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« Joelle Gergis talks up her results | Main | UK energy prices unaffordable by 2015 »

AR5: dead in the water?

Steve McIntyre's latest post seems to me to be of huge importance. The refusal by Joelle Gergis and colleagues to release data behind their paper follows on behind similar refusals from authors in the same clique - principally Raphael Neukom. This stonewalling of reasonable requests represents yet another blow at the credibility of paleoclimate. To make things worse, the credibility of the Gergis paper is shattered by the revelation that it is based on circular reasoning - a fallacy that has been repeatedly noted in paleoclimate papers, yet one which is constantly given the seal of approval by peer reviewers in the field.

Despite the refusal of authors in the Gergis-Neukom clique to release data, as thing stand the IPCC will allow their work to be cited in the Fifth Assessment Report. This seems to me to be a ringing endorsement of pseudoscience.

If this were not a bad enough indictment of the IPCC, take a look at this report at Haunting the Library, which reveals Neil Adger, the man in charge of the AR5 chapter on "Human Security", as a member of an eccentric group called the Resilience Alliance:

Whilst the organisation might sound like a convention gathering from Star Trek, their aims are far, far, more serious and wide-ranging than that. Indeed, their ultimate goal, as stated on their website, is nothing less than what they term “Panarchy” in accordance with “nature’s rules” of “unpredictable change”. An important part of the philosophy of panarchy is that national governments are increasingly sidelined in favour of multi-jurisdictional institutions.

Is is possible to argue in these circumstances that the IPCC remains a credible organisation? I would say not. I wonder if the Fifth Assessment Report is dead in the water already.

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Reader Comments (69)

In all good B-movies involving monsters just when the hero thinks he has killed the monster it springs into action again. The B-movie the world is currently talking about is a science fiction film in which the monster has a gang of human helpers called "the Team." Instead of a single hero there is a group of them who are trying to undermine the Team by finding flaws in their work. At stake is the future of our Planet ...

Jun 1, 2012 at 9:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Neil Adger views are hardly surprising given that there seems to be far more ‘faith’ and political advocacy washing around the IPCC than actual science.
The notion that ‘the end justifies the means ‘ so all things are acceptable if they help achieve the end goal , fits both those ideas very well . Sadly, millions have died when such ideas have been applied in reality and irony is that the ‘end goal ‘ fails to get achieved even after al the deaths.
Now the IPCC is not that bad , but no matter what the IPCC will live on for years to come , its an UN organization they can exist for many years long after what they were about is no longer an issue or even a reality.

Jun 1, 2012 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

The stonewalling by Gellis is gruesome and depressing. Is there no end to this plight?

This list allows any researcher who wants to access non publically available records to follow the appropriate protocol of contacting the original authors to obtain the necessary permission to use the record, take the time needed to process the data into a format suitable for data analysis etc, just as we have done. This is commonly referred to as ‘research’.

The cheer snobbity of these people. And then they complain of "death threats" and so on. Don't they see how infuriatingly frustrating and maddening these refusals to what is, after all, a right for all of us to see where and how they reached their results? Can't they see they are throwing an entire field into the dark side of pseudo-scientific gibberish? If these words were uttered by homeopathic crooks would the scientific community be as forgiving?

Paleoclimatology is dead.

Jun 1, 2012 at 9:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterLuis Dias

I'm coming to the conclusion I am very bright or very stupid.
McIntyre includes this quote from Gergis et al

Only records that were significantly (p<0.05) correlated with the detrended instrumental target over the 1921–1990 period were selected for analysis.
I interpret this as meaning — intentionally or otherwise — "we only analysed those records that looked like giving the answers we wanted".
Even an ignoramus like me can work out that there is something fundamentally dubious about that approach!

Jun 1, 2012 at 9:55 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

How long do we have to wait before Myles Allen starts naming and shaming ? Let's see if he is all mouth and no trousers. Come on Myles. Tell these people to free the data.

Jun 1, 2012 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrederick Bloggsworth

Authors who do not show their data or show their working are indistinguishable from charlatans and con men. Their papers should not be published (or should be withdrawn), and no public policies should ever be based on their 'findings'.

Jun 1, 2012 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterScientistForTruth

As with much science these days, it is BS! Anybody remember hearing about tigers being recently found alive & well, above the altitude that "experts" claimed they could not live successfully? Did any of these quacks apologise for being completely wrong? Not one! Says it all me thinks!

Jun 1, 2012 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

I don't believe AR5 will be dead in the water, of for that matter AR555, once a bureaucracy like this has been set up it is extraordinarily difficult to put to sleep. Once the politicians have moved on, which they will, either when the electorate have had enough, or enough time elapses to demonstrate that they've been fed wildly alarming junk about the reactions of the the planet to increases in temperature, the IPCC will still continue its reports. What will be in them will, of course, depend on where the money will come from. Having said that I don't know if anyone else noticed in Lucia's climategate emails the other day, but Phil Jones' initial reaction to the ClimateAudit site was that it was "right wing". I'm puzzled (a) how he could have noticed, as it seems a pretty liberal web-site to me, and (b) why the orientation of people discussing the science could be discerned.

The good news is that the IPCC are saying that in the interests of transparency all papers will have their data made available publically.

The bad news is, that the issue Steve Mc has is that he wants to look at the unpublished data to ascertain why they didn't use it. If as that awful lady, Dr. Joelle Gergis, the data are available, why don't they just point Steve Mc to them by giving him the list of rejected papers?

Jun 1, 2012 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

From a climate comment thread in the DT today:

State of play, updated.
Kyoto - dead
Copenhagen - disaster
Durban - washout
Rio+20 - good party
Australia - entire population harboring homicidal ideas for green
Canada - no intention of signing emission treaties
India - not going to reduce emissions
Japan - no intention of signing emission treaties
Russia - no intention of signing emission treaties
China - not going to reduce emissions
UEA hacking - Police not looking for anyone
CO2 - Increasing, Temperatures not
MWP - was globa1
GWPF - donor outed, nothing to do with big-oil
Jones - damaged, quiet.
Hansen - laughing stock
Mann - bricking it
Gleick - bricking it
Bacon - frizzled
Lovelock - I was wrong about global warming
Survey - intelligent people are climate sceptics
Goose - cooked

Jun 1, 2012 at 10:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterGerry

I'm intrigued by Myles allen's apparent damascene conversion.

Could the penny have finally dropped for him and he is starting to reposition himself?

Jun 1, 2012 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Mike Jackson "I interpret this as meaning — intentionally or otherwise — "we only analysed those records that looked like giving the answers we wanted"."

Mike, I believe they are picking only series that match to twentieth century thermometer readings and rejecting those that don't on the basis that they can't be good series. It is unbelievably amateurish and shocking that that they can get their "science" into print. As Steve Mc points you have to decide a priori whether trees can provide a reasonably accurate representation of past temperatures and then use them all, taking out the ones that don't match a portion of the 20th century is a no-no. At least that's what I understand.

Jun 1, 2012 at 10:17 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Jun 1, 2012 at 9:55 AM | Mike Jackson

Only records that were significantly (p<0.05) correlated with the detrended instrumental target over the 1921–1990 period were selected for analysis.

I interpret this as meaning — intentionally or otherwise — "we only analysed those records that looked like giving the answers we wanted".

That always seems the case to me too.

That method certainly ensures that you get the blade of the Hockey stick. If the rest below that period is really a rubbish proxy, and essentially varies randomly back down to 1000 A.D., then it cancels out and gives the straight line stick. The "hide the decline" issue tends to confirm that trees are not reliable thermometers and indeed they are a rubbish proxy.

The paleo-climate crowd never seem to break a sweat moving away from that method or showing how that they rigourously try to avoid this by showing what they discard.

It must be fun working in a political science finding you have a technique so immune to disconfirming your required hypothesis ;)

Jun 1, 2012 at 10:17 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Nice one Gerry! May I add a few more suggestions?

CAGW evidence - none
Data - fudged
Physics - bodged
Models - fantasy

Also, you did not include an assessment of the UK position. How about "Energy policy - buggered"?

Jun 1, 2012 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

I don't know about "re-positioning". What's the matter with simply "I was wrong."? My experience is that people who 'fess up get a lot more kudos and retain a whole cartload more credibility than those who bluster and prevaricate.
I spent years thinking Lovelock was a nutter (albeit a sincere one). I now believe he was an honest man who simply misinterpreted the facts in the light of his own beliefs (we all tend to!!) and was big enough to admit the fact.
The trouble is that scientists in a lot of disciplines have considerable difficulty doing that.
Slightly OT — read Thorne's obituary in the DT today. A man who really set the cat among the pigeons about the development of the human species. And they're still arguing and clinging to their long-held beliefs on a subject which is of considerable interest, I have no doubt, but of any real importance?

Jun 1, 2012 at 10:28 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Maybe the way forward is to write to a significantly large number of highly regarded university departments of mathematical statistics asking them to review the methodology?

Jun 1, 2012 at 10:33 AM | Registered Commentermatthu

geronimo "The bad news is, that the issue Steve Mc has is that he wants to look at the unpublished data to ascertain why they didn't use it. If as that awful lady, Dr. Joelle Gergis, the data are available, why don't they just point Steve Mc to them by giving him the list of rejected papers?"

Was that a rhetorical question? If not, the answer is that the sleight of hand and tricks of the trade would be evident, and that would never do.

Jun 1, 2012 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterScientistForTruth

Every now and again I have this evil thought ...
Just suppose that the "divergence" post 1960 wasn't a divergence at all and that the tree-rings were actually giving an accurate picture of the climate and that the supposed temperature increases were a combination of UHI, increased minima (which the tree rings might not have picked up), and data "adjustment".
Common sense tells me I'm wrong but the lack of transparency in the "published literature" and the general attitude of climatologosts does very little to convince me of that!

Jun 1, 2012 at 10:36 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

We must pressure all relevant scientific and public bodies to change the burden of proof in these matters! Demand that all of these studies provide openly accessible data-code-methods or else they will be treated as FRAUDULENT.

Is it time to start using the "F-word" and saying that all studies which are not based upon open data, sources, and methods which can be rigorously replicated by independent observers will be presumed fraudulent until proven otherwise???

These charlatans keep pretending the burdens of proof are all on critics and questioners.

NO! If you want your studies and "science" to be accepted as reliable then it is incumbent upon YOU the researchers to archive all data, code, and methods in publicly available settings. No study which is not readily replicable should be allowed to stand as anything but suspect, indeed fraudulent, if it cannot be SUBSTANTIATED and VALIDATED (if those are the right words) by independent reviewers.

And no, the "pal review" bs of the tight community of climate researchers does not constitute "independent" review..... and as we have seen countless times, "peer review" does not typically include any real examination of data, code, and methods at a close granular level -- at best it is an endorsement of a general methodology and an article's write-up of distantly perceived results.

As has been seen over and over again with Mannian "science" even leaders in the field cannot account for the details of what was done (cf Myles Allen unable to understand or replicate Mann's error analysis because Mann's method was so opaque, undocumented, and/or incompetent).

p.s. "data" must come to be defined as inclusive of all data which was reviewed or could have been considered, since of course relevant analyses must examine whether cherry-picking has gone on at any level, i.e., it would be dangerous to exclude (whether by intent or accident) any data which could change the results of a study if analyzed appropriately.

Jun 1, 2012 at 10:59 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

As a Disney Villain once said "Why should I give you my data when all you will do is take the Mickey Mouse out of my ineptitude". I might be paraphrasing alittle.

Jun 1, 2012 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterShevva

"There is one feature I notice that is generally missing in “cargo cult science”… It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty — a kind of leaning over backwards… For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid — not only what you think is right about it… Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them." — Richard Feynman

Extraordinary claims, demand extraordinary proofs, and the cargo cult, can't provide ordinary proof, let alone extraordinary proof.

Jun 1, 2012 at 11:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterRibbit

When I was at primary school, my nice teacher always told us that we must

'show your working'

At O and A levels, showing the working was mandatory.

When I was doing my undergraduate finals the rather less than nice examiners and evaluators expected me to do the same.

And even when I presented my Masters thesis the oral torturer-sadists (unfortunately) were very keen to examine me on my methods and working in embarrassing detail.

At what point in the academic hierarchy does one rise so high that this is no longer a requirement? When one can insouciantly say

'Work it out for yourself, scumbag. I am a Climate Scientist. Now f**k off!''

as the charmless Joelle Gergis has done?

Is there a ceremony as one is admitted to the secret order? A ripping up of notepads? A ritual execution of the 'format c:' on one's laptop?

Maybe an inscribed certificate of emancipation signed by Phil and Keef and Mikey themslelves?

Or is it less formal and it is just 'made known' to you that you can now publish any old sort of crap and nobody will object as log as the conclusions 'feel right'

Jun 1, 2012 at 11:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Latimer: "Or is it less formal and it is just 'made known' to you that you can now publish any old sort of crap and nobody will object as log as the conclusions 'feel right'

Well, from what I have seen of the sorry excuses called 'studies' and 'reports' used by the UN in their attempt at a lead ban (if anything, even more shamelessly fraudulent to serve an agenda, than 'Climate Change', though using the same tactics - I hesitate to call them 'amateurish', because that would be a terribly undeserved libel, of amateurs), that's about it. Crap peer reviewed by other producers of crap, who all site on advisory committee's and NGO's and whatever, together (not telling anybody else, that all they are doing, is commenting on and justifying, each others crap, of course!), smugly drinking their kool aid.

They can't even differentiate any differences in lead levels, between background natural lead levels, versus known contaminated sites (I kid you not), so they pad it all out with 'assumptions' and 'presumptions'. All while quietly ignoring the known and proven dangers (metal fever, ground water contamination, etc), that are much worse than lead, with their proposed 'substitutes'. Just who owns these 'substitutes' that are prodding them on to remove a useful, cheap, widely available material, that is a known subject, with no significant issues in its use?

The scale of the incompetence and fraud going on, is absolutely jaw dropping.

Never mind eh, with the scale of the financial contraction that is coming, they won't even begin to have the funds to extract the urine anymore, so chin up, keep smiling, and all that.

Jun 1, 2012 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterRibbit

There seems no difference in kind between the methods used by Gergis et al and a drug company basing trials' results on successful outcomes while disregarding and suppressing those of patients who suffer adverse side-effects.

Am I missing some subtlety?

Jun 1, 2012 at 11:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Anthony

I used to teach statistics, but only at A level so I am no expert. However the phrase "selecting on the dependent variable" came to mind. When used as a search string it yields a number of papers warning of the distortions and biases that this form of screening can introduce in analyses.

Jun 1, 2012 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered Commentergordon walker


I was unaware of the business with lead. It reminds me of the way that CFCs were banned because of "damage to the ozone layer".

I guess that the money men thought that if they could get away with scams like these they could get away with CAGW - the ultimate scam of "selling fresh air". All that they needed were a few gullible politicians, and a small Team of easily manipulated scientists.....

Jun 1, 2012 at 12:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

It's even worse. Look at the AR5 WGI Timetable

• Early in year: CMIP5 Workshop
• April 16-20: Third Lead Authors Meeting (LA3)
• July 31: By this date papers must be submitted for publication to
be eligible for assessment by WG1.
• October 5 – November 30: Expert and Government Review of
the Second Order Draft (SOD)

• January 14-19: Fourth Lead Authors Meeting (LA4)
• March 15: By this date papers cited by WG1 must be published
or accepted (with proof, for example, by a letter of confirmation
from the editor)
• June 7 – August 2: Final Government Distribution of the WGI
AR5 Summary for Policymakers (SPM)
• September 13-14: Preparatory Meeting of WGI AR5 SPM/TS
Writing Team and Convening Lead Authors
• September 16-19: WGI AR5 SPM Approval Plenary

Note that papers for AR5 only have to be submitted at the time of the second (and final) review by Government and Experts. What chance is there of any reviewer getting to see data and methodology if a paper is not "in press" with a final preprint available.

Then note that papers need only be accepted "with proof, for example, by a letter of confirmation from the editor" by 15 March 2013 long after the Expert Review stage ended on 30 November 2012.

And remember that, unless and until the Jones-Stocker confidentiality clause gets rewritten as the DECC Minister of State promised, reviewers will not get to see the lead authors' responses to their review comments until long after AR5 is published. It is a total sham.

Jun 1, 2012 at 12:08 PM | Registered CommenterDavid Holland

The advocates / activists have placed their stake, deep, into an incorrect model. All other aspects of public policy decision making are in the hands of organizations that are independent of the political class. The political class, our elected representatives, establish organizations the responsibility of which is to implement the intent of the policy. In the USA some examples of those organizations are the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Nuclear regulatory Commission (NRC), etc. at the national level. All cabinet-level Departments very likely have many such organizations.

This approach, the only approach that has a proven record of success, extends down to those organizations responsible for rules and regulations that govern even the most mundane aspects such as elevators, bridges, houses, individual and public transportation: the list is very long.

The purpose of these administrative implementation bodies is to cut the ties between the political class and the actual implementation. And for very good reasons as we see on an almost daily basis.

If the model is applied to the IPCC and carbon and climate, each country would establish such an organization so as to decide how the implementation should proceed and remain within the best interests of its citizens.

Where things go completely totally counter to the present approach we see in Climate Science and the IPCC is that the implementation organizations always demand, without exception, a level of openness and Independent evaluation of the issues that is exhaustive to the extreme. You don't have any idea about what tedious is until you've appeared before one of these bodies:. Entropy generation to the max, but things do eventually get done.

Procedures are in place so that all stakeholders, aka the public that will be affected, can have input into the deliberations. The clear evidence of this is seen every day whenever advocacy groups object to almost every aspect of the deliberations, and when advocacy groups support the objectives, too. Intervention is very frequently based on information gained through FOIA requests, by both groups. The Union of Concerned Scientists was built on the back of FOIA. Very likely other organizations were, too.

What every country needs is an Independent Carbon Regulatory Commission to which the IPCC information, and all other data, are presented in total openness and in exhaustive detail. Typically, the Commission would require that al alternatives be investigative prior to setting any action into place. That is, the situation requires exhaustive definition of problems and exhaustive definition of proposed solutions from the bottom up.

Top down problem definition and proposed solution processes do not exist within regulatory organizations.

Jun 1, 2012 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterDan Hughes

And remember that, unless and until the Jones-Stocker confidentiality clause gets rewritten as the DECC Minister of State promised, reviewers will not get to see the lead authors' responses to their review comments until long after AR5 is published. It is a total sham.

Jun 1, 2012 at 12:08 PM | David Holland>>>>

Has anyone heard what Richard Betts has to say about this?

Jun 1, 2012 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterRKS

@Mike re "repositioning". Of course he is wrong.
However he is a political animal. They never admit they are wrong, just make sure that they have "plausible deniabilty".
Allen can now say that he was in favour of "disclosure", whilst also railing against those who
dare raise questions about hide the decline and the "hounding" of his mate Phil Jones.

Jun 1, 2012 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Jun 1, 2012 at 11:58 AM | gordon walker

I was wondering how long it would take somebody else to pick up on this. The methodology of climate modelling is fatally flawed, in that numerical models for multi-decadal forecasts:
A. Use low pass filters "chosen to preserve only the decadal and longer components of the variability". Quote from page 21: 

(and if you really want to see something that makes your blood run cold:)
B. Accommodate errors that cause instabilities "by making periodic corrections, rather than by fixing the underlying routines" Quote from page 7:

Jun 1, 2012 at 12:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

1) lead doesn't seem cheap when your flashing a roof. especially now you have to use code 4 minimum
2) lead substitutes don't work (for long)

Interesting stuff though, will have to read up on it!

Jun 1, 2012 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterDuncan

Many here are familiar with the late great Richard Feynman's talk on scientific and intellectual integrity, aka how to avoid practicing "cargo cult science". However, hardly anyone involved with this IPCC and its favored studies seems to be aware that scientific integrity requires a kind of "leaning over backwards" (Feynman) to continually strive to avoid biased results. It's not enough to write up a fancy paper no matter how elaborate. Without the most rigorous scrutiny of data-codes-methods there is the continual danger of "cargo cult science" (which seems to be all too prevalent). Feynman's recommendations should be thrust upon all of the authors involved with this study, and upon the IPCC:

"But there is one
feature I notice that is generally missing in cargo cult science.
That is the idea that we all hope you have learned in studying
science in school--we never explicitly say what this is, but just
hope that you catch on by all the examples of scientific
investigation. It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now
and speak of it explicitly. It's a kind of scientific integrity,
a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of
utter honesty--a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if
you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you
think might make it invalid--not only what you think is right about
it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and
things you thought of that you've eliminated by some other
experiment, and how they worked--to make sure the other fellow can
tell they have been eliminated."

"Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be
given, if you know them. You must do the best you can--if you know
anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong--to explain it. If you
make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then
you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well
as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem.
When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate
theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that
those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea
for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else
come out right, in addition."

"In summary, the idea is to try to give all of the information to
help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the
information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or
[Richard Feynman, 1974 CalTech Commencement Address, "Cargo Cult Science"]

Jun 1, 2012 at 12:40 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

"Only records that were significantly (p<0.05) correlated with the detrended instrumental target over the 1921–1990 period were selected for analysis."

1. Please can someone explain to me, here:
1a) what the detrended instrumental target is and
1b) how the "detrended instrumental target" is derived
2. Can the "detrended instrumental target" be found before any records are analysed?
3. How does one know, without analysing it, that a record is significantly (p<0.05) correlated?

Jun 1, 2012 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Christopher

other producers of crap, who all site on advisory committee's
Ribbit, I'm having trouble with your typo here (and I don't mean that pointless apostrophe!!). Can you explain whether 'site' has an 'e' that shouldn't be there or is missing an 'h'?
Just asking.

Don Keiller
One day a politician is actually going to go in front of the TV cameras and use the words "I made a mistake". Wee Geordie Osborne is getting close to it but only because it's so patently bloody obvious.
Still, if somebody like Lovelock can do it there's hope yet!

Jun 1, 2012 at 1:41 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Add Himalayan glaciers, Germany and Japan going back to coal, failure of cap-n-trade, no dangerous slr changes, Antarctica increasing in mass, Arctic sea ice trending back to recent historical norms, extreme weather events remaining flat, solar power leaving any country not willing to subsidize it, etc.

Jun 1, 2012 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

"The compilation of this database represents years of our research effort based on the development of our professional networks. We risk damaging our work relationships by releasing other people’s records against their wishes."

Hmmmmm...does this sound familiar to anyone? Has she been receiving lessons on not providing data from a certain Prof. Jones?


Jun 1, 2012 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman


Jun 1, 2012 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterTony Hansen

After observing the various shenanigans that the reconstructionists have done to keep most of the trees out of their papers I've come to the conclusion that they misplayed their hand early on by saying the dendro data represents temperature. If they had said the trees represented growing conditions and that growing conditions were ideal since forever until the late twentieth century when things went to he** because of increasing temperature caused by man. Most trees then would support their conclusions and the few that didn't were just outliers that prefer anomalously warmer temperature. They could have even said that temperatures during the MWP were lower that at present because rings show ideal conditions then.

Jun 1, 2012 at 2:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn K

AR5 dead in the water?

It looks like they'll have so many hockey sticks they'll be able to build a raft.

Jun 1, 2012 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterredc

First, a study by Gergis et al., in the Journal of Climate uses a proxy network from the Australasian region to reconstruct temperature over the last millennium, and finds what can only be described as an Australian hockey stick.

-eric on Realclimate

The kiss of death.

Jun 1, 2012 at 3:25 PM | Unregistered Commentershub

In the Haunting the Library article on Adger, this paragraph particularly caught my eye:

As the Resilience Alliance explain: “an example . . . would be when local activist groups succeed in efforts to transform regional institutions and politics”. If institutions have become (or can be encouraged to become) overly large and unwieldy, they will be “rigid” and vulnerable to attack. “Fast and small” events could, the authors argue, overwhelm even large institutions and lead to the collapse and destruction that must necessarily precede “reorganization”.

This reads like a beginner's guide to the infiltration of scientific institutions such as the RS or the APS, not to mention UEA. Or am I going too far in my conspiracy theory?
Ah well, in for a penny, in for a pound: In the face of such cynical manipulation, can't help wondering if there is any link with scientology.

Jun 1, 2012 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn in France

The IPCC is already trivialized by small voluntary independent scientific integration processes. Traditional science journals are already being displaced by more open scientific venues. Media boycotts of skeptical climate science news have ironically caused those media to be increasingly irrelevance to the advance of a more skeptical climate science.

A scientific revolution in climate science started when the first skeptical scientists had the courage to speak out at significant professional risk to themselves. It only took just a few individual voices to create the movement toward fundamental change in climate science that we see today.


Jun 1, 2012 at 4:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Whitman

@The Leopard In The Basement

That method certainly ensures that you get the blade of the Hockey stick. If the rest below that period is really a rubbish proxy, and essentially varies randomly back down to 1000 A.D., then it cancels out and gives the straight line stick.

Precisely, which is why the method is successful in finding Hockey Sticks in red noise.

Jun 1, 2012 at 5:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

For reasons I can't begin to fathom, this comment has been consigned to moderation hell over at Climate Audit. Steve makes the comment that the use of studies by the IPCC makes the failure to make data available much different than the circumstances in other scientific fields. The reason is that the IPCC assessments are used to make policy. Instead of asking scientists to police themselves, I wrote:

"The focus of enforcement should be on the policymakers and their tool, the IPCC. If the science isn’t available for review, audit, replication by the public, the governments should not use it to make policy. Their citizens, as a matter of basic civil rights, should be able to examine the evidence used to infringe on their lives, liberty and property.

If the US government told the UN and the IPCC to get its house in order on these issues, it would. If the USA or another prominent nation publicly declared that the IPCC in its present form was worthless because of major shortcomings in these areas, the IPCC would cease to be seen as relevant.

The scientists in the climate science community have demonstrated repeatedly that they have no intention of voluntarily making the needed changes. If people wish to see some changes made, they should educate their elected representatives. I think it would be easier to get the US Congress to pass some kind of Civil Right to Access to Science Act than to get these scientists to reform."

This seems to flow logically from the post and the comment Steve Mc made. His experience makes it painfully clear that the scientists aren't going to clean up their act. The importance of the work is all a result of the use governments make of it. So governments should be the focus of our efforts to clean things up. If the USA told the IPCC that it would be completely ignored unless scientific standards were upheld, changes would be made.

Jun 1, 2012 at 5:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterstan

"Frank in the comments points out that the sorting was to the detrended temperatures. If so then this would mitigate against the circular reasoning criticism. "

Not entirely. 'Detrended' instrumental series contain only interannual variability. A subset of proxies from a large parent will inevitably show correlation of some kind. The authors then use the same network to *infer* centennial/millenial scale variability which then implies the authors believe these series to be responsive at these timescales as well. This defeats the purpose of the detrending exercise. They simply re-institute circular reasoning at the inference stage.

Secondly, the authors cannot help but fall for drawing over-drawn conclusions, anyway.

From their results section, at the very beginning:

The R27 network clearly captures observed inter-annual temperature variations in the
HadCRUT3v Australasian spatial mean (Figure 2, see also section S7).

Why would the authors make such a statement? !!

Jun 1, 2012 at 6:14 PM | Unregistered Commentershub

The IPCC is a political body, it's there because politicians want it and will continue to want it, whilst its products suit their purpose.
Its processes can be as opaque as it likes, aslong as the outcomes still support the taxation of any human activity in a "First World" country, that produces a greenhouse gas.

Jun 1, 2012 at 7:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

Spoken like a true sceptic. Would some statistically-minded person like to explain to us simple mortals exactly where the circular reasoning lies? And why it may not be circular if the screening is performed on the de-trended series? I enjoyed the gerbil poop analogy, but one sometimes hankers over something more nourishing.

"Is there an entity (a publication), a scholar, or someone - that might be accepted as being capable by both sides - that could take evidence from both camps and publish an "unbiased" report...?
geronimo’s response: “Yes there is such an expert, he's called Steve McIntyre” clearly won’t do (no offence to Steve, of course). Surely it’s possible to find one statistician in the universe who knows nothing about climate science and who can say: “Yes, that’s ok” or “No, that won’t do.”

Jun 1, 2012 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoff chambers

When the Journal of Statistics did just that, and published a nice paper showing that the HS is horse hooey, the AGW community rejected that analysis because they did not know the sublimity of climate science.
Can you guys make up your minds, pretty please?

Jun 1, 2012 at 8:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

elephant in the room: why the Team loves hockey sticks

There has been some debate on recent threads about how much difference the emergence of the "hockey stick" made as an icon of CAGW, whether its sudden and widespread adoption was or was not driven by political and "educational" needs. Why did the IPCC make it an "icon" so quickly when they did etc. Here is a candid acknowledgement from the Team that the hockey stick was extremely valuable to the "educational" program with the public, and presumably also for influencing policy makers (see full quotation at link or on the BH Joelle Gergis thread):

23 Raymond T. Pierrehumbert says:

1 Mar 2005 at 6:32 PM

"...However, there is a legitimate reason for putting so much energy into defending it. The “hockey stick” is an excellent educational tool. Much of the evidence and theory is complex and hard to explain. We are short on scientifically respectable arguments that can be immediately grasped by the public. I know from my own use of Mann et al when it first came out that it was a very good aid to public education about the nature of the problem. This is what it means to be an “icon....”"

Jun 1, 2012 at 8:32 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Geoff, according to Dr Bouldin, the "Screening Fallacy" is a fallacy.

Jun 1, 2012 at 8:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterharold

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