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« Yamal - the debate continues | Main | A defence of Yamal? »

Briffa responds

I'm grateful to a reader for pointing out a preliminary response to the Yamal affair from Keith Briffa.

I'm up to my neck in work, so I've only glanced at it so far. The fact of the response is good though - the two sides of the debate need to engage and science will be the winner when they do.

I'll try to comment further tonight.



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Reader Comments (10)

Is Mr. Biffra reading the same Climate Audit web site that I am? He says, "The basis for McIntyre's selection of which of our (i.e. Hantemirov and Shiyatov's) data to exclude and which to use in replacement is not clear.....He offers no justification for excluding the original data;."

Good grief, can people not understand that Steve was doing a sensitivity analysis -- and NOT, as he has said over and over -- NOT trying to construct an alternative chronology. Even I -- a confirmed layman -- can grasp the difference.

And please, Mr. Biffra, explain why you have refused to release this data for so long.

Oct 1, 2009 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterMichael Smith

Yeah, I would just love to know what it took 10 years for 'robust' evidence to see the light of day.

Oct 1, 2009 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn

I asked the BBC's Roger Harrabin why this topic had not been covered by the BBC. Here is his response...

From: Roger Harrabin - Internet []
Sent: 01 October 2009 15:18
To: xxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: FW: Curious omission

From my colleague Richard Black

We are a general news organisation, it is not in our remit to cover issues as detailed as this, even if there's a problem with one proxy record that does not necessarily invalidate MMGW, once Mr McIntyre formally publishes his analysis of the Yamap data other scientists more expert than us will doubtless examine it critically and then we'll see what it all means.

Oct 1, 2009 at 3:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe90

"My colleagues and I are working to develop methods that are capable of expressing robust evidence of climate changes using tree-ring data."

And they'll find that evidence and present it no matter what it takes. Thank you, Bishop, for posting the link. We all know by now that Dr. Briffa has been ill (and thos of us who have been wishing him ill join in praying for a rapid recovery... this just wasn't the ill we had in mind) so a delayed response would be understandable in his case. I was hoping to see more substance and lots less hand waving. His description of his methodology just doesn't sound right and a lot more detail needs to be forthcoming.

Dr. Briffa and his colleagues need to understand that there are good reasons to be skeptical of his statements and that transparency and a dash of humility would work wonders.

Oct 1, 2009 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert E. Phelan

So, Briffa is looking for "robust evidence of climate change using tree ring data". That clearly sums up what's going on. He knows what he wants to find, and will cherry-pick until he finds it. Unbelievable!

He is clearly not looking for "robust methods for accurately reconstructing past temperatures from tree ring data".

Oct 1, 2009 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterRecyclist

The website has posted a response. Their defense of Briffa is pretty tepid; mostly their point seems to be "we're big scientists and have dedicated our careers to this; it can't possibly all be wrong." After that, it's a dump of figures, most of them irrelevant. Most amusing is when they show "The hockey stick you get when you don’t use tree-rings at all (blue curve)?".

The blue curve they show ends in 1800, and doesn't have a blade. Furthermore, it references not a peer reviewed paper, but a blog post by the same team. I though science by blog was bad?

Oct 1, 2009 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterGerard Harbison

It's also relevant that a hockey stick that only goes back to 1400 isn't controversial.
The whole problem with the hockey stick was that it erased the medieval warm period 800-1300 and the little ice age 1700-1850 from history. The planet has been warming since then is pretty well agreed upon.

Oct 1, 2009 at 8:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeN

My thoughts on Briffa's response at my blog. I think it boils down to "not convinced".

Oct 1, 2009 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrancisT


Thanks for that - I follow Mr Harrabin closely, so this is not unexpected.

Oct 2, 2009 at 2:15 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill


Of particular note in Harribins reply is that the BBC will only cover the story once other scientists have looked at it (and most likely swept it away).

Now the problem here is that the scientists the BBC almost singularly relies on are all pro-global warming (tm). So the BBC will report once these pro-global warming (tm) scientists have said his report is rubbish, which of course is what the BBC will report...that McIntyres claims are unfounded.

Oh yes, the BBC will cover McIntyres statememts but only once pro-global warming (tm) scientists have given the BBC the cover it needs!



Oct 3, 2009 at 9:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

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