth. Pity. Maybe we’ll get lucky and someone will do the job for us.

    I guess I should introduce myself. I will not give my name or place of employment; sufficient it is to say that I am, by profession, one of your enemies. I am no scientist; nor will I ever be one. No insult meant to you, but after doing this job for going on seven years, I’ve found the difference between “honest scientist” and “unhired mercenary” is the spelling. I may be wrong in my viewpoint that science is controlled by competing interests with deep pockets, but as of yet I have not personally met a single scientist who was not in someone’s pocketbook; half the time, they were in my employer’s pocketbook and didn’t even realize it. You do not count in that measure since you are retired and, frankly, have proven far too resilient for the various employers I’ve had over the years to deal with.

    I have to admit I respect you for the fact you have not been bought off or controlled by some cause or another. If my experience is of any weight in my judgement, I would say you are one of the few honest people who’s actually knowledgeable. Sadly, most of the other honest people have had to be sacrificed in the ongoing shadow campaigns caused by the leaked emails.

    In any case, by profession, I will likely continue to be your enemy for some time; however, I must admit that it’s rare to have a truly worthy foe in this era. Especially when it comes to a topic where science is traded like barrels of oil and companies sometimes play both sides against each other just to make sure they end up on top when the fighting is settled. But, then, I’m certain you were already aware of the skulls and all of the duggery.

    Still, enemy or not, Gavin had no excuse for what he said.

    • Skip Smith
      Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 3:45 AM | Permalink

      Walter Mitty, Climate Scientist.

      • L.T.
        Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 4:12 AM | Permalink

        Ha! I wish it were something like that. Maybe then it wouldn’t be quite as boring. You can only listen to one man drone on and on about coral, tree rings, or some nut he found in twenty-thousand-year-old ice for so long before you silently wish for a career change. And that’s in the rare cases I meet directly with a scientist instead of simply being handed their paper and having to spend the entire weekend slogging through dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other papers just to make enough sense out of it to tell him “sum it up to a volcano causing the temperature error.”

        I never said my work was exciting. Even the stuff done in secret mostly accounts for items that involve reminding some guy that the next five years of grant money he’s expecting actually rides on him giving you a certain result and how difficult it can be to get a job in this market. Or offering them a few grants with conditions about the results they get, often not even necessary to mention.

        Or, on occasion, discovering a set of clients have been doing something… unwise to their continuing in their profession and reminding them that it’s not in their best interests to continue. Like keeping a set of emails they should have completely wiped.

        I know how to present my job as exciting, though. But, then, I’ve had plenty of practice doing something similar.

        Besides, do you really think I’d be allowed to speak about my job without some kind of nondisclosure agreement in place?

        • L.T.
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 4:28 AM | Permalink

          I should clarify: I do not have any actual clout within the scientific community on my own.

          Basically, my job amounts to being one of the middlemen; I have exactly as much clout as I’m contracted to have for a particular person and no more. As I have noted, I’m not even the only one; just one of a number of people who do the same job. If I did have any clout, I probably wouldn’t even be able to post here. No offense meant.

          My real profession is in the field of information dissemination and public opinion control. In short: I’m a spin doctor.

        • Dominic
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 5:35 AM | Permalink

          Lonnie is that you ?

        • Dr. Ross Taylor
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

          LT. I admire you. You are obviously someone with a conscience who has about “had it up to here”. You are no enemy of mine. What can I say as I read between your lines? I once had an extremely high paying job- the only price it asked of me was my conscience. My conscience eventually won. I now have an extremely modestly paying job, but am happy, with a clean conscience. There are many possibilities out there. Go for it. If not, good luck anyway. Best wishes.

        • L.T.
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 6:58 PM | Permalink

          Thank you. I apologize for not responding to you first, but the question immediately below drew my attention quickly.

        • David Smith
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

          L.T/. a question – how do you characterize the “skeptic” side of the debate? Is it a cleverly-orchestrated effort by fossil fuel interests? Are Steve/Anthony/others part of some ideological tribe? Are they someones’ dupes?

          Mann, Schmidt and (I believe) even Judith Curry have hinted that there is some kind of fossil fuel conspiracy driving the “resistance”. I find that view to be a wild misreading of the situation which makes it difficult for climate science to come to terms with its current malaise.

          The skeptic camp indeed has an ideological common ground in that most hold a conservative view of the world, in my opinion. Beyond that, though, most of skeptic “leadership” truly have doubts about portions of the science and about the climate science process. Many of the readers and contributors here have science-oriented backgrounds and are capable of reasoning through arguments made in fields outside their specialty. many also have been alive for years and recognize the odor of exaggeration and BS, whether it’s in climate science, mining, engineering, physics, geology or whatever. Climate scientists need to be more careful and accurate in their claims, like other sciences, or otherwise the resistance from people in other scientific and technical disciplines will continue to grow.

        • L.T.
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 6:56 PM | Permalink

          Merf. I don’t think you’re going to like my answer.

          First, let me clear the air on something: There is no difference between the fossil fuel side and the warmist side. Some of the biggest supporters of global warming where it comes to funding happen to be oil and coal companies. Considering how essential both oil and coal are to the very technologies that a lot of people back for countering global warming, they stand only to profit even more; stop and investigate for yourself just how oil free such things as solar power truly are. In fact, I greatly suspect that windmills may set new profit margins for the coal companies (keep in mind that coal is an irreplaceable part of the process for making steel and that the only alternative with an equal durability happens to be an oil product).

          So, really, if there is any fossil fuel conspiracy, the conspirators themselves would happen to include Mann, Hansen, Schmidt, and others who level those accusations. And let’s not even get started on the amount of oil and coal that went into making the very computers they rely on.

          Honestly? The resistance itself, I have found, does have a lot of conservatives behind it, but strangely I’ve seen a lot of people I would consider being liberal as the actual leaders. And I don’t mean mouthpieces like some radio personality who is primarily concerned with ratings. I mean people like the Spencers and McIntyre.

          But, yes, I will admit there is also big money involved in being a skeptic. Both sides have corporations involved and it should be no surprise that some corporations are probably funding both sides. For them, it makes economic sense; whichever side wins, they’re in a position to claim a marketshare and they can simply write off the expenses for the other side.

          In any case, my own experience tells me that the skeptics are an oxymoron of sorts. You see a lot of conservative political leanings among skeptics, but you also see the majority of the scientifically-verified challenges to the science from the skeptics. In the end, if pressed, I am forced to clarify the skeptics side as the side most upholding scientific tradition; however, I am not allowed to state all of my reasoning for this, despite a part of it being a matter of public record at this time.

        • Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 7:08 PM | Permalink

          Re: L.T. (Feb 21 18:56),

          Don’t forget that natural gas companies can snag CO2 from the atmosphere and run it back down the pipes to their now empty wells :)

        • L.T.
          Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 12:18 AM | Permalink

          Better yet: Let’s not forget that ExxonMobile supports global warming, even if it’s cautious support.

          http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/index.php/csw/details/exxon-mobil-first-steps1/

        • L.T.
          Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 12:27 AM | Permalink

          Forgot this link:

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jul/10/response-exxon-mobil

          So, note that ExxonMobil has influence over the IPCC.

        • Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 9:27 AM | Permalink

          Oil, coal and gas mining are unique in that these branches of world economy employ less than 1% of global working population only, but sell their cumulative product, using the world’s critical dependence on it, for about 10% of global GDP. There is (almost) no other field where labor would be on average overpaid to such a degree and the profit so large and unrelated to expenses.

          Wind power, as any other modern technological process where one needs to create something rather than takes ready from nature, is far from that. Modest profit moderately difficult to be earned. No comparison to the money made from oil.

          So it is not surprising that, as L.T. points out, it is oil/coal companies that have the financial resources to entertain themselves playing with the public opinion on both sides of the climate change debate. While some are fond of building alpine skiing resorts in deserts, others prefer hiring spin doctors and attempting to control the scientific process. Just another sink for extra money, in my opinion. Nothing strategically meaningful.

        • Kenneth Fritsch
          Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

          Anastassia, I am surprised by the lack of detail in your comment.

          I think we have come a long way in our understanding of economics from valuing a product based on its labor content.

          Wind, gas, oil, coal are all naturally derived sources of energy with wind having the distinction of being renewable.

          It would be informative to note where that 10% of GDP was allocated by the energy producers amongst labor cost, reinvestment, profits, etc. Also is that 1% of labor force restricted to the labor used directly in producing energy or that used all the way down the product line like transporting, wholesaling and retailing? What about the portions of this pipeline allocated to GDP?

          A regression of GDP versus energy consumption is also always informative.

          Could you detail any examples of fossil fuel industry interference with scientific studies or scientists? I think we are all aware that these businesses will lobby for advantages through their respective governments and from there they have unearned influence, but then the real problem is rather obvious.

        • L.T.
          Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 3:36 PM | Permalink

          I can point you towards a hint of it.

          ExxonMobil has admitted to not only having scientists in the IPCC (and I wouldn’t be surprised if a few were lead authors), but also admitted to funding the Hadley Center (among others) and funding several research groups that produce reports against global warming. I also saw a few net rumors that they used to fund the IPCC, but a basic search turns up nothing that supports it and may actually resort from a bit of confusion.

          In any case, the amount of “Big Oil taint” that is arguably caused by ExxonMobil itself pretty much encompasses the core research in favor of global warming and arguably disqualifies all of that essential research from being admissable as legit. It is also ironic that if a certain group were to succeed in their goal for a certain lawsuit against ExxonMobil, they may actually end up gutting their own side in the process.

        • Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 10:02 PM | Permalink

          Re: L.T. (Feb 22 15:36),

          You focus on Exxon. BP and Shell were players with CRU and Shell International was involved early with SRES-Special Report on Emissions Scenarios. See here for “The IPCC published a new set of scenarios in 2000 for use in the Third Assessment Report”. The issue wrt to the science isn’t so much that ‘climate’ is a political and economic issue but that it looks like some scientists became ‘stealth advocates’ for poli/econ positions (or not so stealth). Of course the politicos and the corporate interests will take advantage of any support for the sake of their agendas. Of course they will try to spin everything their ways. Some scientists acted as shills for poli/econ interests (“Friends in high places” according to Mann) and now the results from their ‘scientific’ studies are being scrutinized even more.

          What I think is really ironic is that the defenders of ‘climate change science’, like Ciccerone, have to say “We need to do better PR. Scientists aren’t used to the public, blah, blah”. They can’t say “we need to do better, more transparent, science”.

        • Posted Feb 23, 2010 at 6:59 AM | Permalink

          It was my fault, Kenneth, to make that comment as it was largely OT, as is also this one, so I will not develop this further in any case.
          As a physicist I have a weakness for a coherent quantitative picture of the world derived from the well-established nature laws like, for example, energy and matter conservation, without foggy terminology and misleading complications. It is truly surprising how much one can gather applying these laws to almost any problem. Fortunately, I sometimes have the opportunity to pursue the route of my curiosity, so we did some analysis on the figures that I mentioned (soon come in press). The details are all there. Briefly, one will have difficult time proving that the oil/coal industry needs dozens of times larger “reinvestment etc.” per employee than, e.g., one needs in the car industry or computer industry or agriculture or elsewhere, to sustain the convenient yet incorrect claim that the 10% GDP paid to a sector employing 0.2% global workers is a reasonable and economically sensible price. Energy content of an oil barrel and the cost of its mining/delivery are unrelated and independent magnitudes, that’s the core of the problem.
          Personally I do not know cases when the oil business would interfere with scientific studies. But when L.T. says that they do interfere, this makes perfect sense for me fitting well into my understanding of what this business is.

        • Michael Smith
          Posted Feb 23, 2010 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

          I don’t understand where you are getting your numbers for the oil/coal industry. For instance, the document to which you linked refers to “energy . . . sold at prices greatly exceeding the cost price by 40 times.”

          A price that is 40 times costs would yield a profit margin of over 90%. No energy company has that kind of profit margin — in fact, I know of no industry of any sort that enjoys 90% profits.

          So there is some sort of major problem with your numbers.

        • Posted Feb 23, 2010 at 10:12 AM | Permalink

          Re: Anastassia Makarieva (Feb 23 06:59),

          Well, maybe just a little more on topic but it’s studies like yours that help put “tipping point” claims in perspective. I don’t think ‘consensus climate science’ is close at all with respect to quantifying realistic stability/instability domains. The abuse of the precautionary principle, “If there’s even a chance the butterfly effect will occur..,”, irrational as it is, is still the standard spin.

        • Kenneth Fritsch
          Posted Feb 23, 2010 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

          Anastassia, I skimmed your paper and I have yet to see the details of my questions to you above answered. As a physicist, I think you are most competent. As an economist, I think you are a competent physicist.

          In brief your paper seems to be saying that the cost of a produced commodity or novel and specialized item has a labor content and that cost of that item above and beyond that cost is what those involved in the production and delivery?) will spend on non-essential (luxuriant living standard) items. You say luxuriant spending supports the economy but that in the case of energy the disparity is so large that either “it must be discarded as garbage and thus cause a 10% inflation rate, or used to support some population capable of their utilization… …This population, supported by the energy sector, does not necessarily have to participate in any meaningful activities stabilizing the civilization, for example they do not have to take part in industrial production.”

          I cannot agree with the under lying philosophy in that statement, but given that approach it is important to know where in detail the dollars paid for energy (10 % GDP – a reasonable number) are allocated all the way along the pipeline to the consumer. Certainly some nations use energy production revenues to support government programs, but that subtraction comes at or near the well head, so to speak. I strongly suspect that the value added numbers for energy will be difficult to come by.

        • Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

          Mr LT, why do you want to paint all ‘scientists’ with the same brush? I have come across the kind that you talk about, and have myself been the object of hostile action from such people which has directly affected my career.

          But I would still like to think of myself as a fledgling scientist, or a ‘scientistlet’. :)

        • L.T.
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 7:05 PM | Permalink

          It comes from an ingrained sense of dark cynicism combined with a certain amount of career-caused distrust of science itself. It is not that I do not trust the ideology behind science or the ability of it to be used for good things; it is that I have seen how easily the scientific process can break down, producing scientists like Mann et al and the damage that can result. I’m certain I do not have to state to what I am referencing for you to get an idea of what I mean.

        • Pat Frank
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 10:50 PM | Permalink

          L.T., you’re distrusting science based upon the foibles and character flaws common to the human condition. All human institutions will suffer therefore from the same flaws, and to at least the same degree.

          That means your dark cynicism of science should extend in at least equal degree to every other human institution.

          Given this equivalent failing common to all institutions, your perception of any given institution should follow from what is uniquely different about that institution, and not from what it shares in common with them all.

          Science is the only institution that methodologically holds our feet to the fire of objective knowledge and, also methodologically, is completely committed to a democracy of thought. Its objective content is indifferent to our politics and our wishes.

          What you need to feel about science is not dark cynicism, but dismay and anger that it has been so consciously subverted. We are seeing small-l lysenkoism and we need to learn its lesson to avoid future recurrences.

          It seems your experience and character put you in a position to help.

        • L.T.
          Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 12:26 AM | Permalink

          And I do distrust most human institutions for those reasons.

          But, you are right that there are things I can do about it. And, besides, those who employ me are getting skittish when it comes to global warming. They smell blood in the water and fear they are among those bleeding.

        • ianl8888
          Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 1:25 AM | Permalink

          Science is not an ideology of itself – but an objective method of describing, analysing and predicting natural phenomena attracts ideologues to manipulate this for their own agendas (people who tell the “truth” are seen as naive and easily manipulated). That the mass of people are impatient with the methods and details of science aids these ideologues, since it can be so easily and egregiously misrepresented

          Certainly the process can break down, and often does, primarily through common human attributes. It is self-correcting over time, which is occurring now for “climate” science (in any case, this is simply another branch of applied science)

          I’ve been sacked twice in my career for refusing to “bend” data for marketing purposes. Nonetheless, I’ve outlived those sleazebags and continue with a good reputation for truthful analysis within my industry. The epithet I’m most chuffed with came from a group within the CSIRO (Aus premier R&D organisation), wherein they dubbed me “the BS detector”

          My point is that your cynicism is misplaced – science is ephemerally corruptible, but the corruptors are marked by a greed and vanity for power, so they are easy to pick. Some say “Follow the money” … my experience says “Follow the vanity”

    • Geoff Sherrington
      Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 5:35 AM | Permalink

      I’ve never been in anyone’s pocket. So you can increment your count.

  34. Ale Gorney
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 3:16 AM | Permalink

    Steve, in the previous blog entry you said something about ‘reading between the lines’…. Did you notice this listserv entry,

    “What concerns me even more is the preliminary list of invited speakers. I believe that plenary and keynote talks should challenge and inspire the community. However, in at least one case it appears the organizers are giving the stage to someone who would just as soon destroy our work for their own petty agenda. I sincerely hope that the organizers will reconsider their choices before making the program final.

    http://listserv.arizona.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind1002&L=itrdbfor&T=0&P=1653

    • kim
      Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 7:36 AM | Permalink

      Say his name, Dr. Gray.
      =============

    • Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 8:49 AM | Permalink

      Great find. Wasn’t this the very day Steve was notified about his invitation being withdrawn? The poor pygmies leading the field.

    • Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

      Re: Ale Gorney (Feb 21 03:16),

      I was over there looking at another issue but your reference and their following posts reminded me of the way the team pesters journal editors over those “baddies” getting their papers into print. The mention of “the community” always makes me read further. A quote from their Nov. 24 thread regarding the released emails that I like is “However the ‘sceptics’ have not made much of the release and it appears to have quietly ‘died’ following other stories on climate change that have been published”. meh

  35. P Gosselin
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 5:07 AM | Permalink

    I don’t like some of the undercurrents in the Globe & Mail report. There’s a loud call to regulate free speech and “wild websites”.
    They just keep digging deeper.

  36. Pat Frank
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 5:10 AM | Permalink

    L.T. seems to implicate a job working for Fenton Communications, or maybe Environmental Media Services.

    FWIW, after a good long time in experimental academic science, I have never, ever met scientists of the sort L.T. describes as commonplace. Those descriptions seem contrived to a purpose, to me. Spin-doctored, maybe.

    • Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 5:49 AM | Permalink

      L.T. “offering them a few grants with conditions about the results they get”

      This now seems to me to be a common misconception about real science between people who think they can control it. Scientists can take money (they do have to eat something), they can make plans and give promises — but what they actually find nobody knows, including themselves.

      One can only control pseudo-science, which is itself akin to public opinion control.

      • L.T.
        Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 6:25 AM | Permalink

        I’ll admit Pat Frank may have stumbled onto something about that particular wording. Now, here’s hoping reality doesn’t decide to add some extra flavoring to my breakfast cereal and try to prove my cynicism right. Reality knows how much that irks me and trying to punch reality for it always ends in futility.

        Anastassia, I’ll admit you’re right. That doesn’t stop people from trying. And, sometimes, you’ll get someone who honestly doesn’t know and who thinks you really do have that much control. Notably, they can learn quickly otherwise; it’s only the peer-review process that has any real control over it.

        • Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 6:53 AM | Permalink

          L.T. “it’s only the peer-review process that has any real control over it.”

          Over what?

          One cannot force a scientist to make a discovery or produce a serious result. Forcing involves humiliation, humiliated brain does not function well, doing science demands a well-functioning brain… No control.

          Now when a result is obtained, a discovery is made. Can one control it? Increasingly difficult in the Internet era and in a very complex network of interests. ClimateAudit is a good example how the spread of knowledge cannot be controlled.

          Some people want to control scientists. Pseudoscientists know this and readily offer themselves “to be controlled”. What is it all about? Just loss of money.

        • EW
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 9:23 AM | Permalink

          Anastasia,

          the problem is usually solved by applying for a grant to perform a research that has actually been finished. Then you just have to dose the results in the yearly reports.

          Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to get enough money for 3 years to accumulate enough of finished results for the next application. My bad.

        • L.T.
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 7:18 PM | Permalink

          No, but the peer-review process can determine what does and does not get viewed as acceptable science. By the simple act of refusing publication of any paper with certain conclusions, the peer review process can effectively force scientists to not publish anything with those conclusions even if the conclusions turn out to be the truth of the matter. They can, if they have contacts with other peer-reviewers, even effectively blacklist someone from a certain field with ease.

          Admittedly, the internet is throwing a monkey wrench into the setup. However, that doesn’t mean it is impossible for someone to effectively control a field if they have the right contacts. Consider that this is not the first, but the second time global warming came up. Check the scare back in the early 20th Century for an example of that.

          I would say more on the internet, but I want to check with a few people on it. I am, unfortunately, a child of an earlier era where it comes to my net knowledge.

      • Tim
        Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

        The science that money can buy is constrained by what can be reasonably be passed off as science. However, scientists often have many possible avenues to explore when looking for new research and avenues that produce results agreeable to the funder are the ones which will be explored.

        Two examples of unexplored paths with potentially adverse results are the Lonnie Thompson Bona Churchill cores and the uncooperative Russian tree series which Briffa mentioned in passing the UEA emails.

    • Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

      Re: Pat Frank (Feb 21 05:10),

      Pat, you took those words right outta my keyboard :). EMS changed their name, again, BTW. L.T. says in your ref. “one of the more hotheaded”. He looks like a wittle lamb compared to a few others. Young turks vs. old school, IMO.

      • Pat Frank
        Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

        You’re right, Jimchip. Gavin is outspoken, critical, and relentless, but I wouldn’t call him intemperate. On the other hand, given his history of lurid conspiratorial accusations, Michael Mann seems hot-headed.

    • WillR
      Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

      Re: Pat Frank (Feb 21 05:10),

      Pat: I am personally aware of situations that suggest to me that L.T. is correct. EW has suggested a method of “funding re-use” that I also know is correct. If you take it a step further, I know that “peer review” of funding proposals often suggest “more relevant” avenues of research. Then of course the “required conclusions” become obvious. Perhaps then, scientists submit reports and “re-use” the funds on real research and submit it at a later date — similar to what EW suggests — but it works better with an industry partner that can move funds around and make it look better. I could say more — but then there are people still actively researching related topics… Is funding political? I think so, and could probably pull up some documentation to prove it. …And that would help how? If L.T. is right then maybe Jeet Heer is part of the spin doctoring mechanism — but the G&M is a News Paper — and likely impartial. So ho do you sort out the truth?

      • Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 12:20 PM | Permalink

        Re: WillR (Feb 21 12:03),

        There’s been a lot of talk in the US about targeted research (vs. basic research). Nothing wrong with targeted research, per se. One should know what they are getting into, though. Are the funding agencies honest about their goals or is there some ‘back-room’ designated target portrayed publicly in a different way?

        • WillR
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 6:04 PM | Permalink

          Re: Jimchip (Feb 21 12:20),

          If I run into Steve at PDAC I will confess all to him — in return for absolution. :-)

      • Pat Frank
        Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

        “Truth,” as in ‘objective truth’ is the hardest information to find, WillR, which is why science is so centrally important. Everyone has their own personal ‘truths,’ of course, but the more fair-minded among us make an honest effort to measure personal truths against available facts.

        I understand your points about grant funding, and agree with them, but I don’t think L.T. was talking about policy-filtered grant funding by US agencies. L.T. seemed to be talking more about funding officers instructing recipient scientists to, by hook or by crook, produce results that support the partisan interests of the funding organization. L.T. also seemed to be saying that grant renewal depended on having already found politically salubrious results, with the concrete promise to find more.

        I have never met scientists willing to corrupt their work so, and have never met complaints that granting agencies were actually requiring politically correct research results of a certain specified kind.

        What I have heard is that the review boards of granting agencies such as NIH and NSF are being driven to reward policy-oriented, socially beneficial applied research, far, far more than they are pure science.

        I was lucky enough to do a project years ago with a very famous chemist — the nicest guy. He was very critical of granting agencies, NSF especially, for becoming so focused on socially and technologically relevant science. His career had been in pure chemical research, which had been very productive, and he was almost despairing when he said that such research was now almost impossible because it was no longer possible to get money for pure chemistry. Research proposals now had to be buzz-worded. A big one these days is “nanomaterials,” which has since evolved into the more sexy, ‘nanostructured materials.’ Essentially, funding science in this way is to mistakenly see science as though it were engineering.

        But, as I’m sure you know, there are fashions in science, and NIH, NSF, and DOE have always been under Congressional and Executive oversight, and hence more or less inevitably political. When things are right, the officers of those agencies are open-minded and understand that science itself has huge beneficial technologic and social fallouts. They trust science to produce those almost automatically, and see to it that pure science is adequately funded.

        But when politicians micromanage, which they are prone to do, their more limited view of science prevails because they hold the purse strings and the hiring power. Agency officers get chosen who have a restricted view of publicly funded science, as specifically having to be in the public interest. So, certain subjects are chosen for directed funds; a decision carrying the implied but totally wrong premise that it’s possible to know beforehand which research directions will produce the desired outcomes.

        It’s as though these people suppose they already know the content of future knowledge, even though they could not possibly actually know. Of course no one can know this, but in policy-driven research, the false supposition of fore-knowledge is basic. (Prophets have credibility in religion, of course, but their failure is everywhere the same.)

        And this analysis, curiously enough, leads us right back to the AGW fiasco. It seems pretty clear to me that the basic failing driving the whole enterprise is that certain scientists decided they knew the right answer about the source of recent warming, without actually knowing.

        They could not have known because climate theory is too incomplete to produce precise predictions. So, having an inner certainty, they pushed their interpretations in a particular direction, confident that future advances would prove correct what they were already certain was true, namely that humanly-produced CO2 was responsible for recent warming.

        Results are indifferent to expectations, though, as they always are (hats off to Anastassia Makarieva, who already pointed this out), and things haven’t gone as they confidently assumed. Recent events must be crushingly disappointing; and I don’t mean the Climategate emails, but rather the decade-long total lack of climate warming.

        The aggressively defensive attitudes revealed in those emails, by the way, reflect the same hubris that produced the blind certainty that vigorously asserted sure fore-knowledge.

        • WillR
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 6:17 PM | Permalink

          Re: Pat Frank (Feb 21 17:10),

          Pat:

          I like the way you think. I do not mean for anyone to write an essay of that length… Many times it is the way you describe. Many time it is not. I was thinking of the Canadian funding environment — I confess.

          The comments of L.T. really hit home as one particular environmental project had been much in the news here — newspaper, TV specials etc. I had an opportunity to participate and did not — the funding was good — but… After the opportunity was presented I did the financial analysis of research benefits vs cost and came up with answers that said the research could not produce results of any value — indeed it would be a money sink. Then I was told we could produce reports telling “them” what they wanted to hear — but use the money to do “real research” of economic benefit but “we” would own the commercial rights. So there is a way around what L.T. suggests — and it is probably done more than is imagined. See the reply by EW for one. I have not taken any grant money in almost 10 years — and am happier for it.

          Although this portion of the thread seems off-topic — I believe that it is on point — it really does go to the heart of the AGW controversy and why I believe that some people are so passionate about keeping the research going.

        • Pat Frank
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 11:05 PM | Permalink

          WillR, the granting circumstances you describe horrify me, and your honesty and professional altruism call up my admiration. Best wishes for your success, and the success of people who think as you do.

        • WillR
          Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 8:32 AM | Permalink

          Re: Pat Frank (Feb 21 23:05),

          Thanks for the compliment — but it is undeserved. It was simply that projects like that become an embarrassment eventually — then you have to explain the money use — then you have to avoid them on your resume and then they show up anyway. Almost $100M worth of it in this case. People have not yet caught on yet — but it is coming. Besides — too many people think auditors are stupid — not a great assumption.

        • Craig Loehle
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 7:15 PM | Permalink

          Very nicely put.

        • L.T.
          Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 7:41 PM | Permalink

          I was going to have something here, but WillR covered it better; I had forgotten about a couple of my colleagues being sent up to Canada to run a minor project there.

          I will admit this: As much as people would like to believe it doesn’t happen, it does. Remember those tobacco company-backed studies that said smoking wasn’t dangerous? These days, we have the comfort of the fact that a lot of scientists honestly believe in the ideal and are willing to accept the terms out of the belief they’re actually helping. A lot of the “massive tons of literature” people cite as backing global warming has been produced via that method. Tell people you are giving a grant for a paper that helps to prove global warming and see how many scientists you’ll get willing to produce the results you ask for.

          I won’t say for certain that it is these scientists being dishonest; a lot of them may actually be honest and honestly believe the results they got are a true reflection of actual science. That does not change the reality of the practice.

        • Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 8:44 PM | Permalink

          Re: L.T. (Feb 21 19:41),

          Noble Cause Corruption.

        • L.T.
          Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 12:47 AM | Permalink

          That’s assuming it was a noble cause, and not a trumped-up political maneuver, to begin with. Dangerous assumption.

    • Tim
      Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 2:22 AM | Permalink

      L.T.’s comments remind me of when the climategate emails first appeared – an inside source suddenly confirming all of worst machinations that I suspected were going on between members of the team but I can’t be sure if it is a trap designed to embarrass sceptics.

  37. justbeau
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 5:39 AM | Permalink

    Mann is a poster child for the weakness of peer-review, at least within climate science. A modern day face for the perils of vanity and lousy methods.

    Schmidt is paid by Uncle Sam. He must be loyal to Hansen, his boss, soothsayer of Global Warming. Most of us have to serve a boss to get paid and earn a living.

    To his credit, Gavin seems hardworking. Its hard to think of another compliment, however. His job seems Madison Avenue faux, selling psuedo-science. Perhaps someday Gavin may experience a burst of self-respect and chart a new course in his life. Its nice to be generous and hope individuals can grow, even Dr. Schmidt.

    • Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 11:50 AM | Permalink

      Re: justbeau (Feb 21 05:39),

      GS work address is On Broadway. I think of him as more of a song-and-dance man.

    • Dean Boulding
      Posted Feb 23, 2010 at 9:41 PM | Permalink

      To be fair, there is no science on the front page of CA these days. None at all today. I just checked, and RC has only one article, not much better. It’s a shame the *gates, poor reporting and so on have caused both sides to degenerate into this state. I’d like to get back to the science, and drop the ad-hominem attacks, conspiracy theories and snide comments.

      Anybody else interested?

      • ianl8888
        Posted Feb 24, 2010 at 12:33 AM | Permalink

        Agreed – ad homs are really borig

  38. Stacey
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 5:41 AM | Permalink

    “What McIntyre has essentially done is put his finger on small technicalities that don’t matter,” argues Prof. Mann, now based at Pennsylvania State University. “In every case, they’ve been dismissed. When the question arises, does it make a difference? The answer is always no. All that is important to him is to be able to say that he’s found a problem and then allow everybody else to say this fundamentally undermines the science.”

    Well he would say that wouldn’t he?

    Did he not read the Wegman et al report?

    There may be snow on the mountain top but a fire burns brightly in the cave.

  39. Stacey
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 6:14 AM | Permalink

    Yeahwhatevergate.

    Our Gav is upset, so I goes to see him.

    Gav what’s occurring, look this is not like you luv. I know your upset but “whatever” is the sort of language which a pubescent dozy doris would say or someone who has lost the argument.

    He looks at me as if he has a bad smell under his nose, anyways I keeps on.

    Gav I have a brilliant idea, you know Barry Island, well there’s no island there, it was named Barry Island to make it more exotic and now millions teem to the island from faraway places such as Abercwmboi and Ystrad Mynach.

    What you need Gav is a relaunch;
    You and your mates have done so much for the United Nations that you should get them to agree to fund your web site to keep that pesky Canadian in check.

    He perks up a bit and I know I’ve hit the spot.

    Look you can call the site United Nations/Real Climate its a bit wordy, Gav but everyone knows the United Nations as the UN.

    He gives me a hug and wanders off repeating UN Realclimate,UN Realclimate.

    As I says a problem shared is a probelm halved.

    • Nessa
      Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

      Re: Stacey (Feb 21 06:14),

      Tidy, Stace

    • TGSG
      Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 5:15 PM | Permalink

      I heard River Tam’s voice when I first read this.

      The correct response would be “shiny”.

  40. Another Ian
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 6:16 AM | Permalink

    ZT
    Posted Feb 20, 2010 at 7:13 PM | Permalink | ReplySteve McIntyre is a “scientific superstar”.

    Mr. G. Schmidt et al – fresh from eliminating the MWP and other excursions into book burning and peer review tampering – are simply jealous.

    To use a quote from the past – do you think they’re regretting not inviting Steve to “piss from inside the tent outwards”?

    • ZT
      Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 3:36 PM | Permalink

      I’m not sure about tents – but science is science – and despite the obfuscations and lawyerly writings of Schmidt et al – science will win.

  41. Hoi Polloi
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 7:17 AM | Permalink

    When reading this kind of articles I always read the comments as well (unfortunately there were none here). These people merely preach for their own parish. Reading the comments it strikes me that the overwhelming majority is negative about the article. The general mood is “cut the crap, we know you’re telling us only half-truths, stop exaggerating, start communicating and do a proper climate science job”.

    Looking at politics I get the idea that politician start shifting around because of this electorial opinion.

  42. TerryS
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    While Schmidt complains that I’m supposedly causing a “reduction” in human knowledge,

    Thats quite a compliment from Gavin. Lets face it, the only way Steve could cause a reduction in human knowledge is if he proves that what is thought to be true is actually false.

    I imagine the likes of Louis Pasteur also caused a reduction in human knowledge when he showed that germs caused diseases. The knowledge that disease was caused by “miasma” or “spontaneously generated” was subsequently lost.

  43. geo
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

    I particularly enjoyed Gavin’s attempt at co-option. “You could be a superstar, Steve. . . if you’ll just play by our rules.” Except, of course, the climategate emails show pretty conclusively that vigorous attempts to throttle threats to the consensus in the crib are par for the course with these guys.

    • Neil Fisher
      Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

      Re: geo (Feb 21 09:03),

      “You could be a superstar, Steve. . . if you’ll just play by our rules.”

      Well, IF “their rules” corresponded to what they publicly released about their rules, AND if they saw fit to enforce those rules on themselves, AND they hadn’t stacked the deck in their own favour, AND they didn’t ignore their own rules when it suits them, THEN the paraphrase of Gavin in the quote would be completely irrelevent BECAUSE Steve already tried to play by their rules and all it got him was derission, scorn, denial and attacks on his motivation, ethics and funding. Odd really – considering that these are the very things that their rules say are irrelevent.

  44. Dodgy Geezer
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

    Sorry it’s a bit off topic, but does anyone remember Mr McIntyre’s expedition to Almagre in 2007? He gathered some tree core data and was going to publish a piece. Someone is now asking me for this – does anyone know if anything was published, and if so where?

    Thanks….

  45. Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

    “He [Steve McIntyre] could be a scientific superstar,” Mr. Schmidt says. “He’s a smart person. He could be adding to the sum total of human knowledge, but in effect he adds to the reduction of the sum total of human knowledge.”

    Congratulations Steve McIntyre for contributing to the sum total of vetted human knowledge! Someone has to take the trash out and you’ve been doing an excellent job cleaning up the huge mess of so many alleged scientists who let their political agenda overrule the scientific method. So once again I congratulate you for your excellent work slicing and dicing through the mythological claims of the alleged “Man-made Global Warming” hypothesis to get to the truth. I congratulate you Steve McIntyre for having the guts to prune the tree of knowledge of it’s crud. It needs to be a bonsai tree not a sprawling mann-made mess with crud all over it that can’t support new growth rooted in facts.

    Congratulations Steve McIntyre on contributing to the sum total of accurate human scientific knowledge and for putting the mythologists and soothsayers of doom and gloom into the side-lanes of history! Epic work Steve McIntyre! Epic!

  46. Bob
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

    Steve, the arrogance of Gavin is simply stunning. He intimates that you are a sharp mind, that you have caught him and the team in numerous errors, but if only you went to the right schools, earned the proper degrees you could help us continue this flawed science. If you were on our side who else would out there who could question us. Maybe you could become a double agent. Breathtaking.

  47. Craig Loehle
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

    “nitpicking” — in science it is all about the details. Handwaving is nice when saying hello to people, but it isn’t science. Anyone who complains about nitpicking has done sloppy work or exaggerated the significance of their results.

  48. Craig Loehle
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

    “reduction in human knowledge”
    If 1/2 of what you know is false and you remove that portion it might seem like you now know only half as much, but I prefer to look at it the other way.

  49. liberalbiorealist
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 11:55 AM | Permalink

    I’m pretty struck by the bizarreness and incoherence of Schmidt’s backhanded compliment to Steve.

    Assume that Schmidt is right, and that each and every one of Steve’s criticisms, while correct, actually doesn’t matter to the truth of the larger claims climate scientists are making.

    How does such criticism “add to the reduction of the sum total of human knowledge”?

    If the criticisms are correct, they are correcting actual fallacies or mistakes. How is removing something factually false or illogical from an overriding theory possibly subtract from human knowledge? If it was false or illogical, it wasn’t knowledge to begin with, even if the larger claim remains true. The mistaken assertion or inference should never have been counted as evidence for that larger claim. Whatever knowledge there may be in that larger claim has more integrity, not less, after the mistake is removed.

    Now I can see the overall argument that nitpicking is not a terribly productive activity, and in certain respects can be counterproductive. But the legitimate complaints about nitpicking in this sort of context would have more to do with their undermining public confidence in the overarching theory, and with impeding policy action addressing the problems the theory exposes.

    It’s not a good thing that Schmidt can’t seem to respect the distinction between science and knowledge on the one hand and what amounts to political perception on the other.

    • stan
      Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 1:05 PM | Permalink

      I’m surprised that more people haven’t commented on the bizarre nature of Gavin’s claim. What a weird thing to say. Pointing out errors in scientific studies reduces the sum of human knowledge?! Say what?!

      The team is fast approaching the point of self-parody here.

      • Tom Ganley
        Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 10:46 PM | Permalink

        Bizarre, wierd, silly, nonsensical, none of those words really capture how ‘out there’ his comment is. Someone on another thread sugessted that Gavin’s comment makes him the Paris Hilton of climate science. That’s close, but after thinking about it for a while I think it’s unfair to Ms. Hilton.

  50. Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 2:16 PM | Permalink

    Stan, you are correct, and I have tried to rectify the lack of coverage with an article this morning. Nothing really new for regular readers here, but I do get the chance to offer some praise for Mr. McIntyre that I think is fully deserved.

    http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-9111-Environmental-Policy-Examiner~y2010m2d21-Global-warming-The-most-bizarre-statement-in-the-history-of-science

    • Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

      Great article Tom, well done.

      • Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 8:24 PM | Permalink

        One of the commenters on that article posted this quote, which makes a nice contrast from Gavin’s: One of history’s greatest scientists, Charles Darwin, stated “to kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact”.

  51. Harry Eagar
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

    500 dendro abstracts? We ought to be closing in on some conclusions at that rate.

    Wonder what they are?

    And, yes, they ought to be honored to have Mr. McIntyre on their program.

  52. Steve Robbins
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 4:03 PM | Permalink

    Let’s see, Gavin says Steve . . . “adds to the reduction . . . ”

    Is that a little like — Jumbo shrimp? Mud bath? Mercy killing? Clearly invisible? Critical acclaim? Open secret? Modern classic?

    Is Gavin doing stand up now? Channeling his inner George Carlin?

  53. Shug Niggurath
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 5:55 PM | Permalink

    I rarely comment here because my comments would be noise rather than actual comment. On this thread I’d like to be able to say that you’ve added a lot to the sum of my knowledge and I’ve always found this blog to be worth the reading.

  54. don
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

    “I think the climate-change-denial movement has recognized that transition was taking place and has really invested a lot of effort and resources in creating this huge infrastructure of online disinformation. And I think it is a challenge for legitimate news organizations to compete with that massive disinformation network.” Reality according to the man’s Mann. Given the dearth of “climategate” coverage in the US mainstream, traditional media, it must be for one or more of the following reasons. There is no contemporary Woodward and Bernstein. The president is black and a democrat and believes in AGW. There is no senator Sam Irvin asking “When did you know the climate wasn’t warming, and where did you hide the data?” Blaming it all on reduction by a generation of deconstructionists for whom context and meaning is everything is priceless.

  55. Hoi Polloi
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 6:48 PM | Permalink

    “He [Steve McIntyre] could be a scientific superstar,” Mr. Schmidt says.

    Somehow it reminds of Darth Vader asking Luke Skywalke to join him in the Dark Side:
    “Steve, you do not yet realize your importance. You have only begun to discover your power. Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the climate science.”

  56. derekcrane
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 6:52 PM | Permalink

    Although mainstream science may consider realclimate.org the premier site on climate change, the world would rather read climateaudit.org. According to Alexa, world traffic gives climateaudit a ranking of 36,835 while realclimate ranks 43,501. The US rankings are 17,323 and 21,420 respectively.

    http://traffic.alexa.com/graph&w=400&h=220&o=f&c=1&y=r&b=ffffff&r=2y&u=climateaudit.org&

    http://traffic.alexa.com/graph&w=400&h=220&o=f&c=1&y=r&b=ffffff&r=2y&u=realclimate.org&

  57. Denny
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 7:33 PM | Permalink

    Does anyone here know who it was that named the CRU incident last Nov. 2009 on the 19th? You know as “ClimateGate”! I came across a commment but thru all the ruckess I didn’t write it down at that time….

    • Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 10:29 PM | Permalink

      Re: Denny (Feb 21 19:33),
      WUWT, commenter Bulldust coined the phrase at 3:52PM PST Nov 19th

    • Denny
      Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

      Jimchip,

      Thanks for the info..appreciate it very much.

  58. Erasmus de Frigid
    Posted Feb 21, 2010 at 11:51 PM | Permalink

    “To read their online work is to enter a dank, claustrophobic universe where obsessive personalities talk endlessly about small building blocks – Yamal Peninsula trees, bristlecones, weather stations – the removal of which will somehow topple the entire edifice of climate science. Lost in the blogging world is any sense of proportion, or the idea that science is built on cumulative work in many fields, the scientists say.”

    Hey, someone let me out of here! Its getting dank and claustrophobic!

  59. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 5:14 AM | Permalink

    My mood would be to repay the backhander by holding a nearby World Conference 2010 in Finland starting June 16.

    “World Dendro Contra 2010″. “Dendro man meets Piltdown man – Yamal man beats Putdown man”. “Don’t hide the decline, reveal it”.

    I’m not a betting man, but I suspect that there would be a few dendo specialists who would man the podium pro bono. Starbucks revisited type exercise, with the tip jar open for a few months.

    You have field experience, your results, your analyses of the weaknesses in others. But then, to your credit, you have always been your own man.

  60. Frank Upton
    Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 5:49 AM | Permalink

    Somewhat off-topic, but I think those of us who want serious Galilean-style research into the climate instead of the current Aristotelian ‘science’ might rename ourselves. ‘Sceptic’ sounds hard, while of course a ‘denier’ is a wicked person.

    May I suggest ‘climate rationalist’?

    • Sleeper
      Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 6:07 AM | Permalink

      When people say, “So you’re a skeptic (or denier),” I always respond, “No. I’m open-minded.”

  61. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 6:12 AM | Permalink

    From the movie “Dr Strangelove” -

    General Ripper phone call … “we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids. God bless you all.” Then he hung up. We’re still trying to figure out the meaning of that last phrase, sir.

    President Muffley: There’s nothing to figure out General Turgidson. This man is obviously a psychotic.

    Turgidson: Well, I’d like to hold off judgment on a thing like that, sir, until all the facts are in.

    President Muffley: anger rising General Turgidson, when you instituted the human reliability tests, you assured me there was no possibility of such a thing ever occurring.

    Turgidson: Well I don’t think it’s quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip up, sir.”

    This last sentence could be a relevant description of the IPCC and its plans for global destruction.

    Back to science, there are scientists who make excuses as above and they take a fee from places like RealC or NASA or Fenton or whomever; and there are scientists who deliver the goods.

    Much of the above is about academic science, misuse of research grants, etc. where there is less impetus to deliver the goods. Read the c.v. of the Russell Inquiry’s Prof Boulton,

    http://spa.xmu.edu.cn/edit/UploadFile/2007101883249846.doc

    whose published papers show he has milked a minor aspect of geology with the claim of his own making “This has led to well over 100 papers in front rank, peer reviewed journals primarily in Quaternary geology, glacial geology and glaciology “. Maybe he needs a lesson in data reduction by publishing only landmark papers and not numerous work-in-progress ordinary papers. He still gets paid.

    But, there is a whole other world where if you don’t pay your way with results that can be proven, you don’t eat. This is not being in anyone’s pocket. It’s a simple contract. You pay me money as salary and I’ll work to deliver results that are designed to make you profit.

    That’s how a lot of science progresses in an uncomplicated way.

    So please be a bit careful about branding all scientists with the same Fe.

  62. Sandra Kay
    Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 8:17 AM | Permalink

    Steve,

    Don’t know if this is allowed, but I emailed Jeet regarding your “lauching of countless FOI requests”. This was his response;

    “Mr. McIntyre launched four FOI requests but he also encouraged other people to launch many other requests. So I think it’s fair to say that he helped launch a very large number of requests. I talked to Mr. McIntyre (as should be clear from the article) and he was the source of my information for the fact that he encouraged others to launch FOI requests.”

    • Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 8:54 AM | Permalink

      Re: Sandra Kay (Feb 22 08:17),

      You have a dialog going with Jeet. Now ask him why Mann and Schmidt got to respond to McIntyre but Mc didn’t get to reply to their comments. Was it just because he called Mc first?

    • WillR
      Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

      Re: Sandra Kay (Feb 22 08:17),

      Ah well — not countless — just a “very large number”. Progress. Perhaps Jeet can suggest what “a very large number” might be — perhaps 50? Maybe 100?, maybe 200? a googleplex? Clarity would be good. Then we can see if he can research.

      Perhaps someone can email him the results of the FOI request that requested the number of FOI requests. …assisting a Historian/Journalist with student level with research… amusing. Perhaps someone can suggest an article providing clarification.

      • Gord Richens
        Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

        Progress? Heer clearly states in his article that Steve “launched” those countless FOI requests but then backtracks by claiming to Sandra that Steve merely “helped launch a very large number of requests”.

        Being demoted to an ancillary role must be a tough blow for Steve.

        • Steve Robbins
          Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

          In the thread at the article:

          Trochilus 2/21/2010 4:31:04 PM

          By the way, Mr. Herr, I know that “a few” normally means “three.”

          But when did “four” become “countless?”

          I must have missed that designation!

      • L.T.
        Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 12:04 PM | Permalink

        Read in the comments section. Some guy with a name starting with an A goes on to claim that McIntyre launched “56 in just one month.”

        I want to know where he got that figure. That sounds spin doctored.

        • Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

          Re: L.T. (Feb 22 12:04),

          There was a TimesUK article: “Last year in July alone the unit received 60 FoI requests from across the world.” Discussed here.

      • Sandra Kay
        Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

        This was my response to Jeets claim;

        “According to Mr. McIntyre, that is not true.

        You take what these charlatans have told you as gospel. Time to start probing a little
        deeper into their rhetoric. I know that might be hard to do, considering you and the
        cabal are on the same page. This is what happens when your objectivity is clouded by a
        belief and agenda that mirrors the cabal.”

        Surprisingly, he has responded once again;

        “Here is a transcript of the relevant part of my interview with Mr. McIntyre. Note the last sentence. I think it is a believe after listening to Mr. McIntyre say this, that 1) there were many FOI requests (“60 or so”) and the main instigator of this “campaign” was Mr. McIntyre and his blog.”

        He includes this “partial” transcript of the interview – I say partial because it is so short and surely this is not all of his conversation with Steve;

        Here is the transcript:

        “First of all, this FOI thing, they made up a myth that they were harassed. Let me walk you through that because it’s important. The only time when they’ve gotten into trouble on things are when they make untrue statements. If you say things that are false, you’re going to pay a price for that and you should. I sent an FOI request for station to CRU. data. What I requested was the exact same thing data sent to Peter Webster of Georgia Tech, who told me he had gotten the station data from Phil Jones. I sent it as an FOI so Jones refused on the grounds that they had confidentiality agreements that prevented the sending of the data to non-academics. I’ve done confidentiality agreements in my life and I didn’t believe for a minute that they had confidentiality agreements that include that terminology. So I asked them do you have confidentiality agreements with United States, Canada, Australia. Please produce confidentiality agreements from those countries. My readers were equally disbelieving of this untrue statement that they had confidentiality agreements set to non-academics. So we started, so there was a campaign and pretty soon there were 60 or so FOI requests each for 5 different countries.”

        Steve, I could forward you my exchange if you wish.

  63. Paul
    Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 8:44 AM | Permalink

    I suppose being called a reductionist by a fantasist is a sort of compliment.

  64. Craig Loehle
    Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

    I think what makes the whole of CA unique is not just how smart steve is, but that he has the knack of asking the right questions. Asking about the leverage of certain data sets or how does an algorithm work or why did you chop at 1960? The problem with the true believers is that they have no interest in asking the sorts of questions that lead to progress because they are happy with the “right” answers. When a whole field is content, and thinks they know truth, there is no real progress. There is also discomfort when someone probes into data and methods.

  65. Kevin
    Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

    Steve, good work! If you are spewing misinformation and reducing the sum total of human knowledge, then what are Mann, King Santer (Away with you…Don’t communicate with me again), CRU and the rest of the hockey team doing?

  66. JamesG
    Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

    What I find interesting is that now Mann admits there is a Medieval Warm Period which is not confined to Europe (otherwise he couldn’t link hurricanes to it) and Jones has now admitted there was a MWP in a national daily which may have been global, while Briffa was exposed in the CRU emails as believing in a global MWP as warm as today. So never mind the Wegman and NAS panel reports, we have the main actors in the hockey-stick saga now admitting it must have been wrong, and moving on to Mann08 where there is actually a MWP of sorts yet the spin-doctors, including Schmidt, don’t yet seem to realize that they are selling out-of-date merchandise. Bizarre!

    • Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 10:28 AM | Permalink

      Re: JamesG (Feb 22 10:04),

      The old school (Jones, Briffa, etc.) are constantly doing 360′s, wondering who’s behind them getting ready to push. Mann, always the savvy politician, may be feeling a wittle lonely, just him and his cross-section for company (and his lawyers, of course.). PR-wise, I think they should have gone back to the Lamb figure and just said a boo boo was made, nothing to see here, we’ll do better next time. Too late now.

  67. TJA
    Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

    You can suggest questions for Michael Mann in an upcoming interview:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2010/02/22/announcing-my-next-point-of-inquiry-guest-climatologist-michael-mann-ask-your-questions-now/

    • AMac
      Posted Feb 23, 2010 at 12:33 PM | Permalink

      Re: TJA’s note (Feb 22 at 10:34 AM) that Chris Mooney is soliciting questions for his upcoming interview with Dr. Mann for Point of Inquiry (scheduled for this Friday).

      Comment #21 in the Center for Inquiry’s Discussion Forum, “Announcing My Next Point of Inquiry Guest: Climatologist Michael Mann (Ask Your Questions Now)” –

      Background

      In September 2008, Dr. Mann’s group published an important paper on Earth’s temperature history for the past 2,000 years in the prominent peer-reviewed journal Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. Temperature signals were extracted from many long-term data series, such as tree rings and ice cores. The paper has been strongly criticized for its inclusion of the lakebed sediments characterized by Finnish geologist Mia Tiljander. Critics claim that the four Tiljander proxies are uncalibratable due to contamination of the temperature signal by local activities, from the 1700s to the present. Critics also claim that the PNAS paper mistakenly uses two of the Tiljander proxies in an upside-down orientation, such that “warmer” information is added to the paleotemperature reconstructions as “colder”, and vice versa. In his Response published in PNAS in February 2009, Dr. Mann called these criticisms “bizarre,” but he did not explicitly rebut them.

      Questions

      1. Can the four Tiljander proxies be calibrated to the instrumental temperature record that spans 1850 to 1995?

      2. Do the PNAS paper’s reconstructions use the temperature information in the “tiljander-2003-xraydenseave” and “tiljander-2003-lightsum” series in a manner that is consistent with the interpretation offered by Mia Tiljander in her 2003 paper?

  68. Sandra Kay
    Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

    OK, I meant to post this on the bottom, but it ended halfway up the page…maybe Steve could delete the first?

    This was my response to Jeets claim;

    “According to Mr. McIntyre, that is not true.

    You take what these charlatans have told you as gospel. Time to start probing a little
    deeper into their rhetoric. I know that might be hard to do, considering you and the
    cabal are on the same page. This is what happens when your objectivity is clouded by a
    belief and agenda that mirrors the cabal.”

    Surprisingly, he has responded once again;

    “Here is a transcript of the relevant part of my interview with Mr. McIntyre. Note the last sentence. I think it is a believe after listening to Mr. McIntyre say this, that 1) there were many FOI requests (“60 or so”) and the main instigator of this “campaign” was Mr. McIntyre and his blog.”

    He includes this “partial” transcript of the interview – I say partial because it is so short and surely this is not all of his conversation with Steve;

    Here is the transcript:

    “First of all, this FOI thing, they made up a myth that they were harassed. Let me walk you through that because it’s important. The only time when they’ve gotten into trouble on things are when they make untrue statements. If you say things that are false, you’re going to pay a price for that and you should. I sent an FOI request for station to CRU. data. What I requested was the exact same thing data sent to Peter Webster of Georgia Tech, who told me he had gotten the station data from Phil Jones. I sent it as an FOI so Jones refused on the grounds that they had confidentiality agreements that prevented the sending of the data to non-academics. I’ve done confidentiality agreements in my life and I didn’t believe for a minute that they had confidentiality agreements that include that terminology. So I asked them do you have confidentiality agreements with United States, Canada, Australia. Please produce confidentiality agreements from those countries. My readers were equally disbelieving of this untrue statement that they had confidentiality agreements set to non-academics. So we started, so there was a campaign and pretty soon there were 60 or so FOI requests each for 5 different countries.”

    Steve, I could forward you my exchange if you wish.

  69. MiMo
    Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    As anyone seen http://www.newsweek.com/id/233887/ ? (Covered in the usual fair and balanced way at Climateprogress).

    Doesn’t the correction needs a correction? Doesn’t Al Gore say that it is not using the Mann HS but he is actually showing it?

  70. JamesG
    Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 2:53 PM | Permalink

    But of course the number of requests isn’t even important. The work for one FOI is exactly the same as for 60 since it’s the same darn data. And if it was available to other researchers then even that work was already done before the requests came in. Are these journalists ever going to engage their grey matter? Incidentally, is the data fully available even now? Maybe in 1000 years time, a collection of diskettes will be found in the Fens which will reveal the raw, unedited gospel of Phil.

  71. Pete B.
    Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 3:03 PM | Permalink

    Help me out. The Globe and Mail article states:
    “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration responded to this critique by calculating temperatures minus Mr. Watts’s list of objectionable stations. Ironically, the new data showed a slight rise in temperatures.”

    Mike C 2/21 3:13 says:
    “No, the first one is untrue, the NOAA made no such claim, it was an activist named Peterson who created an unsigned “talking points memo.”

    Did NOAA really do this? If so, what was the magnitude of the “slight rise in temperatures?” Slight doesn’t sound like much. If Mike C is right, did the reporter massively mess up and attribute someone else’s work to NOAA? Now THAT would be ironic.

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 5:25 PM | Permalink

      I believe what staff at NOAA did was apply their correction algorithm with and without the good sites–so the good sites were adjusted by the bad sites and it “didn’t matter”. See discussion at Watts site about it.

    • MikeN
      Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 7:52 PM | Permalink

      Yea, it was probably a methodology error. As Steve McIntyre has pointed out, GISS brags about how comparable they are to the rural stations alone. Well GISS does not match up all that well with the full set, so how can the rurals = the full station set, given the known differences?

    • Tim
      Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 8:02 PM | Permalink

      There was a paper by Menne which Watts has debunked.

      There are two problems:
      - volunteers found the sites in the urban areas first so the set of data used by Menne is not a random subset.
      - NOAA homonginizes the data which is climate speak for taking the UHI and smearing it around can claim it has been removed. The menne study compares the homonginized data sets so it is no surprise that there was little change.

      • Pete B.
        Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 8:44 PM | Permalink

        Thanks all!

  72. Kelly
    Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 5:14 PM | Permalink

    Absurd images from recent National Dutch Climate Change PR-Event “Beat the Heat”.
    Meet the winners of the Climate Science Quiz ["What would the temperature of the earth be without the influence of G/house gases?"]..and watch one man being ‘woken up’ ..

    • Kelly
      Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

      Search Youtube for “Climate Change Gone Dutch”

  73. L Nettles
    Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 8:50 PM | Permalink

    So we have established that the statement that “McIntyre … launched countless freedom of information requests ” was a scurrilous lie.

    • Skip Smith
      Posted Feb 23, 2010 at 1:47 AM | Permalink

      Based on Sandra’s email to the author of that statement, and just as I predicted, it looks like you and the author just have different definitions of “launched.”

  74. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 9:54 PM | Permalink

    “This forum is a great example of how not to have a scientific discussion, how to completely miss the point, and how to be made a fool of making strong, self assured statements while obviously knowing nothing.”

    Damn, DublD, so that is how those scientists talk and carry on. I did not know that.

  75. EdB
    Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 11:03 PM | Permalink

    LT

    If you are a professional spin doctor, would you also be here to spin tales? eg:

    “It is also ironic that if a certain group were to succeed in their goal for a certain lawsuit against ExxonMobil, they may actually end up gutting their own side in the process”

    • L.T.
      Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 11:31 PM | Permalink

      I’m not being paid to do any spinning on this blog. Frankly, Steve McIntyre is considered too dangerous in how much influence he wields for us to risk it. It’s more a case of me getting a feel for the community and exactly how much of what we’ve tried to hide or spin away that you already know. Part of deciding a future path in the online use of spin.

      • Skip Smith
        Posted Feb 23, 2010 at 1:42 AM | Permalink

        Right. And I’m a ninja.

        • hengav
          Posted Feb 24, 2010 at 2:02 AM | Permalink

          Donatello, is that you?

        • L.T.
          Posted Feb 24, 2010 at 11:26 PM | Permalink

          I didn’t say I wasn’t being paid to spin online. Just not on this blog. I don’t spin for free. Too much hassle when you don’t have the money to back you up when you’re called on it.

        • Skip Smith
          Posted Feb 25, 2010 at 1:31 AM | Permalink

          What I meant is that I don’t think you’re an inside player at all.

      • ianl8888
        Posted Feb 23, 2010 at 3:59 AM | Permalink

        OK

        Try these two then:

        Falsification of the Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within the Frame of Physics, G Gerlich, RD Tscheuschner – International Journal of Modern Physics B, March 2009

        Polynomial Cointegration Tests of the Anthropogenic Theory of Global Warming, M Beenstock, Y Reingewertz – Nature, December 2009

        Both are published in respected Science Journals within the last 12 months, fully peer reviewed, and comprise a frontal assault on several critical legs of AGW theory. Papers are in PDF format and easily found in Google Scholar

        • L.T.
          Posted Feb 24, 2010 at 11:37 PM | Permalink

          And neither of those are ones I have personally gone over. I wouldn’t be surprised if no one on my team even had. I am surprised they passed the peer review process. And it should come as no surprise, given my job, that I tend to avoid the scientific journals outside of the office and outside of whatever papers my team is responsible for.

          I’ll have a look over them. Give me a few days. I’m not exactly lacking in work at the moment; though, I guess my two-day absense speaks to that well enough. Whether or not they’re scientifically correct is not exactly my field of expertise, but I can tell you if they’re spinnable or a paper I would recommend be dumped/entirely rewritten. Just remember, I’m no scientist, so I do have to look up a lot of the terminology and sometimes even skip over parts of the paper that deal with science items I am just not educated enough to understand.

  76. pat
    Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 11:19 PM | Permalink

    steve, u feature big-time in romm’s rant:

    Joseph Romm: Newsweek plays fast and loose with facts in climate story

    http://sunvalleyonline.com/links/2010/02/22/newsweek-plays-fast-and-loose-with-facts-in-climat

  77. philh
    Posted Feb 23, 2010 at 9:17 AM | Permalink

    Frontpagemag.com has a nice story on their site about Steve and Ross: “The Heretics: McIntyre and McKitrick”

  78. philh
    Posted Feb 23, 2010 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

    See this http://frontpagemag.com/2010/02/19/the-heretics-mcintyre-and-mckitrick/ for a good article by a scientist on Steve and Ross.

  79. Sandra Kay
    Posted Feb 23, 2010 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    Ok, I seem to have struck a nerve with Mr. Jeet. Surprisingly, he continues to converse with me, a nobody.

    My response to his inquiry regarding the “transcript” he sent me on the conversation he had with Steve.

    “I have a pretty hard time believing this “conspiracy” of FOI requests started by Mr. McIntrye, regardless of your transcript (who knows if that is right?). The real problem and burden of the CRU in regards to FOI was of their own making – trying to skirt the law, trying to hide behind technicalities instead of just releasing the data to those with valid requests. Isn’t that what science should be about?
    >
    > Why was McIntyre not offered the same courtesy of responding to Manns comments as you gave Mr. Mann?”

    Here is his response;

    “1) Why do you not believe my transcripts? Do you think I’m a liar? Do you have evidence of this? If you live in Toronto, we can meet and I can play you the recording of the interview.

    2) I quote Mr. McIntyre several times in the article and summed up his case against Mann and the other scientist in what I think is a fair and accurate way. There have been many newspaper and magazines articles that have quoted Mr. McIntyre but have not quote Mann, Schmidt or other other climate scientists who are critical of Mr. McIntyre. My article is one of the few that gives both sides of the story.

    Take a look at these articles:

    http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/Canadians+changed+climate+debate/2306516/story.htm l

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/12/13/centre-of-the-storm/

    http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/article/737357–portrait-of-a-local-climate-skeptic

    In all of them basically echo McIntyre’s point of view without any critical voices. My article was much more balanced, which is why you seem unhappy with it.”

    I didn’t find his article more balanced, in fact, he seemed to give much too much weight to the excuses and rhetoric of the cabal.

  80. Keith Herbert
    Posted Feb 23, 2010 at 6:37 PM | Permalink

    Steve M,
    You are described as an “amateur” in the article. It is not clear if the author got that description from you or conjured it himself.
    If you referred to yourself as an amateur, meaning you are not paid for your work, I suggest you not describe yourself that way. Amateur also means unskilled and the tenor of the article alludes to that definition.

    And furthermore I have never found you to refer to yourself as a climate scientist despite what the author seems to claim. It is my understanding mathematics and statistics were your realm of study and practice and that is the general focus and strength of this blog.

    The article gives the impression you emerged from a coal mine, pick in hand, with no background in science and starting harrassing climate scientists.

  81. Thomas Black
    Posted Feb 24, 2010 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

    The whole Globe and Mail article sounds like it came out of realclimate.org, the quotes from Gavin Schmidt, etc.
    plus so many pro AGW comments, you dont see that as much anymore.

    I sent the above and below to the comments

    “Remember Gavin Schmidt is part of the problem as per the CRU e-mails

    “Gavin and I are going to be careful about what comments we screen through, and we’ll be very careful to answer any questions that come up to any extent we can.”

    If anyone is unfamiliar with realclimate.org, they have a robust history of censoring posts.

    My skepticism just keeps increasing day after day.”

2 Trackbacks

  1. By Quote of the week #29 « Watts Up With That? on Feb 20, 2010 at 5:11 PM

    [...] this nugget from Gavin Schmidt, who never fails to disappoint with his (what McIntyre calls backhanded ) prose: “He could be a scientific superstar,” Mr. Schmidt says. “He’s a smart person. [...]

  2. By The Media « the Air Vent on Feb 20, 2010 at 6:47 PM

    [...] CA has the article under Hometown Coverage. [...]

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