Desmogging Desmog’s Tricks – Part 2

Desmog, without carrying out any due diligence of their own, spread false information derived from Brian Angliss here. Angliss alleged that I had “made a number of claims that are not supported by the published record”.

His second such allegation arose from comments in a CA post on the Commons Select Committeee here. Towards the end of the post, I was commenting on the following finding (para 66) of the Commons Select Committee:

In our view, it ["hide the decline"] was shorthand for the practice of discarding data known to be erroneous. We expect that this is a matter the Scientific Appraisal Panel will address.

To which I replied:

their suggestion that Jones and others were doing nothing more than “discarding data known to be erroneous” is simply absurd. There was no testimony to the Committee (nor has it ever been suggested) that the tree ring data was measured incorrectly or that the data was “erroneous” – the data is what it is. The tree ring data goes down instead of up – but that doesn’t make it “erroneous”. It only means that the data is a bad proxy – something that was concealed from IPCC readers.

That statement is 100% correct and support. Nonetheless, Angliss alleges fault as follows:

McIntyre also claimed that

[t]he tree ring data goes down instead of up – but that doesn’t make it “erroneous”. It only means that the data is a bad proxy.

This might be true if the data supported it, but the data clearly doesn’t..

Reading the above at face value, Angliss seems to be saying that the Briffa data doesn’t go down. But that isn’t true. For reference, here is the Briffa data (without smoothing) included the deleted portion (never available digitally prior to Climategate.) The Briffa reconstruction obviously goes down in the last half of the 20th century. Otherwise they wouldn’t have bothered trying to hide the decline in the Briffa data.

Angliss goes on:

First, the tree rings that diverge from the instrumental record are not all tree ring datasets, but rather a subset of tree ring datasets. In particular, the divergence problem applies to the Briffa 2000 dataset taken from trees close to the Arctic Circle. Other tree ring datasets don’t show the same divergence issue, as summarized in Cook et al 2004.

I made a detailed analysis of the Cook network in March 2006 here – a post in which I displayed (and commented on) the same Cook graphic in Angliss’ post – one Angliss accuses me for not considering.

Cook et al 2004 considered a small network of only 14 sites, two of which were strip bark (foxtail) sites. In comparison, the Schweingruber network studied by Briffa had about 381 sites. While the Briffa network is, in a trivial sense, only a “subset” of all tree ring sites, it is a very large sample – and the sites had been selected ex ante as temperature limited. In contrast, the Cook et al 2004 network was a far smaller subset. In addition, the “southern” group in the Cook et al network, which are supposed to allay concerns about divergence, consisted of only five sites, two of which were strip bark sites in arid locations. (The NAS panel said that strip bark chronologies should be “avoided” in temperature reconstructions.) Cook et al 2004 did not resolve the divergence problem. It was a weak statistical analysis on a small data set that left the original problem unresolved.

In a 2007 AGU session discussed at CA here, I observed that the “young dendros” were not content with attempts to simply pretend that the problem didn’t exist and regarded the divergence problem as a serious challenge to their field (Cook sat in the audience rather stonily.)

The most recent analysis of the divergence problem (Lloyd and Bunn 2009 Env Res Letters), by two excellent dendros both of whom I’ve corresponded with amicably in the past, doesn’t even cite Cook et al 2004 in their survey of serious efforts to resolve the divergence problem. Nonetheless, Angliss accused me and Fuller as follows:

McIntyre and Fuller should both be aware enough of the progress made in dendroclimatology (deducing past climate from tree rings) since 2001 to not make erroneous claims.

Nor did I make erroneous claims.

The Commons Committee had stated that “[hide the decline] was shorthand for the practice of discarding data known to be erroneous.” I observed (correctly) that there was no evidence to the Committee that the tree ring data had been measured wrong – which would be required to discard the data as “erroneous”. This comment remains both correct and unrebutted.

Rather than deal with what I had actually written – and which was irrefutable- Angliss’ trick (“a good way to deal with a problem” [Gavin Schmidt]) was to divert the discussion into an entirely different question that was not at issue in my comment on the Commons Committee: whether Cook et al 2004 had resolved the divergence problem. Even if Cook et al had done so, it wouldn’t show that my original comment was “erroneous” or justify these particular claims against me by Angliss and Desmog, but, in any event, Cook et al 2004 didn’t resolve the divergence problem. It was a weak statistical analysis on a small network; the divergence problem remains outstanding.

Update 1.55 pm: there are other untrue statements in Angliss’ post, including his allegation [see comments] that my short comment about the Commons Committee was somehow refuted by Mann et al 2008, an article that I “should” have known about. Obviously I know about Mann et al 2008. The idea that it refutes the above short comment about the Commons Committee is absurd. I’ll pick this spitball off the wall in due course.

149 Comments

  1. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 12:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

    And they won’t “resolve” the divergence problem in the sense of finding a way to make it go away. The divergence results because they are assuming a linear response to temperature when the true relationship is not linear. Inverting a nonlinear relationship gives nonsense. Further, when moisture is almost always a significant variable when tested, it can only be factored out in the past to retrieve temperature if the moisture history is known, which it is not. Which is why they are trying to ignore it. Ignoring known flaws in theory = bad science. I’m glad these guys aren’t building airplanes.

  2. Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 12:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Is this the same Cook who, in the Climategate emails, said we know f*** all about variability >100 years?

  3. Barclay E MacDonald
    Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 12:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Nicely written and very helpful to readers like me, who don’t have the information at our fingertips nor the time or inclination to wade through it.

  4. Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 12:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Actually, you’re still making erroneous claims, Steve, but now you’re making them about me.

    I make two points. The first is the Cook 2004 post, which even if it is a smaller dataset, still does counter your complaint about the Briffa 2000 dataset. The second, however, you haven’t mentioned above. Allow me to reprint it from my piece for your readers:

    Second, recent papers have shown that, before the period of divergence, reconstructed temperatures from northerly tree rings closely match may other temperature proxies including boreholes, corals, lake sediments, stalagmites, and the lengths of glacial tongues.

    My accusation that you should be sufficiently aware of the published proxy record applies to ALL the proxies.

    In fact, it’s only since about 1960 that Briffa’s high latitude tree rings diverged from either the instrumental record or the longer-term proxy record from multiple other proxies. Given that tree rings tracked all the other proxy records until about 1960, it’s not reasonable to claim that tree rings are a bad proxy. If you’d said that “tree rings are a bad proxy after 1960,” then you’d be fine. But you didn’t.

    Steve: I haven’t finished yet. One step at a time. Your next untrue point derives from Mann et al 2008 – if you read the link at the blog that you cite. For you to claim that I am unaware of the supposed “findings” of Mann et al 2008 is absurd. It has been discussed at length at this blog. To draw any conclusions about proxies from Mann et al 2008 is a risky business.

    • Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 6:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Actually, if you’ll notice the link, it actually refers to the individual studies as well as Mann 08.

      FWIF, I ran a correction on the original post regarding the WMO vs. TAR error I made, and I apologize for the error.

      • bender
        Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 7:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

        FWIW? Are you kidding? If you are in the business of auditing (welcome aboard), correcting errors is what it’s all about! But you knew that, right?

    • Edwin
      Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 7:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Mr. Angliss kindly bear with us layman for some stupid questions.
      If Briffa’s high latitude tree ring data started to diverge after 1960, does it not imply that a herethereto unknown or understated variant(s) has been left out of the proxy reconstruction (assuming that there was no error involved in data collection) and if so until this variant(s) has been dealt with the whole set of proxy would be rendered unreliable if not meaningless.
      In many fields of science the norm is not to ignoring data that one finds inconsistant with proposed or even established theory. It is unexpected findings that lead to breakthrough. Now what does this divergence tell us, I wonder?

    • BDAABAT
      Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 9:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Brian Angliss (Jun 13 12:39),

      Let’s look at this acknowledgment: ““In fact, it’s only since about 1960 that Briffa’s high latitude tree rings diverged from either the instrumental record or the longer-term proxy record from multiple other proxies”

      So, you note that there is data in the Briffa data set after 1960, and you note that the data does not match the instrument data.

      1. You know that Briffa had data available, AND you know that Briffa chose to NOT plot that tree ring data and instead tacked on instrument data for the period after 1960. Does this seem like a reasonable scientific approach to take?

      2. You acknowledge that the tree ring data doesn’t agree with the instrument data in the period post 1960. Yet, you blithely state that it “only” diverges since 1960. Given that there is this divergence, what scientific basis do you have for relying upon the tree ring data prior to 1960? How can one possibly know that the tree ring record matches temperatures in one period of time and not another?

      Bruce

      • Posted Jun 21, 2010 at 10:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Actually, I don’t yet know that Briffa did what you claim. There is significant disagreement on that question, even now nearly a decade after the TAR was published. Furthermore, there remains some question about whether it was the raw instrument data that was used for padding or the mean of the instrument data in the case of the WMO. I’m going to do some more reading on that and see if I can find the data to crunch my own numbers before I say more about it, however. Finally, Arthur Smith effectively disproved this for the AR4 data in a recent post of his here.

        In response to your second claim, the basis is statistical correlation with other proxies that are not subject to the divergence problem.

        • Richard T. Fowler
          Posted Jun 22, 2010 at 9:32 AM | Permalink

          Mr. Angliss,

          I cannot and do not speak, here or anywhere, for Steve McIntyre.

          I am admittedly not well informed on the history of the Briffa 2000 data or its criticism, and I have not (yet) examined your website in any detail.

          But, when I am looking at McIntyre’s Heartland annotated notes, and I read on page 4:

          ———-
          In May 1999, Briffa published the first assessment of Mann’s results[7], containing what, to my knowledge, is the first spaghetti graph of reconstructions[8] (see Figure 4). In this graphic, there is [. . .] a new Briffa version – the one in pale blue [. . . .] For the first time, values after 1960 were deleted. In retrospect, this article was the first bite of the poison apple of hide the decline.
          ———-

          And I compare the referenced spaghetti graph with the graph of Briffa 1998 from Proc Roy Soc London, reproduced by McIntyre on page 3 of his notes, I find myself wondering whether the data on which the 1999 graph is based have been made public, or not. And, even if they have, what possible response could there be to the pale blue line in that graph, given that it is apparently missing the post-1960 portion of the data in the 1998 graph?

          I hesitate to declare victory on this question right at the moment, but in all seriousness, what is the best defense you can offer to McIntyre’s claim that Briffa truncated data in the 2000 study?

          I have seen a lot of smoke being blown, on both sides, on the present comment page. What I have not yet seen is any discussion at all of any of the questions I just posed, including most pointedly the one about Briffa 2000 truncating data (which seems, to my latecomer eye, to be one of the main root causes of the present disagreement between you and McIntyre, leading ultimately to this blog post being posted by McIntyre). Such avoidance is not in the public’s, or anyone’s interest, as far as I can see.

          And yes, that’s right, I haven’t yet done all the required homework to understand Briffa 2000. I haven’t, to my recollection, even read anything substantial about that study, other than what I’ve just cited from McIntyre’s notes.

          That’s why I came to this blog: in the hope that there would be folks present who would know more of the background than I do on the crucial points, who would then _disclose_ some of that background, either in blog posts or in comments. On the matter of Briffa 2000, I see nothing on this page (including from McIntyre, even a link to past work) that goes into any detail about the Briffa 2000 dataset.

          I see a few links to various _debates_ about that dataset, but I don’t want to slog through those until I have seen the original analysis of that dataset by both camps. Why couldn’t anyone (including yourself, Mr. Angliss) have posted something like this here, or at least written 25-50 words in a comment on this page, summarizing the main issues of contention with respect to the Briffa 2000 data truncation claim?

          But please remember I am also very interested in your response to McIntyre’s charges about Briffa 1998 which I quoted here, and which are taken from page 4 of his Heartland presention notes.

          Richard T. Fowler

        • bender
          Posted Jun 22, 2010 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

          “what is the best defense you can offer to McIntyre’s claim that Briffa truncated data in the 2000 study”

          The best defense is this:
          The decision to truncate the data was a judgement call by an expert dendroclimatologist – several of them. It could be justified on the grounds that the deviation from expectation was so large as to defy interpretation. The decision was made 10 years ago. There is a lot we know now that we did not know back then, and it is not fair to judge historical decisions using hindsight that was not available at the time.

          To my knowledge the divergence problem has not been fully resolved, so this deviation (the section of data that was truncated/hidden) is still a bit mystifying. Its importance to the value of trees as thermometers is still not clear.

        • Richard T. Fowler
          Posted Jun 22, 2010 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

          Bender,

          That’s interesting and I thank you for your insight. I was, however, kind of hoping that we might get Angliss to go on the record. Or at least _someone_ from the other side.

          What I was actually trying to ask was, What is the best defense against the _claim_ that data were truncated, in other words, what is the best case that can be made that data were _not_ truncated? Since Angliss is claiming uncertainty about that question.

          In the meantime, since I posted my comment, I have found the link from

          http://climateaudit.org/2010/06/11/desmogging-desmogs-trick-part-1/

          to the Briffa 2000 study, which was posted by, of all people, TheFordPrefect, and I have taken Fig. 5 and compressed the x-axis to match it up with Fig. 1. I now see the truncation of tree ring data from Fig. 1, and it is painfully obvious. I wonder if Angliss has seen this. I certainly hope he has not yet seen it; if he hasn’t, then he still has an opportunity to save face here on CA.

          RTF

  5. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 12:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Brian, let me ask you a simple question before you change the topic. Do you disagree with anything in the statement below and if so what. (None of which involves COok et al 2004 or Mann et al 2008):

    There was no testimony to the Committee (nor has it ever been suggested) that the tree ring data was measured incorrectly or that the data was “erroneous” – the data is what it is. The tree ring data [the Briffa reconstruction in this context] goes down instead of up – but that doesn’t make it “erroneous”.

    • Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 4:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Nope, that statement seems fine to me. It is based entirely in fact to the best of my knowledge.

      • Ron Cram
        Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 11:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Brian,
        Since you admit Steve’s statement is based entirely in fact mean that you will now issue another correction to your blog posting? As it stands right now, the blog seems to say you disagree with the statement.

    • glacierman
      Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 8:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

      That’s right. He was clearly refering to the data after 1960, and not refering to all tree ring data as “bad Proxy”. Maybe you can parse the meaining of what is is next.

  6. Steven Mosher
    Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 1:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “In fact, it’s only since about 1960 that Briffa’s high latitude tree rings diverged from either the instrumental record or the longer-term proxy record from multiple other proxies. Given that tree rings tracked all the other proxy records until about 1960, it’s not reasonable to claim that tree rings are a bad proxy”

    “given that the tree rings “tracked” all the other proxies? Brian, if you want to make a coherence argument about proxies, then go ahead and make it. How well, does the briffa series “track the other other proxies?
    If you think that coherence is a good way to screen proxies, then
    cool:

    “By avoiding the (calibrating) instrumental period, and by using a fairly robust spectral
    measure for low-frequency performance, the above coherence analysis has uncovered
    several inconsistencies among the group of millennial reconstructions that figured
    prominently in the latest IPCC report and elsewhere. An immediate lesson from this
    10 is that simple visual inspection of smoothed time series, grouped and overlaid into a
    single graph, can be very misleading. For example, the two reconstructions Ma99 and
    Ma08L, which have previously been described to be in “striking agreement” (cf. Mann
    et al., 2008), turned out to be the most incoherent of all in our analysis.”

    The point is you are using a visual inspection method to assess the coherence ( track such a quaint word.. I see stupid skeptics use this word all the time when they are argue that the temperature record “tracks” sunspots). There are other mistaken assumption you have but lets let rob wilson have the last word:

    “Our results indicate that the [divergence problem]
    – including high-frequency loss in climate sensitivity
    and/or low-frequency trend offset – must be addressed
    at the local to regional level, before conclusions can be
    drawn for larger scales. However, future dendroclimatic
    research cannot ignore potential complex and nonlinear
    growth responses to a changing climate, which may
    challenge the principle of uniformity, as well as metho-
    dological uncertainties that emerge from the (1) tree-ring
    detrending, (2) chronology development, and (3) proxy/
    target calibration methods applied. “

    • Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 5:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I admit that, to date, I have only visually inspected the proxy data except for the data published with Mann 08. Thus far, my own number crunching has found that climate scientists have drawn conclusions that are supported by their data. Feel free to read my FULL record at S&R – you’ll find that I’m not afraid to run my own numbers.

      If you have links to the proxy data from the original sources (as I said, I already have Mann 08), I’ll happily run these numbers myself as well.

      • bender
        Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 7:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

        “climate scientists have drawn conclusions that are supported by their data”

        They can’t account for the modern divergence, so they deleted those inconvenient data and ran with their pre-decided conclusions. So, sorry, you are wrong. Let us know when you make the correction.

      • amac78
        Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 11:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: Brian Angliss (Jun 13 17:05),

        Mann08 seems to be a curious choice, as far as supporting the robustness of mainstream AGW Consensus paleotemperature reconstructions.

        A quick search didn’t find many references to that paper over at Scholars & Rogues, but Brian Angliss did engage in an extended exchange with Jeff Id (a critic of Mann’s) in the comments of the 4/19/10 post Climategate accusations shrivel under the glare of multiple investigations. Brian’s Comment #10 states

        Let’s also not forget that Mann ‘08 generated what was more or less the same graph as the 1999 paper both with and without tree-rings. Other proxies included corals, ice cores, cave mineral deposits, and ocean/lake sediment.

        In Comment #12, Brian writes

        In the case of Mann ‘08, they screened the proxies to the instrumental record and rejected 60% of the proxies due to insufficient correlation (p < 0.1 without autocorrelation effects, p < 0.128 with autocorrelation included). If the proxies had matched the instrumental record by purely chance alone, they would have expected to reject 87% of the proxies instead, so 40% shows that the proxies they used were correlated to the instrumental record. (see the Mann 08 supplemental material, page 2, “Screening Procedure”)

        Among the Mann08 proxies are characterizations of the varved lakebed sediments of Lake Korttajarvi in southern Finland, described by Mia Tiljander et al. (Boreas, 2003). They are tiljander-2003-xraydenseave, tiljander-2003-lightsum, tiljander-2003-thicknessmm, and tiljander-2003-darksum. Mann08′s Fig. S9 shows that they are important, constituting four of the 15 Northern Hemisphere proxy records that passed the screening procedure back to at least AD 818.

        Beyond the critiques referenced by Jeff Id in the linked exchange at S&R, this brings up a question for Brian:

        Were the Tiljander proxies used correctly in Mann08?

        Prof. Mann thinks so; he wrote in 2009 that claims to the contrary are “bizarre”.

        Specifically, claims by Steve McIntyre and others that at least two of them (XRD and lightsum) were unwittingly used upside-down, i.e. in an orientation that is inverted with respect to the orientation proposed by Tiljander in her 2003 paper.

        In my opinion, a screen that passes four uncalibratable proxies and flips at least two of them, isn’t a very good screen. I see no reason to trust a paleotemperature reconstruction that relies on such data and such methods.

        What’s your opinion?

        Background here.

      • glacierman
        Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 8:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Does the Briffa data post 1960 track well with all the other proxies? If not, why not? Which is correct?

  7. Tom Fuller
    Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 1:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Angliss is evidently not serious in his arguments. His comments on other weblogs show pretty clearly that he is just trying to cause a fuss and add to an electronic record of attacks on Steve McIntyre.

    • bender
      Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 3:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

      That’s my hypothesis. A campaign of absolute misinformation. Disgusting.

      • Geoff Sherrington
        Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 7:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Yep, agreed. I dropped in a few weeks ago then left well alone after strong indications that the “Scholars” part from the blog title was overwhelmed by the “Rogues”. A bunch of semi-smart meddlers.

  8. Steven Mosher
    Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 2:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Let’s parse out Brian’s claim:

    “First, the tree rings that diverge from the instrumental record are not all tree ring datasets, but rather a subset of tree ring datasets. In particular, the divergence problem applies to the Briffa 2000 dataset taken from trees close to the Arctic Circle. Other tree ring datasets don’t show the same divergence issue, as summarized in Cook et al 2004.”

    Brian seems to think that steve has made the claim that ALL tree rings diverge. Brian’s point ” other tree rings dont show divergence” ONLY makes sense as a counter point if he thinks steve holds the position that all tree rings show divergence. Is that your strawman point brian?
    you wrote:
    “First, the tree rings that diverge are not ALL tree ring datasets”
    That only makes logical sense if you are countering an argument that
    ALL tree rings diverge. So, is that your belief Brian, is it your belief that Steve thinks ALL tree suffer from divergence?

    Well, that can’t be your point because that would make you an idiot.
    You’re a journalist and would would have checked the full record, the FULL record. Remember how concerned you were that only a portion of mails had been made public? Remember that? remember that you questioned me because I only read all the mails that were available to me and didnt consider the mails that were NOT published. Remember that argument. Good. Well, you had Steve’s entire record to check. Did you check it. Check the divergence category on this site:

    http://climateaudit.org/2007/12/15/divergence-the-young-dendros-rebel/

    http://climateaudit.org/2007/04/01/more-on-positive-and-negative-responders/

    For example, when you read the sentence “What critics have observed and Juckes doesn’t discuss is that the average of 387 “temperature-sensitive” sites goes down in the last half of the 20th century (the Divergence Problem). But within the population of 387 sites, you can find some that go up. And surprise, surprise, the Team chooses them over and over. Tornetrask is used in every study. Juckes has taken cherry picking to a new height by even using it twice (Tornetrask and Fennoscandia, well disguised by the use of different lat/longs.)” Brian, HOW can you have read that sentence and NOT understood that Steve doesnt believe that all tree rings suffer from divergenece? When in fact, some of Steve’s criticism is that certain people preferentially choose positive responders. You did do your homework? you did read the full record before spouting off?
    Hey. You were concerned that we were unfair to Jones because we ONLY read all the mails that were hacked and other mails. So you of course, did read everything steve has written. Right?

    http://climateaudit.org/2006/11/08/juckes-and-the-divergence-factor/

    http://climateaudit.org/2006/02/12/positive-and-negative-responders/

    Then, you can read all this:

    http://www.climateaudit.info/pdf/

    When you are done, see if you can support the reading the Steve believes all tree rings suffer from divergence? You won’t find that claim. So precisely when you write this:

    “”First, the tree rings that diverge from the instrumental record are not all tree ring datasets, but rather a subset of tree ring datasets. In particular, the divergence problem applies to the Briffa 2000 dataset taken from trees close to the Arctic Circle. Other tree ring datasets don’t show the same divergence issue, as summarized in Cook et al 2004.”

    What argument do you think you are making points against?
    Clearly NOT the argument that Steve thinks ALL tree rings diverge?
    If you thought that was his argument you would be an idiot. And you are clearly not an idiot. cause only an idiot would make arguments about what steve believes without reading his full record first. You did read it all? How about the bits he wrote which you dont have access to. Who knows maybe steve, like jones, wrote 1.5 million mails in 10 years. Again, you wrote to me

    “2. In his testimony before the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, Phil Jones estimated that he had sent about 1.5 million emails over the period covered in the published CRU emails. That compares to approximately 200 emails that were from Jones in the published emails (via a quick search at eastangliaemails.com). Do you think that not having access to those other emails limits what we can say about the context of the published emails, and why or why not?”

    let me put that back to you

    2. In his years of blogging, Steve Mcintyre has written over 1000 posts as well as presentations and paper. That compares to few hundred words you appear to have read of his. Do you think that not having reading those other posts and papers limits what you can say about what he thinks, and why or why not?”

    • EdeF
      Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 5:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Damaged bristle-cone pines are one of the favorites, they exhibit 5 sigma growth spurts.

    • Dave
      Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 6:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Steven>

      Just because Brian Angliss didn’t ask his question in the right way does not excuse your response. Antagonism is not going to produce the truth. If you feel (correctly) that there is more evidence than Brian has considered, then say so politely. He has been a little aggressive, but you can point it out without doing the same thing.

      • steven Mosher
        Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 12:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

        duly noted.

        moshpit hasn’t been out of his cage in a while.

    • FijiDave
      Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 12:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Steve Mosher wrote:

      “In his testimony before the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, Phil Jones estimated that he had sent about 1.5 million emails over the period covered in the published CRU emails.”

      Crikey, Steve, 1.5 million emails in 10 years? Old Jonesie must have been busy! 1.5m/10/365/8 hours a day = 51 emails every hour for 8 hours a day for 365 days every year for 10 years! I suppose he did his science in his spare time!

      Crikey!

      BTW This site is blocked by this ISP in Fiji ?!

  9. bender
    Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 2:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Angliss, my friend, don’t be a fool. Steve M doesn’t make the sort of errors that you’re now making hourly. My advice us to admit your errors quick and cut your losses early. There’s only so much credibility in anyone’s tank. Good luck in your auditing. You’re going to need your “A” game to take Steve down even one notch.

  10. Tom Fuller
    Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 2:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I am reposting a comment here that I left on Angliss’ site, in case it somehow disappears:

    Angliss, the argument from quantity you make in your previous post is so poorly constructed that it does not even rise to the level of wrong.

    1. The model you choose to examine is incorrectly selected. The emails are the exact opposite of a bug that is being actively sought for removal. The emails related to ethical and professional misconduct are being actively concealed. Your argument that behaviour surrounding the emails can be compared to emails surrounding a software bug fails.

    2. Your estimates of the quantity of emails is, as Mosher notes, not realistic (unless you include spam) and not relevant. The quantity of emails is not realistic. It does not correspond with levels of traffic reported by similar professionals in other contexts, and I would refer to the authors and ask if multiple addressees were counted as separate emails (which a server log analysis would mistakenly do). It is not relevant. People engaged in wrong doing live most of their lives and conduct most of their interactions exactly as do the innocent. Hence the ubiquitous phrase, ‘he was a quiet man. I never would have thought…’ Indeed, the more intelligent the ‘malefactor’ the harder the attempt to look and act like the innocent.

    If you were attempting an honest investigation, you would have mapped the remits of the investigations done so far and charted their results, instead of saying that they had largely exonerated CRU and the individuals whose behaviour they looked at. Serious criticism of institutional and personal behaviour was noted. Serious allegations have yet to be investigated. You make no note of what is falling through the cracks.

    Your argument that insufficient data is available for analysis is simply innumerate, and is essentially refuted every time a poll of 1,000 people is extrapolated to correctly predict an election. If you were to assume a total of 50 million emails involving the subjects of the controversy you would only need a sample of 666 emails to be able to make statistically significant statements at a 99% level of confidence with a confidence level of +/- 5%.

    Every one of your arguments fails both logically and mathematically. It is obvious that you reached your conclusion and began to build a model that would provide you with data needed to support your conclusion.

    That this level of Weird Science is serving to distract so many people in 2010 shows several truths: First, the political arguments of those who believe catastrophic global warming is the likeliest outcome of our emissions of CO2 are getting progressively weaker. Second, attempts to construct an electronic record rebutting criticism from Steve McIntyre and Mosher and myself have so far avoided a thorough examination of what we have written and the sources we have used. It is clear that you have not read much at McIntyre’s site, Mosher and my book, and it seems evident that you have not read all of the emails.

    You found a cute little trick. You’re riding that pony for all the links and exposure you can get. But you are wrong on every count.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 3:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Not only does he fail logically and mathematically, he also fails on an historical basis by claiming that the emails’ context cannot be understood without interviewing the authors.
      On this basis we would not be able to understand anything about non recent history at all.

      • J Bowers
        Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 4:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I think you attribute too much certainty to historians. By your reasoning 99% of historians are actually now out of a job. Or, could it be that historians always strive to discover primary source evidence for a reason, but even then hold a question mark over their conclusions if the subject or witnesses are long dead and cannot be directly consulted?

      • Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 4:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Fuller (#51): If you wish to prove that my prior analysis was wrong, simply stating that it is isn’t a great place to start. Prove it.

        While the emails aren’t bugs, they do represent an electronic record. And according to Aranda and Venolia, electronic records are “deeply unreliable,” as I pointed out in the other post. This is especially true of records that are likely filtered and/or analyzed using electronic methods instead of humans asking questions of other humans. The CRU emails very likely qualify, a point that Mosher claims you and he made in your book. The graphs are entirely clear – the electronic records almost always got the number and names of people involved wrong and almost always got the number and type of key events wrong, and in nearly every case, the errors were not discovered until the paper’s authors sat down with the people involved in the electronic record and talked to them. Let’s not forget that

        the paper found that the electronic records including the email records were missing or had incorrect data, failed to include events that were critical to solving the bug, didn’t describe structural issues and problems related to group dynamics and internal company politics, and had very little explanation of why things were done. For example, the authors found that the steps required to reproduce a bug, the list of corrective actions taken to try and fix the problem, and the root cause were often missing from the electronic records. The bugs often had lifespans that started in advance of the official record or ended either far before or well after the bug was actually declared “fixed.” The authors found that the officially responsible person (ie the bug’s “owner”) was not the person actually responsible for fixing the bug 34% of the time and were totally unrelated 11% of the time. Furthermore, in 7% of the bugs, all of the people listed in the electronic record had no relationship at all to the bug.

        At best, Tom, you and Mosher got half the story by talking to McIntyre et al. But given the findings of Aranda and Venolia, you’ve probably got much less than that. I can certainly appreciate that you don’t want to believe it, but the quantitative and qualitative findings of Aranda and Venolia can’t be dismissed by assertion – they have to be disproven, and thus far you’ve not even come close.

        The estimates of the quantity of Jones’ emails (which I didn’t use in my post, if you recall) are not realistic. But the quantity of emails for the electrical engineer (me in my day job, FWIW), the marketing professional, the english professor, the home manager, and the climate scientist (Tom Wigley) are all based on estimates from the people involved. If you have proof that those numbers don’t “correspond with levels of traffic reported by similar professionals in other contexts,” provide it please. I’d be interested in knowing if my own email totals were high or low compared to other EEs.

        You’re mathematical argument is the worst you’ve made yet. 666 emails would be necessary if they were randomly selected. You and Mosher make the point that they aren’t randomly selected – they were selected from the hundreds of thousands to millions of emails based on certain search criteria. Therefore, it’s not possible to make claims about the emails that apply to the entire population of emails. In public opinion survey terms, you’re using results from a self-selected survey to draw conclusions about the population at large when the best you can really do is draw conclusions about the respondents.

        Which is a great way to make my argument for me, BTW. Thanks.
        [Used your 4:54pm edit to update this earlier version. I hope I did that correctly, Brian!]

        • David S
          Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 5:02 PM | Permalink

          I have no idea where this numbers game comes from. If the emails provide compelling evidence of wrongdoing, and to me they do, then it doesn’t matter at all how they were compiled or how many others there are. This is not a sampling exercise, it is real life, with a lot riding on it. You don’t need to extrapolate from a smoking gun.

        • Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

          No, David, but you do have to understand the reason that there was a gunshot in the first place. To use an admittedly extreme example, the difference between murder and self-defense depends on motive, location, and who is holding the gun. At this point there remains a serious question as to whether we have enough context to understand all the factors involved.

        • Tim
          Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 7:18 PM | Permalink

          1) The emails do not stand alone. SteveMc and others have been making claims for years which are corraborated by the emails.
          investigation by neutral body that seeks information from everyone. If there is a enough prima facia
          2) If there is a gun and dead body there is always an evidence then it goes to trial where all witnesses are cross examined by a lawyer seeking a conviction.

          None of 2) has occurred with the emails. The investigations that we have had are a joke because they amount deliberately avoided looking at any contrary evidence and simply accepted the accused explanations with no cross examination.

          IMHO, it is the unwillingness to investigate the issues properly which is most damning because it shows that the climate science establishment cannot be trusted to provide the public with a truth analyses of science or anything else.

        • RDCII
          Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 9:25 PM | Permalink

          Actually, Angliss, it turns out that the reason that all the emails aren’t available to provide a full context is that East Anglia has gone to extraordinary and, by some accounts Prima Facie illegal efforts to avoid satisfying FOI requests.

          If there are existing emails that could provide a less deceitful perspective on the available emails, then all East Anglia has to do to re-establish trust is…release them. Why don’t they do that?

          It’s not just that what the available emails say is damning, it is that if there are any historical exonerating emails…where are they? It seems like it would be in EVERYONE’s best interest to release them…if they existed.

          Perhaps you could try an FOI request to make all the emails available?

          Steve: most recently, the University refused my FOI request for the attachments to the controversial Wahl-Briffa emails>. The parties don’t wish to “clarify” these emails after all.

        • thefordprefect
          Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 11:25 PM | Permalink

          Steve: most recently, the University refused my FOI request for the attachments to the controversial Wahl-Briffa emails>. The parties don’t wish to “clarify” these emails after all.

          Steve the person requesting McIntyre and McKitrick emails got the same response. Why? Perhaps you would like to expose ALL your communications with McKitrick to public scrutiny. McKitrick has no more right to keep his emails private than does jones&co – both sides are university based.

          So lets keep things open – show your emails McIntyre!

        • bender
          Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 11:35 PM | Permalink

          Do you have any hint of any evidence that Steve has ever done anything as unscrupulous as what the hiders of the decline did? I bet not. And that’s the difference here. When your work smells fishy, you are obliged to come clean. Steve’s work does not smell fishy.

          Do you understand why the two situations are completely different?

        • bender
          Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 11:39 PM | Permalink

          Ford forgot to quote this part of what Steve wrote:
          “The parties don’t wish to “clarify” these emails after all.” Perhaps Ford doesn’t understand the irony here: people like Gavin et al. declaring that the emails only look bad when taken out of context. The truth is context makes it worse.

        • RDCII
          Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 1:52 AM | Permalink

          You seem to have glossed over what I said…that making the emails that would provide a “corrected” perspective on the released emails available would be good for EVERYONE. Do you disagree that, if such emails exist, it would be in East Anglia’s best interests to release those emails?

          Demanding emails from Steve based on the above observation is, in my opinion, a deliberate non-sequitor to the discussion in question. Do you have anything to contribute to the question of whether we should make our own judgements on emails with the context we have, since East Anglia is not providing any emails to give us more context?

        • Eric Barnes
          Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 10:18 PM | Permalink

          snip – policy

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 5:24 PM | Permalink

          Brian:

          “At best, Tom, you and Mosher got half the story by talking to McIntyre et al. But given the findings of Aranda and Venolia, you’ve probably got much less than that. I can certainly appreciate that you don’t want to believe it, but the quantitative and qualitative findings of Aranda and Venolia can’t be dismissed by assertion – they have to be disproven, and thus far you’ve not even come close.”

          During the period of Nov 17th to Nov 19th I talked to Steve Mcintyre on probably 4 or 5 separate occassions. I detail the content of these discussions in a couple places. Go find them.
          My discussions with Steve centered around VERIFYING that the mails in the package were mails he sent. We discussed his Nov 13th FOIA appeal rejection. We discussed the mail he received from UAE.

          From Nov 19th to jan 12th, the publication date of the book I can’t recall having a single conversation with him. My last email to or from him was Nov 19th, 2009. On jan 14th the publication date of the book, we emailed again. On or about Jan 13th we had a phone conversation discussing the post
          “The mosher timeline”

          So, I got virtually NONE of the story by talking to mcintyre.
          I did what I am trained to do. I read the mails. I read the posts. I constructed a narrative of who said what.

          I confine my conclusions to what the mails actually say.

          Now, you on the other hand, characterize steve’s work without having read even the smallest portion of the extant texts. Similarly with our work.

          No amount of additional mails will make those that exists go away.

          I like your bug metaphor. But here is the problem.

          Jones doesnt deny that he asked mann to delete mails.

          Are there any POSSIBLE mails that would make this request
          legit? Can you imagine a mail that would make this request legitamate? When jones agrees this was a mistake, can you at least take him at his word?

          Then can you ask the question that we asked.

          WHY? why did Jones ask mann to delete the mails?

          Well, the mails that lead up to the request give you a narrative.
          That time space is VERY short. So you are not talking about a sample of millions of mails. You are talking about mails sent
          or a very short period.. 2-3 days. The mails in question appear to be the complete record of all correspondence on this matter. There were only 2-3 people on these mails
          Palmer, Jones, Osborne, Briffa. However, if you would like to argue that there might be more mails in this short period, please feel free. And what precisely COULD those mails say?
          what missing evidence could make Jones actions laudable?

          lets say you send your employees 50 emails a day.
          One of those emails lands in my lap. That email says

          ” Mike, the legal department says I am being disposed on a patent case.and there is a discovery request. Can you please delete all emails I sent you about the ACME’s xyz circuit patent?”

          Do I really, need to see the other 49 emails to draw a conclusion about that request?

        • Green Sand
          Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 5:28 PM | Permalink

          Re: Brian Angliss (Jun 13 16:38),

          I have to agree with Brian:-

          “This is especially true of records that are likely filtered and/or analyzed using electronic methods instead of humans asking questions of other humans.”

          How about for once we have one set of “humans” i.e. any inquiring body asking questions of another set of “humans” i.e. McIntyre and McKitrick?

          You never know we might just get a resolution that all “sides” understand.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 5:47 PM | Permalink

          Actually Brian, this is what I wrote to you:

          “With regard to the issue of deleting mails or the selection of mails. Its clear that whoever collected the mails did not read them all. I cover this in the book. It’s also highly likely that some form of automated collection process or automated selection process was used. very simply, the mails were not selected by a human. There are a number of mails that are clearly housekeeping mails. mails like out of office replies. Any human editor would delete these mails. They are pure noise. There are enough of these mails, mails which have nothing of import, to suggest that the mails were collected and filtered by a harvesting program. A program that looked for certain authors, and certain key words.
          In the first 24 hours of reading the mails this became clear to me. It was not simply a dump of all mails. If that was the case, there would have been a very low signal to noise. in 13 years one would expect more than 1 or 2 “out of office” replies. Neither was it a human selected corpus. No person trudging through these mails and sending them to others would include mails that are not relevant. Again, the out of office replies, the housekeeping mails, mails about this conference or that conference. these mails are caught up in the net because they mention certain key words, like YAMAL, SRES, GCM or because they mention key authors. Finally, the person who “selected” the mails or wrote the program that selected the mails, did not have a firm grasp on all of the issues.
          they read some of the mails, but did not understand all of the issues. For example, they highlighted this mail: 0939154709.txt That’s important because it shows that they didnt understand what they were reading. What they thought was a ‘bombshell” ,cutting off proxy data in 1960, was well known in the skeptic community. there are other things we can suggest about the person who did this, age, gender, education level, sense of humor. But in the end, whodunnit is a distraction from the main event. It fascinates people because they can’t answer the questions. Personally, I am fine with living in that uncertainty. We have to act under conditions of uncertainty. Whether that means acting to save the planet when the science is less than certain, or acting to save the process of science when we are uncertain about the motives of people who released the mails.
          Doubt should not stop us from taking reponsible action on climate change, and doubt should not stop us from calling for changes in how climate science is done. We want more transparency and more openness. The motives of the hacker dont change our principles. How could they? ”

          Now, when you interview me and take selections, did you honestly think that I would ignore the way you choose to edit things and select things? When YOUR argument is that we havent read enough, did you honestly think you could get away with criticizing Steve without reading his complete corpus.? Again, you’re not an idiot, but what were you thinking

        • WillR
          Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

          Re: Brian Angliss (Jun 13 16:38), Brian:

          I think you would have to prove that a discussion of software bugs and the accuracy of the email traffic relating to those bugs — etc. Was relevant to this particular issue.

          You have asserted that the accuracy of the electronic record of tracking software bugs and doing “break fixes” is somehow relevant to a discussion of paleo-climatology.

          Hopefully you can show how this is so. I don’t see it and I suspect that others don’t either.

          Since a court of law routinely accepts email as “evidence”, then it seems it might be ok here as well.

          To answer your questions before you ask, I have run large software projects and the follow on maintenance and I have run R&D projects. SO I am familiar with the ground you cover.

        • Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 6:30 PM | Permalink

          I have established the relevence (and the paper’s authors have concurred with my explanation in the comments of the post) here. I recommend that you read the post in question and the Aranda and Venolia paper as well.

        • WillR
          Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 7:29 PM | Permalink

          Re: Brian Angliss (Jun 13 18:30),

          I don’t know if all the software authors had a PhD — or even a masters.

          Let’s look at this in a slightly different manner. The assertion is that people with a PhD who run research projects, write long technical reports and, write grant proposals and routinely make involved technical presentations are in the habit of writing emails wherein they say things they don’t mean and write things that are easily misunderstood. Furthermore they are in the habit of creating technical graphs that can be easily misconstrued because they routinely make a lot of mistakes. Furthermore they are in the habit of contradicting themselves because of these mistakes. (assumption).

          However, I read every email in the file and I did not see a lot of retractions and corrections in the email record — which would be consistent with your assertion. Perhaps you can point this out or explain the lack.

          Why would a gang like this be advanced millions of dollars in grant money? Good question?

          Why would people change social and economic policy in the values of trillions of dollars of public money? Reasonable question?

          When you assure me that the authors of the software study were studying people at the PhD level, that were in fact the R&D directors then it would be worth my time. Is it so? If they were studying junior programmers and customers then I could see that the study might be what you said — as little as you offered of the basis of the study.

          Hope that’s more clear.

          Now if they want to accept your defense, then I suspect they are about to lose any hope of further grant money.

        • RomanM
          Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 7:42 PM | Permalink

          Re: Brian Angliss (Jun 13 18:30),

          snip – politeness rules

          From the A & V paper:

          Our data come exclusively from Microsoft, and the extent to which our results are valid for other companies is not clear without replications. As is well known, Microsoft has tens of thousands of employees, millions of daily users, and many interconnected products. These are all forces that shape coordination dynamics.

          Not only are they talking about programmers who are dealing with technical programming problems, but the environment is not exactly Microsoft magnitude. Perhaps you can show me where the study is replicated to show that there is any relevance to a UEA size workplace whatsoever. This particular issue was in fact not addressed by Mr. Aranda’s comments on your blog.

          Your over-the-top post is an example of exactly the reason that a lot of well-educated intelligent people don’t buy the type of silliness offered by many proponents of CAGW.

        • Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

          snip – foodfight rules

        • RomanM
          Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 4:41 PM | Permalink

          snip

          Perhaps, you don’t understand that the paper referred to by Mr. Angliss had ZERO relevance to the subject under discussion. This had been pointed out to him clearly in several prior comments, but he refused to acknowledge this. I merely “played his game” by also indicating that the authors restricted any claim of application to a very specific situation which had no similarities in either content or environment to the CRU emails.
          snip

        • Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 5:35 PM | Permalink

          snip

          Perhaps Ambliss should amend his essay to forewarn his readers that it’s not scientific, or not scientific enough. Perhaps only irritation can explain why Ambliss’ work must be dismissed on the sole ground that it’s not scientific. Who knows?
          snip

        • Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 7:20 PM | Permalink

          snip

          The argument only shows that the extent of the results are valid is not clear without replication. From this lack of clarity, RomanM concludes that Ambliss’ work is nonsensical. This conclusion is a non sequitur and, independently, irate.

        • RomanM
          Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 8:05 PM | Permalink

          The argument only shows that the extent of the results are valid is not clear without replication.

          No, it says more specifically, that to use these results in a situation outside of where they were developed is unjustified.

          However, the “nonsense” of the use of the results had already been indicated by previous posters in the fact that there was no similarity whatsoever between the underlying situation dealt with in the paper (in particular, programmers working on technical problems in software development) regardless of the environment. This was simply something Angliss was unwilling to provide justification for. I merely pointed out that the authors themselves said that the environment was important and that there work did not extend outside of it.

          No non sequitur involved here. Somewhat irritated, maybe, irate, no.

        • Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 8:43 PM | Permalink

          Compare and contrast.

          From the article:

          > Our data come exclusively from Microsoft, and the extent to which our results are valid for other companies is not clear without replications.

          My version:

          > The argument only shows that the extent of the results are valid is not clear without replication.

          RomanM version:

          > No, it says more specifically, that to use these results in a situation outside of where they were developed is unjustified.

          And so from “not clear” we jump to “being unjustified”. The gap is less important than talking about “nonsense”, but there is still a gap. And so the non sequitur yet remains.

        • RomanM
          Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 9:17 PM | Permalink

          Frankly this word-parsing approach of yours is a waste of time.

          If the authors state that the extent for which some results are valid is not clear, then there is NO justification for applying those results under conditions which are radically different unless further evidence has been provided that they remain valid in the new environment. This is a general principle in most areas of science and not specific to this particular case.

        • MrPete
          Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 9:10 PM | Permalink

          Re: willard (Jun 15 17:35),
          The problem is larger and deeper than replication. The paper simply does not apply, as I describe elsewhere in this thread.

          Summarizing:
          * A&V metadata was human-entered and a significant portion of the erroneous data (e.g. severity, category, owner, etc). Email metadata is automatic and correct.
          * A&V message content is peripheral to the work done; bugs can and are resolved without change to the bug DB, fixing up the bug DB is an “optional” task. Email content was core communication of the team.
          * A&V data by its very nature is correctable through further interaction. Email malfeasance by its very nature truly exposes malfeasance.

          The name Climategate derives from Watergate, which is a good analogy for this discussion: when a recorded voice conversation reveals nefarious activity, further conversation will not “correct” or “fix” what was revealed. If it was nefarious when recorded, it remains thus.

        • Posted Jun 16, 2010 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

          MrPete,

          Angliss’ argument is not straightforward and the criticisms that you stated earlier, repeated on his site, and summarized here, need to be answered. I will let him answer for them, as I never wished to defend him here.

          The important point, as far as I am concerned, is that your argument need not be a scientific one. Neither is Angliss’. RomanM relies on it needing to be scientific for him to reach his conclusion. He just made that clear.

          That Angliss’ argument needs to be scientific to be justified, or even meaningful, is not so obvious as to cause irritation when one does not see it. If we are to apply this same kind of reasoning, we would have to say that the comparison between Watergate and Climategate is meaningless. But, of course, we can see some relationships.

          And so we get to the first reason why I replied: if this so obvious why Angliss is wrong, being over-the-top does not help to buy anything, without never really providing reason for or against any given position.

          Steve:
          I will get to this but there are so many things that I have to deal with that it’s hard to pick every spitball off the wall. It’s unfortunate that you can’t recognize how weak Angliss’ arguments with existing materials. He’s retracted one point already.

        • Posted Jun 21, 2010 at 10:54 PM | Permalink

          RomanM – I have provided extensive explanation of precisely why the A&V paper applies to the CRU emails in comments at both of the original S&R posts. Perhaps if you’d care to point out there why it’s actually irrelevant, I’ll be able to address your concerns.

        • gens
          Posted Jun 16, 2010 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

          Willard,

          Based on your website, you seem to have a particular interest in communication and language. This makes your comments rather mystifying as you seem unaware of basic scientific language. RomanM is quite correct – the type of language used by A&V is quite boilerplate and the implications of non-reliance are clearly understood. And as RomanM says, this is a well accepted principle that crosses scientific disciplines. This is rather basic stuff.

        • Tom Fuller
          Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 7:38 PM | Permalink

          Angliss, this is why your argument doesn’t even rise to the level of wrong. The emails obviously were not a random sample. Since they were not, there is no need to consider the remaining body of emails, either quantitatively or quantitatively. However, because you chose to introduce the remaining career-level emails as a reason to criticize the small sample leaked for Climategate, it’s worth pointing out that that small number is sufficient to amount to a reliable dataset.

          It is your handwaving between differing and contradictory arguments that causes this. Your arguments fail.

          It would be easier to prove your analysis was wrong had you shown any sign of doing any analysis. I see no such sign at all.

        • MrPete
          Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 7:49 PM | Permalink

          Re: Brian Angliss (Jun 13 16:38),

          according to Aranda and Venolia, electronic records are “deeply unreliable,”…This is especially true of records that are likely filtered and/or analyzed using electronic methods instead of humans asking questions of other humans. The CRU emails very likely qualify, a point that Mosher claims you and he made in your book. The graphs are entirely clear – the electronic records almost always got the number and names of people involved wrong and almost always got the number and type of key events wrong, and in nearly every case, the errors were not discovered until the paper’s authors sat down with the people involved in the electronic record and talked to them…

          I have some deep and extensive experience with electronic records, communications, and bug reporting.

          Brian, you’re far from having even a reasonable case.

          1) A&V didn’t show that “electronic records are unreliable.” They showed that randomly selected bug tracking logs are unreliable records of the work done associated with fixing the bug.

          2) Climategate emails are demonstrably in a different space:

          a) Climategate emails were not randomly selected. They were clearly selected through a filter of some kind.

          b) Climategate emails were not a minimal document recording various tidbits of information at the periphery of the work. Climategate emails were an essential part of the core communication at the center of this team’s work.

          Thus, in at least these two essential ways, the Climategate emails do not fit the paradigm of this paper.

          Further, as others have alluded, it is not necessary for the emails to ennumerate every aspect of the Climategate story for them to accurately depict the events that they do describe.

          In a bug report, it is quite reasonable for an initial report to say “X, Y and Z are wrong” and then a subsequent communication via another channel to correct that report. And we would say the initial report was “incorrect.”

          However, in the case of Climategate emails, we don’t need to establish the idea that a communication was never later “corrected.” All we need to establish is the content of the communication, and at least a subset of the parties involved. And that, by definition, has taken place.

          You are on very thin ground to assert that the Climategate emails are incorrect as recorded.

          You could easily assert that other communication took place. But for the major implications of the emails, what other communication would negate these messages?

          Imagine for a moment that we were not talking about email, but rather recorded phone conversations. Suppose all we had were a few hours of phone calls recorded… damaging phone calls involving a few senior leaders.

          Now it is true that other phone calls may well have taken place. But the damage is done by noting what was said in the given calls.

          That’s what happened with Watergate.

          And that’s what happened with Climategate.

        • geronimo
          Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 2:50 AM | Permalink

          Out of context is a weak argument in interpreting the emails, but claiming they have been changed by electronic transfer tests the level on credulity to destruction.

          How could these “changes” be made and what are they? Are we expected to believe that these changes somehow made perfectly innocent emails into evidence of refusal to provide data, to delete emails, to “hide the decline”, to get editors sacked, to keep papers out of consideration by the IPCC, to avoind complying with the FOIA etc. If there are changes then why have they all been in the direction of maligning the CRU? Why did the CRU put them into a special file? (I doubt it was to comply with the FOIA requests that were coming in that doesn’t make sense. So why?)

          Is that your hypothesis Brian? if not could you please explain exactly what errors or changes you are inferring.

          Thanks, by the way, for coming on these threads and engaging, if we did more of it it would probably bring the temperature of the debate down and we might get somewhere.

        • bluegrue
          Posted Jun 16, 2010 at 3:44 AM | Permalink

          Re: MrPete (Jun 13 19:49),

          I think, you misread A&V here.

          1) A&V didn’t show that “electronic records are unreliable.” They showed that randomly selected bug tracking logs are unreliable records of the work done associated with fixing the bug.

          A&V randomly selected the bug cases to investigate. That was the only random step in the study. Each of these selected bugs was treated as a seperate case. For each case A&V collected the complete bug tracking logs, e-mails associated with it, the complete electronic record. After that they contacted the people involved. Here’s the procedure in A&V’s own words.

          All of our cases followed the same methodology. First, we queried a product division’s bug database to find a case fulfilling our criteria. We obtained as much information as we could from its electronic records, including the events in its audit trail, all the bug record’s data fields, data on its owners and on everybody that had participated in any action related to the bug, and links to source code repositories. From that point, we traced backwards by contacting the people that had last touched or were referenced by the bug record. If they were not relevant to the history (a common case, due to bulk edits of bugs), we kept tracing back to find agents that were relevant for the bug.

          In each case A&V found the complete electronic log to lack crucial info. So your point 2a) does not apply.

          b) Climategate emails were not a minimal document recording various tidbits of information at the periphery of the work. Climategate emails were an essential part of the core communication at the center of this team’s work.

          So are phone calls, papers, letters, meetings at workshops and conferences, chats over a cup of coffee/tea in the cafeteria, seminars in the individual institutions, visits, … .

          I think A&V is applicable. The system at Microsoft is meant to catch the important aspects of a bug and fails. The filtered e-mails from CRU are even worse, as even the unfiltered set was never meant to be a complete record of the science and interactions of the scientists.

        • MrPete
          Posted Jun 16, 2010 at 11:18 AM | Permalink

          Re: bluegrue (Jun 16 03:44),
          You raise some interesting aspects.

          Random selection. It’s true that A&V filled out the data on their randomly selected cases. However, I suggest it is important that there’s a significant difference between randomly selected cases vs filtered cases, insofar as applicability of the study is concerned. I’m not enough of a statistician to flesh that part out in depth.

          As for the centrality of “phone calls, papers, letter, meetings” etc… you’ve ignored what I said. You’ve also ignored the significance of a bug tracking system.

          Yes, a bug tracking system “is meant to catch the important aspects of a bug.” However, even if the system fails to do that, the bugs get fixed. Even if nobody ever corrects the bug database, the bugs get fixed. Even if the bug database is 100% incorrect in the details, the bugs get fixed. I shouldn’t have to prove that: as A&V have shown (and is obvious to any QA manager), bug databases are notoriously bad at a detail level. It’s pretty awesome if they have a reasonably accurate general picture of the flow of bug reports and fixes and/or can give pointers to who to talk to if you need to learn more.

          A set of recorded conversations (whether voice, email, etc) are radically different, and particularly so for email:
          - The metadata is accurate, period. The parties involved in the conversation are known (could be others as well but certainly we know which email boxes were source and destination!) The date/time sequence is also known.
          - The content is accurate. Either it was directly created by the source (email) or is a direct recording of the conversation.

          Here’s a simple way to recognize the huge gulf between the two data sets: are they valid court evidence, “discoverable” as they say? I’m not a lawyer but have been involved in court discovery processes and in records-management.

          By law, email records are discoverable documents that must be managed according to legal requirements (in a US corporation, you can’t legally destroy email except according to specific policies–typically a minimum 5 year retention policy–especially after Sarbanes-Oxley!) The same is NOT true for a bug database. It’s “just” a database, known to be error-prone. There are no legal requirements to maintain old copies of non-document databases.

          If A&V is applicable, then email records, and voice recordings as well, should not be valid court evidence. They are valid court evidence. Therefore, you are incorrect.

          Case dismissed. :)

        • bluegrue
          Posted Jun 16, 2010 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

          Re: MrPete (Jun 16 11:18),
          you are still misunderstanding the comparison. It’s not “filtered cases” vs “randomly selected cases”. The CRU e-mails correspond to a single case in the A&V paper.

          A single case in A&V collects not just the bug db, as you erroneously claim (read the excerpt above), but all pertinent electronic traces, including all e-mails(!) of all people involved in the process of resolving the specific bug, not just of those people mentioned in the bug db. Even in this ideal situation, where you have a complete electronic trace, the image is imcomplete and inconclusive.

          If you look at the CRU e-mails, the situation corresponds to a single case in A&V, but the availablity of data is much worse. Just one of many channels of communication – the e-mails – is available, and the e-mails obviously have been heavily filtered, likely by looking for key persons and key words. You don’t know the filters and you can not even be sure, that even more e-mails were intentionally sorted out by hand in a second filtering step.

          Whether or not any of the data is “discoverable” or not is irrelevant to the question, whether or not the e-mails give you a good image of what has happened.

        • MrPete
          Posted Jun 16, 2010 at 6:46 PM | Permalink

          Re: bluegrue (Jun 16 15:50),

          You are misunderstanding both the data and what I’ve said. I make no suggestion that A&V didn’t collect all the info about what was involved in fixing the bugs. Of course they did (to the extent possible.) That has no bearing on what I’m saying. It also doesn’t matter whether we liken the Climategate emails to a single “bug” thread or a set of “bug” threads.

          One or a thousand, a bug database is an inherently erroneous record of what transpired in resolving bugs.

          Email documents are inherently accurate records of what was said in those emails, who said it, and when. It is irrelevant what other communications took place. And the “discoverability” of the documents is 100% relevant because of that.

          You are arguing about “whether or not the e-mails give you a good image of what has happened.”
          I (and others) are saying the emails give an accurate record of what was said in the emails. And that’s all we need to know.

          If President Nixon said “xyzzy” on a Watergate tape, and that was a damaging revelation, then other tapes, documents, conversations, etc wouldn’t change the damaging nature of the fact that he said “xyzzy.”

          If Jones wrote “xyzzy” in a Climategate email, and that was a damaging revelation, then other emails, documents, conversations, etc wouldn’t change the damaging nature of the fact that he said “xyzzy.”

          The fact that a bug database is often (usually!) an inaccurate and inconclusive record of what ultimately happens when fixing a bug is completely irrelevant.

          The fact that there may be other emails, other conversations, etc is also irrelevant.

          Were the revelations in the Climategate emails damaging? Either they were or they were not. Other conversations don’t matter when it comes to that question.

        • Posted Jun 18, 2010 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

          This is what I wrote at S&R in response to this basic criticism.

          First, you are correct that A&V used a random selection of bugs from a large record. This means that their results are broadly applicable to bug records. That the CRU emails were selected isn’t to the question of whether the A&V paper’s results apply or not. Random selections mean you can apply conclusions to other related samples, while conclusions drawn from selections can only be applied to the selections.

          This is essentially equivalent to public opinion polling – you can draw conclusions on the entire country based on a small sample (assuming you can correct for self-selection biases among the population you’re polling) if the sample is randomly drawn. However, self-selected polls (the American Association for Public Opinion Research calls these “SLOP”) only apply to the people who respond to the poll and cannot be used to draw any conclusions about the population at large.

          So, the question is whether or not the results described in A&V apply more broadly to other electronic records, specifically emails. I’ll address that shortly.

          Second, you’re only partly correct on the metadata. Bug repositories often enter ID numbers and time/date tags automatically and most modern trackers I’m familiar with also automatically enter the “filed by” fields when a new bug is entered. This is equivalent to the from, date, and similar fields in an email. The other inputs into the bug tracker are manually entered, but so are the emails’ contents. The bulk of the useful information in both emails and bug trackers are human-entered and thus subject to human error.

          We can also look at the A&V paper to see if they cover the differences between a bug repository and emails discussing the contents of the bug repository, and the answer is clearly “yes.” Their “Level 2″ analysis corresponds to an automated analysis of email records. In this case, they’re investigating whether an automated analysis of the emails produced a correct record as compared to . We can see this quantitatively by looking at Tables 2 and 3 (reproduced below) and seeing how many events and agents were identified when transitioning from a Level 2 to a Level 3 analysis (human sense-making). In every case, transitioning from looking at only the email record (and the complete email record, not a self-selected email record as in the case of CRU) to human-based analyses turned up additional events, and in every case but one, there were changes in who was involved in fixing the problems.

          link to image

          This same effect was observed qualitatively as well. Here’s some quotes from the paper that specifically mention errors in the email or general electronic records:

          People that took actions concerning the bug were often not mentioned in the record or in email communications (C2, C3, C7, C9, C10). [4.2.3]

          The extent of a participant’s contribution was easy to misjudge based on electronic traces: high frequency and intensity of interaction did not imply high level of contribution.[4.2.3]

          It is unrealistic to expect all events related to a bug to be found in its record or through its electronic traces. Naturally, most face-to-face events left no trace in any repository. But in some occasions, the key events in the story of a bug had left no electronic trace; the only way to discover them was through interviews with the participants. [4.2.5]

          Some of the concrete discrepancies we found might be acceptable for large-scale automated analyses of coordination. Others, such as most of the People issues in 4.2.3 and the missing links from bug records to source code change-sets, are far more serious. [6.2]

          The clearest finding in our study, the difference between the minable version and the true version of a bug’s history, should not be Microsoft-specific, as it depends not on corporate culture but on the amount and quality of the information that can be economically and efficiently captured electronically. [7]

          Third, you are correct that the content of the bug database is peripheral and serves as a storage location rather than a core communication link like email. However, for your overall point to hold, the email communications would also have to be peripheral rather than a core communication method. The tables above, however, quantitatively reject that assertion.

          Aranda pointed out above that my comparison to a Level 2 analysis is not quite right even though I think it more correctly captures the type of information included in the electronic record. Instead, the emails themselves represent the base level, or Level 1. He explains it a little better at his personal blog, where he says

          It seems as if the CRU case is more of an attempted level 3 analysis with very incomplete (and cherry-picked) level 1 data, whereas the East Anglia inquiries would be a level 4 analysis. There also seems to be some malice involved in the original analysis. So the link to our paper is not that straightforward.

          Not straightforward, but I think that I’ve explained the link reasonably well at this point. The fact that the original dataset is obviously incomplete (while A&V acquired a nearly complete dataset for each of their cases and still found the electronic records “deeply unreliable”) only strengthens my argument. As does the fact that the emails are clearly cherry-picked and not a representative sample (and thus self-selected). As to malice, that casts even more doubt on the emails, as we can’t know whether exculpatory emails were purged from the record or not.

          After all, if Jones sent an email that said “Please ignore that deletion email. Getting over the flu here and wasn’t thinking clearly.” and it wasn’t included in the record, that would radically change the nature of what we think we know about the emails. And the only way to know would be for the victims of the release to expose themselves even more.

        • Posted Jun 18, 2010 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

          I wrote this in response to MrPete at S&R, and while it’s not a direct response to this exact comment, it does attempt to address his particular complaints.

          First, you are correct that A&V used a random selection of bugs from a large record. This means that their results are broadly applicable to bug records. That the CRU emails were selected isn’t to the question of whether the A&V paper’s results apply or not. Random selections mean you can apply conclusions to other related samples, while conclusions drawn from selections can only be applied to the selections.

          This is essentially equivalent to public opinion polling – you can draw conclusions on the entire country based on a small sample (assuming you can correct for self-selection biases among the population you’re polling) if the sample is randomly drawn. However, self-selected polls (the American Association for Public Opinion Research calls these “SLOP”) only apply to the people who respond to the poll and cannot be used to draw any conclusions about the population at large.

          So, the question is whether or not the results described in A&V apply more broadly to other electronic records, specifically emails. I’ll address that shortly.

          Second, you’re only partly correct on the metadata. Bug repositories often enter ID numbers and time/date tags automatically and most modern trackers I’m familiar with also automatically enter the “filed by” fields when a new bug is entered. This is equivalent to the from, date, and similar fields in an email. The other inputs into the bug tracker are manually entered, but so are the emails’ contents. The bulk of the useful information in both emails and bug trackers are human-entered and thus subject to human error.

          We can also look at the A&V paper to see if they cover the differences between a bug repository and emails discussing the contents of the bug repository, and the answer is clearly “yes.” Their “Level 2″ analysis corresponds to an automated analysis of email records. In this case, they’re investigating whether an automated analysis of the emails produced a correct record as compared to . We can see this quantitatively by looking at Tables 2 and 3 (reproduced below) and seeing how many events and agents were identified when transitioning from a Level 2 to a Level 3 analysis (human sense-making). In every case, transitioning from looking at only the email record (and the complete email record, not a self-selected email record as in the case of CRU) to human-based analyses turned up additional events, and in every case but one, there were changes in who was involved in fixing the problems.

          link to image

          This same effect was observed qualitatively as well. Here’s some quotes from the paper that specifically mention errors in the email or general electronic records:

          People that took actions concerning the bug were often not mentioned in the record or in email communications (C2, C3, C7, C9, C10). [4.2.3]

          The extent of a participant’s contribution was easy to misjudge based on electronic traces: high frequency and intensity of interaction did not imply high level of contribution.[4.2.3]

          It is unrealistic to expect all events related to a bug to be found in its record or through its electronic traces. Naturally, most face-to-face events left no trace in any repository. But in some occasions, the key events in the story of a bug had left no electronic trace; the only way to discover them was through interviews with the participants. [4.2.5]

          Some of the concrete discrepancies we found might be acceptable for large-scale automated analyses of coordination. Others, such as most of the People issues in 4.2.3 and the missing links from bug records to source code change-sets, are far more serious. [6.2]

          The clearest finding in our study, the difference between the minable version and the true version of a bug’s history, should not be Microsoft-specific, as it depends not on corporate culture but on the amount and quality of the information that can be economically and efficiently captured electronically. [7]

          Third, you are correct that the content of the bug database is peripheral and serves as a storage location rather than a core communication link like email. However, for your overall point to hold, the email communications would also have to be peripheral rather than a core communication method. The tables above, however, quantitatively reject that assertion.

          Aranda pointed out above that my comparison to a Level 2 analysis is not quite right even though I think it more correctly captures the type of information included in the electronic record. Instead, the emails themselves represent the base level, or Level 1. He explains it a little better at his personal blog, where he says

          It seems as if the CRU case is more of an attempted level 3 analysis with very incomplete (and cherry-picked) level 1 data, whereas the East Anglia inquiries would be a level 4 analysis. There also seems to be some malice involved in the original analysis. So the link to our paper is not that straightforward.

          Not straightforward, but I think that I’ve explained the link reasonably well at this point. The fact that the original dataset is obviously incomplete (while A&V acquired a nearly complete dataset for each of their cases and still found the electronic records “deeply unreliable”) only strengthens my argument. As does the fact that the emails are clearly cherry-picked and not a representative sample (and thus self-selected). As to malice, that casts even more doubt on the emails, as we can’t know whether exculpatory emails were purged from the record or not.

          After all, if Jones sent an email that said “Please ignore that deletion email. Getting over the flu here and wasn’t thinking clearly.” and it wasn’t included in the record, that would radically change the nature of what we think we know about the emails. And the only way to know would be for the victims of the release to expose themselves even more.

          I apologize if I post this twice – I thought I’d posted it once, but it hasn’t shown up after an hour or so. Either the original got caught in a spam trap or I accidentally navigated away before hitting “post comment.”

        • Baa Humbug
          Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 5:20 AM | Permalink

          Re: Brian Angliss (Jun 13 16:38),

          Wow!! You’ve just made O J Simpson and his attorney proud. Well done.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Jun 16, 2010 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

          Brian,

          The approach of interviewing people is vital. Let’s look at the study you cite and see the important things that electronic records Lack

          4.2.6 Rationale. Probably the hardest questions to
          answer without human sense-making and participant
          collaboration were the “why” questions: In C4, why did
          a developer choose another as a required code
          reviewer, but a third as an optional reviewer? In C10,
          why was there no activity in a bug record for weeks
          after a few bouts of minute-by-minute updates and
          frantic emails? Why were the Status or Resolution
          fields in C2, C4, and C8 incorrect? Why in C5 did a
          triage group conclude that the bug would not be fixed?

          SO, did you ask Overpeck “why” Briffa would think to label this mail confidential? did you ask briffa Why? did anyone ask Jones why he asked mann to delete mails. In short, did you adopt the very approach of the study you cited? there are other issues as well, but lets start with that. I wont ask if you offered a 500 dollar gift certificate to reponsdents.

        • Posted Jun 21, 2010 at 10:58 PM | Permalink

          Actually, I did ask Briffa why, but because he requested that I not quote him, I’m not at liberty to discuss what his answer was.

          I did take the approach that I claim is necessary as I contacted the principles in the emails I looked into as best I could and I asked you and McIntyre both followup questions that related to my writing.

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 5:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

        ya dave, in my old feild of study we called this the “intentional fallacy”

    • John Murphy
      Posted Jun 17, 2010 at 6:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Tom Fuller

      You are right. I tried to get (through FOI request to that dud Palmer at UEA) all the emails passing between Briffa, Osborn and the rest of the hockey team. I was refused. Don’t ask me the stated reasons. The reasons were concocted to justufy a predetermined decision made outside the FOI Act. I can read them a mile away because I’ve been dealing in FOI requests here in Australia for 20 years. It doesn’t take long to learn the signs.

      In light of Brian’s defence, I’m entitled to conclude, as I have, that the whole population of emails (a 100% sample) would merely reinforce the message conveyed byteh one’s we have.

      If Brian knows something we don’t (e.g. he has all the other emails) then he should release them. Otherwise, he should stop arguing through his hat.

  11. UC
    Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 3:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What is the definition for “decline”? Something to do with prediction intervals for the proxy data ( 1961-1994 , withheld from calibration ) ?

  12. ZT
    Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 5:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    So Brian isn’t interested in answering Steve’s question? What should one conclude from that?

  13. Otter
    Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 5:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    That’s ok, brian, we already understanding that repeating a lie does Not make it true :D

  14. Skip Smith
    Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 5:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I’d like to urge a bit of civility here. Unlike many other critics and drive-by smearers, Brian Angliss is actually here engaging us in a discussion.

    In my opinion the most fruitful way forward would be to focus on a topic that has a basis in data and fact — the various “tricks” used in temperature reconstructions. Brian has said he’s interested in looking at the numbers himself, so let’s make that happen. Let’s show him the “before” and “after” from various “tricks,” and provide him with the data and code to replicate everything.

  15. Steven Mosher
    Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 5:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Brian wrote to Overpeck and asked him the following on point question.

    Angliss: “Dr. Overpeck, as the mails reveal Briffa passed a copy of the Chapter 6 draft to Wahl after the reviewer deadline had passed. He also appears to have incorporated Wahl’s edits into the final text.” Did the IPCC rules permit a lead author to pass the document to a person who was not on the review team or was this a violation of IPCC proceedures?”

    Overpeck responded: ” Brian, Briffa was not allowed to pass drafts onto individuals who were not reviewers. That would be a clear violation. Especially after comments were closed.

    Best, Peck ”

    So Brian, How come you did not report this question that you asked Overpeck?

    Crap.. you didnt ask him that question…hehe. or did you.

    Anyway.. In my letter to you I urged you to ask certain questions.
    did you?

    • bender
      Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 12:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Interesting. What else did you ask him to ask ‘Peck?
      Hey, Angliss, what did you ask and what did he choose not to answer? I have my guesses.

      • steven Mosher
        Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 12:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

        to be clear I didnt ask him to ask peck anything. If I knew he was asking peck questions I would have given him my list. What I did was give him a list of questions I would ask.. That is, he asked me what I thought of the investigations and I said a real journalist needs to ask these questions.. lemme see here.. First, I told him the exact situation with Briffa and that Briffa shared the draft:

        “Thanks for asking that question. It’s a common enough defense that unravels in rather ironic ways. First, the job of reconstructing the ethos behind the mails is rather like the task of reconstructing the climate of the past, something that Jones and Osborn are well acquainted with. In that scientific endeavor both of these scientists are constrained by the data that is available to them. They work with limited data, sparse data, and conflicting data. This did not stop them from over stating their claims of certainty about reconstructions of the past. This did not stop Jones from hiding the decline. However, when it comes to people making claims about the mails that do exist, Jones and Osborn want to appeal to the data that is missing. This is a tactic straight out of the climate skeptic’s book, ironic.
        The mails give us a limited view. That is trivially true. The real question is when will Osborn and Jones answer the substantive questions that the mails pose. When will journalists pose these questions and when will Osborn and Jones sit down to supply the missing context and answer questions. There is no context whatsoever that explains or justifies some of the things that Jones said and did. No context. The arm waving appeal to a context that would explain his actions and writings is no more convincing than the skeptic’s arm waving appeals to, say, our lack of understanding of cloud processes. Just as missing data in some areas of climate science doesnt prevent us from making rational statements about global warming, so to the fact of missing mails does not prevent us from describing clearly what we do know about the mails. To claim otherwise is to engage in the kind of intellectual buffoonery that skeptics engage in.

        I will just recount one episode from the mails that Jones has never explained, that Obsborn played a role in and that culminated in the violation of Mr Holland’s rights.
        In the spring and summer of 2006, Overpeck the review editor of Chapter 6 or AR4 informed Briffa that he should have no contact with other scientists outside of the
        IPCC process. This is documented in the mails. http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=687&filename=1147982305.txt

        This was the procedure. All comments
        and communication must go through official channels to insure fairness and transparency and a trusted scientific record. Jones was aware of these rules. Obsborn was. Briffa was. Then Briffa wrote a mail marked confidential to Eugene Wahl.
        In that mail and subsequent mails he shared draft versions with Wahl and reviewer comments with Wahl. Wahl sent back edits and materials from an unpublished paper.
        http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=716&filename=1153470204.txt
        Briffa incorporated this material. Briffa described this as “stealing” Wahl’s work and asked Wahl to check it so that it was not traceable.
        http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=733&filename=1155402164.txt
        He knew he was violating the rules.
        Wahls comments were on a substantive issue. A paper that Wahl and Ammann had written. Wahl’s comments and edits changed the conclusions of Chapter 6. These inputs were not approved or reviewed by any of the official reviewers.The edits were used to blunt a paper by McIntyre–a critic of Jones and Briffa and Osborn.
        It’s a fair question to ask what context would make such an act acceptable? What possible context could justify this? ”

        So I’ve told Brian that these questions need to be asked> Instead of asking Peck the SUBSTANTIVE question about the sharing of the draft and the insertion of the edits, Brian asked the softball question.. did the rules prevent contact?

        More later.. I tended to answer his questios with 2000 word bursts..(moshpit +redbull = trouble)

        • Posted Jun 21, 2010 at 11:08 PM | Permalink

          Thank you for clarifying that you didn’t mean to suggest you’d told me to ask Overpeck anything, as you joked about here.

          You claim that I “softballed” Overpeck, but you fail to recognize an important point – I was asking him a question to fact check what you claimed the emails meant. He disagreed with your interpretation of the email in question, and for the reasons I’ve reported. I was not asking him to explain the sum total of his published emails as you might, but rather I was addressing your very specific claims. Asking questions for fact-checking is different from asking questions for understanding or context or content, and I was doing the former.

      • steven Mosher
        Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 1:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Hmm my prior comment appears lost?

        Crap.. I call skeptics buffoons in this mail..

        here bender.. the questions moshpit would ask.. from my interview with Brian…. I’ll just collect them all.. but start here

        “…….This was the procedure. All comments
        and communication must go through official channels to insure fairness and transparency and a trusted scientific record. Jones was aware of these rules. Obsborn was. Briffa was. Then Briffa wrote a mail marked confidential to Eugene Wahl.
        In that mail and subsequent mails he shared draft versions with Wahl and reviewer comments with Wahl. Wahl sent back edits and materials from an unpublished paper.
        http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=716&filename=1153470204.txt
        Briffa incorporated this material. Briffa described this as “stealing” Wahl’s work and asked Wahl to check it so that it was not traceable.
        http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=733&filename=1155402164.txt
        He knew he was violating the rules.
        Wahls comments were on a substantive issue. A paper that Wahl and Ammann had written. Wahl’s comments and edits changed the conclusions of Chapter 6. These inputs were not approved or reviewed by any of the official reviewers.The edits were used to blunt a paper by McIntyre–a critic of Jones and Briffa and Osborn.
        It’s a fair question to ask what context would make such an act acceptable? What possible context could justify this?”

        There were other questions.. As I explain to brian there are a whole host of questions that havent been asked…

        “First, the job of reconstructing the ethos behind the mails is rather like the task of reconstructing the climate of the past, something that Jones and Osborn are well acquainted with. In that scientific endeavor both of these scientists are constrained by the data that is available to them. They work with limited data, sparse data, and conflicting data. This did not stop them from over stating their claims of certainty about reconstructions of the past. This did not stop Jones from hiding the decline. However, when it comes to people making claims about the mails that do exist Jones and Osborn want to appeal to the data that is missing. This is a tactic straight out of the climate skeptic’s book, ironic.
        The mails give us a limited view. That is trivially true. The real question is when will Osborn and Jones answer the substantive questions that the mails pose. When will journalists pose these questions and when will Osborn and Jones sit down to supply the missing context and answer questions. There is no context whatsoever that explains or justifies some of the things that Jones said and did. No context. The arm waving appeal to a context that would explain his actions and writings is no more convincing than the skeptic’s arm waving appeals to, say, our lack of understanding of cloud processes. Just as missing data in some areas of climate science doesnt prevent us from making rational statements about global warming, so to the fact of missing mails does not prevent us from describing clearly what we do know about the mails. To claim otherwise is to engage in the kind of intellectual buffoonery that skeptics engage in.”

  16. dearieme
    Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 6:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Look, dendros, tree rings have turned out to be lousy proxies for temperature. Nit-picking at the detail is pointless – the weight of evidence is now overwhelming. McIntyre has done you all a favour by drawing the world’s attention to the deficencies in “treemometer” data; you are now free to find other topics on which to spend your lives.

  17. Steven Mosher
    Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 6:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Bender will like this. As i read through the mails the bombshells appear to follow a poisson process. Anyway, Brian appears to want to make this argument that we just have a small sample. That’s true. In some cases there is just one mail. but one mail is all it takes.

    My favorite is the mail in which Jones admits to sharing confidential data with Rutherford and in the SAME mail, says that if anybody requests it under FOIA. he will delete it.

    We can discuss the mails leading up to this.. or the mails following it.
    But Brian, that mail clearly shows Jones admiting to sharing confidential data with rutherford. A charge he hasn’t denied.

    On the record before parliament Jones seems to indicate that it was standard practice to NOT share data, but there you go. figure that out

    Over his whole life phil jones may send Billions of mails. Precisely what does that have to do with the charge that he shared confidential data?

    • Tim
      Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 7:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I would say the emails follow a “poisson pourri” process.

      • wilbert
        Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 9:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Ah But “poisson pourri” entrails use to be used by Divins for predicting weather and other calamities.
        1.5 millions mails in 10 years? is that not 15 seconds per mails?
        John Cook from skeptical science :” I’m not a climatologist or a scientist but a self employed cartoonist – John Cook, Skeptical Science”
        Like Desmog,Skeptical Science is just another science smear site.

    • bender
      Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 12:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

      That’s what you call a poison process. (Hmmmm, I’ll try the fish. NOOOOO!)

  18. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 7:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Angliss also proposed the multiple email argument to me on S&R. My response was that I had additional relevant private emails, that were prima facie incriminating, so the total volume was immaterial. But somehow that message was not liked by him.

    The strange behavior of Angliss reminds me of passers-by who deliberately walk away from a person being mugged in the street, then after the event, invent excuses for avioding chances to display bravery and identify the mugger. What torch does he carry for CRU? And why?

  19. ianl8888
    Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 7:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Angliss seems to have fooled most of the replies with simple straw man tactics

    The core of the issue is that Jones felt impelled to “hide the decline” from the public gaze (correctly assuming that the public would not, cannot, check the published literature)

    Angliss comes nowhere near addressing the issue and clearly has no intention of doing so … just ignore straw men

    • Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 11:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

      ianl8888
      Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 7:59 PM
      I repeat a post on the first thread:
      I am “public” but just following links brought up the decline well and truly discussed.

      McIntyre does not dispute a rise in temperatures. So the plots show 1800s to 2000s accurately. I.e. the temperature is rising. Is the plot wrong for the public who would not understand error bars etc.?

      Neil Fisher Posted Jun 12, 2010 at 7:51 PM
      If you read the document by Briffa referenced by the WMO leaflet the decline is well discussed:
      Fig 5 description:
      Note the recent disparity in density and measured temperatures (T) discussed in Briffa et al., 1998a, 1999b).

      text page 96

      A significant outcome of this ‘hemispheric-scale’ comparison between the summer temperatures and NHD1 (Fig. 5, also confirmed in the low-frequency density curve) is an apparent divergence in the post-1950 trends (Briffa et al., 1998b). High-frequency associations (not shown here) remain strong throughout the whole record, but average density levels have continuously fallen while temperatures in recent decades have risen…
      As yet, the reason is not known, but analyses of time-dependent regional comparisons suggest that it is associated with a tendency towards loss of ‘spring’ growth response (Briffa et al., 1 999b) and, at least for subarctic Siberia, it may be connected with changes in the timing of spring snowmelt (Vaganov et al., 1999).There are important implications in this observation not least the possibility of biased regression coefficients in attempts to reconstruct past low-frequency temperature change based on long density series calibrated against recent temperatures. These may overestimate past tem¬perature levels and underestimate the extent of apparent 20th century warming (but see later discussion and that in Briffa et al., 1998c).

      and section 5.3 seems a fair discussions on the problem of tree ring use:

      5.3. Changing Climate Sensitivity and ‘New’ Growth Influences
      In the foregoing discussion, we have alluded to the fact that tree-growth, as represented in various standardised tree-ring chronologies in various parts of the world, often seems anomalous in the 20th century as compared to earlier centuries. Though my no means always true, this is apparent often enough to support speculation that `unusual things are happening’ across large areas…
      UV radiation and a host of other environmental factors may all exert their influence on tree growth. To varying extents, such factors have always affected trees, but their recent influences, and especially the extent of their corn-bined influence, requires serious investigation, beyond that undertaken to date.

      Please remember the document refered to by McIntyre is a small pamphlet not an in depth peer reviewed document.
      From the pamphlet another regerence is:
      [http://www] .pages.unibe.ch/products/newsletters/NL99_1_scr.pdf

      In the immediate future, work will
      continue on important statistical issues
      related to the processing and interpretation
      of all of the various tree-ring collections.
      Potential anthropogenic influences
      on recent tree growth will become
      an increasingly important focus of the
      work. Increased tree productivity during
      the 19th and early 20th centuries and
      post-1950 declines in tree density trends
      have recently been identified in our
      data. The extent, detail and implications
      of these phenomena have yet to be further
      explored. Chronology confidence
      and the expression of climate forcing are
      most strongly expressed on short (annual
      to century) timescales. New

      This hidden decline is shouted from the rooftops in numerous articles and publications. How is it hidden?

      • geronimo
        Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 1:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

        TFP:”This hidden decline is shouted from the rooftops in numerous articles and publications. How is it hidden?”

        Shouldn’t you be addressing this question to Prof Jones? He is after all the person who wrote “hide the decline”.

        Also if the decline hasn’t been hidden can you point me to any publication from any of the hockey team that shows a downturn of temperature in the 29th century.

        As ever watch the pea, the real issue here isn’t that the hid the decline, it is that the decline makes the proxies unreliable for any part of the reconstruction.

      • ianl8888
        Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 5:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

        @tfp

        “How is it hidden?”

        By truncating the tree-ring proxy reconstruction in the early 1960′s and tacking on the instrument record ! ie. “hide the decline”

        Ho hum…

      • Geoff Sherrington
        Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 8:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Thefordprefect: The question of the decline, “How is it hidden”?

        The answer about the decline, “There are no statements of quantity or magnitude or coverage, and no mention that the text books will need rewriting.”

    • Posted Jun 18, 2010 at 10:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Would you care to point out any straw men I created and why they’re straw men? I haven’t done so intentionally and would like to see any unintentional ones so I can correct them, either by addressing the real point or by showing that the straw men are not actually straw men.

  20. Tom Fuller
    Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 8:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Angliss, here are my assumptions about how your project was born. Feel free to correct any misimpressions that I have. They are not really relevant to the results, which I will return to.

    Assumptions

    1. It appears to me that you wanted to rebut statements made by McIntyre, Mosher and myself. (I am not criticizing you if that is the case–although acknowledging it in your blog posts would have been helpful as well as refreshing.)

    2. You (again, naturally, and this is also not a criticism) did not want to wade through 1,000 posts at CA, plunk down $16.99 for a book by people you don’t like just to pick through it for a couple of blog posts, and you didn’t want to read the commentary surrounding existing chronological versions of the emails and didn’t have time to plough through the raw collection. (Again, for a couple of blog posts I don’t have a problem with this.)

    3. You encountered the study referenced above and immediately made a connection between their findings and what could be said about the Climategate emails.

    It’s what happened next that is important. From reading your two blog posts on the issue and the comments made subsequently here and on your weblog, you refer only to a previously published study regarding software bugs and selected passages from the book Climategate, as well as correspondence with McIntyre and Overpeck. You have arranged them to form a narrative that fits your worldview and the only original work on your part was the creation of your estimates of email volumes for the period covered by the Climategate emails and your estimates of the percentage of the total provided by the Climategate emails.

    What I don’t see any evidence of:

    1. Examining the work you are criticizing.
    2. Evaluating the suitability of the Microsoft study to the Climategate model, or looking for parallel studies or analysis.
    3. Attempting to reason through why the behaviour of the Climategate scientists might be different from software programmers.
    4. Understanding how quantitative and qualitative data sets should be described, analyzed and reported on.

    The problem as it seems to me is that you are trying to paint a faux-scientific patina on what are speculative and kinda fun blog posts. Which is okay until you start slamming people who also use electronic publishing tools.

    I don’t think you did your homework. I think it shows.

    • Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 5:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Assumption #1: incorrect. I’ve had experiences reading McIntyre’s work, and I’ve found that some of it is very good while some of it is not. That I found statements that I felt needed rebuttal is entirely coincidental – the first post on how much context is in the CRU emails was the entire point of my contacting Mosher and McIntyre. I didn’t even find you until about 85% of the way through writing the first piece, when I was fact-checking something Mosher said you and he wrote in the book – that’s when I came across the excerpts on your website. In the process of writing the first piece, however, I found a significant number of what I consider to be inaccurate, inconsistent, or misleading statements by Mosher and McIntyre. It was after I did so that I decided to run a companion piece to the original where I addressed the statements that I found. I have enough material that I haven’t used yet (they were more of a “grab bag” and didn’t really fit the main themes of the second piece, so I cut them out to save over 1000 words) to run at least one more piece.

      Assumption #2: partially correct. I’ve read every email to which I’ve been provided specific reference, as well as a number of others. Probably about 10% of them to date, although I’m slowly working through the others (I have the complete archive on my computer, although I find eastangliaemails.com is more user-friendly). You’re correct, however, that I don’t have the time to read 5+ years of Climate Audit posts – I’m an electrical engineer who works in aerospace at a 40+ hour per week job. I admit to being tempted to acquire your book, however, although I’ll wait until after the Muir Russel review has posted their results – I expect that their review will overwhelm anything you’ve done, even if they agree 100% with everything you said.

      3: Incorrect. I encountered the paper well after I started this project, about 2 weeks into doing research (it took me about a month of research and interviews and another week of writing ) when I was pointed to it by someone whom I’d asked for research assistance with a note that it might be applicable to what I was working on. I’ve been interested in this ever since I realized that my own personal experience as an EE informed me that your approach was fundamentally flawed (shortly after the House of Commons report was released, when I first read Tim Osborn’s quote), and the paper provided a non-subjective way to illustrate that point.

      You’re correct that I arranged the quotes into a narrative, but that’s what journalism is – taking the available facts and creating a narrative out of them. However, I interviewed more than just Overpeck and McIntyre – I contacted Eugene Wahl for comment (he refused multiple requests), Keith Briffa (who responded but asked not to be quoted), Martin Vermeer, Steven Mosher, Gavin Schmidt, Tom Wigley, and a few others. The difference is that, while I had an idea where the paper was going, it was guided by my research rather than my personal opinions. In fact, Tom Wigley and Mosher’s responses sent my original idea careening while reading the paper sent my work off in a new, but related, direction.

      • steven Mosher
        Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 12:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

        I will suggest that you NOT use eastanglia.com. It is an incomplete record and you will miss some things. ( I think one Jones hyperbole in particular)

        Read all the mails. It took me a couple days the first time through.
        I think the guy who did the guardian book say he almost read all the mails.

        Read all of Climate audit. For two years bender chided me for not doing my homework. So I finally buckled down and read the whole damn thing.

        Read the early real climate posts 2004-2005.

        There is one mail in particular that is missing. Its in there buts its missing. that’s a riddle.

        I will give you a clue.

        Party A at CRU sent a mail to party B… not at CRU

        Party B responded to party A and his response has party A’s original mail attached.

        The original mail ( the thing in your sent folder) is not in the file.
        The mail from party B ( which would be in your “in box”) IS in the file.. and it has the original mail as part of the mail thread.

        This is a test of whether you read carefully and consider everything in front of you.

        Then you can ask.. what happened to the original mail? perhaps somebody deleted mail they sent but not mail they received…..

        ok thats too many hints..

        Then another puzzle.

        Read the last mail. What is in that attachment? The attachment is not in the files, BUT if you read all the mails and climateaudit carefully you should be able to ascertain what is in that attachment. If not, you need to read everything again.

  21. sleeper
    Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 9:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    After reading this post, I am convinced someone slipped something in my drink. Bizzaro World.

  22. ZT
    Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 12:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I doubt that a software bug report has ever been written that instructs readers to delete their email on a given topic!

    (But perhaps Brian’s professional experience is more sophisticated).

  23. BDAABAT
    Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 4:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Very interesting…

    Brian’s site has had several updates made to it after the “discussion” occurred here. Yet, as of 4:23AM EDT Monday June 14, this is what’s available on Brian’s page about “Climate Scientists still besieged”.

    “S&R contacted Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit to get his views on how much context the published emails contained and what could be concluded from them. In response, he referred us specifically to one of his posts from December, 2009. He also referred us to the entirety of his “Climategate” category. S&R chose not to focus on the first post as it has been extensively critiqued elsewhere, instead focusing on a related post where McIntyre made a number of claims that are not supported by the published record.

    (Updated 6/13/2010: In the process of debating a number of points with Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit, it has been made clear to me that I erroneously assumed that the post referenced below was exclusively about Figure 2.21 from the Third Assessment Report. However, after McIntyre clarified his post today in response to the debate and after further verification of the original source material, it’s now clear that he referenced the TAR first, the WMO next, and then back to the TAR. Given the clarification, the struck out portions of the following post are no longer correct. I apologize for the error.)”

    That’s nice that he apologizes. However, the apology isn’t really an apology… it’s a fig leaf. Interesting in what it shows.

    1. “S&R contacted Steve…” meaning, it SOUNDS like he was trying to be a good reporter. However, wouldn’t a good reporter already have read the volumes of information that were readily available on this specific subject before opining that the individual was “making claims not supported by the published record”??

    2. Well, that answer was a definite no, because the next sentence describes what Brian actually did… “In response, he referred us specifically to one of his posts from December, 2009. He also referred us to the entirety of his “Climategate” category. S&R chose not to focus on the first post as it has been extensively critiqued elsewhere, instead focusing on a related post where McIntyre made a number of claims that are not supported by the published record.” So, Brain admits that he didn’t read anything that Steve wrote, he just assumed that Steve was wrong, and believed the word of Deep Climate instead. Clearly, a very thoughtful and balanced approach. So, despite his protestations that he’s a good reporter and that he’s ready to run the data, he not only HASN’T actually run “the data”, he hasn’t even done the due diligence of reviewing previously published work from Steve and others, yet he’s more than ready to state that Steve has, “made claims that are not supported by the record.”

    3. In the update at his site, he acknowledges that he screwed up, (well, sort of) and apologizes. Yet even here, he does so without REALLY apologizing. He states that, “However, after McIntyre clarified his post today in response to the debate and after further verification of the original source material, it’s now clear that he referenced the TAR first, the WMO next, and then back to the TAR. Given the clarification, the struck out portions of the following post are no longer correct. I apologize for the error.)” He admits an error, but frames the “discussion” as one where it seems like the error wasn’t REALLY an error… really was just a bit of clarifying that little, teeny misunderstanding of which figure in what report… No Brian, that’s not what happened. You made an assumption, failed to do your due diligence, you were wrong, and you were called on it.

    4. The biggest issue: he doesn’t retract his most bold statement, that Steve was, “…making claims not supported by the record.” No where has Brian shown that any claim made by Steve was “not supported by the record.”

    If you are the one making the bold claims, then it’s your job to do the research to back up those claims. So far, you haven’t. Time to admit the error and pull it from your blog.

    It’s also time for you to actually read the work that’s already been done instead of assuming that Steve and others are wrong just because you believe it and want it to be so.

    Bruce

    • Posted Jun 21, 2010 at 11:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Allow me to address a major error you made, Bruce. You quote that I chose not to address the specific post McIntyre referred me to, which is true. You then claim that it means that I “didn’t read anything Steve wrote.” This is an assumption on your part and entirely incorrect. I read nearly every post on Climategate at CA from December until I posted my piece a couple of weeks ago. Some I read closely, others I skimmed. I also read all three of DC’s pieces deconstructing Steve’s original trick piece and concluded that a) most of DC’s arguments were reasonable and b) I had nothing to add to the record with regard to that particular post.

      • bender
        Posted Jun 22, 2010 at 11:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Bruce makes a “major” error here, yet DC’s argument is “mostly reasonable”. I think BA’s judgement tool may need some re-calibration. It’s DC who’s making a few critical errors, and BA here microparsing Bruce’s text. BA may have read all of Steve’s texts. That doesn’t mean it was understood in its entirety.

        It comes down to this: Steve doesn’t make that many mistakes. And when he does, he admits and corrects them. His critics – in contrast – won’t budge an inch. Very, very foolish.

  24. Ron Cram
    Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 9:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Brian,
    You admitted an error and struck out a significant portion of your blog posting but the facts are still not as clear to most readers as they could be. You struck out this quote from Steve:

    There is no valid statistical procedure supporting the substitution of tree ring proxy data going the wrong with instrumental temperature data to create a false rhetorical impression of the coherence of the proxy data. (emphasis added, source)

    And you struck out this portion you wrote:
    If the scientists had actually substituted or replaced the tree ring proxy data with instrument data, then McIntyre and Fuller would have a valid claim of fraudulent behavior by Phil Jones et al.

    I’m glad to see you changed your position when confronted with the facts and struck out this portion of your blog post. Instead of just striking out the error, why not write a blog posting with a positive statement to make things clear for readers who are new to the subject? Something along the lines of:

    “I learned something important from Steve McIntyre and ClimateAudit today. I learned Michael Mann and Phil Jones both redacted the temp reconstruction based on tree-rings and replaced the data with the surface temp record. There is no statistical support for a replacement or substitution of this kind. I now understand now why some skeptics are complaining about fraudulent behavior among climate scientists.”

    I am certain you can write it better than I can.

  25. sam mccomb
    Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

    For some reason the words of Mr Angliss keep reminding me of an old school report of mine on my woodwork class. It read: “He has devised elegant ways of taking home firewood”.

  26. geo
    Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 11:50 AM | Permalink | Reply

    What are these “all the other proxy records” that cover the period before ~1500AD that the tree rings track well with?

    • Jay
      Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 5:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

      They are the proxies that create the +0.5/-0.9 degree variance in the reliability of the various incarnations of the hockey stick models. If, and only if, ancient tree ring proxies are robust temperature proxies can they be used in the models to moderate or eliminate the mid-evil warming period.

      Angliss and his type are not merely haggling about which data sets were used in the 20th century and which were ignored, smoothed, homogenized or hidden behind other lines on a graph, they are fighting to preserve the uniqueness of late 20th century warming. Recall that the catastrophe community has longed blamed CO2 for recent warming, because their research and models found no other causes for the “unprecedented” warming in the past 25 years or so. If the med-evil warming period was warmer than the present, without the presence of elevated anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere, then their “CO2 as poison” theory dies on the vine.

      • Robert
        Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 5:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

        snip – oT

        • Craig Loehle
          Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

          Robert: the logic is this. It has been claimed that late 20th Century was unprecedented in temperature and that nothing could have caused the warming except CO2. If past periods were warmer, such as MWP, then one must be able to properly model the MWP to way WHY it was warm and go from there, but no one has been able to do that yet. What a warm MWP also says is that IT IS POSSIBLE to get a warm period without high CO2 because we know CO2 was not elevated 1000 yrs ago. If the MWP was warm, it is no longer ok to ignore things just because we can’t model them.

        • Tom Gray
          Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 9:54 PM | Permalink

          There is also the social science meme that M Tobis is currently describing on this blog in another thread. According to this meme, climate scientists have special insight into climate that is a result of their training and experience. From this insight it can be understood their intuition can be relied upon to discern results that are denied to other people whatever their training. Thus the strictures of statistics do not apply to them in their climate work since their intuition allows them to produce valid results without following strict statistical procedures.

          The absence of MWP and thus the strict dependence of global temperature on CO2 concentration was one of these intuitions. If the MWP did exist then what would be falsified is not just an hypothesis about global temperature but the entire meme of the special intuition of the consensus in climate science.

          This meme has been pretty widespread for a while. It has recently been expanded to a broader meme that puts the problem of AGW is a spcial place. Since AGW is potentially catastrophic and that the findings of consensus climate science are difficult for the mass of the population to understand then the issue of AGW should be removed from democratic control. The response to AGW should thus be reserved fro the special insight of the intellectual/scientific elite that can understand it. The existence of the MWP would again place this meme of elite accommodation in the mitigation of AGW ito jeopardy.

          The existence of the MWP is much more than a physical science issue.

        • Robert
          Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 10:21 PM | Permalink

          Craig Loehle,
          It is true that you cannot ignore the causes of the MWP and so on but my point I feel is fully logical. That a larger amplitude of variability in the Holocene is not “the final nail in the coffin” of AGW. Personally, I think that there are natural influences and anthropogenic. The idea that since 1850 CO2 has driven climate is ridiculous but I think it is equally ridiculous to discount any CO2 influence since the 1980s or 90s. Every legitimate climate scientist knows that the MWP had to be more than it was previously depicted, but whether it is warmer than right now is I believe up for serious debate. I’m inclined to think that it is unlikely that the MWP was warmer than current temperatures but perhaps on par is not hard to believe. We will learn soon enough if we have actually passed certain thresholds. If we see an ice free september sea ice extent in the next few years then I think I will have to concede that the Anthropogenic portion is higher than I previously anticipated.

        • Baa Humbug
          Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 5:36 AM | Permalink

          Re: Robert (Jun 14 22:21),

          If we see an ice free september sea ice extent in the next few years then I think I will have to concede that the Anthropogenic portion is higher than I previously anticipated.

          What has sea ice extent got to do with anthropogenic influences?

        • John Murphy
          Posted Jun 17, 2010 at 7:10 AM | Permalink

          Robert

          You are right. The MWP had to be warmer than today, at least in England, Germany and Greenland. When Bede the Venerable was living at the monastery in Jarrow in Northumbria they were growing grapes for wine. Can’t do that now – too cold. In southern Germany at about the same time, the vineyards were about 300 m higher upslope than you can grow graoes now. People lived in Greenland and grew grain – rye and oats to be sure but still grain. Cann’t do that now. they called labrador “Vinland” – not a name you’d use today.

          No one can accuse Bede and his contemporaries of being biased sceptics who twist the data. they just reported their lives and dies over 1,000 years ago,

          Until the proxies can explain those comtemporaneous records (and 100s of others to the same effect), they are not worth two bob, as we say here, and certainly not worth even that as the basis for decisons to spend a cazillion trillion dollars. Make no mistake, that’s why Mann chose the “last 1,000 years” for his “uprecedented” temperatures and “unprecedented” rate of temperature increase. that is teh basis

        • John Murphy
          Posted Jun 17, 2010 at 7:15 AM | Permalink

          Sorry, that comment was meant for Craig.

        • Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 10:34 PM | Permalink

          I was thinking of other examples of meme’s or norms that we don’t all share. Eg: regarding atmospheric circulation there is a CS intuition that they will change in a permament way as a result of CO2 increase (the weakening of the Walker Circulation say). When I point out that there is no significant change in any of the NINO indices, the response is ‘well it hasn’t happened yet’. Still the lack of significant change didn’t stop Vecchi and Power et.al. trumpeting it as a finding.

          Another response by a climate scientist sums it up: “The field has gone beyond the blind application of statistics – David Jones.”

          Now I have extensive modelling experience, but I believe more than ever in Feynman’s exhortation to throw the model out if it disagrees with observations.

          I say this as an example in the hope that after they get through ‘storming’ on the other thread, they might get around to ‘norming’ or discussing those substantive assumptions where we differ.

          I think this ‘special insight’ thing is a kind of a rot that has set in because of excessive simulation and we need to get back to the real science falsification, but I am open to the debate over this norm.

        • Judith Curry
          Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 5:47 AM | Permalink

          David, I like the issue you raise, I am digging deep into this right now also, read a bunch of papers on the philosophy of similation. Hope to find a good thread somewhere to discuss this issue

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Jun 16, 2010 at 3:16 PM | Permalink

          Count me in. I have some questions on how the attribution studies were set up.. methodological concerns. oh ya and like david, old modeler here. war games and such

        • Tony Hansen
          Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 4:43 PM | Permalink

          ‘…kind of a rot that has set in because of excessive simulation.’

          Might I suggest ‘excessive stimulation’ as the likely cause.

  27. Hilton
    Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 5:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Congratulations to you both on your award, very well deserved too!

  28. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 7:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hilton – which awards?

    Without wanting to impede discussion, surely scientific points are finally paramount on this thread and paramount of these is the question of whether dendroclimatology has any continuing value for reconstructions.

    After considering the obfuscatory social comments of apologists on this thread, it remains the case, known for some decades now, that if any trees can be used to recreate climate (especially temperature) then they are special trees and there is no way to decide in advance why a tree is special and which ones should be chosen in future. It follows that if there is divergence from the instrumental record now, past divergence cannot be ruled out. Therefore, all past dendroclimatic climate temperature estimates sould be expunged.

    It would be beneficial to science if several reliable proxy climate methods could be shown to be reliable within useful error envelopes and I for one wish for them. They are the ones where effort should go.

    I have several times criticised the structure of climate science for its near absence of review points and its near absence of decision points that say “Go” or “No-go”. It is not adequate that researchers can write grant aplications that continue the work. It is required that the go/no-go review process be invoked whenever there is a serious stumble, or at preset periods in a program of work.

    The same should be done to proxy reconstructions based on all diverse methods. If they reach a no-go point, stop them.

    The arteries of climate science proxies are clogged. It’s bypass time.

  29. Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 8:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    As much as anyone here, I’ve audited the auditor (title of the smoggy post) and done a hell of a lot better job than doofensmog. I nearly caught Steve M once in a mistake but he corrected himself about an hour before I got to it. Still waiting for the next math posts.

    Anyway, the propagandization of hide the decline by those who would HOPE to sweep it under the rug is as disingenuous as any five year old who’s hand print was on the cake frosting. The fact that people attempt to intellectualize it (Real Climate) with any measure of success represents the corruption of thought which is so rampant in the soft sciences these days. The intent of hide the decline was blatantly obvious. They wanted to make the case that all reconstructions were producing the same result!!! The reason was that they wanted to claim unprecedented in recent millennia. That’s it, that’s all, that’s the whole story. Except that the political crowd will accept no failures (see.. any politician on Earth), and will push the propaganda to the ends of their breath — all for the cause.

    Why they don’t realize that this is not necessary for their cause is beyond me.

    How about….Oops, yup that’s not so good, we’ll get that fixed..

    I’m glad the geniuses haven’t considered that yet.

    • Baa Humbug
      Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 5:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Jeff Id (Jun 14 20:44),

      They wanted to make the case that all reconstructions were producing the same result!!! The reason was that they wanted to claim unprecedented in recent millennia.

      Absolutely spot on Jeff. That IS the whole story and no amount of obfuscation will change that.

    • TAC
      Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 9:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I, too, have “audited the auditor.” I found the same thing you did. SteveM is extraordinarily careful; I have never encountered any substantive errors. This makes me wonder why Mann et al. didn’t invite SteveM on as a collaborator and co-author. He could have easily cleaned up their methods, introduced mathematical rigor into the field, and made everyone look good. Instead they picked fights with him that they are sure to lose in the end. Go figure!

      • Posted Jun 16, 2010 at 12:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

        If they had, their papers would not have had world-bending conclusions. There would have been “nothing to see here”. That’s the obvious reason.

    • glacierman
      Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 10:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

      JeffId

      Nailed it. Good summation. Their efforts to push a cause using scare tactics and group think are very apparent to anyone willing to look.

    • Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 11:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Good point, Jeff. However, I understand that only a small subset of tree rings show the divergence problem.

      Angliss has also stated above that multiple non-dendro proxies show similar results to those obtained through dendro proxies and I haven´t seen any clear refutation of that claim.

      For those of us who have not paid enough attention to this issue, where does this leave the big picture of the MWP-CWP comparison?

      Thanks,
      Mikel

      Steve: Please re-read my post if you think that only a “small subset” of tree rings show a divergence problem. The other leg of Angliss’ argument is based on Mann et al 2008, which has been discussed at length and obviously does not stand as high authority for the claim of consistency between proxies. Our short comment on Mann et al 2008 was entitled “Proxy Inconsistency” for example. I don’t have time to write up this point right now, but this Angliss claim doesn’t stand up either. None of them do.

      • Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 1:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, SM. So I take it that, other than Cook ea 2004 and Mann ea 2008, there wouldn´t be much more for Angliss to support these two claims on..

        • amac78
          Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 2:16 PM | Permalink

          Re: Mikel Mariñelarena (Jun 15 13:42),

          As far as Mann08, 14 long-duration non-tree-ring proxies were used in those reconstructions (many proxies that didn’t reach back to the 9th century were also employed). Of those 14, 4 were measures of a core of sediments from Lake Korttajarvi, Finland. These four proxies are uncalibratable to the instrumental record. Mann et al screened and calibrated them anyway — an egregious but honest mistake.

          It’s difficult to understand the authors’ adamant refusal to acknowledge this error and correct their results.

          It’s harder still to understand why Brian Angliss and other supporters of the AGW Consensus persist in presenting this paper as an instance of strong science done right. Such credulity is one reason why the reputation of climate science has sunk to its present level.

          Background via an earlier comment in this thread.

      • Posted Jun 16, 2010 at 9:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

        It leaves us in a place where proxies are all over the place, especially tree-ring proxies. As far as I’ve seen, no conclusions regarding temperature can be made with them, at all. If one tree says there was an MWP and another says there wasn’t, what does one do?

  30. Steven Mosher
    Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 1:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

    bender,

    I have missing post syndrome.. Here are all the questions that I suggested should be asked by a journalist…

    “Jones was aware of these rules. Obsborn was. Briffa was. Then Briffa wrote a mail marked confidential to Eugene Wahl.
    In that mail and subsequent mails he shared draft versions with Wahl and reviewer comments with Wahl. Wahl sent back edits and materials from an unpublished paper. http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=716&filename=1153470204.txt
    Briffa incorporated this material. Briffa described this as “stealing” Wahl’s work and asked Wahl to check it so that it was not traceable.
    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=733&filename=1155402164.txt
    He knew he was violating the rules.
    Wahls comments were on a substantive issue. A paper that Wahl and Ammann had written. Wahl’s comments and edits changed the conclusions of Chapter 6. These inputs were not approved or reviewed by any of the official reviewers.The edits were used to blunt a paper by McIntyre–a critic of Jones and Briffa and Osborn.
    It’s a fair question to ask what context would make such an act acceptable? What possible context could justify this?

    ..Jones wrote the mail asking Mann to delete mails and asking him to ask Wahl to delete his. None of this can be denied or excused. But there is missing context. How aware was Jones of the communication between Wahl and Briffa, how aware was Osbborn? Why did Jones ask Mann to delete the mails when he knew that the request for mails was going to be denied? to thwart an appeal that was sure to come? Again, if Osborn and Briffa and Jones want to supply a context, either by answering questions or producing mails, they are free remediate their reputations. They choose not to supply additional evidence. They can’t. Because there is no context that makes what they did right.

    …To put the emails in a full context in every case would require one thing. Somebody with knowledge of the mails sitting down with Jones, Briffa, Osborn and others to ask them
    a few simple questions.

    ” For example, the issue of “hiding the decline.” That issue is not about Jones
    hiding data or manipulating data or committing fraud. That particular instance is about the crafting of a message for politicians. The question there is simply this: Did Jones present the whole truth, the unvarnished truth with all the attendant uncertainties or did he present a story that “oversold” the scientific certainty[?]”

    For example. In the Parliamentary Inquiry the question of perverting the peer review process was raised. in Para 72, Jones argues that he was no perverting the process but merely sharing his opinion informally. The Inquiry agreed. The inquiry did not look at the relevant facts. As the mails show, Jones was critical of a paper by Ross Mckittrick and Pat Michaels. He threatened to redefine “peer reviewed” literature if necessary to keep this paper out of the IPCC reports. Jones defense is this: he never carried through on the threat. he argues that the actual paper did make it into the IPCC report. That doesn’t settle the matter. The real matter, the real question, is how was this paper treated by Jones. Jones was the chapter author. As Chapter author Jones had the responsibility and authority to select which papers to consider. he then was charged with synthesizing the science. The question is this. How did Jones, who had a pre established animus against this paper and its authors, treat this paper and its authors?

  31. BDAABAT
    Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 9:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It seems that Brian has been partially successful. He’s not interested in REALLY looking into the science. He’s attempting to deflect the criticism of the climate science group that created this mess.

    He creates a post that purports to show that climate scientists are “under siege” without actually investigating the issues, and claims to show that Steve M has made baseless accusations that are not supported by the facts. Once he’s called to account, he realizes that he can’t really argue the science or the facts. So, he changes tactics and starts discussing something completely irrelevant… emails not being incriminating simply because they were taken out of context. Which leads to voluminous discussions here and elsewhere about the non-relevant issues. He’s been successful in diverting attention from the REAL issues. And his followers at R&S believe that he’s shown the work of Steve and others to be flawed and that climate scientists are just good folks doing good work, but who happen to be targets of some industry funded campaign to smear their good names.

    Bruce

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 2:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

      BDAABAT.

      The “under seige” meme is really one that was created by Mann early on. If Brian read the mails with an eye toward the characters involved and with an eye toward the metaphors that govern how they think

      has anyone ever noted how Peterson is not “under seige?” or Parker?
      or Rob Wilson? Now why is that? It’s rather simple, when Steve asked Peterson for his list of stations, Dr. P responded. Same with Parker.

      Why isnt NOAA under FOIA Seige? Gosh I dont know, maybe because they actually respond. For example, I just got a 400 page file of stuff. All neatly organized, indexed, including guys day planners, IRC sessions, Guess what? In 400 pages they mentioned McIntyre twice
      ( on a quick 3hour read so numbers may change.. I got paper copies so no electronic search) One reference was about CA, the other was a comment by Peterson about skeptics, not even steve in particular. And my request was focused on a CA /WUWT issue. 99.9% of the file was professionals doing a professional job. and two barely snide comments. CRU feels under siege because of how THEY stonewalled.
      free the data; free the code, no more siege.

  32. MattN
    Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

    These guys just DO NOT GET IT….

  33. LearDog
    Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 12:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I am waiting for Angliss’ “aha!” moment! It would be a MUCH more interesting article or post for him to write – “you know, I actually took time to investigate (with some help and coaching along the way), and do you know what? The Deniers are right!”

    It would reflect well on his ethics, humility and intelligence.

    But I’m not holding my breath….

    • TGSG
      Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 9:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

      “But I’m not holding my breath….”

      Good choice that. :)

      And Jeff Id nailed the central theme up thread a ways.

  34. E O'Connor
    Posted Jun 16, 2010 at 8:04 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Tom Gray

    Re M Tobis’ musings on climate scientist’s special insight/intuition that allows them to discern results denied to other people so the strictures of statistics do not apply to them in their climate work as their intuition allows them to produce valid results without following strict statistical procedures.

    This reminds me of the first line of a song popularised by Muddy Waters -

    “Got my mojo working, but it just won’t work on you”

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Jun 16, 2010 at 10:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

      If your mojo is strong but you still can’t predict anything and there are divergences laying around unexplained, then maybe mojo isn’t enough. Just sayin’

      • E O'Connor
        Posted Jun 17, 2010 at 8:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Indeed. Actually, M Tobis is on record as saying,
        “Proposing that matters of fact are decided by intuition or faith is a very very very bad idea.”

        What irked me was the pompous attitude in his posts, which I perceived as ‘Only we climate scientists have the knowledge and understanding, so trust us, we know what we are doing and the cheque is in the mail.’

        His visit here was done in a moment of weakness to grace the lion’s den with his presence.

  35. E O'Connor
    Posted Jun 16, 2010 at 8:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I gather that when making statements about the MWP climate scientists are thus speaking ‘ex mojo’.

  36. John Murphy
    Posted Jun 17, 2010 at 6:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Looking at Briffa’s data with the decline “unhided.” Has anyone ever considered that Briffa’s tree rings are recording something like the truth? That is, that the instrumental data has something wrong with it and is reporting too high?

  37. John Murphy
    Posted Jun 17, 2010 at 6:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

    No wonder Jones produces no science of any worth and has to fudge his data. he spends 59 minutes of every work hour writing emails.

  38. John Murphy
    Posted Jun 17, 2010 at 6:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Tom Fuller

    You are right. I tried to get (through FOI request to that dud Palmer at UEA) all the emails passing between Briffa, Osborn and the rest of the hockey team. I was refused. Don’t ask me the stated reasons. The reasons were concocted to justufy a predetermined decision made outside the FOI Act. I can read them a mile away because I’ve been dealing in FOI requests here in Australia for 20 years. It doesn’t take long to learn the signs.

    In light of Brian’s defence, I’m entitled to conclude, as I have, that the whole population of emails (a 100% sample) would merely reinforce the message conveyed byteh one’s we have.

    If Brian knows something we don’t (e.g. he has all the other emails) then he should release them. Otherwise, he should stop arguing through his hat.

    • steven Mosher
      Posted Jun 18, 2010 at 1:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Its this easy.

      Sit down and write the mail that would make Jones request to mann to delte mails more acceptable..

      Dear Mike,
      I know I told you to delete mails. That was wrong. I wrote in haste and we are under a great deal of pressure here. After a day’s reflection it seems to me that we should just trust the system. Holland has his request in and it was denied on the grounds of confidentiality. Palmer expects an appeal. Be that as it may. If we lose the appeal and have to turn the mails over, then I suppose Keith and Gene will come under some criticism for bending the rules a bit. Osborn, who likes to research these things, actually thinks that the IPCC rules don’t prevent the kind of exchange that Keith and Gene had. But you know the skeptics will have a field day. I suppose we will have to tough it out, put our faith in the science and press on.

      Best Phil.

  39. Posted Jun 18, 2010 at 4:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    John Murphy Posted Jun 17, 2010 at 6:14 AM

    I hope you are not serious with your ludicrous statement!

    Trees do not grow at -40C
    trees can grow slowly at -10C
    trees can grow slowly at 0C
    trees can grow moderately slowly at 5C
    trees can grow moderately quickly at 10C
    trees can grow well at 20C
    trees can grow slowly at 50C
    trees do not grow at 100C
    Can you see any shape to the curve of tree growth vs temperature?

    Not being a dendro type person I do not know the exact growth pattern but it must all follow a similar shape.

    The shape and peak growth temperature will be modified by available food and water.
    A rapid increase in temperature may overload the present root structure and growth may be slowed until more area/depth can be grown into. In a forest this would be difficult.

    Warmer (not necessarily hotter) temperatures may actually cause the root uptake to mis-match the transpiration rate and growth could diminish.

    It is painfully obvious that trees CAN be a +ve thermometer over some temperature range and a -ve thermometer over another range.

    Is this an impossible scenario? —-NO
    Is this the cause of the decline —-possibly
    Is the cause being researched —–Briffa says it needs to be.

    • Gord Richens
      Posted Jun 18, 2010 at 11:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Don’t forget the assertion by some climatologists that sites that were poor proxies for local temperatures could still be good proxies for global temperature reconstructions, thanks to their so-called “teleconnections.”

    • MrPete
      Posted Jun 18, 2010 at 1:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: thefordprefect (Jun 18 04:19),

      It is painfully obvious that trees CAN be a +ve thermometer over some temperature range and a -ve thermometer over another range.

      Very good, TFP! Now, can you derive the next implication?

      If tree growth (plants in general actually) can either correlate or anti-corralate to temperature, how do you use them as a reliable temperature proxy for paleoclimate, ie. back when there were no thermometers around to act as a reference?

    • steven mosher
      Posted Jun 18, 2010 at 3:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: thefordprefect (Jun 18 04:19),

      And in no case do you see 5 sigma spurts in growth from changes of 1-2C. The tree biologist explained this to us very clearly. You do see these excursions when the tree suffers from mechanical damage (strip bark) and it hapens to species that are krumholtz.

      So ford, when you see an excursion of growth that is beyond the bounds of changes driven by temperature, do you

      1. Use that core and average it with others ( hide the incline)
      2. Toss that tree core out.
      3. test with and without that core reporting the analysis
      4. truncate the proxie series because the tree OVER responds to temperature changes.

  40. justbeau
    Posted Jun 18, 2010 at 11:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Desmog is a Canadian web site for championing AGW, aimed at the general public. From a glance, the site looks to be an AGW PR outloet. If so, Angliss would seem a fan of the Team rather than a player. Should one expect anything sensible to be communicated from DeSmog?

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