Here’s a summary from Science of last week’s NAS panel.
The heat was on a 12-person National Research Council committee last week as it tackled the politically charged debate over how scientists have gauged temperatures from the past millennium or two. Chair Gerald North of Texas A&M University in College Station kept the audience on a tight leash, including principal protagonists Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University in State College and his critics, Stephen McIntyre of the University of Toronto, Canada, and Ross McKitrick of the University of Guelph, Canada. House Science Committee Chair Representative Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) had requested the study in the wake of attacks on Mann’s "hockey stick" temperature curve showing an abrupt, presumably human-induced warming over the last century (Science, 1 July 2005, p. 31).
Mann made himself scarce throughout the proceedings, even abruptly departing as McIntyre stood to make a final comment. Others, however, had already provided independent support for temperature trends resembling Mann’s, and Mann himself pointed out that he had sworn off the criticized analytical method years ago. The committee has promised a report on the science of millennial temperatures in June.
It’s funny how people view things differently. For example, I thought that the take-home issue arising from D’Arrigo was the quandary of the Divergence Problem. Yes, she presented a reconstruction that was generically somewhat hockey-stickish, but if the proxies and methods are problematic, so what?
One thing everyone can agree on is that Mann made "himself scarce". I didn’t realize that Mann exited when I made a short comment on Friday morning. It was a very short comment saying that I thought that the committee had dealt with verification statistics in a very unsatisfactory way, which they did.
But I talked less than 30 seconds. So he must have moved fast. As fast as a cheetah.
No wonder I couldn’t find him to say hello. I really was going to say hello to him afterwards. I introduced myself to Hughes and chatted about Liverpool soccer – so don’t say that I wasn’t going to.
What would I have said to him? I don’t know, I hadn’t thought about it. I’d probably have thanked him for getting me involved in an interesting project and taken it from there. Maybe he’d have thanked me for interesting commentary and all the good times. Maybe we’d talk basketball – he’s near Philadephia, what does think about Alan Iverson? Or what about Joe Paterno as Penn State football coach? How does Penn State look for next season? Precious moments…. when will we spend precious moments?