Posted by Jeff Id on November 19, 2010
By John Pittman
On 11/28/2009, JeffID graciously posted an article of mine http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/11/28/context-2/#more-6449 . Now that the anniversary is approaching, I wanted to go back and look at some items of interest including a couple of predictions I made. I started the article with a comment about the apologists Anne Kelly and George Monbiot reactions to Climategate, and wrote:
Expect others to soon follow trying to downplay what occurred. This development, from just an influence to a catastrophe, will be detailed, and it will show that there will probably be a long line of misleading apologists in the near future.
Talk about an understatement. We have had at least 3 investigations that were so interested in downplaying what occurred, to call them investigations is simply misleading. To show that there are scientific reasons for skepticism regarding temperature reconstructions, I relist some of the more interesting quotes with my bolding.
>>On Mon, 3 Nov 1997, Keith Briffa wrote:
I have been agonising for months that these results are not some statistical artifact of the analysis method but we can’t see how. For just two species (spruce in the western U.S. Great Basin area and larch in eastern Siberia) we can push the method far enough to get an indication of much longer term growth changes ( from about 1400) and the results confirm a late 20th century apparent fertilization! The method requires standardizing (localized mean subtraction and standard deviation division) by species/age band so we reconstruct relative (e.g. per cent change) only. We have experimented with integrating the different signals in basal area and density (after extracting intra ring ring width and density data where available) within a ‘flat mass’ measure which shows a general late 20th century increase – but whether this incorporates a defensible relative waiting on the different components (and what the relative carbon components are) is debatable. We now need to make some horrible simplistic assumptions about absolute carbon in these (relatively small) components of the total biomass carbon pool and imlpications for terrestrial and total carbon fluxes over the last few hundred years – and beyond! Without these implications we will have difficulty convincing Nature that this work is mega important.
>>From: “Michael E. Mann” firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Can you believe it???
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 09:02:53 -0500
[Incidentally, MM make much of the tendency for some tree ring series, such as this one, to show an apparent cooling over the past couple decades. Scientists with expertise in dendroclimatology know that this behavior represents a decrease in the sensitivity to temperature in recent decades that likely is related to conditions other than temperature which are limiting tree growth]
>>From: Keith Briffa email@example.com
Date: Tue Nov 23 16:01:56 2004
I think the “hook” needs to be the important opportunity to assess recent changes in lake and tree productivity and see if any evidence for response to climate , as well as searching for unprecedented evidence of climate change. I realise this is predominantly a lake project with a link to trees and models , but the links must be more than token . I can provide more background as to where we are with tree-ring work in Euro-Siberia if needed . I think the model stuff also needs specific justification . Is Simon going to contribute here? Don’t get hung up on the “decline or changing sensitivity issue” in trees . This is NOT a great problem in Scandinavia, Ural/Yamal and is anyway a divergence in trend and quite subtle and evident in wood density mostly. We are also of the opinion that it could be partly a statistical processing artifact – we are exploring this now.
>>From: Phil Jones firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Tue, 04 Jan 2005 11:22:31 +0000
Just look at the attachment. Don’t refer to it or send it on to anybody yet. I guess you could refer to it in the IPCC Chapter – you will have to some day !
I would immediately delete anything you receive from this fraud. You’ve probably seen now the paper by Wahl and Ammann which independently exposes McIntyre and McKitrick for what it is–pure crap. Of course, we’ve already done this on “RealClimate”, but Wahl and Ammann is peer-reviewed and independent of us. I’ve attached it in case you haven’t seen (please don’t pass it along to others yet). It should be in press shortly. Meanwhile, I would NOT RESPOND to this guy. As you know, only bad things can come of that. The last thing this guy cares about is honest debate–he is funded by the same people as Singer, Michaels, etc… Other than this distraction, I hope you’re enjoying the holidays too… talk to you soon,
The next four paragraphs are the conclusion. But, I think it is appropriate to consider the implications of MMH10 and McShane-Wyner10 when reading them.
M&M break the “hockey stick.” In an effort to show independent support for unprecedented warmth use a series (Yamal) began where it is known that the number of replications are small, and there appears to be a fertilization problem, or a problem with the best (longest lived) trees were known to have appeared to have been shadowed or influenced some way such that they did not grow uniformly. The non-uniformity violates the assumptions (homogeneity and stationary) necessary for comparing present growth with past. Even more problematic for Yamal and the reconstructions using it is that the area is known to be data rich. This underlines the concern of the limited numbers in the chronology.
Further, the stonewalling of McIntyre, McKitrick, and others who point out problems that were known, but were denied or ignored by the dendro community and the use of cores for which it was determined at one time to be fertilization not temperature, cannot be made to look good. In the emails, it is apparent that it was known that the replication and number of chronologies were a problem. It was known that the standard deviations of ring width were a problem. It has been admitted by Dr. Briffa in a recent statement that they are working on some, if not all, of these problems. But the tense is a refutation of TAR and 4AR, where it is portrayed as settled science.
It is a refutation because these reconstructions were used to support the claim that the warming is unprecedented and that no model with natural forcings only could replicate the post 1950 warming. In the 4AR, the IPCC state that the warming past 1950 was assumed to be manmade. They conclude that this was very likely due the unprecedented warming and the models. This meme is repeated over and over again in the 4AR. Now that these conclusions of warming and anthropogenic cause are questioned, where does that leave the science? At the SAR, though some will claim that the models alone can be used. There are two problems with this. The first problem is that is not how the models were developed, and extrapolating models without checking against a backcast invites uncontrollable problems from initial values, as is documented in the literature. The thread on CA on exponential growth is a mustread. The second problem is a quote one can find all over the net, that models did not predict current temperatures; and it is a travesty that they didn’t.
So, we are at “man is influencing the climate”, not “catastrophic global warming.” With all the posts and articles, it will not be long until it is confirmed just how far and how long the public and reporters were misled about the consensus and quality of the claims. The emails show that the public statements are far from the private ones, and no amount of spin is going to change that. That M&M and others are showing that the problems are even worse than these scientists thought, while these same scientists were stonewalling these efforts of the critics, that could have made the science stronger, by gaming the very system they were publicly claiming was impartial, is beginning to sink in. Soon it will sink in, as more and more is made public, that the real problems with Yamal and stripbark, etc., have only been partially discussed. At that point, it will be apparent that the Wegman report may have been the most unappreciated work on climate change science, outside of McIntyre and McKitrick’s efforts.
So have the problems with AR4 been sinking in? I would say that with Judith Curry, recent changes and charges by professional societies, and others exploring the uncertainty and not liking the findings, it has.
For detailed looks, I recommend both the Hockey Stick Illusion, and Climategate: The CRUtape letters.