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« Crushing of dissent | Main | Climate Change Act Reconsidered part 3 - Josh 132 »

Tim Barnett on the Hockey Stick

Email 2383 contains further evidence that everyone in the world of paleoclimate knew the Hockey Stick was a duffer.

From: Tim Barnett [[2]]

Sent: 11 October 2004 16:42

To: Gabi Hegerl; Klaus Hasselmann

Cc: Prof.Dr. Hans von Storch; Myles Allen; francis; Reiner Schnur; Phil Jones; Tom Crowley; Nathan Gillett; David Karoly; Jesse Kenyon;; Pennell, William T; Tett, Simon; Ben Santer; Karl Taylor; Stott, Peter; Bamzai, Anjuli

Subject: Re: spring meeting

not to be a trouble maker but......if we are going to really get into the paleo stuff, maybe someone(s) ought to have another look at Mann's paper. His statistics were suspect as i remember. for instance, i seem to remember he used, say, 4 EOFs as predictors. But he prescreened them and threw one away because it was not useful. then made a model with the remaining three, ignoring the fact he had originally considered 4 predictors. He never added an artifical skill measure to account for this but based significance on 3 predictors. Might not make any difference. My memory is probably faulty on these issues, but to be completely even handed we ought to be sure we agree with his procedures. best, tim

It's interesting how much evidence there is now that the Hockey Stick was known to be a problem. Perhaps readers can help collate a list of emails making this point.

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Reader Comments (42)

Bish here is the article about THSI on the site of the major Dutch newspaper Trouw I linked to earlier, translated by me (instead of the google translate jibberjabber):

I read a fascinating book last week: The Hockey Stick Illusion by A.W. Montford, about how science is proving itself incredible and thereby not helping the climate debate.

Almost 500 pages in English and most of it about statistics. So it is no wonder little about this book can be found on the Dutch web, even though it was published half a year ago already. But how unjust!

Andrew Montford is a British climate sceptic. That gives you an idea of the general direction of this book. But in the end THSI is about something even more fundamental than the climate debate (or is that impossible and have I too become a roaming sceptic?). The book is almost a detective novel about science, about the knowledge onto which we build our future. About science discrediting itself, conniving with politics, and not seeing critics as necessary checks to correcting past work, but more like difficult bullies that are pestering you so you have to pester them back as much you can.

Those 500 pages are not easily condensed into 30 or 100 lines. They are too interesting for that. I therefore will occasionally come back to them in the coming time. But allow me to give you some crumbs which might tempt you to read Montford’s work for yourself. To start with I want to mention that I am not the only one recommending this book. Several climate scientists (, ) recommend you to digest THSI.

Maybe this is a given, but: the book gets its title from a graph created by mainly Michael Mann, which shows the development of the earth’s temperature for the last thousand years. This graph is shaped like an (ice-) hockey stick: nine centuries of a straight line with small deviations and a sudden sharp uptick starting in 1900. The temperature rises due to the CO2 that humans have been injecting into the atmosphere since the industrial revolution, and at present it is warmer than at any time in the previous thousand years. That is what Mann and two colleagues want to convey with their graph, and it also is what the UN organisation the IPCC shouts from the rooftops, aided by Mann’s graph.

The hockey stick has become the ultimate symbol of the climate “alarmists”: scientists and politicians. And in the mean time also of all the climate sceptics. Therefore it is all the better that somebody performs a thorough check of this symbol.
Five years ago Montford came across the work of Steve McIntyre and Ross McKintrick. Especially the first one started to wonder how Mann got his graph, after publication of the hockey stick in 1998. What data had he used, and what statistical analyses had he performed?
Until then it was presumed that since the year 1000AD the climate had experienced a small ice age (around 1600), and a warmer period around 1300. Especially the disappearance of those warm middle ages in Mann’s graph was prominent, so now it could be said that the last decades have been warmer than ever before in the last thousand years.

Montford wrote his book about M&M’s search in 2009, and it had the significant subtitle ”Climate gate and the Corruption of Science”. Page after page Montford is able to show how McIntyre is being ignored, hindered and denounced while trying to check Mann’s findings. Not only by Mann himself but also by scientific journals and in the end also the IPCC.

Only after immense trouble and a lot of time do McIntyre and McKintrick get their hands on parts of the data that Mann and others are basing their conclusions on. There, where the exchange of knowledge and review are the norm in science, here they are being spastically frustrated. Also the software and the statistical methods are being kept secret for years.
With a lot of effort and with much help from outside through McIntyre’s website M&M subsequently decipher the enigmas. And as a reader, you fall from one surprise into another. Data is unreliable, the mathematics is incorrect, criticism to all this is first loudly rejected and consequently silently acknowledged. If one thing sticks with you after reading THSI, it is that science is not supposed to work this way.

And no, the book does not prove, and does not proclaim, that the earth is not heating up. The red line in the hockey stick is the result of thermometer readings. That line goes up.
But man oh man, how Mann and his numerous followers have done their ideas and their field a disservice. Without all their secrecy and mess-ups their sceptical opponents would have had a lot less ammunition.

Next time more in detail about the problems that M&M uncovered.

Dec 2, 2011 at 8:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

So you've come up with a new topic to cover? How many times can you tell yourself the same story? Anyone who cares has made up his mind, no? They did it, really, they did. Here, let me show you. See, and here too. And here, see?

If Mann came clean and put the hockey stick to bed, what would you do with your life? It would be your worst nightmare come true. Are you competent to talk about the physics of climate? Mann's work is climate stamp collecting. He doesn't do climate science. If I keep a record of the temperatures at my house, do you think that would be science? You could erase Mann from history, and it wouldn't change climate science one iota. But it would ruin those skeptic blogs that live off his petty carcass.

Dec 2, 2011 at 9:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarkB

MarkB: If Mann 'put the hockey stick to bed' you can be sure there would be no 'tenting' of the bed clothes!

Dec 2, 2011 at 9:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

I'm sure this has been spotted before but I was struck by something when I read this in email 0518 from a Met office guy :

a) Did Mann et al get it wrong? Yes Mann et al got it wrong. How wrong is still under debate and the ECHO-G/HadCM3 results may be over-exaggerating the variance loss for some model-specific reasons.

The thing that struck me was that this was in reaction to the Richard Muller article of October 2004, and it seems there were rumblings that the HS edifice might be crumbling.

Looking at that Muller article again it seems ever more amazing that Mann weathered the devastating analysis at the time. His paper hasn't got any stronger in the mean time. I bet it probably shocked Muller too that it didn't have more bite and put the skids on the increasing bandwagon.

It shows to me the power of the lobby that formed around Mann to maintain his reputation, and it shows the power of hitching your identity to such a narrow politically potent issue.

Sometimes people bang on about "climate scam" and the money schemes as if they alone motivate these scientists, but I think it misses the more prosaic fact that just acquiring and maintaining the public kudos of scientific respect in "the most important subject ever" is motive enough. I think that is the most damning ( and annoying to the believers ) thing about these emails, it shows up the plain old mucky, grubby level of maneouvering, that was/is needed to keep up this bogus shiny pure image.

Dec 2, 2011 at 9:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement


The plan is to move on to civil liberties when I'm done with climate.

Dec 2, 2011 at 9:34 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Welcome to hell, here's your climatologist, MarkB

Dec 2, 2011 at 9:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterTZ

Markb says @916h
"So you've come up with a new topic to cover?"

Not at all, I found a link to a review of THSI and wanted Bish to see it but since it is Dutch I translated it for him. Sorry about OT.
Calm down...

Dec 2, 2011 at 10:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

Re: MarkB

You are absolutely right. Without the hockey stick we would have nothing. Absolutely nothing, nil, nada, zilch, naught, zip, zero.

Well, maybe we could make up something about the models, but apart from that we would have nothing.

Of course, there's always the alleged accelerating sea level rise buts that absolutely it.

Feedbacks, definitely nothing to talk about there. Its all done and dusted. Settled science it is. Everybody knows that. Wouldn't dream of questioning it.

Personally, I've always been a little bit dubious about the claims for more extreme weather, but I'm confident that is just my personal foible.

Economic impacts, disease vectors, crop fertilisation, glacier loss... there are just so few things to talk about I'm shocked that there is even a single blog talking about these things.

Dec 2, 2011 at 10:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

I don't think MarkB really gets it. We've known for ages that the Hockey Stick was totally bogus.

What is new is that The Team knew it all along too. They just weren't prepared to admit it in public. It is amusing watching these revelations that they knew the sceptics had a point. Let us have our fun MarkB.

What is not amusing is the revelations that they were prepared to seriously damage the reputation of scientists who did not agree.

Dec 2, 2011 at 10:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterMooloo

Sorry if this has already been covered but 435 is quite an interesting read!!!
date: Wed Sep 3 14:00:06 2003
from: Keith Briffa <REDACTED>
subject: Re: An idea to pass by you
to: Edward Cook <REDACTED>

without the slightest doubt , I do wish to be involved in this AND/OR something like it -
what I wanted to do (to be frank) myself, is to do a piece with you, Tim and Tom Melvin and
Jan(?) , on the validity of the low frequency components of the family of reconstructions -
but with the emphasis on the tree-ring side . Tim is certainly (with me and you - remember)
doing a paper for The Holocene on the areas of uncertainty in these attempts (focusing on
calibration issues, spatial representation of predictors (spatial and time scale bias),
seasonal bias and relating these , ultimately. to the reliability of the reconstructions
{This is my version of what will be in it but he may disagree} . The basic point is that I
(and I think he) agree that Mike and Phil's latest contribution is a step backwards ( in
time and understanding ) - well in reality I do not believe it is a step forward. I need to
read you message in detail and then phone tomorrow (I HAVE to get this PhD report off to
New Zeland now) after talking to Tim . You know I desperately want to produce a new
temperature reconstruction from the various tree-ring data (and explore the Mann western US
PC correction - though Malcolm has ignored my request for the data) . At the least , all
this requires that I come to see you (and perhaps Tim too).
I WILL be in touch ....
At 08:32 AM 9/3/03 -0400, you wrote:

Hi Keith,
After the meeting in Norway, where I presented the Esper stuff as described in the
extended abstract I sent you, and hearing Bradley's follow-up talk on how everybody but
him has fucked up in reconstructing past NH temperatures over the past 1000 years (this
is a bit of an overstatement on my part I must admit, but his air of papal infallibility
is really quite nauseating at times), I have come up with an idea that I want you to be
involved in. Consider the tentative title:
"Northern Hemisphere Temperatures Over The Past Millennium: Where Are The Greatest
Authors: Cook, Briffa, Esper, Osborn, D'Arrigo, Bradley(?), Jones (??), Mann
(infinite?) - I am afraid the Mike and Phil are too personally invested in things now
(i.e. the 2003 GRL paper that is probably the worst paper Phil has ever been involved in
- Bradley hates it as well), but I am willing to offer to include them if they can
contribute without just defending their past work - this is the key to having anyone
involved. Be honest. Lay it all out on the table and don't start by assuming that ANY
reconstruction is better than any other.
Here are my ideas for the paper in a nutshell (please bear with me):
1) Describe the past work (Mann, Briffa, Jones, Crowley, Esper, yada, yada, yada) and
their data over-laps.
2) Use the Briffa&Osborn "Blowing Hot And Cold" annually-resolved recons (plus Crowley?)
(boreholes not included) for comparison because they are all scaled identically to the
same NH extra-tropics temperatures and the Mann version only includes that part of the
NH (we could include Mann's full NH recon as well, but he would probably go ballistic,
and also the new Mann&Jones mess?)
3) Characterize the similarities between series using unrotated (maybe rotated as well)
EOF analysis (correlation for pure similarity, covariance for differences in amplitude
as well) and filtering on the reconstructions - unfiltered, 20yr high-pass, 100-20
bandpass, 100 lowpass - to find out where the reconstructions are most similar and
different - use 1st-EOF loadings as a guide, the comparisons of the power spectra could
also be done I suppose
4) Do these EOF analyses on different time periods to see where they differ most, e.g.,
running 100-year EOF windows on the unfiltered data, running 300-year for 20-lp data
(something like that anyway), and plot the 1st-EOF loadings as a function of time
5) Discuss where the biggest differences lie between reconstructions (this will almost
certainly occur most in the 100 lowpass data), taking into account data overlaps
6) Point out implications concerning the next IPCC assessment and EBM forcing
experiments that are basically designed to fit the lower frequencies - if the greatest
uncertainties are in the >100 year band, then that is where the greatest uncertainties
will be in the forcing experiments
7) Publish, retire, and don't leave a forwarding address
Without trying to prejudice this work, but also because of what I almost think I know to
be the case, the results of this study will show that we can probably say a fair bit
about <100 year extra-tropical NH temperature variability (at least as far as we believe
the proxy estimates), but honestly know fuck-all about what the >100 year variability
was like with any certainty (i.e. we know with certainty that we know fuck-all).
Of course, none of what I have proposed has addressed the issue of seasonality of
response. So what I am suggesting is strictly an empirical comparison of published 1000
year NH reconstructions because many of the same tree-ring proxies get used in both
seasonal and annual recons anyway. So all I care about is how the recons differ and
where they differ most in frequency and time without any direct consideration of their
TRUE association with observed temperatures.
I think this is exactly the kind of study that needs to be done before the next IPCC
assessment. But to give it credibility, it has to have a reasonably broad spectrum of
authors to avoid looking like a biased attack paper, i.e. like Soon and Balliunas.
If you don't want to do it, just say so and I will drop the whole idea like a hot
potato. I honestly don't want to do it without your participation. If you want to be the
lead on it, I am fine with that too.

Dec 2, 2011 at 10:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

Thread on Judith Curry.s blog concerning the Hockey Stick and the CET record and the LIA by Tony Brown

2 of the points in the conclusion

5) Lamb gathered together a variety of forms of evidence in his reconstruction. The schematic of composite graphs seen in figure 16 and 17 -when compared to the reconstruction to 1538- seems to confirm with other research that Lamb’s view of climate history was broadly correct. The main caveats we would place is that our own 1538 reconstruction seems to indicate slightly warmer humps around 1550 and 1630 than Lamb notes. This needs to be checked as it was unexpected

6) The hockey stick remains a potent icon to this day. However the gradual decline in temperatures over the centuries that it depicts cannot be detected, nor the lack of variability of the climate over the same time scales. The sharp uptick in temperatures from the start of the 20Th Century is a likely artifact of computer modeling through over complex statistical interpretation of inadequate proxies. Modern warming needs to be put into its historic context with the patterns of considerable natural climatic variability that can be observed from the past.

Dec 2, 2011 at 10:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterbreath of fresh air

Surely loads of people knew the hockey stick was bunk... It is what made me a 'denier' when it was plastered all over the IPCC report, but I did have a Geology background before going into Meteorology/Climate research. The whole problem is everyone keeping silent while the money continued to roll in.

Dec 2, 2011 at 11:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton


"If I keep a record of the temperatures at my house, do you think that would be science? "

Yes - it would be one key function of science - making observations and recording them.

Dec 2, 2011 at 11:11 PM | Unregistered Commentertimg56

Yeah see the comments in the post before this one ( for the result of gurgle-translate...

Dec 2, 2011 at 11:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

Welcome back ZED

Dec 3, 2011 at 12:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

"And no, the book does not prove, and does not proclaim, that the earth is not heating up. The red line in the hockey stick is the result of thermometer readings. That line goes up."

What it does, along with a recent posting at Jeff Id's site ( Title: I can't hear you ) is shatter the notion that climate was stable until the recent time. The purpose of the hockey stick isn't to show that current temperatures are rising, the purpose is to show that past temperatures were stable until recently. As can be shown in the book and particularly at Jeff's posting, is that it greatly underestimates past variability. He includes an email from the latest Climate Gate 2 mails where this is brought to their attention by Bo Christiansen at DMI in Denmark. Please read that blog posting. It basically shatters an underlying thesis of the IPCC and the entire AGW argument. Climate was not stable, we have enough historical accounts to know that. But the "hockey stick" long flat handle is wrong. Just plain wrong.

Dec 3, 2011 at 1:19 AM | Unregistered Commentercrosspatch


There is little utility in using a different pseudonym if your former guerilla tactics in 'debating' remain the same.

As always (and however), many here are prepared to hear and debate the arguments in a civil manner. You will certainly get no vitriol from me and I will even defend you against others.

Go on, you may be surprised.

Dec 3, 2011 at 1:38 AM | Unregistered Commenterjones


Lovely work.

Dec 3, 2011 at 1:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Cruickshank

Please do tell us your understanding of "the physics" and we'll compare this with what is known from other sources.
There seems to be rather too many holes in that bucket, "Dear Mark".
Perhaps you can fill in the blanks that have evaded every other attempt.

Dec 3, 2011 at 6:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterAusieDan

I've never understood why someone would come into your home and insult you. In fact it is so rare an occurrence because most people have a built in courtesy that restrains them from doing so. Blogs however seem to attract those people who gain the courage from anonymity and are inexcusably ill-mannered. Their insults are always accompanied by huge doses of ignorance. In the case of the hockeystick, MarkB doesn't seem to understand that the hockeystick gave the environmentalists the opportunity to point to this era as unprecedented in history. That was the lie, and a lie that is still believed in political circles. That belief has led the UK to embark on a course of action which will add some 30% in green taxes to our energy bills, where to travel by aeroplane the actual cost is 1/3 of the taxes, where fuel at the pumps is at all time highs while oil is at relatively low levels in the wholesale markets. In addition the government is spending £18Bn/year to combat climate change, money that will be diverted from much better causes.

So no, the hockeystick doesn't prove warming it proves that we should be diverting vast amounts of money from helping humans to tinkering about trying to change the climate. A task which is akin to trying to make the tide stay out. Without the hockeystick the physics of climate change would not be able to make the case for action, there are too many uncertainties and it shouldn't need repeating, but I will. The behaviour of a coupled non-linear chaotic system (the climate) cannot be predicted, so they need past behaviour to bolster the vast uncertainties in the science.

Dec 3, 2011 at 7:21 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

If so many people knew it was bunk, why did not a single one of them have the spine to stand up and refute it? Scared of the mann/gore response one presumes. This is not science, it is industrial fraud.

Dec 3, 2011 at 7:55 AM | Unregistered Commenterjason

10:33 PM Marion
Sorry if this has already been covered but 435 is quite an interesting read!!!

What is interesting is the obviously extreme difficulty some scientists have in expressing themselves in English.

Dec 3, 2011 at 7:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneMustGo

Sorry last post was to the wrong page

Dec 3, 2011 at 9:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Bishop Hill

The plan is to move on to civil liberties when I'm done with climate.

What criteria will you use to decide when you are "done with climate"?

If I may be so bold, I suggest that this would be a great subject for a header post!

Dec 3, 2011 at 9:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Betts

Tim is certainly (with me and you - remember) doing a paper for The Holocene...
I really did like that bit. Briffa believes that Cook needs to be reminded that the two of them are doing a paper on the Holocene along with Tim (whichever Tim that would be)? What active lives these people lead that they can't even be trusted to remember who they're working with.
Or does the rarefied atmosphere of academia have an as yet undiscovered mutative effect on the normal human brain causing a form of mental activity different from those who live in the real world down below?

Dec 3, 2011 at 9:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

I can't answer for BH, but I will be "done with climate" when:
- the environmental NGOs are firmly back in their boxes where they belong;
- when the scientific activists are removed from their posts and those (perhaps like yourself) whose interest is the furtherance of science and not — what is in effect — a form of religion are the ones who are doing the research;
- when self-serving creeps like Pachauri (I really can't think of a more polite description, sorry) are removed from any position of influence in relation to science;
- and as a follow-up when the UN stops undermining science and scientific endeavour in an attempt to create a totalitarian world government;
- when scientists understand that their work is being deliberately misused and misinterpreted by politicians and those self-same environmental NGOs to push socio-political agendas that are based on lies and distortions and that the vast majority of humanity have not signed up to nor ever would;
- when scientists remember what the scientific method is and stop hiding their work and fudging their results in a field which affects every man, woman, and child on this earth;
when the politicians stop lying about the effects that their policies will have on climate and accept that more taxation and the imposition of pointless restrictions on the behaviour of their people is going to have at best a marginal effect on climate.

Once we have all these in place and what I am hearing are facts and honestly-held opinions then I might believe that the time has come when we can move on to other concerns of more immediate concern to the human race — like civil liberties, poverty, genuine free trade, and a real concern for the environment.

Dec 3, 2011 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson

" ........ when self-serving creeps like Pachauri (I really can't think of a more polite description, sorry)"

The Flakey Fakir ?

Dec 3, 2011 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneMustGo

If you like! But I'm not sure it quite gets to the creepiness, do you?

Dec 3, 2011 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Richard, I can't answer for our host, but you have to remember why some of us got involved in the climate wars in the first place.

For me this has never really been about climate itself. I don't find climate partcularly interesting; it's one of those worthy but tedious branches of science which under normal circumstances I would happily leave to other people who like that sort of thing. My whole involvement has always been driven by concerns about the corruption of science.

Like many people I was dragged into this by the Hockey Stick. I was looking up some minor detail about the Medieval Warm Period and discovered this weird parallel universe of people who apparently didn't believe it had happened, and even more bizarrely appeared to believe that essentially nothing had happened in the world before the twentieth century. The Hockey Stick is an extraordinary claim which requires extraordinary evidence, so I started reading round the subject. And it soon became clear that the first extraordinary thing about the evidence for the Hockey Stick was how extraordinarily weak it was, and the second extraordinary thing was how desperate its defenders were to hide this fact. I'd always had an interest in pathological science, and it looked like I might have stumbled across a really good modern example.

You can't spend long digging around the Hockey Stick without stumbling across other areas of climate science pathology. The next one that really struck me was the famous Phil Jones quote: "Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it". To any practising scientist that's a huge red flag. Sure we all feel a bit like that on occasion, but to actually say something like that in an email is practically equivalent to getting up on a public platform and saying "I'm a pathological scientist, and I'm proud."

Rather naively I initially believed that Phil Jones was just having a bad day and had said something really stupid. Surely he couldn't really think that was acceptable? And surely his colleagues would deal with him? But no, it turned out that this apalling quote was only the most quotable of several other remarks, and he really was trying to hide his data from people who might (horror of horrors) want to check his conclusions.

That's when I got involved in my FOI request. And consequently got exposed to the full horror of "big climate", as clear an example of politicised and pathological science as I have ever seen. And then came Climategate 2009, and "hide the decline". All downhill from there.

When will I be done with climate? Quite simply when it stops being a pathological science and starts acting according to the normal rules and conventions of scientific discourse. At that point I will, I'm afraid, simply lose interest in the whole business, and leave it to the experts to get on with their stuff, just as I leave most of the rest of science to the appropriate experts.

To put it another way, I will be done with climate once I can trust that Richard Betts can be left to do good work on his own. I absolutely trust you to get on with doing good stuff under normal circumstances. But I'm afraid I don't trust you to do good work under current pathological conditions, because you don't stand up against the all too obvious stench emanating from some of your colleagues.

For me the Hockey Stick was where it began, and probably where it will end (and I will daringly suggest that the same thing might be true for our host). The Hockey Stick is obviously wrong. Everybody knows it is obviously wrong. Climategate 2011 shows that even many of its most outspoken public defenders know it is obviously wrong. And yet it goes on being published and defended year after year.

Do I expect you to publicly denounce the Hockey Stick as obvious drivel? Well yes, that's what you should do. It is the job of scientists of integrity to expose pathological science, and it is especially the job of scientists in closely related fields. You should not be leaving this to random passing NMR spectroscopists who have better things to do. But I'm afraid I no longer expect you to do so. The opportune moment has, I think, passed. And that is why, even though we are all delighted to have you here, and all enjoy what you have to say, some of us get a trifle tetchy from time to time.

You ask us to judge you by AR5, and in many ways that is a reasonable request. Many of us will judge it by the handling of paleoclimate, not because this is all that important an aspect of the science, but rather because it is a litmus test of whether climate scientists are prepared to stand up against the bullying defenders of pathology in their midst. So, Richard, can I look forward to returning back to my proper work on the application of composite rotations to the performance of error-tolerant unitary transformations? Or will we all be let down again?

Dec 3, 2011 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Jones

RE: "Perhaps readers can help collate a list of emails making this point."

Just read this one . . . #0562. I only copied down to the bit RE: Mann et al.


date: Sat, 25 Aug 2001 21:36:20 +0100 (BST)
from: Simon Tett <REDACTED>
subject: Paleo-Paper

The papers looks very good. Hope these comments aren't too late.... I
don't think I need to see it again.


Response to reviewers

I couldn't read your letter -- PS files as attachments seem to get
munged by our firewall/email scanner so I've just looked at the paper
to see if I think you've dealt with the reviewers comments.

Editors comments:

3) Don't think you have dealt with the enhanced multi-decadal
variability in the paper.

Reviewer B.

1) Didn't see a justification for use of tree-rings and not using ice
cores -- the obvious one is that ice cores are no good -- see Jones et
al, 1998.

2) No justification for regional reconstructions rather than what Mann
et al did (I don't think we can say we didn't do Mann et al because
we think it is crap!)

. . .
Dr Simon Tett Managing Scientist, Data development and applications.
Met Office Hadley Centre Climate Prediction and Research
London Road Bracknell Berkshire RG12 2SY United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)REDACTEDFax: +44 (0)REDACTED

Dec 3, 2011 at 6:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterbarn E. rubble

BH - Prof J Jones comment above should be widely distributed. It really does say it all and in words far, far better than I could write.

A title post perhaps?

Dec 4, 2011 at 12:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrantB

Excellent post Jonathan - I agree with every single word!

I think that the temperature hockey stick is broken, and everybody realises this. As we have discussed before, I think that the CO2 hockey stick deserves far more serious attention now - this is another "splice" of two different types of data (modern instruments and ice cores) - and my personal opinion is that I would rather trust the thousands of chemical measurements, which show a completely different picture.

If both hockey sticks were accepted to be broken the AGW hypothesis and the CAGW conjecture would fade away like the morning mist.

Dec 4, 2011 at 10:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

"It's interesting how much evidence there is now that the Hockey Stick was known to be a problem. Perhaps readers can help collate a list of emails making this point."

Bish, I did this a few days ago here.

This list is incomplete - I will add the one you highlight here and the amazing sequence highlighted by Steve M recently where 'The team' discuss (in their attempt to rebut Soon et al) the fact that they know there are problems with many of the 'reconstructions' but are quite happy to put their names on the paper anyway. See Steve's thread Behind Closed Doors: “Perpetuating Rubbish”.

Dec 4, 2011 at 10:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Matthews

"I think that the temperature hockey stick is broken, and everybody realises this."

Not quite everybody, apparently

Dec 4, 2011 at 11:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger


To borrow one of Gordon Brown's expressions, people who still believe in the temperature hockey stick are "flat earthers".

Dec 4, 2011 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

May I say that the post by Jonathan Jones is a superb statement on behalf of scientific standards and integrity! Some version of that needs to be put to every scientist and mathematician/statistician everywhere who will give it even a moment's attention. The corruption and pathology have gone on much too long and affected far too many lives (as though any such pathology was not already too much).

Dec 4, 2011 at 2:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

RE: "This list is incomplete . . ."

Here's another, #0539 Apparently going to ALL CAPS helps with understanding . . .
date: Wed Jun 25 13:40:32 2003
from: Keith Briffa <REDACTED>
subject: Fwd: Re: ice cores/China series

Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 06:36:45 -0600
From: Tom Wigley <REDACTED>
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.0; en-US; rv:1.0.1) Gecko/20020823
X-Accept-Language: en-us, en
To: Keith Briffa <REDACTED>
Subject: Re: ice cores/China series
Keith Briffa wrote:

Tim has just told me of your message expressing concern about the China series , and
your statement of the necessity to "deal with Ray's comment" and add in the "small
adjustment to the Figure Caption". .
We (I and Tim) decided to get this off as soon as possible to Ellen (AGU) , as we had
been asked to do (and as requested by Ellen). Hence it went off earlier today (and
before your message arrived). Mike was aware of Ray's comment and was happy to leave any
amendment to the text "until the proof stage" .


In my opinion it is not practical (or desirable) to try to "qualify " any one record in
this limited format. It was a majority decision to leave the Mann and Jones 2000-year
series in the Figure 1 (as it was to remove the Briffa and Osborn tree-ring based one) ,
and the details of the logic used to derive the Mann and Jones series is to be found in
the (cited) text of their paper.

Signing on to this letter , in my mind.

implies agreement with the text and not individual endorsement of all curves by each
author. I too have expressed my concern to Phil (and Ray) over the logic that you leave
all series you want in but just weight them according to some (sometimes low)
correlation (in this case based on decadal values). I also believe some of the series
that make up the Chinese record are dubious or obscure , but the same is true of other
records Mann and Jones have used (e.g. how do you handle a series in New Zealand that
has a -0.25 correlation?) .

Further serious problems are

still (see my and Tim's Science comment on the Mann 1999 paper) lurking with the
correction applied to the Western US tree-ring PC amplitude series used (and shown in
Figure 2). There are problems (and limitations ) with ALL series used.

At this stage , singling out individual records

for added (and unavoidably cursory added description) is not practical.


We were told to cut the text and References significantly - and further cuts are implied
by Ellen's messages to us.
If you wish to open this up to general discussion , it may be best to wait 'til the
proof stage and then we can all consider the balance of emphasis - but we had also
better guard against too "selective" a choice of data to present? If you want to get a
somewhat wider discussion of this point going in the meantime , feel free to forward
this to whoever you wish along with your disagreement , while we wait on the response
from AGU.


Best wishes


Professor Keith Briffa,
Climatic Research Unit
University of East Anglia
Norwich, NR4 7TJ, U.K.

Dec 4, 2011 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterbarn E. rubble

To me, apart from the extravagant waste of money when we can least afford it, the worst thing about the CAGW fiasco is the damage done to the reputation of science. It enjoyed high status in our society because of the cautious claims made, and its self-correcting nature. That one minor scientific discipline went off the rails is one thing, but what was particularly bad is that it wasn't condemned by scientists in other fields. Even the Royal Society gave its blessing to this nonsense, and played a part in the coverup of ClimateGate 1.0.
I would also note that there is already a good noun in English for 'pathological science', and that is Lysenkoism. This is precisely what we are seeing now.

Dec 8, 2011 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlun ap Rhisiart

Superb writing by Joanathan Jones (Dec 3, 2011 at 6:11 PM). I am sorry I missed this until now, but I am very glad to have read it. I like to think there will be many more like him who will speak their truth through gritted teeth, furious at the distraction from their own work but determined to chip away at the pernicious nonsense they see over in the climate field. I have often wondered at the distraction it has cause genuine climate scientists such as Prof Lindzen. He has spoken out lucidly and calmly and patiently for some 20 years about the lack of substance in the alarmist case. The climate charlatans remain at large. I fear we do need many more scientists from other fields to read up on climate physics, and other areas, and let the world hear their insights loud and clear. As for Richard Betts, who came here perhaps to explain everything to those of us still in the dark, I like to think the light shone here upon his work and his words will be beneficial to him in the long run.

Dec 9, 2011 at 7:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

That's 'Jonathan' of course. I had a vague sense of too many 'a's when I typed it, but then missed it on my check through.

Dec 9, 2011 at 7:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

My kudos also to Jonathan Jones.

It must give The Team the quivering shivers to realize that there are so many at large with more smarts, education, and ethics than they have -- who have decided to "take notice".

Dec 11, 2011 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrian H

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