the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Ludicrous

Posted by Jeff Id on August 2, 2011

I’ve got a new computer today which allows blogging at twice the normal rate. It’s nothing fancy but a heck of  a lot better than a laptop with a dead keyboard.  Yup, I typed the old laptop completely to death!  Flat, shiny,non-working, keys and finally a dead screen.  All of which which forced me to blog away from the livingroom and the family. Therefore, even less blogging.

It has been a crazy past week though with Mann being honored yet again along with completely insane people that would require me to decline the association.  Then the most oppressive socialist UN countries were demanding giving human rights to the planet, yet no demands for actual humans.  Don’t forget science magazine, in a fit of impressive misdirection, claiming climategate was about CRU temperature data, and CRU claiming that the release of data pulls the rug out of skeptics. I suppose that is directed to evil skeptic bloggers like me who post higher temp trends than CRU.

What’s to write about though. A ton of interesting things are out there but it is the Air Vent and I’m not really happy with a small corner of blogland. Dr. Jim Bouldin claimed that I don’t know what I’m talking about regarding Mann08, not that interesting except that he apparently is planning on publishing in paleoscience.  As is typical in climate science, he seems to have not one specific point regarding my misunderstandings.

Blogging at the Air Vent is a far more collaborative effort than many scientists grasp. Many of the regular readers here are more skilled than I in some of the topics discussed. That is what makes this blog a little different. We’ve done a lot of cool stuff through error, correction and expansion. Certainly Dr. Bouldin hasn’t figured the dynamic here out yet.

remember Jeff C (different one), jumping in and helping with the early Steig analysis. It is amazing that our very earliest work was able to correct Steig’s continental trends from a simple understanding of PCA and regression. Regarding O10 or S09, does anyone wonder which “published” paper will receive more references from today to the future? One of them is correct, the other is not. And despite the elegance of the Ryan/Nic solution, I still prefer the simple for regional trend. Of course, the simple is an excellent match to our O10 results but despite several emails, the press was MIA.

So recently, I left several comments at Barts and even a blog post for Jim Bouldin on M08. They were required in reply to his indecipherable critiques left at Bart Verheggens blog:

I note also that Jeff ID states in the thread you mentioned: “Even though I am certain this is one hundred percent correct, this changes little about the climate story. What it does do is make one wonder how math skilled individuals still refuse to acknowledge it.”

Well Jeff, maybe because it’s perhaps, patently wrong?

In fairness, maybe the misunderstanding is because Jim is not math skilled? I hope so because we don’t know what training he’s had after all, but we do know that he is incorrect on a number of matters.

Here is a previous paragraph from the same comment which to my mind is painfully misdirected:

In short, the probability of getting 484 sites that pass the p < .128 screening by chance, is very small, and his argument is utterly wrong. The only way it could be true is if somehow the temp-ring relationship magically arose in 1850 but didn’t exist beforehand, which of course is ludicrous.

The reason it ticks me off is that I’ve spent literally weeks demonstrating that the correlations happen completely without magic.  I’ve slashed and bashed at it a dozen different ways with apparently no result to the truly smart people’s minds.  In fairness, climate mathmagic was employed more than once in M08 but certainly not Harry Potter style magic as the Doc apparently implied.

What should we do though when the Doc writes this:

“Jim, If you ‘expect to publish’, I wonder if you would mind addressing my more poignant and relevent critiques.”

Sure Jeff, point me to the journal article(s) in which you have shown that the use of the correlation between two variables over the common interval, to predict the values of one of the two over the non-common interval, is now null and void, and I’ll see what I can do. As I said above, this is quite a profound finding that affects a very wide range of fields in science, so it would seemingly be suitable for at least one article in Nature or Science, wouldn’t you say?

And good to see that you have a high opinion of your work, that should help.

I don’t know what to say to him at this point.  He has clearly not followed the problems or the discussion here and the challenge he made to point to my publication in a field I’m not paid to publish in is weak fodder. Exceptionally so after Steig’s Antarctic paper.   It costs money to publish in climate and that is the cheap part. Then there is the time, self centered reviews and flat gatekeeping that those without the right names and conclusions must suffer.  I am running a growing company and do have a family life after all.

My work ain’t all that, but I guarantee it comes to a more reliable conclusion of M08 proxy data than Bouldin did. NO DISCERNABLE SIGNAL doc. Estimates of potential historic signal repression of valid proxies are in the 60-90% range, but thus far unrefuted statistical analyses put it at under 10% signal to noise.

Yup, its frustrating. So why did I bring up Steig’s rebuttal? You remember, the Steig Antarctic Doom paper on the cover of Nature with bright red colors and dozens of melting ice news articles? Because even after the work is proven incorrect beyond any doubt in a top climate journal, there is still little to be said by the pros.

Mann 08 is such an astoundingly bad, obviously incorrect paper, it is difficult to find a comparison. It is so incredibly bad that seeing an alleged scientist support it that it leaves me sick to my stomach thinking that popular science has gone this wrong.

—-

How does it happen that M08 passes484 proxies by accident when far less were anticipated? – Look at the autocorrelation of the ACTUAL proxies doc, let us know if they are even close to the estimation of 08!

Duh!  Why would anyone do that Jeff?

Finally, there are several claims the doc made of my opinions which do not represent my understandings.  If you are reading this and have read his interpretation, please refer to my own posts for the correct version.

31 Responses to “Ludicrous”

  1. Jeff, you are dealing with skilled propaganda artists.

    They learned over the past thirty-nine (39 = 2011-1972) years how to spout propaganda to get more research funds from the corrupt government leaders and their paid associates.

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10640850/20110722_Climategate_Roots.doc

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10640850/20110722_Climategate_Roots.pdf

    Events that produced Climategate started forty-nine (49) years ago, on the week of February 21-28, 1972, and involved one of the main characters in Watergate, President Richard Milhous Nixon:

    As a result of secret agreements made with Chinese leaders in the “week that changed the world” (RMN’s own words), new discoveries about the origin, composition and source of energy of the Earth-Sun system have been ignored, hidden or manipulated by the US National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society, and the federal research agencies they control since 1972.

    This paper in press and references cited there tell the rest of the sad tale [“Neutron Repulsion”, The APEIRON Journal, in press, 19 pages (2011)]

    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1102.1499v1

    With deep regrets,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  2. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    Jeff,
    The whole concept of selecting and weighting a small fraction of curves out of a spaghetti bowl of potential “proxy” curves, with no constraints of any type on that weighting, is just nuts. If Jim Bouldin can’t quickly appreciate the serious short comings in the methodology in Mann08, then it seems unlikely you will ever convince him. It also speaks rather poorly of his feel for science; I don’t know what he studied, but I’m guessing it was something pretty ‘fluffy’, maybe ecosystems or the like. You can be certain it wasn’t chemistry, physics, or engineering… you know, a field where there is a solid theoretical foundation.

  3. TimTheToolMan said

    There is more than one way to analyse data. From skeptic’s publically transparent re-analyses, it seems to me that Mann always chooses to analyse the data in such a way as to emphasise warming results. Consequently Mann’s work is biased and should always be considered to be “worst case”

  4. timetochooseagain said

    In essence, Jim takes Mann’s claims in his paper for granted. People who have actually gone and checked the work are greeted with intense incredulity, but complete and utter faith is put in Mann that he didn’t botch his stats.

    I must confess personally to not understanding the persistence of the “regression” approach to reconstructing past temperature variations. There is far to much opportunity to get spurious correlations, to get totally bogus fits, and to get a false, biased signal out of noisy data. Many of the problems with these approaches are so intuitively obvious-at least to me-that my reaction to seeing it shown mathematically here was, “of course!” but bizarrely the Team and Defenders reaction is “no that can’t be right!” I think it is long past time to abandon the regression approach to reconstruction. Considering how bad it is, it will be trivial to come up with something better. Spatially weighted averages make sense to me, although the only real problem with that is the small amount of data actually available. And of course, one would wish to determine with some confidence that the proxies actually can represent the temperature variations reliably. This should be done in a theoretical framework and if possible with some experiments or measurements-simple regression is not the way to do this.

    One problem I think is that individual proxy records used in these “multiproxy” studies are often unavailable in convenient databases for the public to carry out it’s own examination of the data, and many more proxy studies never seem to make their data available anywhere, which not only means one cannot check the work of these various studies, it also means that many of these multi- proxy studies are the exclusive provenance of the community that can easily get access to vast amounts of data-and even those in the community only seem to get their hands on so much of it (how do they choose what data to start with anyway?). There are literally thousands of studies out there claiming to reconstruct climate in various parts of the world. This should mean tens of thousands of series useable to construct global estimates. Mann claims to have started with about twelve hundred. By my reckoning this is much more data than were accessible at any one place, but much less than the amount of data that exists out there somewhere. I apologize for venting about this, but I really just want to know why it isn’t easier to find these vast quantities of information.

  5. Jeff,

    Let me show an example of the way skilled propaganda artists works to protect official dogma from experimental data.

    1. Earth’s heat source is a steady H-fusion reactor (Secretly adopted dogma on Feb 21-28, 1972)

    AGW dogma and the Standard Solar Model have since withstood experimental findings that showed:

    a.) Severely mass-fractionated isotopes in the solar wind and a solar interior of Fe, O, Ni, Si, S, Mg and Ca:

    http://tinyurl.com/224kz4

    b.) Neutron capture cross-sections and photospheric abundances of s-products confirm a.)

    http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2005/pdf/1033.pdf

    c.) He-burning cross-sections and photospheric abundances of C and O confirm a.)

    http://www.omatumr.com/abstracts2005/Oxygen_to_Carbon_Ratio.pdf

    d.) Xe isotopes in Jupiter that confirm severe solar mass fractionation and a.)

    http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/metsoc98/pdf/5011.pdf

    e.) Wind spacecraft measurements on a solar flare that confirm severe solar mass fractionation and a.)

    http://epact2.gsfc.nasa.gov/don/00HiZ.pdf

    f.) Too few solar neutrinos for AGW and Standard Solar Model.

    http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0410460

    Etc., etc.

    The SSM and AGW are still accepted as scientific facts, although both were falsified by experimental observations.

    Regretfully,
    Oliver

  6. Jeff Id said

    Steve,

    I find it hard to disagree with your comment as it literally took me seconds once I grasped the process. After that was hours and even days of ‘I can’t believe they have the guts’ followed now by years of ‘holy crap people are actually still selling it’. I’ve told other mathematically inclined non-readers about the CPS process and my biggest hurdle is that they think I’m misunderstanding the paper because nobody would do that. It is a crazy world when allegedly prestigious journals could post tripe like CPS proxy smashmatics as ‘science’.

  7. Jeff Id said

    TTCA,

    There is far to much opportunity to get spurious correlations, to get totally bogus fits, and to get a false, biased signal out of noisy data.

    It is actually a propensity more than an opportunity. If you look at how a multiple univariate regression will select preferential noise or in a multivariate regression you get individual series with randomly canceling noise with a probability of averaging to preferential, there really is very little probability of not amplifying the calibration range of an increasing signal.

    A mouthful, but I tried to word it accurately.

  8. timetochooseagain said

    7-Heh, yes, by “opportunity” I was implying something a little different than I quite intended. What I mean is that even without the math or the specifics of the method, spurious correlation and regression is always a concern, which climate science seems to care little about. With the math one can indeed clearly see (and with knowledge of the method, one can predict, I think) that there is not just a risk of spurious fits, they are pretty much promised. Tiljander and Bristlecones have always been the best examples of obvious junk correlations, but the method pretty much fishes for any it can find.

  9. Layman Lurker said

    I thought it was kind of funny when you pointed out Jims comment when he claimed that autocorrelation would reduce the chance correlations in screening (because supposedly autocorrelation causes a higher “adjusted” r value – wtf?).

  10. Chuckles said

    Jeff,

    Are you not perhaps aiming too high here? It seems to me that in our ‘enlightened’ 21st century, getting the right ‘p’ or ‘r’ value is the entire and only point of the exercise?
    Much of the output of epidemiology which makes it’s way into our daily papers seems to follow this model, why should climate studies be much different?

    Alternately, there is the equally seductive belief that since we already KNOW the right answer, our research reduces to finding anything at all that confirms it.
    Such data is naturally, by definition, also ‘right’.

    Truly, there is no ‘there’, there.

  11. Frank K. said

    “It is a crazy world when allegedly prestigious journals could post tripe like CPS proxy smashmatics as science.”

    My opinion of this craziness is that 99% of the population could care less what a supposedly prestigious journal says about climate proxies, except that (1) millions of dollars of public money are supporting these clowns, and (2) foolish public policy decisions are being made based upon this “science” (e.g. declaring CO2 a “pollutant”!!). And because of (2), we have “scientists” advocating extreme measures to control our lives in order to “save the planet” (e.g. Jim Hansen and his cadre of climate elites).

    Fortunately, since we in the U.S. (and Europe) have run out of public money (the climate industry have spent their stimulus cash by now), I expect that we’ll be seeing a big decline in the climate “science” press releases as their funding runs out…

  12. Denier said

    #2 Steve Fitzgerald

    A botanist, who clearly finds the title (or the subject) too ‘girly’ and thus styles himself a ‘plant biologist’, with pretensions to being (oh, be still my beating heart) an ‘ecologist’.

    Also a professional troll, who is seen commenting on numerous skeptik sites – clearly botany/plant biology/ecology are not enough to occupy his day!

  13. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    #12,
    Fitzgerald? No, Steve Fitzpatrick

  14. Carrick said

    I’m always left with the conclusion, the lot of these guys can use some help from professional statisticians. That isn’t the end game, because for a statistician to really help them, they have to explain the data to him honestly and accurately. You can’t model things you don’t know.

  15. Anonymous said

    Jeff,

    You noted that Steig’s study will doubtless continue to be cited. Mann’s work has become the zombie that cannot be killed. I’m curious about the status of Rahmstorf’s “worse than we thought” mess. It was so bad, I don’t recall any alarmist trolls trying very hard to breathe life back into it when Lucia, Briggs and others were laughing so hard at it — not even Nick Stokes (but my memory might be wrong).

    Rahmstorf still seems to be regarded as a big dog in the climate science kennel (or would it be more accurate to say he’s a big caterpillar in the climate science cocoon?). Is there any ackowledgement among the alarmists that the work is a mess? Has his reputation (and that of his co-authors) suffered at all?

    I think I read somewhere that his “worse than we thought” study was the second most referenced scientific study in the world in the news media (behind the hockey stick). I’m curious if science, which is supposed to be self-correcting, has any corrective mechanism at all. One might think that surely a study that bad would be one which would trigger some corrective action. If not, the mechanism is likely broken for climate science. And that would certainly be instructive.

  16. Black Sabbath said

    “a crazy past week though with Mann being honored yet again along with completely insane people that would require me to decline the association.”

    If there’s one thing the Left does well is to give themselves awards for anything and everything. This is done to make them seem smarter than they are and also to move money in their direction.

  17. AMac said

    Google Scholar shows ~190 citations for Mann08. That includes one or two dozen search-algorithm artifacts, making the real count 170 or so. That’s pretty darn impressive, though not surprising — given that PNAS is the fifth-highest-impact journal in science, by one measure.

    Sometimes I wonder whether paleoclimate reconstructions matter. After all, the sensitivity of the climate to rising CO2 isn’t being directly estimated via these backward-looking exercises. It’s the forward-looking GCMs and other models that provide these estimates. The relevant history is the instrumental temperrature record, from weather stations and, more recently, satellite data.

    But — the satellite time series have their own controversies, concerning things like orbital decay, measurement stability, and calibration. Climate sensitivity is not constrained by the last two decades of imperfect satellite data, but rather the paleoclimate record.

    Actually, I’m not so sure of that last point. It was a quote. “Climate sensitivity is not constrained by the last two decades of imperfect satellite data, but rather the paleoclimate record.

    So it seems that many knowledgeable people agree: studies such as Mann08 do matter.

  18. Kenneth Fritsch said

    Jeff ID, I am sure you must get tired of my continuing advice on responding to some of your less than completely informed critics, but I think you need only respond to substantive comments. There are evidently a lot of defenders of climate science out there who have not done, or do not have the necessary technical skills to do, a thorough analysis of some of these climate science papers. Some of these defenders, I think, have a blind faith, in climate scientists who provide evidence that supports their world view with regards to AGW. Obviously, those defenders are going to side with the scientists in the field against an amateur, like yourself, and primarily ignore your findings and analyses regardless of their technical worth. A defender could, on the other hand, raise a point that might have been missed in an analysis and one that needs to considered or reconsidered, and thus all defenders statements cannot be ignored out of hand.

    Even a long time layperson skeptic like myself can be very surprised by the weaknesses revealed in papers like Mann (08) by my own simple analysis. I think a major part of the problem of defending these weak papers by lay and professional defenders is that these people are confident that the end argument is correct and therefore these papers are more a reaffirmation of the obvious than they are stand alone documents that are to be judged/defended on that basis.

    There is also another common thread running through these papers and the defenses of them and that is, in my view, a very poor understanding of the proper way of selecting proxies for temperature reconstructions that avoids the statistical consequences of cherry picking and in-sample versus out-of-sample testing. This aspect does not surprise me as I have had experience with people in other fields who are otherwise very intelligent people, but do not seem to be able to understand these concepts.

  19. timetochooseagain said

    17-In fairness, the “paleoclimate record” claimed to constrain the sensitivity is not the Hockey Stick, rather it is the glacial interglacial cycles which are generally referenced for this “proof”. There are a number of problems with this approach, too, however.

  20. David JP said

    Jeff,

    I think Kenneth in #18 has it about right. Let me add that when you respond to the Jim Bouldins of the world, you may not actually be responding to them directly.

    But you are commenting to everyone else who is trying to pay attention to the content of the discussion. And who are also trying to ignore the tribal/cultural/human weaknesses that inhibit knowledge and understanding. Jim Bouldin’s response may end up being useful for what it lacks in content, and you must rely on other readers to recognize that.

    Like you I’m surprised that science, as a structured study of how this universe works (and doesn’t work), isn’t as mature as we once thought (or hoped). But accept that truth, and continue to interact with other people to make the future better than the past.

  21. Carrick said

    Amac, google scholar cannot be trusted to give an accurate citation count. I have a paper that has probably over 1000 citations, and it shows less than 400. It also references papers that are in the past, WTF.

    The age of the paper probably counts, because google is relying on (I believe) computer readable files. In many cases (Physical Review), journal articles are still just scanned in, rather than being text-searchable.

    PNAS has nearly a nearly zero impact by my personal measure. I don’t trust the peer-review process in that journal. I’ll still read articles published there, I just keep in mind the vetting process (usually) isn’t very solid.

  22. Hubs1 said

    Re: Carrick (Aug 3 14:30),

    > It also references papers that are in the past

    Is your field string physics, or something like that? 🙂

    More seriously, is there a readily-accessed tool like the old paper Science Citation Index that gives a count for the number of times a paper has been referenced?

  23. Patagon said

    Hubs1, the best resource might be Web of Science, http://thomsonreuters.com/products_services/science/science_products/a-z/web_of_science/ , but it’s quite expensive. Besides Reuters has taken sides on this debate, so who knows how reliable it is

  24. PaulM said

    In fact Google scholar overestimates the number of citations relative to Web of Science.
    In Carrick’s case Google says about 400, WoS says about 300.
    Similarly my most cited is a bit under 300 (google) and 200 (WoS).
    So Google scholar is not a bad indicator.
    However, citations can be misleading – for example if you write a controversial paper (as Carrick did) it will get a lot of citations.
    I hasten to add I am making no link between the quality of Carrick’s work (proper physics) and Mann’s (meaningless manipulation of numbers)!

  25. PaulM said

    If you look through towards the end of the 190 google scholar ‘citations’ of Mann et al 2008 you will find all sorts of crap – Tingley’s comment on McShane & Wyner (which does not even cite Mann), a web page from the “Institute for creation research”, a Copenhagen Diagnosis Report, Ben Santer’s House Testimony, some guy’s lecture notes, …
    In case anyone cares, there are 106 citations according to Web of Science and 122 according to the slightly broader Web of Knowledge.
    So again you need to bring the google scholar number down to about 2/3.

  26. page488 said

    Oliver Manuel (comment #’s 1 & 5) is right on.

    When I first got interested in AGW, I read everything I could find, new and old – even reviewed physics, chemistry and the appropriate biological sciences (mainly botany – ugh). I even re-learned, with Jeff’s help, some statistics. I found, and am still finding, that AGW scientific/statistical work has been attacked effectively from all sorts of scientific & statistical directions, and the AGW crowd loses every time.

    However, the science does not matter to them; their sole argument against skeptics is and has always been “you’re not a scientist” or “you haven’t been peer reviewed” or “you haven’t been published in this or that journal” and who knows what all else. At no time do they, or will they, address actual criticism of their science (whatever the flaws may be).

    Why should they? The AGW crowd is not interested in any kind of scientific truth; they’re solely interested in the politics pushed by the UN, the eco-nuts, and the current administration. Oh, and they are also extremely interested in major-major funding (let’s not forget the driving force of money) – and with the correct political view they get their money and power in spades.

    Some Random Facts:

    Since Nixon was named somewhere in the above thread, I thought I would mention that EPA was formed during his administration and he was all for it; it even might have been his idea. I wonder if the Nixon hating eco-nuts know that? Can they even handle it?

    Another fact. The eco-nuts rail agianst what they call Big Oil. Why, I don’t understand; they created what they call Big Oil. The Clean Water Act of 1972 was implemented in such a way that the independent oil companies mostly all went out of business because it was too expensive to compete. In other words, the “Act” destroyed the competition to Big Oil – so why do the eco-nuts complain? They got what they wanted – sort of. I think the end result of Big Oil only is generally referred to (no matter what the business) as an “unintended consequence.”

    Oh, my – tornado sirens. Must go.

  27. Andrew said

    Citations are a bad way to judge the “influence” of controversial papers, I think. Some of the references will be to people criticizing the paper-which surely does not indicate “influence” so much as “attention”.

  28. leadluvver2011-denier@yahoo.co.uk said

    #13 Steve Fitzpatrick

    Sorry – my bad.

  29. Phil Howerton said

    After reading through all the comments on this subject over at Bart’s site, I have a question. If upside down Tijander doesn’t make a difference to what Bouldin calls the “larger picture,” why haven’t Mann et al just made the correction and moved on? Could it be that they are afraid of the “smaller picture?”

  30. Jeff Id said

    Phil,

    A main premise of the paper was that non-treering series were able to produce the same result. There are a number of technical reasons this occurs but apparently without tiljander the oldest portion of the reoconstruction didn’t pass the ad-hoc validation which alleged to support the conclusion.

    It is complicated — and stupid — but that is the science of paleo. I hope you notice that the entire thread at Bart’s was non-technical enough to miss this primary point. Whatever. You can’t teach those who will not learn. This is why Mann refused to give on the point. Read CA which disclosed the problem long after Mann didn’t do what everyone expected and recant the problem. It seems likely to me that Mann knew way too early that the change reversed major conclusions in the paper.

  31. Phil Howerton said

    You are exactly right, and that’s what I meant by them being afraid of the “smaller picture.” I have ben reading CA for five years now and am as familiar as a lawyer can be with the problems of Mann 08. Boulding never answered either your points or Amac’s. Considering the snark he can’t resist throwing into everything he writes, I assume he is a commentator at RC. It’s quite sad how motivated these folks are by fear.

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