the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

In Case You Were Wondering

Posted by Jeff Id on November 11, 2011

It is all about money.   Every action in the world is about motivations and where money is involved, the gold is usually king.  Sure you are motivated to play with your children, that’s not money but when you get up to go to work and it’s still dark out, you may love your job but it’s typically about money.  Feed the kids, keep the lights on – capitalism is rampant even in the most communist countries.

Well Penn state, which famously ignored its own employee’s role in climategate, has been caught pretending another situation didn’t exist. This time the situation was so horrific on an individual level that the comparison to previous indiscretions is nearly impossible but the amount of Penn State money involved was so much greater that it can legitimately be made.  Recently Penn State President Graham Spanier  was forcibly retired from office.   This is not proof or even evidence that the president was directly involved or even had any knowledge of the insane sexual behavior by PSU employees which appear to have been deliberately ignored by senior management, but firing was the right thing to do.   PSU has an illness in the form of a culture in management which ignores even hideous error in favor of business-as-usual cash flow.  Morality at PSU has taken a back seat to gold.

Steve McIntyre wrote a post on it recently which has this quote on Climategate:

Clive Crook of the Atlantic Monthly mercilessly criticized Penn State for their fatuous findings that success in bringing revenue to the university and accolades from peers necessarily meant that misconduct was precluded:

The Penn State inquiry exonerating Michael Mann — the paleoclimatologist who came up with “the hockey stick” — would be difficult to parody. Three of four allegations are dismissed out of hand at the outset: the inquiry announces that, for “lack of credible evidence”, it will not even investigate them. …

You think I exaggerate?

This level of success in proposing research, and obtaining funding to conduct it, clearly places Dr. Mann among the most respected scientists in his field. Such success would not have been possible had he not met or exceeded the highest standards of his profession for proposing research…

Had Dr. Mann’s conduct of his research been outside the range of accepted practices, it would have been impossible for him to receive so many awards and recognitions, which typically involve intense scrutiny from scientists who may or may not agree with his scientific conclusions…

Clearly, Dr. Mann’s reporting of his research has been successful and judged to be outstanding by his peers. This would have been impossible had his activities in reporting his work been outside of accepted practices in his field.

In short, the case for the prosecution is never heard. Mann is asked if the allegations (well, one of them) are true, and says no.

When the Penn state climategate reviews came out, the typical media’s uncritical acceptance of nonsense words out of Penn State was stunning.  It revealed to all who were paying attention just how deeply invested the university and media are in insuring that the global warming message and money flow not be reduced by even the most blatantly false actions.  The result was that Penn State has been successful in maintaining its public scientific reputation (and cash flow) in the same pre-climategate mode and the enviro-team has continued down their paths undaunted and likely re-invigorated that they are untouchable.  The only thing I can do is write about it here on my blog and make a personal guarantee to Penn State University that when my sons go to college (which they will), not one dollar will intentionally come from our family to this corrupt, and truly disgusting institution.  Don’t think for a moment that these messages are not being unintentionally communicated to Penn State students as thousands were idiotically rioting in the streets over the football coach’s firing.

It was all about the gold in both cases.  Hopefully they are capable of shame because no group deserves more of that today than PSU.  They can change as all institutions can but the first step is admission and from what I can see, they have a big hill to climb to even recognize that.  They can relax and be thankful that I am not boss as a few token firings are not impressive.  A top down investigation and re-training of all professors and management regarding the written code of ethics is absolutely required along with a TRUE focus on maintaining that culture.  Done right, that would reverse things over years of time.   Unfortunately, some serious pruning is likely required to get the job done right because this culture has apparently been bred over decades.  If your organization doesn’t have the moral center to cut out the worst offenders, what value do you have as an organization.

Anyway, that’s the memo for today.   I’ll be gone for the next week on my annual climategate hunting trip looking for invisible deers in a woods so deep that without a compass, you might not return.   If someone would like a guest post to run during that time, send something to my email on the left.  After Saturday, I’m gone to a quieter place where crazy and immoral people are not allowed.


66 Responses to “In Case You Were Wondering”

  1. M. Simon said

    Some of us have been lucky enough to turn our hobbies into work.

    You might like this:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/11/joe_paterno_and_bishop_finn.html

  2. toto said

    Try to ask actual academics about this.

    Cost to Penn State of firing Mann: Zero or less. There’s about a bazillion younger, hungrier post-docs who will happily take his place and bring in the dough. Since you seem to be a market enthusiast, consider that the job market right now is much tighter than when Mann was hired; so Penn State would likely benefit by dumping Mann yesterday and hiring some bright(-er) young thing in his place.

    Cost to Penn State of knowingly covering Mann’s “fraud”: Billions. Bye-bye, federal funding.

    They can relax and be thankful that I am not boss

    I think that’s one thing everybody can agree on. :)

    #1: ironically, when I clicked on that page I got an ad for a grant-funded education, i.e. the real higher ed scam.

  3. SamuelJ said

    “The only thing I can do is write about it here on my blog and make a personal guarantee to Penn State University that when my sons go to college (which they will), not one dollar will intentionally come from our family to this corrupt, and truly disgusting institution. Don’t think for a moment that these messages are not being unintentionally communicated to Penn State students as thousands were idiotically rioting in the streets over the football coach’s firing.”

    Full disclosure: I’m a Penn State alum. Even so, good luck finding a college elsewhere where stuff is not covered up for the “good” of the institution.

    This was a series of disgusting and heinous crimes, including the cover-ups. Unfortunately, as I found in my corporate career, cover-ups happen all the time in big business as well. That’s one major reason why I now own a very small (5 employee) business. At least I can insure that my small corner of the world doesn’t participate in this depravity.

    By the way, when I was there, “thousands were idiotically rioting in the streets” every time a Philadelphia sports team won a championship.

  4. Kan said

    My advice: go where the deer are not invisible, it may help :)

  5. I now live in Australia. Last year I tried to support the case of the youngest daughter of my (highkly respectable) neighbors. She was trying to complete a final (i.e. the last of several) 6 week ‘practicum’ at a local high school (where a student teacher is placed with a established teacher-mentor’s set of classes and is evaluated by the mentor and by an external academic reviewer).

    In this case, she found herself with a single male sexual predator who was really only interested in establishing a relationship with this young lady. Rightly rebuffed, he became increasingly hostile, terminated the practicum at 4 weeks and failed her. Unfortunately, he external academic reviewer, a mature woman, supported him, as he was cunning enough to do/say nothing in front of either students or staff witnesses. There had been no previous complaints about him (as far as we know).

    The young lady’s university supervisor (also a woman and associate professor) then engineered a cover-up and has spent the following year trying to get the young lady to abandon her teaching degree entirely. This is despite that fact that the young lady has a pre-existing languages degree, is fluent in 3 languages, and had no previous problems with her university teachers or during earlier practicums.

    Over a year late,r we have failed to get any satisfactory review out of the university or a so-called independent State agency responsible for the accrediting of teachers. The young lady’s health has steadily declined as a result of this incident and she now inhabits a sort of weird academic ‘limbo world’ where the university won’t allow her to finish her degree through an impartial review or by having another practicum elsewhere (i.e. the professor still calls the shots).

    This is the year 2011. This is the state of play at the University of Sydney, Australia.

  6. David S said

    Reminds me of a boss I had whose approach to facts led us to suggest that he thought that the moral of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” was that everything would have been OK if only someone had shut the kid up.

  7. OK, so let’s grant you’ve ascribed the Penn State internal investigation results to ulterior motives. Now I think it’s only six more to go:

    1) the House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee report (“[there's been ] no evidence to support charges that the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit or its director, Phil Jones, had tampered with data or perverted the peer review process”),
    2) the report of the Independent Climate Change Email Review, led by Sir Muir Russel (“on the specific allegations made against the behaviour of CRU scientists, we find that their rigour and honesty as scientists are not in doubt”),
    3) the report of the International Science Assessment Panel, led by Lord Oxburgh (“we saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit”),
    4) the US Environment Protection Agency report (“[the critics] impugned the ethics of climate scientists and characterised actions as falsifications and manipulation with no basis for support, “),
    5) the report of the U.S. Department of Commerce Inspector General (“we did not find any evidence that NOAA inappropriately manipulated data or failed to adhere to appropriate peer review procedures”),
    6) the report of the National Science Foundation, office of the Inspector General (“Lacking any direct evidence of research misconduct, as defined under the NSF Research Misconduct Regulation, we are closing this investigation with no further action”).

    Of course, it’s entirely possible that all the people and institutions involved in the inquiries and preparing of the reports are in it for the money. I’m sure you can provide them — and us — with convincing evidence of the “blatantly false actions” which would justify the use of such strong words as “corrupt”. Because you wouldn’t use them if you haven’t got persuasive arguments to support your opinion with, would you?

  8. Bruce said

    Toto: Funding that Mann had his finger in back in 2009 (I don’t know how much since then):

    4 million or so …

    2009-2013 Quantifying the influence of environmental temperature on transmission of vector-borne diseases, NSF-EF [Principal Investigator: M. Thomas; Co-Investigators: R.G. Crane, M.E. Mann, A. Read, T. Scott (Penn State Univ.)] $1,884,991

    2009-2012 Toward Improved Projections of the Climate Response to Anthropogenic Forcing: Combining Paleoclimate Proxy and Instrumental Observations with an Earth System Model, NSF-ATM [Principal Investigator: M.E. Mann; Co-Investigators: K. Keller (Penn State Univ.), A. Timmermann (Univ. of Hawaii)] $541,184

    2008-2011 A Framework for Probabilistic Projections of Energy-Relevant Streamflow Indices, DOE [Principal Investigator: T. Wagener; Co-Investigators: M. Mann, R. Crane, K. Freeman (Penn State Univ.)] $330,000

    2008-2009 AMS Industry/Government Graduate Fellowship (Anthony Sabbatelli), American Meteorological Society [Principal Investigator: M.E. Mann (Penn State Univ.)] $23,000

    2006-2009 Climate Change Collective Learning and Observatory Network in Ghana, USAID [Principal Investigator: P. Tschakert; Co-Investigators: M.E. Mann, W. Easterling (Penn State Univ.)] $759,928

    2006-2009 Analysis and testing of proxy-based climate reconstructions, NSF-ATM [Principal Investigator: M.E. Mann (Penn State Univ.)] $459,000

    2006-2009 Constraining the Tropical Pacific’s Role in Low-Frequency Climate Change of the Last Millennium, NOAA-Climate Change Data & Detection (CCDD) Program [Principal Investigators: K. Cobb (Georgia Tech Univ.), N. Graham (Hydro. Res. Center), M.E. Mann (Penn State Univ.), Hoerling (NOAA Clim. Dyn. Center), Alexander (NOAA Clim. Dyn. Center)] PSU award (M.E. Mann): $68,065

    2006-2007 Acquisition of high-performance computing cluster for the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC), NSF-EAR [Principal Investigator: M.E. Mann, Co-Investigators: R. Alley, M. Arthur, J. Evans, D. Pollard (Penn State Univ.)] $100,000

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2398822/posts

  9. Jeff Id said

    #7

    Of course, it’s entirely possible that all the people and institutions involved in the inquiries and preparing of the reports are in it for the money. I’m sure you can provide them — and us — with convincing evidence of the “blatantly false actions” which would justify the use of such strong words as “corrupt”.

    Well big guy, since this is the climate blog on which climategate broke, I certainly can provide the data you allege to seek. The British press didn’t call you on Sunday morning to ask your opinion and the secret service didn’t contact you to find out what happened.

    Of course I already have explained the problems in endless detail. We discussed hide the decline in the context of the MXD latewood density here and at CA a whole year before it became news. Of course you will need to learn what MXD latewood density means to even know what I am writing. Do you learn nothing from your temperature series comments??? Didn’t you believe me when I explained why I believe sat data is of reasonable quality and is evidence that UHI is underestimated or is it the fact that I didn’t spoon feed the dozens of technical links and papers here and elsewhere to you?

    I’ve put my time in. If you have questions over the next week that I’m gone, ask the crowd. There are some smart SOB’s lurking here. Don’t tell them they are wrong before you get your own chops though because nearly all of them are deeply technical. Instead, ask them WHY they believe X is true. If you ask politely with a true hope of explanation, you will receive answers. Had you asked, “why do you believe it is corruption?”, you would get a more cordial answer. Come here with no chops and imply a lack of study for my or others opinions and you will get blended – with no effort.

    Of course if you already knew this blog, we have a different issue entirely.

  10. Jeff Id said

    #8 Jesus!

  11. dearieme said

    I don’t suppose the Penn State scandals are likely to stop there. Presumably more will emerge.

  12. kuhnkat said

    #8,

    thanks for making the point that the Grant system and Government involvement in research is totally out of control!

  13. Kan said

    Steve Short – The topic of sex in the workplace is the definition of hell, whether you are on the top or the bottom, on the left or the right, in front or behind.

  14. Gary said

    Jeff, what’s the over/under on how long it takes Dr. Mann to leave Penn State? With the hits in reputation, enrollments, and donations, many faculty have got to be thinking of a swift exit before the inevitable downsizing.

  15. Bad Andrew said

    Large amounts of money will eventually corrupt anyone. Who knows what a person will do once Mammon runs the show? Be careful of anyone who is involved in gathering and throwing the Big Money around. It’s attractive to get a/your piece of it.

    Andrew

  16. @Jeff Id

    I’m sorry, but I think you know very well that “hiding the decline” didn’t have anything to do with any actual “hiding” of the divergence problem — you don’t “hide” problems by publishing papers about them:

    http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/fac/trl/public/ftp/pjk/BBCCArcticClimate/Krusic/jacd%27a95.pdf (that’s the original paper, dated 1995)
    http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/353/1365/65.short (this is Briffa’s et al. paper on the divergence problem dated 1998).

    The problem was acknowledged and described in two IPCC reports (TAR, AR4), complete with plotting the “decline” on the composite graph of proxy temp reconstructions (TAR: Fig. 2.21). In AR4 the text stated explicitly what has been omitted on the graph and why (AR4: Fig. 6.10), citing Briffa’s et al 1998 paper. Maybe it’s just me, but publishing, commenting and illustrating a problem doesn’t really fit my definition of “hiding”.

    And back to the question: on what basis do you use the word “corrupt” with respect to Michael Mann/Penn State inquirers? You sound like you know an awful lot of compromising facts: please, share them, in the public interest. Have you performed your own inquiry? Published a report? Please provide the URLs. Do you have any info that might shed some light on the reason why everyobody, from UK House of Commons and Lord Oxburgh to US Dpt of Commerce and National Science Foundation, seems to think no corruption actually took place? Please help your readers to see through this mistery. Thank you.

  17. Bruce said

    “However, a dramatic change in the sensitivity of hemispheric tree–growth to temperature forcing has become apparent during recent decades, and there is additional evidence of major tree–growth (and hence, probably, ecosystem biomass) increases in the northern boreal forests, most clearly over the last century”

    “major tree growth increases” is the opposite of a decline. Yet there was a post-1960 decline.

  18. Bad Andrew said

    Re: #16

    Lots of people (read: Global Warming Believers) don’t read IPCC reports and thus have no clue as to what you are talking about. You better get out there and inform them.

    Andrew

  19. Kenneth Fritsch said

    Grzegorz Staniak said

    “I’m sorry, but I think you know very well that “hiding the decline” didn’t have anything to do with any actual “hiding” of the divergence problem — you don’t “hide” problems by publishing papers about them”

    The divergence problem has not been given the attention that it should require given that it puts past temperature reconstructions in doubt – amongst other issues. Most climate scientists have been very obtuse in their handling of the problem and the subject has been rather well ignored except in cases where a scientist might be able to use evidence that allows conjecture on explaining the divergence. Mann (08) found divergence in non dendro reconstructions/proxies and noted that evidence only in passing. Divergence is exactly what would be expected of a reconstruction that does not relate well temperature to a proxy metric.

    In Mann (08) with the Schweingruber MDX series, Mann et al simply lop off the proxies at 1960 and without much rationalization for that drastic action (it must have been anthropogenic) and add back something of not a well-explained origin. That in my view makes a travesty of science. In Mann (98) the authors removed a tree ring proxy that showed too much growth for temperature and added back a poorly defined something. These two actions and the lack of an uproar from the climate science community (concerning divergence) do not speak well for them.

    From the first link we have from George above:

    “This is methodologically a big leap forward that will allow scientists to go back to sites sampled in the past and fill in the gaps,” said Glenn Juday, a forest ecologist at University of Alaska, Fairbanks, who was not involved in the study. The researchers plan to return to Alaska and other northern forest locations to improve geographical coverage and get more recent records from some sites. They are also investigating the use of stable isotopes to extract climate information from tree rings.”

    It is a long time in coming that reconstructions are brought up to date by going back to the original sites and providing measurements – but it has not happened yet to my knowledge. It is a great opportunity to acquire some out-of-sample data – limited as it might turn out to be.

    The problems I see with the PSU inquiry of Mann is that it was a blatant white wash just like many other investigations that have arisen to explain the climategate emails. All these investigations would have been better off if they had never been done as the only conclusion that one can logically come to is that a thinking skeptic better do his/her own background work. I put these investigations into the category of government regulations put into place to make the public feel more comfortable and secure. It is that false sense of security that can lead to some very big problems.

    Oh and by the way, it is very convenient to be able to point to few papers that mention the divergence problem and even reference them in another paper and then hand wave the problem away by a comment like – it has to an anthropogenic problem or that see we have addressed the issue.

  20. @Bruce

    Please do some background reading on the subject. Or perhaps ask Jeff Id to refer you to the in-depth discussions that supposedly took place on this blog. You’re confusing the general “tree growth” with the “sensitivity of [hemispheric] tree–growth to temperature forcing”.

  21. Steve McIntyre said

    The problem was acknowledged and described in two IPCC reports (TAR, AR4), complete with plotting the “decline” on the composite graph of proxy temp reconstructions (TAR: Fig. 2.21)

    The decline was not plotted in TAR Figure 2.21. Nor was the deletion of adverse data reported in TAR.

    Nor was the decline shown in the corresponding AR4 figure nor was the deletion of adverse data disclosed in the first two drafts of AR4. Nor was its absence spotted by any reviewer other than me. As a reviewer of AR4, I asked them to show the decline in the graphic. They refused saying it would be “inappropriate”. They grudgingly agreed to disclose the divergence in the final graphic (the grudgingness evidenced in climategate emails.) The emails show that they were very aware of the difference between showing the decline in a graphic and in the fine print.

    This had been a longstanding dispute – the “hide the decline” email arrived into a very specific context.

    Your claim that they showed the decline in IPCC graphics is flat out untrue.

  22. @Kenneth Fritsch

    [...]Most climate scientists have been very obtuse in their handling of the problem and the subject has been rather well ignored[...]

    … as evidenced by over 150 citations of the original 1995 paper by Jacoby and D’Arrigo, restricted to observations from Alaska, and c. 325 citations of Briffa’s et al. paper of 1998 (apart from the two IPCC reports): that’s some 25 papers every year since 1998. What a tricky and mischievous way of ignoring a problem: by publishing hundreds of papers that talk about it.

  23. John M said

    Then why did they need a “trick” to “hide the decline”? What “trick” did they use and what “decline” were they “hiding”?

    As someone who’s been reading scientific papers for over 30 years, I can attest to the fact that “citing” is a lot different than “discussing”, and counting citations is the refuge of those who can count but can’t read.

  24. @Steve McIntyre

    Yes, you’re right and I’m mistaken. The divergence was not plotted in TAR, however, the problem was mentioned in the text of the report:

    Several important caveats must be borne in mind when using tree-ring data for palaeoclimate reconstructions. Not least is the intrinsic sampling bias. Tree-ring information is available only in terrestrial regions, so is not available over substantial regions of the globe, and the climate signals contained in tree-ring density or width data reflect a complex biological response to climate forcing. Non-climatic growth trends must be removed from the tree-ring chronology, making it difficult to resolve time-scales longer than the lengths of the constituent chronologies (Briffa, 2000). Furthermore, the biological response to climate forcing may change over time. There is evidence, for example, that high latitude tree-ring density variations have changed in their response to temperature in recent decades, associated with possible nonclimatic factors (Briffa et al., 1998a).

    And with all due respect to conspiracy theories, I find it hard to believe anyone would want to attempt to “hide” in AR4 a problem that everybody and their dog had been publishing about and referencing for a decade then. The decision not to include a part of the graph that was clearly useless doesn’t surprise me — if you know you’ve registered garbage, you don’t include the garbage in the analysis. What is surprising is the amount of spin applied on this particular point by the denialist side. What “decline” could anyone possibly try to “hide”? In temperatures? That’s absurd, given that we’re talking about a period for which instrumental record is available. In usefulness of tree-ring proxies? That in turn had been widely acknowledged, and discussed in hundreds of papers.

  25. Genghis said

    I have tried to track down Grzegorz’s cites. The first just leads to a website and doesn’t pull up the paper. The second leads to an abstract which states,

    “However, a dramatic change in the sensitivity of hemispheric tree–growth to temperature forcing has become apparent during recent decades, and there is additional evidence of major tree–growth (and hence, probably, ecosystem biomass) increases in the northern boreal forests, most clearly over the last century.”

    This quote clearly states that there has been a dramatic increase in tree-growth (and by inference tree rings). This statement is one hundred and eighty degrees different from what Grzeg claims. It is no wonder that Grzeg prefers cites over actually quoting what is said.

  26. John M said

    In normal life, folks often accept that what people actually say is what is important. In the bizarro world of climate science, we are dependent on what revisionists interpret what was said to mean.

  27. Frank K. said

    Genghis said
    November 12, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Yes, from his posts, Grzegorz is sounding pretty nervous and desperate. Don’t worry, Grzegorz, there’s enough climate ca$h to go around…you’ll get some.

  28. Niels A Nielsen said

    Grzegorz Staniak: “if you know you’ve registered garbage, you don’t include the garbage in the analysis.”

    If you are a scientist yes, that´s exactly what you do.

  29. @Genghis

    Yes, the first URL is broken. Here is a citation for the paper:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1995/95GB00321.shtml

    Unfortunately, you’re making the same mistake as Bruce above.”Growth” is not the same as “temperature signal in growth”.

  30. @Niels A Nielsen

    No, not really. If you know that what you’re picking up is an error, you correct for that error.

  31. Genghis said

    Grzegorz I looked at your reference disputing that they hid the decline. Here is the salient quote

    “Ring width and density measurements from the same trees can produce distinctly different climatic information. Ring width variations and recorded data in central and northern Alaska indicate annual temperatures increased over the past century, peaked in the 1940s, and are still near the highest level for the past 3 centuries.” My underline.

    “Still near the highest level for the past 3 centuries.” Hmm, that doesn’t sound like a divergence to me, in fact it seems to be directly contradicting what you are claiming.

    Help me out here. You claimed that the IPCC graph showed the decline, it clearly did not. You provided two cites, that you claim are the basis for hundred of papers citing the divergence. The sources that you cited clearly do not make that claim, in fact they plainly are making the opposite claim.

    Did you actually read your cites and graph references or are you just trusting a ‘climate scientist’s’ cites and graph references? Do you understand now why we don’t trust the ‘Team?’

  32. Layman Lurker said

    Gezegorz:

    I find it hard to believe anyone would want to attempt to “hide” in AR4 a problem that everybody and their dog had been publishing about and referencing for a decade then.

    As far as I know, “hide the decline” related contraversies had little if anything to do with AR4. Could you point out where the “hide the decline” conspiracy theories wrt AR4 were being advanced?

    The decision not to include a part of the graph that was clearly useless doesn’t surprise me — if you know you’ve registered garbage, you don’t include the garbage in the analysis.

    Where in the literature (prior to TAR) has “everybody and their dog” determined what diverging tree rings were responding to? Just because the issue was discussed in the literature doesn’t mean it was resolved.

  33. @Layman Lurker

    Please read Steve McIntyre’s comment:
    Nor was the decline shown in the corresponding AR4 figure nor was the deletion of adverse data disclosed in the first two drafts of AR4. Nor was its absence spotted by any reviewer other than me. As a reviewer of AR4, I asked them to show the decline in the graphic. They refused saying it would be “inappropriate”. They grudgingly agreed to disclose the divergence in the final graphic (the grudgingness evidenced in climategate emails.) The emails show that they were very aware of the difference between showing the decline in a graphic and in the fine print.

    When AR4 was published, Briffa’s 1998 paper had already a decade’s history of citations. “Hiding” something that everyone knew about would have been absurd.

    Also, the exact cause of the divergence problem is even still unknown, in 2011. That doesn’t mean one cannot discard false data when it’s clear that it’s false (not tracking the instrumental record or other independent proxies).

  34. TimTheToolMan said

    Steve wrote earlier “Unfortunately, he external academic reviewer, a mature woman, supported him, as he was cunning enough to do/say nothing in front of either students or staff witnesses. There had been no previous complaints about him (as far as we know). ”

    I’m not taking sides on this but in the absense of any evidence it really does seem to come down to her word against his. He may actually be a slimy toad but our system of law is based on evidence and thats the difference between law today and “law” where we burned witches. Realistically what would you have the Sydney Uni do in this situation?

  35. curious said

    34 – TimTTM “Realistically what would you have the Sydney Uni do in this situation?”

    I’ve been in a situation where it was my word against another and come off on the wrong end of this “how can we possibly know?” argument. In my case there were actually several avenues of corroborating evidence which could have been properly investigated and evaluated. These would have shown that the other party’s version of events was highly inconsistent and extremely unlikely to be true. I also think that given the way things progressed there were other parties in the administration who knew that my accuser was a liar but they didn’t have the strength of character to say so.

    I get the impression from what Steve wrote that they have sought to have a proper review and this has not been possible. If this were to take place then perhaps the young lady would be vindicated. One has to ask the question why has a proper review not been done. Which brings us back to the topic of the post.

  36. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: Grzegorz Staniak (Nov 13 04:20),

    That doesn’t mean one cannot discard false data when it’s clear that it’s false (not tracking the instrumental record or other independent proxies).

    The obvious implication that you seem to have missed is that if the tree rings during some period don’t track the instrumental record, then any correlation to the instrumental record during a different period is likely spurious and all the tree ring data should be discarded, not just the inconvenient decline period while retaining the rest. At best it means the response curve isn’t monotonic. But the reconstruction assumes that the response curve is monotonic.

  37. Kenneth Fritsch said

    I will await a reply from Staniak on DeWitt’s query above before commenting – although I would advise Staniak to cite some specific comments from all those references he says exist on divergence. The term divergence could be used many times but what is little or never discussed is the point made by DeWitt about the importance of that divergence relative to past temperatures and further why you cannot throw out proxies (actually its worse than that as they throw out only offending part and replace it it with someting not well-explained) arbitrarily . Also what about the divergence of the non dendro proxies noted (quitely) in Mann (08)?

  38. Steve McIntyre said

    That doesn’t mean one cannot discard false data when it’s clear that it’s false

    If the data had been incorrectly measured due to instrument problems, that would be one thing. Not complying with a hypothesis is another. The data isn’t “false”. The excuses for deleting data have been false however.

    The Climategate emails show that the decline was deleted so as not to “dilute the message” in AR4 and so as not to give “fodder to skeptics”. These are not valid reasons.

  39. @DeWitt Payne

    No, there’s no such implication. Please show me the logical progression from “we observe divergence since 1960s” to “therefore earlier correlations between tree-rings and temperature are likely spurious”. I agree the appearance of the problem intruduces questions like “have such things happened before? can we rely on tree-rings as proxies?”, but in no way it allows you to draw a conclusion to the effect of “earlier correlations are likely spurious”.

    And as far as the questions are concerned, you wouldn’t be the first person to ask them. The 1998 papers by Briffa et al. indicate clearly that up until ’50s or ’60s the temperature-tree ring correlation is quite strong (~0.9). There’s no way to decide whether it’s “spurious” or not without further analyses. Which took place e.g. in Cook 2004 (http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/fac/trl/downloads/Publications/%20cook2004.pdf). You should remember that the divergence is a problem in some of the high latitude Northern Hemisphere conifers, not a universal one: Figure 6 in Cook’s paper shows that for series located at 30-55 N no divergence is observed, and tree-rings track the instrumental temperature record reliably up to the 1990s. There’s no basis so far to assume that the problem is not a recent development in the boreal area of the Northern Hemisphere. So, unless you have a reference to research results that say otherwise, there’s no such implication as the one you mention.

  40. Anonymous said

    Jeff,

    I don’t think the Sandusky/Paterno fail at Penn St was about money per se. The simplest explanation that fits the facts as we presently understand them is that Joe Pa was revered as a god and he was too old, too trusting, too loyal, too unwilling to come to grips with what Sandusky was. Paterno wasn’t just admired for winning, he was placed on a pedestal and described in moral terms. He apparently was also the most powerful man on campus and the football program was his baby. No one was likely to tread on his turf.

    For whatever reason, Paterno didn’t deal with the Sandusky problem. And, in practical terms, the chain of command regarding football decisions stopped with him. Furthermore, no one under him (or even around him on campus) likely felt that they could overturn his decisions regarding the football program or morality. All of his assistants looked to him to provide guidance on what was right and what was wrong. It’s easy to say now that they should have exercised independent judgment, but Paterno’s aura in Happy Valley was such that he was ‘god’ and in major part because he was looked at as someone who would always do the right thing. Whatever he did was supposed to be the right thing.

    I think the simplest explanation is that one very old man accumulated too much power and too much reverence such that when his judgment failed, there was no realistic way for his error to be corrected. Too many yes men and too much public reverence meant no practical check or balance when he blew the call.

  41. Anonymous said

    #39

    If you cannot determine what tree rings were responding to in the divergence period, then how can you determine what the same series of tree rings were responding to in the rest of the instrumental overlap period?

  42. Layman Lurker said

    #41 was me.

  43. curious said

    42 – Layman – have you read the Grand Jury Statement?

    http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/uploadedFiles/Press/Sandusky-Grand-Jury-Presentment.pdf

    It is not easy reading but I don’t see how you can hold your view in light of the recorded facts.

  44. Layman Lurker said

    Curious, I was #41 but not #40.

  45. curious said

    Layman – on looking again at the comment numbers and times I think 40 may not have been you.

    For clarity my 43 is addressed to “Anonymous” at 40. Apologies for any confusion.

  46. curious said

    44 – yep, make that apology a definite!

  47. Layman Lurker said

    No problem Curious.

  48. Kenneth Fritsch said

    “The temperature signal in the ECS reconstruction is shown to be restricted to periods longer than 20 years in duration. After recalibration to take this property into account, annual temperatures up to AD 2000 over extra-tropical NH land areas have probably exceeded by about 0.3 degrees C the warmest previous interval over the past 1162 years. This estimate is based on comparing instrumental temperature data available up to AD 2000 with the reconstruction that ends in AD 1992 and does not take into account the mutual uncertainties in those data sets.”

    In the introduction of the Staniak linked article entitled “Extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere land temperature variability over the past 1000 years” by Edward R. Cook, Jan Esper, Rosanne D. D’Arrigo, we have in the introduction, excerpted partly above, a carefully worded explanation that says in effect that one must tack the instrumental record unto the end of the reconstruction in order to reach the tentative conclusion put forward in the paper. The mutual uncertainty in my view is placed in the introduction as a major qualifier meaning that if one splices/tacks an instrumental record onto the reconstruction one must assume that the proxies in the reconstruction are faithfully acting as thermometers in the instrumental period and would preclude any divergence – or require an acceptable explanation for the divergence. My observation would be that given the qualifier it is very misleading to tack the instrumental record onto the end of temperature reconstructions and that noting the qualifier does not make it any more acceptable.

    I have noted previously in blog comments that Mann (08) shows some graphs that are very revealing with respect to the divergence problem. I have credited that paper with showing graphs that remove the spaghetti and allow the reader to view the instrumental record and the proxy/reconstruction series as far towards the latest end of the graph as possible. I’ll link the graph below for your viewing. The comment directly below was excerpted from Mann (08).

    “This latter finding suggests that the divergence problem is not limited purely to tree-ring data, but
    instead may extend to other proxy records.”

    There are a whole host of divergence issues that need more discussion, analysis and study.

  49. @Steve McIntyre

    Then perhaps we should throw out the whole of UAH temp series, for example. It’s been modified constantly, and not because the data was false/defective by your definition — the sensor readings have simply been “corrected” because they didn’t agree with the researchers’ statistical and physical models. Corrected down to account for the diurnal cycle drift, corrected up for the orbital decay, corrected after the change from MSU to AMSU, then even arbitrarily corrected from month to month, by tenths of degrees, without a word of explanation or justification of the changes. Ask any modeller who uses the UAH series, they will know.

    Why hasn’t there been so far a nicely named “-gate” built on that? Why hasn’t a herd of infuriated “skeptics” demanded the publication of raw, uncorrected series, and including appropriate graphs and plots in papers and reports? Well, as far as professionals are concerned, it’s mainly because they’re aware that’s what needs to be done — if you know that you’re seeing an effect if orbital decay, you estimate its influence and correct the measured values. Just like if you know that you’re seeing a deterioration in the temperaturetree-ring growth correlation, you exclude the data that became useless.

  50. @Layman Lurker

    I don’t think you can negate plant physiology by cunning use of statistics. Trees respond in a particular way to particular changes in their environment. It’s an observation, not a hypothesis.

  51. Layman Lurker said

    #50

    Not real cunning Grezgorz, just stating the obvious. If you don’t know what trees are responding to in the divergence period, then you cannot claim to know that these same trees are not responding to similar unknown “changes in their environment” in the rest of the instrumental period. Such a claim would be “spurious”.

    By the way, here are the ols residuals of the Briffa98 series on the Jones annual instrumental temps. Not looking real “white” even before 1960 – are they Grsegorz? As a matter of fact, if no one told you that the divergence period started in 1960, I doubt you could tell from the plot of residuals. It is little wonder,here is the ACF of the residuals.

  52. Layman Lurker said

    Sorry, I buggered up the ACF link above.

  53. kim said

    The decline unsuccessfully hidden is in the scientific integrity of climate researchers from the pressure of money, fame, and influence. These forcings have changed the climate of scientific research such that it no longer tracks the truth.

    This is a divergence problem whose magnitude overwhelms that of some simple little tree rings, which only respond to a handful of forcings.
    =====================

  54. Kenneth Fritsch said

    “Then perhaps we should throw out the whole of UAH temp series, for example. It’s been modified constantly, and not because the data was false/defective by your definition — the sensor readings have simply been “corrected” because they didn’t agree with the researchers’ statistical and physical models. Corrected down to account for the diurnal cycle drift, corrected up for the orbital decay, corrected after the change from MSU to AMSU, then even arbitrarily corrected from month to month, by tenths of degrees, without a word of explanation or justification of the changes. Ask any modeller who uses the UAH series, they will know.”

    GS, you have been giving us links with your comments, but here you evidently want us to ask a modeller. Do you have any links or sources that might shed light on the arbitrary nature of the UAH adjustments? This skeptic wants to know.

    What about the RSS series? Comparisons to radio sondes? Breakpoint analyses? Are you saying that the whole issue of the instrumental temperature record and published CIs might be in doubt?

  55. Carrick said

    GS:

    I don’t think you can negate plant physiology by cunning use of statistics. Trees respond in a particular way to particular changes in their environment. It’s an observation, not a hypothesis

    Yep. Mainly moisture, then nutrient level, sunlight and finally temperature, in approximately that order. (If you want a plant to grow that is borderline for your area, maintain appropriate moisture level #1 and proper nutrient levels #2. Plant it in the appropriate ratio of sun to shade #3. Temperature? Hardly matters if you control #’s 1, 2 and 3.)

    And oh yeah, the temperature response is double-sided, so you don’t even have a one-to-one relationship, unless you hypothesize that the trees you are looking at were exhibiting “temperature limited growth”, but that’s an hypothesis, and not easily testable, so good luck controlling for it.

  56. hunter said

    The Penn State scandals and coverups are not the tip of the iceberg regarding institutional corruption in the Universtiy system. These scandals are ice chips off the tip of the iceberg. the size of this sort of institutional failure is likely to be huge.
    Universities in the US have existed for years as semi-independent feifdoms of power. They have their local rules. Their own police. Their income is not taxed. They have the ability to disregard or ignore legitimate demands for accountability from those whom they are legally accountable to. If one thinks that this is an environment that leads to high ethical standards of practice, one would be kidding themselves.
    Donna Laframboise, if anything, understates the problem these self-selecting academic elites are creating for society in general, the quality of science, and ultimately the entire enterprise of higher education.

  57. Richard Roscoe said

    Too bad that Bernie Madoff did not have the expertise of Penn State’s legal experts. Might have gone something like this:-

    This level of success in investment and revenue generated from it, clearly places Bernie Madoff among the most respected professionals in his field. Such success would not have been possible had he not met or exceeded the highest standards of his profession in operating an investment fund.
    “Had Bernie Madoff’s conduct of his program been outside the range of accepted practices, it would have been impossible for him to receive so many payments from rich and knowledgeable investors who carefully weigh up the risks versus rewards of all their holdings.

  58. Jeff Id said

    George,

    I figured you might have a hard time while I was gone. The only thing I care to add to the above conversation is to clarify again that if the data isn’t matching temperature in your calibration timeframe and we don’t really know if the data has any real relationship to temperature except for that match, you can’t simply chop the non-matching part and call the rest temperature. This is what was done in Mann08 as well as AR4. The “scientists” just got a little too accurate in the wording of their emails so that it wasn’t just a few of us technical minded people posting to the aether on the matter.

    UAH temperatures as brought up by you are instruments, not trees, which are designed to measure microwave emissions with a known response to temperature. Corrections are required but they are based on known influences and are verified using statistical comparisons to radiosonde data. Your arguments that someone should call UAH some kind of gate are silly.

    When the scientists wrote several emails that directly expressed the concerns of others in accurate and unflattering terms, they exposed their own knowledge of their statistical wrongdoing. That is what turned it into a “gate” and deservedly so.

  59. Robert Austin said

    Grzegorz Staniak said
    November 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    “Also, the exact cause of the divergence problem is even still unknown, in 2011. That doesn’t mean one cannot discard false data when it’s clear that it’s false (not tracking the instrumental record or other independent proxies).”

    I would posit that the “exact cause” is that trees make crappy thermometers. Stating that the data is false and can be discarded without knowing the “exact cause” of the falseness is not scientific, it is religious. Yet we still see the faithful trying to resurrect the rotting corpse of dendrochronology.

  60. @Carrick

    Temperature signal in chronologies based on specific (temperature-limited) locations has been routinely validated against the use of the instrumental temp record. The “hypothesis” that there’s a significant correlation between these two has been borne out by the data, and the appearance of the divergence problem doesn’t change it.

    @Robert Austin

    Trees aren’t thermometers at all, they just can be proxies for temperature. And if you’re picking up noise, you just discard noise. No religious conversion required. Practiced by scientists every day.

  61. torbacze said

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    [...]In Case You Were Wondering « the Air Vent[...]…

  62. [...] Michael Mann has decided to sue for defamation because someone compared him to Sandusky.  Besides the general disgust for the Penn State sexual scandal, there was a certain  irony for me in that  brought about an article discussing what is a solidly apparent cultural deficiency in the university.  I compared the decades of head-in-the-sand treatment of Sandusky to a very similar Penn State investigation of Mann’s work   In Case You Were Wondering. [...]

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