Creating a guide for Climate Audit Newbies

This is something that I should write up, but others are volunteering. Pete T asked for this thread. I don’t promise to accept or use anything. WordPress formerly had a Sticky button and I used to have a Road Map post as a sticky. An old one is here . I’m increasingly using the Pages to keep track of links – see for example here ; there’s also a collection of links to Station Data,… I use the Categories button in the left frame to sort through things myself. I urge readers to do so as well.

In editor mode, I can search through posts and/or comments for individual words which helps me locate things. If any of you can persuade WordPress to make this function available to readers (without editing privileges), it would be a useful improvement to WordPress.


  1. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 5:25 PM | Permalink

    re: #20

    As far ast the specific acronyms you mention

    UC is simply the nom de blog of one of the regulars here.

    CCE is defined a bit down the post as “classical calibration estimator” (but don’t ask me what that means.)

    OLS – Ordinary Least Squares

    ICE – I forget and a quick search online is a waste of time. Help!

    MBH9x is a sort of standard refence to the original Mann papers Mann Bradley Hughes (19)98 and Mann Bradley Hughes (19)99

  2. ShauneS
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 5:35 PM | Permalink

    #20: I am fairly new to this blog and don’t find acronyms a problem. A lot have been nicely listed under “Common Acronyms used on this blog” at the side of each page. Using the search box to look up the rest are a good way to learn the topic.

  3. M. Jeff
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 5:44 PM | Permalink

    Re: braddles, November 25th, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    I suspect that I speak for a majority of this site’s visitors if I say that posts like this do need translation.

    This is a very important website, but it has the potential to have still greater impact in the wider climate debate.

    You are speaking for a lot of us. Just updating the “Common Acronyms used on this blog” page would help to make the site more user friendly.

  4. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 5:44 PM | Permalink

    RE 20. Braddles. I think I can prove 1 of 2 things.

    1. You are whining where it’s not warrented
    2. You doesnt read too good.

    “first three lines,
    five unexplained “acronyms” (UC, CCE, OLS, ICE, and MBH9x)
    and a stated assumption that everyone knows what a double pseudoinverse is.”

    Well, UC has posted here before. UC has posted here a long ass time. UC has an
    auditblog. UC is one of the few fellows whom St. Mac will give a “top level”
    post to. If you didnt KNOW that UC was a person, the form of the title
    “UC on CCE” might give you hint. Why, construction on the english language.
    “Hillary Clinton on Health care” ” Bill on Monica” Se how the langauge works.
    So you KNEW, UC was a noun.

    If you followed the grammar of the title you knew it. if you followed the auditblog link you knew it.
    If you read comment 3 you knew UC was a noun. And comment 4, where UC links itself. and 8 and
    comment 12.

    So, you were not confused about UC. Stop pretending.

    CCE. CCE is explained in the text of the post. Classical calibration estimator.
    FWIW. that means For What it’s worth.

    OLS: Hazard a guess. this is statistics. Or you could google OLS and spend LESS TIME COMPLAINING
    and more time learning.

    ICE: dang I had to google that. On this one… it does require additional help. I award you
    1 point.

    MBH9x: this is your PUZZLE for the week. x is a variable. that’s a hint.

    (Double psuedo inverse-1) = Triple Indy.

  5. Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 5:52 PM | Permalink

    The people who are complaining that this site doesn’t somehow provide explanations for every gap in their knowledge of these often complex subjects need to back off. I myself have only a limited understanding of the science that is discussed here, but what I fully understand is that the site attracts a core group of highly educated people who’ve been studying these or related subjects all their lives and they come here to work on problems and trade ideas. Most of these people don’t have the time to be instructing newbies on on the intricacies of statistics, climatology, dendrochronology, etc.

    A parallel website is a good idea, as long as it doesn’t interfere with what goes on here. You could call it ClimateAudit101.

  6. David Ermer
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 5:55 PM | Permalink

    RE: 9

    Might I suggest that this blog resembles the way that the “original” scientists (think Royal Society and “Nullius in Verba”) conducted “peer review” than the way that it is conducted in a modern journal.

    This of course is just my opinion but I think that the former is superior than the latter.

  7. M. Jeff
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 6:04 PM | Permalink

    Suggestions for making this site appealing to a wider audience is complaining or whining? Potentially constructive mild “criticism” meant to potentially enhance this site needs to be denigrated?

    Steve: I don’t mind the advice but that doesn’t mean that I’ll take it. I’m not trying to appeal to a wider audience. I could expand the readership by going more into political things, but I’ve intentionally steered away from that. If I could clone myself, I could cover more topics including ones of wider interest than some of the ones covered here.

    I don’t intentionally write obscurely and dislike obscure writing. But sometimes I’m going to chat with Jean S and UC and bender and it others want to try to get the gist of it, they’re welcome, but none of us have time to bring people through 4-5 years of statistics in a couple of minutes. I think that there are enough other topics that you’ll just have to put up with this. That doesn’t mean that I want posts to be inaccessible. I try hard to make technical things interesting and lively. But sometimes we’re going to do matrix algebra and that’s that.

    I absolutely agree that a wiki would be nice. We all know that the blog has out grown its indexing capacity and that a wiki would be a good idea. It’s a huge job to translate things into a wiki. I’d like to do it but it’s down on my list of priorities. If someone wants to volunteer and we can establish proper security, then we can proceed but I don’t have time to babysit it.

    As to a statement of objectives, I have no idea why I’m doing this other than initially I was not prepared to be bullied off the field when I wasn’t wrong and then I found that I enjoyed it. I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind about anything other than archiving of data and source code and improved due diligence and disclosure. While many readers have strong policy views on other matters, I don’t. I believe in FAQs and Quarterly Reports (as I would have done in business). But they take time and thought to do and it’s not as though I;ve been entirely idle.

  8. Jean S
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 6:23 PM | Permalink

    M. Jeff, why don’t you stop “suggesting” and “giving advice” to other people what to do, and do it yourself? What prevents you updating the acronyms page? Just send the ones you want to add to Steve, I’m sure he’ll add them. If you want to open a parallel web site, open one. If you want better posts, write better ones to your parallel web site. If you want a ClimateAudit wiki, open one. If you want more articles to your ClimateAudit wiki, write more.

    I think I’ve had enough of these complainers for a awhile.
    [lurking mode on]

  9. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

    Heres a thought. We have the great Unthreaded. Howabout a thread dedicated to
    begineer questions. FAQs suck.

    Since we have a bunch of Steves on this site. ( and Marks… see my proof that mark =steve)

    How about a thread called Ask Steves.

    Where only steves and marks could answer nooby questions.

  10. Rick Ballard
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 6:51 PM | Permalink

    Dear Steves and Marks,

    How do you propose to get JeanS to turn off his lurking mode? Without his contributions and those of UC, Willis et al in plena CA would lose much of its luster.

    PS I think the idea of a “Dear Steves and Marks” stripped down adjunct site might work better than a thread. A thread gets really boggy after a few hundred comments.

  11. Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

    PS I think the idea of a “Dear Steves and Marks” stripped down adjunct site might work better than a thread. A thread gets really boggy after a few hundred comments.

    I agree, although Ask Jeeves, er Steves, is better.

  12. Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 7:15 PM | Permalink

    If word press is anything like blogger you can create a new blog that can be linked to this blog which can have limited access for those you choose. You can set up an acronym blog and let others manage that and a links or archive blog to delegate some authority without losing control of the main blog.

  13. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 7:26 PM | Permalink

    If St. Mac wants to establish a thread for Noobs I will help to man it to the best of my ability
    for a couple hours in the AM PST.. try to answer questions, not swear, and generally
    behave myself.

    So now Jean S comes out of lurk mode?

  14. Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 7:42 PM | Permalink

    Google has a site search option that if your blog is properly mapped, should enable users to perform selective searches of your site(s). I had problems with this on blogger because Google doesn’t like to map blogger even though they own blogger(weirdness abounds).

    Anywho, there are various options if you have someone you trust that is willing to put the time in to help. The common acronyms update would be helpful and if someone is froggy, a topic chronology would be nice.

  15. Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 7:45 PM | Permalink

    Organizing and presenting the information contained in this website in a way that is understandable to a wider audience is a really interesting challenge. It would be nice if someone had a couple hundred thousand dollars to hire an engineering consulting firm to read this website, understand it, and write a report.

  16. Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

    Ref 15, It isn’t money it is just time. The number of topics are fairly large, but not insurmountable. The topics could be simplified to climate, paleoclimate, paleobullscat, statistics, statistical bullscat and instrumentation accuracy. Heck, it would be fun to figure which category things fall into.

  17. pouncer
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 8:19 PM | Permalink

    I’m not exactly a newbie round here. But I confess I get lost in the statistics about the
    second equation. It certainly would not hurt my feelings any if some sarcastic stats-meister came along
    to translate a post clearly designed as on-the-fly chit chat between professionals into the “stats for
    dummies” version as both an aid to the rest of us, and as a prop to his (or her) own ego showing off
    the ability to follow the jargon.

    After all, FOLLOWING the jargon, and the argument, is not quite so important as originating it. I’d
    just as soon our host persue his muse and leave the clean up to lesser lights.

  18. braddles
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 8:32 PM | Permalink

    # 4 steve mosher

    On the subjct of reading what was written, please note that I did not say that I could not understand the terminology (I understood some of it), only that the terms were unexplained in the original post. So I was not pretending.

    I have not for a moment suggested changes to this blog, or to the way that Steve carries out his work, or that he should change the focus or style of his commentary. This work will fail if its rigour is compromised.

    However, I do believe that this work deserves a wider audience and to have more influence on the wider debate, so I stand by my comment that a parallel blog of some sort, for non-specialists, would be a good idea.

    It is regrettable that my earlier post is seen as whining, and attracts such sardonic hostility. It was meant to be constructive. I can’t find my previous comment now; I don’t know if it has been deleted.

  19. Rick Ballard
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 8:52 PM | Permalink


    I’m not a ‘regular’ commenter either and I, too, have hopes concerning the site becomig more user friendly for the inumerate and untrained. I recognize that neither Steve Mc nor any of the ‘first team’ should be charged with fulfilling my wishes – what they are doing is just too important.

    Hopefully something will come of ‘Ask Steves (and Marks too)’ but it’s going to be done by others because my skill set doesn’t include anything of use to the project. All I can do is applaud.

    Go get ’em, folks.

  20. Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 9:04 PM | Permalink

    Ref 18 I agree you are a whiner…er things need to change to have a wider audience. That would be a joke. Whiner that is. Seriously, a glossary including “all” acronyms would be nice. Then the author could adapt a more conventional writing style, (that ain’t happening!).

    So since adapting a style like, Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) that happens to be conventional isn’t happening, try maintaining, as in updating a glossary/commonly used acronyms list. Very difficult to find right now BTW.

    Writing to the level of your audience is difficult, because you have to determine the level of your audience. You shooting for one percent or over fifty?

  21. Susann
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 9:06 PM | Permalink

    What about a thread titled “statistics / climate science for dummies” where the rest of us could ask quesdtions without burdening the serious posters. Generous science and statistics types could stop by and offer advice or explanations when they felt so inclined.

  22. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 9:09 PM | Permalink

    Braddles… I only wanted to tell the (double psuedo inverse -1 ) = Triple Lindy

    So don’t take my criticism too hard. See the punch line at the end.

  23. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 9:25 PM | Permalink

    One way newbies can help is to assist in providing information, references that might be of interest, raw data from friends who have not archived it, etc. Also, as a foreigner, using local circles in information gathering and introducing useful new contributors.

    Sometimes we try to help on a project where Steve is already more advanced. So a thread where specific pieces of information are being sought would be handy to avoid duplication and undue effort. We like to help, but sometimes can be too helpful in our ignorance of what has already been done.

  24. Rick Ballard
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 9:28 PM | Permalink

    “because you have to determine the level of your audience”

    Write for the average Congresscritter – short words, simple charts, maybe some pretty pictures.

    Actually, I’ve been trying to find a reply to a high school student that I saw the other day. I almost thought I understood a good two thirds of that one.

  25. Skip
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 9:28 PM | Permalink

    I’ve been reading the blog for a few months, from a link I first saw sometime during the summer. And I realized that there were a ton of stuff that I simply wasn’t following, because the posts pretty much assumed you’d been following along from the beginning.

    So I’ve been reading the archives, and am up to about the end of 2005. It’s tough sledding at times with the current old article corruption issues, but I feel like I have a better feel already. But honestly, a glossary at times would be nice. There should be a wordpress addon to do it I would think.

    BTW, the roadmap listed in the post:

    doesn’t seem to be a good link.

  26. Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 10:02 PM | Permalink

    Ref 24, You don’t have to get down to the third grade congress level with the crayon charts to write to a solid audience. You do have to understand that jargon is jargon for those not in the field, to write for someone not in the field.

    Most readers if given a real name for an acronym can determine what is happening if they are interested. Then you could adapt the attitude of a climatologists and write benign BS with no basic in fact that people nod to in pretended understanding.

    I and Al Gore have a paltry IQ of 136ish. Yes, I am not the sharpest tack in the box. But where am I percentage wise?

  27. bender
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 10:05 PM | Permalink

    Suggestion. Along with this list of things you want, start compiling a list of things you’re willing and able to do. No one’s really miffed at these wonderfully constructive suggestions. It’s just that they seem to be a lot more frequent since the blog award, they were starting to appear in auditing threads, disrupting the auditing function. No one who is seriously engaged in deconstructing analytical code has the time to implement the features being requested. That’s why they write in acronyms in the first place.

    I personally dislike the idea of synthetic threads for “newbies” because it encourages authoritarianism. There’s no good way to get up to speed other than read the blog and read textbooks and read RC and read primary literature.

    On the topic of authoritarianism … I see a request for “stats/climate science for dummies”. I get the uneasy feeling that CA is being perceived as an alternative to RC. Although RC is a site where catastophe believers hang out, CA is not a site for mouthing denialist arguments. It is a place for deconstructing climate science. CA is not an authority; it’s a process. Whereas RC attempts to be an authority, not a process. If you’re looking for an authority to give you the truth my advice is to look elsewhere. Go ask your questions at RC and report back on the answers you get. They can be filed under the existing thread “Is Gavin Schmidt honest?”.

    The space afforded by #17’s attitude is most welcome.

  28. Philip_B
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 10:09 PM | Permalink

    An idea I have been toying with for a while is a Climate Audit Simplified blog. A blog that takes a topic here and summarizes it in one or two paragraphs. Most of the issues here can be summarized succintly. Of course at the loss of fidelity in the discussion, but that doesn’t matter to the casual reader, he/she just wants to know what the issue is about. I seriously considered starting such a blog myself, that’s how important I think the issues discussed here and the quality of the debate/analysis is.

    There are several reasons why I haven’t.

    1. The time it would require.
    2. My statistics knowledge is undergrad 101 level.
    3. I didn’t want to attract the ire of Steve and the other regulars as a result of mischaracterising the issues discussed here that would inevitably result from simplifying an issue (at least in the eyes of some).

    But, I am willing to hold up my hand to start such a blog. Contributions from others most welcome.

  29. tetris
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 10:13 PM | Permalink

    Be careful not to let this twist cause you to lose the essence of your site.

  30. Michael Babbitt
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 10:33 PM | Permalink

    I just read your paper expaining the importance of the Hockey Stick debate and how the scientific community has succumbed to pressures that have resulted in the publishing and socializing of apparently poorly designed, flawed, and reviewed statistical techniques and their resulting conclusions. I have heard similar critiques previously but this fleshes this our for me more convincingly.

    At the moment I a software data validator and tester but am working to enter the Auditing field. One of the foundations of Internal Audit field expertise is to know the red flags for fraud, while not necessarily being an expert in fraud forensics. These red flags are relevant to the observations made concerning the IPCC and how funding is rolled up into voicing consensus with its conclusions. This red flag is understood at the business level as pressure to perform at very high and unrealistic levels and to meet the bottom line. This pressure can coerce ordinarily honest and well-meaning people to rationalize away questionable business practices. Besides uncovering blatant and conscious deception and fraud, it is the job of an objective and independant auditor to point out these kind of misincentives that can do great harm to the brand and financial bottom line of a business. The idea of a Climate Audit, considering the full ramifications of such science, is thus so important.

    It is hard to see how the IPCC can get away with such poor feedback loops — controls –in its own organizational structure. With ISO and other auditing standards being so respected today in international business , one can only sit back in amazed incredulity as to how the IPCC has avoided such an audit so far. But being part of the UN does not help in this regard — the Oil for Food scandal was found out way too late.

  31. Philip_B
    Posted Nov 25, 2007 at 10:53 PM | Permalink

    #30 This is a point Steve M makes. If the IPCC were held to the same standards as say mining stock promoters, [snip] I’m married to an auditor and I used to think auditing was boring nonsense. [snip]

    Steve: Pls don’t get too carried away about this.

  32. Ross Nixon
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 12:54 AM | Permalink

    Slightly off-topic:
    I am familiar with two wiki set-ups. For a newbie-guide, I suggest using TiddlyWiki.
    Well, I don’t know if it is the best choice, but it’s fantastic!

    This is an all-in-one file, portable cross-platform wiki (no server-side code), and is powered by some clever javascript. all in one html file.

    It’s kind of like a card-file on steroids. Each card is called a Tiddler.
    When editing a new tiddler, putting a term in Camelcase or double brackets like [[Camel case]] makes a link to a tiddler or potential tiddler of that name.
    It is really fun to use, and has heaps of features. And it’s free.

  33. MikeG
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 1:20 AM | Permalink

    I’ve developed a more than passing interest in AGW over the past 8-10 months, facilitated in large part by this blog. I am a small business owner with a finance background, but I happily slog through info full of the knowledge that the level of most of the information I encounter exceeds my level of understanding of mathematics and science. Yet, and possibly dangerously, I find my understanding growing.

    That said, short of high school cheerleaders, there is nothing more willfully cliquish and boorish than geeks that have obtained a a level of understanding that others less fortunate desire to have. This social axiom of geeks becoming increasingly geeky when commoners desire their level of understanding needs to be dealt with here imo. for this reason: the information provided on this site NEEDS to be disseminated to the vast numbers of people out there that don’t have giant brains, yet possess a level of skepticism that could be fueled by a slightly less technical (geeky) subset to this format.

    I think “Q&A for Climate Tards” is catchy

  34. John A
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 1:28 AM | Permalink

    Why not start a Climate Audit wiki? In order to do it properly, the wiki must be editable by invitation only but at least then people can write a page on OLS or R2 or spurious regression, then it can be properly laid out and be searchable.

    The interesting thing is that it should be possible to cut/paste a lot of stuff out of CA into the wiki, and links are easy to create to CA or to webpages or other wikis.

  35. Hans Erren
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 1:29 AM | Permalink

    Perhaps you could tag your posts with a target audience: 0 no science background, 1 science background, 2 for mathematicians. Several mathematics posts are way over my head.

  36. John V
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 3:40 AM | Permalink

    As Hans Erren said. I had some basic statistics (it was more horror than understanding for me), and all we apply in our ‘research’ (i.e. doing things that already have been determined, as part of our course) is mean, logarithmic scale and standard deviation.
    A lot of this stuff is gibberish to me without the general conclusion or the gist kind of delivered in the texts. I’m not asking for a layman’s guide to statistics, that would be inappropriate, but a level indicator as suggested wouldn’t be a bad idea. In any case, this blog does actually stimulate me t read up about statistics, only problem is that you have exercise often or you lose your knack.

  37. ALee UK
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 4:03 AM | Permalink

    A small suggestion, from someone with a technical but not stats background.

    Some of the posts contain a lot of stats – e.g. UC on CCE. I don’t expect all the stats and details to be explained each time as that would take a lot of time to produce – but how about a short paragraph on similar complex top-posts explaining the significance of what is being discussed? That would make it easier to follow along and gradually work out some of the details, hopefully without disturbing the discussion between experts or taking too long to write.

  38. PaulD
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 5:22 AM | Permalink

    Several problem with a simplified CA for beginners: 1) Unless it was done very carefully by someone with a great deal of expertise, it would likely introduce errors in the translations. Then the real experts who are trying to get something done on this site, might feel the need to spend time trying to provide more accurate explanations of their work; 2) It would likely attract comments from Team supporters who could criticize the simplified versions of the CA without really engaging Steve M. and other experts at the CA site.
    As a layman I do my best to try to understand the gist of what is being done at this site. I think I can follow some posts reasonable well. Others I just don’t have the background to comprehend or evaluate. I doubt that there is any reasonable way to translate advanced statistics and mathematics into something that a person without the relevant background can readily understand. A person who can actually do this possesses an extraordinarily rare talent.

  39. Ethan
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 5:30 AM | Permalink

    Might I suggest adding a Forums section. WordPress has a few plugin options for forums – so setup would take a few minutes. (RS Discuss and WP-forum both look to be very functional – and separate moderators can be assigned to each forum topic). Hopefully this would transfer non-technical comments as well as newbie remedial discussions off Steve’s main posts so that it can remain mostly science.

    Also, a wiki for reference and tutorials would be fantastic. The MediaWiki software is the standard;easy to set up. Let it run.I’d be happy to set it up and host it (that’s trivial).
    With the Weblog Awards, the increase in traffic and interest is great – but I am seeing a small downside that needs some assistance.

  40. rhodeymark
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 5:36 AM | Permalink

    The acronyms page was a result of several readers (raises hand) asking nicely not too long ago. Willis E was kind enough to help compile it and it was expanded at least once. If there are more terms that need to be added, why not just list some of the new ones being bandied about and request inclusion? BTW – gratitude for this feature also involved a round of jar tipping – rightfully so, n’est-ce pas?

  41. Peter Thompson
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 5:52 AM | Permalink

    I have a reasonable science/math background, and some spare time to donate, for a guide for newbies. The important thing is that this not distract our host or dilute the work of Jean S., UC, Bender, JEG etc. I have been reading this blog for about four months, and I slogged through alot of archives, and read a lot of dry articles on stats where required. I operate a business in an industry where internal and external audit are routine, and dreaded (when I was new) and now welcomed as it protects us from succumbing to business pressures which arise, and from shady operators.

    Project co-ordination is not my strength, but were someone to take on the task, I will do all I can. My apologies if I have over looked an important contributor, and thank you.

  42. trevor
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 6:40 AM | Permalink

    I have been following CA, RC and (until it was closed) Roger Pielke’s site. I was tipped off about CA by the late John Daly’s Waiting For Greenhouse site.

    FWIW, my view is that Steve should just keep doing what he is doing. The objective is to ask questions, seek clarifications, and to require that climate scientists adhere to the fundamentals of sound science before they go public with their papers. After all, if governments are making policy decisions based on the work of the climate scientists, it is surely reasonable to ask if it is in fact correct.

    Anybody seriously interested in the issues will take an interest, and spend the time needed to follow the discussions here. I think that you will be surprised by just how many people are following this blog, comparing it to RC, and reaching conclusions as to just how reliable the pronouncements of the real climate scientists are.

    Steve shouldn’t have to worry about summarising, writing books, setting up Wikis etc. That is for others to do. There is heaps of material here that can be explored, edited and organised by others. After all, we are not on about writing style or even jargon for that matter. It is the facts that we are (or at least should be) concerned about. And the facts that Steve has revealed over the past few years tell a compelling story for those prepared to look.

  43. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 7:06 AM | Permalink

    A basic primer on stats is one thing, but truly understanding posts like “UC on CEE” require some linear algebra, too.

    It’s not rocket science, but it’s a lot to explain/swallow. Even Mann with all of his education clearly has problems with it.

  44. ALee UK
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 7:44 AM | Permalink

    Having just started looking at the archive, are there any posts available from before Oct 2004 (the earliest archive date shown)? Some links in the early archive entries link to earlier info and they still work – so some things are still available


  45. PaulM
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 7:52 AM | Permalink

    I agree it would be really useful to have some very basic introductory web pages (not a thread, not another blog). To many newbies this site is completely incomprehensible – as remarked on by some people on the other blogs during the weblog awards voting.
    What is this site about? What are the key issues? What are the basic facts about global warming that everyone agrees on and what is disputed? What are the statistical errors in MBH? What are principal components? What is UHI? What is a proxy and how reliable are they? What are bristlecones and why do they matter? What is this ‘divergence problem’? What is the Briffa spaghetti graph? What was Hansen’s ‘Y2k’ error and does it matter?
    The FAQ and acronyms list are helpful but dont go far enough.
    But I agree with Trevor, this is not a job for Steve. Those of us who feel this way can write our own stuff and if Steve likes it he can link it in the ‘weblogs and resources’ section. A wiki might work, but may suffer from differences of opinion or style among the contributors.

  46. Johan i Kanada
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 8:08 AM | Permalink

    Like probably a large portion of CA’s readers, I am person with scientific/engineering background, with a skeptical
    mindset, and with a special interest in AGW, and politicized science.
    Thus, I have a pretty good general understanding of science, math and statistics, but I do not have any kind of in-depth
    statistics skills, for sure not in the “mechanics” of advanced statistical methods.

    I have read for CA for quite some time, and I really like the (for the most part) very stringent arguments that are
    put forth (and debated, discussed, and elaborated).

    However, I am of the opinion that every advanced topic, be it pure mathematics, quantum theory, cosmology,
    climate science, or advanced statistics, can be, and should be, described (also) in simple and straightforward language.

    Without this approach:
    i) The audience shrinks and thus the impact is reduced
    ii) The risk for obfuscation and confusion of the real “point” is greatly enhanced
    iii) And most importantly, as can be seen from the current AGW and Kyoto debates, when the public has no real opportunity
    to understand and analyze the underlying data, the powerful (such as UN IPCC) wins by default

    The last point is one reason why this blog is so important.

    There are some good suggestions on how to improve the clarity, and impact, of the more “technical” topics/posts. I would
    like to encourage you (Steve at al) to adopt some of those.

    Many thanks,

    Some related quotes:
    “Det dunkelt sagda är det dunkelt tänkta. Vad klart du ej kan säga vet du ej.” – Esaias Tegnér (1817)
    (My translation: “What is muddily expressed is muddily thought. What you cannot clearly express, you do not know.”)
    “Precisely because of human fallibility, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” – Carl Sagan (1980)

    My point is that, fundementally, this blog is about temperatures and climate, not about PCs and matrix formulation of a
    statistical problem. One always need to ask oneself: What does this actually mean? What is the underlying reality
    behind these numbers? How can I express this in a clear, concise, and concrete way?

    The point is certainly not to imply that Steve, nor anyone else, does not think clearly.

  47. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 8:39 AM | Permalink

    I entirely agree that, if a point can be explained, it can be explained clearly. One of my ongoing frustrations is the lack of a clear exposition of how doubled CO2 leads to 2.5 deg C.

    I try to represent matters in relatively straightforward language whenever possible.

    That said, this blog serves a variety of functions and I’m not prepared to sacrifice some discussions. When I re-posted a UC comment that was matrix algebra that interested me and which UC had not prepared for public consumption, that seems to have caused angst to far too many people. I re-threaded the UC post not least because I wanted to keep track of the post and index it. The points in this post were quite clearly expressed if you understood linear algebra and any difficulties were different than Mannian obscurity in that UC’s points were clearly experessed.

    The maps in the EAS Mission Impossible assignment are a way of illustrating linear algebra: in the sense that they demonstrate that the linear algebra weights can be shown as weighting factors on a map. I regard that sort of graphic as the type of thing that’s needed to convey the results of linear algebra calculations minus the algebra to a broader public and well worth doing. Having said that, it’s not as easy as all that to think up simplifying diagrams like this – this is a diagram that I wish I’d developed 18 months ago, but I didn’t think of it.

    Good graphics are the main way of conveying complicated technical ideas to the public. But they take time, energy and insight to develop and not every blog post or discussion is going to be able to achieve a concise graphic that illuminates the point. The purpose of this blog is to discuss things at an advanced level and, if people are interested, fine. I’m trying to reach an audience that’s interested in things that I’m interested in discussing; I’m not trying to make things inaccessible or difficult and don’t think that I do. If the posts were all that inaccessible or uninteresting, the blog would not have developed the audience that it has.

    If I wanted to “reach” a broader audience, I’d permit more political discussions, but such discussions bore me and distract from the niche that the blog presently occupies and I’m more interested in preserving the niche than in reaching a broader audience. If we lose some potential readers, that’s OK with me. You can’t please all the people all the time.

  48. M. Jeff
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 8:42 AM | Permalink

    Excerpt from WSJ, (The Wall Street Journal), June 21, 2005, Review & Outlook (U.S.):

    But then, in 2003, Canadian mathematician Stephen McIntyre and economist Ross McKitrick published a critique calling Mr. Mann’s work riddled with “collation errors, unjustifiable truncations or extrapolation of source data, obsolete data, geographical location errors, incorrect calculations of principal components, and other quality control defects.” Correct for those errors, they showed, and the Medieval warm period returns.

    Mr. Mann has never offered a serious rebuttal to the McIntyre-McKitrick critique. He has refused to fully explain his methodology, claiming he’s the victim of “intimidation.” That’s odd when you consider that the sine qua non of real science is independently verifiable and reproducible results.

    WSJ uses acronym free format for the benefit of its mathematically challenged readers: … “collation errors, unjustifiable truncations or extrapolation of source data, obsolete data, geographical location errors, incorrect calculations of principal components, and other quality control defects.” …

    Steve: that acronym free language that you cite approvingly is a direct quotation from our article. So any credit for the clear language should be allocated to the authors of the article.

  49. Geoff Olynyk
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 8:44 AM | Permalink

    PaulM, I agree with you. Interpretation of the material here should be done on a separate website. Steve McIntyre has repeatedly said that he has no interest in exploring anything here beyond the validity of the methods used in the climatology studies (mostly paleoclimatology). That’s his prerogative, and I would not deign to suggest he give up even more of his free time to expand the scope of Climate Audit. (That won’t stop me from hoping, but let’s not forget that this is a volunteer effort.)

    It has to be understood, however, that this stuff does have a significance beyond correcting obscure statistical methodologies. Steve obviously understands this, as shown by his repeated comments about how studies used for high-level policymaking should be subject to stricter review and QA than the paleoclimate reconstructions are right now. Whenever the policy implications of a discovery come up in the blog discussion, the comments are moved to Unthreaded, or deleted. That’s fine; it is the policy of this forum to discuss the science only.

    What needs to happen is that somebody (or some group of people) needs to write a detailed web page containing the ironclad conclusions that have been reached here, but in a language that everyone (including the policymakers) can understand. It has to be in a form more logically laid out than a blog: category tags are nice, but no substitute for a properly structured hierarchical website. This website should contain the scientific conclusions, but not shy away from discussing policy and economics implications, as long as they are logically supported by the science.

    Most importantly, this website has to avoid partisan nastiness (as Steve has done an excellent job of doing here). It sometimes seems like the only places you can read Steve’s conclusions outside of Climate Audit are websites where the link next to “flaw found in Mann 2007 paleoclimate reconstruction” is “socialist UN one-worlders come up with another plot to ban religion”.

    Steve is constantly wrestling with scientists and journal editors that get away with the most egregious violations of their own policies, just because he is an “outsider” to the academic world. As someone who is hoping to get into that academic world eventually (though not in climatology), I find the obfuscation and stonewalling from the paleoclimate world completely unacceptable. But I still remain hopeful that this behaviour is not endemic in science, and is just representative of a small group of people trying to hide their bad conclusions to cover their own asses.

    If my assumption is correct (and for the sake of science itself, I hope it is) then all that is missing for this problem to end is to get enough people to read about the situation, understand it, and get as mad as everyone here is. Get enough of the public behind you and excuses like “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to find something wrong with it?” will melt away.

    Maybe the correct way to do this is not another website. Maybe it’s a 150-page pdf document with a nice title page and floating rounded rectangles with quotables, something that can be printed on glossy paper and circulated to government representatives. Maybe the role I talk about here is already filled by the website or by Anthony Watts’ blog. I’m not sure; the only climate science websites I read are Climate Audit and Real Climate. But I know that knowledge is often (not always) only useful to society in proportion to the number of people in receipt of it, and the conclusions here are too valuable to be restricted to only those with extensive math training.

  50. RomanM
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 8:46 AM | Permalink

    From the previous discussion, it looks to me like there is a more general need here for a “resource page” on this site. Most of the discussion has revolved about the need for explanations of statistical methodology and results, some of which are very difficult to explain even to people with a background in basic elementary statistics. Technical details on principal components, RegEM, variations on least squares fitting are difficult for anyone to describe to persons who do have not attained a more advanced level in this area. IMO, it would take a lot of energy in those cases from the poster to try to side-track deeply enough to give a proper background for the less informed reader.

    I would suggest that the resource page(s) might have well-labelled links to sources of information from the web where readers of different levels (newbie, medium, heavy-duty) might find the background at a decent comfort level. Simply googling a topic yourself is not very productive if you have no ability of properly evaluating what you have found. Such a page could have links to all types of material which is regularly discussed on this site. I personally would like to be able to find more information on specific technical details of calibration of temperatures in dendro studies. As well, I spent Sunday trying to track down a good source which had fairly complete (and accurate) precipitation information for the Almagre data site wasting my time downloading and reading data only to find that it ended somewhat earlier than I would have liked. As well, there could be links to R procedures (e.g. reading dendro format data sets – for which I have been reiinventing the wheel) others have done.

    I would like to stress that the burden of creating and administering such a page not be placed on Steve Mc., but rather delegated to one or more others that he would be willing to trust. Contributions to it could come from all of us – I keep finding new places with information, data, programs for working with the data, etc. and I am sure that some of you have some really good links that I might benefit from. It’s a thought …

    Steve: If you consult the Pages at the left, I try to keep track of links (for my own benefit as well.) Thus there is a rather a lengthy list of Station Data links, most of which I’ve inspected and made scripts to download information.

  51. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 8:51 AM | Permalink

    The best place to start, for me at least.

    Read Ross’ paper.

    Almost without exception everything here flows from the concerns of the hockey stick

    1. The study of proxies
    2. The good science of sharing data and methods
    3. The vagaries of publishing
    4. The mis use of statistics
    5. The importance of the tempature record.
    6. The proper use of statistics.

  52. Larry
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    At the risk of sounding like a business geek, it’s going to be extremely difficult to rule what should be “in” and “out” without starting with a mission statement.

  53. M. Jeff
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

    Re: M. Jeff, November 26th, 2007 at 8:42 am

    Steve: that acronym free language that you cite approvingly is a direct quotation from our article. So any credit for the clear language should be allocated to the authors of the article.

    You are correct, I should have made that attribution to McIntyre, et. al.

  54. RomanM
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 9:05 AM | Permalink

    Steve, your “pages” at left are certainly a good start to this, but I was envisaging a user-friendly, better-labelled, more organized and comprehensive structure in which one could find the links for the type of information to which I was referring.

  55. Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

    @Johan– Actually, I think this blog is as much about PC and the proper mathematical foundation for statistical techniques as it is about climate and temperature.

    For example: the post UC on CCE might have been “clearer” if prefaced with a three sentence introduction that said:

    UC and I are involved in an arcane discussion about statistical methods, their validity and their features. Those who skim may notice that the shape of the climate history graph is noticeably affected by the choice of the statistical methods, I, Steve M, the author am making no particular conclusion about what this really means for climate change. Those who understand something about statistics may find the article thought provoking; others can stop reading right here.”

    But would that extra crap make the article clearer? No. Does the fact that some readers don’t know linear algebra and can’t understand things written at a level that is most concisely explained using linear algebra mean SteveM is muddled or not thinking clearly? No. That’s just silly.

    I think you are making the mistake of confusing new visitors interest in the blog for the blogs actual purpose. It’s true that many readers visit because Steve is ultimately interested in what this all means vis-a-vis some important articles used to make the case for climate change. Heck, many of Steve’s critics complain about the blog for the same reason.

    But visitors interest and critics gripes notwithstanding, the blog is about what the authors want it to be about. If you really read the posts, you will see that the blog really does appear to be ‘about’ what Steve says it’s about:

    Trying to shed light on what’s really been done to make the case for global climate change. Are data traceable? Replicated? Are methods valid?

    It’s pretty rare for someone like SteveM to appear on the scene; so rare, it’s almost mystifying. But as mystifying as it may seem, based on the actual contents of articles, and SteveM’s moderating policy, blog really does seem to be as much, or more, about statistical treatment of data as it is about climate change!

  56. DocBill
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

    Hey, when can I subscribe to this site on my Amazon Kindle?

  57. Dave B
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 10:31 AM | Permalink

    My opinion…

    Steve Mc, UC, Jean S., Bender- keep your foot on the accelerator. Push the (potentially) important new material.

    Anthony Watts, Hans Erren, Willis E, Mosher, Dave Dardinger, Ken Fritsch- Continue your valuable contributions to the front lines, and help the newbies understand what’s going on.

    (I’m sorry, I’m sure I have forgotten some worthy contributors)

    Everybody else- be patient and polite to newbies, someone you know might be listening.

  58. Johan i Kanada
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 11:00 AM | Permalink

    #47 Steve

    Steve, this is your blog so you decide its style and content. No argument there.

    You have chosen climate as the topic of this blog, with the focus on scrutinizing, using you expertise in statistics,
    various dubious claims within the Un sponsored mantra being constantly bombarded on us from all possible sources.
    Intrinsically, therefore, this is a very political topic, so whether you like it or not, this is a very political blog.

    Most readers probably do understand most arguments in your posts, but sometimes your effective audience is likely ten
    people or less. This is probably not what you strive for.
    Hence the comments on clarifying certain topics.

    Steve: This blog serves a variety of purposes. I sometimes put up notes on things that I’m working on – like on an online seminar, hoping for feedback from a very small audience. These are often the posts and issues that I’m most interested. 10 people would be a good return on some of these posts – sometimes I’m content with hearing back from 1 or 2 people. People who don’t want to read that sort of post don’t need to. Sometimes such posts have more impact on general readers than you might think. Some readers who don’t follow the matrix calculations are nonetheless reassured that these things appear to be handled competently and that several statistical specialists from around the world can reach agreement on such issues. My guess is that such readers also interpret the lack of blowback on such topics from JEG or such as at least an indication that the calculations have substance.

  59. Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 11:14 AM | Permalink

    This link is to a glossary of statistical terms that is somewhat helpful. I still have no clue what ICE stands for in mathematical terms.

  60. Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 11:23 AM | Permalink

    A ClimateAudit-Wiki, limited for editing only to trusted users and scientists, would be a great ressource.

  61. Urbinto Heat Island
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 11:33 AM | Permalink

    The only use I know for ICE is a reminder that voltage lags current in a capacitive AC circuit. Or run for the ICE is just regular ice in caps. Institute of Civil Engineers? International Centre of Excellence?


  62. Lance
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

    As someone that wandered in here more than three years ago, and has read it daily since, I have few gripes. I am a scientist (physicist) and university math instructor that can keep up with most of the technical issues until it gets too deep into statland. I have had to dig into some of my old stat books and check a few out from the university library, but that is what I like about this site.

    Steve does a fine job of giving a brief overview of the issues and relevant points in the intro to each post. If it is over your head then learn to swim! You shouldn’t expect to be hand fed your conclusions from authority. If that’s what you want click on over to RealClimate. They will be all too happy to tell you what to think.

    I would like the archives to be updated as to current developments but I fully understand that Steve has plenty on his plate already. Also an overall summary every week or so of the status of each topic would be useful but I don’t think any major overhaul is necessary.

    This site is not designed to give quick pat answers to satisfy one’s political beliefs. A little digging around in here followed by a bit of research can be very rewarding and for that I thank Steve for this great forum.

  63. Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

    I still have no clue what ICE stands for in mathematical terms.

    ICE = Inverse Calibration Estimator

    see for example

    Small-Disturbance Asymptotic Theory for Linear-Calibration Estimators
    V. K. Srivastava, N. Singh
    Technometrics, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Aug., 1989), pp. 373-378


  64. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 12:09 PM | Permalink

    re: #44 ALee,

    I think you’ve found the earliest posts here (though some of the earliest #s are jumbled datewise).

    There are a few earlier articles on the Ross McKittrick pages you can link to via the links box in the left sidebar. I’m one of the earliest regulars to this site and came here after Ross linked to it back then.

    I can remember when I first heard about Steve and Ross’s work. It might have been via John Daly’s site as mentioned earlier in this thread. I remember thinking (and saying on the Climate Debate Forum), “I sure hope these guys are right or it’s going to be the end of the line as far as the Climate Skeptics position goes with the general public.” This was when we were waiting for the M&M papers to be published and Mann to publish a rebuttal (We’re still waiting for one, IMO). Little did I think that M&M would be entirely right but what they said would still be ignored by the public because of lies and obsfucation by the Hockey Team and their handlers in Big Science and the Media.

  65. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 12:09 PM | Permalink

    Post #47 by Steve M, explaining his purposes here and the attempts, but limitations, in making all parts of all points clear to the lay public, and lucia, as a relatively recent participant at this blog, in post #55, giving her take on this subject matter, are to me excellent examples of what can make blogs unique in obtaining a range of perspectives that can lead to a clearer understanding of these processes and analyses than one could, as readily, obtain on their own.

    There are to me several levels of understanding that one can obtain from some of these higher levels of analysis, but I would guess that a number of the statistically aware participants here can understand to the level directly preceding the operations/manipulations and rules governing linear algebra. With some patience, I think most times the notations with the operations explain rather completely what is being done. (I think that I can understand the purposes of most of these operations without having the ability to do them or check the accuracy of their applications). Lucia’s post gave an explanation that seemed to cover these levels. She also hits on what I think derives from the high expectations some participants have here for black and white conclusions coming from these analyses that can be directly ascribed to the amount of A in AGW.

    After being here awhile my take on this blog and Steve M’s purposes are essentially the same as lucia has noted in her pot #55. I guess that could mean that she is either a quick study or we both have it wrong.

    The subject of explaining an analysis in sufficiently simple terms for a layperson to comprehend, in general, if not specific detail, brings back to mind a poster from the past named TCO. He appeared to make valiant efforts to understand some of the technical issues in these analyses sufficiently so that he might argue the contrarian case with the expert analyzers. He was kind of doing what less technical managers of more technical people are expected to do, except that TCO appeared to want to argue/discuss on the same level as the more technical experts. Believe me; the results were not pretty for those of us who would have preferred the bandwidth he expended were applied to something for which more of us could learn.

  66. PeterS
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 12:25 PM | Permalink

    Geoff Olynyk 49.

    I agree with you.

    Steve M – you are absolutely right to keep politics completely barred from CA – and any other nooby subsite, blog etc that may arise and be associated with this one. It’s clear from viewing any other website that deals with ‘climate’ how allowing political comment very quickly destroys any chance of useful discussion.

    If there is a subsite for the general public, I would suggest it has NO area for comment at all as it would quickly become time consuming to moderate and would quickly get choked up. Perhaps just a separate ‘forum’ area.

    I also would suggest a ‘properly structured hierarchical website’ which Steve can completely delegate to others to create from the material here, with him playing perhaps only an ‘editor’s’ role in overseeing it. The structure and content of the nooby site should be limited to exactly what is covered here… perhaps with the addition of a ‘news’ area where related topical stories can be outlined and linked to (maybe, for example, a news article about an new item on RC with an objective comment on it).

    In my line of work as a graphic designer, I place a high value on visual presentation as a means of conveying information and a new site should place an emphasis on simple, clear, attractive graphics which are created for public consumption.

    I would be very happy to contribute my graphic design and layout skills.

  67. UK John
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

    I was a Newbie back in August, I do have an Engineering background and some understanding of the Climate Science before visiting.

    I have managed reasonably well so far to understand the issues raised. Some posts are clearer than others.

    However, knowledge gained after the successful struggle to understand, is far more enlightening and rewarding, so I would not welcome the modern “lay person” explanation approach of too many scientific journals.

    Through this site I learnt that splicing one set of data with another renders the resultant scientifically worthless, and even when divergence then is shown, all the host of scientific academic consensus ignores this and carries on!

    Also the Guardians of the observational instrument temperature record are at best incompetent, do not check the quality of the data, and make errors that challenge the word incompetent, and all of this is ignored and not noticed by the scientific consensus

    I like your approach of not just auditing, but if the situation requires it you go off and do some practical research.

  68. Peter D. Tillman
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 1:32 PM | Permalink

    Steve, thanks for starting the ball rolling on this. 70 posts in -18 hrs! I think you’ve hit a nerve… {G}

    Geoff Olynyk says

    Organizing and presenting the information contained in this website in a way that is understandable to a wider audience is a really interesting challenge. It would be nice if someone had a couple hundred thousand dollars to hire an engineering consulting firm to read this website, understand it, and write a report.

    In essence, this is how I’ve made my living for 40+ years. I’m good at it, and I’d be pleased to make a contribution to CA this way. I’m happy to volunteer to coordinate the effort. And hope to have plenty of help! Lots of good suggestions here already, and I’ll look back in earlier posts for more.

    I’ll be traveling this week so my visits here will be hit or miss til (at least) the weekend.

    Cheers — Pete Tillman
    Consulting (+/- retired) Geologist, Arizona and New Mexico (USA)

  69. Michael Smith
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 1:36 PM | Permalink

    Steve Mosher, #51

    Thank you for the link to the paper by Ross. It is the best explanation I’ve read of the flaws and issues with the hockey stick.

  70. Peter D. Tillman
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    Trevor says, #42

    Steve shouldn’t have to worry about summarising, writing books, setting up Wikis etc. That is for others to do. There is heaps of material here that can be explored, edited and organised by others. After all, we are not on about writing style or even jargon for that matter. It is the facts that we are (or at least should be) concerned about. And the facts that Steve has revealed over the past few years tell a compelling story for those prepared to look.

    Nicely put, and exactly what I have in mind. Thanks.

    Cheers — Pete T

  71. fFreddy
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

    sometimes your effective audience is likely ten people or less.

    You’re forgetting all the serious folk who do not post here, but who corresppond with Steve directly.
    Total supposition on my part, of course …

  72. fFreddy
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

    Blimey. That was re #58.

  73. Peter D. Tillman
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 2:04 PM | Permalink

    Steve remarked:

    One of my ongoing frustrations is the lack of a clear exposition of how doubled CO2 leads to 2.5 deg C.

    I actually have one, sort of, courtesy of William Hyde, now at (I think) U of Toronto. It involves the natural experiment of the last Mt. Pinatubo eruption. I’ve been meaning to dig out his email & study it again, but it’s on the old, semi-dead machine :-[

    Here’s his paper
    The spag-graph is interesting…. –but the good illustration’s not there, dammit. I’ll look for it.

    His most recent (not yet read) also looks pertinent: Journal of Climate, 15 February 2007.

    Hyde’s a good egg — it would be worth your while to pick his brain sometime. A fellow SF fan {G}. FWIW, his gut feel is for a sensitivity of about 3.

    In haste, Pete T

    Look at the Hegerl category in the Left Frame for comments on this. I successfully predicted the majority of proxies used before the article was published. It uses all the old chestnuts.

  74. mccall
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 2:09 PM | Permalink

    Re: 51 Mr Mosher’s

    Read Ross’ paper.

    Almost without exception everything here flows from the concerns of the hockey stick

    1. The study of proxies
    2. The good science of sharing data and methods
    3. The vagaries of publishing
    4. The mis use of statistics
    5. The importance of the temperature record.
    6. The proper use of statistics.

    Add …
    7) The Law of Group Polarization – Sunstein (see Ch. 10 of “Taken by Storm”, or
    Wegman’s characerization of much of the HS and Climate being made up science “Social Networks!”

    Something that the HT is chronically guilty of — and that those here must push to avoid (difficult, as theme blog participants become essentially a SIG, and therefore … TLoGP rules).

  75. Peter D. Tillman
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 2:10 PM | Permalink

    Steve Mosher said,

    The best place to start, for me at least.

    Read Ross’ paper.

    Almost without exception everything here flows from the concerns of the hockey stick

    1. The study of proxies
    2. The good science of sharing data and methods
    3. The vagaries of publishing
    4. The mis use of statistics
    5. The importance of the tempature record.
    6. The proper use of statistics

    You forgot the “Secret Sauce, BCP!”

    Copied to notes, thanx. PT

  76. Peter D. Tillman
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 2:11 PM | Permalink

    Re #75
    Ah, crud, didn’t close the tag again…


  77. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 2:18 PM | Permalink

    RE 69. You’re welcome micheal. Ross lays out the case pretty clearly and in a language
    that is most accessible, even if you’ve never done a PCA. If you understand the
    History of the Hockey Stick then almost everything on this site will make sense.

    If you have any questions about how stuff is connected let me know. I can give
    a Journalistic overview.

  78. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 3:06 PM | Permalink

    RE 74. Yes there are other “things” which flow from the Hockey stick study.

    It’s a seminal work. It’s a nexus of many threads. It’s Iconic. And so,
    as MM unravelled it you see the “danger” to other lines of thought.

    There is an interesting constellation chart one could do with Hockey Stick as the Pole star.

  79. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

    RE 75..

    I wanted to put the information into Ray Kurzweils “the brain” format

    That would be hella cool for this site.

  80. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 3:34 PM | Permalink

    To be perfectly honest : The calculus and stats I see here are mostly stuff I was exposed to and worked problems on, oh, about 20 or more years ago. To be honest, I have not used most of it at all, since I finished grad school and “sold out to the man” (e.g. got my first of many corporate jobs).

  81. Larry
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

    Hockey stick was represented as the “smoking gun”, if you recall. The implication being that without it, the evidence is circumstantial. If that. It’s the keystone of the empirical case. Must prop up hockey stick at all costs.

  82. Klaus Brakebusch
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    Dear Mr. McIntyre,

    me personally, I have often difficulties to follow up when it goes deep into
    statistics. Okay, I got used, to have at least the Bronstein-Seminajew (math dictionary) and books from Prof. Dr. Ing. Georg Schumpich (Leibnitz-University,
    Hannover, Germany) laying next to the keyboard, to get at least some clue. I
    do not remember that much of what I’ve learned in the late ’70 and early ’80.

    So a CA-lite would be great for a lot of people, including myself.
    But, let me capitalze it: BUT,
    it would diversify your primary intentions. So, it’s not a job which should
    use any of your personal resources and capabilities.

    Today, I recognized, the guys from “” – they have kind of a similar problem – to publizise their models of what happens in the next years regarding fossil fuel supply, brought their “Help us List Megaprojects”
    onto wikipedia.

    Link on theoildrum:
    Link on wikipedia:

    I suggest a stepwise approach:
    – to look how their way will work
    – to learn from their expieriences
    – then, decide how it should be done and by whom it should be done.


    Klaus Brakebusch

  83. Carl Gullans
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 6:05 PM | Permalink

    Look at post #94 here, written by me:

    I think that if the quoted lines were put onto a wiki, expanded with more clear details and also given in-text citations (in the literature or more likely as links to arguments expounded on here at CA) that we would have a great introduction to and summary of the work being done here. Edits will need to be restricted to prevent vandalism, but comments should be fully open on the wiki discussion page.

    How’s this sound: I have no idea what I’m doing, but I just created I will try to figure this out as fast as possible… if nobody objects, I am going to assume that this will be used and will throw basic topic explanations up there. We’ll see how it goes.

  84. Carl Gullans
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 6:29 PM | Permalink

    #83: Actually, the correct link is I’ll be working on this tonight.

  85. pouncer
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 7:17 PM | Permalink

    But teaching us statistics is not necessary, according to certain experts. It’s not even necessary to be able to read …

    The “teleconnections” between socks and population collapse are so clearly spelled out in simple power point slides the imposition of mere math seems somehow sacriligious…

  86. Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 7:59 PM | Permalink

    #84: Excellent, Carl. I like the name (see #5.)[G}

    Others who have expressed and interest in (and the confidence to do) this are Ethan #39, Peter S. #66 and Peter Tillman #68. Peter S. says he does graphics, which might be very helpful.

  87. Carl Gullans
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

    #84, third time’s a charm: (no period!)

    #86: yeah, I definetely ripped the name from your post, it was a perfect name (association with CA while not being as official as climateaudit.wikispot would’ve been, and the low-level intent). Anybody who wants to start adding information can do so… I’m going to try and create seed pages on the topics on the left side of steve’s main page (posts by category) as a starting point.

  88. Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 9:20 PM | Permalink

    It’s a good start, Carl. I have bookmarked it. My contributions will mostly be limited to editing text and syntax, but I’ll be visiting often to find answers to questions I might have about issues in play here at CA.

  89. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 11:08 PM | Permalink

    Thanks, Carl. I went over and got registered and did one small edit to see how it works. Seems fine. Now we just need content.

  90. bender
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 11:18 PM | Permalink

    To get a quick start, why not borrow the Wikipedia content and modify it to reflect current reality? Ron Cram and Pete Tilman have both tried to make modifications to the HS controversy entry without success. By duplicating the content as much as possible you make it fully clear to newbies where you agree and disagree with the Connolley consensus. Just a thought.

  91. bender
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 11:20 PM | Permalink

    And how about a wikipedia entry for ClimateAudit101? O the irony!

  92. MarkR
    Posted Nov 26, 2007 at 11:23 PM | Permalink

    My two pennyworth:

    1 I am against anything that takes SteveM’s time away from what he wants to do. This blog is a success because of the way it is, and that is down to SteveM.

    2 I am also against taking up the time of important, and time limited contributors to the substance of the posts, and they know who they are, I won’t list them all for fear of leaving one out. They provide in my view a very valuable leavening.

    3 This blog is based on statistics. My feeling is that people who want to understand should make some effort to look up the theory (and believe me, basic statistics is not difficult), before asking for help from others. The theory is couched in jargon, as in all specialty fields. A good place to start is Wikipedia:

    If anyone doesn’t understand a word, look it up.

    Hopefully the Wikipedia could be referenced from the ClimateAudite101 wiki. Yes, I am well aware that the Climate Science part of Wikipedia has been adulterated by partisan editing, but that doesn’t apply to the statistical theory pages. If anyone has a link to a video of a brief presentations on key areas, I think that would also be very useful. YouTube appears to have some good candidates. Hope this is helpful.

  93. TonyN
    Posted Nov 27, 2007 at 4:02 AM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre
    I’ve lurked on CA, and made very occasional posts, almost since the beginning. IMHO it would be a huge mistake to dumb the blog down in any way in order to attract a wider audience. The highly specialised content may put some people off, but your extraordinary achievements over the years may not have been possible otherwise.

    On the other hand, some of the site’s potential is not being realised because it makes no concessions to those of us without higher statistical and mathematical skills.

    If you could find someone who understands the science, who is prepared to take a well balanced view of the issues, and also writes well, who would be prepared to draft a monthly narrative digest (say 1 – 3000 words) for your final approval, this would go a long way towards bringing the very real drama of what is happening here to life for those of us on the fringes of the CA community. But I think that it is essential that this process should remain firmly under your control provided that this can be done without making significant demands on your time. Threads like the Ababneh-Hughes-Sheep Mountain issues have real news value as well relevance to the controversy about climates of the past, and it is a shame that these revelations are not being shared more widely.

    I probably shouldn’t mention names, but those of Steve Sadlov, John A, Willis Eschenbach and Pat Frank come to mind. The wiki idea might work for explanations of the science, but the methodology of a wiki would make any kind of coherent narrative difficult to maintain.

    Just a pebble in the pool.

  94. Peter D. Tillman
    Posted Nov 27, 2007 at 8:18 AM | Permalink

    Re #87,

    Thanks, Carl!

    I’ll be making contribs as travel & WiFi coverage permit {G}. I have a pile of notes, and more homework to do.

    This should be fun, and (hopefully) useful.

    In haste, PT
    “Perhaps the earliest widely-held theory for the Tunguska
    explosion was that the world was about to end. As the minutes
    passed, this theory was dropped in favour of other, less final
    theories, until today one is hard-pressed to find anyone who
    truly believes the world ended on the morning of 30 June 1908..”
    –K. Zahnle, Nature_383_, 674-75 (1996)

  95. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 27, 2007 at 10:09 AM | Permalink


    I like the idea of the wiki and hope to make some contributions toward filling it with data, on an irregular basis, depending on when I have time and inclination. I think people need to realize that an occasional spurt of work can create a fairly elaborate effort in the end. But I was wondering where to chat about what’s going on with it. I don’t know if Steve wants it particularly to be something he has to deal with, so is there a page set up on the wiki itself where we should discuss what needs to be entered and who will volunteer to do it? I see you have transfered over the acronyms, but it may need to be discussed what links are to be made to them. Do you want definitions, etc as an interpage link, a link to CA or a link to an external internet site or all three?

  96. Will C.
    Posted Nov 27, 2007 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

    What’s a flank?
    What’s a “defilade?”
    What’s grazing fire?

    Ya ever feel a little like Powers Boothe, Steve?

  97. Carl Gullans
    Posted Nov 27, 2007 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

    #95: All three would be preferred in my opinion. What is up there now is basic descriptions of problems, but once we get to the stage of making specific claims and providing citations, links will inevitably point back to CA discussions. If a more concise summary of the point at hand can be made on the Wiki, that would probably be better, but links back to relevant CA threads should be indexed on such pages in order to give due credit for the ideas and also for those seeking further details.

    I am going to be busy tonight, and may not be able to figure out a talk page in a proper way, so if I fail to figure it out in the next 15 minutes simply go to the page

  98. Docbill
    Posted Nov 27, 2007 at 5:35 PM | Permalink

    Hey, when can I get this site on my Amazon Kindle?

  99. tpguydk
    Posted Nov 27, 2007 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

    Just a couple thoughts from a guy who generally lurks:

    The statistics here are easy enough for me to pick up if I read the entries and follow along in the comments. Some of the higher stuff, well not so much, but I can usually figure out what’s going on based on the discussion in the comments. I do try to read every post that comes up. The people here are highly intelligent. My only thing is how to … bring some discussions down to the layman level. I participate on a number of ‘progressive sites’ and I’m one of a few skeptics. Telling them that the Hockey Stick is an artifact of bad mathematics gets me told “you have an agenda, you work for an oil company, you’re deliberately confusing the issue, whether it’s right or not is irrelevant, etc. etc. etc.” or worse. Should I even bother? I suppose that could one of the things a climateauditwiki FAQ could help with.

    Just my thoughts. It shouldn’t consume your time however.

  100. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 9:03 AM | Permalink


    Was at the Climate Audit 100 wiki doing some changes, but there seems to be a problem with it not taking my log-in name. It lets me edit none-the-less but puts up my machine address rather than my name and if I try entering my info it says it doesn’t recognize it. I tried asking it to send my password and it said it had sent e-mail, but none arrived. Is something broke?

    BTW, everyone, the wiki is starting to round into shape and has some usability even in this rudimentary state.

  101. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

    Nevermind last message, I’d just misremembered my password. Thought it still doesn’t explain why I didn’t get my e-mail when I asked for my password. BTW, to save having to got up through this thread, here is the link to ClimateAudit101

  102. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

    RE 100 You should buy some vowels for your moniker, TpGuydk. Just kidding, I dub thee TP guy!
    ( just kidding dude)

    “The statistics here are easy enough for me to pick up if I read the entries and follow along in the comments.
    Some of the higher stuff, well not so much, but I can usually figure out what’s going on based on the
    discussion in the comments. I do try to read every post that comes up. The people here are highly intelligent.”

    Well, bender plays an intelligent robot in cartoons.

    “My only thing is how to … bring some discussions down to the layman level.
    I participate on a number of ‘progressive sites’ and I’m one of a few skeptics.”

    Reformulate your skepticism into a tactic rather than a position. Never deny
    Global warming. That is a position you will have to defend. Rather, challenge the
    evidence. Ask for proof. ask for data. ask for code. Rebuff all links to
    “papers” This is an appeal to authority and a logically fallacy. Make them
    make the argument. PURE SKEPTICISM is a tactic not a position. The true skeptic
    says that he doesnt know, puts the burden on them. They conflate skepticism with denial.
    Denial says “warming ISNT real” Belief says “warming is real” Skepticism says: prove
    your case, I suspend judgement.

    “Telling them that the Hockey Stick is an artifact of bad mathematics gets me told
    “you have an agenda, you work for an oil company,”

    The appeal to motives. Logical fallacy.

    “you’re deliberately confusing the issue, whether it’s right or not is irrelevant, etc. etc. etc.” or worse.
    Should I even bother? I suppose that could one of the things a climateauditwiki FAQ could help with.”

    I should open a school for skeptics

  103. M. Jeff
    Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

    Re: #103,steve mosher, November 28th, 2007 at 9:37 am

    I should open a school for skeptics

    If you open the school, as a tool to aid the skeptics when they confront their opponents, perhaps you could provide them with the instructional video that you once linked to:

  104. bender
    Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 11:55 AM | Permalink

    [Note to self and others]
    Would be a good idea to document common logical/statistical problems as encountered in paleo/climate science.
    aliasing problem applied to paleohistorical-instrumental comparisons
    Texas sharpshooter problem applied to teleconnective flows

    Anything that tends to be (or could be) referred to in a short phrase.

  105. Larry
    Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    105, 2nd link broke.

  106. bender
    Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 12:21 PM | Permalink

    Texas sharpshooter problem applied to teleconnective flows

  107. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

    RE 104. ha.

    I do not believe that any climate skeptic is obligated to explain anything or assert anything.
    If you stick to solid tactics of questioning results and demanding openness, you will do well.
    If you blather on about “alternative” GW theories, then you will be pounded like a peking duck.

  108. bender
    Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

    I do not believe that any climate skeptic is obligated to explain anything or assert anything.

    And THAT, folks, is the difference between a skeptic and a scientist.

  109. M. Jeff
    Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

    Re: #108, steve mosher, November 28th, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    I hope that you realize that I was trying to be humorous and was in no way questioning your abilities.

  110. Tom R
    Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 2:13 PM | Permalink

    I’m neither a statistician or a climatologist, but the CA blog has held my interest for the past couple of years due to its level headed approach to counter the hysteria about global warming that we get bombarded with by politicians and the media. As a layman, I have tried to get as informed on this issue as I can so that I can better understand climate change.

    If you veteran posters here decide to go ahead with a CA Guide for Newbies, may I suggest a chapter called “Why the Hockey Team had to kill off the MWP” or something to that effect that includes some of the following.

    According to a website I found that cited Dr Fred Singer, the breakdown of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is as follows:

    – 95% water vapor
    – 3.618% CO2
    – 0.360% methane
    – 0.950% Nitrous oxide
    – 0.072% misc gases.

    Of the 3.618% of greenhouse gases that is CO2, 96.775% of the CO2 in the atmosphere is a natural occurence, while the remaining 3.225% is the result of human activity. Using simple math (3.618% * 3.225%) = 0.117% of all greenhouse gases are due to human activity while the remaining 99.883% of all greenhouse gases are natural. Is the 0.117% value an accepted scientific fact by all sides of the AGW debate?

    According to the IPCC, as of 2005 the atmospheric concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was 379ppm. 250 years ago, the total was roughly 275ppm. Since the start of the Industrial Age, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by about 100ppm.

    If 96.775% of CO2 in the atmosphere is there as a result of natural occurence, does that indicate that roughly 366ppm out of 379ppm CO2 in the atmosphere is a natural occurence while the remaining 13ppm (3.225%) is caused by human activity? Thats a simplistic approach, but assuming it is close to being accurate, it means there has to be a natural explanation for the increase of atmospheric CO2 over the past 250 years. If I interpreted what I have read correctly, the oceans’ rate of release of CO2 into the atmosphere is determined by the state of the climate 800 years earlier. It takes that long for the process to occur. 800 years ago is in the middle of the MWP so increased temperatures then would naturally be causing an increase of atmospheric CO2 today. According to anecdotal evidence Greenland was much warmer in the MWP than it is today and supported a Norse colony for 400 years.

    So long story short, the reason the MWP had to be killed off is because the existence of the MWP created an extremely plausible explanation for the higher atmospheric CO2 values we are experiencing today.

    Is this simplification accurate enough to explain the situation in layman terms?

  111. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 2:35 PM | Permalink

    My take on all this is that if YOU make a claim, YOU prove the claim. I’m not obligated to believe anything you say. If you tell me you have circuit with -10 volts of DC, prove you’re not just sampling and charting a 20 V P-P sine wave at the 270 degree point only.

    Ahem. As far as explaining things goes.

    My example comes from MBH98-Style Error Bars for Loehle. It took a while to discern what was going on with the graph, because there’s a lot of explanation, but not a lot of conclusion. Which resulted in quite an “interesting” discussion over what the elephant looked like. It would have been much easier if it were a bit more clear as to what was happening, but that didn’t get talked about until way later.

    Jean S did some statistical work and sent it to UC who graphed it. You can read the quote and the original, but it was basicially while doing the error bars for Loehle in the same style error bars as MBH98, the confidence interval for the overlap was calculated.

    Paraphrasing: I don’t think the Mann style error analysis is worthwhile, but I calculated the confidence interval in that style for Loehle’s reconstruction by using statistical methods to make them comparable:

    1. Filtered the 20-year run mean for HadCRU global instrumental series to match that target series to Loehle.
    2. Standardized both to an 1864-1980 mean.
    3. Calculated root mean square deviation for the overlap between the series, giving the confidence intervals in the MBH98 style.

    Results; RMSE .067 so CI of 2*sigma is .13
    As the R^2 is .73, that’s not very good.

    So if I’m getting all this:

    So what is the red line?
    HadCRU statistically treated to compare to the Loehle reconstruction to calculate confidence intervals.

    Is it splicing the temp to proxy?
    No, it’s not splicing.

    Is that valid?
    Not sure of the last question; deriving the red line statistically is valid if done correctly, splicing is not valid at all.

  112. John A
    Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 2:45 PM | Permalink

    My opinion.

    To create a wiki on a controversial subject on wikicities is a fundamental mistake and is a guaranteed way to invite vandalism.

    If you’re going to create a wiki, better to create it on a server you control and institute proper filters to authorship and review.

    I will not be contributing to the climateaudit101 site.

  113. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 3:14 PM | Permalink

    Tom R

    I’d change the focus. Something like:

    Proxy ice core CO2 levels from Law Dome and measured air levels at Mauna Loa have shown a 100 ppmv rise (about 33%) since the early 1800s. Sampled air temperature and measured sea surface temperature readings have shown an increase in the global mean anomaly trend of +.7 C since 1880. Some believe there is a direct causal relationship between the two.

    In order to find out if temperatures in the past have been higher or lower than today, proxies are used for temperatures before the last century or so.

    If these proxies show that temperatures today are not “abnormal” or “unprecedented” then it becomes difficult if not impossible to link the actions of modern society as being the only possible cause of the warming we’re tracking today with the non-proxies.

    Even if the temperatures today are “abnormal” or “unprecedented”, this assumes two things; 1) you can effectively compare the two methods of determining temperature in the first place and 2) All of the other forcings and feedbacks from human activities cancel each other out, leaving CO2.

    In order to not have to discuss or prove either of those assumptions (right or wrong), a proxies must show the present to be abnormal and unprecedented in temperature.

    Therefore, any proxies showing a Medieval Warm Period that is warmer than the current or expected anomaly must either be supressed or discredited or dismissed as only being a localized happening. If they are not, then there is at least one other plausible explanation for the higher temperatures today than CO2, which opens up the other lines of questioning.

    To scientists, this is a good thing. To political activists and radical environmentalists, this is a bad thing. To skeptics, it’s neither good nor bad, it’s just what is.

  114. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

    re: #113,

    Well, it’s wikispot, not wikicities, though I don’t know if that makes a difference. Second, the administrator, who I assume is Carl, can restrict editing abilities if he wants. Third, obviously nobody is required to contribute, or even use the wiki.
    but I think it may well have utility fairly quickly as someplace to send beginners who want a bit more structured way to find their way around here.

  115. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 4:00 PM | Permalink

    Re: #111 Tom R,

    Of the 3.618% of greenhouse gases that is CO2, 96.775% of the CO2 in the atmosphere is a natural occurence, while the remaining 3.225% is the result of human activity. Using simple math (3.618% * 3.225%) = 0.117% of all greenhouse gases are due to human activity while the remaining 99.883% of all greenhouse gases are natural. Is the 0.117% value an accepted scientific fact by all sides of the AGW debate?

    While your message is somewhat off-topic for this thread I’ll give a quick answer. First it’s likely that more than 3.225% of the CO2 in the atmosphere at a given time originally came from human use. I expect that figure was calculated from looking at how much CO2 humans produce each year and comparing that to the amount cycled in and out of the atmosphere from natural sources. The trouble is that if say a tree absorbed a lot of human produced CO2, it might later died and be burned or rot to re-release that CO2. This reentering of CO2 is not, I believe in the 3.225 figure. But more than that, the other GHGs can’t be compared to CO2 directly. Water cycles into and out of the atmosphere in a few days and is a constant except for the problematic positive feedback assumed by warmers. Most of the other GHGs have quick recycling times too and thus can be treated as constants. But CO2 has a absorption into permanent storage (in the ocean bottoms primarily) measured in decades and so builds up in the atmosphere making it not a constant. We could discuss just how fast CO2 is permanently removed, but if you want to do that, go to the unthreaded thread.

  116. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 5:49 PM | Permalink

    All in all, I think discussing percentages of this stuff is pointless. We can’t prove that in the actual climate, that 100 ppmv (or -100 or 1000 or 0) does or does not do anything at all. No matter how much or how little.

  117. Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 9:58 PM | Permalink

    #113: This was a concern I had, but this wiki allows you to revert to previous versions and so vandalism is at most an annoying problem (but will not cause the loss of information). I have the power to ban IP addresses and usernames, and if that fails can remove all editing privileges except to users in a list that I specify (which would be everybody except for the offending individual(s)). New editors could send e-mail requests to be added to the list . Annoying, but not a fatal or even major problem.

  118. John A
    Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 10:11 PM | Permalink


    I would suggest that you immediately go to a list of approved authors, and forgo the usual gamesmanship of people who have no interest in anything other than to show CA and Steve in the worst possible light.

  119. bender
    Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 10:19 PM | Permalink

    #119 Probably a good idea. You know it’s inevitable.

  120. Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 11:56 PM | Permalink

    #119, #120: Ok, I’ve added everybody who has edited the Wiki thus far onto a group and have disabled all other editing privileges. If somebody wants to take the time to create an account, e-mail me for editing abilities, wait for approval, and then delete/vandalize something (which is easily reversible), then I’m happy to have wasted their time.

    I’ll post this here and on the wiki: Due to the virulent nature of the climate debate, vandalism of this wiki is a real concern. Accordingly, editing is allowed only by those who send a request to (simply include your username in the e-mail and it will be approved). Any vandalism subsequent to this approval will result in an immediate and permenant username and IP ban.

  121. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 8:47 AM | Permalink

    RE 109. Precisely.

    RE 110. I took it the way you intended it.

    Generally, when someone who believes in AGW asserts a scientific position there are two
    ways to “fight” it. With an alternative theory ( different science) or merely by questioning
    the position. The former provides answers the later raises questions. I prefer the latter since
    I am not a scientist. Skeptic doesnt mean Disbelief, rather it means “suspending judgement”

    Is it getting warmer? I dunno, lets look at the data and methods.

    Climate agnostic

  122. ALee UK
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 9:31 AM | Permalink

    A suggestion for the blog (picked up based on comments on Tamino)

    Have a scorecard page with the running position on each stream of investigation.
    Things CA believe should be changed:
    Publish all data / code / methods – and these people don’t
    Don’t use BCP – and here’s a list of studies that do

    Things that are under active investigation
    Hurricane activity

    Things that are under preliminary investigation
    M&S 2007

    Things that have faded or are in background with no real findings yet
    Surface stations (maybe temporarily)

  123. tpguydk
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    #103–steve mosher, I like the nickname. Thanks for the advice.

  124. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 2:06 PM | Permalink

    Steve Mc or whoever else knows.

    Is there a complete list of the Multiproxy temperature reconstruction papers? A lot of them have their own Category here, but I believe there are some more which dont. I was going to create a page on each one on the wiki under construction so there will be a link there for each thread here which discusses that paper. Steve has the most important ones here, but with 2450+ pages and 30+ papers I suppose, I’m sure he doesn’t have all of them.

  125. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

    RE 125.. Well start the list, let others add. let folks compete to complete the list.

  126. M. Jeff
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

    Re: #123, ALee UK, November 29th, 2007 at 9:31 am

    Have a scorecard page with the running position on each stream of investigation.

    A list of previously contentious issues that have been resolved or partially resolved might be useful.

    Things that have faded or are in background with no real findings yet
    Surface stations (maybe temporarily)

    The ongoing work at, with its well documented findings that the quality of a large number of U.S. temperature measurements is of poor quality, hardly seems to warrant a “in background with no real findings yet” description, regardless of the “(maybe temporarily)” qualifier.

  127. Peter D. Tillman
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

    Re #87,

    Carl, I’m logged in, but the wiki won’t let me edit. Could you have a look & see why it’s locked?

    Thanks, PT

  128. Peter D. Tillman
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 9:10 PM | Permalink

    Re #128,

    Disregard, I didn’t see the line to email for edit privileges. Sorry!


  129. Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

    FYI: I have allowed unregistered people to edit pages (but not delete them) as of half an hour ago… while vandalism is a concern, reverting to old pages is incredibly easy and can be done by any number of trusted people. I believe that making the wiki open is a good thing (for now at least).

  130. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 11:43 PM | Permalink

    I justed tested it and yes you can now edit again without being logged in. But you might want to change the warning at the bottom of the page to reflect the new situation.

  131. Peter D. Tillman
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 6:30 PM | Permalink

    The new Climate Audit 101 wiki, is starting to shape up into something that might actually be useful — though still very much a rough draft. Stop by, have a look, add something if you’re so inclined…

    Cheers — Pete Tillman

  132. Peter D. Tillman
    Posted Dec 12, 2007 at 11:30 PM | Permalink

    We could use some help from the statisticians here for the
    Statistical Analysis (multiproxy studies) page, and other statistical stuff for nonspecialists.

    I’m brushing up on this stuff — my MS thesis (mumble) years ago involved a DFA (discriminant function analysis, akin to PCA) of geochemical data, and I even pulled the thing down from the shelf last night to see what I did. But an up-to-speed expert would be a real help. Jean S.??

    Incidentally I just wrote the Bring the Proxies up to date! page, and think it came out quite nicely. Have a look.

    TIA & Cheers — Pete Tillman

  133. Posted Dec 13, 2007 at 12:49 AM | Permalink

    Some thoughts: I have been lurking about this site for quite some time, am not a scientist and most threads I can follow to a degree (or 0.7 degrees).
    Anyway a site for newbies will likely become a watered down version of the main site, will be open to great criticism from other blogs (RC) and Steve will get dragged into it somehow, someway. My own experience with people I have introduced to the site is to say from the outset that you will never understand everything on the site unless you are as clever as Mr Mosh but you should start with a recent thread, take what you can, realise it is an ongoing discussion, a bit like a very long drawn out dinner party discussion that appears to go on forever. Don’t post for the sake of it, if you do post check your facts, don’t preach and don’t try to be funnier than Mosh and just take from the site what you will. Don’t judge, don’t prejudge and at all times try to keep an open mind. Keeping this site just the way it is will attract good people as it has over the years. It works well leave it alone.

  134. Philip_B
    Posted Dec 13, 2007 at 1:22 AM | Permalink

    I feel what is missing from the wiki is background stuff, commonly what’s cover in an FAQ.

    There are a bunch of questions that confuse newbies to CA and newbies to the climate debate in general and desperately need clear and coherent answers.

    Throwing out a brief and ad hoc list,

    Is the late 20th C warming unprecendented?
    Why does the MWP matter?
    Can we trust the Climate models to predict the future?
    How much warming does CO2 cause?

  135. Hans Erren
    Posted Dec 13, 2007 at 3:46 AM | Permalink

    re 134:
    I still recommend postings(not comments) should get a target audience flag:
    0) non-technical, 1) science graduate level, 2) Math specialist level

  136. steven mosher
    Posted Dec 13, 2007 at 7:48 AM | Permalink

    thanks mom. When did you change your name to paul?

    you’re too kind dude. I’m having a sally feild moment here.

  137. Peter D. Tillman
    Posted Dec 13, 2007 at 11:42 AM | Permalink

    Re Philip_B #135

    Thanks for the suggestions! [copies list].

    It’s worth noting that we’ll only be covering areas that are regularly addressed here — the wiki isn’t intended to be a general AGW – climate change site.

    But we could put up a few links to climate-change primers for complete newbies. Anyone have one they like? One possibility is , the Spencer Wearts book, whicH I recall as being decent.

    And here’s a FAQ:

    Also in the wings, for fun:

    “Sayings of St. Steven”
    “Climate Comedy

    Cheers — Pete Tillman
    ClimateAudit 101 team

  138. Peter D. Tillman
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 1:25 PM | Permalink

    I’m gradually bringing the Glossary of Acronyms
    up to date, especially for the many statistical acronyms used here. I’ve also started a separate Glossary of Climatology Terms . Contributions to both are most welcome.

    Cheers — Pete Tillman
    ClimateAudit 101 team

  139. Peter D. Tillman
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 1:32 PM | Permalink

    Re 139
    Obviously I haven’t figured out how to do links here. OK, in the clear:

    Glossary of Acronyms:

    Glossary of Climatology Terms:


  140. Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 4:25 PM | Permalink

    Nice job PT it is coming along nicely.

  141. Peter D. Tillman
    Posted Jan 5, 2008 at 10:25 PM | Permalink

    Re: Searching the blog

    Steve, I think you’ve mentioned this earlier, but the Google search function for CA doesn’t work very well, as I just confirmed in looking for a couple of my posts. Even quoting an exact phrase didn’t recover the post (which I eventually found by context).

    I think you mentioned an internal WP search function that only works in Edit mode? Can you resurrect that post, and I’ll put it on my (ever growing) to-do list?

    TIA, PT

  142. Peter D. Tillman
    Posted Jan 6, 2008 at 1:37 PM | Permalink

    Re: “Recent Comments” sidebar; WordPress features

    Sometime ago, I asked if it is possible to look at the previous “pages” of this sidebar to better follow active threads — the blog is so active now that threads often cycle off in a few hours. No one answered, so I take it there is no easy way to do this.

    Is there a forum or FAQ page for the WP software where we might ask this & similar questions? I know basically nothing about this software pkg.

    Alternatively, Steve, you could simply make the sidebar longer as an interim measure, assuming WP lets you do this simply?

    TIA & Cheers — Pete Tillman

    Steve: If anyone has a request that involves changing WordPress settings, please also submit a recipe for how to do it.

  143. Posted Oct 23, 2011 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    Does a guide like this exist now? I could not go through the whole long thread to find a hint.

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