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« Lack of posting | Main | On writing popular blog posts »
Thursday
Aug142008

And still they come

Well, two days on and the visitor numbers are still heading upwards. I've been enjoying seeing how people are reacting, and mostly it's been very positive. There have been visitors from all parts of the world, with a current surge from Australia, where the story has been picked up by Andrew Bolt of the Courier Mail Herald Sun, which is the first MSM link for the story. I also note with amusement that people are discussing my article in a bondage forum - when you're bored with talking dirty you can always have a chat about statistics, I suppose.

One interesting reaction was from Professor Barry Brook, the biologist who heads the Research Institute for Climate Change and Sustainability at the University of Adelaide. Prof Brook responded to a commenter who had pointed him at my hockey stick article saying:

[T]here’s really no need, as this hoary old chestnut has already been gathered, roasted and eaten. If the folks at Climate Audit choose not to keep up to date, or to ignore any refutation, that’s their limitation.

Which is peculiar because if you follow those links, the scientific argument presented is all about principal components analysis (how the temperature reconstruction was extracted from the tree rings) which is something that I didn't mention at all in my article. The scientific part of my posting was about verification using the RE statistic (how well did the temperature reconstruction they extracted matched up against known temperatures in the past) , and isn't mentioned in any of Professor Brook's "refutations". I've asked him to explain, and also to give us the benefit of his opinions of Wahl and Amman's benchmarking procedures. It will be interesting to hear what he has to say.

If you are interested in the earlier story of the creation of the hockey stick, there's a popular science article here (h/t Steve McIntyre) which covers this earlier tale. It's just as scandalous, but equally mathematical.

Another interesting discussion has been the Prometheus blog where Roger Pielke Jnr discusses the "corruption of science" angle.

 

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Reader Comments (16)

Andrew Bolt is from the Herald Sun in Melbourne. I don't think he'd be seen dead at the Courier Mail, which, despite coming from Australia's premier state, is a scurrilous, AGW believing rag of the "whew that was a hot one yesterday, sign of things to come" variety.

Keep up the good work.
Aug 14, 2008 at 8:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterDocBud
I hate to contradict you, DocBud, but Andrew Bolt is actually in *both* The Courier Mail *and* the Herald Sun. ;~)

http://blogs.news.com.au/couriermail/andrewbolt/
http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/

And, this is a great blog. I'm glad Andrew linked to it; I wouldn't have seen it otherwise.
Aug 14, 2008 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterGordon
P.S. But you're right, he's "from" the Herald Sun...
Aug 14, 2008 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterGordon
Came at this via Watts up with That-great work and a service to the world
Aug 14, 2008 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJon
Thanks for putting together the narrative - it brings into sharp focus the shenanigans that are going on to promote the scam. I wish someone could ferret out who or what is the driving force behind all this.

We live in interesting times - I sometimes call this the "post-rational age", wherein truth is no longer an objective quantity to be sought, but rather an assertion we are to be bullied into accepting.
Aug 14, 2008 at 8:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterPops
Thak you so so much, Bishop, you are a gentleman. Someone needed to do this for the world. Wish it had been me, for I believe you are right, but I had not the skill or the time.
Aug 15, 2008 at 9:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Davis (not that one)
I'm sorry, but having followed the ipcc's [Mann's, Briffa's] case for linking wild tree ring widths to global temperatures, or even linking them to local temperatures - which itself has so far not been done or proven in any case so far proferred by the ipcc as far as I am aware of - I will simply state what I know from having lived in the midst of tens of thousands wild trees for 33 years: the idea that wild tree ring widths are relative thermometers is absurd, that is, until scientifically proven otherwise, as opposed to simply assumed to be the case as a matter of narcissistic or propagandistic convenience.
Aug 16, 2008 at 8:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterJ. Peden
It is, as you say, less than obvious that a temperature signal can be extracted from ring widths (and wood densities). Given the verification statistics, it appears that our suspicions are entirely founded.
Aug 16, 2008 at 4:32 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
Bishop Hill,

You may be interested in a comment by Dave Rado at http://www.alexlockwood.net/2008/08/14/bbc-impartiality-and-climate-change/#more-349
In spite of the fact that he coordinated the 176-page complaint to Ofcom about inaccuracies in The Great Global Warmng Swindle, it contains more errors of fact than can easily be counted.

As a result Alex Lockwood, the proprietor of the blog, has changed his very complimentary copy about your Hocky Stick post in a most remarkable way and removed the link to it. His About page describes him as a 'lecturer in journalism at the University of Sunderland, specialising in the practice and theory of environmental journalism'.
Aug 16, 2008 at 5:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterTonyN
Tony

I'm not sure one can take Dave Rado seriously if he thinks Geophysical Research Letters is not a respected peer-reviewed scientific journal.

He also seems to think that nobody is criticising the other proxy temperature reconstructions - is it too difficult for him to surf over to Climate Audit and look in the left hand navigation bar - lots of criticisms of other studies. If you take out all the studies which have bristlecones in and you take out all the ones which have refused to release their data and code you get Craig Loehle's reconstruction, which shows a pronounced medieval warm period. So if you are convinced that a tree is a thermometer by proxy, you still don't get the answer you want if you are of a catastrophic AGW persuasion.

There is nothing in the NAS report that refutes anything I've said either.
Aug 16, 2008 at 8:02 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
I was interested in the dates of the documents that Brooke asserts as disproving McIntyre (2008). One is 2005, the others seem to include 2007 data, but still rely on citing the original Wahl and Amman paper which is now disproven.

And Brooke then says: "If the folks at Climate Audit choose not to keep up to date, or to ignore any refutation, that’s their limitation..."

In order to ignore the refutation of Wahl and Amman, he has had to be between one and three years out of date...
Aug 17, 2008 at 9:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer
Aug 17, 2008 at 11:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterDocBud
Dave Rado is a climate change groupie:

http://www.daverado.mvps.org/Articles/KingMisquote.htm

"and realising that Sir David King would never have said any such thing, I investigated".

He then bends over backwards to try and justify, not very convincingly, why it was okay for Sir David King to mislead a House of Commons Select Committee.
Aug 18, 2008 at 12:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterDocBud
Just when you believe the whole world is going mad, making you feel as put-upon as an elderly hermit standing on the porch and shaking their cane in thwarted frustration at wild hoodlums trespassing to steal apples...why, you find a reasonable site like this one, and you remember: everything may not necessarily end badly.


Nevertheless, I am adding the term "post-rationalist age" to my personal lexicon. Than you, commenter 'Pops'.

Glad I found this site, I'll be back.
Aug 18, 2008 at 3:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpus
1) Over the years, I don't think Team Hockey stick has never addressed the red-noise-instead-of-data-still-produces-the-same-graph issue. The Wegman Report was rather damning in that respect. (copy available at http://republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/108/home/07142006_Wegman_Report.pdf.)

2) It is also noteworthy that defenses of the MBH mission to minimize the medieval warming period is invariably done using either(a) the same methods and selected data (Amman and Wahl) or (b) cherry-picked proxy studies. The fact is that a clear majority (75%+) of proxy studies of all kinds indicate a MWP temperature range higher than the current warming period. A summary of hundreds of such proxy studies both pro and con is available here: http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/mwpp.php

3) The other popular defense when confronted by clear evidence of a MWP is to claim that it was a mere "regional" anomaly but studies from South America, North America and Siberia indicate that the phenomenon was indeed global. In short, you only get to deny the scope of the MWP by ignoring or denying the bulk of available science.

4) It seems pretty clear that Mann et all set out to achieve the Right Answer. To knowingly pick the bristlecone pine as the dominant data element was revealing given that its anomalous qualities were well-known (highly responsive to small increases in CO2) and guaranteed that the result would overstate modern warming and understate temperatures in pre-industrial periods.

5) The existence of a MWP does not refute AGW. It just takes away the simplistic polemic about "unprecedented" climate change after millennia of supposed virtual invariance. To go to this much trouble in order to preserve a bogus debate point and to protect a refusal to admit obvious error is an interesting phenomenon all by itself.
Aug 18, 2008 at 6:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Tobin
Professor Brook seems to be a grants junkie as he boasts he's taken $3 million in grants to study AGW. from what i can see Brook has no AGW specialty as his bio says he principally studied at Macquarie University which to be frank is considered on a lower rung in academic output in Australia.

He writes about mass species extinctions and other alarmist tripe.

He career depends on this racket so he couldn't be trusted on anything he touches on this subject. When he writes about special interests he's looking in he mirror.
Aug 22, 2008 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered Commentertalgent

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