This is NOT a Hockey Stick

Wed, 2008-08-13 10:51Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

This is NOT a Hockey Stick

In a desperate effort to distract attention from the real issue, Steve McIntyre and one of his more loquacious acolytes have renewed their attack on the fabled hockey stick - cheering themselves hoarse over their one, small “victory” in climate science debate, even while the science itself continues to pass them by.

mann4


Mann's Hockey Stick Graph


Michael Mann's Hockey Stick graph, above, was placed prominently in the Third Assessment Review of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in part because it showed so clearly how temperatures over the last millennium rode along fairly steadily for hundreds of years and then spiked in the latter part of the 20th century (approximating the shape of a hockey stick).

Steve McIntyre, an amateur statistician and retired mining stock promoter found in Mann's work what he argued was a statistical anomaly, challenged Mann and was actually successful in getting Mann to submit a correction to the journal (I think it was Science) that originally published the graph. The excited chorus of “Ah ha!” rang through the deniersphere. Mann, they said, had “admitted he was wrong” (albeit on one small detail). And therefore, we could all go home and stop worrying about climate change.

This is stupid for a host of reasons. First, even Edward Wegman, the statistician who the (anti-climate change policy) Republicans “invited” to critique the “stick” agreed that Mann's original conclusions were reasonable, even if not absolutely verifiable beyond about 400 years.

But more obviously, the stick has been replicated time and again, using different termperature proxies and different methodologies. And guess what? In every instance, the image looks like a hockey stick. And in NO instance has McIntyre or any of his cronies so much as peeped about the credibility of these pieces of research.

So, even if you wanted to walk away from Mann's work (and we don't; it was good work overall), there is still an overwhelming body of evidence that the deniers fear or fail to recognize.

To whit: the image at the top is from a paper by Jones, et al , that appeared in the journal Science in 2001. It's based on multiple proxies, including tree rings, ice cores, corals and historical records, and like the Wegman-approved Mann hockey stick, goes back 400 years.

darrigo


D'Arrigio, et al

But don't stop there. What about the next image above. It's from a paper by D'Ariggo, et al, published in the Joutrnal of Geophysical Atmospheres in 2006, also uses tree rings, but extends for the full thousand years.

briffa2


Briffa, et al

Or the next thousand-year image (above), from a paper by Briffa, et al, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research in 2001 and based again on tree rings.

 

oerlmanns2

Oerlemans

Then there's the image (above) from a paper by Oerlemans, based on glacier records and published in the April 2005 issue of Science.

 

jansen2

Jansen, et al

But let's not stop there. What about the next graph (above) from Jansen, et al, published in the Fourth IPCC Review in 2007.

Moberg, et al

And as we're on a role, why not also look at the next graph, from Moberg, et al, based on tree rings and lake and ocean sediment and published in Nature in 2005.

wilson3

Wilson, et al

Then, we might reasonably consider the next graph, from Wilson, et al, more tree rings, different methodology, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres in 2007.

 

jouzan

Jouzan, et al

Finally, why not look at Jouzel, et al, (Note that this graph goes in the other direction) which covers not 1,000 years but 800,000, and which seems to show a hockey stick shape for about 110,000 years. Oh yeah, this was published in Science in August of 2007, ample time for the climate “experts” at ClimateAudit to use their vast statistical skills to identify an anomalies or debunk that which bears debunking.

Alas, no. Despite it's quite pleasing new design, ClimateAudit is silent on all but the Mann graph and really has had NOTHING NEW TO SAY since 2003.

So, what do you say, Steve McIntyre, Bishop Hill, Chris Monckton and all the others who love to hold so closely to the Hockey Stick. Have you any legitimate criticism of all the other science that supports Mann's work? Any criticism at all?

Or would you prefer to huddle about like has-been high school football stars, forever reliving that one great play - imagining, even today, that it made a difference?

Comments

This is a terrific summary of the science.

To whomever assembled this article summary, I thank you. I have downloaded all of the original pdf's of these journals, and I will read them. They are quality articles, and very much apropo to the subject at hand.

In observing the noisy postings below, I notice that most of the postings are dated within one to two days after the article was posted. In parusing the scientific articles linked to (the real articles in pdf form, and not the summaries), I notice that they are very long and difficult to read. There are eight articles linked to, and to properly read, digest, and cross reference them, it would take most people several days. I therefore conclude that most of the posters below have NOT read the articles, and thus have NOTHING USEFUL OR INSIGHTFUL TO SAY ABOUT THE SCIENTIFIC ISSUES AT HAND.

Remember people, to properly criticize an idea, you must first understand it. I doubt any of these posters have ANY real understanding of how paleoscience is studied.

You're missing
1) Clickable enlarged images
2) You missed Wahl&Ammann 2006
http://greyfalcon.net/hockeystick.png

coming soon. I have wrestled unsuccessfully with our blog software to get these images posted at a useful size, and now someone with greater technical skill is working on it.

As to Wahl&Ammann, it was a trenchant criticism of that new paper that got me thinking about all this in the first place. I Rather than get into the "Oh yeah!?"  conversation with McIntyre and Co., I thought I would stick to this (still incomplete) list of really excelle nt sources, none of whom have been the least bit controversial.

One other thing, though. McIntyre keeps obsessing about how straight the shaft of the hockey stick might be - which I might accept to a greater or lesser extent is an interesting side issue. There are margins of error and rounding challenges aplenty when considering proxy sources that reflect temperature data 600 to 1,000 years ago.

What McIntyre can't contest is the steepness of the blade, the evidence for which is incontrovertible (unless McIntyre wants to deny the evidence of his own thermometer).

I predict the resident inactivists will be screaming about corrupt tree ring proxies next (there's an issue with bristlecone pines in that they're sensitive to more than temperature; the details are too technical for me to truly understand, but are covered in the 2006 NRC report on the MBH graph). As a result, if you're editing the post at all, explicitly call out that some of these do not use tree rings and still agree with the same conclusions.

This is secondary to the true point -- that ClimateAudit et al still get hung up on the methodology of a decade-old primary study and ignore the vindication of its conclusion along with its subsequent and oft-repeated replicatability.

Attempting to resurrect the Hockey Stick Lazarus-like is likely futile.

Many of the above mentioned "independent" proxies are not so independent at all and many are in fact closely related, as has been mentioned many, many times. Trees, as temperature proxies, or "treemometers" if you wish, are fraught with various issues which detract from their reliability.

Concerning criticism of Manns' work, there are very recents posts there further critiquing the Stick.

I'm sure that Paul S really MEANT to read your comment before posting his predictable criticism.

And he apparently missed the references to lake sediment, ocean sediment, coral, glaciers, historical documents and Antarctic ice cores, all of which corroborate the "treenometer" readings.

Perhaps Paul's job of writing distracting posts on climate conscious websites doesn't allow him time to, say, look at the graphs, click on the links or really in any way pay attention to the points being raised in the original post and comments.

Too bad.

Not only does Bishop Hill's article-

http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2008/8/11/caspar-and-the-jesus-paper.html

-address the poor science and conclusion of the hockey stick but demonstrates the corrupt means Caspar Amman, Eugene Wahl, and Michael Mann used to get it included in IPCC's report.

I hate to see the value of science damaged in the eyes of the public which is exactly whats is going to happen when this comes to light. Mistakes are expected (thats what peer review is in place to catch) but to manipulate the system and peer process to that extent should end their professional careers.

Richard: nice post!
=====
You know, I think there might have been some chancey statistics in one of the numerous research articles used by the 1964 committee that put together "The Surgeon General has determined that smoking...".

Hence, all relevant medical researchers should stop what they're doing and go back and find that article and reanalyze it thoroughly, which will take ... forever. One of those articles might be *wrong*, and since much of the tobacco research is only statistical (tobacco exoperiments on humans being hard to do), if a study is wrong, that's The End.

Meanwhile, all anti-smoking restrictions should be lifted until everything is really sure.

=============
Wegman did write:

'As we said in our report, "In a real sense the paleoclimate results of MBH98/99 are essentially irrelevant to the consensus on climate change. The instrumented temperature record clearly indicates an increase in temperature."
We certainly agree that modern global warming is real. We have never disputed this point. We think it is time to put the "hockey stick" controversy behind us and move on.'

http://energycommerce.house.gov/reparchives/108/Hearings/07272006hearing2001/Wegman.pdf

I saw this comment in the full report when I studied it, and then Wegman reaffirmed it in the later hearing above. I don't know how anybody could be clearer.

John, few if any people dispute that the earth warmed during the 20th century. But when scientists claim that the warming is "unprecedented" or that it is currently the "warmest in 1000 years", then these claims will be subject to intense scrutiny.

Let the hockey stick die.
It was a bad time for climate science and An embarrassment for scientists everywhere.
Trying to resurrect a clear and obvious fraud does not enhance the debate on either side at all.
http://www.co2science.org/ has pretty much all you need to put this behind you.
Lets talk about reality.
Cycles happen.
Why

Excerpt:
There’s been no net global warming in the 21st century. Although seldom reported by the mainstream media, it’s quite a story, because no climate model predicted it.

http://planetgore.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MTYwMjRiZjJhMmUxYWE2MmQ0NDZhOGM0M2Q3ZWUzMmE=

National Review? CO2science?

Anyone who takes those sources seriously deserves to be laughed out of the room.

we keep trying but he won't leave.

Fern Mackenzie

He's getting lots of attention; and he's so pathetic he prefers being scorned to being ignored.

My guess is that he's establishing his theoretical rate of decline of AGW support by the number of posts he makes on desmogblog.

You know, given how he keeps referencing Google...

I actually had some denier reference DeSmog as a resource worth checking out -- by linking one piece that quoted a denier as saying that history will record this year as the year climate change alarmism died. Yes, I'm serious -- he thought DeSmog was a denier site worth checking out based on one page.

... that got away. We'll have to be more careful in pointing out that misrepresenting science - while entertaining and lucrative - is still wrong.

Here it is:
http://tomnelson.blogspot.com/2008/08/new-poll-shows-co2-hysteria-fading-in.html

New poll shows CO2 hysteria fading in the U.S.

Only 25% (question 2) of those surveyed thought that global warming was the world's single biggest environmental problem (multiple responses accepted). This is down from 33% last year.

Only 30% (question 3) trust the things that scientists say about the environment "completely" or "a lot".

etc etc etc.

I am sure you guys can read so you must just have your heads completely buried up your ....

American Climate Idol: your one-stop guide to scientific understanding and a clear basis for public policy development.

If you guys can cite Realclimate, the formost propaganda site, We should be able cite pretty much anything and have a more truthful link.

You guys are so terrified that the truth will get out, you will lamely try to discredit any source that does not bow to the cult doctrine Hoping on hope that readers will not go there and find good convincing science.

You can’t keep intelligent people from the truth for long guys. Start cashing in your stocks in wind turbines now.

Hi Gary.

[Irony on]
The mystery is solved! Here's Gary's real identity!! :P :P
http://www.theonion.com/content/news/local_idiot_to_post_comment_on
[Irony off]

I love this bit:

According to media critic Judy Turner, this type of behavior is not uncommon among idiots.

"(His) comments in particular contain a degree of unoriginality and stupidity that you only see in the most muttonheaded and imbecilic Internet commenters," Turner said. "In fact, I've seen him use at least a dozen variations of the word 'gay.' Suffice it to say, (He) is a truly stupid, stupid idiot."

Although I always thought this story was a bit more descriptive.
http://tinyurl.com/6qfcd8

Again.
and in other news:
http://www.itsthesunnotyoursuv.com/

except:
The evidence is in. Before we go bankrupt, read lt’s the Sun, Not Your SUV and make up your own mind.

BTW: No amount of silly posturing in the absence of credible science will stop me from pointing out the obvious.
AGW is dead.
Get over it.

Here's an excerpt from the bio of the author of this important new science book, a little something to demonstrate his remarkable accomplishment as a climate researcher:

"John Zyrkowski is president of Lean Techniques, LLC and has served as Vice President of Planning and International Engineering for the Clark Equipment Company, Inc. He has personally managed five turn-arounds using his expertise in process engineering and team techniques. He advises over I50 top manufacturing managers on implementing world- class performance and design standards to become globally competitive from a U.S. cost base. He wrote a column for InMFG magazine and has been featured on the front cover of IMPO magazine."

But wait, there's more:

"John has also lived the way that the Global Warming community would envision for humanity as a Peace Corp Volunteer in Guatemala. He road a horse, plowed fields with oxen and a tree branch, and buried young children who died of starvation. More importantly, everyone who lived their is trying to come to the U.S."

Given the hi-qualidy spelling, perhaps Gary is the actual publisher.

But Gary, couldn't you find anybody with a science degree to put his or her name on this trash?

... if he had rowed his horse...

JTK

As usual, The AGW cult tries to discredit the author and completely ignore the content.
No wonder you guys still believe this nonsense.

Calling your bluff, oh spelling-and-grammar-and-rational-thought-challenged one: you just managed to call most scientists and members of the public ... let's see...
1. stupid
2. cultists
3. ignorant
4. credulous

You managed to inject this number of insulting remarks into a grand total of two sentences and a topic statement. Your average insult:sentence ratio exceeds unity.

It's the only thing you ever do. Why not go scream at someone who'll listen, Gary?

Alternatively, since the nature of your contributions is purely ad hominem, perhaps you could just be BANNED.

JTK

I only called the minority of scientists that still claim to believe in AGW Stupid.

Whats your point.

You are saying that my comments are ad hominem?
Are you blind as well as stupid?
Read the thread if yo are able.
I am not the one calling names becasue I have no arguments.

Buffoon.

Needs a Gary.

Just don't feed the Gary.

As a grizzled veteran of many a flame war during the old Usenet days, I totally agree with you.

However, it's so fun to see the increasingly hilarious responses from the troll. I get laughs from his increasingly delusional visions of "reality", and I'm sure I'm not the only one getting a kick out of it. :)

wow a grizzled veteran and a reformed skeptic who has seen the light - thanks for vouching for yourself vet - can I be your disciple?

You actually believe that his graph showing near perfect corrolation between solar activity and temperature was simply fabricated like Michael Mann's Hockeystick.
Right?
You really believe that don't you?

You are most definately a denier.

Gary, as someone reasonably familiar with the peer-reviewed literature on solar activity (I studied astrophysics for some time), I can't find his solar graph (or data) in ANY of the references he "adapted" it from (the IPCC TAR). And I've been checking through its references since you posted this comment.

If you actually look at the data, or analyses thereof, there has be NO solar trend for at least the last 30 years (definitively; empirical measurements from satellites), and perhaps the last 50 (reconstruction by proxy). This graph would have us assume it tracks temperature perfectly!

You know what this reminds me of?
http://images.wikia.com/wikiality/images/e/ed/Global-warming-swindle-svensmark-christensen.gif

IPCC "reviewer" isn't a credential. It means he asked to look at it. Consider looking through the IPCC draft comments for something by "IPCC Expert Reviewer" Vincent Gray, for instance. Fully 50% of them are requests to replace "anthropogenic" with "human-induced".

Others incude:
*Insert after "to" "the utterly ridiculous assumption of"
*Insert after "Bayesian" "(or super-guesswork)"
*Insret (sic) before "Calibrated" "Bogus"

He never gave any justification for any of these.

Another classic would be:
*There is simply no evidence forthese extravagant assertions

To which the reviewers replied: Rejected. The reviewer provides no supporting reasoning for the proposed change. A brief overview of the evidence is provided in the following >100 pages.

Oh, and as for the critical "very likely" sentence in the SPM?
On the first draft, Gray's comment was Replace “very likely' with “possible”.
On the second draft, Gray's comment was Replace "very likely" by "most unlikely".
No justification given on either, by the way, but the change in heart suggests that, to him, Plan B is automatically twice as much gunpowder as Plan A.

And he still bills himself as an IPCC Expert Reviewer. No one who actually worked on the report (and none of the reviewers with any scientific integrity) would ever bill themselves as an IPCC Expert Reviewer.

Don't be so quick to buy that as a credential.

In the interest of academic honesty, I have to correct a mistake I made.

It seems I accidentally pulled a Bellamy in my previous comment: Of Gray's comments, 50, not 50%, were demanding "anthropogenic" be replaced with "human-induced". The remainder of my comments still stand.

I apologize for any confusion, not that Gary read my comment (or that he could be more confused) anyway.

Didn't those who debunked the methods used by Mann show whatever data sets or proxies you plugged into Mann's math it mined out a hockey stick?

Wasn't that the issue from the start?

Travis Curr

Your shrink says hello and please come back from Imaginationland :)

That I had schizophrenia a while ago but we are fine now.

This thread perfectly exemplifies the sorry state of the dying AGW movement.
You have so little left that all any of you can do is cast insults now.
It is actually very encouraging to see.
Simply proves my point.
30 years of searching and 50 Billion in gravy to the rent seekers and still nothing to show for it.
What a waste!

Don't forget them pills, Yrag. :) Your tenuous grip on reality slips with each lame reply. Considering that you can't refute ANY of the AGW arguments, I'd say it's time for you to retire and keep shush...Or do you really want to reach epic fail proportions? :)

Maybe Gary has indeed recovered but can't get a proper job, so he has to engage in "coordinated local activism" to earn his keep. Poor guy.

I wonder whether it's possible for paid "coordinated local (in)activists" in Canada to get unionized?

Just a theory. :-B

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
http://frankbi.wordpress.com/ International Journal of Inactivism
"Al `Fat Al' Gore [is fat]" -- Harold Pierce

As a historian, you must be aware of Maruice Strong and his role in ushering in the kyoto protocol.
What do you make of his Quote from just before the first Kyoto meetings.

"Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about?" Maurice Strong

I would be interested in how you view his motivations on this whole agenda.
Does he embody the green movement.
Is he a fanatic.
Or do you simple believe that I made it up and decline comment?

Just asking.

What, an ICSC minion is asking such a question?(*) You should really bargain with your paymasters for a raise -- tell them that if they don't pay you more money to spam unrelated talking points, you'll spill the beans about the innards of their "coordinated local activism", and that'll be very very bad.

Now, back to the science.

- - -

(*) yeah, it's just a theory, but I love ribbing inactivists

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
http://frankbi.wordpress.com/ International Journal of Inactivism
"Al `Fat Al' Gore [is fat]" -- Harold Pierce

and I will give you the benefit of the doubt, then please do me the same and read my response carefully.

I find that most deniers latch onto these remarks and others like them out of context and without thinking seriously about what the source is actually saying.

I also have grave doubts about the galloping industrial development that has characterized western civilisation for the past 2 centuries, pretty much unhampered by considerations of social or environmental impact. A great deal of good has come out of this - no question about that. I myself would probably not be alive today without the medical advances that have piggy-backed on this situation.

However, we are finally reaching a point from which we can see some of the negative impacts (pollution, unchecked population explosion, resource depletion, urban decay . . .) things we could have dealt with along the way if we had had the perspective to see what was happening. We didn't, and now we are facing the cumulative consequences, trying to fix things after the fact.

The industrialized West has to make a paradigm shift away from traditional power sources, redefine "progress" and "growth" and adopt a sustainable approach to resource management if we are to get through this without imploding. This is a change as significant to humankind as was the Industrial Revolution itself. I don't believe that civilisation needs to "collapse" to achieve this, but for some, even the changes I am talking about would probably qualify as the destruction of our way of life. Sorry, guys.

At the same time, rather than repeating our mistakes the Developing World could benefit from them. Aid programs that are tied to the use of clean technology are an obvious starting point. Technology transfer is another. If the collective wisdom of the planet got to work on this co-operatively (and no, I DON'T mean communism!!!), I am confident that we could make huge strides.

When people say that the undeveloped world "must not be allowed to become the kind of industrial heartland that the West represents", I think they are right -- but make no mistake: what we are saying is NOT let them stay poverty-stricken in the stone age. The point is that we must provide the benefit of our experience to help them get it right the first time, and not end up in the same boat we are in now.

A lot of people can't see beyond the gunwales of that boat, and figure everything's fine. What they haven't noticed yet is that it's not a yacht, it's a lifeboat. And they had better get rowing.

Fern Mackenzie

Very nice spin.

Thank you Gary, I think. If this looks like "spin" to you, then you aren't reading me correctly. What I wrote above I believe, and it's why I remain hopeful about humanity's future. Having it termed "spin" is vaguely offensive to me, as though I am putting it out there in order to gain something. I suppose what I want to gain is a sustainable civilization in which everybody has enough to get by and we aren't driving the planet into a fever. Since highschool (back when the earth's crust was cooling in the early '70s) I have been concerned & active on issues of pollution, over-population, habitat loss (although we hadn't invented the term yet)&c &c -- in general, The Big Picture. I'm not spinning anything here, just expressing myself after 35 years of watching the situation develop.

Fern Mackenzie

I like this post. I don't believe in AGW, but from a pollution, population and resource perspective, it all seems right to me.

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