National Academies Panel on Temperature Reconstruction

The National Research Council of the National Academies has empanelled a blue-chip committee to study "Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Past 1,000-2,000 Years". The chairman will be Gerald North. The request came from the House Science Committee – I presume that they are trying to assert possession over this piece of turf. 8-10 speakers are being requested to address the panel on March 2-3 with a reception on Thursday night. Mc-Mc have accepted an invitation to appear.

The reception should be interesting. I’ve played interclub squash leagues in Toronto for nearly 40 years and one of the things that I like about them is that you have drinks and dinner with your opponents. I’ve always thought that English traditions for sports in that respect were very civilized. When I played rugby in England (I played for Corpus Christi College at Oxford), you’d have beer afterwards with your opponents and exchange beers with the guy that tackled you the hardest. I think that I overlapped with Bill Clinton by one year, but don’t recall meeting him. I guess Mann and I will have to swig down a few and maybe join in some rugby songs. Anyway here’s the invitation:

Dear Dr. McKitrick and Mr. McIntyre,

The National Research Council of The National Academies of the United States is empanelling a committee to study "Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Past 1,000-2,000 Years". The committee will be asked to summarize the current scientific information on the temperature record over the past two millennia, describe the proxy records that have been used to reconstruct pre-instrumental climatic conditions, assess the methods employed to combine multiple proxy data over large spatial scales, evaluate the overall accuracy and precision of such reconstructions, and explain how central the debate over the paleoclimate temperature record is to the state of scientific knowledge on global climate change. I have attached the complete study proposal.

As you are intimately aware, this issue has been the subject of considerable debate. Hence, we have taken great care to assemble an unbiased panel of scientific experts with the appropriate range of expertise to produce an authoritative report on the subject. The committee slate will be formally announced tomorrow, but I can tell you that Jerry North (Texas A&M) will be chairing the committee, and NAS Members Mike Wallace, Karl Turekian, and Bob Dickinson will be on the panel, in addition to a half-dozen other scientists with expertise in statistics, climate variability, and several different types of paleoclimate proxy data.

The committee would like to invite you to come to Washington DC on Thursday, March 2nd to speak about your work in this area and to discuss your perspective on the issues noted above and in the study proposal. The committee will be familiar with the relevant peer-reviewed literature, but is also interested in any recently submitted or accepted papers. We will be inviting 8-10 other experts to speak; a complete agenda will be made available prior to the meeting, and the meeting will be open to the public. Speakers will be reimbursed for travel expenses and invited to stay for the entire open session of the meeting (which includes a reception on Thursday evening and will extend into Friday morning).

Thank you in advance for your time and interest, we view your participation in this meeting as critical so I hope that one or both of you are available and willing to meet with our committee. If neither of you are available on March 2nd (or the morning of March 3rd), as a worst case we could arrange for you to speak to the committee via teleconference. We are trying to finalize the meeting schedule by Friday so please let me know if there is a particularly convenient time that I could call you this week to discuss details and answer any questions you might have (or feel free to call me directly).

Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate
National Research Council of The National Academies


  1. John A
    Posted Feb 7, 2006 at 6:29 PM | Permalink

    Take your camera, Steve.

    I wonder if I could make it….

  2. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Feb 7, 2006 at 7:21 PM | Permalink

    I would bet that the Realclimate folks are gathering their minions together with hopes of taking over the panel.

    If the selection process is comprimised, we could end up with another proxy for the Hockey Team.

  3. per
    Posted Feb 7, 2006 at 7:27 PM | Permalink

    This is a fantastic opportunity, and almost certainly arises as a direct result of your work. Congratulations.

    The down side is the sheer complexity of the arguments that the committee has to master. If there are 8 presenters the day you talk, you will presumably get 45 minutes maximum to present a case, and there is so much to cover.

    Disclosure and diligence issues still seems like a good issue to kick off with though !

    Just as an aside, I note that Prof North is a physicist, and one of his principal research interests is: “Statistical methods in atmospheric science.” I am thinking that this grouping could be appropriate for a real thorough identification of the salient issues in the field 🙂


  4. Barclay E MacDonald
    Posted Feb 7, 2006 at 7:28 PM | Permalink

    Congratulations M&M. Your patience and persistence is paying off. I for one appreciate your efforts and the fact that my U.S. representatives will be taking a hard, public look at the current state of the collection, choice and analysis of climate science data relating to AGW. May good science prevail!

  5. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Feb 7, 2006 at 7:52 PM | Permalink

    I’m going to put my money on the Hockey Team declaring “intimidation” or some such thing and then not showing up.

  6. bart s
    Posted Feb 7, 2006 at 8:36 PM | Permalink

    With the record of being guilty by association at this blog, need I mention the papers and book written by Crowley and North?

  7. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 7, 2006 at 8:36 PM | Permalink

    Check out

  8. John G. Bell
    Posted Feb 7, 2006 at 9:00 PM | Permalink

    I hope the impact of climate change on the rise and fall of civilizations over the last few thousand years comes across. How strange and wonderful our relatively uninterrupted warm climate is. Relatively is the key word because changes in climate have thrown mankind for a loop even in the recent past. Flatliners like Mann don’t see all sorts of physical evidence of natural climate change and paint a most uninteresting and false picture of the past.

    So your roll is to show that Mann et al are at the crayon level of the art. Anyone out there whose roll is to give them an accurate rendering?

  9. Terry
    Posted Feb 7, 2006 at 11:15 PM | Permalink

    Rely heavily on graphs. You have a lot of good graphs that make your points quickly and clearly.

  10. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Feb 7, 2006 at 11:21 PM | Permalink


    I really hope that this effort is successful in presenting the facts.

    Many of the issues which you and Ross have raised are complex and difficult to condense into a brief presentation. I believe that one issue stands out in its simplicity. This is the reluctance of the Hockey Team to release their raw data and their methodologies. The proponants of AGW love to point to a consensus, whose existance they can not prove, to support their point of view; but they ignore a real consensus in the scientific community that scientists release their data and their methodologies.

  11. McCall
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 1:24 AM | Permalink


    Mine is the obvious feedback; show graphically and explain with a simple real world example, what it means when a cross-validation R2 is below .05 (~.02, for instance). And if not already invited, have a name-dendrochronologist business card or CV, one who can attest to the BCP problem.

  12. John A
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 2:57 AM | Permalink

    Re #2-11

    I’m pretty sure that Steve’s evidence will not be limited to his presentation time, but also to the supporting documentary and statistical evidence which he will provide.

  13. Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 3:51 AM | Permalink

    Congratulations. A well deserved recognition of your efforts.

    I would add to #10 by suggesting that you also cover the wealth of evidence that the MAWP and LIA were worldwide. The MWP concided with the time when the polynesians discovered NZ and made return journeys in open canoes. Two way voyaging did not last long – presumably due to cold and foul weather leading into the LIA.

  14. Andre Bijkerk
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 4:10 AM | Permalink

    I would suggest also to take the borehole temperature tales into account:

    check this

  15. JerryB
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 6:36 AM | Permalink

    The invite mentions a few names of expected panel members. Some googling led to the following bits:

    Mike Wallace
    Karl Turekian
    Bob Dickinson

    The study proposal starts with the amusing, if not astonishing, statement: “This study will describe and assess the state of scientific efforts to reconstruct surface temperature records for the Earth over approximately the past 1,000-2,000 years.” as if such “temperature records” had existed and thus could be “reconstruct”ed.

  16. beng
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 7:44 AM | Permalink

    The NRC seems to be saying that the Ad-hockey team has lost the puck, are in the penality box & it’s time to try out new players.


  17. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 7:50 AM | Permalink

    I previously cited Wallace once on the blog in connection with the square root of cosine latitude ( cue – Lambert, stage left).

    The URL at that post links to interesting discussion by Wallace. He’s very eminent. There’s been a lot of good material produced at the University of Washington; Percival has written a lot of wavelets. I’ve used Whitcher’s wavelet software and read his PhD thesis acrefully, Whitcher being a student of Percival’s.

    My grandmother McIntyre was a Wallace; their branch originally settled in North Carolina and moved to Nova Scotia after the American Revolution (the “correct” term used in Canada when I was a schoolboy for what is termed in American slang as the War of Independence).

  18. BradH
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 8:12 AM | Permalink


    You and Ross have the detailed evidence to support every claim you have made against the Hockey Team. I would suggest the following approach:-

    1. List out every point of contention you have with them in bullet point format (and I do mean every one!).

    2. Proritise them, but do not cull them.

    3. At the end of each of your bullet points, place superscript references to footnotes, which contain the detail of your points in the handouts/supplementary materials, which you will provide to them before your presentations.

    4. Pick out four or five major points of objection which you have to the Hockey Team’s approach over the years and spend at least 20 minutes speaking on them.

    5. Have a five minute segment towards the end talking more broadly (but still in technical terms) about the reasons why you and Ross object so strongly to the approach taken by the Hockey Team to climate reconstructions.

    6. Have a 2 to 3 minute punchy summary, which only touches on the detail of your main presentations, but primarily focuses on the consequences to the climate science profession, generally, if the Hockey Team’s data and methods are allowed to prevail and become generally acceptable within the sphere.

    What I would expect this approach would acheive is:-

    (a) Leave the listeners in no doubt that you don’t just object to the odd thing, here and there, but get their attention about the fact that you believe there are many, many things of concern. It’s easier to downgrade an argument, if you think the person may only have one or two points of difference or dispute. I guarantee you that you’ll have them listening far more attentively if you list an initial 10 of 15 brief points, which – if correct – are devastating for your opponents.

    (b) Via the detailed references (which are way too involved to discuss in detail in a relatively brief presentation), ensure that any skepticism they may have about your points is backed up by detail [ “Mr McIntyre, you said X, surely that’s an insupportable, or at least a debateable proposition. Where’s your evidence?” “Well, Mr Jonesmann, when I made that point, you’ll note that I referenced M&M05, page 14. I’ve provided you with a copy of that paper, so if you’d like to investigate that issue, you’ll find ample support for our claim there.”]

    (c) Having “covered the field”, so to speak, in your first five to ten minutes (which, as mentioned above, should leave them in no doubt that your objections are many), if your pick out three or four of your strongest arguments and present them in more detail, it obviates the need to discuss all of your bullet points in detail – the thought is that, if you can substatiate a few of your points, you can equally support the rest.

    (d) Having convinced them that you are not just a loon, you are now free to make more general comments on why the science is bad – what would be best practice? What would make these studies more credible?

    (e) Finally, make more emotive arguments – appeal to their political and emotional sides. Supporting flawed science comes at an enormous cost. If the Hockey Team is wrong and policy decisions are made based on their fundamentally flawed studies, it not only does science a disservice, it does all of humanity a disservice. Kyoto-style protocols, if implemented, are incredibly costly. They will undoubtedly increase the number of children born into poverty and reduce the wealth of nations for generations. It is not a path to be undertaken if the fundamental studies underpinning the theory have such grevious flaws.

    You must always remember that you are not educating here, you are presenting. Presuming that this really is a panel who are “across the field”, in terms of the literature and concepts, what you need to do is spend time convincing them of your arguments, assuming they have the basic intellectual and academic framework to know the main issues.

    You know exactly what the Hockey Team will do – they are a broken record. They’ll trot out the same old arguments, except this time, they’ll have one or two more “independent studites” which are new and only prove to confirm the earlier work.

    The only way you can defeat them in this sort of forum is to have more objections to their arguments than they have past “independent studies” to refer back to. In that way, you will raise serious doubts in the panel’s minds as to whether or not the new studies can possibly address all of the issues you’ve raised about their past work.

    Good luck!

  19. John A
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

    Of course, I’ll eat my proverbial hat if Michael Mann fails to mention the “overwhelming scientific consensus”. As if that meant anything.

    I wonder if Mann can actually stand being cross-examined by knowledgeable paleontologists and statisticians? He’s managed to avoid that bear trap so far, but who knows what will happen? Will he be able to avoid telling the awful truth about the statistical significance of MBH98? Will he go for broke and accuse the committee of political bias?

    Will Tom Crowley be foolish enough to furnish the committee with the data he claims he couldn’t find for Steve? Will Moberg be able to explain his use of wavelets to people who are extremely knowledgeable about such things?

    Will Phil Jones give a straight answer on how he adjusts the Surface Temperature record?

    Do they allow popcorn at these things? Would anyone like to buy some Kyoto Flames hockey shirts?

  20. JerryB
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

    The impanelling of this NAS committee may be taken as one sign that the efforts of Steve and Ross have been having substantial effects. It is premature, however, to form particular expectations about the committee’s processes, the outcomes of the study, or the tenor of the comittee’s final report.

    For some perspective one might read comments by one participant in another NAS committee regarding its final report:

  21. Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

    Re: #20 Thanks for raising this, for it is one of the strangest episodes in the warming debate. For a report that has been widely used as the final justification in the US of the IPCC findings of anthropogenic involvement in warming, it provides a mixed, contradictory message. Lindzen claims the body of the report claims no consensus on the issues of trends or attributions, and attributes the appearance of strong claims to a ‘hastily prepared summary’ (his words). Moreover he makes the point that while a report may say one thing, that does not mean that all authors agree with everything it says, rather it represents a ‘span of views’.

    It is dissapointing that the scope does not include issues of scientific conduct, independence, archive, and inclusion of work into the IPCC.

  22. jae
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

    Congratulations, M&M! What a great opportunity. One of the things in the Hockey Team’s reconstructions that really stands out in my mind is that they do not show the MWP and LIA. To me, that is a powerful argument that their reconstructions are not valid. I can’t follow all the statistics arguments, but even I can see this issue clearly. Their extreme reluctance to share data and answer questions also casts a dark shadow on their work. You also now have quite a few supporting references to throw at them. GOOD LUCK!

  23. John G. Bell
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 11:45 AM | Permalink


    These guys are looking for information with policy implications. One thing they should get out of this is that volcanic eruptions have caused years with crop failures. That might happen in our lifetime. If no one else mentions it I hope you could shoehorn a comment or two.

    Wallace will have a load to carry but looks more than equal to the task. Dickinson will talk about GCMs. Congratulations!

  24. hans kelp
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

    Congratulations congratulations from the land of the burning Embassy´s. As I have mentioned before, something is GOING ON in the world of Climate Science thanks to the exellent work of two bright Canadian guys. You can have Hans´Island, that´s okay for me!

    Hans kelp

  25. Steve Bloom
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

    John A.: “I wonder if Mann can actually stand being cross-examined by knowledgeable paleontologists and statisticians? He’s managed to avoid that bear trap so far, but who knows what will happen? Will he be able to avoid telling the awful truth about the statistical significance of MBH98? Will he go for broke and accuse the committee of political bias?”

    JA, are you completely disconnected from reality? The one part you have right is that there will be accusations of political bias at the end of this process, but I’m afraid they’ll be coming from a different source.

    But let me put my rhetorical money where my figurative mouth is: The committee will generally uphold the Hockey Team. There may be a *minor* critique of MBH98, but upholding its basic conclusions (much flatter MWP/LIA than previously thought with the current warming unprecedented during the period studied). It will be noted that MBH98 was an early study using new methods and that minor disagreements by subsequent studies are a normal part of the scientific process. The report will barely mention M&M. The IPCC’s use of and conclusions drawn from MBH98 will be explicitly endorsed. The committee will disappprove strongly of the politicization of science by non-scientists. There will be a whole lot of whining on this site.

    Anyone else?

  26. John A
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 1:55 PM | Permalink

    Re #25

    An active imagination is a wonderful thing.

  27. Jack
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 2:09 PM | Permalink

    How much are tickets? I’ll even take bleacher seats and bring my binoculars.

    (I’ve don’t know who this Mike Wallace is; I’ve heard of Dickinson and I’ve met Turekian. Karl does NOT put up with BS from anybody — it helps that he’s a genius and can usually recognize it).

  28. jae
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 2:17 PM | Permalink

    Re #25

    I don’t view the Panel nearly as negatively. There is probably a good reason why this Panel was formed. I’ll bet the Hockey Team is going to lose, big time. There are way too many unanswered questions, and a lot of people have taken notice. I think the Hockey Team is shaking in their skates, right now.

  29. Jack
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 2:26 PM | Permalink

    One of the things in the Hockey Team’s reconstructions that really stands out in my mind is that they do not show the MWP and LIA.

    Ever read this?

    Mann-Inhofe QuestionsAnswers.pdf

    Mann answering Inhofe’s (Imhofe?) question:

    “It should first be noted that many paleoclimatologists have questioned the utility of terms such as “Little Ice Age” and “Medieval Warm Period” which provide misleading descriptions of past climate changes in many regions. There is a complex pattern of climate variability in past centuries, and the lack of evidence for synchronous temperature variations worldwide in past centuries [e.g. Bradley, R.S., and P.D. Jones, “Little Ice Age” summer temperature variations: their nature and relevance to recent global warming trends, The Holocene, 3, 367-376, 1993; Hughes, M.K., and H.F. Diaz, Was there a ‘medieval warm period’, and if so, where and when?, Climatic Change, 26, 109-142, 1994]. The cited paper by Shindell et al (2003), of which I am a co-author, is fully consistent with such findings. The paper, rather than demonstrating globally uniform patterns of warming or cooling in past centuries, shows that surface temperature changes were dominated by regional overprints associated with the response of the “North Atlantic Oscillation” atmospheric circulation pattern to radiative forcing. This response leads to a pattern of cooling during the 17th/18th centuries in certain regions (not just Europe, but many regions throughout the Northern Hemisphere extratropics) and warming in other regions. The paper shows that this pattern of warming and cooling closely resembles the pattern of surface temperature change during that interval reconstructed by Mann and colleagues (MBH98). It is worth noting, moreover, that the tropical Pacific seems to have been in a warmer, rather than a “colder” state, during the conventionally defined “Little Ice Age” [ Cobb, K.M., Charles, C.D., Edwards, R.L., Cheng, H., & Kastner, M. El Niño-Southern Oscillation and tropical Pacific climate during the last millennium, Nature 424, 271-276 (2003). Climate dynamists [sic] understand the importance of such phenomena in understanding the highly variable pattern of surface temperature changes in past centuries, and rarely, if ever, argue for the existence of globally uniform or synchronous temperature change in past centuries. The response of the climate to solar and volcanic radiative forcing is known to involves dynamical responses associated with regionally differentiated temperature trends that overprint far smaller global mean responses. This contrasts strongly with the response of the climate to anthropogenic climate forcing, for which the integrated global mean radiative forcing is considerably greater, and the associated large-scale warming typically rises above the regional variability.”

    Back to Jack: The intriguingness of issues such as these is why I wish that this whole paleotemperature reconstruction issue for the past 1,000-2,000 years would proceed toward resolution, so we could have a better idea of what really happened!

  30. David H
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 2:26 PM | Permalink

    Well the score is 30 to nill right now. They must be in the locker room.

  31. Jack
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 2:30 PM | Permalink

    I think the Hockey Team is shaking in their skates, right now.

    I can state with confidence that they have a great deal of confidence in their science. As I noted, I would cherish the opportunity to witness this event. I will likely have to rely on participant reports. In order to truly resolve this, it is necessary for thesis and antithesis to meet. It’s finally happening.

  32. John A
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

    Re #29

    Less prolix and more directly, Mann was grilled by a hard-headed reporter thrown softballs by fellow traveler David Appell which I mentioned in this article.

    Mann said:

    For instance, skeptics often cite the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warming Period as pieces of evidence not reflected in the hockey stick, yet these extremes are examples of regional, not global, phenomena.

    That looks like a denial to me.

  33. John Hekman
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

    Congratulations, Steve and Ross. What I do not see in reading only the summary of the study proposal is whether they intend to look into the way in which surface temps have been measured. It is all phrased in terms of proxy measures.

    Are they going to open the black box of UHI adjustments or lack thereof?

  34. jae
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 3:31 PM | Permalink

    Jack: Good grief! See

  35. Steve Bloom
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 3:38 PM | Permalink

    Re #26: JA, as you have a very active imagination, you won’t have a problem coming up with a prediction on the outcome of the process featuring the same general elements as comment #25, will you? C’mon, put up or shut up.

  36. Jack
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 3:40 PM | Permalink


    When was the MWP? I need exact dates, i.e., 971-1292. None of this “10th-11th century” generality.

  37. Steve Bloom
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

    Re #34: I tried to read that “script” (how suitable!) but coal dust got in my eyes.

  38. Steve Bloom
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

    Also re #34: Of course this work is of the highest quality and should be used by Steve as part of his case, right? Steve?

  39. John A
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 3:59 PM | Permalink

    Re #38

    For those interested in Steve Bloom’s grip on reality, see his post on Usenet dated 22 Sep 2005 thus:

    There’s a distinction between “well done” and putrified, as this two year
    old information demonstrates. The error-prone amateurs McIntyre and
    McKitrick were debunked long ago. See the “hockey stick” posts on for details. For those who haven’t been following this,
    right-wing think tanks have continued to promote M&M in the right-wing
    finanical press (e.g., the Financial Post and Wall Street Journal) far
    beyond their “sell by” date. Recently, after it became clear that his
    efforts were not going to result in Mann being abandoned by other climate
    scientists, and indeed when Mann and his co-authors were successfully
    defended by the entire scientific establishment against a Wall Street
    Journal-inspired attack by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Exxon), McIntyre has gone on
    the attack against the entire field of paleoclimatology. The basis for this
    is McIntyre’s belief that the scientific standards used by
    paleoclimatologists are not of adequate quality from the point of view of a
    geologist working in the fossil fuel industry. Imagine that.

    P.S. — An audit of Canadian birth records through 1930 proves that M&M
    don’t even exist!

    Of course these “error-prone amateurs” with their “debunked long ago” research have been invited to give full evidence to a panel of experts who include those paleontologists thst Steve Mc is supposedly waging war against.

    Funny that.

    So you see, I don’t have to play infantile games about bogus predictions, because, like your previous opinions about the status of Steve McIntyre’s credentials, they are not subject to falsification.

    I will of course expect a lot of whining for pointing this out. Please don’t disappoint.

  40. Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 4:08 PM | Permalink

    Re: #32

    Mann said:

    Little Ice Age and Medieval Warming Period as pieces of evidence not reflected in the hockey stick, yet these extremes are examples of regional, not global, phenomena.

    If we assume that the proxies are accurate proxies for temperature, are there enough 1000 year old proxies to confidently say that the MWP was a local phenomenon? After all, we’d be mostly limited to places on the earth in which there is either 1000 year old ice or 1000 year old tree cores.

    Re #1: Congratualations Steve! My unsolicted advice to be be careful not to overstate your case. If I were debating you, I’d look for a weak link and then use that to “discredit” your other work. Remember how your work has been treated so far; they’ve been trying to “discredit” you, even if they have to misinterpret your findings.


  41. Ray Soper
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 4:08 PM | Permalink

    Guys, guys. I think that we should calm things down a little. Steve and Ross are being given the opportunity to make their case to the National Acadamies Panel of Climate Reconstruction. Why don’t we wait and see what the outcome of that process is.

  42. jae
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

    Re #36, Jack:

    Do you want the nearest month or WHAT?

  43. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 4:19 PM | Permalink

    Committees are just committees. I must say that I am favorably impressed by the first appointments to this particular committee. I hope that they have some people who are complete civilians in the climate wars – say an econometrician or statistician or an engineer. As I understand it, their terms of reference are limited to proxy issues – which is as it should be, in my opinion. That’s not to say that there aren’t lots of questions on the surface record, but if you try to do too much, you acomplish nothing.

    I’ll try not to over-state. I’ve always had best success under-stating so that approach is not a problem for me. I like Brad H’s counsel in #18 – I’ve always had trouble trying to integrate multiple points without getting lost in the forest and I think that your suggestion would work fine.

    I would anticipate that the Hockey Team will give very forceful presentations.

    I agree that the probability is that the Committee will just give a business as usual report along the lines of what Steve Bloom anticipates, but you never know. It’s like making a sales call. Sometimes you’re successful; sometimes you’re not.

  44. jae
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

    Jack and Bloom:

    The Medieval Warm Period partially coincides in time with the peak in solar activity named the Medieval Maximum (AD 1100–1250)

    I suppose the sun does not affect the Southern Hemisphere.

  45. Jack
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 4:29 PM | Permalink

    Jae asked:

    Do you want the nearest month or WHAT?

    If you can provide that information, it would be informative. However, annual resolution is sufficient for my interests.

  46. Jack
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 4:32 PM | Permalink


    According to the link you provided, in Nebraska the MWP was between 900 and 1200 AD. So where was the MWP between 1100-1250 AD?

  47. jae
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 4:43 PM | Permalink

    Jack: Are you really that anal? As you well know, nobody can put exact dates on the MWP, because of different responses of various proxies and locales. It is necessary to try to put brackets on the time. I would suggest 800 to 1300. If there is anything I see in Climate Science that is approaching concensus, it is that there have been significant natural oscillations in temperature in the past. The upper-hemisphere-only nonsense is only an attempt to rationalize the poor science produced by the Hockeystick Team, IMHO.

  48. Jack
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

    As you well know, nobody can put exact dates on the MWP, because of different responses of various proxies and locales.

    Yes, I know that. I wanted to make sure that you did. The fact that there are different proxy records and analyses indicating that the MWP occurred over different time-spans in different regions shows that there was no “global” manifestation of the MWP. It was stronger at different times in different places. One link that you provided pushed the end of the MWP to 1400 AD in NZ — overlapping with the early stages of the LIA in some locales in the Northern Hemisphere.

    So I’m not sure why you provided the link, but it makes the point nicely, which is: the MWP was not the same everywhere at the same time. Ditto for the LIA. Right?

  49. jae
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

    Jack, add to #47:

    Let us suppose that only the Northern Hemisphere saw an LIA and MWP, and the Southern Hemisphere remained relatively constant. The spagetti graphs should still show significant temperature changes. They can’t be just averaged out, assuming equal weighting of the two hemispheres in the proxies. By the way, was there equal weighting?

  50. jae
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 5:23 PM | Permalink

    Jack, give me a break, OK?

    The effects of MWP would naturally be manifested at different times at different places. There is often a time lag between a temperature change and a physical manifestation of that change. For example, the temperature goes up, then the ocean currents change, then various life forms in the ocean begin to change locations, growth rates, etc. Some changes are quicker than others. Hence, a wide span in years for the various proxies. I’m sure you know this, and I can’t understand your obvious position that all studies should show the same time period.

  51. Jack
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 6:03 PM | Permalink

    I’m sure you know this, and I can’t understand your obvious position that all studies should show the same time period.

    That’s not my position, because they don’t show that. That was my point. The link you provided seems to want to show that the MWP was everywhere. Well, it was — but it was stronger in some regions at certain times than in other regions at other times. A global summation of the MWP will not show the same intensity as a regional manifestation of it, nor will it cover the same time period. And it may be that during the total range of time encompassing the MWP, while one region was cool another area may have been region, in effect canceling each other out. So what should the spaghetti graphs show?

    P.S. I have no idea about weighting, but from what I’ve seen, most of the spaghetti graphs rely heavily on NH sites. At least one of the Hockey Team papers is only about the NH, too.

  52. jae
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 6:35 PM | Permalink


    If they rely heavily on NH sites, how can the speak to GLOBAL warming?

  53. jae
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 7:03 PM | Permalink


    I guess we agree that not everything happens at the same time. See comment 50. No wonder that the amalgamation of many proxies lead to a hocky shaft!

    IMHO, the combination of many proxy studies and history records show that there was, indeed, a period of warming in Medieval times that rivaled or exceeded modern times. I do not see how you can avoid this conclusion, when it is even recorded in history and you find people under melting glaciers in Europe.

    Given the statistical problems revealed by Steve and the dependance of the spagetti graphs on certain groups of pines, I simply do not think the graphs show anything at all. Back to square one, I guess…

  54. Louis Hissink
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 7:07 PM | Permalink

    This reminds me a little of the Starwars movies, especially the latest ones in which the empire’s bureaucracy manipulates the strings while consolidating their power by creating political diversions.

    Hence the interesting comment that the “committee will generally uphold the Hockey Team”.

    I hope not. If it does, then truly begun the climate wars have.

    Best of luck Steve and Ross.

  55. Paul Linsay
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 7:57 PM | Permalink

    Steve and Ross,

    Good luck to you.

    Much as I disagree with Steve Bloom on most climate issues, I’m afraid he’s right on this one. A friend of mine who’s a professor of physics was invited to sit on one of these NAS climate panels. He turns red in the face and nearly explodes when he talks about it. It was all politics and no science and whitewashed all the questionable AGW science.

    Regarding your presentation, may I suggest that one of your biggest discoveries was that Mann’s algorithm could turn red noise into a hockey stick. In other words, it’s a data mining algorithm that looks for a specific answer. This is something everyone will understand, especially if you include the plots that you’ve published here. You’re going to have to grab their attention and subtle and complicated statistical issues are not really suited to this kind of presentation. You may also want to question the validity of tree rings as temperature proxies in a sentence or two, but I would leave it at that since that isn’t your main focus.

    Good luck–

  56. Mike Carney
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 8:23 PM | Permalink

    re: #25
    What we don’t need is “The committee will generally uphold the Hockey Team…”. Why should I trust these folks’ opinions any more than previous opinions. This is not a beauty contest. Just because these folks hold up placards saying “10” doesn’t mean the science is right. Make the the data and process public so ANYONE can reproduce the results. Now if the committee made the recommendation to open all data and processes that would be something to get truly excited about. Steve, Peter, want to shutdown this site? Make the data available. Ninety percent of the discussion will go away if as you contend everything is as it should be. Given your disinterest in determining what went wrong with the process that allowed errors in MBH98 that seems unlikely. We don’t know how the process failed last time, how do we know the current process is good?

  57. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

    “Regarding your presentation, may I suggest that one of your biggest discoveries was that Mann’s algorithm could turn red noise into a hockey stick.”

    I’ve got to agree with this. This is what people can understand, on the side the issue that niether proves nor disproves anything, but that is much more important is to release the data. Without releasing the data it is just not science. It’s politics, regardless of anything else. All they need to do to turn it into science is to release the data and code. Whether it’s good or bad science will be decided afterwards.

  58. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 9:13 PM | Permalink

    I am preparing my presentation on the assumption that they are experts capable of following a somewhat (though not overly) mathematical argument, that they will issue findings based on the evidence set before them, and that they are sensible, intelligent people who want to write a truthful report. And I am assuming they are not ones to waste their and our time by bringing us all that way with no intention of listening to what we have to say. I can understand the fear that this might just be a sham consultation aimed merely at reinforcing the politically correct conclusions. But at a certain point you have to trust that educated people are willing to be convinced by a good argument, even when they don’t like the conclusion. If that were so impossible Steve and I wouldn’t have gotten as far as we have.

  59. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 9:52 PM | Permalink

    #57. because of the exotica of principal components, people often forget that you can also turn red noise into hockey sticks simply by picking series with closing uptrends from a larger population. Jacoby said that he picked the 10 most “temperature-sensitive” sites from 33 (as I recall). I’ve done simulation which show that picking the 10 most hockey stick shaped series from a large enough population of red noise (and it doesn’t need to be very large) also gives hockey stick shaped series. In one sense, the Mann PC method is just an automated method of cherrypicking.

    The reason for guarding against over-focusing on the PC errors is that the low-tech ways of mining red noise. By keeping people attuned to that, you avoid their principal defence: that they can “get” a hockey stick without PCs, ergo the error doesn’t “matter”. I don’t see any way of avoiding discussion of robustness and statistical skill, since the response to the lower tech methods is still that they rely on bristlecones and that they fail cited stat tests (and hence the reported confidence intervals are without any foundation.)

  60. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 8, 2006 at 10:48 PM | Permalink


    I agree with your summations. I guess my point, and I think Paul’s as well, is beyond the attendees. This is sure to have popular interest amongst us without the understnading, and sad that it may be we live in the age of the soundbyte.

    I guess what I’m saying is the soundbyte portion should bring out that easy stuff, but of course the discusion and the details should be focused on the math. It’s hard to argue on 2+2=4, though you guys do stuff a bit more complicated than that 😉

    We’re all rooting for you.

  61. James Lane
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 2:34 AM | Permalink

    Wow, everyone has an opinion. MBH98 is a kind of dark laboratory of statistical malpractice. I would suggest avoiding a preoccupation with that paper (as the nomads have “moved on”) and instead focus on the issues that generalise to the Hockey Team’s subsequent efforts, specifically:

    – the selection of proxies
    – robustness (especially the criticisms of B & C)
    – disclosure of methods and data

  62. Ray Soper
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 4:47 AM | Permalink

    You probably already have this point, but I thought that John Brignell’s comment on non-linearity of tree-ring thickness, while much less detailed than your discussions on the same topic, was succinctly argued by him in a way that can be perhaps be used as one of your 1 minute points to the Panel. And, so far as I know, the RC team hasn’t yet responded, in any meaningful way, to this point. For those with short memories (like me) or new to CA, here is the Brignell quote: (from:

    “What are the consequences of incorrectly assuming linearity?

    A good example of a serious error arising from a mistaken assumption of linearity is the so-called “Hockey stick” curve. This was adopted by the UN IPCC, resulting in potentially devastating economic consequences. The mathematical method employed by the authors was “principal component analysis”, which is a form of linear algebra applied to statistical data.

    One of the main sources of data for this exercise was plant growth (tree rings).

    It is easy to demonstrate that plant growth is a non-linear process. Plants require for growth nutriment, light, warmth and moisture. Consider just the last two of these. In the middle range of variables, increases in warmth and moisture both increase growth rates. However, at the extremes, this is not true. If it is very cold, then more moisture will impede growth, while if it is very dry, more heat will also reduce it. Thus plant growth is not only non-linear, it is not even monotonic, which implies a gross non-linearity and excludes the use of linear algebra.

    The results of this analysis were used by the IPCC for the basis of a claim that phenomena such as the Little Ice Age and the Mediaeval Warm period never actually happened, despite the copious evidence to the contrary from history, art, archaeology, entomology etc. The error was compounded by arrogant dismissal of criticisms, attempts to prevent their publication and refusal to make public the computer programmes involved, but that is another story. It is curious that a prolonged and intricate argument has followed, when all that needs to be said is that the method used was not valid.”

  63. Jack
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 10:33 AM | Permalink


    You said:

    IMHO, the combination of many proxy studies and history records show that there was, indeed, a period of warming in Medieval times that rivaled or exceeded modern times. I do not see how you can avoid this conclusion, when it is even recorded in history and you find people under melting glaciers in Europe.

    The difference between then and now is the apparent rate of warming. The proxy studies cited at your link show this broad range of warming over several centuries. I don’t dispute that. The data now shows a rapid warming, mostly global, but somewhat accelerated in the NH apparently due to the increased land mass compared to the SH. Thus, the MWP and the current warming trend are not directly comparable.

  64. John A
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 11:02 AM | Permalink

    Re #62

    Ray, it also struck me quite a while ago (before this blog began) that respiration by plants was a balancing act between allowing enough moisture in the leaf stomata while trying to capture the occasional carbon dioxide, and excessive evaporation which will stop the carbon dioxide capture.

    Therefore, it seems to me most logical that plant growth, especially in trees, is profoundly related to relative humidity and that temperature (and if you think about it, wind velocity) would provide a narrow band of operation for respiration to work most successfully.

    Thus Ross and Steve’s suggestion of a negative quadratic relation as a first order estimate of plant growth to ambient temperature seems to me most likely: too cold, and ice crystals prevent carbon capture, too dry, too warm or too windy and evaporation outstrips the supply of water to the leaves.

    It’s clear to me that evolution has provided mechanisms for dealing with a wide variation in these key variables including aromatic oils produced by plants to reduce evaporation and improve nucleation of water vapor for plants in the tropics, to thin spiky leaves and needles to improve water efficiency by reducing surface area, in semi-arid regions.

    It’s also clear to me that outside of these narrow bands, plants narrowly adapted for particular conditions struggle when the climate changes. When the climate cools, the air is colder but also drier and tree rings indicate the poorer growth during such times. When the climate warms, the increased moisture promotes better growth but only within a narrow range.

    Thus it is a gross oversimplification to use tree rings as a proxy for temperature. Does a suboptimal ring width indicate too cool, too dry or too windy, too warm conditions? Do late season frosts or droughts cause such leaf damage that later more pleasant conditions in the season cannot be exploited fully?

    It would be expected that tree lines, both in latitude and altitude would be a more persistent climatic temperature record, than treerings or wood density themselves.

    As John Brignell rightly points out, deriving a linear function from non-linear behavior is fallacious on its face, without any further investigation of methodology. There is no mathematical procedure that can recover it.

  65. John G. Bell
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 12:29 PM | Permalink

    Re #64, John A.,
    Too little wind often results in the air at plant level being depleted of CO2 to the point that it limits plant growth for at least part of the day. % CO2 in air can be local where it counts. All is compromise with plants.

  66. Steve Bloom
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

    Re #56: It doesn’t appear that way to me. What it looks like is that a plurality (this is a seat of the pants estimate here) of the commenters on this site are interested in the hockey stick controversy because they think winning that argument will show that it’s actually the sun that’s responsible for the current warming, that it’s therefore just a natural cycle, and once that is established we can all roll over and go back to sleep. This stance seems to come out of a fundamentally unscientific desire to grasp at any straw to show that AGW is not happening, with solar cycles being the most obvious straw. Now, Steve at least accepts the broad conclusions of the IPCC and so doesn’t buy into the solar stuff, and given that stance may decide to move on to another climate issue (GCMs?) once it becomes clear that the hockey stick issue is no longer terribly important to the climate debate (I’m predicting next year for that), or may just drop the whole thing. The solarphiles, OTOH, will ever be with us regardless of the venue, the specific issue and the level of evidence that they’re wrong.

  67. Ray Soper
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 12:55 PM | Permalink

    Aaahh Steve, re #66. Can you possibly allow that all that most people on this site want, and I am sure this is true of Steve Mc and Ross Mc, is to understand just what exactly is going on with climate change. Only when we have reasonable and reliable knowledge of that can we figure out what,if anything, we should do about it. Pretty simple really.

  68. Steve Bloom
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 1:02 PM | Permalink

    Re #58: Ross, do bear in mind that the panel will have seen at least a summary of your book. Given that, it might be a good idea for you to let Steve take the lead role at the hearing.

    On a related subject, likely at least some of the panel members will be visiting this site. Be on your best behavior, guys. (And I know I’ve asked this before, but where *are* the women?)

    Re #s 62/64: Ray and John, has it occurred to you how exceptionally stupid it would be for Ross and Steve to show up at the hearing and appear to be attacking the underpinnings of the entire field of dendrochronology?

  69. John A
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    The solarphiles, OTOH, will ever be with us regardless of the venue, the specific issue and the level of evidence that they’re wrong.

    Actually they’re called “solar scientists”. I’m sure Doug Hoyt is a solarphile as well, though.

    This style of rhetoric from Bloom reminds me very much of fire-and-brimstone preaching against non-believers and how they deny their own sin, and deny the gift of salvation and risk the wrath of the Almighty and only the righteous can see the real problem and the unbelievers are blinded by sin and Satan and on and on.

  70. Steve Bloom
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

    Re #61: Just to note that while “the selection of proxies” and their “robustness (especially the criticisms of B & C)” are within the scope of the committee’s charge, “disclosure of methods and data” (to non-scientists) is not.

  71. Steve Bloom
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 1:16 PM | Permalink

    Re #69: Absolutely Doug is a solarphile. Er, John, am I to understand that you’re criticizing someone else for over-the-top rhetoric? That’s amusing.

  72. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

    Steve B., disclosure of data and methods should be done in a public archive not on an ad hoc basis depending on your view of the person asking. If you are making a dig against me, I am a peer reviewer for IPCC 4AR; I’ve published 3 peer-reviewed articles in GRL; I’ve presented at AGU. At this point, whether you agree with my conclusions or not, there are not very many people who you could describe as being more authoritative on multiproxy data and methodology: I’m entitled to disclosure of data and methods.

  73. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

    #68. There’s a difference between using tree rings to derive dates (dendrochronology) and deducing temperature from tree rings. Why shouldn’t the panel consider the latter topic from the ground floor?

  74. John A
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

    Re #71

    No Steve, I’m criticisizing the propagation of unfalsifiable propositions (like AGW) while making claims that measureable and quantifiable phenomena (like solar variation) are irrelevant, is characteristic of fundamentalist religion and not science.

    As I also quoted you in #39, no-one uses more florid and misleading rhetoric than you.

  75. Rod Montgomery
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 2:16 PM | Permalink

    Here’s the National Academies’ announcement of the public meeting:

    And this might also be interesting, although it’s not directly related:

  76. Steve Bloom
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

    Re #72: It wasn’t a dig. You’ve been allowed a surprising degree of access to the journals, enough so that scientists who want to pick up on your work have had plenty of opportunity to do so. That has even happened (with von Storch, e.g.), although it appears the outcome wasn’t quite to your liking. I’m not questioning your stated expertise but, your lack of a relevant degree aside, it doesn’t make you a climatologist. Adding to that problem the questionable motivations that are apparent from the tone that is maintained on this site, and it is very clear why you’re not entitled to data and methods. I should say that by qustionable motivations I don’t mean any kind of dishonesty, but simply that that your interest is mainly political rather than scientific.

    Re #73: Thanks for noticing my slip — that should have been dendroclimatology, of course. If by considering it from the ground floor you really do mean questioning the underpinnings of the entire academic field, I’ll skip over the question of whether they *should* go there or not and just state again that they won’t. Is there a dendroclimatologist on the panel?

  77. Rod Montgomery
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 2:21 PM | Permalink

    Committee membership:

  78. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

    #76. why would you say that the outcome wasn’t to “our liking”? We were able to show that the von Storch simulations failed to replicate essential aspects of the MBH98 method. I thought that our reply was quite convincing.

    Why would you say that my motivations are questionable? Why do you say that my interest is primarily “political”? I happen to be interested in the topic and that’s why I’m spending time on it. I hardly ever write about politics. Virtually everything that I write is scientific. That there’s public interest gives the topic an edge – but I happen to be interested in the topic.

  79. Rod Montgomery
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 2:33 PM | Permalink

    The committee membership posted 8 Feb 2006 is “provisional” and might change — see the “Comment” at the end of the membership notice:

    =[F]ormal comments on the provisional appointments to a committee of the National Academies are solicited during the 20-calendar day period following the posting of the membership and, as described below, these comments will be considered before committee membership is finalized. We welcome your comments. (Use the Feedback link below).=

  80. jae
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 2:34 PM | Permalink

    Steve Bloom:

    Any academic degree is a “relevant” degree in Science. Now, you not only look like a global-warming-religious-zealot, but also a snob. Give me one good reason that the data should not be available to the public.

  81. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 2:35 PM | Permalink

    Rod, thanks for the citation. I see there are now a couple of NCAR employees on panel, including Nychka. I mentioned Nychka once before here , who was cited by Ammann here as being part of a working team (also including Mann). Nychka hardly seems like someone who is independent.

    Team/Collaborators: E. Wahl, C. Ammann (NCAR), N. Graham (Scripps and HRC), D. Nychka (NCAR), M.E. Mann (University of Virginia)

    Also thanks for the information about provisional appointment. I’m definitely going to protest Nychka.

  82. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 2:53 PM | Permalink

    #68, Steve (B) First it’s not just ‘my’ book, its my ‘coauthored’ book. Second, I should hope they’ve heard of it, and I assume these panellists are good enough scientists not to form conclusions based on partisan, dismissive summaries. After all, if that’s how they went about things they would never have invited Steve and I to discuss our hockey stick research. But they did, so they don’t. In any case, we’re there to discuss M&M, not E&M, and while I appreciate your advice, unless you have some personal experience giving expert advice to NAS panels, you will understand if I don’t pay much attention to it.

  83. Rod Montgomery
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 3:01 PM | Permalink

    #81: I find it interesting that Nychka is the only statistician on the provisional panel.

    I’d’ve thought that, since matters of imputation and extrapolation are so central, they’d’ve wanted someone expert in those statistical specialties but *not* already aligned with one party in the controversy.

  84. Steve Bloom
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

    Re #74: John A., this would all be very subjective were it not for one point: I don’t recall every using profanity on the net. I do seem to recall your having done so on several occasions.

    As to the solar variations, they have been considered very carefully and found consistent with AGW theory, as in (and as you well know). Had there been inconsistency, of course that could have led to some degree of falsification, so I’m not sure what you mean when you say unfalsifiable.

    But do keep on with all this stuff, as I’m sure the committee members will be fascinated to see it on Steve’s site.

  85. Ed Snack
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

    Steve B, I am really “impressed” with your totally political and non-scientific approach to this subject. You have utterly failed despite numerous postings to adequately question a single point made by Steve M.

    Attacking posters is easier no doubt, and sometimes even a welcome corrective, but your statement in #76

    Adding to that problem the questionable motivations that are apparent from the tone that is maintained on this site, and it is very clear why you’re not entitled to data and methods. I should say that by qustionable motivations I don’t mean any kind of dishonesty, but simply that that your interest is mainly political rather than scientific.

    Not entitled, questionable motivations, wow, and you want to accuse Steve M of a political rather than a scientific approach. What do you want, that one must sign something saying you religiously believe in AGW before being allowed to study it ?

    Have you ever thought to independently investigate, with an open mind, the claims made by Steve M, rather than simply conclude he is wrong (and being political) because he is successfully questioning your religious dogma ?

  86. Paul Linsay
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 3:48 PM | Permalink


    As to the solar variations, they have been considered very carefully and found consistent with AGW theory

    Huh? From the article you linked, p20

    The North Atlantic finding suggests that solar variability exerts a strong effect on climate on centennial to millennial time scales, perhaps through changes in ocean thermohaline circulation that in turn amplify the direct effects of smaller variations in solar irradiance

    We’ve been coming out of the LIA for the last 100 years, i.e., a centennial time scale.

    Read the article more carefully.

  87. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 4:02 PM | Permalink

    #83. Now that I see the panel, I wish that there was someone that had published in the area of spurious regression was on the panel.

    I’m a believer in letter writing so I’d encourage anyone who shares my concerns to write to NAS at

  88. Louis Hissink
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    Re # 76

    “Does not make you a climatologist”.

    I Googled “climatologist” and got some interesting results. On one site the rhetorical question of how do scientists take the earth’s temperature we get this explanation:

    “So how do scientists take measure of the Earth’s climate and weather? How reliable are those methods? What can they tell us about climatological changes that might be taking place? How can we tell if humans are altering climate? The answers to all of those questions are subject to considerable scientific and political debate, and many of the most important climatological mysteries may not be answered for years to come. But scientists, we can be sure, are hard at work figuring out new ways to tap into climate. Here is a sampler of some of the more exotic schemes for measuring climate”

    Measuring the earth’s temperature is still subject to debate? Surely not.

    Avoiding a specific statement on how to measure something basically means they don’t know how. If they did, then the quoted para above would be unnecessary.

  89. jae
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 5:05 PM | Permalink

    RE: #76

    Adding to that problem the questionable motivations that are apparent from the tone that is maintained on this site, and it is very clear why you’re not entitled to data and methods.

    I’m still waiting to hear why Steve M (or even me) are “not entitled to data and methods.” Come on, just one reason.

  90. Bob K
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 5:33 PM | Permalink

    re: 76
    Just did a google search for “climatology degree” and prior to this century no University offered one. Therefore, I’m sure no member of the hockey team has such a degree. Since there are evidently no objective qualifications related to experience or knowledge maybe you could enlighten me as to how a person is disqualified from the ranks of “climatologists”.

  91. john
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 5:47 PM | Permalink

    I’m a little late on posting my two cents on this already long thread, however I just wanted to pipe in on the point of MWP being global or local or whatever. The two sides (mostly Jack and Jae), could go on forever about whether MWP was some sort of timeshifting anomaly making its way around the world, or in fact it represents ancient global warming however, luckily, we have a whole whack of proxies against which to test these theories! There is no reason that the Mann algorithm (or other algorithms) cannot be applied to local areas so we could see when and where the MWP took place. In fact I think this would be an excellent test. If the hockey graph is correct then:
    – we should expect to see MWP occur for different areas at different times.
    – the sum of the different areas should cancel out to create our original file line.
    – The MWP periods for each region should roughly line up with external results (as listed on the CO2 site for example).

    That would be a powerful result.

  92. hans kelp
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 8:25 PM | Permalink

    I can recommend you read the “SHATTERED CONSENSUS” by P. Michaels just released. Ross McKitrick has a chapter named “A Tale of Due Diligence” in the book in which he tells us how Steve McIntyre got trapped in the whole subject just because of his curious mind. That´s indeed is a rather fascinating tale and I have to say that maybe it´s the reason for a more and more prominent feeling of mine that everytime you and your ilk present yourself with your kind of rhetoric I have ended up on a dead end road.

    Hans Kelp

  93. BradH
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 8:42 PM | Permalink

    Here’s a bief summary of the Steve Bloom (a “scientist”, apparently) contributions to this post. I’ve labelled them: scientific; political; personal (including, but not limited to, ad hominems). If a post fits more than one category, I’ve identified it as such.

    #25 personal; political
    #35 personal; political
    #37 personal
    #38 personal
    #66 political; personal
    #68 personal; political
    #70 political; personal
    #71 personal
    #76 personal
    #84 scientific; personal; political

    I undertook this exercise, because the tone of Steve Bloom’s comments in this topic seems to be consistently dismissive of anyone who is not a trained “scientist” having either a right to question the methods and conclusions of “real” scientists, or to even have access to the data upon which such scientists base their publications. Additionally, he intimated that various members of the panel might be looking at these site, so everyone should watch what they say, lest they be cast in an unfortunate light.

    Perhaps Steve Bloom hasn’t turned the looking glass on his own visage recently?

    BTW, did the panel invite Steve Bloom to come and speak about his own work in the area? Perhaps you could answer that yourself, Steve B? You certainly seem to have a lot to say.

  94. Louis Hissink
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 8:43 PM | Permalink

    Re # 92

    Hans, I have that book and Pat’s other one on order from Amazon. They advised me the books were shipping, only to then advise that this was an error – still awaiting stocks.

    Re #91

    During the MWP the Vikings had extensive agriculture in Greenland, running cattle, pigs etc, and crops. Today they can hardly grow vegetables, and small hers of reindeer, goats etc.

    Hence today temperatures have still not reached MWP temperatures. Hence today’s unprecedented temperatures are not the highest for the last 1200 years.

    Yes this should be on the Osborne and Briffa post, but it just occurred to me here.

  95. per
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 8:51 PM | Permalink

    I was thinking about this, and the remit of the panel.

    When you look closely at the remit, it is apparent that a great deal of the membership of the panel comes from people who are interested in e.g. a particular proxy. This is clearly very important; since the proxies are essential to anything built upon them.

    But a major focus is how you do the reconstructions, which is a math/stats issue, and looking at the panel, there seems to a be a shortfall in statisticians; and one of the two is Nychko. I guess that this is a bit surprising when some of the most important issues arising require heavy duty statistics (what is autoregression 🙂 )

  96. John G. Bell
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 9:51 PM | Permalink

    Re #92, Sort of OT but …

    Patric J. Michaels made a statement about Greenland adding about two inches of ice per year on average. I remembered a way anyone can gauge the truth of this. It was some years ago now, but an attempt was made to salvage a B29 that made a soft landing on Greenland some time (late?) in the 2nd World War. If I remember right it was under many feet of ice. Anyone know how many? I remember a picture of a Lightning that was burried so deep in ice in Greenland that the weight of the ice had crushed it flat. That had to be more than 15 feet deep. In what 45, 50 years. They used radar to help locate these planes under the ice.

  97. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 11:02 PM | Permalink

    #95 – per, who do you regard as the other one? The others all look like non-statisticians to me, although Wallace’s math is strong.

  98. McCall
    Posted Feb 9, 2006 at 11:35 PM | Permalink

    re: Mr Bloom on von Storch

    Why bother with this troll. He ignores what Dr. von Storch said about MBH’98, ’99, the hockey stick, and the IPCC’01 embrace of same? Or perhaps he never actually read what Dr von Storch in Der Spiegel (in the native German, nor translated), shortly after the paper in ScienceExpress’04? Or maybe he believes “quatsch” is high praise based on his home blog’s revisionist interpretation — not that surprising, given his demonstrated level of scientific background.

    Beyond that, BradH’s #93 works for me.

  99. john lichtenstein
    Posted Feb 10, 2006 at 12:42 AM | Permalink

    Steve Bloom’s comments that access to data used for published studies should be subject to ideological tests reminds me of pump and dump promoters. Promoters will frequently claim that people need to call the company to get the skinny over the phone. Sometimes they will set up private chat rooms where “bashers” are censored, or even blocked from reading reports from promoters. Some companies just find public filings to be to confining to contain the information needed to value the company.

  100. Ed Snack
    Posted Feb 10, 2006 at 2:50 AM | Permalink

    Just as a note, on the blog linked at inkspot (on the O&B post), our old “friend” Danny boy uses almost identical language to Steve Bloom, deriding amateurs, claiming that this blog indulges in character assassination etc (which is a real hoot, imagine Mr Character Assassination himself moaning about it). Anyway, the close similarity leads me to suspect that this is the latest official line, to be followed by all those members of the cognescenti, the anointed ones (and of course their acolytes), when referring to M&M and any results thus derived.

  101. James Lane
    Posted Feb 10, 2006 at 3:15 AM | Permalink


    I read a book about the B29 salvage in Greenland ( I think my brother has it so I can’t refer to it). I don’t think the B59 was buried. It was restored to flying condition. Unfortunately the take-off was foiled by a fire in the cabin, and the plane was wrecked.

    The Lightning’s were deep in the ice, I think 30 metres. There were a bunch of them, I think one was salvaged, and might be flying today. There was a good National Geographic spread on the recovery a few years ago.

  102. David H
    Posted Feb 10, 2006 at 3:25 AM | Permalink

    Re #96

    Not only was the B29 plane deep it had moved a long way from where it was last seen. Ice flows under its own weight. Remember the engine that came out of a South American glacier?

  103. Louis Hissink
    Posted Feb 10, 2006 at 4:38 AM | Permalink

    Re # 101, 102

    James/David H

    Any links to those occurrences? I was thinking in terms of travel time that the artefacts underwent. Gives a good clue to flow velocity.


  104. Posted Feb 10, 2006 at 6:27 AM | Permalink

    Mr. Hissink,

    Hence today temperatures have still not reached MWP temperatures. Hence today’s unprecedented temperatures are not the highest for the last 1200 years.

    Be a little careful… I’m pretty convinced, due to these observations, Greenland is substantially colder today than it was in medieval times. And, according to other European documentary data, it’s probably true of much of Europe. However, that alone doesn’t prove it was a global phenomenon. On the other hand, as others have pointed out, if the rest of the globe was stable during this warm period for Europe, the average would still be driven up by the hot temperatures there. It would require an average drop in temperature globally, outside of Europe, to cancel out the LIA.

    There does seem to be a reasonable argument that global temperatures averaged quite high during that period but the Greenland evidence alone does not prove it. You’re giving those who believe the climate has been stable for thousands of years ammunition for destroying your argument if you fail to provide the extra rhetoric required to back up your point. I’ve no doubt you have more sophisticated arguments, which you’re probably sick of typing.

  105. fFreddy
    Posted Feb 10, 2006 at 9:27 AM | Permalink

    The Wall Street Journal has noticed :

    I was particularly interested in the bit about Rep. Barton seeking a review of the hockey stick from a statistician – eminently sensible.

  106. JerryB
    Posted Feb 10, 2006 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

    Regarding Edward Wegman, the statistican mentioned in the WSJ article, see, for example:

  107. David H
    Posted Feb 10, 2006 at 1:05 PM | Permalink

    Re: 103 Louis, here’s one link:

    It was a squadron of P38s (the B29 is a different story). They were 250 ft deep but the story does not say how far they had drifted. My recollection was a mile or so. They were rescued by dog sleigh so the original location must have been known with some accuracy and I guess they know where they found them.

  108. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 10, 2006 at 10:57 PM | Permalink

    “When was the MWP? I need exact dates, i.e., 971-1292. None of this “10th-11th century” generality. ”
    “Do you want the nearest month or WHAT?”

    I don’t have the dates on he MWP but watching Father Ted now I was reminded that the Ice age (Not the little one) ended on July the 19th.

  109. Posted Feb 11, 2006 at 10:05 AM | Permalink

    Nanny sez “I’m going to put my money on the Hockey Team declaring “intimidation” or some such thing and then not showing up.”

    Jae sez “I’ll bet the Hockey Team is going to lose, big time.”

    So… exactly how much are you prepared to bet? Or are these just empty words?

    #72 “I am a peer reviewer for IPCC 4AR” – always nice to see people upholding association with the IPCC as the Gold Standard. But could you clarify: you mean you are an “expert reviewer”?

  110. fFreddy
    Posted Feb 11, 2006 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

    Re #109, William Connolley

    …always nice to see people upholding association with the IPCC as the Gold Standard…

    Hercules was associated with the Augean stables …

  111. per
    Posted Feb 11, 2006 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

    re: 97, I thought that the chair G R North, listed statistical analyses as part of his specialist area.

  112. David H
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 8:22 AM | Permalink

    Re the lost squadron of P38’s, I have done a bit more googling and found the account of one of the rescuers at In this account the planes had move about 1.5 miles and were 268 ft below the surface in the 63.5 years since they landed. This is a drift of about 38m a year and an ice formation rate of about 1.3 m a year.

    There is a map at:

    The question arises as to whether they sank through the ice or were buried. The best argument I have read is that their centre of gravity is forward of their centre of lift and if sinking through air water or ice they would tend to go nose down but they were found horizontal. The other argument is that they exert insufficient pressure on the ice to melt it at the low temperatures where they landed.

    This seems to be another bit of history (more recent than others) that is inconvenient for certain theories.

  113. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Feb 16, 2006 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

    RE: #66. My story. I was a geophysics undergrad when I read “Greenhouse” by Dakota James. So, even though I was obviously studying a hard science (and working in high tech on the side) I also got sucked into the warmer camp, hook line and sinker. You see, from childhood I’d been groomed by liberal parents to become a Gaia worshipper. My, oh my, that programming was difficult to overcome.

    What started my own cycle of doubt were the following:
    * Referring to the James book, 1990 arrived, and it looked like in 7 years, “it” would not happen (alluding to “It Will Happen In 1997” – James’ subtitle).
    * As I aged, my formal education really started to kick in. I took a more data driven approach. I learned via hard knocks about noise, measurement system errors, selective data mining, and other problems.
    * 1997 came and went, and still “it” had not happened.
    * In the big picture, the sea ice continued to cycle as expected and the dramatic “evidence that the ice caps (sic) were melting” turned out to look more and more like observations taken in years that were in the lower range of extent. Got variation?
    * I listed out all the potential sources of bias in surface readings and could not really convince myself that a single one of them ought to be discounted. Then, I tried to imagine how I might correct for such biases and quickly got way beyond my own math capabilities. That was telling.
    * I ran into M&M’s 2003 paper and that pretty much sewed it up.
    * Since then, I drilled down on (pun intended?) the Bristlecone Studies orthogonal to my own personal knowledge of the White Mountains and Eastern Sierra, and concluded that no one in their right mind would want to use Bristlecones as temperature proxies. Later, I began to question using any tree rings as proxies.

    No agenda aforethough, only personal development at work for me.

  114. Posted Jun 20, 2006 at 9:16 PM | Permalink

    A regular on sci.environment posted an advisory from NAS about presentation of the panel’s report, scheduled for June 22 (advance copies available June 21 to reporters). I took a quick look on NAS main web page and the panel’s page — — and didn’t see the advisory there, but I thought I’d pass it on anyway. Sorry about the truncated email address within the item:

    National Academies advisory: Past surface temperatures and climate

    Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years, a new
    congressionally requested report from the National Academies’ National
    Research Council, assesses efforts to estimate historical temperature
    variations based on tree rings, boreholes, and other “proxy” evidence.
    The report also evaluates researchers’ conclusions about the planet’s
    recent warming compared to temperature trends in past centuries. It
    will be released at a one-hour public briefing.
    Thursday, June 22, at 11 a.m. EDT in the Lecture Room of the National
    Academies building, 2100 C St., N.W., Washington, D.C. Those who cannot
    attend may listen to a live audio webcast and submit questions by
    e-mail at

    REPORTERS: Register to attend the briefing or obtain an advance copy of
    the report by contacting the Office of News and Public Information;
    tel. 202-334-2138 or e-mail n… Advance copies will be
    available to reporters only beginning at 3 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, June
    EDT ON JUNE 22.

  115. Posted Jun 20, 2006 at 9:28 PM | Permalink

    Advance copy of the panel report is available to reporters via email request to — the advisory was distributed via Eureka —

  116. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 20, 2006 at 9:30 PM | Permalink

    I’ll be posting up something on Things To Look For in the NAS report – hopefully in an hour or so.

  117. TCO
    Posted Jun 21, 2006 at 12:06 AM | Permalink

    Could we get the advance copy a little earlier? I like how the internet frees things up. I also want to read the IPCC draft without all the folderol of registering. Someone should post that also.

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