AR5 (ZOD) and Mike’s “PNAS Trick”

Another episode in the continuing series – Tiljander and Upside Down Mann.

As CA readers are aware, the “big news” of Mann et al 2008 was its claim to have got a Hockey Stick without Graybill’s bristlecone chronologies (camouflaged as a “no-dendro” reconstruction). CA readers are aware that this claim depended on their use of contaminated modern portion of the Tiljander sediments and that the original claims for a “validated” no-dendro reconstruction prior to 1500 fell apart, even though no retraction or corrigendum to the original Mann et al (PNAS 2008) has been issued.

As we learned (from an inline comment by Gavin Schmidt in July 2010), Mann et al have conceded that these claims fell apart, but did so using a “trick” (TM- climate science.) Instead of acknowledging the false assertions at the journal in which the assertions were made (PNAS), they acknowledged the failure of the no-Tiljander no-bristlecone reconstructions deep in the Supplementary Information of a different paper (Mann et al, Science 2009) – a trick for which the term “Mike’s PNAS trick” is surely appropriate (though the term “Mike’s Science trick” also merits consideration.)

The failure to retract Mann et al 2008 from PNAS has, in turn, either tricked IPCC Chapter 5 authors (or been ignored by them.) CRU’s Tim Osborn, one of the most visible Climategate correspondents, is one of the Lead Authors of Chapter 5. (Had the climate “community” given a damn about public opinion, they would have insisted that IPCC locate a Lead Author for this section who was not quite so intimately involved in Climategate. By failing to do so, they have more or less given the finger to the rest of society.)

Here’s how CRU’s Tim Osborn and his Chapter 5 coauthors assess upside-down Mann:

Mann et al. (2008) used an expanded database of proxy records and two statistical methods and found enhanced amplitude of millennial NH temperature variations, a warmer MCA than in some previous work though perhaps still cooler than the modern warm period, and that similar findings were obtained without using tree-ring data.

Thousands of blog readers are aware that the “similar findings…without tree-ring data” were obtained only by including upside-down contaminated data. It’s disquieting that IPCC coauthors are unaware of this. The failure of Mann and his coauthors to retract or correct the PNAS 2008 article lingers on.


  1. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

    And AR5 is nowhere near done – should be enough material for an award winning fiction novel prize.

    • Bruce
      Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 4:46 PM | Permalink

      Naahh. All emails self-delete …

  2. William Larson
    Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    Question: Is this the FINAL version of AR5, or is there still time for this travesty (and others) to be corrected? And if it be the final version, is there a mechanism in place for the printing/posting of corrigenda?

  3. Daniel
    Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 4:46 PM | Permalink

    And this is draft 0 of the report, ie before any spinning by IPCC’s Bureau ?

    By the way, where are all these chapters to be found ?


  4. Dave N
    Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 4:54 PM | Permalink

    I’ll bite.. who says the co-authors are unaware of it?

    • JEM
      Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 5:21 PM | Permalink

      Please check the Team dictionary for the definition of ‘unaware’.

      • Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 4:07 AM | Permalink

        Maybe a new offense needs to go on statute. “Culpable Incompetence”

        • P. Solar
          Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

          Wilful incompetence mroe like.

  5. Craig Loehle
    Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

    There you go again, insisting that details matter. tsk tsk.

    • Skiphil
      Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 9:23 PM | Permalink

      Anyone up for a bit of science housecleaning? In light of the rapid, well credited PNAS retraction on a different kind of paper, subject of a recent post at the RetractionWatch blog, perhaps this is a good time for any academic scientists to press for a proper professional society investigation into the Mann et al. (2008) paper. Compare the involvement of a Nobel Prize winner which may have helped to move the recent case along rapidly with the endless stonewalling, obfuscation, and worse by the Mann-RC team:

      still no Mann et al. (2008) PNAS retraction

  6. Shub
    Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 5:13 PM | Permalink

    I would say: “this is the result of folks like Amac not publishing their critiques of the upside down trick”.

  7. Philh
    Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 5:21 PM | Permalink

    Are not these authors members of some sort of formal scientific society to which they are, or ought to be, answerable for their conduct? If so, I suggest that formal complaints be made regarding their nearly criminal (considering the magnitude of the “remedies” they are championing) conduct in composing these chapters. No point in messing around with the IPCC or their in-the-pocket journals.

    • Shub
      Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 5:40 PM | Permalink

      report the authors to the COPE

  8. Bob
    Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 5:39 PM | Permalink

    Steve, Philh is right. Someone intimately involved with the analyses should ask AAAS and PNAS to initiate a formal investigation.

  9. diogenes
    Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 5:41 PM | Permalink

    shub – as Odonnell(10) shows, mere publication is not enough….hanging needs to happen

  10. pax
    Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 6:10 PM | Permalink

    Since everybody with just a casual interest in this knows about the Tiljander farce surely the professionals writing AR5 must know. Them choosing to ignore this nevertheless, one is forced to draw the only possible conclusion.

    • Blog reader
      Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

      Is there a central clearinghouse for data and reports? I can see inadvertently using bad data if it can only be found scattered around on the Internet.

      This would also stop people from burying their mistakes by publishing corrections that no one can find.
      There probably is a model of this in other areas of science / stastistics / public policy / engineering.

  11. KnR
    Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

    A classic example of ‘a lie so good its better than the truth’

  12. kim
    Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

    Ooh, a link to Keith’s where Gavin gave up the ghost of the Hockey Stick earlier than 1500AD. I could hardly believe my eyes, but Steve cleared the lenses.

  13. RayG
    Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 7:34 PM | Permalink

    This and the last several threads certainly justify Phil’s decision not to give you the data because all that you want to do is find something wrong with it. The good news is that the bits and pieces that have found their way into the public domain and you and others have found something wrong with it. You might even call it a travesty.

    Please keep digging!

    • barn E. rubble
      Posted Dec 18, 2011 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

      RE: “This and the last several threads certainly justify Phil’s decision not to give you the data because all that you want to do is find something wrong with it.”

      Perhaps Phil had other reasons, RE:#0721, Aug 2009

      date: Fri, 7 Aug 2009 17:29:37 +0100
      from: Olive Heffernan
      subject: Re: Piece for CRU web site
      to: Phil Jones

      Hi Phil,

      Thanks so much for that. I have one other question: McIntyre claims
      that you sent data to Peter Webstre at Georgia Tech, but that you
      would not supply him with the same data. Is that true, and if so, what
      was the reasoning?


      On 07/08/2009, Phil Jones wrote:
      > Here it is. There will be a link to the agreements – which are attached.
      > Files won’t go up with these names. You should recognize one of these
      > – the data agreement between the Met Office and NERC.
      > Met Services appear want to be able to sell data commercially.
      > As I said some has more value than other types of data. Most
      > put in clauses separating academic from commercial use.
      > Cheers
      > Phil
      > Prof. Phil Jones
      > Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0)REDACTED
      > School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0)REDACTED
      > University of East Anglia

  14. RayG
    Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

    Oops. Should read “The good news is that bits and pieces have found their way into the public domain and that you and others have found something wrong with it”

  15. sleeper
    Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 8:26 PM | Permalink

    I’m in favor of them publishing as is in the AR5 then very publicly embarrassing and discrediting them a la the Himalayan glacier fiasco of AR4. Give ’em enough rope as it were.

  16. Pat Frank
    Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

    Correcting Romans 6:23, we now have documented evidence that the wages of sin are actually election to the United States Academy of Sciences and an award of the Hans Oeschger Medal from the European Geosciences Union.

    • Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 7:01 AM | Permalink

      Is that in the Draft of Romans or the Summary for Policy Makers?

      • andyd
        Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 7:16 AM | Permalink

        Wow, I think that’s the funniest thing i’ve ever read on the Internet.

        • Pat Frank
          Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 7:42 PM | Permalink

          Thanks, but any “Life of Brian” skit is funnier, andyd, at the very least. 🙂

      • Pat Frank
        Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 7:41 PM | Permalink

        That would be the King James vision of the SPM, Richard, which is only right, after all, given that the CRU is British.

  17. jae
    Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 9:58 PM | Permalink

    “It’s disquieting that IPCC coauthors are unaware of this.”

    ?? Do you actually think they are unaware of this, when even such obscure folks as I are aware??


  18. jae
    Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 10:04 PM | Permalink

    OK, on second thought, I guess I missed the nuance.

    I hope that the only place in science where such an egregious, dishonest ultimately-destructive ruse could take place is “climate science” (probably not, though).

  19. crosspatch
    Posted Dec 13, 2011 at 11:02 PM | Permalink

    “The failure of Mann and his coauthors to retract or correct the PNAS 2008 article lingers on.”

    Is there some way to have it involuntarily expunged by PNAS now that it has been exposed for what it is or do you think maybe they would feel that would be too great a humiliation?

    It appears that the application of standards depends on the notoriety of the author and Mann is quite notorious. Does this mean that someone hitherto in high regard can publish whatever they wish? In other words, does that mean that the content of PNAS is to be viewed with import in inverse proportion to the notoriety of the author?

    How can the National Academy of Science tolerate this? Mann not only discredits himself here, he discredits the NAS and by association anyone else who’s ever been published in PNAS.

    • michael hart
      Posted Dec 16, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

      I think the answer to your second question, is “Yes”. Or at least it used to be the case. Articles accepted and published basically because an established member said it was OK.
      However, I confess I’m not up to date on this. I’ve heard that PNAS has tightened things up a bit in recent years.

  20. Matt Skaggs
    Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 12:10 AM | Permalink

    If you search on “tijlander sediments” you soon reach Keith Kloor’s reluctant June 2010 blog hosting of the key thread. Many climate blog luminaries make cameos. Gavin imprudently tips the team hand, cryptically revealing the AR5 trick to come. He writes:

    “Given the methodology used in that particular paper (Mann et al, 2008) (weighting based on a local calibration to temperature in the modern period), the ’tiljander’ proxies can only be used one way. If there is a contamination in the modern period by non-climatic influences (which the originating authors suggested there might be), then they just can’t be used. This issue was clearly acknowledged in the M08 paper and both of these possibilities (with and without ’tiljander’) were shown (it made almost no difference to the final reconstruction).

    Supp. Fig. S8a

    (Note that figure also shows the difference dropping all the tree-ring data makes, and what happens when the neither the tree ring data nor the Tiljander proxies are not used).

    Thus we have the authors of a synthesis paper taking into account caveats mentioned by the data originators, testing the robustness of their reconstruction to the inclusion or not of these proxies and even going further to explore how different classes of proxies interact. Not only that, but all of the code and data are online and so any of the people who are still not satisfied can simply run the code themselves to see what difference any of their points make. This is not to state that M08 is the last word on anything, but this particular criticism just does not stand up to scrutiny.”

    This would be a strong response if “Supp. Fig. S8a” was from M08, but it was in the later paper as Steve attests. Did you follow the pea under the thimble? It would seem that not only did Steve follow the pea acroos multiple blogs and papers, he refused to avert his gaze until the pea was redeemed for profit in AR5. Well played, sir.

    • Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 1:13 AM | Permalink

      Re: Matt Skaggs (Dec 14 00:10),

      The link that Gavin supplied to Supplemental Fig. S8a here (in the June 2010 C-a-s thread you reference) goes to a PDF at Prof. Mann’s Penn State website. That figure is not from Mann08/PNAS, but neither is it from a later paper (e.g. Mann09/Science). Instead, it is the second iteration of a modified, expanded version of the original SI Fig. S8a that was incorporated into the SI of Mann08/PNAS. The web-hosted version is not marked as peer-reviewed, nor is it part of the published scientific literature (to any greater extent than any other website, that is).

      The key information that this figure should disclose concerns the effect of inclusion or exclusion of the Tiljander data series on the Mann08 non-dendro reconstruction. After all, the important claim of Mann08 was that their non-dendro-proxy reconstructions were in accord with their dendro-based proxy reconstructions.

      Mann08 elides this issue. The twice-revised “gray” SI Fig. 8a elides this issue. Gavin (in that C-a-s thread) elides this issue. Mann09 elides this issue.

      This question can be definitively answered by re-drawing Mann09/Science SI Fig. 8, as shown in the CA post Dirty Laundry II.

      Without the inclusion of uncalibratable, upside-down Tiljander, the non-dendro curve bears no resemblance to the dendro curve.

      The AR5 draft’s assertion “that similar findings [based on an expanded database of mostly tree-ring series] were obtained without using tree-ring data” is false. Entirely false.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 1:16 AM | Permalink

      Matt, your summary misses the key events. In the (interesting) June 2010 exchange, Gavin Schmidt did NOT mention the revelations buried deep in the Mann et al 2009 Supplementary Information – which were very different. The first public mention of the fact that Mann had admitted that the 2008 results fell apart without contaminated data was by Schmidt in late JULY 2010 in a thread at RC. Nic Nierenberg and others caught Gavin’s sly mention of Mann’s walking back on M08 results. There were contemporary posts at CA.

      The question regarding the Gavin’s contributions in June are a little different: did he know (at the time) that the Mann et al 2009 (then about 8 months old) had conceded that the pre-1500 results no longer held up without the contaminated sediments? If Schmidt knew, then why didn’t he mention it in the exchange at Keith Kloor’s? Alternatively, if Schmidt didn’t know as of June 2010 i.e. if even Gavin had been fooled by Mike’s PNAS trick, it is further evidence of the need for a retraction of Mann et al 2008 at PNAS.

      • kim
        Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 3:31 AM | Permalink

        Now I’m going to have to go ransack Keith’s cellar, but it was my impression at the time at C-o-S, Steve, that Gavin conceded the pre 1500 hockey stick, and it was from knowledge of Mann’s Supp. It was on the Gavin Schmidt thread, running approx. contemporaneously with Judith Curry’s.

      • Skiphil
        Posted Mar 28, 2013 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

        Compare with Mann and friends, here is how corrections in science ought to proceed, rapidly and with due credit:

        rapid PNAS retraction

        The authors wish to note the following: “The contrast of our final projection map was inverted, so that we interpreted the background density rather than the actual protein density in terms of structural features of the potassium channel-Fv complex. In addition, we indexed the 2D crystals with unit cell parameters of a = b = 175 Å, while the correct indexing would be a = b = 124 Å. Given these analysis errors, the resulting density map and our interpretation of the structural features are not correct. Accordingly, we would like to retract this paper. We acknowledge Yoshinori Fujiyoshi, Rod MacKinnon, Kazutoshi Tani, and Tom Walz for identifying the errors and pointing them out to us.”

    • Neil Fisher
      Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 8:46 PM | Permalink

      Is this quote accurate?

      (Note that figure also shows the difference dropping all the tree-ring data makes, and what happens when the neither the tree ring data nor the Tiljander proxies are not used).

      If so, then that is a pea under the thimble moment all by itself – the doubkle negative makes it hard to figure out what he’s trying to show!

      • Sean Inglis
        Posted Dec 15, 2011 at 4:43 AM | Permalink

        It’s a comment from Gavin, #5 in this thread:

      • Posted Dec 15, 2011 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

        Neil Fisher (Dec 14, 2011 at 8:46 PM) —

        For most of us, comparisons of reconstructions built from tree-ring proxies with those built from non-dendro proxies can be quite difficult. This is partly because the patterns are non-intuitive, and partly because the figures in top-tier papers such as Mann08 and Mann09 are confusing, even to the point of being misleading.

        I walked through the Tiljander problem in a series of cartoon figures in this post at my blog.

        Here is the key observation. The addition of the uncalibratable, upside-down Tiljander data series to a multiproxy reconstruction often has effects as follows:

        * (A) If the No-Tiljander multiproxy recon already had the “hockey stick” shape, the With-Tiljander version will be largely unchanged.

        * (B) If the No-Tiljander multiproxy recon did not have a “hockey stick” shape, the With-Tiljander version will be changed so that it has a “hockey stick” shape.

        * (C) If the No-Tiljander multiproxy recon did not have a “hockey stick” shape and fails certain “validation” tests, the With-Tiljander version with a “hockey stick” shape will “pass” those tests.

        Points (B) and (C) are best illustrated by a figure that clearly shows the relevant pair of reconstructions. Such figures are absent from Mann08 and Mann09.

  21. Mac
    Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 7:44 AM | Permalink

    From: Darrell Kaufman
    To: Bo Vinther
    Subject: Re: Arctic2k update?
    Date: Sun, 6 Sep 2009 06:31:35 -0700
    Cc: Nick McKay , Caspar Ammann , David Schneider , Jonathan Overpeck , “Bette L. Otto-Bliesner” , “Raymond Bradley” , Miller Giff , “Keith Briffa” , “???”

    Bo and others:

    Regarding the annual data: You’re correct that we only use 10-year means throughout our calculations (Fig 2 shows annual values, but are not used in any calculation/conclusion). In his e-mail to me, McIntyre requested the annual data that we say are not publicly available as a footnote to Table S1.

    Unless anyone has another suggestion, I will reply and send him the 10-year data (which is already posted at NOAA-Paleoclimate) and explain that they were the basis for all of the calculations. He might want the annual data that the mean values were based on. I suppose we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.


    On Sep 6, 2009, at 5:42 AM, Bo Vinther wrote:

    Hi Darrell
    Sorry to hear that you are getting trouble for doing such a nice paper….I by the way agree completely with Peck that we should not be rushed and that a correction probably should go into Science.
    Anyway, let me answer the two questions you had for me:
    2) Correcting ice core data for upstream effects should not be controversial (while not correcting in areas of flow should be highly controversial indeed!).
    Upstream correction of delta-18O was in fact already done 30 years ago for the Milcent ice core – a quick quote from Hammer et al. 1978, page 14: “The delta values are corrected for decreasing deltas up-slope at the site of formation of
    the individual layers” Hammer, C. U., H. B. Clausen, W. Dansgaard, N. Gundestrup, S. J. Johnsen and N. Reeh, Dating of Greenland ice cores by flow models, isotopes, volcanic debris, and continental dust, J. Glaciol., 20, 326, 1978.
    So upstream correction of delta data from ice cores 8using ice flow models9 has in fact been performed since the year I was born…..
    5) I will suggest that we release the 1860-2000 section of the annually resolved ice core data, as these are the data that go into figure 2 in the paper. Such a limited release I can permit immediately. Releasing everything is something different and I can’t see the need – as far as I rememver we are not presenting/using the 1-1859 part of the series in annual resolution anywhere in
    the paper – or am I wrong?
    Darrell Kaufman wrote:


    I received my first hate mail this AM, which helped me to realize that I shouldn’t be wasting time reading the blogs.

    Regarding the “upside down man”, as Nick’s plot shows, when flipped, the Korttajarvi series has little impact on the overall reconstructions. Also, the series was not included in the calibration. Nonetheless, it’s unfortunate that I flipped the Korttajarvi data. We used the density data as the temperature proxy, as recommended to me by Antii Ojala (co-author of the original work). It’s weakly inversely related to organic matter content. I should have used the inverse of density as the temperature proxy. I probably got confused by the fact that the 20th century shows very high density values and I inadvertently equated that
    directly with temperature.

    This is new territory for me, but not acknowledging an error might come back to bite us. I suggest that we nip it in the bud and write a brief update showing the corrected composite (Nick’s graph) and post it to RealClimate. Do you all agree?

    There’s other criticisms that have come up by McIntyre’s group:

    (1) We cherry-picked the tree-ring series in Eurasia. Apparently this is old ground, but do we need to address why we chose the Yamal record over the Polar Urals? Apparently, there’s also a record from the Indigirka River region, which might not have been published and doesn’t seem to be included in Keith’s recent summary. If we overlooked any record that met our criteria, I suggest that we explain why. Keith: are you back? Can Ray or Mike provide some advise?

    (2) The correction for Dye-3 was criticized because the approach/rationale had not been reviewed independently on its own. Bo: has this procedure now been published anywhere?

    (3) We didn’t publish any error analysis (e.g., leave-one-out ), but I recall that we did do some of that prior to publication. Would it be worthwhile including this in our update? The threshold-exceedence difference (O&B-style) does include a boot-strapped estimate of errors. That might suffice, but is not the record we use for the temperature calibration.

    (4) We selected records that showed 20th century warming. The only records that I know of that go back 1000 years that we left out were from the Gulf of Alaska that are known to be related strongly to precipitation, not temperature, and we stated this upfront. Do we want to clarify that it would be inappropriate to use a record of precip to reconstruct temperature? Or do we want to assume that precip should increase with temperature and add those records in and show that the primary signals remain?

    (5) McIntyre wrote to me to request the annual data series that we used to calculate the 10-year mean values (10-year means were up on the NOAA site the same AM as the paper was published). The only “non-published” data are the annual series from the ice cores (Agassiz, Dye-3, NGRIP, and Renland). We stated this in the footnote, but it does stretch our assertion that all of the data are available publicly. Bo: How do you want to proceed? Should I forward the annual data to McIntyre?

    Please let me — better yet, the entire group — know whether you think we should post a revision on RealScience, and whether we should include a reply to other criticism (1 through 5 above). I’m also thinking that I should write to Ojala and Tiljander directly to apologize for inadvertently reversing their data.

    Other thoughts or advise?


    On Sep 4, 2009, at 5:24 PM, Nick McKay wrote:

    The Korttajarvi record was oriented in the reconstruction in the way that McIntyre said. I took a look at the original reference – the temperature proxy we looked at is x-ray density, which the author interprets to be inversely related to temperature. We had higher values as warmer in the reconstruction, so it looks to me like we got it wrong, unless we decided to reinterpret the record which I don’t remember. Darrell, does this sound right to you? This dataset is truncated at 1800, so it doesn’t enter the calibration, nor does it affect the recent warming trend.The attached plot (same as before) shows the effect of re-orienting the record on the reconstruction. It doesn’t change any of our major or minor interpretations of course.

    On Thu, Sep 3, 2009 at 4:45 PM, Nick McKay wrote:

    Hi all, I haven’t checked the original reference for it’s interpretation, but I checked the code and we did use it in the orientation that he stated. He’s also right that flipping doesn’t affect any of the conclusions. Actually, flipping it makes it fit in better with the 1900-year trend. I’ve attached a plot of the original, and another with Korttajarvi flipped.


    1. mailto:???

    • David L. Hagen
      Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

      Essence: “it’s unfortunate that I flipped the Korttajarvi data. . . .I should write to Ojala and Tiljander directly to apologize for inadvertently reversing their data.”

  22. Michael Ozanne
    Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 9:23 AM | Permalink

    “Tricks” apart doesn’t this whole view of paleoclimate fail anyway on the points made by McShane and Wyner. i.e that the proxy uncertainties are so large that(even when analysed with a Bayesian model broadly in agreement with the ‘hockeystick’) the data does not support the conclusions drawn. Or have I misunderstood McS&W’s conclusions? Given that level of epic fail deliberately including data you know to be both wrong and poor seems a minor peccadillo 🙂

  23. tomdesabla
    Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 9:41 AM | Permalink

    “I probably got confused by the fact that the 20th century shows very high density values and I inadvertently equated that
    directly with temperature.”


    I admit I have a murky understanding of the mathematical and technical issues involved in climate science, but the above statement doesn’t sound right. The scientist was “confused” by a fact, and so resorted to flipping a trend to match another trend?

    Is this supposed to be like when a pretty girl walks by, many men turn their heads inadvertently? If these people see a data trend that could match their idea of unprecedented modern warming, they are compelled to use it, even if it shouldn’t be used at all as a proxy for temperature. If it could be used at all, but shows a trend opposite to what they’re looking for, then they become “confused” and “inadvertently” flip it?

    I don’t want to tar a bunch of people with the same brush, but this doesn’t sound very scientific to me.

  24. Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    Mann already has a “trick” named for him (the famous Mike’s Nature Trick), as well as a “bodge” (The Mannkovitch CO2 Bodge, see ).

    In order to make it easier to tell these tools of his trade from one another, I suggest that this one be “Mike’s PNAS Dodge” since he dodged the issue by placing the correction in an obscure place.

    In Mann’s defense, however, it should be remembered that PNAS has a strict policy of grandfathering into the scientific canon any error they have published that has been in print for more than 3 months, so that they might not have accepted a correction in any event.

  25. P. Solar
    Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

    Global warming my AR5 !

  26. Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

    Off topic… perhaps.

    From a short post by Steve Sailer in 2008, on the unraveling of the Madoff hedge-fund fraud.

    …little incentive exists for outsiders to point out big shots’ fraud and misinformation, other than public approbation. So, let’s take a moment to salute Harry Markopolous, who first brought Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme to the SEC’s awareness in 2000 and then wrote them a 19 page letter in 2005 listing 29 Red Flags…

    One thing that stands out is that Markopolous wasn’t alone. He was just the guy who kept complaining about it. Markopolous’s 2005 letter cites numerous experts, either by name or by position, who figured out this was a fraud. But Markopolous was one of the few to do anything about it…

    There’s just not much of a market for debunking. People want to believe in geniuses…

    • JCM
      Posted Dec 15, 2011 at 8:29 AM | Permalink

      If Makropoulos had been a journalist he would have been called a ‘muckraker’ or the less polite ‘shit disturber’. I am proud to say that I was often given the latter term and happily replied ‘If there wasn’t shit, I wouldn’t be disturbing it’. I view Steve as a phenomenal ‘disturber’ and long may he be so. Mann et al are annoyed because they see no end to the ‘disturbance’.

  27. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    As has been reiterated many times before there are more things wrong with Mann(08) than Tiljander, with using an instrumental record as a proxy and the cutting off of the Schweingruber proxies at 1960 being a couple.

    Interesting, that contrasting Mann(08) with other papers on reconstructions with their spaghetti graphs and the temperature record tacked onto the end, this reader finds Mann(08) more easily depicts in graphs the divergence problem in the dendro and non dendro reconstructions. The paper even mentions in passing the consternating evidence of non dendro divergence – as in we have explanations and conjectures for the dendro divergence, but how will we now be able to provide an overall conjecture that explains both the dendro and non dendro proxies divergence. I have what I think is a reasonable explanation, but it would never see the light of day in an IPCC review even if offered by someone known to the climate science community.

    A truly scientific review would mention the good, bad and ugly and let the readers decide for themselves. Instead in the IPCC, it is rather like a US court case where one side gets to provide its evidence (and spin on that evidence) and the other side gets overruled by the judge and is never allowed to offer counter arguments. Some of the vague wording and wordsmithing as seen in the case discussed in this thread is so obvious for what it is that one wonders whether those doing the writing have trepidations about even the less well-informed reader figuring it out.

    I wonder whether the more casual reader will ever “figure it out”. I am quite confident that it will not be the IPCC that ever reforms or even sees or admits to a need for reform.

  28. Ged
    Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

    We need to be e-mailing these people with the correct information. And if they ignore it all and still go ahead, we have proof they were told and give the correct citations and such.

  29. Barclay E MacDonald
    Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 2:38 PM | Permalink


    “I wonder whether the more casual reader will ever “figure it out”.

    As a confirmed casual reader, I confess, I would never have figured this out, as well as many other “Tricks” – TM. Possibly I’m the only one.

  30. Bob B
    Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 5:15 PM | Permalink

    What am I missing here? This seems to be a major error, one that should have been caught by “climate scientists”. I bet once those real climate scientists over at Real Climate catch wind of this they would want to fix this situation? They would probably want to recall the paper and make sure it gets fixed at the IPCC since they sit on most of the panels. Can anyone one here tell me if they think the Real Climate folks will fix this situation?

  31. Matt Skaggs
    Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 6:22 PM | Permalink

    Bob B,

    Your question was answered on a June 2010 thread at Collide-a-scape:

    From Gavin Schmidt:

    One of the pathologies of blog comment threads is the appearance of continual demands that mainstream scientists demand retractions of published work or condemnations of specific scientists for supposed errors or other sins. Most often the issue in question has been discussed dozens of times previously and is usually based either on an irrelevancy, or was acknowledged clearly in the original or subsequent paper or is based on some misperception of the science. [See Mann et al (2008) paper.]

    Steve: Gavin’s comment in this case was misleading even by Gavin’s standards. Gavin’s reference to Mann et al 2008 did not point to any clear acknowledgement in the original paper nor were there “dozens” of previous acknowledgements that the main results of Mann et al 2008 did not hold up. If Gavin knew about the resiling deep in the SI to Mann et al 2009, he should have brought it up in June 2010. given the false claims in the original paper, the denial of the problem in their Reply to our comment in 2009, and the failure to issue a corrigendum, a retraction is well warranted in this case.

    • Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 7:42 PM | Permalink

      Retraction of the paper would be an “incorrect and foolish thing to do”…a phrase that actually comes up on search engines!

    • Punksta
      Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 2:10 AM | Permalink

      So according to Gavin, usually when the blogging hoi polloi call for some correction or retraction, the professionals have already done it (presumably without recourse to Mike’s Dodge Trick or similar).

      Some hard data on all this diligent error-correction should prove interesting.

      Steve: in a number of cases, Mann made changes at this website almost immediately after the error was pointed out at Climate Audit (always without citation.) A subsequent reader would therefore think that the “professionals” had caught the error themselves. If you recall the Harry incident, Gavin went to extraordinary lengths to deny any credit to Climate Audit for spotting even the small point involved in this incident – even pretending that there was a Mystery Man who had “independently” spotted the problem.

  32. Bob B
    Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 7:57 PM | Permalink

    Matt, I was being sarcastic. I know full well that Gavin and his minions would never do such a thing against the “CAUSE”

    • crosspatch
      Posted Dec 15, 2011 at 3:51 AM | Permalink

      In fact, they are probably suffering from PNAS envy wondering why they hadn’t thought of such elegant tricks.

  33. mondo
    Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 9:06 PM | Permalink

    Well, it seems to me that if “The Team” had a cogent explanation for the apparent problems exposed in this and other threads, they would simply rock up here, explain the facts, and put the issues to bed. The fact that they choose not to speaks volumes.

    As well, given the very much larger (and in some cases influential) readership of this blog compared with RC, their failure to address the problems would seem to compound their problems of “communicating the science”.

    My guess is that the reason that they don’t rock up here is because, as is amply demonstrated in the Climategate e:mails, they don’t actually have any cogent responses to make.

  34. Kan
    Posted Dec 14, 2011 at 10:37 PM | Permalink

    An interesting statement from Jones to Ray Bradly 2/23/2009 about Mann 2008 while giving advice on a paper (#1743):

    “Also whilst we’re on trees, if I was a skeptic I’d get fed up with people referencing Mann et al (2008) for some North American tree sites. This is a red rag to a bull. Again they should be to original sources and should say how they are standardized.”

  35. jae
    Posted Dec 15, 2011 at 10:57 PM | Permalink

    “In Mann’s defense, however, it should be remembered that PNAS has a strict policy of grandfathering into the scientific canon any error they have published that has been in print for more than 3 months, so that they might not have accepted a correction in any event.”

    SO, after 3 months, anything published is considered “peer-reviewed gospel?”

    Weird. And very unsupported by any logic. And even unscientific, I say.

  36. MikeN
    Posted Dec 21, 2011 at 8:29 PM | Permalink

    Steve were you nominated and accepted as a reviewer this time around?
    If so, I would think that they would not approve of your commenting on the reviews outside the proper channels. And these blog posts cannot be deleted.

    Steve: they sent me request/order to remove comments on the ZOD. I’ll post it up. As a result, I haven’t downloaded the FOD yet as a reviewer. I’m pretty sure that I won’t sign up as a formal FOD reviewer. I did that last time and they ignored everything.

    • MikeN
      Posted Dec 22, 2011 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

      They added the section on divergence. I always assumed that your “one reviewer wrote” was your referring to yourself.

      So you have been accepted as a reviewer, but all the quotes above are from the leaked source?

  37. barn E. rubble
    Posted Dec 22, 2011 at 7:48 AM | Permalink

    RE: “I did that last time and they ignored everything.”

    Apparently that’s the point of review, or at least that’s how Phil sees it . . .

    RE: Response to Mike’s PNAS paper

    Phil Jones wrote:
    “It seems that the point of a review …. is pointless.”

    Here’s the thread:

    date: Fri, 30 May 2008 10:15:58 +0100
    from: Gabi Hegerl
    subject: Re: mikequestion
    to: Phil Jones

    Hi Phil, I wrote the editor I needed time to think about this, did a thorough reread, made 1 tough and a few friendly comments on the things I thought author really did need to change, took a deep breath and signed it.
    Mike got back to me right away and was very friendly about it (of course cant hear what he says behind my back:) and had suspected somebody else!
    thanks for your advice on this!


    Phil Jones wrote:
    > Gabi,
    > I think this is par for the course. See what Tom thinks. Tom can probably write you a good response letter to the editor saying that the author hasn’t taken any of my comments into account. It seems that the point of a review …. is pointless.
    > Cheers
    > Phil
    > At 14:34 21/05/2008, you wrote:
    >> Hi Phil, just looking at Mikes responses to my review of the PNAS paper – is it normal for Mike to just pretty much tell the reviewer reviewer is clueless, or possibly I really am clueless?
    >> 🙂
    >> cheers, next IDAG meeting timing coming tomorrow or friday
    >> Gabi

2 Trackbacks

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