the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Global Warming Takes a Shot in the Globes

Posted by Jeff Id on September 12, 2008

After a decade of wrecking Michael Mann’s preeminent papers which defined the hockey stick, Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick got a bit of help this week. After his first hockey stick paper was made famous, McIntyre and McKitrick diligently worked for years to discredit what was obviously a scientifically invalid paper. The hockey stick was made famous first by the UN IPCC and then more so by Al Gore. … with unintentional support from Wayne Gretsky and Steve Yzerman.

After years of diligent work which was overly detailed by necessity. Steve and Ross got their due and science in general recognized that the original global warming hockey stick was badly flawed. The United Nations Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC), the big dog in the world on man made global warming, needed the hockey stick to continue its dominance of the news and more importantly government policy.

The hockey stick is the primary document which demonstrates clearly that temperature was much lower before the world was industrialized. This is the cornerstone of the UN IPCC policy. Without evidence that the earth is hotter than ever before, they cannot (easily) insist man has clearly heated the earth by CO2.  Therefore no government policy changes are necessary to modify population behavior and no IPCC is required.

In an amazing and truly uninspired resurrection, the hockey stick came back. (for details read this) It was right before the IPCC fourth report was issued. After repeated rejections by major climate magazines for obvious failures in statistical science, Mann got it published in partial form, the remainder to be published on the internet. The IPCC ate it up, accepting the document well after the deadline for papers to be accepted. As is all bad science, the paper was destroyed again, after the fact. It took until months later when the complete document was released, the holes were large and again it was killed. Of course it was after the UN IPCC made its recommendations regarding Kyoto and world emissions.

Recently Mann and his groupies issued another paper, using different data and the similar flawed algorithms to make a hockey stick. This time they used coral, mollusks, ice and a variety of weird unlikely measurements, again their sophisticated algorithms picked out a hockey stick from the random looking data.

Then the unthinkable happened!!

On September 9 another major statistician Ian Jolliffe who is probably THE expert on the statistical methods used to make the hockey stick refuted the original paper’s modified statistical method. He bashed the very same statistic techniques that skeptics like McIntyre have been saying are flawed.  For years McIntyre and freinds have been demonstrating the flaws, providing calculations and endless examples of the flaws, and now really are independently confirmed by another leading statistician to be actually,…. truly FLAWED!!

This is what he said in reference to the very old hockey stick reconstructions.

Indeed I had not understood what MBH had done until a few months ago.

MBH is the Mann paper, and he added another section in reference to the hockey stick.

There are an awful lot of red herrings, and a fair amount of bluster, out there in the discussion I’ve seen, but my main concern is that I don’t know how to interpret the results when such a strange centring is used? Does anyone? What are you optimising? A peculiar mixture of means and variances?

He is saying, this math doesn’t mean anything to him.  Later he points out, as many good scientists are forced to.

I am by no means a climate change denier.

Does anyone remember what happened to Galleleo when he decided the earth was not the center of the universe??!

The full link to his text is HERE.

Inside this blog thread, is where Ian Jolliffe decided to reveal his discontent. This blog was in the process of refuting Wegmann a hugely prominent statistician who also disagrees with the statistics behind the hockey stick.

With a second, hugely prominent, statistician in full agreement with the ‘deniers’, the latest hockey stick again is on its way to doom. Realistically McIntyre and McKitrick are not deniers, but they are treated as such. Bad science is bad science and it will always corrode and evaporate in history.

False, science like the hockey stick, as sure as the science which said the sun revolves around the earth will also die in history, yet similarly to Galileo the damage it can do in the present is immense.

Comments welcomed.

As an additional note, I think the best way to call attention to this very important news is to make sure people read this article.  I get nothing from it.  If the number of clicks goes high enough it will be noticed by  wordpress and placed at the top of the blog queue on the main page.  Then maybe the media will notice and make this news (not this article) mainstream. Open and close the document, add comments we need to make some noise about this major event.

We made it to number 87 for wordpress top posts.  From my other post

Ten Things Everyone Should Know About the Global Warming Hockey Stick

Which also made the top 100 from 4,111,762 blogs  I realize now that comments weigh heavily in the calculation.  I want to thank everyone for their support, there are new readers now constantly clicking on this link.  This story is not small news, and despite the lack of national press, it is getting out.

Really not bad considering that The Air Vent is only 5 weeks old.

I’ve got something good in the works, if it pans out the next couple of days could be interesting.

16 Responses to “Global Warming Takes a Shot in the Globes”

  1. old construction worker said

    I suggest you email your representatives.That’s what I’m doing.

  2. Smokey said

    You provide a great suggestion regarding emailing our Representatives on this issue. To make it really easy, here’s a link to their email addresses: click

    Since not one in a million constituents ever email Congress, any opinion sent to your Representative is magnified X1-million.

    Go for it! A few words in the interest of truth vs globaloney means a lot.

  3. Henry Galt said

    Thanks Jeff. It is nice to know that when you smell fish it really is fish that is under one’s nose.

    Now all we need are a paper on CO2 that disproves the supposed link with temps and another on how much is good for the biosphere.

    Whilst wishing; a paper on the atmospheric lifetime of CO2 (variants) would be ecstasy.

    (Ctrl + f5 does the total refresh trick)

  4. LeeW said


    I was reading on Anthony Watts’ blog that there is a new study that calls into question the validity of using C13/C12 isotopes in generating past carbon reconstructions. If the study holds up, it will invalidate a majority of the work done in the past with repsect to carbon and CO2. To quote the authors, “…some of the widely-held ideas regarding the elevation of CO2 during specific periods of the Earth’s geological history will have to be adjusted.”

    This paper could be a milestone in that the entire argument for AGW rests upon the wideheld notion that CO2 levels had remained fairly constant for at least the past two millenia. Beck cast the first salvo when he recompiled wet method CO2 data from the mid 19th century to the mid 20th century and showed that these readings varied wildly by location. Remember, he did nothing more than recompile existing data that used a method that is considered accurate (I am sure that this is up for debate) to within about 3%. And as further evidence, these wet method readings when compared to similar readings from similar time periods using the the now accepted methods developed by Keeling were within the accepted error range.

    If it can be shown that CO2 was more variable in the atmosphere prior to industrialization, the entire argument for AGW collapses like a house of cards. As a final point, I would not describe myself as a denier, but someone who believe that many drivers (factors) are at play, and that CO2 is relatively minor among them.

  5. Derek said

    Doing a bit to help.

  6. Ceyda said

    Great article and doing my bit too.

  7. CO2nonsense said

    Doing my part! Fantastic article.

  8. bi -- IJI said

    Jeff Id, can you explain the “flaw” supposedly discovered by Jolliffe in your own words?

    — bi, International Journal of Inactivism

  9. Jeff Id said

    The methodology in paleoclimatology is unlike any science I am familiar with. Instead of taking a hypothesis, such as tree rings get bigger with temp and doing physical experiments to find out if it is true, the scientists use statistics to show “correlation”. i.e. — If the data correlates it must be temperature. Mann et al. claim that by running their process they can keep a percentage of the data and show from the remainder that it “correlates” to temperature. They then claim that the data is not random because the percentage they retain is higher than would be retained with truly random data.

    There are many problems with that conclusion
    1. Truly random data is not smoothed by natural processes, if you don’t account for low frequency you are going to accept more data than a random set would
    2. The statistical method used to accept the data was incorrectly applied. Ian Jolliffe’s point. A proponent of AGW and master of the PCA used to generate the original hockey stick.
    3. The original data is easily manipulated by beginning the sort with specific series and rejecting others for subjective reasons. This is a huge point that is very difficult to demonstrate to the scientific world but has been a problem with paleoclimatology in the past.

    Statistics, as we know, is an easily misunderstood science. If paleoclimatology is so sure that tree rings and mollusks are the indicators of temperature. They should be working to calibrate the response by experiment, rather than work through the back door.

    AGW could still be true but bad science is bad science.

    How can we accept that tree rings and mollusk shells are capable of reconstructing history based on these awful techniques. If they do, it needs to be demonstrated by more reliable, less manipulable and less obtuse techniques.

    I guess to answer your question #8 — Yes

  10. Keep it up. If you want to pass things around, pass around Monckton’s latest on the Hockey Stick – a classic like Bishop Hill. I hope Watts Up and CA take a look at it too.

    fwiw, have a look at my skeptics’ primer (hyperlinked via my name)especially the section “CO2 follows temp” where I’ve got all the best together (says I as a relative newcomer!)

  11. frankbi said

    The statistical method used to accept the data was incorrectly applied.

    Anyone who knows about McIntyre’s ‘arguments’ could’ve regurgitated this talking point.

    The original data is easily manipulated by beginning the sort with specific series and rejecting others for subjective reasons. This is a huge point that is very difficult to demonstrate

    I call bollocks on this. You can easily demonstrate cherry-picking by exhibiting series which were rejected, and showing why they should’ve been included, and how they’ll affect the final result. But you didn’t. You just asserted wrongdoing without showing it.

    tree rings

    Have you read the latest Mann et al. paper?

    — bi, International Journal of Inactivism

  12. Patrick Hadley said

    Thanks for all the work you are doing Jeff. On Tamino’s site you have invited Ian Jolliffe to confirm that he was a reviewer of MM04. Now Jolliffe has said that is only in the last few months that he actually looked at MBH98 in enough detail to understand what they had done.

    If you are right then it seems rather odd that Jolliffe considered himself able to review of MM04, which was essentially a critique of MBH98. Presumably if he were the reviewer he would have been rather more informed about it. The comments you quote could have been made by any reviewer of the papers and are not necessarily those of Jolliffe. In any cast I think Tamino is right about confidentiality.

    However I think that you are doing some very useful work. I wonder if for an exercise you were to take all the proxy data, throw away from each proxy everything dated after 1900, and then add 100 years to the date, so that proxies from 1850 are compared with the temperature record in 1950. Looking at the flash animations there seem to be some that do show rises during the nineteeth century. If one were to follow Mann’s method to pick out those proxies as having a “true signal” and therefore worthy of more weight than the rest and then repeating the rest of Mann’s work would we get another hockey stick?

  13. Jeff Id said

    Frankbi, #11

    ” The statistical method used to accept the data was incorrectly applied.”

    “Anyone who knows about McIntyre’s ‘arguments’ could’ve regurgitated this talking point.”

    You can also find the same assertion on several statistical websites, Ian Jolliffe, Wegmann, and number of others. For me, it was the smoothing through natural and then algorithmic processes which clearly de-randomized the data that I first noticed. I invite you look at some of the plots on this blog, which I made myself that clearly show the selection bias for the data. There was a strong preference given to Luterbacher series over all others. Luterbacher doesn’t appear to be a true proxy as it contains temperature data. (I haven’t gotten around to reading Luterbacher yet). If that is true it would artificially inflate the percentage accepted (in the latest paper) When you plot north america against the rejected data, they are a nearly perfect match.

    All of these plots are from the latest Mann paper.

    As to your bullocks, there were many series which show a much stronger MWP that weren’t even considered. It appears that Mann could have doubled his initial proxy set but instead he chose these.

  14. glen martin said

    Didn’t the ‘climate scientists’ used to claim the Medieval Warming Period was a local phenomenon limited to Europe. Looking at your graphs in one of your previous posts ( ) Mann’s data seem to indicate a Medieval Cooling period instead. WTF?

  15. Jeff Id said

    Glen Maritin

    I answered on the linked thread.

  16. bobnifty said

    Great work.

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