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GLOBAL WARMING

—an hir series—

 

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5

Climategate: Are IPCC scientists guilty of willful deceit?

Historical and Investigative Research – 17 July 2014
by Francisco Gil-White
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The Climategate scandal erupted when thousands of emails of important IPCC scientists were hacked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at University of East Anglia. These email exchanges are troubling, for they appear to confirm what many skeptics had charged: that IPCC scientists are playing a political game, rather than doing science.

  Introduction

  Climategate : some inconvenient emails

  Long before the Climategate emails: a pattern of dishonesty

The ‘warming’ of Antarctica

The ‘hockey stick’

Where did Phil Jones’ data go?

How did the media react to Climategate?

 

 

 

Introduction

Is it incompetence or dishonesty? The question must be asked.

Al Gore and the IPCC have been arguing for the ‘anthropogenic’ global warming (AGW) hypothesis, according to which human-produced CO2 is responsible for current warming trends. But there is a problem.

In the climax of his IPCC-advised movie, An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore proudly presented his ‘best’ evidence—650,000 years of climate history—backwards. Strutting before a giant graph of the ups and downs of temperature and CO2 (as reconstructed from the Antarctic ice-core record) he claimed: “When there is more carbon dioxide, the temperature gets warmer.” False. The temperature always rises before CO2—hundreds of years before. CO2 is a consequence of temperature changes, not the cause (Part 2).

Al Gore and the IPCC got it exactly backwards. Is this incompetence or dishonesty?

In science all relevant hypotheses must be examined. Here, incompetence is the most relevant. Why? Because relevance follows from the current state of the culture.

In our culture, a media-supported bias holds that only the psychiatrically paranoid will imagine power elites colluding to deceive us. Hence, a self-preservation instinct will lead us to propose first that Al Gore (almost president of the world superpower), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (a creation of the world’s top power elites), fumbled out of sheer incompetence.

But there is a problem.

This is not rocket science. It isn’t even climate science. It is a question of reading one simple graph and noticing which of two curves rises first—temperature or CO2.

Let’s put that in context.

According to the media, IPCC scientists are the world’s ‘best.’ Some of them sat on Al Gore’s ‘Science Advisory Board,’ and their job was to keep his movie honest. Making a movie takes time: there is screenplay creation, storyboard work, shooting, and post-production, all of which involves planning, review, and editing sessions in iterated cycles. So in all this time, according to the incompetence hypothesis, IPCC geniuses failed to notice that the scientific climax of An Inconvenient Truth, which would showcase Al Gore strutting before a gigantic graph, would in fact present the key evidence backwards, as though it supported the idea of man-made global warming when in fact it refutes it.

Or else they didn’t think to mention it. Or else they can’t read a simple graph either.

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01706/ipcc_1706109c.jpg

IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri and Al Gore
accepting the Nobel Peace Prize

To avoid certain social consequences you may feel almost physically compelled to accept the incompetence hypothesis anyway. That’s fine. But here is the logical implication: If IPCC scientists are this incompetent you shouldn’t believe a word they say about climate.

If you dare to consider the alternative, the next question is this: Can we document a pattern of willful deception? It appears we can.


Climategate : Some inconvenient emails


In 2009 more than 1000 emails stolen from the servers at the Climatic Research Center (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (in the UK) were released on the internet for public perusal. The resulting scandal was called Climategate.


Three examples of the CRU emails that caused concern.

Why a scandal? Two reasons.

First, the emails were interpreted by many as evidence of unethical behavior by CRU scientists.

Second, the most important scientists involved in producing IPCC reports show a very considerable overlap with the scientists working at, or closely involved with, the CRU. As climate scientist Tim Ball puts it in his book The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science, “the IPCC and CRU are essentially the same organization.”[1]

Among other things, the exposed emails reveal conversations between CRU/IPCC scientists about how to:

1)     shut skeptics out of the IPCC process;

2)     impede skeptical examination of the data used in IPCC reports; and

3)     exert control over the peer-review process to ensure that skeptics will not get published in the most prestigious journals.

As the Wall Street Journal reported:

“The emails include discussions of apparent efforts to make sure that reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], a United Nations group that monitors climate science, include their own [i.e. CRU] views and exclude others.”[2]

Notice: it is precisely because of the close identity between CRU and IPCC that CRU scientists have the power to shut dissenting views out of IPCC reports.

The WSJ continues:

“In addition, [the exposed] emails show that climate scientists declined to make their data available to scientists whose views they disagreed with.”

And then there is the issue of peer review.

You may have heard that the IPCC relies on peer-reviewed scientific work. This has been overstated; we’ve seen embarrassing episodes—such as the claim that Himalayan glaciers would soon melt—in which the IPCC was found to rely on nothing more than alarmist rumor, with zero science—peer-reviewed or otherwise—behind it.[3] But even for IPCC claims based on peer-reviewed papers, a problem remains.

In one of the exposed emails, as reported by the Wall Street Journal,

“Phil Jones, the director of the East Anglia climate center [CRU], suggested to climate scientist Michael Mann of Penn State University that skeptics’ research was unwelcome: We ‘will keep them out somehow -- even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!’ ”

What do Jones and Mann seek to redefine? What is the traditional meaning of ‘peer review’?

When a scientist submits a paper for consideration to a scientific journal, his or her peers (other scientists in the relevant field) comment on its merits to decide whether it should be published. Those who comment must be independent of those whom they evaluate, otherwise personal and ideological bias (which may result in undue favoritism or contrarianism) will mar what should be an objective effort to find errors and recommend solutions. For this reason ‘peer review’ is often conducted anonymously.

It is generally considered that peer-review produces better-quality results, and so the ‘peer review literature’ has higher prestige than the body of articles, chapters, and books that have not undergone this process. But this can cut both ways. When a paper appears in a peer-reviewed journal, especially if it is very prestigious, the psychological impact on the reader—who assumes it has been checked and vetted by the most competent experts—is considerable. Prestigious peer-review produces trust. So if the ‘peer-review’ process can be corrupted, then even outright lies may come to be generally accepted as ‘quality science’—perhaps even as a ‘scientific consensus.’

It appears that CRU/IPCC climate scientists—just as CRU director Phil Jones promised to Michael Mann (perhaps the most influential voice in IPCC reports)—indeed have enough power to redefine the meaning of ‘peer review.’


What are global warming skeptics
really saying?

Because of repeated attacks against skeptics in the media, many believe that skeptics are making a number of statements when in fact they are not. Please consult our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Global Warming Skeptics:

·         Are skeptics defending the oil companies? No!

·         Do skeptics deny the existence of serious environmental problems that demand our attention? No!

·         Are skeptics saying that the world’s top climate scientists are wrong? No!

·         Do skeptics deny global warming as such? No!

·         Do skeptics deny the “greenhouse effect”? No!

·         Do skeptics deny that CO2 is a “greenhouse gas”? No!

·         Do skeptics deny that atmospheric temperature and CO2 are causally linked? No!

As requested by two US congressional committees, a team of statisticians led by Dr. Edward J. Wegman performed a network analysis of the IPCC. They found that a small circle of scientists co-author the key papers that the IPCC relies on, and these same few also ‘peer-review’ their own papers and approve them for publication.[4]

Beyond this, CRU/IPCC scientists appear to have considerable power over who gets published in the most prestigious peer-reviewed journals related to climate. Donna Laframboise, author of an investigation into IPCC corruption, comments as follows:

“ ‘We’re supposed to trust the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) because much of the research on which it relies was published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. But what happens when the people who are in charge of these journals are the same ones who write IPCC reports?’ ”[5]

As Laframboise documents, several IPCC scientists are also editors, or else on the editorial board, of the prestigious Journal of Climate.[5] But their influence is much broader. As an example, Tim Ball quotes Climategate emails to showcase the confidence with which CRU/IPCC scientists discussed how to stop anything they didn’t like from getting published in Climate Research.[6] In this series we have seen that IPCC influence may have compromised—at least on climate-related issues—the peer-review process at Nature, the most prestigious scientific journal in the world (Part 3).

What are the implications of all this?

Science works (when it does) because scientists agree to do two things:

1)     Make their own findings public so that others can try to find error.

2)     Do their best to find error in the unpublished and published work of others.

But when governments create powerful organizations claiming to speak for the entire scientific community (e.g. IPCC), and the favored handful of scientists within such organizations 1) get to pronounce themselves on the quality of their own work and approve it for publication, 2) refuse to share their data with critics, and 3) use their power to silence dissenting voices, this is not science but the return of State-imposed religious dogma.

One symptom is that skeptics of the IPCC-supported view are called heretics—pardon me, ‘deniers.’ This is not the language of science.

Another symptom is that IPCC scientists appear quite reluctant to debate skeptics in public.

At Universidad del Medio Ambiente (Mexico), my colleagues and I tried to host a debate on the AGW hypothesis. We had no trouble getting skeptics to agree. And yet, as one of these skeptics—a prominent geoscientist at Mexico’s National University (UNAM)—explained: “This will never happen.” Why not? Because proponents of the AGW hypothesis, he told us, will not debate skeptics in public. He was right.

Neither does Al Gore debate skeptics, nor do presenters trained by his Climate Reality Project (Part 4).

Capable, confident, and honest scientists don’t collude with Power to corrupt ‘peer review,’ they don’t present their ‘best’ evidence backwards (see Part 2), and they don’t run scared from ‘deniers.’


Long before the Climategate emails: a pattern of dishonesty


The media-defined ‘Climategate’ scandal is limited to the CRU emails exposed in late 2009. The real Climategate, much broader, involves issues that came to light long before that and which are quite sufficient, by themselves, to question the honesty of CRU/IPCC scientists.

The ‘warming’ of Antarctica


Antarctica will not cooperate. It isn’t just the ice cores. IPCC computer simulations have Antarctica warming, but satellite data show it breaking ice-growth records year on year. For the IPCC, this is a problem.

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02642/antarctica_2642820b.jpg

Antarctica: Cold, and getting colder.

One way to ‘fix’ it is to pretend that Antarctica doesn’t exist and raise hackles instead over the loss of sea ice in the Arctic, as if Arctic local weather were the same thing as global warming. The IPCC—and its supporting mainstream media—have done quite a bit of that.

But Eric Steig went one better.

Steig is a “University of Washington isotope geochemist …[who] reviewed the movie [An Inconvenient Truth] for… RealClimate,”[7] the very website created by CRU/IPCC scientists to ‘educate’ journalists (see Part 2 and Part 4). Steig’s review gives Al Gore high marks, and especially—get this—for his discussion of Antarctica.

In early 2009, Eric Steig and colleagues published a paper claiming to show, on the basis of surface-weather-station data, that Antarctica was (really) warming. This made headlines. And “Newsweek’s Sharon Begley,” who takes dictation from RealClimate (see Part 4), “crowed [that it]... would really be one in the eye for the ‘deniers’ and ‘contrarians.’ ”

Great news for the IPCC—until, that is, “a good many experts began to examine just what new evidence had been used to justify this dramatic finding.” After all, Antarctica has almost no surface weather stations, so where did the study’s data come from? Steig and co-authors, it turns out, had programmed a computer, “by a formula not yet revealed..., to estimate the data those missing weather stations would have come up with if they had existed.”[8]

That’s a novel way to do science. No data? Make it up.

As it turns out, “among the members of Steig’s team was Michael Mann.” Remember him? It was to Mann, as you may recall, that CRU director Phil Jones promised to redefine the meaning of peer-review. Consider it redefined: Michael Mann’s made-up data made the cover of the world’s most prestigious peer-reviewed science journal: Nature (see also Part 3).

The ‘hockey stick’


This same Michael Mann, the Sunday Telegraph explains further, “is the author of the ‘hockey stick,’ the most celebrated of all attempts by the warmists to rewrite the scientific evidence to promote their cause.”

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2010/09/22/business/hockey/hockey-blogSpan.jpg

Mann’s ‘hockey stick’ graph, so called because the flat temperatures
shown for the last thousand years, plus the sharp rise shown
for recent times, give it that appearance.

Now, first, a bit of context.

If you want to claim that current warming is ‘anthropogenic,’ which is to say a consequence of human-produced CO2, it helps if late 20th c. temperatures are the warmest on record, because humans were not burning ‘fossil fuels’ way back in the Middle Ages. Conversely, if the Middle Ages were warmer than today’s temperatures, as (literally) thousands of converging scientific studies argue, then it would mean that the planet hardly needs us to burn petroleum in order to get this warm.

So, explains the Sunday Telegraph, “the greatest embarrassment for the believers in man-made global warming is the fact that the world was significantly warmer in the Middle Ages than now.” (They were making wine in Northern England!)

“ ‘We must get rid of the Medieval Warm Period,’ as one contributor to the IPCC famously said in an unguarded moment. It was Dr Mann who duly obliged by getting his computer-model to produce a graph shaped like a hockey stick, eliminating the medieval warming and showing recent temperatures curving up to an unprecedented high.

This instantly became the warmists’ chief icon, and [was] made the centrepiece of the IPCC’s 2001 report. But Mann’s selective use of data and the flaws in his computer model were then so devastatingly torn apart that it has become the most discredited artefact in the history of science.”[8]

So it’s true, global warming is Mann-made (but watch the spelling).

The exposure of the ‘hockey stick’ is in itself an interesting story. As Ian Plimer, Australia’s top geologist, explains:

“It took nearly eight years and direct action from the US House of Representatives before the data and the computer programs for the 1998 Mann et al. ‘hockey stick’ were released.”[9]

(Note: anything not attached to a specific footnote in what follows comes from ftn [9], where we reproduce Ian Plimer’s learned account.)

Question: Why was such extraordinary pressure necessary? Because Mann simply refused to let others examine his work. But why did direct action from the US Congress work? Because Mann’s research had been supported by US federal funds.

Once Mann’s data and methods were finally made public, two Canadians—Steve McIntyre, a mining expert with a background in mathematics and statistics, and Ross McKitrick, a Ph.D. in economics—found all sorts of problems with it.

For example, the data before AD 1421 were based on just one alpine tree. And “ ‘The flawed computer program can even pull out spurious hockey stick shapes from lists of trendless random numbers.’ ” In other words, it doesn’t matter what you feed Michael Mann’s program, it will spit out a ‘hockey stick’ graph!

As a result of McIntyre and McKitrick’s criticisms, concern and political posturing predictably grew in the US Congress, and so, as Plimer explains,

“the House Science Committee asked the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to evaluate criticism of Mann’s work and to assess the larger issue of historical climate data reconstructions.”

That was not all.

“The House Energy and Commerce Committee appointed an eminent team of statisticians led by Dr. Edward Wegman to investigate. The conclusions of the Wegman investigation were confirmed by another independent statistical analysis of Mann’s data.”

Wegman and colleagues, as they explain in their report, were asked to determine “whether or not the criticisms of Mann et al.”—especially those of McIntyre and McKitrick—“are valid and if so, what are the implications.”[10]

Wegman et al. concluded as follows:

“Overall, our committee believes that Dr Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis.” (p.7)

“... the criticisms of McIntyre and McKitrick, as well as those of other authors mentioned are indeed valid.” (p.26) [10]

At US congressional hearings, members of the National Academy of Sciences team were asked to comment on the conclusions of the Wegman team:

Chairman [Joe] Barton: 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.

Dr Bloomfield [also from NAS]: Our committee reviewed the methodology used by Dr Mann and his co-workers and we felt that some of the choices were inappropriate. We had much the same misgivings about his work that was documented at much greater length by Dr Wegman.

In short, Mann’s temperature reconstruction, according to which late 20th c. temperatures are at historical highs, and which became a central pillar of early IPCC reports claiming that recent global warming is human-induced, is worthless.

How did Mann’s work become so prominent?

Notice what US Rep. Joe Barton says in the letter he sent to Michael Mann, requesting that Mann make public his data and methods:

“We understand that you were a lead author of the IPCC chapter that assessed and reported your own studies, and that two study co-authors were also contributing authors to this very same chapter.”[11]

We see here, once again, how Michael Mann benefits from Phil Jones’ redefinition of scientific peer review—precisely the problem documented by Wegman’s network analysis (mentioned earlier).

But that’s not the end of it. Can you guess which journal published Mann’s ‘hockey stick’ paper? That’s right: Nature.

Following the analysis by McIntyre and McKitrick, as Ian Plimer remarks,

“It seemed clear that no reviewer of the Mann et al. paper in Nature had requested the original data upon which the paper was based, for otherwise Nature would not have published a paper using such incomplete data. This is not the place to speculate on whether this was a lapse in editorial standards or whether Nature was following another agenda. However, extraordinary conclusions and the dismissal of thousands of previous scientific studies on the Medieval Warming and Little Ice Age should have stimulated reviewers and editors of Nature to view the primary data and calculations as a normal part of scientific due diligence.”

(In Part 3 we take a closer look at the “lapse in editorial standards” at Nature, which extends even to lapses in the examination of the prose, allowing all sorts of absurdities and illogic so long as a paper is pro-IPCC).

It was in the context of such embarrassments that some IPCC scientists decided they would rather defect than participate in what they consider a corrupt process. In 2008, Vincent Gray, “expert reviewer” for the IPCC, resigned in disgust and published an exposé of what he claims is widespread and fraudulent manipulation of data at the IPCC. In his exposé Gray charges that “dubious observations and some genuine science has been distorted and ‘spun’ to support a global campaign to limit human emissions of certain greenhouse gases which has no scientific basis.”[12]

Where did Phil Jones’ data go?


The work of Phil Jones, former director of the CRU (he stepped down as a result of the Climategate scandal), is crucial to the temperature reconstruction now known as the ‘hockey stick,’ and in 2003 he co-authored a paper with Michael Mann on the last two-thousand years of temperatures.

In February 2010, in the wake of the Climategate email scandal, amid calls for him to make his data available for public inspection, Jones reported that he had lost it. The Daily Mail writes:

“The academic at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ affair, whose raw data is crucial to the theory of climate change, has admitted that he has trouble ‘keeping track’ of the information.

Colleagues say that the reason Professor Phil Jones has refused Freedom of Information requests is that he may have actually lost the relevant papers.

...The data is crucial to the famous ‘hockey stick graph’ used by climate change advocates to support the theory.”[13]

Phil Jones made some other interesting statements.

“Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now—suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.”

It is now 2014, and still no warming, so it is now closer to two-decades of what is now referred to as the ‘global warming pause,’ which has taken place right in the middle of dramatic growth in human-produced CO2 emissions (see Part 0).

Let me rush to assure my readers that losing raw data is perfectly common. Scientists are very sloppy this way, so in itself this should not raise an eyebrow. However, it is one thing to lose raw data and quite another to lose the reference to the data.

Consider the case of a historian. A historian will often rely on a great deal of archival research. This involves traveling to the archives and making copies of the documents, which are then used to support an argument. The historian may or may not keep those pieces of paper in his office forever. But even if he loses them, it would be absurd for him not to write down where they came from. After all, the historian is professionally required to say, in his work, where each piece of evidence came from, and to attach a reference, so that other historians can consult the same material. It is troubling that Jones, despite repeated requests, has refused to disclose which weather stations his data came from.[14]

According to the BBC journalist who interviewed Jones and his colleagues,

“[Jones] had been collating tens of thousands of pieces of data from around the world to produce a coherent record of temperature change.

That material has been used to produce the ‘hockey stick graph’ which is relatively flat for centuries before rising steeply in recent decades.

…[C]olleagues of Professor Jones said ‘his office is piled high with paper, fragments from over the years, tens of thousands of pieces of paper, and they suspect what happened was he took in the raw data to a central database and then let the pieces of paper go because he never realised that 20 years later he would be held to account over them.’ ”

Again, these pieces of paper in themselves don’t matter. What matters is making a record of the provenance of the data. There is no special difficulty in making such annotations in “a central database.” None at all. And such reference-keeping is elementary so that the most basic principle of science—independent reproducibility of results—can be ensured. Without independent reproducibility, we are asking for faith, and thus placing ourselves automatically outside of scientific practice.

CRU scientists may protest all they want that Jones never imagined anybody would ask for his pieces of paper, but this is a red herring. They cannot pretend that keeping a record of the provenance of the data is not crucial to the very practice of science.


How did the media react to Climategate?


Almost immediately after the Climategate scandal broke, Newsweek’s Sharon Begley came out with a December 2009 headline: “THE TRUTH ABOUT ‘Climategate’: Hacked e-mails have compromised scientists—but not the science itself.” So the scientists are untrustworthy but you should still trust their ‘science.’ That’s an interesting claim.

Begley writes:

“Those of you who know I consider the science of anthropogenic global warming solid probably expect me to explain that the hacked e-mails don’t mean what they seem, and that, even if they did, it would not undercut the multiple lines of evidence showing that greenhouse-gas emissions are causing climate change. All true.”[15]

Again the same curious reasoning. The Climategate scandal concerns the allegedly dishonest provenance of “the multiple lines of evidence” which purportedly support the claim that “greenhouse-gas emissions are causing climate change.” And yet Begley would have you believe that even if the hacked emails “mean what they seem”—i.e. that this is junk science—you should still believe CRU/IPCC scientists?

Begley has advice for climate scientists who, after having their emails exposed, are now the butt of jokes or the target of vitriol:

“respond to misinformation with physics, data, and analysis as, for instance, the RealClimate blog does.”

Ah yes: RealClimate. We showed in Part 4 that all Begley does is repeat anything she reads in RealClimate, the website (did I mention this before?) created by the very CRU/IPCC scientists whose emails were exposed to ‘educate’ journalists (see also Part 2).

But I know what you are thinking. That’s Newsweek.

What about a serious magazine—so serious you may socially index your astuteness by announcing that you read it? So focused on research that it has Intelligence Units on all sorts of things? So bold that every article is an editorial? So clever it is full of mordant British wit? So authoritative its anonymous oracles are penned by Ph.D.’s in economics? What about the Economist?

In an article titled “Mail-strom; Climate change” the Economist writes:

“Is global warming a trick? That is what some saw in a huge batch of e-mails and documents taken from the servers of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, in England, and put up anonymously on the web. The result has been a field day for those sceptical of the idea of man-made climate change, who have combed through them, pouncing and pronouncing on snippets that seem to show scientific malfeasance.”[16]

This is careful prose. On a quick read the style may suggest impartiality, but slowing down we can appreciate the art of subtlety: “pouncing and pronouncing” is a rush to judgment; “snippets” are brief remarks taken completely out of context; and if they only “seem to show scientific malfeasance” then there is no real malfeasance.

Next:

“The CRU specialises in studies of climates past. For parts of the past where there were no thermometers to consult, such studies use proxy data, such as tree rings. Reconstructions based on these tend to show that the planet’s temperature has risen over the 20th century to heights unprecedented for centuries and perhaps millennia.”

Well, sure they do. But do you remember what two independent teams of scientists concluded once the US Congress finally forced Michael Mann, after 8 years of pulling teeth, to share his data and methods? They concluded his work was worthless. And this matters because Mann’s ‘hockey stick’ is the CRU’s reconstruction of temperature, partly elaborated with CRU director Phil Jones’ data, reportedly lost (see above).

Why doesn’t the Economist share all this with readers? Instead, the Economist endorses the “tree-ring reconstruction known as the ‘hockey stick,’ which shows unprecedented 20th-century warming,” and which was “featured prominently in the 2001 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).” For good measure, we are told that tree rings are

“...far from the only evidence for believing in climate change as a man-made problem, but they are important, and the sharp uptick they show has taken on iconic value.”

What is this ample evidence—beyond Michael Mann’s tree ring—that establishes “climate change as a man-made problem.” The Economist doesn’t say. It cannot be the Antarctic ice cores, according to which CO2 concentrations have nothing to do with major planetary temperature shifts (Part 2). And neither can it be the multiple converging lines of evidence, reported in thousands of scientific papers, that point to a ‘Medieval Warm Period’ whose existence roundly denies that late-20th c. temperatures are shockingly high.

This Economist piece reads more like a PR job than journalism. The British magazine condemns

“...the eagerness with which bloggers fell on one of the stolen e-mails, sent in 1999 by Phil Jones, the CRU’s director: ‘I’ve just completed Mike’s [Michael Mann’s] Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline [in temperature].’ Trickery associated with Dr Mann was catnip to the sceptics. But Dr Jones has clarified that ‘The word trick was used here colloquially as in a clever thing to do. It is ludicrous to suggest that it refers to anything untoward.’ The ‘hiding’ concerned the decision to leave out a set of tree-ring-growth data that had stopped reflecting local temperature changes. That alteration in growth pattern is strange, and unexplained, but eliminating it is not sinister.”

A real journalist will examine statements from both sides and evaluate against the evidence. A PR hack will simply take a statement by Phil Jones in his own defense as a proper and sufficient answer to the accusations against him (“Dr Jones has clarified...”) and will editorialize—without investigating—that what Phil Jones did is “not sinister,” stating also that “none of this is evidence of fraud.”

Don’t forget, however, that the “trick” mentioned was meant to “hide the decline” in temperature.

In the same style as Newsweek’s Begley, the Economist goes on to say that even if some criticisms made by skeptics are reasonable, none of them affect the fundamental claim of man-made global warming (of course not—it’s a matter of faith). For good measure, the Economist adds:

“[T]he idea of anthropogenic climate change rests on a great deal more than just tree-ring records, useful as they are for providing context to the current warming. A spate of recent claims of global cooling, for example, rely on comparing 1998, the second-hottest year in the modern record (going to 1880), with 2008, which was relatively cooler. Yet, according to the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, a part of NASA, America’s space agency, 2008 was the ninth-hottest year on record. 2009 is shaping up to be the sixth-hottest. All of the ten hottest years recorded have come since 1997. And retreating Arctic sea ice provides even more visible data to support conclusions of warming.”

Oh boy.

First of all, local weather in the Arctic, as pointed out earlier, does not make an argument for global warming if Antarctica is simultaneously breaking records for ice-growth (see above).

Second, let’s say we believe NASA’s numbers. Do they support the Economist’s argument? They do not. The Economist is not (merely) asking us to accept that there is global warming but that it is “anthropogenic.” Thus, even if it were true that “all of the ten hottest years recorded have come since 1997,” I would say: so what? To document temperature trends is not to show that humans have anything to do with them. But this is a tried-and-true tactic: whenever anybody points out that the evidence does not support man-made warming, alarmists shout hysterically that it is getting really warm.

And guess what? It just ain’t that warm. Everybody—even CRU/IPCC scientists—now recognizes that there has been no global warming since 1997-98 (see Part 0). So why was NASA making such claims at the time of this Economist article?

A report by the Science and Public Policy Institute explains the problems with NASA’s numbers:

“Recent revelations from the Climategate emails, originating from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia showed how all the data centers, most notably NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] and NASA, conspired in the manipulation of global temperature records to suggest that temperatures in the 20th century rose faster than, in reality, they actually did.”[17]

Are scientists at NASA and NOAA also compromised?

 

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Consider that “Gavin Schmidt, a scientist at NASA,” as the Economist itself shares, is “the keeper of realclimate.org, an anti-sceptic blog.” (In the Cimategate emails he appears as the one who came up with the website’s name [18]). But Schmidt is no mere “scientist at NASA.” As of June 2014 he is director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which studies climate.[19]

Of course, RealClimate is not a one-man show, and at the US congressional hearings in which Michael Mann was called to testify, it was in fact referred to as “Dr. Mann’s RealClimate.org website.”[20]

Anyway, that’s one heck of a blog. How many other blogs get free publicity on Newsweek and the Economist?

And just how much power is behind it? Let’s review. This blog was created by a small handful of CRU scientists who manage it together with a small handful of NASA scientists. This tiny group has tremendous censorship power at the most important climate journals, and at Nature, the most prestigious scientific journal in the world. They also decisively influence what the mainstream journalists say. Lest I forget, this tiny group determines what the all-important Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change prints in its reports.

The alleged international scientific ‘consensus’ looks more like a small cabal with monopoly power—the power to shut others out. And yet the media has consistently represented the skeptics as the ones with Great Power behind them. Does that make sense?

We turn to this next.

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NEXT: Part 6 | Who holds the balance of power? Skeptics or IPCC?

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Footnotes and Further Reading
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[1] Ball, Tim (2014-01-17). The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science (Kindle Locations 2380-2381). Stairway Press. Kindle Edition.

[2] “Climate Emails Stoke Debate: Scientists' Leaked Correspondence Illustrates Bitter Feud over Global Warming”; Wall Street Journal; NOVEMBER 23, 2009; by Keith Johnson
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB125883405294859215

[3] In an article titled “World misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown” the Sunday Times (London) reported as follows:

“Two years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a benchmark report that was claimed to incorporate the latest and most detailed research into the impact of global warming. A central claim was the world’s glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035.

In the past few days the scientists behind the warning have admitted that it was based on a news story in the New Scientist, a popular science journal, published eight years before the IPCC’s 2007 report.

It has also emerged that the New Scientist report was itself based on a short telephone interview with Syed Hasnain, a little-known Indian scientist then based at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.

Hasnain has since admitted that the claim was ‘speculation’ and was not supported by any formal research. If confirmed it would be one of the most serious failures yet seen in climate research. The IPCC was set up precisely to ensure that world leaders had the best possible scientific advice on climate change.

Professor Murari Lal, who oversaw the chapter on glaciers in the IPCC report, said he would recommend that the claim about glaciers be dropped: ‘If Hasnain says officially that he never asserted this, or that it is a wrong presumption, than I will recommend that the assertion about Himalayan glaciers be removed from future IPCC assessments.’

The IPCC’s reliance on Hasnain’s 1999 interview has been highlighted by Fred Pearce, the journalist who carried out the original interview for the New Scientist. Pearce said he rang Hasnain in India in 1999 after spotting his claims in an Indian magazine. Pearce said: ‘Hasnain told me then that he was bringing a report containing those numbers to Britain. The report had not been peer reviewed or formally published in a scientific journal and it had no formal status so I reported his work on that basis.

‘Since then I have obtained a copy and it does not say what Hasnain said. In other words it does not mention 2035 as a date by which any Himalayan glaciers will melt. However, he did make clear that his comments related only to part of the Himalayan glaciers. not the whole massif.’

The New Scientist report was apparently forgotten until 2005 when WWF cited it in a report called An Overview of Glaciers, Glacier Retreat, and Subsequent Impacts in Nepal, India and China. The report credited Hasnain’s 1999 interview with the New Scientist. But it was a campaigning report rather than an academic paper so it was not subjected to any formal scientific review. Despite this it rapidly became a key source for the IPCC when Lal and his colleagues came to write the section on the Himalayas.

When finally published, the IPCC report did give its source as the WWF study but went further, suggesting the likelihood of the glaciers melting was ‘very high’. The IPCC defines this as having a probability of greater than 90%.

The report read: ‘Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate.’

However, glaciologists find such figures inherently ludicrous, pointing out that most Himalayan glaciers are hundreds of feet thick and could not melt fast enough to vanish by 2035 unless there was a huge global temperature rise. The maximum rate of decline in thickness seen in glaciers at the moment is 2-3 feet a year and most are far lower.

Professor Julian Dowdeswell, director of the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University, said: ‘Even a small glacier such as the Dokriani glacier is up to 120 metres [394ft] thick. A big one would be several hundred metres thick and tens of kilometres long. The average is 300 metres thick so to melt one even at 5 metres a year would take 60 years. That is a lot faster than anything we are seeing now so the idea of losing it all by 2035 is unrealistically high.’

Some scientists have questioned how the IPCC could have allowed such a mistake into print. Perhaps the most likely reason was lack of expertise. Lal himself admits he knows little about glaciers. ‘I am not an expert on glaciers, and I have not visited the region so I have to rely on credible published research. The comments in the WWF report were made by a respected Indian scientist and it was reasonable to assume he knew what he was talking about,’ he said.

Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, has previously dismissed criticism of the Himalayas claim as ‘voodoo science’.

Last week the IPCC refused to comment so it has yet to explain how someone who admits to little expertise on glaciers was overseeing such a report. Perhaps its one consolation is that the blunder was spotted by climate scientists who quickly made it public.

The lead role in that process was played by Graham Cogley, a geographer from Trent University in Ontario, Canada, who had long been unhappy with the IPCC’s finding.

He traced the IPCC claim back to the New Scientist and then contacted Pearce. Pearce then re-interviewed Hasnain, who confirmed that his 1999 comments had been ‘speculative’, and published the update in the New Scientist.

Cogley said: ‘The reality, that the glaciers are wasting away, is bad enough. But they are not wasting away at the rate suggested by this speculative remark and the IPCC report. The problem is that nobody who studied this material bothered chasing the trail back to the original point when the claim first arose. It is ultimately a trail that leads back to a magazine article and that is not the sort of thing you want to end up in an IPCC report.’

Pearce said the IPCC’s reliance on the WWF was ‘immensely lazy’ and the organisation need to explain itself or back up its prediction with another scientific source. Hasnain could not be reached for comment.

The revelation is the latest crack to appear in the scientific consensus over climate change. It follows the so-called climate-gate scandal, where British scientists apparently tried to prevent other researchers from accessing key data. Last week another row broke out when the Met Office criticised suggestions that sea levels were likely to rise 1.9m by 2100, suggesting much lower increases were likely.”

SOURCE: “World misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown”; THE SUNDAY TIMES; January 17, 2010; by Jonathan Leake and Chris Hastings

[4] Geologist Ian Plimer, twice winner of Australia’s highest scientific honor, the Eureka Prize, writes the following in his book Heaven and Earth: Global Warming, the Missing Science, (pp. 89-98):

“The network analysis of Mann and 42 other authors by Wegman’s statisticians shows diagrammatically how they formed a closed coterie, who not only co-authored but also refereed each other’s publications. This phenomenon is, of course, not new, but has never been so powerful in world affairs.

The report finds that:

…A social network analysis revealed that the small community of paleoclimate researchers appear to review each other’s work, and reuse many of the same data sets, which calls into question the independence of peer review and temperature reconstructions.

It is clear that many of the proxies are re-used in most of the papers. It is not surprising that the papers would obtain similar results and so cannot claim to be independent verifications.

…Authors of policy-related science assessments should not assess their own work. It is especially the case that authors of policy-related documents like the IPCC report, Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis should not be the same people that constructed the academic papers. Policy-related climate science should have a more intensive level of scrutiny and review involving statisticians.”

SOURCE: Plimer, I. (2009). Heaven and Earth: Global Warming, the Missing Science. New York: Taylor Trade Publishing. (pp.89-98).

Those wishing to read the Wegman report in its entirety may consult it here (note: the authors give background on social network analysis in section 2.3 Background on Social Networks, and explain the results of their analysis in Section 5. SOCIAL NETWORK ANALYSIS OF AUTHORSHIPS IN TEMPERATURE RECONSTRUCTIONS):

“AD HOC COMMITTEE REPORT ON THE ‘HOCKEY STICK’ GLOBAL CLIMATE RECONSTRUCTION”, by Edward J. Wegman, George Mason University, David W. Scott, Rice University, and Yasmin H. Said, The Johns Hopkins University. (2006)
http://www.hirhome.com/climate_change/Wegman_Report_to_Congress.pdf

[5] Laframboise is quoted in: Ball, Tim (2014-01-17). The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science (Kindle Locations 2930-2932). Stairway Press. Kindle Edition.

[6] Ball, Tim (2014-01-17). The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science (Kindle Locations 2966-2976). Stairway Press. Kindle Edition.

[7] An Inconvenient Truth | From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_Inconvenient_Truth

[8] From the Sunday Telegraph:

“...[N]othing has been more disconcerting... than the methods used by promoters of the warming cause over the years to plug some of the glaring holes in their scientific argument.

Another example last week was the much-publicised claim, contradicting all previous evidence, that Antarctica, the coldest continent, is in fact warming up, Antarctica has long been a major embarrassment to the warmists. Al Gore and Co may have wanted to scare us that the continent, which contains 90 per cent of ice on the planet, is heating up because that would be the source of all the meltwater which they claim will raise sea levels by 20 feet.

However, to provide their pictures of ice-shelves ‘the size of Texas'’ calving off into the sea, they have had to draw on one tiny region, the Antarctic Peninsula—the only part that has been warming. The vast mass of Antarctica, all satellite evidence has shown, has been getting colder over the past 30 years. Last year’s sea-ice cover was 30 per cent above average.

So it predictably made headlines last week when a new study, from a team led by Professor Eric Steig, claimed to prove that the Antarctic has been heating up after all. The usual supporters were called in to whoop up its historic importance. It was made a cover story by Nature and heavily promoted by the BBC. This, crowed journalists such as Newsweek's Sharon Begley, would really be one in the eye for the ‘deniers’ and ‘contrarians.’

But then a good many experts began to examine just what new evidence had been used to justify this dramatic finding. It turned out that it was produced by a computer model based on combining the satellite evidence since 1979 with temperature readings from surface weather stations.

The problem with Antarctica, though, is that has so few weather stations. So what the computer had been programmed to do, by a formula not yet revealed, was to estimate the data those missing weather stations would have come up with if they had existed. In other words, while confirming that the satellite data have indeed shown the Antarctic as cooling since 1979, the study relied ultimately on pure guesswork, to show that in the past 50 years the continent has warmed—by just one degree Fahrenheit.

One of the first to express astonishment was Dr Kenneth Trenberth, a senior scientist with the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a convinced believer in global warming, who wryly observed ‘it is hard to make data where none exists.’ A disbelieving Ross Hayes, an atmospheric scientist who has visited the Antarctic for Nasa, sent Professor Steig a caustic email ending: ‘With statistics you can make numbers go to any conclusion you want. It saddens me to see members of the scientific community do this for media coverage.’

But it was also noticed that among the members of Steig's team was Michael Mann, author of the ‘hockey stick,’ the most celebrated of all attempts by the warmists to rewrite the scientific evidence to promote their cause. The greatest embarrassment for the believers in man-made global warming is the fact that the world was significantly warmer in the Middle Ages than now. ‘We must get rid of the Medieval Warm Period,’ as one contributor to the IPCC famously said in an unguarded moment. It was Dr Mann who duly obliged by getting his computer-model to produce a graph shaped like a hockey stick, eliminating the medieval warming and showing recent temperatures curving up to an unprecedented high.

This instantly became the warmists’ chief icon, and made the centrepiece of the IPCC’s 2001 report. But Mann’s selective use of data and the flaws in his computer model were then so devastatingly torn apart that it has become the most discredited artefact in the history of science.

The fact that Dr Mann is behind the new study is, alas, all part of an ongoing pattern. But this will not prevent the paper being cited ad nauseam by everyone from the BBC to Al Gore. So, regardless of the science, and until the politicians wake up to how they have been duped, what threatens to become the most costly flight from reality in history will roll remorselessly on its way.”

SOURCE: The Sunday Telegraph (United Kingdom); January 25, 2009 Sunday; SCIENTISTS FIND GAPING HOLES IN POLAR ICE FACTS; by Christopher Booker; 748 words

[9] Plimer, I. (2009). Heaven and Earth: Global Warming, the Missing Science. New York: Taylor Trade Publishing. (pp 89-98, 482)

Ian Plimer is twice winner of Australia’s highest scientific honor, the Eureka Prize. He is professor in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Adelaide and Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne. He is Australia’s best known geologist. Here follow lengthy excerpts from his book, with my comments, concerning the independent analyses of the ‘hockey stick’ graph:

[Quote from Heaven and Earth begins here]

The methodology of science is such that new data and the resulting conclusions are critically analyzed, repeated, refined, or rejected. This ‘hockey stick’ graphic was contrary to conclusions derived from thousands of studies using boreholes in ice, lakes, rivers and oceans, glacial deposits, flood deposits, sea level data, soils, volcanoes, wind blown sand, isotopes, pollen, peat, fossils, cave deposits, agriculture, and contemporary records. When extraordinary conclusions are made, there needs to be extraordinary data in support.

This is exactly what happened with the Mann study. It was demolished on the basis of statistics. Two Canadians, Steven McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, requested the original data from Mann that underpinned his study. This was like extracting teeth. After much bluster, stonewalling and hiding behind the veil of confidentiality, the data was provided in dribs and drabs. The original data set provided for validation and repeatability, a normal process of science, was incomplete. Because US federal funds had been used to support Mann’s study, by law the data had to be made available. In other jurisdictions, it may not be possible to obtain the primary data for government-supported research.

It seemed clear that no reviewer of the Mann et al. paper in Nature had requested the original data upon which the paper was based, for otherwise Nature would not have published a paper using such incomplete data. This is not the place to speculate on whether this was a lapse in editorial standards or whether Nature was following another agenda. However, extraordinary conclusions and the dismissal of thousands of previous scientific studies on the Medieval Warming and Little Ice Age should have stimulated reviewers and editors of Nature to view the primary data and calculations as a normal part of scientific due diligence.

McIntyre and McKitrick found that the Mann data did not produce the claimed results:

“due to collation errors, unjustifiable truncation or extrapolation of source data, obsolete data, geographical location errors, incorrect calculation of principal components and other quality control defects.”

The IPCC used the Mann diagram in 2001 as the central tool to show that human-induced global warming started in the 20th Century. It is clear that Mann’s data used to construct the ‘hockey stick’ was meaningless, that adequate due diligence was not undertaken by the authors, reviewers and editors.

…Mann et al. issued a ‘correction’ later which admitted that their proxy data contained some errors but ‘none of these errors affect our previously published results.’ This means that Mann was quite happy to publish work that he had either not checked or he knew was wrong. Mann was unable and unprepared to argue against the statistics of McIntyre and McKitrick and dogmatically stated that he was correct. He did not address the issue that bristlecone pine growth, his principal data set for his ‘hockey stick,’ was unrelated to temperature.

The ‘hockey stick’ graphic used by the IPCC sent a very misleading message to the public. Furthermore, the 1996 IPCC report showed the Medieval Warming and Little Ice Age. Mann’s ‘hockey stick was used in the IPCC’s 2001 report and the Medieval Warming and Little Ice Age were expunged from the record of modern climates. In the next IPCC report, the Medieval Warming and Little Ice Age mysteriously reappeared.

This suggests that the IPCC knew that the ‘hockey stick’ was invalid. This is a withering condemnation of the IPCC. The ‘hockey stick’ was used as the backdrop for announcements about human-induced climate change, it is still used by Al Gore, and it is still used in talks, on websites and in publications by those claiming that the world is getting warmer due to human activities. Were any of those people who view this graphic told that the data before 1421 AD was based on just one lonely alpine pine tree?

Mann had not released all his data and calculation methods to McIntyre and McKitrick, and was reported in public as stating that he would not be intimidated into disclosing the algorithm by which he obtained his results. This attracted the interest of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee. Its members read the McIntyre and McKitrick articles and became concerned about allegations that Mann had withheld adverse statistical results and that his results depended upon bristlecone pine ring widths, well known to be a questionable measure of temperature. In June 2005, they sent questions to Mann and his co-authors about verification statistics and bristlecone pines, asked Mann for the algorithm he used, and asked pro forma questions about federal funds used in their research. This caused a storm with allegations of intimidation. Various learned societies, none of which had been offended by Mann’s public refusal to provide full disclosure, were outraged that a House committee (representing the taxpayers who had paid for the results) should be trying to find out how Mann derived his results.

A turf war started. The House Science Committee felt its jurisdiction had been impinged upon. After a few months of battles, the House Science Committee asked the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to evaluate criticism of Mann’s work and to assess the larger issue of historical climate data reconstructions. The NAS agreed but only under terms that precluded a direct investigation of the issues that prompted the original dispute – whether Mann et al. had withheld adverse results and whether the data and methodological information necessary for replication were available.

[Quote from Heaven and Earth ends here]

What happened? The NAS assessment essentially agreed that the Mann et al. study was deeply flawed: the ‘hockey stick’ was based on bad science. This is not, however, what the NAS said in the press release, where they suggested that there was no problem with the Mann et al.

Ian Plimer believes that:

[Quote from Heaven and Earth begins here]

“In the political heat, it would not have been politically possible for the NAS to state that the Mann et al. papers were fraudulent, wrong or biased. This would have unstitched the IPCC. However, the detailed NAS report shows extensive criticism of the methodology of Mann and states:

“Some of these criticisms are more relevant than others, but taken together, they are an important aspect of a more general finding of this committee, which is that uncertainties of the published reconstructions have been underestimated.”

The House Energy and Commerce Committee appointed an eminent team of statisticians led by Dr. Edward Wegman to investigate. The conclusions of the Wegman investigation were confirmed by another independent statistical analysis of Mann’s data. Wegman’s committee had some interesting statements about the Mann et al. publication.

“It is important to note the isolation of the paleoclimate community; even though they rely heavily on statistical methods they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community. Additionally, we judge that the sharing of research materials, data and results was haphazardly and grudgingly done. In this case we judge that there was too much reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent. Moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that this community can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility. Overall, our committee believes that Dr Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis.”

It appears that the science of Mann is poorly communicated.

“The papers of Mann et al. in themselves are written in a confusing manner, making it difficult for the reader to discern the actual methodology and what uncertainty is actually associated with these reconstructions. Vague terms such as ‘moderate certainty’ (Mann et al. 1999) give no guidelines to the reader as to how such conclusions should be weighed. While the works do not have supplementary websites, they rely heavily on the reader’s ability to piece together the work and methodology from raw data. This is especially unsettling when the findings of these works are said to have global impact, yet only a small population could truly understand them. Thus, it is no surprise that Mann et al. claim a misunderstanding of their work by McIntyre and McKitrick.”

and

“In their works, Mann et al. describe the possible causes of global climate change in terms of atmospheric forcings, such as anthropogenic, volcanic, or solar forcings. Another questionable aspect of these works is that linear relationships are assumed in all forcing-climate relationships. This is a significantly simplified model for something as complex as the earth’s climate, which most likely has complicated non-loinear cyclical processes on a multi-centennial scale that we do not yet understand. Mann et al. also infer that since there is a part6ial correlation between global mean temperatures in the 20th century and CO2 concentration, greenhouse-gas forcing is the dominant external forcing of the climate system. Osborn and Briffa make a similar statement, where they casually note that evidence for warming also occurs at a period where CO2 concentrations are high. A common phrase among statisticians is correlation does not imply causation. Making conclusive statements without specific findings with regard to atmospheric forcings suggests a lack of scientific rigor and possibly an agenda.”

and

“Specifically, global warming and its potentially negative consequences have been central concerns of both governments and individuals. The ‘hockey stick’ graphic dramatically illustrated the global warming issue and was adopted by the IPCC and many governments as the poster graphic. The graphic’s prominence together with the fact that it is based on incorrect use of PCA puts Dr Mann and his co-authors in a difficult face-saving problem.”

The network analysis of Mann and 42 other authors by Wegman’s statisticians shows diagrammatically how they formed a closed coterie, who not only co-authored but also refereed each other’s publications. This phenomenon is, of course, not new, but has never been so powerful in world affairs.

The report finds that:

Mann et al. misused certain statistical methods in their studies which inappropriately produce ‘hockey stick’ shapes in the temperature history.

The claim that the 1990s were the warmest decade of the millennium could not be substantiated.

The cycle of the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age disappeared from Mann et al. analysis, thereby making it possible to make the claim about the hottest decade.

A social network analysis revealed that the small community of paleoclimate researchers appear to review each other’s work, and reuse many of the same data sets, which calls into question the independence of peer review and temperature reconstructions.

It is clear that many of the proxies are re-used in most of the papers. It is not surprising that the papers would obtain similar results and so cannot claim to be independent verifications.

Although the researchers rely heavily on statistical methods, they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community. The public policy implications of this debate are financially staggering and yet apparently no independent statistical expertise was sought or used.

Authors of policy-related science assessments should not assess their own work. It is especially the case that authors of policy-related documents like the IPCC report, Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis should not be the same people that constructed the academic papers. Policy-related climate science should have a more intensive level of scrutiny and review involving statisticians.

Federal research should involve interdisciplinary teams to avoid narrowly focused discipline research.

Federal research should emphasise fundamental understanding of the mechanisms of climate change and should focus on interdisciplinary teams to avoid narrowly focused discipline research.

While the palaeoclimate reconstruction has gathered much publicity because it reinforces a policy agenda, it does not provide insight and understanding of the physical methods of climate change.

The Chairman of the NAS committee was later asked at the US Senate House Energy and Commerce hearings whether or not the NAS agreed with Wegman’s harsh criticisms.

Chariman [Joe] Barton: 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.
Dr Bloomfield [also from NAS]: Our committee reviewed the methodology used by Dr Mann and his co-workers and we felt that some of the choices were inappropriate. We had much the same misgivings about his work that was documented at much greater length by Dr Wegman.”

[Quote from Heaven and Earth ends here]

Despite the above, Mann claims that the NAS vindicated him!

Now, are we talking about the honest mistakes of a group of 40 spectacularly incompetent palaeoclimate scientists who organize around Mann, or are we talking about deliberate deception? Here is Ian Plimer’s take on this:

[Quote from Heaven and Earth begins here]

In many fields of science, this would have been considered as fraud. In many fields of endeavour, Mann would have been struck off the list of practitioners. In the field of climate studies, he was thrashed in public with a feather and still gainfully practices his art. Mann should be grateful for being dealt with in such a gentle manner, given his rather thuggish behavior in trying to prevent valid criticism being published. I’m sure St Peter will judge Mann accordingly!

A dispassionate reading of Dr Steve McIntyre’s exposure of Mann shows the systematically dishonest manner in which the ‘hockey stick’ graph was used to show that it was far warmer today than in the Medieval Warming. This was adopted as the poster child for climate panic by the IPCC in 2001 and retained in the 2007 report despite having been demolished in the scientific literature. The original work of McIntyre and McKitrick showing that Mann et al. were, at best, misleading has been expanded and independently validated by many others. After reading the history of the ‘hockey stick’ no one could ever again trust the IPCC or the scientists and environmental extremists who author the climate assessments. The IPCC has encouraged a collapse of rigour, objectivity, and honesty that were once the hallmarks of the scientific community. McKitrick stated that had the IPCC undertaken the kind of rigorous review that they boast of:

“they would have discovered that there was an error in a routine calculation step (principal component analysis) that falsely indentified a hockey stick shape as the dominant pattern in the data. The flawed computer program can even pull out spurious hockey stick shapes from lists of trendless random numbers.”

[Quote from Heaven and Earth ends here]

[10] “AD HOC COMMITTEE REPORT ON THE ‘HOCKEY STICK’ GLOBAL CLIMATE RECONSTRUCTION”, by Edward J. Wegman, George Mason University, David W. Scott, Rice University, and Yasmin H. Said, The Johns Hopkins University. (2006)
http://www.hirhome.com/climate_change/Wegman_Report_to_Congress.pdf

[11] Here follows the letter Michael Mann received from the House Subcomittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Joe Barton and Ed Whitfield:

[Text of the letter begins here]

June 23, 2005

Dr. Michael Mann
Assistant Professor
Department of Environmental Sciences
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22904

Dear Dr. Mann:

Questions have been raised, according to a February 14, 2005 article in The Wall Street Journal, about the significance of methodological flaws and data errors in your studies of the historical record of temperatures and climate change. We understand that these studies of temperature proxy records (tree rings, ice cores, corals, etc.) formed the basis for a new finding in the 2001 United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment Report (TAR). This finding – that the increase in 20th century northern hemisphere temperatures is “likely to have been the largest of any century during the past 1,000 years” and that the “1990s was the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year” – has since been referenced widely and has become a prominent feature of the public debate surrounding climate change policy.

However, in recent peer-reviewed articles in Science, Geophysical Research Letters, and Energy & Environment, researchers question the results of this work. As these researchers find, based on the available information, the conclusions concerning temperature histories – and hence whether warming in the 20th century is actually unprecedented – cannot be supported by the Mann et al. studies cited in the TAR. In addition, we understand from the February 14 Journal and these other reports that researchers have failed to replicate the findings of these studies, in part because of problems with the underlying data and the calculations used to reach the conclusions. Questions have also been raised concerning the sharing and dissemination of the data and methods used to perform the studies. For example, according to the January 2005 Energy & Environment, such information necessary to replicate the analyses in the studies has not been made fully available to researchers upon request.

The concerns surrounding these studies reflect upon the quality and transparency of federally funded research and of the IPCC review process – two matters of particular interest to the Committee. For example, one concern relates to whether IPCC review has been sufficiently independent. We understand that you were a lead author of the IPCC chapter that assessed and reported your own studies, and that two study co-authors were also contributing authors to this very same chapter. Given the prominence these studies were accorded in the IPCC TAR and your position and role in that process, we seek to learn more about the facts and circumstances that led to acceptance and prominent use of this work in the IPCC TAR and to understand what this controversy indicates about the data quality of key IPCC studies.

As you know, sharing data and research results is a basic tenet of open scientific inquiry, providing a means to judge the reliability of scientific claims. The ability to replicate a study, as the National Research Council has noted, is typically the gold standard by which the reliability of claims is judged. Given the questions reported about data access surrounding these studies, we also seek to learn whether obligations concerning the sharing of information developed or disseminated with federal support have been appropriately met.

In light of the Committee’s jurisdiction over energy policy and certain environmental issues, the Committee must have full and accurate information when considering matters relating to climate change policy. We open this review because this dispute surrounding your studies bears directly on important questions about the federally funded work upon which climate studies rely and the quality and transparency of analyses used to support the IPCC assessment process. With the IPCC currently working to produce a fourth assessment report, addressing questions of quality and transparency in the process and underlying analyses supporting that assessment, both scientific and economic, are of utmost importance if Congress is eventually going to make policy decisions drawing from this work.

To assist us as we begin this review, and pursuant to Rules X and XI of the U.S. House of Representatives, please provide the following information requested below on or before July 11, 2005:

1. Your curriculum vitae, including, but not limited to, a list of all studies relating to climate change research for which you were an author or co-author and the source of funding for those studies.

2. List all financial support you have received related to your research, including, but not limited to, all private, state, and federal assistance, grants, contracts (including subgrants or subcontracts), or other financial awards or honoraria.

3. Regarding all such work involving federal grants or funding support under which you were a recipient of funding or principal investigator, provide all agreements relating to those underlying grants or funding, including, but not limited to, any provisions, adjustments, or exceptions made in the agreements relating to the dissemination and sharing of research results.

4. Provide the location of all data archives relating to each published study for which you were an author or co-author and indicate: (a) whether this information contains all the specific data you used and calculations your performed, including such supporting documentation as computer source code, validation information, and other ancillary information, necessary for full evaluation and application of the data, particularly for another party to replicate your research results; (b) when this information was available to researchers; (c) where and when you first identified the location of this information; (d) what modifications, if any, you have made to this information since publication of the respective study; and (e) if necessary information is not fully available, provide a detailed narrative description of the steps somebody must take to acquire the necessary information to replicate your study results or assess the quality of the proxy data you used.

5. According to The Wall Street Journal, you have declined to release the exact computer code you used to generate your results. (a) Is this correct? (b) What policy on sharing research and methods do you follow? (c) What is the source of that policy? (d) Provide this exact computer code used to generate your results.

6. Regarding study data and related information that is not publicly archived, what requests have you or your co-authors received for data relating to the climate change studies, what was your response, and why?

7. The authors McIntyre and McKitrick (Energy & Environment, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2005) report a number of errors and omissions in Mann et. al., 1998. Provide a detailed narrative explanation of these alleged errors and how these may affect the underlying conclusions of the work, including, but not limited to answers to the following questions:

a. Did you run calculations without the bristlecone pine series referenced in the article and, if so, what was the result?

b. Did you or your co-authors calculate temperature reconstructions using the referenced “archived Gaspe tree ring data,” and what were the results?

c. Did you calculate the R2 statistic for the temperature reconstruction, particularly for the 15th Century proxy record calculations and what were the results?

d. What validation statistics did you calculate for the reconstruction prior to 1820, and what were the results?

e. How did you choose particular proxies and proxy series?

8. Explain in detail your work for and on behalf of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, including, but not limited to: (a) your role in the Third Assessment Report; (b) the process for review of studies and other information, including the dates of key meetings, upon which you worked during the TAR writing and review process; (c) the steps taken by you, reviewers, and lead authors to ensure the data underlying the studies forming the basis for key findings of the report were sound and accurate; (d) requests you received for revisions to your written contribution; and (e) the identity of the people who wrote and reviewed the historical temperature-record portions of the report, particularly Section 2.3, “Is the Recent Warming Unusual?”

Thank you for your assistance. If you have any questions, please contact Peter Spencer of the Majority Committee staff at (202) 226-2424.

Sincerely,

Joe Barton                 Ed Whitfield
Chairman                  Chairman

Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

cc: The Honorable John Dingell, Ranking Member
The Honorable Bart Stupak, Ranking Member,
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

[Text of letter ends here]

SOURCE: US House of Representatives.
http://republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/108/Letters/062305_Mann.pdf

[ NOTE: The above page no longer exists, but the Way Back Machine, an Internet Archive, has stored an image of what the page contained on 3 February 2008, when I accessed it. To see this archive’s image, go to: http://archive.org/web/ and then cut and paste the above link into its search engine. ]

[12] ES ‘FALSO’ QUE EL CO2 CAUSE EL CALENTAMIENTO: Un miembro del IPCC destapa la ‘gran mentira’ del cambio climático; Libertad Digital; 1 de octubre, 2008
http://www.libertaddigital.com:6681/noticias/kw/calentamiento/cambio_climatico/
emisiones/enfria/kioto/temperatura/tierra/kw/noticia_1276335809.html

You may read Vincent Gray’s exposé here:

THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE (IPCC): SPINNING THE CLIMATE; by Vincent Gray
http://www.klimanotizen.de/2008.07.12_Gray_Spinning_the_Climate.pdf

[13] “Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995”; DAILY MAIL; By Jonathan Petre; 14th February 2010
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1250872/Climategate-U-turn-Astonishment-
scientist-centre-global-warming-email-row-admits-data-organised.html#ixzz0fczQS02g

[14] An Open Letter to Dr. Phil Jones of the UEA CRU; Posted on November 27, 2011; by Willis Eschenbach
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/27/an-open-letter-to-dr-phil-jones-of-the-uea-cru/

[15] “THE TRUTH ABOUT 'Climategate'; Hacked e-mails have compromised scientists--but not the science itself”; Newsweek; December 14, 2009; U.S. Edition; By Sharon Begley; SECTION: ENVIRONMENT; Pg. 64 Vol. 154 No. 24

[16] The Economist; November 28, 2009 U.S. Edition; “Mail-strom; Climate change”; SECTION: SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY; 1440 words; HIGHLIGHT: The climate-change e-mail controversy.

[17] “SURFACE TEMPERATURE RECORDS: POLICY DRIVEN DECEPTION?”; Science and Public Policy Institute; January 7, 2010; by Joseph D’Aleo and Anthony Watts; pp.4-7, 33. http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/
originals/surface_temp.pdf

[18] Ball, Tim (2014-01-17). The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science (Kindle Locations 2951-2958). Stairway Press. Kindle Edition.

[19] http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/june/nasa-names-schmidt-director-of-the-goddard-institute-for-space-studies/

[20] HEARING OF THE OVERSIGHT AND INVESTIGATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE ENERGY AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE SUBJECT: QUESTIONS SURROUNDING THE HOCKEY STICK TEMPERATURE STUDIES: IMPLICATIONS FOR CLIMATE CHANGE ASSESSMENTS CHAIRED BY: REPRESENTATIVE ED WHITFIELD (R-KY) WITNESSES: DR. MICHAEL E. MANN, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AND DIRECTOR EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE CENTER, PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY; DR. RALPH J. CICERONE, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES; DR. JAY GULLEDGE, SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW, PEW CENTER ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE; DR. JOHN R. CHRISTY, PROFESSOR AND DIRECTOR, EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE CENTER, NSSTC, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA IN HUNTSVILLE; STEPHEN MCINTYRE, TORONTO, CANADA; DR. EDWARD J. WEGMAN, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR COMPUTATIONAL STATISTICS, GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY LOCATION: 2322 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C.
Federal News Service, July 27, 2006 Thursday, 31821 words


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