“Not Unusual”: AR5 (ZOD) and Climategate 2.0

In today’s post, I’ll connect an important conclusion in the draft AR5 report to an email exchange that is given extensive treatment in Climategate 2.0.

The Climategate 2.0 “editor” has greatly increased exposure of the campaign against Soon and Baliunas 2003, as a result of which the article was declared to be “discredited”. Efforts were even made by many prominent climate scientists (even Pachauri was copied on emails) to punish both the journal (Climate Research) and the editor (Chris de Freitas) for the temerity of publishing an article that was unacceptable to Mann, Jones and their posse.

Although the extended Team managed to persuade the wider community that Soon and Baliunas had conflated temperature and precipitation proxies, the actual text (when re-read) shows that that Soon and Baliunas had clearly distinguished between “extreme” precipitation events (an important issue in themselves) and temperature events. In their abstract, they stated:

Across the world, many records reveal that the 20th century is probably not the warmest nor a uniquely extreme climatic period of the last millennium.

“Extreme” in their usage is defined in terms of precipitation and can include either wet extremes or dry extremes (just as IPCC expresses concern about droughts and floods.) The distinction between “warmest” and “most extreme” is observed through the article, e.g.:

Fig. 3 shows that most of the proxy records do not suggest the 20th century to be the warmest or the most extreme in their local representations

Or again:

However, the proxies show that the 20th century is not unusually warm or extreme.

The proxies analysed by Soon and Baliunas (including precipitation proxies) include many proxies that were not included in the then canonical multiproxy reconstructions (or for that matter in the AR4 reconstructions), including (for example): Stine’s tree stumps in California and Patagonia, Haug’s Cariaco sediments, Hodell’s Yucatan lake proxies, African lake proxies from Verschuren, Stott’s Warm Pool ocean sediments, South American geomorphological evidence (Cioccale and others), as well as more familiar proxies from the Northern Hemisphere extratropics that made up the MBH and other networks. (Ironically some of the Soon and Baliunas proxies are used in Mann et al 2008.)

Other specialists e.g. Briffa, Cook clearly understood that, despite Mann’s claims to have achieved a hemispheric (and even global) temperature reconstruction, Mann’s network did not actually contain qualifying information from the NH tropics – nor did the other AR4 reconstructions. Indeed, the MBH network for example did not contain any NH tropical proxies prior to AD1600. And the few NH tropical proxies in later periods included precipitation proxies, even including instrumental precipitation from two gridcells in India. As long-time CA readers are aware, Mann’s locations for his precipitation data are transposed. “The rain in Maine falls mainly in the Seine.” The provenance of the actual precipitation data for the gridcell containing Mumbai is unknown; the closest match that I could find was Philadelphia. But that’s another story.) The tropical values in Mann et al were extrapolated from extratropical proxies (more precisely, bristlecones).

An email from Briffa to Cook clearly demonstrates their recognition of the absence of tropical proxies in the IPCC networks:

June 17, 2002 (5055). 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) Keith

Wigley clearly recognized that Soon and Baliunas had raised valid issues in connection with precipitation proxies, but, instead of acknowledging valid points, conspired with the others to deny them any credit whatever. Wigley’s conduct here seems to me particular despicable. As a senior scientist, he should have been setting a good example to the younger scientists. In connection with the drafting of Mann et al (EOS), he wrote to the others:

June 5, 2003 (email 0682). By chance SB03 may have got some of these precip [sic] things right, but we don’t want to give them any way to claim credit.

In fact, the proxies listed above – ones that were used in Soon and Baliunas but not in the canonical AR4 multiproxy studies – went on to become widely used in recent studies of “medieval hydroclimate” e.g. Peterson and Haug 2006; Newton et al 2006 and a series of studies cited in IPCC AR5 Zero Draft: Graham et al 2007; Seager et al 2007; Herweijer et al 2007; Seager et al 2008; Graham et al 2010.

Like Soon and Baliunas, each of these later studies provides a narrative discussion of the proxies (rather than the sort of statistical “assimilation” demanded by Mann et al 2003). This literature describes a coherent change from the Medieval period to the Little Ice Age. Peterson and Haug 2006 and Newton et al 2006, for example, attribute the coherence to latitudinal migrations of the ITCZ, hypothesizing that it (and other patterns) was further north in the Medieval period and further south in the Little Ice Age, explaining antiphase changes in precipitation whereby northerly tropical sites became drier in the Little Ice Age (Cariaco, Yucatan etc 15N or so) while more southerly tropical sites became wetter in the Little Ice Age (Lake Titicaca, Lake Malawi, Quelccaya etc. all at 10S or so). The preferred explanation in the IPCC AR5 “Zero” draft is a combination of “modes” – El Ninos and NAO and AMO – that I find less attractive than the less favored ITCZ migration, but the proxy history is not disputed among the parties: the Seager et al and Graham et al articles rely on substantially the same proxy evidence as the Peterson and Haug/Newton et al articles.

The IPCC AR5 Zero Draft summarize the present evidence on precipitation extremes over the past millennium as follows:

Overall, multiple studies suggest that current drought and flood regimes are not unusual within the context of last 1000 years [(e.g., Cook et al., 2010; Seager et al., 2008; Graham et al., 2010)].

I expect that this finding is not one that will be heavily promoted by WWF or Greenpeace. It would have been nice if they had also cited Soon and Baliunas, who, as Wigley had recognized, had drawn a similar conclusion about precipitation from similar evidence.

I’m not suggesting that Soon and Baliunas 2003 was above criticism. However, the reaction of the climate community was out of proportion to its faults. (In contrast, when methodological defects in Mann et al 1998 were identified, defenders argued that the defects didn’t “matter” because you could “get” a similar answer in a different way or that it was a brave “first” attempt. No such indulgence was extended to Soon and Baliunas.)

In future posts, I intend to examine the proxies which led the IPCC to the conclusion that current flood and drought regimes were “not unusual” in a 1000-year context and a re-examination of the 2003 attack on Soon and Baliunas.


  1. Blog Lurker
    Posted Dec 6, 2011 at 5:26 PM | Permalink

    As far as I remember, there was just a small list of studies in Soon & Baliunas, 2003 which did NOT show a MWP, and almost all of them involved co-authors of the Eos “rebuttal”. I think one of the only exceptions was the studies by Lonnie Thompson. But, I guess he couldn’t join in, considering Mrs. Thompson had invited the letter… 😉

    By the way, do you know if Soon et al., 2003 was officially “discredited” by the Clim. Res. controversy too, or was that just never “credited” because it was in E&E? 😉 Because, as far as I remember, it went into a good bit more detail & discussion.

    P.S. “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) Keith”


    P.P.S. Is there an AR5 draft in the public domain, or are you working on a personal copy?

    • Duster
      Posted Dec 9, 2011 at 3:44 PM | Permalink

      Concerning the “PS,” one really interesting and potentially important affect of the CG1 and CG2 email releases is that Mann and others are finding out precisely just what their “allies” think of them. This should have some rather interesting effects on the morale of the team as time passes.

      • Blog Lurker
        Posted Dec 12, 2011 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

        I know. It must be upsetting to realise that. But, out of all “the Team”, I have the least respect for him. I can understand people being convinced that they’re right, and that everyone else is wrong.

        I can even understand them believing conspiracy theories to justify that – sure they seem to be common traits on both sides of the debate. 😦

        I can also kind of understand why model developers like Gavin believe their models (although I have no respect for his appalling censorship of intelligent criticism on RC) – I worked in model development for a few years (not climate science). This bizarre notion that models are somehow more reliable than empirical observation is NOT just a climate science thing. 😦

        But, scientists who continuously hide behind obfuscation, then mislead & even lie to defend their work get no respect from me. We’re all allowed to make mistakes, or put forward ideas we might not be 100% sure of. Science thrives on exploratory investigations. But, if science is to progress, you need to be prepared to acknowledge that you can make mistakes or even that some doubt remains.

      • Tilo Reber
        Posted Dec 12, 2011 at 9:18 PM | Permalink

        That and other emails tell us that Mann was just as busy trying to snow fellow team members as he was trying to snow the public.

  2. Posted Dec 6, 2011 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

    this strikes me as an important seam to mine

  3. crosspatch
    Posted Dec 6, 2011 at 6:28 PM | Permalink

    Movement of the ITCZ in Africa apparently isn’t that uncommon over time:

    Seasonality change and the third millennium BP rainforest crisis in southern Cameroon (Central Africa)

    Ngomanda A., Neumann K., Schweizer A., Maley Jean. Seasonality change and the third millennium BP rainforest crisis in southern Cameroon (Central Africa). Quaternary Research, 2009, 71 (3), p. 307-318.

    ITCZ rather than ENSO signature for abrupt climate changes across the tropical Pacific?
    Guillaume Leduc, Laurence Vidal, Kazuyo Tachikawa, Edouard Bard
    Quaternary Research Volume 72, Issue 1, July 2009, Pages 123-131

    And there was at least one other article that mentioned movement of the ITCZ as causing a major climate event in the Arabian peninsula but I can’t recall right this minute which one. It is cited in Water resources perspectives: evaluation, management and policy By Warren W. Wood and there’s a diagram on page 377 where it is estimated that the ITCZ migrated about 500km North of its present Northernmost summer location causing a humidity optimum period in that area. The estimate for that is 5 kya which corresponds well with a paper by Amos Frumkin where Dead Sea rainfall reached a maximum about 3000 BCE and then “was followed by gradual drying during the 3rd millennium BCE culminating with extreme climatic crisis” (Frumkin 2009) and a drop of the dead sea in the middle bronze age of >45m which he says is can be compared with the last century’s drop (although anthropogenic due to water diversions in the Jordon River basin) of Dead Sea level.

    Basically, the ITCZ apparently moves so to expect to see changes due to its changing position would not be a surprise, or at least it shouldn’t be.

    And about that Mumbai rain:

    The code for Mumbai is BOM, maybe someone accidentally fat figured a query and entered BLM which is Monmouth Executive Airport not far to the Northeast of Philadelphia.

    Steve: there is considerable literature on ITCZ movement and paleoclimate.

    • David Smith
      Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 10:28 PM | Permalink

      OT: An intriguing (to me) possibility is that ITCZ migration might influence global temperatures. Suppose that the ITCZ stream in the Western Hemisphere migrates southward, such that more of the moisture flow impacts the Andes. The increased orographic lifting may precipitate more of the global moisture, reducing global water vapor. Also, more heat would move into the mid and upper troposphere where it radiates into space.

      It’d be a hooy if migration of the ITCZ (and the consequent chaange in orographic heat release into the troposphere) plays a role in the evolution of ice ages.

      • David Smith
        Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 10:37 PM | Permalink

        A related OT thought is that, if the Northern Hemisphere begins to cool due to orbital changes, the ITCZ would migrate southward and run into the Andes, increasing orographically-induced precipitation and thus amplifying global cooling.

        • David Smith
          Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 10:39 PM | Permalink

          And vice-versa.

  4. Matt Skaggs
    Posted Dec 6, 2011 at 6:50 PM | Permalink

    SB03 had to first be strawmanned into a direct refutation of “the cause” before it could be properly attacked. SB03 was actually about koyaanisqatsi, or to be more precise, the lack of any systemic evidence of climate koyaanisqatsi in the 20th century.

  5. Hu McCulloch
    Posted Dec 6, 2011 at 7:24 PM | Permalink

    Are you and Ross to be reviewers on AR5 as on AR4??

    • Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 4:12 PM | Permalink

      I haven’t been nominated.

      • MangoChutney
        Posted Dec 8, 2011 at 2:10 AM | Permalink

        that’s what happens when you ask difficult questions

    • Posted Dec 9, 2011 at 12:25 PM | Permalink

      Ross’s reply does not really answer Hu’s question.
      People can sign up as reviewers at the IPCC WG1 website.

  6. Pat Frank
    Posted Dec 6, 2011 at 8:02 PM | Permalink

    ”The provenance of the actual precipitation data for the gridcell containing Mumbai is unknown; the closest match that I could find was Philadelphia.

    One must laugh. The rain in Mumbai falls mainly in PA. Really, Steve, there is a Broadway musical in there, somewhere. 🙂

    • j ferguson
      Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 6:48 AM | Permalink

      Frank, my dear, I’d rather be in Philadelphia.

      • Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

        Great mashup of WC Fields and Gone With The Wind. May I add that I love Climate Audit because it produces a overview thread like this on the relationship between S&B03 and the crucial AR5 distinction between temperature and extreme events – immediately after delving into the details of one Arctic O18 proxy.

        Others were praising Steve recently for leaving the Climategate 2 stuff to others who were equally competent to expose it. But who can give as much context for those lengthy conversations between the climate elite as this guy? He should be left to follow his nose, wherever it takes him – though the Broadway musical should be considered mandatory when the time comes.

        (I’m also influenced today by what I was glad to say publicly about Climate Audit at the Index on Censorship debate on Open Data at Imperial College last night, which prompted some useful additional commentary from George Monbiot, who’d already mentioned McIntyre in a fairly positive tone. More on that on Bishop Hill later I expect.)

        • j ferguson
          Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

          It’s really terrible but the mashup is what I remembered, and of course you’re right, it is one.

        • Pat Frank
          Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 7:16 PM | Permalink

          j.f. and R.D., I nominate you two guys to write the Libretto.

        • j ferguson
          Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 7:49 PM | Permalink

          another teleconnection, no doubt.

  7. Benjamin
    Posted Dec 6, 2011 at 8:07 PM | Permalink

    Where can AR5 zero draft be found ?


  8. Steve Garcia
    Posted Dec 6, 2011 at 8:14 PM | Permalink

    What mechanisms are proposed for the wandering of the ITCZ to such extent? Not for my edification, but it seems putting some thought into these would be useful for selling the concept.

    Somehow ENSO has gotten away without such an explanation as to its genesis, so perhaps I am wrong on the need. There seems to have been almost no speculation even on what causes ENSO. The few ad hoc explanations out there don’t much satisfy me. I want to see an entire ENSO cycle like the carbon cycle, with all the cycle steps spelled out.

    But this is about the ITCZ, not ENSO. If anyone has some links about the ITCZ wandering, it would be appreciated. The paper crosspatch references is behind a paywall.

    • crosspatch
      Posted Dec 6, 2011 at 10:19 PM | Permalink

      It is my understanding the the temperatures associated with the equatorial Pacific are fundamentally trade wind anomalies. Get strong trades and you will get more upwelling of cooler water along the West coast of South America and more surface evaporation. During El Nino years (strongly positive MEI) the trade winds fail (or even reverse).

      Why the trades vary is anyone’s guess at this point.

    • Theo Goodwin
      Posted Dec 6, 2011 at 11:53 PM | Permalink

      It seems that the modelers treat ENSO as statistical noise. Bob Tisdale in articles at WUWT over the last month or so treats it as a natural process. I have argued at WUWT that it should be treated as a natural process and investigated as such. The lack of knowledge about ENSO, causes and effects, is another red flag that mainstream climate science does not do empirical research. About all that is known about it is that during La Nina there is upwelling of cold water along western South America.

      • AJ
        Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

        I was also wondering if ENSO was adequately explained. I know that some models handle ENSO better than others, so perhaps the answer lies therein.

        If I were to hazard a quess, I’d say that salt plays a role. That is, increased upwelling also increases salt upwelling from the deep, which makes the column of water heavier and more difficult to upwell. So I could see a natural feedback cycle developing.

        I don’t have much to base this guess on, but I did plot an image of ARGO temperature and salinity trends for the period 2005-2010, which is a period with a significant downward trend in NINO3.4. The salinity plot shows an upward trend in the tropics throughout most of the water column down to 2000M. Presumably this is increasing the mass of the column and making it harder to overturn. However, this same column of water is also becoming warmer, so one could argue that this is making column less dense and easier to overturn. Obviously, other factors are important as well. Here’s my plots:


    • crosspatch
      Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 3:13 AM | Permalink

      One paper that describes the CURRENT seasonal migration is available here by NASA. While this doesn’t describe what might have happened in the past, it might provide some idea of current movement and provide an inkling of why that movement might change if the driving conditions of that movement change:

      Click to access 2008_Xian_Miller.pdf

      Abrupt Seasonal Migration of the ITCZ into the Summer Hemisphere

    • crosspatch
      Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 3:32 AM | Permalink

      And here is another very short paper leading into the same direction: humidity maximum in Oman until about 5000 years ago and becoming dryer. Note the “hiatus” described in this paper seems to correspond to an extremely dry period around the Dead Sea, as well, as described by Frumkin in his paper.

      http://www.geo.umass.edu/climate/hadley/abstracts/fleitmann.pdf which might just be part of an abstract or something. This paper by Fleitmann is available:

      Holocene ITCZ and Indian monsoon dynamics recorded in stalagmites
      from Oman and Yemen

      Click to access Holocene_ITCZ_and_Indian_monsoon_dynamics_recorded_in_stalagmites_from_Oman_and_Yemen_%28Socotra%29.pdf

      A quick google on ITCZ migration gets a lot of hits. It would appear to me that the ITCZ moves and there appears to be a lot of evidence that it has been a lot farther North that it is these days. As that migration seems to be about maintaining energy balance, it would seem that at times in the past it was a lot warmer than it is today and the position of the ITCZ *might* be a proxy for how much heat energy is in the area.

      The hotter it gets, the more the ITCZ moves away from the equator .. maybe.

    • crosspatch
      Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 3:53 AM | Permalink

      Steve, I have a posting in the mod bucket with a link to a paper probably because it contained a couple of link. I don’t know. But anyway there’s a paper you can find on the web in PDF form.

      The crux of it is that Southward migration of the ITCZ has been driven by summer insolation since about 9kya.

      Monsoon records from key-areas in the ISM and ASM domain, such as from Southern Oman (Qunf Cave) or China (Dongge Cave; Wang et al., 2005), clearly demonstrate that the summer ITCZ retreated continuously southward and the ISM weakened gradually in response to decreasing orbital-induced solar insolation.
      4. During the late-Holocene, the observed anti-correlation between monsoon precipitation in Southern Oman and inter-monsoon (spring/autumn) precipitation on Socotra possibly reveals that the mean seasonal cycle of the ISM has also changed in response to insolation forcing. Our data demonstrate a shortening in the length of the monsoon season in response to decreasing solar insolation. Together with the progressive shortening of the ISM season and gradual southward retreat of the summer ITCZ, the total amount of monsoon precipitation decreased in those areas located at the northern fringe of the ISM domain, but increased in areas closer to the equator.


      “Holocene ITCZ and Indian monsoon dynamics recorded in stalagmites from Oman and Yemen (Socotra)” Fleitmann et al. 2006

    • crosspatch
      Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 4:03 AM | Permalink

      Here is a slide show with the hypothesis that the ITCZ moved South during the LIA in the tropical Atlantic / Gulf of Mexico

      Click to access Lund_Gulf_Salinity.pdf

    • Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 5:10 AM | Permalink

      The ITCZ wandere with the seasons, but the poleward shift amplitude is mainly solar cycle induced: thus during high solar activity, the ITCZ and the jet stream position is more polewards, at low activity more equatorward. That is observed during the 11/22 year solar cycle, but also plays a role in the overall activity between the long term minima and maxima (Maunder Minimum, last halve 20th century maximum). The main origin: solar UV maxima and minima are far more pronounced (10%) than the overall solar energy (1%) changes over a solar cycle. Solar UV is largely absorbed in the lower startosphere, leading to ozone formation changes and heating up of the lower stratosphere, mainly in the tropics. That causes more poleward air flow from the equator to the poles in the stratosphere and shifts in ITCZ and jet stream position. The latter causes shifts in clouds and rain patterns. Some literature:

      Click to access SolarCycleStrat_TropDynamicalCoupling.pdf

      http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2005/2005GL023787.shtml (Portugal)
      http://ks.water.usgs.gov/pubs/reports/paclim99.html (Mississippi delta)

      • Gerald Browning
        Posted Dec 8, 2011 at 12:29 AM | Permalink

        A 1 per cent consistently warmer of colder amount of heat over an eleven year time period can become significant because of the integrated impact on the forcing.


  9. Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 3:12 AM | Permalink

    May I remind everybody that paleo discussions are far from academic…as Gavin said last July, the reconstructions provide us the best estimates of sensitivity. Without the hockey stick there’s little to worry about and the IPCC is a waste of time.

    • Philip
      Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 4:47 AM | Permalink

      Do you, Maurizio or anyone else, have a link to Gavin’s comments from last July please?

      • Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 5:04 AM | Permalink

        Philip – it was on LiveScience.

        Climate sensitivity is not constrained by the last two decades of imperfect satellite data, but rather the paleoclimate record.

        • JamesG
          Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

          Don’t you think he was referring to his boss Hansen’s efforts in that comment?

        • NicL
          Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

          Wasn’t Gavin referring to studies based on the Last Glacial Maximum, not temperatures over the last one to two thousand years?

          Gabi Hegerl did publish an estimate of climate sensitivity in 2006 based on a new proxy temperature reconstruction (only the last 700 years due to excessive uncertainty in forcings before then), which was cited in AR4 (Ch 9 of WG1). But the width of the resulting climate sensitivity PDF was so great that it was little help in constraining sensitivity.

        • Posted Dec 8, 2011 at 9:20 AM | Permalink

          I don’t think one should cherry pick which paleo period will show one’s preferred climate sensitivity, and in any case if Mann couldn’t possibly reconstruct the last 2000 years, why would Hansen be able to with dates much farther back in time?

        • Posted Dec 8, 2011 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

          snip – none of these comments have anything to do with the thread. Editorial policy is to discourage arguing about the “big picture” on every thread so that they don’t become identical.

        • Scott Brim
          Posted Dec 8, 2011 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

          Re: Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) (Dec 7 05:04),

          This is the context of the Gavin Schmidt quote from LiveScience:

          Several researchers expressed frustration that the study was attracting media attention.

          “If you want to do a story then write one pointing to the ridiculousness of people jumping onto every random press release as if well-established science gets dismissed on a dime,” Schmidt said. “Climate sensitivity is not constrained by the last two decades of imperfect satellite data, but rather the paleoclimate record.”

          Spencer agreed that his work could not disprove the existence of manmade global warming. But he dismissed research on the ancient climate, calling it a “gray science.”

          Even though he doesn’t use those words in his remarks, Schmidt is clearly defending Mann et al; i.e. the hockey stick. Mann’s paleoclimate reconstruction remains the most visible public symbol of the opinion that recent warming is a very distinct anomaly in the historical climate record.

          The existence of a pronounced Medievel Warm Period automatically casts doubt upon the scientific validity of the climate models, absent any other line of scientific argumentation, and so the validity of the hockey stick must be defended at all costs.

          If the science of the hockey stick is wrong, then the symbolism it represents in the public mind is also wrong, and that is a situation The Team cannot allow to develop if they are to gain the public’s confidence in pursuing their long-term agenda.

    • Gavin
      Posted Dec 8, 2011 at 2:16 PM | Permalink

      My thoughts on what constrains climate sensitivity are not difficult to find, and you really don’t need to start building imaginary straw-castles in the air:


      Steve: Do you disagree with the topic of the post: that the ZOD conclusion about precipitation extremes is consistent with Soon and Baliunas? Or do you endorse Wigley’s conduct?

      • Posted Dec 8, 2011 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

        Handy, thanks.

      • Posted Dec 8, 2011 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

        Is it off-topic to discuss the veritable miracle of a science that comes to an estimate (3C), and then keeps going back to that original estimate, and again, and again, and again?

        • InterstingTimes
          Posted Dec 8, 2011 at 11:52 PM | Permalink


          I am just starting to form an opinion about this. There appear to be issues with most if not all of the methods with such high sensitivities and these are:

          1. Whenever climate models contribute to an estimation, they may suffer from very poor calibration, for example calibration with the MBH99 hockeystick.

          1891.txt: Rahmstorf:
          “Bauer et al. used a large aerosol effect and still needed a large deforestation warming
          to bring her results in line with the Mann et al. reconstruction (in fact, it was done
          specifically for that reason)”

          It would be interesting to see sensitivities from such climate models with a proper calibration. I guess, climate scientists have already done that but not yet reported ?

          2. The other issue with climate models is that some climate drivers are poorly understood and modelled or not modelled at all.

          3. The regression methods, model based and not model based – such as ice core data regression – suffer from this as well.

          Due to degassing, CO2 runs more synchronous with or after temperature than anything else. If some main climate drivers are poorly understood or missing, CO2 should then receive an inflated regression weighting.

          In that context, I find the results of Shaviv particularly interesting with their cosmic ray link:
          Shaviv (2005) carried out a similar analysis for 6 different time scales, ranging from the 11-yr solar cycle to the climate variations over geological time scales. He found a typical sensitivity of 0.54±0.12°K/(W m−2) or 2.1 °C (ranging between 1.6 °C and 2.5 °C at 99% confidence) if there is no cosmic-ray climate connection, or a typical sensitivity of 0.35±0.09°K/(W m−2) or 1.3 °C (between 0.99 °C and 2.5 °C at 99% confidence), if the cosmic-ray climate link is real. (Note Shaviv quotes a radiative forcing equivalent of 3.8Wm−2. [ΔTx2=3.8 Wm−2 λ].)

          4. A final point is now, more than ever, credibility.

          What happened to Spencer’s publication recently – termination of a journal editor and super-superfast peer review of a non-response – looks now very familiar.

          Gavin is also a co-author of an attack an Shaviv/Veizer’s GSA paper. How on earth could they get through with their critics ?
          It is well worth reading through the pdf’s under “The assault by Rahmstorf et al. (in EOS Forum)” in
          And yes, it is EOS again. And yes, Shaviv/Veizer were refused to publish their response to the response.

        • InterstingTimes
          Posted Dec 9, 2011 at 4:34 PM | Permalink

          Pielke Senior short and clear in another context:

          It is a circular argument to use models to segment radiative forcings when the models do not have all of the climate forcings and feedbacks correctly represented (NRC, 2005).


  10. Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 6:59 AM | Permalink

    “was out of proportion to its faults”

    Love the understatement.

    • BobM
      Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

      Indeed. And perhaps Gavin or Mann, or Wigley himself could put this into “proper context”:

      June 5, 2003 (email 0682). By chance SB03 may have got some of these precip [sic] things right, but we don’t want to give them any way to claim credit.

  11. Craig Loehle
    Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 11:55 AM | Permalink

    From Craig Idso’s CO2 Science site, a summary of lots of studies where temperature MWP vs Current differentials can be estimated:

  12. PJB
    Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

    If the ITCZ is the result of the insolation received by the planet’s surface as the equinoxes cycle, then it stands to reason that:

    A greater insolation means more heating of the (ocean) surface and the apparent ITCZ would end up farther north in our summer. Shifting weather patterns to accomodate this change would undoubtedly provide warmer summers, if not winters. The converse would also be true.

    The effect on ENSO would also be reasonable similar. Solar cycles and orbital variations…..where was [CO2] in that again???

  13. Craig Loehle
    Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 12:33 PM | Permalink

    Clearly, the Team viewed the MWP vs today as a topic they “owned” and Mann still does. No one else is allowed to draw conclusions on this issue, only to collect local data for their use. I have seen academics who have this view (and have even had one tell me a particular topic on which I had published one paper [not climate] was off limits)–the difference being that usually individuals are not in a position to enforce their territorial tendencies, but the Team had reach and influence.

    • Kan
      Posted Dec 11, 2011 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

      Briffa tried to get the team to make a statement acknowledging the possibility the MWP temperatures were equal or greater than the late 20th century temperatures in both the Mann EOS 2003 paper and the EOS response to the S&B commentary.

      He was obviously ignored.

  14. Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 1:32 PM | Permalink

    The rule is: the MWP happened everywhere, so it was a local phenomenon. AGW is instead happening nowhere (in particular), so it’s a global phenomenon. Easy.

    • Pat Frank
      Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 7:12 PM | Permalink

      A brilliant summary position.

    • ChE
      Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 7:48 PM | Permalink

      Was that Abbot and Costello, or the Three Stooges?

  15. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 6:46 PM | Permalink

    Jeff Id has published the link to the ZOD Paleo chapter of AR5.

    • Bernie
      Posted Dec 8, 2011 at 11:18 AM | Permalink

      Do you have thoughts on Tim Osborn as a Lead Author for Chapter 5? Are any of the other Lead Authors independently minded?

  16. DocMartyn
    Posted Dec 7, 2011 at 6:47 PM | Permalink

    Wouldn’t it be nice if AR% was open access, with open refereeing during the drafting process.

  17. Posted Dec 8, 2011 at 11:20 AM | Permalink

    Mr. McIntyre,

    As with all ‘models’, if the foundational assumptions do not hold in the real world, all the statistical wizadry in the world cannot salvage the theory. I think I have exposed a fatal assumption underpinning all the recontructions which negates any AGW claim to date.


    This assumption was so basic and unchallenged no questioned it. Until the divergence showed up and shook the IPCC team to its core. And for good reason

    Cheers, AJStrata

    Steve: proxies are only one line of argument. The models are the major line of argument and the proxies are tangential to that. I discourage people from thinking that the entire field can be disposed of in a line or two, as you believe, or proven in a line or two. Editorial policies at this blog discourage posters trying to do so.

    • Posted Dec 8, 2011 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

      The field of proxies or constructions being disposed of? Not my intention or message. My message is the model underlining the analysis cannot violate established scientific fact.

      For example, if I do orbit prediction for a satellite in Earth orbit but assume the moon’s mass instead of the Earth’s, then the perfection of the statistical process cannot salvage the result.

      The “model” is the concept local environment and the proxy species are the same now as in the Medieval time.

      That is just false. It means the error bars (or precision) surrounding the proxies is much greater. So great we cannot compare past temp to present temp. Not even locally.

      It’s like assuming your geology is limestone when in fact it is granite. If you performed sonic analysis on the ground with the wrong assumption, all your conclusions are wrong.

      And as I noted, the statement paleoclimate results rests on this assumption being true when it is not true is them supporting the conclusion this assumption is fatal to their claims if it cannot hold.

      And this is much more than 2 lines!!!

      Cheers, AJStrata

  18. Hu McCulloch
    Posted Dec 8, 2011 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

    Other specialists e.g. Briffa, Cook clearly understood that, despite Mann’s claims to have achieved a hemispheric (and even global) temperature reconstruction, Mann’s network did not actually contain qualifying information from the NH tropics – nor did the other AR4 reconstructions. Indeed, the MBH network for example did not contain any NH tropical proxies prior to AD1600.

    4 of the 14 pre-1400 MBH99 series are from Quelccaya in the SH. This struck me as odd in a study of the NH in my comment on Li, Nychka and Ammann (2007) at https://climateaudit.org/2008/04/07/more-on-li-nychka-and-ammann/ . These are measures of d18O and accumulation from 2 nearby cores. I believe MBH themselves reasonably averaged the 2 core values for each measure before calibration, so that their count is 2 of 12 series from Quelccaya.

    Perhaps MBH viewed these Quelccaya series as being representative of the entire tropics, including its NH portion.

    Just putting in a much-needed good word for MBH! 🙂

    PS: At https://climateaudit.org/2008/04/07/more-on-li-nychka-and-ammann/#comment-142629 , I try rerunning some regressions using the MBH data set on Li’s website. But I seem to recall seeing somewhere that her data set was deliberately “noised up” to make it a toy data set that could not be used to definitively replicate or contradict MBH. Does anyone recall this?

    • Jean S
      Posted Dec 8, 2011 at 2:12 PM | Permalink

      Re: Hu McCulloch (Dec 8 12:19),

      yes, I do recall that. I haven’t checked what’s on Li’s web page nowadays, but this is how it used to be.

      • Hu McCulloch
        Posted Dec 8, 2011 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

        Thanks, Jean. In Steve’s update to the post you link, https://climateaudit.org/2007/08/29/did-mann-punk-bo-li-et-al/ , he quotes Li as follows:

        The data sets that I posted on my website are not the real Northern Hemisphere temperature and the MBH99 proxies. They are generated by adding white noise with unit variance to the standardized real data. The pseudo data sets on my website only serve as a toy example to try the R code that I used in my paper. However, the results in Li et al. (Tellus, in press) are based on the real data instead of the pseudo data. I am sorry that I did not explain very clearly what the data set on my webpage is and also sorry for the confusion that I brought to you as a consequence. I have modified my webpage to make the point more explicitly.

        Hence my regressions using her “pseudo data” don’t count for much of anything. It’s strange she wouldn’t post the real data. Adding unit variance white noise to a series that has already been standardized to unit variance may explain why Steve was finding correlations of precisely sqrt(2) with archived versions.

        Anyway, my point here was that MBH99 AD1000 did use SH tropical proxy data as a “proxy-proxy” for the NH tropics, FWIW.

    • Blog Lurker
      Posted Dec 9, 2011 at 5:38 AM | Permalink

      And N. Patagonia and Tasmania as proxy-proxies for NH extra-tropical perhaps?
      It’s all beginning to make sense now! 😉

  19. Posted Dec 8, 2011 at 12:55 PM | Permalink

    File 1296.txt points to an interesting chicken-and-egg situation regarding paleo stuff. From AR4 WG1 Ch6, page 436:

    The small variations in pre-industrial CO2 and CH4 concentrations over the past millennium are consistent with millennial-length proxy Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstructions; climate variations larger than indicated by the reconstructions would likely yield larger concentration changes. The small pre-industrial greenhouse gas variations also provide indirect evidence for a limited range of decadal- to centennial-scale variations in global temperature

    Never mind that CO2 is thereby considered an output to and not an input to climate…what is current knowledge on CO2 variations during the MWP and LIA? It would be interesting if they were delayed as expected from the ice core data.

    Steve: this has nothing to do with the thread.

  20. Posted Dec 8, 2011 at 7:03 PM | Permalink

    Hansen is out again on paleo stuff, and guess what, it’s worse than we thought!


  21. Posted Dec 9, 2011 at 1:25 AM | Permalink

    Re: Kevin O’Neill (Dec 8 18:17), If “Intentional Deceit is beyond the pale” does that mean that you do not support Wigley? Or would that be reading too much into your comments?

  22. Craig Loehle
    Posted Dec 9, 2011 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

    I’m curious where you see the intentional deceit? Is it documented somewhere? The reply by a polar bear scientist was pretty hand-wavy.

  23. vukcevic
    Posted Dec 10, 2011 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

    OT but might be of interest:
    Recent article by statistician Grant Foster Tamino
    Global temperature evolution 1979–2010

    Click to access 1748-9326_6_4_044022.pdf

    it’s absolute nonsense!

  24. Jeff Norman
    Posted Dec 10, 2011 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

    It’s not unusual to play “tricks” on everyone.
    It’s not unusual to make “cause” with everyone.
    But when we see you slanging around on everyone,
    It’s not unusual to ask you why,
    Through F-O-I.

    It’s not unusual to retrench at any time.
    But when we see the way that you do it’s such a crime.
    If you should ever want to be trusted by anyone,
    It’s not unusual…

    The truth will out some day, no matter what you say.
    You find it leaks out all the time.

    The data never do what you want it to.
    Why do these skeptics just keep try’n?

    It’s not unusual, to be mad with anyone
    It is unusual, to be a cad with anyone
    So if we ever see your true stripes at anytime
    It’s not unusual to find the truth through climategate

  25. EdeF
    Posted Dec 10, 2011 at 8:41 PM | Permalink

    Here is a link to Graham et al, 2010.

    Click to access fulltext.pdf

  26. Stacey
    Posted Dec 11, 2011 at 7:44 AM | Permalink

    Grant Foster seems to have played a large role in traducing the work of Soon and Balunis. Buy hey, it was all in a good cause?

  27. EdeF
    Posted Dec 11, 2011 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

    The significance of Soon and Baliunas 2003 is they were one of the first multiproxy
    climate reconstructions that challenged the Teams Hockey-Stick reconstruction. SB03
    brought back to life the MWP (which is now being called the Medieval Climate Anomaly,
    MCA) and the LIA, and showed that proxy values in the 20th century are not that much
    higher than they were in the MWP. The Team took this as a direct shot across their bow
    and went into high gear to discredit it, even though, as we have seen in the CG
    emails, their were those in the team who had some good things to say about SB03.

    Since then, a number of new proxy reconstructions have reinforced the overall trends
    in SB03. The Team finally had to give in and admit to at least some small increase
    in temps in the MCA and cooling in the LIA. What appears to be happening over the
    last 2000 yrs are changes to the circulation patterns in the oceans that appear to
    be cyclical in nature. What you have is that the GCM modelers are working on trying
    to match the circulation patterns, and they must now acknowledge the MWP and LIA
    in their models.

  28. EdeF
    Posted Dec 11, 2011 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

    Link to Herweijer et al, 2007.

    Click to access Herweijer_etal_2007.pdf

    • EdeF
      Posted Dec 12, 2011 at 11:09 PM | Permalink

      Herweijer et al found evidence of what they call megadroughts in N. America during the
      MWP, and evidence that this also occured outside of N. America. These megadroughts
      appear to be much more severe and longer lasting than those experienced in the 1930s
      and 1950s. Again, they have studied the changes in circulation patterns of the
      oceans. Here we have a case of extreme climate patterns (extreme dryness) occuring
      in an earlier period that trumps 20th century climate.

  29. Joe Ryan
    Posted Dec 12, 2011 at 4:34 PM | Permalink

    The behavior by Wigley seems to cast the old “intellectual property” argument by “The Team” as a bit of projection, doesn’t it? They want to make sure that they don’t give out the free access to data like everyone else does because they assume that everyone will steal it like they did with SB03.

    From the tone of the private emails in Climategate 2.0 is almost seems like they were trying to steal a win when all of their own work was so terribly shoddy.

  30. Tilo Reber
    Posted Dec 12, 2011 at 10:01 PM | Permalink

    If you take Briffa’s comment above and the one that he had in climategate 1 below, you get a picture of someone who may be chaffing at the direction that Mann and Jones were moving the team.

    “I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data’ but in reality the situation is not quite so simple. We don’t have a lot of proxies that come right up to date and those that do (at least a significant number of tree proxies ) some unexpected changes in response that do not match the recent warming. I do not think it wise that this issue be ignored in the chapter. For the record, I do believe that the proxy data do show unusually warm conditions in recent decades. I am not sure that this unusual warming is so clear in the summer responsive data. I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago. I do not believe that global mean annual temperatures have simply cooled progressively over thousands of years as Mike appears to and I contend that that there is strong evidence for major changes in climate over the Holocene (not Milankovich) that require explanation and that could represent part of the current or future background variability of our climate. ”

    In addition, wasn’t Briffa the first to publish on the divergence? I have to think that Mann would never have published on it.

    Also, during the Yamal debate that happened here, there was a letter from Briffa about the debate. In it he admitted that proxie series were picked for inclusion in reconstructions according to how well they agreed with the instrument record.

    I still have a notion that Briffa may be involved in the climategate releases.

    • ianl8888
      Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 1:43 AM | Permalink

      > … Briffa may be involved in the climategate releases<

      Perhaps. I briefly pondered this 2 years ago and for much the same reason you do – Briffa doesn't much seem to like Mann

      BUT, I keep bumping up against the deep IT knowledge of FOIA. It is simple enough to upload material onto the internet, sure, but very, very difficult to do so using copied information without being fairly easily traced (especially by forensic IT squads hired by police for that exact purpose). I know I haven't got a hope of doing it (despite all the Hollywood film bluster), and I expect it would take me a long time to learn how – and I would make many mistakes on the way

      In my experience, most academic scientists are just as clueless here. If Briffa is involved, IMO he has really expert IT help … and I find believing in conspiracy (even small ones) is just a bridge too far

      My own view is that the UAE IT admin quietly started to collect email data from the server to assess UAE legal exposure to potential FOI finangling. From there, quiet outrage grew. No hard evidence, just guesswork here

    • Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

      Yet despite his private misgivings, the public Briffa was a co-author on the Mann et al Eos03 note, with its deceptively snipped depiction of his MXD series.

    • Blog Lurker
      Posted Dec 17, 2011 at 7:37 AM | Permalink

      Tilo, I seriously doubt Briffa was involved. At the time, the Yamal debate was the hot topic & it still has never been satisfactorily resolved.

      If he was truly concerned about the lack of transparency from “the Team”, then he could have easily provided more information on the Yamal chronology (As far as I remember Steve is still trying through FOI to get this – is that right?) and encouraged a discussion as to whether it is a useful proxy or not. It would have been a lot easier & simpler than leaking the e-mails.

      He could even agree to collaborate with Steve on this. I think Steve was just looking for an open and detailed discussion, rather than a series of partisan essays which then get misinterpreted by either “side” (I’m sure he can correct me if I’m wrong), which is what we got. 😦

      I agree that Briffa does seem to have been rightfully concerned about the unscientific approach of some of the others, at times. But, this is common in academia – many academics believe they know what the “right” answer is, and those that disagree are clearly incompetent. 😉 But, usually, they just work through the system & try to make sure their views are recognised in their own little corner.

      If Briffa wanted to get the science back on track, an easier & less divisive step would have been to just open the discussion on Yamal!
      The sceptics & believers who are interested in the science (I do think they exist on both “sides”) could have tried to resolve the issue, possibly leading to mutual respect between the two groups. It could have acted as a “bridge” over the current chasm that divides the sceptics and the believers.
      In some senses, Climategate has led to the chasm widening. It’s just that it’s made a lot of people realise the “sceptic” side of the divide is not that bad a place. 😉

      P.S. Jacoby & D’Arrigo, 1995 seem to have been the first to comment on the divergence – for Alaska. It’s behind a paywall, but some of it is repeated here:

      Click to access 8350.full.pdf

      As far as I know, Briffa didn’t comment on it until Briffa et al., 1998 (two papers). Although, there they suggested it was a more widespread phenomenon (high northerly latitudes).

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