the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Ten Things Everyone Should Know About the Global Warming Hockey Stick

Posted by Jeff Id on September 11, 2008

Most of us have seen a ‘hockey stick’ graph like the one below indicating temperature. It and others like it have been repeatedly used to demonstrate the recent warming of the earth. But how was it created? Certainly there were no thermometers being recorded in 1000 AD.

Number 1 –

This data is considered the premier evidence of man made climate change. This graph clearly shows it is hotter now than in the past.

Number 2 –

The red line is measured data from thermometers back to 1850. The red temperature data has many corrections to account for various factors so its own accuracy is in doubt.

Number 3 –

The rest of the data comes from proxies. Proxies are stand in measurements for temperature employing things such as tree ring width, mollusk shells, various kinds of coral and ice cores.

Number 4 –

There has been no verification or expirament that tree ring widths, mollusks or coral etc. measure temperature. Instead the concept for each proxy started with a basic theory that the trees or other things might change width with temp. The only verification is when the measured data from tree rings “correlates” after “calibration” to temperature. There have been no laboratory verifications of the concept.

Number 5 –

The data from the proxies which match temperature trends are kept, and the remaining data are thrown away. About 60% of the data was thrown away in generating this graph above, the remaining 40 percent that did agree were from a variety of sources (one tree was used, the one next to it was not). Proxies are often very noisy data with little visible signal. See a typical proxy below, selected because it was the first data proxy of the series used to create the hockey stick.

Number 6 –

The kept (accepted) data is scaled (magnified) and offset (up and down) to provide the best fit to today’s temperature measurements. After the averaging, the red temperature line above is glued on the end to extend the tow of the hockey stick.

Number 7 –

The fact that 40% of the data, when statistically processed, matches temperature is the sole rational for saying that tree ring width, and mollusk isotopes are actually temperature. If less than 10 to 30% passed, there would be no scientific method for acceptance of this data as temperature.

Number 8 –

Math techniques called CPS and EIV were used to generate the correlation and magnification of the temperature data.

Number 9 –

Statisticians and scientists have repeatedly discredited the calculations involved saying that they select too many of the proxies by overstating the correlation. Still the main government branch for global warming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has refused to relinquish this point. This continues despite repeated demonstrations that the statistics seem to be specifically designed to pick out hockey stick shaped proxies from even fake random red noise data.

Number 10 –

Continued acceptance by the premier global warming scientists demonstrates a clear political bias at the top of the global warming community, leaving the world at the mercy of the conclusions of a large power hungry government organization.

What we can understand now.

This graph, except for the red line at the end, is not temperature, it is not science either but rather it is the output of a cleverly assembled statistical software designed to create hockey sticks. This method and others like it have been used to generate hundreds of hockey stick graphs.

Proxy based temperatures cannot be trusted to reasonably define temperature history. Basing economic and energy policy on this curve and others like it are the height of irresponsibility.

But it will continue.


28 Responses to “Ten Things Everyone Should Know About the Global Warming Hockey Stick”

  1. George Jetson said

    You sir are an idiot!!! You spend your day making up government conspiricies. Shouldn’t you be spending today blogging about how the Bush admin and how they blew up the towers so we could go fight an expensive war,and get cheap oil. Hows that going? It is morons like you that think it makes sense for a branch of the government to make up data, so it can spend more time and money on research of data, while noting is wrong. They don’t have a bunch of free time, were they can sit around wondering how to mess with 99% of the population. Maybe we should be more alarmed, the most dramatic increase on your chart, the data from thermometers, happened in the last 100 years. The same time humans industralized, and began burning fosil fuels. Put down the bible and start working towards a safer place for our children.

  2. white elefant said

    @ George Jetson,

    Sir,
    1. please keep it civil, ad hominem attacks show mostly the absence of arguments.
    2. As far as I know, we don’t have cheap oil from Irak, it’s actually rather going up in price over the last 10 years.
    3. If the US wanted cheap oil, it would have been much cheaper to start drilling on American controled territory, without spending tax dollars on war.
    4. One simple question: how come something that started a few years ago as ‘Global Warming’ has become ‘Climate Change’? Even the proponents of man made ‘climate change’ start now to consider a cooling period of 10 to 15 years.
    5. Do you believe in computer models that do not predict accurately what happens the coming 10 to 15 years but are supposed to predict what happens in 20 or 30 ?
    6. CO2 has been constantly rising over the last ten years, global temperatures (UAH data for example) have been decreasing, why?

  3. Dodgy Geezer said

    If you are interested in the hockey stick, there is just one thing you should know. It’s documented here – http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=3601

    Briefly, to get the hokey-stick shape, Professor Mann used Principle Components Analysis (a statistical technique) in an unsual manner. No one can follow what he has done. On 8 Sept last, Dr Jolliffe, the world authority on PCA, stated that he couldn’t follow it either, and called it ‘dubious statistics’.

    Mann had suggested thst Jolliffe had supported his maths. Joliffe says this ‘is just plain wrong’.

    So, as of three days ago, the hockey stick is dead. And, so far as we know, these current temperatures are regular occurances in the world.

  4. deadwood said

    The Hockey Stick had its funeral 5 years ago. Dr. Mann, unfortunately, remains in denial of this fact and keeps trying to resurrect it.

  5. LeeW said

    Dodgy & Deadwood…

    Go to any city in any country and ask some ordinary folks who McIntyre or Mann or Hansen is and you’ll most likely get a “deer in the headlights” stare. Mention the hockey stick as it relates to AGW and they’ll perk up and tell you their opinion on it.

    While those of us that have followed CA, RC, Briggs, Pielke, or Tamino are certainly familiar with the status of the HS and it’s many lives, most folks have no clue of anything about AGW other than what they see on TV or read in their local rags, which WE all know has never been proven…even in the instrumental record.

    So, I think what Jeff did here is a start (mind you, not a finish), in that he has, in layman’s terminology, put forth a straight forward post as to why the HS is falsified.

    CA is great…if you have the education to follow the math and statistics. Unfortunately, for as gifted as Steve M is, he was not gifted with the ability to clearly and concisely communicate with a broader population. This is where people like Jeff and Briggs are so valuable.

    Nice job Jeff!

  6. Jeff Id said

    Thanks much Lee,

    I feel very strongly that what McIntyre and friends are missing is a PR group. Not my forte! Simplify the message, keep it pithy and make the point.

    I don’t mean to say McIntyre needs to change, only that he and his brilliant friends need support. Not everyone wants to be a climatologist.

    Very nice compliment.

  7. popoff said

    In memoriam of Hockey Stick we beg a pray by its soul, if it had. I’m sorry by my English.

  8. lichanos said

    Good post! Thanks for the plain English details on the genesis of the Hockey Stick. Sort of like legislation and sausage…you don’t want to know what’s involved in making it…

  9. Joel McDade said

    Actually, PCA wasn’t used in Mann et al 08.

    Though early in the game, I’m going with DaleC’s analysis… that the HS this time comes from a single warm series from Europe (Luterbacher), plus maybe some smoother padding to eliminate the proxy decline post 2000.

    I am really shocked at all this.

  10. Jeff Id said

    Thanks Joel,

    I tried to make the point without getting into the details of PCA or the differences (which I haven’t figured out yet) in the new mannian statistics.

    I plotted Luterbacher data by itself in a different post
    https://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2008/09/06/luterbachers-contribution/

    Also, looking at the heavy contribution of the european dataset I plotted
    https://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2008/09/10/global-warming-proxies-europe-vs-america/

    Its interesting that the north American data matches the rejected data so well. I think the CA guys are on the right track, not only was the statistical algorithm cherry picked for a hockey stick, the best proxies were chosen to support his pre-conclusions.

  11. heybigboy said

    Thanks so much for posting this important information! I was so taken in by these liberal lies about climate change! Your criticism of the way data is collected from mollusk shells and tree rings really shows how much BS this whole thing is.

    The best part is, now I can ignore all of the really OBVIOUS signs that the world’s climate is changing (like for instance, the total disintegration of polar ice, the thawing of glaciers, the lack of snowfall, etc.) and rest assured that your ten statements about this graph make them absolutely false!

    Thanks so much! (By the way, do you have any advice for how to bury your own head REALLY deep in the sand?) Thanks again.

  12. WhyNot said

    WhyNot reply to George Jetson who probably believes a spaceship will fold into a suitcase…. Well, it is interesting to note that although he blast Jeff’s substantiated results, Jetson has provided none himself to prove his statements. Rather, he regurgitated something he read on MSNBC or CNN or Green Peace etc. Jeff, I guess you stepped on his religion of, “ I can’t think for myself, so therefore I will blindly believe my party line”. You are such a bad boy for trying to make people think for themselves.

    WhyNot point out to “HeyBigBoy” that no where in the blog does any one say that the temperature of the earth is not changing. Any one who would willingly admit the temperature of the earth is a constant belongs in George Jetsons camp. How many times in the last 1M (million) yrs has earth warmed to a point the ice melted and then cooled enough for it to freeze? If you don’t like that number try 10M. The point of the blog is to prove Mann knowingly removed data to advance his political position that the warming of the earth was caused by man. He uses data, that in all likely hood, has absolutely no correlation with temperature and never will. I guess HeyBigBoy missed the point because he was sitting on it.

    WhyNot give an IQ test for people who want to respond? As an absolute minimum, any one who falls upon the Gaussian IQ peak or lower is not allowed to reply. Their time is better suited watching a suitcase turn into a spaceship.

  13. LeeW said

    Heybigboy…

    Who made this a right vs. left thing?? I always thought science was about facts. Now…if the facts aren’t presented in a truthful manner…and you still choose to believe “facts” that do not represent the truth…well…that’s your choice.

    But instead of burying your head in the sand…or drinking anymore kool aid served by Gore, Hansen et al…do a little research on Cognitive Disonance and then look at yourself in the mirror!!

  14. I was having a discussion last year with two friends outside a coffee shop. We were wearing t-shirts and shorts and enjoying a fine day. I was proposing that global warming is real, and they opposed me vehemently.

    I put up point after point, but each was denied. Finally, I said to them, “What date is today?”

    They both sheepishly said, “October 30th.”

    All three of us are old enough to remember when it wasn’t ever possible to sit outside in t-shirts and shorts when it was almost November. This last winter many trees in the Mid-Atlantic region didn’t even shed their leaves until the new ones grew in during Spring.

    The North Pole may completely disappear this year. The Greenland icepack is melting FASTER than the models predict. Permafrost that has sustained Eskimo villages for years is melting to the point that the villages have to move. Hurricanes are at record high levels. Forest fires are so common it’s now called a season in California (not true 40 years ago, folks). There are more droughts in the US than ever before. Kilamanjaro doesn’t have snow on its peak any more.

    The list goes on and on.

    And here we sit arguing about a single graph? Please.

  15. Jeff Id said

    Bad science is bad science my Writer friend.

    The fact that the weather feels warmer than you remember, is no evidence to support that the Earth doesn’t do that all the time. It is even less evidence of man made warming.

    Are you aware of the current downward temperature trend? If not, I suspect this winter you will be!

  16. Rob said

    heybigboy, did you mean the glaciers that have been receding since the mid 1800`s
    http://www.cmiae.org/glacier-lichen.htm
    or the arctic ice that has increased this year, what about the antarctic is that melting. Has the global temperature been rising since 1998, Head in the sand,I should say you certainly have.

  17. Mongo said

    George Jetson……. the Greenland icepack is melting faster than predicted? I don’t know where that data comes from, but it isn’t at all accurate. I point you to Cryosphere, NOAA or NSIDC sites to show you that in fact it isn’t melting the way you may think it is.

    And CO2 from industrialization can’t be the sole reason why the world has “warmed”. Our atmospheric composition puts this gas in the category of “miniscule”, and it’s ability to abosrb light(heat) is limited to just 3 frequencies. Also, as CO2 is heavier than the 2 majority gasses, CO2 naturally falls. The ocean abosrbs quite a lot of it, as does biomass. Maybe you should look at what the world itself does in terms of “producing” CO2 and the other “GHG” dihydrogen oxide…🙂

    heybigboy – as pointed out, glaciers have been retreating, not all of them though, since the end of the LIA. There are many observational records that record this btw. We don’t know what the poles are doing. We seem to have ignored everything before 1979, when we started satellite observations. When it comes to a mere 30 year record of summer time melting, more is at play here than CO2. The PDO/AMO affect this in ways we have yet to being to understand.

    And as for cheap oil? We haven’t imported oil from Iraq in a very long time. M<aybe you should find out where our oil really comes from.
    17.8% from Saudi Arabia
    16.5% from Canada
    12.8% from Venezuela
    12.0% from Mexico
    7.5% from Nigeria

    From http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/contents.html

    As often as those who believe global warmi…er….climate change is not induced by man, and show weather events to support them; those who support AGW claim that you can’t use isolated weather events to suppport that opinion.

    In a nutshell, this data and graph or important because it’s dishonest in it’s underpinnings. If AGW were really occurring, for the reasons stated by the IPCC, then honesty, transparency and honest debate would be treasured above all. To convince a skeptic, you don’t ignore nor silence dissent. That exhibits too much of the symptoms of group think.

    Also, climate models still have not reached a level of skill that is required to actually forecast climate, much less weather. I look to Mann’s previous HS, and it’s virtual rewriting of the climate record by ignoring the MWP. Why was this done, and what was to gain by doing so? Mann has never explained his statistical methods or rationale. I applaud Steve McIntyre for his invaulable work exposing Mann and his manipulations.

    And Jeff? Keep up the good work!

  18. FatBigot said

    In answer to Mr Jetson, Mr BigBoy and Mr Writer:

    It is important to start at the right place. The whole man-made warming argument starts with the reports of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The IPCC’s starting position, paraphrased in a nutshell, is: “The Hockey Stick graph proves an increase in global temperature since industrialisation and that increase is unprecedented over the last 1,000 years.” From there it goes on to examine what caused the increase.

    Everything follows from that initial starting point, namely that global temperatures since about 1850 have reached new heights.

    The problem is that there is substantial evidence that between the years 1050 and 1350 (or thereabouts) global temperatures were higher than they are today. During that period (known as the Medieval Warm Period or MWP) Vikings lived on Greenland in areas now covered by permafrost and grapes were grown in northern Britain. These facts are provable from contemporaneous records. That means that current temperatures are not unprecedented.

    The Hockey Stick does not reflect the MWP, so an investigation was undertaken into how the Hockey Stick came about. And that is what Mr Id has summarised.

    Whether human production of carbon dioxide makes a significant contribution to global temperature is a separate issue. But if the theory that human activity warms the planet relies on the Hockey Stick Graph being correct, that theory must be reexamined when the Hockey Stick is shown to be incorrect.

    The theory might still be right (I don’t know one way or the other) but if it is right it must be based on sound evidence not on a temperature graph which is inconsistent with observed facts. It must also explain how the MWP came about despite man not spewing millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the air every year. Something must have caused it, so the question is whether the same thing has caused the rise in average temperatures since 1850.

    Any number of warm Octobers do not tell us anything about what caused them. What we do know is that the only theory blaming it on industrial activity seems to start from the wrong place.

  19. Bibes said

    I note that two posters here who ridicule the anti AGW arguments have come up with some rather interesting “facts” that simply are not true and are typical the pro AGW fundamentalism.

    These are:

    1. The North Pole may completely disappear this year. – Er… no it won’t

    2 Hurricanes are at record high levels. – No they are not

    3 Kilimanjaro doesn’t have snow on its peak any more. – Yes it does. It’s just that it had 12.5 sq miles of it 100 years ago and now has only 1.5 sq miles. The decline in the mountain’s ice has been happening for more than 100 years, with the majority occurring before 1953. This decline is nothing to do with global warming. It is because of deforestation in the area.

    4 The total disintegration of polar ice – no it is not.

    Officially, the “little ice age ended around 1880 and the world has been warming since then.

    It may well be that Human activity is contributing to global Warming but it is not proven and evidence does not justify the hysteria.

  20. heybigboy said

    Hey… umm, “Fatbigot” and all of the rest of you geniuses,

    Since you seem to like to think that you are making rational arguments here, lets start with 1: instead of ‘paraphrasing in a nutshell’ sophisticated scientific arguments, lets look at your argument. You claim that the ‘hockey stick’ graph does not reflect the MWP. Great! Except that it does! Just look at it! Hovering between 900 and 1500? There it is! Since you all seem to believe in the MWP and the data from tree rings and mollusks actually tells us that there was a MWP then doesn’t it mean that several of the ten points listed above are nonsense?

    Ready to be convinced! Let me have it with the full scope of your profound wisdom.

    HBB

  21. Shane Harris said

    So, let’s pretend that this is all true: what is the conclusion you make by it? Cancerous consumerism benefits humanity? Designing waste into products is GOOD for us?

    Get real. It’s like saying that because urine is an antiseptic you should pee in your breakfast cereal.

  22. FabioC. said

    Heybigboy,

    If you look closely at the graph, you will notice that the thin blue line marked “Mann and Jones (2003)” does not show much of a MWP if any. Also, the thick black and green lines with uncertainty shading terminate in 1850 but do not reach present.

    Shane Harris,

    I don’t see anyone here saying that wasteful consumerism is a good thing. The claims made by the blog author are much more narrow and specific.

  23. Luke Warmer said

    Guys – great site – I think Heybigboy is missing the point about the HS and MWP – you’ve used one of the latest versions on the top of the page rather than the original which had a flat shaft and then curved up hence the HS bit.

    If you put that picture up, along with the CO2 level graph originally used by IPCC (their exptrapolation of the Keeling Curve) you can show Heybigboy and the others who can’t seem to examine facts exactly why the HS was so powerful. It will also really confuse Heybigboy and the others if you point out the as well as MWP, there was also a Roman Climate Optimum (RCO) an Minoan CO and a Holocene CO. Finally, they’ll explode if you dare to point out that “pre pre-industrial temperatures” have been higher.

    Keep up the good work

  24. Al Gore's smarter brother said

    It would seem from the responses from the Believers that AGW is now a religion, and this site has sinned by dissing the EcoChrist, His apostle Mann and the holy sacrament , Hockey Stick.

  25. heybigboy said

    Hi again!

    I just wanted to repeat my previous question, since nobody seems to have quite understood it. Several of the AGW critics on here (Mongo, Fatbigot, FabioC) seem to believe in the MWP? Ask yourselves, how do we know about the MWP? We know about it because of the very indicators (“proxies”) that the list of ten points above (which the same people apparently approve of) challenge as “untested” (they are basically completely dismissed as unscientific.) So which one is it? Do you think that we do know something about historical climates, that proxies are valid scientific indicators of climate? If so, then you must also acknowledge that the arguments stated in the list of ten points are false. If, on the other hand, you agree with all ten points above, and you don’ think that its possible to know anything about historical climate before modern record-keeping practices, then you must stop talking about MWP, because it is a completely unscientific hypothesis. One or the other.

    Some more food for thought? Anybody know what coincided with the rising temperatures that followed the end of the Carolingian empire in northern Europe?

    Population explosion and catastrophic deforestation, thats what.

    You didn’t think all those castles and cathedrals which were built after 1000 just built themselves, did you?

    Bye! I look forward to hearing from you!

  26. jeff id said

    Heybigboy,

    I cant speak about others opinions those guys, but trees are terrible thermometers. Craig Loehle has published several papers on this subject which are quite understandable. While they do respond to temp they are unequivocally non-linear. When I think about tree ring widths getting ever wider in ever hotter temps it becomes very clear that there is a limit to the tree biology response.

    I thought the MWP came from historic writing evidence more than tree rings.

    I also have serious doubts that human population could have altered temp at any time in prior history simply due to population limitation. My opinion is external drivers are at work which create these variations.

  27. MrPete said

    Heybigboy,

    We have a lot more data to go on than proxies.

    Historical records tell us it was quite warm 1000 years ago.
    So does the land. If we find a WMP village emerging from under an ice sheet, what’s that tell us? Most would accept that just maybe we are only now beginning to see climate as warm as when the village thrived.

    The point that needs to be emphasized over and over: the question is NOT whether it is warming today. The question is whether today’s climate is historically unusual.

    If today’s climate is historically unusual, and can be linked to man’s activities, then just maybe we can do something about it. [And we need a much better grasp of the facts to ensure our actions will help rather than hurt!]

    If today’s climate is within the realm of normal variation, then there’s a very good chance that we need to focus on coping with climate change rather than trying to control it.

  28. buy cheap proxies…

    […]Ten Things Everyone Should Know About the Global Warming Hockey Stick « the Air Vent[…]…

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