Spot The Hockey Stick #7: The International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme

I know what you’re thinking: Who, they?

Me too.

According to the website:

IGBP is an international scientific research programme built on interdisciplinarity, networking and integration. It addresses scientific questions where an international approach is the best or the only way to provide an answer. We add value to a large number of individual, national and regional research projects through integrating activities to achieve enhanced scientific understanding.

IGBP’s mission is to deliver scientific knowledge to help human societies develop in harmony with Earth’s environment. Our scientific objective is to describe and understand the interactive physical, chemical and biological processes that regulate the total Earth System, the unique environment that it provides for life, the changes that are occurring in this system, and the manner in which they are influenced by human actions. As one of four international global environmental change research programmes, IGBP works towards its objective in close collaboration with the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), and DIVERSITAS, an international programme of biodiversity science. The International Council for Science (ICSU) is the common scientific sponsor of the four international global environmental change programmes.

Well, that clarifies it for me. It’s obvious now. Their commitment to science is clearly exemplary, which is why in a presentation on climate change, on slide 7 we see:

Hockey Stick - the view from Sweden

It’s funny, but whenever people talk about climate change over the last 1000 years, they pull up the same graph. Never any of the others that are meant to "duplicate" this one study.

Thanks to Michael Mayson for the heads-up.


  1. Spence_UK
    Posted Mar 3, 2005 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

    "Interdisciplinarity"??? John, could you disambiguate this word for me please????

    John: Nope. I quoted the spiel from the website but as to actually what this organization does, I am none the wiser.

     I came across a comment on RealClimate – comment #23, on this thread, which highlights that the IPCC TAR only rated the Mann Hockey Stick as "66-90%" likely. Of course, as we know, it now lives somewhere below the "1-10%" range, but I thought it would be interesting to see how many "spot the hockey stick" cases on the web present the hockey stick as "fact" or include the "66-90% likely" caveat. I notice this one doesn’t include any such caveats. As for slidesmanship, page 30 is one of the worst examples of "powerpoint ranger syndrome" I’ve come across for some time. It’s the old wild extrapolation based on bad models trick that has been around since Rev. Thomas Malthus first predicted a horrible death for everyone.

    John: You think? For some mysterious reason, these climate models extrapolate a weak warming trend from the mid 1960’s all the way to the year 2100. Am I the only person who finds that just a little bit unjustified in a mathematical as well as economic sense? As for the Hockey Stick, I think the realclimate authors should win gold medals at the next Olympics for synchronized backpedalling. Whatever happened to the "scientific consensus", the "settled science", the "peer-reviewed study" which was so incredibly "robust"?

  2. Mat McClain
    Posted Mar 3, 2005 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

    I sent this comment to Real Climate and they have not yet posted it.

    Your “dummies guide” has confused me in an exponential sense even before I achieved a satisfactory base understanding of your theorem.
    In the First Section, you use the ambiguous term ‘noisy records’. Can you define ‘noisy records’ for my mom?
    From the Second Section please explain the following: Please explain in a geo-metaphysical sense, the relationship between ‘climate data applications’ and ‘the physics’ of a given algorithmic situation. Please explain this so my mother could understand it.
    From Section 3: Explain the ‘Monte Carlo’ simulation for us “dummies” before you apply it to your empirical position. Please do it in a way that my mom could understand.
    From Section 4: If your methods are objectively scientific, explain your ‘a priori’ parameters so my mom could understand them.
    This should keep your plate full. I will wait with baited breath for your response that will, no doubt, assimilate nicely with invective for the truth, and the scientific method.
    Mat McClain

  3. N. Joseph Potts
    Posted Mar 3, 2005 at 8:30 PM | Permalink

    Interdisciplinarity is certainly key just to reconstructing past temperatures, to say nothing of projecting future ones, to say nothing of identifying the causes that will bring about the projections. While some climatologists seem to claim all of this science as their own exclusive preserve, in reality this requires mathematics, statistics, geophysics, astrophysics, botany, geology, common sense, and integrity. ANYONE in possession of a modicum of ANY of these is in a position to make a contribution, and such contributions, I am satisfied, are badly needed in the processes that today are leading straight to enacted laws. There is NO SUCH THING as an intelligent person who is “not qualified” to contribute to the undertaking, and especially, to criticize completed projects being used for the enactment of laws. And there is ALSO no such thing as a person, intelligent or otherwise, who is not affected by such laws, already enacted. On that last point, I presume, the opposition would agree. Where we disagree is on whether the effect will be favorable or adverse.

  4. Larry Huldén
    Posted Mar 4, 2005 at 12:06 AM | Permalink

    Comment on “A millenium scale perspective” in presentation on climate change: The hockey stick slide occurs TWICE: number 7 and 29 !

  5. Hans Erren
    Posted Mar 4, 2005 at 5:04 AM | Permalink

    THREE times: slide 30 too!

  6. Jeff Norman
    Posted Mar 4, 2005 at 7:20 AM | Permalink

    N. Joseph Potts,

    You forgot to mention anthropology and history. Peoples prosper when the climate warms. Examples are the Cahokia culture in the central U.S. and the Thule culture which spread east from Northern Alaska.

    Both of these cultures thrived during the Medieval Warm Period (allegedly confined to the North Atlantic) and faded away during the subsequent cold (but apparently statistically insignificant) Little Ice Age.

    I also suspect the Mongol invasions were abetted by warmer climate and the Mauri emigration to New Zealand (~1,000 A.D.) by more clement weather.


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