# Open Mind

#### April 2, 2008 · 160 Comments

Just so it’s easy for eveyone to find an open thread, where discussion of topics not covered in other threads is appropriate, here’s a new one.

Categories: Global Warming · climate change

### 160 responses so far ↓

• Hank Roberts

WP goes to a page saying “Discarded” when I click Submit in the “cycle 24″ thread, trying to post an excerpt from:
http://solar.physics.montana.edu/SVECSE2008/

Trying here …

• John Mashey

Many arguments occur again and again because people:
- Don’t intuit noisy time-series
- Tend to pick out highs and lows
- Think of drawing a straight line from some end point to some other endpoint.
- Are easily seduced by selecting date ranges that are too short or cherry-picked.

HB has done noble work in trying to analyze data in good ways and fix these, but you know, if I had one wish, it would be for another graph or two, in section “Global Annual Mean Surface Air Temperature Change” in http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/
corresponding that chart.

http://atmoz.org/blog/2008/03/14/first-assume-a-spherical-enso/
has some ideas for a theoretical example. There was an RC post a while ago that showed N-year slopes. I like the kind of graph in Atmoz that graphs the slopes, although turned around so dates increase. [this shows that short-term trends are wild, longer-term ones aren't].

If I had my real druthers, I’d have a little tool that:
a) Started with the Gistemp data.
b) Let me specify a number of years for an interval, and then graphed the slopes.
c) let me specify an end-date, and then graphed the slopes starting from the beginning of the data to that end-date, i.e., with intervals going from X = (end - begin) down to 1, that as the interval shortens, the slopes oscillate around.

BUT, since that’s likely too much to ask for:

a) it would be nice to experiment with good presentation styles, with a goal of picking 1-2 good graph types one would have on the Gistemp page, along with a paragraph to explain them…

and then see if we can talk the NASA folks into putting that in, so that we could just once and for all, point at that for the simple cases.

This blog seems like mostly likely place to develop such a thing.

• Lost and Confused

From the last Open Thread. Dano, luminous beauty, both of you are being dishonest. Not a single thing in either of your posts refutes *anything* in the Wegman Report. All you have done is effectively said, “Other people got the same results,” which is largely immaterial. The issue at hand is whether the MBH paper was flawed. Rather than discuss this, you simply change the topic, then pretend to have answered the issue.

If you are going to be honest, please either retract your claims of the Wegman Report being “powerfully refuted” or provide a reference which actually addresses the issue. It is baffling to see you claim the Wegman Report was refuted by a paper written before it ever existed.

• Hank Roberts

> Lost
You’ll find the first post and video here fairly sums it up.
http://sciencepoliticsclimatechange.blogspot.com/2006/09/north-on-hockey-stick.html

As Wegman said: “it is obviously time to move on.”
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/07/the-missing-piece-at-the-wegman-hearing/

• Dano

Dano, luminous beauty, both of you are being dishonest…[t]he issue at hand is whether the MBH paper was flawed. Rather than discuss this, you simply change the topic, then pretend to have answered the issue.

Bull pucky. Dishonest my right second toe.

If you want to talk about perfect first papers, fine. Stop taking your meds because the paper in which your meds’ evaluations were first published likely had flaws. Yet here you are, still taking your same meds.

Now. Were the conclusions broadly correct? Yes. The Hockey Stick’s time in the sun as totem and rhetorical device is long gone. The tactic of using it as a device to bring down other conclusions of climate science didn’t work.

Next, does Wegman jump to conclusions regarding anything you wish to be true (climate science being flawed). No. He said it wasn’t his charge.

This issue has been asked and answered many times before, and it is old news. Just because you wish your ideology (and by extension your identity) to be validated despite mountains of evidence means nothing to me.

This issue has no play with decision-makers. Their staffs know what you want to be true is bullsh*t. Decision-makers have been briefed on the science, they haven’t been briefed on a blog entry from Tony Watts’ site or a comment on CA or a column on see-oh-too, as those don’t get play. Decision-makers don’t get briefed on letters from the same few hundred prolific residents of Wingnuttia that appear in newspapers or on comment boards (’GLOBUL WARMIN’S A SCAAAAAM’).

IOW: the denialist fringe does not have play where decisions are made.

The ship has sailed. Denialists and other denizens of Wingnuttia are, effectively, jumping up and down on the dock, wishing for the ship to return. Buh-bye denialists! Buhbyyyyyyye!

If you want to participate in directioning society, jump on board. Otherwise, you are just disturbing the guests and drooling in the punch.

Best,

D

• Hank Roberts

• Lost and Confused

First, to answer Hank Roberts. The video you linked to does not refute the Wegman Report. My point has been, that to my knowledge the Wegman Report is correct, and the MBH paper was flawed. While that video may be informative, it is irrelevant.

Second, to answer Dano. I honestly do not know how to respond. This post is immensely offensive, largely irrelevant and extremely uninformative. I posted to directly question one claim, which to my knowledge was false. The responses are dumbfounding. My point was simply ignored at first, but now it is misrepresented to insult my character.

I know better than to judge a site by a few posters, but this treatment is obscene and disgraceful. I hope the attitude shown here is not representative of the readers or owner of this site.

• Chris has proof that global warming is a liberal, scare-mongering tactic to create a diabolic one world government

http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2008/04/02/summary-of-a-century-worth-of-physics/

Will the hippies respond with their “fancy graphs” and “data?”

• kim

Hank, you know the historical record of cloudiness is poor. Also, I think Richard Black is a little confused. Try to make sense of the 5th paragraph from the bottom, with Lockwood in it.
==============================

• fred

L&C, you are right. It is inexplicable in rational terms that people at the same time defend MBH ferociously and to the last detail in defiance of the evidence on it AND also maintain that it is completely irrelevant to AGW.

Europeans who know history will recall in the Dreyfus case the argument that the documents were absolutely not forged, which was paired with the stance that whether they were or not was irrelevant to his guilt. A similar social dynamic is at work.

• Ah, Hank, you note that paragraph has now been changed. It says that solar activity has been declining, where it once said increasing.

And what about that ‘declining’. Might that explain recent cooling?
=========================

• Dano

This [comment] is immensely offensive, largely irrelevant and extremely uninformative…[t]he responses are dumbfounding..[m]y point was simply ignored… insult my character…this treatment is obscene and disgraceful…

Bah.

This well-worn tactic is generally called ‘concern trolling’, folks.

Let me be brief:

LC, your knowledge is faulty. It has been asked and answered a million times. Catch up to the rest of the planet.

Repeatedly bringing up long-ago refuted argumentation is a tactic called ‘recycling’, one of the top 5 tactics of denialists, FUD purveyors, envirohaters, and those advocating delay.

It is not up to us to waste our time correcting yet another willful denialist. Read some source science, not pre-chewed FUD from right-wing think tanks and their acolytes.

The larger issue is not to correct prolific, obtuse denialists every time they - whack-a-mole-like - pop up with their ignorance, but to correct public misperceptions.

Surely we have folks out there trying to shape public discourse, and we have folks discussing how to make scientists convey information in a way that reg’lur folk understand.

Our education efforts should be directed toward the mainstream, not fringe denialists who don’t want to get it. What are simple ways to conserve? How can we arrange our built environment to reduce energy consumption? What policies are appropriate? Which market signals allow agents to make rational (economic AND social AND environmental) choices?

Best,

D

• Gavin's Pussycat

fred,

when were you last accused of dishonesty, like Dano was?

Dano’s account both of the correctness and the current significance of MBH98 summarizes the judgment of his peers. Which is all that matters.

Grow up and smell the coffee.

• dhogaza

L&C, you are right. It is inexplicable in rational terms that people at the same time defend MBH ferociously and to the last detail in defiance of the evidence on it AND also maintain that it is completely irrelevant to AGW.

1. Mann’s been accused of scientific misconduct by many. This is not a trivial accusation. It is nothing less than an attempt to destroy the man’s reputation.

2. CA and others attack Mann and his work 24/7 and have been doing so for years now. They won’t let it drop. Why should people let them get away with this crap unopposed?

3. You are arguing from a false premise, i.e. that MBH is wrong, that the NAS has said MBH is wrong, etc. There’s no reason whatsoever to allow such falsehoods be propagated unopposed.

• fred posts:

[[L&C, you are right. It is inexplicable in rational terms that people at the same time defend MBH ferociously and to the last detail in defiance of the evidence on it AND also maintain that it is completely irrelevant to AGW. ]]

Of course it’s explicable. Why can’t Mann et al. have written a good paper and at the same time one which is not necessary to prove AGW? You’re assuming that AGW depends on Mann et al. 1998. It doesn’t. Thus our contention that A) Mann’s paper didn’t make any serious mistakes, and B) whether it did or not has no bearing on the issue. Both are true statements.

• luminous beauty

Lost and Confused,

“I posted to directly question one claim, which to my knowledge was false.”

Your ‘knowledge’ is incorrect, and your complaint of incivility, hypocritical, when your first response to an answer you don’t like is to call people liars.

All that Wegman concluded was that MBH’s use of PCA mighta coulda been maybe a little skewed if it was based on highly randomized numbers. He did no analysis of his own, but relied entirely on the bungled foolishness in M&M03 & 05.

Rutherford, et al., and Wahl & Amman showed conclusively how bungled M&M’s critique was.

Gary North from the NSA said that it made no significant difference.

You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.

If you don’t like it, get lost. (Oops. You already are lost… and confused.

fred,

I don’t defend every jot and tittle of MBH. Every scientific study is undoubtedly flawed in some way, particularly when it is the first of it’s kind. The perfect description of reality has yet to be written. I am concerned, though, with specious accusations besmirching the reputations of honest scientists, and dishonest ’scientists’ using the public commons and ignoring and avoiding refereed publication to spread nonsense.

Does that not concern you?

• kim

Why defend a mistaken blade and shaft, when they no longer exist?
==============================

• fred

It is a little hard to believe that something with no bearing on the issue should have featured so prominently in both ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and in the IPCC reports.

[Response: Are you talking about the MBH98 hockey stick, or hockey sticks in general? Didn't "An Inconvenient Truth" get its hockey stick from the ice core studies of Thompson et al.? Didn't the IPCC reports feature quite a few hockey sticks, most of them subsequent to MBH98 and using non-controversial analysis methods?]

As to whether Wegman endorsed MBH, no he did not. The quotes are from the Response to Stupak.

(pp 9-10) What we have shown both analytically and graphically in Figure 4.6 is that using the CFR methodology, just one signal when decentered will overwhelm 69 independent noise series. The point is that if all 70 proxies contained the same temperature signal, then it wouldn’t matter which method one used. But this is very far from the case. Most proxies do not contain the hockey- stick signal. The MBH98 methodology puts undue emphasis on those proxies that do exhibit the hockey-stick shape and this is the fundamental flaw. Indeed, it is not clear that the hockey-stick shape is even a temperature signal because all the confounding variables have not been removed.

Our report does not prove that the hockey stick disappears. Our work demonstrates that the methodology is incorrect. Because of the lack of proper statistical sampling and correct inferential methodology, we concluded that the statements regarding the decade of the 1990s probably being the hottest in a millennium and 1998 probably being the hottest year in a millennium are unwarranted.

This is not endorsement folks.

• kim

Tamino, Thompson has admitted that the hockey stick in AIT is Mann’s not his, and that he knew it. His wife has maintained that they had no responsibility to correct it. This is bad stuff. Hu McCulloch has it all documented at climate audit. He was there at an Ohio State conference when it happened.
==================================

[Response: It may be from Mann but it's *not* MBH98. MBH98 only goes back to 1400, the hockey stick used by Gore goes back further than that.]

• Hank Roberts

And Francisco Franco is still dead, and so is the parrot.

This is a skit, being put on like those standard high school plays, over and over and over.

It’s how the “one true founder” notion of how the world works gets played out, when someone with that point of view approaches science for the first time.

Science isn’t like a great and massive tree with one huge taproot — that can be toppled if you cut off that first root.

Science grows like kudzu wherever there’s fresh material.

Early work is good to the extent it’s cited by subsequent work extending on and correcting it.

Attacks on ‘founders’ are religious attacks. They’re risible, in science.

It was obviously time to move on several years ago, when Wegman said “it is obviously time to move on.”
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/07/the-missing-piece-at-the-wegman-hearing/

• matt

BPL: Thus our contention that A) Mann’s paper didn’t make any serious mistakes, and B) whether it did or not has no bearing on the issue. Both are true statements.

Has their been a paper since MBH that has replaced MBH’s historical reconstruction that wasn’t nearly as contentious (eg. relied on bristlecone pines or foxtails)?

You are also downplaying just how significant MBH claimed to be at the time in its ability to look back in time. You are right, if this was a first paper from a new PhD, it’d be lost in the stacks someplace. But this wasn’t.

To me, it’s astounding how hard Tamino is on junior scientist wannabees on their errors with pages and pages of text written about how stupid their mistakes are, but he’s never once taken an even partially critical eye about the verification failures of MBH reconstructions. I guess we see what we want to see.

[Response: I did a 5-part series on PCA in order to address the issue. But because I don't come to the conclusion you want, you say I've "never once taken an even partially critical eye..."

I guess YOU only see what you want to see.]

• Hank Roberts

http://mustelid.blogspot.com/2005/11/big-picture.html
summarised as “if anyone were, hypothetically, to enquire why *others* should continue to care about it… Why is this fight important to the rest of us? The answer is: you shouldn’t. It isn’t.”

Posted by: William Connolley at November 14, 2005 03:38 PM
Here, where those of you who believe you have something new to say can look it up in a handy condensed form:

Nobody’s said anything new about this topic in several years, except our host whose PCA discussion went over the whole question.

Those wishing to start over on the basis that they haven’t read any history and are condemned to repeat it deserve their own thread, if not their own website.

• matt

Tamino: Response: I did a 5-part series on PCA in order to address the issue. But because I don’t come to the conclusion you want, you say I’ve “never once taken an even partially critical eye…”

I thought I closely read that. You showed why it was useful. You didn’t address the root criticisms that if the bristlecones are removed that the hockeystick collapses. You didn’t address that Mann claims it was “robust” yet it fails r2 verification.

As it stands the believers like to have it both ways, in that they love to cite today was warmer than anytime in the last thousand years. But when called on that statement, they throw their arms up and scream “why do we have to keep going over the hockeystick! Let’s move on!”

If you can answer a single question here: Do you believe it’s true that if bristlecones are removed that the hockeystick shape goes away? If this is NOT true, then I’d like to know. But if it is true, then I’d like to hear a believer agree.

If you can answer a second question: Is it true that the reconstruction fails r2 verification? Is that significant in your mind?

[Response: Both Wahl & Amman (in the peer-reviewed literature), and Mann himself, tested removing the bristlecone pines you and so many others object to. I tried entirely removing the North-American tree ring data (but not in a rigorous way). We all got the same result: the hockey stick remains. As for r2 verification, I haven't run the numbers and I don't know.]

• Lost and Confused

I am completely baffled. I asked for a simple reference which “powerfully refuted” the Wegman Report, as luminous beauty said existed. The response has largely been to insult me, even with a claim that it “has been answered millions of times” yet, nobody has provided any refutation of the Wegman Report, and luminous beauty now tacitly accepted the MBH paper could be flawed.

Also, dhogaza, you said, “You are arguing from a false premise, i.e. that MBH is wrong, that the NAS has said MBH is wrong, etc. There’s no reason whatsoever to allow such falsehoods be propagated unopposed.” I never said the NAS panel stated such. The closest would be the two statements taken together. 1) The Wegman Report said MBH was flawed. 2) North, heading the NAS panel, said it agreed (or at least, did not disagree) with the Wegman Report. By all means, if this is incorrect, feel free to point out the flaw. However, you have not said how I am wrong. Indeed, nobody has.

There is no reason a simple request for a reference should have attracted so much criticism. I am completely baffled by the posters here. I do not know how anyone could view actions like Dano’s labeling me a “denier” to be anything but dishonest.

• matt

Tamino: Response: Both Wahl & Amman (in the peer-reviewed literature), and Mann himself, tested removing the bristlecone pines you and so many others object to. I tried entirely removing the North-American tree ring data (but not in a rigorous way). We all got the same result: the hockey stick remains. As for r2 verification, I haven’t run the numbers and I don’t know.]

You really think the hockey stick remains in Ammann? It’s panel C in this plot: http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/ccr/ammann/millennium/recon/WEB_examples.jpg

Looks to me that the 1400’s and 1800’s are significantly warmed and the 1900’s are muted bya few 10’sth…you still think it’s a hockey stick?

Others have run the r2 and claim it failed. Do you believe them?

[Response: Then I stand corrected. I note that the reconstruction with equivalent temperature in the 15th century, when subjected to verification, returned the result "without merit."

I have no idea who claimed r2 failure or under what conditions, I have neither belief nor disbelief.

But I do believe not only in the correctness of the MBH98 result, but all those *other* paleo reconstructions which confirm it.]

• Lost and Confused

By the way Tamino, the graphic in An Inconvenient Truth is taken from MBH99.

• pough

Lost, I think people are using two different versions of the word “flawed”. On one side, there is the “utterly destroyed and shown to be the evil work of a Satanic penishole” and on the other there is the “not quite perfect but a great first try with a few little issues that, when corrected, make no big difference to the whole and have anyway since been superseded.”

Think of a diamond. Every single one is flawed. The presence of flaws isn’t as important as how flawed. How flawed, exactly, do you think MBH98 was? Enough to completely discard not only it but all subsequent reconstructions that come to a very similar conclusion?

• dean_1230

Sometimes we need some levity -

In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. Therefore … in the Old Silurian Period the Mississippi River was upward of one million three hundred thousand miles long … seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long. … There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.

Mark Twain

Actually, I just did this to see if the blockquote thing works… and that sometimes Mark Twain really did sum it up best!

now back to your regularly scheduled arguments…

[Response: It works, but you omitted the "/blockquote" tag to end it.]

• Gavin's Pussycat

fred just turned suspicion of intellectual dishonesty into certainty by selectively quoting:

Because of the lack of
proper statistical sampling and correct inferential methodology, we
concluded that the statements regarding the decade of the 1990s probably
being the hottest in a millennium and 1998 probably being the hottest year
in a millennium are unwarranted.

There was more where this came from, fred…

Lost and Confused: “There is no reason a simple request for a reference
should have attracted so much criticism.”

Perhaps because finding such references is no problem if you really wanted to? Give up the Alzheimer act already, it doesn’t become you.

• pough

BTW, there’s getting to be more mention of Miskolczi lately and the most that’s been said about it by climate scientists is along the lines of “seems to be lame and someone else will probably tear it to shreds”. In the meantime, it’s quickly becoming the “a-ha! I knew it was all a sham!” du jour. It has all the earmarks for a great denialist story. A NASA scientist realizes that everyone else is wrong, then he gets CENSORED by NASA so he has to publish in his home nation of Hungary… but he has the Real Truth and the response from the warmers has been a deafening silence! Take that, Al Gore!

• Dano

I am completely baffled. I asked for a simple reference which “powerfully refuted” the Wegman Report, as luminous beauty said existed. The response has largely been to insult me, even with a claim that it “has been answered millions of times” yet, nobody has provided any refutation of the Wegman Report, and luminous beauty now tacitly accepted the MBH paper could be flawed.

Ah. New tactic: Victim bully.

I think LC is a sock puppet for some right wing PR guy. Morano-Luntz comes to mind.

Your totem has been put to bed. Find a new totem. Algore is fat! Hansen is alarmist! Mann is soooo 2003.

Best,

D

• P. Lewis

matt says

You really think the hockey stick remains in Ammann? It’s panel C in this plot:

Have another look. The original Wahl and Ammann “hockey stick” repro is in all panels. It’s the one in red. It doesn’t change from (a) to (d) and is similar to the MBH98 “hockey stick”.

The missing caption goes something like (since I’m not taking this from the actual paper that this referenced graphic — or very similar with slight labelling changes — was published):

Comparison of different reconstruction models with WA_Original and with Instrumental data (1902-1980).(a) shows the successful reproduction of the original MBH climate reconstruction using the code provided above. (b) shows the statistically and climatologically meaningless reconstruction based on the omission of the N-American proxy information, combined with lack of rescaling of the reconstructed global temperature PCs (equivalent to McIntyre and McKitrick, 2003). (c) shows two networks (1400 and 1450) for series where the N-American ITRDB data was summarized by PCs, using McIntyre and McKitrick-suggested centering without standardization of records (2005a), incl. lack of scaling of reconstructed global temperature PCs (McIntyre and McKitrick, 2005b). The 1400 network is statistically and climatologically meaningless, while the 1450 network, which performs very close to WA_Original, provides a valid reconstruction. (d) a valid reconstruction based on MM-centering, including full standardization of the ITRDB data.

• P. Lewis

I’ve since found what looks like the real caption for matt’s referenced (Wahl and) Ammann figure:

Summary of results. Panel (a) compares the Wahl-Ammann (WA) emulation of the MBH reconstruction (red) with the original (grey). Panel (b) compares the WA reconstruction (red) with an emulation of the MM03 Energy and Environment reconstruction (pink). The MM03 emulation for 1400-1449 uses the MBH 1400 proxy network as adjusted by MM03; the MM03 emulation for 1450-1980 uses the MBH 1450 proxy network as adjusted by MM03. Panel (c) compares the WA reconstruction (red) with emulations of the MM05b Energy and Environment reconstruction. The emulations directly exclude the bristlecone/foxtail pine records from calculation of PC summaries of N. American tree ring data (which are indirectly excluded by MM05a/b, cf. “Results” in text). The MM05b emulation using the 1400 proxy network is continued through 1980 (pink), as is the MM05b emulation using the 1450 proxy network (green). Panel (d) compares the WA reconstruction (red) with a reconstruction based on exclusion of the Gaspé record over 1400-1449 and use of the MM centering convention for forming PC summaries of North American tree ring data (dark magenta). Pink-coded reconstructions show validation failure according to criteria described in section 2.3.

Zero reference level in each panel is mean value for 1902-1980 instrumental data. Instrumental data in all panels are indicated as follows. Instrumental data used in calibration and verification are shown in black: annual data for full Northern Hemisphere grid over 1902-1993, and the mean of the spatially-restricted Northern Hemisphere grid over 1854-1901 (Jones and Briffa, 1992, updated). Instrumental data for 1902-2005 from Jones and Moberg (2003, updated) are also plotted, in dark blue.

• fred

L&C - there is a signal here, but it is hidden in quite a lot of noise. Dano and dhogaza are part of the noise. You have to learn to filter it out. Don’t read, don’t respond. It just encourages them. Above all, don’t mind any of it.

• Hank Roberts

• fred

“There was more where this came from, fred…”

Yes, these are two paras, one taken from p 9 and the other from 10. They are not continuous prose. I should have put in some …. to indicate, or said, what I meant to, that these paras were found on pages 9 and 10. As quoted it does seem as if they were continuous and they were not.

I still do not think they are endorsement. And it was not dishonest, though it was a little careless.

• Dano

I do not know how anyone could view actions like Dano’s labeling me a “denier” to be anything but dishonest.

I don’t prefer “willfully stupid” over “denialist”. See, willfully stupid people may or may not use the tactics you do - mischaracterization, hasty generalization, fetishization over constructed totems, recycling of refuted argumentation, concern troll, victim bully - but denialists sure do. These tactics are the oft-sharpened knives pulled out of the drawer first, along with cherry-picking, misdirection/handwaving, marginalization rhetoric and quote mining.

LC, lad, you crank out the boilerplate in an admirably workmanlike manner. I’ll give you that. Something comes up, it gets categorized and then the reply comes per the response matrix. Lambert called it GW Sceptic Bingo. Dano calls it boilerplate. The Dano character arose out of me running down where the origins of the response matrix came from. I’m proud to say that Tech Central Station very likely changed - multiple times - their comment procedures because I found PR firms out of Detroit area running internet campaigns on the procedures to recall Davis the day after he introduced a bill on CO2/emissions restrictions to CA, right-wing think-tank sock puppets, CEI lawyer using sock puppets to spread lies (sadly I never moved to have his board look into it), Monsanto contract employees spreading FUD about Tyrone Hayes, GMO acolytes spreading FUD about Chapela.

So I might have seen your kind before. It works at FReeperville and RedState and with Malkin and Rush, and it ain’t workin’ here.

Best,

D

• steven mosher

The denialist trope is the kind of rhetoric that led me to create the Piltdown Mann trope. My trope trumpts your trope.

As a former student of Lakoff I can reframe this all day long.

• Lost and Confused

Gavin’s Pussycat, that is both an odd as well as false stance. It goes against the nature of scientific discussion to refuse to provide sources. Even if those sources were “easy to find,” and they are not (to my knowledge, they do not even exist), why would anyone believe they existed if nobody was willing to provide them?

Next, on the usage of “flawed.” I am a bit confused by the question here, namely, “How flawed, exactly, do you think MBH98 was? Enough to completely discard not only it but all subsequent reconstructions that come to a very similar conclusion?” I have never mentioned any reconstruction other than MBH, so this question is somewhat surprising.

I believe MBH was horribly flawed. It was poorly written, as well as poorly documented, making it impossible to *know* what processes were used. It used faulty methodology. It was not robust, despite Mann’s claims to the contrary, as seen by the reliance upon so few proxies (which are of questionable merit) to get the signal. It is flawed, by which I mean, “It does not do what it sets out to do.”

As to other reconstructions? Why would the flaws of MBH matter to them? In theory, that it is a bad paper could easily have no impact on other reconstructions. The only way in which another reconstruction should be tarnished by the MBH is if it uses flawed parts of the MBH. Unfortunately, this has happened, which is why the MBH is still important.

Bad science is bad science. Refusing to admit the problems with MBH detracts from the legitimate science. It weakens the understanding of the science of global warming. It creates conflict and confusion, for no purpose. It is silly and unscientific.

The nature of science is communication. When there is disagreement, the involved parties should be able to openly discuss without hostility the dispute. I fully support that. I would gladly hear people point out my mistakes, as I care far more about knowing the truth than being right. I think more people should feel that way.

Incidentally, posters like Dano offend me. I will, however, attempt to ignore them.

• Gavin's Pussycat

fred:

I still do not think they are endorsement. And it was not dishonest,
though it was a little careless.

OK, fair enough. The thing I tried to refer to was actually something else: the quoted passage speaks of a “millennium”, meaning a much longer timespan than the period after 1400 or 1450 that the MBH98 analysis is mostly about. As I remember, MBH readily pointed out that the reconstruction for the time before that was indeed very weak.

Note that time spans of 10 years, or even one year (1998) are much more noisy than the 30 years or so period on which the statement that the late 20th century “was warmer than any comparable period” in the preceding time, was based on. E.g., you could imagine a freak super-1998-type year happening in the middle ages that would never show up in the proxy record in a way that could be robustly extracted (never mind the improbability of the physics involved).

Don’t have MBH98 handy, but my feeling is that if they did make these claims (about the 1990’s and 1998, and comparing with “the millennium”) then they were indeed on thin ice. But still, “a flaw” is not the same as “flawed”.

• Hank Roberts

Lost & C. –

It’s impossible to know for sure when a new person posting here is really completely new and naive about the questions, and coming up with them from pure personal innocence.

Regrettably, for your reception here, it happens that your questions don’t sound naive, and don’t sound like you are a youngster first asking questions or an adult who’s never read much before on these issues.

Here’s how to check (and I recommend this for all of us):

If Google finds dozens or hundreds of hits, you can be sure that your question, or comment, is phrased so much like what’s been said before that it probably was.

When you want to ask a new question — find your own words, don’t copy words you find on other websites and think look like good questions to paste in.

This will definitely help.

There are a lot of people here, from all spokes of the political wheel and all distances from the center of it. Many do want to help.

All of us get tired of the repeated copy-paste stuff from others, and we even get bored with our own “recreational typing” from time to time.

• Hank Roberts

L&C — this should help:

Brief excerpt:

“… Our examination does suggest that a slight modification to the original Mann et al. reconstruction is justifiable for the first half of the 15th century (~ +0.05°), which leaves entirely unaltered the primary conclusion of Mann et al. (as well as many other reconstructions) that both the 20th century upward trend and high late-20th century hemispheric surface temperatures are anomalous over at least the last 600 years. Our results are also used to evaluate the separate criticism of reduced amplitude in the Mann et al. reconstructions over significant portions of 1400-1900, in relation to some other climate reconstructions and model-based examinations. We find that, from the perspective of the proxy data themselves, such losses probably exist, but they may be smaller than those reported in other recent work.”

Use R-Code of Wahl-Ammann emulation of MBH Northern Hemisphere Climate Reconstruction

• Phil.

Matt, W & A concluded as follows:

“The conclusion of strongly anomalous late 20th century temperatures is retained even if the
bristlecone/foxtail pine records were (inappropriately) eliminated for the 15th century”

So it appears that your interpretation of their graphs was incorrect, the graph which you focussed on was actually an MM reconstruction which was shown to have no merit!

• Aaron Lewis

Silly, some people just are not good with numbers. For them, you need a graphic, a picture.

Send them to Google Earth, and let them see the melt ponds that were not there 40 years ago.

Send them to http://nsidc.org/data/virtual_globes/timelines.html and they can see a time line of GIS melt in the Google Earth format. The graph of melt looks like it has a lot of noise in it, but when it is overlayed on the map of Greenland, there is no doubt that the place is melting.

• pough

I have never mentioned any reconstruction other than MBH, so this question is somewhat surprising.

I’m prescient. I know you’re going to. You can’t not.

The only way in which another reconstruction should be tarnished by the MBH is if it uses flawed parts of the MBH. Unfortunately, this has happened, which is why the MBH is still important.

See?

• L Miller

You really think the hockey stick remains in Ammann? It’s panel C in this plot: http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/ccr/ammann/millennium/recon/WEB_examples.jpg

Looks to me that the 1400’s and 1800’s are significantly warmed and the 1900’s are muted bya few 10’sth…you still think it’s a hockey stick

I don’t see anything significantly different from MBH98 other then the line labeled *without merit*.

• Hank Roberts

“… which leaves entirely unaltered the primary conclusion of Mann et al. (as well as many other reconstructions) that both the 20th century upward trend and high late-20th century hemispheric surface temperatures are anomalous over at least the last 600 years….”

• luminous beauty

You can lead a man to knowledge, but you can’t make him think.

A&W devastates M&M, but L&C will never get it, because it is contrary to his fixed belief system. All he can do is parrot talking points from CA.

• Hank Roberts

Well, we have to start where people are. They won’t start anywhere else!

First question is to look up the beliefs, find out whether they originate with someone else’s beliefs elsewhere, and if they’re copypaste, encourage checking the sources and considering why they’re trusted.

First step is to get beyond the notion that people can come here for an argument (or for abuse, for that matter!)

We’re all trying to understand the science (well, those who stick around a while).

Patience.

• Dano

Incidentally, posters like Dano offend me. I will, however, attempt to ignore them.

No attempt to correct said posters either. Merely victimization, concern and control.

Best,

D

• The “Hockey Stick” in AIT is a heavily smoothed version of MBH99. The Thompson paper included it alongside of his “thermometer.” Gore mistakenly used it instead of the “thermometer.”

Hockey Stick on top, Thompson “thermometer” on bottom.

http://cce.890m.com/thompson-mann-rotated.jpg

This error does not undermine Gore’s point or the Hockey Stick.

• steven mosher

Dont worry tamino I won’t.

We know with near certainty that the holocaust happened. . We know with near certainty that we landed on the moon.

We don’t have the same level of certainty WRT to AWG. It’s the BEST explanation we have, but it doesnt rise to the level of the certainity we have about the other things . It just doesn’t. It’s most likely true. But whenever I read people who compare sceptics to denialists, and moon landing nuts… as a jew, as kid who watched our local hero burn up on jan 27 1967 . I get a little pissed.

• Lost and Confused

First, pough of course I mentioned other reconstructions. You asked about a question about them, I answered the question. The only way I could have not mentioned them is if I ignored your question.

Second, luminous beauty, you still ignore the point. You claimed the Wegman Report has been “powerfully refuted,” but you have not provided a source to support that statement. Wahl and Ammann never refuted the Wegman Report. Indeed, they did not even refute MM05. They issued a press release claiming the MM claims were “unfounded,” but that is it. Indeed, much of their work effectively replicated MM05. They did make at least one false claim (they claimed to achieve slightly different results due to different PCs and weighting, but in fact the different results remain when applying WA methodology to MBH datasets), though whether it was a simple mistake or something else is impossible to tell. WA also managed to misrepresent MM, as MM did not propose any alternative reconstructions. There is also the issue of WA’s reluctant inclusion of r2 statistic information, which was included only because they were forced, also supporting MM claims.

But ignoring all of this, there is still a simple point which makes it obvious WA is not a refutation. In Section 5 (page 32 for original text), WA admits the MBH lacks significance with the bristlecone/foxtail proxies removed. This is the exact point made by MM, echoed by the Wegman Report. AW does nothing to “devastate” MM or the Wegman report. If you disagree, feel free to show me wrong.

And Hank Roberts, while I appreciate your more pleasant tone, I believe you are quite mistaken. My question was a direct question, designed to highlight a (false) statement from luminous beauty. I am not new to the subject, and simply saying something is true will not convince me. Show me where I am wrong, and I will change my position. Insult me, and you will just weaken your own position.

• Lost and Confused

That is an absurd statement cce. Gore’s entire point was MBH99 was supported by other evidence, “[W]ith Thompson’s ice core record as one of the most definitive.”

He then shows MBH99. So he is telling the crowd, “MBH99 is supported by this independent evidence I am showing you. Please ignore the fact that it is just MBH99.” This completely undermines his point and questions his legitimacy.

Until he corrects the mistake, his point is undermined.

• [Response: Then I stand corrected. I note that the reconstruction with equivalent temperature in the 15th century, when subjected to verification, returned the result “without merit.”

So, if you remove the BCP, the result is "without merit", and yet the reconstruction with BCP is "robust" ???

• dhogaza

Show me where I am wrong, and I will change my position.

I think you meant to say this two days ago …

• Jason_L

North didn’t disagree with the Wegman report.

North, replied under oath:
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_house_hearings&docid=f:31362.wais

———————–

CHAIRMAN BARTON. I understand that. It looks like my time is expired, so I want to ask one more question. Dr. North, do you dispute the conclusions or the methodology of Dr. Wegman’s report?
DR. NORTH. No, we don’t. We don’t disagree with their criticism. In fact, pretty much the same thing is said in our report.

• David B. Benson

steven mosher // April 3, 2008 at 10:59 pm wrote “We don’t have the same level of certainty WRT to AWG.”

Well, we certainly have enough to begin acting to counteract it, do we not?

• Phil.

“So, if you remove the BCP, the result is “without merit”, and yet the reconstruction with BCP is “robust” ???

Hans, read the paper two different 15th century series are described. Remember that MM ‘corrected’ the data in MM3 and when they did their reconstruction they got a completely unreasonable warming in the 15th century!

• luminous beauty

W&A, p.36:

The fact that these additions of skill
occur only in the verification period (1854-1901) for scenarios 2 and 3 (Table 2), and are far
more pronounced in verification for scenarios 5 and 6 (Table 2; supplementary information),
leads to the further conclusion that these proxies do not generate spurious increases in calibration fit that thereby downweight the value of other (presumably more locally climate-correlated)
proxy series. Over 1450-1499, the bristlecone/foxtail pine proxies neither enhance nor degrade
reconstruction performance when PC summaries are used. Thus, in this situation, it is logically
appropriate to retain these proxies over the entire 15th century, since they are necessary for
verification skill in the first half of this period and have no impact on calibration and verification
performance in the later half.

Referencing only that part which agrees with one’s preconceived conclusions is known as selective quotation and is intellectually dishonest.

• Hank Roberts

In other news, “Oh, shit …”
http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/04/superbacteria_eat_antibiotics_for_breakfast.php

[Response: Ummm ... not exactly on topic, even for an open thread?]

• Hank Roberts

Might be, these were found in the process of looking for bacteria useful for making fuel (some bacteria will eat almost anything). Before we start creating huge vats of these beasties to break down, say, cellulose waste — it’d be good to know what else they are capable of breaking down.

• Tamino wrote:

Response: Ummm … not exactly on topic, even for an open thread?

Bacteria off-topic in climatology… !?

I know!

Bacteria that appear to seed cloud-formation so that precipitation can act as a means of dispersal:

…”We examined IN in snowfall from mid- and high-latitude locations and found that the most active were biological in origin. Of the IN [ice nucleators] larger than 0.2 micrometer that were active at temperatures warmer than -7C, 69 to 100% were biological, and a substantial fraction were bacteria. Our results indicate that the biosphere is a source of highly active IN and suggest that these biological particles may affect the precipitation cycle and/or their own precipitation during atmospheric transport.”

One of the coolest aspects (to me) is that one of the organisms responsible may be Pseudomonas syringae, an organism I use in my own lab. Although it remains unclear which microbes may be most responsible for snowfall or rainstorms, one leading candidate is the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae, which infects wheat, corn and other crops. It is a major pest—and the target of genetic modification—because it causes immediate crop damage if the temperatures drop below freezing.

The reason I find this interesting is that I study P. syringae’s phage: the cystoviridae…

Friday, February 29, 2008
Spora and Gaia: How Microbes Fly with Their Clouds
John Dennehy
http://evilutionarybiologist.blogspot.com/2008/02/spora-and-gaia-how-microbes-fly-with.html

[Response: Live and learn.]

• TCO

Tamino: I thought we were going to go a lot further with the HS PCA examination. There were several unsettled points that I thought were interesting to you. Also it should be of interest to pursue things whether they help your “side” or not.

• Hank Roberts

Chuckle. You knew climate response re clouds is uncertain. But watching the ocean bacteria and viruses and plankton, and the airborne ones, get modeled, is going to take a lot of computation.

• Lost and Confused

I do not see your point luminous beauty. Assuming WA is correct on this point, it does nothing to prove your “point.” That section is discussing the value of bristlecone series to the 1400-1499 stage. It suggests bristlecones improve the data quality of that stage, a point which is immaterial.

The main point of MM and the Wegman Report is the MBH paper is not robust to the removal of the bristlecone series (as well as foxtails). WA admits this, saying the reconstruction lacks validity without those series.

The section you cite here, merely says those series provide meaningful information about one portion (the 15th century) of the reconstruction. This in no way addresses MM or the Wegman report. What exactly was the point of posting that section?

• Bill Bodell

“… which leaves entirely unaltered the primary conclusion of Mann et al. (as well as many other reconstructions) that both the 20th century upward trend and high late-20th century hemispheric surface temperatures are anomalous over at least the last 600 years….”

That was the primary conclusion of Mann et al.? Who thought that was controversial?

The most recent period that I’ve heard suggested as possibly as warm as the late 20th century was the Medieval Warm Period and that ended 600 to 800 years ago. I’ve never heard anyone suggest that it was warmer in the Little Ice Age.

Who’s responsible for making people think that primary conclusion of Mann et al was that it was warmer in the late 20th century than it had been in 1,000 years (including the MWP)?

• L&C, I will explain this one more time. The image that Gore used was from a paper by Thompson. It was presented right next to Thompson’s thermometer. The wrong image was used. Gore’s point was that the Hockey Stick was supported by other evidence, which it is, and Thompson’s thermometer is proof. The idea that Gore purposedly used the Hockey Stick to confirm the Hockey Stick when the Thompson thermometer is functionally identical is beyond absurd. It is dishonest. Anyone who compares the two graphs is immediately made aware of this fact, assuming they have working eyeballs and a working brain.

http://cce.890m.com/thompson-mann-rotated.jpg

• Petro

steven mosher tries:

“We know with near certainty that the holocaust happened. . We know with near certainty that we landed on the moon.

We don’t have the same level of certainty WRT to AWG”

So you doubt holocaust and moonlanding as well?

• Gavin's Pussycat

Steven Mosher:

We don’t have the same level of certainty WRT to AWG. It’s the BEST explanation we have, but it doesnt rise to the level of the certainity we have about the other things.

I beg to differ. The reality of AGW is on the same level as, e.g., the assertion that the force that keeps the Moon in its orbit is the same as what makes apples fall in Cambridge. I.e., humanly certain, like the Holocaust or the Apollo moonflights (heck, I saw the liquid oxygen cloud from one of those fluoresce in the sunlight… Hollywood doesn’t have those resources.)

What is uncertain is not the reality or even the mechanism of AGW. It is how much net warming it produces in the end, when everything is said and done. And note that “net global warming” is only one of many effects we should be concerned about.

Let me tell you a story. In a previous life I have been involved in predicting the impact point of decaying satellites. What brings down low flying satellites is atmospheric drag, which cannot be predicted precisely as the density of the atmosphere is very sensitive to small variations in solar activity. The satellite circles the Earth every 1.5 hours, the Earth rotates underneath every 24 hours.

This is a cosmic simile of a roulette wheel: a week before impact it isn’t even possible to tell at all where on Earth the thing is going to come down. Up to a few hours before impact, you cannot even tell which continent or ocean it’s going to hit.

Exercise for the reader: does this prove that celestial mechanics is an unproven science, and that Newton’s gravitational hypothesis is doubtful?

• RWD

David B. Benson,
You say in response to Steve Mosher, “Well, we certainly have enough [certainty] to begin acting to counteract it, do we not?”

Sorry Dave, but the answer is no, we certaintly do not?

• Lost and Confused writes:

[[I believe MBH was horribly flawed.]]

Those who know something about the subject believe otherwise.

• steven mosher writes:

We know with near certainty that the holocaust happened. . We know with near certainty that we landed on the moon.

We don’t have the same level of certainty WRT to AWG. It’s the BEST explanation we have, but it doesnt rise to the level of the certainity we have about the other things . It just doesn’t.

You want us to just take your word for that? “It just doesn’t?” I’m sorry, but as far as I’m concerned, AGW is quite as well established as the Holocaust, the moon landing, or evolution, for that matter.

• Is either Mann’s work or Thompson’s reproducible?
===============================

• luminous beauty

Lost & Confused,

You don’t get the point? I highlighted it.

M&M were wrong about BCPs. There are compelling statistical and physical reasons for their inclusion. There is no reason, whatsoever, for their exclusion.

• P. Lewis

kim said

Is either Mann’s work or Thompson’s reproducible?

Have you never heard of Xerox or Canon copiers where you come from, kim? You could also try scanning it and printing it out.

Either way, don’t forget the copyright conditions.

• Timothy Chase

Hank Roberts wrote:

Chuckle. You knew climate response re clouds is uncertain. But watching the ocean bacteria and viruses and plankton, and the airborne ones, get modeled, is going to take a lot of computation.

Actually there are a lot of ways in which bacteria and climatology (and the phenomena of global warming) intersect. I wanted to point out one of the cheerier examples at that point. Another would be that through genetic engineering, we could possibly improve the existing ability of algae (of the bacterial kind) to synthesize hydrogen as a means of alternative energy production, or we could improve methanogens for methane uptake and thereby reduce levels of an important greenhouse gas, or improve bacteria that exist in a symbiotic relationship with the fungus (mostly various species of mycorrhizae) that exists in a symbiotic relationship with trees and other plants. (Christopher House and James Ferry have suggested as much regarding the latter while studying archaea methanosarcina acetivorans, a methanogen with a metabolic cycle which may have been the original metabolism at the start of life.) The majority of plant species rely upon mycorrhizae (with water and nutrient uptake being increased by as much as a factor of a thousand in some cases), and improving upon this may help in a world where agricultural production is more susceptible to drought and flooding.

On the negative side, however, one might want to consider the migration of species in response to global warming and how this will expose different species and populations to diseases they have never been exposed to before. Hemorrhagic dengue is becoming endemic to Taiwan due to global warming — and spreading in other areas to the extent that winters no longer involve below freezing temperatures — permitting the mosquitos that carry it to live year-round. However, while dengue (for which there is no cure) might make splashy headlines, I suspect that a far greater problem will be waterborne diseases. Flooding will make them more likely — as will drought — when people drink whatever water is available because it is the only water that is available.

Then there are the changes in ocean circulation — such as what we are seeing along the coasts of Oregon and Washington. Land temperatures rise more rapidly than ocean temperature which changes atmospheric and oceanic circulation. This is what results in the giant algae blooms along the coasts that result in deadzones. Algae is no longer being carried away from the coasts. But likewise, this should amplify the problem of waterborne illnesses being carried from one port city to the next. As such, global warming should be expected to amplify the problems we are having with waterborne and foodborne illnesses — and will make the problem of increased antibiotic resistance that much worse. In terms of the number of fatalities, this likely to be a far greater problem than the more exotic hemorrhagic diseases, I suspect.

• kim

Did you know, P. Lewis, that widespread use of copying machines produced the information explosion that fed glasnost and brought down the Soviet Union? Would you guess that widespread knowledge of how poorly reproducible the Bristlecone data is, and how difficult it is to either re-gather or re-process Thompson’s data is, might generate an analogous revolution in dogma?
============================

• matt

P Lewis: I’ve since found what looks like the real caption for matt’s referenced (Wahl and) Ammann figure

Please check again. The figure 5 in the report does not match the figure I referenced from the author’s site.

Did the reference paper ever get published?

Note that MBH claimed their results were “robust in the presense of all dendroclimatic indicators”. At a minimum, even from WA we see that isn’t true. Take out the 1400 network and it goes haywire. Leave in the 1450 network and it stays the same. The former indicates the bristlecones to contribute signficantly to the stick–which means they are important. BUT, the latter indicates they don’t since the shape is the same whether or they they are there. How can this be? Starting in 1450 bristlecones suddenly didn’t matter anymore but let’s leave them in anyway, but the 1400 network had a marked impact on temperature reconstructions for 1995? See how strange this is?

Wegman on Wahl/Ammann:

“Even granting the unbiasedness of the Wahl and Ammann study in favor of his advisor’s methodology and the fact that it is not a published refereed paper, the reconstructions mentioned by Dr. Gulledge, and illustrated in his testimony, fail to account for the effects of the bristlecone/foxtail pines. Wahl and Ammann reject this criticism of MM based on the fact that if one adds enough principal components back into the proxy, one obtains the hockey stick shape again. This is precisely the point of contention. It is a point we made in our testimony and that Wahl and Ammann make as well. A cardinal rule of statistical inference is that the method of analysis must be decided before looking at the data. The rules and strategy of analysis cannot be changed in order to obtain the desired result. Such a strategy carries no statistical integrity and cannot be used as a basis for drawing sound inferential conclusions.

[Response: The Wahl and Ammann paper is accepted by Climatic Change and in press.]

• Ian Forrester

Tim, just a quick note, methanotrophs oxidize methane, methanogens make it. Both are involved in climate change.

I often wonder if the leveling off in methane concentrations over the past few years could be due to an increase in methanotroph activity. Twenty years ago I did quite a bit of work on methanotrophs.

• P. Lewis

matt

As any inspection of the various similar Wahl and Ammann figures available on the net shows (e.g. your link and that available in the in press paper from which I eventually got the caption), they are identical save some colour choices and labelling. The data are identical. The captions change but are essentially identical (elaborated more in the in press article).

And nothing changes that in your statement “You really think the hockey stick remains in Ammann? It’s panel C in this plot:” you seem to have been looking at the wrong data plot, i.e. not the W&A “hockey stick” (which you can see matched to MBH98 in (a)) and that is present in all the figure parts (a) to (d) in red (to signify that they’re the most important obviously).

• kim posts:

[[Is either Mann’s work or Thompson’s reproducible?]]

The NAS report cited fourteen different studies which came up with essentially the same findings as Mann et al.

• Chris O'Neill

L&C:

That section is discussing the value of bristlecone series to the 1400-1499 stage.

That should be 1400-1449, not 1400-1499. Also, if W&A had thought it was worth doing, they could have calculated the skillful reconstruction without bristlecones back to 1428, because the “treeline11″ series goes back to then. I find it slightly amazing that people are arguing about 28 years of reconstruction.

• luminous beauty

Lost & Confused,

“That section is discussing the value of bristlecone series to the 1400-1499 stage. It suggests bristlecones improve the data quality of that stage, a point which is immaterial.”

Amazing how facile you are at missing the point.

Over 1450-1499, the bristlecone/foxtail pine proxies neither enhance nor degrade
reconstruction performance when PC summaries are used.

This goes in spades post 1499.

• Wahl and Amman was published in the November 2007 issue of Climatic Change

• David B. Benson

RWD // April 4, 2008 at 7:31 am — You are simply wrong. Use rational decision theory.

• P. Lewis

Seems my attempt at a waggish witticism missed the target. To be expected I suppose.

kim said

Did you know, P. Lewis, that widespread use of copying machines produced the information explosion that fed glasnost and brought down the Soviet Union?

Why, yes I did know. More especially as I’d been in East Germany around that time.

And kim goes on to repeat the CA mantra (which says it all really).

• matt

P. Lewis, OK I’m in agreement with you the figure are the same data.

Now here’s the critical part I’d like your comment on: WA affirmed MM and showed that removing the 1400 network of bristlecones and foxtails killed the hockeystick, which really indicates it was overly dependent on this data series. If it was indeed robust as MBH claimed, then it would have still been hockey-stick shaped, but perhaps slightly lesser so. And so on, as you removed other series.

Now, Wegman’s comment was that you can’t simply dump a series because it doesn’t agree with your conclusion. You have to go into this stating you will be looking at all series (or at least show why a series was a flawed source to begin with). So the fact that WA show nothing changes when you consider the 1450 network and thus the overall conclusion is still valid is odd considering removing another network caused it to completely blow up. And to me, Wegman makes sense. Especially in light of MBH’s assertion that this was robust.

Your thoughts? Perhaps I’m misunderstand the significance.

• Timothy Chase

Ian Forrester wrote:

Tim, just a quick note, methanotrophs oxidize methane, methanogens make it. Both are involved in climate change.

You are right: methanosarcina acetivorans produces methane and it and related species are a significant as part of the postiive carbon cycle feedback.

Methanogenesis, the biological production of methane, plays a pivotal role in the global carbon cycle and contributes significantly to global warming. Each year, an estimated 900 million metric tons of methane are biologically produced, the majority of which is derived from acetate. We present here the first fully-annotated genome sequence of an acetate-utilizing methanogen, Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A.

Among methanogens, the Methanosarcineae display extensive environmental diversity. Individual species of Methanosarcina have been found in freshwater and marine sediments, decaying leaves and garden soils, oil wells, sewage and animal waste digestors and lagoons, thermophilic digestors, faeces of herbivorous animals, and the rumens of ungulates.

Methanosarcina Project Information

Ian Forrester wrote:

I often wonder if the leveling off in methane concentrations over the past few years could be due to an increase in methanotroph activity. Twenty years ago I did quite a bit of work on methanotrophs.

Once again, you are right:

The explosive growth of the Chinese economy over the past seven years has been linked with a rise in emissions of man-made methane, a study has found.

Levels of methane in the atmosphere have risen since the Industrial Revolution but in recent years they appeared to have stabilised, leading scientists to believe that the gas may not be so critical in terms of global warming. However, the study found that the decline in methane levels seen during the 1990s was largely the result of the drying out of wetland areas due to climate change, which suppressed a major natural source of the gas.

Methane emissions soar as China booms
By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Thursday, 28 September 2006
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/methane-emissions-soar-as-china-booms-417807.html

Methane production generally occurs as an anaerobic process. Thus for example, drier organic decay will tend to produce carbon dioxide whereas wet organic decay tends to produce methane.

• Hank Roberts

Do you think precautions are needed?
Do you care what happens to the world after your own lifespan?

• Lost and Confused

luminous beauty, whether or not there is a statistical reason to include those series is irrelevant. The issue is robustness. If you remove the series in question, the MBH lacks significance. MM state this, Wegman states this, WA states this.

MM never made the claims you are attributing to them. They did not say the series needed to be removed. You have misrepresented both MM and the Wegman Report. Clearly this does not support your claims, that the Wegman Report has been “powerfully refuted” in literature.

Also Chris O’neill, it is actually over both the periods 1400-1449 and 1450-1499. I simply grouped the two together to say 1400-1499.

• David B. Benson

More bacteria messing with the climate:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080401200451.htm

entitled “Kalahari Desert Sands An Important, Forgotten Storehouse of Carbon Dioxide”.

• Bill Bodell

• L Miller

Now here’s the critical part I’d like your comment on: WA affirmed MM and showed that removing the 1400 network of bristlecones and foxtails killed the hockeystick, which really indicates it was overly dependent on this data series. If it was indeed robust as MBH claimed, then it would have still been hockey-stick shaped, but perhaps slightly lesser so. And so on, as you removed other series.

http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/wafig2.jpg

As far as I can tell the only time you get anything significantly different from the hockey stick is when you use PCA but discard Principle Components that are above the level of noise outlined in MBH98. Reconstructions that drop these PC’s end up failing validation.

If you can’t get the data to show any valid result that doesn’t look like a hockey stick, and you can eliminate both the use of PCA and the disputed proxies and still get a hockey stick how can you conclude the data suggests anything but a hockey stick?

• Dave Andrews

Bill,

It’s obvious that the Review Editors, with some exceptions, don’t take their responsiblities that seriously- ie, they have already made up their minds that the science is settled and they want to go along with the “consensus” for whatever reason.

• Lazar

Lost and Confused;

whether or not there is a statistical reason to include those series is irrelevant. The issue is robustness. If you remove the series in question, the MBH lacks significance. MM state this, Wegman states this, WA states this.

I think it is difficult to isolate ‘robustness’ to individual series included in PCA. If removing certain series results in a pattern being downgraded, and that pattern is excluded as a result of dropping down PC rankings, then other series are effectively censored along with those deliberately targeted. That is what M&M have done in various steps. Apply centered PCA and the hockeystick drops to PC2, also don’t do any standardization and it drops to PC4, also remove bristlecone and foxtail pine series and it drops to PC6. Download M&M and WA code and try it. Include PC6 and the reconstruction passes verification; RE 0.31 which is pretty good. No decentred PCA, no standardization, no bristlecones/foxtails.

• P. Lewis, your 4/4 7:05 pm response is kind of pitiful. You know that Mann’s Bristlecone work has been repeated and not confirmed. You know Thompson’s ice core data is difficult to recore and his data is not adequately archived to re-analyze. The mantra asking for reproducibility is repeated, because the mantra that their work has been confirmed or superceded by further and better work keeps being repeated, without scientific foundation. There is no flat hockey shaft for the last millenia, and the blade those two demonstrated no longer exists anymore, if it ever did.

=======================

• P. Lewis

matt said

Now here’s the critical part I’d like your comment on: WA affirmed MM and showed that removing the 1400 network of bristlecones and foxtails killed the hockeystick, which really indicates it was overly dependent on this data series. If it was indeed robust as MBH claimed, then it would have still been hockey-stick shaped, but perhaps slightly lesser so. And so on, as you removed other series.

Now, Wegman’s comment was that you can’t simply dump a series because it doesn’t agree with your conclusion. You have to go into this stating you will be looking at all series (or at least show why a series was a flawed source to begin with). So the fact that WA show nothing changes when you consider the 1450 network and thus the overall conclusion is still valid is odd considering removing another network caused it to completely blow up. And to me, Wegman makes sense. Especially in light of MBH’s assertion that this was robust.

WA (2007), the “in press” version (which will almost certainly only change with regard to copy-editing changes in the Climatic Change journal version), states the following with regard to Fig 5c:

In panel (c) the WA emulation of MBH is compared with the scenario 6 results, emulating the MM05b reconstruction. Here, the 1400 and 1450 proxy network results are both continued through 1980, again to graphically show the calibration and verification performance of the scenario 6 results in parallel with their statistical performance in Table 2. The very poor performance of the reconstructions based on the 1400 proxy network when the bristlecone/foxtail pine records in North America are excluded (in line with MM05b) is again evident, actually averaging slightly above the calibration mean in the verification period and showing much greater variance than WA. In contrast, the climatologically meaningful performance of the 1450 proxy network in this scenario is evident, albeit with over-represented variance related to the lack of rescaling the reconstructed instrumental PCs in the fitting process. These results graphically highlight the evidence for reasoning that inclusion of the bristlecone/foxtail pine data is empirically warranted during the first half of the 15th century (based almost solely on verification performance) and empirically neutral during the second half of the century — with the overall conclusion that including these records in the 15th century is thus logically appropriate and does not lead to inappropriate downweighting of information contained by other proxies in the calibration process.

And see L Miller’s response above.

• P. Lewis

And kim repeats the tired CA mantra ad nauseum.

Those questions (well, slurs on professional integreties in reality) have been answered over and over here and elsewhere. There is nothing useful to add. You are just trolling.

• Hank Roberts

> you know … you know …
Only nonbelievers need cites to facts?

• luminous beauty

Lost & Confused,

I’m glad to know that you and McIntyre and McKittrick and Wegman, all agree MBH98 is robust back to 1400.

Maybe we can move on, now.

• Lost and Confused

Lazar, if you are going to insist the MBH reconstruction is robust, would you please explain the conclusion in Section 5 (page 32) of WA? That would be the part where WA admits MBH lacks significance without the bristlecone/foxtails?

Remember, this is the exact point made by MM and the Wegman report. It is the point luminous beauty claims has been “powerfully refuted,” despite being admitted in the source offered. It is even the point Tamino seemed to miss in his PCA posts, as he said, “‘Can it really be that simple? Did MM really not get this? Did they really discard the relevant PCs just to copy the bare number of PCs used by MBH, without realizing that the different centering convention could move the relevant information up or down the PC list?’ You betcha.”

If WA, MM and the Wegman Report all say this, why does anyone disagree?

• Lost and Confused

I cannot tell if you are misunderstanding my posts or intentionally misrepresenting them luminous beauty, but the exact opposite of what you just said is the truth.

WA, MM and the Wegman Report all agree MBH lacks significance with the removal of bristlecone/foxtails. This clearly is not robust.

• Lost and Confused

In light of Tamino’s response to me in the Feedback topic, it seems prudent to post this. I do not see how anyone can legitimately disagree when I say MM has been misrepresented here. This misrepresentation exists in WA, Tamino’s post and a number of responses here.

Neither MM or the Wegman Report ever said the Hockey Stick was manufactured by Mann methodology. They said Mann methodology “mined” for the Hockey Stick, which requires it already be present in the data. Everybody agrees the Hockey Stick is present in data. The question becomes, “How important is this signal?” MBH answers this question, with what it claims to be a “robust” reconstruction.

MM, WA and the Wegman Report all agree the MBH reconstruction is not significant without the bristlecones/foxtails. This is not disputed. This lack of significance leads MM and the Wegman Report to conclude MBH fails to live up to its claims of robustness.

I am quite confused. Just what is the disagreement with either MM or the Wegman report?

• Hank Roberts

Put your question, the last sentence, into a Google search box, and you’ll find good answers. This has been discussed at length.

Note that if you focus on the PR blogs you’ll get PR answers.

Focus on the science and education sites.

For example:
http://chronicle.com/live/2006/09/hockey_stick/

Greetings Dr. North: I am curious what you thought of the primary part of the Wegman Report, that dealing with the statistical issues in Mann, et al. Specifically, the statement (or similar), “Incorrect mathematics + correct result = bad science.” I must say that the NAS Report appeared, to me, to find fault with the Mann methodology but then went on to seemingly endorse the result. The later was the media’s take, anyway. TIA

Gerald North:
There is a long history of making an inference from data using pretty crude methods and coming up with the right answer. Most of the great discoveries have been made this way. The Mann et al., results were not ‘wrong’ and the science was not ‘bad’. They simply made choices in their analysis which were not precisely the ones we (in hindsight) might have made. It turns out that their choices led them to essentially the right answer (at least as compared with later studies which used perhaps better choices)….
———-

“It’s time to move on.” — Wegman

• Hank Roberts

Oh, one way to check where ideas come from is to find out where they were posted:

• matt

As far as I can tell the only time you get anything significantly different from the hockey stick is when you use PCA but discard Principle Components that are above the level of noise outlined in MBH98. Reconstructions that drop these PC’s end up failing validation.

If you can’t get the data to show any valid result that doesn’t look like a hockey stick, and you can eliminate both the use of PCA and the disputed proxies and still get a hockey stick how can you conclude the data suggests anything but a hockey stick?

WA show that with the 1400-network removed, the hockey stick goes away. Do you disagree with that? It is panel C in figure 5.

• matt

P. Lewis: And see L Miller’s response above.

I’ve read WA over and over. I’m asking YOU the question: Do you agree that WA showed that if the 1400-network was removed the reconstruction blew up?

Note WA words: “The very poor performance of the reconstructions based on the 1400 proxy network when the bristlecone/foxtail pine records in North America are excluded (in line with MM05b) is again evident”

This means that if you REMOVE the BC/FT records the resulting reconstruction is garbage. Do you agree? Their exact words were “poor performance”

• Hank Roberts

http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2006/09/chronicle_article_climate_scie.php

In particular:

Folks who are confused about the “hockey-stick” wars and who want to see how deniers “pull fast ones” should google up a PDF copy of the Wegman Report and have a look at figure 4.1. A major argument used against Mann et al is that Mann’s data-centering convention “mines” noisy data for “hockey stick” leading principal components. To make that case, M&M generated a big set of random noise time-series and computed principal components from it using Mann’s data-centering convention. And yes, in many cases,leading principal components computed from this sort of random noise do have that “hockey stick” shape. But there’s a *big* catch here, and someone with sharp eyes should have no trouble spotting it.

To see what I mean, check out the Wegman Report Figure 4.1. Figure 4.1 shows Mann’s “hockey-stick” plotted right next to a “noise-only” hockey-stick. They look pretty similar, don’t they? Looks pretty bad for Mann, doesn’t it? But take a closer look at fig 4.1 — in particular, look at the Y-axis scales of the two “hockey-stick” plots. You’ll see something **very** fishy.

Posted by: caerbannog | September 7, 2006 11:53 AM

In related news:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WPN-4J8JVRG-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=9076c9befd41b759c57ede9e78980617
We present a varve thickness chronology from glacier-dammed Iceberg Lake in the southern Alaska icefields. Radiogenic evidence confirms that laminations are annual and record continuous sediment deposition from A.D. 442 to A.D. 1998. Varve thickness is positively correlated with Northern Hemisphere temperature trends, and more strongly with a local ~ 600 yr long tree ring width chronology. Varve thickness increases in warm summers because of higher melt, runoff, and sediment transport (as expected), but also because shrinkage of the glacier dam allows shoreline regression that concentrates sediment in the smaller lake. Varve thickness provides a sensitive record of relative changes in warm season temperatures. Relative to the entire record, temperatures implied by this chronology were lowest around A.D. 600, warm between A.D. 1000 and A.D. 1300, cooler between A.D. 1500 and A.D. 1850, and have increased dramatically since then. Combined with stratigraphic evidence that contemporary jökulhlaups (which began in 1999) are unprecedented since at least A.D. 442, this record suggests that 20th century warming is more intense, and accompanied by more extensive glacier retreat, than the Medieval Warm Period or any other time in the last 1500 yr.

• Chris O'Neill

matt:

Now here’s the critical part I’d like your comment on: WA affirmed MM and showed that removing the 1400 network of bristlecones and foxtails killed the hockeystick, which really indicates it was overly dependent on this data series. If it was indeed robust as MBH claimed

MBH never claimed every one of their reconstructions was robust to removing a particular proxy. In fact, in MBH99, they state:

In using the sparser dataset available over the entire millennium, only a relatively small number of indicators are available in regions (e.g. western North America) where the primary pattern of hemispheric mean temperature variation has significant amplitude, and where regional variations appear to be closely tied to global-scale temperature variations in model-based experiments. THESE FEW INDICATORS THUS TAKE ON A PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT ROLE (in fact, as discussed below, ONE SUCH INDICATOR, PC#1 of the ITRB data, IS FOUND TO BE ESSENTIAL)

.

matt:

And to me, Wegman makes sense. Especially in light of MBH’s assertion that this was robust.

Does Wegman make sense in light of MBH99 saying excluding bristlecones is not robust?

• Hank Roberts

First hit is:

1.
Robustness of the Mann, Bradley, Hughes reconstruction of Northern …
very poor performance of the reconstructions based on the 1400 proxy network when the. bristlecone/foxtail pine records in North America are excluded (in …

Click the link, what do you see?

This:

PDF (834.5 KB)

Robustness of the Mann, Bradley, Hughes reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere surface temperatures: Examination of criticisms based on the nature and processing of proxy climate evidence

Eugene R. Wahl1 Contact Information and Caspar M. Ammann2
(1) Environmental Studies and Geology Division, Alfred University, One Saxon Dr., Alfred, NY 14802, USA
(2) Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A.

Accepted: 1 March 2006 Published online: 31 August 2007

Abstract
The Mann et al. (1998) Northern Hemisphere annual temperature reconstruction over 1400–1980 is examined in light of recent criticisms concerning the nature and processing of included climate proxy data. A systematic sequence of analyses is presented that examine issues concerning the proxy evidence, utilizing both indirect analyses via exclusion of proxies and processing steps subject to criticism, and direct analyses of principal component (PC) processing methods in question. Altogether new reconstructions over 1400–1980 are developed in both the indirect and direct analyses, which demonstrate that the Mann et al. reconstruction is robust against the proxy-based criticisms addressed. In particular, reconstructed hemispheric temperatures are demonstrated to be largely unaffected by the use or non-use of PCs to summarize proxy evidence from the data-rich North American region. When proxy PCs are employed, neither the time period used to “center” the data before PC calculation nor the way the PC calculations are performed significantly affects the results, as long as the full extent of the climate information actually in the proxy data is represented by the PC time series. Clear convergence of the resulting climate reconstructions is a strong indicator for achieving this criterion. Also, recent “corrections” to the Mann et al. reconstruction that suggest 15th century temperatures could have been as high as those of the late-20th century are shown to be without statistical and climatological merit. Our examination does suggest that a slight modification to the original Mann et al. reconstruction is justifiable for the first half of the 15th century (∼+0.05∘), which leaves entirely unaltered the primary conclusion of Mann et al. (as well as many other reconstructions) that both the 20th century upward trend and high late-20th century hemispheric surface temperatures are anomalous over at least the last 600 years. Our results are also used to evaluate the separate criticism of reduced amplitude in the Mann et al. reconstructions over significant portions of 1400–1900, in relation to some other climate reconstructions and model-based examinations. We find that, from the perspective of the proxy data themselves, such losses probably exist, but they may be smaller than those reported in other recent work.

——-
Nowhere appear any of the words you’re asking people to agree describe what they said.

Does the phrase “do not let the best be the enemy of the good” help at all?

• Chris O'Neill

matt:

Do you agree that WA showed that if the 1400-network was removed

Just a small point, I’d appreciate it if you said:

WA showed that if the bristlecones/(whatever) are removed from the 1400-network

instead of the above. If they removed the entire 1400-network then there wouldn’t be any 1400-network reconstruction at all. Network means a network of proxies. The W&A tests were about removing some proxies from the 1400 and 1450 networks.

• Hank Roberts

Matt, did you read the text?

“slight modification” …
“leaves entirely unaltered the primary conclusion… both the 20th century upward trend and high late-20th century hemispheric surface temperatures are anomalous over at least the last 600 years …”

Get that picture in your mind — the 20th century upward trend, the high late-20th century, compared to the last 600 years.

Draw it. _____/

• Chris O'Neill

L&C:

The issue is robustness. If you remove the series in question, the MBH lacks significance.

Also Chris O’neill, it is actually over both the periods 1400-1449 and 1450-1499.

No, you’re wrong. W&A tested for removal of bristlecones from the 1450 network and found that it passed significance testing. BTW, the 1450 network could actually be used back to 1428 if any real climate scientist (or anyone else for that matter) thought it was worth bothering with.

• Lost and Confused

Hank Roberts, that is irrelevant. Nothing you posted has anything to do with the robustness of MBH. Moreover, I would be glad to “move on.” This all started because luminous beauty made (false) claims, then failed to provide any support for them while still claiming they were true. At this point it should be abundantly clear the Wegman Report has not been “powerfully refuted.”

As for figure 4.1, there is nothing fishy about it. The Y-axis have different scales. One happened to have a wider variance than the other, so this is what would naturally be done. It is in no way dishonest, as you imply by saying they do this to “pull fast ones” over on people.

Chris, a quote from MBH98 (page 783), “On the other hand, the long-term trend in NH is relatively robust to the inclusion of dendroclimatic indicators in the network, suggesting that potential tree growth trend biases are not influential in the multiproxy climate reconstructions.” Before you accuse someone of spreading lies, you should first make sure they are in fact lies.

• Hank Roberts

Matt, people in blogs claim all sorts of wacky things they can’t get published in science journals, and then other people point to the wacko stuff as though it were science.

You have to read the actual science, not what people say about it.

People make shit up and lie in PR.
Deal with it.

• Lost and Confused

Chris, I said, “That section is discussing the value of bristlecone series to the 1400-1499 stage.” WA states, “Over 1450-1499, the bristlecone/foxtail pine proxies neither enhance nor degrade reconstruction performance when PC summaries are used. Thus, in this situation, it is logically appropriate to retain these proxies over the entire 15th century, since they are necessary for verification skill in the first half of this period and have no impact on calibration and verification performance in the later half.”

WA found the inclusion was necessary for the 1400-1449 portion, and had no impact on the 1450-1499 portion. Clearly this discusses the value over the 1400-1499 period.

• L&C, you can talk until you’re blue in the face, but these are true believers. The ‘censored directory’ shows that Mann has a problem. Divergence and Ababneh show that Bristlecones weren’t a temperature proxy despite all the statistical shenanigans in the world. They also show that Hughes has a problem. The Thompsons’ sneering at archiving show they have a problem. Tamino’s tolerance of rhetoric like Dano’s and lum’s and sometimes Hank’s show that he’s got a problem. Truth shines with inner beauty; it doesn’t need constant polishing like Gollum’s Ring. That’s all we know, and all ye need to know.
==============================

[Response: I have also tolerated numerous comments from you and others representing the viewpoint contrary to my own. I haven't favored either side in moderating this discussion.]

• climatewonk

This is the entire quote from WA:

In panel (c) the WA emulation of MBH is compared with the scenario 6 results, emulating the MM05b reconstruction. Here, the 1400 and 1450 proxy network results are both continued through 1980, again to graphically show the calibration and verification performance of the scenario 6 results in parallel with their statistical performance in Table 2. The very poor performance of the reconstructions based on the 1400 proxy network when the bristlecone/foxtail pine records in North America are excluded (in line with MM05b) is again evident, actually averaging slightly above the calibration mean in the verification period and showing much greater variance than WA. In contrast, the climatologically meaningful performance of the 1450 proxy network in this scenario is evident, albeit with over-represented variance related to the lack of rescaling the reconstructed instrumental PCs in the fitting process. These results graphically highlight the evidence for reasoning that inclusion of the bristlecone/foxtail pine data is empirically warranted during the first half of the 15th century (based almost solely on verification performance) and empirically neutral during the second half of the century-with the overall conclusion that including these records in the 15th century is thus logically appropriate and does not lead to inappropriate downweighting of information contained by other proxies in the calibration process.

Apologies if the formatting comes out wonky.

• luminous beauty

Lost,

I agree that M&M and W&A and MBH98 all agree that the 1400-1449 reconstruction is not robust to the exclusion of BCPs.

It isn’t surprising if one removes 3/4 of the available data and all the important data from reconstruction one’s confidence will be diminished.

It is a trivial observation. Hardly a crushing flaw.

Do you not agree?

• TCO

I think that the “blowing up” o(or non-significance with ver/cal split) with removeal of the bcps is just another sign of non-robustness. Not only are the bcps required for hockey stickisheness, they are required for passing Mann’s ver/cal split.

Whether Mann’s studySHOULD be robust to removal or retention of bcps is a debatable position. But it is not robust to that exclusion. That’s settled.

• Petro

What amazes me with these libertarian denialists is that while theyassign big bad goverment as an opppressor, they think that large multinational companies somehow are eager to protect the rights of the indiviual people.

What would Exxon do, if it could choose: Increase the profits of the company or protect existence of land in Bangladesh?

• TCO

Pedant caveat: when I say bcp removal that is shorthand for “bcp cum Gaspe” removal (the trial data manipulation of Mann’s “Censored” directory.

Note: Whether combination of Gaspe with bcp is reasonable or too much as a robustness test is also a debatable position. I don’t have a firm position on that (although it’s interesting that Mike though to perform it). But my main concern with this clarification is to preempt any Groundhog Day like repetition of the snarky comments that it’s not just bcps.

• Chris O'Neill

L&C:

a quote from MBH98 (page 783), “On the other hand, the long-term trend in NH is relatively robust to the inclusion of dendroclimatic indicators in the network, suggesting that potential tree growth trend biases are not influential in the multiproxy climate reconstructions.”

Why don’t you at least think about what those words mean before you jump to the conclusion you want? MBH said “robust to the INCLUSION of dendroclimatic indicators in the network”, i.e. they didn’t say robust to the EXCLUSION of dendroclimatic indicators. They mean that the reconstructions in general are not adversely affected by INCLUDING dendroclimatic (i.e. treering) indicators which is entirely different from being adversely affected by EXCLUDING individual indicators. MBH wrote at greater length on the subject in this note which is part of this paper. I’ll repeat, what do you think they mean when they say:

One such indicator, PC#1 of the ITRB data, IS FOUND TO BE ESSENTIAL

What do you think it means for robustness if an ESSENTIAL indicator is excluded? As I said, MBH never claimed every one of their reconstructions was robust to removing a particular proxy. It is a lie to suggest otherwise. PLEASE STOP SPREADING IT.

• L Miller

WA found the inclusion was necessary for the 1400-1449 portion, and had no impact on the 1450-1499 portion. Clearly this discusses the value over the 1400-1499 period.

IOW even though it can be demonstrated the BCP don’t add any negative characteristics in any other in any other part of the reconstruction you object to using them because they are required to get a reconstruction between 1400 and 1428 that passes validation. Furthermore you then work backwards and say this calls into question the whole period of 1400 – 1500 even though they have already been demonstrated not to change the 1450-1500 network (which it has been point out could be extended back to 1428). This sounds like a whole lot of grasping at straws to me.

The main problem however is the fundamental predicate in your argument is unproven. The BCP have survived every test thrown at them in this analysis. Occams razor therefore suggests we accept them as valid until it can be proven otherwise. If you want to argue that we need to re-evaluate their relevance at every single step then you must first provide *proof* that they are not a valid proxy. Keep in mind pointing out reasons why they may not be valid *is not proof*.

You’re argument really isn’t that much different then what the ID’ers say about the fossil record. The argue that since we can’t prove the things we see in the fossil record continue to happen in the times when there is a gap in the fossil record then we can’t trust the fossil record at all. They, like you, miss the point that the simplest explanation is that the pattern continues to exist even though it can’t be explicitly proven and in the absence of proof to the contrary we accept the simplest answer as the correct one.

• Chris O'Neill

L&C:

I said, “That section is discussing the value of bristlecone series to the 1400-1499 stage.”

OK, you’re right. I should have quoted more of what you said, i.e:

That section is discussing the value of bristlecone series to the 1400-1499 stage. It suggests bristlecones improve the data quality of that stage,

which is misleading and not meaningful in the context of MBH98 because there is no 1400-1499 “stage” in MBH98. You could talk about a 1400-1449 stage and a 1450-1499 stage because the available proxies are different for these periods. Saying that “bristlecones improve the data quality of that stage (1400-1499)” is misleading because it omits the important fact that the bristlecones don’t enhance
the data quality when PC summaries are used (as in MBH98) over 1450-1499.

I just want everyone to be clear that the bristlecones don’t become essential in MBH9x until before 1450, and if any scientist thought it was worth bothering with recalculation, they could actually be left out back to 1428.

• matt

Luminous Beauty: I agree that M&M and W&A and MBH98 all agree that the 1400-1449 reconstruction is not robust to the exclusion of BCPs.

It’s not just the 1400-1449 timeframe that gets weird. It’s the entire timeline up to modern times. Taking out BCP/FT from the 1400 network screws up temps in 1990. See panel C in the earlier plots I linked to.

But that was Wegman’s point. Once the analysis you have chosen demonstrates a blow-up, then entire method is suspect and cannot be relied upon.

In other words, you cannot just toss out a range of dates because they don’t fit. You cannot toss out a range of proxy data because it causes a blow up. You decide BEFORE HAND your analysis technique. At any point, if your data + your technique is showing divergent results, then the analysis technique is suspect.

Questionsto you: Do you agree that removing BCP/FT from the 1400 network causes modern day temps to go haywire based on MBH analysis?

• Chris O'Neill

TCO:

Not only are the bcps required for hockey stickisheness

There is a perfectly good hockeystick without bcps after 1450 (probably also after 1428 if anyone could be bothered checking). The only thing the bcps add is a longer shaft.

• matt

Luminous Beauty: It isn’t surprising if one removes 3/4 of the available data and all the important data from reconstruction one’s confidence will be diminished.

It is a trivial observation. Hardly a crushing flaw.

Do you not agree?

Yes agree. So we seem to be in agreement that attempting to show the historical temperature of the world from a small handfull of trees clustered around North America was a bad mistake. So you agree with Climate Audit.

And additionally, you seem to be agreeing that since the analysis blows up when you removed this overly dependent series that indeed Wegman was right. Wegman wrote:

A cardinal rule of statistical inference is that the method of analysis must be decided before looking at the data. The rules and strategy of analysis cannot be changed in order to obtain the desired result. Such a strategy carries no statistical integrity and cannot be used as a basis for drawing sound inferential conclusions.

In other words, you don’t put much faith in MBH. Did I correctly capture your summary?

• Dano

What do you think it means for robustness if an ESSENTIAL indicator is excluded? As I said, MBH never claimed every one of their reconstructions was robust to removing a particular proxy. It is a lie to suggest otherwise. PLEASE STOP SPREADING IT.

Chris:

If they stop spreading lies, FUD, mischaracterizations, cherry-picking and recycled refuted arguments, what do they have? They don’t have testable hypotheses, papers in review, manuscripts out to the editor, collected data being crunched, models to tune, original thoughts to ponder, equations to refine, scribbles on a napkin to wave.

Nothing.

What will these prolific ideologues do all day if they stop spreading their bull fertilizer? Will they sit in Starbucks and bore the customers with random quotes from a Rand nove? Horrors. Let them sit at home instead and compose wingut-phrased letters to the editor.

Best,

D

• Hank Roberts

So, we fell for it, all the old arguments have been tottered out and propped up for review one more time, displaying — what? The odd faith that somehow, if 28 years around 1400AD somehow aren’t perfectly described by a 20-year-old paper, this matters?

Folks, old science isn’t foundations on which current work rests.

Old science is the record showing where some work started.

Other work starts in other places.

Current work cites _much_ past work in _many_ areas and goes forward.

• Hank Roberts

• dhogaza

Matt, honesty is a virtue …

Yes agree. So we seem to be in agreement that attempting to show the historical temperature of the world from a small handfull of trees clustered around North America was a bad mistake. So you agree with Climate Audit.

No, LB said NO SUCH THING. She was talking about 1400-1449 ONLY.

Chop off those 50 years, and you have a hockey stick from 1450-present that’s robust in the absence of the BCPs.

THAT is what LB is saying.

It’s crazy watching people take a paper which supports MBH turn around and claim it destroys the hockey stick. Just as it’s crazy watching you people intentionally misrepresent the NAS report.

It’s classic science denialism, though. The ID people do it all the time, take a paper which rests on evolutionary principles and claim it says exactly the opposite of what it actually does say.

• TCO

I think it’s crazy watching the hoi polloi and biased behavior of both sides.

• Gavin's Pussycat

L. Miller:

You’re argument really isn’t that much different then what the ID’ers say about the fossil record. The argue that since we can’t prove the things we see in the fossil record continue to happen in the times when there is a gap in the fossil record then we can’t trust the fossil record at all.

Yeah… the Alzheimer way of doing science

HB, could you please fix the blockquote mess-ups above?

• kim

I agree, Tamino, you’ve been a pretty fair moderator. You’ve allowed some of my stuff which I thought you wouldn’t. Then again, my best stuff gets deleted or not posted, as everywhere.

dhogaza, your rhetoric is not helpful. Skeptics are not creationists, we are not flat earthers, and we marvel at the moon landing, not doubt it. We have a lot of science, and statistics on our side. In addition, we have satellite thermometers, Argo buoys, and dropping temperatures. Most importantly, we have open minds, willing to question dogma. The dogma in question is the IPCC’s determination of the effect of CO2 on climate. It is probably in error. William of Occam would agree that that error is the simplest explanation for the failure of temperature to follow projections.
=================

• dhogaza

I think it’s crazy watching the hoi polloi and biased behavior of both sides.

Pointing out when someone totally misrepresents the words of another might be biased behavior, biased towards honesty. It’s a bias I hope to maintain until the day of my death.

• Gavin's Pussycat

Matt,

what Dhogaza said — minus the philosophical part

It seems you (and many others) miss the point that the MBH98 reconstruction is done in stages, successively going back in time. The last stage covers the period 1400-1980, but the results from this run are only used for 1400-1450. The pre-last stage covers 1450-1980, but only 1450-1500 is retained from this in the final reconstruction. The need to do it this way came from the way the algorithm was set up.

For the 1400-1980 stage, only very few proxies were available that extended over the whole period. Because of this, there wasn’t enough redundancy to notice any possible problems with an individual proxy type. That’s what is meant by non-robustness. The reconstruction for 1450-1980 contained many more proxies of different types and was therefore robust. As were the later ones.

About redundancy: think about measuring the surface area of a room. You measure width and depth and multiply. The result will probably be right but it’s not robust. For that you need redundancy: measure the diagonal and do Pythagoras. Now, if any of your measurements are wrong (or the room is not rectangular!), at least you’ll know about it.

The 1400-1450 period is that room, with only the two sides measured. All later rooms have also their diagonals measured.

The picture you pointed to contains results for the 20th century that were never used.

Hope this helps.

• dhogaza

Well, one of the most prominent scientific skeptics is openly creationist, so I guess that trivially shows that you should say “SOME skeptics are not creationists”.

Regardless, I didn’t say that climate skeptics are creationists.

I said they use the same tried-and-true tactics used by creationists to shed doubt among those who don’t have the background to understand why their arguments against evolutionary biology - the scientific consensus - are false.

• Hank Roberts

More unattributable belief witnessing from Mr. Kim, who was refuted on posting the same stuff about Argo earlier in the thread at dotearth.

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/01/ocean-cooling-and-global-warming/#comment-21164

Copypaste witnessing, blunderbuss-style, throw it everywhere and see who prints it.

• Hank Roberts

Same suggestion I’ve made before here, made at dotearth. In historical perspective, this is why societies formed, and refereed journals instead of just coffeehouses became the place in which usefully to do science:

It’s an election year. The level of nonsense is going to go on up, both paid and volunteer, to dilute and obscure attempts to understand the science.

• JCH

After reading the NPR article I posted some factual errors, and doubts I thought its inconsistencies raised. It was a poorly written article.

It’s good to see that Willis, and others, are herding the little piggies back into their pens.

• David B. Benson

kim // April 5, 2008 at 8:08 pm wrote “The dogma in question is the IPCC’s determination of the effect of CO2 on climate.”

http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

first, then more atmospheric physics if that is not enough.

• Lost and Confused

Chris, that is baffling. From the link you provided, “MBH98 found through statistical proxy network sensitivity estimates that skillful NH reconstructions were possible without using any dendroclimatic data, with results that were quite similar to those shown by MBH98 based on the full multiproxy network (with dendroclimatic indicators) if no dendroclimatic indicators were used at all.”

• Hank Roberts

Lost’n'C, do you mean this?

Or are you referring to another source?
That search found only one of the pages from this website:
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/ei/

• Lost and Confused

Hank Roberts, of course I meant that. I have no idea why you had to do a search for it, as the link was in the post to which I responded.

• luminous beauty

I must offer congratulations to matt for producing one the most hilarious strawman screeds ever.

Bristlecones are sensitive to a number of planetary scale climatic variables. Not just for 600 years.

(hint: Thera/Santorini)

• Lost and Confused

I forgot to mention something in my response to Chris. The distinction you are trying to make between “inclusion” and “exclusion” is not true. When you say, “They mean that the reconstructions in general are not adversely affected…” you leave out an essential part. For it to be robust to inclusion, the inclusion can neither degrade or *enhance* the reconstruction. For it to be robust to the inclusion of dendroclimatic indicators, it must be (largely) the same with and without them.

Clearly it is not.

• Chris O'Neill

L&C:

that is baffling. From the link you provided, “MBH98 found through statistical proxy network sensitivity estimates that skillful NH reconstructions were possible without using any dendroclimatic data, with results that were quite similar to those shown by MBH98 based on the full multiproxy network (with dendroclimatic indicators) if no dendroclimatic indicators were used at all.”

What probably confused you was that in MBHs test, they were just testing in a period when there were plenty of dendro and non-dendro indicators available, specifically 1750-1980 (look at the graph). That’s what they are talking about when they say:

“On the other hand, the long-term trend in NH is relatively robust to the inclusion of dendroclimatic indicators in the network, suggesting that potential tree growth trend biases are not influential in the multiproxy climate reconstructions.”

• Hank Roberts

“Clearly” what is not the same as what? Are you looking at the picture?
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/ei/ei_image/nhem-dendrocompare.gif

• Chris O'Neill

L&C:

For it to be robust to the inclusion of dendroclimatic indicators, it must be (largely) the same with and without them.

Clearly it is not.

Just to reiterate what MBH meant that L&C misunderstood above, first here is the quote from MBH98:

“On the other hand, the long-term trend in NH is relatively robust to the inclusion of dendroclimatic indicators in the network, suggesting that potential tree growth trend biases are not influential in the multiproxy climate reconstructions”

and here are the quotes from the later paper:

“As noted by MBH98, non-climatic influences related to intrinsic tree growth trends, difficulty in their removal, and the combining of different tree segments, make the lowest frequency (ie, century and longer timescale) variations potentially somewhat suspect in studies that rely heavily on dendroclimatic indicators”

and

“MBH98 found through statistical proxy network sensitivity estimates that skillful NH reconstructions were possible without using any dendroclimatic data, with results that were quite similar to those shown by MBH98 based on the full multiproxy network (with dendroclimatic indicators) if no dendroclimatic indicators were used at all. We show this below for annual-mean reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere mean temperatures”

and they then show their graph which goes back to 1750.

Note the common meanings in both papers, i.e. “long-term trend” and “lowest frequency (ie, century and longer timescale)”; “robust to the inclusion of dendroclimatic indicators” and “skillful NH reconstructions were possible without using any dendroclimatic data”; “potential tree growth trend biases” and “non-climatic influences related to intrinsic tree growth trends”.

Obviously both papers are talking about the same subject. On the other hand, you could believe the above are nothing more than a series of pure coincidences and MBH are stating a blatant lie that was only published and continues to be supported through a massive conspiracy of the reviewers, Nature magazine and virtually every other climate scientist.

• Hank Roberts

L’n'C — what are you looking at, that you say “clearly” shows something is compared to something?

Explicit pointer, please — it’s far too easy to get lost saying you mean something someone said sometime earlier — that’s why I’m asking exactly what it is you see clearly.

If you’re saying it’s clear because you read someone else to that effect, whose opinion are you relying on, and why do you consider it reliable?

Point, please, to what you see clearly.

• pough

I think it’s crazy watching the hoi polloi and biased behavior of both sides.

I think you just called yourself crazy.

• Gavin's Pussycat

Matt April 3:

You really think the hockey stick remains in Ammann? It’s panel C in this plot: http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/ccr/ammann/millennium/recon/WEB_examples.jpg

Looks to me that the 1400’s and 1800’s are significantly warmed and the 1900’s are muted bya few 10’sth…you still think it’s a hockey stick?

Finally got the chance to look at the figure properly (had only a mobile device over the weekend). Look, in panel C, at the green curve (1450-1980). Hockeystick or not? I had forgotten that this curve was included; it illustrates perfectly the argument (about processing in stages) that I tried to make.

• Petro

What’s happening at Mauna Loa?
http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/

Does La Niña affect locally to CO2 accumulation?

Mauna Loa were great news, if the global average (same page, next graph) would not show robust increasing trend.

• David B. Benson

Petro — It means little. Notice there was a brief ‘downtrend’ in 2004 CE as well.

• cthulhu

“Mauna Loa were great news, if the global average (same page, next graph) would not show robust increasing trend.”

The global average hasn’t been updated for march yet, my bet is that it will show a slowdown like the march mauna loa co2 does, and my other bet is that yes this is probably due to la nina.

So what does la nina do in terms of Earth’s heat? This is my understanding, likely wrong, and it would be great if someone could correct it:

La Nina causes heat to be pulled from the upper ocean to lower depths (not too deep though) and as a result the cooler upper ocean pulls heat from the atmosphere too.

The result of all of this is that the Earth as a whole hasn’t lost any energy because of la nina. It’s just that the energy has been pushed deeper. So the surface of the Earth and the lower atmosphere are cooler.

When the la nina passes this is marked by heat transfering to the upper ocean from deeper (not too deep), and the warmer upper ocean also warms the atmosphere.

So this is no external change to Earth’s energy, it is simply an internal movement of energy.

Although one question I have is how does la nina affect the radiative emission of the Earth? If the Earth is cooler during la nina then it must emit less (assuming increased albedo isn’t significant enough to negate that). If it emits less and is absorbing about the same then doesn’t this imply the Earth is gaining more energy during a la nina than at other times?

In a way then my visualization of la nina would be like a big sucker under the ocean drawing more energy into the Earth system, while an el nino would be doing the opposite and pushing energy out of the Earth system.

Or have I got it wrong and in actual fact the magnitude of enso events in temperature + geographical coverage are too insignificant to temporarly alter the radiative balance of the earth significantly?

Or have I got it wrong another way?

• Lost and Confused

Chris O’Neill, this is getting to the point of absurdity. First, the second and third quote are not in that paper, but rather in a link given by the paper. I point this out as it was a source of some confusion for me, as I was actually reading the paper. Second, and far more importantly, that “test” was not performed in MBH98, nor is there anything in MBH98 which would suggest claims of robustness are restricted to 1750-1980. Indeed, the quote provided from MBH98 refers to the entire reconstruction. You are making a false claim by saying, “What probably confused you was that in MBHs test, they were just testing in a period when there were plenty of dendro and non-dendro indicators available, specifically 1750-1980 (look at the graph)…” as the section referenced in MBH98 clearly does not simply look at 1750-1980.

Also Chris, it is quite annoying to have someone make an argument, then immediately move on to a different one when it is shown false, without ever admitting it, as you have just done with the inclusion/exclusion point. It is considered proper to admit one’s mistakes before backpedaling. That is, unless you are somehow standing by your position there, and simply chose not to respond.

• Lost and Confused

Hank Roberts, the sentence “Clearly it is not” is referring to the reconstruction, and whether or not it is (largely) the same with and without the dendroclimatic indicators.

I honestly thought this was clear, given the sentence before was, “For it to be robust to the inclusion of dendroclimatic indicators, it must be (largely) the same with and without them.”

• Hank Roberts

And what is “clearly” to you?
What is “(largely) the same” and where is it?
What does that mean?
Something you see with your eyes?
A statistical significance calculation?