The Register picks up the Yamal story

Just a quick interjection to note that the Yamal story has reached Andrew Orlowski of “The Register” under the title “Treemometers: a new scientific scandal“. [Steve: John A posted up this thread. I do not endorse everything in the article linked here. I also link to realclimate from time to time without agreeing with it.

The conclusion is worth savouring:

As the panel states, its duty is “assessing the scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant for the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change. It does not carry out new research nor does it monitor climate-related data.” But as lead author, Briffa was a key contributor in shaping (no pun intended) the assessment. A small group was able to rewrite history.

When the IPCC was alerted to peer-reviewed research that refuted the idea, it declined to include it. This leads to the more general, and more serious issue: what happens when peer-review fails – as it did here?

The scandal has only come to light because of the dogged persistence of a Canadian mathematician who attempted to reproduce the results. Steve McIntyre has written dozens of letters requesting the data and methodology, and over 7,000 blog posts. Yet Yamal has remained elusive for almost a decade

Update: The Yamal story in German is here:

For beginners, Bishop Hill has produced a new blog post on the impact of the Yamal deconstruction called “The Yamal Implosion

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  1. Pat Frank
    Posted Sep 30, 2009 at 7:29 PM | Permalink

    Congratulations, Steve. You’ve worked very hard and extremely well to arrive at this point.

    Maybe you’ve finally opened the door. If anyone picks up your gauntlet and decides to further investigate the review process at the IPCC, you’ll be in a fine position to advise them regarding the historical transparency and editorial integrity of the WG1 lead authors.

    Maybe someone will even call Rajenda Pachauri to public account.

    • Posted Sep 30, 2009 at 7:35 PM | Permalink

      Re: Pat Frank (#1), I think you can be certain that Rajendra Pachauri has never heard of the Yamal proxy, and will be confident that it “doesn’t matter”.

      • Pat Frank
        Posted Sep 30, 2009 at 11:18 PM | Permalink

        Re: John A (#2), one can hope for circumstances approaching that famous movie line, John — ‘he can run, but he can’t hide.’ If so, couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

  2. Posted Sep 30, 2009 at 7:46 PM | Permalink

    Delingpole at The Telegraph has also picked it up.

  3. rephelan
    Posted Sep 30, 2009 at 8:07 PM | Permalink

    Steve, this is great work and I’m glad to see it’s being picked up… cover story for Time or Newsweek would be nice…. it’s also interesting that the AGW blogs have remained silent…. and a surprising epidemic of maladies and injuries seems to be keeping the AGW elite from responding: Gra… sorry, Tamino needed his wife’s help to type out his two sentence dismissal of this story. Best wishes for a speedy recovery to all the TEAM members.

  4. GrantB
    Posted Sep 30, 2009 at 8:29 PM | Permalink

    thefordprefect is getting a little tetchy over at Bishop Hill. To quote, “September 30, 2009 | Tilo you are looking at this proble (sic) through the blinkered eyes of a statistician (yours or McIntyres).”

    Read the blinkered eyes bit again and then check your irony meter.

  5. Posted Sep 30, 2009 at 8:46 PM | Permalink

    Thank you, Steve; the whole world owes you.

  6. steven mosher
    Posted Sep 30, 2009 at 9:27 PM | Permalink

    Glad one of them used the term treemometer

  7. David L. Hagen
    Posted Sep 30, 2009 at 9:45 PM | Permalink

    The Examiner has picked up Yamal including reader comments seeking objectivity:
    New data questions claims of accelerated global warming September 29, 3:42 PMSF Environmental Policy Examiner Thomas Fuller

  8. tesla
    Posted Sep 30, 2009 at 10:45 PM | Permalink

    Congrats, Steve- all of your years of persistence looks to be paying dividends. Hopefully the yield will be high enough for you.

  9. Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 1:12 AM | Permalink

    It has been a great honour to watch the past few days developments on this site….I am just a concerned citizen from Australia, who found this web site through the Ian Pilmer book..the contents of which were severley critised by the “team ” at Real Climate. Now of course, I don’t believe a word they say on that site…..pity, as I have also lost faith in the Scientific process, thanks to the obvious failings of just a few certain contributors. I feel as though I am watching history unfold, and what is most important, I now have the courage to stand up to the älarmists as you have all given me a glimmer of hope that this madness will stop. I guess it will not stop hundreds of politicians going to Copenhagen at our expense, but it might make a few of them rethink just where they were taking us. Well done Mr McIntyre and all the other contributors to these threads.

    • Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 1:31 AM | Permalink

      Re: Gary Leete (#12),

      Now of course, I don’t believe a word they say on that site…..pity, as I have also lost faith in the Scientific process, thanks to the obvious failings of just a few certain contributors.

      If you mean by Scientific Process, the peer-review system that lesser mortals are to put so much credence to, then I’d agree with you. The peer-review process has been under considerable strain for some time, and each scandal hastens its demise.

      But what is happening is the normal scientific process where former certainties are challenged with fresh analysis. That hasn’t changed at all, and I have full confidence in it.

      The runaway train of scary climate change has a lot of momentum, and I suspect will only stop moving when either a) the governments of the world stop fuelling it or b) it finally hits the end buffers of Reality.

      But that’s only my belief – others may have different views.

      • deadwood
        Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 7:21 AM | Permalink

        Re: John A (#12),

        The runaway train of scary climate change has a lot of momentum, and I suspect will only stop moving when either a) the governments of the world stop fuelling it or b) it finally hits the end buffers of Reality.

        I am not seeing much evidence of (a) yet. Perhaps (b) will temper their madness in Copenhagen later this year, but I am not holding my breath.

  10. JustPassing
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 2:51 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for the most intersting journey I’ve ever read. If I had the funds I’d buy you a bunch of Carbon Credits, but I suspect they may be worthless in a year or so. 🙂

  11. Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 2:53 AM | Permalink

    Good for you Steve, but bad for science. I wonder several things, and one is why it took Briffa over a year to upload a file to his site. Probably, he had to search for it in diskettes, maybe. Even more intriguing is the fact that Briffa seems seriously ill, with a kidney disease. So why was the data uploaded when he was more probably not working. I do wish him a fast recovery, so he can explain the World all this mess.

    • Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 4:06 AM | Permalink

      Re: Ecotretas (#17),

      Good for you Steve, but bad for science

      No, good for science. Science has almost always advanced seriously by cherished dogma being upended. This is just a big example of that. The current dogma that has been upended is that “peer-review by the official journals/bodies/scientists” equals good science.

  12. Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 5:43 AM | Permalink

    Re: Lucy (October 1st, 2009 at 4:06 am)
    You’re right. It’s bad for (today’s) science, as made by Briffa et al. It’s good if we get this science back on tracks.
    I also believe ClimateAudit should have a high Impact Factor 🙂 And Science should be depromoted. By the way, I would like to congratulate “Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B”, as they deserve some credit here, and I have not seen that much expressed.


  13. Ian C
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 5:52 AM | Permalink

    I was at a presentation in Falmouth UK, last night, by Dr Stephan Harrison of Exeter Uni and a Quaternary Scientist – (I am not any sort of scientist) and a special expertise in (and devastating photos of) Patagonian Glaciers. He had absolute faith in “What we know” and used the graph of drastic late 20C warming attached to previous temp. graphs that I had not seen, as easily as if he were putting on his underwear in the morning.

    Question for you with scientific knowledge than us without: Is the Briffa data the only data on which the late 20C warming scare is based? If it is, then doubt is clealry cast on the whole thing. But I would assume that the AGW world will say that this is only one notch in their belt of arguments and it is not crucial to the bigger picture.

    Can you enlighten?

  14. RTK
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 5:53 AM | Permalink


    Just because couple of blogs have picked this up does not mean the battle is yet won. We now know that bad science is dictating public policy, international policy, international hysteria. These results will be ignored until they are published in a scientific journal. I implore you to submit a comment to Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

    They define a comment thus:


    Comments bring attention to an oversight in a Proceedings B article or propose an opposing view. They are often a critique, providing corrections or offering new analyses. No more than one comment on a single article will be published. However, if factual errors are identified that affect the accuracy of the published record, a corrigendum may be published instead.

    A comment is published in an issue after the primary article has been published.

    Comments are self-proposed by any reader.

    The comment is peer-reviewed by the corresponding author of the original article, a referee from the original article, and another impartial referee.

    Once it is published it will be very difficult for the Team, and the world, to ignore

  15. scientific method
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 7:15 AM | Permalink

    RTK, I agree completely. I know Steve has tried to present papers before unsuccessfully. However, this is a vastly different situation. If Steve submits a paper based on his most recent excellent findings but is rejected then it proves we are dealing with corrupt journals. However, I doubt this is the case with all of them. Surely there’s at lest one journal that will accept the paper.

  16. PaulHClark
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 7:16 AM | Permalink


    I do not know if you have seen this yet:

    I thought you may be interested.

    Good luck and great work.

  17. Steve Geiger
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 7:23 AM | Permalink

    Ian C. :”Is the Briffa data the only data on which the late 20C warming scare is based”?

    Absolutely not…I think in McIntyre’s parlance that would be, uh, many many bridges too far. It does, however, seem to expose one of the more sketchy aspects of the ‘mountains of evidence’. I’m anticipating a very large counter strike soon (one of those statements tied to 15+ researchers wouldn’t be surprising, IMO). Fortunately though, the cat’s out of the bag regarding their dismal data archiving/availability policies.

  18. kim
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 7:25 AM | Permalink

    I note Briffa is ambiguous about whether or not this series was compared with temperature to pick it. He claims not to be doing so now.

  19. Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

    Briffa’s first response:

    • Kenneth Fritsch
      Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 7:46 AM | Permalink

      Re: bigcitylib (#24),

      Unfortunately Briffa’s response is not sufficiently detailed and clear to determine what exactly he used in selecting the trees and why that selection number has changed. Nor does he say anything about rejection of samples or what the entire population would look like. And, of course, a selection criteria that corelates to temperature could still bias the sample in that direction.

      • Robinson
        Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 10:41 AM | Permalink

        Re: Kenneth Fritsch (#27), well, it seems pretty clear to me. He says:

        The basis for McIntyre’s selection of which of our (i.e. Hantemirov and Shiyatov’s) data to exclude and which to use in replacement is not clear but his version of the chronology shows lower relative growth in recent decades than is displayed in my original chronology. He offers no justification for excluding the original data; and in one version of the chronology where he retains them, he appears to give them inappropriate low weights. I note that McIntyre qualifies the presentation of his version(s) of the chronology by reference to a number of valid points that require further investigation. Subsequent postings appear to pay no heed to these caveats. Whether the McIntyre version is any more robust a representation of regional tree growth in Yamal than my original, remains to be established.

        • Craig Loehle
          Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

          Re: Robinson (#61), Briffa appears to miss the point of a sensitivity analysis, and the fact that 12 trees determine the entire shape of the recon in the blade portion. It isn’t an “alternative reconstruction”.

        • Kenneth Fritsch
          Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

          Re: Robinson (#60),

          One is a reconstruction or a part thereof and the other (Steve M’s analysis) is a sensitivity analysis, i.e. how well will a proxy stand up to additional data. You are comparing apples and oranges and you should have known that had you been paying attention.

          Re: Lorax (#62), Re: Lorax (#62),

          Lorax, you only reinforce what we see from so many drive bys: You do not take the time to understand the analyses being done here and what exactly those analyses impact on. You have pretty well missed it all.

          In my view, much of these analyses get back to the need for a well publicized a priori selection criteria and a paper publication that deals with that process in detail and that is especially sensitive to providing reasonable explanation for samples not used.

          The replies and previous writings of Briffa would lead me and others here to believe there was no intent in the selection process (although lack of intention does not rule out biases) but rather that he and some other sciemtists in this field are not that sensitive to how the selection process is performed and how it can affect and mislead the statistics. If they were sensitive to this critical issue their papers would have dealt with it.

  20. Dean
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 7:35 AM | Permalink

    Briffa also recognizes that SM has some valid points… Too bad he doesn’t say what those points are.

    • kim
      Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 7:49 AM | Permalink

      Re: Dean (#25),

      Well, Dean, there are a couple of things that seem obvious even to a young fool like me. Briffa’s series certainly appears cherry-picked compared to all of the trees sampled in Siberia, and ten is hardly enough trees to bank epic policy changes on, even if they were randomly collected. And the temperature business; does Briffa’s hockey stick reflect a temperature rise or not? Which leads to another question, whether or not they reflect it or whether or not they were picked because of fidelity to a temperature record and that is: Were they cherry-picked because of their hockey stick shape? The 8 sigma of Yano06 is very funny, and I don’t mean funny ha-ha.

  21. John
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 7:42 AM | Permalink

    Briffa has commented

    • bender
      Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 8:15 AM | Permalink

      Re: John (#26),

      The substantive implication of McIntyre’s comment (made explicitly in subsequent postings by others) is that the recent data that make up this chronology (i.e. the ring-width measurements from living trees) were purposely selected by me from among a larger available data set, specifically because they exhibited recent growth increases.

      I SPECIFICALLY pointed out that (1) no “selection” from a larger sample was necessary to produce this divergent result, and (2) the issue here is not what someone named Briffa did, but the material difference between the CRU chronology and others that *might have been* assembled from archived data. (And note that Briffa does not deny this divergence, which is the REAL issue here.)
      I believe that Steve agreed with me on both counts. I will find the exact comment.
      To conflate what Steve says vs what others might say is … noteworthy.
      I warned folks not to go blaming somebody for something they might not have done. It is even possible that Briffa had advanced knowledge of the Hantemirov 2009 manuscript, whose data may strongly support the CRU dozen. We will see. Maybe.
      If only the data had been archived and the site selection criteria explained 10 years ago …
      Lastly, you don’t need to formally analyze tree-ring data vs weather data to do a biased selection. Everybody knows now that a quick visual scan for an uptick HS blade will give you the strong correlation that a disappeared MWP requires. So that remark is a bit dodgy.

  22. Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 7:54 AM | Permalink


    He promises more detailed responses later. He has been suffering a kidney ailment and has been out of the loop recently. In fact, at the moment it looks like he is being summoned from his sick bed to respond to another CA BS special.

    • Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 8:00 AM | Permalink

      Re: bigcitylib (#29),

      I suggest the referenced comment be snipped. The discussion has been very useful up to his point.

      Snip this one, too.

    • kim
      Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 8:02 AM | Permalink

      Re: bigcitylib (#29),

      I respect that he is ill, now. Was he sick for ten years while Steve, Rob Wilson and other dendros wanted his data? And you, of all people, have not shown that Steve’s work is BS. So why do you claim it is so?

  23. kim
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 7:59 AM | Permalink

    Like a kid with his hand caught in the cookie jar: But Mom, I was taking my hand out without a cookie in it when you caught me. Yes, Son, because the jar is now empty.

  24. Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 8:07 AM | Permalink


    Briffa seems to be suggesting that Steve’s accusation of cherry-picking comes from data collected at a single location–ie cherry-picked data. Oh the irony!

    PS. Hope that’s helpful for you to know.

  25. kim
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 8:14 AM | Permalink

    And of course, there is this explicit statement from Keith Briffa: “My colleagues and I are working to develop methods that are capable of expressing robust evidence of climate changes using tree-ring data”. If that is not implicit admission that present methods are not robust, I don’t know what it is.

  26. Fred
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 8:17 AM | Permalink

    Just ignore BigCityLib, he has a long history of inability to handle reality and prefers to live in his little unicorn filled world of carbon dioxide induced global warming hysteria.

    He may live in Toronto with Steve, but he lives in a much different world.

    In BCL land, Briffa, Mann et al are simple honest scientists with no axe to grind, no agenda to push, no need to follow the real scientific method. They would never, ever, ever cherry pick data or do anything that would stop the gravy train of funds, trips to Bali and adoration of the Greenie world.

  27. Bob H.
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 8:32 AM | Permalink

    I did a quick search of “corridor standardisation” (also “corridor standardization”) and came up with basically nothing, at least as referring to a statistical method. On the other hand, “Regional Curve Standardization” yielded a lot of hits, mostly by CRU but some independent sources as well, including an abstract from EMS Annual Meeting Vol. 6, EMS2009-20,2009 titled “Shortcoming in the tree-ring regional curve standardization and an improvement of the method.” See the link below

    Click to access EMS2009-20.pdf

    Can anyone explain what “Corridor Standardization” is, or is this just a straw man presented by Briffa to obfuscate?

    • bender
      Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 9:00 AM | Permalink

      Re: Bob H. (#37),
      Briffa’s not obfuscating. He says he assembled his own chronology by using a different processing method applied to someone else’s raw data. Using jargon to describe a processing method can not be called “obfuscation”, else everyone would be guilty of it.
      Why not just be patient and let Steve formulate his reply?

      • Bob H.
        Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

        Re: bender (#41), I don’t argue that Briffa couldn’t use a different method. The RCS method apparently dates back to the mid-1930’s, but the “Corridor Standardization” method that Briffa refers to in the H & S study seems to have little to no references available.

        Can somebody explain what “Corridor Standardization” is and how it differs from RCS?

  28. C Baxter
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 8:40 AM | Permalink

    I write as a physicist, with no understanding of climate modeling.

    One thing that strikes me is the odd view Briffa and company seem to have of scientific research. I was always taught that the best science one could produce had the effect of generating lots and lots of work for other scientists to do, both now and in the future. Yet they, let me call it the environmental wing of climate modeling, give the impression that the science has been done and any further work cannot be allowed since it would imply criticism of the original investigators. If they can’t take criticism – and severe criticism at that – then they are in the wrong business. They should go into politics.

  29. cbone
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

    Well (un)realclimate has finally weighed in on the issue with their usual obfuscation and misdirection.

    • Jonathan
      Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 9:07 AM | Permalink

      Re: cbone (#39), their reply is truly hilarious. Do enjoy the figure where they splice the instrumental record onto proxy studies, which apparently nobody ever does.

  30. John
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 8:50 AM | Permalink

    Regarding “peer review” and the fretting of it’s demise: The antidote appears to be obviously shown by Steve – inject the trivial requirement since the fundamental premise of the ‘scientific method’ – That all experimental results are repeatable and must be repeated by all independent observers to have been “found” into the field of climate “science”. Independent means independent – across all fields of study. The fact that I feel the need to define independent in our current era of education and intelligence is disheartening.

    Excluding some data collected at Yamal increases the statistical robustness but including all the data at Yamal is cherry picking…beacause it’s limited to only Yamal…?

    My physics profs were correct in using climatology along side of sociology as examples of divergence with the Scientific Method. That shows how long ago I was at University.

  31. Jeff Norman
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    After nine(?) years, Keith Briffa responds to Steve McIntyre.

    We will expand on this initial comment on the McIntyre posting when we have had a chance to review the details of his work.

    Funny how easy that might be when the details of his work are there for all to see.

  32. Nylo
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

    RealClimate just answered. As expected, “it doesn’t matter” and “McIntyre has no evidence whatsoever”. At least this time they wrote your surname, Steve.

  33. bender
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

    Whether the McIntyre version is any more robust a representation of regional tree growth in Yamal than my original, remains to be established.

    That was the whole point of arguing with Tom P, who had this goofy idea that Steve was offering an alternative. He wasn’t. He said so. There is no “McIntyre version”.

    • Jeff Norman
      Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

      Re: bender (#44),

      It seems to be a common delusion. According to Briffa:

      Whether the McIntyre version is any more robust a representation of regional tree growth in Yamal than my original, remains to be established.

  34. bender
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

    I do not believe that McIntyre’s preliminary post provides sufficient evidence to doubt the reality of unusually high summer temperatures in the last decades of the 20th century.

    Belief? How about evidence? While I agree that there is no evaluating this proposition based on Ste’s preliminary post, it is only becasue the chronologies are without robustly estimated confidence intervals. With those in place, there will indeed be a basis for reduced confidence in this proposition.
    This is the problem when Briffa et al are sitting on mounds of secret data and Steve’s cards are all on the table. He’s short-stacked every time.

  35. Carlo
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 9:32 AM | Permalink

    Steve your Server need a Memory upgrade, the page takes minutes to load.

  36. Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 9:42 AM | Permalink

    I’ve submitted a story to The submission title is “Global Warming foundation paper found wrong”. It can be found at, and it’s link seems to be
    I don’t know which actions favor their publication, but someone may know more than me. If this gets to the main page of, it will get global coverage very fast…


  37. Tomas E Rivas
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

    Hi, I’m a Biologist from Mexico, so, sorry for my english and mainly for my no-expert view on climate change and statistics.

    I read almost all the posts and comments since the start of this Yamal issue. I always follow McIntyre work on auditing and criticizing the work behind climate change and the reconstructions and models.

    The effect of McIntyre analysis will be important, for all the results represents. The answers, attacks and disqualiffications will be for instance, important. One of the main targets from the attacks will be the Yamal data itself, I mean, in the history of science the analysis always will be improved, changed or modified, but the data remains the same, and if the data are wrong, no real analysis can be done.
    The tree ring data from one region it’s like the morphology data from the wings of just one wasp (I’m work in systematics) they say all from that wasp but don’t say anything about the species. Yamal it’s like a wing data, they say all about past temperatures of that region, but dont say anything about climate change.

    So, whats the point?… I hope I’ll be clear: To the AGW lovers, Yamal be used for climate-change evidence since 2000 (?), and all be fine (peer-reviewed), now with McIntyre findings, Yamal will be changed to a simple set of data with no importance for climate-change because all other works are more evidence (blog reviewed ?).
    Yamal before McIntyre’s audit it’s awesome climate change data, Yamal after McIntyre’s audit it’s another climate-change useless data.

    Thats how the science work in this days.

  38. Craig Loehle
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 10:12 AM | Permalink

    There is some irony in the resistance of certain parties to replication of their work or examination of their methods. In the early days of the Royal Society, if you had a new experimental result (the microscope, magnetism) you brought your equipment to the meeting and demonstrated it to the members. None of the “trust me” stuff. Too bad that isn’t practical anymore.

  39. Feedback
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 10:16 AM | Permalink


    McIntyre has based his ‘critique’ on a test conducted by randomly adding in one set of data from another location in Yamal that he found on the internet.

    Curiously no-one has ever suggested simply grabbing one set of data, deleting the trees you have a political objection to and replacing them with another set that you found lying around on the web.

    They seem to harbour a peculiar view on the International Tree-Ring Data Bank over there.

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 10:31 AM | Permalink

      Re: Feedback (#51), Data found “lying around” around are obviously lazy data.

  40. Molon Labe
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

    The RealClimate response to comment 18 on that thread refers to the “Medieval Climate Anomaly”. Apparently “Medieval Warm Period” has become doubleplus ungood.

  41. Craig Loehle
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

    A reminder that if anyone wants a copy of my paper on the Divergence Problem you can email me at cloehle at ncasi dot org

  42. Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 10:28 AM | Permalink

    As expected, RC is not publishing all the comments. Where do we send the printscreens of the blocked comments?

  43. orcafriend
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

    This is just too humerous to not pass on.
    From the discussion at (un)Realclimate:

    FredB says:
    1 October 2009 at 10:13 AM
    If you want to cut McIntyre’s feet out from under him then all you have to do is release the raw data and the processing code. Until you do this he will always appear to have a convincing case.

    I really can’t see why you don’t undertake this simple and devastating step.

    [Response: All of the data and models for any of our recent papers are online and downloadable by anyone. You must have us confused with someone else. – gavin]

  44. Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 11:33 AM | Permalink

    I find what is going on at CA deeply troubling.

    Those in denial have now come to the bizarre conclusion (based on Steve’s work) that the Hockey Stick is broken, not b/c of problems with the MWP (i.e., the “shaft”) as originally alleged years ago, but b/c of the “blade”? But we do not need proxy data for the “blade” do we? Have I got that much right? Just what is Steve’s point anyhow? That Briffa et al. allegedly “fiddled” the data so now all climate proxies are bunk? And since when did something posted on a blog become truth?

    [Steve: I did not allege that Briffa “purposely” selected cores and indeed said exactly the opposite]

    McIntyre’s initial goal was to show that the MWP was warmer than today, and so that there is nothing to worry about interms of AGW.
    [Steve: I had no such goal and have never made any such claim. Further I have never suggested that AGW policy could not be justified on other grounds. Indeed, I’ve urged proponents to spend more effort on elucidating those other grounds and less on the HS]

    However, his own analysis of the Siberian data (hang on , is that just not one small portion of the globe?) shows that even if one excludes the alleged incorrect data, then his curve and that of the CRU are almost the same, and that the only differences arise in the 20th century when McIntyre’s data analysis shows cooling. To me it seems he has shot himself in the foot. So now it seems McIntyre has conveniently shifted focus from the Hockey Stick “shaft” to the “blade”, but there is not doubt as to the warming that has been observed since 1880, not only from the instrumented SAT record but numerous independent data sets.

    McIntyre is treading on thin ice here. Being a person of repute and integrity, he should be making it very, very clear to everyone involved that his analysis does not even concern AGW never mind refute it, and that it does not show the Hockey Stick to be broken. Or is he basking in the joy of knowing that his data are been manipulated by the media and those in denial to make ludicrous statements as to the validity of AGW,and that the public is now going to be more confused than ever (about something that is not relevant to the bigger picture or long-term concerns) and is going to be loathe to change (i.e., reduce GHG emissions). Please show me to be wrong by having an article on your blog in which you clearly state what the implications are of your “findings” for AGW.

    [Steve: Here is a 2005 editorial on the impact of the Stick. I’ve consistently taken that point of view. Indeed, I suggested that, if the HS was not relevant to the larger debate, discussion of it was a distraction in AR4. My suggestion was not accepted.]

    After all, McIntyre hates it when other scientists publish data out of context or make even the smallest error. By not setting the record (and media) straight he is guilty of making a gargantuan error in judgement and ethics. I do not wish to see his following here defend this, I want to see Mr. McIntyre to be responsible and make sure that his data/findings are not misinterpreted or used incorrectly.

    I see that RealClimate posted a comment on this fiasco today,it is now clear that they were being respectful by first allowing Briffa to answer to the allegations before they entered into the picture/debate.

    Steve: Their editorial contained many untrue statements and allegations.

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

      Re: Lorax (#62), Wow. The whole point of the hockey stick is to show that current temperatures are unprecedented and warmer than the past 1000 or 2000 years (including the MWP). Steve has shown that most of these analyses depend on two small sets of data: bristlecone pines and Yamal larch. The analyses weight these two proxies very heavily and if your remove them, no hockey stick. In both cases other samples of trees in the same locations do NOT show the same unique pattern of recent warming. This does NOT show that there is no recent warming, but discredits attempts to prove the 1980s-2009 are unprecedented over the past 1000 years.

    • Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

      Re: Lorax (#62),

      Wow, enough strawmen in your post to start an army.

  45. Oakwood
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

    Lorax (62)
    You post the same comments on RC, to which I posted a response. As I expect to be censored ,I repeat it here (and in addition to Craig Loehle’s more concise response). This includes my interpretation of Steve’s work to date (so forgive me Steve if I misinterprate you).

    Lorax says:
    “Those in denial have now somehow come to the bizarre conclusion that the Hockey Stick is broken, not b/c of problems with the MWP (i.e., the “shaft”) as originally alleged, but b/c of the “blade”? But we do not need proxy data for the “blade” do we? Have I got that much right? [yes you are right] Just what is is point anyhow?… McIntyre’s initial crusade was to show that the MWP was warmer than today,…”

    – No one claims (i) that temperature has not risen (by around 0.7 degC) during the 20th century, or (ii) that CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are not increasing.
    – McIntyre’s aim was never to show the MWP was warmer than today

    The point is (or rather points are):
    – the Hockey Stick (HS) showed that the 20th C temperature rise was both faster and higher than experienced in the past 2000 years.
    – this is fundamental to demonstrating that the current temperature rise is something to worry about.
    – McIntyre’s original aim was simply to reproduce the findings (as any thorough peer review should do)
    – In pursuing this legitimate scientific aim, he was not able to obtain a copy of the data to do so.
    – When he requested the data, he faced constant resistance and barriers, which of course led to suspicions.
    – The more he investigated, he concluded the HS does not legitmately demonstrate that the 20th C temperature rise was unusual or unprecedented.
    – This does not prove 20th C temperature rises are not influenced by man, just that they are not exceptional.
    – The studies of Mann and others favoured the selection of 20th C tree chronologies that correlated with the instrumental data rise.
    – However, for earlier centuries, there are no instrumental data, and therefore no way of reliably selecting tree ring chronologies. The result is a much more random mix of chronologies and ‘no trend’ (except for a long term gradual downward trend seen in MBH98).
    – Thus, we have 1800 years of non-selected tree ring chronologies, followed by the 20th C where the graph is dominated by those that correlate with the instrumental rise.
    – The most questionable aspect of the HS, is the prominent overlaying of the instrumental data onto the end of the proxy data – which by its nature can only be very much more smoothed, without short term peaks. Thus the type of peak shown in 1998 simply would not appear in the proxy data. This significanly exagerates the relevance of the 1998 peak.
    – the relevance of McIntyre’s criticism of Briffa and Yamal data is not whether or not a 20th C temperature rise ocurred, but that the Yamal data do not demonstrate that the 20th C was different to previous centuries.

    • bender
      Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

      Re: Oakwood (#66),
      Here is something a Dr. Seuss character could understand:
      “the blade-bone connected to the shaft-bone …”

  46. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

    As noted elsewhere, it is impossible for me to keep up with comments at blogs other than CA. Nor can I possibly correct all untrue allegations on the internet, including the many about me. Nor do I follow the Daily Telegraph blog. Now that its’ been brought to my attention, I sent the following email to James Delingpole at (as I have not yet received a password for the Daily Telegraph blog):

    A couple of points on your blog article.

    You’ve conflated two different studies. There are many issues pertaining to the Mann hockey stick, but the Yamal controversy is not one of them. Other than in the sense that “independent” reconstructions using the Yamal series in disputes are said to support the Mann hockey stick.

    You say:
    “This sounds esoteric, but here’s the important bit: what McIntyre discovered was that Professor Briffa had cherry picked his “tree data sets” in order to reach the conclusion he wanted to reach. When, however, McIntyre plotted in a much larger and more representative range of samples from exactly the same area, the results he got were startlingly different.”

    That is not what I”discovered”. In fact, my opinion was the exact opposite as I stated at Climate Audit. It was my opinion (and Briffa has said this today) that he had inherited a subset that had already been selected by the Russians, who stated that they were selecting 200-400 year old trees for use in their own study using “corridor standardization”. Briffa used this subset for his own analysis using “RCS standardization”, a method which requires a much larger data set and one that is larger than that used in the most recent portion of the Yamal study.

    There are real issues with the Briffa study, but it is unreasonable and unfair to go beyond the facts in evidence.

    I posted a comment that is very similar in tone at Lubos’ blog.

  47. Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 5:39 PM | Permalink

    I think its worth pointing out, for the record, that I do not endorse everything that Andrew Orlowski wrote (he got a few small matters of fact wrong), but I can hardly blame him for editorializing in an editorial, can I?

    As far as Keith Briffa is concerned, his years of stubborn refusal to release his data for public inspection have come back to bite him. Now he has to justify in front of a large audience why his proxy selection from Yamal did not include other cores from the same area, why the Polar Urals update was not published and why he conflates series hundreds of kilometres apart rather than collate his chronologies in a plausibly consistent manner.

    I am sorry that Briffa is currently suffering from a kidney complaint. Such things are debilitating and recovery is slow.

    But present illness or not, Keith Briffa has to stop behaving like a prima donna and answer normal academic inquiries.

  48. MikeN
    Posted Oct 1, 2009 at 10:44 PM | Permalink

    I notified Delingpole almost immediately that this didn’t apply to Mann’s study, but no correction.

  49. G-dzine
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 3:31 PM | Permalink

    Does Yamal matter?

    This is Gavin’s release of Kaufman 2009 et al. without Yamal.

    I was very unconvinced of the personal attacks that Gavin seems to be making against Mr. McIntyre. Is falsely accusing someone of slander not slander unto itself?…but I digress.
    But this seems to be his best point, regarding the overall implications of Yamal and the various HS graphs it is involved with. I would like to hear Mr. McIntrye’s response to this.

    • Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 5:00 PM | Permalink

      Re: G-dzine (#72),
      this might put it in context, at least.

      • G-dzine
        Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

        Re: NW (#73),
        After looking at Kaufman without Yamal more closely I wouldn’t necessarily say that the difference is negligible. Looking closely at the end of 2000, the temperature differential looks to be as high as .2 C.
        Also thanks for the link.

    • bender
      Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 6:06 PM | Permalink

      Re: G-dzine (#72),
      1. You also need to invert Tiljander. Or is RC in denial on that one?
      2. The other proxies were under discussion when Yamal erupted. Varvology was in the process of falling apart. That will be picked up again later. Read the Kaufman threads, sir.
      3. This study of Kaufman is one of ten that depend on Yamal. What’s Gavin got to say about those other 9? Nothing because he doesn’t have the data. And the only reason he has the Kaufman data is because of Steve’s efforts.

      • G-dzine
        Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 9:29 PM | Permalink

        Re: bender (#75),
        1. I don’t know. From reading the article I doubt that Gavin inverted Tiljander. Does Tiljander inversion contribute to HSness of Kaufman or the Modern MWP differential? Have you read Gavin’s RC post on Yamal? – Hey Ya! (mal)
        2. Thanks to NW I read Is Kaufman ‘Robust’?
        3. Good point. I doubt I am the first to suggest that data transparency is always a good thing. Does Gavin or anybody from RC defend the non-accessibility of the other data.

  50. Abraham
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 7:38 PM | Permalink

    snip – blog policies prohibit complaining about government policy

  51. Abraham
    Posted Oct 2, 2009 at 7:52 PM | Permalink

    snip – you are using prohibited language

  52. MikeN
    Posted Oct 3, 2009 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

    >Does Gavin or anybody from RC defend the non-accessibility of the other data.

    No, Gavin has responded, not me, all my data is public. Try asking them to be more specific about this paper or other studies’ data.

    • Jonathan
      Posted Oct 3, 2009 at 2:51 PM | Permalink

      Re: MikeN (#79), Gavin has been specifically asked on that thread when the Briffa data was first made public, but he’s simply ignoring the question.

  53. bender
    Posted Oct 3, 2009 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

    -mike at RC is Dr. Michael Mann. You are asking if Michael Mann defends the non-accessibility of data? READ THE BLOG! Data and code are “intellectual property”, man.

  54. Posted Oct 4, 2009 at 8:52 PM | Permalink

    Steve, did you ever ask the Russians for their data, and if so, what was their response?

    • bender
      Posted Oct 4, 2009 at 9:23 PM | Permalink

      Re: Eli Rabett (#83),
      Do you really think academics who want to influence global public policy should be hiding behind the claim of “intellectual property” rights? Doesn’t responsible democratic government mean being accountable for decision-making by laying bare all the facts being used to come to a decision? Because your latest comment at Real Climate sure stinks of the elitist totalitarianism of Goebbels. You know the one.

    • MrPete
      Posted Oct 5, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

      Re: Eli Rabett (#83),
      How does your perspective align with the journal data disclosure policies?

      Do you believe journal policies should be ignored, or do you believe Briffa was wrong to be in noncompliance until this year?

      • bender
        Posted Oct 5, 2009 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

        Re: MrPete (#91),
        Will be interesting to see where Ben Hale falls on this one. Eli’s post there is enraging to the disclosure movement.

  55. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2009 at 9:29 PM | Permalink

    #439 Eli Rabett says:
    4 October 2009 at 8:33 PM

    What the noise here is about one series that until recently has been held as research material by a group which shared it with some others. You may be a huge believer in open access, but intellectual property is also important. The balance between them can be tricky, but jihads against the group that did not own the data for not sharing it are, well, very typical of Steve McIntyre.

    Yes, Michael Mann should not release his maths and Keith Briffa should not release his tree ring data and Lonnie Thompson should not release his Bona Churchiull ice core data because of the incredible value of these highly sought-after knowledge assets.

  56. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2009 at 9:34 PM | Permalink

    Two questions for Gavin. I know you’re in tight with that crowd.
    1. Why doesn’t he get Mike to answer some questions since he’s a self-confessed non-expert at tree rings?
    2. Given his approval of paleoclimatic cherry-picking, does he approve of the same practice in selecting model runs to fit the observed climate data?
    Your tremendous influence in soliciting their feedback is greatly appreciated.

  57. MikeN
    Posted Oct 4, 2009 at 11:06 PM | Permalink

    Eli, I asked the Russians, and got no response.

    • Jean S
      Posted Oct 5, 2009 at 2:58 AM | Permalink

      Re: MikeN (#87),
      who exactly, when and how (email?) did you ask?

  58. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2009 at 8:40 AM | Permalink

    Eli is trying to torque the debate to make it one of disclosure. Briffa’s non-disclosure may well be because he considered it someone else’s data. The substantive issue here is NOT non-disclosure; it is selective use of an undisclosed data set. Pea under the thimble. Disclosure merely led to the realization of selective use. Don’t let Eli reshape the debate in his favor. Non-disclosure may be defensible. Selective use may not be.

  59. MikeN
    Posted Oct 5, 2009 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

    About a week ago, I emailed Dr. Hantemirov asking for any results from his study, including cores that were not used.

  60. Alberto
    Posted Oct 5, 2009 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

    Well, the debate reaches the webpages of the washington post, see

    • bender
      Posted Oct 5, 2009 at 1:13 PM | Permalink

      Re: Alberto (#93),
      Look at the quote from RC:

      What is objectionable is the conflation of technical criticism with unsupported, unjustified and unverified accusations of scientific misconduct. Steve McIntyre keeps insisting that he should be treated like a professional. But how professional is it to continue to slander scientists with vague insinuations and spin made-up tales of perfidy out of the whole cloth instead of submitting his work for peer-review?

      The allegation is not scientific misconduct. It is that a commonplace practice, endorsed publicly by Jan Esper – selective use of samples to fit a preconceived hypothesis – is statistically indefensible. This is not “misconduct”. They are playing by the rules. It’s the rules that are wrong. But let’s not argue. Let’s just ask Art Wegman to arbitrate. Is that reasonable?

  61. curious
    Posted Oct 5, 2009 at 1:17 PM | Permalink

    And the New York Times is encouraging debate too:

  62. curious
    Posted Oct 5, 2009 at 1:45 PM | Permalink

    I guess that begs the old question “correlation or causation”? 🙂

  63. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2009 at 1:50 PM | Permalink

    A little controlled experimentation usually resolves the difference! 😉

  64. curious
    Posted Oct 5, 2009 at 2:04 PM | Permalink

    I would ask “Any tips on which one to regard/disregard?” but I’ve read them now. 😦

  65. Michael Smith
    Posted Oct 5, 2009 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

    He added: “Those such as McIntyre who operate almost entirely outside of this system are not to be trusted.”

    Wow, what a statement. Mann just accused everyone working outside the system of dishonesty. Now, where is Lorax to scream bloody murder over such an outrageous accusation?

  66. Posted Oct 5, 2009 at 7:24 PM | Permalink

    MikeN, the tree ring cores are now public.

  67. MikeN
    Posted Oct 5, 2009 at 7:44 PM | Permalink

    Eli, where?

    • henry
      Posted Oct 6, 2009 at 11:02 AM | Permalink

      Re: MikeN (#103),

      You can’t ask Eli a question like that – the standard response is “I’m not going to do your homework for you”.

      It seems to me, that with all the papers that have been written using this Briffa data (that he got from the Russians, that wasn’t his to give, yet he was able to pass on to others except Steve), that someone would want to see that the data is released, for no other reason than to defend the reconstruction.

      Or as Phil Trans Royal Soc B did, to follow the rules they set forth for publication.

      I mean, if Steve did publish in a “peer reviewed” journal (perhaps in Phil Trans Royal Soc B), would you want him to provide his code and data so it could be checked? Or would you let him claim IP?

  68. bender
    Posted Oct 6, 2009 at 12:18 AM | Permalink

    Drive-by behavior like this would get you banned at RC.

  69. Posted Oct 6, 2009 at 1:21 AM | Permalink

    Bender (104), you wrote: “Drive-by behavior like this would get you banned at RC.”
    You mean that only regulars are allowed to comment? Not true.

    • bender
      Posted Oct 6, 2009 at 1:23 AM | Permalink

      Re: Bart Verheggen (#105),
      No, that is not what I said and not what I meant at all. They love one-time callers, regardless what camp they’re in.

    • bender
      Posted Oct 6, 2009 at 1:25 AM | Permalink

      Re: Bart Verheggen (#105),
      Why don’t you clarify their editorial policy? Where can Jerry post his question and initiate a discussion?

  70. bender
    Posted Oct 6, 2009 at 1:36 AM | Permalink

    … and maybe you can ask Eli where the data are that MikeN is looking for?

  71. Posted Oct 6, 2009 at 3:17 AM | Permalink

    (107, 108) I’m afraid you’re asking the wrong person.
    (106) I guess I misunderstood what is meant by the term “drive-by behavior”.

    • bender
      Posted Oct 6, 2009 at 7:45 AM | Permalink

      Re: Bart Verheggen (#109),
      You just sounded so authoritative on their censorship policy. There is another poster this morning claiming they can’t get through to clarify what McIntyre really said. Why would Gavin prevent the reporting of facts that are on the record, when he has reported othwerwise? Hmmm.

      • Posted Oct 6, 2009 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

        Re: bender (#110),

        One thing that causes problems with posts there sometimes is the spam checker, I had a post rejected because I used the word ‘ambient’ because it includes the name of a drug, others have had problems because they used the word ‘specialist’ for the same reason. It took a while to find out why those posts had disappeared into limbo.

        [Jean S: This comment was considered “spam” by the CA spam filter :)]

        • bender
          Posted Oct 6, 2009 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

          Re: Phil. (#111),
          I’ve seen that stated before. Maybe. Do you see any words in Jerry’s post that could have triggered this reaction?

  72. Ben Williams
    Posted Oct 6, 2009 at 9:05 PM | Permalink

    Andrew Bolt from the Herald Sun in Australia has picked up the story

  73. Ben Williams
    Posted Oct 6, 2009 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

    link here

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    […] deconstruction is the work of Steve McIntyre of, a very technical site. While the Register’s accounting of the controversy is brief and easy […]

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