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« Scottish FOI legislation to be strengthened | Main | AR5: dead in the water? »
Friday
Jun012012

Joelle Gergis talks up her results

Further to the last post, I came across this recent interview with Joelle Gergis, in which she discusses her recent paper. It's remarkable to see her making the same claims of hockey-stickdom that have caused so much of a furore over the last 15 years or so.

When you realise that the whole thing is based on a logical fallacy, it's hard not to become angry. [Update: but see caveats on the update to the earlier post.

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Reader Comments (80)

Looks like they've already 'hidden' the video... the message says "Server not found" :-(

Jun 1, 2012 at 1:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

Another left wing political activist - masquerading as an objective scientist.

Read her blog:-

http://joellegergis.wordpress.com/

Jun 1, 2012 at 1:21 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Dave Salt, I'm accessing the video right now with no problem. Don't know what that suggests, but it may be something between your location and the server where the video resides. I can get it fine at this moment.

Dave, are you on an iPad or other Apple product? I've noticed problems with video access on my iPad many times, apparently bc Steve Jobs refused to work with Adobe Flash player. Don't know if that could explain it, but when I try to access many web videos on my iPad I often get a message that says "server not found" even though I can access the same video link from my WinTel laptop.....

Jun 1, 2012 at 1:23 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

On iPad and just see a gap where the vid should be.

Jun 1, 2012 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarch

Thanks for the advice, Skiphil... most likely like a problem with my PC's Flash player.

Jun 1, 2012 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

No problem with video. Manchester, UK.

Jun 1, 2012 at 1:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Bagley

I thought she was much better as Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous :-)

Jun 1, 2012 at 1:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

Aaaaargh

Of course I meant to say Saffron.

Jun 1, 2012 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

To describe the blatant cherry-picking as a "logical fallacy" stretches the whole science of euphemistics (hey, I made up a word!) to the limit. The whole of climate "science" must be populated with people who are both liars and stupid for this sort of fraudulent data manipulation (and it is certainly manipulation) to have become acceptable practice.

Jun 1, 2012 at 1:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterHeide De Klein

it's hard not to become angry.
Or throw up.

Jun 1, 2012 at 1:49 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Hey, they ordered cherry pie and I need a big tip. They're picky about the coffee, too.
====================

Jun 1, 2012 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

I happened to read the introduction to 'Liberal Fascism' by Jonah Goldberg last night, it's available as a free kindle taster from Amazon.

Highly recommended and extremely relevant to the ongoing climate shenanigans...

I'll be buying the paperback at the earliest opportunity.

Jun 1, 2012 at 2:04 PM | Registered Commenterwoodentop

I wonder what our high-profile numpty-bashers think of such obvious statistical incompetence.

Jun 1, 2012 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

Should n`t some capable scholar be asking her for her data with a few to pointing out the error of her ways? It would be interesting to see if you get it and fascinating to read the kind of failings that such works possess.

Dave G

Jun 1, 2012 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Grogan

Ok, let me see if I can get this right - Briffa's divergence problem where for the most recent decades, the proxy doesn't match the local tempertures means that the reconstructions are unreliable, and Gergis's proxy's that do match local variability mean that reconstructions are unreliable. So by your logic reconstructions are unreliable regardless of whether proxies do or don't match local temperatures? Got it.

While I realise this is pointless, you might actually try reading the Gergis paper to see what was actually done before getting on your high horse.


Only records that were significantly (p<0.05) correlated with the detrended instrumental target over the 1921–1990 period were selected for analysis.
...
In addition to the 3,000 verification tests incorporated into the 1921–1990 overlap period calculations, the ensemble mean was also further independently verified using withheld, early 1901–1920 data („early verification‟). Reconstruction „reliability‟ was assessed using a set of eight skill and robustness metrics for each year back in time (Table S6). Skill measures included the calculation of mean Reduction of Error (RE), Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) and comparison with reconstructions developed using random noise proxies. "Skilful" years were identified when the ensemble median RE (RMSE of the ensemble mean) was larger (smaller) than the corresponding values of a reconstruction using AR1 noise predictors. If our predictor network performed better than pure noise proxies, we assumed that our reconstruction is not simply a result of "overfitting‟ noise in the calibration period (McShane and Wyner, 2011).

So first they only looked for proxies that track *detrended* temperature changes over the calibration interval - so they aren't selecting for trends at all, and all of the verification is based on getting a higher skill than using AR1 noise - exactly the issue you are accusing them of ignoring.

But hey, any reason to bash an inconvenient scientist right?

Jun 1, 2012 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

For those interested, the abstract of Gergis et al. may be found here. For those lacking a subscription and unwilling to put up $25, the text is here.

Jun 1, 2012 at 2:25 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Will she release all data to her publications?

Or does she belong to that priveleged group that can write "science" articles without having to do that??

Jun 1, 2012 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

all the data that supports your publication. It is just a sine qua non requirement.
It should also be asked of women.

Just imagine a cafe not having napkins.."mwaaaaaaah unfair ! how daaaaaare they do that!"

It also works this way for your faux-work, darling.

Jun 1, 2012 at 2:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

Sorry, Joelle. Not every climatologist gets to be the 'zebra of the week'. You should have won the 'honour' way back for that CRap (climate rap) music video.

Unfortunately there are a lot of zebras in Serengeti. The competition is stiff. You've gotta do something spectacular to catch the eye of the lions, as you've just done.

Now, start running. :D

Jun 1, 2012 at 2:31 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

re the video: there is a bit of Saffron in there.
97%.

Jun 1, 2012 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

Frank, that is possibly the dumbest opening paragraph to a post I've ever read on here.

Jun 1, 2012 at 2:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterBuck

Frank actual the issues is that it looks like decided data 'validity' was based on well its supports the conclusion the researcher to trying to support rather than accepting that data can be valid and not support the conclusion. Its looks like Gergis is using the 9 out of 10 cats approach to selecting what to included, gets you the answer you need for sure , but as for being scientifically valid , that is another question that can only be answered by knowing what they 'left out ' and seeing if the claims for leaving out make sense . And that is you expect from student let alone a professional 'scientist'

Jun 1, 2012 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

If our predictor network performed better than pure noise proxies, we assumed that our reconstruction is not simply a result of "overfitting‟ noise in the calibration period (McShane and Wyner, 2011).

Jun 1, 2012 at 2:13 PM |Frank

I adjusted your emphasis a bit, Frank.

However much jargon you attempt to obscure it with - the plain fact is that she selected the data she felt would best fit the story she wanted to tell.

She then refused to release the unused data - so that no-one could check whether her "assumptions" were reasonable.

Science isn't trying to prove something you already believe in - that's activism.

Jun 1, 2012 at 2:40 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Well, well......

Since I posted the link to Ms Gergis' green activist blog - it's been disappeared.

Can't reach it through the original ACM link or any subsequent ones.

The evidence has disappeared without trace (again) ..........

.......... only in "climate science"!

Jun 1, 2012 at 2:50 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

'it's hard not to become angry'

'become'?

Jun 1, 2012 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

The state of Victoria is the hotbed of academic left-wing groupthink in Australia, ably abetted by The Age, aka Pravda on the Yarra. I was at a conference in Melbourne the other week and had to endure the baby-boomer convening professor bloviating, totally unconnected to the subject matter, about the "five-star green venue". Nauseating. Makes me ashamed to have been born in the same decade as him.

Jun 1, 2012 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

It is more like she fit the data and then selected it.

Jun 1, 2012 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Skiphil: most of the time, Jobs didn't have any choice in the matter.

Adobe didn't have a suitable Flash implementation for ARM-based mobiles when the iPhone was released in 2007. Flash was not supported even on Android until version 2.2 "Froyo", released in mid 2010, months after the iPad shipped and three years after the first iPhone.

Then in November 2011 Adobe announced it was abandoning Flash Player on mobile browsers in favor of HTML5.

So there was maybe an 12-18 month window in which Flash on mobile was an actual thing.

Jun 1, 2012 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce Hoult

Correction to earlier post - link is working again.

http://joellegergis.wordpress.com/

Here's a taster - Joelle in 2007 - before the rain came back:-

We all know that right now Australia is under the stranglehold of the worst drought since Federation. Achingly dry conditions have now persisted for eleven years across much of southern and eastern Australia. Mighty rivers like the Murray have shrivelled to brown trickles snaking through cracked land. With paddocks reduced to dust bowls, farmers have been forced to sell stock for a pittance or buy feed to keep emaciated stock alive.

According to the national mental health body, Beyond Blue, one farmer committed suicide every four days during the 1990s under the stress of failing crops, dying livestock, mounting debt and decaying rural towns. Scientists predict that our climate is only going to get hotter and drier: that is, droughts are likely to become the new norm in vast parts of the country. Meanwhile, as our governments continue to delay making the gutsy policy decisions needed to put the brakes on global warming, a crucial part of Australian society is crumbling.

Jun 1, 2012 at 2:58 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

... This list allows any researcher who wants to access non publically available records to follow the appropriate protocol of contacting the original authors to obtain the necessary permission to use the record, take the time needed to process the data into a format suitable for data analysis etc, just as we have done. This is commonly referred to as ‘research’.


Climate science seems to be characterised by:

* Circular reasoning:

" We selected proxies showing positive correlation with the desired result and got the desired result"

"The models incorporate CO2 forcing and their results confirm the warming caused by CO2"

* Sheer nastiness.

Jun 1, 2012 at 3:10 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

"Achingly dry" - looks like she missed her vocation with Mills and Boon. It's ironic that some of the ABC interview's nature footage showed the thriving birdlife around Lake Eyre, which is normally (i.e. in its usual state) a bone-dry salt pan, transformed since the big rains of the past few years.

Jun 1, 2012 at 3:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

How about this for a logical fallacy?

"At our current state of knowledge about climate change, we do not face risk. We face uncertainty: the greater that uncertainty about climate sensitivity, the more we should be willing to expend to insure ourselves"

We have total uncertainty whether we will be hit by an asteroid or not over the coming years. Therefore we should spend as much as possible on insuring ourselves...

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/timworstall/100017600/yes-climate-change-is-a-problem-and-yes-we-do-have-to-do-something-but-in-britain-weve-done-it-already/

Jun 1, 2012 at 3:39 PM | Unregistered Commenteramoorhouse

... it's hard not to become angry.

Especially when the late 20th century warming has been widely exaggerated, and there is considerable doubt if there has actually been any warming in the last 50 years in Australasia:

John Daly's summary of what the Australian stations say

An adjustment like Alice

Hansen tampering down under too

The Chefio looks at New Zealand data

Climate Science Coalition Vindicated - NIWA has abandoned the official national temperature record...

Jun 1, 2012 at 3:44 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Frank,

I have several hundred gerbils who I know are good predictors of horse races. I know this because I have televised horse racing on by their cages all the time.

You should be able to correctly predict the outcome of horse races based upon the time they have a poop. Obviously not all of the gerbils track the races and there is a whole group of them that suddenly diverged and starting picking losers but since I don’t know why they started doing this I'll just assume it was because of their food and graft on the actual results instead. Anyway, after I discard those whose poop time doesn't correlate with the racing results and then calculate how skilful they are I get really good RE scores for it. What's more the scores are better than what you get by pinning the race card to a board and throwing a dart at it. Some spoilsport is claiming this is because my pre-selection method ensures this is the case but I don't believe him.

I've decided I'm going to sell some of the gerbils with the best scores so I'm wondering if you would like buy one?

Jun 1, 2012 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

TerryS

Have you considered cutting up the gerbil poo and analyse the diameter widths?
Time series analysis.

Or you can make spaghetti graphs with them..

Jun 1, 2012 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

Actually TerryS people used to sell (or at least try to sell) trading signals in the same way, picking those that had the best backtested recent histories. Unsurprisingly, these proved a little disappointing when confronted with unseen data in live markets, which is not so dissimilar to the out-of-sample performance of the tree-ring proxies.

Jun 1, 2012 at 4:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

I wonder if Dr Gergis has ever heard of the 'Texas sharpshooter fallacy'?...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_sharpshooter_fallacy

Jun 1, 2012 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

Check out this paper from 1950. The title is: "Validity, reliability and baloney"

From the author's conclusion:


"The moral of this story, I think, is clear. When a validity coefficient is computed from the same data used in making an item analysis, this coefficient cannot be interpreted uncritically. And, contrary to many statements in the literature, it cannot be interpreted "with caution" either. There is one clear interpretation for all such validity coefficients. This interpretation "Baloney!"

Validity, Reliability, and Baloney Cureton EE, Educational and Psychological Measurement 1950; 10; 94

Available here: http://www.edvul.com/extrapdf/Cureton_Baloney.pdf

Jun 1, 2012 at 4:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

hide the asinine

Jun 1, 2012 at 4:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

It's just possible that AGW is a brain-free zone. All who enter there seem to be similarly cursed, never to harbour a rational thought in their lives ever after.

Jun 1, 2012 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered Commentercerberus

There's an old joke about a teacher in front of her sculpture class. "Today we have an easy assignment," she tells the class. "You will take the bar of soap I have provided to you and sculpt an elephant." Little Johnny raises his hand and says: "How do we do that?" "Simple," responds the teacher, "you take your bar of soap and cut away everything that doesn't look like an elephant."

Climate science has become sculpture--only the joke isn't limited to hockey sticks. Climate science itself has become a joke.

Jun 1, 2012 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterReed Coray

By nature, I am a curmudgeonly old sod and would be a MMGW "sceptic" almost on principal. However, one tries to be sensible and listen to agruments and use one's limited intelligence to draw conclusions.

This issue has me perplexed though.

Based upon what I have read here, on WUWT and on Climate Audit, the argument is being made that the likes of Joelle Gergis is making absolutely basic errors in her research and statistical methodology - such that she ends up using only data that proves the outcome that she desired? Am I correct? That is what I am understanding from the above.

I know nothing of Joelle Gregis (or many of the other characters that are similarly accused) but I find it hard to believe that these accusations of scientific gerrymandering cannot be "proved" one way or another. I don't believe that the likes of Joelle, Gavin Schmidt, Prof jones, Briffa, etc are part of some global "team" hellbent on "selling" an untruth to the world - so I must assume that they believe in what they are doing and saying. - I am not so curmudgeonly after all!

"Establishment Bubbles", be they economic or scientific, always end up being burst. Over time, economic disfunctionality such as the Euro currency, the banking system, celtic tigers, "arcs of prosperity", or flat earths, suns orbiting planets, Himalayan Glaciers, Increasing Extreme Weather events, denial of MWP and LIA, etc blow up in the faces of those that knowingly promote the cause/theory.

I just find it hard to believe that a learned, intelligent, scientists would knowingly risk ditching their reputation and standing - on something that they knew to be flawed.

Is there an entity (a publication), a scholar, or someone - that might be accepted as being capable by both sides - that could take evidence from both camps and publish an "unbiased" report that showed the various outcomes of various data sets - with the arguments as to why a party belives that a particular outcome is more representative than another?

Jun 1, 2012 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames

James

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it" (Upton Sinclair)

Jun 1, 2012 at 5:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

James

Joelle does not want to give Mcintyre all the data used for latest publication.

Thats a flaunted process.
If publications cannot be supplied with all the data, they should be redrawn: there is already enough to read without incomplete publications around.

The matter exacerbates when the incomplete publications are used for political activism.

Jun 1, 2012 at 5:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

Jun 1, 2012 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames

James,
Have you read "The Hockey Stick Illusion"? Read it and then you will then realize the naivety of your post.

Jun 1, 2012 at 5:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Austin

James -

I just find it hard to believe that a learned, intelligent, scientists would knowingly risk ditching their repuation and standing - on something that they knew to be flawed.

I tend to believe that CAGW has been a conspiracy, but more inadvertent than malicious. It is just a bandwagon that just about everybody jumped on for funding and career reasons. Just about everyone has a mortgage to pay. Never underestimate human propensity for stupidity and/or gullibility, and then the tendency to remain silent when they know something is wrong. I have linked to this before but this 2009 essay on the sociology of climate science by Martin Cohen in TES nails it: Beyond debate? (keywords, AGW, cascade theory, madness of crowds, groupthink).

Here are some quotes which have some relevance:

Abe Lincoln: " ‘Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt".

George Carlin: "when you consider how stupid the average person is, it wise to remember that means half of them are more stupid than that."

A comment by a displaced inhabitant of the Marshall Islands, after the US had rendered them toxic by nuclear testing in the 50's - "these people are very clever at doing stupid things".

Winston, March 20, 2012 at 6:41am - "Definition of peer review? The process by which the mediocre keep the brilliant and the independent minded from getting too far ahead of them".

Jun 1, 2012 at 5:26 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

james:

"Based upon what I have read here, on WUWT and on Climate Audit, the argument is being made that the likes of Joelle Gergis is making absolutely basic errors in her research and statistical methodology - such that she ends up using only data that proves the outcome that she desired?"

I don't know what outcome she desired, but the statisticians among us tell us that unless there are very sound reasons to do so then having decided that trees are a proxy for temperature not using all of them needs a very clear explanation as to why they haven't. Currently they appear to use those that can reliably match the 20th century temperature records, which isn't, shall we say, a very sophisticated, way of deciding on whether proxies are good, or bad.

"Is there an entity (a publication), a scholar, or someone - that might be accepted as being capable by both sides - that could take evidence from both camps and publish an "unbiased" report that showed the various outcomes of various data sets - with the arguments as to why a party belives that a particular outcome is more representative than another?"

Yes there is such an expert, he's called Steve McIntyre and he's asked tirelessly to get access to the data they haven't used, without much success as they, the innocent climate scientists, refused to provide it. On the only occasion he seems to be have successful was in the case of Briffa 2000, where Phil Trans B forced Briffa to provide the data he'd used for his hockey stick. This is what Steve McIntyre found:

"I provide this data not to provoke reactions like – How can anyone conclude anything about Yamal climate from only 10 cores in 1990? Or 5 cores in 1995? (While I understand the sentiment, please don’t post such comments.) Especially the last few years, where the number of available cores falls below minimums advocated elsewhere in the Briffa corpus.

To show the tininess of the subset representing Yamal in the 1990s, the next graphic compares Yamal counts with counts from the Polar Urals version, set aside by Briffa in favor of the Yamal series (and even I’m a little shocked by the discrepancy). In 1990, there were 57 cores in the Polar Urals and only 10(!) in the Yamal subset.

So while CRU may have archived the data that they “used”, we run once again into a problem that we run into over and over again in paleoclimate studies. What about the data that was in their sample, but which they didn’t use? 10 trees going to 1990 and 5 trees to 1995-1996 is impossibly small for a dendro expedition. Rob Wilson could do that in an hour. What about the rest of the Yamal data? Where is it?

To what extent is the Yamal HS a product of the selection process and to what extent is it climatic? Without the complete data set, it is impossible to set aside the troubling thoughts that one is faced with in these circumstances."

Note Briffa refused to provide this information until forced to do so by Phil Trans B.

So while CRU may have archived the data that they “used”, we run once again into a problem that we run into over and over again in paleoclimate studies. What about the data that was in their sample, but which they didn’t use? 10 trees going to 1990 and 5 trees to 1995-1996 is impossibly small for a dendro expedition. Rob Wilson could do that in an hour. What about the rest of the Yamal data? Where is it?

To what extent is the Yamal HS a product of the selection process and to what extent is it climatic? Without the complete data set, it is impossible to set aside the troubling thoughts that one is faced with in these circumstances."

Jun 1, 2012 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

@James

Dellers links to a story about research which shows that the more scientifically-minded people are the most sceptical about climate alarmism. No surprise here, then (except to the authors of the report), but instead of stopping to wonder whether the case for CAGW really is as scientifically well-founded as they believed, they recommend investigating communication strategies that do not focus "only on transmission of sound scientific information".

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100161868/official-the-more-scientifically-illiterate-you-are-the-more-you-believe-in-climate-change/


The whole issue, and particularly the hockey stick, has been post-rational since at least McIntyre and McKitrick (2003). It is just as well to realise this. Jerome Ravetz's "post-normal science" and Mick Hulme's recent attack on the "hegemony exercised by the predictive natural sciences over contingent, imaginative and humanistic accounts of social life and visions of the future" are two ways in which this retreat from rationality is dressed up to look intellectually respectable.

Jun 1, 2012 at 5:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

What is most unfortunate that the Australian broadcaster did not have another Australian scientist on to talk about predicting future weather. Jennifer Marohasy has been in the news recently with an artificial intelligence system for predicting precipitation in the land down under http://jennifermarohasy.com/2012/05/forecasting-rainfall-neural-networks-versus-general-circulation-models/ Apparently Dr. Marohasy does a much better job at predicting rainfall than the general circulation models used by cliimatologists. The two of them together would have been much more informative to the audience.

Jun 1, 2012 at 7:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterSean

The thing about the Saffron analogy is that 'Saffy' ended up in prison because of her actions. Well, I suppose we can only keep our fingers crossed.

Jun 1, 2012 at 7:18 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

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