Who wrote the EPA documents?

Jean S writes (transferred from a comment with the addition of a few headings):

A question for the experts: is it known who wrote and who were used as experts in the EPA documents? If not, is that information considered public (i.e., obtainable under FOIA or similar)?

The reason I ask is that I get very, very eerily feeling when reading certain parts of the EPA decision, especially this one. For instance, I think there are very, very few people in this world from whom the following paragraphs could originate (considering style, content and astonishing familiarity with Mann’s work):

Response 1-2

Loehle (2009) is a more theoretical study examining the implications for reconstructions if the reason for “divergence” results from a non-linear response of trees to warming. He shows that if the trees respond quadratically to warming rather than linearly, then it is possible that reconstructions using these trees would not reproduce some historical warm periods. However, these questions are not new: the possibility of such non-linear response was addressed in a qualitative form by the NRC (2006). Additionally, some reconstructions have examined the effect of not including any tree rings whatsoever and still find that modern warming is slightly larger than other events in the past millenium (Mann et al., 2008).

Response 1-16

The petitioners presented a reconstruction from Loehle and McCulloch (2008) that claimed that without using tree rings they could show that the average of the warmest three decades of the MWP was a little warmer (though not in a statistically significant sense) than the three decades ending in 2006. The paper uses the straight average of 18 proxies, apparently with no attempt to weight the proxies to take into account the geographic distribution of the sites or the strength of their ability to detect temperature changes. In contrast, Mann et al. (2008) presented reconstructions both with and without tree rings, using geographic and other weighting corrections, and unlike Loehle (2008), they found that “Recent warmth appears anomalous for at least the past 1,300 years whether or not tree-ring data are used.”

Response 1-9

We also note that there have been a number of peer-reviewed critiques and discussions of the McIntyre and McKitrick analyses (e.g., Rutherford et al. 2005, Juckes et al. 2007, von Storch and Zorita 2005, Huybers 2005, Wahl and Amman 2007). These papers question the validity of some aspects of the McIntyre and McKitrick critiques and find that correcting for other valid aspects of the critiques have “no significant effects on the reconstruction itself” (Wahl and Amman, 2007).

Response 1-70
EPA stated in Response 1-70

As background, Soon et al. critiqued the application of the smoothing algorithm used by Mann and Jones (2003) at the very end of the time period that was analyzed. The algorithm is a 20-year average, and a decision must be made about what temperature to use for the last 10 years. For example, one could choose to reflect the end of the temperature record (making the years after the end of the record a mirror image of the years before the end of the record), or assume that all years after the last year of the record are equal in temperature to the last year, or assume that the subsequent years continue the trend of the previous years in the record. Soon et al. felt that application of this “data padding” (though they were not able to exactly duplicate Mann and Jones) led to unjustifiably high temperatures at the end of the smoothed temperature record.

A subsequent peer-reviewed rebuttal of Soon et al.’s critique was published by Mann (2004). Mann (2004) states that “Comparisons that are uninformed (e.g., Soon et al., 2004) by objective evaluation criteria (e.g., MSE [Mean Square Error]), are unlikely to provide useful insights into the relative merits of alternative boundary constraints.” Mann’s contention is that there needs to be an objective way to evaluate which smoothing routine to use. While he does not claim that MSE is necessarily the best function, he notes that Soon et al. do not use any objective criteria at all. His analysis also suggests that his approach will choose methods that reflect the underlying trends in the data, whereas smoothing that does not use the MSE criteria can generate spurious trends.

The claim that Mann (2004) is a “rebuttal of Soon et al.’s [2004] critique [of Mann & Jones (2003)]” was new to me. And I think I know Mann’s work pretty well. After some research, I found out that the claim had been made at least once before, in a January 2005 RealClimate postby mike and gavin:

Next, we consider the paper by Soon et al (2004) published in GRL which criticized the way temperature data series had been smoothed in the IPCC report and elsewhere. True to form, contrarians immediately sold the results as ‘invalidating’ the conclusions of the IPCC, with the lead author Willie Soon himself writing an opinion piece to this effect. Once again, a few short months later, a followup article was published by one of us (Mann, 2004) that invalidated the Soon et al (2004) conclusions, demonstrating (with links to supporting Matlab source codes and data) how (a) the authors had, in an undisclosed manner, inappropriately compared trends calculated over differing time intervals and (b) had not used standard, objective statistical criteria to determine how data series should be treated near the beginning and end of the data. It is unfortunate that a followup paper even had to be published, as the flaws in the original study were so severe as to have rendered the study of essentially no scientific value.

In the light of the last statement it is interesting to notice the dates in the papers (additionally it is “unfortunate” that mike even had to revisit the topic in 2008).
Soon et al:
Received 24 November 2003; revised 17 December 2003; accepted 24 December 2003; published 14 February 2004
Received 23 January 2004; revised 10 March 2004; accepted 18 March 2004; published 15 April 2004

Update: Jean S has directly asked Mann and Schmidt whether they were involved in writing the EPA documents:

@ClimateOfGavin @MichaelEMann Were you involved in writing of EPA’s Denial of Petitions? http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment/petitions.html


  1. David L. Hagen
    Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 9:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Soon et al. published 14 February 2004: Mann et al. manuscript received 23 January 2004: Is this a “Back to the Future” mistake?

    • David L. Hagen
      Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 11:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

      OR (more charitably) did Mann revise his manuscript 10 March after Soon et al. published on 14 February?

    • Jean S
      Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 12:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: David L. Hagen (Aug 27 09:45),

      Mann actually tried (and succeeded!) in delaying the publication of Soon et al (2004).


      At 06:47 27/01/2004 -0500, Mann wrote:

      By the way, he latest Soon (SLB) has been pulled from production–I pointed out to AGU that they had altered a plot from my Science (2002) piece in their Figure 3, which is a blatant violation of Science’s copyright policy. AGU agreed and pulled the paper. So they’ve got to remove the offending figure and resubmit a final draft! I figure this delays production a few weeks anyway. And who knows, if the review of my response goes quick, it could be accepted by then…

      Notice also that Jones says he’s given the SLB paper thing to Chris Folland and Tom Karl. I’d suppose most of the Team had the paper long before mid February. The discussion also implies that it has been clear all the time to the Team that Mann (2004) is a direct response to Soon et al. (2004) although it is not at all clear from the actual paper. This marginally enlarges the group of candidates for the EPA document ghost writer.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 12:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

        In the email linked by Jean S http://www.ecowho.com/foia.php?file=4139.txt, Jones tells Mann:

        Will look at your response to SB at the weekend. Also have just slammed Huang’s comment on your GST paper.

        The GST paper in question appears to be Mann and Schmidt 2003 Ground vs. surface air temperature trends: Implications for borehole surface temperature reconstructions pdf

        Huang’s work was criticized in that article. My interpretation of Jones’ comment is that Huang submitted a comment on Mann and Schmidt 2003, that Jones was asked to review (even though he had an extremely close relationship with Mann) and that Jones “slammed” the Huang comment, then reported to Mann that he had done so. In a quick look, it doesn’t appear that the Huang comment was ever published.

        This correspondence was not in CG1 and thus not considered by the CG1 whitewashes.

        • Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

          “This correspondence was in CG2 …” I think you meant to say.

          S: fixed

  2. JD Ohio
    Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 9:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

    What I have been wondering about is how Mann’s lawyers found this obscure (in the context of Mann’s claims) report, and botched up so many basic factual allegations. It does appear that the source of this report was different from the source or sources that were used to make other factual allegations.


  3. Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 10:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Whether it is subject to FOIA or not, it is subject to a court order. If Steyn demands it, this could be very embarrassing for the EPA.

  4. HaroldW
    Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 10:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

    What does the META-data say?
    That is, Mosher Entropic Textual Analysis…

  5. S. Geiger
    Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 11:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

    So, on the tweeted question, is it reasonable to assume they would respond in the negative (but likely not respond) in the positive? Or would they not respond either way?

  6. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 11:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “…Once again, a few short months later, a followup article was published by one of us (Mann, 2004)…”

    We accept you! We accept you! One of us! One of us!

    With Mann being the only author of “Mann, 2004,” seems that’s a dead-giveaway he was involved.

  7. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 11:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Jean S observes that it was “unfortunate” that Mann had to revisit the topic in 2008.

    CA readers may recall that UC observed an error in Mann’s code in connection with the 2008 paper which he reported at CA http://climateaudit.org/2008/09/02/uc-on-mann-smoothing/

    Within hours, Mann changed the code archived for the article to correct for the error observed by UC. He did so without marking changes in the code which had been linked from the publication itself. He also plagiarized UC by not providing credit.

  8. Joseph W.
    Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 11:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

    For instance, I think there are very, very few people in this world from whom the following paragraphs could originate (considering style, content and astonishing familiarity with Mann’s work)

    Have you considered using this kind of software to check the prose style?

    (I know with Gleick there was an issue because the fake Heartland memo was mostly quotes from real Heartland documents…but here there may not be such a problem.)

    Steve: it would be just as easy to do an FOI.

  9. John Francis
    Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 2:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I sure hope these suspicions are valid, and that they are converted into facts. What a blow it would be to Mann or Schmidt, and to the disgraceful EPA

  10. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 4:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I continue to be impressed with the detective work you people here do in these matters. I would suppose in this case the bigger problem (and perhaps embarrassment – although I doubt any of the participants would come up shame-faced) if what is suspected comes to fruition would be the EPA not crediting Mann or his facsimile for writing the reply. That the EPA would follow closely the thoughts, if not the words of Mann, should not surprise anyone.

    The EPA is a regulating body of the government looking to expand its regulating domain – as do all such agencies of the government. Mann, probably more than even those fellow climate scientists with a bent to advocate for more regulation concerning AGW, fit the needs of the EPA to rationalize their regulation of CO2 and with that his words are the gospel. Mann well could have prompted the EPA with some examples of how to word a reply. It would be interesting to determine whether those potential conversations would have left a paper trail that an FOIA might reveal. I do not know whether the EPA might have the same penchant as the IRS for losing emails and avoiding the issue that way or alternatively proclaiming what is already obvious, i.e. Mann is the man and his word is the Word.

  11. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 5:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    In speculating on Schmidt’s potential involvement with EPA documents supposedly “exonerating” Mann, Schmidt is surely the sort of person that it would make sense for EPA to consult with. Neither EPA nor Schmidt would have been considering the EPA “inquiry” as a proceeding that was supposed to be an “independent” inquiry into academic misconduct. In addition, if Schmidt were involved, I think that it is likely that he would have consulted Mann on certain points. Why wouldn’t he?

    Consider a dog which didn’t bark: Real Climate didn’t publicize the EPA inquiry as yet another “independent” inquiry that had exonerated Mann and CRU.

    If Schmidt hadn’t been involved in the EPA inquiry, you’d think that he would have written up their supposed “exoneration” of climate scientists.

    If he’d been involved and done a Real Climate post disclosing his involvement with the supposed “exoneration”, people would have ridiculed the latest supposedly “independent” inquiry and it would have made the situation worse.

    If he’d been involved and done a Real Climate post without disclosing involvement, people would have asked him whether he’d been involved in the EPA findings (especially since he’d been a peer reviewer of the Endangerment Finding) and he wouldnt have been able to evade the questions. He would also realize that he would have a hard time trying to bluff, since he’d been easily identified as his own Mystery Man in a Steig incident.

    So if he’d been involved in the EPA documents, his most rational course of action would be to lie low.

    I do not in any way argue that this is “proof” or circumstantial evidence that obliges anyone. Now that the issue is in the air, I think that we’ll find out soon enough whether Schmidt and/or Mann were involved.

    • Green Sand
      Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 5:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Steve McIntyre (Aug 27 17:12),

      “Consider a dog which didn’t bark”

      Ah! “Silver Blaze” and the “negative fact”!

      Elementary my dear CA reader!

      Steve: Let me re-iterate that this is speculation. Jean S asked Mann and Schmidt the question directly and either one of them or both of them could quickly put speculation to rest.

      You will also recall initial ridicule over initial speculation that Gleick was a forger and fraud, but these speculations proved correct.

      I once wrote a post entitled The Dog That Didn’t Bark in which I speculated that Wahl and Ammann had made review comments on Briffa’s section of AR4 that had not been archived in the IPCC archive of review comments. And indeed, Eugene Wahl, who had been neither a registered IPCC contributing author nor reviewer, had had surreptitious correspondence with Briffa and,in all likelihood, wrote the language that I had objected to. After David Holland submitted an FOI request for these comments, you will recall Jones’ coordination of the destruction of documents which resulted in Briffa and Wahl both deleting the documents. So my instincts on these matters are not necessarily wrong.

    • taget
      Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 6:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I am beginning to hope that NR / CEI lose their anti-SLAPP appeal. Discovery and testimony on some of these questions would be fascinating.

  12. Follow the Money
    Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 5:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “Mann and Schmidt whether they were involved in writing the EPA documents”

    Maybe you should query if anyone connected to one of his lawyer’s firms was involved in writing the EPA documents.

    They are very knowledgeable about the consensus narrative, and the EPA endangerment report reads highly of pr and lawyer work.

  13. amac78
    Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 5:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Mann et al (“Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric and global surface temperature variations over the past two millennia”, PNAS, 2008) is cited in two of the EPA’s Responses.

    Response 1-2

    Additionally, some reconstructions have examined the effect of not including any tree rings whatsoever and still find that modern warming is slightly larger than other events in the past millenium (Mann et al., 2008).

    Response 1-16

    In contrast, Mann et al. (2008) presented reconstructions both with and without tree rings, using geographic and other weighting corrections, and unlike Loehle (2008), they found that “Recent warmth appears anomalous for at least the past 1,300 years whether or not tree-ring data are used.”

    The key accomplishment of this paper was to show that proxies other than tree rings (“Non-Dendro” proxies) could be used to reconstruct the 2,000 year temperature history of the Earth, and that they had a shape that was very similar to the reconstructions based on tree ring records. The paper’s graphs were all hockey-stick-shaped, with a sharply-rising trend beginning c. 1970 and rising rapidly to unprecedented levels.

    This result of Mann et al (2008) is the basis of the EPA’s rebuttals of the criticisms addressed in these two responses. It is worth noting that it is entirely dependent on the inclusion of the Tiljander data series in the Non-Dendro reconstructions. If the Tiljander data series are excluded, the resultant Non-Dendro reconstruction fails to pass even Mann’s lax validation tests.

    That the contaminated and uncalibratable Tiljander proxies were used upside-down was vehemently denied by Mann and co-authors in a Comment published by PNAS.

    That the Non-Dendro reconstructions rely on the inclusion of the Tiljander protocols was vehemently denied by Michael Mann’s fellow bloggers at RealClimate.org. However, this point was grudgingly conceded by Gavin Schmidt, deep within a 2010 RealClimate.org thread (Comments 529 and 531).

    To have any possible merit, Non-Dendro reconstructions must exclude the Tiljander proxies. Failure-to-validate issues aside, the starkly distinct shape of the No-Tiljander/Non-Dendro reconstruction would have been obvious in a figure that Mann published in 2009 — except that I had to re-draw the key trace by hand to make it visible. See Dirty Laundry II: Contaminated Sediments.

    The use of the Tiljander proxies by Mann (2008), Mann (2009), Kemp (2011), and other papers was deeply flawed on other grounds, as well. For details, see my Yahoo Answer (search for “AMac”) and references therein.

    Steve: Amac, the timing of Schmidt’s grudging admission about nodendro is curious: as it occurred almost exactly the same time as the EPA denial decision. Ironically, Schmidt’s admission attracted more interest than the EPA decision at Real Climate and Climate Audit.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 8:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Amac, I noticed another interesting reliance on Mann’s nodendro reconstruction, this time by Revkin during Yamal. I noticed (or perhaps re-noticed) this while looking at past Steyn comments on Mann.

      In an article on Nov 29, 2009, soon after Climategate, Steyn wrote a withering article about coercion of the peer review process, both pal review and enemy review, particularly criticizing Andy Revkin for being co-opted by Mann. Steyn quoted an email from Sep 2009 during a controversy about Yamal (which Steyn seems to have watched closely) in which Revkin reassured Mann that he would cover it as an incident in peer review and not give any oxygen to my substantive criticisms. Steyn:

      The trouble with outsourcing your marbles to the peer-reviewed set is that, if you take away one single thing from the leaked documents, it’s that the global warm-mongers have wholly corrupted the “peer-review” process….

      The more frantically they talked up “peer review” as the only legitimate basis for criticism, the more assiduously they turned the process into what James Lewis calls the Chicago machine politics of international science. The headline in the Wall Street Journal Europe is unimproveable: “How To Forge A Consensus.” Pressuring publishers, firing editors, blacklisting scientists: That’s “peer review,” climate-style….

      The e-mails of “Andy” (as his CRU chums fondly know him) are especially pitiful. Confronted by serious questions from Stephen McIntyre, the dogged Ontario retiree whose “Climate Audit” Web site exposed the fraud of Dr. Mann’s global-warming “hockey stick” graph, “Andy” writes to Dr. Mann to say not to worry, he’s going to “cover” the story from a more oblique angle:

      “I’m going to blog on this as it relates to the value of the peer review process and not on the merits of the mcintyre et al attacks.

      The email thread in question was 1254259645.txt.

      One of the reasons why Revkin paid little attention to Yamal as an issue was because of the nodendro reconstruction in Mann’s 2008 paper.

      needless to say, seems the 2008 pnas paper showing that without tree rings still solid
      picture of unusual recent warmth, but McIntyre is getting wide play for his statements
      about Yamal data-set selectivity.

      Needless to say Mann’s nodendro reconstruction wasn’t “still solid”, but Mann didn’t tell Revkin.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 9:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I’ve been re-reading Shub’s reconstruction of Mann re-writing text at SKS, and then later pointing to it as independent. In passing, I noticed that SKS authors Nuccitelli and Neal King continued to be tricked by Mann’s nodendro reconstruction into 2011.

        Dana Nuccitelli wrote here:

        Mann ’08 did reconstructions with and without tree rings, and it didn’t make a big difference in his results. Tree rings are consistent with other proxies until about 1960.

        Neal King responded quite reasonably:

        Then I think it’s important that we NOT spend any effort defending the continued use of tree-ring proxies: It weakens the argument as a whole. We need to learn to pick our battles.

        These bloody tree rings are like a finger bitten by a cobra: Slice it off, or die.

        They should have listened to King.

        Shub also pointed to the following remarkable exchange. Cook had sent a draft hide-the-decline post to Mann and reported to SKS as follows (Feb 25, 2011):

        Im working on a hide the decline post. Because of the renewed attention on the decline, Michael Mann had a look at my decline rebuttal and told me it could be “more solid”. So with the master’s red ink over my work, I’m going back and having another look at it. I’m also hoping to coordinate this with a Crock video although Peter is so busy, poor guy, that may be optimistic

        James Wight presciently responded that Cook should not have admitted that Mann had been editing his texts, since anyone hacking into the SKS forum would “know we’re all corrupt stooges and our “master” is Michael Mann”:

        “Michael Mann had a look at my decline rebuttal and told me it could be “more solid”. So with the master’s red ink over my work, I’m going back and having another look at it.” Whoops, you shouldn’t have said that, John. Now if someone hacks into the SkS forum, they’ll know we’re all corrupt stooges and our “master” is Michael Mann.
        *sarcasm alert*

        Shub observed:

        Cook jettisoned the original text of the article, replaced it with Mann’s interpretation (of his own trick), and left author names unchanged making it appear as though they wrote the material.

        Shub then provided a list of Mann references and directions to people to the SKS hide-the-decline as a supposedly independent article.

        • Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 12:04 AM | Permalink

          Amazing. I hope you took “dogged Ontario retiree” up with Steyn though when you met recently. Some retirement.

        • skiphil
          Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 1:25 AM | Permalink

          Unlike politicians and their speech writers, ghost writers of memoirs etc., academics and scientists are supposed to be scrupulous about openness and transparency, acknowledgements, credit, authorship, etc.

          For Mann to be in a ghost-writing career without public acknowledgements means further lows in his demonstrable lack of ethics, judgment, and character.

        • JD Ohio
          Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

          Can someone explain in one or 2 paragraphs what “hide the decline” actually was? Mann supporters always claim that the phrase was taken out of context. Knowing Mann, I doubt that is the case, but I personally would like to have a good grip on what was actually happening.

          Also, if this can be explained concisely in the Mann libel suit, it would be very helpful to the defendants.


        • Jean S
          Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 12:55 PM | Permalink

          JD Ohio (Aug 28 12:37),

          Briffa’s reconstruction has a “decline” (AKA “divergence”) after about ~1960. That is, the reconstruction goes downwards instead of upwards (like the actual temperature measurements). So instead of using the Briffa’s series in full, Jones cut the reconstruction to 1960 and continued with the actual temperature measurements (CRU series) from there on. Thereby there is no difference in the “reconstruction” compared to the CRU series (both essentially going upwards after 1960), hence the decline was hidden.

        • JD Ohio
          Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 3:06 PM | Permalink


          Thank you very much for your very helpful summary. However, I have a follow-up question. What is Mann’s connection to this?


        • Jean S
          Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 3:33 PM | Permalink

          JD Ohio (Aug 28 15:06),

          Jones credited this unacceptable data manipulation of combining the reconstruction with a temperature series (= the trick) to Mann, specifically to Mann’s infamous hockey stick paper commonly known as MBH98 (published in Nature), i.e. “Mike’s Nature trick”. That this “trick” was used in MBH98 (and also in the sequel MBH99) was in fact observed already before Climategate by a CA regular UC. The effect of the trick in MBH9X (i.e., in the infamous hockey stick graphs) is that the smoothed reconstruction curve has an “S”-type end pointing upwards (like the smoothed temperature curve). Without the trick the smoothed curve would be pointing downwards, essentially the end would look like an upside-down “U”.

        • David L. Hagen
          Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

          JD Ohio
          See: Hide-the-Decline Plus

          Indeed, they did not simply “hide the decline”, their “hide the decline” was worse than we thought. Mann et al did not merely delete data after 1960, they deleted data from 1940 on, You can see the last point of the Briffa reconstruction (located at ~1940) peeking from behind the spaghetti in the graphic below:

          Mann was lead author in the IPCC promoting his own hockey stick and both active deleting discordant data and not reporting such deletions etc.

          In first quarter 2003 (almost exactly the same time as Severinghaus’ inquiry), Soon et al raised almost precisely the same question in Soon et al (EE 2003). The answer of Mann and a long list of coauthors . . . took hide the decline to new levels. . . .
          At the time, no one knew about “hide the decline”. Mann et al do not mention anything about deleting adverse data. The Briffa reconstruction labeled in the legend as “Briffa et al scaled 1856-1980″, giving no clue to readers of hide-the-decline.

          There were actually two deletions of “misbehaving” data. See: Hide the Decline: Sciencemag # 3

        • Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

          Jean S (3:33 PM): The whole thing’s made more complicated by the fact that Jones misunderstood what Mann had done, right?

        • Jean S
          Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

          Richard Drake (Aug 28 15:37),

          I think the difference between Mann and Jones was that Jones was fully in opinion that it was ok to continue the reconstructions that way whereas Mann understood the problem. Hence Jones smoothed the curves all the way up to 1999 whereas Mann cut his smoothes back (in order to hide that the instrumental pad was used) and used slightly different line dash in Figure 7a/MBH98.

          As a non-native English speaker it has been a puzzle to me to understand why Jones’ words are still five years after CG under some dispute. Let’s see:

          I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps
          to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from
          1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline. Mike’s series got the annual
          land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land
          N of 20N.

          Jones says that he has done “Mike’s nature trick” and adds an explenation what it is (“of adding in real temps”). Then he specifies for what years and with what temp data: Mann’s reconstruction was extended with 1981-1999 annual NH land and ocean data, his own reconstruction was extended with 1981-1999 April-Sept NH land data, and Briffa’s series was extended with 1961-1999 (instead of 1981-1999 in order to hide the decline) April-Sept north of 20N land data.

        • Jean S
          Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

          David L. Hagen (Aug 28 15:37),

          just to make sure that we are not confusing anyone, it has to be stated that Mann/IPCC did not hide the decline in Briffa’s series by extending the series with the instrumental data. Their method of hiding the decline was that the series was cut back to 1960 (or in 1940 in some cases as you observe), and it was plotted first and then the rest on top of it, so one could not see that Briffa’s series was not extending to the end (and sometimes readers were additionally mislead by the captions as you observe).

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 8:52 PM | Permalink

          Hide-the-decline in IPCC AR3 had been reported at CA in 2005 long before the posts


          The connection to Mann was that Mann had been Lead Author of AR3 where the decline in the Briffa reconstruction was deleted. There were very disquieting emails in which Mann and other authors discussed how to represent the Briffa reconstruction so as not to “dilute the message”; Mann did not want to give “fodder to skeptics”. The “hide the decline” email was nearly contemporary bit referred to the WMO 1999 diagram. The various institutions have played hide-the-weinie about hide-the-decline, by saying that the WMO 1999 diagram didn’t matter and ignoring hide-the-decline in the IPCC. See http://climateaudit.org/2009/12/10/ipcc-and-the-trick/ for a contemporary account.

        • Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 5:02 PM | Permalink

          …As a non-native English speaker it has been a puzzle to me to understand why Jones’ words are still five years after CG under some dispute.

          I don’t think Jones’ words are particularly ambiguous or confusing either. The foil is all the team’s. It is a common ploy to deconstruct words and sentences beyond the reach of understanding so confusion is the end-result. Examine Gavin Schmidt’s latest post at RC. It appears motivated by Gavin’s urge to write arising from his disagreeing with so many points Judith Curry has to make. But the actual article consists of fisking carried out in a such a way that Curry’s line of reasoning is completely destroyed and Schmidt’s left responding to orphaned bits of text of his own making.

        • Jean S
          Posted Aug 29, 2014 at 4:13 AM | Permalink

          I made a small update to Steve’s 2007 post, which I think is the first CA post which drew to our attention that there were something odd in the MBH9X smooths. The post (and also the next) is IMO definitely worth reading as it provides visual understanding to the trick (as used by Mann/IPCC) and also illuminates the enormous effort Steve’s put over the years in order to uncover all these things.

        • JD Ohio
          Posted Aug 29, 2014 at 9:32 AM | Permalink

          Thanks for the replies to my “Hide the Decline” question. To make sure my understanding is correct, here is how I would summarize it.

          Briffa’s work with tree rings, when as used previously, showed a decline in temperatures following 1960. When Mann was the lead author on a component of AR3, he took part in email discussions with Briffa & Jones in which the issue of diluting the message was discussed. During the course of those emails, Jones used the phrase “hide the decline.” Then actual temperature data, beginning in 1960, was added to the proxy data in Briffa’s work. In the AR3 report, there was no acknowledgement whatever that temperature data was added to the proxy data. Also, the graphs of the different work were presented in such a way that Briffa’s work ended in 1960, and the end point of Briffa’s graph was buried among about 5 other graphs where it would be difficult to see.

          It appears that the AGW defense of the substitution of temperature data for proxy data was that previous publications had noted the problems with the tree proxy data. However, the AR3 report did not explicitly mention that temperature data was being substituted for tree proxy data.

          If I have got this wrong in any way, please correct me.

          A couple of questions come to mind. 1. It seems as though Mann, Briffa & Jones had no qualms about only presenting data that supported their viewpoint. If the Briffa proxy data was so harmful to the consensus view, why include it all? 2. Am I right that the Briffa temperature data was included in the text of AR3 [but not acknowledged as temperature data], but not in the graph where it was buried with the other graphs and ended in 1960. This seems really weird to me, but there are many such weird events in “climate science.”


          Steve: no, you don’t have it right. The Briffa et al 1998 article showed the decline in his reconstruction. There was an AR3 Lead Authors meeting in Arusha meeting in Sep 1999 where the spaghetti graph was a problem. There was unsalubrious email correspondence among the authors in Sep-Oct 1999 – See “dilute the message”, “fodder for skeptics”. This led to the deletion of the decline in the Briffa reconstruction in the AR3 spaghetti graph. Mann would have been quite content to simply not show the Briffa reconstruction, but it seems that Briffa wasn’t willing to simply walk away. In November 1999, Jones did a diagram for WMO 1999 and “hide the decline” was used in a covering email. Jones didn’t merely chop off the offending values, he replaced them with temperature data. But Jones WMO diagram wasnt widely relied on. I did a lengthy exposition on the trick in 2010 here- http://www.climateaudit.info/pdf/mcintyre-heartland_2010.pdf – there is some additional information that is relevant. I’ve thought about polishing this up since there is no comprehensive article on the trick and the decline.

        • JD Ohio
          Posted Aug 29, 2014 at 2:51 PM | Permalink


          Your exposition was very good. I still have some lingering questions though. It seems as if the easiest place to pin down the hiding was in AR3. Mann wanted to truncate the inconvenient Briffa tree rings and Jones added temperature data after 1960. (Jones didn’t originally understand what Mann originally had done.) In either event the Briffa tree ring divergence was hidden in AR3. However, Briffa had disclosed it in other articles.

          Tried to find out what WMO 1999 was couldn’t figure that out. Could you tell me what WMO stands for? Again, please correct me if I am wrong.

          Sorry to be so persistent here, but I am putting myself in the shoes of an Appellate Court that wouldn’t have time to wade through the specific particular history but would benefit from a simple, concise history. Additionally, an appellate court would instinctively give the benefit of the doubt to “mainstream” science, and so it is particularly important to have a simple, understandable, correct explanation in place. (which could be supplemented by a long footnote or a cite to an internet article.)


          Steve: You also have to put yourself in a pre-Climategate frame. Just because the results were reported in the literature doesn’t mean that the graphic in AR3 wasn’t misleading and intended to misleading. If you were a mutual fund, you couldn’t hide behind proper disclosure in some other document. I noticed the truncation in AR3 precisely because of the earlier Briffa articles: one day I wondered why none of the AR3 series showed the decline. With improved pdf handling in 2005, I could blow up the diagram and noticed the truncation together with non-reporting of the disclosure. I was dumbfounded. So was Pielke Jr who wrote a cover of my blogpost at the time. At the time, I asked pointed questions (rhetorically) never expecting an answer. When Climategate happened, I and CA readers were immediately able to see what had happened in the emails – in context, the emails were worse than people thought. Hide-the-decline in AR3 was avoided by ALL the inquiries. Now that I look, it would be worthwhile to write a short summary that distinguishes between hide-the-decline in AR3 and WMO1999 and distinguish the relevant emails, without the minutiae of 2010 talk.

        • HaroldW
          Posted Aug 29, 2014 at 4:43 PM | Permalink

          JD Ohio –
          WMO = World Meteorological Organization. The WMO 1999 report may be found here. The graph in question is the front cover; you can’t miss it.

        • JD Ohio
          Posted Aug 29, 2014 at 6:06 PM | Permalink


          Thank you for the WMO explanation & link. The graph and Steve’s explanation make clear that Jones added the temperature data to show a Briffa upward spike after 1960.


      • PhilH
        Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 4:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I can’t resist. It’s too funny: Steyn:

        “The “consensus” warm-mongers could have declared it only counts as “peer-reviewed” if it’s published in Peer-Reviewed Studies published by Mann & Jones Publishing Inc. (Peermate of the Month: Al Gore, reclining naked, draped in dead polar bear fur, on a melting ice floe), and Ed Begley Jr. and “Andy” Revkin would still have wandered out, glassy-eyed, into the streets droning “Peer-reviewed studies. Cannot question. Peer-reviewed studies. The science is settled … .”

  14. Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 6:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It is worth pointing out that John Cook, at the behest and advice of Mann, extensively rewrote Skepticalscience articles on the hockey stick, which were then ‘passed on’ to Richard Muller as though they were independent documents just in time for a Congressional hearing Muller was about to attend. Mann himself subsequently referred people to Skepticalscience’s hockey stick articles as though they were independent documents. Cook wrote articles criticizing Rand Simberg and Mark Steyn, pointing to the same documents ghost-supervised by Mann.


    • Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 12:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Shub Niggurath (6:27 PM) – good reminder:

      One of the authors of the article protested – he didn’t agree with the revision. He also pointed out that Cook had made the changes under the original authors’ names.

      Perhaps having gotten used to such secret editing privileges, where his words were ascribed to others, Mann was expecting to be able to do the same with the Statement of Claim, as and when its arguments turned out to be ‘less solid’ than he had hoped. Could this explain the lack of attention given to the ‘initial version’ submitted by the lawyers?

    • Jean S
      Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 1:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Shub Niggurath (Aug 27 18:27),

      I’d like to take an opportunity to thank you for the excellent post I somehow missed at the time (and found out about it accidentally only a few months later).

      I was unaware of Jones’ later emails, where he clearly states explains what he meant by the “trick” (extending proxy reconstruction with temperature series), and even speculates why mike did it (although he is misguided as MBH98 (Nature) only starts at AD1400, and I also somewhat speculate different reason for the trick). It is clear from the emails (and from the very first comment he made on the issue) that he didn’t see anything wrong in that. As the usual suspects are trying hard to explain away that Phil was mistaken by attributing the trick to mike’s Nature article (MBH98), I’d like to add that the “extended series” is for sure used not only in the MBH98 smoothed curve (Fig 5b) but also in the “attribution” (correlation) analysis (Fig 7). In fact, the “real temps added in” series is available here (termed “old” as Mann did some last minute changes to his recon but did not redo the correlation analysis) for anyone to see.

  15. Jeff Norman
    Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 8:25 PM | Permalink | Reply


  16. Political Junkie
    Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 8:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I’m having fun reading this.

    Steyn must be having a ball!

    Mann and his lawyers – not so much!

  17. kim
    Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 8:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    If they did write it, they oughta fess up sooner rather than later; the longer the wait, the bigger the horselaugh.

  18. AntonyIndia
    Posted Aug 27, 2014 at 11:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Meanwhile Gavin Schmidt got a promotion to director of GISS last June. http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20140609/

  19. Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 3:21 AM | Permalink | Reply


    “As background, Soon et al. critiqued the application of the smoothing algorithm used by Mann and Jones (2003) at the very end of the time period that was analyzed. The algorithm is a 20-year average, and a decision must be made about what temperature to use for the last 10 years. For example, one could choose to reflect the end of the temperature record (making the years after the end of the record a mirror image of the years before the end of the record), or assume that all years after the last year of the record are equal in temperature to the last year, or assume that the subsequent years continue the trend of the previous years in the record. Soon et al. felt that application of this “data padding” (though they were not able to exactly duplicate Mann and Jones) led to unjustifiably high temperatures at the end of the smoothed temperature record.

    20-year average? Or Butterworth with impulse response oscillating hundreds of years? Who knows.

    • Posted Aug 29, 2014 at 3:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

      A bit OT, but re impulse responses,

      % lowpass.m modify:
      % ..

      ans =

      404 %(!)

      And IIRC one needs long impulse response for strong attenuation on stopband ( making the shaft flat ). And then one needs tricky end-point padding to make the blade..

  20. KNR
    Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 4:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The ‘best person’ for the job , of course you need to define what ‘best’ means first and that depends on what it is your trying to archive and with the EPA can anyone guess what that is ?

  21. Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 7:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve also wondered how involved the RC group was with the EPA. Thanks for the examples Jean.

    We find wolves in the hen-house doing exactly what we expect.

  22. Quinn the Eskimo
    Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 8:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Given the lengths to which EPA went to disclaim any reliance on or taint from the Hockey Stick, hiding the decline, etc., in Section 1.1 of the Response to Comments on the Denial of Reconsideration, it seems unlikely that they would invite Mann into the tent to prepare that response.

    Schmidt is a different matter. He works for the government and was a Federal Expert Reviewer for the underlying Endangerment Finding (TSD p. ii), so at a minimum it is probable that he worked on the Denial of Reconsideration as well.

    • PhilH
      Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 9:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

      If you are right about this, I think we can be assured that he was acting well within the shadow of Mann.

  23. Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 10:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “If you are right about this, I think we can be assured that he was acting well within the shadow of Mann.” In which case, one would have thought that the last thing Mann ought to have done was to bring a court case against Steyn. I am still entirely bemused as to why Mann would do this and especially in the slipshod manner with which it is being done. Have the scales of justice been tipped so far toward the establishment and powers that be that Mann and those like him can get away with it?

  24. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 11:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I sent the following email to Gavin Schmidt:

    Dear Dr Schmidt,

    On July 29, 2010, the EPA gazetted a decision denying various petitions for reconsideration of the Endangerment Finding (of which you had been an external reviewer).

    Associated with the denial decision were three volumes of Response to Petitions documents, in which the EPA made technical responses to a variety of issues and comments synthesized from the petitions.

    Regular and very knowledgeable Climate Audit contributor Jean S has recently speculated that language in the RTP documents suggests that you had been consulted in their preparation or perhaps had made review comments.

    Rather than fostering further speculation, I think that it would be helpful if you could confirm or deny whether you were involved with the denial decision documents in any way, and, if so, in what capacity.

    Thank you for your attention.
    Stephen McIntyre

    • Jean S
      Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 12:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Steve McIntyre (Aug 28 11:47),

      I’m pretty sure Gavin is aware of the issue. In my short two week twitter history, I’ve already had two exchanges with him. I also had an exchange with Mann, who, unlike Gavin, blocked me afterwards.

      • Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 2:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

        You’d be doing something very wrong not to be blocked by Mann.

        • DGH
          Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 6:25 PM | Permalink

          @Richard Drake +1

          Mann’s got a short block fuse. Gleick even more so.

          Dana OTOH very politely issued a warning, “If you say that I work for big fossil fuel then I wiill block you.” As everyone knows, his employer nearly got the enviro contract for the Keystone deal and etc. Who could resist?

    • Jeff Alberts
      Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 10:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I’d be willing to wager that G&M are enjoying the speculation.

    • Posted Aug 29, 2014 at 12:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Good luck getting a response.

  25. EdeF
    Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 12:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    You guys are going to put WALLANDER out of business.

  26. Jean S
    Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 12:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I noticed that EPA is also handling amazingly the latest (at the time) climate model discussion, see response 1-31 (the relevant CG1 email). EPA has such an excellent knowledge about modeling issues that it can actually supplement and clarify short explenation on a rather technical matter by one of the leading model experts, Gavin Schmidt! Email:

    Gavin Schmidt wrote:
    > Tom, with respect to the difference between the models and the data, the
    > fundamental issue on short time scales is the magnitude of the internal
    > variability. Using the full CMIP3 ensemble at least has multiple
    > individual realisations of that internal variability and so is much more
    > suited to a comparison with a short period of observations. MAGICC is
    > great at the longer time scale, but its neglect of unforced variability
    > does not make it useful for these kinds of comparison.


    Gavin Schmidt replies later in the e-mail chain that the reason for using the full CMIP3 archive (including the PCM historical runs referred to by Wigley) as the basis for the figure, rather than the MAGICC model developed by Wigley, is because the behavior being explored by this figure is related to unforced variability, which requires the more complex models. MAGICC, a simpler model, does not display unforced variability. This is a normal discussion between scientists about how best to explore a given question. While Wigley objects to one specific model (PCM), the reasoning behind using the full ensemble of different models (including PCM) is that the ensemble often demonstrates better attributes overall than any of the individual models within the ensemble (each of which have their own strengths and weaknesses). This feature of model ensembles was discussed in the paper “How well do coupled model simulate today’s climate?” (Reichler and Kim, 2008). The paper concluded, based on the authors’ analysis of the CMIP3 model ensemble compared to earlier efforts, that “Both improved performance and more physical formulation suggest that an increasing level of confidence can be placed in model-based predictions of climate.”

    Amazing, especially considering the figure under discussion was not included in the dossier, and EPA apparently had to rely on this description by Mann:

    I’ve taken the liberty of attaching a figure that Gavin put together the other day (its an update from a similar figure he prepared for an earlier RealClimate post. see: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/05/moncktons-deliberate-manipulation/)

    • Kenneth Fritsch
      Posted Aug 29, 2014 at 10:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Gavin Schmidt is correct about a single realization of a climate model having a wide range of potential trends over a relatively short period of time. The observed record is, of course, a single realization which makes the comparison of observed to model more onerous. Making many runs with the same model can provide a comparison with increased certainty. I do not know whether alternative methods of making this comparison have been published but I have seen reasonable attempts made on these blogs. In all cases the difference between the observed and models show the models running significantly and near significantly hotter. Going back in time for the comparison where degrees of freedom are your friend it actually become easier to show that the overall mean of CMIP5 historical model runs have trends significantly higher that the observed series.

      I see Mann is resorting to the straw man approach to support his case instead of facing the issue head on.

  27. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 7:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I do not like to get started with a litany of complaints about Mann’s work because it detracts from the basic error in his (and other temperature reconstructionists) work with reconstructions in their selecting proxies after determining how well the proxy response fits the instrumental record or worse truncating data that does not.

    Having said that, it has been my personal experience that one has to read a Mann paper several times, including the SIs, and consult with other readers before determining what he did with the data. A better scientist and one without an advocacy message to deliver would make very clear any changes made to the data used in the paper, and in fact, discuss in plain English why the changes were required. Mann’s main effort appears to be to manipulate the data until it yields what he sees as the proper message – not unlike how the EPA has rationalized regulating CO2.

  28. Duke C.
    Posted Sep 1, 2014 at 4:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Jean S-

    Gavin Schmidt is listed as an expert reviewer in this document:

    Federal expert reviewers
    Virginia Burkett, USGS; Phil DeCola; NASA (on
    detail to OSTP); William Emanuel, NASA; Anne
    Grambsch, EPA; Jerry Hatfield, USDA; Anthony Janet
    os; DOE Pacific Northwest National Laboratory;
    Linda Joyce, USDA Forest Service; Thomas Karl,
    NOAA; Michael McGeehin, CDC; Gavin Schmidt,
    NASA; Susan Solomon, NOAA; and Thomas W
    ilbanks, DOE Oak Ridge National Laboratory


    Steve: yes, we’d already observed that Schmidt had been a reviewer of the Endangerment Finding itself, very much increasing the odds of him also being involved in the Denial of Petition documents.

  29. pottereaton
    Posted Sep 2, 2014 at 9:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Rather than answer a direct question, Gavin has offered up a series of contrived, straw-man arguments:


    Steve: what an exceptionally stupid blogpost by Schmidt. I share Schmidt’s view that analogies are generally unhelpful – an opinion that I’ve stated from time to time. I think that Climate Audit is relatively free of arguing by analogy and instead focuses on close and detailed examination of IPCC-related articles as presented by the authors.

  30. Posted Sep 2, 2014 at 2:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Reblogged this on I Didn't Ask To Be a Blog.

3 Trackbacks

  1. […] Michael Mann write the EPA documents that “exonerated” […]

  2. […] most recent post at CA [as of 8/28/2014] Who Wrote the EPA Documents  promotes a comment from the previous article  Misrepresentations and Tainted Narrative of […]

  3. […] http://climateaudit.org/2014/08/27/who-wrote-the-epa-documents/#more-19597 […]

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,248 other followers

%d bloggers like this: