Take a Ritalin, Dave

The Team have snarled back at Wegman here . They’ve posted up an August 16, 2006 letter from David Ritson to Waxman, accusing Wegman of not responding with a request for information that had been outstanding for almost 3 weeks (?!?) .

Yes, you read it right. Jeez, I’ve been waiting almost three years for data and the Team complains to Congress if they have to wait for 3 weeks.

Take a Ritalin, Dave.

I guess it’s time to re-submit a request to Mann for the actual stepwise results from MBH, how he calculated the confidence intervals, how he retained principal components… It’s all too ridiculous for words.

By the way, during this 3 week period, Wegman also had to testify at a 2nd House Energy and Commerce Committee session on July 27 (made necessary only because Mann apparently couldn’t get a babysitter on the 20th) and, if I recall correctly, was a major presenter at an American Statistical Association meeting and I’ve been told, went to Europe. If it makes Ritson feel any better, I’ve sent some emails to Wegman during the past month and haven’t heard back from him either. I’m sure that he’ll catch up to his email and apologize for any delays.

The funnier thing is that Mann is now fighting tooth-and-nail against even admitting that his PC method is biased, based on Ritson, whose comment on our article was rejected twice by GRL here here. He’s going tooth-and-nail against Wegman, but, as they say over in Team-world, now he’s not just fighting against Wegman, he’s fighting against an entire Team, as it’s not just Wegman that have confirmed the bias in his PC algorithm, it’s the NAS Panel, von Storch and Zorita, Huybers. Now these latter don’t necessarily agree with us on the impact of the biased PC methodology on final reconstructions but I’d have said that the bias itself was about as well-tested as anything in climate science.

Wegman started his testimony on July 27 as follows:

"The debate over Dr. Mann’s principal components methodology has been going on for nearly three years. When we got involved, there was no evidence that a single issue was resolved or even nearing resolution. Dr. Mann’s RealClimate.org website said that all of the Mr. McIntyre and Dr. McKitrick claims had been ‘discredited’. UCAR had issued a news release saying that all their claims were ‘unfounded’. Mr. McIntyre replied on the ClimateAudit.org website. The climate science community seemed unable to either refute McIntyre’s claims or accept them. The situation was ripe for a third-party review of the types that we and Dr. North’s NRC panel have done.

He stated in no uncertain terms that both their panel and the NAS panel had agreed on the decentering issue and that it should be "off the table".

“Where we have commonality, I believe our report and the [NAS] panel essentially agree….We believe that our discussion together with the discussion from the NRC report should take the ‘centering’ issue off the table. [Mann’s] decentred methodology is simply incorrect mathematics… I am baffled by the claim that the incorrect method doesn’t matter because the answer is correct anyway. Method Wrong + Answer Correct = Bad Science.

The NAS panel itself had done essentially identical simulations to replicate the biased PC calculation, which they reported as follows, together with their Figure 9.2.

McIntyre and McKitrick (2003) demonstrated that under some conditions, the leading principal component can exhibit a spurious trendlike appearance, which could then lead to a spurious trend in the proxy-based reconstruction. To see how this can happen, suppose that instead of proxy climate data, one simply used a random sample of autocorrelated time series that did not contain a coherent signal. If these simulated proxies are standardized as anomalies with respect to a calibration period and used to form principal components, the first component tends to exhibit a trend, even though the proxies themselves have no common trend. Essentially, the first component tends to capture those proxies that, by chance, show different values between the calibration period and the remainder of the data. If this component is used by itself or in conjunction with a small number of unaffected components to perform reconstruction, the resulting temperature reconstruction may exhibit a trend, even though the individual proxies do not. Figure 9-2 shows the result of a simple simulation along the lines of McIntyre and McKitrick (2003) (the computer code appears in Appendix B). In each simulation, 50 autocorrelated time series of length 600 were constructed, with no coherent signal. Each was centered at the mean of its last 100 values, and the first principal component was found. The figure shows the first components from five such simulations overlaid. Principal components have an arbitrary sign, which was chosen here to make the last 100 values higher on average than the remainder.

FIGURE 9-2 Five simulated principal components and the corresponding population eigenvector. See text for details.

Now Mann is contesting this finding to the House Committee – criticizing Wegman but not the NAS Panel who made an identical finding. Here’s what he said:

There is another element of this question which raises a deeply troubling matter with regard to Dr. Wegman’s failure to subject his work to peer review, and Wegman’s apparent refusal to let other scientists try to replicate his work. Professor David Ritson, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Stanford University, has found error in the way that Dr. Wegman models the “persistence” of climate proxy data. Interestingly, this is the same error Steven McIntyre committed in his work, which was recently refuted in the paper by Wahl and Ammann, which was in turn vetted by Dr. Douglass Nychka, an eminent statistician. Dr. Ritson has determined that that the calculations that underlie the conclusions that Dr. Wegman advanced in his report are likely flawed. Although Dr. Ritson has been unable to reproduce, even qualitatively, the results claimed by Dr. Wegman, he has been able to isolate the likely source of Wegman’s errors. What is so troubling is that Dr. Wegman and his co-authors have ignored repeated collegial inquiries by Dr. Ritson and apparently are refusing to provide any basic details about the calculations for the report (see Attachments 3 and 4 to this Response). It would appear that Dr. Wegman has completely failed to live up to the very standards he has publicly demanded of others.

Moreover, the errors that Dr. Ritson has identified in Dr. Wegman’s calculations appear so basic that they would almost certainly have been detected in a standard peer review. In other words, had Dr. Wegman’s report been properly peer-reviewed in a rigorous process where peer-reviewers were selected anonymously, it likely would not have seen the light of day. Dr. Wegman has thus unwittingly provided us with a prime example of the importance of the peer review process as a basic first step in quality control.

This is intriguing. Ritson has supposedly found errors that are "so basic that they would almost certainly have been detected in a standard peer review". The error is supposedly in the way that we modeled the "persistence" of climate proxy data. Well, whatever the error supposedly was, it’s not just Wegman that couldn’t spot it, as I mentioned above, it’s the NAS Panel, the NAS panel peer reviewers, von Storch and Zorita, Huybers and many others. So what actually is this mysterious error?

Mann doesn’t actually say, but he says that it is the "same error" that was refuted by Wahl and Ammann, "vetted by Douglas Nychka, the eminent statistician". Presumably that is the same Douglas Nychka, who served on the NAS Panel despite the conflict. Excuse me, but can anyone point me to the section in the NAS Panel report where Nychka mentions the mysterious "error"? So whatever the error is, Nychka in his capacity as NAS panelist did not see fit to mention it in the NAS report. I’ve read Wahl and Ammann about as closely as anyone else and while they make lots of misrepresentations and accusations, about the only thing that they don’t accuse us of is making an error on "persistence". In fact, they say the exact opposite:

The method presented in MM05a generates apparently realistic pseudo tree ring series with autocorrelation (AC) structures like those of the original MBH proxy data (focusing on the 1400- onward set of proxy tree ring data), using red noise series generated by employing the original proxies’ complete AC structure.

They go on to make other criticisms of our methodology (which I reject) but they notably did not criticize the persistence properties of our pseudoproxies. (But the effect applies with simple AR1 structures as well as confirmed by the NAS panel and Wegman.)

Now you’d think that this "basic error" about persistence, if obvious to any peer reviewer, would have been mentioned in Ritson’s own submission to GRL (which was rejected twice.) But again while Ritson makes many criticisms of us in his article, he doesn’t mention anything about persistence. Since Ritson has made an issue of this, I’ve now posted up Ritson’s original submission to GRL together with our Reply (which I had previously posted up.) I discussed this previously here and here. If you look at Ritson’s GRL submission, you will be unable to locate any mention of the "basic error" about persistence that Mann is now frothing about.

Let’s now turn to Ritson’s letters to Wegman posted at Mann’s website here. His first letter was copied to Mann; and his second to both Mann and Schmidt. Ritson has also been a recent realclimate contributor and coauthor with Wahl and Ammann.

Here’s his first claim:

Any of my colleagues would have routinely checked their results to see if their derived PC1 (etc) derived from a systematic signal or from random noise. For example for a 70 member population, all that is required is to use the extracted PC1 vector from the 70 members, and apply it to each member to project out its relative sign (and amplitude). For signal dominated results one sign will predominate and for noise dominated results both signs will be roughly equally present. Needless to say when, a couple of years ago, I checked the M&M work, I did just that.

First of all, I agree that the distribution of eigenvector signs is different between a signal and noise. Indeed, I’d even say that the distribution of eigenvector signs might well be a test for the existence of a signal. But that’s neither here not there. The Mannian method doesn’t use that information – indeed a criticism of principal component methods is that information on the orientation of the series – which is presumably known if the series is a "temperature proxy" – is not used. But the issue with the Mannian method is that it is biased towards selecting HS-shaped series. We showed that the Mannian method promoted bristlecones into the PC1 making them seem like the "dominant component of variance" when they weren’t. If there are some nonclimatic series – "bad apples" – the situation is intensified. See our Reply to VZ on this. So as to this being a gotcha, I don’t get it. What’s it got to do with the price of eggs?

The next point raised by Ritson is as follows:

To facilitate a reply I attach the Auto-Correlation Function used by the M&M to generate their persistent red noise simulations for their figures shown by you in your Section 4 (this was kindly provided me by M&M on Nov 6 2004 ). The black values are the ones actually used by M&M. They derive directly from the seventy North American tree proxies, assuming the proxy values to be TREND-LESS noise.Surely you realized that the proxies combine the signal components on which is superimposed the noise? I find it hard to believe that you would take data with obvious trends, would then directly evaluate ACFs without removing the trends, and then finally assume you had obtained results for the proxy specific noise! You will notice that the M&M inputs purport to show strong persistence out to lag-times of 350 years or beyond.

Your report makes no mention of this quite improper M&M procedure used to obtain their ACFs. Neither do you provide any specification data for your own results that you contend confirm the M&M results.

I think that this relates to Ritson’s recent postings at realclimate about autocorrelation which I discussed here and here. Ritson is now promoting the idea that autocorrelation in proxy series is really low and that we assumed autocorrelation that was too high in our simulations.

Ritson’s point was considered by some of the more statistically-minded readers here and some tried to comment over at realclimate. realclimate shut down comments on the thread within about 7 days, beating Rasmus’ previous record, and refused to post many critical comments. Our conclusion here was that Ritson had done some kind of weird home-grown Team autocorrelation calculation that didn’t convince any of us.

But even if Ritson should eventually show that he’s right, this is not something that anyone else has noticed so far or that he’s been able to persuade any non-Team people about. It’s an issue that he did not raise in his own comment on our GRL article; it’s not an issue that’s discussed in Wahl and Ammann or "vetted by Nychka".

Ironically, in Gavin’s phrase, it also doesn’t matter. Let’s say that our autocorrelation coefficients were too high (which I don’t concede for a second). The bias still exists with lesser autocorrelation; it’s just not as severe. But at the end of the day, the problem is the weighting assigned to bristlecones. The NAS panel ruled against bristlecones. If you take bristlecones out of the mix, the PC method "doesn’t matter". To the left below are the reconstructions with differing PC methods showing the changing impact of bristlecones; to the right, the reconstruction without bristlecones.

In the words of the Team, sigh.

Left – WA Scenario 5 as previously described. Right – WA Scenario 6 with xxx bristlecone series excluded. Orange – MBH98 for reference. Red – with two Mannian PCs (WA Scenario 6a); magenta – with 2 covariance PCs (WA Scenario 6c) ; blue – one graph with 2 correlation PCs (WA Scenario 6b); one graph with 5 covariance PCs.


  1. Pat Frank
    Posted Aug 31, 2006 at 9:26 PM | Permalink

    Steve M. wrote: “I don’t get it. What’s it got to do with the price of eggs?

    It’s got to do with convincing the unskilled and the swaying uninformed, Steve. It’s got to do with press releases and public relations. It’s got everything to do with politics and advocacy groups, and nothing to do with science or statistics. In California, the legislature just passed a bill advocating a 25% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020. Schwartzenegger will certainly sign it. UC Berkeley apparently released a study showing that this action will add $60 billion and 17,000 jobs to the California economy (one may doubt. . . broken window fallacy).

    The continued obduracy of the HT has everything to do with maintaining the political momentum of climate change. The testimony of Mann and the arguments of Ritson give the appearance of legitimacy, powering the continued accusations of lies and greed aimed at those who follow the science and so dispute the validity of assigning an “A” to GW.

    Eventually the truth will out. The consequential costs and benefits will then evidence themselves.

    Ross M., if you read this could you please comment on the Berkeley Energy and Resources (BEAR) economic model (a GCM for economies?) and the likelihood of a positive outcome in betting an economic future on the technological come?

  2. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 31, 2006 at 9:43 PM | Permalink

    Maybe Ritson will submit his article about autocorrelation to Dano at Galileo.

  3. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Aug 31, 2006 at 10:18 PM | Permalink

    I remember the series of increasingly accusatory inquiries we got from Ritson. He seems to think PC analysis is a signal-noise decomposition, and false trends should all average out. And he was really stuck on the idea that the formula picks the + and – signs so that end-sample trends don’t average out: I got the impression he suspected we went through and assigned minus signs here and there. Anyway, we got tired of the increasingly accusatory tone of the correspondence and said that if he had a substantive point to make he should write it down and send it to GRL as a comment. You’d think having his comment rejected twice, even under the most favourable editorial circumstances possible, would deter him from wading in again.

    The quote from Mann about peer review is beyond ironic, it’s farce. The peer review process upheld our findings on the PC error: not only during the GRL review, but in 2 independent investigations by the NRC panel and the Wegman panel. And it was never a surprise: it’s the most basic and transparent part of the argument, which nobody (but Mann) has contested and numerous people have replicated. The GRL peer review process twice ensured that Ritson’s gibberish never saw the light of day, despite the Editor apparently wanting to print it. Five prime examples of the usefulness of peer review, all of which Mann rejects in favour of unpublished email diatribes from Ritson, even while claiming the mantle of peer review for himself. And to top it all off I’ll bet even Mann hasn’t been able to figure out what Ritson’s on about. The whole situation is lunacy.

  4. John A
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 1:39 AM | Permalink

    The question I want answered is not about persistence or autocorrelation or r2 or pseudoproxies.

    It’s about the CENSORED directories.

    If Mann can come up with a valid explanation for what those directories are, why he tested without his precious bristlecones and why he didn’t report the results of those tests, then I’d like to hear them. It looks to me like burying the bad news.

    I’d also like a statement from UMass with an explanation for why Mann’s conduct in producing MBH98 has never been investigated.

  5. James Lane
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 3:30 AM | Permalink

    Actually, John A, I think that battle has been fought long ago. Now Mann and the Team have decided to make a counter-attack in the battle of Wegman.

    To a large extent, however, I suspect the war is over, even if one side doesn’t realise, or admit it yet.

  6. fFreddy
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 4:25 AM | Permalink

    Re #5, James Lane

    To a large extent, however, I suspect the war is over, even if one side doesn’t realise, or admit it yet.

    Yesterday, the twit Cameron put the Tory party in bed with Friends of the Earth to call for mandatory CO2 cuts. Earlier this week, Governor Arnie committed the state of California to something similar. (Good luck with your electricity bills, Rocksy.)
    With respect, I’m not sure who you think is winning here …

  7. The Knowing One
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 4:26 AM | Permalink

    Mann is claiming that the Wegman report was not peer reviewed. That is highly disputable. At the July 19th hearing, the following exchange took place.

    Rep. Stupak: “Did anyone outside your social network peer review your report?”

    Wegman: “Yes.”

    Rep. Stupak: “So when you do peer review…”

    Wegman: “Let me answer the question. Enders Robinson; Grace Wahba, who is a member of the National Academy; Noel Cressie, who is at Ohio State University; Bill Wieczorek, who is at Buffalo State University, SUNY; David Banks, who is at Duke University; Fritz Scheuren, who is the immediate past president of the American Statistical Association.”

    (David Banks is the editor of the Applications & Case Studies section of the Journal of the American Statistical Association.) Since Mann must know this, what is he really saying?

  8. James Lane
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 4:32 AM | Permalink

    I should clarify. When I said that “to a large extent, however, I suspect the war is over” I was talking about MBH, not AGW in general.

  9. per
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 4:34 AM | Permalink

    I think this stuff is fantastic. Just looking at the comments referee #2 made on that public peer-review paper, shows that he has a scorched-earth attitude; you either agree with him, or he writes the most caustic stuff about you.

    Mann has now started to use his scorched earth policy against Wegman. It is entirely possible that he may seriously alienate a number of prominent statisticians; and he is doing this over territory where nas and wegman agree.

    wonderful. carry on 🙂

  10. Louis Hissink
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 5:10 AM | Permalink

    Steve/Ross/Pat et al

    I see an interesting topic here for AIG News.

    Deadline is 31 October, 2006 for publication 11/2006.

    keep up the good work!

  11. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 6:33 AM | Permalink

    Wow. I know Mann was at UMass, UVa, and now Penn St…but when did he leave reality?

    This cracked me up:

    There is another element of this question which raises a deeply troubling matter with regard to Dr. Wegman’s failure to subject his work to peer review, and Wegman’s apparent refusal to let other scientists try to replicate his work.

    Talk about being hypocritical!

  12. BradH
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 6:43 AM | Permalink

    Re: #3

    You should let Ross write all of your replies to comments.

    You should take that seriously. Your #3 is a withering summary in a TV-sized sound-bite.

  13. BradH
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 6:45 AM | Permalink

    Edit: 12
    [Well, maybe a science TV sound-bite, not a CNN sound-bite.]

  14. BradH
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 7:17 AM | Permalink

    (David Banks is the editor of the Applications & Case Studies section of the Journal of the American Statistical Association.) Since Mann must know this, what is he really saying?

    I’m desperate…my funding will be revoked…my place in history, gone!

  15. Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 7:53 AM | Permalink

    Steve Ms says that Berkley have done a study showing that proposed climate legislation in California will lead to growth and new jobs. If Steve M – who is highly emotional about this – has it right then this illustrates further the bias of academic institutions in climate change. You can believe that GW is an urgent problem and that something needs to be done and that various laws need to be enacted. You cannot believe that this will be costless (or beneficial). If not emitting carbon was economically efficient, then companies would not emit carbon. Markets are generaly efficient, certainly in the sense that companies do not shirk from making obvious savings in the long term. The only argument for GW is that it is an externality that will impose future costs and so correcting it would come with a cost now. Anyone who argues that we can costless avoid climate change is essentially ignoring a whole canon of (peer reviewed) economic literature.

  16. cbone
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 8:06 AM | Permalink

    In his responses Mann claimed that he has released his computer code and algorithms. I was under the impression that he hasn’t. Or is this a case of a partial release of information. What’s the deal?

  17. KevinUK
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 8:28 AM | Permalink

    #15 Rocks,

    fFreddy and I are in the same boat, but short of emigration we are stuck with a choice at our next General Election between the “Chancer” and “Stuntman Dave”. The “Chancer” as we all know in the UK is very keen on re-distributing wealth from the middle class taxpayers to the largely non-tax paying less well-off. This is social re-engineering through the backdoor on a grand scale. “Stuntman Dave” no doubt will be much the same if we then him in. Read this (coutesy of Numberwatch) to get an idea of what fFreddy and I have got to look forward to under “Stuntman Dave”.


  18. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 8:40 AM | Permalink

    #1: Pat, I looked quickly at the report, and I recall seeing an earlier one from Berkeley as well. It is possible to get a GDP increase as a result of GHG emission reductions, to a point, if the model is set up with sufficiently loose substitution elasticities in energy use and you ignore output distortions created by the existing tax structure. Or you can have a distorting tax structure in the model, then use the revenue from the permits auction to reduce other tax rates and sometimes get a GDP increase (my PhD thesis was a CGE simulation of this effect for the Cdn economy).

    The policy they propose here is to auction tradable quotas, then hand all the proceeds back to the same firms in shares determined by their baseline emission levels. Hopefully someone at the CARB, which will have to design the system, will point out that this builds huge rigidity into the industrial structure, as it creates a perpetual subsidy for incumbent firms based on how dirty they were, and financially penalizes new firms, no matter how clean they are. Not surprising they are getting support for it from some existing large firms. The real losers are the decade-hence potential market entrants and their potential employees, who obviously aren’t in a position to lobby for their interests. Since the policy CA will eventually implement will almost certainly not be the one modeled in this report, the cost numbers are no guide to the joy awaiting welikerocks and her family. Who might want to bookmark this.

    I suspect (but couldn’t tell from the report) that the CGE model they use does not specify the existing tax structure, which would cause it to understate the actual costs because of tax interaction effects. Some of the most detailed work on that topic (eg http://www.rff.org/rff/Documents/RFF-DP-97-18-REV.pdf) was done by Goulder, one of the letter signatories. I have a hard time squaring his published papers on this topic, including one in the American Econ Rev, with the free-lunch conclusions of the BEAR model which he appears to endorse.

    They don’t mention that the overall index of economic outcome in a CGE model is not GDP, it’s the social welfare function, which adds up consumer utility levels. GDP can go up while social welfare drops: for instance if you model a policy that forces people to work more and take less leisure, since enjoyment of leisure is in the utility function but not in GDP. I’d be interested in seeing their estimate of real per capita income over the life of the policy, which is a closer approximation to social welfare. I’d be surprised if real per capita income or social welfare increases as a result of the proposed GHG reduction policy, even in their model framework. And I’d be interested in seeing the elasticity parameters they use for their energy market models. Not so interested, however, that I’d actually look them up. If California wants to gamble based on free lunch economic models then good luck to them.

  19. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 8:47 AM | Permalink

    Oh, and thanks BradH (#12). If I had said all that into a CNN microphone the edited outcome would be “…we went through and assigned minus signs here and there…he had a substantive point to make…the peer review process upheld our…error.”

  20. BradH
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

    Re: #17

    Re #11, I’d have thought you’d approve of replicating of science? Surely, the “team’ have seen the light?

    Don’t be such a numbskull, Peter. As has been pointed out, Wegman has been been away more than an itinerant tree-ring sampler during the past few weeks.

    Be assured that, if he doesn’t address his critics’ questions, we’ll get on his case, as well.

    What do you think might be a reasonable period? Eight years, or so? How long have you been asking Mann for his data, Steve?

    What time frame do you think might be reasonable, Peter?

    [BTW, I hear that scientists have just discovered that a rogue Hydrogen atom appears to be the cause of virtually all of the global warming we’ve experienced recently.

    It seems that the danger occurs when a rogue H atom attaches to an oxygen atom, in the presence of another H. The resulting 2H, plus O molecule appears to have a previously unrecognised, but enormous, effect on temperatures everywhere.

    The discovery has dazzled climate scientists the world-over. Dr Michael Mann spoke to one of our reporters this morning: “When I heard it, I couldn’t believe it,” he said, “I was in the shower and I thought to myself, ‘One little H, put with another little H and a slightly bigger O.”

    The Royal Academy of Sciences was equally astonished, saying they had not heard anything so delightfully outrageous since Charles Darwin put on a monkey suit to promote his Pre-Caveman Diet book.

    In light of this amazing discovery, all available scientific and media resources are being redeployed to ensure that it never sees the light of day.]

  21. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 9:28 AM | Permalink

    Brad, surely such an approach by the ‘team’ should be obvious and thus Wegman be pre preparred? This is a perfect chance, he should be ready with his answer including a line somewhere about how he hopes others might behave similarily.

    Re #19, how times have changed – perhaps you need to move, midwest maybe? Sheeshh, JB’s got a lot to say atm.

  22. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 11:20 AM | Permalink

    Re #11, I’d have thought you’d approve of replicating of science? Surely, the “team’ have seen the light?

    I have no problem with it, but first of all, I need more proof than a statement of Mann to convince me that Wegman is refusing to “let” other scientists replicate his work. After all, the previous sentence has Mann saying Wegman et al was not peer-reviewed, which it was by all accounts so far. And we’re talking about 3 weeks of a lack of response by Wegman.

    Secondly, this is a Mann who said he “would not be intimidated into releasing his code,” could not supply M&M with the data necessary to replicate MBH98, etc. And now even if Wegman were being stubborn in releasing information over a 3 week period, it “raises a deeply troubling matter!?!?!?”

    C’mon Peter, you must admit the irony is as thick as a brick. If I operated in this sort of manner, I’d be considered delusional.

  23. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

    #17. It’s a partial release. In summer 2005, after being requisitioned by the House Energy and commerce Committee, he released part of his code in a form that didn’t work with any existing data archives.

  24. Dano
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    Yes, you read it right. Jeez, I’ve been waiting almost three years for data and the Team complains to Congress if they have to wait for 3 weeks.

    Noooooo, they are complaining about getting radio silence from Team Wegman.

    Standard professionalism requires that you at least get back to the requestor and say something akin to ‘Sorry! really busy!’ , ‘You’re near the top of the pile’ (what I say), or some such.

    Your argumentation doesn’t wash, Steve, as they are making a point about standards.

    Well, for some students, maybe, it washes, but they aren’t in the professional world yet.

    And, BTW, I don’t want to edit Galileo: The journal of CA NewScience – I’ve written that I think Sadlov should take that up.



  25. Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

    Climate Science from Experimental Particle Physicists (for Statisticians). RC should change the title.

  26. Spence_UK
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    Noooooo, they are complaining about getting radio silence from Team Wegman.

    Standard professionalism requires that you at least get back to the requestor and say something akin to “Sorry! really busy!’ , “You’re near the top of the pile’ (what I say), or some such.

    Yep, because the hockey team would never behave in such an unprofessional way.

    Just sayin’

    PS Dano, before making such rules up to justify your position, try and find out if “your side” has already broken them. Google works well.

  27. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

    RE: #16 – the argument goes something like, if we can get people into 100% electric cars and onto electrified rail transit, the our carbon challenge would be mastered. Of course, there is one small detail that must be considered. How will the additional electric current be produced? Well we’re running out of saleable sites for new hydro facilities. Wind is getting a bad rap from the raptor protectors. Nuclear is not saleable here, whether reality indicates an issue or not, due to seismicity. That leaves the old photovoltaic cell. Aha, there are the jobs! We’ll simply revamp the old wafer fabs and give new life to Silicon Valley (now being decimated by Chinese price erosion). Oh, but one problem, sputtering machines, CVD machines and all the other wafer processing gear also needs lots of juice….. OOOOPS!

  28. Dano
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 1:35 PM | Permalink


    before making such rules up to justify your position…

    1. You are obviously not a professional. This is a standard practice in any professional field: business, government, science, accounting, finance, dishwasher [‘hey, where are those spoons?!?’ ‘Sorry mate! Little behind! Give me a minute!’].

    2. The point is that the W report calls for full disclosure of all datums, yet they are on radio silence when asked for information; the point is not whether the other party has or has not done same.

    That is (for those still unwilling to comprehend): someone is merely pointing out an apparent instance of “Rules for thee, but not for me.”

    3. For those with quick dudgeon triggers: note my comments make no excuses for, accuse, nor defend either ‘side’.



  29. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

    1. You are obviously not a professional. This is a standard practice in any professional field: business, government, science, accounting, finance, dishwasher [‘hey, where are those spoons?!?’ “Sorry mate! Little behind! Give me a minute!’].

    Do you know how many climate scientists you’ve just said are “obviously not professionals?”

    And BTW, where are those spoons! Enough with the excuses already.

  30. Spence_UK
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 2:04 PM | Permalink

    You are obviously not a professional

    ROFLMAO. Are you American? That would explain your inability to detect sarcasm.

    someone is merely pointing out an apparent instance of “Rules for thee, but not for me.”

    No, that is not my point. Try again.

    note my comments make no excuses for, accuse, nor defend either ‘side’.

    ROFLMAO squared. Yes Dano, you are the exemplar of neutrality.

    Sorry Steve. I shouldn’t feed the trolls. Dano, please, have the last word. I will not reply.

  31. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 2:16 PM | Permalink


    someone is merely pointing out an apparent instance of “Rules for thee, but not for me.”

    Exactly. Mann himself said that he would not be “intimidated” into disclosing his algorithm. Dano, even you must gag on this hypocrisy.

  32. welikerocks
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for the Nevada link Ross and thinking of my family in your comments. You are quite right, we just might need that information sheesh! And KevinUk, I could barely get through the introduction of the pages you linked. My gosh. In a nutshell, Climate change IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYHING now ! I always wonder what spin would be happening if it was getting colder instead? Sheesh and sheesh again!

  33. Hans Erren
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

    I’m very amused that Michael Mann includes a picture of the Solvay conference in his reasoning.

    The journal Annalen der Physik in which most of the groundbreaking physics research was published was not peer reviewed and Planck himself was the editor. The hot discussions on the interpretation of quatum physics is well known.

    Michael Mann, on the other hand, did not discuss his work with Stephen McIntyre on the occasions when he did have the opportunity. He prefers interviews with journalists and blog monologues instead. Note that the replies to comments on this topic on Realclimate are also by Gavin and Stefan.

  34. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 3:17 PM | Permalink

    I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time!!!!

    Question No. 1. I understand that although your current practice is to make your computer code available publicly, many researchers in your field do not do so. Although computer code may not have commercial value, why would a researcher not want to release his code?

    Answer: This is a question that my colleagues and I have wrestled with over the years. As the question acknowledges, for the past five years or more, my colleagues and I have made public our computer codes, just as we made public our code for the 1998 study last year. Our decision to make our code public comes at a time when there is increased standardization in codes, and the need to tailor codes to accommodate the various and often idiosyncratic computer systems that were used in the 1990s has diminished. But even today, many, perhaps most, climate scientists do not share their codes. In my view, there are legitimate reasons for reaching that decision, even though it is not the decision my colleagues and I have made.

    What kind of kiss-up question is this?!?!? Who would “understand that although your current practice is to make your computer code available publicly” in reference to “I will not be intimidated into releasing my code” Mann? The more I see him write, the more ethically reprehensible I find him.

    And then he goes-on to compare the release of his code to Microsoft releasing the code of a newly-released operating system…

    Note that the replies to comments on this topic on Realclimate are also by Gavin and Stefan.

    Mann is too busy trying to get in touch with Wegman.

  35. Jeff Weffer
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

    I wonder whether Wegman is allowed to have holidays after spending many hours over the past several months researching, writing and preparing to testify before Congress and before university starts up again in September.

  36. Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

    Three weeks is a bit long not to get an answer, but it happens.

    The real thing to do is send a polite followup before making a public spectacle over it, no?

  37. Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

    The RealClimate quotes show quite clearly that neither of them has any idea what the mysterious error could exactly be. I guess that if there were something sharp to say about the hypothetical error of Wegman, they would try to write it, instead of the sociological comments about their being supported by AB and CD. In my opinion, they are just trying to spread fog in order not to take the belief from their believers.

  38. Paul Linsay
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    Interesting that Mann brings up the Solvay Conferences. They were famous for the ferocious, but gentlemanly, discussions that went on. The most famous was Bohr and Einstein going after each other about the interpretation of quantum mechanics 12 hours a day for three days. Bohr won but had to take a vacation afterwards he was so exhausted. Compare this with Mann and the other AGW members who refuse to countenance any significant cause of climate change other than increasing CO2 and are unwilling to even debate the other side. C.f. Hansen refusing to appear on a panel that included Christy. Or Mann refusing to go head to head with our host.

  39. David H
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 4:23 PM | Permalink

    Was it Churchill that said we are two nations divided by one language?
    Anyway, Dave Ritson should know that we sow the seeds of doubt but sew on our Boy Scout badges.

  40. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 4:33 PM | Permalink

    This whole thing is so bizarre even for the Team – think about it: Ritson’s never published anything on this; Mann never mentioned it in all his tirades at realclimate; doesn’t breathe a word of it to the NAS panel; doesn’t mention it at the House Committee hearings. And now it’s the biggest thing in Team-world.

    Ritson’s question: How Red are My Proxies? Not as red as your face should be.

  41. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Sep 1, 2006 at 5:23 PM | Permalink

    Of course it’s true that bad behavior is not an excuse for other bad behavior. That said, it’s unclear to me whether this has yet slipped to that level.

    I did find it interesting that although Dano has been posting on the RC thread referred to, his post pointing out that Dr. Mann has not lived up to Dano’s standard of professionalism hasn’t appeared there yet. Must have been censored by the RC folks…

  42. Reid
    Posted Sep 2, 2006 at 4:06 AM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre: “It’s all too ridiculous for words.”

    To quote Montny Python, “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”

    Post-modern Piltdown Mann.

  43. T J Olson
    Posted Sep 2, 2006 at 5:40 AM | Permalink

    #42 Davd H:

    “England and America are two countries divided by a common language.”
    – George Bernard Shaw

    Close, but no cigar

  44. Boris
    Posted Sep 2, 2006 at 9:21 PM | Permalink

    Wegman seems to have messed up the number of co-authors Mann had prior to MBH98. He claims 42, Mann 14. CV seems to check out. Oops?

  45. Mark T
    Posted Sep 2, 2006 at 9:30 PM | Permalink

    I got the impression the 42 was total co-authors, not Mann’s specifically. I.e., 42 was the size of their overall cabal that works together in one fashion or another on every paper. That and it’s the answer to the question, but that’s not relevant here.


  46. Boris
    Posted Sep 3, 2006 at 6:32 AM | Permalink

    True, Mark.

    But..Wegman says this “…if there is a tight relationship among the authors and there are not a large number of individuals engaged in a particular topic area, then one may suspect that the peer review process does not fully vet papers before they are published.”

    Well, this is a suspicion–as Wegman acknowledges–and, as such, it must assume that a full 42 members of the group are either so enamored with Mann and anyone else that they’d throw scientific objectivity to the wind or that there is a vast conspiracy at hand. Nothing scientific there.

    Second, Wegman repeats the number 42 many times, but at the time MBH98 underwent peer review Mann had only 14 co-authors. So the idea that peer review of MBH98 was some cabal-influenced fraud falls from the level of suspicion and conjecture to the level of internet conspiracy theory.

  47. charles
    Posted Sep 3, 2006 at 7:12 AM | Permalink


    all 42 share a common incentive to keep the grant money flowing. how much money has the 42 recieved compliments of the us taxpayer?

    they also share a common interest in keep gw in a crisis state so that the overall budget for gw stays high.

  48. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 3, 2006 at 7:19 AM | Permalink

    IMO opinion, the more salient issue is not the number of Mann’s coauthors, but the narrow authorship base of the multiproxy studies and this would have been a much better thing to emphasize. It’s not like you have 12 studies by different groups. You have Bradley and Jones 1993; Mann Bradley and Hughes 1998-1998; Jones, Briffa ,,,1998; Briffa, Jones …2001; Briffa 2000; Mann and Jones 2003; Jones and Mann 2004; Rutherford,Mann, Bradley, Hughes, Jones, Briffa and Osborn 2005; Osborn and Briffa 2006; with Cook, D’Arrigo and Jacoby also in the mix.

    Also the multiproxy authors rely heavily on their own site studies. The chronologies for Yamal, Tornetrask, were calculated in Briffa 2000; Mann’s North American PC1 is used in his studies plus Osborn and Briffa 2006; Hegerl et al 2006; etc.

    IMHO that’s a lot more important than the 42 authors.

  49. bender
    Posted Sep 3, 2006 at 8:05 AM | Permalink

    It is the relative connectedness of the MBH network that is critical, not the absolute connectedness. And there are two factors at play in paleoclimatology that boost the relative connectedness factor (1) the field is small, relative to other fields, in terms of number of researchers (2) it is global in scope, whereas most other domains (such as Wegman’s own) are non-global. Boris has a point, in that Wegman should have compared the MBH network to comprable networks, in a formal mathematical way; but that would have taken too much time. It will happen, however. And I suspect Wegman’s hunch will be upheld. (These points were all raised already in the Wegman thread, by the way.)

    I’m not sure how many papers Boris has written, reviewed, and edited. But I would guess that half or more of all researchers feel there is a problem of lack of independence in the peer review process. Even as a graduate student my proferssors lameneted how (1) “publish or perish” was reducing the overall quality of the literature, and (2) the new-millenium mandate to operate in research networks was reducing the amount of overlap and inter-lab competition, which is necessary to fuel competitive hypothesis testing. Again, it was only the old-timers who could sense the decay, and who were concerned enough to say something about it.

    Boris is exaggerating the effect that Wegman was pointing to. It does not take a secret cabal to produce systematic lack of independence. It only takes friendly relations, familiarity with a method, or research paradigm, a willingness to overlook small details in the methods of people you trust. The multiproxy paleo community is a relatively friendly one. As is the dendrochronology community.

    Boris, if these topics are of interest, consider reading the Wegman thread, and posting there, where your questions can be pursued in full & proper context.

    Other relevant posts on social networks in scientific research can be found in the Whitfield threads:

    here, and

  50. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 3, 2006 at 8:29 AM | Permalink

    Von Storch concurred with this Wegman criticism in a thread over at Pielke Jr. While von Storch has his own take on things, he has been consistently complimentary on our role in opening up debate on multiproxy studies. He’s said that his papers were being refused at multiple journals prior to us opening up the playing field.

  51. Boris
    Posted Sep 3, 2006 at 8:58 AM | Permalink

    “It only takes friendly relations, familiarity with a method, or research paradigm, a willingness to overlook small details in the methods of people you trust.”

    I think if this were true it should be demonstrable across a variety of fields, especially in the specialized literature. As a pure guess (And that’s all Wegman or anyone else is doing), I would say that unfriendly rivalry would be more of a factor, so that peer reviews might be negative for purely personal reasons. THis is only my experience, however.

    “all 42 share a common incentive to keep the grant money flowing. how much money has the 42 recieved compliments of the us taxpayer?

    they also share a common interest in keep gw in a crisis state so that the overall budget for gw stays high.”

    I see charles is a fan of the internet conspiracy theory type argument.

  52. Posted Sep 3, 2006 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

    This is all about Mannistics. Normal rules of statistics just don’t apply to multi-proxy CGM’s, so they have created a new field of measurement.

    I strongly suspect that part of the reason Mann won’t reveal the code is that he has intellectual property rights attached to the critical (as he sees it) lines of code. Any researcher who wants to use this code pays Mann a nominal fee to be allowed to do so. I would love to see the list of researchers / statisticians who were refused use. You might think it would be better for Mann to grant license to as many R / S’s as possible, thereby earning more $$$$. But he has to be selective and grant usage rights only to those who co-oborate (sp) and reaffirm his methodologies, for as soon as his methodologies are discredited, his income from the code dries up. Friends of Mann don’t use their own money to buy those usage rights; they use tax payer $$$ to incorporate Mannistics into their research. So Friends of Mann don’t lose anything if the methodologies they pay for turn out to be rubbish. The tax payers are the ones that lose, money wise and policy wise.

    I could be wrong though, and don’t want to be accused of using a dreaded ad-hom against Mann et al, the guys who are screwing up science 🙂

  53. bender
    Posted Sep 3, 2006 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

    Just a little perspective here:

    #50 is a bit cynical
    #55 is a bit conspiratorial
    … whereas Wegman’s analysis is neither.

    There is much to say in response to Boris’s criticism of Wegman’s social network analysis. Before doing that I would encourage Boris and others to first read through the discussions that have already been had on the topic. There are some peculiarities about the paleoclimatology field that make it a little more vulnerable to pernicious emergent properties such as academic inbreeding (peculiarities which do not require a conspiratoprial structure to bring about faulty analysis favouring a particular hypothesis).

    Boris, all fields are subject to this kind of problem, but in paleoclimatology the connectivity, scale, and thinness of the network are quite remarkable. The errors that were made were “small” (at least superficially, from a peer-review perspective), but rather critical.

  54. Tim Ball
    Posted Sep 3, 2006 at 12:24 PM | Permalink

    The co-authorship issue is well set out in Wegman. However, I think the peer review issue needs consideration. Unfortunately it is hidden under non-disclosure, but I would like to know who reviewed MBH98 and who reviewed the co-authored papers Wegman references and Steve more narrowly identifies. Would a well informed reviewer have picked up on the small network syndrome? It is also possible that the ‘network’ group were responsible as reviewers for the rejection of papers that challenged their positions. We have heard of too many good papers rejected for specious reasons on this site. I have referred to this as “peer review censorship” when the editor sends articles to the “high priests” of the subject and they can weed out the heresy. It is especially possible when the editors are part of the network.

  55. bender
    Posted Sep 3, 2006 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

    why would so many smart people make so many stupid mistakes and so misuse such simple statistical concepts?

    No conspiracy is required. Each merely he has to believe he is right, and then be willing to get the “right” answers for the wrong reasons. If that means relaxing a high standard of introspective self-criticism, or avoiding review by “unqualified” “outsiders”, so be it. The end justifies the means.

  56. charles
    Posted Sep 3, 2006 at 8:03 PM | Permalink

    #58, 59

    internet conspiracy? no, just simple self interest. after all, if the science is settled enough to begin spending billions why doesn’t anyone stand up and say we can reduce the GW research budget from $2B to $1B? $2B supports 2000 researchers at $1M each. everyone is motivated by money ( everyone has families to support). It’s not evil. It’s just self interest.

    All research competes for money with each other. If GW is not a crisis would we be spending so much with so many worthy alternatives. If the public was told we can expect a 1dc change over the next 100 yrs and it will likely be a net benefit (like the last 100yrs) would much of the GW budget be shifted to other research areas?

    Is it any wonder that we get the crisis spin?

  57. bender
    Posted Sep 5, 2006 at 7:59 AM | Permalink

    Re #60
    The researchers espousing strong AGW are somewhat self-interested, but more importantly, they also see themselves as working selflessly in the global interest. (Note how selfishness and altruism intersect in this case.) They believe their hypothesis (strong AGW) is right and that it is only a matter of time before it is proven so (by multiproxies, GCMs, radiation budget models, etc.). Hence they are willing to go out on a limb to promote speculative science to the level of global policy. (Better to be prematurely correct than to sit on a fence waiting for more data.)

    Mann’s gambit is based on the presumption that he is right. That’s why he (and many others) are willing to risk so much in the name of a hypothesis. They want to be the ones to save the planet. What could be better than to be victimized by the forces of evil (big oil), only to be ultimately vindicated by data? To a liberal academic, this is in some ways preferable to the alternative of influencing policy anonymously, without the drama of an epic fight.

    There is no conspiracy. You have alot of people in the same boat, each acting semi-independently, but all doing the same thing for the same reason: selfish gain in honor (not grant money) through altruism.

  58. bender
    Posted Sep 5, 2006 at 8:05 AM | Permalink

    … and if their hypothesis turns out to be wrong (weak AGW), their assumption is that their death will still be an honorable one, fighting “selflessly” in defense of the global village. i.e. This is a fight that is won either way.

  59. charles
    Posted Sep 5, 2006 at 8:41 AM | Permalink


    I agree that there definately is a “save the earth” group which may or may not overlap completely with a simple self interest group.

  60. Mark T.
    Posted Sep 5, 2006 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

    You have alot of people in the same boat, each acting semi-independently, but all doing the same thing for the same reason: selfish gain in honor (not grant money) through altruism.

    The problem arises when other smart people (read: Al Gore), that know how to manipulate, use this naive selflessness to promote their own ends.


  61. bender
    Posted Sep 5, 2006 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    re #63
    charles, respectfully, I must insist: (1) there is no simple self-interest group (or if there is, they are the parasitic bottom-feeders at the fringe of the debate, and not the prime movers at the core (the paleo/dendro/meteoro/climato-science-people)), and (2) the warmers’ motive is honor, not money. This is an important observation because it leads to the prediction that warmer tactics will not change; they will always up the ante because (1) they think they are right and (2) they think they are just. If it were about money, they would have switched tactics by now. Instead, we see an expanding circle of need for Ritalin. As predicted.

    Warmers have successfully marketed this debate in terms of a need to slay a Goliath. That’s not the kind of debate Goliath often wins. Skeptics face a huge challenge, arguing on facts where there is a deep well of emotion fuelling the opponents’ lust for restitution. If you don’t face this fact, your arguments are not going to resonate in the way they otherwise could.

  62. bender
    Posted Sep 5, 2006 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

    #65 was a cross-post with #64. No back-handed reference to Al Gore intended.

  63. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Sep 5, 2006 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

    re: #61

    They believe their hypothesis (strong AGW) is right and that it is only a matter of time before it is proven so (by multiproxies, GCMs, radiation budget models, etc.). Hence they are willing to go out on a limb to promote speculative science to the level of global policy. (Better to be prematurely correct than to sit on a fence waiting for more data.)

    Bender, I was intending to post my thoughts on this issue, but you have basically accomplished that for me. I am attempting to understand why some of these climatologists and their support groups react the way they do.

    I do think that some of them start from the premise that AGW merely needs some additional supporting evidence to further what they view as their critical policy case for mitigating it. The tendency to “move on” from one attempt to provide this supporting evidence to another attempt seems more in line with providing supporting policy material than doing proper science. The quick reference to other supporting evidence for AGW (such as was so obviously the case with the NAS committee) when the weakness of one set of evidence is demonstrated by critics seems to me to be a further indication of such an approach. Ending most papers with an obligatory reference to how the study described herein supports the theory of AGW, no matter how well that support was shown from the evidence within the paper, appears to me to be an unnecessary appendage for a scientific publication, but critical to a pamphleteering operation.

    I also judge that some of these participants and supporters see their potential policy implementations not as a risk or a negative cost to society but something that they would want put into place regardless of the probabilities for AGW and its potential severity. I do think it is important when discussing these issues with these individuals to understand what motivates them.

    Mann’s reactions are probably more familiar to those who read this blog and to me they are difficult to understand if one were to assume that they are coming from someone’s scientific/technical point of view. His battles seem to remain on the peripheries of the issues and he appears to avoid a head on discussion. The “gotcha” mentality and attempts to invalidate a critic’s case by redirecting attention from the main issues would appear more suited to a political contest than a scientific/technical debate.

  64. charles
    Posted Sep 5, 2006 at 11:22 AM | Permalink


    I think your view is correct for many (RC et al) but I suspect there are thousands of GW researchers who just want to do science and support their families and have discovered that proposing research on “GW impact on xyz” is a better way to get grant money than proposing research on “xyz”.

  65. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Sep 5, 2006 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

    RE: #61 – It is the intersection of the 1960s / early 70s Ecology movement and science. I went to university during the early 1980s. There were two distinct camps. One was the traditional, “cold,” and detached science camp. The other was a camp of those who had come to the sciences as a means of being engrossed in that which they loved – ecological utopianism, animal rights, deep ecology, etc. The relative sizes of the camps varied, for example in bio, there would be a larger proportion of the latter whereas in physics the opposite would hold true. What is happening now is completely predictable, based on the underpinnings I witnessed.

  66. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Sep 5, 2006 at 7:57 PM | Permalink

    Something for IPCC 2007. In queue at RC, and here for you now with no censorship:

    “My hope for the next IPCC report is that the specific criticisms in the recent NAS report are addressed specifically. What a wonderful opportunity for the IPCC core contributors to admit where they have been in error, to defend where they are right (by this I mean, objectively right, not “legend in your own mind” right) and to set out a course for a more refined and in depth understanding of climate change, and all the factors driving it, anthropogenic and non anthropogenic. In the realm of anthropogenic factors, I think it’s time for the IPCC to address things beyond GHGs while of course continuing to improve our understanding of GHG related mechanisms and impacts. In the real of non anthropogenic factors, I thing a much more interdisciplinary approach is needed, bringing in more astrophysicists, experts in incident cosmic radiation, experts in plasma physics, and from another perspective, a much greater contribution from classical Earth Sciences. From the statistics front, there is wealth of experience and knowledge to be tapped outside of the traditional confines of “Climate Science.” A motto of a famous university “Let There Be Light!”
    by Steve Sadlov”

  67. TCO
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

    Is “detrending” the same thing as “taking first differences” as “removing the (suspected) signal component”?

  68. TCO
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 11:06 AM | Permalink

    By Spence (transfer):


    The Ritalin comment was not so much targetting the AR1 coefficient estimation, but the fact that Ritson was demanding a response from Wegman within around four weeks or so when the hockey team were guilty of dragging out responses much longer than that.

    The AR1 coefficient issue was covered in more depth here. The problem Steve identified with the Ritson method compared to the conventional method was that in the event of model misspecification (ARMA(1,1) vs. AR1) the Ritson method gave very wrong results, whereas the conventional test is more robust. The inconsistency between the Ritson method and the conventional method tie in almost exactly with this type of model misspecification.

  69. TCO
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

    1. Are we sure that Ritson’s current concerns are completely the same as his earlier “how red are my proxies” RC post or his earlier critiques of Steve’s work?

    2. Did Wegman use an AR1 or 1,1 model? I think the issue of 1,1 versus 1 is not the completely the same as the issue of detrending versus not detrending.

  70. bender
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

    Re #71
    In general, “no”. But what post/thread are you referencing here? Context matters.

  71. bender
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

    Re: #68

    I suspect there are thousands of GW researchers who just want to do science and support their families and have discovered that proposing research on “GW impact on xyz” is a better way to get grant money than proposing research on “xyz”.

    That is one suspicion, charles, that is more true than you can imagine.

  72. TCO
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

    I don’t really know, bender. Steve just says “Ritson is wrong and I made a post about it”. But fails to say which post or which thing Ritson is doing is wrong. Within the context of this post, itself, he does not seem to make a strong “Ritson is wrong” comment about the latest kerfuffle. In fact, I wonder if we even know enough to characterize what Ritson’s criticism is. A couple Steve comments:

    But even if Ritson should eventually show that he’s right…

    Let’s say that our autocorrelation coefficients were too high (which I don’t concede for a second).

    These comments sure seem to leave the door open to Ritson at least having a potential point. Not being definitely wrong.

    P.s. My ellipses cover the “effect still occurs but not as great argument” of Steve’s which I’m in agreement with.

  73. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

    TCO – I provided links to discussion of Ritson in the body of the post.

    You seem to have troble with layered arguments. Ritson’s point is garbage. But even if it were valid, it wouldn’t matter. Saying the second people does not imply weakness on the first, Again, I don’t have time to re-state things that have been said before. Yeah, it’s not tied up in a ribbon for you when you drop in, but this is a blog.

  74. TCO
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 1:17 PM | Permalink


    1. I can accept a layered argument. I’m no dummy. It is defense in contingency though. 🙂

    2. As I said, you are MUCH, MUCH stronger on the second argument then the first. Your QUOTED remarks seem to leave the door open for finding some substance on Ritson. They really do. Reread it. Note the lack of a strong, “Ritson is wrong, one should never detrend” remark.

    3. It’s still not clear to me that you know exactly what Ritson’s critique is. For instance is it exactly what was dissected in his failed publications or his RC post. If not, how can linking to those kerfuffles, settle this kerfuffle?

    4. Leaving all that behind and digging into technical stuff: what if there is “a signal” in the proxies? How should one handle that to obtain the autocorrellation coefficient of the time series? Assuming, yes, you should do something: should it matter from a math/logic standpoint if the “signal” is from sheep grazing/CO2/dry lakebed dust blowing or if it is from warming?

  75. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 1:59 PM | Permalink

    re: #78

    1. I can accept a layered argument. I’m no dummy. It is defense in contingency though.

    Except that it isn’t. It’s a way of separating arguments. In essence, if we have:

    A and B and C and D then AGW

    Steve is saying:

    1. If A and B and C then not D. Therefore not AGW.

    But he may also show

    2. Not B therefore not AGW.

    Showing 1. does not amount to having doubts of 2. on his part. But it does allow the person who either doubts 2 or can’t follow the argument in 2 to reach the same conclusion = not AGW.

  76. bender
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 2:15 PM | Permalink

    Re #76

    Steve just says …

    TCO, that isn’t all he said. I believe his primary message was to lay off him for a few days while he’s traveling. Is that so much to ask?

  77. TCO
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 2:25 PM | Permalink

    Dardie: I think that disaggregating issues is great. Don’t you think that it is still contingent defense though? Maybe the learning is that contingent defense is not so bad?

    Bender: I’m totally cool with him not having the time to adress my comments this week or even ever! I just prefer to leave my points as standing, though. And I don’t see any need to stop responding to others who want to debate them, etc. And if Steve wants to reply with terse partial rebuttals at the same time that he says, “I’ll talk about it later”, well…I will still respond to those rebuttals (unless they satisfy me that I’m wrong). I think the whole “here’s a rebuttal, but I’m leaving now, so don’t talk back” is weak.

  78. TCO
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 2:26 PM | Permalink

    And if Dardie or Ken or you want to respond to my comments and then I respond back, that is NOT hectoring Steve.

  79. bender
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 2:33 PM | Permalink

    1. I thought he asked to be called Dardinger, not Dardie.
    2. You know what I think is “weak”?

  80. TCO
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 3:01 PM | Permalink

    1. Sorry, “Dave”.
    2. One thing at a time. Do you think what I talked about is weak (yes/no)? Then take your shot.

  81. bender
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

    Re #84
    Your phrasing, as usual, is what was “weak”, TCO. So weak that your question, as usual, essentially amounts to:

    “I’m confused about something, but can’t explain what I’m confused about. Can you de-muddle my thinking?”

    And the answer, as usual, is: “no”. You are, unfortunately, a time-sink. Do not be offended, however. It is truly my fault that I don’t have the time it takes to explain everything to you over and over again from first principles. It is hard to ignore you because you are so in need of help. But ignore I must. My humble apologies.

  82. welikerocks
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 4:23 PM | Permalink

    = not AGW. Amen.

    TCO, here’s a story…My mom is retired, but she was a teacher for 35 yrs. Whenever I approached her with a question or with thoughts about life, she never failed to correct my grammer or presentation. Never just listened to what I was trying to say or said “I understand what you mean” even if I couldn’t find the right words. I eventually gave up trying to talk to her in that way, and just spoke of mundane things. And I had to learn things on my own from then on and she didn’t learn alot about me. And this is a person who loves me and never disappeared. I don’t know why she HAD to be that way either. It could be for many reasons, who knows. She is better now that I am an adult, but not by much!

    SteveM posted and welcomed you back TCO before anything else.
    I honestly do not know what your complaint is exactly about here. Is it because you seem to be acting like my mom, and I am getting flash backs? 😉

    I hope you get your answers bud. 😉 Like Ken said above: ” I am attempting to understand why some of these climatologists and their support groups react the way they do. ” If you can answer that one, I’d be more likely to listen to what you had to say about SteveM and his work, because in my mind, he’s acting and speaking as plain and as normal as can be in his position, which is not normal at all.

  83. TCO
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

    85. To clarify, it is not “weak” to refuse to continue a debate. What is weak is expecting to have the last word if one is the one exiting the discussion. It’s fine to exit if you have reached an impasse, think the other person is a fool, etc. What’s not fine is to expect the other person to cede the issue.

    86. I like you rocks and like how you stick up for me, when I’m silly and over the top. WRT Steve, he is a great man, has done great work and shown real courage and work ethic. That said, if you read into things closely enough, you will find some places where he overstates the case, does not argue entirely dispassionately fairly (misdirects from one issue to another for example). If you are a critical thinker, you should watch out for Steve, just like you watch out for Mike Mann. The one who wins should be the one who can break it down and prove his case. Usually it’s Steve, but (broken record), wrt West Pointer (Huybers), Steve had a lot of sturm and drang misdirection when Huybers actually had a valid point. I learned that when I reread the Huybers paper. (/broken record) You should watch out for Steve just like you watch out for anyone else. If you ask a tough question and the other person starts blustering, calling you a fool for asking, etc. there is a decent chance that you are hitting a little close to something relevant that needs to be explored. If you find a ball of yarn has a little string attached, give that string a tug. You’ll get an explanation. Give a couple more tugs. If everything is cool, you will just learn something. But it’s amazing how often that string will unravel the whole ball of yarn, how often your gut suspicion of a problem will bear something out. Really this is just what Steve does to Mike.

  84. bender
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

    TCO, you have to watch out for everyone. Everyone is fallible. Everyone is biased. Everyone prefers being right to being wrong. Everyone is time-limited. Everyone is brains-limited.

  85. TCO
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 5:20 PM | Permalink

    agreed. Whew.

  86. TCO
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 5:25 PM | Permalink

    I think there is also a benefit in life to being eclectic. Just because you reject 10% of something, doesn’t mean you reject it all, that the other 90% was value-less. In fact, over time, you can learn how to spot the signs that warn of likelihood of the 10 versus the 90, can learn if a source tends to be 90-10 or 10-90 or 99-1. But in a technical discussion, I learn a lot from looking for the flaws. Learn a lot also from breaking things down into simple physical intuition, from asking the logic-based questions even if I don’t follow some aspect of the math. This is very helpful when evaluating engineering work. One does not have time to learn it all, to do it all one’s self. That does not stop from evaluation though.

  87. Barney Frank
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 5:32 PM | Permalink

    If you ask a tough question and the other person starts blustering, calling you a fool for asking, etc. there is a decent chance that you are hitting a little close to something relevant that needs to be explored.

    Very true….to a point.

    The trick is knowing the difference between when we are hitting close to something relevant or on the otherhand, having actually received an adequate answer, being called a fool for a perfectly sound reason.

  88. TCO
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 5:49 PM | Permalink

    Yup. Being shown that one is a fool (step by step) is the best way to know that. But I’m getting sick of the “we don’t like how TCO pushes his points discussion”. I’m going to push them and take the consequences in displeasure.

  89. Barney Frank
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 6:20 PM | Permalink

    But I’m getting sick of the “we don’t like how TCO pushes his points discussion”.

    Only speaking for myself, but it is how you push your points not that you push them that is a little hard to take.

    I sometimes get the sense you wouldn’t mind applying a ruler to the backside of the less cooperative types here. That attitude generally doesn’t fair too well in a group such as this. Were you ever a headmaster at a public school in Britain by chance?

  90. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 10:19 PM | Permalink

    If you ask a tough question and the other person starts blustering, calling you a fool for asking, etc. there is a decent chance that you are hitting a little close to something relevant that needs to be explored. If you find a ball of yarn has a little string attached, give that string a tug. You’ll get an explanation. Give a couple more tugs. If everything is cool, you will just learn something. But it’s amazing how often that string will unravel the whole ball of yarn, how often your gut suspicion of a problem will bear something out.

    TCO, I am now firmly convinced that tugging at that ball of yarn has become the be all and end all to your modus operandi. You post incessantly about how you do not have to be very conversant in a subject matter to ask the “right” questions of those more expert than you in order to drag the truth from their sealed lips and frozen keyboards. Then you refer, in very vague and general terms, over and over and over again to some character flaw that your questioning revealed or how some flaw in a person’s thinking was revealed. Do you ever spend significant time on detailing and summarizing the specifics of your supposed accomplishments in terms that other posters here would comprehend? Not that I have seen while posting here, but maybe someone will come to your rescue and remind me.

    Usually it’s Steve, but (broken record), wrt West Pointer (Huybers), Steve had a lot of sturm and drang misdirection when Huybers actually had a valid point. I learned that when I reread the Huybers paper. (/broken record)

    So prove me wrong, by pointing to excerpts from Huybers and MM papers and explaining your accusations from above in some detail and with the clarity and succinctness that you would use in publishing a paper. I would much prefer that you limit your findings to substantive issues and exclude or at least identify inconsequential debating points. I will not accept any excuses because if you take just half the time and space that you regularly spend expounding on virtues of the TCO methods of discourse you should cover the matter in detail and thoroughness in a reasonably short time period.

  91. TCO
    Posted Sep 9, 2006 at 12:59 AM | Permalink

    Ken, I really don’t care what you think of what motivates me and if you want to understand Huybers, go back and read the threads on it on this site.

  92. TCO
    Posted Sep 9, 2006 at 1:04 AM | Permalink

    Better yet, just read the Huybers critique itself, read the specific part of the critique where he SHOWS the formula for the data transform and where he CLARIFIES off-centering and standard division dividing.

  93. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Sep 10, 2006 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

    re: #96

    I have read previously from an online draft of Huybers paper “Comment on Hockey Sticks, Principal Components, And Spurious Significance by McIntyre and McKitrick” linked here. I assume this is the paper on which you have based your oft posted negatively inclined observations about Steve M and Ross M in this matter. I will excerpt what I consider pertinent parts of Huybers’ paper and the M&M reply (that can be linked by going to the right side of this web page and clicking “reply to huybers”) and accompanied them with my comments — all in hopes of getting something more definitive out of you in your assessments of the situation.

    My general take on this exchange as a nonprofessional outsider is that Huybers was on a less than whole-hearted mission to minimize the damage done to MBH and the HS by the previous M&M analyses.

    Huybers questions the use of the covariance PC1, used by M&M in their analysis, versus the correlation PC1, the fully normalized PC1, that Huybers uses and calls it, that splits some of the difference between the MBH PC1 and M&M PC1 but lies closer to the M&M PC1. Huybers does not appear to me to make a case for his choice other than showing it matches, in his case, the averages derived without using PCA. I leave the M&M replies (which explain their choice of a covariance PC1 and by the way are much more detailed in my view than those of Huybers) to this for later, but suffice it for now to say that if Huybers used averages as a benchmark for PC1s why not forego this discussion and talk about why averages and not PCA should be used.

    Huybers mentions in passing the questionable use of Bristlecones but seems too much in a hurry, in my view, to avoid any discussions of this critical issue in his comments and waves it off for consideration in future studies. This seems rather dismissive but it does allow the evidence door to open for M&M to present the MBH censored files that show the reconstructions without the bristlecones in their reply.

    Huybers other point is the use of the mysterious and seldom used statistic, RE, to determine significance in cross-validation. His admission that the R squared statistic in MBH98 is very close to zero would, to this naive soul, stop most statisticians in their tracks right there for doing some serious thinking before going on to use and justify a less well defined statistic like RE. The variance re-scaling in the RE calculations was a misunderstanding that would appear to be directly attributable to Mann et al withholding code essential to the task of replicating his work. While M&M are able to reproduce Huybers’ results with his suggested calculation, when they fully emulate the MBH98 methodology, M&M obtain a 99% quantile that essentially agrees with their previous calculations –and that is the calculation that Huybers had questioned.

    Here is how Huybers describes the purpose of his comments:

    Having reproduced the statistical results of MM05, this comment is prompted by further questions regarding appropriate implementation of principal component analysis (PCA) and the presence of discrepancies in their estimate of significance levels.

    While Huybers comments are aimed at questioning the MM05 analysis, he does make some comments, in agreement with M&M, on the MBH reconstruction that indicates problems that he sees with MBH. I have listed these excerpts below:

    To further check the controls on tree ring variance, the variance of each NOAMER chronology is compared with that of the nearest instrumental temperature record using the Jones and Moberg [2003] instrumental compilation between 1870 and 1980. Because no meaningful relationship is discernible (there is actually a weak anti-correlation between the tree ring chronology and instrumental variances), the best approach appears to be to normalize the variance of the NOAMER records prior to performing PCA.

    .. The reason for the bias in the MBH98 PC1 can be understood by considering that PCA maximizes the variance described by each principal component where variance is measured as the sum of the squared record, _2 = Pt x2t , and x is not necessarily zero-mean. The MBH98 normalization tends to assign large variances to records with a pre-1902 mean far from the 1902 to 1980 mean, and records with the largest variance tend to determine PC1.

    .. Another point raised by MM05 is that many of the strongest trends in the tree ring chronologies may be unrelated to temperature change [Graybill and Idso, 1993] “¢’‚¬? in future studies this may warrant the exclusion or down-weighting of certain records, but this is an additional step which would have to be explicitly stated.

    ..The MBH98 normalization convention for a record, x, is xMBH = (x àƒ⣃ ‹’€ ‘ ¯x1902)/_01902, where ¯x1902 and _1902 are the mean and standard deviation computed between 1902 and 1980. MBH98 compute the standard deviation after detrending x, indicated as _0, an additional step that seems questionable but turns out not to influence the results.

    .. To avoid ambiguity in future studies, it may be preferable to use simple averages rather than PCA when estimating spatial means such as Northern Hemisphere temperatures.

    Here are excerpts on the points that Huybers is questioning about the M&M analysis and that I assume are relevant to the issues raised by TCO.

    The pre-1902 values of the MBH98 PC1 are more negative than the corresponding record average. Conversely, the pre-1902 values of the MM05 PC1 are less negative, an observation somewhat at odds with the statement in MM05 that their PC1 is “very similar to the unweighted mean of all the series”. These off-sets between PCs and record averages further indicate that the MM05 results are biased in the opposite direction to those of the MBH98 results.

    This is best illustrated by going to Huybers’ linked draft from above ” for the graphed results and explanations so we all can judge for ourselves what Huybers is saying.

    .. The MM05 code generated realizations of x having roughly a fourth the variance of y, biasing RE realizations toward being too large. MM05 thus estimate a RE critical value substantially higher (RE=0.6) than that of MBH98 (RE=0.0) and incorrectly conclude that the AD1400 step of the MBH98 temperature reconstruction is insignificant. When the MM05 algorithm is corrected to include the variance adjustment step and re-run, the estimated RE critical value comes into agreement with the MBH98 estimate1.

    M&M’s reply can be found by linking as directed above, but for sake of talking points I have excerpted the following:

    On Principal Components — Covariance or Correlation:

    Relative to the MBH98 PC1, the differences between the covariance PC1 and correlation PC1 are trifling and both confirm the bias reported in MM05.

    ..6] a) Tree ring chronologies are typically autocorrelated, especially the controversial bristlecones. For autocorrelated series, the ordinary least squares sample variance (used by Huybers) is a biased (under-) estimate of the long-run variance, so the bristlecones will tend to be over-weighted this way. An “”unbiased fully normalized” PC1 can be obtained using an autocorrelation-consistent variance estimator [e.g., Andrews, 1991]. This bias correction yields a result (Figure 1g) very similar to the covariance PC1.

    [7] b) Huybers argues that the correlation PC1 captured a “”robust feature of the NOAMER dataset” based on its similarity to the mean of the 70 series in the AD1400 network scaled by their standard deviation (Figure 1f). If the purpose of PC analysis is merely to predict the mean, then there is no reason not to simply use the mean. As for the robustness of the feature, only 70 of 212 series in the NOAMER network extend back to AD1400. Using all 212 NOAMER series scaled by their standard deviation (Figure 1d) yields a network mean closer to the covariance PC1 than the correlation PC1″¢’‚¬?by this criterion “”full normalization” adds bias to the PC1.

    On Bristlecones and their effects on PCA:

    [8] The differences among these PC series can be traced to differing weights for bristlecones.

    .. [9] Bristlecone impact can be seen directly by comparing the MBH98 PC1 (Figure 1a), which is weighted almost entirely from bristlecones, with an unreported PC1 from Mann’s FTP site (Figure 1b), which Mann obtained by
    applying MBH98 PC methodology while excluding 20 bristlecone sites…

    On the RE Benchmark:

    [14] The variance re-scaling step called for by Huybers was not mentioned in MBH98. However, recently-released code… shows that MBH98 included a re-scaling step. If simulations are done with variance rescaling on a simulated tree ring PC1 without constructing a full network of other proxies and calculating a NH temperature index, we agree that the 99% quantile is _0. However, Huybers’ [2005] simulations do not fully emulate MBH98 methodology, as his simulations did not replicate the effect of a proxy network.

    [15] We did new simulations in which we took 1000 simulated PC1s saved from the simulations described by MM05; for each PC1 in turn, we made a “”proxy
    network” of 22 series with the other 21 being white noise (replicating the 22 series of the MBH98 AD1400 network). We then used MBH98 methodology on the proxy network, including inverse regression of the proxies. After calculating the reconstructed temperature principal component (RPC), we scaled the variance of the RPC to the “”observed” variance of the temperature principal component prior to calculating a NH average, from which we calculated an RE statistic. The 99% quantile was 0.54, down slightly from 0.59 as found by MM05.

  94. TCO
    Posted Sep 10, 2006 at 1:32 PM | Permalink

    Ken, please cut and paste response to one of Steve’s Huybers post (I think second of the troika is best, but take your pick. You have written a bunch and I want to go it credit deserved, but in the proper setting.

  95. You know who
    Posted Feb 5, 2010 at 1:22 AM | Permalink

    Wegman never provided the info to Ritson. I guess it wasn’t just the press of events back there in 2006…

  96. Posted Mar 1, 2010 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

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  1. By Dean's World on Sep 1, 2006 at 2:11 PM

    Responding, Sort of, to the Wegman Report

    I see that coincidentally (?) the team at at the RealClimate blog are now going on the offensive. While still not actually …

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