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What do you make of this?

This email was written by Michael Mann shortly after the publication of McIntyre and McKitrick's 2003 paper in Energy and Environment. The various members of the Hockey Team were trying to formulate a response. Mann first thanks Osborn:  

Thanks very much Tim,

 I was hoping that the revisions would ally concerns people had.  I'll look forward to your comments on this latest draft. I agree w/ Malcolm on the need to be careful w/ the wording in the first paragraph. The first paragraph is a bit of relic of a much earlier draft, and maybe we need to rethink it a bit. Takinig the high road is probably very important here. If *others* want to say that their actions represent scientific fraud, intellectual dishonesty, etc. (as I think we all suspect they do), lets let *them* make these charges for us!

   Lets let our supporters in higher places use our scientific response to push the broader case against MM. So I look forward to peoples attempts to revise the first par. particular.

   I took the liberty of forwarding the previous draft to a handfull of our closet colleagues, just so they would have a sense of approximately what we'll be releasing later today--i.e., a heads up as to how MM achieved their result...

   look forward to us finalizing something a bit later--I still think we need to get this out



  So who are the supporters in higher places. And who are the "closet colleagues" (or does he mean "closest"?)




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Reader Comments (17)

I think he actually meant "friends in low and infernal places".

Nov 23, 2009 at 1:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobert E. Phelan

The full email is illuminating for the reasonably fair stance that Tim Osborn initially takes in not wanting to immediately stand foresquare behind Michael Mann. I find the repeated references to 'good science' and the peer review process laughable coming from these people. They have colluded. They have tried to elbow out dissent. Even where they recognise the shortcomings of their own ideas they continue to try and squash alternate views and competing theories.

Michael Mann's emails from the preceding few days are interesting

Mann is forewarned of the MM paper and wants help rebutting it. The warning itself is not particularly complimentary to Mann or his science - "Personally, I'd offer that this was known by most people who understand Mann's methodology: it can be quite sensitive to the input data in the early centuries."

Michael points a few others to David Appell's blog.

Michael Mann's considered response to the MM paper, including an admission trees ain't 'recording' temperature any more.(The elephant in that room being 'Did they ever?')

A mixed bag of replies to Mann. Briffa thinks he can wangle work out of DEFRA at short notice and with a straight face wants to issue a statement that says CRU has "full confidence in Mike's objectivity and independence - which we can not say of the sceptics".

Nov 23, 2009 at 2:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

In the same correspondence Tim asks why some data in MM's paper is marked as "NA" (non available)

Or perhaps "NA" means they couldn't find the PC time series published (of course!), but in fact could find the raw tree-ring chronologies and did their own PCA of those?
the "of course" suggests that they were consciously concealing the data. He later proposes a tentative rebuttal where he claims
Even if the authors had not undertaken this by presenting their results to the authors of MBH98, the journal should certainly have included them as referees of the manuscript.
which means that he claims the peer review to be invalid since it was not conducted by the very people being debunked!

Nov 23, 2009 at 3:52 AM | Unregistered Commentershoebill

Love this site! My first visit today. I'll be passing the word at other blogs to come and look around here. Keep up the great work!

Nov 23, 2009 at 4:06 AM | Unregistered Commenterslayer

Higher ups? I could guess Jim Hansen,
maybe some politicians with strong PR and media heavyweights.

Wouldn't the normal science approach be to simply ask MM directly how they got their results and find out who may have made an error. The circling of the wagons was immediate

Nov 23, 2009 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterP Gosselin

Hot stuff that's well presented.

This is brazen to say the least.

Nov 23, 2009 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterP Gosselin

.... Wouldn't the normal science approach be to simply ask MM directly how they got their results and find out who may have made an error.

It would indeed. The "problem" is that they have never, and would never, do the same in return.

I'm new to the details of all this, can someone recap, or point me to a summary of, what, if anything, was actually wrong with McIntyre and McKitrick's 2003 paper?

Nov 23, 2009 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered Commenterdread0

dread0, I came to all this only a few years ago, and much (most, probably) is above my head, so I didn't see the M&M paper at the time. However, if the traffic at Climate Audit dies down a bit, you will find it all there, expressed mostly in scientific and statistical terms - though the Comments on each posting can be illuminating.

Mann et al refused to show their workings - now we know why - so M&M reverse-engineered the processing algorithms after getting hold of the raw data, and proved that even if all you entered was your lottery numbers then the computer spat out a hockey stick.

The attempted rebuttals to M&M were mostly ad hominem, or circular references as it has recently turned out.

Our Host's book should explain much, in a form accessable to the intelligent layman. Which means I won't understand a word.

Nov 23, 2009 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Wood

Interesting bit of repositioning this morning on the BBC Today programme. Professor Robert Watson when explaining the warming in the last fifty years said it was caused by "burning fossil fuels AND DEFORESTATION". Link 0735

I thought only evil deniers believed land-use effected climate?

Nov 23, 2009 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterKit

dread0 : "I'm new to the details of all this, can someone recap, or point me to a summary of, what, if anything, was actually wrong with McIntyre and McKitrick's 2003 paper?"

When M&M tried to get the data on which MBH98 & 99 were based, they were given incomplete and wrong references. When they tried to reproduce the MBH results, they get something different. This was the basis of their 2003 paper.
It was only as a reaction to the M&M 2003 paper that Mann was forced to release more of the data he used, and more of the processing steps he used on that data - critically, including padding some of the data series to ensure they were included at a particular step in the reconstruction.

Given this additional information, M&M were able to get a better handle on what MBH were actually doing, and come to the conclusions in their 2005 papers - most significantly, that the MBH techniques would produce hockey sticks out of random noise.

Nov 23, 2009 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterFreddy

I think he meant closest. "closet" for closest is an easy typo.

Nov 23, 2009 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Baxter

"I took the liberty of forwarding the previous draft to a handfull of our closet colleagues"

Sounds to me like a beautifully whole Freudian slip. In the wonderful way that Freudian Slips work to reveal what is really on it's author's mind, we can see what Mann was actually thinking of when referring to his 'colleagues' (according to my dictionary):

1) 'a state of secrecy or concealment'
2) 'a small room used for prayer' (by devotees of a religion)
3) 'a toilet'

Perhaps all three?

Nov 23, 2009 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter S

Many thanks Jeff and Freddy. In that case, the above email does provide some very interesting context - odd to see them so incensed at a paper who's main flaw, if that's not too strong a word, is entirely a function of their own secrecy and obstructive behaviour.

One would have thought that these sharp scientific operators and self-proclaimed Dons of the AGW world would have had a keen enough eye to spot the failings of MM2003 as an excellent proxy of their own misconduct.



Nov 23, 2009 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterdread0

This 2005 article, published (in English) in a Dutch magazine, provides a good overview of the Michal Mann hockey stick controversy up to that point in time.


Donna from

Nov 23, 2009 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterDonna Laframboise

'Ally' for 'allay" seems equally Freudian in its slippage.

I'm glad I'm not his editor for his academic books though. The standards of English grammar in these emails are appalling.

Nov 23, 2009 at 7:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterSurreptitious Evil

Is there a contest for most paranoid statement? Here is my vote, in the last sentence-

Hi Phil,

lets not get into the topic of hate mail. I promise you I could fill your inbox w/ a very
long list of vitriolic attacks, diatribes, and threats I've received.

Its part of the attack of the corporate-funded attack machine, i.e. its a direct and highly
intended outcome of a highly orchestrated, heavily-funded corporate attack campaign. We saw
it over the summer w/ the health insurance industry trying to defeat Obama's health plan,
we'll see it now as the U.S. Senate moves on to focus on the cap & trade bill that passed
congress this summer. It isn't coincidental that the original McIntyre and McKitrick E&E
paper w/ press release came out the day before the U.S. senate was considering the McCain
Lieberman climate bill in '05.

Nov 23, 2009 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterFTM

Why does Michael Mann still have a job as a climate scientist? Wasn't his hockey stick debunked already by the Wegman Report in 2006? Why is this charlatan still in a position to influence climate research peer-review? Strange that such an important document is so difficult to find on the Internet. Only reliable link I could find was at the climateaudit website:

Nov 24, 2009 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Z.

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