Mann of Oak

Doug Keenan has received a favorable decision from the FOI Commissioner in his lengthy FOI/EIR battle for tree ring data collected by Mike Baillie of Queen’s University, Belfast. The data is from Irish oaks and was collected mostly in the 1970s. The decision has been covered by the Times, the New Scientist and the Guardian and at Bishop Hill here and here.

Responses to the decision from Baillie, Rob Wilson and Phil Willis are as interesting as the decision. Baillie and Wilson argued that oak chronologies were “virtually useless” as temperature proxies and “dangerous” in a temperature reconstruction. Nonetheless, as I report below, no fewer than 119 oak chronologies (including 3 Baillie chronologies) were used in Mann et al 2008 without any complaint by Wilson or other specialists. CA readers will also be interested in Baillie’s 2005 response to a Climate Audit post urging climate scientists to update the proxies.

Oak as a Temperature Proxy
The scientist who had been withholding the data, Michael Baillie, ridiculed the idea that his Irish oak data was relevant to temperature reconstructions, saying that it would be “dangerous” to use this data for reconstructing temperature. Hannah Devlin of The Times:

However, the lead scientist involved, Michael Bailee, said that the oak ring data requested was not relevant to temperature reconstruction records.

Although ancient oaks could give an indication of one-off dramatic climatic events, such as droughts, they were not useful as a temperature proxy because they were highly sensitive to water availability as well as past temperatures, he added.

“It’s been dressed up as though we are suppressing climate data, but we have never produced climate records from our tree rings,” Professor Bailee said.

“In my view it would be dangerous to try and make interpretations about the temperature from this data.”

Baillie made a similar statement to the Guardian:

“Keenan is the only person in the world claiming that our oak-ring patterns are temperature records,” Baillie told the Guardian.

Rob Wilson agreed with Baillie on this point, telling the Times that “oaks were virtually useless as a temperature proxy”.

Mann et al 2008
Notwithstanding the considered opinion of Baillie and Wilson that oaks are “virtually useless as a temperature proxy” and “dangerous” to use in a temperature reconstruction, no fewer than 119 oak chronologies were used in Mann et al 2008.

Among Mann’s oak chronologies were three Baillie chronologies: brit008 – Lockwood; brit042 – Shanes Castle, Northern Ireland; brit044 – Castle Coole, Northern Ireland.

A full list of the oak chronologies used in Mann et al 2008 is as follows:

“al001″ “ar009″ “ar018″ “ar024″ “ar056″ “ar057″ “ar058″ “ar060″ “ar061″ “ar072″ “brit008″ “brit011″ “brit042″ “brit044″ “ca614″ “ca615″ “ca616″ “ca617″ “ca618″ “ca619″ “ca620″ “ca621″ “ca623″ “ca624″ “ca625″ “ca626″ “fl005″ “fran001″ “fran003″ “ia001″ “ia003″ “ia004″ “ia020″ “ia021″ “ia023″ “ia024″ “ia025″ “ia026″ “ia027″ “ia029″ “ia030″ “ia032″ “il008″ “il009″ “il010″ “il011″ “il013″ “il014″ “in001″ “ks001″ “ks004″ “ks007″ “ks010″ “ky003″ “ky004″ “mi005″ “mo001″ “mo003″ “mo004″ “mo005″ “mo008″ “mo014″ “mo015″ “mo018″ “mo021″ “mo024″ “mo027″ “mo030″ “mo033″ “mo036″ “mo039″ “mo040″ “mo044″ “nc004″ “nc007″ “nj001″ “nj002″ “ny002″ “ny003″ “oh001″ “oh002″ “oh003″ “oh006″ “ok001″ “ok004″ “ok007″ “ok013″ “ok016″ “ok019″ “ok022″ “ok025″ “ok028″ “pa006″ “pa009″ “pola006″ “pola014″ “pola015″ “pola016″ “pola017″ “sc005″ “tn005″ “tn008″ “tx003″ “tx006″ “tx009″ “tx012″ “tx018″ “tx021″ “tx024″ “tx027″ “tx030″ “tx033″ “tx039″ “tx041″ “va009″ “va011″ “va014″ “va016″ “va017″

Far be it from me to disagree with the specialist view of Wilson and Baillie that these oak chronologies are “virtually useless” as a temperature or “dangerous” to use in a temperature reconstruction.

However, surely it would have been far more relevant for them to speak up at the time of the publication of Mann et al 2008 and to have expressed this view as a comment on that publication. At the time, Climate Audit urged specialists to speak out against known misuse of proxies, but they refused to do so. (see Silence of the Lambs).

That Wilson and Baillie should condemn potential misuse of oak chronologies by Keenan (without even seeing his analysis) while standing silent when Mann et al used oak chronologies is precisely the sort of hypocrisy that is all too prevalent in the climate science “community”. I don’t particularly blame relatively young scientists like Rob Wilson, since they have young families to support. However, the whitewash inquiries had an opportunity to condemn this sort of hypocrisy and have thus far failed to do so.

Baillie on Updating Proxies
One of the earliest CA posts (published as a National Post op ed) called on climate scientists to Bring the Proxies Up to Date!, observing that the last 30 years presented an opportunity for an out-of-sample test of the validity of the supposed “proxies”. Baillie of the current controversy responded , by blaming the failure to update the proxies on the fact that university employees were worked to “within an inch of their lives” on administration and
“trying to keep weak students in the Thatcher/Blair-revisited system” and saying that the collection of the Schweingruber network (the one that shows the decline) was “super-human” at the time and “essentially impossible” today. Baillie:

Here in Ireland we once drove round Ireland jumping over walls and coring stands of ten trees wherever we could find them. That was in 1979, when we were young and irresponsible; there just never seems to have been a day free since then, because, of course, it isn’t a day you are talking about. It is the ‘getting permission’, the ‘collecting’ and the ‘processing’ of the samples from say six or eight sites on our small island – a month’s work maybe? Maybe two? (We also collected a series of English and Scottish chronologies around 1980. Re-building those would make it up to six months, maybe a year of work!) It is just enough work to stop it getting done on a whim. So in the 1990s we tried asking grant giving bodies to fund us. Such work is not regarded as ‘cutting edge’ so it doesn’t get funded. Note that if it had been funded in 1995 it would need doing again now!

People working in universities in this country (UK at least) are now “busy to within an inch of their lives” doing administration and trying to keep weak students in the Thatcher/Blair-revisited system while doing cutting edge research. There is no longer time for doing stuff on whims, least of all stuff that is poorly regarded by research councils.

You also need to know that very comprehensive suites of high latitude/high altitude tree-ring chronologies (from essentially hundreds of sites) were produced across northern Eurasia and Canada/Western America by one (almost lone) Swiss wood-man, namely Fritz Schweingruber, back in the 1970s and 1980s. The records are world class but they all end pre-1990. The effort was super-human at the time. To do it all again now…essentially impossible! I often wonder just what the trees are now recording.

Regards Mike Baillie (fairly senior dendrochronologist)

Data Archiving
Even though the data sought by Keenan appears to have been collected in the 1970s and early 1980s, Baillie’s reaction to the idea that it should be archived 25 years later was bitter.

He complained to the New Scientist that scientists now “live under the threat that they can be made to hand over their measurements.”

Phil Willis, chairman of the Science and Technology Select Committee, had little sympathy for Baillie’s complaining:

Willis said that scientists now needed to work on the presumption that if research is publicly funded, the data ought to be made publicly available.

“Following the Climategate furore at the University of East Anglia the message came out loud and clear from the select committee report and from Lord Oxburgh’s report that data has to be made publicly available in order that there is no question of anyone hiding anything,” he said.

“Any university or scientist that hasn’t got that message needs a total rethink of the way they do research. Every time they don’t do it, they give ammunition to climate deniers and sceptics.”

Unfortunately, many climate scientists still haven’t got the message.


94 Comments

  1. Jack Maloney
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 9:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Oak rings are only acceptable as temperature proxies if they have been so used in peer-reviewed journals by approved climate scientists. Otherewise, they should remain hidden away.

  2. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 9:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

    For readers wishing more information on the 119 Mann oak chronologies, here’s a short script that downloads an info file on Mann 2008 proxies. The first two letters QU in a species denote oaks. I have info files on tree ring chronologies online see http://www.climateaudit.info/data/tree and used these info files to compile species information on Mann 2008 proxies (not provided in the original SI.) The following short script provides a list of the 119 sites with authors:

    download.file(“http://www.climateaudit.info/data/mann.2008/details.tab”,”temp”,mode=”wb”); load(“temp”)
    temp= substr(details$species,1,2)==”QU” &!is.na(details$species); sum(temp) #113
    details[temp,c("short","species","author")]

    • NA
      Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 4:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Steve,
      Presumably this controversy also diminishes the Mann et al paper in Science, where the MWP is redefined to be the medieval climate anomaly (MCA) , and is shown to lack global character. See also my enquiry directed by email to

      Regards,

    • SteveGinIL
      Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 1:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: S. Geiger (Apr 21 14:41),

      Agreed. 119 proxies that are now claimed to misread temperature as water availability couldn’t possibly make any difference, no matter if they said temps were higher over the life of the cores or lower over the same period?

      Re: Steve McIntyre (Apr 21 09:42),
      Steve, how many OTHER tree ring chronologies were used in Mann 1998 and Mann 2008? Just to get an idea of what proportion of the overall these represent.

  3. timetochooseagain
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 9:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Do they even realize what they say sometimes? Did they not happen to notice Mann used those? Or did they notice, but just decided not to object? Why? Out of fear? Out of camaraderie?

    Whatever the reason, it does not reflect well on the field.

  4. Punksta
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 9:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    So from the Science and Technology Select Committee’s point of view, the problem with data being hidden is not that it makes proper science impossible, but merely that it gives ammunition to climate deniers and sceptics. If it helped alarmism, it would presumably be fine.

  5. mpaul
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 9:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    How many of the proxies used by Mann would not be considered by the dendros to be ‘temperature responders’ (setting aside the debate as to whether such thing exists)? In other words, the argument has been that some types of trees — trees growing near the tree line with sufficient water supply, etc. — respond principally to temperature. Do all of the oak proxies used by Mann meet that criteria or did he just select any series that exhibited ‘the proper shape’?

    Steve: there are two families of methods. In Mann 2008, there is a very large network (1209 proxies), which is “screened” to pick out HS series. The more typical method is to use only 6-14 proxies which have been manually chosen; most studies in the field use more or less the same proxies e.g. bristlecones, Yamal.

  6. 1DandyTroll
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 10:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Cherry picking the devils details seem to be quite common amongst the self proclaimed self important pompous fools.

    So it’s ok that Mann on a schtick uses the measurements, and apparently just about however, but not a primary taxpayer, to England no less?

    What did Mann et al pay for their take of the measurements? If so who got paid?

    And what I don’t understand about Belfast Baillie’s whining about he having done all the leg work so it’s all his stuff.

    C’mon, who owns the work done by any of us, no matter what work we do, but the body we work for. Only when we work for ourselves, and funded by no one else, do we truly own our own work.

  7. Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 10:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    When the story broke elsewhere, it did strike me that it could be a bit of an own goal depending on how widespread the use of Oak trees as proxies was in the rest of the literature.

    But this can probably be classified as further evidence of “consensus”. We just need to “redefine what consensus means”.

    I was also struck by the bitterness of Baillie’s response

    Not to mention extraordinary claim that Keenan’s request for the data 3 years ago should have taken into account a study from Baillie and Garcia-Suárez published only last year:

    “But last year Baillie and his colleague Ana Garcia-Suárez published a study showing that Irish oak growth rings are a good proxy for summer rainfall, but not for temperature.”

  8. ZT
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 11:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Have Wilson and Baillie effectively engaged in a ‘defamatory activity’ by denigrating the use of oak trees as temperature proxies?

  9. Andy
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 11:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I wonder if you can get a Hockey stick from tree rings which don’t measure temperature so should not have one?

  10. Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 11:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Someone ought to buy Mr Baillie a cup of Starbucks and cool him down?

  11. Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 11:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I am really glad to see this posted.

    A web page detailing the university’s attempts to refuse my FoI request is http://www.informath.org/apprise/a3900.htm

    The reasons for my suspicion that trees from western Ireland are a proxy for temperature are outlined at http://www.informath.org/apprise/a3900/b910.htm
    (The explanation there is somewhat simplified, because I wrote it for the Information Commissioner’s Office.) If anyone has comments on that, they would be much welcome.

    Steve: As noted above, I am very dubious that these oak chronologies have any relationship to temperature. Nor do I see why this is relevant to the FOI request.

    • Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 12:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I did not have an FOI request; rather, I had an EIR request. The reasons for that are explained on the first page linked to above.

      The reasoning for my suspicion that oaks from western Ireland are a proxy for temperature is outlined at the second page linked to above. If you know of errors in that reasoning, then rather than just claiming that the reasoning is dubious, you should state what the errors are.

      • mpaul
        Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 1:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I think a lot of us around here are very dubious of Treemometers as a general concept. But I think its great to have the data openly available.

      • ThinkingScientist
        Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 2:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

        But I do think Andy’s comment just above is very relevant here – even if the Irish Oaks are not a proxy for temperature, what happens if you put them through Mann’s PCA method and get a hockey stick? That would be a rather elegant “hoisted on their own petard” outcome given the expert comments of Baillie and Wilson.

        OT: The Irish Oaks sounds like a race horse meet…

      • JamesG
        Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 2:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

        So it was actually Baillie himself who gave you the idea?

  12. Patrick M.
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 12:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    If it’s so hard to core some trees, why don’t they outsource it to somebody who has access to lots of volunteers? Like for example, ClimateAudit. If you tell me what equipment I need and what trees in my area are worth coring and where I send the samples, I’ll grab me some Starbucks and go to work.

    • Pat Frank
      Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 8:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

      You have a good point, Patrick. Undergraduates love that sort of outing. It’s real science, it’s ecologically worthy, one may get University credits, it gives one a feeling of being professionally productive, it’s fun, and you’re likely to get at least one free meal (a very large attraction for undergrads).

      Coring trees is not rocket science. A group of good undergrads could be trained in short order, and could go out on a field trip about the country in the company of one or two advanced graduate students or postdocs, who know what they’re doing.

      Documenting their cores as they go should be easy. I don’t see that Prof. Baillie has any legitimate excuse at all.

      • TAG
        Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 8:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Isn’t it the analysis of the core that is cost;y and time consuming? It requires specialized equipment and personnel.

        • Pat Frank
          Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 10:17 PM | Permalink

          Baillie’s chief complaints seemed to be about having the time and energy to go a-coring. Undergrads are a marvelous source of enthusiastic energy and are quick learners.

          Most of the data production from the core, afterward, can be automated. After that, it’s all computation sitting at a desk.

        • Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

          Promise to pay for beer and you’ve got an army of voluteers.

    • Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 12:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I used an increment corer in high school in our summer “Field Ecology” course. The teacher warned use to take good care of it because it was an expensive tool.

      They still are, http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/product_pages View_Catalog_Page.asp?mi=1398 lists tools from US$130 to US$1035 They look pretty much like what I used, only they’re blue and Swedish instead of red and Swedish.

      See also http://web.utk.edu/~grissino/supplies.htm

      Starbucks? Oh yeah, that reminds of some fellow who responded to similar claims about coring by some guy named Mike. This fellow, Steve, IIRC bet he could have a latte in the morning and reproduce some work by someone whose name does escape me at the moment. Ahh, Graybill.

      http://climateaudit.org/2007/10/12/a-little-secret/

  13. KevinM
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 12:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I never trust anyone who uses exclamation points in e-mails!

    An unscientific review of inter office dealings and field support work reveals that overuse of _italics_ ALL CAPS and, punctuation, usually correlates with a strange mixture of supreme confidence and aggression electronically but confusion and meekness in person!!

    How often do we really raise our voices to make points!

    ESPECIALLY PHD TYPES!. THEY USUALLY DO NOT YELL MUCH!

  14. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 12:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Do I get this correct? Whether Oaks are good as proxies depends on who has used them?

  15. ZT
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 12:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Determining the details of the oak chronologies and their relationships with other quantities will certainly be a little more straightforward if the oak chronologies are generally available!

    Wilson and Baillie don’t support the use of the oak measurements as temperature proxies but voice their concerns selectively. And who can blame them for their economy of concern, when the scientific consensus, if not the truth, is so robust?

    • SteveGinIL
      Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 1:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: ZT (Apr 21 12:57),
      Well, think about it:

      The robustness of the consensus can be argued at all points that, “Oh, it is not really important whether this data or study, by itself, supports or denies the consensus, since so many other studies do support the consensus.

      Because they all think that since the scientific support is so broad, any pointing at any one study as being inadequate to support the consensus is just a mosquito on an elephant, so when their big boys use the data in a way they KNOW is wrong, what difference does it make? But if someone tries to shoot down the entire edifice with the same wrong data interpretation, their point is, “You can’t shoot it ALL down must by pointing at this one inadequacy.”

      As long as the monolith is believed, the details are just devilish inconveniences, unimportant to the “bigger picture.” For some reason, they are trying to separate the details from the bigger picture, and in science that can’t be done. They are two sides of the same coin.

      Though the bigger picture can be a starting point, the details are what supports that larger picture, and if the details are proven wrong to some degree, the bigger picture MUST be brought into dispute, to that same degree.

  16. Tom C
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 1:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Well, it would require a superhuman effort to resist the temptation to attend conferences in Bali and Tahiti and go collect some more tree cores instead. Have to say I am with Baillie on that one.

    • Tony Hansen
      Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 3:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Tom,
      Please consider the possibility that you may be mistaken.
      Cores can, or used to be, ‘done on a whim’ but conferences are obligations that dendros who are “busy to within an inch of their lives” can not avoid.

      • Tom C
        Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 2:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Tony -

        You are right. Sorry for being so insensitive.

  17. Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 1:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Oaks may or may not be good temperature proxies, but how can anyone confirm or reject this without seeing the data? If studies like Mann et al use this data, and it were kept secret, that ought at a minimum to disqualify such studies from being included in AR5.

    And even if Baillie and Wilson are right (and therefore Mann et al wrong) that they are not valid temperature proxies, they presumably are good for something, and if they were collected on the public dime are reasonable candidates for public disclosure.

    I might add that modern internet technology makes it much easier to make data public. In the past, someone had to copy the data onto a physical medium for each request, which could get to be very time consuming if there were a lot of frivolous requests. Today you just put it on a webpage once, and then don’t need to do anything to fill any number of requests. So although the mindset that making data available to just anyone would be unreasonably onerous may have been valid in the past, it has now been made obsolte by the internet.

    • Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 9:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

      it has now been made obsolte by the internet.

      That’s Latin for “obsolete” ;)

  18. Tom C
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 1:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    You also can’t blame Wilson and Baillie for remaining silent regarding Mann’s paper. They were probably worried about getting threatening letters from Mann’s lawyer

  19. EW
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I feel actually for Baillie re updating. Oh yes, that “cutting edge” approach made a lot of damage. If one isn’t saving the world or at least does not pretend so, it is difficult to get funding.

  20. benpal
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 1:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The name of the game seemed to be “Hide the oak”.

  21. ThinkingScientist
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 2:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Perhaps instead of funding the Climate Challenge Fund to the sum of £8.6M from summer 2006 to March 2008:

    http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/CCF.pdf

    DEFRA perhaps might have usefully considered spending the money on updating the proxies?

    I would imagine £8.6 Million would get you at least 1 or 2 new cores.

    PS I am rather disappointed that I did not spot earlier that DEFRA would fund 2 years worth of pub quizs to the tune of around £85,000!

  22. JamesG
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 2:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ahem
    Just how many climate scientists have now reminded us that under continued warming wet areas will surely get wetter and dry areas will surely get drier. Either that’s just yet another in a long line of pessimistic assumptions with zero back-up or rainfall proxies are indeed temperature proxies too. Contradictions like this are many and manifold in climate science because much of the time it seems they are just making things up. Lack of funding, ha ha, that’s a cracker!

  23. Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 2:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    But of course Mann did the reconstruction with both tree-rings in and tree-rings out, and got pretty much the same result back at least 1300 years with them out, so I’m not sure why any of this is relevant.

    • Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 2:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Some of us are only interested about the math behind the reconstructions, the result is irrelevant. Hockey sticks are so easy to make with all this reckless smoothing (+tricks) and variance matching.. Did the oak chronologies pass the screening, btw ?

    • DaleC
      Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 8:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

      BCL – I know that you know the answer to your silly question about (upside down) Mann08, so why do you post such gratuitous nonsense? I am by inclination and milieu a natural ally of the environmentalist ethos, so let me tell you straight: your antics do your cause deep damage. Steve McIntyre is in fact your greatest benefactor, if only you had the wit to understand how to use his work to positive advantage.

    • Carl Gullans
      Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 10:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Wasn’t that because he kept Tiljander “in” while the tree rings were “out” (i.e. didn’t somebody show that if you remove tiljander and the tree rings, then the reslt was dramatically different)?

    • henry
      Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 12:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

      “…But of course Mann did the reconstruction with both CERTAIN tree-rings in and CERTAIN tree-rings out, and got pretty much the same result back at least 1300 years with SOME OF THEM out, so I’m not sure why any of this is relevant…”

      There, a more correct statement concerning Mann’s “removal” of proxies.

      He never removed ALL of the tree-ring proxies, only enough to appear “robust”. He always left in enough proxies to maintain the shape.

  24. ThinkingScientist
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 2:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    From Baillie’s comments: “You also need to know that very comprehensive…tree-ring chronologies…were produced…by one (almost lone) Swiss wood-man, namely Fritz Schweingruber, back in the 1970s and 1980s. The records are world class but they all end pre-1990. The effort was super-human at the time. To do it all again now…essentially impossible! I often wonder just what the trees are now recording.”

    So the world class data all ends just at the period where it becomes really important and because the only super-hero who could ever have collected the data stopped doing it…we just sit and do nothing and never update the proxies? Is Baillie really suggesting that there no longer exists the capability to collect tree ring data? Ever heard of basic science? PhD students? NERC funding? DEFRA funding? And why does Baillie “wonder just what the trees are now recording.”?

    I know Steve has raised it many times before but the whole question of failing to update the proxies is really bizarre. Funding computer modelling seems ok but collecting real data over the most important period is not? MSM please investigate.

    Can anyone specify how much it does cost to collect and process tree ring data?

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 4:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

      ” why does Baillie “wonder just what the trees are now recording.”?”

      Because they’ ve all got I-pods?

    • dougie
      Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 6:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

      ThinkingScientist

      can’t answer re the cost, but agree this is really bizarre.
      I also find bizarre the notion/argument, that if you question/ask for more info/data on tree ring data/global temp/etc.. some on the AGW side counter with – you should go out & get your own data & present a paper to PR.

      why? if the data is there & we (the public) have already paid for it’s collection & are paying for the collation, why should we pay again (do they think we & the public are stupid or something?).

    • SteveGinIL
      Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 1:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: ThinkingScientist (Apr 21 14:33),

      Chronology:
      ca 1989 – The First Great Dying of the Thermometers, cutting real world instrumented temperature data by about 75%
      ca 1990 – The end of Schweindgruber’s “world class” “one man” collection of real world data on tree-rings
      ca 1990 – Funding for climatology accelerates faster than the temperatures
      ca 1990 – Funding for tree ring bores can’t fund one “world class” “one man” collection of tree ring data becomes impossible?
      ca 1990 – The climate models take over, consuming the vast bulk of climate study funding
      post-1990 – The GATA climbs into the stratosphere
      1990s – The warmest decade in history
      2000s – The New warmest decade in history

      Nothing to see here… Move along, Folks!

  25. S. Geiger
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 2:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    BCL – so the method is insensitive to using a large number of ‘dangerous’ and ‘useless’ proxies? Curious how many such proxies could be used before it changed the results?

  26. Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 2:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “Curious how many such proxies could be used before it changed the results?”

    D’you have an answer to this or is it just a vague insinuation that Mann must be part of the hoax? Fact is, as far as I can tell, McI’s criticism here amounts to nothing. Mann saw problems with all of his tree-rings (although perhaps not the issue Baille points to) and ran his reconstructions with them both in and out.

    • mpaul
      Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 2:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

      What BCL says is true. Regardless of what kind of data you put into the Mannomatic, you will get a hockey stick out.

    • MikeP
      Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 3:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Bigcitylib,

      True, Mann ran his proxies in different combinations, at least in his principal component days. Those results which didn’t show a hockey stick were stuck in a folder called “censored” and not referred to again. The rest were called “robust”. Perhaps in honor of robusto coffee beans?

      Mpaul is wrong about putting anything into the Mannomatic. You need at least one series that includes a hockey stick shape. Thus if you have two, you can take either out in turn and get the same approximate result. All you have to avoid is taking both out. All other proxies are then just window dressing to make the “sample size” appear large. So it doesn’t really matter if the Irish Oaks are temperature proxies or not as they will not significantly affect the results. Perhaps Baillie was aware of this and therefore there was no reason to complain. It couldn’t hurt him to have the additional cite when funding time came around.

  27. Shallow Climate
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 3:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Of course I may be living in a cave and not realize that I do live in a cave, but what bothers me is not only that Baillie and Wilson did not speak up at the time of Mann 2008, but that there has been way too much silence from science disciplines outside of climate science about the sometimes-shambles of climate science. You know, SM is not a PhD scientist in any field, yet here you have the voice most crying in the wilderness. What’s with scientists not “policing” (sorry about that word) themselves? SM sets the example to be followed; where’s the following? Is it only to be found at web sites such as this? There was that strongly worded statement of the Institute of Physics, but that’s about it.

  28. Answer up
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 4:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Why haven’t you archived the data from your Starucks expedition, Steve?

    Steve: placed online here http://www.climateaudit.info/data/colorado/ as soon as I got it.

  29. Crazy Dung
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 5:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    MikeP
    “Mpaul is wrong about putting anything into the Mannomatic. You need at least one series that includes a hockey stick shape. Thus if you have two, you can take either out in turn and get the same approximate result. All you have to avoid is taking both out.”

    Sorry mate but that is wrong. Mannomatic does not need to have an individual series that shows a hockey stick in order to produce one out of its arse end.
    Because of the short centering method he used, a series that of itself shows no hockey stick WILL show one after being put through Mannomatic.

  30. Arn Riewe
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 6:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, as usual, your thorough knowledge of the subject area catches The Team in their own doublethink. Baillie says oaks are not meant for temp proxies, but Mann uses them extensively. Who knew?

    Climategate has shown that The Team is fairly adept at circling the wagons, bringing in “independent” auditors, and having a whitewash party. It won’t be one, or two, or a few events that bring down tribal climate science, but only the 1,000 paper cuts that you are so adept at administering.

  31. Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 6:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Just got in after the second of four “open source/open data” events in London that I’ve set myself to attend in twelve days, to get a feel of the scene generally. (Very good it was too – but more of that and possible inputs to the climate situation another time and place.) Despite relative withdrawal from climate blogs this week, I’d spotted the brilliant Keenan news and the forthright comments of Willis – whose return to using ‘climate deniers’ is to be regretted but is at least strongly mitigated by the context in this case. But then one reads this:

    Far be it from me to disagree with the specialist view of Wilson and Baillie that these oak chronologies are “virtually useless” as a temperature or “dangerous” to use in a temperature reconstruction.

    Maybe it’s because I’m tired but that was laugh out loud time. And I needed that. Thanks maestro.

  32. geo
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 6:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The climate scientists are shameless at arguing whatever they need to argue at the moment in an attempt to arrive at their preferred destination of the moment. It’s entirely unprincipled the way they behave in that regard.

  33. KimW
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 6:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Impossible to replicate the efforts of the 1990′s ?. Ahhh, indeed they were giants in those days. I am simply astounded at such excuses. What possible reasons could there be not to update data on such a high value piece of data and which is continuing to record to the present day?. Common sense suggests some answers.

    • EW
      Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 9:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Then common sense should also cough up some funding.
      As the funding of research is more and more driven by grants and contracts instead of institutional funding, doing things that aren’t covered by any financed project is more and more difficult.

  34. HR
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 7:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    You must have some sympathy for scientists who are being asked to make available work from careers spanning 40years. Digitising such work may not be straightforward. You probably also realise that this work was done in a ‘quiet’ time for dendrochronology, I’m sure nobody expected that this work would become so controversial.
    Most scientists have dozens of ideas for new work. They mainly work within restricted budgets, usually with insufficient staff. The idea of spending valuable time sorting out things for people with little possible personnel upside (in terms of co-authorship etc.) and in the knowledge that the person is hostile has to be less than appealling.
    The idea of making publicly available data archiving part of the process of climate science seems like a good idea. But this has to be a process going forward.

    • Greg F
      Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 7:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

      You must have some sympathy for scientists who are being asked to make available work from careers spanning 40years. Digitising such work may not be straightforward.

      In light of the fact that “no fewer than 119 oak chronologies were used in Mann et al 2008.” Do you think Mann did his calculations from Zerox copies with a slide rule?

  35. Max Beran
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 7:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The question came up why these dendrochronolgists didn’t object to Mann’s use of their data. I have a suggestion about this.
    At the time Mann’s findings were announced I had some tangential involvement with palaeoclimatologists through a thematic programme into global environmental change that I was managing. I asked whey they had so little to say about the disappearance of their cherished mediaeval warm period and little ice age. The impression I got was that they did not feel equipped to differ with someone who was apparently so much more mathematically adept (many of this community are not especially numerically strong).
    Maybe there is an element of this in the oak issue too – an exaggerated respect for someone who could do maths and for all they knew could extract gold from base material.

  36. Sean Inglis
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 7:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “Maybe there is an element of this in the oak issue too – an exaggerated respect for someone who could do maths and for all they knew could extract gold from base material.”

    *Fools* “gold”

    But if a Mann has a big reputation and an even bigger mouth, challenging Him could be a career limiting move.

  37. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 8:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    As Steve has noted in another post there has been some updating of cores in North America, but they are not being used. Why? maybe they do not show the desired result. Cost is only a smokescreen.

    • S. Geiger
      Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 9:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

      By the way, whatever happened to the results from the cores taken near Colo. Springs? Where they ever published or have they been used in any studies? Did they correlate well with the late 1900s temp ramp or did they diverge?

  38. jcrabb
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 9:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Which ‘oak tree chronolgy’ is Baillee talking about? as the ones used by Mann are already public, thus the one Keenan is getting are different.

    Mann obviously doesn’t use the chronology that stretches back 5000 years, perhaps Baillee is talking about this chronolgy as useless for temperature reconstruction.

    Steve: A few Baillie oak chronologies are archived together with measurement data.

    • jcrabb
      Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 11:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

      As the Baillie chronologies used by Mann all start after 1649, seems Baillie is talking about the longer chronolgies and as Keenan is interested in the MWP, the FoI data would be unhelpful.

  39. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 10:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    BCL asks:

    But of course Mann did the reconstruction with both tree-rings in and tree-rings out, and got pretty much the same result back at least 1300 years with them out, so I’m not sure why any of this is relevant.

    As we discussed at the time, there are a couple of issues here. Mann’s tree-ring-out reconstruction used upside-down Tiljander. Mann’s Tiljander-out reconstruction used Graybill bristlecones. Belt and braces, so to speak.

    • Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 5:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

      And of course the “upside down” Tijander was also removed from the reconstruction due to problems Mann recognized in it, and of course the reconstruction without it looked pretty similar.

      Bupkis there; bupkis here.

      • James Lane
        Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 6:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: bigcitylib (Apr 22 05:32),

        Because the bristlecones were back in. Are you a bit slow or something?

      • Jean S
        Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 6:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: bigcitylib (Apr 22 05:32),

        in your dreams only. If you compare cyan in the Nov 2009 (!!!!) updated graph to the original (black), you see that the graph is well out of the confidence intervals of the original almost everywhere. Moreover, medieval/modern warm periods have changed the order, and the early centuries are extremely warm.

      • EdeF
        Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 8:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

        At least one hockey-stick shape was kept in, either Tiljander or bristlecones
        to feed the Mannomatic. Clever trick.

    • Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 1:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Are you certain that the Graybill bristlecones should not be used? Perhaps they are useful for the same reason that I suspect oaks in western Ireland are useful. I e-mailed you about this last August; here is the text.

      Steve,

      You have criticized the Sheep Mountain tree rings as a temperature proxy for the NH. I have recently had to write up an explanation of how trees at a single site _can_ be a temperature proxy for the NH, even though the trees do not correlate as well with local temperatures. I thought you might be interested.

      The site I considered was in western Ireland. I checked the correlations _after_ choosing the site. The reason that things work is two-fold. First, the trees seem to be a proxy for the energy flux from the adjacent ocean to the atmosphere. Second, trees respond not only to local temperature, but also to local precipitation, areal clouds, etc.–and those are all linked to the energy flux. For more details, see
      http://www.informath.org/apprise/a3900/b910.htm
      The explanation there is somewhat simplified, because I wrote it for the Information Commissioner’s Office (this was to support my request for tree-ring data held by Queen’s University Belfast).

      If things work in western Ireland, then perhaps they also work at Sheep Mountain, i.e. perhaps the trees at Sheep Mountain hold a proxy for the energy flux from the adjacent ocean. I am not saying that this is true, I am just saying this is plausible.

      The key point is that while it is obviously not possible for trees at a single site to directly proxy hemispheric temps, it is at least plausible that such trees could proxy the energy flux from an adjacent ocean.

      Also, as I understand it, there is a dendrochronology that is a good proxy for the Indian monsoon (though the data is unpublished). So if Sheep Mountain–or some other site–could be shown to proxy the energy flux from the North Pacific, then there would be proxies for the fluxes from all three oceans. That would be enough to produce a very good NH temperature reconstruction.

      Cheers, Doug

      • EdeF
        Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 2:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Doug,

        The reason Stripbark are not very good proxies has been debated here many times and also in Bishop Hills new book. The problem is that the stripbark bristlecones are physically damaged, in healing the tree adds a huge growth spurt which confounds the tree ring–normal growth mechanism. One of Graybill’s students recently went back to the White Mtns and re-cored bristlecones that were not stripbark and found no 20th century hockey stick growth. Unfortunately, her work was not greeted with much enthusiasm by the paleo world and she is keeping her head down for the time being. You might want to read a bit more extensively on this site with search words stripbark bristlecone graybill, etc.

  40. Fred
    Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 2:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Thank You sir for your hard work on this issue. You are a true scientist.

  41. Craig Loehle
    Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 7:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Several commenters have stated that if the public payed for the data it should be public. That is missing the point. In a field where replication is cheap and easy such as some areas of chemistry, it is sufficient to describe the methods and others can replicate your results. If your experiment is on a supercollider, you better publish your data so others can check them. Even moreso if it is tree rings because no one will ever be able to recore exactly the trees you used. If it can’t be checked or replicated, it isn’t science. There is a problem with people using the data for their own analyses (not just checking the work), and this can be worked out, but the current system with all the data hidden away so no one can check anything is simply not good.

    • TAG
      Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 10:06 AM | Permalink | Reply

      As well, when analyzed data is being sused to guide public policy (a la the IPCC) then that data must be available for public scrutiny.

      If e nuclear power company indicated that their proposed power plant would be safe for earthquakes but refused to release the data beyond a summary report, then their proposal would be rejected. It would not matter if the summary had been peer reviewed by a number of eminent scientists and engineers. The power company could not argue validly that the data and codes used to process were proprietary and subject to IPR and patent restrictions. They would produce the data and code or see their proposal rejected.

    • stan
      Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 12:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

      EXACTLY! I’ve harped on this repeatedly in comments at a number of sites. The reason disclosure is important is not taxpayer funding (Yes, all such data should be in the public sphere because the public paid for it, but that’s not the key). It’s about policy.

      If the work isn’t available for the public to review, the public should never allow it to be used for policy. Period. Doesn’t matter who owns it.

  42. Ibrahim
    Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 10:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    From Armagh Observatory (2009)

    Northern Ireland Trees Provide Clues to Climate Change
    The results of a new study “Climate signal in tree-ring chronologies in a temperate climate: a multi-species approach” (Full paper – PDF) involving researchers Ana García-Suárez and John Butler at Armagh Observatory and Mike Baillie at Queen’s University Belfast have recently been published in the scientific journal Dendrochronologia. Tree-ring widths and densities have been used as indicators of climate change for several decades, but the question of which aspects of climate, for example average temperature, rainfall, drought or sunshine, the trees really respond to has remained open.

    The background to this study is that trees grown close to one of their geographical limits, for example at their upper altitude limit, may be particularly susceptible to changes in temperature, and such stressed trees from high altitudes or high latitudes have most often been used to estimate mean atmospheric temperatures for the period before thermometers came into general use in the 18th and 19th centuries. For example, tree rings have sometimes been used to estimate how warm the world is now compared to, say, the late medieval period or the time when the Romans ruled Britain.

    The new work attempts to establish which climate parameters on a monthly or seasonal scale are most important for the growth of four common species currently widespread in the British Isles, namely Oak, Ash, Beech and Pine. The authors use trees grown close to one of the longest running meteorological stations in Europe, namely that at Armagh Observatory, Northern Ireland, in an attempt to link the tree-ring widths to an array of climate variables. Here the trees have grown in relatively benign conditions with adequate rainfall and moderate temperatures, and have mostly grown well within their geographical limits.

    The study draws three main conclusions of interest to the climate-change community. First, none of the four species allows reconstruction of any Annual climate variable, though they can allow reconstruction of specific seasonal climate parameters. These seasonal reconstructions can sometimes be unstable in time. Secondly, they find that Ash and Beech are more sensitive to climate changes than Oak and that these species respond more clearly to rainfall and drought conditions than to mean temperature. This could provide a way to estimate changes in rainfall over the past few centuries in parts of the British Isles where a reliable instrumental record does not exist. Thirdly, they find that combinations of tree-ring widths from several species that have grown together are more successful in reconstructing climate than those of a single species.

    These are promising results, but it will be difficult to extrapolate them back further than the last few centuries owing to the requirement to date the specimen trees. Currently, there is only the long Northern Ireland Oak chronology (Queen’s University Belfast) and it is unlikely that parallel chronologies for other species can be constructed because of the lack of suitable sources. Also, the growth of trees is affected by the local environmental conditions (i.e. whether they have grown in forests, in open country, or on bogs), which may not have been the same in the past as now. Tree-ring widths nevertheless may provide an important proxy to climate change as long as these causes and effects can be unravelled.

  43. Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 11:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Even if only 3 of Baillie’s series were used by Mann08, we can’t know if these were representative or cherry-picked for their HS-ness until we see the universe they were chosen from. Therefore Mann08 should not have been published by PNAS until Baillie released his data. Mann himself should therefore have filed an EIR request had Doug Keenan not done so.

    But PNAS doesn’t appear to be very critical about what it publishes nowadays…

    Steve: Be careful not to conflate a couple of different issues. Mann used publicly available oak chronologies. Most Mann series function sort of like white noise – I presume that oak chronologies fall into this category. Keenan was looking for other oak chronologies where measurement data is unavailable.

  44. a reader
    Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 12:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    From Pilcher, Hillam, Baillie, and Pearson’s 1977 paper “A Long Sub-Fossil Oak Tree-Ring Chronology from the North of Ireland.”:

    “As stated above the potential for climatic reconstruction using the data from the sub-fossil oaks is great. Problems of calibration have to be overcome and effects of local site influence have to be assessed. It should be possible to measure stable isotope ratios in the sub-fossil timber and use these as a paleothermometer. If this technique is in practice as reliable as recent publications suggest (e.g. Libby et al. 1976) then it could provide a temperature record for the last 6000 years. This would provide a unique data base from which to predict the likely magnitude of future climatic trends. Calibration of the isotope palaeothermometer using timber from the north of Ireland is under way.”

    It must not have worked out.

  45. SteveGinIL
    Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    @Punksta Apr 21, 2010 at 9:46 AM

    So from the Science and Technology Select Committee’s point of view, the problem with data being hidden is not that it makes proper science impossible, but merely that it gives ammunition to climate deniers and sceptics. If it helped alarmism, it would presumably be fine.

    While in spirit I agree with you (how could I not?) I’d have to say that the real impact of Willis’ statement is that the data will not be hidden anymore. That is a win for our side, and a BIG win. Until the data was public, no progress could be made.

    There IS a middle-ground position on AGW and the data, and that is that until the data is vetted properly the entire subject will be an unknown. Perhaps AGW has some validity, and maybe not. Our side thinks not. Only when the bulk of the data is available can any progress really be made. So this ruling is a good thing.

    Every bit of transparency added to the issue is a good thing, regardless of side comments made. Side comments don’t mean diddly squat.

    Isn’t the larger issue that the Science and Technology Select Committee RULED the way it did? The ruling adds muscle to the precedence that publicly funded research be publicly accessible. The intransigence of the warmers after the earlier rulings was to be expected, and will continue as much as they can pull it off. The STSC ruling shoots a big hole in such efforts at foot dragging.

    It is a 100% win, with a petty comment on the side. What that means is that even those who really don’t want to give us this data are abiding by the law. You KNOW their side is far less happy today than our side!

    • djbiggs
      Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 7:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

      The discussion of sides, is irrelevant. Just getting the facts straight with conclusions that can be replicated is all that matters. This is a good step towards that goal.

  46. Antonio San
    Posted Apr 22, 2010 at 6:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    OT

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/04/21/bc-andrew-weaver-national-post-lawsuit.html

    Andy Weaver sues the National Post… with the help of Hoggan of course…

  47. Faustino
    Posted Apr 23, 2010 at 1:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The old (wooden) British navy ditty was “Hearts of oak have our ships, hearts of oak have our men.” But the sailors were known for their sangfroid rather than rising temperatures.

  48. Paul Evans
    Posted Apr 23, 2010 at 6:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

    You might like to know Mann’s submission to the CRU review has been published. On this topic he has this quote -

    “this is the so-called “divergence problem”, and
    it is why Briffa and coworkers do not use those data in reconstructing temperatures after about 1960,
    when the problem begins to appear.
    This problem exists to a much lesser degree in other tree-ring data, and is not generally present in other
    types of proxy data. The Mann et al (1998; 1999) “Hockey Stick”, which used very few tree-ring density
    records at all, does not suffer from this problem.”

    • Brooks Hurd
      Posted Apr 23, 2010 at 4:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Mann carefully parsed his words to make it seem that his tree-rings density records (Mann et al 1998, 1999) are “better” than Briffa’s. In fact there are more serious problems with his tree ring proxies.

      Mann did not update his tree ring proxies himself, thus he claims no divergence in them.

      When others updated tree ring data from the area of Mann’s proxies, he chose to ignore them if they did not have the curve he wished to have.

      The entire team sidesteps the question that if tree ring data diverges after 1960 and thus is not a good temperature proxy after 1960, then why is any of that tree data a good temperature proxy before 1960?

  49. John Eggert
    Posted Apr 23, 2010 at 7:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

    So, given that this previously unreleased data was not referenced anywhere on realclimate, can we then come to the conclusion that there is some ‘debateableness’ to their claim that they have links to all the raw data? It is something that is often alleged on places like slashdot. Certainly, this incident is an appropriate reply when confronted with such an argument, whether or not it is what realclimate actually alleges. I can’t be sure if realclimate really does make this claim as I’m not interested in trolling that site in search of such a thing.

    JE

  50. David Mayhew
    Posted Apr 23, 2010 at 8:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The use of dendrochronology to detect temperature information is said to require the use of trees at a position near the edge of their climatically controlled range. However, it seems to me that, when the climate changes, the trees in the same geographical position will no longer be in the same relation to their climatically limited range. This means that using data from one area cannot give a signal which means the same thing (climatically) over a time scale in which the climate changes.

    Could anyone comment on this or correct it?

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Apr 23, 2010 at 8:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

      This is correct for large climate changes. But, it is often ignored that far northern cold range margins also tend to be quite dry. They can also suffer from strange things like more snow producing less growth because the ground stays cold late into spring and a warm snap in winter causing bark damage.

  51. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Apr 23, 2010 at 11:04 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “Steve: Be careful not to conflate a couple of different issues. Mann used publicly available oak chronologies. Most Mann series function sort of like white noise – I presume that oak chronologies fall into this category. Keenan was looking for other oak chronologies where measurement data is unavailable.”

    And white noise chronologies can pass the sensitivity test of not changing the results significantly when removed. The combined white noise from several chronologies can also obviously keep that shaft of the hockey stick fairly straight leading into the blade. Ah, the simple uncomplicated beauty of plain white noise and the old black magic it can render.

    Seriously, am I incorrect in suggesting that the proxy authors do not deal with the apparent white noise proxies?
    How would they be rationalized? Local pockets of climate with no apparent trend or direction with the proxy faithfully responding to those conditions? Or white noise is what we say is white noise? Or white noise cannot be quantitatively defined?

  52. Ron Cram
    Posted Apr 27, 2010 at 12:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Hmmmm… no comment from Rob Wilson yet. I know he is a regular reader of CA. Even if he wasn’t, he would have received 100 emails by now from colleagues telling him Steve has called him out. And yet, crickets.

  53. R.S.Brown
    Posted Jun 1, 2011 at 4:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve,

    It will be interesting to see if there any/some any statistical “fits” in ring
    dating with the Libby & Pandolfi, 1974, study, “Temperature Dependence of
    Isotope Ratios in Tree Rings” using European oak trees where:

    “The present paper reports phenomenological calibrations of the oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen isotope ratios in a European oak.“

    at:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/71/6/2482.full.pdf

    and the very non-proprietary, unpublished, Irish oak ring information taken by
    Mike Baillie, et al., of Queen’s University, Belfast, now in the hands of
    Doug Keenan.

10 Trackbacks

  1. [...] McIntyre of Climate Audit fame observes in his blog post Mann of Oak [...]

  2. [...] Steve McIntyre writes: [...]

  3. [...] Mann of Oak   [...]

  4. [...] Mann of Oak   [...]

  5. By Top Posts — WordPress.com on Apr 22, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    [...] Mann of Oak Doug Keenan has received a favorable decision from the FOI Commissioner in his lengthy FOI/EIR battle for tree ring [...] [...]

  6. By Querce » Ocasapiens - Blog - Repubblica.it on Apr 23, 2010 at 7:36 AM

    [...] raccolti in 40 anni da Michael Baillie. Adesso glieli deve consegnare. Il bell’Anthony esulta convinto che serviranno a smentire la mazza da hockey di Mann et al. del 1998 (la sua fissa). [...]

  7. [...] [...]

  8. By Querce | Portale delle scienze on Apr 25, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    [...] raccolti in 40 anni da Michael Baillie. Adesso glieli deve consegnare. Il bell’Anthony esulta convinto che serviranno a smentire la mazza da hockey di Mann et al. del 1998 (la sua fissa). [...]

  9. [...] is McIntyre laying into Baillie over at Climate Audit: Far be it from me to disagree with the specialist view of Wilson and Baillie that these oak [...]

  10. [...] Mann of Oak « Climate Audit [...]

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