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Singer on Mann

Fred Singer has an article up at the American Thinker discussing the attempts to get hold of Mann's emails and Mann's libel case against Tim Ball. A book called The Hockey Stick Illusion is mentioned in passing.

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    - Bishop Hill blog - Singer on Mann

Reader Comments (18)

The issue is, do we maintain and adhere to a common set of standards for all claims, whether or not we initially agree?
Apr 7, 2012 at 3:06 AM pouncer

That's a good point - and it's certainly true that frustration and anger at the machinations of the "consensus" leads a lot of us (me included) into rhetorical argument somewhat beyond the strict socratic ideal.

Never forget, though, that this isn't just the even-handed discussion of an interesting scientific hypothesis using the classical scientific method.

A "hypothesis" is a theory brought forward to explain a set of observations - which can then be tested, and possibly falsified, by argument and experiment.

CAGW isn't a hypothesis based on observations though, it's a metaphysical concept whose adherents have completely reversed the scientific method by proclaiming their hypothesis, seeking out "observations" to justify it and then using circular logic to "prove" it.

Since their theory can't be tested or falsified it has become a faith issue and no amount of "fair & balanced" discussion will produce doubt in the faithful - as Tamsin & Richard's impeccably polite missionary visits here have shown.

Now that the adherents of the movement have managed to recruit many of those who control the levers of power into their faith, and the lives of all of us are being seriously affected - I think the time for restrained socratic debate may have passed. Funnily enough, the "faithful understand this too - which is why they proclaim "the science is settled" and don't want to debate it any more.

The battle will now be political - and therefore messy, dirty, dishonest and prolonged, in the best traditions of the game, as the participants gouge each other in the mud to try an preserve egos & privileges.

Only when the political battle is won will we be able to pick over the science and explain what went wrong.


Apr 7, 2012 at 9:43 AM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Fantastic article by singer.

I love the way he presents the Lamb graph without mentioning it is a localised graph based on the Central England Temperature Record.

The failure to extend it beyond the 1950 endpoint thus hiding the incline up toward present temperatures, which happen to be higher then the warm period hump, is pure class.

Lovely insertion of the "random data" produces "hockey sticks" meme.

Oh and an absolutely top notch demonstration of how to completely ignore all the subsequent studies showing basically the same hockey stick shape.

One of my all time hero's.

Apr 7, 2012 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered Commenteranivegmin

Apr 7, 2012 at 10:27 AM | anivegmin
What a load of bollocks ... it is well known that using Mann's methodology, ANY 'data' produced a 'hockeystick'. Mann's work is nothing but flawed and EVERYBODY knows that.

Repeat after me, " there is a Middle Ages Warming Period, there is a Little Ice Age."

Apr 7, 2012 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterStreetcred

From the American Thinker article:

With about 2,000 other scientists who participated in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, including Michael Mann, he [Fred Singer] jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.


Apr 7, 2012 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Bates

angivegmin: I am not ashamed to say who I am.
Which troll are you?

Apr 7, 2012 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Bates

Haha is "bollocks" and "troll" the best you can do? At what point did I deny the MWP and LIA? Did I praise Singer incorrectly?

Apr 7, 2012 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered Commenteranivegmin

"I love the way he presents the Lamb graph without mentioning it is a localised graph based on the Central England Temperature Record.

The failure to extend it beyond the 1950 endpoint thus hiding the incline up toward present temperatures, which happen to be higher then the warm period hump, is pure class. "

Indeed. I share your concerns that the IPCC would label a graph based on CETR as being representative of global temperatures and for not updating it with more recent findings.

Apr 7, 2012 at 11:39 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Please can we raise the tone of responses.

Apr 7, 2012 at 11:39 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The Lamb graph was used 22 years ago in the First Assessment Report. It has not been used since, and there have been many updates/reconstructions of the global temperature record since.

Singer used the Lamb graph 2 days ago! Juxtaposed with the Mann graph as if it were a global record.

I find it quite bizarre that people fixate on these two graphs when there has been a wealth of new work done since.

Apr 7, 2012 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered Commenteranivegmin


Apr 7, 2012 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Bates

The IPCC "Hiding the incline". I love it!
But the old graph juxtaposed with the hockey stick is naughty.
So we have a bad on Singer to spin the CETR as global, and a hockey stick that has been broken several times as graphical support.
But two wrongs don't make a right...

Apr 7, 2012 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustin Ert

This is a lovely summary and reminder of where we are wrt Mann; (I didn't know Singer had to release his e-mails to Greenpeace - one law for some but not for others).
Mann has so much smoke around him, there must be some fire under there too. What a relief it will be to everybody when his e-mails are released and we find out what he has really been up to - and we don't have to compare his graph with any others - just bin it.

Apr 7, 2012 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Thompson

I (thought I had) sent a brief mesaage saying "Apologies" in reply to His Grace (11:39 AM). Feel free to remove this message if it has crossed ...

Apr 7, 2012 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Bates


I am not sure what it is you are complaining about. Singer clearly shows the graph as presented by the IPCC in 1990. In the FAR the IPCC indicated that the MWP and the LIA were global phenomena. If you must, you can extrapolate the Lamb trend yourself, by mentally adding the difference between 1900 and 1950 to the end of the 1950 part of the curve (don't forget to use a different coloured crayon to show that it is an extrapolation).

When the IPCC first presented MBH98 & MBH99 (both constructions of Northern Hemisphere temperatures) they suggested that this represented global conditions and that both the MWP and LIA were regional climate events limited to .

At the time many of us were shocked that the IPCC would have accepted (apparently without a thought) this paradym change in pre-record temperatures based on what appeared to be rather shoddy evidence. Fortunately in was subsequently demonstrated that the evidence was indeed very shoddy.

Sadly, as you have noted, various other authors have used the same shoddy data and in many cases the same shoddy methodology to make the same mistakes.

Fortunately during the intervening years numerous other proxy records have emerged that have made it necessary to include the Sargasso Sea, the Arctic Archepelago, South Africa, China, the Antarctic Peninsula and New Zealand to our definition of the "Europe and the North Atlantic" region because they too experienced the same MWP and LIA, not that different from what Soon and Baliunas suggested back in 2003 in their survey of published records.

Apr 7, 2012 at 9:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Norman

anivegmin , the Chinese also have temperature reconstructions that indicate a MWP and a LIA; the best is
Hong, B., Liu, C.-Q., Lin, Q.-H., Yasuyuki, S., Leng, X.-T., Wang, Y., Zhu, Y.-X. and Hong, Y.-T. 2009. Temperature evolution from the δ18O record of Hani peat, Northeast China, in the last 14000 years. Science in China Series D: Earth Sciences 52: 952-964.

A MWP was present in Chinese mainland over the period AD 700-1400, peaking at AD 900, just like the European record. The isotope work is more robust that the earlier tree-ring proxies, which give similar reconstruction

Yang, B., Kang, X.C. and Shi, Y.F. 2000. Decadal climatic variations indicated by Dulan tree-ring and comparison with other proxy data in China of the last 2000 years. Chinese Geographical Science 10: 193-201.

Zhang, D.E. 1994. Evidence for the existence of the Medieval Warm Period in China. Climatic Change 26: 293-297.

In Neukom, R., Luterbacher, J., Villalba, R., Kuttel, M., Frank, D., Jones, P.D., Grosjean, M., Wanner, H., Aravena, J.-C., Black, D.E., Christie, D.A., D'Arrigo, R., Lara, A., Morales, M., Soliz-Gamboa, C., Srur, A., Urritia, R. and von Gunten, L. 2011. Multiproxy summer and winter surface air temperature field reconstructions for southern South America covering the past centuries. Climate Dynamics 37: 35-51.
the authors show a 22 proxy-based reconstructed mean austral summer (December-February) temperature history for the period AD 900-1995; between 20°S and 55°S and between 30°W and 80°W, Southern South America. The warmest decade of the South American MWP was AD 1079-1088, and was about 0.17°C warmer than present. They also capture the LIA.

Want more? Or will you just go and have a look? Or just live under your bridge?

Apr 7, 2012 at 10:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterDocmartyn

Jeff Norman, Why would I want to "extrapolate" "by mentally adding the difference between 1900 and 1950 to the end of the 1950 part of the curve" with a "crayon"? You can indulge in that kind of "shoddy" work if you want but I prefer - Page 34. Figure 7.

Jeff and Docmartyn, you both then go on to list regional and local temperature reconstructions that are, by their very nature, regional and local! Not global! In some cases using a single proxy data set. (Mann et al 2008 used 1209 time series of proxy data).

You could go on cherry-picking local reconstructions until your hearts content but they still wouldn't be global. Heat gets moved around. The whole point of a global reconstruction is to get an idea of the total heat content of the system. Yes there are examples of cold and warm periods in the local/regional records of places all over the world. But one important factor to bear in mind is that these periods can have different start/end points in time, different magnitudes etc.

Jeff, maybe you would care to explain how "shoddy" the following are - - modern being the past 2000 years - 27 papers listed. - 35 papers listed.

The 92 PCN surface temperature record reconstructions.

Apr 8, 2012 at 9:16 AM | Unregistered Commenteranivegmin

Speaking of shoddy.

I took aniveg's suggestion and went to check out the "35 papers listed". One would have expected from aniveg's mewlings to be reconstructions of global temperatures that all supported the MBH contention of a flat hockey stick for 600 to 2000 years with a steep upward pointing blade showing the 20th century as the hottest time of the millenium...

How did aniveg put it?

"Oh and an absolutely top notch demonstration of how to completely ignore all the subsequent studies showing basically the same hockey stick shape."

So I went through the list of 35 allegedly new papers.

1. 2005 - Global Temperatures, 1,000,000 years - not a hockey stick
2. 2008 - Global Temperatures, 3,000,000 years - not a hockey stick
3. 2008 - Global Surface Temperatures, 20,000 years "the maximum of the MWP at
or slightly below the reference level" (1961 to 1990) - no margins of error listed - no hockey stick
4. 2004 - Jones and Mann - 2,000 years - hmmm
5. 1998 - Jones - 1,000 years - hmmm
6. 2009 - Global & Hemispheric - Ljungqvist - 2,000 years - "Both the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice
Age and the 20th century warming are clearly visible in most records" - no hockey stick
7. 2009 - Mann - 600 years - hmmm
8. 2008 - Mann - 2,000 years - hmmm
9. 1998 - Mann - 600 years - hmmm
10. 2005 - Oerlemans - Glacier length - 400 years
11. 1998 - Pollack - Boreholes - 500 years
12. 2007 - Antarctic Temperature EPICA Dome C - 800,000 years
13. 1999 - Antarctic Temperature Vostok - 414,000 years
27. 2011 - Christiansen and Ljungvist - NH 30° to 90° - 1,000 years - "The new reconstruction shows a very cold Little Ice Age centered around the 17th century"
28. 2010 - Ljungvist - NH 30° to 90° - 2,000 years - "The Medieval Warm Period is seen c. AD 800–1300 and the Little Ice Age is clearly visible c. AD 1300-1900, followed by a rapid temperature increase in the twentieth century. The highest average temperatures in the reconstruction are encountered in the mid to late tenth century..."

Numerous papers (not shown) include Mann's work in their list of proxies used. I'd call that shoddy.

But in general, not global and not hockey sticks. Therefore I conclude that aniveg must be a linking troll.

Apr 10, 2012 at 6:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Norman

Jeff Norman here's some more dishonesty for you (see your comment on the ok coral thread),

I gave you 2 links listing 27 and 35 papers respectively (yes some papers are duplicated). The idea was to provide an overview of relevant papers in the field. You might note that the first link even includes McIntyre & McKitrick 2005, a sceptical paper. Although the claims in that paper have been subsequently addressed -

Wahl & Ammann 2007 -
Rutherford et al 2004 -

Yes the majority of the papers are semi-global/Northern Hemisphere reconstructions. This is to do with a comparative lack of well-dated proxy records for the SH compared to the NH.

See -
Also work on SH reconstructions is ongoing - Neukon & Gergis 2011 -

Back to the list -

So I went through the list of 35 allegedly new papers.

Not sure why you have stuck "allegedly new" in there but anyway. You summarily dismiss any paper where Jones or Mann are involved. So lets focus on 2 that you apparently give more credence to because they show a MWP and LIA, thereby refuting the "flat" hockey stick shape you are so enamoured of. The "flat"ness or otherwise of the stick is irrelevant to whether 20thC warming is anomalously rapid or high.

Ljungqvist 2009 - "no hockey stick"
Christiansen and Ljungvist 2011 very cold LIA

From the conclusion of the 2009 paper -

Although partly different data and methods have been used in our reconstruction than in Moberg et al. (2005) and Mann et al. (2008), the result is surprisingly similar. The inclusion of additional records would probably not substantially change the overall picture of the temperature variability.

Both papers show a sharp rise in the first half of the 20thC and both can be extended using the instrumental record to show the rise is anomalously fast and high.

See this discussion regarding the 2009 paper -

Regarding the "numerous other proxy records have emerged" relating to the Southern Hemisphere and your reference to Soon & Baliunas 2003 and Soon et al 2003.

Again the regions and localities you list are precisely that - regions and localities.

Just to focus on one particular region you list - South America. A recent paper cited by Docmartyn above and much favoured by sceptical sites/blogs -

Neukon et al 2011 -

This paper backs up my earlier IMPORTANT (completely ignored) point about cold and warm events occurring at different periods in time depending on location. Besides this being a regional study the cold/warm periods they show happen at completely different times to those occurring in NH reconstructions. Hence the need for hemispherical and global constructions.

The Soon & Baliunus papers have also been subsequently addressed -

Osborn & Briffa 2006 -
Mann et al 2003 -

Apr 16, 2012 at 6:06 PM | Unregistered Commenteranivegmin

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