Back to 2003

Today I spent some time re-visiting 2003 in light of the Climategate Letters.

I was intrigued by the very first allusion to Mc and Mc in the Climategage Letters in a trailer to an Oct 26, 2003 letter (the day before MM2003 was released) here . A climate scientist (not identified in the trailer), stated that the instability of Mann’s reconstruction to variations in input data was “known by most people who understand Mann’s methodology”:

Personally, I’d offer that this was known by most people who understand Mann’s methodology: it can be quite sensitive to the input data in the early centuries . Anyway, there’s going to be a lot of noise on this one, and knowing Mann’s very thin skin I am afraid he will react strongly, unless he has learned (as I hope he has) from the past.

Mann’s very first response – before he even considered what was in the paper – was to email the Team (in this case, Bradley, Hughes, MacCracken, Schneider , Crowley, Wigley, Socc, Oppenheimer, Briffa, Jones, Osborn, Tim Profeta of Lieberman’s staff, Santer, Hegerl, Mosley-Thompson, Lonnie Thompson and Trenberth) concluding as follows:

The important thing is to deny that this has any intellectual credibility whatsoever and, if contacted by any media, to dismiss this for the stunt that it is.


  1. Gary
    Posted Jan 4, 2010 at 11:56 PM | Permalink

    Mann obviously didn’t write the “trailer” so how did it get inserted into an email from him to the Team?

    Steve: Presumably Mann snipped off the identifiers to the attached email.

  2. Third Party
    Posted Jan 4, 2010 at 11:58 PM | Permalink

    uu@W seems to have a very certain belief in his work, and is extremely combative to criticism.

  3. jim edwards
    Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 12:01 AM | Permalink

    “…knowing Mann’s very thin skin I am afraid he will react strongly, unless he has learned (as I hope he has) from the past.”

    This hints at an interesting story. I wonder what event “from the past” should have helped Mann “learn” to not “[over]react” to irritation of his “very thin skin.”

    • Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

      I’m curious as well. What incident (lesson) occurred BEFORE MM2003?

  4. EJ
    Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 12:29 AM | Permalink

    I don’t get it. Is Mann that in your face??

    • hswiseman
      Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 12:34 AM | Permalink

      The distinct impression from the emails is that Mann is a despotic dictator enforcing party-line discipline. Woe to anyone who crosses him.

  5. theduke
    Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 1:08 AM | Permalink

    Mann’s behavior as revealed in these emails is eerily reminiscent of Nixon’s in the Watergate scandal.

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 6:33 AM | Permalink

      yes. The unbelieveable thing is that people took their PR direction from him. There are some really funny mails in this regard. Bradley is another funny one.

      But none of this makes the science wrong.

      • Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 11:03 AM | Permalink

        “But none of this makes the science wrong.”

        Mr. Mosher, as I have said before a few times I am just a simple engineering type, but as such Climate Science for an engineering type is not much of a science.

        Climatologists manipulate massive quantities of data, collected by others, using standard available statistical methods. In the ordinary wold this is technicians stuff. Further if a theory, as in AGW can’t make a decent prediction it is not sound. I think it is time to look elsewhere.

      • Craig Loehle
        Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

        If scientists privately think something is wrong but publicly defend it, as seen over and over in these emails, then we can no longer rely on their expert opinion–it is for sale (in this case to maintain group cohesion and avoid Mann’s wrath). Expert opinion is shaky enough when you grant that every expert has his pet theories and limitations, but this behavior violates Pielke jr’s “Honest Broker” norm.

        • Brooks Hurd
          Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 6:07 PM | Permalink

          In my opinion there is more at stake here than just Mann’s rath; there is also the concern that crossing Mann could end one’s career since he seems to excercise so much control over what and who gets published.

        • Eric
          Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 8:09 PM | Permalink


  6. Chris BC
    Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 1:08 AM | Permalink

    This adds some more context to the Bradley “Vomit” e-mail.

    Is there any more plausible speculation on whether a team member was behind the Climategate leak?

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 6:36 AM | Permalink

      BTW steve, I’ve got this same mail in my book. Bradleys response is classic.

  7. Jimchip
    Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 1:34 AM | Permalink

    I don’t want to be merely flippant but allow me to parse some words. I had read many of the 2003 emails and Steve McIntyre said “re-visiting”.

    There are terms like “denier”. I thought it could be because it sounds like “liar” (ok, “pants on fire”, etc., outside of other implications). It could be just moi but any ‘negative’ words like ‘denier’ being commonly bandied about are contained in the “Dear All” email of reference.

    Flippancy-wise I note that Dr. Schmidt is not part of the “Dear All”- I hope he doesn’t feel left out.

    It’s not that I’m tired but statements like “It is clear, for example, that nobody we know has been asked to “review” this so-called paper” gives me a little chance at some optimism.

    • Friar
      Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 4:56 AM | Permalink

      This is interesting.

      The very first thing which drew me to the debate and to a skeptical stance in relation to it was not any scientific appreciation, nor any pseudo-intellectual opinion borne of deep conviction or otherwise.

      It was the virulence of the attacks upon those labelled skeptics, with the use of terms such as ‘deniers’ (which I find abhorrent). That and the distinct flavour of ad hominem argument made me very suspicious indeed of those engaged as proponents of the dangerous warming idea.

      It struck me as very odd that a site such as Real Climate, ostensibly committed to a scientific explication of the AGW theory should so readily and frequently engage in petty name calling, villification of anyone in disagreement, and the selective censorship of comments and replies.

      It motivated me to look more carefully at what I had until them assumed was a scientific case for possibly dangerous global warming. All that has emerged from the release of the e-mails from CRU seems to confirm my suspicions in relation to the methods employed, and I have long since decided that much of what has been adduced in support of the AGW thing is rubbish.

      Paradoxical isn’t it?

      • Skip Smith
        Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

        Friar, my story is almost identical to yours. For me it started when I saw the ad hominem attacks on Bjorn Lomborg and wondered why his common sense approach would inspire such wrath.

      • Puggs
        Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 8:07 AM | Permalink

        Friar,I noticed you mentioned Real Climate -I have posted two comments on their thread:

        They have added a data point for 2009 to the HADCRUT3 and GISTEMP curves. Unfortunately they have not yet got the data for Dec 09, so they have taken the average of January to November 2009 instead and called this a good approximation of the average for 2009!! They don’t seem to think that the Dec temperatures will have much affect on the annual average! I asked two questions: Did they use Jan-Nov averages for the other data points on the curve or the full year averages?

        Where did they get the HADCRUT/GISTEMP data up to Nov 2009?

        My questions posted on 3rd Jan have not been displayed to date, nor answered…

  8. Dev
    Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 2:26 AM | Permalink


    This latest post of yours highlights a point that I think has been missed by some.

    Despite what the AP editors reported after reading the emails (“move along, nothing to see here”), it is becoming clear that almost every email and document has a very interesting story to tell. One just has to have the context to understand it.

    Thank you for these narrowly focused posts. There is nobody more uniquely qualified to report that full context on the Teams’s data and process issues.

    I also think it is fair to conclude that whoever compiled the file has an extremely detailed understanding of Team machinations–and more importantly–the Team’s surprising vulnerabilities.

  9. Jeff M
    Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 3:27 AM | Permalink


    I am overcome with skepticism whenever I see anybody advertising themselves as scientists, it has the same stench (that website) of anything politics has ever corrupted. (“Trust us, we’re Scientists!”) Advertise your most compelling conclusions, provide supporting data, and lastly your credentials. I just don’t think the field or institution you studied at has the same meaning in the Internet age as it used to.

  10. Michael In Sydney
    Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 3:35 AM | Permalink

    Email to the Team – Why have an opinion when you can have someone else’s (Mann’s)!

  11. Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 5:05 AM | Permalink

    It is interesting that even in those days there seems to be a reluctance to use your name: “two people have a forthcoming ‘Energy & Environment’ paper”.

    The next few emails in the sequence are also enlightening.
    1067450707.txt – Mann sends another (apparently unsolicited) email to the team saying “they will probably have to retract the paper.”
    1067522573.txt – Mann fires off an aggressive draft response, to the Team.
    1067532918.txt – Ray Bradley tries to persuade the “CRU Boys” to attack M&M.
    1067542015.txt – Briffa says: “Much of the detail in Mikes response though is not sensible (sorry Mike) and is rising to their bate.”
    1067596623.txt – Tim Osborn urges careful reading of M&M and warns against a rushed response.
    1068239573.txt – Sonja B-C (editor of E&E) emails SM about publishing a comment and response (as far as I can see this never happened).
    1068652882.txt – Tim Osborn says “I do wish Mike had not rushed around sending out preliminary and incorrect early responses – the waters are really muddied now.”

    So it’s quite clear that Mann had not ‘learned from the past’.

    Maybe Steve could do a longer post about the whole M&M 2003 story in the light of the emails?

    Steve: I collated materials for a longer post but got bogged down. One incident that has a “dig here” is that, after CRU complained about the reviewing, we offered to let them review. They declined – it looks like they did so after learning of Mann’s deleted files, but I have to verify the chronologies. Too much context….

  12. Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 5:08 AM | Permalink

    And comment about the GRL paper,

    Hi Andy,
    The McIntyre and McKitrick paper is pure scientific fraud.


    To recap, I hope you don’t mention MM at all. It really doesn’t deserve any additional

  13. Steven Mosher
    Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 5:19 AM | Permalink

    ya steve I have that one in the book. It’s funny how Mann’s initial response is always to scream fraud.

    • Bruce
      Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 1:04 PM | Permalink

      My experience with players in industry and academia is that such ready, persistent, empty handed accusers are likely telling us what *they*, often over ambitious personalities, normally do, or would do.

    • DCC
      Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

      In psychology that is called “projection.”

  14. maor
    Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 5:39 AM | Permalink

    “knowing Mann’s very thin skin I am afraid he will react strongly”

    Who says climatologists’ models can’t predict future events?

  15. geronimo
    Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 6:00 AM | Permalink

    This comment from Tom Wigley is v. interesting.

    I have just read the M&M stuff critcizing MBH. A lot of it seems valid to me.
    At the very least MBH is a very sloppy piece of work — an opinion I have held
    for some time.
    Presumably what you have done with Keith is better? — or is it?
    I get asked about this a lot. Can you give me a brief heads up? Mike is too
    deep into this to be helpful.

    It appears as though there is a co-ordinated attempt to rush out another hockey stick, and Tom W is worried it will be as “sloppy” as MBH. As it’s out of context I,m taking it to mean Tom is asking for Phil’s Christmas Card list.

    This comment is from Oct 21, 2004 and probably came after Richard Muller’s article caused some publicity. Jones responds with three comments having nothing to do with MBH98: (1) the radian-degree programming error in Michaels and McKitrick; (2) attaching a comment by (presumably) Benestad on spatial autocorrelation in Michaels and McKitrick – something that is irrelevant to MBH and not necessarily right anyway – see most recently McKitrick and Nierenberg on Schmit; (3) complaining about my not “thanking” him for sending series from Jones and Mann 2004 and for incorrectly commenting on issues in the data that the sent me. Both were untrue. I sent Jones a very courteous thank you note for the data. The data that he sent me labeled Thompson data from the Andes as Himalayan sites and vice versa (an error that didn’t exist in the text.) I noted both in my reply; Jones undertook to correct his data file before placing it online.

    • Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 6:21 AM | Permalink

      This is the best part of climategate, only to be really savored by those who have followed the story for some time. Sure, there’s a few media people talking about “hide the decline” and “mike’s nature trick” and occasionally getting the context almost right, but they miss the real tastes on offer..

      This, like with an earlier ClimateAudit post – – demonstrates beautifully that the “Climategate Cabal” have mixed feelings themselves. In “IPCC and the trick” we find that Keith Briffa doesn’t really think that the MWP was warmer than today. And here we see that the cabal probably agrees that MBH 98 was a dud. And some (all, except Mann?) think that McIntyre & McKitrick’s paper was sound.

      If only we had the comments on the Wegman report. While Mann is out doing media interviews saying how he was “vindicated”, did the rest email each other sadly with “head in hands”?

      But then they all walk out as one and defend Mann, Bradley and Hughes.

      So climategate reveals “scientific” integrity in practice.

      The real story. Climate scientists in the most powerful positions defending bad science, condemning good science and doing their utmost to ensure that the good science doesn’t even get a mention.

      And telling us there’s nothing to see here. At least, in the wreckage of climate science there’s a complete case study for the psychology profession.

      • Ted L.
        Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 12:31 PM | Permalink


        “At least, in the wreckage of climate science there’s a complete case study for the psychology profession.”

        Well, I am one. Retired psychologist, that is, and I have been reading the e-mails and posts through that filter. I won’t comment on any individual. None of what I have to say will come as a surprise.

        Much of the Climategate history appears to be driven by very large and very tender ego’s. I have been curious about the emotionality in the e-mails. There are individuals who appear to be readily threatened by any criticism, and they exhibit a need to be in control of the process in order to protect themselves. This is complicated by the fact that the group seems to be relatively small, and the AGW hypothesis is hugely important to some of them, and the data are subject to alternative interpretations. As I have asked in the past, whatever would a paleoclimatologist do without a global warming crisis? There have been previous posts addressing the “tribalism” demonstrated in some of the e-mails, and I agree with that.Some of the anger and possible data manipulation also can be seen as a derivative of the need to protect the AGW hypothesis at all costs, because the individuals have become so over-identified with it. Any threat to the hypothesis is a threat to such individuals personally.

        Just sayin’.

        Don’t think the e-mails were hacked, as such. I think the dynamics of all this fit a “Deep Throat” profile. Perhaps “released without authorization” by someone fed up with the process rather than hacked?

        • Dave Dardinger
          Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 7:51 PM | Permalink

          Re: Ted L. (Jan 5 12:31),

          Don’t think the e-mails were hacked, as such. I think the dynamics of all this fit a “Deep Throat” profile.

          I think the time has long passed where anyone is worried about the hacking aspect. I’m 99% sure the actual contents were prepared for a FOIA request and then when the request was denied, someone decided to release it anyway. It could even be one of the principles if they were foxy enough to decide it’d be better to get the stuff out there but make it unusable legally.

        • Punksta
          Posted Jan 25, 2010 at 1:09 AM | Permalink

          Does FOI really extend to emails?

        • ianl8888
          Posted Jan 6, 2010 at 1:38 AM | Permalink

          Yes, I’ve made these points earlier. The email dump shows, amongst other points:

          1) a major emotional element informing the actions so often outlayed through the emails is vanity. The Achilles Heel of homo sapiens and a prime element of power mongers. One individual in particular exhibits it to a pathological degree

          2) the motive permeating the act of collecting and dumping the emails is one of utter disgust from a less powerful individual within the access loop. The timing of the dump was aimed at Copenhagen. It represents an enormous failure of management – that such overwhelming disgust was engendered over such a lengthy period and not even noticed

        • Geoff Sherrington
          Posted Jan 6, 2010 at 6:03 AM | Permalink

          Ted L. Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 12:31 PM

          The psychologist.

          This is delicate, but I find that the emails are either censored selectively (which we might never know) or lack much of the usual pleasantry that goes with emails between friends who meet often. If you search for “wife” as in “How is your wife keeping”, you get one hackneyed phrase about “How often do you beat your wife”. If you search for other fmaily-related terms of endearment you find Jones being told that there is life after divorce, but whose divorce is not stated. Then there is one “Love and kisses” from Briffa to Cook, that could be a joviality or joke. Very little about howthe children are going – are there any children? A couple of references to Mann’s wedding and that’s about all my key word selections found.

          Question is, if there was no removal of such phrases assumed, would you expect to find a more cordial, caring tone between the main players? Absent such words, what bonding, what common cause, do you see? A level group of peers with mutual respect, a power hierarchical structure, or a jumbled mess?

        • Mike Restin
          Posted Jan 6, 2010 at 8:46 AM | Permalink

          The relationship between key players is one of profession not personal.
          In most cases it appears they are just a step above friendly but, not close chums. They may have little knowledge of each other’s family except in the broadest sense.

        • Ted L.
          Posted Jan 6, 2010 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

          I agree with Mike. The personal stuff tends to be handled in personal meetings, not e-mail, and even then, in my experience, it is quite brief. “How are Cindy and the children? Ah, good.” and “I understand John and Mirium are splitting. Too bad”. and that is that. No point in pursuing this further, I was just struck by the quality of some of the e-mails. I think Ianl8888 use of the term “vanity” fits as well, but the need to be in control of the process comes out clearly as well. Enough on this, though.

        • WillR
          Posted Jan 6, 2010 at 8:55 AM | Permalink

          Re: Ted L. (Jan 5 12:31),

          I could submit a similar group of emails. I won’t. However, your observations would be just as valid for the other group.

          There are a lot of “alpha dogs” in the group. The common cause is general. The projects are grouped around a common cause — but individually funded (it appears).

          Ther eis also collaboration with other groups — usually with common cause — but competing for funds and competing for prominence. Then there are the circling opponents — mostly perceived as opposed to real…

          Been there done that, reluctant to try to control such a group again for all the reasons you see in the emails. It can be done, but there needs to be a control mechanism to subdue the behaviour you observed. I can’t think of one. …maybe a team psychologist. 😉

    • Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

      Jones reply, my bold:

      Bottom line – their is no way the MWP (whenever it was) was as warm globally as the
      last 20 years. There is also no way a whole decade in the LIA period was more than 1 deg C
      on a global basis cooler than the 1961-90 mean. This is all gut feeling, no science, but
      years of experience of dealing with global scales and varaibility.

      ..time to learn calibration, eh?

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

        Damn UC I discuss that in the book as well

        • Dave Dardinger
          Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 7:54 PM | Permalink

          Re: Steven Mosher (Jan 5 13:03),

          So when is this book coming out? And is it self-published or through a publisher?

        • ianl8888
          Posted Jan 6, 2010 at 1:45 AM | Permalink


          most of us at this website have read & understood the email dump – sort of preaching to the converted (or at least the informed) here

          Nonetheless, I sincerely hope your book reaches a very wide audience 🙂

  16. Peter Dunford
    Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 6:20 AM | Permalink

    The commentary at the bottom is between two third parties discussing Mann’s “thin skin”. Somehow one of them forwards it to him.

    What kind of mind forwards-on these kind of comments about itself? It cannot be that the skin has thickened or the behaviour would not be happening. Removal of the identity details makes it stranger in some ways, it’s acknowledging knowing that many hold the same views about him, and he doesn’t care. It doesn’t give any consideration of how such comments might colour responses to his request for help.

    “Child-like” comes to mind as a description. And maybe childish. I’ll bet he’s in therapy.

    • kan
      Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 8:47 PM | Permalink

      This could also be a shot across the bow to others – “I have ears and eyes everywhere – so do not step out of line”

  17. Steven Mosher
    Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 6:57 AM | Permalink

    Steve, here is an interesting episode to revisit.

    remember when you asked for data and they got all butt hurt. That’s in the mails.

    From solomons letter to you:

    First you have not used the material solely for the purpose of reviewing the IPCC drafts, and second you have, without prior permission, cited unpublished material to the JGR editors in your attempt to influence them. Such actions are not appropriate. The IPCC process can not supercede or alter the scientific review of papers followed by individual scientific journals.

    I like the last sentence: the IPCC process can not alter the review of papers..

    Hmm. Amman0X. the process can I suppose create a new category for papers: provisionally accepted

  18. alex verlinden
    Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 8:28 AM | Permalink

    I can only second what previous posters already said … some pieces fit together nicely, and it is only in a broader context that some of the emails really make sense …

    well Steve, I think you will have to give up badminton in this new year and spend more time informing us about these … 🙂

    • snowmaneasy
      Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

      it’s squash..

      • Dave Dardinger
        Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 12:20 PM | Permalink

        Re: snowmaneasy (Jan 5 11:30),

        You need to turn on you sarcasm detector. (Besides there’s a smiley after the sentence).

  19. Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 8:46 AM | Permalink

    It’s pretty insightful.

    At least, I agree with Michael Mann that it’s very important to be a denier. 😉 The only difference is that he wants to deny things that are true – and probably known to everyone who knows the methodology – while I only prefer to deny things that are not true.

    Would you argue that the author of the trailer is none of the recipients of Mann’s email?

    Steve: Hard to say. Most likely possibilities would seem to be Briffa, Osborn – both on the list.

  20. stan
    Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 8:57 AM | Permalink

    Read what was found in the file named “censored” on Mann’s site. It seems there may be some evidence that Mann’s mistakes may not have been so innocent. It’s also difficult to understand why he chose to write his own PCA code from scratch when lots of stats packages were readily available. Of course, if he had used the standard software he wouldn’t have gotten the hockey stick. Hmmmmmm.

    Given the evidence that exists, you choose: Incompetent? Corrupt? Both?

  21. Ivan
    Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

    This deserves a real campaign in the media; members of the Team were well aware that M&M were right with regard to MBH, but pretended otherwise, and everything proved with their own correspondence!

  22. Sjoffer
    Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

    I wonder how Mann does his communication now if he knows that the NSA may tap his phone and read his E-mail (and maybe they did in the past).

  23. JJ
    Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 9:56 AM | Permalink

    I find this to be particularly telling:

    “1) to dismiss this as stunt, appearing in a so-called “journal” which is already known to
    have defied standard practices of peer-review. It is clear, for example, that nobody we
    know has been asked to “review” this so-called paper”

    Mann clearly expects that any paper to be published would:

    a) Have been reviewed by ‘someone he knows’, and

    b) that this someone would have violated peer review ethics by having informed him of the paper and thus of the fact that they were reviewing it.


    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

      I think this reflects a view that the only valid scientists (ie qualified to be reviewers) are members of The Team. Also it seems to have become practice for editors to send a paper that criticizes Professor X’s paper to X to review. I have been sent papers to review that were a critique of my work, and seen my critical papers sent to those I criticize. This is strange in my view. A critical paper should be sent to a disinterested 3rd party.

  24. Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 10:21 AM | Permalink

    I would invite all readers to help improving the climategate article on wikipedia, which has been hijacked by alarmists that have a troop of sleepless zealots that work in conjunction with the aim to keep the page as useless as possible. Please bear in mind the use of reliable sources and read and add your views in the discussion page before changing the main article. We need more people to counter W. Connolley and his troop of alarmists:

    talk page:

    • Brooks Hurd
      Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 5:59 PM | Permalink

      Sadly William Connely is in charge of all things related climate at Wiki. Nothing that is critical of AGW dogma will remain up for long. William makes certain of that.

      This is not only a problem with climate related articles on Wiki. Many articles on controversial subjects or people will be slanted. Wiki is fine for non-controversial subjects, such as information about a chemical substance or a non-controversial location (read the Iran entry to see what I mean); but for any subject where there is controversy, Wiki is hopelessly biased.

    • Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 9:00 PM | Permalink

      Re: emerson cardoso (Jan 5 10:21), Another alternative is to work on the Climategate article at Neutralpedia – the wiki CA reader Shen has set up to provide a “complement to Wikipedia” – starting from Climategate, the name they will not use as the WP title. I’ve done a first draft for this article, to start the ball rolling.

  25. Alan Kennedy
    Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

    I hope this is accepted as “on topic”.

    The Royal Society of Edinburgh has launched a major review entitled “Facing up to Climate Change.” There is a briefing paper at inviting submissions. In the briefing paper there is a hockey stick figure, very like that of Mann et al The comment on the figure is as follows:

    “Estimates of mean decadal temperatures over the
    land areas between 300 and 900 in the northern
    hemisphere during the last 1500 years. Prior to the
    instrumental record of the last 150 years (shown in
    red), temperatures are deduced fromtree-rings,
    lake sediments and ice cores. The dashed lines show
    the range of higher frequency variability in the data.
    The record shows an earlymediaeval cool period
    fromprior to about 950AD, a mediaeval warm period
    until about 1200AD, the so-called Little Ice Age from
    about 1450 to 1850AD and the very strong late 20th
    Century warming. Temperatures in sub-surface
    rocks can be used to deduce long-termchanges
    in surface temperature that naturally smooth out
    inter-annual variations to show long-termtrends.
    Temperature records from 631 boreholes have been
    used in this way to show how distinctive the 20th
    Century warming has been compared with the
    preceding 400 years.

    (From: Hegerl, G.C. and others. 2007. Detection of human influences on a new, validated 1500-year temperature reconstruction; Journal of Climate, 20 (4): 650-666.)”

    My question is – does this paper also fall foul of the statistical errors (or unwise simplifications) found in Mann et al?

    Steve: The Mann et al errors are a bit sui generis for the field. Hegerl et al has the errors typical of little subset papers – it uses bristlecones (MAnn’s PC1), Yamal,… IT’s choice of proxies is so stereotyped that I predicted most of the choices even before the proxy locations were disclosed.

  26. EdeF
    Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

    ….in the words of one Cato / Marshall/ CEI type…

    The quote seems to be from Pat Michaels. No wonder Mann goes after him in the
    WSJ article from last week.

  27. Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

    I’ve been looking at your very earliest material, Steve, and it seems as if your early diagrams are now missing – I hope you’ve filed them for future FOI requests :}

    Steve: References to need to be . Everything from the early website should be there.

  28. mpaul
    Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    The whistleblower is trying to tell a story with the emails and code. The puzzle is to figure out what the story is.

    Mann emerges from the narrative as a manipulative thug who demands loyalty. The other members of the team seem to bow to his will. Many of the team members seem to be possessed of weak character and seem unable to stand up to Mann. One could imagine a member of the team simmering for years over the constant bullying of Mann. Finally, after having enough, he releases to emails. The more I read these emails, the more I think the story is about Mann’s misconduct. Jones is just an incidental character — a sort of Barney Fife character.

    Briffa is the person who (IMHO) is most abused by Mann.

    • snowmaneasy
      Posted Jan 5, 2010 at 2:10 PM | Permalink

      Exactly….makes one think…

  29. Anand Rajan KD
    Posted Jan 6, 2010 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

    Slightly OT, but did you see the latest Nature ‘volte-face’? It has a column with the title: “World view: Tomorrow never knows” by David Sarewitz, which has following gems in it:

    “If wise decisions depended on accurate predictions, then in most areas of human endeavour wise decisions would be impossible. Indeed, predictions may even be an impediment to wisdom. ”

    “A central obstacle is that predictions of long-term doom have created a politics that demands immense costs to be borne in the near term, in return for highly uncertain benefits that accrue only in a dimly seen future.”

    ” Strange as it may seem, the right lessons for the future of climate science come not from the success in predicting thunderstorms, floods and hurricanes, but from the failure to predict earthquakes.”

    Agreed it is not another editorial repudiating the earlier position, but to go on to publish a column that strikes at the heart of the AGW hysteria – at the precautionary ‘principle’ – read between the lines folks!

    The same issue has letters from von Starch and David Bell.

  30. jaymam
    Posted Jan 7, 2010 at 6:01 AM | Permalink

    I think it’s a bad idea for the talented people in this forum to try to work out or speculate who the whistleblower was. We are hugely in debt to the whistleblower. Let the Hockey Team be suspicious of each other, as it’s likely one of them.
    If he/she is eventually found out, he/she may have lots more emails!

  31. bender
    Posted Jan 9, 2010 at 1:10 PM | Permalink

    The important thing is to deny that this has any intellectual credibility whatsoever

    Antiscientific, and taken straight from the RealClimate manifesto “Warm Words”. Disgusting.

  32. Jimchip
    Posted Jan 9, 2010 at 3:24 PM | Permalink

    Richard S. Courtney wrote a ‘Dear All’ letter (and he seemed to try to make it ALL). I Liked his use of GIGO and I mention it just for the context of Back-to-2003:

    23 Nov 2003

    “Dear All:
    The excuses seem to be becoming desperate. Unjustified assertion that I fail to understand
    “Myles’ comments and/or work on trying the detect/attribute climate change” does not stop
    the attribution study being an error. The problem is that I do understand what is being
    done, and I am willing to say why it is GIGO.”


    “Ad hominem insults don’t change that. And nor does the use of peer review to block my publication of the facts of these matters. Richard”

    I know that you knew you were not alone on these issues but I wanted to mention this case to add weight to the idea of a common tactic against any dissent.

    • Jimchip
      Posted Jan 9, 2010 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

      Re: Jimchip (Jan 9 15:24),

      I replied to myself in order to add that the last part of Courtney’s email is a reply to Tim Osborn’s criticism.

      Steve: I don’t want to conflate the two incidents if you don’t mind.

      • Jimchip
        Posted Jan 9, 2010 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

        Re: Jimchip (Jan 9 15:35),

        I agree. I just want to add that you don’t have to ‘worry’ about me ‘minding’, but I know how polite you are.

  33. Posted Jan 17, 2010 at 9:12 PM | Permalink

    Yeah, If wise decisions depended on accurate predictions, then in most areas of human endeavour wise decisions would be impossible. Indeed, predictions may even be an impediment to wisdom.

3 Trackbacks

  1. By Its time to stop the BS! « TWAWKI on Jan 5, 2010 at 5:33 AM

    […] AGW for idiots, Climategate climateaudit continues, […]

  2. […] Climate Audit verwees gisteren naar een intrigerende passage in een e-mail in 2003 van Mann aan een hele groep Teamleden. Het was […]

  3. By Top Posts — on Jan 5, 2010 at 7:07 PM

    […] Back to 2003 Today I spent some time re-visiting 2003 in light of the Climategate Letters. I was intrigued by the very first […] […]

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