Day Two at AGU

It is impossible to convey the overwhelming number of papers and presentations here. Through the week, my notes have invariably deteriorated. By the time you get home, they are unintelligible. I’ m going to diarize them a little — so I don’t forget totally and to share a bit of the experience. (And since CA readers have in effect paid for the trip, I’ll try to report as well as make my own presentation.)

One comment which should be re-assuring to many readers. There are many younger scientists starting to push their way into positions where they are evaluating the climate of the last 1000 years and I feel quite confident that a reasonable view on the matter will emerge within whatever material is available. Andy Bunn and Andrea Lloyd have a NSF contract to to do a big update of tree ring sites. Rob Wilson is trying to resolve the divergence problem on new sites, without using the same sites. Julie Richey is doing high-resolution analysis of new cores and has no patience for endlessly re-using the same data. Alicia Newton’s high resolution core in the Western Equatorial Pacific is an excellent contribution. Who knows what the results will actually be?

BTW the exchange between Mann and myself was reviewed by a third-party blogger here. The blogger was impressed by Mann’s newest multivariate method – I suspect (in fact I’m sure) that he had no idea what the new method was; if Jean S were impressed, that would mean something. But all the new method is going to be is a new method of making a linear weighting of the proxies. If there’s a “signal”, the precise method of weighting really shouldn’t matter very much.

I get quite a different personal reaction from the young scientists. Both Bunn and Wilson were very friendly and interested in what I was planning to do. In reverse, I was glad to see that both of them are progressing in their field. Bunn has moved on from a post-doc position to a tenure-track position. Rob seems to have established himself at the University of Edinburgh. In a way, despite my age, my perspective on the field is more like that of a young grad student or post-doc — everything is still fresh (except maybe principal components which I’m bored with). When you do one thing too long, you get stale. Anyway on to my diary.

I started off this morning going to some posters on ocean sediments, which I’ve been following. I can do little more than list some features. PP21A-1663 was a high-resolution core MD99-2275 off north Iceland at 2-5 year resolution, using a new proxy IP_25 as a sea ice proxy with peaks in 1776, 16888, 1638 etc.

PP21A-1668, Site 1094 in the Antarctic, showed a Holocene maximum. #1672 showed some trees from the Pliocene Arctic — similar to something I posted up before. I browsed many other posters.

I went to the two hurricane presentations. Kerry Emanuel was supposed to present, but was a no-show and Mark De Maria filled in, discussing improvements in forecast skill of hurricane track and intensity — track forecasts have improved much more than intensity forecasts.

Then Peter Webster of Webster and Curry presented on the role of hurricanes in the global heat system. He observed that the number of hurricanes and tropical storms per year (81 and 46) was very stable and proposed that this meant they fit into some sort of heat balance. The question was then: why 80 and not 8 or 800? This seemed very plausible – in fact, I was surprised that it was being presented as a novelty. For some reason, I’d always assumed that storms would have some kind of Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution. He then compared energy totals for hurricanes to thunderstorm estimates of Riehl-Malkus in a back-of-envelope calculation (a highly sensible back-of-envelope calculation – I’m not at all critical of the calculation).

I then went over to session PP22A on South American proxies in the Holocene. I missed a paper by Rodbell that I was interested in because it was on at the same time as Webster. PP22A-04 reviewed various LGM proxies in the the SH. PP22A-05 by a climatologist, said that reconstructions talking about ITCZ movements tended to confuse the ITCZ — an oceanic phenomenon, with the South American monsoon, a different process. Kerry Cook said that in the LGM the monsoon was delayed by 2-3 months because of cold Atlantic SSTs, resulting in a longer dry season and reduced rain forest. Kaplan (PP22A-06) discussed deglaciation in S Patagonia, especially Torre del Paine. Makou (PP22A-07) reported on ODP 201-1228D on cholesterols dinestrol as proxies. Turc1 PP22A-08 reported on increasing lake levels in N Brazil through the Holocene.

I started off the afternoon at GC23C — Terrestrial Records of Holocene Climate Change from the Tropics. Lonnie Thompson presented GC23-02 (he also gave a lecture the day before which I missed). It was pretty standard stuff — after his speech, he swept out of the room, unlike almost any other participant in a session. HE showed the usual photos of receding glaciers. He said that Quelccaya went back to 315 – this must be in the new cores as the earlier cores went back to 470. Two new cores were drilled in 2003.) He showed some chemistry from Quelccaya — he said that chemistry for the original cores was not available because they were then unable to return the cores frozen — only in bottles. That doesn’t sound like an explanation to me — why can’t you do chemical analysis on water? I wonder if the bottles were lost. HE showed some graphics from Coropuna only 70 km from the ocean. It was drilled in 2003 as well — 148 m; of which 33 m to 1975; 55 to 1940; 80 m to 1900 — to give you some idea of the exponential shortening of the layers. HE showed some graphics from Dasuopu talking about the 1796 monsoon — just like his 1997 article. HE showed the Quelccaya plants dated to 5200 BP. He showed a picture of an outcrop with a simple picture of a geologic cross-section (hurray)with clay on the bottom and gravels on the top, radio carbon dates increasing from 5152 to 6703. No discussion of reservoir effect — something that every other paleoclimatologist discusses almost first thing. He showed Rodbell’s diagram of Pallcacocha — the one which I showed last summer on CA in discussing Quelccaya. HE said that Rodbell “interprets this as the approach of the glacier” whereas Rodbell had said that it marked the initiation of the glacier. He showed some other series also showing change around 5200 BP — he didn’t mention that this date is more or less what Porter and Karlen had proposed as early as 1976 for the start of the Neoglacial/Atlantic period. His most recent drilling is at Naimonna-ny in Tibet. Someone asked him about whether any glaciers had disappeared in the MWP — we know that Polissar et al said that Venezuela glaciers had disappeared. HE went into an explanation of temperature and precipitation as both being implicated in the dO188 signal, but regardless claimed that the 20th century was unique as a signal. HE said that there was no correlation between thickness and isotopes, which he took to exclude the amount effect as dominating in the isotopic record. He said that there was modern melting at Quelccaya but no comparable melting in the past; but then said that melting sometimes occurred at low temperatures due to intense radiation.

The next presenter, Fritz, gave a nice presentation on high Altiplano lakes, stating categorically that dO188 was a precipitation signal, providing very convincing arguments. She studied Lago Lagunillas and L Umayo, near L Titicaca. The sediments had 5-year resolution. The lake water dO18 was connected to precipitation and it, in turn, correlated to Quelccaya isotopes. She compared the record to the Bond et al Hematite stained grain record, but the comparison was unconvincing to me.

Then a couple of presentations on N-S movements of the ITCZ and their impact on African equatorial lakes. Russell reported on Mg/Ca in Lake Edward, saying that Mg/Ca ratios increased with salinity.

Then an interesting presentation by Jessica Conroy (coauthor Overpeck) about a lake record in the Galapagos and the drought in the American SW. Her record was El Junco Crater lake, a 3.5 m sediment core and 3 short cores for the interface; she measured diatoms every 0.5 cm , counting 300. She did a Pb210 age model for 120 years (20 cm) and found that F saxomica had a correlation of 0.83 to Galapagos SST. There were no diatoms prior to 770 AD — which she attributed to drying. Her record showed medieval “cooling” – now Galapagos is an upwelling site and % G Bulloides (cold water) offshore Oman is taken as an index of global warming, so I’m not sure why upwelling of cold water offshore Oman is a a sign of warming, but upwelling in Galapagos is different. Of the two medieval megadroughts, one corresponded to a “cool ” Galapagos period, but they other didn’t. She noted a warm record in Keigwin’s Sargasso Sea SST record and associated warm Atlantic SSTs with the medieval megadrought (warm Atlantic SSTs are presumably the MWP). Her diatoms had a pronounced modern warming trend, but another species didn’t. Fertilization was mentioned as something that needed to be kept in mind. She mentioned Kim Cobb’s “cool” medieval Pacific — I’ve discussed her results in the context as possibly being no more than a slight northward movement of the ITCZ,

I then went over to OS23E to catch a presentation coauthored by Hughes (but the key player was N Graham) on the California medieval droughts. Graham – “some really extreme things happened not very long ago”, “much more severe than anything in modern record”. I saw Rob Wilson during this presentation who was very cheerful. Graham listed a variety of proxy records — Crater Lake char, San Francisco Bay salinity, Santa Barbara sediments and an unspecified bristlecone record (going down in the 20th). Graham then proceeded to analyse Mono Lake, a closed lake east of the Sierra which received 85% of its inflow from Sierra snow. Stine had found relict trees there in two populations from the MWP; the trees were Jeffrey pine which dO1 not tolerate submergence and which would have grown beside a much retrenched lake in the MWP. He modeled Merced River flow as being 25-40% less than modern flow from tree ring drought index reconstruction- he didn’t specify which tree rings he used for the drought reconstruction in his presentation. He identified two deep medieval droughts. He then used the river inflow reconstruction to reconstruct Mono Lake levels and produced a graph of lake levels that pretty much replicated Stine’s results in a graphical way — he said, at the first go without any tuning. Looked plausible to me. He then asked what circulation changes could cause such results — drought in the Sierras has for many years been associated with jet stream further to north (causing moisture in Alaska). He linked the MWP drought to warmth in the Mindanao SST (Stott); cool Santa Barbara SST (upwelling), and Peru river discharge. He cloased by re-emphasizing the scale of the events – “much more severe than anything in the modern record” and that the MWP events were anomalous even in a 4000 year context. So when coauthor Hughes wonders with Diaz about Was There A Medieval Warm Period?, he might discuss the matter with his other coauthor Graham. I’m not sure that there’s anything in Graham’s presentation that I would disagree with.

I then went over to Andy Bunn’s presentation at B24A. I almost missed this as I wasn’t looking at these sessions, but I ran into Rob Wilson at the other session. The room was too small and Rob went back to the other session which was too bad as he would have liked Bunn’s presentation. Bunn is a really sharp young ecologist and tree ring analyst. I mentioned before that he and Andrea Lloyd have a grant to update chronologies and people can rest assured that this program is in good hands. The results will be what they will be, but there won’t be any cherrypicking or ex post deciding about what sites were temperature-sensitive (and archived) and what sites were not and discarded (a la you-know-who). Anyway, Bunn talked first about “greening” and “browning” in the boreal forest as indicated by NDVI-AVHRP imagery. He compared these indices to ring width chrnologies and found that there were good correlations between greening and high ring width and browning and low ring width indices; he analyzed CRU half-degree interpolated cells and station data. He showed ak036 — a negative responder — against station data; somehow he was able to find out that the station was not in CRU records. He showed the difference between a greening chronology — larch 65N, 169W and a browning chronology ak036. He analysed a lot of sites (hurray for studying real populations and not cherry-picked subsets). He showed some nice bar charts showing the proportion of positive and negative responders by species. Larch mostly had postive responders, but white spruce, the staple of many chronologies, was half and half. He showed differences between the pre-1950 and post-1950 patterns — with decent correlations pre-1950 and negative correlations post-1950: the Divergence Problem. He said that these results were causing him “great stress”, (as they do for Rob Wilson). The stress for him was not so much that the divergence might be caused by negative responders due to precipitation-temperature interactions, but by phenotype plasticity.

I closed by attending a session on the difference between evapotranspiration and canopy transpiration in boreal forests, It didn’t relate very much to anything that I was interested, but it was nice to listen to someone talk knowledgeably about his field without once using the word “unprecedented”.


  1. Michael J
    Posted Dec 13, 2006 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

    Very interesting info in your summary Steve, thanks a bunch for
    all the work you do. Did you happen to run into the Team during
    your travels today? I hope you get a chance to speak with Mr. Gore sometime while he is there and hope you don’t get trampled by his entourage.

  2. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Dec 13, 2006 at 10:52 AM | Permalink


    You mentioned that “Kerry Emanuel was supposed to present, but was a no-show.”

    This may be a result of the WMO shooting a broadside through his presentation.

    A consensus of 125 of the world’s leading tropical cyclone researchers and forecasters says that no firm link can yet be drawn between human-induced climate change and variations in the intensity and frequency of tropical cyclones.

  3. Jim Edwards
    Posted Dec 13, 2006 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

    Re: New, young blood making itself heard in the field

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the alarmists become victims to their exceptionally successful propaganda campaign. My sense is that climatology is one of those fields in which persons with ‘pure’ ecological credentials have flocked to in the past. Low pay and low profile, but you get to do field research in the Galapagos. Most of the sharp, technically-minded people I knew 15 years ago wanted to go into engineering, genetics / pharmaceutical research, software development, or medicine. An unintended consequence of alarmism may be that the spotlight is drawing a larger pool of talented academics who lack pure green credentials. We appear to have a race between those who want to use the mostly ‘pure’ scientists’ current ‘consensus’ to lock in strict legal changes right away and those who might end up attempting to ‘unring’ the alarm bell.

  4. jae
    Posted Dec 13, 2006 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

    3: Yeah, I’ll bet that, for any of the typical environmentalists’ scare stories, if you plot the intensity of alarmism and hype against time, you would get a nice gaussian curve. We are right on the top of this curve. It happened with population growth, DDT, spotted owls, etc, etc., etc.

  5. gb
    Posted Dec 13, 2006 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    Hi Steve M,

    Can we expect to see papers from the people you mention shortly? That would be interesting.

  6. Jim Edwards
    Posted Dec 13, 2006 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

    Maybe we’re watching negative feedbacks in response to hot air !

  7. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Dec 13, 2006 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

    RE: #3 – During the 1980s, there was an overt schism between the majority who studied hard sciences and engineering, and those who went for Env Studies, Ecology, and things like “Creative Studies.”

    At the time, for us Greenies (back then, I was one of them), it was cool to hate Reagan and to lambaste Big Oil. I had it really hard – I was a geophysics major. So, I was very much a black sheep. I’ve told this story before here, but it bears repeating. I was riding in a Carry All back from some field exercise and I made some typical “oh look at that (pointing to some view home on a ridge) a scar on Mother Earth” comment – to which one of my truck mates reponded “you are a typical Quaternary urbanite” (implication being, a typical granola, Leftie, BerzerkelyPaloAltoMarin, freak). Certainly, within the subculture of my hard science at that time, being a Green whacko was an exercise in masochism.

    Meanwhile, overt in the Environmental Studies department, students were doing special projects like helping to build a “sustainable” demostration home, and passing around petitions to ban all oil drilling in California.

    No doubt, the entourage who run RC are from this latter orientation. No doubt in my mind.

    I am the alarmist ecotheologan’s worst nightmare – a defector.

  8. Jim Edwards
    Posted Dec 13, 2006 at 12:47 PM | Permalink


    I think your appropriate identifier is apostate. One who has seen God’s truth and turned away from the faith.

  9. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Dec 13, 2006 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    Don’t know if any SF locals and AGU visitors caught it last night, but Dr. Singer was on the Brian Sussman show last night on KSFO 560 AM. Unlike most talk hosts, Sussman is a meteorologist by training. That said, the interview was pretty lightweight by the standards of this site. Didn’t even mention the HS. I tried calling in to ask a specific question about Singer’s thoughts about the Team and the HS, but could not get through. Oh well, at least it was a bit entertaining, Singer reminded me of some of the more elderly profs I had back in the day, a good old fashioned scientist.

  10. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Dec 13, 2006 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

    BTW – Singer has a preso on Thursday, during a slot prior to the Hon. Al Gore, Jr.

  11. Mark T
    Posted Dec 13, 2006 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

    Low pay and low profile, but you get to do field research in the Galapagos. Most of the sharp, technically-minded people I knew 15 years ago wanted to go into engineering, genetics / pharmaceutical research,

    engineering: higher pay (top 3 along with lawyers and doctors) and you get to do field research in… well, strange places where nobody really wants to live. 🙂


  12. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Dec 13, 2006 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

    RE: #11 – My “field work” in high tech has allowed me to witness, up close and personal, the spewing of S02 and the creation of the great brown cloud in China. LOL! In all seriousness, when you see what is going on with coal in China, you realize that the Kyoto framework is a complete joke.

  13. Wm. L. Hyde
    Posted Dec 13, 2006 at 1:11 PM | Permalink

    Steve M. Congratulations! You are making a difference! As I read your favourable impressions of these young scientists, it occurred to me that having your excellent group do audits of these new works and publicising your findings in their favour, would put your whole body of work in a more positive light among the general population of scientists. Verifying results that you agree with as well as shredding those you don’t could bring balance to the usual wholesale criticism of CA from the present establishment.
    Just a thought….theoldhogger

  14. Mark T
    Posted Dec 13, 2006 at 2:51 PM | Permalink

    But all the new method is going to be is a new method of making a linear weighting of the proxies. If there’s a “signal”, the precise method of weighting really shouldn’t matter very much.

    A simple, but cogent point often lost in the tussle to find a “new way” to extract the “signal” from proxies. An optimal weight is an optimal weight w.r.t. some criteria no matter how you find it.

    No matter what the method, they all result in nothing more than linear combinations of the original data designed to minimize the “noise,” and maximize the “signals.” All of which further require that the original sources _at least_ be uncorrelated, which is generally untrue for most proxies presented to date (CO2 is correlated with temperature, and solar activity, as well as fertilization, etc.). Furthermore, all require some a-priori knowledge to assign extracted signal to a source/cause.

    At the very least, the blogger’s comments are otherwise rather well put. You cannot blame him for not understanding the underlying mechanical issues of the “impressive” methods employed by the team.


  15. Henry
    Posted Dec 13, 2006 at 3:43 PM | Permalink

    “Total Least Squares” looks slightly more sensible than variance matching and is indeed another linear weighting – it assumes there are errors both in the proxies and the temperature record. But Mann is proposing to use “Truncated Total Least Squares” which might lead to some of the selectivity Mann previously used in principal components analysis. Reviewers will have to read up on the methodology before they check the code.

  16. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Dec 13, 2006 at 6:37 PM | Permalink

    There are many younger scientists starting to push their way into positions where they are evaluating the climate of the last 1000 years and I feel quite confident that a reasonable view on the matter will emerge within whatever material is available.

    From “Science as a process”, by David L. Hull (p. 203):

    From the beginning of their careers, scientists are presented with a dilemma. They can make their work look as conventional as possible – just one more brick in the great edifice of science – or as novel and controversial as possible – declaring the foundation of a whole new theory or possibly even a whole new science. (…) The choice is between a safe strategy with minor payoff versus a very dangerous strategy that promises great rewards.

    Time will tell who choses what strategy!

  17. bender
    Posted Dec 13, 2006 at 10:49 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for the reports, Steve. Very interesting about the MWP megadroughts, the divergence problem, and the greening vs. browning forest. Note that phenotypic plasticity is yet another process to put in the G = P|T|C|N growth equation. Those bcps are probably exhibiting at least a little of that. Hopefully Bunn has published on the topic. If so, Willis can cite that work (along with the Graumlich papers) in his review on Juckes.

  18. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Dec 14, 2006 at 8:47 AM | Permalink

    Is this the day we get “Gored” at AGU?

  19. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 20, 2006 at 6:12 PM | Permalink

    Malcolm Hughes on Dec 6, 2006 presented a seminar at LTRR entitled: Why are Upper Elevation Bristlecone Pine Really Growing Faster? Good question. It would have been to have published the answer to this before MBH98-99 rather than some years afterwards. If anyone has access to notes on this seminar, I’d be interested.

  20. bender
    Posted Dec 20, 2006 at 8:16 PM | Permalink

    Podcasts from an Oct 17 lecture by MH:
    [video src="" /]
    [audio src="" /]

    No mention of bcps. Hockey stick mentioned at ~minute 50.

  21. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Dec 20, 2006 at 10:06 PM | Permalink

    Re Podcast – Heard the words “absolutely independent studies”.

  22. MarkR
    Posted Dec 21, 2006 at 4:13 AM | Permalink

    Comment from the Real Climate site:

    Because it’s in my neighborhood, I’ve attended AGU for some 20 years. I’m not deeply informed on climate change so I rarely comment in places like this, but I went to today’s Union session on global T curves for the last 2 millennia. Mann and McIntyre both gave presentations. While Mann and some others practically spat at McIntyre, he was not the only one pointing out adjustments and corrections and improvements to Mann’s work, in particular the RegEM method and its standardization against the instrumental record and also the weaknesses of the tree-ring records. To me, accustomed to the scientific conversation, the doubts raised seemed well within the envelope, but McIntyre seemed to paint with an overbroad brush and his critics spoke with unusual venom. There was definitely a tug-of-war happening.

    Comment by Andrew Alden “¢’‚¬? 11 Dec 2006 @ 11:31 pm

  23. cbone
    Posted Dec 21, 2006 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

    RE: 22 I went back and looked at that thread, and found the comment. Sadly no one seemed the least bit interested in the comment. Another interesting note, for a science site in a thread about a major annual Scientific c nference, all they are talking about is public policy.

    Things that make you go hmmm….

  24. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Dec 21, 2006 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

    RE: #23 – On another thread, I characterized RC as [snip=- Steve S – stop this language please.]. I don’t think that is overly strong language to describe the dynamic there.

  25. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 21, 2006 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    #22. It’s amazing that that comment got through the RC censors. “Mann and some others” – “others” in this case merely means Malcolm Hughes – not exactly a third party. Kurt Cuffey made a comment about Law Dome, but his was a routine and civil comment. He was sitting near me and said that he was very polite to me afterwards, saying that my presentation was very clear. No third parties were overtly antagonistic. A couple of people mentioned to me that they thought that Hughes’ performance was embarrassing to him, not to me.

  26. bender
    Posted Dec 21, 2006 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

    A consensus that emerges as a result of independent data and objective thought is strong and convincing.
    A consensus that is forcibly maintained by coercion, inculcation, and censorship is not.
    That was Sadlov’s point in #24.

  27. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Dec 21, 2006 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

    RE: #26 – indeed, over at that other place, the consensus is not only due to all that, it is also due to vast encouragement of the most emotional, non scientifically trained, hysterically charged element to read, participate and cheer on. The number of links from environmental activist sites and blogs to RC is immense. So, there is a ready and willing body of individuals there who give kudos to the writings of RC’s management group no matter how questionable they are, and are there to shout down and smear any contrary post that somehow manages to make it through the censors. I would not be at all surprised if the censors there generally ban contrary posts as a rule, and only let through certain ones simply to thow meat into the ring so the minions there can have at it.

  28. Posted Dec 21, 2006 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

    My impression of RC: Verbal hand waving and only few equations (Ritson’s). But haven’t read it much, so my impression is prone to sampling error. But they don’t care about sampling error, so why should I.

  29. bender
    Posted Dec 21, 2006 at 11:23 AM | Permalink

    Malcolm Hughes, at 00:28:28 in his Oct 17 podcast, questions the idea of independence of thought among investigators in the post-internet era of global-scale earth science. Ironically, he later goes on to contradict himself by citing the competitiveness among investigators (1:01:09) and the uniqueness of each of the proxy types, as factors leading to independence. The undeniable fact, however, is that (1) investigators are competitive *until* they face a common enemy, at which point they become collaborative; (2) uniqueness of the proxy types does not preclude cherry-picking from among them to achieve a pre-determined result. These factors tend to undermine independence.

    Re #21 “absolutely independent studies” occurs at 52:11. Although this is an undercurrent theme throughout the talk.

    I don’t think the word “independent” should ever again be used to describe global earth science studies. His earlier (28:28) statement is correct: independence is no longer achievable.

  30. Ken Robinson
    Posted Dec 21, 2006 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

    There’s an interesting commentary at RP Jr’s site by Kevin Vranes, an AGU attendee, on what he views as the changing sentiment among the scientific community as to how knowledge of climate is being represented in the media and to policy-makers.


  31. bender
    Posted Dec 21, 2006 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

    Two short excerpts from that post:

    “I heard from a few people a sentiment that we need to stop making assumptions and decisions for decision-makers; that we need to give decision-makers only the unvarnished truth with realistic bounds on our uncertainty, and trust that the decision-makers will know what to do with it.”


    “what I heard concerns me greatly, because I see negative implications for the credibility of the climsci world”

    echoing what I’ve been saying from the start.

    Dealing responsibly with uncertainty means disclosure, for example, of:
    -methods used to calculate temp recon confidence intervals
    -error as it propagates through a GCM calculation
    … so that policy-makers understand the odds (however slim) that the science is wrong.

  32. TAC
    Posted Dec 21, 2006 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

    FWIW: I also spoke with Kurt Cuffey and several others following the Monday session at AGU, and I was impressed that they made no bones about SteveM’s concerns related to climate reconstructions. Clearly, reconstructing climate history is not easy, mistakes get made, etc., etc. Likely even Michael Mann concedes these points in general (though not the specific criticisms, perhaps).

    I am not sure what to make of Malcolm Hughes. I was sitting a couple of rows behind him at AGU — a front-row seat for his outburst directed at SteveM — and his behavior prompted two contradictory thoughts: On the one hand, it seemed a visceral reaction — he appeared visibly shaken by SteveM’s presentation, which is perhaps understandable though uncharacteristic for an academic (most welcome attention to their work). On the other hand, Hughes’s words were almost entirely unspecific rant — with one exception, they did not address any of the details of SteveM’s presentation — which suggests the words might have been prepared in advance. In any case, although he embarrassed only himself, his outburst disrupted the scientific discussion and may have silenced those who wanted to bring up substantive criticism of SteveM’s analysis. If so, that was unfortunate. I have seen this happen before at AGU, and in one case a frequent abuser was formally rebuked for such behavior.

  33. bender
    Posted Dec 21, 2006 at 12:39 PM | Permalink

    i.e. He behaved as a troll on a blog and achieved the same effect that trolls do.

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