Briffa on another Mann Hockey Stick

Like many other people, I’m gradually digesting the CRU letters. Obviously I’m going to comment on them but I’m going to start a little slowly. Here’s one that’s a little fun, where Briffa discusses an otherwise unreported Mann hockey stick, one as “significant” as the frequency of the name Gavin. See here. Briffa:

I am sick to death of Mann stating his reconstruction represents the tropical area just because it contains a few (poorly temperature representative ) tropical series. He is just as capable of regressing these data again any other “target” series , such as the increasing trend of self-opinionated verbage he has produced over the last few years , and … (better say no more)

Gavin Schmidt recently discussed the spurious regression arising from regression of temperature against incidence of the name “Gavin”, an example introduced by Lucia.


  1. HB
    Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 4:15 PM | Permalink

    Clearly the current construct has failed humanity with respect to climate change.

    With all the asterisks attached to various temperature records and reconstructions what’s the possibility of something akin to an open source project for archiving of data and development and debate of various processing schema?

    This is obviously expandable beyond just temperature records, there are clear deficiencies in many parameters need for anything close to climate diagnostics.

  2. KevinM
    Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 4:33 PM | Permalink

    Still no mass media coverage.
    Google searches on key phrases yield little.
    I weep for integrity and independent thought.

  3. Wolfgang Flamme
    Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 4:36 PM | Permalink


  4. lucklucky
    Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

    “Still no mass media coverage.”

    We can’t count in mass media to have information.

  5. Calvin Ball
    Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 4:49 PM | Permalink

    Who needs fiction, when you have this kind of drama in real life? Somebody’s going to make a movie.

  6. Dale Wyckoff
    Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

    What I would like to know is this. Is the data contained in the hacked release more complete than the data you’ve obtained via FOIA requests through the official channels? If so, I can’t wait to see the results of your analysis!


  7. truthseeker
    Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

    Wikipedia articles that do or should record this event in a neutral and balanced manner, with journalist-written sources:

    • Mike Lorrey
      Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 8:52 PM | Permalink

      The Tom Harrison who is fanatically editing the Climategate (now renamed CRU Hacking incident) page seems to be an alarmist according to his commentary in the discussion page for that article, denying the validity of any of the emails and insisting that that is not how scientists behave. At the same time according to his user talk page, it appears he is banning any skeptic who is posting more information as a “sock puppet” of some other previously banned skeptic.

  8. Dale Wyckoff
    Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

    Oh, and while I’m at it. I’m wondering if this hacker is following the BigGovernment/ACRON model where releases are concerned. I note the message notifying about the first release said it was a “random sample”.

    Perhaps whoever did this is waiting for The Team to make firm statements.


    • Calvin Ball
      Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 5:57 PM | Permalink

      Those words were chosen carefully. Indeed, that’s exactly what that means. Whoever did this thought it out pretty carefully. The real question is, is the leaker holding anything back that’s even more damaging? Only time will tell.

      Gad, what a novel. I’m usually not one to go in for drama, but I’m totally sucked into this.

  9. Charlie
    Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 5:23 PM | Permalink

    Are the data files some sort of independent selection of data files, or are they simply all attachments that show up in an email somewhere.

    Has anybody checked?

    I’ll see I one of the e-mail search engines will return hits on attachments.

    Steve: Definitely not all attachments.

  10. Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 5:26 PM | Permalink

    That is too funny. I know Briffa hasn’t been very helpful to you Steve, but in these emails he frequently sounds like the voice of restraint and reason.

    • 3x2
      Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 6:53 PM | Permalink

      Have to agree. From the mail read to date Briffa has actually gone way up in my estimation (not that he will care at all)

      It looks like he has been trying to get on with the science while others try to hand him a pot of boiling oil and usher him to the battlements.

    • Jeff Norman
      Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 10:00 PM | Permalink

      I am inclined to agree that Briffa actually appears to be one of the more reasonable(?) contributors in all those released e-mails.

      I wonder how my health would respond if I found out that I had been working with apparently unscrupulous people and had no apparent way out.

      I wonder if I would be tempted to clean my soul by becoming a whistle blower.

      Just wondering.

  11. Mike
    Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 5:35 PM | Permalink

    Der Spiegel (leading German news magazine) has an item in the German edition:,1518,662673,00.html

    “Cyberkrieg unter Klimaforschern” – cyber war among climate researchers.

    Ranks No 2 on most-read list.

    On another note: The name McIntyre occurs 440 times in the collected email files, and that excludes alternate spellings such as ‘MM’, ‘McCarthy’ and ‘Mc-I’m not entirely-there-in-the-head’. I guess that makes him the most-cited sceptic in this important scientific resource. Would look good on a CV.

    • crosspatch
      Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 5:54 PM | Permalink

      “The name McIntyre occurs 440 times”

      As do more obscure references such as “a certain Canadian”. Might that be Steve?

      The inadvertent email I sent last month has led to a Data Protection Act request sent by a certain Canadian, saying that the email maligned his scientific credibility with his peers!


      • Mike
        Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 6:56 PM | Permalink

        Yes, I think it is – and if not, we can still follow the Mann / Jones precedent (see 1213201481.txt) of taking credit for other peoples’ work.

  12. JoeRyan
    Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

    I like this one:

    From: Tom Wigley
    To: Ben Santer
    Subject: Re: Status of our JGR paper
    Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2000 15:47:37 -0600

    Ben (or, really, everybody else),

    I don’t know whether you have all seen the paper analyzing the observed
    data that Ben and I sent to J. Climate ?? This is where the JGR paper
    began, and it is useful to compare both papers. In the J. Climate paper
    we assessed the best fits using a subjective balance of raw and lowpass
    filtered results. The reason for this was because of the difficulty of
    setting up an automated procedure — which is the problem that Ben is
    currently having to deal with. In the next iteration of the JGR paper,
    the reason for moving to a more automated procedure will be explained.
    Both the subjective and automated procedures have their advantages and
    disadvantages. The latter procedure, of course, is in no way
    ‘objective’. Many subjective choices have to be made in setting up the
    procedure. This is why the word ‘automated’ is used above, rather than

    If you have not seen the J. Climate paper, let me know and I will send
    you a copy. There is a companion paper that has been accepted by GRL
    that I will send at the same time.

    Cheers, Tom.


    Yeah, better to use “automated”… it looks more scientific… and you need all the help you can get once to toss objectivity out the window.

    Also, are they talking about what I think they are talking about?!

    It’s in: 969652057.txt

  13. PR Guy
    Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

    The reason this story is not getting wider play is that our side has not packaged it properly. The story should be about official corruption and obstruction of FOIA. Everything elase is clouding the storyline and making it look like it just a food fight over arcane technical issues.

  14. KnockJohn
    Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 5:57 PM | Permalink

    I posted this over at Anthony’s, but figure it deserves to appear here too.

    Well at last… The BBC have finally given some airtime to this story and even a quick 6 frame shot of WUWT. Not on BBCworld or BBC1 or BBCNews – But on BBC Look East the local news bulletin for East Anglia.

    The report concentrated on the fact that police have been brought in to investigate the hacking. Also some views were b’cast from atendees of a Green March in East Anglia today and a convert to AGW who is an MP – sorry I missed his name.

    The programme is not yet available on BBC i player, but in case it becomes so – look at

    Best Regards

    It might be worth waiting for 1830 UTC on Monday, when BBC regional news has a full half hour bulletin. BBC Look East is available for free all over Europe on Satellite (Astra 28.2 10788.00 V – Txp: 46 – Beam: Astra 2D DVB-S (QPSK) – 22000 5/6 )

    • stephen richards
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

      The MP was Gibson who I believe was deselected over expenses fiddling. Not 100% sure but I do believe I’m right

  15. chainpin
    Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 5:57 PM | Permalink

    I would simply like to thank Steve for engaging in the tireless pursuit of the truth.

    You are the epitome of scientific excellence.

    I will be making a small donation to CA and would encourage others to do so.

    Perhaps the money could be used to beef up the server!!! LOL!!

  16. anon
    Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 6:16 PM | Permalink

    I’d like to thank Steve for really annoying the piss outa them these last few years.

  17. TJA
    Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 7:00 PM | Permalink

    I agree that Briffa comes off a lot better than a lot of these yahoos. Like Jones and Mann, for example.

    • Mike Lorrey
      Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 8:57 PM | Permalink

      Briffa does seem reasonable, but Trenbarth seems quite objective and fair and unlike the others, acknowledges the weaknesses in their data and theories, as well as admits to the validity of skeptics arguments. I’m also curious what Andy Revkin thinks now that he knows that Phil and the gang don’t see him as reliable.

      • Steve
        Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 3:31 AM | Permalink

        Of course, Dr Trenberth is a Kiwi (Kev, Please don’t make me regret saying this).

        Kevin’s also been on record stating that the IPCC don’t make predictions. So everyone’s catastrophic predictions aren’t coming from the IPCC.

        Nuff said.

  18. Kazinski
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 3:17 AM | Permalink

    I’d also like to add my kudu’s to Steve. He has been completely vindicated by all of these disclosures. The most amazing thing about it is he kept his cool, didn’t say anything incendiary and kept coming at them with problems that eventually were too big to fit under the rug.

    All the dismissive snarks in the emails and at RC should be worn as badges of honor.

  19. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    Re: Kevin M

    The Times had this today:

  20. Peter
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 1:30 PM | Permalink

    “That is too funny. I know Briffa hasn’t been very helpful to you Steve, but in these emails he frequently sounds like the voice of restraint and reason.”

    Maybe Briffa did know he was going to be asked for the sources when he earlier this year published in Royal Society?

  21. Chris W.
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

    I did some research on the Briffa 2000 piece on the CA main site, and it appears that if nothing else, the number of samples claimed for the -200 -> 2000 reconstruction was overstated by more than 100%.

    Apparently the 611 trees cited came from yamal.rwm, which was sent to Briffa from Rashit Hantemirov in Oct of 98. The file is in the yamal directory in the leaked files, the explanation is in an email from Rashit (Just search for yama.rwm in the leaked emails, it will be the only occurrence.)

    But… The trees go back to 4999 B.C and only 257 of the 611 samples cited actually contained any post 200B.C. data.. Whoops!

    Also here is a plot (with 21 year mean in red) of the actual (un-regressed, un-“corrected”) Yamal tree ring data for the last 2000 years.

    (Please excuse the data format being jpeg.. I will be re-encoding as png and releasing the matlab source later today…)

    • FTM
      Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

      Cherry picking?

      Sorry for not replying sooner – its been a hectic week (or two)!
      The new Mann and Jones 2000-year series I don’t actually have. It appears in Figure 1 of our EOS piece, of course, but Scott Rutherford generated that figure. I generated Figure 2 for EOS and that has the Yamal, Tornetrask, western US and western Greenland O18 stack in it. So I have these data and they are attached in the following files. western US and western Greenland are in file “mann12prox.dat”. I didn’t have time to extract just these two series from the full file, so the file contains 11 others series too. Please do *not* use the others because I’m not sure whether I am free to distribute them or not – I just haven’t time to extract the 2 you want. I’m sure I can trust you not to use anything that I shouldn’t have sent! The top of the file lists the 13 series and the start/end years. These are in the same order as the 13 columns of data that then follow (the first column is simply year AD). So you should be able to find westgrpfisher.dat” and “wustrees.dat”.

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