18 December 2009

Michael Mann on the "Poor Judgment" of His Colleagues

In today's Washington Post, Michael Mann of Penn State University and CRU email fame, gives us some good news about climate science and some bad news about his colleagues.

The good news is that climate science in his view is not at all impeached by the release of the CRU emails.
The scientific consensus regarding human-caused climate change is based on decades of work by thousands of scientists around the world.
The bad news is that some of his colleagues exhibited "poor judgment":
I cannot condone some things that colleagues of mine wrote or requested in the e-mails recently stolen from a climate research unit at a British university. . . Some statements in the stolen e-mails reflect poor judgment -- for example, a colleague referring to deleting e-mails that might be subject to a Freedom of Information Act request -- but there is no evidence that this happened.
I doubt that Professor Mann will be getting many cheery Christmas cards from his CRU-email colleagues.


  1. If Michael Mann believes he can save his career by throwing CRU scientists to the wolves he has another think coming.

    What did Prof Mann DO when he received an email from Jones to asking him to delete all emails refering to AR4?

    Did he reply to Jones saying a flat out "NO"?

    Did he reply to Jones saying this was a "BAD IDEA"?

    Did he reply to Jones trying to persuade him to do otherwise?

    Did he take action to highlight "poor judgement" on the part of Jones and to advise others not to follow Jones's example?

    From what I gather he did none of the above.

    I understand that Michael Mann simply forwarded Jones's email to other colleagues without correction or comment.

    You only do that if your passing the message on!

  2. The temptation for a little snark is strong, but instead, I think you have to wonder a bit if perhaps he's got some issues. It seems very likely that some people are feeling quite a bit of pressure.

    Eventually, we are going to see the demand for total transparency build into a tsunami. Some of these guys are going to see subpoenas for every document and every bit of data they have ever handled. Some are going to have critics examine it all under a microscope and prepare to have them cross-examined under oath. I doubt it will be very pretty. Some have to see a very foreboding future.

    And any one of them who can't present a 100% clean record is going to get publicly flayed. Of course, they will desrve every bit of the anger and scorn heaped upon them [advocate the measures that they have based on their science and that science damn sure better be perfectly clean]. Still, can't make it much fun to look into that future.

  3. This is what drives me nuts. From the Mann editorial [why can't I paste into this form?]:

    "Briffa described a phenomenon in which the density of the wood exhibits an enigmatic decline in response to temperature after 1960."

    How do they know that same "enigmatic decline" didn't happen some time in the past (like the MWP) and that the proxy may simply not be linear over a broad enough range of temperatures? I'm not a "climate scientist", but to me this sounds like a huge source of uncertainty. Am I wrong on this?


  4. Well, I just left this on WaPo's comments:

    Sadly, Dr Mann, you're clearly dissembling. The emails alone are only 5 percent of the total data, and other files, such as the HARRY_READ_ME.txt file, are much more informative.


    You assert that the "MM" papers were eventually published; Steve McIntyre makes a convincing case that this depends on an equivocation — two papers by authors with initials MM were published, but papers by other authors, also with initials MM, that are clearly the papers to which the email referred, were indeed rejected.


    Since the climategate files were revealed, forcing the examination of some of the raw climate data, there have been a number of different examinations, each of which shows data selection or correction that served to increase the warming signal; no justifications for these decisions appear to be easily available, in the peer reviewed literature or otherwise. Without these corrections, the raw data appears to show only a very small warming signal.


    At this point, given the clear misbehavior on peer-review, on FOIA, and the appearance of repeated suppression of dissent by the "climate oligarchy" as Roger Pielke Sr puts it, what is required is a fully open, transparent, and public re-examination of the science — not another "move along".

  5. I don't see how anyone could possibly fault Mann for his statement.

    Anything less would be self destructive, and hardly help his colleagues.

  6. I can't believe Mann's continuing this, and upping the ante by saying it in an op-ed in a major paper...will those such as Jones remain unemotional and rational enough not to publicly strike back from under the bus? Probably, I would imagine...but it would certainly be interesting to see the emails between certain folks now...

    The pasting problem seems to happen on all blogspot forums, but I've found if you paste things in directly after a page refresh, before manually typing anything else into the box, it works.

  7. Mann's "based on the work of thousands of scientists is correct.... in a very careful manner of speaking. ALL scientific hypothesis are based on the work of those who came before. The apocalyptic models that drive climate activists are the product of very few climate scientists, and Mann isn't one of them. Are there ten labs in the world doing this work? All it takes is for this oligarchy to stay on the same path for all of them to get similar results - otherwise known as Garbage In, Garbage Out.

    You could probably fit all the scientists who can talk their way through climate science from basic physics to decadal model in one room. I mean a big living room, not a hall.

  8. If Mann wants to present himself as holier than thou, then how does he explain 1213201481.txt, wherein he explicitly tells Jones that he will be inflating Jones' H-Index from 52 to 62 for the purposes of admission as a fellow to the AGU? Jones says "go with 52" (the accurate score), but the Mann says "I'll just go w/ the H=62" (which includes publications from another Phil Jones.

    Roger, as a practicing academic, what is your opinion on this? Why does not this alone warrant immediate dismissal?

    We do not know what Jones' response was - maybe he said "you cannot do that" - but I note that Jones was subsequently admitted as fellow. If the supporting materials were knowingly fraudulent, can one be 'unfellowed'?

  9. It is really quite humorous. Mann, Jones, et. al. may not be criminal co-conspirators, but they sure are acting like criminal co-conspirators usually act.