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Met Office withdraws article about Marcott's hockey stick


The Met Office's My Climate and Me website has removed a blog post about the Marcott Hockey Stick:

We previously posted an article entitled “New analysis suggests the Earth is warming at a rate unprecedented for 11,300 years” covering the paper by Marcott et al in Nature. The title of our article drew on the original press release for the paper.  However, we note that authors of the paper have since issued an extensive response to media coverage [] which includes the following statement:

Q: Is the rate of global temperature rise over the last 100 years faster than at any time during the past 11,300 years?

A: Our study did not directly address this question because the paleotemperature records used in our study have a temporal resolution of ~120 years on average, which precludes us from examining variations in rates of change occurring within a century. Other factors also contribute to smoothing the proxy temperature signals contained in many of the records we used, such as organisms burrowing through deep-sea mud, and chronological uncertainties in the proxy records that tend to smooth the signals when compositing them into a globally averaged reconstruction. We showed that no temperature variability is preserved in our reconstruction at cycles shorter than 300 years, 50% is preserved at 1000-year time scales, and nearly all is preserved at 2000-year periods and longer. Our Monte-Carlo analysis accounts for these sources of uncertainty to yield a robust (albeit smoothed) global record. Any small “upticks” or “downticks” in temperature that last less than several hundred years in our compilation of paleoclimate data are probably not robust, as stated in the paper.

In the light of this statement from the authors, we no longer consider our headline to be appropriate.


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Reader Comments (114)

Pity they didn't think to check with scientists first, like that blog is supposed to..
It is only by a number of sceptics pushing really hard that this happened (not me)

Jun 14, 2013 at 10:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Why has it taken so long to delete. One remembers it was posted with alacrity

Jun 14, 2013 at 10:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Dentf

So, are we to suppose that the original article was posted without anyone from the Met. Office reading it and realising that it was bullshit, or is there no one in the Met Office capable of doing so, or did they know what it contained and were hoping nobody would notice if they printed it anyway?

Oh wait, it appears in the archive where the original article was, not on the home page. It's the old tabloid trick - big headline on page one, retraction on page 23 under the classified ads next day.

Jun 14, 2013 at 11:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

One can just imagine the Shepherd guy blocking those denier trolls of @metofficenews :)

ps well done whoever deleted that post!

Jun 14, 2013 at 11:03 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Lessons WON'T be Learned.

Jun 14, 2013 at 11:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterAC1

Better late than never, as is often the case.

Jun 14, 2013 at 11:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris S

We have decided to withdraw the article titled "Emperor voted best dressed man for an unprecedented 11,300 year" after a small child brought to our attention that he was actually bollock naked.

Jun 14, 2013 at 11:25 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Curious how these seekers of thruth will not look at other graphs after this admission to what we know is a clear lie. I will not call anyone from the royal society a scientist, without clear proof in the data from now on.

Marcott is an intelligense litmus test in my opinion.

Jun 14, 2013 at 11:27 PM | Unregistered Commenternormalnew

I wonder what Richard Betts has to say about this? I wonder if he would call a spade a spade or try to play fown the significence of what has happened here i.e. the alarmists admit the game is up!

Jun 14, 2013 at 11:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

We see this kind of magic with NOAA too. They made a big thing out of 2012 being the warmest La Nina year on record in their 2012 State of the Climate report. Lots of press coverage. I wrote a post that reminded NOAA that they had recently redefined ENSO events, and based on the new definition 2012 was not the warmest La Nina year. Then with as little fanfare as possible, NOAA reissued a correction:

On the other hand, NOAA made the correction in a few weeks--not 3 months like the Met Office.

Jun 14, 2013 at 11:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterBob Tisdale

I wonder he many other dodgy papers have been supported by the Met Office, without properly reading them.

Jun 15, 2013 at 12:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

In cases like this it is prudent to archive the entire blog comment thread for this Metoffice webpage. Citizen science at its best.

Jun 15, 2013 at 12:11 AM | Registered CommenterPharos

The title of our article drew on the original press release for the paper.

The dirty (not so) little secret is that much of what is presented as news is just a rewrite of a press release.

Jun 15, 2013 at 12:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterSpeed

I bet there was a bun-fight in the office!

Jun 15, 2013 at 12:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterA.D. Everard

And we still have trolls on the Delingpole blogs swearing black is white and that Marcott represents all that is good and holy in climate science.

Jun 15, 2013 at 12:57 AM | Registered CommenterGrumpyDenier

Ok,appropriate or not i`m going to start laughing:)))

Jun 15, 2013 at 1:05 AM | Unregistered Commenterbanjo

Jun 14, 2013 at 11:36 PM | FarleyR

I wonder what Richard Betts has to say about this?

Farley, Richard Betts has already had his say about this! On several occasions, actually.

Here at BH, [Mar 25, 2013 at 10:44 AM] where he wrote:

I’m afraid Marcott et al is not a particularly high priority for me. I can see it’s of huge interest to readers of this blog, [...] so Marcott remains merely of academic interest to me. As I say above, I’m more interested in improving the ability to assess the impacts of climate change and variability over the next few years to decades, and an 11,000 year reconstruction does not seem to be especially helpful there. [emphasis added -hro]

As I had remarked elsewhere, "I’m not entirely sure how one might hold or maintain a “merely … academic interest” in a paper one has not been “motivated to read up on”.

But when push came to shove, so to speak, Richard wrote [Apr 15, 2013 at 5:27 PM]:

My (non-palaeo expert) view on Marcott is that it is an interesting attempt to reconstruct temperatures over the last 11000 years or so, but its significance has been over-sold. It does not appear to support claims of “unprecedented rates of warming” because the time resolution is too low. [emphasis added -hro]

And in an April 24, 2013 comment on my blog, Richard wrote:

I don’t know why the headline on the Marcott paper is still there on My Climate and Me. The original post about it was removed at my request. It was a mistake to post about an area of science that the Met Office does not work on – we have asked My Climate and Me to stick to areas of Met Office expertise in future, and they will do this.

And, last but not least, back here at BH (in the Trouble At T'Jewel in the Crown discussion) prompted by a query of mine [Jun 11, 2013 at 7:05 AM], Richard wrote [Jun 11, 2013 at 8:47 PM]:

The MC&M article on Marcott was updated on 12th May on my request. The wording of the revised post came from me.

As I had written in response to matthu's confirmation of this date ... So it took three iterations and full two months before the MO removed this Marcott meme! Amazing, eh?! The MO's error correction protocol must be as unwieldy as that of the IPCC (if not more so!)

And having now refreshed my memory on Richard's very early recognition of the "huge interest to readers of this blog", I must say that I find his subsequent claim ...

You're probably right that it would have been useful to highlight the change to the MC&M post, but I guess I just assumed that you'd notice anyway since you'd been keeping an eye on it. Another lesson in not making assumptions....! :-)

... to be - at best - somewhat on the lame-side!

Jun 15, 2013 at 1:12 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

It's good to know that, collectively, the sceptics have Richard's ear. My regard for him continues to grow.

Who ARE My Climate & Me? Their About page tells us what they're not; they say they're not climate scientists. So who are they, then, and why are they employed at the Met Office? For what purpose and to what end?

Richard's instruction to My Climate & Me to lose the fervent propagandising is a positive, here, although the cynic in me wonders if My Climate & Me can actually fulfil their remit with their wings clipped by being forced to be diligent and factual and... stuff like that.

Jun 15, 2013 at 2:19 AM | Registered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

Better later than never. Still, it surprises (not) that Wikipedia has an identical policy regarding the assessment of the material they cite, that is, none.

Jun 15, 2013 at 5:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

It hit mainstream news around the world; without highly publicized corrections their minds remain dirtied.

Jun 15, 2013 at 5:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterDaveA

They were just applying the well established climatology blaze and glory fanfare routine customarily followed quietly sometime later by a smoldering pile of.... oops.

Jun 15, 2013 at 6:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

Soooo... the leading climate experts in the UK were incapable of determining that the Marcott paper was utter dreck. What exactly does that say about their actual expertise? We are at a point which you blind supporters need to begin explaining such incompetence.

Mark J Takatz, PhD
signed with confidence that I never say yes without conducting my own analysis. The rest of you 'scientists' should be ashamed. In the world in which I do business, there would be terminations of employment. Button but a bunch of liars.

Jun 15, 2013 at 6:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark T

Uh, nuttin, not button. Tablet fun. :)

Jun 15, 2013 at 6:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark T

I'm livid (and a little drunk). The desire of alarmists is so great they cannot even bother to check anything that agrees with the predetermined outcome. Unbelievable. If it weren't for the tireless efforts of those like Steve M, Anthony W, Nic L, Jeff C, and our gracious host, these incompetents would NEVER have found, let alone admitted, the error. Stunning.
Do any of you honestly feel you deserve the salary you draw?

Mark T (same guy)

Jun 15, 2013 at 7:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark T

It seems Richard Betts had already told the people on the site in late April that the paper was dross, but it's taken this amount of time for them to actually admit it. Not impressed, not am impressed that Slingo and co. can feel free to spend taxpayer's money on a propaganda site.

Jun 15, 2013 at 7:17 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

FYI, there is a comment by rgbatduke on the thread by Monckton on WUWT that everyone should read. He (er, maybe she) gets it. Seriously. Like, duh, is it that obvious?


Jun 15, 2013 at 7:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark T

Thee Independent still hasn't got the message, or if it has, is wilfully ignoring this news. See their lurid headline that is STILL in their 'climate change' pages.

"The world is hottest it has been since the end of the ice age - and the temperature's still rising"

Jun 15, 2013 at 7:22 AM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

It has never been about the science, geronimo. Folks like Slingo can spend an eternity spinning the truth as long as there is one idiot ready to sell his soul in support of the cause. Plausible deniability. Still liars, IMO.


Jun 15, 2013 at 7:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark T

If Betts truly cared about the truth, he would be standing on the rooftops shouting down such obvious nonsense. He has not. He still answers to masters that do not want to know (or care about) the truth. Posting a disagreement on a septic website is like a whisper in the middle of a scream.

Prove yourself, Richard, stand up for the truth when and where it matters.


Jun 15, 2013 at 7:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark T

I used to think that the motto of the Met Office was:

'It's Global Warming, stupid. Now what's the question?'

Perhaps its turning to:

'It's extremely likely it's Global Warming, dickhead. Now what's the question?'

We make progress by baby steps. But we make progress.........

Jun 15, 2013 at 7:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

More confirmation [if any were needed] that the Met office will associate itself with any old crap as long as it says 'warming' on the package.

Furthermore and indeed - it is an absolute confirmation that the Met Office is not primarily an organisation dedicated to scientific measurement, collation and predictive forecasting of the British meteorologic weather forming processes. OH NO! All that went by the by in the nineteen nineties [and maybe before that], now all we have in Exeter, Reading Uni, Wallingford and elsewhere is an advocacy agency funded by government to pronounce, advocate and advertise an unproven supposition, that of man made CO2 climate propaganda.

It's time for the Met Office to be wound up - it's original purpose has long since vanished along with all traces of its former scientific objectiveness and integrity - if HMG is serious about making budgetary cuts - why not commence with the Met Office - after all they're just another bunch of very non servile and not very civil - servants.

Jun 15, 2013 at 7:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

So, the Met Office deleted a blog post.
Who will delete the Met Office?

Jun 15, 2013 at 8:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

My take on the Marcott et al nonscience

Jun 15, 2013 at 8:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterRog Tallbloke

Pity they didn't think to check with scientists first, like that blog is supposed to..
It is only by a number of sceptics pushing really hard that this happened (not me)

Jun 14, 2013 at 10:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

I'm sure it helped but, IMHO, I think it had done it's PR job and was now a nuisance. It is also possible that with their super secret "disappointing weather" meeting coming up they may want to clear the decks in preparation.

Jun 15, 2013 at 8:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Prove yourself, Richard, stand up for the truth when and where it matters.


Jun 15, 2013 at 7:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark T

You need to know what the truth is before standing up.

Jun 15, 2013 at 8:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

It's good to know that, collectively, the sceptics have Richard's ear. My regard for him continues to grow.

[snip] It's his unit that is pumping out the dross about everything and everyone dying. He runs climate impact unit and staunchly defends the model [snip -manners, please moderate your comments]

Jun 15, 2013 at 8:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Simon Hopkinson

From the Met Office's recent submission to the Parliamentary Select Committee

the new social media channel is being piloted by the Met Office to provide young people direct access to Met Office climate scientists, who can answer their specific questions.

Not clear just what age group the site is aimed at. Toddlers perhaps?

And like most everything issued by the MO the statement does not have a massive ring of truth about it. As far as I can see they may have answered a couple of questions - one from Barry Woods - does he count as young people? There was another one about sea level rise. But the whole thing is so lame it will not appeal to young people. Otherwise the site is yet another propaganda outlet that we taxpayers are no doubt paying for.

The good thing about it is that it is more grist for the sceptic mill. The more these clowns show their faces in public the more we have to laugh at.

Jun 15, 2013 at 9:18 AM | Unregistered CommenternoTrohpywins

Another interesting development in the murky world of the Met Office. They have finally posted responses to their piece on Doug Keenan's post at BH. Seems the strategy is to delay until they think the trail has gone cold.

All the comments are critical except for some gibberish from their tame groupie

Jun 15, 2013 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered CommenternoTrohpywins

I don't know why some of the posters on this blog keep calling on Richard Betts to denounce the Met Office and all its works. Would they be openly critical of their own employers? It is not normally a good idea to wash dirty linen in public.

Betts deserves praise as one of the relatively few mainstream climate scientists who are willing to engage in discussions with sceptics. However, he does have his day job to concentrate on and it is desirable that he and other reasonably open-minded climate scientists get on with their work. Irrespective of their personal views, their work, if pursued conscientiously, should eventually help to clarify the extent to which human activity influences the climate.

Jun 15, 2013 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

guys this is not normal science rules it's Climate Non-science rules
- Big claim first then ..look for evidence to "prove"
- Big Media headline - before going into peer review process.
- and make make sure you can shout "conspiracy nutcase", before has the chance to call you up on your bad behaviour

Jun 15, 2013 at 9:59 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I recommend all negative mentions of Richard Betts to be declared OT and OTT at once - unless we prefer speaking to nobody at all, Mann-style.

Jun 15, 2013 at 10:02 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

I think the myclimateandme has lots of good intentions,and I've met the guy behind it. I just think it is a slightly naive attempt to make use of blogs, to bring climate to the general public.

They just need to not drop on press release too quickly, and dare I say it to become a bit more sceptical... of press releases.

They played fair with me, allowing me approval of this video ( the first version I saw I was not completely happy with, needed a bit more explanation))

I think they are seeking an audience that does not really exist.

Jun 15, 2013 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

The problem is the underlying concept that UKMO should be proactively promoting anything.
It is difficult to see the motivation as anything other than communicating the CAGW meme to the public for political reasons.

Here we have UKMO effectively putting its weight and reputation behind a press release from a completely unrelated organisation - clearly the implication being that UKMO endorses the content as scientifically correct when in fact My Climate and Me is purely a propaganda operation and demonstrably does not make use of UKMO resources to check the "facts" they are promulgating.

This exercise should be shut down and the resources diverted to improving weather forecasting. The safety of a wide range of outdoor activities commercial and recreational depends on accurate weather forecasts which is why we have a UKMO, not to help politicians persuade the public to agree with them.

Leave advocacy to the plethora of advocacy groups (who should not be publically funded).

Jun 15, 2013 at 10:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterNW

The headlines on Marcott concentrated on the uptick. The more robust parts are the long periods. The reconstruction shows a cooling trend for over 4,000 years. By concentrating on generating headlines to support current hypotheses, they are missing the interesting story here.

Jun 15, 2013 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterManicBeancounter

Post in haste, retract in leisure.

Jun 15, 2013 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterBob MacInnes

They say that sometimes coming down off the mountain can sometimes be far more dangerous than climbing up it. Not because the mountain has changed, but because the climber has.

Jun 15, 2013 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered Commenterceetee

As part of their outreach efforts, I wonder if the Met Office were represented at this event: Climate activists join anti-capitalists in Canary Wharf's biggest protest

If not, why not? Do they need more resources perhaps? Bring back Johnny Zero - he can help these people promote their remarkable discovery that renewables provide cheap energy, and that poor people are dying from cold thanks to global warming:

James Granger, of Fuel Poverty Action, who helped organise the event, said the banks and financial institutions in Canary Wharf are "bankrolling fossil fuel projects across the world which are causing climate change and fuel poverty".

"The price of fossil fuels is increasing, which is leading to one-quarter of the UK population facing the choice between heating and eating," he said. "I'm here to say that there is an alternative – renewable energy which is cheaper and cleaner, and an economy that works for the needs of people not the needs of profit."

Betty Cottingham of the Greater London Pensioners Association said: "I'm here to protest along with the young and middle-aged people about what this lot are doing to our world. There's going to be 3,000 extra deaths this winter because pensioners and other people daren't turn the heating on."

Jun 15, 2013 at 12:11 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade


I concur

Jun 15, 2013 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

The Met Office would make better long range forecasts with an old pine cone and a piece of dry seaweed.

Personally I get better forecasts by looking out of the window, noting the wind direction and checking the barometer.

If the Met Office "forecasters" spent less time looking at the computer screen and more looking out of the window, they would improve dramatically. As it is they are not fit for purpose. Sack the lot, starting with Sligo.

Jun 15, 2013 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

[snip - OTT]

Jun 15, 2013 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

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