The Hockey Team at Daily Kos

realclimate recently advertised an interview at Daily Kos with Schmidt, Mann and Rahmsdorff. There has been an interesting exchange arising from the following posting by a reader.

One thing that readers of this interview are missing is the fact that Dr. Mann’s dismissal of the criticism of the "Hockey Stick" science is papering over some serious, ongoing concerns about data analysis and methodology in the paleoclimate proxy studies. I say this as a strong science advocate of climate change and the related problems — meaning that I understand the science, and I know the problems we’re facing. However, in reading and following the Hockey Stick debate since it began, and attempting to be as fair as possible to all parties, I can now tell that Mann’s responses are defensive and his public posturing is at odds with the reality of deficient scientific practice. McIntyre (of McIntyre and McKitrick) has continued to critically address the statistical problems of paleoclimate data analysis, facing an uphill struggle and some unfair commentary, and his criticism is valid. If the debate in this arena is to be resolved, Dr. Mann and his seconds are going to have to improve their data handling significantly. Recent publications have indicated, in the peer review press, that the certainty of the "Hockey Stick" portrayal is not what it seems. In order to advance the science properly, it must be practiced properly.

The reader’s comment was posted both at realclimate, where the debate appears to have been swiftly censored, but a couple of illuminating responses from the Hockey Team were elicited at Daily Kos, including a response to an inquiry about Bürger and Cubasch.

Schmidt and Mann asserted that the M&M criticisms had been "debunked" by:

1) Rutherford, Mann et al [2005] here – for responses see for example and

2) by the recent von Storch-Zorita and Huybers comments at GRL promoted at realclimate here (where they censored my responses – see Is Gavin Schmidt Honest?). For our side of these comments, see;;;;;;

3) and by the press release for Ammann and Wahl announced by realclimate here. For our side of Ammann and Wahl, see this category.

In respect to Bürger and Cubasch, they said that the criticisms "would have been a useful contribution to the literature about 10 years ago", but they had "moved on". They are such nomads. They also cited Rutherford Mann et al [2005] as somehow refuting Bürger and Cubasch. I’ll try to figure out the basis of their claim.

Mann discussed the status of the Ammann submission to GRL as follows:

You incorrectly referred to a GRL paper article by the NCAR group as "rejected". Actually, that original decision (made by the same editor who presided over the publication of McIntyre and McKitrick and Burger and Cubasch) was over-ruled by the new GRL editor-in-chief Jay Famiglietti, which is itself quite telling. Famiglietti’s comments on the ordeal, along with those of other leading scientists can be found here.

This links to the Environmental Science & Technology article discussed in August. Discussion of our experience with Famiglietti begins here with others that you can find under the Wahl and Ammann category. I’m inclined to agree here with Mann that the over-ruling by Famiglietti was quite "telling", but would probably draw a different moral from the process than he does.

I might add that GRL subsequently rejected one of the two comments after its re-submission (resulting in a substantial waste of time for us) and that the process of review of the re-submitted Ammann comment will only begin in conjunction with our Reply, which we plan to submit in a couple of days and has accordingly not yet begun. (I’ll post up a draft Reply when it’s ready – maybe tomorrow.) The UCAR website only says that the Ammann submission to Stephen Schneider’s Climatic Change has been "provisionally accepted"; it does not say that it is "in press". Mann might know something that the rest of us don’t, but he also said on Sept 29, 2005 that both manuscripts were "pending final approval".


  1. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Jan 26, 2006 at 6:47 AM | Permalink

    I read the comments on Realclimate and Daily Kos. Realclimate has the usual cheerleaders in abundance, as does Daily Kos. Missing at Realclimate are the comments which are critical of Mann et al.

    Once again, Realclimate is showing what they mean by “debating the issues”. Perhaps Gavin, Mike, et al are worried that engaging in a real debate might cause some of their strident cheerleaders to begin to wonder about the emporer’s clothes.

  2. Posted Jan 26, 2006 at 12:03 PM | Permalink


    What is your reply to the “dozen of other papers” that are said to confirm the MBH results? I keep hearing about them, yet I’ve never seen a list or anything like that. Can you comment? As for the interview, I would prefer that they discuss the actual science instead of the usual non-argument that your paper “has been discredited by everyone”. Someone who claims he is always right on everything is always suspicious to me, and I’m never comfortable with that kind of arrogance.

  3. J. Sperry
    Posted Jan 26, 2006 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

    In addition to the specious claim that “The original criticisms of our (Mann’s) work have been completely discredited now,” I have noticed two interesting comments. First, in the Daily Kos piece, Mann admits that his hockey stick has become an icon of sorts, something I’ve heard here, but I don’t think I’ve heard it from the “team” before.

    And in Gavin’s reply to Jack (the reader quoted by Steve above), he says “There is not yet a perfect system for archiving raw data – something that has very little to do with the hockeystick issue since MBH only used publically (sic) available data themselves, and it is only recently that advances in multi-proxy methodologies have made the issue more relevant in the field.” He said more on this later, appealing to another blog about the complications of archiving (which I admittedly haven’t read). I’m surprised that 21st century technology just isn’t good enough for them.

  4. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 26, 2006 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

    #3. You wonder why they say such stupid things. The WDCP has a perfectly adequate system for archiving data and does a good job of it when they are not frustrated. As for Mann himself, with all the publicity about MBH98, that data set is now in the public domain. But have you ever seen the data for Mann and Jones [2003] as used? (Most of the data for Jones and Mann [2004] is archived and many series presumably overlap, but not all.)

    As to Gavin’s comment that the series in MBH98 “only” used publicly available data. As so often with Gavin’s apologetics, this is simply false. Many of the series were not public domain; in some cases, when there were series in the public domain, Mann used different “grey” versions; in at least one case (Gaspe), Mann “adjusted” the raw data to help his results. This last point could never have been determined merely from the public data. We only were able to identify this because Mann opened up public access to his MBH98 data directory after our 2003 article.

  5. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Feb 1, 2006 at 7:32 AM | Permalink

    Does Gavin Schmidt’s job description allow him to run a blog during working hours? And also allow posting on Daily Kos? I think most government employees would be in trouble for such actions using government computers.

  6. TCO
    Posted Apr 29, 2006 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

    The removal of the “apolotical caveat” on the RC site shows more honestly where they are coming from. I’m sure the NPR-listening middlebrows were enthused by the more open embrace of the left by the Hockey Team, that came from showing up on DKos. What do you bet they won’t bother having Tom McGuire* grill him for JustOneMinute?

    *You really need to exchange links and get some of his traffic. He is a premier blog and loves you guys. Too bad, JohnA is not hep.

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