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« Hanging the laundry out | Main | Ivory-tower activists »

Mann lecture at Penn State

A video of Mann's recent lecture at Penn State is available here.

I haven't had a chance to look at it yet, so feel free to point out any points of interest in the comments. The few seconds I have looked at suggest that there wasn't a big turnout for the great man.

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Reader Comments (21)

I made 9 minutes then he got into Hansen. End off!

Jan 28, 2012 at 7:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

I had to fight an urge to yell ; "Show us your emails!"

Jan 28, 2012 at 7:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Well - I saved you all a lot of time. (Although if you do decide to watch the whole thing, it may be useful to realise that you can incease speed of lecture to e.g. 1.4 or 1.6 x normal speed.)

Mann shows observed temperatures following "scenario B" with uncanny accuracy - but stops the observations in 2005. Lots of alarming images: Cooling towers belching steam, Polar bear on shrinking ice floe, House teetering on cliff edge.

Comparisons with tobacco industry.

Shows the Hockey stick - but does not actually explain hide the decline at the same time.
Shows 12 independent reconstructions from proxy data, followed by "modern observations" without making it clear that proxy data stops.

Introduces new terminology: Scientization of politics?

(Is it only me or does he seem to be covering something up by his persistent cough? )

Discusses hide the decline in context of declining temperatures and destroys that myth. Introduces the "correct" context of "bad proxy data" after 1960. Introduces a quote by Sarah Palin talking about her own emails being misinterpreted if taken out of context.

Introduces a peculiar slant on an old quote: All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. - Edmund Burke (Good scientists: take note.)

Finishes up by appealing that he would like his daughter to grow up in a world where polar bears do not only exist in zoos ...

Auditorium spectacularly sparsely filled. Only occupied seats on immediate right of the aisle.
Questions start after about 40 minutes.

We can't rely on the old model - scientists have to reach out to public. Scientists have to ensure that good science drives out bad science in influecing policy. Should be advocates for policy being made on best available science.

He is asked: What would be first 2 questions if this room were filled by sceptical scientists? Mann would like to think that we are all sceptics. Emphasises that there is no uncertainty that we are warming the planet and changing the climate.

He is asked whether there is anything we can do sbout the fact that the percentage of the population who believe in Climate science has dropped by 20%. Mann replies that it looks like those numbers have turned around quite a bit ... it looks like we are now at higher levels of acceptance than when some of those high profile surveys were carried out.

He is asked about a "study funded by wealthy climate change deniers - has that changed anything?" (Oblique reference to BEST). Mann replies that he thinks Mueller is an honest scientist who ended up affirming that the world is warming. (There is no follow up about Mueller's hide the decline clip ...)

Mann finishesup by saying that scientists have to be prepared to venture out of their comfort zone in addressing new audiences.

Jan 28, 2012 at 8:52 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

Thanks, matthu, we all owe you one!
Nothing new, I take it.

Jan 28, 2012 at 9:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Well, you could dream up a list of questions you might have asked had you been part of the audience ...

Jan 28, 2012 at 9:25 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

I started watching it but gave up as the camera focuses on Mann himself and doesn't show the slides he is projecting. At the point I gave up Mann was talking about Hansen’s 1988 temperature projection. In November of last year (2011) Mann gave another lecture at which he showed the projected and observed temperatures but in which he truncated the observed temperature series at 2005. In this talk he explains away the failure of the 1988 projection to simulate the effects of a 1991 volcano but says nothing of the divergence between observed and projected temperature after 2005 so we can assume he was using the same slide. You can see the slide and more background at:
Distortion by deletion

Jan 28, 2012 at 9:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterRon

Mann would like to think that we are all sceptics. Emphasises that there is no uncertainty that we are warming the planet and changing the climate.

There in a nutshell is the philosophy of not just Michael 'King Tut' Mann, but of the AGW crowd in general.

Refactoring the 2 sentences:

1. We must all be skeptics (and hence challenge whatever is the current orthodoxy).

2. The current orthodoxy contains "no uncertainty" and thus must not be challenged.

He manages to contradict himself in no time flat. For self-awareness, Dr Mann, nul points</I>.

Jan 28, 2012 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Have we seen a sight of Mann's future , were he tours a minor lecture circuit to ever decreases number of 'faithful ' there to lap up ever word and question none ? A slow metaphorical death may in fact be justice for man whose ego can honestly be called epic were he spends his last few years bitterly thinking about his 'glory days

I said it before and I will say it again , we will be surprised to see who lines up to give him a kick on the way down , its just a shame they did not have to guts to do it now or when it was on his way up , despite them knowing how bent his route .

Jan 28, 2012 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

This is one of my favorite sayings but it is not clear that Burke ever wrote "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." See Wikiquotes which links to
But the irony of a misattributed quote would undoubtedly be lost on Mann.

Jan 28, 2012 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterBernie

Remarkable to see just how politicised Mann's defence of his position has become.

The graph he put up showing Hansen's predictions of warming versus the measured reality showed good correlation but was not referenced. The rather similar reconciliation of IPCC predictions versus NCDC measured global temperatures posted here on bishophill recently gave a very different picture and it would be interesting to see why this should be so. It looks to me that the main difference comes because Mann has ignored the NCDC land data post 2005 and the marine data post 2000, neither of which fit at all.

His presentation of the "hide the decline" story was a total (and almost certainly deliberate) misrepresentation of the facts.

Everywhere instead of dealing honestly with critics he puts up a series of "straw men" that he can easily demolish.

One can only despair for a science [snip - venting]

Jan 28, 2012 at 2:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave

No skeptics in the audience to hammer him?

Jan 28, 2012 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Questions I would have liked to have seen asked:

When are you going to bring the modern temperature observations in your charts up to the present day?

Why did you consider proxy obervations after 1960 to have been "bad data" and why were you initially so reluctant to release the "bad proxy" data when requested to do so?
How can you be confident that your reconstructions didn't rely on any bad data prior to 1960?

You just referred to Richard Muller as an "honest scientist". But Muller described to an audience how he felt compelled to add you to a list of scientists whose papers he would not read any more.
And he explained that this was because of the way you had added the same temperature data to three different reconstructions using three different colours and smoothing the joins thereby creating an impression that nothing had been truncated. He claimed that by this subterfuge you had deceived the public as well as fellow scientists and that scientists simply shouldn't do things like that. In short he was evidently pretty indignant about the way this data had been presented. How valid are Richard Muller's concerns?

Why do you think scientists were privately so critical of your reconstruction (as revealed by climategate emails) and yet publically so reluctant to speak out?

At what stage is your libel action against Tim Ball - and how resolute do you think you will be in following this action to its natural conclusion if you are forced to reveal all of your emails to ATI?

Jan 28, 2012 at 3:57 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

[Snip - venting]

Jan 28, 2012 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

I watched the whole thing (Should I get out more?)
Apalling introduction - can't they do better than this?
Very very sparse audience - were there more than about 10.
Graphical model results LOOKED convincing - but no reference points. Not really very convincing.
Slides seemed to make much use of subliminal techniques - opponents made to look wild starey-eyed.
The rest (major part) seemed to be whingeing about how horrid the (oil-funded) "deniers" were.
Seems to have changed his tune about "sceptics". Questions appeared to be planted.
Aggree with KnR "..........a sight of Mann's future , were he tours a minor lecture circuit to ever decreases number of 'faithful ' there to lap up ever word"
At times I almost felt sorry for him - I DID say "almost"!

Jan 29, 2012 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneMustGo

There is a picture of Mann on the front page of his slide show. Ralph Cicerone is sitting immediately to his left. The person to Cicerone's left has been excised from the photo except for a small piece of sleeve. No points for guessing who's been removed from the picture. Here's a tougher question. To the left of Mann's head in the background you can see a very blurred background - the person is not directly visible but I was able to identify the person. Who was it? (Most readers will recognize the name.)

Jan 30, 2012 at 4:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre

You mean it's McIntyre's sleeve and McKitrick's blurred head?

Jan 30, 2012 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

My sleeve, but Ross wasn't at the hearing. Someone else.

Jan 30, 2012 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre

The hair looks a bit curly to me in the blur but I'm not sure that helps. The bigger clue is that you are sure who. From Imhofe to Ehrlich ... the mind bloggles. (The neologism is not my best but it's been a long day already.)

Jan 30, 2012 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

I found it instructive how quickly Gleick and the ever-shocking Bobn Ward stepped in to try to show her the evidence of her wrong-doing. Poor Tamsin is in the denialsphere already!

"@ret_ward: @flimsin Some might confuse it with allmodelsareuseless! How about howskillfularemodels?

But this tweet from Peter was the most unexpected:

@PeterGleick: @flimsin Last comment…. not all models are wrong.

Er…pardon? This is the crux of it. How can anyone make that claim? My best guess is that to make his point he is wilfully misinterpreting the word in the way he says others will, i.e. that wrong = useless.

@flimsin: @PeterGleick Sir, it appears we have a profound philosophical disagreement :) Nothing can precisely simulate reality, only approximate.
@PeterGleick: @flimsin Does that make them “wrong?” “Wrong” to you means “uncertain.” “Wrong” to public means “you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
@flimsin: @PeterGleick Exactly – all the better to explain the difference. Better to improve scientific literacy than to patronise, I think.
@PeterGleick: @flimsin But who’s the audience? The public? Policymakers? Other scientists or science communicators? It matters, as does the title.
@flimsin: @PeterGleick All those welcome. 1. Publicly funded -> communicate my research. 2. Research exposure 3. Engage sceptics. 4. Practice writing.

The excellent Richard Betts of the Met Office Hadley Centre put it rather well:

@richardabetts: @PeterGleick @flimsin Which model is right? Please can I have it?
@PeterGleick: @richardabetts flimsin Richard, which model is “wrong?” Wrong is the wrong term. It’s not what you mean, and it is misunderstood by public.
@flimsin: @PeterGleick @richardabetts All are wrong…better to try and educate that science has shades of grey than try to give appearance of B&W
@PeterGleick: @flimsin @richardabetts I repeat “wrong” is the wrong term. It WILL be misunderstood and misused. Read that essay:"

Gleick believes that only the annointed CLIMATE SCIENTISTS can possibly be trusted with this stuff. And later on in the thread, up comes "Wild Bob" Ward with this little zinger:

"One further comment. There is a danger that focusing on uncertainty in models perpetuates the myth that policy responses should be delayed until all uncertainty has been eliminated. This indeed was the tactic adopted by the tobacco industry to delay regulation of smoking, and is being employed by some ‘sceptic’ groups which are campaigning against climate change policies. But of course managing the risks of climate change, or indeed any other risk, requires decision-making despite the uncertainty. Perhaps a future post might be devoted to how to make wise decisions despite the uncertainty in climate model projections?"

I suppose he is only doing his job.....Bue even might look silly if he bought extra shorts, for a nice warm set of summers, and found that it turned out to be freezing cold. I leave you all with the thought of "Wild Bob" in shorts.

Jan 30, 2012 at 4:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

I'm really enjoying the wide spectrum of opinions :)

Jan 30, 2012 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterTamsin Edwards

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