Op Eds at Pielke

Roger Pielke requested op ed’s from Mann and myself as to why anyone should care about the hockey stick. Mann refused to participate. I wrote one, Ross drafted a version. Because I’ve been travelling, I didn’t have time to try to reconcile our views, so we each send in versions which can be read Ross here and me here. (archive) Kevin Vranes has written his own commentary.

There have been a few comments from realclimate coauthors (William Connolley and Rasmus) in the comments, which are worth reading through and both Ross and I have posted up supplementary comments as well.


  1. John A
    Posted Nov 18, 2005 at 1:25 PM | Permalink

    Deleted rogue apostrophe in title sent by Steve to drive me mad.

  2. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 18, 2005 at 11:12 PM | Permalink

    I went to RP jr’s site and read all the replies, a somewhat disagreeable task, but I felt I had a duty to be up on what the present put-down’s for climate skeptics are these days for red-ice hockey stickers. I do want to make a comment about a statement made by Dano that I’ve seen a few times before and I have a real problem with”

    If these two can actually go out and write a real paper of their own [with data they collected and analyzed to make their point] showing how their idea is robust (I won’t hold my breath), this debate may go somewhere.

    Now Ross made some comment on it and someone else as well, but nobody brought out the essential point. Little or none of the data used in MBH or any of the other proxy studies were collected by the authors of the studies. So why should Steve and Ross be expected to?

    Say I decided to conduct a study of the frequencies of occurrence of the given name “Steve” in phonebooks in North America vs that of “Manuel” and found that Manuel was a proxy for warm climates while “Steve” wasn’t. Now someone might then come along and complain that my results were suspect because I didn’t consider the occurrence of “Stephen” as well as “Steve”. Would you consider it fair of me to ask if this naysayer had ever worked for a phone company? Or had been a census taker? I don’t think so. I might rebut the argument by stating that I also didn’t consider “Manny” or apportion some of the M. Surname and S. Surname figures to Steve and Manuel. That would be a legitimate defense of my study.

    The point is that the whole ad hominen attack on Steve and Ross because they’re not “scientists” is absurd since what is done in climate proxy reconstructions isn’t science as opposed to statistics. Steve and Ross actually have the better training and experience for what is being discussed. This is the dirty little secret that the Hockey Team can only try to hide by throwing dirt everywhere.

  3. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 19, 2005 at 12:00 AM | Permalink

    Dave, what do you think the chances are of Rasmus turning up again at Prometheus on bristlecones? It’s an uphill fight for him to try to justify Mann.

  4. IL
    Posted Nov 19, 2005 at 2:01 AM | Permalink

    Re 3. The mental picture I got when reading Rasmus’ replies was of a little boy with his fingers stuck in his ears shouting, ‘I can’t hear you, la la la’. Instead of complaining that M&M should feel the heat like Mann, he should debate the issues. The issues are:

    Bristlecones are a good temperature proxy – true/false?

    Bristlecones used in MBH98 have global coverage – true/false?
    The hockeystick reconstruction is robust to the presence/absence of the bristlecone series – true/false?

    Since as far as I can see, all the evidence for all 3 says false then they haven’t got a leg to stand on except stick their fingers in their ears.

  5. Paul
    Posted Nov 19, 2005 at 4:16 AM | Permalink

    A couple of things about the comments.

    Firstly this paragraph by “D”

    Arguments like these that the denialists rely on are why the debate matters – this is all they have. There is nothing else in their bag o’ tricks: no models, no alternative theory, nada.

    Turning the alternative hypothesis into the null hypothesis.

    Second Mr Peilke (Jr):

    He could be eaily construed as somone simply pushing an agenda. “Why should abyone care?” At the heart of it a pretty presumptuous question. I will decide what I think matters or not in what presently has the potential to adversely affect human welfare on this planet (from whatever side of this fence you sit). Mr Peilke’s position is clear in all his work as a political academic – “let’s get on with the policy”.

    Despite volumes of his writing i am still not cinviced of his assertion that we need to address policy now. That is just a politician looking for more things to do. Until I am convinced that we need to move to policy, debates on scientific work, especially those with as much political leverage as the as the Hockey Stick, will be high on my lst of concerns.

    Perhaps what Mr Peilke wanted to write was “why should I care?”, but hubris got the better of him.

  6. James Lane
    Posted Nov 19, 2005 at 5:40 AM | Permalink

    I just posted at Prometheus on one matter that seems to be overlooked in the hockeystick debate – the effect on the public.

    I first became intersted in global warming when the Sydney Morning Herald published the hockeystick chart on its front page. I was genuinely alarmed by the depiction of rapid and unprecedented temperature increase in the 20th century, and I’m rather pissed off to find, much later, that it’s basically crap.

    I woud suggest that the hockeystick has been very influential among Joe Public.

  7. Paul Linsay
    Posted Nov 19, 2005 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

    #5 “Peilke (Jr): He could be easily construed as someone simply pushing an agenda.” Yep, exactly right. I once posted over there to the effect that AGW is a red herring and it distracts from efforts that could really affect people’s lives like energy conservation and pollution control, contentious enough issues. He agreed but insisted that AGW is important even if the science is a bit wobbly or even non-existent.

  8. Hans Erren
    Posted Nov 19, 2005 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    re 6
    It is the ONLY graph familiar to Joe Public.

  9. McCall
    Posted Nov 19, 2005 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

    re: the 1st subject (D) of 5
    Mr. D has repeated shown his weakness on the physics, thermodynamics, and mathematics of climate science. Unless he makes a rare scientifically credible post (yes, it has happened), why waste your time? Even the post you quoted, is a clear example of what he’s ranting against…

  10. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 19, 2005 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

    re #6: James, I came at this the same way as you did – reading about it in the newspaper. I’ve been writing too much over there. I haven’t even commented yet on the idea of “skeptic” access to data.

    I sure didn’t ask for data as a “skeptic”; I didn’t have particularly strong views on the matter when I first inquired; I just assumed that they would have proper due diligence packages for their own purposes. It simply didn’t occur to me that this would become a cause in its own right.

  11. beng
    Posted Nov 20, 2005 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

    *****DD sezs:
    I went to RP jr’s site and read all the replies, a somewhat disagreeable task

    Contemptable is a better word. Look at the comment added by a moderator in post #40:

    [Response:Err, um, I hope this isn’t a redredging of the “hockey stick” debate, because all of the data have always been available… — eric]


  12. beng
    Posted Nov 20, 2005 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

    Well, sorry, that wasn’t the RPJr site. Apologies to it.

    It was ReelClimate. 🙂

  13. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 20, 2005 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

    The quote is from Phil Jones, whose station data is not available. As for Mann’s data, it’s pretty irritating when they baldly and shamelessly make untrue statements like that: his data is available now, but it obviously hasn’t “always” been available. The first URL for proxy data at his site provided in April 2003 contained incorrect information; a new directory was provided in Nov 2003 which contained much new information, but the data there was inconsistent with the original SI in important details and the number of retained PCs was unavaiable – remember the 159 series?. A final data listing became available only in July 2004. There has never been an “accurate” description of methodology.

  14. TCO
    Posted Nov 20, 2005 at 4:07 PM | Permalink

    Dano admits inability to follow the statistical arguments as do I. Although I think I get more into it than he. I think he is up to being corrupted by funding to be our treehole bitch (I mean experimental evidence gatherer).

  15. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 20, 2005 at 6:17 PM | Permalink

    I don’t know why Dano thinks that I should have to collect tree rings and ice cores and corals in order to do statistics. I haven’t noticed Mann or Crowley or Jones on any glaciers and Dano doesn’t dump on them.

  16. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Nov 21, 2005 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

    Re:13 Steve,

    I think that Jones, Mann, et al are carefully parsing their words to suit their situation. Although it may be true that “the” data is available, this is not the issue, it never has been the issue and he certainly knows this.

    “His” data and methodology are the issues. Jones has have never made these publically available in spite of his countless promises to post it somewhere.

    There is an article from yesterday stating that the “…new Council for Science and Technology has recommended pooling data to deliver better targeted public services and improve policymaking.” This UK article stated that “Information is frequently shared between medical researchers and the private sector.” Even though data is routinely shared in the UK by medical and other researchers, it would appear that climate science is in a rather unique position whose practitioners keep their data secret.

  17. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 21, 2005 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

    It’s interesting to see the realclimate post “False Objectivity of Balance”. As a student in the 1960s, the universities were full of this sort of stuff – anyone remember Marcuse on False Consciousness. It sounds like a re-run.

  18. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Nov 21, 2005 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    ***As for Mann’s data, it’s pretty irritating when they baldly and shamelessly make untrue statements like that: his data is available now, but it obviously hasn’t “always” been available.***

    Technically, it was available – to Mann.

  19. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Nov 21, 2005 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

    Re: 11, 13, 17, & 18

    I just posted the following to RC:

    “Re: 40, Eric

    “[Response:Err, um, I hope this isn’t a redredging of the “hockey stick” debate, because all of the data have always been available… — eric]”

    To whom is all the data available? Is it available to you? Is it available to me? Is it available to the general public?”

  20. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Nov 21, 2005 at 5:44 PM | Permalink

    The post above has not made it on to RC. A later post has made it on to the blog. Asking about data must be prohibited.

  21. Spence_UK
    Posted Nov 24, 2005 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

    Hans von Storch has added a comment on to Roger Pielke’s “Reflections on the Challenge” article on Prometheus. As ever, Hans’ observations are sharp, insightful and well worth reading.

    (I can’t link directly to the comment, but it is dated Nov 24 10:56am)

  22. thom
    Posted Nov 24, 2005 at 7:54 PM | Permalink

    re 8 The Hockey stick is the only graph known to 99.99% of the non climate science priestcraft too!Every cambridge(uk) scientist i’ve asked(~20) is only to happy to refer to it as gospel.Guess how many thought carbon dioxide was the engine of the greenhouse effect:-oh yes every one.Why do you think conneley has 5 websites?shurely not for propaganda reasons…

  23. McCall
    Posted Dec 19, 2005 at 6:44 AM | Permalink

    Forgot something much more important than my observations of Mr. Dano (D) in #9.

    You both proffered thorough posts on Prometheus, listing and summarizing why the debate matters. In now re-reading the thread (and the spawned follow-up threads), your topic response still stands with little erosion.

    With reluctance of calling it xenophobia, one wonders if there is USA vs elsewhere dynamic of the mostly stable ~75/25% populace believing/disbelieving in AGW since the late 90s — for instance, what is Canada’s AGW poll tracking history that allowed Kyoto and other related policy to be enacted. Same question of the other Kyoto signatories?

  24. McCall
    Posted Dec 19, 2005 at 6:52 AM | Permalink

    Correction: edit “AGW” to “material or threatening AGW.”

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