Jolis Reviews Mann

Anne Jolis of WSJ has a sensible review of Mann’s book here. Also an online video here.

She aptly refers to Mann the climate warrior as a “climate kamikaze”. She neatly summarizes the book as follows:

But rather than a chronicle of research and discovery, it’s a score-settling with anyone who has ever doubted his integrity or work: free-market think tanks, industrialists, “scientists for hire,” “the corruptive influence of industry,” the “uninformed” media and public. So, a long list.

Very much so. Mann’s score-settling includes a re-litigation of even the smallest point, conceding nothing. Jolis acutely observes:

The trouble, as Mr. Mann sees it, is that while his own errors have been honest and minor, his detractors’ amount to “disinformation.”

Jolis quotes Mann:

“Given the complexities,” he writes, “it’s easy enough to make mistakes. For those with an agenda, it is even easier to overlook them or, worse, exploit them intentionally.”

On this point, reasonable people can agree.

Jolis acidly calls Mann out on his own tactics:

Yet for all his caviling about “smear campaigns,” “conspiracy theorists” and “character assassination,” Mr. Mann is happy to employ similar tactics against his opponents.

Give the review a read.

P.S. I’ve read the book. Responding to all its disinformation is like getting a root canal without anaesthetic. I’m glad that Brandon Shollenberger has considered some of the points, but, even with the considerable effort that he’s made, he’s only scratched the surface of the disinformation. It amazes me that the climate “community”, which one presumes as having some residual scientific standards, not only takes no offence at Mann’s disinformation, but even embraces it.


94 Comments

  1. KnR
    Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 12:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    ‘It amazes me that the climate “community”, which one presumes as having some residual scientific standards’

    If they have, there set so low that you have to tunnel a mile down to stand any chance of finding them .

    • Michael Jankowski
      Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 4:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

      It shouldn’t be “amazing” at this point.

      Climate scientists were embracing Mann’s reconstructions and defending them tooth-and-nail in public forums but bashing them and Mann in Climategate 2.0 emails.

  2. j ferguson
    Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 12:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve and KnR,
    Is there much of a history of scientific disciplines washing their linen in public? Mightn’t it be that silence should not be unexpected?

    • KnR
      Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 5:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

      To often the standard seen in climate science by its ‘leaders’ is one that would be accepted from an undergraduate writing an essays. Simply mistakes or approaches that kicks the hell out of the scientific approach , the use of worthless grey literal , the invention of ‘novel’ statistical techniques with no justification , the losing of data and total inability to have work reproducible , the claims of ‘facts’ which are in reality conjecture the list goes on and on . Are we really saying that is OK for the the ‘best’ of this area of science to work at standard that would get an students essay failed ?

    • DR_UK
      Posted Mar 17, 2012 at 8:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

      J ferguson “Is there much of a history of scientific disciplines washing their linen in public? Mightn’t it be that silence should not be unexpected?”

      There’s a counter-example in a paper linked at Bishop-Hill today http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2012/3/16/irony-fail.html

      Ad hominem arguments in the service of boundary work among climate scientists
      By Lawrence Souder, Furrah Qureshi

      In their conclusions, Souder and Qureshi contrast the behaviour of climate scientists revealed in the Climategate emails with that of gravity wave scientists studied by H. M. Collins:

      In his ethnography of gravity wave scientists, Collins fantasized: “[S]cience done with real integrity can provide a model for how we should live and how we should judge.” He makes this claim not because he finds perfection in the practice of science but because he found practitioners of science in a community who openly revealed their imperfections. This community, he boasted, gave him virtually complete access to their work. On account of this transparency he felt he could trust them implicitly.

      I found the Souder and Qureshi paper very interesting. It analyses (in a qualitative way) the different forms of ad hominem attacks found in Climategate emails. It is getting short shrift in the comments at Bishop Hill, and indeed contains some factual errors and misunderstandings. But as commenter The Leopard in the Basement puts it, if one gets past the socio-speak and the references to ‘deniers’:

      “I’m pretty sure the Team won’t like this one bit if they ever saw it it.”

  3. Gary
    Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 12:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The climate science “community” doesn’t quite know what to do with it’s overly-aggressive brother. Sometimes his belligerence is useful, and whatever embarrassment it causes can be overlooked because nobody of any stature (in their eyes) will call him on it. Advising him sub rosa to cool it probably will just incur his abundant wrath and not do any good anyway. He’s probably best kept at a short arm’s length. Certainly he cranks out enough “research” that staying in his good graces might reap some personal benefits (co-authorship and grant $). As for riling up his critics, well, keeping them occupied with a sideshow has some benefits, or at least muddies the waters. There’s always the chance the critics will Gleick themselves, too, and that would provide copious ammunition for return fire. It’s a mixed bag dealing with him.

  4. Steven Mosher
    Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 12:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Amazon prompted me to review the book today !

    That’s weird. First time I have ever been ASKED by Amazon to come and review a book I bought.

    In all fairness to Mike I can’t review his book. He’s ceased to be important in the debate.

    • Scott Brim
      Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 1:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Steven Mosher (Mar 15 12:32),

      You say that Mann has ceased to be important to the debate?

      On the contrary, the presence or absence of a pronounced Medievel Warm Period is an absolutely central question in debating the issue as to whether or not the climate models accurately portray the role of CO2 in the last 150 years of climate warming.

      The presence or absence of a pronounced Medievel Warm Period is central not only to how the science of AGW is being pursued, but also to the public perception of how the science of AGW is being pursued.

      Mann is not only the developer and the most prominent promoter of the hockey stick, he is also among the most visible public personality symbols for those who promote the hockey stick.

      He will be one of AGW’s rock stars for decades to come, regardless of how many times and in how many ways new versions of the hockey stick are manufactured and then broken.

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 5:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

        the HS is a peripheral issue scientifically. It was transformed into an icon, but it’s really unimportant
        with respect to the central question. If there were more certainty around it then it could contribute to a narrowing of the ranges for sensitivity. As it stands, LGM reconstruction is the driving factor in estimating
        sensitivity at 3C.+- 1.5 MWP recons don’t provide any good data that would narrow this range.

        Politically, as an icon, it has played a large role. Scientifically, as Gavin has argued, it,s not that interesting.
        Consequently Mann’s work is not that interesting as far as the key questions go. This is not to say that all
        MWP recons are doomed to be uninteresting.

        • Doug Badgero
          Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 8:21 PM | Permalink

          Steven,

          Why do you believe the HS was created in the first place? I agree that it is not now, and never could have been, scientifically relevant. So, why was it created? It is my belief that it was always intended as a public relations tool disguised as science.

        • Speed
          Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 5:12 AM | Permalink

          When I showed this picture [John Houghton in front of the hockey stick diagram] to the Toronto Geological Discussion Group, all familiar with mining promoters, it was impossible to avoid comparing Houghton to mining promoters that we know.
          http://climateaudit.org/2005/03/16/the-significance-of-the-hockey-stick/

        • Scott Brim
          Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 10:03 PM | Permalink

          Re: Steven Mosher (Mar 15 17:56),

          As it stands, LGM reconstruction is the driving factor in estimating sensitivity at 3C.+- 1.5. MWP recons don’t provide any good data that would narrow this range.

          Steven, could I ask you for a short synopsis concerning what has happened lately to focus attention on the Last Glacial Maximum in assessing the climate sensitivity issues surrounding the models.

    • ChE
      Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 2:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

      That was cold.

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 6:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Look they are trying to reframe Mike in another role, since he cannot play on the science field anymore. He is no longer a star athelete. Better methods are coming out and he carries bagged that will relegate him to co-author status, at best. Some wise soul has probably suggested to Mike that his best bet is to do color commentary for the game he was once a star in.

        re-litigating the old issues is of course an endless discussion. But Mann has moved on. Off the court into the announcer’s booth. Who knows, maybe like Jordan, he will try a second career in a different climate science sport.

        • ChE
          Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 6:03 PM | Permalink

          Hansen did that a long time ago.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 7:35 PM | Permalink

          yes, he’s been put out to pasture.

          no methane jokes. Jim’s old

    • michael hart
      Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 11:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I can’t buy his book.

  5. Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 1:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Regarding what Ms Jolis calls Mann’s “similar tactics against his opponents”, he doesn’t simply get his material out of thin air. Mann says this about anti-skeptic book author Ross Gelbspan, while doing a brief review of the Hoggan/Littlemore “Climate Cover-Up” book at an October 2009 RealClimate blog: “Ross Gelbspan, who has set the standard for investigative reporting when it comes to the climate change denial campaign…” http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/10/climate-cover-up-a-brief-review/

    Throw the name “Gelbspan” into a ClimateGate search window, and you’ll see how the results take you to Mann’s cc email address lists, and to a suggestion he made to Osborn, Briffa, Jones & Ray Bradley about sending material to sympathetic ‘outlets’.

    Consider the implications if we have a literally unsupportable accusation against skeptic scientists stemming from a highly questionable source….

  6. Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 1:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I bough the Kindle version a while ago, but didn’t get past the first few pages.

    Early on in the sage, Mann tells a faux-ksy childhood tale that allows him to introduce the term “trick” as a “common” description for a perfectly honest and straightforward technique. See what he did, the wily old fox?

    All a bit toe-curling and I haven’t revisited.

    One thing I would say is that my interest in non-consensus views was stimulated by following a non-technical point between Mann and McSteve. Once I’d determined that Mann was knowingly misleading his audience on this simple point, it opened the door to the possibility that all was not as it seemed and prompted me to invest more time in understanding more technical matters on which he has habitually mislead his audience.

    All I can say is that this might be an opportunity for McSteve to clearly demonstrate Mann’s flexible approach to the truth in front of a wide audience and encourage similar digging – with one focussed, high profile, undeniable rebuttal (of something)

    Easy to say of course, it isn’t my time.

  7. MikeN
    Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 1:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What was the point that Mann was misleading his audience?

    • tetris
      Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 7:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Where would you like to start? The entire Mannian story line is misleading.

      Or are you suggesting that splicing a data series into a graph upside down to make it fit your message is not misleading your audience?

  8. bernie1815
    Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 1:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I believe the Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars title for the book is revealing: It is a further example of Mann’s self-absorbtion and self-promotion.

    • ChE
      Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 2:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

      And one more example of martial language and metaphor. Not that there’s any shortage of that.

  9. Bernard Rochet
    Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 1:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Actually Steven I often get prompted by Amazon to review my “recent purchases.”
    About your comment that Mann has “ceased to be important in the debate,” you may want to listen to his interview on the CBC’s The Current (Wednesday March 14). There are still people out there who are happy to give him a platform and an audience.
    To listen to the interview, go to
    http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/
    and look for “Climate Activist, Michael Mann,” (Wednesday March 14, 2012)
    Pretty sickening.

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 6:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

      of course they give him a platform. They are launching a new role for mann.
      Go ahead, pay attention to him and make him important.

      • ChE
        Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 7:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Does that mean Gleick’s working on a book now?

    • Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 6:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

      If you’re looking for an “antidote” … try Part 1 of the Ideas program “Demon Coal” in which Judith Curry is interviewed – and the Dec. 2011 testimony to the Senate Committee is excerpted (including that of Ross McKitrick). All in all, a remarkably fair and balanced program from the CBC.

      http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/Radio/Ideas/1453660136/ID=2208383550

  10. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Mann’s disinformation,” known as lies in the vernacular. A spade’s a spade, Steve.

  11. Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 3:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Probably would have sold more if the book were called ‘The Decline of Mann’ – I wonder if the publisher suggested this?

    • Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 6:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I much prefer Portrait of the Artist as an Aggrieved Mann

    • Pat Frank
      Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 9:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Long ago in a galaxy far, far away there was a TV science fiction series called “The Twilight Zone.” One very noteworthy episode had aliens coming down with overtures of peace and progress.

      Their ambassador mistakenly left a book behind, written in their language. After hammer-and-tongs effort, human linguists translated the title: “To Serve Man.” Euphoria reigned, until further translation revealed the tome to be a cookbook.

      I can’t think of a better title for Michael Mann’s book, than, “To Serve Mann.” The Twilight Zone context is perfect for his personal milieu, his book is a self-serving diatribe, his professional output is science fiction, and he’s spent his entire career cannibalizing science.

      • michael hart
        Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 11:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Perhaps he might say that he was just pushing “The Outer Limits” :)

  12. Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 3:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “which one presumes as having some residual scientific standards”

    Sometimes it seems like the science standard to climate standard r is about 0.1.

    Good enough for a tree ring proxy :D

  13. Chuck L
    Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 3:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, will you be reviewing the book and post here?

    • miker613
      Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 4:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Steve, I’d suggest, instead of a review, just a list of assertions Mann makes on the subject of the Hockey Stick, along with links to the posts where you addressed the same points, in detail and with documentation.

      Be nice to have it all in one place.

  14. Brandon Shollenberger
    Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 4:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve McIntyre:

    I’m glad that Brandon Shollenberger has considered some of the points, but, even with the considerable effort that he’s made, he’s only scratched the surface of the disinformation.

    I can attest to this. There are many things in Mann’s book I noticed but didn’t comment on. And that doesn’t cover all the things I was suspicious of, but didn’t already know enough to judge.

    And I didn’t even try to cover the things Mann said which were misleading, but not wrong. Trying to cover things like that would have been a nightmare.

  15. Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 6:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “Given the complexities,” he writes, “it’s easy enough to make mistakes. For those with an agenda, it is even easier to overlook them or, worse, exploit them intentionally.”
    Is that statement properly attributed to Mann; it doesn’t make grammatical sense?
    After listening to Mann on CBC radio my first thought was; a more appropriate title for his opus should have been “A Mann For All Seasons”.

  16. orson2
    Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 6:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve M concludes: “It amazes me that the climate “community”, which one presumes as having some residual scientific standards, not only takes no offence at Mann’s disinformation, but even embraces it.”

    Remembering the ambivalent and dismissive treatment of Steve by one Gerry North, I can say that I’m not surprised.

    Today, “climate science” is the second most well-funded field of science by the US federal government. (Yesterday I read from real climate in 2007, wherein the comments people were clucking that two to three billion dollars wasn’t much – surely a low-ball sum that neglects other government departmental funding sources like NASA.)

    Climatologists of William Gray’s era were used to little funding – only 200 million dollars per year in 1992 in the pre-AGW era.

    These careerist folks “rising” up since Gray’s time are used to chasing much much more money – both from government and guilt-addled baby boomer private funders.

    Obviously, scientific honesty threatens this generations sinecures.

    As Nigel Calder observed recently at his blog, it takes twenty to twenty-five years for a paradigm shift to change a scientific field. For example, plate tectonics in geology took that amount of time.

    Since Hendrik Svensmark originated cosmoclimatology in 1992, the next five years could well see this shift occur in climate science, as the anthropogenic CO2-demon haunted world yields to a more subtle, naturalistic, interesting, data driven climate science.

    One can hope. I believe the climate change conference held last May at Cambridge University’s Downing College (funded by the Howard Foundation), could mark the turning point.

    Because climate science funding is more decentralized in Europe, I hold out more optimism for them to lead the US toward the enlightenment than I do for our side of the pond.

    • Third Party
      Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 10:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

      As Nigel Calder observed recently at his blog, it takes twenty to twenty-five years for a paradigm shift to change a scientific field.

      Yep, true in Engineering and in Corporations too. Sometimes change has to wait for someone’s (or a generation’s) retirement for progress to be granted.

  17. Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 7:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve only read a couple of chapters of Mann’s book, but it appears to be 90% ad hominem flame war and 10% substance.

    My experience in other (unrelated) flame wars has been that if a flaming opponent’s small substantial point merits a reply, the reply should be entirely to the substance, as if the character assassination were not even there. This is not only constructive, but deviously fun — there’s little more gratifing than watching your opponent explode in purple rage while you’re entirely collected.

    As they used to say back in the ’60′s, “What if they gave a war and nobody came?”

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted Mar 18, 2012 at 4:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Steve Mosher,

      The HS might now be disregarded in scientific circles but it was instrumental in the IPCC persuading public opinion of the ‘realities’ of climate change and I bet if you went and asked ordinary members of the public for many of them it would be the thing they remembered.

      That’s why it still needs to be countered. Plus the fact that the climate community itself has never publically said a word against it.

  18. Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 7:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steven Mosher

    Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    the HS is a peripheral issue scientifically. It was transformed into an icon, but it’s really unimportant
    with respect to the central question. If there were more certainty around it then it could contribute to a narrowing of the ranges for sensitivity.

    I respectfully disagree. There are many other issues, to be sure, but the IPCC and CAGW movement hitched its bandwagon, so to speak, to Mann and his graph. If the graph was bad science, then so is the IPCC.

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 7:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I dont believe that follows logically.

      Its pretty simple. The HS is a tangent in the chain of evidence.

      It looked like a good move to turn it into an icon. It wasnt.

      Compare it to the shroud of turin and faith in God.

      See how it operates. then you’ll get my point.

      Nobody believes in AGW because of the HS. the proof lines go to Tyndall.

      • Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 9:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

        While “nobody believes” just by Stick
        The work done here exposing that trick
        (And the poor math and hiding)
        Do help folks in deciding
        That they should re-examine his shtick

        And some folks in that mode wind up here
        Where the “blade” part is shown as less clear
        Not to mention the shaft
        Since the poor proxy craft
        Made the MWP disappear

        Not too many who wander this way
        Can track all that you Steves have to say
        But the posts on this topic
        Give a focus myopic
        On one point — and that helps win the day

        Because if the bad science is shown
        And they hide it, protect it, though known,
        That behavior’s a bust:
        Those involved lose our trust
        And it’s worse with their vicious, mean tone

        ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

          Folks should note the irony.

          the HS is not that important.

          But look at all the energy that goes into defending it !

          what’s up with that? behind close doors you can read them slagging Mike off.

          In public he’s a hero.

          The HS was adopted because it made a complicated story super simple.

          It was good PR. Opps, it was wrong, now it has to be defended

        • ChE
          Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

          It was more than just storytelling. It was necessary to make the claim that we’re in all-time record territory in order to make the case for runaway greenhouse. No all-time record, no runaway greenhouse.

        • ChE
          Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

          I get your larger point, though. They seem to think that charging into battle butt naked makes you lighter and more fierce. What it really does is give you more to have to defend.

      • Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 11:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Nobody believes in AGW because of the HS. the proof lines go to Tyndall.

        Tyndall discovered the GHG effect which no one (here) disputes. AGW is a step beyond that, and CAGW is a step beyond that. If temperatures flatlined before 1900 (as “proven” by the HS), then current warming is plausibly a cause for concern. But if the IPCC’s iconic HS is faulty, maybe the whole IPCC CAGW scare is equally faulty.

        So it’s well worth taking Mann’s book as an opportunity to review the case for or against it.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 10:21 AM | Permalink

          Now we are arguing about CAGW which isnt science anyways.

          The CAGW case isnt destroyed by the faults in the HS. It’s
          destroyed because it rests on other nonsense

          Let me see if I can explain.

          `1. we know that GHGs warm the planet from Tyndal, How much
          is and open question.

          2. LGM reconstruction gives us an estimate for sensitivity of 3C +- 1.5C

          There is Nothing about flat blades in that. You get to CAGW by pushing the upper tail of sensitivity or by pushing estimates of emissions, or by over emphasizing the damages.

          You need to think about how the HS actually functions in a knowledge claiming system. hint… its a wheel that doesnt really turn. It’s almost directly soley at skeptics.

        • Nathan
          Posted Mar 22, 2012 at 6:53 AM | Permalink

          Not so true Mosher.

          “You get to CAGW by pushing the upper tail of sensitivity or by pushing estimates of emissions, or by over emphasizing the damages.”

          You are inventing your own definition of CAGW and then assigning it to others. Can you state where in the literature CAGW is defined?

          Tell me, is a one metre sea level rise catastrophic?
          Can get there easily in one century… And you don’t need >3 climate sensitivity.

      • James Lane
        Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 5:21 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: Steven Mosher (Mar 15 19:40),

        Point taken, but the HS must have had an impact on the public perception of the issue.

        Take my experience. I had no interest in climate change until one morning I saw the HS on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald. I thought “holy crap, this is serious!”

        Then I became curious about how the HS was created, which led me to M&M’s work (well before Climate Audit was born), but I doubt that many who saw the HS in their morning paper took that journey.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

          precisely

          That is why I call it an icon.

          That is why it is so hard to displace!

          Think about how the piltdown man FUNCTIONED in the evolution debate.

          Think about how the HS functions in the climate debate.

          The HS is scientifically unimportant. but it is RHETORICALLY vital.

          think about the glove in OJs case.

        • Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

          I wonder if you have read some of the model verification work done on HS. The models assumptions are based on constant solar, aerosol etc in the past. If the HS has more variance in the handle, scientifically, it would be a very difficult issue for models.

          The argument of course by CS is that it means models are under-sensitive. The reply is under-sensitive to what and perhaps it means that the models are missing a forcing.

          For this reason, I don’t believe the hockey schtick can be written off as a pure icon. I also don’t believe the new HS team is producing any better result than the old. While some are finally mathematically aware of variance loss, the data still completely stinks.

        • Bob K.
          Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 11:23 AM | Permalink

          The variance in the HS handle is always smaller because the models are for backcasting and that is where the temperatures are fit to the proxies. Overfitting can make the SE bands arbitralily tight. As a statistical graphic the HS is fairly benign. Backcast errors increase as you go farther back in time and the mean trend line dampens out, which makes the blade seem fairly level with wide SE bands. But the instinct of most people is to read a graph like this going forward, not backward, in time. If you do that, the story seems to be that temperatures used to be fairly stable but widely varying in the past, but then they started increasing and at the same time became much less variabe. This is what I find ingenious about the HS.

        • Scott Brim
          Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

          Re: Steven Mosher (Mar 16 10:26),

          Just to be sure …. you are saying that if global mean temperature during the Medievel Warm Period had in fact approached, or possibly even exceeded, today’s global mean temperature — doing so under the preindustrial level of CO2 of 280 ppm which existed roughly a thousand years ago, compared with a CO2 level during the Last Glacial Maximum of 185 ppm occurring roughly twenty-thousand years ago — then the fact of a warm MWP would not be a justification all by itself to raise questions concerning the CO2 sensitivity assumed by the climate models.

        • Nathan
          Posted Mar 22, 2012 at 6:54 AM | Permalink

          I’m sorry, is EVERY hockey stick that’s been made an icon? Or just Mann’s?

  19. Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 9:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Since the Climategate emails reveal
    That Mann’s over-exuberant zeal
    And poor handling of fact
    Were by his peers attacked —
    Still he leaves them alone. What’s the deal?

    Now the roaring Mann-lion has wintered
    As domains of poor science are entered
    Though Gleick’s guile we expose
    Mann’s picked sides, and he chose
    Gleick’s deceit: Mann’s PC is self-centered

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  20. Greg F
    Posted Mar 15, 2012 at 10:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Mann’s accusations have always appeared to me to be projections of what he himself is guilty of.

  21. snarkmania
    Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 12:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Not sure this is off topic, but hopefully in the spirit of this, sick of being called a denier at AGU, I drew the “Illustrated Mann” at bottom of http://www.abeqas.com/AGU_Journal_2011.html

  22. andymc
    Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 7:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steven Mosher says:

    The HS is a peripheral issue scientifically. It was transformed into an icon, but it’s really unimportant
    with respect to the central question. If there were more certainty around it then it could contribute to a narrowing of the ranges for sensitivity. As it stands, LGM reconstruction is the driving factor in estimating
    sensitivity at 3C.+- 1.5 MWP recons don’t provide any good data that would narrow this range.

    Steven,

    I’ve always wondered about what would actually be convincing proxies. (O2 has a good physical basis-temperature induced evaporation- but is insufficiently sensitive to track the temperature changes observed in the instrumental record)
    What I find unbelievable is that nobody can find a single “proxy” that accurately tracks global temperatures from 1860 to the present day, even by cherry picking. Of course, even if a match was found, this would be meaningless if it consisted of only one or two proxies (The so-called multi-proxy studies actually consist of red noise data with one or 2 ‘signal generators’ thrown in), unless, of course the thermometer from which the comparison was made was pretty much nailed to the tree from where the rings were derived. (shading issues aside)
    I have a question which you can probably answer. (after my rambling preamble)
    The spread of temperatures used to calculate the “global mean” temperatures is large. Using a rule of thumb, about a third of thermometers show a cooling trend and another third show a well above average warming trend. Of the remaining third, whilst the start and end points may closely match the ‘global mean,’ only those stations whose temperatures capture the steep rises and falls observed in the global trend during the period from 1860 to the present day could be considered ‘proxies,’ as the data from the others will drop from significance.
    The question is; what is the probability that the data taken from a randomly chosen temperature station will match the global average?
    In other words, what is the probability that temperature (single) is a proxy for temperature (global mean)?

  23. Jeff Norman
    Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 8:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The “climate kamikaze” is IMO the perfect metaphor. Perhaps the Mosher has an armoured flight deck and has fewer concerns, but the rest of us prefer to put our faith in a strong CAP and flak response.

    It will be interesting to see if this is in fact MMann’s last sortie.

  24. Matt Skaggs
    Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 9:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The HS, along with the rest of the paleo work, is important because it is integral to the reductionist logic of CAGW. I think that is the same point Hu is making. Search Climategate for “Esper” (paleoclimate researcher Jan Esper) and see how viciously Mann fought to contain the damage from a study that pretty much looked at the same data sources as the Hockey Stick but found far more variability. The meme that the climate is so stable that it flatlines when driven only by natural forcings is essential to the logic tree of CAGW.

  25. JCM
    Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 9:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    And Ms Tremonti lobbed him softballs on a CBC Radio interview when he was in Toronto on March 14.

  26. dpeaton
    Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 10:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Spotted in the comments to the article at the WSJ:

    Kevin Fisher Replied:

    And if it’s a hoax, where are the models that show global cooling, or that show no change over the coming decades?

    Stephen Hughes Replied:

    I’ll have one ready for you this afternoon….

  27. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

    For those interested in whether the hockey stick “matters”, here is an editorial on the matter that I submitted to Roger Pielke’s blog in November 2005, nearly 7 years ago. I don’t think that anything has changed much, other than the “community” itself being tarnished by their mismanagement of the issue.

    Stefan Rahmsdorf and others (including Roger Pielke, the proprietor of this site) have taken the position that the Hockey Stick is irrelevant to the great issue of the impact of 2xCO2 on global climate. Even the originator of the Hockey Stick, Michael Mann, who received many awards and honors for its construction, ironically has taken the position that it doesn’t “matter”. (I do not believe that he has not returned any of the honors.) I’m inclined to agree that, for the most part, the Hockey Stick does not matter to the great issue of the impact of 2xCO2. However, I believe that it matters (or should matter) to IPCC, to governments that relied on IPCC and to climate scientists who contributed to and supported IPCC and to people who may wish to rely on IPCC in the future.

    The Hockey Stick was not, as sometimes portrayed, an incidental graphic, buried in IPCC TAR. Nor was it an icon resurrected by sceptics purely to torment poor Michael Mann. It could almost characterized as the logo for IPCC TAR. Figure 1 below shows Sir John Houghton, at the press conference releasing IPCC TAR, standing in front of the Hockey Stick. The graphic was used repeatedly in IPCC TAR and was one of the most prominent graphics in the Summary for Policymakers. Some governments (and, the Canadian government in particular) relied upon it in their promotion of Kyoto policy even more than IPCC. In the lead-up to adopting Kyoto policy, Canadians were told by their Minister of the Environment that “1998 was the warmest year of the millennium and 1990s the warmest decade”. So even if the Hockey Stick did not “matter” to the scientific case, it mattered to the promotion of the scientific case. Scientists may want to “move on”, but institutions cannot, if they want to maintain any credibility. If the Hockey Stick was wrong, it would be as embarrassing as the failure to find WMD in Iraq. In both cases, the policy might well be justified on alternative grounds, but the existence of the alternative grounds does not mean that responsible agencies should not try to isolate the causes of intelligence failure and try to avoid similar failures in the future.

    The issues surrounding the MBH Hockey Stick are complicated by IPCC TAR statements and decisions, which, in retrospect, seem misguided, although there is little to suggest that IPCC AR4 is taking to steps to avoid similar potential problems. The most questionable IPCC statement about the Hockey Stick is that the MBH98 reconstruction had “significant skill in independent cross-validation tests”. I added bold to highlight the plural—a second level to the misrepresentation contained in this claim. The statement appears to have been written by Michael Mann about his own work. It is now known that the MBH98 reconstruction in the controversial 15th century portion failed the majority of cross-validation tests, including the standard R2 test [McIntyre and McKitrick, 2005a]; the source code provided to the Barton Committee shows that the adverse cross-validation R2 statistics were calculated, but not reported. It is also now known that the MBH98 reconstruction does not live up to its warranty that it is robust to the presence/absence of all dendroclimatic indicators, as the reconstruction depends on the inclusion of bristlecones, a series known to be potentially contaminated as a temperature proxy. Again, this adverse information was known to the authors and not reported.

    If I were in Houghton’s shoes, I would be mad as a boil about all this. Since Houghton has a sincere belief that the impact of 2xCO2 is the great issue of our times, then, if I were Houghton, I would be particularly angry at being placed in a position where I used this logo and wasn’t fully informed about adverse information pertaining to it. I also wouldn’t be leaving it up to some probably adversarial committee like the Barton Committee to sort this out. I’d be all over the problem so that my community, the community of climate scientists, was not further embarrassed and so that government institutions would be able to rely confidently on the opinions of IPCC.

    If I were Houghton, one line of argument that I would not accept is that the other “independent” studies all say similar things. It was the Mann study that I stood in front of. If there are serious problems in it, which were known ahead of time and I didn’t know about them, I would carve everyone involved a new you-know-what. Now for public purposes, I’d feel a lot happier if I could at least retreat to the safe haven of other studies that showed something at least similar to the Mann study. But I’d be pretty worried about them on a couple of counts and I’d want them torn through from top to bottom. The first thing that would worry me is that the studies were not really “independent”. The coauthors all seem to swap places: you see Mann, Jones, Briffa, Bradley, Cook, Schweingruber – all well-known scientists, but all having coauthored together. I’d be worried about a monoculture and want a fresh set of eyes. The second thing that would worry me is that the same proxies are used over and over – the bristlecones, the Polar Urals etc. I’d be worried about systemic problems. I’d be worried that no one seemed to have gone through these other studies like M&M had gone through the MBH studies. Maybe there are more time-bombs. I wouldn’t just passively wait for them to go off.

    If I were Houghton, I would be enraged at the public refusal by IPCC authors to show their data and methods. When I read in the Wall Street Journal that Mann had said that he would not be “intimidated” into showing his algorithm, I’d have taken immediate action; I’d have told Mann to stop acting like a prima donna, to archive every line of code and data used in MBH98 and stop fighting a pointless battle that simply embarrassed IPCC and the entire field of climate science. I’d have done more than that. I’d have notified everyone contributing to IPCC that we did not expect the same kind of nonsense any more, that anyone contributing to IPCC would have to ensure that their archives of data and methodology were complete or else we couldn’t use their articles. I’d have done so before I heard from some redneck Republicans.

    I would also review how we were checking studies in IPCC AR4. If our very logo for IPCC TAR blew up on us, then something was wrong with our procedures for review. I wouldn’t go around patting ourselves on the back and telling everyone that this was the most “rigorous” review procedure in the history of science, since we’d goofed on such a prominent issue. I’d want to know why we goofed and how to avoid it in the future, or at least, how to minimize the chances of a recurrence. So when some redneck tried to use the Hockey Stick fiasco against IPCC, I’d at least have an answer.

    A final thing that I’d ask myself: if this damn chart is “irrelevant” to the great issue of 2xCO2, why did we use it at all? And why did we rely on it so much in our sales presentations? Why didn’t we just talk about the issues that were important and stay away from little irrelevant stuff? Maybe I’d find out, when I investigated, that someone had decided that this was merely for sales promotion – the climate equivalent of a sexy girl sitting on a car. If that were the case, I wouldn’t necessarily be happy about it, but at least I’d understand it. Then I’d want to make sure that we were also selling steak as well as sizzle. I’d sure want to make sure that we’d really done a good job on the issue which Ramsdorff and others now say was the “real” issue: climate sensitivity to 2xCO2.

    Here I’d be bothered by how little guidance we actually gave to policymakers interested in an intermediate-complexity analysis of whether 2xC02 will lead to a temperature increase of 0.6 deg C or 2.6 deg C or 5.6 deg C. When I re-examined the TAR, I’d notice that we’d virtually skipped over these matters. I’d think: it’s not enough just to list all the results of different models; let’s try to figure out why one model differs from another, what are the circumstances under which a model gives a low sensitivity and what are the circumstances that a model has high sensitivity – if that’s the “real issue”. When I saw that we’d barely touched this sort of analysis in IPCC TAR, I’d be pretty embarrassed. I would certainly vow that in AR4, we would not repeat the mistake of ignoring the “real issues” in favor of hood ornaments.

    The other thing that I wouldn’t do is simply ignore the problem and hope that it goes away of its own accord. I wouldn’t rely on the assurances of Mann and similar protagonists that the various alleged defects do not “matter”. No corporation would do so in similar circumstances and IPCC shouldn’t either. I would long ago have got some independent statistician to see if there really was a problem that I should be worried about. I wouldn’t have stood still for this water torture. I’d tell Mann to co-operate with the investigator and request McIntyre to cooperate. I’d try to get the parties to sign off on an exact statement of points and issues that everyone agreed on and ones that were in dispute. Once I saw what was in dispute, I’d ask for what would be involved to determine once and for all who was right on specific issues. I would long ago have gotten tired of barrages from both sides, where I couldn’t be sure that they were not at cross-purposes.

    So does the Hockey Stick matter? Yes, if you’re a climate scientist that believes that the IPCC is an important institution whose opinions should be valued. Mann now thinks that the Hockey Stick does not matter. As so often, life is full of ironies.

    • Steve Hempell
      Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 2:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Steve:

      This makes me think of Colin Powell (Houghton), with the head of the CIA sitting behind him (The HS graph), in the UN justifying the attack on Iraq. What did Colin Powell do in response to his embarrassment? I kind of remember he just sucked it up. He left the administration though and refused to consider running for POTUS.

      Steve: I used a picture of Powell presenting WMD in a CA post a few years ago.

      • Steve Hempell
        Posted Mar 17, 2012 at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I was just wondering about any differences between Colin Powell’s reaction to being misinformed and Houghton’s. For example Colin Powell later said:

        In the speech, Powell said he had relied on information he received at Central Intelligence Agency briefings. He said Thursday that then-director George Tenet “believed what he was giving to me was accurate.”

        But, Powell said, “the intelligence system did not work well.”

        “There were some people in the intelligence community who knew at the time that some of those sources were not good, and shouldn’t be relied upon, and they didn’t speak up,” Powell said.

        I suppose Houghton doesn’t believe he has been misinformed.

    • Scott Brim
      Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 5:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Steve McIntyre (Mar 16 11:30),

      The validity of the hockey stick matters greatly to the scientific questions surrounding AGW theory.

      If the hockey stick didn’t matter, it wouldn’t have had such a profound influence on the public side of the AGW debate. The implications of there being an unprecedented rise in temperatures are blindingly obvious from both a scientific analysis perspective and also from a public perception type of perspective.

      The AGW theorists claim there is no other explanation but an increase in CO2 concentration for the recent rise in global mean temperature.

      However, the existence of a pronounced Medievel Warm Period at a pre-industrial CO2 level of 280 ppm would automatically raise the most obvious scientific questions concerning the relative importance of natural climate variability versus a rise in CO2 concentration to 380 ppm as the fundamental cause for the recent rise in global mean temperature.

      How can one assign, with very high confidence, primary responsibility for the post-industrial rise in global mean temperatures to an increase of CO2 concentration from 280 ppm to 380 ppm if natural variability has already demonstrated the capability of raising GMT to similar levels, but at a steady CO2 concentration of 280 ppm?

      The fact that the scientific implications of the hockey stick are so manifestly obvious to both the layman and the specialist alike explains in large part why it has reached icon status, and why it must be defended at all costs by AGW theorists.

    • Nathan
      Posted Mar 22, 2012 at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Mann didn’t put the Hockey Stick there… And there’s been many others made…

      You’re also verballing him on the it doesn’t matter line. The context is that it doesn’t matter whether it’s right or wrong. The physics tells us that Climate Sensitivity is the important factor… Which makes me wonder why you are still talking about something more than 10 years old.

      “So does the Hockey Stick matter? Yes, if you’re a climate scientist that believes that the IPCC is an important institution whose opinions should be valued.”

      Truly!?!? The HS is what makes the IPCC important? It hardly featured in the fourth assessment…

    • Skiphil
      Posted Jan 5, 2013 at 3:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Alas, Mann’s Hockey Stick is alive and well (at least as a PR icon for new generations of students). If I may invite any interested CA denizens to a new discussion thread at Bishop Hill, some of us may want to try to get a handle on the status of various criticisms of the Hockey Team work now that we are in 2013. I am hoping some people far more knowledgeable than I would be willing to comment on what it all means now — what should have been learned from Hockey Team controversies to date? Mann is continuing to promote his Hockey Stick graph as “awesome” with new generations of students, so one cannot say that the climatology field has “moved on” as far as the Hockey Stick goes:

      Mann loves his Hockey Stick

    • Skiphil
      Posted Feb 22, 2013 at 9:21 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Steve McIntyre (Mar 16 11:30),

      TODAY: Michael Mann reduced to flogging his hockey stick at a SOCIOLOGY symposium at Oklahoma State University… I guess they paid him a lot of money??

      Dr. Michael E. Mann Public Lecture – Sociology Symposium

      Friday, February 22, 2013
      3:30pm until 4:30pm in CST

      Alumni Hall, Conoco-Phillips OSU Alumni Center
      (near the OSU Student Union Building-which has paid parking and is located on the Southeast corner of campus)

      A central figure in the controversy over human-caused climate change has been “The Hockey Stick,” a simple, easy-to-understand graph constructed to depict changes in Earth’s temperature back to 1000 AD. The graph was featured in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and it quickly became an icon in the debate over human-caused (“anthropogenic”) climate change. Dr. Mann will tell the story behind the Hockey Stick, using it as a vehicle for exploring broader issues regarding the role of skepticism in science, the uneasy relationship between science and politics, and the dangers that arise when special economic interests and those who do their bidding attempt to skew the discourse over policy-relevant areas of science.

  28. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 12:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steven Mosher, you reiterate that the HS is passé in the AGW debates and imply that what is currently important are the climate models. You have not said anything about temperature reconstructions in general. I judge that much of what is (too readily) accepted in reconstructing climate followed from the HS. Further the iconic nature of the HS and the dead silence of climate scientists in public forums voicing any criticism of it is an excellent indicator of the degree to which advocacy was and remains interfering with good science practices.

    In order to truly validate the climate models one needs either to put together all the physics required and/or be able to at least hindcast into the distance past using some form of reconstruction as a basis. The key to testing hindcasting skill properly would be to have the hindcast upfront and the validated reconstructions follow.

  29. Matt Skaggs
    Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 12:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Excellent op-ed Steve. At this point I think we can all agree that the paleo work has no bearing on the physics of GHGs or the work that projects changes based upon 2xCO2. Steven Mosher wrote:

    “You need to think about how the HS actually functions in a knowledge claiming system.”

    The paleo work begins to have some SCIENTIFIC significance when the claim about GHGs is extended to a claim that “we have measured the increase and already see the effects.” There has been an increase in CO2 and we should be seeing the effects if CAGW theory is correct. But is what we are seeing unique with respect to past excursions caused by non-GHG forcings in terms of duration, rate, or magnitude? This is a valid and entirely scientific question. A “yes” answer would provide strong circumstantial support for CAGW. The HS says “yes.” The refutations say there is no valid evidence that the answer is “yes,” and therefore there is no circumstantial support provided by the HS because the correlation = causation link is not supported. The circumstantial evidence is part of the broader scientific case being made, and so the HS is important IMO.

  30. jchris
    Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 1:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re; Mann Disinformation

    On February 19, I attended an evening lecture given by Michael Mann at the Vancouver campus of Simon Fraser University. Mann was in Vancouver along with some 7,000 other scientists attending the AGM of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The presentation was videotaped for simulcast to some other venue. Those with the appropriate technical skills may be able to locate the video and view it to affirm the comments I make below.

    Mann was introduced lovingly to an adoring crowd (me excluded) of about 80 people by his Suzuki/DeSmog buddy James Hoggan. Here are some of Mann’s more blatant fibs.

    1) The global temperature decline from about 1940-1978 was due to human emissions of aerosols. Once global agreements were in place to reduce/eliminate aerosol emissions, the decline in temperature was reversed (I kid you not). I don’t think Mann would have made such a public comment to his peer group of scientists. Perhaps, in front of a group he would have assumed to be largely ignorant scientifically, he figured he could get away with it. (For the record, my background is in geology). In my estimation, it demonstrates Mann’s contempt for the “General Public”.

    2) The main GHGs are carbon dioxide and methane and a “few others”. No mention of water vapour, the vastly dominant GHG.

    3) When questioned (by me) of the Hockey Stick’s elimination of the MWP and LIA and the removal (“hide the decline”) of 30+ years of recent tree-ring data (in MBH 98), Mann waded right in. He said that the MWP and LIA were “minor temperature perturbations” (but Mann et al eliminated them completely!)and elaborated at length on why that was so (one would have to watch the video to comprehend (or not) his bafflegab explanation). On the tree-ring issue, Mann said that the recent data were (inconveniently) flawed and, hence, were removed.

    There was the usual whining about attacks from climate deniers and evil politicians in the pay of big oil but, hopefully, readers will get the picture.

    Mann gloated when a member of the audience brought up the Heatland Institute document “hack”. (“Now they know how it feels”.) This was before Peter Gliek confessed to impersonating an HI director to obtain confidential documents and likely fabricating a fake document as well.

    A few days before Mann’s lecture, I attended a presentation by Mike Hulme at the same venue. He seemed to be an altogether reasonable fellow regarding the climate debate. However, one never knows; he is a prof at the University of East Anglia, after all. Phil “I’d-rather-destroy-the-data-than-give-it-to-you” Jones has left quite a legacy.

    This is my first post to Climate Audit although I reference the site often and enjoy many of Steve’s and visitors’ insightful comments.

  31. Speed
    Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 2:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Some theater was presented as journalism on This American Life and has been retracted by the show’s host, Ira Glass. In its reporting on the news, the LA Times ran part of a statement released by the Public Theater in New York.

    In the theater, our job is to create fictions that reveal truth– that’s what a storyteller does, that’s what a dramatist does …

    … this work … uses a story to frame and lead debate about an important issue in a deeply compelling way. He has illuminated how our actions affect people half-a-world away and, in doing so, has spurred action to address a troubling situation. This is a powerful work of art and exactly the kind of storytelling that The Public Theater has supported, and will continue to support in the future.

    So Mann is doing theater, not science.

    • mpaul
      Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 8:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I think this is another great example of Noble Cause Corruption. Few would doubt the nobility of eliminating child abuse in Chinese factories. So the author felt justified in manufacturing facts to support the narrative. If you read his words, they sound a lot like Gleick’s…or Hansen’s or Mann’s. The answer is already known, there can be no debate — the actual facts are unimportant. Instead, what is deemed to be of central importance is how to communicate the conclusion persuasively to the public. So the facts are discarded in favor of easy-to-believe stylized metaphors crafted to sway public opinion. NPR, as usual, swallowed the story whole simply because it fit their sensibilities.

      I will say, however, that in this case, the perp was a professional story teller and did not represent himself as a peer-reviewed scientists.

      • Speed
        Posted Mar 17, 2012 at 6:10 AM | Permalink | Reply

        NPR, as usual, swallowed the story whole …

        This American Life is a production of Chicago Public Media and is distributed by Public Radio International (PRI), not NPR. TAL says, On this week’s episode of This American Life, we will devote the entire hour to detailing the errors in “Mr. Daisey Goes to the Apple Factory.”

        This is exactly the type of response that Steve called for in his Pielke editorial reprinted above.

        • mpaul
          Posted Mar 17, 2012 at 1:08 PM | Permalink

          Yes, you’re right, its PRI not NPR.

  32. Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 6:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “The fact that the scientific implications of the hockey stick are so manifestly obvious to both the layman and the specialist alike explains in large part why it has reached icon status, and why it must be defended at all costs by AGW theorists.”
    True, and hasn’t Mann called his book “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars”. In any interview I have heard with MM he is unrepentant about the hockey stick graph and claims again and again that the graph has been confirmed by the work of others.

  33. EdeF
    Posted Mar 16, 2012 at 9:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I think I will pass on the Mann book, based on the comments above. In contrast, consider the fluid, coherent writing style of the Bishop Hill, Andrew Montford and his book,
    “The Hockey Stick Illusion”. Very readable, I just cruised from chapter to chapter,
    page upon page until it was done. Anyone could highly recommend that book as a primer
    on the debate over the so-called hockey stick, and more.

  34. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Mar 17, 2012 at 1:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The shape of the hockey stick depends fundamentally on a correct instrumental temperature record.
    If you should permit a cros-blog reference, please study http://joannenova.com.au/2012/03/australian-temperature-records-shoddy-inaccurate-unreliable-surprise/ where (ahem) I’m a minor author.
    You have to read this account of Australian temperatures carefully, lest you jump to a premature conclusion that positive past temperature bias was neatly offset by negative. Please be assured that many, many hours of analysis did not reach this conclusion. The outcome cannot be fully definite because of destruction of past records and because of ambiguities from converting from degrees F to C then back to F.
    My colleagues who did the hard yards have provided routines at Jo’s blog so that readers can investigate the records from their own countries and report them. If there are enough countries with a record like Australia’s, the land record will need the be recalculated and all past proxy calinbrations will have to be recalibrated.
    This has the potential to change the shape of the hockey stick, irrespective of its perceived importance. It is more important to use the best data that can be compiled.

  35. Dave
    Posted Mar 17, 2012 at 2:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve – I’m almost certainly not alone in requesting that you do write a review of this book, however painful and annoying it is for you to do so.

  36. Catfish
    Posted Mar 17, 2012 at 10:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Someone has to write a real review with some examples of misinformation. The first comment on Amazon was from a student in Winnipeg who is a member of the sheep family and cannot be bothered to research the facts.

  37. Catfish
    Posted Mar 19, 2012 at 8:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re my previous comment.
    The sincgle review was on Amazon.ca.
    There are over a hundred “reviews” on Amazon.com.
    The five star ones are from the sheep family,forming a near perfect herd. It is amazing that not one of them could find even a little discretion. They call it “Science”. I suppose in the animal kingdom one can use different terminology for politics.

  38. theduke
    Posted Mar 21, 2012 at 7:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Mann has responnded to the review in a letter to the WSJ:

    Anne Jolis’s review of my book “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches From the Front Lines” (Bookshelf, March 15) tries to make a book about climate science and my experiences being attacked by politicians come across as a polemic.

    For instance, Ms. Jolis labeled me “anti-carbon” in an attempt to politically pigeonhole my story. For the record, it would be difficult for any scientist to be against an element in the periodic table.

    The article’s online headline claims I “argue” that fossil-fuel burning is driving climate change. But communicating scientific facts is not arguing. Every national academy of science in the world, including our own, agrees that climate change is due to increased fossil fuel use. Only politicians and ideologues want to argue about basic, established science.

    Ms. Jolis repeats criticisms of research I conducted that showed modern-day temperatures are unusually high (“the hockey stick”). My book explains that research, its critics and independent studies that have since validated and extended its original findings. But Ms. Jolis tries to dismiss these scientific discussions as “score-settling” and “sound bites.”

    The biggest oversight in Ms. Jolis’s review is that it doesn’t describe any of the stories I tell about being attacked by politicians. Those experiences are what prompted me to write the book.

    Luckily, since the book was published, the Virginia Supreme Court stopped Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli from invading scientists’ privacy because he doesn’t like our research conclusions.

    Nevertheless, our national dialogue about climate change remains broken. The Journal’s decision to publish Ms. Jolis’s review has done nothing to repair it.

    Prof. Michael E. Mann

    Meteorology Department

    Penn State University

    University Park, Pa.

  39. theduke
    Posted Mar 21, 2012 at 11:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re Mann’s letter to the WSJ:

    One can see why Dr. Mann has always been intimidated by Stephen McIntyre. The quality of thinking and writing displayed in this letter is sophomoric at best.

    He complains that Jolis tries to make his book “come across as a polemic.” Now why would anyone think that a book with the words “Climate Wars” in the title and subtitled “Dispatches from the Front Lines” might be considered “a controversial argument, especially one refuting or attacking a specific opinion or doctrine,” which is the definition of “polemic?” Forgive the sarcasm, but is he implying that everyone else is arguing contentiously and he’s just trying to make nice while the bullets are flying around him?

    Next he plays semantic games with Jolis’s use of the term “anti-carbon” in describing his position on global warming, as if her use of the word is not figurative and he’s not against mankind putting excessive amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    He quibbles over the WSJ’s use of the word “argue,” as if that is not what one does in rational debate or that in “communicating scientific facts” and arriving at conclusions from them one is not presenting an argument for one version of the truth. Does he not understand the difference between “argue” and “argumentative?”

    He complains that Jolis does not mention the attacks he’s endured by politicians, and claims that’s the reason he wrote the book. Dr. Mann: we are all under attack by politicians who are attempting to impose unprecedented, expensive, and potentially disastrous policies that constrain human economic activity and human liberty–policies that are based largely on your scientific findings and the findings of others in your clique. Forgive me if I’m not sympathetic to your being asked to testify before Congress to defend work that is the basis for such policies, many of which would have been unimaginable a short 20 years ago.

    He gloats over his recent, and potentially short-lived, legal victory over AG Cuccinelli.

    He attacks the WSJ for doing nothing to repair our “national dialogue about climate change,” which he characterizes as “broken.” Is he so delusional that he thinks his book will contribute to peace on that front? And how does one engage in “dialogue” with those who claim the debate is over?

    As one who has suggested that Steve not waste his time reviewing Mann’s book, it occurs to me that I’ve wasted too much time deconstructing this letter . . .

    • Posted Mar 22, 2012 at 8:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

      He complains that Jolis does not mention the attacks he’s endured by politicians, and claims that’s the reason he wrote the book.

      What you go to say is highly apposite. But Mann is also here, for me, putting all his critics in the ‘politician’ category, Steve McIntyre and Andrew Montford included. This enables him, he thinks, to ignore their most important arguments about the science or stats.

      it occurs to me that I’ve wasted too much time deconstructing this letter . . .

      Not for me. I’m with you about whether the book is worth much effort at all but as Mann is forced to face up to public criticism by the stature of the WSJ (not that he really did) I’m interested.

      • theduke
        Posted Mar 22, 2012 at 9:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Richard: thank you. Having read only reviews of the book (including the work of Schollenberger and Tamaki) and comments here at CA, I’ll take your word for it that Mann is putting all his critics “in the politician category.”
        Labeling Steve as a “politician” is just more evidence of sloppy, biased, and paranoid thinking on his part.

        FYI: one of Robert Tamaki’s criticisms of the book in his one-star review at Amazon is that Mann never once mentions Montford’s name in the book.

  40. PhilH
    Posted Mar 22, 2012 at 1:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Man, Mann is a very strange man

  41. Posted Apr 3, 2012 at 8:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Reblogged this on Is it 2012 in Nevada County Yet? and commented:
    Our local left has been promoting the Hockey Stick Mann’s New Book that attempts to defend his very bad science. Here is some insight from one of the subjects in the book.

  42. TheAverageJoe
    Posted Apr 24, 2012 at 9:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Reblogged this on TaJnB | TheAverageJoeNewsBlogg.

  43. Skiphil
    Posted Jan 21, 2013 at 5:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Mann’s lawyers claim he can’t be wrong if any other climate scientists said the same thing:

    on “Nobel Mann” see footnote 69, page 33:

    Mann’s lawyers file counter motion against SLAPP motion of National Review

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