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.


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.


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.


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.



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


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.


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, 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?

Previous Comments

is one reason why I don’t bother even reading desmogblog much any more, let alone posting comments.

He, along with his ilk, derail just about every thread, which, of course, is his purpose in life.

Please don’t help him fulfill it.

Just trying to equal the nonsense on most alarmist propaganda sites.

What? A lie for a lie makes the whole world fine?

This is pure stupidity on just about every level…

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- International Journal of Inactivism
“Al `Fat Al’ Gore [is fat]” – Harold Pierce

By cooling the older record and leaving the current record unchanged, an enhanced warming trend is introduced.

Whatever the topic is,
Gary wants to talk about something else.

If the topic is PR,
Gary wants to talk about climate science.

If the topic is Tamino,
Gary wants to talk about the hockey stick.

If the topic is the hockey stick,
Gary wants to talk about surface stations.

(No, it doesn’t rhyme. So sue me.)

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- International Journal of Inactivism
“Al `Fat Al’ Gore [is fat]” – Harold Pierce

Wrong again…. as usual.
I am not at all interested in talking to you or with you.
I simply wish to insure that others get to read the “Rest of the Story” that they will never see on alarmist web sites or in the MSM.
Therefore I offer the following gem:
From William Kininmonth of Melbourne, Australia. William Kininmonth is a former head of Australia’s National Climate Centre and a consultant to the World Meteorological Organization. Kininmonth points out that it is only unrealistic figures fed into climate models that produce worrying projections
This explanation by the IPCC is clearly misleading, if not wrong. The inference that the greenhouse gases are acting like a blanket suggests that they are increasing the insulating properties of the atmosphere. However, the main gases of the atmosphere are oxygen and nitrogen, non-greenhouse gases, and they are also excellent insulators against the conduction of heat (like a blanket); adding additional trace amounts of carbon dioxide will have no appreciable impact on the insulating properties of the atmosphere.

Gary, do you understand the difference between heat conduction and radiative transfer? If they were the same, then oxygen and nitrogen would be greenhouse gases under the claim you quoted, which means Earth would look like Venus (which has an atmosphere almost entirely of GHG).

If you’d look in ANY university science text that covers the greenhouse effect, they admit the “blanket” analogy is extremely simplistic and misleading. The only time I’ve seen it seriously used to explain things is to elementary-school children. So unless you think that a fourth-grade education is sufficient to get a degree in climatology, I suggest you look up a climate science text before swallowing any claims put forth by unqualified people (such as Morohasy and, yes, even me – I admit my inexpertise). Might I suggest Spencer Weart’s, as it’s written for the lay audience?

By the way, Morohasy doesn’t understand the difference either – or basic equilibrium thermodynamics, for that matter:

were any funded by the American Petroleum Institute like the [very crap and now taken apart] Soon/Baliunas one was?

I have a question regarding the last graph. Isn’t the labels on the x axis the measured in thousand years? So the hockey stick’s blade starts at around 20000 years ago? That doesn’t seem relevant to this discussion. Unless I’m reading it wrong. Otherwise, good post!



The phrase “clean coal” has about as much merit as saying “sanitary sewage,” but that hasn’t stopped the industry and pro-coal talking heads from repeating that phrase ad nauseum to the American public.

The Orwellian industry buzzphrase was so successful that the Obama administration, as part of the 2009 stimulus package, pledged more than $1 billion to create the largest carbon-capturing system known as FutureGen 2.0. The...

read more