Repository and Question for the Media

I’m reading endless emails myself. In the meantime, if there are any that readers find particularly important, place the file number and why below. It seems to me so far that this email set fills in some of the holes in the various scientists understanding of the hockey stick curves and their true uncertainty. While I haven’t run across many quotes which might shock the public, it is hard for me to be shocked by these guys anymore. So they chopped and cherry-picked data? Big surprise. It has been standard operating procedure for paleoclimate for some time and was well understood before CG1. That is not a sarcastic comment, it is simply what they do. The machinations they go through to justify the silliness are what make climate blogging fun.

For the readers: Currently this blog has a lot of traffic including a lot of international media. Keep in mind that comments you make will be read by a lot of interested people who probably aren’t as familiar with the issues as you are.

If you are a media member, ask yourself why there are dozens of curves from tree-rings (and various other silly thermometers) proporting to show temperature for the last millennia, and we slow-witted skeptics still want to argue with the consensus. I’ll answer that question in the context of these emails in a post I’m preparing which probably won’t be finished until tomorrow. — Jeff

13 thoughts on “Repository and Question for the Media

  1. @JeffId

    So, what is the true uncertainty of the original hockey stick curve (MBH1998)? Is it wider than the error bars used there? ‘Cause if it isn’t, then it’s hardly a sensatuinal discovery.


    REPLY: I’ll let you know later or perhaps you could read the emails yourself and tell us.

  2. Espen, I should give a hat tip to ThinkingScientist @ the Bish’s. Yes, I believe Briffa did play it, but am not sure.

  3. 0794.txt seems to be grumbling about a BBC web report they didn’t like. Apparently figuring out to whom to send the strongly worded disapproval.

    If you do it’s worth sending also to this guy, Alex Kirkby. “Alex Kirby” This guys higher up. He got them to check more the items they post on their web site from members of the public. Just finished my call with Paul Olding. Their filming will be done in May for September showing. Mentioned all the paleo series and have just sent him the Rev Geophys paper.
    At 14:27 17/03/2005, you wrote:

    Hi Phil,
    Might be worth sending in a letter of complaint to BBC. They should know that the scientific community is unhappy w/ their flawed reporting on these matters. I’ve already brought this up w/ Ben Dempsey (who is supposed to call me shortly–sounds like you’re talking to a different person at Horizon),

    Interesting how these few people seem to think it is ok for them to speak for “the scientific community”.

  4. I wonder who peer reviewed:

    Bradley: I’m sure you agree–the Mann/Jones GRL paper was truly pathetic and should never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year “reconstruction”.

  5. In 0332, Mike, Phil and Barrie Pittock from CSIRO plot the development of Barrie’s Plan 3b:

    > >>>Ensure that such misleading papers do not continue to appear in the
    > >>>offending journals by getting proper scientific standards applied
    > >>>to refereeing and editing. Whether that is done publicly or
    > >>>privately may not matter so much, as long as it happens. It could
    > >>>be through boycotting the journals, but that might leave them even
    > >>>freer to promulgate misinformation. To my mind that is not as good
    > >>>as getting the offending editors removed and proper processes in
    > >>>place.

    In 0174, Mike, Phil and Gavin plot on discrediting a paper (Barrie’s plan 3a) with Gavin’s and RC’s help. Mike is leaving for Tahiti.

  6. Clearly one of the big revelations of this new batch of emails is the degree to which the environmental correspondents at the various news outlets were in bed with the activist/scientists. So this creates a real dilemma for the editors. If they report on this story, they will be forced to expose the dishonest behavior of their own staff. The press doesn’t have a very good track record to covering stories where their own malfeasance is involved.

  7. Email 4092.txt shows that University of East Anglia has a ”strategic alliance” with Goldman-Sachs. This is proof of UEA scientists conflict of interest and a fixed agenda to drive the AGW narrative to enable carbon trading and renewable energy markets. Science is about being impartial and investigating the facts, not green activism to push a narrative that bankers want.

    date: Mon, 18 May 1998 10:00:38 +010 ???
    from: Trevor Davies ???
    subject: goldman-sachs
    to: ???@uea,???@uea,???@uea


    We (Mike H) have done a modest amount of work on degree-days for G-S. They
    now want to extend this. They are involved in dealing in the developing
    energy futures market.

    G-S is the sort of company that we might be looking for a ”strategic
    alliance” with. I suggest the four of us meet with ?? (forgotten his name)
    for an hour on the afternoon of Friday 12 June (best guess for Phil & Jean
    – he needs a date from us). Thanks.


    Professor Trevor D. Davies
    Climatic Research Unit
    University of East Anglia
    Norwich NR4 7TJ
    United Kingdom

    Tel. +44 ???
    Fax. +44 ???

  8. 0073.txt Phil Jones sends email to UEA staff about carbon trading:

    How is this not conflict of interest?

    If you’re a scientist, not a market trader, you might hope this will have little direct effect on research. But if today’s low prices persist for a few more months, they will slash billions of euros from a European fund dedicated to clean energy projects. That’s because the fund, named NER300, is about to raise its cash by selling 300 million carbon credits on the ETS. Eight carbon capture projects and 34 renewables projects were set to benefit from the money. But at current prices, the sale would raise only €2.1 billion, instead of the €4.5 billion hoped for when the fund was proposed. Sales of the first 200 million carbon credits are due to start in December, and continue for the next 10 months, says Stig Schjølset, head of EU carbon analysis for the consultancy firm Thomson Reuters Point Carbon.

  9. I wonder!

    In CG1, we were introduced to the problem with proxy reconstructions, but not enough details to prove they knew that they were at least involved in confirmation bias of a large scale. Conspiracists grew like mushrooms (in the dark and full of **it.)

    Now we are given that the science was worse in context. But there is just a hint of the carbon market. Once again mushroom conspiracists . I would like to be one of those. I will claim that the future emails will have this aspect that the real business is business.

    After all, in ecology, they taught us to always follow the money first, if you want to know if it is a real environmental issue.

    I do not believe a good accounting of the financial conflicts has been done. Put me in the mushroom department until the light of day is put upon this financial conflict.

  10. With the global-warming jolly fest about to open in Durban, the CRU whistle-blower released a second tranche of Climategate emails just as tawdry and demeaning as the first.

    Few outside the ranks of professional physicists consider they are able to adjudicate the science but most are capable of recognizing when an investigative procedure is flawed.

    It is clear the IPCC assessment process has so many serious material defects as to put into grave doubt the soundness and reliability of any of its heavily promoted claims. Like so much of the UN, the IPCC is irredeemably corrupt and a new assessment body is needed made up scientists rather than green zealots, political placemen and celebrities.

  11. From the below email about Northern Hemisphere temperatures over the past 1000 years (email, phone and fax numbers redacted).

    “Without trying to prejudice this work, but also because of what I almost think I know to be the case, the results of this study will show that we can probably say a fair bit about 100 year variability was like with any certainty (i.e. we know with certainty that we know fuck-all).”

    date: Wed, 3 Sep 2003 08:32:11 -0400
    from: Edward Cook
    subject: An idea to pass by you
    to: Keith Briffa

    Hi Keith,

    After the meeting in Norway, where I presented the Esper stuff as described in the extended abstract I sent you, and hearing Bradley’s follow-up talk on how everybody but him has fucked up in reconstructing past NH temperatures over the past 1000 years (this is a bit of an overstatement on my part I must admit, but his air of papal infallibility is really quite nauseating at times), I have come up with an idea that I want you to be involved in.

    Consider the tentative title: “Northern Hemisphere Temperatures Over The Past Millennium: Where Are The Greatest Uncertainties?” Authors: Cook, Briffa, Esper, Osborn, D’Arrigo, Bradley(?), Jones(??), Mann (infinite?) – I am afraid the Mike and Phil are too personally invested in things now (i.e. the 2003 GRL paper that is probably the worst paper Phil has ever been involved in – Bradley hates it as well), but I am willing to offer to include them if they can contribute without just defending their past work – this is the key to having anyone involved. Be honest. Lay it all out on the table and don’t start by assuming that ANY reconstruction is better than any other.

    Here are my ideas for the paper in a nutshell (please bear with me):

    1) Describe the past work (Mann, Briffa, Jones, Crowley, Esper, yada, yada, yada) and their data over-laps.

    2) Use the Briffa&Osborn “Blowing Hot And Cold” annually-resolved recons (plus Crowley?) (boreholes not included) for comparison because they are all scaled identically to the same NH extra-tropics temperatures and the Mann version only includes that part of the NH (we could include Mann’s full NH recon as well, but he would probably go ballistic, and also the new Mann&Jones mess?)

    3) Characterize the similarities between series using unrotated (maybe rotated as well) EOF analysis (correlation for pure similarity, covariance for differences in amplitude as well) and filtering on the reconstructions – unfiltered, 20yr high-pass, 100-20 bandpass, 100 lowpass – to find out where the reconstructions are most similar and different – use 1st-EOF loadings as a guide, the comparisons of the power spectra could also be done I suppose

    4) Do these EOF analyses on different time periods to see where they differ most, e.g., running 100-year EOF windows on the unfiltered data, running 300-year for 20-lp data (something like that anyway), and plot the 1st-EOF loadings as a function of time

    5) Discuss where the biggest differences lie between reconstructions (this will almost certainly occur most in the 100 lowpass data), taking into account data overlaps

    6) Point out implications concerning the next IPCC assessment and EBM forcing experiments that are basically designed to fit the lower frequencies – if the greatest uncertainties are in the >100 year band, then that is where the greatest uncertainties will be in the forcing experiments

    7) Publish, retire, and don’t leave a forwarding address

    Without trying to prejudice this work, but also because of what I almost think I know to be the case, the results of this study will show that we can probably say a fair bit about 100 year variability was like with any certainty (i.e. we know with certainty that we know fuck-all).

    Of course, none of what I have proposed has addressed the issue of seasonality of response. So what I am suggesting is strictly an empirical comparison of published 1000 year NH reconstructions because many of the same tree-ring proxies get used in both seasonal and annual recons anyway. So all I care about is how the recons differ and where they differ most in frequency and time without any direct consideration of their TRUE association with observed temperatures.

    I think this is exactly the kind of study that needs to be done before the next IPCC assessment. But to give it credibility, it has to have a reasonably broad spectrum of authors to avoid looking like a biased attack paper, i.e. like Soon and Balliunas.

    If you don’t want to do it, just say so and I will drop the whole idea like a hot potato. I honestly don’t want to do it without your participation. If you want to be the lead on it, I am fine with that too.


    Dr. Edward R. Cook
    Doherty Senior Scholar and
    Director, Tree-Ring Laboratory
    Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
    Palisades, New York 10964 USA
    Fax:! XXXXXXXX

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