NAS News and Schedule

Here’s the appearance schedule. There are 10 presentations. Hughes and Mann each get a separate speaking slot while Ross and I are combined into one. It’s a pretty blue-chip set of speakers. We get the last speaking spot on Thursday at the end of a long day, just before cocktails. Hughes and Mann get to wrap with two spots on Friday, Mann getting the last word.

NAS has added a new member to the panel. (BTW three of the panel are either current or past UCAR trustees: North, Turekian and Dickinson, added to the two UCAR employees – Otto-Bliesen and Nychka.) It is a statistician, Peter Bloomfield of North Carolina State, who has a lengthy resume with many interesting-looking papers. Bloomfield is a coauthor with Nychka in several publications. He is cited in two pers. comms. in Briffa et al [Holocene 2002] where Briffa describes how they went about estimating confidence intervals for their MXD reconstruction – you know, the one where they chop off the period after 1960. Out of all the statisticians in the world, why would they pick one who consulted on confidence intervals for one of the Hockey Team studies?

Needless to say, they’ve paid no attention so far to any of our suggestions or comments on composition and balance. I wonder how they actually go about considering panel composition and balance. Anyway, it should be interesting.

Committee on Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the past 1,000-2,000 Years: Synthesis of Current Understanding and Challenges for the Future

Meeting #1 Open Session Agenda
March 2-3, 2006

The National Academy of Sciences Building
2100 C St. N.W., Washington, D.C.

Thursday March 2, 2006 (Lecture Room)

8:30 A.M. Continental breakfast

9:00 A.M. Welcome and introductions

9:15 A.M. Invited Speaker: Henry Pollack (Michigan)

10:00 A.M. Invited Speaker: Daniel Schrag (Harvard)

10:45 A.M. Break

11:00 A.M. Invited Speaker: Richard Alley (Penn State)

11:45 A.M. Invited Speaker: Jürg Luterbacher (Bern)

12:30 P.M. Lunch

1:30 P.M. Invited Speaker: Rosanne D’Arrigo (Lamont)

2:15 P.M. Invited Speaker: Gabriele Hegerl (Duke)

3:00 P.M. Break

3:15 P.M. Invited Speaker: Hans von Storch (GKSS)

4:00 P.M. Invited Speaker: Steven McIntyre and Ross McKitrick (Guelph)

4:45 P.M. Break

5:00 P.M. Open discussion

5:30 P.M. Reception

Friday March 3, 2006 (Lecture Room)

8:30 A.M. Continental breakfast

9:00 A.M. Invited Speaker: Malcolm Hughes (Arizona)

9:45 A.M. Invited Speaker: Michael Mann (Penn State)

10:30 A.M. Wrap-up / discussion

11:00 A.M. Adjourn to closed session


  1. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 6:42 PM | Permalink

    Sounds like a bloody Kangaroo Court.

    What a travesty.

  2. paul
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 6:44 PM | Permalink

    Interesting to see who gets the final word.

  3. per
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 6:52 PM | Permalink

    It is a fascinating choice of speakers. Looks like several of the first four have new proxies for temperature reconstructions. The interest probably starts after lunch with D’Arrigo; but I am just making the point that there are very few speakers who are going to be addressing the issues of robustness of the hockey-sticks.

    I think it is a great thing that they have brought another statistician onto the panel. Since many of the arguments are so statistical in nature, that will be a great benefit. It is probably inevitable that the rest of the panel couldn’t change; with the short time scale this was run on, it would have been very difficult to get alternatives in, etc.

    With the title of the session as broad as it is, it is tempting to imagine you would be best to address wide themes. It strikes me that it would be very effective simply to address the many clearly demonstrable issues in MBH’98, drawing out the general relevance of each one. So for example, the E&E’03 paper showed dire failures in the description of the data, grey series and truncations, and this is unarguable. However, the general relevance is that many other papers commit some of the same cardinal sins. A potential problem is that MBH can claim they have ‘moved on’, but it still seems the most powerful approach.

    anyways, I am teaching granny to suck eggs.
    good luck

  4. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 8:29 PM | Permalink

    Based on the speakers chosen, it looks like a lot of AGW cheerleading, followed by a bit of critical analysis, then more cheerleading. All to a panel that includes more cheerleaders. Why did they even bother inviting Steve and Ross?

  5. Bill Bixby
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 8:41 PM | Permalink

    I think you all are being paranoid. The timing of the Mann talk was driven by the fact that he couldn’t be there Thursday. I can assure you that the panel is interested in getting the right answer, not reaching a pre-defined conclusion.

  6. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 8:51 PM | Permalink

    A more comes to light.

    Can’t be there, or doesn’t want to see Steve and Ross present?

    You’d think he would make the time.

  7. Dr. Bruce Banner
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 8:57 PM | Permalink

    re: 5
    Depends on whether the panel’s mindset is like mine, the nuclear scientist?

  8. Incred Iblehulk
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 8:58 PM | Permalink

    OR MINE!

  9. McCall
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

    Posts 7,8 & 9 (all in fun) may be deleted without fear of the shriek of censorship.

    Let’s all lighten up folks — it’s almost certain that any communication between these parties is of benefit to the debate. Congratulations gentlemen, on your invitation; and to the sponsor, for realizing they have a problem.

    Now if only Science and Nature would cooperate on the archive data enforcement front — the truth shall set us free!

  10. Pat Frank
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 9:14 PM | Permalink

    It doesn’t look good to me, either. If the NAS panel closes proceedings and writes a report that does not stand up to objective analysis, and that merely reiterates the ‘2005 was the hottest year of the last 2000 years’ cant with a few wishy-washy and politically meaningless caveats, then I look for an explosion. Maybe a disaster.

    I also begin to wonder whether the NAS has ever given an honest review, if the staff are incapable of looking past their personal biases.

  11. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 9:25 PM | Permalink

    #10. Pat, I think that NAS is foolish in not following our suggestions for their panel. In their shoes, I would try to defuse every conceivable point of controversy. It’s goofy leaving Ammann’s boss on the panel, for example.

    The other dumb thing is that it doesn’t look like they are complying with their policies and legislation on composition and balance. In the first instance, that’s our problem; but in the second instance, it has a good chance of becoming their problem. Right now, my guess is that they’d look like pretty bad if, say, Barton decided to examine how NAS discharged their obligations under composition and balance policy. My guess is that my letter to them has not been considered adequately within the four corners of their procedures. That type of thing has a habit of backfiring.

  12. Bill Bixby
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 10:36 PM | Permalink

    Bette Otto-Bliesner is not Ammann’s boss. That’s factually incorrect. Why do you think that’s so?

  13. Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 11:01 PM | Permalink

    Bill, I just looked at the NCAR website, and Bette Otto-Bliesner is listed as head of the Paleoclimate group, while Ammann is listed as a member of the group. How do you conclude she’s not his boss?

  14. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 11:18 PM | Permalink

    In the organization chart, Ammann is in the Paleoclimate Modeling Group, Climate Change Research Section. As Charles says, Otto-Bliesner is listed at the top of the people listed in a larger font; her own page says she is Deputy Section Head, Climate Change Research. It sure quacks like a duck. If she is not his “boss”, then whatever she is still falls within NAS conflict rules.

    Bill, my reading of NAS policies is that this is obligatory conflict disclosure and should have been stated in her biographical material in the context of the NAS panel and that she failed in a mandatory disclosure.

  15. Bill Bixby
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 11:25 PM | Permalink

    Let’s just say that I KNOW she’s not his boss. And leave it at that.

    I guess I’m a little disappointed. I thought that you guys where really into “due diligence” of all your facts. In this case, you seem to be putting an awful lot of faith into a web site. Hmmmm, a web site couldn’t possibly give the wrong impression, could it? If you don’t believe me, then I’m sure when Dr. McIntyre gets back from the meeting next week, he can confirm it. And then you can say, “that bastard Bixby was right again! Damn him and his incredibly accurate information!”

  16. Paul Penrose
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 11:31 PM | Permalink

    From what’s on the NCAR website I don’t think you tell exactly what her relationship is to Ammann, however it is quite clear that she is his superior in the organization even if she is not his direct supervisor. Clearly this is the kind of conflict that the NAS should be trying to avoid.

  17. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 11:46 PM | Permalink

    “seem to be putting an awful lot of faith into a web site”

    Faith into HER website, and you come in with a lame alias and expect us to take your word for it?

    Then let’s see. THere is the National Center for atmospheric research
    “Bette Otto-Bliesner, 303-xxx-xxxx

    Specialties: The head of NCAR’s paleoclimate group,”

    Of Which on Ammann’s site He says he’s a member.

    Why am I even bothering with you. These people are listing in their own sites that she is the head of the group that he is a member of.

    So what you “know” is very obviously wrong.

    and here is a hockey stick to prove it

    Damn ASCii hockey sticks don’t work either.

  18. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 11:50 PM | Permalink

    #15, 16 – Bill, you’re right that I believe in due diligence and in this case, the obligation for due diligence on the background of the panelists belongs to NAS. It appears that they are not discharging this duty.

    I submitted a letter to them based on a plausible interpretation of the data which UCAR published on their website. Even if I’ve erred in interpreting the nuances of the UCAR organization chart, the due diligence issue for NAS is whether she has a relationship to Ammann which prevents her from being a participant in the panel according to NAS policies. They are the ones both with the obligation to perform the due diligence and the means to perform it.

    Here’s an organization chart for the CGDivision at NCAR Ammann and Otto-Bliesner are listed in Rooms 220B and 220C respectively. O-B says that she is Head of the Paleoclimate Group and deputy head of the Climate Research Section. That’s enough that NAS should take cognizance of it.

  19. John G. Bell
    Posted Feb 24, 2006 at 11:57 PM | Permalink

    I’d say NAS is on a path to make a hash of it. I am getting sick of watching government violate its own procedures so that it may reach predetermined conclusions for the good of the people. Steve, you put it in black and white to them and they ignored you. That is the fact. Procedures are there to protect the process. How can there be a good outcome without a good process? The panel may split and issue a couple of reports. Some good people in it. Give them what you know and they will have the tools to take a stand.

  20. John G. Bell
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 12:45 AM | Permalink

    Wouldn’t that be 220B and 220D respectively? It looks like Cecile Hannay and Aixue Hu share 220C. Let’s find a floor plan for Mr. Bixby :). By the way the pdf I looked at was dated 2/16/06. What date does yours have? That may explain it.

    Thanks Mr. Bixby. This is fun!

  21. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 1:03 AM | Permalink

    It seems many are assuming that head_of_group = boss. Anyone here in academia (and I believe there are many) should be familiar with serving on committees and such. We have had department Chairs serve on committees for which junior faculty were “heads.” So does the assistant professor become the Chair’s boss? Moreover, in a department, few would ever even consider the Chair to be the “boss.” Higher rankings and seniority do not imply superiority, in the sense that the junior answers to the senior. I cannot speak for UCAR.

    The spirit of this thread, which follows the spirit of other NAS-related threads here, is that people are very disappointed in the composition of the panel and who the guests are. Well let me put it to the participants of this list: who would you invite to speak, in what order would you place them, and what *objective* basis would you use to make these decisions?

    Also, this is a panel, not a jury. Steve is a guest, not a witness/plaintiff/defendant. He, and the other guests, will give presentations not testimonies. And I highly doubt that the result will be a strict verdict from the panel. The guests will not be scored, judged, hooked, gonged, given medals in order of performance or anything of the sort. I do not know why the assumption from the get-go has been the affair must be dichotomous, antagonistic, partisan and overtly political (in the social sense), and that the committee is going to make some binary ruling like “M&M are right”, or “M&M are wrong.” And the whole notion of “the deck being stacked” (against M&M, presumably) just underscores this (IMO) bizarre approach to what could have and (IMO) should have been an amicable scientific disagreement. If it really was meant to be one-sided, if the discipline were true to the general spirit of this blog, then why did Steve and Ross get invited? Wouldn’t it have been easier to just leave them out?

  22. Ed Snack
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 2:32 AM | Permalink

    Kenneth, the tactic, not unknown in the AGW world, will be to hear all the presentations, then confirm that the scientific consensus is quite correct and that there are, sure, some details to be settled, but that’s all. We’ve moved on since MBH98. That has the immediate effect of marginalising Steve & Ross more than if they had not been invited. You can see the potential posts on RealClimate, M&M made their presentation in front of an expert panel, and their work didn’t stand up, move on, nothing more to see…

    That’s why most here see an independent panel being exteremely important, so that the whitewash cannot be distributed too freely. Quite frankly, given the behaviour and obstruction put up by the AGW camp, I am surprised that you can’t see the source of the distrust. Various members of the “hockey team” have at various times deliberately misrepresented Steve & Ross’s work in order to try to marginalise them. Does the leopard change his spots that easily ?

    The presentees are less important, and we have fewer arguements with that, although the order may be designed to give M&H the last word. There is discussion (only 30 minutes) after the last presentation.

    Interesting that you suggest that the position of “Head of Paleoclimate Group” would be in a junior position in the group. Maybe this is just the academic way. My admittedly limited experience would suggest that normally the head of a group is the senior researcher, however practices are different at different organisations. However it is still a conflict of interest, is it not, for O-B to serve on the panel ? Based, that is, on NAS’s own policies. Surely you would not disagree with that ?

    I hope that this will be a welcome exchange of views that will genuinely move the science forward. I am concerned that it may not, and all would be the losers, but NAS and its credibility especially.

  23. John A
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 2:36 AM | Permalink

    A whole 45 minutes between the two of you while Mann and Hughes get 90 minutes and the last words before the closed session to get in “rebuttals” to your arguments without you being able to reply to them.

    I am really pessimistic that the NAS Panel will come up with anything substantial other than having a new brand of whitewash named after them. Why don’t they go the whole hog and just limit you to 800 words (400 each) and have done with it?

    If it was me, I’d withdraw from this poker game seeing that the deck is clearly stacked.

  24. Paul
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 2:38 AM | Permalink


    Not invite Steve and Ross? That was the first mistake of the Hockey Team going way back “ignore them and they will go away”. That just won’t cut it any more because it is clear to blind Freddy (of the UCAR Climate Change Dept.) that the issues being raised by Ross and Steve have merit, are material and need a publis response.

    On you other substantive point about this being an unconstructive whinge. Did you not read Steve and Ross’ letter? It contained number sensible suggestions to the committee to improve its balance and comosition. Read it and then post again with your views on the merit of the views and suggested corrective action contained within it.

    My suggestion for this Committee, wh did they not issue an initial communication documenting the discussion on the issues of balance and composition, particularly in the light of any representation they might have had (we know there was at least one). In addition, what about a comment from the Committee on how there proposed agenda was decided upon and, most importantly, why it will allow them to meet the terms of reference.

    That might have been a little bit to transparent – especially for something where the issue of transparency is an important one.

  25. Paul
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 2:53 AM | Permalink

    The more you look at this agenda, the more ridiculous it seems to have B and H speaking last.

    Surely the contribution they can make isn’t in wrapping up the current state of play (i.e. helping to tie up some loose ends that arise from earlier speakers). They should be first up, setting the scene – they were the ones who really popularised the proxy and PC approach to tree rings in particular, from which stemmed the subsequent questions about efficacy (iniitally from the statistics, more latterly to the validatiy of the proxies).

    I would have thought someone like von Storch might have been the better wrap to proceedings.

  26. Paul
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 2:55 AM | Permalink

    Oh, and just to point out.

    I don’t think Stevet and Ross should have been last either. They should have been earlier, in the post lunch slot, but after M_H.

  27. Hans Erren
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 2:55 AM | Permalink

    11:45 A.M. Invited Speaker: Jürg Luterbacher (Bern)

    Perhaps you could ask Jürg when he plans to put is results data in an archive.

  28. Hans Erren
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 2:58 AM | Permalink

    9:45 A.M. Invited Speaker: Michael Mann (Penn State)

    10:30 A.M. Wrap-up / discussion

    11:00 A.M. Adjourn to closed session

    Mann has 45 minutes to lecture, only 30 minutes reserved for a discussion.

  29. John A
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 3:00 AM | Permalink

    If it were me I’d send a formal letter of protest about the composition of the panel (cc’d to the Chairmen of the Science and Energy Committees), the ridiculous time constraints and the fact that no rebuttal will be possible while Mann and Hughes are at the end.

    Then I’d withdraw until such a time as they convene a panel that follows their own clearly stated procedures on composition and balance.

  30. Hans Erren
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 3:42 AM | Permalink

    My Idea:

    a pro session
    a con session
    a debate session
    a wrap up session
    a neutral convener (computer scientist or matematician)

  31. per
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 5:23 AM | Permalink

    I can sense a bit of hysteria in the discussion on this.

    As BB says, it is entirely possible that OB is not CA’s boss; they may effectively be independent scientists working in the same group. OB may well have given full disclosure in her documents to the NAS committee. And once you start saying that scientists have preconceived ideas because they work at institution X, you are on a slippery slope where you say that they are not competent to evaluate the evidence.

    There are 30 minutes for discussion at the end of these sessions. I think it’s a great opportunity for some spirited debate.

  32. Paul
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 5:51 AM | Permalink

    I think there is genuine problem with the terms of reference. They are far too broad to be able to lead to any effective conclusions.

    When you think about the ground that could/should be covered under the ToR it could extend to the underlying principle of using proxies, the proxies that are being used, methods of proxy data collection, adjustment of proxy data, the statistical approaches to proxy reconstructions, the validation methods used, not to mention the issue of access, transparency, interdependence of studies, reviewers etc.

    All accomplished in time for a leisurely lunch on day 2.

  33. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 6:20 AM | Permalink

    #31. per- I agree that it’s an excellent opportunity.

    For others, just so I don’t give the wrong impression: I’m not sulking about the panel composition. There are things about it that I don’t like and that I think are inconsistent with NAS policies. I wrote to them about it in a sensible way and made observations that have not beem refuted or denied or responded to. Prior to that, it was my probelem. After that, it’s THEIR problem. If they don’t want to adhere to their own policies, it will probably come back to bite them, but I’ll deal with whatever hand that I get.

    I also don’t mind dealing with people whose initial position is opposed. That’s where I started in this. There’s not much point preaching to the choir. At some point, you’ve got to sell the other side – even Ammann’s group head or “close associate” or whatever. However, I can promise in advance that it won’t be any fun for her. Simply because she’s stayed on the panel, we’re probably going to spend more time on Ammann than we might otherwise and she may regret her decision not to recuse herself. At least the Committee will be able to get a first-hand account of the due diligence processes that UCAR put into its press release that our results were “unfounded”. If I were in her shoes, I would have recused myself as a panelist.

  34. kim
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 6:32 AM | Permalink

    If there’s a whitewash, Lou Ferrigno’s not going to be happy.

  35. David Stockwell
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 7:50 AM | Permalink

    #33 The situation would not be unlike delivering a review of the drilling results of an exploration company (UCAR) to the board of the venture capitalists. As such all stakeholders need to be there. I just hope they want to get there hands dirty with data and not take the published pronouncements at face value.

  36. jae
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 8:57 AM | Permalink

    #33 You are right on target, in my view. I have no doubt that there are members of Barton’s staff who are watching all this. If it turns out to be a Kangaroo Court, I’ll bet NAS will be called to task by some politicians. I think this is an excellent opportunity to get some facts out on the table, and I am hopeful about the outcome.

  37. Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 9:01 AM | Permalink

    Steve says: “Right now, my guess is that they’d look like pretty bad if, say, Barton decided to examine how NAS discharged their obligations under composition and balance policy.”

    On the one hand, you question the balance of a panel that includes actual paleoclimate scientists. But when a fossil fuel financed Texas politician organizes a politically motivated witch-hunt against the “hockey stick”, shouts of joy erupt from the AWG doubters. Why would you suggest Barton, of all people, as an arbiter of balance on the NAS panel? A Barton inquiry is the antithesis of scientific inquiry.

    Desperate cries of “whitewash”, “kangaroo court”, “predetermined conclusions”, allegations that “the staff are incapable of looking past their personal biases”, (while sea ice evaporates, and glaciers slide ever faster into the sea), sounds suspiciously like sour grapes.

  38. Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

    #33 Another thought. How about making a CD for each of them with the data you have collected and collated so they can see all the inconsistencies for themselves? You could put it on an excel spreadsheet with graphs.

  39. John A
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 9:04 AM | Permalink

    There are 30 minutes for discussion at the end of these sessions. I think it’s a great opportunity for some spirited debate.

    What are the chances that Mann and Hughes will be given every opportunity to smear Steve and Ross while avoiding any substantive questions about their methodology? I’d say they were pretty high. Certainly Mann is very capable (witness his behavior when interviewed by the BBC) of avoiding substance and repeating endless claims about how the “science is settled”, the “scientific consensus is almost total apart from a few non-scientific denialists with close links to fossil fuel companies”, “conspiracy theorists” and the like. Add a few sighs to the mixture, and a few homely anecdotes and look! How time flies when you’re having fun! Gotta rush! The Earth needs saving!

    If I were forced to participate I would do so under a barrage of protests about the peculiar bias, conflict of interest, lack of time, lack of rebuttal in this procedure as indicative of a particular need to rush to judgment.

  40. kim
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

    Glaciers slide ever faster compared to when?

  41. JerryB
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

    Panel member, and abrupt climate change alarmist, Richard Alley is some kind of colleague of Michael Mann in Penn State’s ESSC:

  42. John A
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

    Desperate cries of “whitewash”, “kangaroo court”, “predetermined conclusions”, allegations that “the staff are incapable of looking past their personal biases”, (while sea ice evaporates, and glaciers slide ever faster into the sea), sounds suspiciously like sour grapes.

    Desperate cries from yet another AGW alarmist as well.

    Sea ice doesn’t evaporate, you moron. It melts.

    What about Antarctica and Greenland? Antarctica is cooling and the ice sheets are getting thicker. Any time to mention that? Greenland’s ice sheet is getting thicker and the glaciers are lengthening as a consequence. Despite being told a thousand times that glacier speed has nothing to do with air temperature you repeat the same rubbish every time. The glaciers move quicker in response to increasing pressure from above and behind because THE ICESHEETS ARE GETTING HEAVIER.

    We’ll make a deal. You stop repeating crap about science you clearly don’t understand and we’ll stop telling you how to design wooden furniture. Deal?

    The Panel is clearly loaded in favor of the very people whose work it is supposed to be examining. I suppose you’d have Michael Mann’s mother on the Panel just so long as she can work a calculator.

  43. jae
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 9:18 AM | Permalink

    #37. I should not have said “Barton.” There are lots of others, including Democrat Ron Weyden. Do you deny that there are some problems with this slate of Committe members?

  44. John A
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

    Re: #41

    Richard Alley is also a co-author with Cuffey who Steve has already complained about.

    Cuffey, K.M., G.D. Clow, R.B. Alley, M. Stuiver, E.D. Waddington and R.W. Saltus. Large Arctic temperature change at the glacial-Holocene transition. Science270, 455-458 (1995).

    It’s just one happy family at the NAS Panel.

  45. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 9:22 AM | Permalink

    #37. Michael, I haven’t used any of the words in your paragraph. I realize that others have, but I haven’t.

    I view this as an opportunity. I’ve said my piece about the panel composition and I’m working on making a good presentation. It’s NAS job to comply with their own panel policies. Everyone’s accountable to someone. If they choose not do so, shame on them. But I’ll deal with the hand that I get.

  46. John A
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 9:27 AM | Permalink

    Re #45


    Richard Alley’s boss is Michael Mann. What are the chances that Alley will ask his boss some probing questions?

  47. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 9:41 AM | Permalink

    Re: 42 “Sea ice doesn’t evaporate, you moron. It melts.”
    I would give Seward the benifit of the doubt and assume that he was confused on this issue. Evaporation is the process of changing state from liquid to vapor. It is possible to go from solid to vapor, however the process is called sublimation.

    On land, snow and ice do sublime. However, temperature is only one of the driving forces for sublimation. Other factors are relatice humidity, sunlight and wind. Snow and ice can dissappear rather quickly around here (Colorado) on cold, dry, sunny days with a bit of wind.

    Ice in the ocean is mostly under water. The exposed ice is in a fairly humid enfivornment. Therefore, most of the loss is from melting, not sublimation.

  48. John A
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

    Re: #47

    The only way that water ice will sublime is if the conditions are below the temperature and pressure below the triple point of water. Look it up and tell me whether sea ice in the Arctic can evaporate.

  49. Doug L
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

    I don’t see a big worry about Mann going last and getting a full 45 minutes. He’s got a lot to answer for, and he’s not likely to do so except in an elusive style.

    If the panel accepts what can be expected from the hockey team, it will be preserved for posterity. They will never be able to hide from what they’ve done. Surely they will give some credence to M&M to protect themselves.

  50. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 10:24 AM | Permalink

    #49 – you know what, I agree that it’s fair that Mann goes last. Why shouldn’t he get the last word in? I was a little cross at Hughes and Mann getting separate slots, while Ross and I are the only ones to share a slot. But, in the end, it will just make us focus more.

  51. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 10:28 AM | Permalink

    #41 – Alley is not a member of the panel. Like us and Mann, he is a presenter to the panel.

  52. McCall
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

    re: 37 “while sea ice evaporates, and glaciers slide ever faster into the sea”

    Mr. Seward — you forgot “It is time for remaining skeptics to look at the tear-streaked faces of refugees from New Orleans.” Otherwise your quote substituted for panelist (IMO, questionably closed minded AGW alarmist) Dr Cuffey, quite well.

    Perhaps you should declare whether for you too, “after this summer of 2005, the serious scientific debate about global warming has ended. There is now no reasonable doubt that atmospheric pollution is causing global warming, and this warming is strong enough to have serious consequences in the next century.” My bet is your disagreement with that quote, was one that one didn’t have to wait until “this summer of 2005?” Extrapolating from that position, I’d also bet that you also believe this meeting could be a waste of time — though not for the same concerns of some here?

  53. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    #38. It would be nice to have such a CD, but we’re going to be at full stretch merely finalizing a presentation. Maybe there will be some followup.

  54. Paul Linsay
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    I stick to my previous statement that this is going to be a whitewash ( Regardless, you have gained a lot of stature since they felt obliged to invite you both.

    If I were in your shoes I’d make a slide showing the direct connection between members of the panel and the people making presentations and either present it as an objection during your talk or include it in correspondence with Barton and Dyson, et. al. in your rebuttal to the panel’s final report.

  55. Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 11:23 AM | Permalink

    Regardless of the findings of the NAS panel, I am concerned how the findings will be conveyed to the public. It seems to me that Nature and Science would have a representative at the meeting, with a self protection point of view. The liberal papers, with their warmer bias, will have a reporter on the story. I was wondering if we should encourage some bloggers to attend the sessions, some of the more reputable names with a large following, Power Line comes to mind. I would love to be a fly on the wall to observe this academic charade. I fear this NAS panel is a circle the wagons effort to protect the “independence of science from politics” which will only result in a mild rebuke to the hockey stick team to do a better of job in archiving their data in the future. And, then the whole message will become “we have all moved on.”

  56. per
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

    John A said:
    What are the chances that Mann and Hughes will be given every opportunity to smear Steve and Ross while avoiding any substantive questions about their methodology?
    John, I don’t share your pessimism here. The reason I follow this debate is because I noted the ad hom criticism of M&M, and the avoidance of substantive questions about the MBH methodology; and as a total ignoramus in the field, that stank. I don’t think any panel of scientists is going to be happy about that level of debate.
    I also have confidence that the science which M&M advance is robust. Again, I cannot see how a panel of scientists can ignore robust science.
    yours optimistically
    per !

  57. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

    Here is a link to an interesting article by J.M. Wallace on global warming. Wallace:

    In the years ahead, scientific understanding can play a valuable role in shaping public opinion and guiding national and international policy on greenhouse gas emissions, but only to the extent that (1) the research community is able to demonstrate continuing progress in narrowing the range of uncertainty inherent in the predictions of global climate change, (2) the vast majority of individual scientists are able to maintain the independence from the various political constituencies with interests in this issue, and (3) the public retains its confidence in the integrity of the scientific enterprise.

    I think that he was more worried about the issue of over-attention to a few marginal skeptics, but the conclusion is cleanly expressed and hard to argue with. Sounds like a usable quote doesn’t it.

  58. JerryB
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    Sorry about my mislocating Alley.

    John A,

    Mann is an associate professor, while Alley seems to be a full professor. So while Mann is Director of the ESSC, it does not seem to me that he is Alley’s boss.

  59. John G. Bell
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

    Re #55, Russ,

    I think you’ve got it exactly right. Study to see how to counter media campaigns. Some of the loss in the following of print and radio is a reaction against this sort of manipulation.

    Be nice if some of the people who contribute comments would also send in articles. Groklaw often does this and Steve might be able to carry less of a load. Steve?

    Koutsoyiannis has a nice comment on Stokwell’s “Scale Invariance for Dummies”. Revisit it if you haven’t seen what he said.

  60. Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 12:42 PM | Permalink

    #57. What’s the score? (1) The range of 2XCO2 has expanded from 1.5-4.5C to 1.5-11C. (2) and (3) are subjective but could be argued against. Someone said here that if fossil fuel burning is shown not to warm the planet then this represents a major failure of our scientific institutions. Ironically Jim Hansen’s recent simulations show just this. This seems to be a major reversal that has been lost in the political positioning. So on (2) scientists are positioned by interests as much as positioning, which can sometimes get out of control. Blogs like this show there is a great deal of concern with (3), but not with the the scientific enterprise, defined as the scientific method, but more with the institutions. If anything, it is groups like the Hockey Team that have lost faith in the scientific enterprise with their modelling and exaggerations and Ghia and eyeballling and the precautionary principle. I think the quote is over-simplifies the situation.

  61. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

    Another point – Whoever goes last will also have a lot of eyes on them. There will be a lot of opportunity to pin down fiction. And I trust that it will be documented so you cannot hide from being “misquoted”

  62. John A
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 1:24 PM | Permalink

    Re #57


    I think J.M. Wallace has made a statement of religious faith and not science. None of the scenarios of warming are more likely than any other, nor are they predictive in the short term so we can check them. Their sole purpose is to keep the hysteria going.

    I think it was twenty years ago that economics went through this torrid love affair with computer models incorporating ever more variable and looking forward to narrowing uncertainties and all the rest of it. People who betted on these economic models went bust.

    It’s déjàƒÆ’à‚➠vu all over again.

    Someone mentioned some time ago on this blog about how the alarmists are using the phrase “climate change” rather than “global warming”. It’s really about hedging your bets. If it gets colder then its better to say “climate change” than “global warming”.

    Thus the predictions of climate models (which spookily only predict the past) show that while the temperatures aren’t particularly high, the carbon dioxide level isn’t particularly high, the rainfall patter hasn’t change much, it’s the rate at which the change is happening, erm apart from all the other times it rapidly changed but this time its different because we’ve never had greenhouse warming before.

  63. Phil B.
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

    Henry Pollack will most likely cover the borehole temperature reconstructions. Another example of poor science from the Climate Science community, even easier to demonstrate than MHB98 and has been around for 15-20 years.

  64. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 1:59 PM | Permalink

    Interesting silence from realclimate on the NAS panel.

  65. John A
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 2:01 PM | Permalink

    Re: #64

    If you’d been passed some aces under the table, you’d stay quiet as well.

  66. Andre Bijkerk
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

    About Richard B Alley.

    Alley became a prominent glacial climatologist with the prize winning publication of “The Two Mile Time Machine” 2000, Princeton Oxford ISBN 0-691-00493-5 about the GISP-II ice core, describing it’s hand on processing in a very entertaining way. Also about the discovery about the large isotope excursions known as Dansgaard Oeschger interstadials the last within 60,000 years, as well as the Bolling Allerod events 15-13,000 years ago and the transition to the Preboreal 11600 years ago, which were interpreted as large temperature changes “ten degrees within a decade”. This was the main fuel source of the global warming, also which the logical result that Alley is a prominent supporter for the global warming case. He also authored a temperature reconstruction of the last 20,000 years here:

    (Notice the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age)

  67. Andre Bijkerk
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

    Re 63, Pollack,

    We can say some more about the borehole temperatures. Pollack coauthored the publication:

    Huang, S., Pollack, H. N., and Shen, P.Y., 1997. Late Quaternary temperature change seen in world-wide continental heat flow measurements. Geophys. Res. Lett., 24: 1947-1950.

    The article shows a graph of 18,000 years reconstructions of borehole temperatures with a clear Medieval Warming Period and Little Ice Age visible.

    See this link: by David Deming

    The next year he was first author of: Climate Change Record in Subsurface Temperatures: A Global Perspective..
    in which it is explained why borehole temperatures beyond 500 years are unreliable, and prersenting only the last 500 years in borehole temperatures. The paper has no reference to the first Huang et al 1997 publication. But there no other publication whatsoever about the problems of borehole reconstructions beyond 500 years.

    If anybody thinks this is very very strange. Me too. After that there is no USA borehole reconstruction beyond 500 years. Why?

    The Japanese can do it:


    Shusaku Goto, Hideki Hamamoto and Makoto Yamano (2005), Climatic and environmental changes at southeastern coast of Lake Biwa over past 3000 years, inferred from borehole temperature data Physics of The Earth and Planetary Interiors Volume 152, Issue 4 , 30 October 2005, Pages 314-325 Thermally controlled processes and preserved thermal signatures within the Earth

    In order to infer past climatic change in central Japan, we measured temperatures in a borehole at the Karasuma site, on the southeastern coast of Lake Biwa, and reconstructed sediment surface temperature history during the last 3000 years. The reconstructed temperature history shows apparent Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age, and contemporary temperature warming. However, the large amplitude of the temperature changes up to 4-5 K cannot be explained by past climatic change only, suggesting that there was some other cause of the larger amplitude temperature changes. The onsets of temperature decrease in the late 12th century a.d. and temperature increase in the mid 17th century a.d. appear to coincide with occurrences of two destructive earthquakes (1185 and 1662 a.d.) that caused water level changes of Lake Biwa. It suggests that the reconstructed sediment surface temperature history reflects the environmental change due to tectonically induced water level changes of the lake. If the annual mean of the ground surface temperature was higher than that of the bottom water temperature in a shallow part of the lake, which is consistent with the present-day data, the large amplitude of the sediment surface temperature change may be attributed to a combined effect of past climatic and environmental changes. Thus, we suggest that the borehole temperature at the Karasuma site preserves information not only on past climate changes but also on environmental changes due to tectonically induced water level changes.

  68. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

    Since you have limited time for presentation, perhaps you should consider a supplementary package of material that supports points that you don’t have time to present. You could give each member of the panel a copy.

  69. Pat Frank
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 6:03 PM | Permalink

    # 45 “#37. Michael, I haven’t used any of the words in your paragraph. I realize that others have, but I haven’t.”

    And number 37 Michael has dishonestly misrepresented the context of the words I used in my paragraph.

  70. Geoff Smith
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 6:07 PM | Permalink


    You should be aware that Hughes has a new article just on line last week at GRL.
    The abstract reads: “We use a mechanistic model of tree-ring formation to simulate regional patterns of climate-tree growth relationships in the southeastern United States. Modeled chronologies are consistent with actual tree-ring data, demonstrating that our simulations have skill in reproducing broad-scale patterns of the proxy’s response to climate variability. The model predicts that a decrease in summer precipitation, associated with a weakening Bermuda High, has become an additional control on tree ring growth during recent decades. A nonlinear response of tree growth to climate variability has implications for the calibration of tree-ring records for paleoclimate reconstructions and the prediction of ecosystem responses to climate change”.

    The introduction is interesting: “The use of tree rings in paleoclimatology typically assumes that annual tree-ring growth can be reasonably approximated by a linear function of local or regional precipitation and temperature with a set of coefficients that are temporally invariant. Tree-ring records, however, are the result of multivariate, often nonlinear biological and physical processes [Fritts, 1976; Vaganov et al., 2006]. Apparent temporal nonstationarity in the biological response of trees to climate might be a function of changes in climate itself [Vaganov et al., 1999; Aykroyd et al., 2001], although caution is necessary since this could also arise stochastically [Gershunov et al., 2001]. Tree-ring records from individual sites may also reflect the influence of unobserved localized and non-climatic influences [Fritts, 1976; Trotter et al., 2002]. Consequently, linear empirical–statistical analyses alone cannot be used to prove a physical or biological mechanism for variability or change in the climate-tree growth relationship”.

    In discussing their methods, they say “We simulated eight hypothetical tree-ring width chronologies using daily meteorological data from southeast United States stations for 1920 to 2000 (Figure 1b). Missing daily temperature data were linearly interpolated [!]and missing precipitation data were set to zero. We did not simulate those years at a given station for which more than 90 single daily values were missing” which seems a bit surprising.

    Somewhat amusing is their next sentence: “The skill of the model was evaluated against 10 actual high-quality conifer tree-ring width chronologies from the region (Figure 1a) available through the late 1970s and early 1980s [Cook and Cole, 1991; Stahle and Cleaveland, 1992] that were previously screened for their utility in paleoclimatic reconstruction [Mann et al., 1998, 2000].” Now that I know they’ve been screened by Mann I have much more confidence in them.

    I don’t think you have time to completely analyze this article before the NAS hearings, but be ready for other “late breaking” news. It is a tremendous milestone that you and Ross are being asked to present your findings in front of a distinguished NAS panel. Good luck.


    Citation: Anchukaitis, K. J., M. N. Evans, A. Kaplan, E. A. Vaganov, M. K. Hughes, H. D. Grissino-Mayer, and M. A. Cane (2006), Forward modeling of regional scale tree-ring patterns in the southeastern United States and the recent influence of summer drought, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L04705, doi:10.1029/2005GL025050.

    abstract available here “Forward modeling of regional scale tree-ring patterns in the southeastern United States and the recent influence of summer drought”.

  71. Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 6:12 PM | Permalink

    RE 67, in 1997 Dr. Kevin Kilty tried, unsuccessfully to get a paper published discussing problems with borehole temperature reconstructions, mostly discussing ill conditioning of the matrix used in the svd psuedo inverse Least Square solution. The unpublished paper (t-d.pdf) can be found at his website Essentially Beltrami, Haung, and Pollack reconstruction procedure drops the smaller singular values in the svd psuedo inverse until one get a hockeystick temperature reconstruction. They argue model uncertainty and noise for a justification, but their arguments aren’t convincing. Also there is the common sense question of how can one determine the surface temperature reconstruction say from 1500 to the present if you don’t know the initial borehole temperature profile at the year 1500.

  72. Paul Linsay
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 9:30 PM | Permalink

    #71 Isn’t there also a problem that heat comes up from the interior of the earth, or are these boreholes too shallow to worry about that?

    You can throw away small singular values when doing a psuedo inverse, but usually there is a clear separation between the large and small values. If there is just a smooth continuum of values then there has to be some criterion other than the final result.

  73. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 25, 2006 at 9:37 PM | Permalink

    Most of the bore holes are drill holes from mining companies.

    HAving actually been down some mines, I don’t understand how the bore holes can preserve a record of past temperature fluctuation. You’d think, if nothing else, movement of underground water and there’s lots of it, would even out the temperatures. In the brief look that I’ve had at the field, it sure looks like it might be artifactual. On the other hand, I haven’t waded through the data so I don’t know why the proponents believe in it.

  74. McCall
    Posted Feb 26, 2006 at 1:05 AM | Permalink

    The quick yet skillful initial stat review by Steve McIntyre (Martin Ringo and others) is also impressive — a supplemental table (per Dr Hoyt’s suggestion) of how quickly you’ve turned past analysis, might also be relevant. Obviously subsequent analyses can go into greater depth (more time, more detail)…

  75. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Feb 26, 2006 at 2:58 AM | Permalink


    Sea ice doesn’t evaporate, you moron. It melts.


    And more:

    We’ll make a deal. You stop repeating crap about science you clearly don’t understand and we’ll stop telling you how to design wooden furniture. Deal?

    Maybe you know Mr. Seward from some other communications, but that is not clear. Yuck.

  76. Hans Erren
    Posted Feb 26, 2006 at 3:35 AM | Permalink

    Reconstruction of historic temperature from boreholes is very tricke, but possible. As in all dataprocessing you’ll have to know when to stop:
    When are you stretching the observations and are you looking at noise instead of signal?
    The theory is straightforward undergraduate geophysics, the practice is that all observations are noisy.

  77. John A
    Posted Feb 26, 2006 at 4:03 AM | Permalink

    re #75

    Kenny, try actually clicking on Michael Seward’s name and you’ll see what I was referring to. Yuck. Yuck.

  78. Posted Feb 26, 2006 at 4:30 AM | Permalink

    Let’s just say that I KNOW she’s not his boss. And leave it at that.

    No, Bill, let’s not. She’s listed as heading the paleoclimate group, and Ammann is listed as being in the group. NCAR is a government lab, and usually at a government lab, the head of your group is your boss in the sense that you are doing work in that program, under the direction of the head of the group. Ammann may have a different formal supervisor, but everything we’ve got suggests that he’s responsible to Otto-Bliesner for his technical output. Beyond that, the whole paleoclimate group at NCAR is uniformly tied in to the MBH model (see their website.)

    Whereas you’re a pseudonymous poster asserting special knowledge without sourcing it beyond saying you “know”.

  79. Spence_UK
    Posted Feb 26, 2006 at 6:03 AM | Permalink

    I haven’t taken the chance to say this yet, and should do: congratulations for being chosen to present to this panel, Steve and Ross, it’s great to see your efforts being recognised.

    Following the debate, I suspect that the field of paleoclimate is small enough to make producing a committee with no conflict of interest practically impossible. Perhaps it would be better to make individuals declare their interests to the panel, and ensure balance that way, than to hope that a panel could be constructed that is both conflict free and contains all the requisite expertise.

    What is perhaps more disappointing is the failure to appoint an independent statistician. Statistical analysis is a funny game, and people involved in paleoclimate may be “too close to the coal face” to pick up potential issues – especially if those issues are associated with a common practice in the field. In these circumstances, a statistician from outside the field would have added great value to the panel.

    On a lighter note, I am slightly bemused as to why someone who posts a statement on a blog and provides no supporting evidence (“we’ll leave it at that”) should provide more compelling evidence than information on an official website. It appears Bill’s concept of “due diligence” means believing every post on every blog. Using such stringent analysis, I suspect we can deduce that black is white, and the earth is definitely flat.

  80. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Feb 26, 2006 at 3:39 PM | Permalink


    John A, I had already done that. The guy’s a woodworker, I caught that part.

    Does clicking on someone’s name and going to their website mean you know that person? And does it mean that insults become fair game?

    If you and Seward had exchanged flames in the past, or knew each other already, then that context would almost justify (in my mind) your treatment of him. But, failing that, it seems you were just being rude, which I find odd, given your apparent quasi-administrative role on this site. But hey, it’s your site; you are free to make of it what you want.

  81. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Feb 26, 2006 at 4:03 PM | Permalink

    Come on, Kenneth! Read post #37 again. The guy was “cruising for a bruising” as they say. And while Steve is rarely inpolite, there’s a substantial group of warmers here who are always impolite. I don’t know if you’re in that category or not, but I think Seward is. Further, of course, since there is almost nobody in the warmer group that posts here who actually engages Steve on the actual subjects he posts on, it would seem to me that warmers here are free targets of the peanut gallery. Start talking about calibration of proxies and how and when to archive data and a warmer will be left alone and indeed looked at with awe.

  82. John A
    Posted Feb 26, 2006 at 4:29 PM | Permalink


    Let me be perfectly clear: It’s not my site, it’s Steve McIntyre’s weblog. I just help with the background stuff, but I have no special posting privileges as Steve has seen fit to delete my comments from time to time when I cross the line.

    If Seward was not trying to demonstrate his ignorance of physics then I wouldn’t have been so rude, but he had crossed a line of courtesy as well, accusing Steve of things he had not said.

    Does clicking on someone’s name and going to their website mean you know that person? And does it mean that insults become fair game?

    Ask Tim Lambert or Michael Mann or the rest of the Hockey Team about that. I don’t think we’re particularly insulting unless we’re being particularly insulted by people who should know better but don’t.

    Seward was alleging that we focus on issues of composition of expert panels, while the end of the world approaches. That is hysterical (and I don’t mean in the funny sense).

  83. JEM
    Posted Feb 26, 2006 at 4:43 PM | Permalink

    OK, as I’ve already said, I’m new around here. I’ll also add, in order to remove any lingering doubt, that I am no statistician.

    However, I do have a suggestion. Forgive me if it’s already been made.

    If Mann and Co’s software used to process the it-would-seem-misplaced-data that delivered the hockey stick is accessible or can be emulated reliably enough, then run it, not with tree-ring data or other proxies, but with as purely random numbers as you can lay your hands on. Do it over and over with different set of random numbers.

    If no hockey sticks emerge, fine, so be it. But if they do emerge Mann’s model is proved to deliver systematic errors that invalidate his conclusions. Collapse of stout party.

    If this could be done before the NAS meeting (I’ve no idea if there’s enough time to do this: sorry) and showed his model to be defective, he might have a rather difficult Q&A session after his little talk. No?

    Of course, if neither his raw data nor his model is available for inspection, then all he has published sounds to me suspiciously like unjustified assertion rather than serious science and it’s difficult to see why anyone ever took him seriously in the first place. Maybe my cat could be a professor too?

    Or am I missing something?

  84. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Feb 26, 2006 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

    John A:

    It’s not my site, it’s Steve McIntyre’s weblog

    Ok. I tried to be open-ended about it because I really did not know.

    For the other thing though:

    Ask Tim Lambert or Michael Mann or the rest of the Hockey Team about that.

    But I am asking you. You’re the one who called someone a moron. But, in truth, your actions and justifications have already provided the answer.

  85. John A
    Posted Feb 26, 2006 at 5:22 PM | Permalink


    If Mann and Co’s software used to process the it-would-seem-misplaced-data that delivered the hockey stick is accessible or can be emulated reliably enough, then run it, not with tree-ring data or other proxies, but with as purely random numbers as you can lay your hands on. Do it over and over with different set of random numbers.

    If no hockey sticks emerge, fine, so be it. But if they do emerge Mann’s model is proved to deliver systematic errors that invalidate his conclusions. Collapse of stout party.

    You’ll find that if you look at Steve and Ross’s article in Energy & Environment, you’ll find that that is exactly what was done.

    The link is

    Steve also tried inserting the DotCom boom in the stock markets in the late 90s for the Bristlecone proxy set and also produced Hockey Sticks with better RE statistics than the original. See

  86. JEM
    Posted Feb 26, 2006 at 6:21 PM | Permalink

    OK, thanks John A .

    I thought it could hardly be an original idea that I’d had, but had not found it mentioned around here. Maybe I should have looked longer.

  87. jae
    Posted Feb 26, 2006 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

    It is very revealing that nobody on the Hockey Stick Team bothers to refute ANYTHING on this blog. They must be in total denial.

  88. John Lish
    Posted Feb 26, 2006 at 7:02 PM | Permalink

    #84 – Ken, it helps to be open-minded not open-ended…

    I would say though John A. that you should chill a little. One of the enjoyable aspects of this blog is the level of debate and comments as you made in #42 undermines your own contributions. Having some fun is one thing, personal abuse is another. I admire your passion but the position you currently take is still in the minority as far as the debate goes.

    I’ll add my own twopenniesworth to this debate about panel composition and initerary. First, I think that the fact that Steve & Ross have been invited demonstrates some progress from their initial paper in 2003. It is said that ideas are not disproven, it’s just their advocates die off so by that measure, its definately quick progress! Second, Steve & Ross presence represents to me that NAS has acknowledged that there are problems in methodology. Third, will Steve & Ross be at this 30 minute wash-up debate, if they are then I’m sure that they can use the opportunity to make a couple of observations on the final day presentations. Fourth, don’t attack anybody despite the temptation – stick to the evidence you have acquired and let others hang themselves. Good Luck.

  89. Mike Carney
    Posted Feb 26, 2006 at 10:04 PM | Permalink


    A Barton inquiry is the antithesis of scientific inquiry.

    Michael, you may not like Barton’s politics but I don’t think you are clear on what sin Barton committed. He requested information. It was in fact Mann’s response and the response of his supporters that was unscientific, characterizing a request for information as a “witch-hunt” and refusing to release source code because it was Mann’s personal property. I am sure there are lots of reasons to berate and belittle Barton for his politics and lack of academic acumen. This however is not one of them. Your williness to repeat the lie or unwilliness to consider that he might have a valid point is a problem. It is hardly the “antithesis of scientific inquiry” to make requests for information from scientists on the field of their study.

  90. Rod Montgomery
    Posted Feb 26, 2006 at 11:12 PM | Permalink

    Are NAS violating their own stated procedure for providing an “additional … comment period” after adding a member to the committee?

    =If additional members are appointed to this committee, an additional 20-calendar day formal public comment period will be allowed.=

    I guess they don’t *say* that they can’t go ahead with the committee meetings while the additional comment period runs. Just seems a little odd procedure to invite comments that will have no chance of influencing the process.

  91. Pat Frank
    Posted Feb 26, 2006 at 11:39 PM | Permalink

    #89 It’s also true that when a scientific result is being used to induce a political response, as the global warming contention certainly is, then it is entirely proper that a political inquiry look into the factual content. The US Congress does that all the time in all sorts of other areas, and there’s nothing unusual about it. Those who are called to testify typically do so without crying about persecution.

    As extreme examples, when Donald Kennedy as President of Stanford University was called before John Dingell’s committee to testify about misuse of public funds, Kennedy didn’t invoke a persecution defense. Nor did David Baltimore when Dingell investigated his lab concerning claims of data-falsification.

    The claims of persecution in defense of Michael Mann have the look of a red herring.

    The fact that Barton asked in his letter for information regarding the methodological disputes is also entirely reasonable, because those disputes are at the center of whether the political response to the global warming contention is justifiable or not.

    No one who is confident in his/her methods and results would have any impulse to cry foul at such a request. They’d go and present their data.

  92. jae
    Posted Feb 26, 2006 at 11:51 PM | Permalink

    The fact that none of the members of the Hockey Stick Team will EVER enter into a discourse here indicates, very strongly, that they are scared to death of what Steve has done. If they had ANY confidence in what they have published, they would be raising hell on this blog. After all, they are being insulted (dissed)! Don’t they have any honor? I hope that shows up in the NAS Committee “hearing.” I’ll bet Mann is so puckered up he can’t see straight.

  93. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 3:14 AM | Permalink

    Re #92. What’s to be gained by a bad tempered debate with people who’ve accused you of fraud – like you have Jae? Tell me, would you have a ‘discourse’ with someone who’d accused, no convicted, you of fraud without judge, jury or trial?

    This place is moving towards dankness & darkness.

  94. John Lish
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 3:30 AM | Permalink

    #93 – Peter Hearnden wrote “This place is moving towards dankness & darkness” – then why are you constantly posting on here then Peter?

  95. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 3:44 AM | Permalink

    Re #94, because (if I’m, allowed to publish this) it’s moving that way.

    I’m here because such debates (when it is debate, not when people calling scientists fraudsters, or those who dare to question the official view here ‘morons’) interests me. I’m following it to see if Steve has a point. I suspect he does, a highly technical maths one anyway, but I think it isn’t one that upends climate science, one that sends climate science back to the 80’s, one that people here so desperately desire. Just my view.

  96. John Lish
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 3:57 AM | Permalink

    #95 – looks like you have been allowed that comment Peter.

    The debate is interesting but Steve’s point from my reading of the site is one of questioning statistical methodology. Would you agree with that?

    Also Peter, don’t you think your last comment is over-generalising the motives of various posters here? I have read some very interesting and technical debates in the last few days since discovering this blog. I would say that there’s a wider community on here than can be pigeon-holed into one catagory or another.

  97. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 4:53 AM | Permalink

    Re #96, firstly, and obviously, yes – he’s a mathematician. Secondly, no, I don’t think the wider commenting community here is doing anything other than (essentially) trying to trash all things AGW, ACC, IPPC, Kyoto, consensus, socialist, greenie and the rest – you need to read this place fully to appreciate that though. But, the wider community is not all the community. A few people put an alternative view, and a few from the dendro/paleoclimate community are here too.

  98. John Lish
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 5:34 AM | Permalink

    #97 – I must admit that I haven’t gotten the impression of the posting community that you have Peter, I have read some very careful postings and discussions. Perhaps you could give me some examples to look for?

    As for Steve’s interest in the subject, if he is technically right on the maths as you suspect in post #95, wouldn’t this have an effect on the modelling of climate trends as seen in Mann et al’s 1998 paper?

  99. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 6:26 AM | Permalink

    Re #98, you’ll just have to read the archives. Re Steve, well, the NAS panel should in part answer that question. I think he may be right about somethings not seriously effecting the results of a paper becoming succeeded by others. But, I take the scientific consensus on this, I’m not a conspiricy theorist about scientists or their motives. As to modelling, not sure what impact MBH being wrong, too flat, would have except to show climate sensitivity to forcings is greater not less…

    My views is this. Something causes the climate to change. The bigger the change the bigger and more obvious that something. There clearly were both a LIA and a MWP (perhaps pronunced in Europe and surrounds) but as to the global extent and magnitude of both I’m not alone in thinking this is in doubt. If the idea is the LIA & MWP were both of greater manitude and global extent then the something that causes that greater magnitude should be obvious. To the best of my knowledge there isn’t an obvious something(s). Added to the data from ice cores, glaciers, thermometers, boreholes, trees, sediments, corals, and the rest and I’m happy with the generality of the ‘spagetti’ graphs – ie muted MWP/LIA and a considerable rise in temperature since 1800 or so, which continues.

  100. Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 6:58 AM | Permalink

    Peter, don’t you think it’s possible that variations in the sun’s brightness, due to gravitational pull from the gas giants orbiting with different periods, affecting both intensity of sunlight and cloud formation due to variations in the solar wind, plus variations in the earth’s orbit, plus wobble on the earth’s axis can combine to create a change in temperature of a few degrees?

    If there are no natural causes for changes on the order of a few degrees over the period of decades or centuries, how do you explain glacial periods and ice ages? They seem like changes of much larger magnitude than we suspect for the LIA and MWP and such, and were happening before humans could be having an affect. I’d say if there could be natural changes of that magnitude (which are quite stable, too) then there could be natural, smaller changes over shorter periods too.

    As for Steve’s work, I’d say the problems he have shown SERIOUSLY affect the outcomes of these studies. I mean, come on man, don’t you think it’s a problem that random inputs generate the same outputs as actual data? To me that’s indicative of a very broken methodology. As for scientific consensus.. perhaps the consensus is based upon a bunch of people all agreeing with each other, with not much solid science to offer between the lot of them? The fact that more people think it is correct does not make it correct. Personally, I believe those who can convince me that what they say is true, rather than just the largest group regardless of the actual evidence.

    The problem with “the data from ice cores, glaciers, thermometers, boreholes, trees, sediments, corals, and the rest” is that it’s just a big data soup with lots of noise and no real signal, and if you look for a particular kind of correlation I’m sure you’ll find it. Just because you feed in lots of garbage, does not mean you’re going to get something out which is not garbage.

    I’m really not sure what makes the hockey sticks and spaghetti graphs so convincing. Anyone can take a bunch of random numbers and shape them to a curve with an uptick at the end, and it seems to be a popular past-time. (The instrumental temperature record and the bristlecones and similar proxies, which are obviously not correlated with temperature, are the device which makes it so easy to produce the uptick it seems). However, it doesn’t make a very convincing scientific argument, especially with all the flaws M&M find in the mathematics and the data itself.

  101. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 7:36 AM | Permalink

    Peter, don’t you think it’s possible that variations in the sun’s brightness, due to gravitational pull from the gas giants orbiting with different periods, affecting both intensity of sunlight and cloud formation due to variations in the solar wind, plus variations in the earth’s orbit, plus wobble on the earth’s axis can combine to create a change in temperature of a few degrees?

    It would, but where is the evidence? Again, I don’t (my views) think the evidence stack up for MWP and LIA of great magnitude. No one says they didn’t happen, but most think they were muted.

    If there are no natural causes for changes on the order of a few degrees over the period of decades or centuries, how do you explain glacial periods and ice ages? They seem like changes of much larger magnitude than we suspect for the LIA and MWP and such, and were happening before humans could be having an affect. I’d say if there could be natural changes of that magnitude (which are quite stable, too) then there could be natural, smaller changes over shorter periods too.

    Well, they’ve yet to be found. Remember, you’re saying the MWP/LIA were of large magnitude. But no such forcings are evident (afaik).

    Ice ages: Orbital variation, CO2 feedbacks and the rest – see ?

  102. John Lish
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 7:50 AM | Permalink

    #99 – Peter, I have to agree with Nicholas (#100) in that the Mann et al methodology is undermined by the Monte Carlo test. The fact that this part of Steve’s work has been verified by Von Storch and others creates a problematic for the MBH98 paper and its “Hockey Stick”. This process needs to be applied thoroughly to other papers to test their robustness.

  103. Paul
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 7:59 AM | Permalink

    #99 & #102:

    It’s not just the math that has problems. In investigating the math, it’s become clear that the proxies themselves have problems (alluded to in #100).

    Peter, do you really think that bristlecone pines are good proxies for temperature? You know what happens if they’re removed, right? What about the other tree ring proxies? Are they sufficiently robust (and understood) to be good proxies?

    Two simple questions.

  104. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 8:09 AM | Permalink

    Here we go again…With respect you’re another self appointed climate proxy expert. My understanding is that tree rings are useful, as are other proxies, I’m not convinced they’re not – I’m not easy to convince. Lets see what the panel says.

    What is your view about the magnitude of the MWP/LIA and, if they were of large magnitude then what forcing(s) caused this large magnitude?

    Now, I simply gotta go.

  105. Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 8:24 AM | Permalink

    Peter, as I have stated previously, the sun’s brightness has been observed to change by several watts per square meter in recent history. About 2W/m^2 within the last few decades, and judging by sunspot counts hundreds of years ago, substantially more than that over longer periods. Studies have shown that the feedback on this effect may be on the order of +100%. This means that in the last few decades we could have seen an effect, purely from a change in brightness of the sun, on the order of 4W/m^2. That may not be as great an effect as projected from CO2 variations (what is the current theory of the W/m^2 delta that CO2 variations to date have caused?), but it’s certainly on the same order of magnitude. And, that’s just ONE of the natural factors causing climate variations. Chances are they constructively/destructively interfere on different cycles, making for some fairly dramatic shifts at certain points in the earth’s history, especially when several of the factors shift simultaneously.

    I don’t think you can argue very effectively that the LIA and MWP were not dramatic locally. We have pretty good historical records of major climate changes in Europe. The only real controversy, I think, is how much they affected global temperatures. At this stage I don’t know, there is some evidence either way, but just as there is little to prove they were dramatic global phenomena, there is little to disprove it either. Those who attempt to show that the LIA and MWP don’t exist at all are doing themselves a dis-service. If a study could show a strong LIA/MWP signal in Europe, and using similar methods, a strong anti-signal (or just flat line) in other locations, then I might believe that the LIA/MWP were not significant globally, since that would suggest the reconstructions were locally accurate. I think it’s quite worthless looking at a graph of global temperature without also being shown regional graphs extracted from the same data using the same method that we can match against expectations derived from other pieces of evidence. We have no way of knowing whether any global reconstruction is accurate, since any evidence we have on earth to match against these predictions is entirely local.

    Just because the Hockey Team, and others, are willing to use flaky evidence to show pro-AGW results does not mean that other scientists who find some evidence for natural climate variability should publish it if it’s not up to scratch. Unfortunately, that means that the preponderance of evidence is pro-AGW, presumably because the scientists who find this “dramatic evidence” are more likely to publish, even if the science is poor, than someone who finds less dramatic evidence and is just as unsure of the merit of their findings. Someone who publishes an anti-AGW study based on poor evidence is ridiculed into obscurity. However, as we have seen, those who publish pro-AGW studies based upon poor evidence are promoted and given grants and such. In the absense of any clear evidence either way, is it any wonder that you’re seeing more pro- evidence than anti-?

    Anyway, I think we’re getting pretty far off track here.

  106. Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

    Peter, how hard is it to understand that in cases such as the bristlecones, the very people who were extracting the cores stated that they were not good proxies for temperature, yet MBH and others use those very proxies in their studies as temperature proxies?

    You don’t have to be an expert in anything much to see the problem with that. It’s simple. The tree cores showed accelerated growth in the 20th century. Temperature records in that region did not show a temperature spike in the 20th century to correspond with it. Therefore that strong signal is not temperature-related. Therefore the proxy is not a good temperature proxy. Therefore it should not be used in temperature reconstructions, especially those which heavily bias that proxy. But they still are, to this day it seems! To my mind, it’s quite literally incredible.

  107. BradH
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

    Re: #99

    I think he may be right about somethings not seriously effecting the results of a paper becoming succeeded by others. But, I take the scientific consensus on this

    Peter, your continual refrain – that you’ll defer to the scientific consensus – is extremely irritating. You are NOT a scientist, nor am I. However, at least I try and follow the logic and context of the posts, within the confines of my undergraduate statistics subject.

    You, however, just post on whatever the hell takes your fancy, with your inevitable fallback to the “consensus”.

    By doing so, you miss the entire point of this site (and, in fact, the entire point of science). When will you realize that there is incalculable value in challenging the “consensus”? It’s what science is all about!

    The consensus believed the universe revolved around the Earth…until Galileo.
    The consensus believed God created the universe in 7 days…until Darwin.
    The consensus believed in the aether…until Einstein.
    The consensus believed that stress and lifestyle caused ulcers…until Marshall & Warren. [You actually commented on how that represented “damn good science” right here:

    So, why do you think that in this one given instance, challenging the consensus is wrong? Why, given the number of times the consensus has been found wanting over the centuries, do you “feel” it’s “broadly right” this time?

    Were you alive in the 14th century? Do you know anyone who was? Are you aware of anyone who might have been in possession of an accurate thermometer at that time? No, nor am I.

    That’s why being skeptical of those who claim to be capable of knowing temperatures to within a tolerance of 1 to 2 degrees celsius is not just good scientific practice, it’s merely common sense!

    I’m sorry, but if you were to say to me that the value of one astronomical unit being 150 million km was “broadly right”, I’d accept that – it’s close enough (a more accurate value is 149,597,870.691 km, or a difference of 0.002688%).

    So you see, Peter, there are varying degrees of “about right” in terms of scientific numbers. If the average temperature for a year was 8 degrees celsius (which, while not quite being a random number, is “broadly right”) and average temperatures increased by 1 degree, that would be a 14% increase; by 2 degrees and we’re talking a 28% increase.

    These are big numbers. As Carl Sagan once said [cliche warning], “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.”

    Peter, your attitude seems to be, “Extraordinary claims of greater than 10% increases in temperature in the next 100 years should be accepted as ‘broadly right’, because the ‘consensus’ says it is so, and even though we don’t have ‘extraordinary proof’, sites like are really just no-nothing skeptical anomalies.”

    If you are really not just a mindless troll, but are prepared to seriously consider the enormity of what the AGW proponents are proposing, you would be skeptical, too – it really is an enormous increase and, if they really believe it will happen, they need to provide absolutely compelling, scientific proof.

    To my mind [to date], they have not.

  108. BradH
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 8:55 AM | Permalink

    BTW, Peter, you haven’t yet responded to my request that your post a considered response to Nicholas at:

    Basic etiquette should see you fulfill your obligation here.

  109. kim
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

    Bon voyage, my sweets. Don’t let the butter melt in their mouths.

  110. kim
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    Whence came that inversion? Melt the butter in their mouths.

  111. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    Brad, while you’re “broadly right” in your message, you should be careful when applying %ages to things like temperature. Unless you want to use absolute temperature a numerical increase from 8 to 9 is meaningless. It’s a differnt percentage if you use Deg F instead of Deg C, for instance. What if you had an increase from 0 to 1 degree? Would it be an infinite % increase?

  112. John Lish
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    #103, yes Paul I’m aware of the issue with the proxies however it is clear that Peter has more confidence in the evidence obtained from them. What he is prepared to consider is how the statistics/maths works itself out and is willing to at least consider errors in that context.

  113. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

    Re #108, Brad, yes you are right :), otoh (#107) if your level of ‘basic etiquette’ is to just call me a ‘mindless troll’ (as best as I can tell just because I disagree with you) then well maybe not :(. Oh, and the Galileo argument is getting overused.

    So, why do you think that in this one given instance, challenging the consensus is wrong? Why, given the number of times the consensus has been found wanting over the centuries, do you “feel” it’s “broadly right” this time?

    Why? Seriously? As you say, the ulcer work upended the consensus, I agreed with it. So that means I stick with the AGW consensus why? Becuase I think it’s unchallengable or becuase I think it’s right, the best available explaination of the facts and evidence? Think about it. And if Steve’s view becomes the consensus, then in BradH world it will therefore, since it’s then the consensus, be wrong??? Things aren’t wrong becuase they’re the consensus. Hoping, yearning, working for a consensus to be wrong is bad science.

    I *AM* preparred to consider the enormity of a 2C plus warming thanks to AGW, are you? The answer is clearly no, becuase the proof you demand is impossible to give. My view is that the evidence for AGW of that eventual magnitude continues to increase. I don’t rule out minimal further warming, I just can’t, at my level of scientific undertanding*, see how it wont be more.

    * there’s an opportunity for a insult eh?

  114. JEM
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

    Memo to Peter Hearnden on consensus.

    The consensus is so often the last gasp of a dying theory.

    By August 1929 ‘the stock market had moved to the centre of American culture’. When Joseph Kennedy was given a tip to buy ‘oils and rails’ by his shoeshine man, he knew it was time to get out.

    Or in the immortal word(s) of Homer Simpson, ‘Doh!!’

  115. kim
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

    So P, if I may be so bold or foolish as to impose, what is your evidence that the earth is warming, and if it is that the cause is CO2, and if not CO2 then other human activities? Only with those questions answered do you ask what can man and what should man do. There is no particular reason those basic questions can’t be answered, once the basic science lies on bedrock.

  116. kim
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 12:21 PM | Permalink

    Uh, it might be a good time to buy oils and rails.

  117. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 3:35 PM | Permalink


    The hockey stick shape of the temperature reconstructions over the past 1000 years is not the main thrust of what people continuously refer to as “the consensus.” There are actually not that many academics who followed the debate, until quite recently anyway. I would guess that before 2005 (when two blogs popped up on either side of the issue), there were fewer than 200 climate scientists who understood the nuances of the hockey stick. I am guessing here, of course, but that is a ballpark number, and if I am low, I am sure I have the right order of magnitude anyway. Paleoclimatology involves many subdisciplines other than dendro, and I think it’s fair to say that the geologically oriented paleo folks –those doing lake pollens, corals, rock magnetism etc–haven’t closely followed dendro stuff, and vice versa. Moreover, classical climatologists generally read up on classical climatology stuff rather than paleo…and paleo folks generally do not follow classical climatology or meteorology; there has been some overlap, but it is not broad.

    The real consensus, the thing that has broad support from climatologists, meteorologists, paleo folks, hydrologists etc (including skeptics!), is that the last century has exhibited warming…the so-called uptick from some of the recent posts. The cause, spatial and temporal resolution, relative significance (historically), association with real-life “weather” (like hurricanes) of this warming may be under some debate still (and will be for a while), but its existence is not. To be sure, there are plenty of examples of in-the-know skeptics conceding that at least some of the warming is greenhouse gas-related. I can not think of any research that has even remotely threatened to bring this consensus back to square-one.

    The part of the debate that Steve is addressing involves the historical significance. For some reason the historical significance has larger policy implications than the other parts of the debate, at least at present. Just you wait, though, until the attribution debate really gets moving (2005 was the first year to feature it prominently in the climate/meteorology literature); the historical thing will get dropped like a hot potato. Anyway, it is the policy part that gets people all worked up, not the actual climate.

    While I would not dare say that the nature of the current and recent climate is “settled,” I would say that the binary “yes warming/no warming” debate is.

  118. pj
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

    Guys, this whole thing is a setup job. Ralph Cicerone, President of the NAS and Chairman of the NRC is a died-in-the-wool climate alarmist. The NRC came to Congressman Barton, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Congressman Boehlert, Chairman of the House Science Committee, to request that it be allowed to adjudicate the dispute. Why the dispute needs to be adjudicated by the NRC is not at all clear. This debate is playing itself out just fine in scientific journals and elsewhere. The public, including scientists, can make up its own mind about what to believe. But the alarmists are getting their collective rear ends handed to them by a couple of outsiders, so now official science (i.e., the NRC) feels that it must step in and put its weight behind the alarmists. Barton was too smart to accept such an obvious attempt by the NRC to seize control of this debate. Boehlert, a liberal Republican, and global warming alarmist himself, happily accepted.

    One thing to remember about NRC reports is that they are not written by the scientists that make up the panel. They are written by NRC staff, and I can guarantee you that the report’s conclusions are already set in stone. The panel and the hearings are just for show to give the impression of a fair hearing. The final report will find in favor of the hockey team, or at least enough in favor of it for the press to herald the hockey team’s complete victory the hockey team. The releases of the report will occur in such a way that the press will get 2 or 3 bites at the apple to maximize the damage to M&M.

    Again, there is simply no reason for this dispute to be adjudicated by an organ of official science. The only reason why the NRC had interjected itself into this debate is because their team, the hockey team, is losing, and it aims to change the balance.

  119. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 4:43 PM | Permalink

    I agree with pj. Dickinson has a good chance of chairing the meeting and he won’t accept any evidence that doesn’t support AGW.

  120. BradH
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 5:48 PM | Permalink

    RE: #111

    you should be careful when applying %ages to things like temperature. Unless you want to use absolute temperature a numerical increase from 8 to 9 is meaningless.


    Yes, I know. It was just the best way I could think of making my point at the time.

    I wasn’t trying to assert that a value of 8 degrees, or anything else, is accurate – or even especially useful. I was just attempting to highlight a couple of things: first, that claims tree rings can divine hundreds of years of past temperatures, often to an accuracy of less than 1 degree celsius, is “extraordinary”; and second, that using such data to project future 1, 2 or 6 degree increases in “average” temperatures (all of which are high percentage increases on the present situation, whatever that might be) is even more extraordinary.

    I might add a third point, relevant to your comment – the argument that “we’d all be doomed” if the absolute average temperature increased from 8 to 9 degrees, is also extraordinary.

    I’d like to see some Sagan-style extraordinary proof for these claims. Peter Hearnden thinks we either have it or are close to it, else he couldn’t assert that the models are “broadly right”, as he likes to put it.

    I don’t think we’ve come within a bull’s roar of it.

  121. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 5:48 PM | Permalink

    Ken I’d have to disagree with some of what you said on consensus.

    Consensus, in this discussion, usually means one of two things.

    A: There is consensus on the Greenhouse warming (GW) theory. This is the general theory that greenhouse gasses (GHG) (namely water vapor) warm the Earth’s climate to more than it would in their absence. i.e. about 25C over what solar warming alone would do. The Anthropogenic Greenhouse warming (AGW) discussion is the divergence from this normal, ~25C, or the noise at this DC baseline. Without GW Summer average temperatures would be what we see currently in the Winter, Winter would be drastically cooler. There is a consensus of the general GW theory. AGW is a subset of this (i.e. again the divergence from the norm at the boundary of the DC baseline). This consensus is often used of the generic GW theory (not the anthropogenic portion) in such a way as to further attribute it to the Anthropogenic portion. I.e. to give consensus of one via association with the other.

    B. Consensus of warming. When you include skeptics in this I don’t know if that works. Yes there is consensus that the *surface* record has shown minor warming. But there is not a consensus of widespread warming (at all layers of the atmosphere). This is actually key. At first it is at the heart of Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect discussion. Secondly GW theory (the broad general theory for which there is a consensus) states that an increase in (GHG) will increase temperatures in the upper atmosphere (troposphere) first, which will then increase surface temperatures. There is some contention on the balloon and satellite measurements of these temperatures, but no record shows warming of the troposphere greater than that of the surface record. The general GW theory shows that the warming of the troposphere must be slightly higher (15% – 20%) than the surface record in order for rises in the surface record to be attributed to increased GW by anthropogenic effects. As a result of this, while there is consensus in the Broad general GW theory, the troposphere temperature record actually works against the Specific AGW theory.

    Furthermore, there is some contention about the surface temperature record. This basically centers around sampling, which can not be evenly distributed around the globe, and other methodologies. I wish there were another Steve around that could audit the methodologies of the surface temperature record.

    To be more succinct, I don’t know if the two broad statements you made can be applied as stated, though they hold a certain amount of truth in them. To further clarify the statement, while there may be some consensus in some warming temperatures, there is NO consensus in what this means to us in the future. Namely even if the worse case scenarios do come true, there is no consensus that this will be an overall bad thing.

    In general your statement about what the consensus means, and how it applies to temperature proxies and the work that Steve has done is very true. There is no consensus (no matter how tenuous) that the proxy temperature record of MBH is settled. The consensus is in other areas, not in tree ring proxies.

  122. John Lish
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 6:00 PM | Permalink

    # 121 – ET SidViscous – are you not getting your terminologies mixed up? The greenhouse effect as I understand it is the process that creates life on earth and regulates the temperature. Without it, the Earth would have similar temperature ranges to Mars (I know that we have seen temperatures of minus 40 in Eastern Europe but minus 200 would be a bit extreme). 😉

  123. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 6:40 PM | Permalink


    I thought I explained just that. Wait I see what you mean, substitute above greenhouse warming GW with GE Greenhouse effect, that should be interchangeable.

    I don’t think we would see temperatures of -200C here, Mars ranges down to -200F which is -128C, but we still wouldn’t see that as Mars is further away from the sun than us.

    Without the greenhouse effect/greenhouse warming it may be more than ~25C lower, but if a recall correctly that is around the number. Don’t have time to search for a source, but if someplace shows differently I think that is approx the number.

  124. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 6:49 PM | Permalink

    Quick correction.

    Mars gets to -266F = to -165C

  125. John G. Bell
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 6:52 PM | Permalink

    Congressman Boehlert was for Kyoto back in 2001. See this link . Some Republicans want to make the party look a bit more green going into the elections. This may well be a setup. Get a knowledgeable person to watch and take notes so you can get them posted quickly. If you don’t the press campaign the warmers have planned, and you know there will be one, will define all the issues and paint horns on your head.

  126. JEM
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 6:53 PM | Permalink

    #122 – John Lish – ET SidViscous may not be the only one getting mixed up around here.

    The greenhouse effect as I understand it is the process that creates life on earth

    That sounds like a distinctly new theory for the origin of life. A bit off-topic for around here perhaps, but it certainly earns full marks for originality, if not accuracy.

  127. jae
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 7:00 PM | Permalink

    re 118, 119. The press release may already be prepared, but I doubt that these guys can just sweep this issue under the rug. There are now too many “sceptics” with some influence. In fact, I think there are many more sceptics than most people think.

  128. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 7:00 PM | Permalink


    your right of course, but don’t forget without CO2 there would be no life on Earth.


  129. John Lish
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 7:11 PM | Permalink

    #123&124 thanks for that ET Sidviscous, thats made your post clearer in my mind. I think the effects of what you were refering to in #121 (A) are more extreme than you alluded. The temperature flux from day to night would be a much wider range, let alone the general cooling of the Earth you refer to but I’m going from hazy memory and late-night thought processes. I did a presentation/paper (nothing particularly serious) on GE/AGW and the depleting ozone layer in college back in 1993 when the three subjects were presented as one big scare by the media and modellers were predicting global fry-up… Just a small amount of research back then allowed me to demonstrate the necessity of GE for life on the planet, the level of simplicity in the modelling, negative and positive feedback mechanism on the climate and that not all ozone was affected by CFCs. From then, I’ve been skeptical of claims of global disaster.

  130. John Lish
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 7:16 PM | Permalink

    # 126, thanks JEM – it should include the words “the climate for” between “creates” and “life”… and with it being 1:15am here, I bid you goodnight.

  131. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 7:17 PM | Permalink

    “temperature flux from day to night would be a much wider range,”

    mmmmmm Kind of. Without the Greenhouse warming from the Greenhouse gasses, our temprature would be lower. However the temprature stability night/day comes from the thermal inertia in stuff like water vapor, heats up during the day, releases at night, same holds true from the atmosphere in general, of which Mars has less. But yes the effects are inter-related.

    Concerning the rest of your statement, beyond the scope of this board, but I would say similar for myself as well. If you want to look more into the ozone layer examine the seasonal fluctuations, and the fact that ozone is not the protection, but an effect of the protection.

  132. BradH
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 8:32 PM | Permalink

    Re: #130

    and with it being 1:15am here, I bid you goodnight.

    Yes, this site’s like that, isn’t it? The wife can’t understand why I come to bed so late, some nights. Often, it’s because of Climate Audit. It’s like a good book – so blasted intriguing, you just can’t put it down!

  133. Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 8:46 PM | Permalink

    John A says, “Sea ice doesn’t evaporate, you moron. It melts…. Despite being told a thousand times that glacier speed has nothing to do with air temperature you repeat the same rubbish every time. The glaciers move quicker in response to increasing pressure from above and behind because THE ICESHEETS ARE GETTING HEAVIER.”

    Glacier speed has nothing to do with air temperature? According to Rush Limbaugh, perhaps. But according to scientists who actually study glaciers, “The current flow speeds at the terminus are too fast to be caused solely by internal deformation of the ice, implying that an increase in basal sliding forced by additional meltwater production is the probable cause of the velocity increases… The southern half of Greenland is reacting to what we think is climate warming.”

    I may be a moron, but I don’t think that climate scientists are. And when your opinion diverges from the conclusion of qualified experts in the field, I’ll defer to the experts.

    Glaciers are exquisitely sensitive to climate change. Glaciers are speeding up because the climate is warming. Melt waters lubricate the interface between the glacier and the bedrock, reducing friction. Additionally, global warming melts sea ice at the tongue of the glacier, removing a physical barrier that holds back the glaciers slow march downhill. Greenland has warmed 3 C in the past 20 years alone, causing glacier melting. Greenland’s glaciers are sliding into the sea much faster than they were even a decade ago, due to factors associated with increasing air temperature. Glaciers take thousands of years to build, but can disappear in short order.

    90% of glaciers across the globe are melting. Glaciers that have existed for thousands of years are disappearing from the face of the earth, revealing a 5000-year-old frozen Alpine hiker, and plants in the Andes that last bloomed thousands of years ago. The total surface area of glaciers worldwide has decreased by 50% since the 1900.

    You object to the composition of the NAS panel because you are convinced that climate scientists are biased. The panel is stacked against your preferred outcome because they work in the same building, or have adjacent offices, or have colleagues who have worked on some of the papers you abhor. I think this preemptive condemnation of the NAS panel is more a reflection of your fear of the outcome, than an accurate account of the bias against you.

    Peter Hearnden has a point. Steve brings up statistical arguments that appear to him to be evidence of inconsistencies, poor recordkeeping, questionable use of statistical technique, and selective use of poorly kept records, and the comments pour in bashing the credibility and integrity of climate scientists, and concluding that global warming is an unproven alarmist exaggeration based on statistical fraud. Your focus on the calibration of proxies and how and when to archive data (a legitimate concern) operates here like a fishing expedition meant to portray climate scientists as duplicitous, fraudulent and disingenuous, even while the world lurches ever closer to disaster.

    While this is a proven technique for polarizing the argument, I’m not sure that this is a very effective way to improve proxy calibrations and accomplish the proper archiving of data. While I applaud your call for clear and available records, and critical appraisal of the calibration of proxies, I don’t think much of using this subject as a technique to undermine the credibility of the threat of global warming.

    I expect the NAS panel to make a positive contribution to the debate, and I don’t expect you to be very happy with the outcome.

  134. Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 9:03 PM | Permalink

    Steve brings up statistical arguments that appear to him to be evidence of inconsistencies, poor recordkeeping, questionable use of statistical technique, and selective use of poorly kept records, and the comments pour in bashing the credibility and integrity of climate scientists, and concluding that global warming is an unproven alarmist exaggeration based on statistical fraud.

    They don’t appear to be evidence of inconsistencies, etc. they ARE evidence of such. Are you seriously suggesting that data which does not correlate to temperature records, but which is used as a temperature proxy, and methods which give particular outcomes despite the input of random sequences, are not massive problems, reflecting poorly upon the credibility of the people who refuse to acknowledge the criticism?

    I’m sorry but your whole post is silly. It’s not wrong to criticise people who are behaving badly. It’s not wrong to criticise scientists who are not adhering to the basic tenets of science. It’s not wrong to call for those reviewing evidence to be neutral, and it’s not wrong to hope that the outcome of this panel reflects the actual reality of the situation.

    I’m particularly dubious of your claim that “90% of all glaciers are melting”. I can come up with plenty of articles talking about glaciers growing in places like the Antarctic, Norway, New Zealand and North America, but I don’t know where to look to come up with a percentage figure. I suspect that the real figure is much closer to 50%.

  135. Jim O'Toole
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 9:52 PM | Permalink

    Steve, I would imagine that the NAS proceedings won’t be on C-SPAN. Do you know if it will be webcast or recorded on video at all? Keep up the good work.

  136. jae
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 10:55 PM | Permalink

    re: 133:

    90% of glaciers across the globe are melting. Glaciers that have existed for thousands of years are disappearing from the face of the earth, revealing a 5000-year-old frozen Alpine hiker, and plants in the Andes that last bloomed thousands of years ago. The total surface area of glaciers worldwide has decreased by 50% since the 1900.

    Why do you suppose that alpine hiker was there 5000 years ago? Maybe it was warmer then, eh? And please keep in mind that this blog is not meant to discretit the idea of global warming; it is just asking questions of the Hockey Stick folks, who don’t seem to have any answers. They won’t defend their “science” here, which is really odd, smells of stink. They are all hoping that NAS will save them from more embarassment.

  137. Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 10:56 PM | Permalink

    Re #118

    I am going to agree with PJ, this is a set up to protect a lot of warmer’s reputations and years of academic work prompting global warming. “Real scientists” were beginning to lose control of the issue to outsiders. So, the NRC has stepped into set the record straight. Remember it was the IPCC science teams that expressed uncertainty in the reports, which the writers of the summaries removed. These summaries were used by politicians, and the press to spread fear, playing in to the hands environmentalist wishing to control economic development. The warmers reward was more research money for career advancement.

    A lot has changed since then the IPCC Reports were published, and Journals are no longer the only science arbiters, the blogs have become alternative publishing channels. They have allowed individual experts to rapidly collaborate and then publish the results at unprecedented speed. The NRC Staff most likely have their report written, with spaces allocated for details from the panel charade. But, they have to go through a vetting process that will delay publication. On the other hand, bloggers can get the information out, framing the issues discussed in the panel sessions.

    I highly recommend we all stay alert and support Steve and Ross to win the PR battle that will follow the panels sessions. It would be great if we had a team on site to get the word out as rapidly as possible, before it gets filtered by a biased press. Here, we may have to rely on Steve and Ross, unless, we can find a local blogger to take notes. Will the session be recorded?

    There is a lot of money to be lost, if Steve and Ross explode the hockey stick myth. Former VP Al Gore has a global warming book coming out in May, he is on the speaking circuit now. Most recently at TED. Details here:

    In Fast Company former President Clinton is listed as #4 in the Fast Fifty as a Climate Change Agent. At his Global Initiative, Clinton is reported to have “extracted commitments to sponsor and fund more than 200 separate projects, worth nearly $2 billion. . . GE, Sony, Time Warner, . . . Starbucks.”

    This is the big leagues, but I agree with Steve, they have to play the hand they were dealt. I wish them both all the luck a good poker player can muster.

  138. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 10:57 PM | Permalink

    #133. I didn’t start studying proxies as a “fishing expedition” or with any objective at all, other than I found it interesting. In terms of concern with minutiae, I thought that that’s what academics did. They do in other fields – I’m fairly knowledgeable about Assyrian archaeology and cuneiform scholars argue about interpretations of individual characters in tablets thousands of years old. So why wouldn’t people question tree ring interpretation?

    As to the behavior of climate scientists, I’m simply reporting things. If you’re upset by the way that they behave, you should write to them.

  139. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 11:21 PM | Permalink


    It’s in DC, I actually have a little cash around and could head down for a day. Unfortunately I’ve got a job in the Bronx on those days.

    I’d be fun to do a little Hunter impersonation and report on the days work.

    Don’t know where your staying Steve/Ross but the Holiday in down by the Smithsonians has the greatest waffles. There should be no problem finding good meals in the evening in that area.

  140. James Lane
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 11:40 PM | Permalink

    Michael says:

    “Glaciers are exquisitely sensitive to climate change. Glaciers are speeding up because the climate is warming. Melt waters lubricate the interface between the glacier and the bedrock, reducing friction. Additionally, global warming melts sea ice at the tongue of the glacier, removing a physical barrier that holds back the glaciers slow march downhill. Greenland has warmed 3 C in the past 20 years alone, causing glacier melting.”

    Well, hang on, I thought the argument is that most glaciers are retreating? So if they’re advancing (Greenland) it’s GW, and if they’re retreating (Switzerland) it’s GW?

    There’s a nice chart over at realclimate that shows that most glaciers began their retreat about the mid 1850s, well before the modern increase in GHGs. The Fox and Franz Joseph glaciers in NZ haven’t read the literature and are rapidly advancing.

  141. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 12:24 AM | Permalink

    Re: #135
    I emailed the NAS Public Access Records Office to ask if meeting video, audio, and/or transcripts would be available. They replied that “Meeting transcripts are not made available to the public.” I will post the results of my further enquiries.

  142. JEM
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 1:14 AM | Permalink

    Re #133:

    I may be a moron, but I don’t think that climate scientists are.

    Are you sure that should not have read, “I may be a moron, because I don’t think that climate scientists are.”

    And when your opinion diverges from the conclusion of qualified experts in the field, I’ll defer to the experts.

    So you’ll be deferring to Steve, just as I’m sure he does to you on furniture making?

    Glaciers take thousands of years to build, but can disappear in short order.

    That would explain why a retreating glacier in Greenland is just starting to expose the remains of farm buildings in use by Norse settlers are recently as 800 or 900 years ago.

    And has it ever crossed your mind to wonder why Greenland, presently rather predominantly white in colour, was called ‘Greenland’ when the Vikings discovered it a thousand years or so ago?

  143. Ed Snack
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 2:17 AM | Permalink

    JEM, re #142, a good part of the reason is that Erikson was trying to attract settlers to the new land, and “large white land with a fringe of green” doesn’t sound so good ! It is clear that the climate was warmer in that area then than it is today, however it would take a lot more than that to make East Greenalnd truly “green”.

    Not all glaciers are “exquisitely sensitive” to temperature alone, as in the Kilimanjaro thread, often moisture is actually more important. The NZ Glaciers mentioned, Fox and Franz Joseph are further examples of that, they protrude well below the snow line into an area where average temperatures are well above freezing. However they flow quite fast and the accumulation of snow on the Southern Alps drives the glacial length, although temperature can undoubtedly have some effect. They are advancing at present because of a probably cyclical increase in precipitation. They have in the past advanced far further.

  144. JEM
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 4:56 AM | Permalink

    Re #143: Ed,

    Erikson was trying to attract settlers to the new land, and “large white land with a fringe of green” doesn’t sound so good !

    So Eric the Red was a spin doctor as well as everything else?

    Maybe he was, Ed, but how can you possibly know? I assume you’re not so ancient as to have been on his Greenland Settlement Marketing Department team in Oslo a thousand years ago?

    And was his son Leif Ericson also spinning when he visited what seems to have been Newfoundland and found wild grapes growing there? How is the Newfoundland wine industry doing these days?

    In any case, the uncovering of these Viking farmhouses tends to be strong evidence that while it is warmer today than the recent past, it is still not nearly as warm as it was in the not-quite-so-recent past at least in Greenland. If that is true globally, the hockey stick ‘standard model’ just has to be wrong in any event.

    By the way: I used to be a project manager in the oil business, many years ago. When people came to us with proposals that forecast hockey-stick-shaped revenue or cash flow forecasts for their pet plans, they tended to get rejected out of hand as they were so obviously wrong. It was a bit like having a big notice on the cover of your proposal saying, “I don’t know what I’m doing and this plan is rubbish.”

  145. John A
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 5:42 AM | Permalink

    However they flow quite fast and the accumulation of snow on the Southern Alps drives the glacial length, although temperature can undoubtedly have some effect. They are advancing at present because of a probably cyclical increase in precipitation. They have in the past advanced far further.

    All glaciers have advanced far further in the past.

    It seems to me that the length of a glacier is a function of precipitation at the headwalls and not temperature.

  146. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 6:25 AM | Permalink

    Re #142/4

    “That would explain why a retreating glacier in Greenland is just starting to expose the remains of farm buildings in use by Norse settlers are recently as 800 or 900 years ago.”

    “In any case, the uncovering of these Viking farmhouses tends to be strong evidence”.

    Where can I read this evidence?

  147. Doug L
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 6:59 AM | Permalink

    FWIW, if there turns out to be no means for the public to verify what goes on in this meeting, I retract anything positive I said earlier about it.

  148. Doug L
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 7:00 AM | Permalink

    Whoops, I was refering to #141 above.

  149. bart s
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 7:30 AM | Permalink

    re 144. I am amazed as to the insight shown on this blog. Vinland the Norse term for NE America originates from the norse word vin which means field, not wine. And what retreating Greenland glacier is actually documenting previously buried farmhouses? And re. 145 – John A in his usual manner does not seem to know that the mass balance of a glacier is a reflection both of solid precip and ablation season temperature. Depending on location and local climatology, glaciers may be more or less temperature dependent. To have a global retreat of glaciers as is documented now is very difficult to explain by precip, as shown e.g. in Oerlemans reconstruction in Science. One could alway cherry pick the outlier, but for what reason?

  150. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 7:45 AM | Permalink

    The viking who identified the grapes in Newfoundland in 1000 AD had in previous years lived in France and was familiar with the grapes and vinyards there.

    In Iceland, the foundations of houses of viking houses are still being revealed as glaciers retreat. The fields these vikings farmed are still under the glaciers and it is expected that more houses will be revealed if the glaciers retreat further. A farmer would not farm anywhere near a glacier.

    I also recommend that you look at thread on the green Alps on this site.

  151. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 7:59 AM | Permalink

    Re #150 Ahhhh, Iceland not Greenland? Again, where is the evidence? Links and the rest.

  152. stephan harrison
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 8:14 AM | Permalink

    Just to join the debate about glaciers. The vast majority of mountain glaciers are in recession (which tends to argue against UHI as biasing the record). A few glaciers (some in New Zealand, Patagonia and Greenland) are either advancing or near to their LIA limits. However, most of these are calving glaciers whose behaviour is partially decoupled from climate forcing by topographic factors such as water depth, pinning points etc. Many glaciers were probably smaller in the early and mid-Holocene, but that doesn’t invalidate the AGW argument.

  153. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 8:52 AM | Permalink

    Not everything is on the net, Peter. For grapes, read the sagas. For Iceland housing foundations emerging from glaciers, it was in the paper back in 2000.

    I have also read that some house and church foundations have recently emerged in Greenland as well.

    Glaciers have been receding since at 1800 and probably earlier. They have nearly disappeared in the Swiss Alps on 10 occasions. It is all probably part of the 1500 year long oscillation in climate.

  154. jae
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

    Many glaciers were probably smaller in the early and mid-Holocene, but that doesn’t invalidate the AGW argument.

    No, but it sure makes one question the A in GW, doesn’t it?

  155. jae
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

    Peter, you don’t want any proof to spoil your beliefs.

  156. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 9:05 AM | Permalink

    Doug, well, I don’t believe you :). What have you to hide? Show us the data or I’ll start to think you’re untrustworty! Don’t give me any of that ‘it’s difficult to find the data after all this time’ or ‘do you own reseach’ stuff. You should archive such things properly, in readily accessable places, else people get suspicious! 🙂

    Such excuse don’t wash with Steve (and certainly not with John) and I don’t see why they should wash with me? Now, stop hiding the data! What paper! What sagas! I demand to know else I’ll set up a blog and start calling you names LOL.

  157. Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

    Can it be that Mr. Hearnden really doesn’t know the difference between a peer-reviewed study published in a leading scientific journal and a comment on a “weblog”?

    No, I suppose he’s just making a joke…

    Having said that, I’d really love to see references to those things, they sound interesting. I wish that kind of stuff WAS on the internet, with me being too lazy/cheap to buy books.

  158. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    You can buy the Vinland sagas at a bookstore. I don’t keep back copies of all newspapers from all over the world. Sorry about that. Steve is asking for data and programs of people who have generated publications. I didn’t write the sagas or the newspapers in question. So your analogy is totally illogical.

  159. jae
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 9:16 AM | Permalink

    Peter: try this, look at year 964. It took me one second to google this. I’m sure there is much more proof.

  160. pj
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 9:26 AM | Permalink

    re #152 The vast majority of glaciers haven’t even been studied. Maybe the majority of studied glaciers are retreating, but that’s only 10 percent of the total.

  161. Jim Erlandson
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

    For those wanting a reference to Greenland Ice, this is from a series of articles published in the New Yorker last year. I’m not in agreement with the author’s conclusions, but this bit may shed a little light on how ice sheets work as well as how variable earth’s climate and our understanding of it is.

    Greenland’s ice sheet is the second-largest on earth. (Antarctica’s
    is the largest.) In its present form, the Greenland ice sheet is,
    quite literally, a relic of the last glaciation. The top layers
    consist of snow that fell recently. Beneath these layers is snow
    that fell centuries and then millennia ago, until, at the very
    bottom, there is snow that fell a hundred and thirty thousand years
    ago. Under current climate conditions, the ice sheet probably would
    not form, and it is only its enormous size that has sustained it for
    this long. In the middle of the island, the ice is so thick – nearly
    two miles – that it creates a kind of perpetual winter. Snow falls
    in central Greenland year-round and it never melts, although, over
    time, the snow gets compacted into ice and is pressed out toward the
    coast. There, eventually, it either calves off into icebergs or
    flows away. In summertime, lakes of a spectacular iridescent blue
    form at the ice sheet’s lower elevations; these empty into vast
    rivers that fan out toward the sea …

    Much of what is known about the earth’s climate over the last
    hundred thousand years comes from ice cores drilled in central
    Greenland, along a line known as the ice divide …

    Over the last decade, three
    Greenland cores have been drilled to a depth of ten thousand feet,
    and these cores have prompted a rethinking of how the climate
    operates. Where once the system was thought to change, as it were,
    only glacially, now it is known to be capable of sudden and
    unpredictable reversals. One such reversal, called the Younger
    Dryas, after a small Arctic plant – Dryas octopetala – that suddenly
    reappeared in Scandinavia, took place roughly twelve thousand eight
    hundred years ago. At that point, the earth, which had been warming
    rapidly, was plunged back into glacial conditions. It remained
    frigid for twelve centuries and then warmed again, even more
    abruptly. In Greenland, average annual temperatures shot up by nearly twenty degrees in a single decade.

  162. jae
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 9:39 AM | Permalink

    The central problem with the AGW theory is that it cannot really reconcile the LIA and MWP. Thus, the theorists try to deny these events. But they are up against a real problem, because these events are recorded in historical documents.

  163. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

    From, we have:

    “The remains of this stone-and-turf building were found in 1961. The most spectacular discovery from the Greenland colonies was made in 1990, however, when two Inuit hunters searching for caribou about 55 miles east of Nuuk (the modern capital) noticed several large pieces of wood sticking out of a bluff. Because trees never grew in the area, they reported their discovery to the national museum. The wood turned out to be part of an enormous Norse building, perfectly sealed in permafrost covered by 5 ft. of sand: “definitely one of the best-preserved Norse sites we have,” says archaeologist Joel Berglund, vice director of the Greenland National Museum and Archives in Nuuk.”

    “According to Berglund, a leader of the dig at the “Farm Beneath the Sand” from 1991 through 1996, the site was occupied for nearly 300 years, from the mid-11th century to the end of the 13th century. “It went from small to big and then from big to small again,” he explains. “They started with a classic longhouse, which later burned down.” The place was abandoned for a while and then rebuilt into what became a “centralized farm,” a huge, multifunction building with more than 30 rooms housing perhaps 15 or 20 people, plus sheep, goats, cows and horses.”

    A house sealed in permafrost. It must have been warmer when it was built (MWP) and then it got colder (LIA). Now it is warmer again, but still not warm enough for farming, so the MWP seems to have been warmer than the present. Perhaps the wood from the house came from locally growing trees.

  164. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

    Re #162 No they do not! No one denies their existance – not even MBH! It’s, as ever, all about magntude. Were MWP/LIA large magnitude or muted? Most climatologist think, globally, the evidence suggests they were muted.

    Re #163, now it’s ‘buried in sand’ not ice ;). Still, interesting link – thanks. And worth reading in it’s entirity. No doubt, except in the most open of years, (like 2003?…) ‘Greenland’ was a horribly harsh place to live in.

  165. jae
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

    Peter, the MWP and LIA barely show on most of the spagetti graphs, illustrating that they are bogus. The LIA and MWP were not little bumps, or the house in greenland would not be there, right? You have got your head so far in the sand that you are invisible.

  166. Theo Richel
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

    What better way than to call them in Greenland? Joel Berglund doesnt work at the National Museum of Greenland anymore ( – but the english part of the site is useless) but he is followed up by an archeologist called Claus Andreasen. He was very kind to explain me that the larger pieces of the wood from the ‘Farm beneath the sand’ were either driftwood or imported from Canada. Trees did grow there at the time, but no large ones. For utensils local wood was available.

    It appears that today some pine trees grow at the southern tip of Greenland. They are planted there and do not grow higher then 3 m. In summer also vegetables are grown there: potatoes, cabbage

  167. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 10:21 AM | Permalink

    “Perhaps the wood from the house came from locally growing trees.”.

    What, the dwarf willow the article mentions? “he came upon magnificent fjords flanked by lush meadows and forests of dwarf willow and birch, with glacier-strewn mountain ranges towering in the distance.”. I think not, see wiki – and

  168. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

    Re #165. Well, again, read what MBH say. They DO NOT deny the MWP/LIA. But they do think, globally, they were muted. Does that mean in some places the MWP & LIA might have been of greater magntude? Yes. Is Greenland, or Europe, the whole world? You can answer that…

  169. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

    From, have:

    “1695-1709: Outlet glaciers of Drangajàƒ⵫ull and Vatnajàƒ⵫ull (Iceland) advanced dramatically, approaching or destroying farms. One farm at Fjallsjàƒ⵫ull dated from AD 900 (Bàƒ⠲darson 1991).”

    “1732: Vatnajàƒ⵫ull crushed ruins of Icelandic farm that had been abandoned during earlier advance.”

    “1741: Drangajàƒ⵫ull destroyed another farm in Iceland.”

    So glaciers did overrun farms in Iceland. I am sure that some of these farms are only now reappearing from under the ice, but haven’t located a reference for it.

  170. stephan harrison
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

    Re 160. pj says: “The vast majority of glaciers haven’t even been studied. Maybe the majority of studied glaciers are retreating, but that’s only 10 percent of the total”. I’m sorry but this is just being silly. Do you think we cherry-pick the glaciers that are in recession? Don’t forget that the best records are the long-term records and these were set up before any AGW debate. Most studied glaciers are chosen because they are typical for the area or because access is reasonable. Whilst we only have detailed mass balance records from a relatively small number of glaciers (about 80) observations using APs, satellites etc show that most of the rest are in recession. For instance in Patagonia (where I work) only a few glaciers are being actively studied (probably one or two from the North Patagonian Icefield), but it is clear that the rest are also in recession. Check out Rignot’s paper (Science) or Aniya’s work (Arctic and Alpine Research) or our websites.

  171. John Lish
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

    #163 Excellent Douglas and shows that we need to be careful about assuming that the climate is stable and consistant. There’s a good (but large) piece of historical work to be done on the relationship between advances of humanity (cultural and migrationary) and climate/environmental influences but that sort of historical study is not in favour within academia (smacks too much of 19th century Whig empiricalism).

  172. Theo Richel
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 11:09 AM | Permalink

    Re 171: Thomas Gale Moore did that allready. He wrote the book ‘Climate of Fear’ which is freely available online. Very much recommended. General conclusion: warmer is better.

  173. John Lish
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

    # 172 – Thanks Theo, more reading… 😉 I shall read carefully.

  174. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

    There is a 1500 year cycle in climate that is probably the major cause of the retreat in glaciers since the mid-1700s.

    An abstract about it is at
    with full article in pdf at

    I know some people won’t like the institution or authors of the discussion, but that is your problem. Those people can look at the reference list (101 papers) and refute them.

    Well here is the full summary so people won’t have to click:

    Human activities have little to do with the Earth’s current warming trend, according to a study published by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). In fact, S. Fred Singer (University of Virginia) and Dennis Avery (Hudson Institute) conclude that global warming and cooling seem to be part of a 1,500-year cycle of moderate temperature swings.

    Scientists got the first unequivocal evidence of a continuing moderate natural climate cycle in the 1980s, when Willi Dansgaard of Denmark and Hans Oeschger of Switzerland first saw two mile-long ice cores from Greenland representing 250,000 years of Earth’s frozen, layered climate history. From their initial examination, Dansgaard and Oeschger estimated the smaller temperature cycles at 2,550 years. Subsequent research shortened the estimated length of the cycles to 1,500 years (plus or minus 500 years).

    According to the authors:

    An ice core from the Antarctic’s Vostok Glacier — at the other end of the world from Greenland — showed the same 1,500-year cycle through its 400,000-year length.

    The ice-core findings correlated with known glacier advances and retreats in northern Europe.

    Independent data in a seabed sediment core from the Atlantic Ocean west of Ireland, reported in 1997, showed nine of the 1,500-year cycles in the last 12,000 years.

    Considered collectively, there is clear and convincing evidence of a 1,500-year climate cycle. And if the current warming trend is part of an entirely natural cycle, as Singer and Avery conclude, then actions to prevent further warming would be futile, could impose substantial costs upon the global economy and lessen the ability of the world’s peoples to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

    Source: S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery, “The Physical Evidence of Earth’s Unstoppable 1,500-Year Climate Cycle,” National Center for Policy Analysis, Policy Report No. 279, September 29, 2005

  175. Paul
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

    #174 – Doug,

    Did they try and do temperature reconstructions or simply climate reconstructions? (Big difference, IMHO)

  176. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 11:40 AM | Permalink

    #166: “He was very kind to explain me that the larger pieces of the wood from the “Farm beneath the sand’ were either driftwood or imported from Canada.”

    Was there a logging settlement in Canada before Columbus stumbled on America? I’ve not heard of this before.

  177. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 11:50 AM | Permalink

    #175 “temperature reconstructions or simply climate reconstructions”. What is the big difference? They used all kinds of climate indicators including temperature.

  178. Paul
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

    Well…it seems to me that the current worries are about “temperatures” going up. But isn’t climate, the aggregate of a period of weather, what’s the important thing? I would think, and it might be just me, that it’s easier to see a climate cycle over time in the historical layers of tree rigns, ice, mud and whatever than it is to extrapolate temperature measurements from the same. In other words, climate might make big marks that are easy to be read and understood. Temperature makes fine marks that are difficult to see, assuming they haven’t been distorted by the other things that make up the climate marks.

    Going back in time, it’s apparent that the climate in the north atlantic was wamer than it is today. So, we know that climate has changed. Is there a pattern (most likely, from the evidence) that the climate will continue to change according to that pattern in the future.

    The real question, is how much does human activity influence climate, if at all? One of the interesting things I’ve not seen discussed much is the change in air quality in the western hemisphere as we’ve changed our approach towards air pollution. I remember when factories and cars created smog, and many of those cities have much cleaner air today. I hear stories of the soot and dirty air in London and other cities from coal and wood burning. Surely, these had some effect on the local climates. Aren’t we cleaner now (and, what about China and India, two large countries that seem to be turning a blind eye towards anthropogenic climate change and will soon surpass the west in their contribution of nasty things to the earth’s atmosphere).

    The answer to the above question is that we do not know. Period. There isn’t sufficient data, sufficient understanding of available data, nor is there sufficient understanding of the underlying systems to be able to say more than we don’t know. Not only that, but if we do assume that CO2 levels are a problem, it appears that nothing we do will really make much of a difference (ala Kyoto). Is reducing CO2 levels (and or methane and whatever else might be contributing) really going to change things? Again, we don’t know.

    This isn’t to say we don’t try to learn…to understand what is going on. But to make public policy based on a “we don’t know” is folly and will lead to the law of unintended consequences exacting justice at some point in the future.

  179. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    Re: #176
    Yes, there were Norse settlements in today’s Canada (and perhaps even USA) well before Columbus. Look up “L’Anse aux Meadows” for a well-studied site.

  180. Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

    Here’s a quick and dirty listing of the fields of research for the various presenters. (Feel free to correct any mistakes). It looks like the tree rings, ice cores, and bore holes will be covered, as well as a look at some of the underlying statistics. I suppose that solar/cosmic-ray/isotope proxies were too primitive to be included. While looking up their research areas, I found lots of media quotes for some of them. I can see how some may believe that the distinction between scientist and advocate/activist does seem blurred for some.

    Can other presenters participate in the “open discussion”?

    Henry Pollack: Boreholes
    Daniel Schrag: Ocean corals and isotopes
    Richard Alley: Glaciers/Ice cores
    Jürg Luterbacher: General reconstructions?
    Rosanne D’Arrigo: Tree Rings
    Gabriele Hegerl: General reconstructions? Worked w/Wallace
    Hans von Storch: Statistics
    McIntyre & McKitrick: Statistics
    Open Discussion
    Malcolm Hughes: Tree Rings
    Michael Mann: General reconstructions?

  181. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

    RE: 133. Some interesting notions here regarding mechanics. Also, what, exactly, is a “climate scientist?”

  182. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 2:30 PM | Permalink

    RE: #137. There is indeed big money at stake including some of my own. Disclosure – I have a personal vested financial interest in, are you all ready for this? …. promotion of the Arthopogenic Global Warming notion. But, as is now probably apparent, ethics direct me otherwise – to the short term peril of my wallet. I realize that in the big picture, we all lose if we arbitrarily follow the AGW notion. At least that is my perspective based on the data I am aware of today. Of course I am open to any new info that may change my mind.

  183. jae
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 2:59 PM | Permalink

    Steve S. It’s good to see someone with such an open mind!

  184. Phil B.
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 3:21 PM | Permalink

    RE#72, Paul Lindsay, all the borehole temperature data I have seen, have increasing temperatures with depth which implies that earth interior is driving the temperature profile. The modeling used assumes that the surface temperature is doing the forcing. Concerning the throwing away of the smaller singular values in the svd psuedo inverse, this implies that you have a ill-conditioned matrix and you no longer have a unique answer. Adding smaller singular values to the psuedo inverse results in better residuals, and of course different surface temperature recontructions. What is the criteria for the selection process? Certainly not smaller residuals or RE. An interesting exercise is to create a surface temperature reconstruction keeping all singular values greater than or equal to 0.3 (hockey stick) and take a look at the residuals. Now add to that reconstruction 2*v, where v is the column vector from the unitary matrix V associated with the smallest singular value (A = U*S*V’). One gets a completely different surface temperature reconstruction from a hockey stick, yet the residual is essentially unchanged to the 0.5 millikelvin level. Which answer is correct?

  185. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 3:49 PM | Permalink

    Interestingly, the “open” sessions of the NAS project meeting seem surprisingly closed with respect to the testimony/questions/discussion. As I posted above, “Meeting transcripts are not made available to the public.” Today I called the number for the meeting contact/information person, Diane Gustafson, and was told that the NAS does not record the meeting, and that neither the audience nor the invited speakers(!) are allowed to make recordings at the meeting. Apparently, only “accredited” journalists are allowed to make recordings; for a definition of “accredited,” I was referred to Bill Kearney, the Director of Media Relations.
    I’ve left it at that for now — Steve and Ross, I hope you’ve got your memories and notebooks ready!

  186. Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 4:07 PM | Permalink

    Re #133,


    The glacier retreat in Greenland seems to be directly connected to summer temperatures. In this particular case, summer temperatures around the Greenland edges (the inland is inhabitable, thus no long-term temperature trends there) are of interest. But these were highest in the 1930-1950 period, cooler thereafter until 1990, rising again, but not/just reaching the 1930-1950 period after the year 2000. See here for the trends.

    Moreover, the largest Greenland glacier at Ilulisat (Jacobshavn, West Greenland) started the retreat of its break-up point probably before 1850 and had its largest retreat in the same 1930-1950 period. Not in the recent decade. It seems that Greenland temperatures are more influenced by the NAO (in opposite direction of Europe) than by global temperature rise. Thus the Greenland case is not a good example of how (A)GW is connected to glacier retreat…

    Thus while worldwide glacier retreat in recent centuries is obvious, the link with global temperatures and/or greenhouse gases is not that straight-forward. This is even true for global glacier retreat: many glaciers are receding since 1800, with hugest retreat after 1900. But several of them are relaxing or even growing again in the last decades, see Oerlemans (but that needs some update for recent years). That while the CO2 growth 1850-1945 was some 25 ppmv, and 1945-current is 65 ppmv.

  187. mtb
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

    A naive question re glaciers that may have been answered before. Could it not be that warmer temperatures allow the ice/snow mass to become more fluid, and flow better, thus resulting in glacier fronts advancing? And perhaps colder temperatures have the effect of binding the ice and snow to the land more effectively, thus leading to glacier fronts retreating as the glacier advance is insufficient to replace mass lost by melting at the glacier front?

  188. jae
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

    A closed-door meeting on science, paid for by the taxpayers. That’s amazing and disgusting. They are acting like this is some kind of national security issue. Reflects badly on NAS, in my mind. Wonder if this is standard procedure or was cooked up for this particular meeting. One would think that they would have to keep some kind of records. If so, they might be available through the FIA process.

  189. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 4:39 PM | Permalink

    It’s not quite fully closed, as apparently one can attend in person (open just enough to be frustrating!). Also, the NAS itself is not part of the government, and thus the FIA may not apply: “They [the National Academies] are private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology and health policy advice under a congressional charter.” I’m not sure if it’s taxpayer-financed or not (the government may pay for the research reports, but I’m not sure).

  190. pj
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 5:21 PM | Permalink

    Re: 170 I’m not accusing of cherrypicking, merely that we only have long-term data on a small, non-random sample of glaciers, so you can’t say anything about long-term trends for glaciers as a whole. That also makes it difficult to say anything in relation to AGW. I find it odd that you claim that glaciers chosen because they are typical of the area. How do you know they are typical if you haven’t studied the other glaciers? I do believe that they are chosen for convenience, but that would make our sample of long-term glacier a convencience sample, not a random sample. Finally, what’s your web address?

  191. John Lish
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 5:29 PM | Permalink

    #188 – I think that the non-recording of the meeting is more perverse than the non-availability of transcripts to the general public (but only just). Strange behaviour for an organisation funded by the US tax-payer. How does this affect their standing with the Barton Committee?

  192. Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

    Re #187,

    From what I have read about glaciers, there is some “smearing” effect, if glacier melt water (from the top) reaches the bottom of the glacier and act as lubricant. This is of course directly related to ice top temperatures/melting. This happens frequently to Alaskan glaciers which may advance hundreds of meters in a very short time (see the Hubbard glacier for an example), and then retreat for many decades.

    Another point is when a glacier is shortening, there is less counterpressure (less friction) against the pressure of the top ice, and that also speeds-up the glacier…

  193. JEM
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 5:55 PM | Permalink

    Re #187:

    A naive question re glaciers that may have been answered before…

    …but a good one.

    I’ve got a doubtless naive suggestion about glaciers of my own. It is:

    If precipitation increases with a warmer climate due to increased evaporation of seawater, than more snow will fall on the glaciers of Greenland and elsewhere as GW increase — and less will fall as as it decreases. Hence, if this were correct, glaciers would grow in warm periods and shrink in cold periods.

    Retreating glaciers might be evidence of global cooling!

    Let me be clear: I do not claim that were are experiencing global cooling just now. But I do suggest that we may be a long way–a very long way indeed–from having any real comprehension of what mechanisms really drive the planetary climate.

    Silent contemplation of that undoubted truth for a year or decade or two by Messers Mann, Jones, et al, would not go amiss.

  194. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

    The European Space Agency did a study which was relaeased last year indicating that the ice sheet was becoming thicker.
    So the question arises – Which is winning? the increase in thickness or the melting at the edges? Like a sandwich – if you squeeze in the middle it comes out faster at the edge.
    At the end is the web site where the article can be found.

    Greenland’s Ice Sheet is Growing
    Fri, 04 Nov 2005 – After gathering data on Greenland for more than a decade, ESA scientists have reported that the island’s ice sheet is actually growing at its interior. Data collection began in 1991 with the radar altimeter instrument on board ESA’s ERS-1, followed by ERS-2, and most recently Envisat, which has 10 instruments to measure various properties of the Earth from orbit. Greenland’s ice sheet seems to be thickening at a rate of 6.4 cm (2.6 inches) a year above altitudes of 1,500 metres (5000 feet). Below that altitude, the ice sheets are decreasing in thickness.

  195. jae
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 6:06 PM | Permalink

    I’m sure AGW will be held responsible, no matter what the glacier is doing.

  196. John Lish
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 6:07 PM | Permalink

    #186 – Ferdinand you said “That while the CO2 growth 1850-1945 was some 25 ppmv, and 1945-current is 65 ppmv.” What sources can I find that information? I’m trying to reconcile it with my understanding that there has been between 1800 and 2000, a 30% increase in CO2 (from 280ppm to 375pmm). Its seems odd that two-thirds of the acceleration has occured in the last 50 years.

  197. fFreddy
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 6:37 PM | Permalink

    Re #185

    …Apparently, only “accredited” journalists are allowed to make recordings…

    I hear Democrats complaining about something called Fox News, which presumably means they are not locked into the standard consensus. Does anyone know anyone there who might be interested ?
    Or, Steve, how about the guy from the Wall Street Journal who interviewed you ?

  198. John G. Bell
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 7:16 PM | Permalink

    How about JULIE BOSMAN of the New York Times. She wrote the “Reporters Find Science Journals Harder to Trust, but Not Easy to Verify” article back on February 13th. She works from the Business/Financial Desk. I think she would get some good articles out it and a better understanding of how organizations like NAS weigh science.

  199. stephan harrison
    Posted Mar 1, 2006 at 3:09 AM | Permalink

    Re 190. We know that the behaviour of the glaciers we choose to study is (generally) representative of the larger sample because glaciologists spend a long time working on a whole range of glaciers in an area before deciding which to monitor. For instance the vast majority of glaciers in the Tien Shan have receded in recent years, but only the Tuyuksu is closely monitored.
    Re 192. Glaciers which undergo advance and retreat over short timescales are mainly calving glaciers, whose behaviour is partly driven by non-climatic effects (which is why we don’t use them to say anything about climate).
    Re 193. In warmer periods you might have increased precipitation in the accumulation zone, but the ablation zone would experience enhanced melting. Since mountain glaciers are receding, this suggests that the mass balance is negative.

  200. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 1, 2006 at 3:38 AM | Permalink

    Re #196, yeah odd that, especially as most of the fossil fuels burning has been in the last 50 years…

  201. John Lish
    Posted Mar 1, 2006 at 4:49 AM | Permalink

    #200 Thanks Peter – the ratios look right (around 1 to 2.6 in each). I expected an acceleration but was surprised as to the lower amount of fossil tonnage between 1800 and 1950 simply because of a) the only heating was fossil fuel (wood/coal) although the population on the planet was considerably lower and b) the efficiency of industry scale power production.

    What I was wondering is whether other systems which negate the aggregrate increases in CO2 within the atmosphere have been either reached their capacity or been affected by human activity.

  202. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Mar 1, 2006 at 7:16 AM | Permalink

    re #201 Minor nit: Wood should generally not be considered a fossil fuel since it’s being continually produced. Admittedly the available stock of wood can get depleted, just as the stock of edible fish can get depleted, but if then left alone it will be restored.

  203. beng
    Posted Mar 1, 2006 at 7:34 AM | Permalink

    RE #174

    Thanks for the links, Douglas. I hadn’t seen the studies on 1500 yr periodicies, but recently after seeing alot of curiously synchronized “events” among the various worldwide proxies (especially during the stable Holocene), came to a similar idea. It’d be hard to think, given the apparent uniformity of GHGs & other forcings (almost all the glaciers are gone) over the Holocene, that some random internal flucuations would produce coordinated global “events” in the same direction lasting hundreds or more yrs. I’d think internal climate readjustments would balance globally over a few decades or more (el nino-la nina, PDO, ADO, etc). The simplest explanation would be the sun.

    Yes, the transit from glacial to interglacials (obstensibly from internal readjustments) are global events but there’s a huge potential change in albedo resulting from continental ice-sheet melting during those times.

    And more questions: The sun’s output is radiation, but also particle-energy (momentum) from the solar wind. I wonder what the relative magnitude of this energy is? It impacts the earth’s magnetosphere & upper atmosphere and the energy has to go somewhere. Absorbed & reradiated back into space? Accumulated in the trapped ions in the magnetosphere? Absorbed in the ionosphere? Wouldn’t the slowing-down & trapping of ions in the magnetosphere put physical “torque” on the earth’s magnetic field & end up as inductive heating of the earth’s molten-iron core? Could there be any energy teleconnections to the troposphere from a varying solar wind?

  204. Posted Mar 1, 2006 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

    Re #201:

    John, the figures I used were here, but have the same base: the Law Dome ice core for the pre-1950 time, Mauna Loa for the following years.

    There may have been larger fluctuations than seen in the ice core, as the closing of the firn to ice takes many years, which makes that an exchange of trapped air and open air is possible, until the air bubbles are completely surrounded by ice.

    As Dave said, wood is not considered to be a CO2 source (which is true as long as there is an equilibrium between wood use and growth). The main boom in fossil fuel use was after WWII, as good as for general industrial use as for power production, and households moved from wood to coal and later oil and gas, but the energy use of households (including electricity) increased enormously in the past decades, as is the case for transport.

    About halve of the extra emitted CO2 is absorbed mainly by the oceans (at first a matter of gas/solution equilibrium, but a lot of subsequent reactions also play a role, including increased growth of plankton and uptake by the shells of certain plankton types) and in part by land plants (the “greening” earth, due to more CO2…).
    See the (rough) carbon cycle at Wikipedia

  205. John Lish
    Posted Mar 2, 2006 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for that Ferdinand but what’s confusing me is the correlation between CO2 concentration and global fossil carbon emmissions. There seems to be a close relationship between the two. The reason why that confuses me is that CO2 concentration is an expression of a percentage (as part of the total atmosphere) and that carbon emmissions are an absolute figure therefore in order to increase the percentage then the absolute numbers should present a larger ratio increase. I understand that these are rough representations but I find that relationship curious.

  206. John Lish
    Posted Mar 2, 2006 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

    #203 beng – I thought I had some information so went looking and found the following reference to a paper presented by Gribbin and Plagemann in Nature, unfortunately only the abstract is available online (see below). What my reference does say is that the Earth day was lengthened by this solar flare by 16 milliseconds. The estimated energy required to do that was 10,612,645,000,000,000 kwh. For a comparison, the USA consumes 3.656 trillion kWh (2003) in a year. The force required to brake the Earth for 16 milliseconds was nearly 3,000 times the energy levels. I’m not entirely certain of the figures but it does demonstrate the forces being applied to the Earth.

    Gribbin, J., and S. Plagemann 1973. Discontinuous change in Earth’s spin rate following Great Solar Storm of August 1972. Nature 243, 26-27, doi:10.1038/243026a0.

    The question of a link between changes in the Earth’s spin rate and the activity of the Sun is of topical interest, and there is good evidence that the changing length of day is influenced by the mean level of solar activity. The possibility of a one-to-one correlation between specific events on the Sun and specific changes in the length of day has remained more controversial, however, although there was a suggestion of such an effect associated with the great solar storm of 1959. Specifically, Danjon suggested that there was an increase in the length of day when the nucleonic component of solar cosmic rays increased ; this was in addition to the usual steady increase in the length of day. Other observers questioned the reality of this effect, and because the 1959 solar storm was the greatest recorded since the time of Galileo, there was no immediate hope of an independent test of Danjon’s claim. In August 1972, however, an even greater disturbance occurred on the Sun. It seemed to us that this might provide the ideal opportunity to resolve the controversy, and we have indeed found a discontinuous change in the length of day, and a change in the rate of change of the length of day (a glitch) immediately after that event. Changes in the length of day, and thus in the spin rate of the Earth, are revealed by regular measurements of Universal Time (UT) carried out at many observatories around the world. For our purpose, we are interested in UT2, the version of Universal Time with the effects of the Chandler Wobble and seasonal variations removed. The difference between Atomic Time (AT) and UT2 shows, on average, a monotonic increase as the Earth’s spin slows down and the length of day increases.

  207. Scared
    Posted Mar 2, 2006 at 1:51 PM | Permalink

    re #196: CO2 concentration in atmosphere in 2000 was 375 ppm. That is 0.0375%. Or one part in 2667. Sounds REALLY scary to me! Amazing, isn’t it! Something in such a low concentration can have such a massive impact on global climate!

  208. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Mar 2, 2006 at 2:06 PM | Permalink

    #206 – Very interesting. I wonder if it wasn’t the spin rate but time itself that was sped up slightly by the solar storm?

  209. JerryB
    Posted Mar 2, 2006 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

    Ironically, since 1973, the length of day has decreased more than it has increased.

    See and for a longer term view.

    See for sources of data.

  210. beng
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 10:02 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for the comments, John Lish & JerryB. Since the Hockey Team/IPCC stuff’s been dissected into freshmen-level stats & cherry-picked conclusions, I feel less guilty about my own speculations. So anyone correct as necessary. 🙂

    I think the direction of the “torque” put on the earth’s magnetic field depends on the polarity of the sun’s field, which flips during the height of the sunspot cycle. So, the spinning up/down of earth from this should cancel out over time (but the amount of change for single events is important in estimating the energy involved). OTOH, frictional drag on the earth’s atmosphere by the solar wind causes a small but always-slowing effect on rotation.

    Still, there seems like alot of energy involved, and no process (dynamo-like changing of the earth’s rotation rate, just like an electric motor) is perfect, which would result in “waste” heat occuring somewhere, maybe below the earth’s surface via fluid-friction. Of course, that could be negligible or forever sealed away by the insulating crust.

    I’m pretty sure the ionsphere and maybe even the upper stratosphere expand outward from heating during high-sunspot activity. Since the tropopause state (altitude/pressure/temp, gas composition, etc) is very important in the GHG radiational effects, I’m wondering how much this expansion/contraction would effect it and if it’s been accounted for in the models.

  211. JerryB
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 10:31 AM | Permalink

    Re #210

    From it appears that the factors causing largest stratospheric heating are volcanic eruptions.

    However, I would encourage caution about attempting to deduce too much from too little data.

  212. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 8:42 PM | Permalink

    Well, it’s 6:40 pm out here on the west coast. It’s all over now but the summing up at the NAS committee in DC. Steve and Ross are probably discussing the events over a beer, and only a dozen or so people in the whole world know how the panel behaved itself. I am really looking forward to Steve’s report. I expect from his experience in DC this week, he’ll be able to predict pretty well the overall tone of the panel’s up-coming proxy assessment report. I wonder which door they’ll open . . . . the lady or the tiger? Science or Lysenkoism?

  213. TCO
    Posted May 28, 2006 at 4:45 PM | Permalink

    What’s going on with the NAS panel? Looked on the site and it says that they have had 4 meetings so far. They have a couple conflicting statements of expected duration of the panel (4 and 6 months). They are overdue on the 4 month ticker.

    I really wonder how they can say much on such a broad issue, as how they have restated their charter? It’s one thing to dig into an individual paper. But to pass judgment on a field is even trickier. Requires more time and background.

    What was your impression of Bloomfield from the panel discussion? I saw that you had concerns about his addition (glad that a financial statistician was added, but worried about the previous connects to climate researchers). How did he come across?

  214. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 28, 2006 at 5:48 PM | Permalink

    No idea on what’s going on. Goldston of the House Science Committee seemed a bit chaffed at the broadness of the re-stated charter. As I mentioned in one note, he said that there would be plenty of time for big picture discussions; he hoped that they would take a couple of specific issues off the table. Little chance of that.

    This Bloomfield is not a “financial statistician” in the slightest. He’s a frequency-domain guy as is Nychka of UCAR. I’d asked that they put someone on the panel who was familiar with time-domain statistics, but needless to say NAS was not going to do anything along those lines.

    Bloomfield, like Nychka, sat like a bump on a log when Mann said that it would be “foolish and incorrect” to calculate an r2 statistic. As the statisticians on the panel, I think that they had a responsibility to wade into that issue – which, after all, was the very issue that NAS called Barton on.

    I thought that the Panel needed a good lawyer for a couple of reasons. Good litigation lawyers are quick on their feet and can often think on the spot of the questions that you think of when you go home and think, damn, I wish I’d asked that. They are also quick studies at getting the gist of a file quickly; I didn’t get the impression that the panel had the gist of the issues on March 2. They probably do now. In some ways, they’d have been better having written submissions in March and oral presentations in April. Finally, if you might have to get along with the other party afterwards but there are still some issues that you want to get on the table, sometimes it’s handy to have the lawyer be the bad guy. So all in all, you wouldn’t call them a hard-hitting panel.

  215. Posted Sep 9, 2010 at 5:04 AM | Permalink

    This isn’t to say we don’t try to learn…to understand what is going on. But to make public policy.!

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