Thursday, October 01, 2009


Word of the Week


Warmie scientist Keith Briffa published a hockey stick graph in 2000 based on Russian scientists' work with tree rings from the Yamal peninsula in Siberia. The underlying raw data was not disclosed for 9 years and finally, when it was, Steve McIntyre took a hard look and discovered that there are hundreds of tree rings to use and the Warmie Briffa only used about a dozen, one of which is an outlier hockey stick (not literally). McIntyre use of another subset revealed a graph the opposite of a hockey stick.

Trees are bad proxies for temperature anyway. It could be any one of several dozen things that causes their growth rings to be fat or thin. Temperature is just one. Water is the factor that predominates. There is absolutely no way to isolate the growth caused by temperature alone from at least the really old trees.

The Warmie scientist replied but he sidesteps the major questions. The Warmie true believers at Real Climate went absolutely nuts and responded, but the reply seems to me another sidestep with way too big a helping of ad hominem. The lady doth protest too much, methinks. But back to the thread.

The Warmie scientists said this in his response:

My colleagues and I are working to develop methods that are capable of expressing robust evidence of climate changes using tree-ring data.

That statement caused a commenter to translate it into:

We are developing methods to make trees talk. (…and they’ll say what we want them to, and nothing else? That’s called dendrophrenology.)

Tickled me.

Now you see how important is the reported loss of the Hadley Climate Research Unit's raw data for its world temperature record. It appears Warmie scientists cook the data to support their theories, or at least they interrogate the data, using enhanced methods, until it confesses.

UPDATE: Dr. Briffa said this in his response:

I note that McIntyre qualifies the presentation of his version(s) of the chronology by reference to a number of valid points that require further investigation.

A hit, a palpable hit.

UPDATE 2: Here is a much better semi-fisking of the response of the Warmie site, Real Climate. And here is a take down of the lie/strawman that begins the response.

When you're taking flak (and not reasoned counter-arguments) you must be over the target.

I recall when basketball great Oscar Robertson, after he retired, gave a try to broadcasting as the color man. His best comments were along the lines of "Oh Man, did you see that play?" He didn't have a long career in broadcasting.

I read through Gavin Schmidt's responses to some of the better questions in his site's comment section. He's the big O of scientific response. He asks if a reader's very pertinent question is a joke (that was the entirety of his response); he calls another clueless and when the question is presented again, admits he knows nothing about the subject. All with a very ominous vibe. Not the stuff to inspire confidence in Schmidt's scientific chops. Indeed, just the opposite.

UPDATE 3: Here is a very sober and well reasoned look at the bigger picture of climate research, riffing off the hockey stick problem. Who could be against scientific method and transparency? Not us Deniers.


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