Pharyngula

You can vote today, and you can vote tomorrow, and then the polls close…so get out there and vote for Bad Astronomy for best science blog. The forces of stupidity have been motivated and are pushing a denialist blog up in the rankings, and it would be good to consolidate our votes and make sure a decent blog wins. Tim Lambert agrees, and also informs us that Steve Milloy has endorsed the Climate Audit blog—any doubt that it was an undeserving mouthpiece for right-wing hackery has now ended.

Besides, I’m rooming with Phil this weekend in Washington DC, and I really don’t want to have to put up with his bitter tears the whole time, or worse, if he feels compelled to drown his sorrows in vodka. Vote BA, because grown astronomers shouldn’t have to cry, and because I want to have fun, rather than nursing a broken man.

My other suggestions are here.

Comments

  1. #1 Carlie
    November 7, 2007

    Must be flooded for the East Coast lunch hour – the page keeps crashing on me. :(

  2. #2 Inoculated Mind
    November 7, 2007

    I can’t access it either

  3. #3 garth
    November 7, 2007

    same here on the lefty coasty

  4. #4 thadd
    November 7, 2007

    It should be working now, it was down for a bit but I have gotten through

  5. #5 Robert L
    November 7, 2007

    blinded by the science.

    I read all three sites regularly (here, Bad Astronomy and ClimateAudit). Steve McI is not a right wing toady, as your lead-in would have us believe. In fact his politics, which he keeps separate from the science content on his blog, lean decidedly liberal.

    The point here is an ideological one. Climate Change must be bad, humans must have caused it… just isn’t supported by the evidence. That the right wing(nut) blogfactors are crazy about it is certainly upsetting, but long term the truth will out.

    robert

  6. #6 argystokes
    November 7, 2007

    Your Steve Milloy link links back to Pharyngula.

  7. #7 laserboy
    November 7, 2007

    The point here is an ideological one. Climate Change must be bad, humans must have caused it… just isn’t supported by the evidence.

    Oh, then all this stuff that I keep reading in peer reviewed journals and that I and a few friends of mine report on… is just bunk?.. an entire profession is totally incompetent?

    Because this is what Steve Milloy is telling you. If you use a little bit of intelligence and realise that science is highly competitive, where being right is everything, you would recognise Steve Milloy for what he is: a nitpicking dick head who trumpets small errors as major failings (come on, is a minor error in the North American temperature record that significant when viewed with all the other data?).

  8. Wow, thanks! That’s very magnanimous of you, and this will in no way make me feel at all liable to buy you a drink in DC.

  9. Incidentally, on his blog, Milloy is claiming ideologues are “suppressing” the voting for CA. That’s an interesting claim, with no evidence whatsoever. I just posted about this. If you had any doubts about Milloy’s veracity, well, there you go.

  10. #10 laserboy
    November 7, 2007

    Well that is hardly surprising is it? Unlike real scientists, he doesn’t go out and gather data, because, you know, he might be wrong… and that would be… well… wrong.

  11. #11 Robert L
    November 7, 2007

    laserboy:
    .. an entire profession is totally incompetent?

    No. Just a few well placed individual who have an ideological axe to grind. (Hansen, Mann, Scheider et al)

    Please note: in my post above I made no mention of Milloy. I in no way support him or his endeavours.

    I do support Steve McIntyre and his quest to get to the meat of the climate change data. McIntyre does go out and collect real data. Plus he checks published results. When he finds errors he points them out, when he finds the results support the conclusions he lets you know.

    In a word is is doing “science”.

    robert

  12. #12 Shnakepup
    November 7, 2007

    No. Just a few well placed individual who have an ideological axe to grind. (Hansen, Mann, Scheider et al)

    A few well placed individuals colluding to skew the science? A few well placed individuals who are suppressing any nay-sayers? A conspiracy, in other words?

    It’s at this point that you lose all crediblity. Are you really saying that all the evidence and data that points to anthropogenic global climate change is either a lie, distortion, or misrepresented by a few well placed individuals?

  13. #13 laserboy
    November 7, 2007

    Well I get my cranks mixed up, I meant McIntyre as well.

    So your contention is that three people are enough to magically suppress all the evidence that the current warming trend and its consequences are a load of bunk?

    Because those are the only two conclusions you can make based on McIntyre’s “science.” Either (a) a smal number of scientists can somehow magically prevent the publication of results that don’t support their theory (something I know is not true because I have reported on many results that show results that were contrary to the then current understanding) or (b) every climatologist is incompetent and can’t see the truth before their very eyes (yet you and a bunch of other unqualified onlookers can).

  14. #14 John A
    November 7, 2007

    PZ:

    Does this mean that when I write to compliment you on your writings on evolution and biology, you become part of the dread fossil fuel conspiracy that some of your commenters believe in?

    I think its interesting that Milloy got as many votes as he did (I didn’t vote for him)

    However this tactical voting for a rival to beat someone else because you don’t like who likes him, is…well…pathetic.

    I’ve still to receive an e-mail explaining why Climate Audit is “right wing” or what PZ’s problem is. Perhaps PZ could check with his e-mail provider to see what the delay is?

  15. #15 Jay Currie
    November 7, 2007

    My sense is that McIntyre’s objectives are rather more modest. He begins with the premise that if we are going to base public policy on “the science” the science should be subject to examination.

    He then, along with a group of rather intelligent commentors, takes particular, but influential, pieces of the science and looks closely at them. For example, the Mann Hockey stick, much loved by the IPCC, was subjected to a bit of testing and various flaws in the data and the algo were exposed. (The algo will apparently turn any set of data into a hockey stick.)

    Hansen’s data was examined and Hansen had to admit tohaving made several errors the effect of which was to place warmest years in the 1990s when, in fact, they should have been in the 1930s. Hansen has acknowledged this error.

    You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist or a “denialist” to want to get the science right. Especially when panicked governments are proposing to spend enormous sums of money on things like CO2 abatement which a) may not work, b) may be attacking a problem which is not actually at the root of climate change, c) maybe a more expensive alternative than some of the others on offer.

    Asking serious questions and looking closely at the data (where available – a number of climate scientists are very coy indeed when it comes to archiving their data) is precisely the opposite of stupidity. But it does sometimes conflict with the “consensus” and the rush to judgment the politicians and bureaucrats who actually write the IPCC report seem so intent upon.

    CA is about dissent and discovery: which is why it is an excellent science blog.

  16. #16 Robert L
    November 7, 2007

    Well said Jay,

    better than I managed, as others rushed to judgement.

    thanks,
    robert

  17. #17 A2
    November 7, 2007

    Impressive logic. Steve Milloy endorses it, so it’s right-wing and “hackery”. A sort of reverse argument from authority. Have you no shame?

    Laserboy, Peer review is no guarantee of infallibility at the best of times, and sometimes the system fails. To rely solely on peer review is another argument from authority. I respect peer review too, but not over evidence I’ve seen myself.

    Most of the stuff you read in peer reviewed and other journals is an elaboration on one of three arguments:
    – climate is changing and so is CO2, and correlation implies causation;
    – our computer models are able to simulate something looking like real weather by assuming CO2 plus 3x positive H2O feedbacks and fitting some poorly understood parameterisations, we can’t think of any other possible drivers large enough, therefore there are no other possible drivers and it is impossible to simulate weather without a CO2 effect;
    – such a rise has never happened before, all those past interstadials were a lot smaller or more local than we previously thought, and because such a large CO2 rise has also never happened before, the one must cause the other. We know this because two dozen trees in North America grew a lot recently, and this tells us the mean global temperature anomaly a thousand years ago to an accuracy of better than half a degree.

    They’re not worded quite like that, of course, but that’s essentially “the evidence”. Climatologists do a lot of good work trying to understand the climate, but the important point is that they don’t yet understand it. They have a hypothesis with some evidence in its favour, and some against which they can so far more or less explain away. Everything else is politics and salesmanship.

    The point about the most recent of the several US temperature corrections is not its size, or whether it refutes the overall conclusion of rising global temperatures (which virtually no one at CA doubts, anyway), but the poor standard of software quality control involved in its calculation. I’ve looked at the code Hansen used and it’s abysmal; full of dead code snippets and crude hacks. This is, if you believe the hype, the most important issue facing mankind. Why are we basing world-shaking trillion-dollar decisions on data produced by such amateurish buggy code? The issue is not the bugs found, but what other bugs and errors might be in there that we haven’t found because nobody has looked. This stuff ought to be done by professional software engineers to high if not the highest levels of quality control. NASA have a policy to do so, it ought to have been followed. Hansen may be a good climatologist, but he is neither statistician nor software engineer, and it shows.

    To someone who doesn’t know the subject, the Discovery Institute’s output looks scientific, plausible, and authoritative. When you know more, you can see that they’re clever people bent on manipulating the evidence to reach their pre-decided conclusion. What if such an organisation were to gain a position of eminence and authority with political support, whether of the White House or the United Nations? (And what else are you fighting for here, if not to prevent exactly that?) What if they were able to use that influence to invade and subvert universities? What if other scientists who knew little biology assumed it was valid, and those biologists who quite rightly protested were labelled deniers? Do you think such a travesty is impossible? That it could take a court case to get the Dover school board policy to be chucked out, that a Presidential candidate could declare their preference for creationism to be taught in science classrooms, with some possibility of it happening? I don’t.

    I don’t really expect anyone arguing against CA to be persuaded by anything that could be fitted into a comment here. If you think climate change is important, then it is worth devoting some time to learn about it, and it is worth seeking out the best of the counter arguments to be sure for yourself that they’re wrong, in the same way that you look at the IDers and construct technical explanations of exactly where their errors lie. You can’t just say “it’s creationism and therefore is wrong” or “eminent biologists say it’s wrong in journals reviewed by other like-minded biologists and therefore it must be” because you’ll just be accused of having closed minds and following the dogma uncritically. Unscientific! There is no other way to judge for sure than to look at and challenge the evidence and arguments themselves.

    So if you’re going to insist on debunking CA, do it properly!

  18. #18 No More Mr. Nice Guy!
    November 7, 2007

    VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: Freep the poll for funniest blog and vote for Jon Swift, currently the leading liberal. Do not allow Dummie Funnies to win! Why? Because its author, who calls himself PJ Comix, orchestrated the online stalking of a man who was dying in excruciating pain from pancreatic cancer. They interfered with a paypal account that was set up to accept donations for his surgery, causing the surgery to be delayed two weeks. This really is the sickest thing I’ve ever seen in the blogosphere. More details here.

  19. #19 Stevie_C
    November 7, 2007

    Wow. These guys are boring and whiney babies.

    Reason enough to vote against that “science” blog.

  20. #20 Jay Currie
    November 7, 2007

    Wow. Stevie_C, I stand refuted. Shocked and awed by the sheer force of your argument. A sledgehammer to a flea I’m afraid.

  21. #21 laserboy
    November 7, 2007

    Laserboy, Peer review is no guarantee of infallibility at the best of times, and sometimes the system fails. To rely solely on peer review is another argument from authority. I respect peer review too, but not over evidence I’ve seen myself.

    really? color me surprised (sigh)

    Most of the stuff you read in peer reviewed and other journals is an elaboration on one of three arguments:?- climate is changing and so is CO2, and correlation implies causation;?- our computer models are able to simulate something looking like real weather by assuming CO2 plus 3x positive H2O feedbacks and fitting some poorly understood parameterisations, we can’t think of any other possible drivers large enough, therefore there are no other possible drivers and it is impossible to simulate weather without a CO2 effect;?- such a rise has never happened before, all those past interstadials were a lot smaller or more local than we previously thought, and because such a large CO2 rise has also never happened before, the one must cause the other. We know this because two dozen trees in North America grew a lot recently, and this tells us the mean global temperature anomaly a thousand years ago to an accuracy of better than half a degree.

    yeah, because no one else has ever measured tree ring data before or since Mann… oh wait

    Title: Rapid tree growth with respect to the last 400 years in response to climate warming, northeastern Tibetan Plateau
    Author(s): Gou XH (Gou, Xiaohua), Chen FH (Chen, Fahu), Jacoby G (Jacoby, Gordon), Cook E (Cook, Edward), Yang MX (Yang, Meixue), Peng HF (Peng, Hanfeng), Zhang Y (Zhang, Yong)
    Source: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CLIMATOLOGY 27 (11): 1497-1503 SEP 2007

    Title: Exorcising the ‘segment length curse': Summer temperature reconstruction since AD 1640 using non-detrended stable carbon isotope ratios from pine trees in northern Finland
    Author(s): Gagen M (Gagen, Mary), McCarroll D (McCarroll, Danny), Loader NJ (Loader, Nell J.), Robertson L (Robertson, Lain), Jalkanen R (Jalkanen, Risto), Anchukaitis KJ (Anchukaitis, Kevin J.)
    Source: HOLOCENE 17 (4): 435-446 MAY 2007

    Title: Solar and climate imprint differences in tree ring width from Brazil and Chile
    Author(s): Rigozo NR (Rigozo, Nivaor Rodolfo), Nordemann DJR (Roger Nordemann, Daniel Jean), Echer E (Echer, Ezequiel), da Silva HE (da Silva, Heitor Evangelista), Echer MPD (Echer, Mariza Pereira de Souza), Prestes A (Prestes, Alan)
    Source: JOURNAL OF ATMOSPHERIC AND SOLAR-TERRESTRIAL PHYSICS 69 (4-5): 449-458 APR 2007

    Would that be three articles published this year alone. My word, who knew that one valley could stretch so far, or that Mann was psychic and could publish his results before the data was obtained.

    So considering that little factoid was a straight lie, why would anything else you write on this particular subject be at all believable? Do you even know why researchers chose to focus on CO2? I’ll give you a hint, its called “infrared absorption.” If that hint isn’t enough then you also don’t understand how insulation works, so you might as well stop living in a house.

    I’ve looked at the code Hansen used and it’s abysmal; full of dead code snippets and crude hacks. This is, if you believe the hype, the most important issue facing mankind. Why are we basing world-shaking trillion-dollar decisions on data produced by such amateurish buggy code? The issue is not the bugs found, but what other bugs and errors might be in there that we haven’t found because nobody has looked. This stuff ought to be done by professional software engineers to high if not the highest levels of quality control.

    Then of course there is the matter of code. McIntyre found a bug in the code… and it altered a few years data by a small amount… hold the phone… oh wait, don’t hold the phone. I happen to do a fair bit of numerical work, and guess what my code is a tangled nest of old dried up crunchy bits combined with new fast bits and… yes… bugs. All scientific code is like this, it is developed by graduate students and post-docs who are more interested in getting code that works, rather than elegance or efficiency (we like efficiency if the code won’t execute in the time it takes to get a cup of coffee, we try to make it faster). I expect there to be bugs in all scientific code, there will always be bugs in scientific code. Worse, in code developed by professional software engineers, the bugs will be harder to find because they don’t actually understand the physical system they are trying to extract the statistical data from.
    The point is that most bugs (in scientific code) work in such a way as to reduce accuracy (as in the case McIntyre found) but not reverse the conclusions drawn from that data. It happens, stop patting yourselves on the back and get over it already.

    To someone who doesn’t know the subject, the Discovery Institute’s output looks scientific, plausible, and authoritative. When you know more, you can see that they’re clever people bent on manipulating the evidence to reach their pre-decided conclusion. What if such an organisation were to gain a position of eminence and authority with political support, whether of the White House or the United Nations? (And what else are you fighting for here, if not to prevent exactly that?) What if they were able to use that influence to invade and subvert universities? What if other scientists who knew little biology assumed it was valid, and those biologists who quite rightly protested were labelled deniers? Do you think such a travesty is impossible? That it could take a court case to get the Dover school board policy to be chucked out, that a Presidential candidate could declare their preference for creationism to be taught in science classrooms, with some possibility of it happening? I don’t.

    Oh look another conspiracy theory… gosh were all really impressed down here I can tell you.

    So if you’re going to insist on debunking CA, do it properly!

    Well since you asked. Here is another nice piece of (oh no, don’t trust it, because a blog is obviously much more reliable) peer reviewed literature on the supposed divergence between instrument and proxy records….

    Title: A matter of divergence: Tracking recent warming at hemispheric scales using tree ring data
    Author(s): Wilson R (Wilson, R.), D’Arrigo R (D’Arrigo, R.), Buckley B (Buckley, B.), Buntgen U (Buentgen, U.), Esper J (Esper, J.), Frank D (Frank, D.), Luckman B (Luckman, B.), Payette S (Payette, S.), Vose R (Vose, R.), Youngblut D (Youngblut, D.)
    Source: JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES 112 (D17): Art. No. D17103 SEP 11 2007

    Abstract: No current tree ring (TR) based reconstruction of extratropical Northern Hemisphere (ENH) temperatures that extends into the 1990s captures the full range of late 20th century warming observed in the instrumental record. Over recent decades, a divergence between cooler reconstructed and warmer instrumental large-scale temperatures is observed. We hypothesize that this problem is partly related to the fact that some of the constituent chronologies used for previous reconstructions show divergence against local temperatures in the recent period. In this study, we compiled TR data and published local/regional reconstructions that show no divergence against local temperatures. These data have not been included in other large-scale temperature reconstructions. Utilizing this data set, we developed a new, completely independent reconstruction of ENH annual temperatures (1750-2000). This record is not meant to replace existing reconstructions but allows some degree of independent validation of these earlier studies as well as demonstrating that TR data can better model recent warming at large scales when careful selection of constituent chronologies is made at the local scale. Although the new series tracks the increase in ENH annual temperatures over the last few decades better than any existing reconstruction, it still slightly under predicts values in the post-1988 period. We finally discuss possible reasons why it is so difficult to model post-mid-1980s warming, provide some possible alternative approaches with regards to the instrumental target and detail several recommendations that should be followed in future large-scale reconstruction attempts that may result in more robust temperature estimates.

    Yeah… it looks like the divergence isn’t quite what McIntyre made it out to be is it…
    Well, adding another lie to this list won’t hurt you at all will it?

  22. #22 laserboy
    November 7, 2007

    Ahh crap, the formatting went awry

  23. #23 Chris Clarke
    November 7, 2007

    My (PZ-endorsed) blog Creek Running North has a comfortable lead in the Best of the 2501-3500 category, but a really rather hateful freeper-type is now in second place and gaining. The very worthwhile blog Driftglass is a close third. If people wanted to go over there and throw either of us some votes today, that’d be much appreciated.

  24. #24 D. Patterson
    November 7, 2007

    Re: #13

    Well I get my cranks mixed up, I meant McIntyre as well.

    So your contention is that three people are enough to magically suppress all the evidence that the current warming trend and its consequences are a load of bunk?

    Using prejudicial adjectives like “cranks” and “magically suppress” can hardly be considered as appropriate language or criticism of any worth whatsoever when readers can see for themselves that instead of “three people” as you comment it’s thousands of highly qualified scientists who are refuting the false AGW political propaganda. Unlike your attempts here to “suppress” any consideration of the refuting evidence by the readers in this blog, the Climate Audit participants and the scientists insisting upon application of the scientific method to the exceptional claims of AGW proponents invite open discussion AND open research by independent investigators. Everytime you belittle such open and honest efforts to ask for the data and openly investigate the merits and demerits of the AGW related works, you inevitably cause people to wonder what it is you are so afraid of that you must hide it from public view and discourage people from seeing and asking questions about. Of course, most people are naturally suspicious of efforts to deny freedom of thought and speech.

  25. #25 Stevie_C
    November 7, 2007

    Hey CA fans.

    We don’t care.

    All your whining, pouting and insults aren’t going to get us to vote for CA.

    Cut your losses. Your only making me want to make sure I vote daily for BA.

    And PZ’s blog would kick CA’s ass if PZ wanted the votes.

    So go bitch at CA, where none of us will notice.

  26. #26 Wm. L. Hyde
    November 7, 2007

    Laserboy…You are using references to studies done by members of the Hockey Team, you damn fool! They are led By Michael Mann. He’s the one whose spurious Hockey Stick chart was first used and then thrown out by IPCC after the very owner of this same blog you are disputing(along with Ross McK)reverse engineered it and showed it to be completely false. Why reverse engineered, you ask? Because Mann to this day refused to release his codes and info, even after Congress ordered him to. Suspicious, hmmm? And now, you cite the work of his team??? You, Sir, are a Space Cadet!!
    Cheers…..theoldhogger

  27. #27 Shnakepup
    November 7, 2007

    Using prejudicial adjectives like “cranks” and “magically suppress” can hardly be considered as appropriate language or criticism of any worth whatsoever when readers can see for themselves that instead of “three people” as you comment it’s thousands of highly qualified scientists who are refuting the false AGW political propaganda. Unlike your attempts here to “suppress” any consideration of the refuting evidence by the readers in this blog, the Climate Audit participants and the scientists insisting upon application of the scientific method to the exceptional claims of AGW proponents invite open discussion AND open research by independent investigators. Everytime you belittle such open and honest efforts to ask for the data and openly investigate the merits and demerits of the AGW related works, you inevitably cause people to wonder what it is you are so afraid of that you must hide it from public view and discourage people from seeing and asking questions about. Of course, most people are naturally suspicious of efforts to deny freedom of thought and speech.

    Oh my god, I just got chills down my spine.

    Does this not sound exactly like what an IDer or 9/11 troother would say? It’s all about “waah! you’re mean! stop calling me names! i’m being supressed!” Seriously, replace all the Global Warming verbage in there with evolution verbage, and you’ve got a typical creationist response. Throw in a few “9/11″s and “controlled demolitions”, and you’ve got a Loose Change fan’s petty reply.

    Attention D. Patterson, Jay Robertson, Robert L, etc: the reason we ridicule your position and label you cranks is because you deserve it. You, and any other denialist you side with, exhibit every quality and characteristic of a bunch of intellectually dishonest hacks.

  28. #28 Thadd
    November 7, 2007

    “However this tactical voting for a rival to beat someone else because you don’t like who likes him, is…well…pathetic.”

    I hardly think BA and PZ are rivals in any serious sense, that is taking their interaction too literally.

  29. #29 Spence
    November 7, 2007

    Laserboy

    (sarcasm) What, other people do temperature reconstructions from trees? No! Never! Really? (/sarcasm)

    Yes, we are well aware of other reconstructions. Look down the index on the left hand side of climateaudit and you will find discussions on them. You will also find discussions on borehole temperature reconstructions, ice core d18O reconstuctions, ocean sediment SST reconstructions etc. etc.

    However, the examples you give are irrelevant to the issue Steve Mc is discussing. There is a world of difference between post-1600 and pre-1600 reconstructions. Read the NAS panel report and you’ll find out why.

    BTW, Steve recreated the MBH98 in around 6kb of R code, and most of that was comments, and marshalling of data from files. If that is difficult and complex in your book – okay. The problems in MBH98 weren’t bugs, as confirmed by the ex-president of the American Statistical Association Ed Wegman, they were fundamental flaws in the design and implementation of the study, and constituted bad science. But I’m sure you have some insight that Ed overlooked.

  30. #30 Robert L
    November 7, 2007

    Stevie_C:
    …Hey CA fans. // We don’t care. // All your whining, pouting and insults aren’t going to get us to vote for CA. …

    trying really hard resist putting words in your mouth, but…

    “don’t talk to us, we don’t care, we don’t want to know, we have our own facts, go away”

    yeah, nice debating, dude!

    and who is insulting who? at least a few of us tried to be polite.

    have a nice day,
    robert.

  31. #31 Anthony R
    November 7, 2007

    laserboy, I don’t mean to kill the party but you are missing the point by a large margin on the post you’re replying to (whoever is).
    No matter what subject you’re discussing, logical fallacies should be avoided in any reasoning dispute. You have missed the point with the first statement you made: Paleoclimate studies in general are not in question. In fact, many tree-ring studies actually contradict the premise that you are fighting for (the recently discovered Ababneh 2006, for example). The fact that other individuals have studied tree-rings alone does not validate one particular study. To my knowledge the audit audience are not largely disputing a small amount of temperature rise. Especially not with Mann’s studies. Several authorities have identified Mann’s methodologies as flawed. Regardless of if Mann’s conclusion is correct, it does not validate a substantially flawed methodology.
    It is true that CO2 is a prime candidate for reason for warming. However, forming a conclusion based upon causual relationship alone does not necessarily explain the observations fully, especially when it is so difficult to model climate change and we admit that we are not fully aware of all climate-driving forces on the planet. This neither affirms nor denies the premise, but arbitrarily tossing a possibility out and claiming victory is not necessarily professional. I think you’re vastly oversimplifying the scenario.
    The fact that a small amount of error is encountered with anyone’s code isn’t an excuse to use it anyway, especially when the errors are so clearly identified. Auditors like McIntyre have offered to help the authors fix their codes so that an honest conclusion can be drawn. By saying this it seems you understand that some errors are encountered; and they are not all small mistakes. If I remember correctly, the Y2K error rendered the new warmest year somewhere in the 1930s and it has been demonstrated that Mann and his close associates seem to be the only group capable of getting a steep temperature incline even from the strip-bark trees that it was recommended that he shouldn’t use in the first place. The fact that small errors occur isn’t the problem; it is the fact that once they are identified the authors refuse to correct them or even reveal their methodology. It would make your argument stronger to state how you feel this behavior is acceptable.

    I’m a bit confused at how you went about “debunking CA” by citing sources that CA has made no comment about. I mean no offense by this, but if you don’t even know what McIntyre has said, how are you going to disprove it by randomly posting work that has nothing to do with his research? Why are so many people spontaneously forgetting the definition of the word “audit”?

  32. #32 Stevie_C
    November 7, 2007

    They are rooming together this weekend. Rivals. That’s funny.
    Not too bright are they over at CA.
    If PZ was adamant enough. He could get enough votes for both
    Pharyngula and BA and have CA relegated to 3rd.

    But keep up the good work hockey team.

  33. #33 Michael Jankowski
    November 7, 2007

    laserboy:

    One article limited to “northeastern Tibetan Plateau” supposedly supports your case. It’s hard to tell since you didn’t mention any of the findings of the article. And let me guess: when someone provides evidence of a MWP in a region of similar size, you don’t accept it as evidence of a global phenomenon, do you?

    One limited to “northern Finland.” Same problems as above.

    One concerning Brazil and Chile, and this one includes SOLAR effects on tree rings, to. And same problems as above.

    And finally, we have an article for which you do present some information – Wilson et al (2007)! And surely you do realize that CA has discussed it here http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1834 – not that Wilson et al was able to find any hockey sticks, either. In other words, Wilson’s findings are a stark contrast to those of Mann et al (1998) and not supportive of his conclusions. Wilson et al finds temps in the late 20th century approaching those of the late 1700s.

    Oops.

  34. #34 Stevie_C
    November 7, 2007

    You’re the ones coming to PZ’s blog and complaining like petulant children.
    It’s not helping your cause. It’s like weve been invaded by freepers and goofballs from LGF.

  35. #35 Wm. L. Hyde
    November 7, 2007

    So, Shnakepup…Why is this site competing in the SCIENCE category again? It seems more like a BELIEVER site to me. You use the term DENIER like the Holy Roman Inquisition used the term HERETIC when they threatened to burn Galileo at then stake over his belief that Earth orbits the Sun, rather than visa-versa. Do you worship regularly at the Church of Gaia?
    Cheers…..theoldhogger

  36. #36 Stevie_C
    November 7, 2007

    Do you worship at the temple of Shell?

  37. #37 Shnakepup
    November 7, 2007

    You use the term DENIER like the Holy Roman Inquisition used the term HERETIC when they threatened to burn Galileo at then stake over his belief that Earth orbits the Sun, rather than visa-versa.

    Yep, because accepting that humans are causing Global Warming is just like a belief in a geocentric universe!

    And please, learn some html, HONESTLY. I hate it when people think that the only way to EMPHASIZE a word is to put it in ALL CAPS. Cheers yourself. :)

  38. #38 Spence
    November 7, 2007

    Yep, because accepting that humans are causing Global Warming

    Why do you think accepting humans are causing Global Warming is incompatible with belief that the historical temperature reconstructions contain serious errors?

  39. #39 Shnakepup
    November 7, 2007

    Why do you think accepting humans are causing Global Warming is incompatible with belief that the historical temperature reconstructions contain serious errors?

    Ah, I see. You’re only concerned about the temperature reconstructions. So, you accept that humans are causing global climate change?

    I don’t have a problem with the data possibly being wrong. As you’re implying, the data could be innaccurate, but the earth could still be warming up do to human activity. That’s not the issue here. I’m just pissed off that you guys always affect this whole wide-eyed, innocent, “well, i’m just asking questions” attitude, when it obvious to us that you have an ideological agenda.

  40. #40 Spence
    November 7, 2007

    So, you accept that humans are causing global climate change?
    Steve has made his position quite clear on the site, that falsification of recent attempts at historical temperature reconstruction has very little effect on the wider issues of the consequences of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere.

    when it obvious to us that you have an ideological agenda
    From wikipedia, appeal to motive article:

    A common occurrence in appeals to motive is that only the possibility of a motive (however small) is shown, without showing the motive actually existed or, if the motive did exist, that the motive played a role in forming the argument and its conclusion. Indeed, it is often assumed that the mere possibility of motive is evidence enough.

    BTW, is the tag to quote blockquote? Cheers!

  41. #41 Stevie_C
    November 7, 2007

    Didn’t answer the question, did he? Typical.

  42. #42 ks
    November 7, 2007

    CA does not exist to deny AGW. It exists to give ammunition to denialist.

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/09/the_mcintyre_factor.php

  43. #43 Spence
    November 7, 2007

    It exists to give ammunition to denialist.
    Ah, and there we have another example of the appeal to motive. Keep up the good work, by demonstrating these fallacies on this website, it makes them easier to spot on “anti-science” websites.

    MBH98 gives ammunition to the “denialist” by being so wrong. If they hadn’t drawn conclusions for which their study provided no support, there would be no contention.

  44. #44 Dana H.
    November 7, 2007

    I don’t know if I qualify as one of “you guys” with “an ideological agenda” that Shnakepup refers to. But in the interests of full disclosure, here is my ideological agenda:

    As an atheist, I would like to see complete separation of church and state (and church and science). As someone who enjoys living in the freedom and comforts of modern civilization, I would prefer not to see these destroyed to protect against AGW. As a scientist, I would like to understand the actual data and statistical analysis behind AGW claims and counter-claims.

    Based on the first item, Pharyngula appeals to me. Based on the last item, Climate Audit appeals to me. It’s the only climate-related site I have found that actually gets down to the nitty-gritty aspects of the data analysis (and has a civil comments section to boot).

  45. #45 Chris Clarke
    November 7, 2007

    Pointing out an appeal to motive argument would be a valid counterargument in a high school forensics setting.

    Sadly for CA’s flying monkeys, however, this is not high school. Motive is completely relevant when someone is working in the scientific field, the political field, or the legal field.

    All of which fields are relevant to climate change denialism.

  46. #46 Boris
    November 7, 2007

    Ah, and there we have another example of the appeal to motive.

    What is McIntyre’s motive, I wonder? He does a lot of half-analysis of all kinds of climate science. How many blog posts? Thousands? How many articles published in reputable journals? One?

    Note the whole surfacestation fiasco. Post after post about how microsite issues could be contaminating the temperature record, then, when an actual analysis showed that the quality of siting did not have an effect–nothing. On to issues more obscure.

  47. #47 Melvin Jones
    November 7, 2007

    Of course humans are causing the warming. We build cities. We pave roads. We burn forests. We turn grassland into farmland and water it. We spew CO2, Methane and pollution into the air. It all affects weather and so therefore it all affects climate. The pollution in the air moderates the GHG effects. The stuff that gets on the ground makes it absorb more heat and it melts ice and snow. The oceans absorb and release CO2.

    Except for a very few people, nobody’s debating that.

    So then the question is what to do about it. Well, how accurate is the information? Who’s creating it? Who’s replicating it? Why isn’t it archived? Why are climate guys trying to do software design? Or statistics? If I want my car fixed I go to a good mechanic, if I want open heart surgery I go to a heart surgeon.

    Nobody’s trying to get you to vote for anything it doesn’t look like. Maybe you should go take a look at a site for yourself and see if it’s political or not or has bad science or not.

    If somebody wants to doublecheck the statistics in a key methodolgy, or verify an algoritm does what it says it does, what the heck is anyone’s beef they have some bizarre ID paranoid delusion conspiracy theory or are a bunch of right-wing nutjobs unless they go check for themselves?

    Gee, some people are being very rude here.

  48. #48 a2
    November 7, 2007

    Nice try, laserboy!

    “So considering that little factoid was a straight lie, why would anything else you write on this particular subject be at all believable? Do you even know why researchers chose to focus on CO2? I’ll give you a hint, its called “infrared absorption.” If that hint isn’t enough then you also don’t understand how insulation works, so you might as well stop living in a house.”

    The existence of other reconstructions does not demonstrate that the conclusions regarding global temperature being unprecedented are not based on a very small number of problematic proxies. Many subsequent studies include the same sources, even the Mann 99 hockeystick, and the reconstruction methods used have the property of weighting those sources showing a strong temperature-correlated signal more heavily. Mann’s reconstruction had something like 70 series from all round the world, but the US bristlecones got weighted more than 300 times more heavily than the rest. Many other reconstructions have been done that don’t show the same result that Mann found so persuasive – the medieval warm period being of the same sort of magnitude as the late 20th century rise.

    So please stop citing papers you don’t understand as arguments from authority. Discuss the content, if you please.

    Yes, of course I know about infrared absorption. I’m a physicist. But CO2 on its own would only raise the temperature 1 degree C for each doubling. (It’s a logarithmic relationship.) This isn’t what the sceptics are arguing about, and it’s a dishonest strawman to claim that this is what the AGW argument is about. The AGW theorists claim that this CO2 effect is amplified by positive feedbacks, mainly from the consequent increase in water vapour. However, the feedbacks are complicated and poorly understood. They posit that the effect of CO2 is multiplied by 3 because of these feedbacks (nobody can explain where they get the number from, though), and then because this doesn’t fit the warming we’ve already seen to the CO2 rise, they posit a large lag due to ocean heat capacity (except the sea is not warming any more that it was pre-industrial, witness sea level rise) and blocking of sunlight from aerosols (soot and smoke). Because these are so poorly understood, they have a wide margin to play with to get the model to fit. It’s all this other stuff, that they hardly ever mention in the press conferences, that is disputed.

    And I’m afraid it’s you who doesn’t understand how insulation works. Your house stays warm principally because its roof stops convection, not because it blocks radiation. Insulation traps a layer of air, which does not itself conduct well and unless the insulation is very darkly coloured does not radiate much either. Because the alternative modes are so inefficient, stopping convection renders air a very effective insulator. Ask yourself, why does vacuum insulate better than air, when it poses less of an obstacle to radiation? CO2 in the atmosphere does not stop convection, and so is working on a completely different principle.

    To those who are unhappy that we’ve turned up – it’s a simple consequence of making claims that people are junk science or right wing purely on the basis of not following the conventional orthodoxy, without yourself having a sufficiently deep understanding of the topic. If you hadn’t been so rude, nobody would have seen any need to intrude. I don’t expect any of you to vote for CA; your political biases evidently prejudice you too much. But we’re here for exactly the same reason that you debate creationists: not to persuade them to your cause, because that’s impossible, but to challenge their public statements and to take part in the public debate. If you let that sort of thing ride too long, people start to think you don’t have an answer to it.

    No doubt we’ll go away soon, and you’ll get back to sniping at creationists instead of other scientists. But it’s been fun visiting, for me at least. :-)

  49. #49 Spence
    November 7, 2007

    Sadly for CA’s flying monkeys, however, this is not high school. Motive is completely relevant when someone is working in the scientific field, the political field, or the legal field.
    The quote from wikipedia that I included doesn’t say appeal to motive is invalid. But it is invalid when not supported by evidence. The fact that an argument has been made itself is insufficient evidence of motive.

    So what is your evidence of our motives? Or do you not believe in evidence-based reasoning? (e.g., “I say so, therefore it is correct”)

    That said, you don’t need ad hominem circumstantial when you have ad hominem abusive with your high flying monkeys.

  50. #50 Melvin P. Jones
    November 7, 2007

    Check it out. Two Canadian math guys saw something weird (statistically) in that graph in the IPCC stuff and wrote a paper on it.

    Congress noticed, and brought in the Chair of an NAS committee (mainstream IPCC organization) on statistics to look at everyone’s work both of them and the Graph guy and see what was going. It looks like they brought in about 10 people each double checking each other (no doubt a Rep/Dem thing to CYA).

    The statistician guy, who looking at his CV is probably the most qualified statistican in the world said the math was wrong. He explained why to the multiple questioners at a hearing. He also said he was able to recreate the work of the Canadian guys, but not recreate the work of the Graph guy. He also said the other Graph stuff being done was coming from the same data and that they were all co-writing papers and peer-reviewing each other. Not proof of anything fishy, but certainly…. odd. But no proof that the work of Graph guy is correct. And he doesn’t seem to be trying to fix it. And is not providing all the materials even when forced (and nothing when not forced.)

    I don’t see what the disagreement is.

  51. #51 Shnakepup
    November 7, 2007

    Spence: Yeah, use the blockquote tag to format quotes like that.

    Also, on the appeal to motive fallacy, I have to point to Chris Clarke’s comment above. This isn’t a purely logical debate; motive is extremely relevant in controversial issues. Especially in issues where it’s not uncommon for misinformation to be used liberally for the goal of swaying public opinion. In the AGW debate, certain parties have a vested interest in AGW being wrong.

    I’ll go ahead and check out CA and see if you’re right. You’re claiming that nobody there denies AGW, correct? If so, then I apologize for being rude, because we would then be on the same side.

  52. #52 Wm. L. Hyde
    November 7, 2007

    Shnakkie and Lasherbrain….I am so FED UP with the lowest common denominator of what passes for SCIENTIFIC discourse on this blog, that I am going to retreat to CA, where INTELLIGENT conversation abounds. Re: learning HTML…sorry, no time! I’m too busy STUDYING and LEARNING at CLIMATE AUDIT.
    Cheers….theoldhogger

  53. #53 Spence
    November 7, 2007

    I’ll go ahead and check out CA and see if you’re right. You’re claiming that nobody there denies AGW, correct

    No! Hasty generalisation! I referred to Steve’s views only (and really only he can provide them, so you need to take my comments with a pinch of salt).

    Clearly, Steve has no control (or rather limited control, without censorship accusations going nuts) over commenters at his blog. Some are thoughtful, considerate, objective. Some aren’t. Just like any other blog. Steve severely limits certain topics (politics, religion, any discussion of thermodynamics or fraud) because they descend into petty bunfights. The unthreaded posts are there to remove the dross from the main threads, and tend to contain the wackiest arguments, so avoid those as well.

    I have no issue with appeals to motive where appropriate, but they should be supported by evidence.

  54. #54 a2
    November 7, 2007

    Shnakepup,

    Virtually nobody there denies GW, and Steve McIntyre usually throws out the odd commenter who tries. As for AGW, Steve maintains a studious neutrality, as do most of the better commenters, while a whole range of other views is expressed in comments extending from ‘unproven’ to denial. Being a fairly open blog, you can’t stop them. Steve of course has no control over who among the right-wing pundits chose to endorse him.

    By the way, in case it helps, Steve McIntyre was an expert reviewer on the latest IPCC report, and therefore one of the ‘thousands of scientists’ who have taken part in the IPCC process. You can see some of his review comments discussed, and see the complete collection at the IPCC. They’re probably a better gauge of his professional work than his sometimes ‘humorous’ blog posts.

  55. #55 Chris Clarke
    November 7, 2007

    you don’t need ad hominem circumstantial when you have ad hominem abusive

    Again: this is not high school. An unflattering characterization of a person doesn’t weaken an argument if it’s arguably true.

    And neither is failure to drop everything to argue an important topic with a partisan evidence that one is uninterested in evidence. It’s just that I’m not really interested in giving you that much of my time.

    Flagging abuse of forensics fetishes in a political-scientific context is a slam-dunk, though. Not much investment needed. And that’s more for the others in the thread at this point than for you, as it looks like the point’s lost on you.

    Hope the rest of your day goes well, though.

  56. #56 Spence
    November 7, 2007

    Again: this is not high school. An unflattering characterization of a person doesn’t weaken an argument if it’s arguably true.
    It doesn’t weaken a secondary argument of merit, but I have yet to see a secondary argument of merit from you.

    And neither is failure to drop everything to argue an important topic with a partisan evidence that one is uninterested in evidence.
    The decision to investigate the evidence is yours and yours alone. I can’t force you to do what you don’t want to do. But if you have not investigated the evidence, then your position is less well informed than those that have.

    It’s just that I’m not really interested in giving you that much of my time.
    You seem to be giving plenty of time responding to my comments. Shame you didn’t spend that time learning about the real issues at hand instead. C’est la vie. Your choice.

    Flagging abuse of forensics fetishes in a political-scientific context is a slam-dunk, though. Not much investment needed. And that’s more for the others in the thread at this point than for you, as it looks like the point’s lost on you.
    I don’t really care about your political perspective, I’m only intersted in the science. Prejudicial language and fallacies (high-flying monkeys, fetishes) may carry weight in politics but are worthless to a scientist. Nuance, detail and forensics are critical to accurate scientific analysis. This point, it appears, has been lost on you.

  57. #57 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 7, 2007

    Hansen’s data was examined and Hansen had to admit tohaving made several errors the effect of which was to place warmest years in the 1990s when, in fact, they should have been in the 1930s. Hansen has acknowledged this error.

    Yes, except that the 1930s were warmer in the 48 contiguous states of the USA. (Keyword: Dust Bowl.) Globally, the 1990s were much warmer than the 1930s. When the data point in question was corrected, the change to the global curve was microscopic.

    And the hockey stick… fuck the hockey stick, fuck Mann, and look. Make sure you read all the fine print.

    - climate is changing and so is CO2, and correlation implies causation;

    Ignorance is strength, eh?

    Shine infrared on CO2 and watch what happens.

    - our computer models are able to simulate something looking like real weather

    Now please don’t tell me you don’t know the difference between climate and weather.

    - such a rise has never happened before, all those past interstadials were a lot smaller or more local than we previously thought, and because such a large CO2 rise has also never happened before, the one must cause the other.

    While rare, it has occasionally happened that CO2 increased or decreased for reasons unrelated to temperature — and then caused the temperature to rise or fall. Off the top of my head: the main phase of the eruptions of the Deccan Traps some 66 million years ago; the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum; the late Miocene to late Pliocene cooling that so nicely correlates to the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau above the treeline — when silicates weather, they take CO2 out of the atmosphere; a similar but much larger case of weathering that made the “Snowball Earth” episodes possible.

    We know this because two dozen trees in North America grew a lot recently

    “Two dozen” my ass. “North America” my ass.

    You are making the diagnostic mistake of a crank: you believe everyone is as ignorant as you.

    As someone who enjoys living in the freedom and comforts of modern civilization, I would prefer not to see these destroyed to protect against AGW.

    So would you rather evacuate the 150 million inhabitants of Bangladesh?

    Besides, I don’t think much of “the freedom and comforts of modern civilization” is going to get compromised. Have a short look at European gas prices, for example.

    The AGW theorists claim that this CO2 effect is amplified by positive feedbacks, mainly from the consequent increase in water vapour. However, the feedbacks are complicated and poorly understood.

    Not as poorly as you seem to think. We know what the climate is like at 500 ppm CO2 — we had that some 15 million years ago.

    they posit a large lag due to ocean heat capacity (except the sea is not warming any more that it was pre-industrial, witness sea level rise)

    Almost all of the sea-level rise of the last 2000 years happened within the 20th century. If you like, I can give you the citation tomorrow.

  58. #58 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 7, 2007

    Hansen’s data was examined and Hansen had to admit tohaving made several errors the effect of which was to place warmest years in the 1990s when, in fact, they should have been in the 1930s. Hansen has acknowledged this error.

    Yes, except that the 1930s were warmer in the 48 contiguous states of the USA. (Keyword: Dust Bowl.) Globally, the 1990s were much warmer than the 1930s. When the data point in question was corrected, the change to the global curve was microscopic.

    And the hockey stick… fuck the hockey stick, fuck Mann, and look. Make sure you read all the fine print.

    - climate is changing and so is CO2, and correlation implies causation;

    Ignorance is strength, eh?

    Shine infrared on CO2 and watch what happens.

    - our computer models are able to simulate something looking like real weather

    Now please don’t tell me you don’t know the difference between climate and weather.

    - such a rise has never happened before, all those past interstadials were a lot smaller or more local than we previously thought, and because such a large CO2 rise has also never happened before, the one must cause the other.

    While rare, it has occasionally happened that CO2 increased or decreased for reasons unrelated to temperature — and then caused the temperature to rise or fall. Off the top of my head: the main phase of the eruptions of the Deccan Traps some 66 million years ago; the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum; the late Miocene to late Pliocene cooling that so nicely correlates to the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau above the treeline — when silicates weather, they take CO2 out of the atmosphere; a similar but much larger case of weathering that made the “Snowball Earth” episodes possible.

    We know this because two dozen trees in North America grew a lot recently

    “Two dozen” my ass. “North America” my ass.

    You are making the diagnostic mistake of a crank: you believe everyone is as ignorant as you.

    As someone who enjoys living in the freedom and comforts of modern civilization, I would prefer not to see these destroyed to protect against AGW.

    So would you rather evacuate the 150 million inhabitants of Bangladesh?

    Besides, I don’t think much of “the freedom and comforts of modern civilization” is going to get compromised. Have a short look at European gas prices, for example.

    The AGW theorists claim that this CO2 effect is amplified by positive feedbacks, mainly from the consequent increase in water vapour. However, the feedbacks are complicated and poorly understood.

    Not as poorly as you seem to think. We know what the climate is like at 500 ppm CO2 — we had that some 15 million years ago.

    they posit a large lag due to ocean heat capacity (except the sea is not warming any more that it was pre-industrial, witness sea level rise)

    Almost all of the sea-level rise of the last 2000 years happened within the 20th century. If you like, I can give you the citation tomorrow.

  59. #59 Jay Currie
    November 7, 2007

    Almost all of the sea-level rise of the last 2000 years happened within the 20th century. If you like, I can give you the citation tomorrow.

    While you are looking for that cite you might also consider what is so scientifically germane about “the last 2000 years”.

    Want to see serious sea level rise? Take a boo at a few thousand years of sea level change in Atlantic Canada here.

  60. #60 Spence
    November 7, 2007

    Re #57

    AR2’s arguments that you counter here were quite weak, and easily countered. However you do make errors which I would like to correct so you can make a stronger case next time:

    And the hockey stick… fuck the hockey stick, fuck Mann, and look. Make sure you read all the fine print.

    I looked at that link. It contains a graph which the text describes as “temperature reconstructions for the last 2 thousand years or so”. However, the link contains just 1 temperature reconstruction, a short instrumental record and 8 model runs (which are not the same thing at all). This is clearly stated in the graph and I cannot understand why the poster has become confused about this. The single temperature reconstruction in the graphic is from Mann and Jones 2003, which, if you delve into the calculations, is essentially a combination of the Yang Composite (which has its own issues) and the original North American Network from MBH98, i.e. the Bristlecone Pine series, i.e. Mann’s hockey stick.

    In essence, you have said “fuck Mann, fuck the Hockey Stick” and then linked to a graph of… Mann’s hockey stick.

    I fully agree with countering weak arguments, but to counter weak arguments with weak arguments simply prolongs the debate. Always cut to the chase and use your strongest argument. The mistake I’ve highlighted here isn’t the only mistake you make either. Perhaps it would be wiser to leave the counter arguments to those with a better understanding of climate science?

  61. #61 Dispassionate Observer
    November 7, 2007

    Interesting to observe two of the leading contenders for “Best Science Blog”. One blog seems to be focussed on objective, rational discussion of real science, while the other is a schizophrenic “debate” between faithfull cheerleaders (willing to engage in the odd ad hominem)and visitors from the other blog who demonstrate the same calm, rational, dispassionate commitment to the truth as is the norm there.

  62. #62 Pat Frank
    November 7, 2007

    #51 — “You’re claiming that nobody there denies AGW, correct? If so, then I apologize for being rude, because we would then be on the same side.< \em>”

    Your comment begs the question of AGW. The question is not AGW. The question is whether climate science can reliably detect AGW.

    Try going into AR4 WGI Chapter 8, and Chapter 8 Supplementary, and look at the Figures showing the errors inherent in GCMs. Figure S8.14, for example, shows that the ensemble average error in surface heat flux ranges is about (+/-)10 W/m^2, with individual GCMs registering much larger errors. This error is already 4x larger than the entire excess forcing from all the AGHGs entering the atmosphere since the beginning of the 20th century.

    Figure S8.7 shows the ensemble average error in OLR is easily (+/-)2.5 W/m^2, with individual models easily 5x that.

    Figure 8.2 in Chapter 8 shows that the annual error in surface temperature is about (+/-)1 C for the ensemble average of 23 GCM realizations and probably averages (+/-)2.5 C for individual GCMs.

    Given an _annual_ error range of 2 C (at best), how is it possible to claim that one can even resolve a _centennial_ increase of 0.7 C, much less assign that unresolvable increase to a specific cause?

    Asserting or denying AGW is not the issue. The issue is this: given the huge and objectively undeniable uncertainties, how can anyone claim both to have scientific integrity and to have detected an unresolvable effect.

  63. #63 Nigel
    November 8, 2007

    >Oh, then all this stuff that I keep reading in peer reviewed journals

    First, “peer review” is not a hallmark of science, but repeatability is. Climateaudit.com looks at the same data the other scientists do, and Steve McIntyre repeatedly calls for scientists to release their data sources and methods–how can we look at wether the results are repeatable without them? Note that peer review does NOT check the data or try to recreate tests and experiments–it checks the scientific method and other things. Many frauds survived peer review, as did many studies that were well-meaning but later found to be wrong.

  64. #64 Dodgy Geezer
    November 8, 2007

    I have looked at Climate Audit. It is doing real science and trying to de-politicise climate change issues, under impossibly difficult conditions. Addressing the politicisation of Climate Science head on is important for climatology, and probably even more important for the survival of science as a discipline in these amoral times.

    If this site is trying to smear Climate Audit as politically motivated, I suggest that says more about the attitude of Pharyngula to science than it does about Climate Audit.

  65. #65 per
    November 8, 2007

    Yes, except that the 1930s were warmer in the 48 contiguous states of the USA. (Keyword: Dust Bowl.) Globally, the 1990s were much warmer than the 1930s. When the data point in question was corrected, the change to the global curve was microscopic.

    why is it bad that someone has checked this, and you now have a better knowledge that this is so ?

    why is it good that the scientist responsible for these calculations refused to release his code, and the published methodology doesn’t explain adequately what he has done ?
    when the code is released, why is it a good thing that there are all sorts of glitches and anomalies in the code ?

    Science is about getting it right, not about protecting your particular sacred cow from objective inspection.

    Ignorance is strength

    nuff said

  66. #66 Zarquon
    November 8, 2007

    I have looked at Climate Audit. It is doing real science and trying to de-politicise climate change issues,

    How the fuck would you know this?

  67. #67 laserboy
    November 8, 2007

    D Patterson: Well the accusation is one of consipiracy => crank.

    A2: A physicist, this gives me the chance to be extremely naff and quote myself :)

    biological sciences and climatology are the only two sciences in existence where people from outside the field regularly trash the entire discipline. Furthermore, the professions from which these attacks come are most likely to be either Physics, engineering, or medicine.

    I also guess you were asleep during the nonlinear dynamics section otherwise you wouldn’t make absurd comments about simulating the weather.

    Further it was your comment here that the citations were in response to:

    We know this because two dozen trees in North America grew a lot recently, and this tells us the mean global temperature anomaly a thousand years ago to an accuracy of better than half a degree.

    Your contention was that the entire basis of the argument rested on a few trees from a single data set. To show the lie, all I need to do is find other tree ring samples, it doesn’t even matter which time period to show that (a) tree rings have been used more than once and (b) continue to be used to add to the record.

    Such citations were found, therefore you lied.

    Then of course the conspiracy comes back. We are now told that Mann sometimes writes under the pseudonym of Gou or Chen or a whole bunch of others. Or do perhaps Wm. L. Hyde thinks that Mann infects people and then they become unable to publish results contrary to his findings. How close to Mann do you have to be before such an infection occurs? same university? same faculty? same department? or wait… could it be… yeah, the same profession. Once again the contention is that the researchers in the field are incompetent or conspiring against us.

    BTW: under the conditions which Mann is working, I would not give up my code to likes of McIntyre and a republican congress either.

    Then, of course, Spence comes up with this gem

    BTW, Steve recreated the MBH98 in around 6kb of R code, and most of that was comments, and marshalling of data from files. If that is difficult and complex in your book – okay. The problems in MBH98 weren’t bugs, as confirmed by the ex-president of the American Statistical Association Ed Wegman, they were fundamental flaws in the design and implementation of the study, and constituted bad science.

    So, first we judge code by the size of the text file it makes… wow, so if I store it on a hard drive with a magic 1 byte block size, it would be even smaller and I would be the worlds best programmer… without writing a line. Then we shift the target. First the code was buggy, now the code wasn’t buggy the whole study was flawed. I was going to spend sometime chasing this, but then I realised one very important thing that McIntyre, Wegman and all the other armchair experts never seem to figure out. I don’t know enough about climatology to know if they are doing it right.

    And neither does Wegman or McIntyre. I am quite sure that when Wegman looked at Mann’s algorithm (or Hansen’s, or mine for that matter), he was quite correct in saying that it suppressed certain frequency elements in the data. But all data processing is an act of filtering out the bits you don’t want and it is an act of expertise to know which bits to keep and which bits not to keep. That expertise is hard won by making lots of mistakes. Wegman cannot say that the statistics are flawed unless he actually understands why it is necessary to remove/smooth or what-have-you certain parts of the data and not other parts. Neither can anyone else from outside the field.

    Given this bit of knowledge, I’ll trust the guys who study the climate and use statistics, rather than the people who study statistics and use climatologists.

  68. #68 BradH
    November 8, 2007

    You people (you, in particular, laserboy) are obtuse ideologues.

    I have read Steve Mc’s blog for a couple of years. He has always gone out of his way to make clear that he believes the AGW argument is plausible. However, he makes it clear that most of the time when he looks at a paper which involves proxies (and therefore, necessarily statistical analysis), he sees either shoddy work or hidden methodologies.

    When, exactly, did insistence on good work and transparency in science become an aspect of the political spectrum?

  69. #69 laserboy
    November 8, 2007

    Well, yes I do adopt an ideological position here. It can be summarised as follows:

    I rank the current state of science as:
    1) Peer reviewed and replicated observations are worth more than peer reviewed observations, which are worth more than independent reports, which are worth more than a blog, which worth the same as some stranger.

    I rank opinions on the validity of results/direction of field etc as

    2) Acknowledged expert in the field is worth more than someone who is active in the field, which is worth more than someone who works in a related field, which is worth more than a blog, which is worth the same a self proclaimed expert.

    I apply these generally.

    An example:
    Two years ago, initial published observations showed that the Atlantic conveyer belt was slowing drastically (much more and sooner than predicted by climate models).. a worry something. I believed the data but agreed with the authors’ proclamation that the results were tentative and needed to be repeated. One year ago, the same authors report that their previous results fell within the range of natural variation and they didn’t know how many years of observations would be required to determine if the conveyer belt was slowing. This result I believed more firmly than the previous because it repeats and extends the previous observations and fitted more closely with other observations and modelling. Then a third paper by the same group, which now says that with their current measurement system, it will take 10 years of observation to detect a slow down in the conveyer belt (this presumes that the slow down falls within the range predicted by climate models). I think this is a perfect example of peer review and repeated observations refining our knowledge of the climate system and how I approach the literature.

  70. #70 Michael Jankowski
    November 8, 2007

    more for laserboy, from #21:

    < <

    ....Title: A matter of divergence: Tracking recent warming at hemispheric scales using tree ring data Author(s): Wilson R (Wilson, R.), D'Arrigo R (D'Arrigo, R.), Buckley B (Buckley, B.), Buntgen U (Buentgen, U.), Esper J (Esper, J.), Frank D (Frank, D.), Luckman B (Luckman, B.), Payette S (Payette, S.), Vose R (Vose, R.), Youngblut D (Youngblut, D.) Source: JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES 112 (D17): Art. No. D17103 SEP 11 2007

    Yeah... it looks like the divergence isn't quite what McIntyre made it out to be is it...>>>

    Right from the horse’s mouth (lead author Rob Wilson), http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1586, scroll down to comment #59:

    “I will readily admit that I have cherry picked. I did that on purpose to increase the chance that I could develop a divergence free reconstruction. However, despite this approach, the new series still diverges from the instrumental data.”

    So even when TRYING to use only series that avoid the divergence problem, Wilson et al STILL ran into the issue.

  71. #71 Anthony R
    November 8, 2007

    laserboy, your last post is more or less understandable. The algorithm weighted only a specific proxy in general. However it is worth considering that:
    ·The algorithm flattened high readings near the MWP that were common in the specific proxy being cherry-picked. Mann was aware of this and elected not to use data showing this trend (the backto 1400 censored folder, if I remember correctly).
    ·Mann et al stand firm in their decision to leave the data ending at 1987. However, an independent researcher that later used the same proxy found that the trend dropped back down to around the mean level after Mann’s graph ends.

  72. #72 Boris
    November 8, 2007

    So even when TRYING to use only series that avoid the divergence problem, Wilson et al STILL ran into the issue.

    This is only for extratropical NH proxies (read the abstract)–a small set. Wilson believes the derth of proxies is why the ENH still exhibits a small divergence problem. McIntyre would have you believe the DP affects every tree everywhere. Just like he would have you believe that the NAS recommended against all britslecone pines.

  73. #73 per
    November 8, 2007

    Laserboy

    Wegman cannot say that the statistics are flawed unless he actually understands why it is necessary to remove/smooth or what-have-you certain parts of the data and not other parts.

    Acknowledged expert in the field is worth more than someone who is active in the field, which is worth more than someone who works in a related field,…

    you will find Wegman’s web page and resume at:
    http://www.galaxy.gmu.edu/stats/faculty/wegman.html

    you will find that wegman is an acknowledged expert in the field. You will also find that the National Research Council (the executive arm of the National Academy of Sciences) also had a panel of acknowledged experts in the field. Both the NRC and Wegman found that Mann’s statistics were flawed. The NRC panel said that reconstructions from before 400 years ago had so much uncertainty that it was not possible to estimate what that uncertainty is.

    these are authoritative sources. They are documented in black and white, and the reasoning is clearly set out. By contrast, you don’t even know what the issues are, and why the biased pca is an error. Nonetheless, you are quick to dismiss authoritative comment.

    It is illuminating to see your approach to science.

  74. #74 per
    November 8, 2007

    McIntyre would have you believe the DP affects every tree everywhere.

    you have it exactly wrong; this is false. There are published data that shows that the divergence problem affects the majority of trees. The issue identified is that if you take the small minority of trees that are selected just because their growth correlates with temperature in the late 20th century, how do you know that this correlation holds outside the late 20th century ? The National Research Council report does not believe you can make this assumption.

    Just like he would have you believe that the NAS recommended against all britslecone pines.

    Did you read the nrc report ? I recommend you read the report before you make authoritative comment on what it says.

  75. #75 Boris
    November 8, 2007

    No, per, you are exactly wrong.

    Yes, there is a divergence problem in many trees, but not all. If you find trees that do not have a DP, then you have a high confidence that they are temperature proxies even through periods as warm as today. (Or that they are not responding to a contaminating influence today, global dimming for instance.) This increases your confidence in reconstructions based on those trees. McIntyre thinks that you should incorporate all trees of a certain type in a certain space (treeline, etc.) but dendros are looking for temp. sensitive trees. Why would they waste their time on trees that respond to some other limiting factor?

    (BTW, it’s not the just the late 20th century, the entire instrumental record is used for calibration.)

    As for bristlecones, you kind of prove my point. The NAS report did not recommend against all bristlecone pines, just the strip bark version. Not because they are a bad proxy, but because they respond strongly to CO2 fertilizzation in the late 20th century. Some dendros argue that this late twentieth century divergence shouldn’t matter because its cause is known–and known not to be a factor in, say, the MWP.

    That’s pages 51-52 of the NAS report, BTW.

  76. #76 Pat Frank
    November 8, 2007

    #74 “If you find trees that do not have a DP, then you have a high confidence that they are temperature proxies even through periods as warm as today. (Or that they are not responding to a contaminating influence today, global dimming for instance.)”< \em>

    This argument is beautifully circular. It can be re-stated more simply as: ‘Find trees that support your position. Construct a time series. Prove your position.’< \strong>

    Here on Pharyngula, one can make the appropriate analogy. ‘The Bible is god’s word. Here is the bible. Therefore, god exists.’ Q.E.D., hey Boris?

  77. #77 Chris Clarke
    November 8, 2007

    You seem to be giving plenty of time responding to my comments.

    About three minutes cumulative so far. That much I can spare.

    Shame you didn’t spend that time learning about the real issues at hand instead. C’est la vie. Your choice.

    Click on my name here. at my blog, click on the “FAQ” button on the right, then on the link for my “real resume.” Give it about half the amount of time I’ve given you so far. Consider whether you might be presuming a degree of ignorance that does not in fact exist. Then bite me.

  78. #78 per
    November 8, 2007

    as pat frank points out, your logic is circular.

    Firstly Boris, Steve’s position is not that “the DP affects every tree everywhere”, which is what you stated. Your statement is unsupported.

    Secondly, you agree with me by saying “there is a divergence problem in many trees, but not all”. You argue that because a particular set of trees (a small subset of all trees) correlates with temperature over a particular time-frame, then it is “temperature sensitive”. In fact, all you have is a correlation between two variable over a period of time. you don’t have proof that that correlation is causal, nor that it will continue outside the region of correlation. The NRC report declined to support the position that these trees are reliable estimators of temperature.

    Not because they are a bad proxy, but because they respond strongly to CO2 fertilizzation in the late 20th century.

    err, there is no proof whatsoever that the bristlecone pine growth is a result of CO2 fertilisation. You can speculate, but there are numerous other hypotheses as well, many of which could be the cause of anomalous bristlecone growth. And yes, to be utterly explicit, the bristlecone pines are a bad proxy for temperature. That’s what it says in the original paper that describes the Graybill pines, and they do not correlate with temperature. That is a bad proxy.

  79. #79 Francois O
    November 8, 2007

    Laserboy,

    If you know so much about tree rings and the divergence problem, why don’t you join the discussion over at CA?

    With your vision of science, in the old days you would have been a eugenist, and favored fixed continents over continental drift. And you would have been in good company! Good science is good science, wherever it is (peer-reviewed journal or not, expert in the field or not). The same applies to bad science. Climate Audit applies the four norms of science, as described by Robert Merton: Communalism, Universalism, Disinterestedness and Skepticism. For me, that is enough.

  80. #80 Stan Palmer
    November 8, 2007

    I noticed that this blog is in the running for a Best Science Blog award.

    I’ve looked over the site. Cna someone point out where the science is on it. I have looked but I can’t find any.

  81. #81 Stan Palmer
    November 8, 2007

    Laserboy wrote:

    I am quite sure that when Wegman looked at Mann’s algorithm (or Hansen’s, or mine for that matter), he was quite correct in saying that it suppressed certain frequency elements in the data. But all data processing is an act of filtering out the bits you don’t want and it is an act of expertise to know which bits to keep and which bits not to keep.

    Have you read Wegman’s report?

  82. #82 minimalist
    November 8, 2007

    Egads, these deniers are boring robots. After the umpteenth iteration of

    “It says science blog but I don’t see no science here, D’HURP D’HURP”

    or

    “Global warming is more like a religion to you isn’t it, HURFY BURF”

    or even

    “Well… well… Okay if you’re so durned smart why don’t you come over to our blog? My dad can beat up your dad! I can’t answer you in any meaningful way but you’re still wrong, ya danged flat-earther! Haw, I sure told him!”

    Change the record, wankers, everyone sees through the “wide-eyed dispassionate observer” pose anyway.

  83. #83 PZ Myers
    November 8, 2007

    I’m so sorry! Is your impairment simply visual, or is it cognitive as well?

    Look on the left sidebar for A taste of Pharyngula. That’ll take you straight to an assortment of science articles.

    It’s been a little slow lately, because I’m teaching two major courses this term, one of them for the first time and requiring a lot of tinkering and major lecture writing, and I’ve been doing a lot of traveling (too much!) recently. If only I’d known Stan Palmer was going to be looking for a brand new science article today, I would have dropped the rest of my life to put something special together.

    By the way, who the hell are you?

  84. #84 Stan Plamer
    November 8, 2007

    Egads, these deniers are boring robots. After the umpteenth iteration of

    “It says science blog but I don’t see no science here, D’HURP D’HURP”

    Where is it?

  85. #85 Stan Palmer
    November 8, 2007

    I’ve been doing a lot of traveling (too much!) recently. If only I’d known Stan Palmer was going to be looking for a brand new science article today, I would have dropped the rest of my life to put something special together.

    By the way, who the hell are you?

    I’m Stan

  86. #86 Carlie
    November 8, 2007

    Stan, he just said where. Left sidebar, taste of Pharyngula. Alternately, use the search box at the top to put in any science topic you want, and lots of posts on that topic will appear just like magic.

  87. #87 PZ Myers
    November 8, 2007

    Since he has managed to quote something, visual impairment is out. I guess the explanation is brain damage.

  88. #88 per
    November 8, 2007

    Egads, these deniers are boring robots.

    yes, minimalist, you will find that science is boring. It is also quite hard to understand sometimes.
    However, if you just call people names, you will find you don’t have to think about the boring, hard stuff, and the facts don’t get in the way of your beliefs.

    Words like “denialist” should be used, and ideally you should compare people to Hitler. Feel free to suggest that people have different political views to you, because then you can be as rude as you want.

    alternatively, you could look at the science.

  89. #89 Boris
    November 8, 2007

    No, my logic is not circular. Either you have not understood it or you are misrepresenting it. Let me number it out for you:

    1. You find trees whose growth correlates to the instrumental temperature record.
    2. You verify this through statistical analysis.
    3. You then reconstruct the temperature of the past.

    Now you say:

    In fact, all you have is a correlation between two variable over a period of time. you don’t have proof that that correlation is causal, nor that it will continue outside the region of correlation.

    But we do know that temperature affects growth, especially in certain areas. So not only do we have a stat sig correlation, we also have a physical basis. In lieu of a time machine, we have no other way of determining past climate.

    You say:

    The NRC report declined to support the position that these trees are reliable estimators of temperature.

    But the NAS says:

    Tree rings have several features that make them well suited for climatic reconstruction, such as ease of replication, wide geographic availability, annual to seasonal resolution, and accurate, internally consistent dating. (NAS Surface Reconstrutions of the past 2000 years, p. 45)

    As for bristlecones and CO2:

    Such trees are sensitive to higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations (Graybill and Idso 1993), possibly because of greater water-use efficiency (Knapp et al. 2001, Bunn et al. 2003) or different carbon partitioning among tree parts (Tang et al. 1999). (NAS, p. 51)

    “such trees” refers only to the strip bark form.

  90. #90 Pat Frank
    November 8, 2007

    #87 – Well posted, per.

    Let me add a point for Boris, et al., about tree ring temperature proxies in general. There is no analytic physical theory that can convert a tree ring width, or a tree ring density, into a temperature.

    Rescaling a tree ring time series to numerically append a thermometer-measured temperature series in a region of overlap does not convert ring widths or ring densities into temperature values.

    And yet, that is exactly the strategy that infests tree ring dendrothermometry. And the temperatures are sometimes reported to (+/-)0.2 C. It’s an incredible display of bad science.

    Judgments that certain trees are temperature limited are qualitative educated guesses. They are not analytical demonstrations. At best, such judgments would allow one to obtain a more constrained set of tree cores that could be further tested by an analytical theory to see which tree was, indeed, temperature limited.

    But there is no such theory. The judgment of temperature limitation remains no more than qualitative. There is no way to convert a qualitative judgment into a quantitative result. At least, no such way exists in science. There is no scientific basis whatever to justify tree ring temperature proxies, where “scientific basis” means grounded in a valid and appropriate physical theory.

    Tree ring dendrothermometry as an entire field currently rests purely upon false precision. Science-wise, it is a crock.

    One day, the piper will call those folks for payment.

  91. #91 Pat Frank
    November 8, 2007

    #88 — Boris wrote: “No, my logic is not circular. Either you have not understood it or you are misrepresenting it. Let me number it out for you:

    1. You find trees whose growth correlates to the instrumental temperature record.
    2. You verify this through statistical analysis.
    3. You then reconstruct the temperature of the past.< \em>”

    No, Boris, your logic is still entirely circular. Choosing trees that correlate to “the instrumental temperature record” is to constrain the data set to the result one has a priori chosen.

    To get independent tree ring data, one would have to choose trees that are shown to be temperature limited using a theory that is independent of the surface temperature measurement. That is, a physical theory of tree growth that analytically interrelates tree rings and local temperature.

    Let me add that no statistical analysis ever demonstrates physical causality. Let me further add that a tree that happens to provide rings correlating with recent temperature gives no assurance that the same tree will provide rings correlating with past temperatures.

    Your thinking is entirely non-scientific, Boris. But not to worry — politically anyway. Your mistaken ways are shared by the dendrothermometry people at large.

  92. #92 minimalist
    November 8, 2007

    #87, I get to compare people to Hitler? SCORE! I’d better start doing that right away. Wouldn’t want the wankbots to have erected a strawman, after all!

    Calling science “socialist” on the other hand (as one of you lot did in the other thread) is of course completely within bounds and not indicative of any political agenda. Of course I’m wrong to not waste my time butting my head against brick walls of invincible ignorance and ideology. Dripping with unwarranted condescension, of course.

  93. #93 per
    November 8, 2007

    the NAS says:
    Tree rings have several features that make them well suited for climatic reconstruction, such as ease of replication, wide geographic availability, annual to seasonal resolution, and accurate, internally consistent dating. (NAS Surface Reconstrutions of the past 2000 years, p. 45)

    you may have a problem with reading here Boris. Where does it say in there that there is a perfect (or even good) correlation with temperature ?

    1. You find trees whose growth correlates to the instrumental temperature record.
    2. You verify this through statistical analysis.
    3. You then reconstruct the temperature of the past.

    you are having problems here. If you select a small proportion of trees on the basis of their correlation with temperature, you cannot then use that correlation to prove that trees can be used as thermometers.

    You then need some independent method to show that these selected trees will be a good measure of temperature outside the time frame where you have selected.

    Let me just remind you of what you said

    Yes, there is a divergence problem in many trees, but not all.

    so it is quite clear that for many trees (in fact, the majority), temperature is not growth-limiting. If you are trying to make the case that for specific trees, temperature is growth limiting, then that requires some good evidence. Once you have selected trees on the basis of a correlation, you cannot then use that correlation as evidence of temperature sensitivity.

  94. #94 shiftlessbum
    November 8, 2007

    #75

    I really don’t want to wade into this nuttery, but you’re flatly wrong. You wrote; This argument is beautifully circular. It can be re-stated more simply as: ‘Find trees that support your position. Construct a time series. Prove your position.'”

    This was in response to the following; If you find trees that do not have a DP, then you have a high confidence that they are temperature proxies even through periods as warm as today. (Or that they are not responding to a contaminating influence today, global dimming for instance.)” written by Boris.

    Boris is exactly right; this is the proper way to do this, or any kind, of valid study. He did NOT say that they looked for trees that support the conclusions, he said that they looked for those sensitive to the condition being tested, in this case trees whose annual growth is sensitive to temperature. This is a subset of all trees and is the proper subset to use for dendrothermometry.

  95. #95 Melvin P. Jones
    November 8, 2007

    My take is read the North and Wegman reports. Read the transcript of the hearing at the subcommittee the report was repaired for. Nothing in any of the three contradicts the statistical issues in MBH99.

    This isn’t even about AGW, it’s about statisitics. McIntyre’s a mathemetician. Dr. Wegman is a statistician. And not only that, Wegman’s the charimain of an NAS committee, and the NAS is in turn part of the IPCC. Who else would you rather ask about statistics than an expert statistican involved with the IPCC?

    Wegman specifically said at the hearing
    “We were asked to provide independent verification by statisticians of the critiques of the statistical methodology found in the papers. … We were not asked to assess the reality of global warming and indeed this is not an area of our expertise. We do not assume any position with respect to global warming…”

    Here’s the links:
    NAS
    http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11676&page=R1
    Wegman
    http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/WegmanReport.pdf
    Hearing transcript
    http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_house_hearings&docid=f:31362.wais

  96. #96 Zarquon
    November 8, 2007

    Yeah, Pat Frank is saying that we shouldn’t use mercury to measure temperature because the expansion of mercury is correlated with temperature.

  97. #97 Tyler DiPietro
    November 8, 2007

    “Yeah, Pat Frank is saying that we shouldn’t use mercury to measure temperature because the expansion of mercury is correlated with temperature.”

    And he’s exactly right. The reasoning here is that some process is sensitive to temperature, therefore this sensitivity is indicative of temperature. CIRCULAR LOGIC. What you really need to do is balance it out with processes non-sensitive to temperature so that we can dismiss any attempt to gauge it of hand, it will especially come in handy if it doesn’t align with our preconceived notions.

  98. #98 Boris
    November 8, 2007

    <

    There is no scientific basis whatever to justify tree ring temperature proxies, where “scientific basis” means grounded in a valid and appropriate physical theory.

    Well, let’s be clear then, Pat. Your argument is not with Michael Mann, but the field of dendroclimatology itself–and actually you seem to have a problem with any kind of proxy measurements. The NAS has a much different opinion, as do the world’s other preeminent scientific bodies.

  99. #99 shiftlessbum
    November 8, 2007

    Tyler DiPietro wrote;
    “And he’s exactly right. The reasoning here is that some process is sensitive to temperature, therefore this sensitivity is indicative of temperature. CIRCULAR LOGIC. “

    No Tyler, he is not. It is only circular if the result is the same as the premise. This is not the case. Without reference to the use or misuse of statistics in analysing the data, the kind of tree one would use as a proxy for temperature is precisely the kind whose growth is sensitive to temperature. To argue otherwise would be to suggest that it is circular logic when, say, trying determine the effects of smoking on pulmonary health to look at the lungs of smokers.

    Or are you (and others) suggesting that these studies were done without proper controls (for example among other potential controls, showing that while growth in tree species X, Y & Z are sensitive to temperature that of species A, B & C are not and accounting for the variable(s) that make A, B, & C insensitive)?

    Please note that I am not trying to be snarky with this question; I am not familiar with the studies, my only comment is that the premise is not circular.

  100. #100 Boris
    November 8, 2007

    you may have a problem with reading here Boris. Where does it say in there that there is a perfect (or even good) correlation with temperature ?

    When is temperature not a part of climate? But if I must:

    Measurements of tree ring parameters from regions where temperature limits tree growth can be used to reconstruct surface temperature.

    Same page.

    That’s enough. I’ve got work to do.

  101. #101 per
    November 8, 2007

    Yeah, Pat Frank is saying that we shouldn’t use mercury to measure temperature because the expansion of mercury is correlated with temperature.

    you are missing the point.
    we can use mercury, because once we have selected the material (Hg), we can test it independently at any time (over a given range), and show that the mercury will respond in a predictable way to temperature on any day.

    By contrast, with trees, you select trees because they show a correlation with temperature over a given time span (e.g. 1900-2000); but then you have no way of testing that they will respond to temperature outside that period of correlation.

    The NAS panel specifically said that it could not estimate the uncertainties associated with using proxies for temperature reconstructions, prior to the existence of thermometers. If that is not a fairly severe criticism of proxy reconstructions, I do not know what is.

  102. #102 per
    November 8, 2007

    Measurements of tree ring parameters from regions where temperature limits tree growth can be used to reconstruct surface temperature.

    yes boris, that is a definition, and I agree with it.

    If temperature is actually limiting tree growth, you could measure temperatures from measuring tree growth.

    But where in the NAS report does it say that you can actually do this, and that trees are a reliable temperature proxy ?

    I guess you will be too busy working now :-)

  103. #103 Spence
    November 8, 2007

    So, first we judge code by the size of the text file it makes…

    Nope, I never said that. Your little invention.

    wow, so if I store it on a hard drive with a magic 1 byte block size, it would be even smaller and I would be the worlds best programmer…

    Nope, that would be an invalid inference from my statement. My point would be if you were to write a 1 byte program, it would not be difficult to fully understand what it did, not that what it did would be useful.

    Then we shift the target. First the code was buggy, now the code wasn’t buggy the whole study was flawed.

    Again, you entirely mischaracterise what I said. Firstly, I haven’t changed my position once – you are confusing me with someone else. Secondly, I didn’t say the code wasn’t buggy (Mann’s original code wasn’t very good code, but the output was fairly close to what it should have been), but that the fundamental problems were more to do with the study design, rather than the bugs.

    Wegman and all the other armchair experts never seem to figure out. I don’t know enough about climatology to know if they are doing it right.

    Yes, I gathered you don’t know enough. Luckily other people do.

    And neither does Wegman or McIntyre.

    ROFLMAO. Since you do not understand the arguments, how do you know firstly how much is needed, and secondly how much these people know?

    I am quite sure that when Wegman looked at Mann’s algorithm (or Hansen’s, or mine for that matter), he was quite correct in saying that it suppressed certain frequency elements in the data.

    Nope, that’s not what Wegman said. You are simply demonstrating once again that you do not know enough to debate this topic.

    But all data processing is an act of filtering out the bits you don’t want and it is an act of expertise to know which bits to keep and which bits not to keep.

    Nice bit of meaningless hand waving.

    That expertise is hard won by making lots of mistakes.

    ROFLMAO – you do not know how true this statement is. For Mann, at any rate.

    Wegman cannot say that the statistics are flawed unless he actually understands why it is necessary to remove/smooth or what-have-you certain parts of the data and not other parts. Neither can anyone else from outside the field.

    ROFLMAO. Wegman can demonstrate, by feeding the algorithm trendless noise, that the methodology produces hockey stick shaped output. If you can’t see why that creates a problem, you don’t understand statistics. Wegman relied on experts in the field to call into question the use of the proxies, such as Graybill. Your argument does not stand up.

  104. #104 Spence
    November 8, 2007

    Chris,

    Funnily enough I did click on your name link after posting my last comment. Congratulations on your weblog award.

    Not sure what you mean by “real resume” though. Nothing on the website I saw would give you any authority in a scientific debate on historical temperature reconstructions, for example. That doesn’t preclude you from making good scientific arguments, of course, but they would stand purely on the merit of the argument rather than any authority (as any good argument should).

  105. #105 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    November 8, 2007

    Wow, a shower of denialists with an expectation of brain freeze!

    If ClimateAudit doesn’t accept AGW, it doesn’t belong among the “best science blog” category. It probably doesn’t even belong among science blogs if it attracts denialists.

    But where in the NAS report does it say that you can actually do this, and that trees are a reliable temperature proxy ?

    It is enough to find a correlation, which will give you an estimate on how reliable it is. And the first sentence in the chapter “Tree Rings” in the NAS report gives you what you ask for:

    Measurements of tree ring parameters from regions where temperature limits tree growth can be used to reconstruct surface temperature.

    You should find support from that in its references.

  106. #106 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    November 8, 2007

    Wow, a shower of denialists with an expectation of brain freeze!

    If ClimateAudit doesn’t accept AGW, it doesn’t belong among the “best science blog” category. It probably doesn’t even belong among science blogs if it attracts denialists.

    But where in the NAS report does it say that you can actually do this, and that trees are a reliable temperature proxy ?

    It is enough to find a correlation, which will give you an estimate on how reliable it is. And the first sentence in the chapter “Tree Rings” in the NAS report gives you what you ask for:

    Measurements of tree ring parameters from regions where temperature limits tree growth can be used to reconstruct surface temperature.

    You should find support from that in its references.

  107. #107 Tyler DiPietro
    November 8, 2007

    shiftless,

    I was kidding, I’m on your side here.

  108. #108 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    November 8, 2007

    Sigh! What does it matter that denialists expose their own lies within 10 seconds of checking their own sources, when PZ polishes them off so elegantly.

    Ah, well.

  109. #109 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    November 8, 2007

    Sigh! What does it matter that denialists expose their own lies within 10 seconds of checking their own sources, when PZ polishes them off so elegantly.

    Ah, well.

  110. #110 shiftlessbum
    November 8, 2007

    Oops. Sorry, Tyler.

  111. #111 Pat Frank
    November 8, 2007

    #93 #75 — “I really don’t want to wade into this nuttery, but you’re flatly wrong. You wrote; This argument is beautifully circular. It can be re-stated more simply as: ‘Find trees that support your position. Construct a time series. Prove your position.'”

    This was in response to the following; If you find trees that do not have a DP, then you have a high confidence that they are temperature proxies even through periods as warm as today. (Or that they are not responding to a contaminating influence today, global dimming for instance.)” written by Boris.

    Boris is exactly right; this is the proper way to do this, or any kind, of valid study.< \em>”

    Boris is wrong, and so are you. If you find trees with rings that correlate with temperature, you have no causal reason to think that temperature caused the ring trait. Correlation is not causation, and a blind adherence to a correlation-causation relationship is the easiest way to get into trouble in science.

    He did NOT say that they looked for trees that support the conclusions, he said that they looked for those sensitive to the condition being tested, in this case trees whose annual growth is sensitive to temperature.< \em>”

    The choice of tree is a mere educated judgment, at best. The choice is not made on the basis of any objective determination that the given tree is sensitive to temperature.

    Likewise, even if one could determine objectively and unambiguously that a tree ring width reflected temperature today, there is no way to show that the same tree produced rings with widths reflecting past temperatures. The growth behavior of trees is far too complex to permit this.

    On ClimateAudit, unjustly vilified on Pharyngula even by PZ Myers, I proposed a carbon-13 kinetics approach to determining the temperature at which tree rings were laid down. If this approach worked, it would allow one to extract a true analytical, physics-based temperature from tree rings. But it would probably take a good 10 years of hard work to develop, with no possibility of cosmic meaning or the opportunity for exciting press interviews.

    This is a subset of all trees and is the proper subset to use for dendrothermometry.< \em>”

    It’s an exercize in tendentious conclusion-mongering.

  112. #112 shiftlessbum
    November 8, 2007

    Pat Frank wrote;

    “you find trees with rings that correlate with temperature, you have no causal reason to think that temperature caused the ring trait. Correlation is not causation, and a blind adherence to a correlation-causation relationship is the easiest way to get into trouble in science.”

    Pat can you spot the problem with this; “If you find lungs with damage that correlate with smoking, you have no causal reason to think that smoking caused the lung damage. Correlation is not causation, and a blind adherence to a correlation-causation relationship is the easiest way to get into trouble in science.”

  113. #113 Pat Frank
    November 8, 2007

    #95 — wrong, the expansion of mercury with heat (not temperature) is described by an independent physical theory.

    #96 – try addressing the argument, Tyler, rather than just jeering mindlessly.

    #97 — wrong, Boris. My argument is with dendrothermometry, not with dendroclimatology. Let’s see you figure out the difference.

    Proxies are fine — I use them myself in my work, as do all scientists. But there must be a physical theory to connect the proxy to the quantity of interest. That theory is entirely lacking in dendrothermometry, but is not lacking, for example, in O-18 proxy thermometry. O-18 thermometry is known to be confounded by a number of issues, such as rain-out, however.

    Finally, spare me the arguments from authority, OK?

  114. #114 Pat Frank
    November 8, 2007

    #98 — “the kind of tree one would use as a proxy for temperature is precisely the kind whose growth is sensitive to temperature.

    And how is that determined analytically, as opposed to qualitatively, SB?

    And look, if one qualitatively judges that a stand of trees is temperature limited, and then from among the cores obtained, pick out those ring series that correlate with temperature, discarding those that do not — all from the same stand one judged to be temperature limited — how is that not imposing your premise on your conclusion?

  115. #115 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 8, 2007

    However, the link contains just 1 temperature reconstruction, a short instrumental record and 8 model runs (which are not the same thing at all).

    Stupid me. The figure is from 1999. Utterly helps my point of declaring Mann et al. 1998 ancient history. *grmblf* Sorry. It was late at night. I’ll look for something more recent.

    With that caveat, however, you have a point if all 8 models rely on the hockey-stick data. Do they?

    (BTW, do you know what Bauer et al. did? 14C and 10Be are measurable records of solar activity — how does one build a simulation on that record? ~:-| )

    And last but not least, please take this and this apart.

    And this, too, while you’re at it — this debunks the “random noise fed into the program that made the hockey stick gives a hockey stick” myth.

    While you are looking for that cite

    Sorry, I can’t find it. The pdf file must have been lost in the latest crash a few years ago. I didn’t manage to find it in the online archives of Nature and Science either — though if it’s in Nature and doesn’t have an abstract (which I believe I remember is the case), I can’t have found it, because Nature doesn’t display any text in the search results and because I don’t have Nature access here. Maybe search yourself; I recommend “sea level” Roman as terms.

    you might also consider what is so scientifically germane about “the last 2000 years”.

    Want to see serious sea level rise? Take a boo at a few thousand years of sea level change in Atlantic Canada here.

    No ice age ended within the last 2000 years. That’s why it’s interesting. I thought that was obvious.

    why is it bad that someone has checked this, and you now have a better knowledge that this is so ?

    I didn’t say it’s bad. It’s in fact good (microscopically so, but still). My point is that this correction has just about no influence on the results: globally, the warmest years on record are still in the 1990s and 2000s, so mentioning it serves no purpose (except maybe demonstrating that someone along the line confused the 48 contiguous United States with the whole world).

    why is it good that the scientist responsible for these calculations refused to release his code, and the published methodology doesn’t explain adequately what he has done ?

    What do I know? What do I care? Why are you so obsessed with a paper from 1998? That’s history. It’s not like science had stopped in 1998, nor is it like Mann and his coauthors were the only people who have ever worked on the topic since 1998.

    Mann et al stand firm in their decision to leave the data ending at 1987. However, an independent researcher that later used the same proxy found that the trend dropped back down to around the mean level after Mann’s graph ends.

    Did it stop dropping in 1998 or 2003 or 2005 or something…?

    With your vision of science, in the old days you would have been a eugenist, and favored fixed continents over continental drift.

    “Alas, to wear the mantle of Galileo it is not enough that you be persecuted by an unkind establishment, you must also be right.” — Robert Park

    Which leads naturally to the obligatory quote (thanks to a certain Greg who has watched Ghostbusters):

    VENKMAN: I trust you’re moving us to a better space somewhere on campus.
    DEAN YAEGER: No, we’re moving you OFF CAMPUS. The Board of Regents has decided to terminate your grant. You are to vacate these premises immediately.
    VENKMAN: This is preposterous! I demand an explanation.
    DEAN YAEGER: Fine. This University will no longer continue any funding of any kind for your group’s activities.
    VENKMAN: But why? The students love us!
    DEAN YAEGER: Dr. Venkman, we believe that the purpose of science is to serve mankind. You, however, seem to regard science as some kind of “dodge” or “hustle.” Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy and your conclusions are highly questionable. You’re a poor scientist, Dr. Venkman, and you have no place in this department or in this University.
    VENKMAN: I see. I guess my confidence in the Regents was misplaced. They did this to Galileo, too.
    DEAN YAEGER: It could be worse, Dr. Venkman. They took the astronomer Phileas and staked his head to the town gate.

    you are having problems here. If you select a small proportion of trees on the basis of their correlation with temperature, you cannot then use that correlation to prove that trees can be used as thermometers.

    You certainly have evidence that these species can be used as thermometers when there are no more strongly limiting factors. And those (like precipitation) can be assessed independently, can’t they?

  116. #116 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 8, 2007

    However, the link contains just 1 temperature reconstruction, a short instrumental record and 8 model runs (which are not the same thing at all).

    Stupid me. The figure is from 1999. Utterly helps my point of declaring Mann et al. 1998 ancient history. *grmblf* Sorry. It was late at night. I’ll look for something more recent.

    With that caveat, however, you have a point if all 8 models rely on the hockey-stick data. Do they?

    (BTW, do you know what Bauer et al. did? 14C and 10Be are measurable records of solar activity — how does one build a simulation on that record? ~:-| )

    And last but not least, please take this and this apart.

    And this, too, while you’re at it — this debunks the “random noise fed into the program that made the hockey stick gives a hockey stick” myth.

    While you are looking for that cite

    Sorry, I can’t find it. The pdf file must have been lost in the latest crash a few years ago. I didn’t manage to find it in the online archives of Nature and Science either — though if it’s in Nature and doesn’t have an abstract (which I believe I remember is the case), I can’t have found it, because Nature doesn’t display any text in the search results and because I don’t have Nature access here. Maybe search yourself; I recommend “sea level” Roman as terms.

    you might also consider what is so scientifically germane about “the last 2000 years”.

    Want to see serious sea level rise? Take a boo at a few thousand years of sea level change in Atlantic Canada here.

    No ice age ended within the last 2000 years. That’s why it’s interesting. I thought that was obvious.

    why is it bad that someone has checked this, and you now have a better knowledge that this is so ?

    I didn’t say it’s bad. It’s in fact good (microscopically so, but still). My point is that this correction has just about no influence on the results: globally, the warmest years on record are still in the 1990s and 2000s, so mentioning it serves no purpose (except maybe demonstrating that someone along the line confused the 48 contiguous United States with the whole world).

    why is it good that the scientist responsible for these calculations refused to release his code, and the published methodology doesn’t explain adequately what he has done ?

    What do I know? What do I care? Why are you so obsessed with a paper from 1998? That’s history. It’s not like science had stopped in 1998, nor is it like Mann and his coauthors were the only people who have ever worked on the topic since 1998.

    Mann et al stand firm in their decision to leave the data ending at 1987. However, an independent researcher that later used the same proxy found that the trend dropped back down to around the mean level after Mann’s graph ends.

    Did it stop dropping in 1998 or 2003 or 2005 or something…?

    With your vision of science, in the old days you would have been a eugenist, and favored fixed continents over continental drift.

    “Alas, to wear the mantle of Galileo it is not enough that you be persecuted by an unkind establishment, you must also be right.” — Robert Park

    Which leads naturally to the obligatory quote (thanks to a certain Greg who has watched Ghostbusters):

    VENKMAN: I trust you’re moving us to a better space somewhere on campus.
    DEAN YAEGER: No, we’re moving you OFF CAMPUS. The Board of Regents has decided to terminate your grant. You are to vacate these premises immediately.
    VENKMAN: This is preposterous! I demand an explanation.
    DEAN YAEGER: Fine. This University will no longer continue any funding of any kind for your group’s activities.
    VENKMAN: But why? The students love us!
    DEAN YAEGER: Dr. Venkman, we believe that the purpose of science is to serve mankind. You, however, seem to regard science as some kind of “dodge” or “hustle.” Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy and your conclusions are highly questionable. You’re a poor scientist, Dr. Venkman, and you have no place in this department or in this University.
    VENKMAN: I see. I guess my confidence in the Regents was misplaced. They did this to Galileo, too.
    DEAN YAEGER: It could be worse, Dr. Venkman. They took the astronomer Phileas and staked his head to the town gate.

    you are having problems here. If you select a small proportion of trees on the basis of their correlation with temperature, you cannot then use that correlation to prove that trees can be used as thermometers.

    You certainly have evidence that these species can be used as thermometers when there are no more strongly limiting factors. And those (like precipitation) can be assessed independently, can’t they?

  117. #117 Pat Frank
    November 8, 2007

    #109 — the correlation of lung cancer with cigarette smoking was made in the context of molecular biological theory, shiftless. It was not made strictly from inductive empiricism.

    You can use epidemiological methods to find strong but specious correlations between all sorts of variables. But causality is strictly demonstrated in the context of a falsifiable theory. Dendrothermometry completely lacks such a theory.

  118. #118 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 8, 2007

    I just made a lengthy comment with several links to realclimate.org. Every comment with more than one link is held for moderation. It will appear at that point in the sequence where it would have appeared if it hadn’t been held up, i. e. as number 112.

    Wegman can demonstrate, by feeding the algorithm trendless noise, that the methodology produces hockey stick shaped output.

    Untrue. Link in my upcoming comment.

  119. #119 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 8, 2007

    I just made a lengthy comment with several links to realclimate.org. Every comment with more than one link is held for moderation. It will appear at that point in the sequence where it would have appeared if it hadn’t been held up, i. e. as number 112.

    Wegman can demonstrate, by feeding the algorithm trendless noise, that the methodology produces hockey stick shaped output.

    Untrue. Link in my upcoming comment.

  120. #120 shiftlessbum
    November 8, 2007

    Pat Frank wrote

    “And how is that determined analytically, as opposed to qualitatively, SB?”

    In the same manner every other historical science does, by examining extant trees. Look, I get the point you’re trying to make. You’re trying to suggest that processes we see in action today may not have occured in the past. This is possible. Careful researchers take pains to accomodate this kind of uncertainty. My point in this discussion is that this approach to developing proxies for past temperature regimes, using the growth rings of trees whose growth is known to be sensitive to temperature, is neither circular nor bad science.

    And look, if one qualitatively judges that a stand of trees is temperature limited, and then from among the cores obtained, pick out those ring series that correlate with temperature, discarding those that do not — all from the same stand one judged to be temperature limited — how is that not imposing your premise on your conclusion?

    Well now, I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about. I presume this is some sort methodological flaw in some study at the center of this issue. But whether this is an accurate description of the methodology or not, it is irrelevant to the sole argument I’ve made; the proxy is not circular and it is a valid approach. I’ve made no claims about how good their models, experimental methods and statistical methods were.

  121. #121 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 8, 2007

    Whoops, that went fast. My comment has already appeared.

  122. #122 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 8, 2007

    Whoops, that went fast. My comment has already appeared.

  123. #123 Boris
    November 8, 2007

    But where in the NAS report does it say that you can actually do this, and that trees are a reliable temperature proxy ?

    Did you notice the word “can” in the quoatation I gave you?

    Do I have to spell it out:

    In conclusion, tree ring science provides useful insights into past temperature variability. (p. 52)

    The rest of that chapter contains references to research on the relationship between tmeperature and plant growth, with tree ring specifics as well. I can’t believe you come on these boards and say that there is no basis for temperature affecting tree growth. Is this ignorance of the literature intentional? It’s mentioned in the very report you came on here touting.

  124. #124 truth machine
    November 8, 2007

    I noticed that this blog is in the running for a Best Science Blog award.

    I’ve looked over the site. Cna someone point out where the science is on it. I have looked but I can’t find any.

    It you’re so proud to be stupid, have it tattooed on your forehead.

  125. #125 Spence
    November 8, 2007

    Stupid me. The figure is from 1999

    In my original comment above, I clearly stated:

    The single temperature reconstruction in the graphic is from Mann and Jones 2003

    Unless there is a time machine around here, then you have been armed with all the information required to determine that the figure is not from 1999. The only reconstruction in that is Mann and Jones 2003, so the graphic must be post 2003. Mann and Jones 2003 relies heavily on the output from MBH98. I explained this above, I guess you didn’t read it? Otherwise you would not be making these mistakes. Make the strongest argument you can, not weak ones.

    (BTW, do you know what Bauer et al. did? 14C and 10Be are measurable records of solar activity — how does one build a simulation on that record?)
    Yes, I noted there were several errors in that graphic. I didn’t feel the need to point them all out. One mistake is enough. All in all, a very poor graphic, and not one I would recommend using for any kind of debunking.

    And last but not least, please take this and this apart.

    And this, too, while you’re at it — this debunks the “random noise fed into the program that made the hockey stick gives a hockey stick” myth.
    More than happy to debunk all of those points. Here. By someone independent of the any of the individuals involved, as well.

  126. #126 Spence
    November 8, 2007

    Hmm, seems I screwed up the HTML tags on that last post.

    The second last para of #119 should also be in italics, it is quoting #112 (David Marjanovi?). I really should stick to blockquotes.

  127. #127 Pat Frank
    November 8, 2007

    #115 — SB wrote: “In the same manner every other historical science does, by examining extant trees.

    Presuming you meant every other historical dendro-science, that is not how it’s done. It’s done by developing a theory that connects tree observables to physical and chemical processes.

    Tree rings are derived from a metabolism having rates and products that are temperature dependent and mass-flow dependent, where mass flow includes nutrient availability as well as input-output gradients. Tree ring widths or densities would have to be analytically (i.e., math-based) expressed in those terms to extract a temperature. Developing this theory would take years of greenhouse and arboretum work. Work that has not been done.

    People can qualitatively examine all the trees they like, but they will never attain an analytical theory that way.

    You wrote: “You’re trying to suggest that processes we see in action today may not have occured in the past. This is possible. Careful researchers take pains to accomodate this kind of uncertainty.

    That last is hardly true. No one takes pains to accomodate past climates in tree ring reconstructions. The opposite is true. People take pains to use tree ring reconstructions to impose interpretations on past climates. Look at the intense effort based on tree ring reconstructions to dismiss the Medieval Warm Period.

    In order to accomodate past climates in tree ring proxy reconstructions, one would need an independent proxy for past climate with which to re-normalize the tree rings corresponding to past years. But if one had such an independent proxy, one would no longer need tree ring constructions.

    So we can agree on this much, SB. IF there were an analytical theory interrelating tree rings widths or densities with temperature, THEN tree ring proxies would not be circular.

    But no such theory exists. And when ring series are chosen because they comport with temperature, and then are used to prove temperature, the circularity couldn’t be more embedded.

    And the promiscuous extrapolation of such tree ring series into the past, on the presumption that (correlation now) = (correlation then) is complete and total bushwah.

  128. #128 doug
    November 9, 2007

    The whole AWG debate among reasonable scientists is this:

    What percentage of recent warming is caused by anthropogenic CO2?

    No one on CA would say 0%. It seems they average about 30%, when they offer an opinion.

    I assume most people here would opine a higher number. If you have a reason for your belief, take the time to share it over at CA. If your evidence is reasonable it will stimulate some good discussion.

  129. #129 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    November 10, 2007

    Proxies are fine — I use them myself in my work, as do all scientists. But there must be a physical theory to connect the proxy to the quantity of interest.

    I’m not a statistician, but I have used proxies too. It is my understanding that correlation is enough if you can quantify the error, you get sensible and reliable results.

    What we shouldn’t do is to think that a correlation is enough to establish a mechanism or ensure consistency in other situations. But that is an entirely different challenge from establishing an adequate measure in a quantifiable context.

    And there are known problems with relying on correlations, such as Simpson’s paradox.

    That theory is entirely lacking in dendrothermometry

    I think not, the effect on temperature on growth rates is well and independently established.

  130. #130 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    November 10, 2007

    Proxies are fine — I use them myself in my work, as do all scientists. But there must be a physical theory to connect the proxy to the quantity of interest.

    I’m not a statistician, but I have used proxies too. It is my understanding that correlation is enough if you can quantify the error, you get sensible and reliable results.

    What we shouldn’t do is to think that a correlation is enough to establish a mechanism or ensure consistency in other situations. But that is an entirely different challenge from establishing an adequate measure in a quantifiable context.

    And there are known problems with relying on correlations, such as Simpson’s paradox.

    That theory is entirely lacking in dendrothermometry

    I think not, the effect on temperature on growth rates is well and independently established.

  131. #131 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    November 10, 2007

    Tree ring widths or densities would have to be analytically (i.e., math-based) expressed in those terms to extract a temperature.

    That would be even stronger. But the effect on temperature and growth spans a much larger group of organisms than plants. And specifically, we are discussing the difference between establishing a well controlled measure on plentiful and monitored plants, as opposed to sampling for individuals and earlier time periods. You can’t conflate the two different models used.

  132. #132 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    November 10, 2007

    Tree ring widths or densities would have to be analytically (i.e., math-based) expressed in those terms to extract a temperature.

    That would be even stronger. But the effect on temperature and growth spans a much larger group of organisms than plants. And specifically, we are discussing the difference between establishing a well controlled measure on plentiful and monitored plants, as opposed to sampling for individuals and earlier time periods. You can’t conflate the two different models used.

  133. #133 Ed Darrell
    November 11, 2007

    I think I’ve always been on the other side of Pat Frank’s arguments on climate (in other forums), and it’s always a learning experience for me.

    But — people! — listen to what he’s saying here, and pay attention. Could we reconstruct past temperatures from tree rings alone? What would that look like? Can anyone offer an example?

    I can think of no tree whose growth is dependent solely on temperature. A good year of growth might indicate warm weather, but it may indicate that the year was particularly wet, and not all that warm. Or it may indicate the year the tree got more nitrogen from the soil. Or it could indicate the year the tree that shaded the tree being measure, was cut down.

    Temperature is only one of several variables that a tree ring might indicate. All the ring can show is that the tree grew in a given year.

  134. #134 Boris
    November 11, 2007

    Ed,

    That is why trees for temperature proxies are very carefully selected so as to be temperature limited. For example, widely spaced trees at treeline are often selected. Then the tree ring temperature signal is compared to the instrumental record.

    Pat Frank appears to be unaware of the bulk of research linking tree growth to temperature.

  135. #135 MarkR
    November 11, 2007

    Boris. You should be ashamed of yourself. That is complete bollocks and you know it. As a Climate Audit regular you will know that the decisive Proxies are bristlecone pine trees and are known not to be proxies for temperature.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.