31 March 2013

Fixing the Marcott Mess in Climate Science

In 1991 the National Research Council proposed what has come to be a widely accepted definition of misconduct in science:
Misconduct in science is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism, in proposing, performing, or reporting research. Misconduct in science does not include errors of judgment; errors in the recording, selection, or analysis of data; differences in opinions involving the interpretation of data; or misconduct unrelated to the research process.
Arguments over data and methods are the lifeblood of science, and are not instances of misconduct.

However, here I document the gross misrepresentation of the findings of a recent scientific paper via press release which appears to skirt awfully close to crossing the line into research misconduct, as defined by the NRC. I recommend steps to fix this mess, saving face for all involved, and a chance for this small part of the climate community to take a step back toward unambiguous scientific integrity.

The paper I refer to is by Marcott et al. 2013, published recently in Science. A press release issued by the National Science Foundation, which funded the research, explains the core methodology and key conclusion of the paper as follows (emphasis added):
Peter Clark, an OSU paleoclimatologist and co-author of the Science paper, says that many previous temperature reconstructions were regional and not placed in a global context.

"When you just look at one part of the world, temperature history can be affected by regional climate processes like El Niño or monsoon variations," says Clark.

"But when you combine data from sites around the world, you can average out those regional anomalies and get a clear sense of the Earth's global temperature history."

What that history shows, the researchers say, is that during the last 5,000 years, the Earth on average cooled about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit--until the last 100 years, when it warmed about 1.3 degrees F.
The press release clearly explains that the paper (a) combines data from many sites around the world to create a "temperature reconstruction" which gives a "sense of the Earth's temperature history," and (b) "that history shows" a cooling over the past 5000 years, until the last 100 years when all of that cooling was reversed.

The conclusions of the press release were faithfully reported by a wide range of media outlets, and below I survey several of them to illustrate that the content of the press release was accurately reflected in media coverage and, at times, amplified by scientists both involved and not involved with the study.

Examples of Media Coverage

Here is Justin Gillis at the New York Times, with emphasis added to this excerpt and also those further below:
The modern rise that has recreated the temperatures of 5,000 years ago is occurring at an exceedingly rapid clip on a geological time scale, appearing in graphs in the new paper as a sharp vertical spike.
Similarly, at the NY Times Andy Revkin reported much the same in a post titled, "Scientists Find an Abrupt Warm Jog After a Very Long Cooling." Revkin included the following graph from the paper along with a caption explaining what the graph shows:
Revkin's caption:  A new Science paper includes this graph of data providing clues to past global temperature. It shows the warming as the last ice age ended (left), a period when temperatures were warmer than today, a cooling starting 5,000 years ago and an abrupt warming in the last 100 years.
Revkin concluded: "the work reveals a fresh, and very long, climate “hockey stick.”" For those unfamiliar, a hockey stick has a shaft and a blade.
Any association with the so-called "hockey stick" is sure to capture interest in the highly politicized context of the climate debate, in which the iconic figure is like catnip to partisans on both sides. Here is Michael Lemonick at Climate Central:
The study... confirms the now famous “hockey stick” graph that Michael Mann published more than a decade ago. That study showed a sharp upward temperature trend over the past century after more than a thousand years of relatively flat temperatures. . .

“What’s striking,” said lead author Shaun Marcott of Oregon State University in an interview, “is that the records we use are completely independent, and produce the same result.”
Here is Grist.org, which refers in the passage below to the same figure shown above:
A study published in Science reconstructs global temperatures further back than ever before — a full 11,300 years. The new analysis finds that the only problem with Mann’s hockey stick was that its handle was about 9,000 years too short. The rate of warming over the last 100 years hasn’t been seen for as far back as the advent of agriculture.

 To be clear, the study finds that temperatures in about a fifth of this historical period were higher than they are today. But the key, said lead author Shaun Marcott of Oregon State University, is that temperatures are shooting through the roof faster than we’ve ever seen.

“What we found is that temperatures increased in the last 100 years as much as they had cooled in the last 6,000 or 7,000,” he said. “In other words, the rate of change is much greater than anything we’ve seen in the whole Holocene,” referring to the current geologic time period, which began around 11,500 years ago.
Back to more mainstream outlets, here is how Nature characterized the study, offering a substantially similar but somewhat more technical description of the curve shown in the figure above:
Marcott and his colleagues set about reconstructing global climate trends all the way back to 11,300 years ago, when the Northern Hemisphere was emerging from the most recent ice age. To do so, they collected and analysed data gathered by other teams. The 73 overlapping climate records that they considered included sediment cores drilled from lake bottoms and sea floors around the world, along with a handful of ice cores collected in Antarctica and Greenland.

Each of these chronicles spanned at least 6,500 years, and each included a millennium-long baseline period beginning in the middle of the post-ice-age period at 3550 bc.

For some records, the researchers inferred past temperatures from the ratio of magnesium and calcium ions in the shells of microscopic creatures that had died and dropped to the ocean floor; for others, they measured the lengths of long-chain organic molecules called alkenones that were trapped in the sediments.

After the ice age, they found, global average temperatures rose until they reached a plateau between 7550 and 3550 bc. Then a long-term cooling trend set in, reaching its lowest temperature extreme between ad 1450 and 1850. Since then, temperatures have been increasing at a dramatic clip: from the first decade of the twentieth century to now, global average temperatures rose from near their coldest point since the ice age to nearly their warmest, Marcott and his team report today in Science.
And here is New Scientist, making reference to the exact same graph:
Shaun Marcott of Oregon State University in Corvallis and colleagues have compiled 73 such proxies from around the world, all of which reach back to the end of the last glacial period, 11,300 years ago. During this period, known as the Holocene, the climate has been relatively warm – and civilisation has flourished.

"Most global temperature reconstructions have only spanned the past 2000 years," says Marcott.

Marcott's graph shows temperatures rising slowly after the ice age, until they peaked 9500 years ago. The total rise over that period was about 0.6 °C. They then held steady until around 5500 years ago, when they began slowly falling again until around 1850. The drop was 0.7 °C, roughly reversing the previous rise.

Then, in the late 19th century, the graph shows temperatures shooting up, driven by humanity's greenhouse gas emissions.

The rate of warming in the last 150 years is unlike anything that happened in at least 11,000 years, says Michael Mann of the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, who was not involved in Marcott's study. It was Mann who created the original hockey stick graph (see upper graph here), which showed the change in global temperatures over the last 1000 years.

Over the Holocene, temperatures rose and fell less than 1 °C, and they did so over thousands of years, says Marcott. "It took 8000 years to go from warm to cold." Agriculture, communal life and forms of government all arose during this relatively stable period, he adds. Then in 100 years, global temperatures suddenly shot up again to very close to the previous maximum.
It seems clear that even as various media took different angles on the story and covered it in varying degrees of technical detail, the articles listed above accurately reflected the conclusions reflected in the NSF press release, and specifically the "hockey stick"-like character of the new temperature reconstruction. Unfortunately, all of this is just wrong, as I explain below. (If you'd like to explore media coverage further here is a link to more stories. My colleague Tom Yulsman got punked too.)

The Problem with the NSF Press Release and the Subsequent Reporting

There is a big problem with the media reporting of the new paper. It contains a fundamental error which (apparently) originates in the NSF press release and which was furthered by public comments by scientists.

In a belatedly-posted FAQ to the paper, which appeared on Real Climate earlier today, Marcott et al. make this startling admission:
Q: What do paleotemperature reconstructions show about the temperature of the last 100 years?

A: Our global paleotemperature reconstruction includes a so-called “uptick” in temperatures during the 20th-century. However, in the paper we make the point that this particular feature is of shorter duration than the inherent smoothing in our statistical averaging procedure, and that it is based on only a few available paleo-reconstructions of the type we used. Thus, the 20th century portion of our paleotemperature stack is not statistically robust, cannot be considered representative of global temperature changes, and therefore is not the basis of any of our conclusions.
Got that?

In case you missed it, I repeat:
. . . the 20th century portion of our paleotemperature stack is not statistically robust, cannot be considered representative of global temperature changes . . .
What that means is that this paper actually has nothing to do with a "hockey stick" as it does not have the ability to reproduce 20th century temperatures in a manner that is "statistically robust." The new "hockey stick" is no such thing as Marcott et al. has no blade. (To be absolutely clear, I am not making a point about temperatures of the 20th century, but what can be concluded from the paper about temperatures of the 20th century.)

Yet, you might recall that the NSF press release said something quite different:
What that [temperature reconstruction] history shows, the researchers say, is that during the last 5,000 years, the Earth on average cooled about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit--until the last 100 years, when it warmed about 1.3 degrees F.
So what the paper actually shows is the following, after I have removed from the graph the 20th century period that is "not statistically robust" (this is also the figure that appears at the top of this post):
Surely there is great value in such an analysis of pre-20th century temperatures. And there can be no doubt there will be continuing debates and discussions about the paper's methods and conclusions. But one point that any observer should be able to clearly conclude is that the public representation of the paper was grossly in error. The temperature reconstruction does not allow any conclusions to be made about the period after 1900.

Does the public misrepresentation amount to scientific misconduct? I'm not sure, but it is far too close to that line for comfort. Saying so typically leads to a torrent of angry ad hominem and defensive attacks, and evokes little in the way of actual concern for the integrity of this highly politicized area of science. Looking past the predictable responses, this mess can be fixed in a relatively straightforward manner with everyone's reputation intact.

How to Fix This

Here are the steps that I recommend should be taken:

1) Science should issue a correction to the paper, and specially do the following:

(a) retract and replot all figures in the paper and SI eliminating from the graphs all data/results that fail to meet the paper's criteria for "statistical robustness."
(b) include in the correction the explicit and unambiguous statement offered in the FAQ released today that the analysis is not "statistically robust" post-1900.

2) NSF should issue a correction to its press release, clarifying and correcting the statements of Peter Clark (a co-author, found above) and Candace Major, NSF program manager, who says in the release:
"The last century stands out as the anomaly in this record of global temperature since the end of the last ice age," says Candace Major, program director in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Ocean Sciences.
3) The New York Times (Gillis and Revkin, in particular), Nature and New Scientist as outlets that pride themselves in accurate reporting of science should update their stories with corrections. Grist and Climate Central should consider the same.

[UPDATE: Andy Revkin at DotEarth has updated his posts here and here to reference the "lost blade" from the hockey stick and link to this post. That was quick and easy. Others take note.]

Let me be perfectly clear -- I am accusing no one of scientific misconduct. The errors documented here could have been the product of group dynamics, institutional dysfunction, miscommunication, sloppiness or laziness (do note that misconduct can result absent explicit intent). However, what matters most now is how the relevant parties respond to the identification of a clear misrepresentation of a scientific paper by those who should not make such errors.

That response will say a lot about how this small but visible part of the climate community views the importance of scientific integrity.

260 comments:

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charlesH said...

Roger,

Didn't the authors emphasize in their media interviews the hockey stick blade? They did this even though they knew it was unsupported by the data/paper? Thus they misrepresented the scientific conclusions of their paper?

Misrepresentation/fib/lie/scientific misconduct?

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-1-charlesH

Please feel welcome to add links here in the comments. Thanks!

charlesH said...

Roger,

See the video that Revkin links to.

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/31/fresh-thoughts-from-authors-of-a-paper-on-11300-years-of-global-temperature-changes/#more-48887

hro001 said...

This is not exactly a "novel" pattern of behaviour is it?!

To my (admittedly layperson's) mind, it closely resembles that which we've far too often seen from the IPCC.

And the activist-journos and scientist-advocates wonder why their messages have become so very unconvincing to the general public.

It is to laugh, eh?!

charlesH said...

Roger,

I assume after witnessing first hand the misrepresentation of AGW with regard to disasters/hurricanes by the media you come to this discussion with a much more "sceptical" bent than many of your peers.

Would you say that your "skepticism" has increased over the years not unlike Dr. Judith Curry's experience?

Why are you (and Dr. Curry) able to maintain scientific integrity while many of your academic peers seem to misstep so easily? Are you not also dependent on obtaining grant dollars for research?

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-5-charlesH

Thanks ... to be honest my "skepticism" of climate science hasn't changed much over the years -- if you read Chapter 1 of TCF I have a lot of time for climate science, and I interact with climate scientists just about every day (being in CIRES, a leading global institute). There are an awful lot of people doing very good work.

There are a few bad eggs, with the Real Climate mafia being among them, who are exploiting climate science for personal and political gain. Makes the whole effort look bad.

That said, virtually all of the climate science battles are teapot/tempest affairs -- climate politics and policy has moved on to issues involving economics and energy.

Thanks ...

Albatross said...

Roger,

FYI (and this is pertinent) you are slandering and defaming scientists (perhaps worse) again by equating them with criminals or a group that engages in extortion.

"ma·fi·a
/ˈmäfēə/
Noun
An organized international body of criminals, operating originally in Sicily and now esp. in Italy and the US.
Any similar group using extortion and other criminal methods."


Thanks for that gem!

bernie said...

Roger:
Splendid job. However, I do haveto note that my reaction on hearing that you were going to post was
"
bernie1815

Posted Mar 31, 2013 at 8:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

This is excellent news. I expect Roger to be forthright on the misleading PR that the authors generated around what is looking more and more like a piece of pedestrian work dressed up for PR purposes."

I guess you are getting predictable.

tallbloke said...

Thanks Roger Pielke. With honest people like yourself in the pprofession, there is a chance public confidence in climate science can be restored. More of your peers need to speak up though.

tallbloke said...

By correcting his older posts but not issuing a new one, Revkin is continuing to play the Hockey Jockey's game of splashing sensational headlines and burying the retraction.

Journalistic misconduct in my view. Science writers have a duty to publicise adverse results as prominently as the original claims - which he naively (I hope) swallowed whole.

Nick Stokes said...

"The errors documented here could have been the product of group dynamics, institutional dysfunction, miscommunication, sloppiness or laziness"

They could also be the product of lazy reading. Marcott's paper does have a discussion of the recent rise. It features prominently toward the end, and is based not on Fig 1, but on Fig 3. It begins:
"Our results indicate that global mean temperature for the decade 2000–2009 (34) has not yet exceeded the warmest temperatures of the early Holocene (5000 to 10,000 yr B.P.)."
And that (34) is a reference to Brohan et al - ie Hadcrut. That is spelt out in the caption - "instrumental means for 1900–1909 and 2000–2009 CE (vertical black lines),"
It goes on to say:
"Global temperature, therefore, has risen from near the coldest to the warmest levels of the Holocene within the past century, reversing the long-term cooling trend that began ~5000 yr B.P."
But that statement is clearly based on Hadcrut for those two decades.

Now this does get muddled in the press, but not as much as you say. You quote (bold) Candace Major:
"The last century stands out as the anomaly in this record of global temperature since the end of the last ice age,"

And it does, and the paper said so. And made the basis clear - Hadcrut instrumental for the last century. And Ms Major's statement is consistent with that.

A.Grinsted said...

Luckily we actually have instrumental temperatures from the recent hockeystick blade period which we can compare their long term reconstruction to. The implications are pretty clear and in line with their PR statements and press coverage.

Are you seriously accusing them of scientific misconduct?

Salamano said...

Isn't it possible that they can refer to the 1850-present instrument record as a settled entity unto its own (and to a lesser extent, the Mann et al, 2008 study for 1000-present)?

This way, when Marcott et al shows xyz occuring prior to 1850, can't they still make conclusions in light of what is already known/settled about the recent temperature record without crossing 'misconduct' lines?

George Montgomery said...

What an astonishing article. You state "Let me be perfectly clear -- I am accusing no one of scientific misconduct." And yet, you start off the article with a definition of misconduct and make the call "NSF should issue a correction to its press release, clarifying and correcting the statements of Peter Clark (a co-author, .."

So is Peter Clark guilty of scientific misconduct?

According to the blogosphere, Marcott et al are all guilty and your article is being quoted as some sort of proof or confirmation.

So are Marcott and his co-authors guilty of scientific misconduct?

And, could you give us the names of those few bad eggs, the Real Climate mafia and anyone else you care to mention who is exploiting climate science for political and personal gain. That way I, and others, won't be left in any doubt as to whom you're referring.

One last request, how does writing TCF sit in the scheme of exploiting climate science for personal gain?

Girma said...

The spike in temperature is due to the corresponding sudden spike in solar activity as shown:

http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/mean:732/to:1965/normalise/compress:12/plot/sidc-ssn/mean:1044/normalise/compress:12

HowardW said...

Perhaps this is the seed for your next book,
The Climate Science Fix ;-)

BillM said...

My God. Did any of you look at the scale? The entire span of change was less than 1 Celsius degree. How is it possible to use a proxy to measure less than a 10th degree when thermometers are barely able to maintain that accuracy?

A chart like this would get a 0 in first year physics.

Papa Zu said...

Some were describing the shape of the graph as being something worse than a hockey stick and calling it a sickle. I thought its shape looked more like a question mark.

itisi69 said...

Talking about lazy reading, did you read how the MSM received the Marcot paper as the new hockey stick, Stokes? Including a gig ("BOOM") from co-author Shakun himself?

The very fact that Marcott choose Real Climate as their spin doctors makes this whole charade a travesty and shows their colors.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

At Real Climate Gavin Schmidt offers this embarrassing response which says a lot about how these guys view scientific integrity:

"[Response: I find it amusing that Roger thinks that NSF should withdraw a claim that 20th Century temperatures have risen, and that figures should be censored to 'hide the incline'. - gavin]"
http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=14965#comment-325992

Despite Gavin's efforts to change the subject, the reality of 20th century warming is not license to misrepresent science, no matter how virtuous the cause.

Scientific papers and related press releases should accurately characterize the research that they cover. Seems simple, no?

Joshua said...

===]]] At Real Climate Gavin Schmidt offers this embarrassing response which says a lot about how these guys view scientific integrity: [[[===

Right. But don't "misconstrue" that to think that Roger is impugning their scientific integrity, accusing anyone of scientific misconduct, etc.

If you ain't part of the solution, you're part of the problem, Roger.

Les Johnson said...

At the very least, they should have used similar resolution as the previous proxies, for the 20th century temps. At 100 year resolution, the temperature anomaly increase would only be 0.11 deg C since 1900 (with a 1950-1980 base).

Using eyeball mark 1 on the Figure S4, 75% of Holocene temps over the last 2000 years is GREATER than 20th century temps at this resolution.

jgdes said...

At least two well-educated researchers in climate modeling have now said on your blog that this kind of misrepresentation is ok because they think it is ok to tack on a high-res instrumental record to a low res proxy record. Good grief, this is textbook stuff!

To people in other scientific endeavours it is difficult to believe such wilful ignorance of the basics of science. They can even just walk along the corridor of their faculty and ask anyone to explain it to them: It takes all of 5 minutes. So is it incompetence, lying or just the skewy thinking that comes from groupthink?

Of course we can expect them to trot out the same arguments if the world starts to resume it's natural long-term cooling and still blame fossil fuels for it.

Les Johnson said...

jgdes: those two researchers also contradict Mann.

Michael Mann at Real Climate, Dec. 2004:

Response: No researchers in this field have ever, to our knowledge, “grafted the thermometer record onto” any reconstruction. It is somewhat disappointing to find this specious claim (which we usually find originating from industry-funded climate disinformation websites) appearing in this forum…

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/myths-vs-fact-regarding-the-hockey-stick/comment-page-1/#comment-345

Eric Rasmusen said...

The press release: "What that history shows, the researchers say, is that during the last 5,000 years, the Earth on average cooled about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit--until the last 100 years, when it warmed about 1.3 degrees F.:"


The paper: "The results suggest that at longer periods, more variability is preserved, with essentially no variability preserved at periods shorter than 300 years,..."

April Fool! Drawing that key graph according to the paper's method, there could have been lots and lots of century-long giant spikes and declines--- 100-years changes are just way too short to show up in the data.

It's like a graph of Smallsville April 1 temperatures with the first 100 years smoothed by a 20 year moving average, and then the last year showing a 10 degree spike.

Fred said...

The Mann's and Marcott's have turned the study of Climate Science into our generation's Alchemy.

They have made themselves into legends in their own minds but an embarrassment to everyone else.

I am amazed they are still on a university payroll. The damage they are doing to the credibility of their employing Institution is incalculable.

David Appell said...

Press releases aren't science -- they cover the science, but also help establish its broader context.

So given (a) Marcott et al (without the blade), and (b) the last 130-150 years of surface temperatures via GISS and HadCRUT4, what is untruthful about pointing out the bigger picture of (a)+(b)?

Elmar said...

Jeremy Shakun on dot earth: '...the 20th century portion of our paleotemperature stack is not statistically robust, cannot be considered representative of global temperature changes, and therefore is not the basis of any of our conclusions. Our primary conclusions are based on a comparison of the longer term paleotemperature changes from our reconstruction with the well-documented temperature changes that have occurred over the last century, as documented by the instrumental record.'

I don't see what is wrong with that. Can you explain? Would you rather have them ignore what is known about global T in the past century?

skwilli said...

"That said, virtually all of the climate science battles are teapot/tempest affairs -- climate politics and policy has moved on to issues involving economics and energy."

Which is a way of saying that this graduate of Mr. Mann's current academic institution will probably fork over a lot of his hard-earned cash in order to benefit "The Mafia" quite a bit and "The Earth" not a bit. And in the relative dark, may I add.

kakatoa said...

Joshua-

I had to look up the definition of the word Integrity as you indicated that Rogers comments are part of the problem. I wasn't sure exactly which problem you are referencing (let alone solutions to that problem).
in·teg·ri·ty
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/integrity
noun
1.
adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
2.
the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire.
3.
a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition: the integrity of a ship's hull.

From my perspective I would rate Rogers post on an integrity scale in the upper 10% of adhering to definition 1 as he highlights the limitations of the paper that the authors recently have confirmed.

It appears that you would rate Roger post differently. I take it you are a bit concerned about the effect that Roger's post might have on 2. "to preserve the integrity of the empire."

Would it be better for the ideals of the Scientific Method for Roger to have said nothing in regards to the caveat noted in the paper?

Eric Rasmusen said...

It looks like most of the methodology explanation of the paper has been put into an appendix:

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/suppl/2013/03/07/339.6124.1198.DC1/Marcott.SM.pdf

There's a lot of discussion of the problem of figuring out what's going on at the 300-year intervals. They also have a big 20th century rise and a close comparison to Mann;'s hockey stick. I didn't read carefully enough to understand.

By the way, does the paper appropriately discuss the "limitations" of the Mann paper? It certainly treats the Mann paper as a standard for comparison.

Mount Stun said...

@ BillM #17:

The scaling is wrong at a factor of 10. This is very well known among
paleo´s. It is off course done on purpose to show a ¨flat¨ shaft.

Kirk Myers said...

Absent a hockey stick component, this paper probably would never have been offered for publication. What is important is "original intent." Was this a research paper? Or was it initiated from the get-go in an attempt to create a hockey stick? The authors appear to have gone to great lengths to create the appearance of a sudden rise in 20th century temperatures, thus lending credibility to Michael Mann's now-debunked hockey stick. To blame this paper's misleading research on sloppiness, laziness or "group dynamics," stretches credulity to the limit.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-27-David Appell

You ask: What is wrong with a+b?

Nothing (assuming scale/resolution/etc are apples to apples -- but do note #24). Too bad neither the press release nor the paper took this approach.

Just because there is a legitimate argument that could have been made does not justify an illegitimate one. Did I really just write that? ;-) Isn't this completely obvious?

Thanks!

Joshua said...

kakatoa -

My reference was a bit cryptic, as Roger keeps moderating out my more specific comments - even when I post them directly into the "rejected comments" thread.

Maybe he'll let it go through this time in as I am responding to your post:

===]]] From my perspective I would rate Rogers post on an integrity scale in the upper 10% of adhering to definition 1 as he highlights the limitations of the paper that the authors recently have confirmed. [[[===

I am not commenting on the "integrity" of Roger's input or him personally. I am not in a position to judge someone else's integrity, scientifically or otherwise, unless I know them personally, know something in-depth about how they live their life, etc.

What I see as ubiquitous in these debates is people on both sides extrapolating from differences of opinion to make charges about integrity. I consider that to be counterproductive.

I'm not going to comment on Roger's "moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty." Never have and never will.

I will say, however, that I have observed a repeated pattern whereby Roger writes comments that impugn the integrity of others and then covers his comments in a plausible deniablity. The evidence, IMO, is the repeated pattern where very predictably his comments echo around the climate blogosphere - seen as confirmation of assertions of fraud and lack of integrity. IMO, not only does Roger fail to step up to correct putative misinterpretations, he continues to make those types of comments and watch the pattern repeat.

And he even makes those types of comments on a thread where he says:

===]]] Saying so typically leads to a torrent of angry ad hominem and defensive attacks, and evokes little in the way of actual concern for the integrity of this highly politicized area of science. Looking past the predictable responses, this mess can be fixed in a relatively straightforward manner with everyone's reputation intact. [[[===

I find his *concern* about ad homs, defensiveness and predictable responses w/r/t highly politicized responses to show lack introspection as to his own contributions to the problems.

Roger's comments about "mafia" and "climate chickens" and "exploiting climate science for personal and political gain." have no legitimate place in scientific debate. IMO, they are certainly in balance, counterproductive, and contribute to the problem of politicized science more than they contribute to the solution.

Steve Reynolds said...

Albatross: "...any similar group using extortion and other criminal methods."

Nice little thesis you have there, Dr Marcott. Be a shame if it never gets published as a paper. Maybe you should add a blade to that graph.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-35-Joshua

I have not moderated out any comments made by you directly to the "rejected comments" thread. But please do post further ruminations about me and my motives over on that thread (others too!).

Thanks!

n.n said...

Was the shaft observed on April 1? It appears they detected a Dirac signal in several decades of noise, beginning with a premonition of global cooling, which proceeded to global warming, which proceeded to climate change, which was finally exposed as a shaft.

On a post-April 1 note, what value does a global metric present? All weather phenomenon will remain local and regional. Unless there is an overwhelming driver which is capable of saturating the globe, a global metric will distort any efforts to adapt and will corrupt all risk mitigation measures. It will engender a misallocation of resources, which will be allocated on a greed-first basis.

Has the climate community spoken of the pyramid signal, which is readily observable in several decades of noise?

David Appell said...

Kirk Myers wrote:
Absent a hockey stick component, this paper probably would never have been offered for publication.

Oh please. A reconstruction of the last 11,000 years of the Holocene isn't new and important?

Joshua said...

BTW - I thought that Revkin's response to Roger's comments about "mafia" and the motivations of others to be appropriate.

==]] Any comparison to the mafia is invidious. As for "personal and political gain," it's hard to find anyone involved in climate research or communication who doesn't have some kind of reputational or financial stake. The same is true for any consequential field of inquiry. One's integrity in such a situation is more a function of the consistent quality of one's output. [[==

David Appell said...

Eric Rasmusen wrote:
Drawing that key graph according to the paper's method, there could have been lots and lots of century-long giant spikes and declines.

There *could* have been -- Marcott et al doesn't rule them out -- but then we haven't seen any since, what, Roman times? So where might they be?

And if they are, that would only mean we have to worry about them in addition to the sharp increases from CO2 emissions.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

Joshua-

I do not have time or interest to keep moving your off-topic comments to the deleted comment thread. I am now going to simply delete those that you insist on posting here.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

Gavin Schmidt into full "climate change is real and important thus don't question us" mode:

"The fact of the matter is that the 20th C rise is real, anomalous, pretty well understood, and because of where we are economically/societally/technologically, it presages what we can expect in the future. People harassing newly-minted postdocs doesn't change any of that."
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/03/response-by-marcott-et-al/comment-page-1/#comment-326047

Dave said...

What about the core top redating issues? It looks worse than "not statistically robust," there does not appear to be any reasonable justification for the dates used.

David Appell said...

Roger, it seems to me the paper explicitedly does not mingle (a) and (b).

On the 1st page, bottom of middle column, the authors write that the comparison of their 1890-1950 CE results to their earlier results is "probabably not robust."

1st page, right-hand column: they explicitedly note their reconstruction stops at "100 yr B.P," and their "present" is defined as 1950 CE.

The graphs on page 2 have the blade in different colors, and the captions make it clear these aren't their results.

Last page: they write, "Our results indicate...." which is not the same as writing "Our results show...." Anyway this is the discussion portion of their paper, and what's wrong about discussing how their results look in light of the recent instrumental record?

Both Marcott (in an email to McIntyre) and Shakun (in the NYT) indicate their blade isn't robust. That's a pretty clear statement (though I wish scientists would stop using the word "robust" when talking to the public, because it sounds wonky). Should they have completely avoided any mention at all of how their results compare to what's happening today? Every reader in the world is going to want to know that, and who better to answer it than these scientists?

For the same reason, the press release, which is setting the context, is going to address what every journalist is going to want to know: what does this say about today's warming? Not, what does this categorically prove, but what does this say. It would be irresponsible (and a waste of taxpayer-funded research) not to say something about the broader context.

Dave said...

"Oh please. A reconstruction of the last 11,000 years of the Holocene isn't new and important?"

Apparently not, based on the press releases, which all seem focused on the part of the study which is completely wrong.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-45-David Appell

Thanks ... we will have to agree to disagree, specifically, as documented above:

*The paper clearly shows the Marcott blade as part of the Marcott reconstruction.

*The press release clearly refers to the 20th century blade as part of the Marcott reconstruction.

*The various media stories quote scientists affiliated and unaffiliated emphasizing the 20th century blade part of the Marcott reconstruction.

*Later we learn that we should not be paying attention to the 20th century part of the reconstruction, including pointing to some questionable text in the paper (I read it saying the opposite of what you read it to say).

Could this mess have been avoided in the writing of the paper and the press release -- of course, almost trivially. But it wasn't.

It is not too late however;-)

pblase said...

Could somebody please explain what, exactly, a "temperature anomaly" is, as opposed to an actual temperature?

bernie said...

pblase:
"Temperature anomaly" is the difference between the temperature at a specific point in time and the average temperature over a somewhat arbitrarily selected reference period that is typically twice as long as a recognized climate cycle, i.e., Hansen originally used 1951 to 1980 or 30 years which cover 3 of the identified 11 year cycles. It immediately provides a way of comparing and cumulating temperature changes in different locations. While the selection of the reference period raises some minor questions, the use of temperature anomalies is generally not an issue.
Others may provide a simpler definition.

manicbeancounter.com said...

Something else should also have been made clear. Data in the distant past has a great deal of smoothing. Therefore it would be equally misleading to splice on the last 100 years of actual data and say that the C20th rate of warming and current average temperatures are unprecedented in the Holocene. In the context of this study, it will be at least 100 years before we are able to draw those conclusions.

Albatross said...

Roger, instead of making further disparaging comments in this thread about Schmidt et al., you know the same people you are accusing of being the "mafia", please summon some courage and go to RC and engage them there.

Please don't make any excuses, although you no doubt will.

Your hyperbole and defamatory comments are rather odd given that it is you who has engaged in some misrepresentations on this thread (including your deletion of data in the Marcott et al. figure in your post and assertions regarding Revkin)....more to follow.

If this is your attempt to somehow paint yourself as a "middle man" who is trying to fix a "mess", then you are failing horribly. I suspect, based on previous behaviour what your objective is, but I'll refrain from speaking to motive.

Thanks!

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

Just FYI, I just sent this to someone asking what this issue is about:

Imagine if this were a study about, say, drinking coffee and cancer. If Smith et al. said that Smith et al. showed that coffee causes cancer, and later it was revealed that Smith et al. does not show that coffee causes cancer, but rather Jones et al. does.

The existence of Jones et al. does not excuse Smith et al. for making a false claim. Whether coffee actually causes cancer is also immaterial to the false claim.

The issue of scientific integrity centers on whether the claims of Smith et al. are supported by Smith et al. Nothing more.

In climate science this seems a hard distiction for some folks to make.

Willis Eschenbach said...

My problem with the study is as follows:

Marcott et al. have taken a group of proxies. Theoretically, each of these are giving us actual temperatures ... but we don't know that, and in many cases we have no way to check that claim.

Marcott then averages the "actual" temperatures using some kind of gridded averaging system, and notes that the last 150 years before the present are not "robust".

My first question is ... if the last 150 years of their claims are junk, how do they align the past proxies with the instrumental record? Clearly whatever "temperature" comes from the average of the proxies may be high or low by a couple of degrees. How do they align it properly to the instrumental record? (And why are they publishing what they know is junk, but that's another question.)

My second question relates to the usability of this group of proxies to determine global average temperature. The authors point out that if we had thermometers at those 73 points on the globe they'd give a good approximation of the global average temperature ... so what? We don't have thermometers there, we have proxies.

Third, the fact that a group of proxies produce a relatively flat blade should be no surprise to anyone who has dealt with them. The fact that they are proxies rather than thermometers means that there will be lots of noise in the record, and that tends to flatten out peaks and valleys. So they are comparing a "flattened" proxy record to a monthly instrumental record ... the results mean very little.

Given those problems I see no way to make the statements that they have made in the study. However, I do love to watch Gavin and other people squirming and saying things like:

___ Last page: they write, "Our results indicate...." which is not the same as writing "Our results show...." Anyway this is the discussion portion of their paper, and what's wrong about discussing how their results look in light of the recent instrumental record? ___

The study is OK because they said "Our results indicate ..." rather than "Our results show ..."??? And it's OK to "discuss" results that are rubbish because you're just "discussing" them???

Man, the AGW supporters in this discussion are desperate, and I for one am glad to see it.

In any case, Roger, your suggestions about how to fix the problem are excellent, which greatly reduces the chances that they'll actually happen ... my best to you, keep up the good work,

w.

Willis Eschenbach said...

51. Albatross said...
--- Roger, instead of making further disparaging comments in this thread about Schmidt et al., you know the same people you are accusing of being the "mafia", please summon some courage and go to RC and engage them there.

Please don't make any excuses, although you no doubt will. ---

Albatross, I for one never go to RealClimate because they censor opposing comments that they don't like. Not only that, but they censor them out secretly, so no one knows.

Now, perhaps you're stupid enough to engage under those rules. I know I was at one time. But me, I've been screwed royally by the RealClimate guys operating under those rules. When they're about to lose an argument, they just disappear what you've said and sail merrily along, clasping their hands above their heads and claiming victory.

So I doubt greatly whether Roger is dumb enough to try to engage people who are willing to use censorship to win an argument, that would be a surprise ... but it's not a surprise to find AGW supporters dumb enough to suggest it.

w.

stevemosher said...

'So given (a) Marcott et al (without the blade), and (b) the last 130-150 years of surface temperatures via GISS and HadCRUT4, what is untruthful about pointing out the bigger picture of (a)+(b)?"

1. you would be making a mistake by mixing a SST reconstruction with a LAND/OCEAN index.

2. They actually did something worse by including the Mann recon which is land only.

Its not even wrong. I usually expect to see this kind of crap on WUWT, not in Science.

scientist said...

If over the past ten thousand years the temperature fluctuated with amplitude and frequency comparable to that seen in the last century and half, would the above methodology have been able to detect it? I think the answer is clearly No.

In other words, the authors admit they can't detect high-frequency components in the record of temperature versus time. This kind of problem is encountered in introductory physics and engineering courses on signal analysis. It's a band-pass filter issue.

If it weren't so sad, it would be funny how the so-called scientific community, the media, the politicians and the general public are falling for this claptrap.

Jeff said...

Dr. Pielke,

I really appreciate your account of this paper. Due to the bladeless thesis by the same main author, it is hard to see this work in any light which doesn't have some team-member connotation. Your are correct that other explanations are not completely impossible.

It does look like a duck to me though.


Dave said...

"please summon some courage and go to RC and engage them there."

Yes, let's all go over there and have our "denialist" comments deleted, while Gavin pretends there's no issue with the hockey stick because this study is really about long-term Holocene trends. That sounds productive.

Bernie Hutchins said...

Roger –

What you have written is just plain excellent, addressing three of the black eyes of the Marcott et al situation (the misleading press release, the failure of the authors to rein-in the press, and the unjustified un-resolvable uptick in the published paper in the first instance).

There are additional black eyes. As the redoubtable Steve McIntyre has well demonstrated, the fragile uptick could easily be teased (or tortured) in or out of the graphs. Non-robustness is the most polite term. To fail to allow for this, could be carelessness – were it not for the fact that the same data did not yield the uptick in Marcott’s thesis. That non-agreement is lacking an explanation.

As an aside, I am amused at how many times decade old dictionary definitions are pulled out to trump current usage. The term “mafia” is currently used to mean an element of “group dynamics”. Sometime justifiably with derision. But often with admiration and affection as in: “I wonder which member of the ‘lounge mafia’ is going to come in for hints about problem 17?” We welcomed their drafted representative at our office doorways – but these kids were really trying to learn, not just turn in their homework which was due an hour later!

n.n said...

Who is the greater offender here? Is it the scientists, or the journalists? The latter class who without discernment, selectively disseminate the esoteric works of experts for popular consumption. Thereby influencing mass perception in order to realize a preferred outcome. Is the greater offense committed against science or the people it serves?

Eric Rasmusen said...

Willis Eschenbach said:
"Third, the fact that a group of proxies produce a relatively flat blade should be no surprise to anyone who has dealt with them. The fact that they are proxies rather than thermometers means that there will be lots of noise in the record, and that tends to flatten out peaks and valleys."

True, but I think the study's method gets around that problem. If you have lots of proxies with uncorrelated noise, the noise will tend to cancel out. Also, they explicitly try to construct confidence bands, as shown in the figure above. I don't know how well this worked, but it's something they took into account.

Doug said...

http://www.blogger.com/profile/09799349841691844608

Elmar: okay, now go back to DotEarth and watch the video of the interview of Shakun by Revkin. And tell me the two versions of what he is peddling are consistent.

I've posted transcripts of portions of the interview at ClimateAudit (as pottereaton). Here's one:

http://climateaudit.org/2013/03/14/no-uptick-in-marcott-thesis/#comment-404659

Doug said...

That last post was directed at Elmar, post 28 and didn't work. Here's the text of a portion of the interview with Shakun conducted by Revkin:

Revkin: If you could summarize . . . Here’s your elevator speech. Obama is there and says, “What’s this I hear about your new paper?” And you’ve got 30 seconds to kind of say what you’ve learned about temperatures in this whole era.

Shakun: Well, that’s pressure! But if I’m in the elevator with Obama, I mean, what did we learn? We learned that for ten . . eleven thousand three hundred years temperatures have been doing a long, subtle, slow slide down; and small, you know, half a degree, three-quarter of a degree of cooling over the long run of the last several thousand years. Ummmm, and in the last century they’ve ticked up [raises arm over head] that much. You know, the same amount they’ve ticked down in the past five thousand years they’ve just ticked that much up in the last century. And I think the really interesting thing is, when you tack on where we are headed in the 21st century and then you’ve got the last ten thousand years doing this today [moves arm in gradual downward motion across the screen] and then BOOM, you know, we’re just outside the elevator, you know, up and OUT, and I think that’s the interesting perspective you get.

Revkin: So. . .so a super hockey stick, a really long . . .

Shakun: “Super hockey stick,” yeah, right. [Smiles]

Albatross said...

Willis @54,

"Now, perhaps you're stupid enough to engage under those rules."

No I am not, that is why I do not bother trying to post at Tony's place of business ;)

IIRC RealClimate, like Roger's blog, has a borehole. Regardless, you guys are just making excuses. Those tripping over themselves to congratulate and thank the "honest" broker are merely obediently responding to his dog whistles. More problematic is that none of Roger Pielke Junior's followers (or fake skeptics out there) have taken issue with Roger calling the scientists at RealClimate "mafia"....

Had this not been posted yesterday, I would have thought Roger's blog post was intended an April fool's joke. Instead Poe's law seems to be more applicable.

Now if you don't mind, and with all respect, I'd rather hear Roger's explanation for his defamatory (libellous?) comments than excuses made by his apologists.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-64-Albatross

You are welcome to use this thread to discuss Marcott et al. If you would like to comment on blog moderation policies here or elsewhere, or my feelings or motivations, please head over to the deleted comments thread. I will delete future off-topic comments from you on this thread without notice.

Thanks.

David Appell said...

Willis Eschenbach wrote:
Albatross, I for one never go to RealClimate because they censor opposing comments that they don't like.

Of course, WUWT, where you frequently contribute, does the same thing.

David Appell said...

Willis Eschenback wrote:
The study is OK because they said "Our results indicate ..." rather than "Our results show ..."??? And it's OK to "discuss" results that are rubbish because you're just "discussing" them???

Marcott et al show A. The modern instrumental record shows B.

Since when was it disallowed to discuss the results of two true things in combination?

Look, the truth is we all know the usual suspects were going to try to destroy this paper by any means necessary. It's too important, and too easily understood by the public, not to have brought all ammunition to bear. I mean, is there any inconvenient scientific finding since Newton that WUWT hasn't disproven with a couple of paragraphs of a blog post?

JD said...

Roger,

You and other readers may initially think that I am joking, but my idea is serious. I believe that in the area of climate science, some bloggers have become so skilled (McIntyre & Condon for instance) that they should be given the opportunity to review scientific papers in a manner similar to peer review. It has become completely obvious that peer review, as currently employed, is a failure. Also, many bloggers are much more knowledgeable in statistics (McIntyre for example) than the persons employed by universities who publish in the climate science area. (See Mann for an example of one who is an incompetent statistician.)

JD Ohio

David Appell said...

stevemosher said...
1. you would be making a mistake by mixing a SST reconstruction with a LAND/OCEAN index.

2. They actually did something worse by including the Mann recon which is land only.


They didn't "include" Mann, they compared their results to his -- and to what indices are available.

It's a natural thing to do. In science you never have perfect data, so you look for agreements where you can.

Of course, if they hadn't done this they'd have been attacked for *that*. ["What are they trying to hide, pretending Mann doesn't exist."]

David Appell said...

JD: Is there something that prevents McIntyre (or anyone) from following the usual rules of scientific engagement: write a letter to the editor, or submit a paper in rebuttal?

Or is tossing off a blog post or two more effective to the purpose?

Fabius Maximus said...

Albatross said:

"...you {Pielke} are slandering and defaming scientists (perhaps worse) again by equating them with criminals or a group that engages in extortion.

"ma·fi·a :An organized international body of criminals, operating originally in Sicily and now esp. in Italy and the US. Any similar group using extortion and other criminal methods."

Albatross omits the second definition of mafia:

"(not capitalized) a group of people of similar interests or backgrounds prominent in a particular field or enterprise."

In context Pielke is obviously using the second definition. Attributing the first definition to him IMO seems fractious (deliberately seeking to arouse hostility). And quote daft.

The Right Wing Professor... said...

The word 'mafia' (lower case), by long standing English usage, denotes a closely knit cabal. If one were referring to the Sicilian Mafia, one would use upper case.

Trying to pretend that the widespread usage of a word does not exist and that the word can only be traced to its origin is blatantly dishonest.

Albatross said...

Roger,

You make the following statement, which I contend is misleading:

"[UPDATE: Andy Revkin at DotEarth has updated his posts here and here to reference the "lost blade" from the hockey stick and link to this post. That was quick and easy. Others take note.]"

I followed the links and went to Revkin's site. Some comments:

1) Revkin is still showing the Marcott et al. figure with the irksome blade.

2) Nowhere (that I could find) did Revkin make "reference to the "lost blade", that seems to be something that you introduced here.

3) All that you he seem to be doing is liking to each other's posts.

More importantly, your adaption of Marcott et al's figure is not only a misrepresentation of their work, but some could perhaps argue that you doctored their graph. Additionally, the first time you show their figure (after deleting data) you do not provide any attribution for the figure, nor do you make no reference to the fact that you have deleted data or why you did so. The reader is left only with a modified figure and you link that graph with the opening line of your post, "In 1991 the National Research Council proposed what has come to be a widely accepted definition of misconduct in science". But no, you are not accusing anyone of scientific misconduct ;)

Moreover, you claim that:
"So what the paper actually shows is the following, after I have removed from the graph the 20th century period that is "not statistically robust"

This is a demonstrably false and misleading claim made by you. The increment of the ticks is 500 years. You have erased data for the Marcott et al. figure going all the way back to the end of the LIA, that is not even close to removing the 20th century proxy temperatures as you claim.

Now it is probably not scientific misconduct on your part to modify and erase data from a journal paper's graph or not provide appropriate attribution on a blog, but I would argue that it is very unprofessional. I expect that sort of thing from the likes of Pat Michaels, not from you.

Joshua has it right, you are not part of the solution, but rather part of the problem.

Thanks!

JD said...

Appell to JD: "Is there something that prevents McIntyre (or anyone) from following the usual rules of scientific engagement: write a letter to the editor, or submit a paper in rebuttal?"

Yes, there is. McIntyre has already tried writing letters to science journals and he is routinely ignored. (Can't find the direct links quickly, but I am sure that many are aware of these efforts and the deceit of the Team in failing to credit Steve for mistakes he found.) Also, Steve posted on Dotearth today that Tamino plagiarized his work with respect to the Marcott work.

JD Ohio

Robert in Calgary said...

Dr. Pielke,

I would like to thank you for this post.

I would also like to compliment yourself and Anthony Watts for the enormous patience you have for the folks who think it's their right to constantly harass you because you chose not to be their puppets.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-73-Albatross

You need to read my post all the way to the bottom, I explain:

"So what the paper actually shows is the following, after I have removed from the graph the 20th century period that is "not statistically robust" (this is also the figure that appears at the top of this post)"

Both of Revkin's posts provide an update and link to this post, that seems perfectly appropriate as a follow up. It would be the responsibility of the authors and Science to correct the graphs by removing the "non robust" parts.

Please don't simply repeat what you have already said in another comment. You are on a short leash and repetitive comments will also be deleted without notice. The deleted comment thread is available if you'd like to use it.

Thanks!

Doug said...

David Appel, #70: "Or is tossing off a blog post or two more effective to the purpose?"

Yes, it's obviously more effective and there have not been one or two, but literally hundreds of posts that have proven modern post-normal climate science to be a leaky ship. McIntyre's dissection of this paper was thorough and timely. If you disagreed with what his findings, why didn't you go there and correct his mistakes?

We are lucky to have people like McIntyre and the Pielkes each doing climate science in their own way.

Albatross said...

LOL Fabius @71.

Grasping at straws much. Actually I provided both definitions, verbatim. Google "mafia definition".

But of course, I'm sure your cherry picked definition is exactly what we all think when someone talks about or hears of the "mafia".

Kuze said...

David Appell 67.

"Look, the truth is we all know the usual suspects were going to try to destroy this paper by any means necessary."

You realize that this is how a healthy field of science *should* work? A science that consists of contentious parties vigorously pointing out the flaws of the others will produce the most robust work and best defeat the confirmation biases of both. The problem is that the political-moral implications of climate science has caused it to become a holy war for certain scientists where to question their papers is to side with "the industry shills".

You're a team member, I get that, we all have our allegiances. But your taking offense at the idea of a scientific paper being pried apart and examined displays a stunning lack of skepticism.

Benjamin Bushwick said...

TLDR: Marcott et al. = for ~11,300 years global temperatures have been subtly decreasing but overall remaining pretty stable(.5-.75 degree fluctuation over thousands of years.) The last 100 years, for some reason, most likely industrial activity and digging carbon up into the air, we have boomed up to an incredibly sinister level which should alarm the populace.

I'm not very tenured in my knowledge of the hard sciences, nor environmental sciences. When I read all of that and attempt to grasp even a fraction of the points made, it becomes a futile attempt. I am college educated, and if I tried to bring any of these points to the extended family dinner table, it would be doubtful that anybody would have any grasp on what I was saying. To show a figure graph and say that the 20th century portion of our paleotemperature stack is not statistically robust, and it cannot be considered representative of global temperature changes, would not be a compelling argument to convert a family member bashing environmentalism to my side.

Obviously this is a private blog of Roger Pielke Jr. dedicated towards climate science, but with the brevity and depth of climate change, I want to bring up the point in these comments that communicating this information is not an effective strategy. Having the content of your arguments completely esoteric to alienate supporters outside of the scientific community is not an effective way to gather support.

I would find this information valuable because I would have at some point in my life, been taught the integrity of the scientific method and hold virtue in trusting science. If I was not at that level of education, it would be very easy to shut off every bit of this argument and say something along the lines of 'Screw Science.'

This is where climate deniers come from.

JD said...

Appell to “JD: Is there something that prevents McIntyre (or anyone) from following the usual rules of scientific engagement: write a letter to the editor, or submit a paper in rebuttal?”

Yes there is. Steve M has tried writing letters and emails and was met with organized obfuscation by the Team. He has written about it numerous times. Don’t have the best example (which I believe also dealt with Science Magazine), but here is a link about some of his dealings with the Team and “mainstream” journals. http://climateaudit.org/2006/04/21/another-inch-at-sciencemag/ Also, on Dotearth, currently, there is a post where he details plagiarism by Tamino (of McIntyre’s work) that was published by Dotearth and Realclimate.

JD Ohio

The Right Wing Professor... said...

It strikes me that many of the commenters are missing the main point. Whatever about the merits of grafting two separate data sets onto the same graph, the basic problem is that the 20th century measurements have a time resolution far finer than the earlier data. Therefore, had such a spike occurred in the proxy data set, it would not look like the spike displayed in the figure. Therefore the figure is profoundly misleading. One can certainly discuss two data sets in combination. One should not display them in combination unless they are truly comparable.

In fact, were one to apply a 300 year smooth to the 20th century data, I suspect it would look very much like the peak that appears centered at 7000 years b.p..

David Appell said...

JD: What "organized obfuscation?" I doubt the editors of Science are looking for an pure up-or-down thumb from any scientist without a lot of review and discussion. They published refutations to Felisa Wolfe-Simon's 2010 paper.

McIntyre is just as free to send a letter to the editor or a rebuttal paper as anyone else. That's the scientific record, not some blog.

Seeing some of his email to various parties, he frequently comes across as heavyhanded and accusatory, and, as in his blog posts, overly specific in order to intimidate. I'm not at all surprised scientists decline to deal with him.

Stephen Pruett said...

Nick interprets Figure 3 as allowing retention of the claim of a dramatic 20th century reversal in declining temperatures. However, isn't it actually the case that the proxy data for the last century are the only data that can be reliably compared to the proxy data for the previous centuries? Efforts to match proxy data with current instrumental data haven't been famously successful. I understand that physical limitations of sediment cores prevent their reliable use in recent times (after 1950) and divergence of the tree-ring data makes it unreliable to match with instrumental records, doesn't it? So, I don't see how this paper represents any progress compared to Mann et al other than to go further back in time. It is reasonable to expect this to be published but the claims of the authors and the media about this work establishing the end of the slow cooling for thousands of years rapidly during the past century are more uncertain than ever (because the data for the last century in this paper were admitted to be, not robust)

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-82-The Right Wing Professor

You remind me of this old trick:

http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2009/08/mann-et-al-unsmoothed-landsea07.html

David Appell said...

Doug wrote: McIntyre's dissection of this paper was thorough and timely.

It's a blog post! Not peer-reviewed in any way. He could have put up any technical-sounding bamboozle and 95% of his readers would have bought it. That's come to be how they see his role -- a reason, any reason, for them to dismiss an inconvenient finding.

David Appell said...

Kuze wrote:
A science that consists of contentious parties vigorously pointing out the flaws of the others will produce the most robust work and best defeat the confirmation biases of both.

You think THAT's what's happening here? You think Morano and Milloy and WUWT are just objectively "pointing out flaws?" You are willfully blind as to their role. They came up with reasons to dismiss this paper within minutes of the lifting of its embargo.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

All -- as much fun as it is to discuss WUWT and who has what motivations, I'd ask that you take that stuff elsewhere. Thanks!

Mark said...

67. David Appell said...

Marcott et al show A. The modern instrumental record shows B.

Since when was it disallowed to discuss the results of two true things in combination?


When they don't measure the same thing, of course.

One has all the variability flattened out of it, by the fact that they are proxies over time (centuries in fact) and then again by averaging.

The other responds on a short term basis.

It's like comparing the average monthly temperatures for the previous 10 years, with the daily temperatures for one day. The average monthly temperatures will, of course, stay within very limited bounds. The temperature on a day will show an "unprecedented" rise from midnight through to midday. Oh noes! we are doomed!

You must know this if you have been following the matter at all. You accuse Roger of bad faith, yet continually choose to ignore the actual problem with comparing two different sorts of measurements.

This sort of deliberate ignorance is what Roger is calling out. No-one with a modicum of knowledge on the matter thinks you can compare your "A" with your "B". In fact Micheal Mann is on record saying no-one would do it. Why then do you persist in pretending not to get it? The bad faith is yours.

Considered Opinion said...

David Appell said:

"So given (a) Marcott et al (without the blade), and (b) the last 130-150 years of surface temperatures via GISS and HadCRUT4, what is untruthful about pointing out the bigger picture of (a)+(b)?"

That’s easy. Marcott's dissertation shows no hockey stick blade uptick, and none of the individual proxies show such a hockey stick blade. However, when "et al." joined in the effort, recent data in Marcott's dissertation that showed a downtrend in temperatures were truncated out of the reconstruction, and other data were shifted by hundreds of years without explanation, until a hockey stick blade was forged where none existed in the original data. [Query: Can intense forging make a paleoclimate paper cutting edge?] If Marcott, et al. had presented the unadulterated "(a)" from Marcott's dissertation and simply stated "(a) + (b)" as your question suggests, the paper would have been mildly interesting, but it would not provide a new source of support for the hockey stick meme. A reconstruction over 11,500 years is important if it is a reasonable interpretation of the data within a consistent data set. Trying to justify a forged "(a)" by claiming it is equivalent to "(a) + (b)" doesn't cut it.

http://climateaudit.org/2013/03/16/the-marcott-shakun-dating-service/
http://climateaudit.org/2013/03/17/hiding-the-decline-the-md01-2421-splice/
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/13/marcotts-proxies/#more-81951
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/26/wheres-the-hockey-stick-the-marcott-9-show-no-warming-past-1950/#more-82849
http://climateaudit.org/2013/03/14/no-uptick-in-marcott-thesis/

David Appell said...

Considered Opinion wrote:
Marcott's dissertation shows no hockey stick blade uptick, and none of the individual proxies show such a hockey stick blade.

We don't need proxies for the blade, because we've had these things called "thermometers" for awhile now.

David Appell said...

Mark wrote:
When they don't measure the same thing, of course.... One has all the variability flattened out of it, by the fact that they are proxies over time (centuries in fact) and then again by averaging.... The other responds on a short term basis."

They do measure the same thing, but to different accuracies.

Again, no data in science is perfect. In a field like climate science, which isn't an experimental science, you do the best you can with the data you can get.

The proxies available only allow for a certain resolution. Is science really supposed to say, you know, until we can find proxies that give us the temperaure ever hour at 3,000 different locations around the world, there's just nothing we can say about how the Holocene compares to today.

That would be absurd.

Howard said...

David Appell:

I agree that Roger's post is over the top. He pretty much says (if you read between the lines) that this is a case of misconduct. However, to be safe he says it *may* not be misconduct. He then comments about the RC mafia and his defenders claim that he really means a group of like minded people... yeAh, right. I hate passive aggressive academic doublespeak just like you do.

So do I have the M. et al situation straight:

The non-robust blade missing from the thesis and contained in the paper is likely an artifact we should ignore. We are also to assume that even though the plot is really not a hockey stick because we all mentally remove the blade. The blade was a popular topic of the press release and interviews, but it was not the blade we mentally remove, it's the thermometer record blade we are supposed to mentally add to create a super hockey stick?

Do I have this right?

If so, then the paper presents all of the empirical, conceptual and statistical rigor to weld the end of the robust Holocene proxy record to the modern instrument record.

Basically it's game over skeptics.

Howard said...

92. David Appell said...

"..........The proxies available only allow for a certain resolution. Is science really supposed to say, you know, until we can find proxies that give us the temperaure ever hour at 3,000 different locations around the world, there's just nothing we can say about how the Holocene compares to today.

That would be absurd. "

What? You are now saying the proxy shaft and instrument blade don't connect up? This is really confusing. I thought this was sold as the game-over super hockey stick.

No way to compare the Holocene to Today? Does M et al make that clear in their conclusions?

Someone, please help me out.

Ron C. said...

82. The Right Wing Professor... said..
David Middleton did test the comparison of a modern instrumental record with annual resolution to a nearby proxy with 140 years resolution. Putting both records on 140 years shows something different from what Marcotte et al found--gradual warming, no hockey stick.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/11/a-simple-test-of-marcott-et-al-2013/

James Smyth said...

David Appell, please post links to this post , so that people can be saved the trouble of reading anything else you say on this subject,

" what's wrong about discussing how their results look in light of the recent instrumental record?"

An honest scientist would have resisted. It's really very simple.

Bernal said...

I am old enough (alas) to remember that the group surrounding President Kennedy was often called the Irish mafia. When I searched kennedy irish mafia I got [About 2,530,000 results (0.60 seconds)],said Google. Some of them seemed fairly positive but the more litigious among you could start there doing research for the big law suit. Hey, why don't you Pielke haters run down the list and find somebody who got sued for applying that term to Kenny O'Donnell. This comment was not peer reviewed.

Jeez Roger, speaking of the mafia they are going all, "You're dead to me now Fredo," on you at Dot Earth.

I know I am suspect since I live in a state near-by Georgia (Freda, AKA Judy Curry is also dead to them). And being a hick I just know you are a pinko collige perfesser and I oughtn't to, but I cain't hep myeff likin' ya; I guess that's what being an honest broker is all about

David Appell said...

James Smyth wrote:
An honest scientist would have resisted. It's really very simple.

Baloney. Scientists combine results all the time; in fact, it's the raison d'etre of climate science, which is applied physics that combines results from different subfields of physics.

It's a very thin reason to use as the basis for an attack, let alone a dismissal. But that's where things have regressed to.

The Right Wing Professor... said...

They do measure the same thing, but to different accuracies.

No, they measure it on different time scales. I have no idea if you appreciate that's significant, but I assure you it is.

ferdberple said...

Albatross said:
"...you {Pielke} are slandering and defaming
==========
Roger is defaming the mafia by comparing them to climate scientists.

Unknown said...

@A.Grinsted: You wrote, "Luckily we actually have instrumental temperatures from the recent hockeystick blade period which we can compare their long term reconstruction to. The implications are pretty clear..." You've probably picked this up from other comments here, but in case: The first (and a fortiori, second) derivative of the instrumental temps canNOT be compared to the proxy, because the time resolution of the proxies is so low compared to the hundred years of the instrumental record. In particular, we have no way to know whether there were similar rapid rises (and falls) in the past. For all we know, this sort of thing happens all the time.

And contrary to David Appel's post (#92), if the currently available evidence doesn't support a claim in science, then you shouldn't make the claim. There's nothing "absurd" about it.

charlesH said...

#86 Appell

"Doug wrote: McIntyre's dissection of this paper was thorough and timely.

It's a blog post! Not peer-reviewed in any way. He could have put up any technical-sounding bamboozle and 95% of his readers would have bought it. That's come to be how they see his role -- a reason, any reason, for them to dismiss an inconvenient finding."

I challenge you (or anyone else) to point out the flaws in CA's audit. Out in the open on his blog (or any other uncensored blog). Not behind secret expert peer reviewers. After, these secret expert peer reviewers didn't challenge the paper in question.

The Right Wing Professor... said...

Basically it's game over skeptics.

'Skeptics' are a varied lot. Flat out deniers of AGW have not gotten beyond Svante Arrhenius, and are properly ignored. On the other hand, 'lukewarmers' (full disclosure; like myself) have been doing rather well. It's more or less consensus that climate sensitivity estimates are probably narrowing towards the low end of the IPCC range. And the policy prescriptions of the mainstream AGW crowd have fared disastrously. The anti-climate-change policies of countries like Germany and the UK look like a complete failure. Huge amounts of money have been spent for almost no return. On the other hand, the US, whose climate change policy under Bush was 'drill baby drill' and whose policy under Obama has remained, thanks to inertia, mostly unaltered, has reduced its carbon emissions thanks to the fracking-induced glut in natural gas. Reputable, mainstream publications like the Economist are becoming more, not less skeptical, of the outpourings of the AGW establishment. As they should be.

Climate science in the last 20 years has filled in a few gaps. This Holocene reconstruction would have been a nice piece of work -- it is a nice piece of work -- had they not felt the urge to make a contemporary point. On the other hand, the policy prescriptions of climate scientists have been an abject failure.

I almost wish I believed in an afterlife, so I could envisage Julian Simon chuckling heartily at the folly of it all.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

Another telling comment from former Real Climate blogger William Connelley:

"this is all about the “uptick” in the Marcott plot. Why oh why this is of the least interest to anyone I don’t know, because its the one bit where the proxies (which is what Marcott are using) are of no interest"
http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2013/04/01/rp-jr-is-a-tosser/

Seems like he and I agree 100% about the significance of the Marcott blade. Though WC takes issue with me pointing this out and calling out his old friends for their usual tricks.

Research integrity? Accurate representation of science? Hype in the press release and public comments?

No where to be seen in WC's comments. In this branch of climate science it is all about what side you are on. Oh and he does call me names;-)

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-102-The Right Wing Professor

More along these lines, Obama's PCAST offers climate policy recommendations that could have been lifted straight out of The Climate Fix:

http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2013/03/mixed-reactions-to-white-house-s.html

Doug said...

In #83, David Appel said: "McIntyre is just as free to send a letter to the editor or a rebuttal paper as anyone else. That's the scientific record, not some blog."

The limitations you are trying to put on McIntyre are noted. As I stated above, he is much more effective posting long complicated analysis than he would be having an occasional letter published in a journal.

What did you think about Shakun's interview with Revkin? Do you think that contributed to the scientific record in any meaningful way? Did you attack him for his his inane comments?

The Right Wing Professor... said...

Roger:

Science pats itself on the back for being self-correcting, but (see Kuhn) we really aren't, at least not very quickly. Politics, on the other hand, corrects itself on the time scale of the latest opinion poll.

TCF does look like it's getting better over time, at least in the medium term. Lomborg is another guy who seems to be getting unaccountably smarter, judging by his Sunday Times article over the weekend. :-)







David Appell said...

I challenge you (or anyone else) to point out the flaws in CA's audit.

Scientists who want their work taken seriously don't just write up a blog post and see who happens to come along, they submit it to journals that send it out to experts for review. It's a completely different standard.

David Appell said...

No, they measure it on different time scales.

Yes, there are other variables involved than time, etc etc etc. The point remains: it's absurd to claim nothing can be said about the comparison of the Holocene to the present unless the specifics of the measurements match in every detail.

The Right Wing Professor... said...

Time is more than just another variable.

And no one has said that things have to match in every detail. However, surely it's not even disputable that a heavily smoothed function should not directly be compared with a less smoothed or an unsmoothed function?

Howard said...

108 David Appell:

M et al have linked the Holocene proxies to the Modern instrument by doing science, not conjecture, right? I'm having trouble finding the science about this obvious link.

I agree with you completely about McIntyre. No one reads his blog anymore. Scientists who want their work taken seriously don't oversell it with attractive non-robust graphs, they just use blogs to answer FAQs from a public hungry for Real Science doers.

Eric Hansen said...

CharlesH @ #101

"It's a blog post..."

A blog post is much easier to refute than the "Peer Reviewed Literature".

If you find anything wrong with McIntyre's analysis all you have to do is point it out to him via his blog and he will thank you and make a correction with proper attribution. Data and code are available and when possible turnkey.

this happens all the time at Climateaudit. That is why we have such confidence in the results.

Fabius Maximus said...

Albatross says "Actually I provided both definitions, verbatim"

I begin to understand Pielke's annoyance with you. You are disputing the definition in dictionaries, and denying your actual words.

You did not quote the full definition, but only those referring to criminal organizations (ie, the MAFIA or similar groups).

You did not quote the other meaning, referring to a non-criminal group (which I quoted from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary). This is a commonplace usage, familiar even to children.

Review your words here:
http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2013/03/fixing-marcott-mess-in-climate-science.html?showComment=1364791307088#c8550426547120856287

We can only speculate at what caused you to make a false statement on a matter so easily checked. While small, it tells us much about you. Unfortunately it's behavior typical of lay global warming advocates.

It poisons the public policy debate (it means nothing in the parallel debate among scientists). Sad, considering its importance.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

OK, everyone has had their say on the important issue of the meaning of the word "mafia";-)

Please take further commentary on it over to the rejected comment thread.

I am still waiting for a critique of this post, rather than, say peering into the depths of my climate denial soul;-) (joke, chill!)

Jere Krischel said...

Wow. David Appell, again and again, comes across like the guy who is the last one willing to admit the emperor has no clothes.

Imagine a paper showing the gradual monthly temperature average going from April to the next February somewhere in the northern hemisphere. A nice, gradual rise to summer, and then a gradual decline until mid-winter.

Then, they take the hourly temperature change from 4am to 3pm on March 1st, and freak out because such variation is unprecedented in their monthly temperature average.

Time to stop the impassioned defense of the indefensible, and concentrating on the mea culpa necessary for proper damage control.

Tom Curtis said...

Roger Pielke Jnr:

1) It is impossible for the press release to have over emphasized the blade of the graph because:
a) The press release does not show the graph; and
b) The blade of the graph is not discussed by anybody within the press release.
The same is also true of the report in Nature.

2) The paper states:

"Our results indicate that global mean temperature for the decade 2000–2009 (34) has not yet exceeded the warmest temperatures of the early Holocene (5000 to 10,000 yr B.P.). These temperatures are, however, warmer than 82% of the Holocene distribution as represented by the Standard5×5 stack, or 72% after making plausible corrections for inherent smoothing of the high frequencies in the stack (6) (Fig. 3). In contrast, the decadal mean global temperature of the early 20th century (1900– 1909) was cooler than >95% of the Holocene distribution under both the Standard5×5 and high-frequency corrected scenarios. Global temperature, therefore, has risen from near the coldest to the warmest levels of the Holocene within the past century, reversing the long-term cooling trend that began ~5000 yr B.P."

That is exactly the conclusion you claim is not found in the paper. Thus you analysis is a clear case of misrepresentation. We might well ask, "Does [your] public misrepresentation amount to scientific misconduct?"

3) The paper very clearly indicates that the comparison between 20th century and Holocene temperatures is made by comparing HadCRUT3 temperatures of the twentieth century with every temperature in the Holocene record based on 1000 reconstructions based on perturbing the proxies within error in a monte carlo technique, wither with (72%) or without (82%) additional noise added to compensate for inherent smoothing. This is illustrated in Figure 3 of the paper (without noise added) and figure S22 of the supplementary material (with noise added).

This was also clearly explained by Marcott at the post at Real Climate which you referenced. There is, therefore, no basis for your not understanding the basis of the comparison between Holocene and 20th century temperatures. That means your failure to explain the basis, and your pretense that it was based on the "blade" again is a case of (gross) misrepresentation.

4) It is impossible that your interpretation (ie, that the blade of the reconstruction is the basis of comparison between 20th century and Holocene temperatures because its last value is in 1940, six decades too early for the comparison between Holocene and 2000-2009 temperatures. Your mistake cannot be on the basis of misunderstanding the paper only, but must also be based on an absurdly shallow reading of the paper (the same applies to others who have made the mistake).

5) It is true that the blade has been mistakenly identified as robust and as the basis of the claimed relationship between Holocene and 20th century temperatures, including by New Scientist. I have argued strenuously that the basis of the comparison should be clearly identified even when the mistake is not made (as at Skeptical Science), because it is to easily made based on shallow interpretations.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

Recovered from Blogger:

"Considered Opinion has left a new comment on your post "Fixing the Marcott Mess in Climate Science":

David Appell says:

"We don't need proxies for the blade, because we've had these things called "thermometers" for awhile now."

Then why truncate and alter the sediment core data and then claim sediment core data shows a hockey stick? Why not leave the data as it is and write a conclusion that solely says that the sediment core data indicates 5,000 years of cooling since the peak temperature period known as the Holocene Optimum? That is all that Marcott's data correctly shows.

The authors could always have thrown in a clearly stated comment about thermometer data during the past 100 years without manipulating the sediment core data. But that approach would not have the same impact as suggesting that the magnitude and rate of the 20th Century warming shown in a consistent data set is unprecedented and alarming. In contrast, other reconstructions (e.g., ice cores, bore holes, etc.) indicate that the 20th Century thermometer warming is not unusual and is similar to the warming experienced during the Medieval Warm Period and less than the temperature during the Holocene Optimum. Consequently, now that we know that the "et al." hockey stick blade is incorrect, there is no reason to doubt the previous evidence that the 20th Century is consistent with natural temperature fluctuations."

Tom Curtis said...

I notice that a number of people criticize Marcott et al for showing the "blade" in figure 1 of their paper. These are the same people who criticize the not showing of the reverse "blade", claiming it represents a dishonest case of "hiding the decline". Apparently they are of the opinion that non-robust sections of the reconstruction should be shown if, and only if they are declining.

charlesH said...

#107 Appell

"Scientists who want their work taken seriously don't just write up a blog post and see who happens to come along, they submit it to journals that send it out to experts for review. It's a completely different standard."

Yes, the paper in under discussion is a completely different standard. It was peer reviewed by "experts". And look what we got.

Better to be thrown out in a blog for all to see and critique in the open.

charlesH said...

@Appell,

It is not a case of adding A to B. It is a case of modifying data in A to look like adding A to B.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-115-Tom Curtis

Thanks for the comment but we will have to agree to disagree.

1. The NSF press release specifically describes the reconstruction shaft and blade, as I excerpted in the post.

2. My critique has nothing to do with Marcott Fig. 3 or related analysis.

Please do re-read this post, it does not critique what you claim it does.

Thanks!

Tom Curtis said...

Roger Pielke Jnr,

Your critique has everything to do with Fig 3, and related analysis. Because of that analysis, it is not possible, as you do, to simply excerpt a quote mentioning the relationship between Holocene and 20th century temperatures and assume it refers to the "blade". Indeed, because of that analysis, unless the blade is explicitly mentioned it must be assumed that reference is being made to the analysis illustrated with figure 3. That applies to the press release, which states

"What that history shows, the researchers say, is that during the last 5,000 years, the Earth on average cooled about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit--until the last 100 years, when it warmed about 1.3 degrees F."

Note, history, not reconstruction.

Why is it that every time I visit your blog your entire argument comes down to your ability to (demonstrably) misinterpret your sources?

DGH said...

Roger,

Most of what you wrote and discussed in this post is a rehash of old news that was debated ad nauseum while you were on that generous spring break that academic types enjoy. Your blog post is spot on but you shouldn't have used the invidious M word. It's a distraction that you intended to be noticed and you shouldn't now complain that nobody has critiqued anything else about your post.

"Apart from that Mrs. Lincoln how was the play?"

- Marcott et al state in the FAQ, "To our knowledge, our work is the first attempt to quantify global temperature for the entire Holocene."

- Revkin quotes Robert Rohde, "...the broad picture of Holocene climate does not seem to have been significantly changed by their findings."

- Dr. Mann's opinion is well known.

- Your only comment on the substance of the paper, "Surely there is great value in such an analysis of pre-20th century temperatures."

Forgetting the controversial stuff for a moment, is this reconstruction of the Holocene temperature history anything more than interesting? In your opinion, is there "great value" in Marcott et al?

Jere Krischel said...

-121

"What history shows, the researchers say, is that during the past 7 months, the earth has cooled about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit - until the last 12 hours, when it warmed about 1.3 degrees F."

Does the problem with that press release become more clear when we use just a slightly different time scale?

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-121-Tom Curtis

Thanks, but your argument doesn't pass the simple test of reading comprehension.

The NSF press release does say "What that history shows, the researchers say, is that during the last 5,000 years, the Earth on average cooled about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit--until the last 100 years, when it warmed about 1.3 degrees F."

What does "that history" refer to? There is no ambiguity, as it is explained in the previous sentence:

"But when you combine data from sites around the world, you can average out those regional anomalies and get a clear sense of the Earth's global temperature history."

The reference is clearly and unambiguously to the reconstruction, as are the comments of Major in the same press release.

Sorry, but silly word games can't fix this mess.

Thanks!

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-122-DGH

I've got no problem using the invidious (a great word a la Revkin!) M word. Some (not most) in the climate community have been playing fast and loose with public representations of research for far too long.

If you mischaracterize your research via NSF (no less) then you deserve to have questions raised about scientific integrity.

Those who don't like such questions being raised should probably do a better job in the QC department, rather than complain about getting called out.

Thanks!

Trey said...

"Scientists who want their work taken seriously don't just write up a blog post and see who happens to come along, they submit it to journals that send it out to experts for review. It's a completely different standard."

David Appell, here are a few things to consider.

Steve McIntyre has published his previous findings in the peer-review system. I'm sure he would do more if is wasn't so hard to get past the gatekeepers who are playing sides, not science. Peer review as we know it today is a relatively new system. I participate in it; it is far from perfect (hence the dispute we are discussing here.) Plenty of good science was done before the current system. In a Darwinian sense, the good ideas will prevail no matter what their mode of publishing -- journals, books, and yes, blogs.

JD said...

83 Appell

“McIntyre is just as free to send a letter to the editor or a rebuttal paper as anyone else. That's the scientific record, not some blog.”

JD Response: Realize you are not intentionally being funny, but this statement is ridiculously funny. Hansenite climate “science” between Mann getting Tiljander upside down and Gleick chairing an ethics committee has a horrendous record. Marcott’s paper adds to its pathetic performance. Why would anyone in their right mind want Hansenite climate science to continue on with its horrific performance.

Further proof of Hansenite science’s poor performance is McIntyre’s experience. See http://climateaudit.org/2005/02/14/some-thoughts-on-disclosure-and-due-diligence-in-climate-science/ He stated that: “None of the major multiproxy studies have anything remotely like a complete due diligence packages and most have none at all. The author of one of the most quoted studies [Crowley and Lowery, 2000] told me that he has “mis-placed” his data. ….

“IPCC proponents place great emphasis on the merit of articles that have been “peer reviewed” by a journal. However, as a form of due diligence, journal peer review in the multiproxy climate field is remarkably cursory, as compared with the due diligence of business processes. Peer review for climate publications, even by eminent journals like Nature or Science, is typically a quick unpaid read by two (or sometimes three) knowledgeable persons, usually close colleagues of the author.
It is unheard of for a peer reviewer to actually check the data and calculations. In 2004, I was asked by a journal (Climatic Change) to peer review an article. I asked to see the source code and supporting calculations. The editor said that no one had ever asked for such things in 28 years of his editing the journal. He refused to ask for source code; the author refused to provide supporting calculations. Out of my involvement, the journal ended up with a new data policy, which was all to the good. But there is nothing at the journal peer review stage in climate publications which is remotely like an audit.”


Appell [McIntyre] frequently comes across as heavyhanded and accusatory, and, as in his blog posts, overly specific in order to intimidate. I'm not at all surprised scientists decline to deal with him.”

JD Response: “I am not surprised that “climate scientists” don’t want to deal with him either. He continues to find numerous mistakes that the “scientists” try to bury under rocks.”

JD Ohio

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

Left for William Connolley at his blog:

"Roger Pielke Jr.
2013/04/02

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi William,

You calling me names, makes me all nostalgic for 2007ish ;-)

You write: “this is all about the “uptick” in the Marcott plot. Why oh why this is of the least interest to anyone I don’t know”

Does the problem with interest in the uptick start with my blog post? Or do those folks who touted it in a press release and across the media bear any responsibility?

You know they say one never really leaves the mafia ;-)

All best …"

Tom Curtis said...

Roger Pielke Jnr,

If, as you claim, "history" is meant to refer to only "the history as shown by reconstruction" then it is a clear misrepresentation of the research as it indicates the reconstruction covers "the last 100 years" where-as the reconstruction terminates in 1940, and hence only covers the first three decades of the "last 100 years".

Of course, claiming misrepresentation on that basis would be absurd. The so-called "misrepresentation" would clearly be no more than a hostile misinterpretation by an over enthusiastic pundit. But that absurd accusation has the same logical basis as your accusation.

As to reading comprehension, it is straightforward that the history is more than just the tools we use to examine a certain portion of the history. So, the reconstruction gives us a clearer view of the history, and the history (the whole thing, including those bits we know independently of the reconstruction) shows us a remarkable temperature increase in the twentieth century.

Further, as regards reading comprehension, you are accusing Marcott et al of possible scientific misconduct because of a sentence that is not attributed to them in the press release. Your interpretation of that sentence is wrong, even obtuse. But regardless of that, it is extraordinary for you to be suggesting research misconduct by scientists because a press officer was not up on every nuance of their research.

Mark said...

David Appell wrote:

They do measure the same thing, but to different accuracies.


I assume you are not a stupid man. So why would you write such a stupid thing?

Just because two things are both measured in the same units does not mean they measure the same thing.

I can only assume that you are hoping to confuse the less science literate with your faux naive allegation that the two series can be linked. It does you little credit that you would try and assure the less knowledgeable rather than actually deal with the real problems of the paper.

For those who find the statistics a bit too much, this is what Mr Appell wants you to believe is a valid statistical method:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/22384025@N08/8612653500/in/photostream

Also note, that while Mr Appell disparages non-approved people because they don't publish in peer-approved publications, his own background is less scientifically academic than almost everyone commenting on this article. It shows, frankly.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-129-Tom Curtis

Thanks ... you lost me with that last set of comments, but I suspect we will simply have to leave it at agreeing to disagree. I have no interest in parsing the many meanings of the word "history."

The sentence in question is a direct quote from one of the co-authors. In addition, the research misconduct, if indeed that is what this is, may lie with NSF rather than the paper's authors. Misrepresentation happened, and someone should fix it or be held accountable. Presumably the researchers signed off on the release, but if not, a good indication of a flawed process.

There are of course many possible excuses for misrepresenting research. Having an excuse does not make such occurrences excusable.

Thanks again ...

charlesH said...

#130 Mark

I like your graphic link.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/22384025@N08/8612653500/in/photostream

Tom Curtis said...

From the press release:

'Peter Clark, an OSU paleoclimatologist and co-author of the Science paper, says that many previous temperature reconstructions were regional and not placed in a global context.

"When you just look at one part of the world, temperature history can be affected by regional climate processes like El Niño or monsoon variations," says Clark.

"But when you combine data from sites around the world, you can average out those regional anomalies and get a clear sense of the Earth's global temperature history."

What that history shows, the researchers say, is that during the last 5,000 years, the Earth on average cooled about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit--until the last 100 years, when it warmed about 1.3 degrees F.'

Please note the quotation marks in bold. Please also not the absence of quotation marks in the final sentence. That indicates that the final sentence was not quoted from Peter Clark, but was the original creation of the author of the press release. It represents the author of the press release's interpretation of the relationship between Holocene and 20th century temperatures as revealed once we add the Holocene reconstruction to what we already know.

Now, the entire basis of your suggestions of "scientific misconduct" stem from that final sentence. Contrary to your assertion, it is not a direct quote. Unless, of course, you are claiming Clark misrepresented the research and/or background information in claiming proxies from multiple regions give a better sense of the Earth's climate history than do proxies from a single region.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-133-Tom Curtis

Thanks ... so you think that the source of the misrepresentation lies with NSF. Maybe so. I don't venture a guess on that.

What is abundantly clear is that the research was broadly and systematically misrepresented. Many are not troubled by that fact. I am.

As I said, we can agree to disagree. Thanks!

Tom Curtis said...

Roger Pielke Jr, you are deliberately twisting my words.

I do not think there has been any misrepresentation in the press release, and the most egregious misrepresentation has been by you. You have misrepresented the content of the press release and of the paper.

However, if you are going to start building a case for misrepresentation, you could at least distinguish between what was said by the papers authors and what was written by the NSF press office, something you have till now neglected to do.

DGH said...

-133 Tom Curtis -134 Roger

From the press release, “The last century stands out as the anomaly in this record of global temperature since the end of the last ice age,” said Candace Major, program director in the National Science Foundation’s Division of Ocean Sciences, which co-funded the research with NSF’s Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences...

itisi69 said...

Curtis, so you say that the press release did misquote "the researchers" with the non-quote? Yet it mentioned "the researchers say". Don't you think "the researchers" would have approved the press release and therefore the quote is actually what "the reseachers say"?

And isn't this confirmed by Shakun's skype gig with Andy Revkin referring to the uptick as "BOOM"?

pete m said...

Tom ignores these words in that last sentence:

the researchers say

DGH said...

-125- Roger

Per your request I was actually trying to critique your post. We all know that Marcott et al is a reconstruction of global temperatures in the Holocene which, by itself, says nothing about today's global temperature. We also know that the paper has some technical issues that can be hashed out in the literature.

The question is what is the impact of the substance of this paper? It seems to me that the answer to that question will reveal a great deal about the whole affair. Expanding upon that question might have made your argument stronger or weaker.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-140-DGH

Yes, and the critique an exchange is most welcome!

-136-Tom Curtis

I apologize if I have misinterpreted your argument. I guess I don't really know what you are trying to say.

Thanks all ...

David Appell said...

Trey wrote:
Steve McIntyre has published his previous findings in the peer-review system. I'm sure he would do more if is wasn't so hard to get past the gatekeepers who are playing sides, not science.

So McIntyre has published in the peer reviewed literature, but McIntyre can't get published in the peer reviewed literature.

Is there a third side to this fence?

Lots of people who can't get published are quick to blame it on some supposed gatekeepers. Even the quacks who deny the greenhouse effect do this. It's all a conspiracy!

Here's a simple explanation: maybe the people who can't get published are simply doing bad science.

The history of science has shown that good -- better -- science comes forth one way or the other. This was true before the modern peer review system, and it's been true after the modern peer review system.

David Appell said...

charlesH wrote:
It is not a case of adding A to B. It is a case of modifying data in A to look like adding A to B.

A says one thing. B says another thing. Together, they say something about the larger picture, with uncertainties of both A and B taken into account.

There is no perfect data. This is especially true in climate science, which is not an experimental science. You take what data you can get and you deal with the uncertainties as best you can. Conclusions have those uncertainties baked into them.

Again, it would be absurd to claim we can't make any judgements about how the Holocene compares to the modern period just because their temperatures are determined in different ways, to different scales.

Sure, Marcott et al do not rule out that the last 11,000 years up to 1850 CE were filled with 50-yr long temperature spikes of 2 C. Hey, maybe they were 10 C, or 20 C. Who knows, right?

But so what even if there were? We know the current spike in temperatures isn't naturally caused, and so the many-spike picture, while it might not be ruled out scientifically and is of scientific interest, just makes our current environmental situation even worse, because now in addition to the greenhouse warming we're causing we have to worry about some 20 C spike coming along that will completely fry us for 50 years -- because Marcott doesn't rule it out! -- before it spikes back down and we just have to worry about good old CO2-caused AGW again.

Albatross said...

Tom Curtis,

Roger says "I guess I don't really know what you are trying to say."

Well, this is another convenient debating trick. If all else fails when you have been shown to have been wrong, pretend that you don't understand your opponent (despite them making a very clear and coherent case), and/or trot out "we can agree to disagree".

Thanks for demonstrating key problems with yet another of Roger's arguments/posts.

With that said, I for one am not in favour of these sorts of press releases. There are clearly too many people involved who do not understand the research/paper, just too many opportunities for miscommunication, which then affords opportunists the chance further their agenda against climate scientists.

Marcus said...

Have to agree completely with David Appell. This whole issue is a ridiculous storm in a tea cup. The paper is fine. Just lazy reading by the press and blogs.

stevemosher said...

David Appell,

"To compare our
Standard5×5 reconstruction with modern climatology,
we aligned the stack’s mean for the interval
510 to 1450 yr B.P. (where yr B.P. is years
before 1950 CE) with the same interval’smean of
the global Climate Research Unit error-in-variables
(CRU-EIV) composite temperature record (2),
which is, in turn, referenced to the 1961–1990
CE instrumental mean (Fig. 1A)."

Tell me the three things missing from this analysis?

SeanNY said...

Marcus, the press and blogs were not lazy. They accurately reported the authors' own statements:

INTERVIEWER: “Mr Shakun … good to have you on. Thank you. What does your study tell us that we didn’t already know. What does it add to the science around this issue.”

SHAKUN: “Yeah. So, what it tells us. You know, what we knew from the last one hundred years is that we’ve had thermometers out there and they’ve told us that in the 20th Century global temperatures rose about a degree celsius. And we already knew that that was pretty strange out of the last thousand years. We knew that was pretty anomalous. We haven’t seen that in a thousand years.

“But what _OUR_ [emphasis in original] study did was to say let’s go back a lot further. Let’s go back a full ten thousand years. Ah, and what it shows us is that one degree warming is looking pretty anomolous in the context of a full ten thousand years. So it really points to just how, how ah interesting and amazing times that we’re living in right now.”

http://www.cknw.com/news/audiovault/index.aspx

Select “March 24″ then “3:00pm” then fast forward to 33:40.

INTERVIEWER: “Ok so you go from the ice age and the Earth kinda trundles along for ten, eleven thousand years and then you get to the 20th Century and what happened? You basically get this big spike, right?”

SHAKUN: Yeah it goes along for the last ten thousand years and sure enough its been going up and down, up and down, up and down but for the last ten thousand the long-term pattern is kinda just a long gradual cooling if anything and then you come to the 20th and BING it goes up about a degree …

stevemosher said...

david

'Trey wrote:
Steve McIntyre has published his previous findings in the peer-review system. I'm sure he would do more if is wasn't so hard to get past the gatekeepers who are playing sides, not science.

So McIntyre has published in the peer reviewed literature, but McIntyre can't get published in the peer reviewed literature

########################

you are showing some rather bad faith here.
The OP is not claiming that McIntyre can't, he is claiming that gatekeepers ( see Steig, see the climategate mails) make it exceedingly difficult).

Now you know from arguing with skeptics than answering all objections is hard and tiring.
It should not be that difficult to imagine how reviewers could do the same thing. If you don't think that's a reality let me disabuse you of that silly uniformed notion by telling you that I have seen that happen in person.

David Appell said...

stevemosher wrote:
Tell me the three things missing from this analysis?

Don't be a smart ass. If you have something to say, then say it.

David Appell said...

Mark wrote:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/22384025@N08/8612653500/in/photostream

Your made-up graph shows the possibility of quick natural temperature spikes or dips in the past, which Marcott et al do not rule out. But we know today's spike (which by your made-up example should apparently have just as much probablility of being a dip, or neutral -- yet it isn't) isn't natural -- natural causes cannot account for the amount of modern warming.

So the possibility of such natural spikes, if they can exist (and therefore add to the enhanced greenhouse effect we've created), adds even more urgency to the need to control modern AGW.

David Appell said...

stevemosher wrote:
It should not be that difficult to imagine how reviewers could do the same thing.

But McIntyre has been published in the peer reviewed literature. Where were all these nasty, obstructionist reviewers then??

In other words, you want to have it both ways. If McIntyre gets published in the scientific literature he should be taken seriously. But if he *doesn't* get published in the peer reviewed literature, he should *still* be taken seriously because some conspiracy kept him out of it.

You have created a perfect little bubble for yourself, guaranteed to keep your illusion that your view must be correct.

Albatross said...

David @151,

Well it turn out that the fence has three sides, the self-professed lukewarmers ;)

Further to your post. First, the editor can and will overturn a reviewer's comments if they are being unreasonable or rejecting the paper without legitimate reasons (this may just have happened to me in fact). Second, nowadays one can suggest who (or who not even!) you wish to review your paper. Third, there are many credible open-source journals out there nowadays.

But to conspiracy theorists like McIntyre there is a bogeyman behind every corner, and the paranoid ones even think that those who do not agree with them are out to get them. They just do not have an legitimate excuse for not publishing more.

I agree with your earlier statement that "maybe the people who can't get published are simply doing bad science." I'd go further though, these folks are not interested in improving our collective understanding of climate science, they are just dismissing inconvenient findings that conflict with their ideology. So it is much easier to write dismissive and vitriolic blog posts than it is to write a novel research paper that advances the science.

Howard said...

David Appell:

It's not the person or the journal. In science, it is the ideas, data and analysis that count. You are sounding like you're an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill.

David Appell said...

Howard wrote:
It's not the person or the journal. In science, it is the ideas, data and analysis that count.

And you sound like someone who approves of the publication process when it publishes what you like, and is quick to whine conspiracy when it doesn't. Another perfect little bubble.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

All, please keep the focus on Marcott and the substance of the debates, seems like everyone has got their snipes in, now back on focus ... thanks!

Kuze said...

@David Appell

Radical Conspiracy Theory:

McIntyre is held to different standard than fellow "Real" climate scientists. The climategate emails showed talk of "going to town" on skeptical papers. I think that's great, that's how science should work; pry it apart, scrutinize the hell out of it. Now "real" climate scientists will say they do this for all papers equally but knowing what we know about human psychology and in-group loyalty, I'm skeptical. Given the history of stife, I highly doubt someone like Michael Mann would review a paper involving McIntrye in the same way he'd review a paper from Marcott or Jones etc. This isn't a conspiracy theory it's basic psychology.


http://people.stern.nyu.edu/wstarbuc/Writing/Prejud.htm

If you want to look at "conspiracy ideation" take a look at Mike Mann's twitter feed. Anybody who sees themselves as important players in an epic struggle between good and evil for the fate of the world is probably a little prone to biased behaviour.

Your veneration of credentials and peer review is not the same as valuing science. As Howard says, it is the ideas, data and analysis that count.

Bernie Hutchins said...

It is my experience that persons who have both published peer-reviewed papers and done peer review themselves have a more directed (usually jaundiced), and likely mixed experience with the process. In your commenting on Steve McIntyre’s preference for his highly effective blogging vs. frustrating and stifling experience trying the formal publishing route, I sense that you are missing direct experience. So I wonder about your own hands-on involvement with the peer-review process. For myself, I am limited, low double digits as both an author and reviewer (not climate matters). Just curious – I only know of your “Quark Soup” blog.

Howard said...

David Appell:

I don't defend BS. That's why I criticized Roger's dog-whistling regarding misconduct. I also don't care for his use of "fellow traveler" commie pinko dog whistle in his Jim Hansen post.

I also think that if done right, a hockey stick or low-backed wheelchair type of plot would be the result of a proper analysis and merging of Holocene proxy to post common era proxy to instrument records. However, I also think the resolution differences will make it impossible to be certain that rates of temperature change in the past are not similar to the modern record.

However, it is quite clear that the reason M et al was published in Science is the non-robust blade Chicken Little sales job. It does not pass the straight face test.

Intentional exaggeration damages all science. Also, it tells me that mainstream high profile climate scientists are motivated by celebrity and status rather than the pure joy figuring out how things work.

I did not get the memo that being a sell out was good science. Good luck with that.

Marcus said...

Just to add - I wonder how many climate scientists who read the paper were somehow fooled into thinking that the paper's data supported the up tic at in the graph? My guess is zero. Scientists can't be expected to write their primary research in a way that is directed at the layman (or even scientists outside the field). So complaints against the authors due to unprofessional misinterpretations are quite unreasonable.

What I find more amazing though is the complete denial that their results can be discussed (or illustrated) validly in relation to other relevant data, as David points out. Of course such a discussion is the most biting aspect of the paper to those wanting to deny the current predicament facing us. Not a coincidence I suspect.

SeanNY, no where did they say THEIR data reported the recent temp rise. Their data does however put this recent temperature rise clearly into perspective (!) and their comments obviously reflect this. Again I see absolutely nothing wrong with these quotes.

Dave said...

Does anyone think Marcott will be retracted?

What about corrections? It would be very interesting to know how many statements based on the unrobust uptick will be walked back vs the number that are left unchanged. So far, the only one I've heard of is Revkin's.

David Appell said...

Bernie: My resume and publications are on my Web site.

David Appell said...

Kuze wrote:
This isn't a conspiracy theory it's basic psychology.

It is a conspiracy theory -- the creation of a cozy little bubble. McIntyre can't get published, except when he can.

There are plenty of academics who dislike one another, have strong opinions about the work of others, and are harsh critics of colleagues, and that also happens in and through the peer review process. I don't buy at all that McIntyre has any special burden, or that the ideas now prevelant had any less burden in their infancy. Or that scientists suppress ideas because they aren't in line with some directive from the U.N. or because they don't align with the decisions from some private weekend conference in 1987 in the dark bowels of GISS.

Many other groups have replicated Mann's work, and completely independent techniques have found a multi-century hockey stick in paleoclimate data.

SeanNY said...

INTERVIEWER: “Ok so you go from the ice age and the Earth kinda trundles along for ten, eleven thousand years and then you get to the 20th Century and what happened? You basically get this big spike, right?”

SHAKUN: Yeah it goes along for the last ten thousand years and sure enough its been going up and down, up and down, up and down but for the last ten thousand the long-term pattern is kinda just a long gradual cooling if anything and then you come to the 20th and BING it goes up about a degree …

So Marcus, let me understand you better. If I read you correctly Shakun was talking about HIS data when he said "Yeah it goes along for the last ten thousand years and sure enough its been going up and down, up and down, up and down but for the last ten thousand the long-term pattern is kinda just a long gradual cooling if anything ..."

Then, somewhere between the word "anything" and the word "you" he switched over to talking about SOMEONE ELSE'S data and said "and then you come to the 20th and BING it goes up about a degree …". He made that switch despite the fact that HIS own "non-robust" data in the paper also "comes to the 20th and BING it goes up about a degree …". But he wasn't talking about HIS data going "BING by a degree" (which it does); he was talking about SOMEONE ELSE's data going "BING by a degree"?

So I guess your point is that journalists like the CKNW AM radio interviewer are being lazy because they are not deploying the mind reading skills they were supposed to have picked up in journalism school? Maybe they slept through that class?

scientist said...

Even if the 20th-century uptick is removed from the Marcott et al paper, a serious problem remains. The paper, and especially the above graph, suggests a slow, smooth, well behaved, boring change of temperature over the millennia. This is deeply misleading because if spikes existed --hot as well as cold-- with durations of less than a few hundred years, the methodology of this paper would not have been able to see them.

In other words, the bands around the mean temperature values are deeply misleading. All by themselves, they suggest, erroneously, that thermal spikes like the current one never occurred in the past 11,000 years.

But there is no basis for the claim that the current spike is unprecedented. The available methods simply don't have the temporal resolution to answer that question one way or another. We don't know and we may never know. Still, we do have historic evidence (not based on thermometry or proxies) for thermal spikes during the Roman and Medieval Warming Periods as well as during the Little Ice Age. These were evidently not anthropogenic.

Bernie Hutchins said...

David Appell-

Thanks for suggesting a link to your site. I looked first to your “Quark Soup” and found:

“Rule #1: You can never ask too many questions.”

Excellent motto. Then I found your personal website, so I have your list of publications. Impressive list but only one that was peer reviewed (?). I am sincerely not criticizing this – I am not impressed by peer review. Quite the contrary, today it is too often used in its negative, as a pejorative: NOT PEER REVIEWED.

Your site (as expected) does not answer the question (or which you can’t ask too many) as to your experience AS a peer reviewer. I thus assume none. Is that correct? More power to you if you have managed to avoid it.

My “criticism” is equally directed to those who prop up a publication for what is clearly, often, a faulty peer-review imprimatur, and to those using its absence as a hammer to knock down something they prefer not to address. The general public does not understand the limitations of peer review, but anyone in publishing, and certainly anyone who has done peer review, should understand the very limited implications, and avoid mentioning it as a tool of persuasion, either way.


Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

David Appell and others, as fascinating a topic as is Steve McIntyre and peer review, please o exchange email addresses or revisit over at David's blog. If you'd like to pursue Marcott, have at it. Thanks!

David Appell said...

Still, we do have historic evidence (not based on thermometry or proxies) for thermal spikes during the Roman and Medieval Warming Periods as well as during the Little Ice Age.

There is not evidence the first two were global; as far as I can tell these are still open scientific questions.

While the question of possible spikes is interesting, it's known that natural factors alone cannot account for warming since the Industrial Revolution. Upward spikes would make CO2-induced warming even more troublesome.

David Appell said...

Bernie Hitchins wrote:
The general public does not understand the limitations of peer review, but anyone in publishing, and certainly anyone who has done peer review, should understand the very limited implications, and avoid mentioning it as a tool of persuasion, either way.

I'm aware of the limitations of peer review. I'm also aware that it's a good first-order sieve of what's worth publishing and what isn't. Your complaints are completely mirrored by the other side, who immediately triumph any publication that agrees with them, and who immediately dimiss anything that doesn't, by whatever means are necessary.

I know this site is dominated by contrarians (for want of a better word) convinced they alone are right, but really, dismount your towering equine.

Josh said...

Hi, this is a helpful graph posted at BishopHill by Leopard in The Basement.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/22384025@N08/8612653500/

Unknown said...

Which brave soul is going to bell the cat and complain about Marcott to the NRC or to his institution?

Who is writing the rejoinder for the journal, as opposed to the online rhetoric?

Don't all rush.

bacontime said...

19. itisi69 said...

Talking about lazy reading, did you read how the MSM received the Marcot paper as the new hockey stick, Stokes? Including a gig ("BOOM") from co-author Shakun himself?

The very fact that Marcott choose Real Climate as their spin doctors makes this whole charade a travesty and shows their colors.

=============================================
Spot on !

Carrick said...

David Appel: It is a conspiracy theory -- the creation of a cozy little bubble

I think you need to tune your definition of conspiracy theory a bit. ;-)

There is not evidence the first two were global; as far as I can tell these are still open scientific questions.


I think that's a bit overstated, right?

There's evidence they were global (they show up in global proxy reconstructions), it's just not uniformly accepted they are global.

bacontime said...

86. David Appell said...
It's a blog post! Not peer-reviewed in any way. He could have put up any technical-sounding bamboozle and 95% of his readers would have bought it. That's come to be how they see his role -- a reason, any reason, for them to dismiss an inconvenient finding
===============================================
Codswallop !
Do you actually read CA?
Have you ever read the chains of comments?
If Steve made any mistake, there would be a plethora of posters that would show it.

William Connolley said...

> Oh and he does call me names

But on the plus side, I can spell yours.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-174-Willem Conley

Whoops

Tom Curtis said...

Pete M @139, and from those words, how do you know whether the authors said it in the paper, or directly in an interview? In either event, it remains the press release writers interpretation of the words of others and not grounds for condemning those others of misrepresentation (as Pielke has done). Indeed, as I have more than adequately shown, it is not grounds for accusing anyone of misrepresentation in any event.

itisis69 @138, the part you miss from your quote is the bit where Marcott explicitly refers to the IPCC projections of temperature increase for that 21st century. The "boom" is not in the blade. It is not even in the temperature record, which apparently warrants only a "bing" (see below), it is in the projected 2-6 degrees C increase in the 21st century relative to a 0.7 C decrease over the course of the Holocene.

SeanNY @147, did you notice the explicit mention of the thermometer record of the 20th century? It is the author's contention that the 20th century is anomalous, but they do not claim to know that from the reconstruction (which is not robust post 1850). The claim to know that because they know the temperature increase in the twentieth century from the instrumental record and they can compare that with the temperature record of the Holocene up to the start of the industrial revolution as shown by their reconstruction.

David Appell said...

bacontime wrote:
Have you ever read the chains of comments?
If Steve made any mistake, there would be a plethora of posters that would show it.


The readership group is self-selected -- just the type of group that exhibits strong reinforcing biases.

If it was a clinical trial, any results from it would be immediately rejected on this basis alone.

Tom Curtis said...

DGH @137, yes. That should be (to be accurate):

"The last century stands out as the anomaly [compared to] this record of global temperature since the end of the last ice age"

or possibly:

"The last century stands out as [anomalous] in this record of global temperature since the end of the last ice age"

Even worse is the continuation of the quote, which says:

"This research shows that we've experienced almost the same range of temperature change since the beginning of the industrial revolution," says Major, "as over the previous 11,000 years of Earth history--but this change happened a lot more quickly."

I was almost going to mention that as a case of misrepresentation. Afer all, the research shows that the twentieth century rise represents from 67 to 77% of the range of Holocene temperatures from 1900-1909 to 2000-2009. The reason I did not is that she references from the beginning of the industrial revolution (presumably 1750) which may have been a further 0.3 C cooler than 1900-1909, thus making the statement true to a reasonable approximation.

However, while it is clear the statement that you quote is poorly worded, it is not clear that it is misrepresentation. Even as worded she could be referring to the instrumental record rather than to the blade; and to figure 3 rather than to figure 1 B. It is most certainly mot misrepresentation by an author of the paper.

My problem with Pielke's post is his obsession with trying to almost make an accusation of scientific misconduct against climate scientists. That is why he focuses on the Clark quotation and the following sentence rather than the more dubious sentence from Major. And that is why he included the NSF press release at all, rather than the clear cases of misrepresenting the blade by New Scientist and others.

I agree with him that reporting of the "blade" has been very poor. I disagree with him that blame for that can be sheeted home to the authors, the press release or the Nature commentary.

David Appell said...

Howard wrote:
However, it is quite clear that the reason M et al was published in Science is the non-robust blade Chicken Little sales job.

That is far, far from clear. A reconstruction of the Holocene that uses all the proxies they did is of inherent interest, and not done before.

David Appell said...

Howard wrote:
Also, it tells me that mainstream high profile climate scientists are motivated by celebrity and status rather than the pure joy figuring out how things work.

You are willfully blind. Celebrity and status are desired by a significant portion of the human population. If you can't see that as part of the human condition, exhibited on both sides of the aisle, you seriously aren't looking.

Tom Scharf said...

Albatross, Curtis, et. al.

I appreciate all the attempts at lawyerly wordsmithing here, but I'm not buying it. They added the HS to their previous thesis, they allowed the media to run wild with it, and they actively promoted it. I see 3 smoking guns, you see none. Fine.

If you want to obfuscate it, then we can simply disagree.

But I guess the authors could clear that up for us, couldn't they?

They have chosen not to do so. Why? 5th amendment? I'm sure we will disagree on this too.

The Right Wing Professor... said...

If you can't see that as part of the human condition, exhibited on both sides of the aisle, you seriously aren't looking.

I had no idea that science had 'two sides of the aisle'. In the area of science I do, we pretty much don't.

Tom Curtis said...

Tom Scharf @181,

1) If looking at the actual meanings of the actual words spoken and written ("lawyerly wordsmithing" in your parlance) does not support your case; then your case is built on your prejudice against the authors, not on what the authors actually said.

2) The authors have cleared this up. The cleared it up in the paper when the said the blade was not robust, and showed how its presence, shape and timing depended on the method used. If you (and others) choose to ignore the very clear evidence that it was not robust, that is your problem, not the authors.

They have further cleared it up at Real Climate.

Your comment makes it quite plain that you wish to hang them regardless of evidence. Why? Do the results of the paper make you uncomfortable? How long have you had this problem with reality?

David Appell said...

Tom Scharf wrote:
They added the HS to their previous thesis...

And that's all this is about. They found one time series with its attendant uncertainties, and compared it to another with its attendant uncertainties.

The first compares pretty well with the second for about 1500 years.

But for some reason it's a hanging offense to then compare the first to the last 150 years.

Give me an F-ing break. This is nothing but a manufactured outrage purely for its PR value, and it's vicious and outrageous.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-184-David Appell

Please tone it down.

I for one stand by everything in this post, and I take scientific integrity seriously. You may find the issues here no big deal, but please recognize others find them to be important. It is possible to disagree without being disagreeable.

Thanks!

MattL said...

The 'BOOM' doesn't make any sense in context unless it's being compared to the reconstruction. And either the author doesn't understand the reconstruction or he's knowingly making things up that don't make any sense. Like Joshua always says, I can't know what he was really thinking, but I know he was wrong.


No doubt, David Appell has never said anything about confusing weather and climate. If he did, I'm sure he's taught himself a lesson, since he's taught us all that there's nothing wrong with comparing the last 30 years with the last 30 minutes.

Of course, it's easier to dismiss the likes of Steve McIntyre, who posts all of his data and code for everyone to see, than to actually refute his analysis. Whatever you think of his motives or ability, his transparency and openness is unsurpassed. I wouldn't want him looking closely at my exaggerations and assertions, either.

Louis Hooffstetter said...

Tom Curtis would have us believe that co-author of the paper Peter Clark, was misquoted in a press release and did NOT say: 'the Earth on average cooled about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit--until the last 100 years, when it warmed about 1.3 degrees F.' (comment 134)

I don't believe he was misquoted. Another co-author, Shakun said almost the exact same thing in his interview with Revkin: "...but if I’m in the elevator with Obama, I mean, what did we learn? We learned that for ten . . eleven thousand three hundred years temperatures have been doing a long, subtle, slow slide down; and small, you know, half a degree, three-quarter of a degree of cooling over the long run of the last several thousand years. Ummmm, and in the last century they’ve ticked up [raises arm over head] that much. You know, the same amount they’ve ticked down in the past five thousand years they’ve just ticked that much up in the last century.

So in press releases two of the four authors (at least) made virtually identical claims that they knew full well were unsupported by their data. This was a coordinated effort by the authors to mislead the press (and thereby the general public) about their conclusions. Dr. Peilke is being far too polite. This sounds much more like scientific fraud than scientific misconduct to me.

The Right Wing Professor... said...

Let me give the perspective of a scientist who has actually published peer reviewed science in this century. Yeah, that's snark. Deal.

If you have data that doesn't stand up to robust statistical analysis, you don't publish it, period. Not in Science. Not even in a minor journal. In particular, you don't slip it coyly out in a figure, and then bury in the text that you don't particularly believe it. The referees should not let you do it. The editor, in particular, should have stopped it in its tracks. No offense to Dr. Appell, but expecting anything from journalists, even science journalists, is hopeless. You feed them raw meat, and they'll pounce. They don't know any better.

This was a travesty. What looks like a credible and useful Holocene reconstruction has been buried in controversy, because of inclusion of data that should never have been included. Good science, prostituted in a tawdry cause.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-188-RWP

Thanks .. I agree with these comments.

The really sad thing about this episode is not just the misrepresentation, but the realization that because this is climate science many people believe that basic standards of scientific integrity do not apply.

If this were a drug trial study or similar with the same characteristics people would have no problem seeing the problems, as I have stated (way) above:

Imagine if this were a study about, say, drinking coffee and cancer. Imagine if Smith et al. said that Smith et al. showed that coffee causes cancer. Later it was revealed that Smith et al. does not show that coffee causes cancer, but rather Jones et al. does.

The existence of Jones et al. does not excuse Smith et al. for making a false claim. Whether coffee actually causes cancer is also immaterial to the false claim.

The issue of scientific integrity centers on whether the claims of Smith et al. are supported by Smith et al. Nothing more.

In climate science this seems a hard distiction for some folks to make. But it shouldn't be hard.

scf said...

The fact is, the uptick was added to the paper for a reason. It was not removed for a reason. For the same reason, it's unlikely there will be a correction.

Tom Curtis said...

RWP @188, part of the analysis in Marcott et al is the difference between different methods in reconstructing temperatures. But you want the data that shows that difference to not be shown in the paper?

It strikes me that you are using any expedient to criticize the paper, deserved or not.

Further, the people to blame are precisely the journalists, whose foremost role is to report accurately. That they have by and large prostituted themselves for mere circulation/ratings does not mean scientists have failed in their duty.

The Right Wing Professor... said...

Tom Curtis:

Yes, I'm saying a comparison between two statistically indefensible analyses of data on modern temperatures does not belong in a paper on Holocene reconstructions. A scientific paper is not a grab bag of stuff you tried and didn't work, particularly if it refers to something for which there is far superior, uncontroversial data already available. There was no scientific basis for including this stuff.

It strikes me that you don't actually have much familiarity with what is publishable and what isn't. I wouldn't presume to impute a motive.

Doug said...

177. David Appell said...

. . . The readership group is self-selected -- just the type of group that exhibits strong reinforcing biases.

----------------------------------------

What does "self-selected" mean in this context and what does it have to do with the quality of McIntyre's work? The implication is that McIntyre is doing his auditing of the science to please his readership and not to determine what the truth is.

What angers many of us is the blatant and inaccurate propagandizing that comes with the release of these papers, which are obviously tailored to fit IPCC needs. They are written to fit a perceived political need. It's happened so many times now the process is almost predictable. It angers McIntyre and it colors his commentary some times. It should anger you also. He pokes fun at the perpetrators. He ridicules them. They deserve it.

If you had any doubts about the veracity of McIntyre's analysis, why didn't you go there and comment? Nick Stokes does it very effectively. He takes some abuse, but I don't think I know of a blog on the subject of climate science where that does not happen. He takes it in stride. If you have a problem with McIntyre's findings, go there and set him straight.

Engage. Debate. Disprove. Argue. It's part and parcel of the scientific method. It's how the science marches ahead. In short, it's the opposite of what Marcott et al are doing.

Albatross said...

Hi Roger,

Here you go again with the smearing climate scientists when you claim,

"....but the realization that because this is climate science many people believe that basic standards of scientific integrity do not apply."

With all respect, what utter nonsense! This is when I get to press the BS button ;) Two gem quotes from you in one thread...

What is more, you are inverting reality and making an unsubstantiated claim (rhetoric really). The reality is that because it is climate science, there are people who wish to delay taking action by doing whatever it takes to try and discredit the science and attack the integrity of the scientists-- even that means poisoning the well, politicizing the science and intimidating scientists, sometimes even under the guise of "caring" about the integrity of science. This schtick might fool some, but I take solace in the fact that many, many more are seeing this for what it really is.

Comments here made by you and others include vitriolic and inflammatory language such as "mafia", "fraud", "misconduct", "prostituted", "tawdry". Therein lies the real problem-- the immediate assumption of malfeasance by contrarians and fake skeptics.

David Appell has it right in his recent post when he says:
"The usual suspects who immediately jump on any inconvenient result, who root around until they find something -- anything -- to whinge about, no matter how trivial or silly, are helping to shut down the science, not, as they like to claim, just criticiquing it. It goes without saying that there is, of course, the need for honest and direct scientific critique, but you have to wonder if any science can properly develop in an environment like this."

Albatross said...

On a lighter note, it is entertaining to see how every Tom, Dick and Harry become authorities on statistics, paleoclimate and ethics whenever a paleo paper comes out that might suggest what we are doing to the climate system is reason for concern ;)

My 2 cents to try and lighten the mood...

Mark said...

184. David Appell said...

And that's all this is about. They found one time series with its attendant uncertainties, and compared it to another with its attendant uncertainties.

The first compares pretty well with the second for about 1500 years.

But for some reason it's a hanging offense to then compare the first to the last 150 years.


It's a hanging offence, metaphorically, because it's a mistake that a halfway smart school child would not make. It should be beyond embarrassing for a grown man to defend it.

You're always one to go on about how the deniers won't trust the science. Well how about you trust the statisticians.?

Go to your local university, and ask a professor of statistics whether when comparing smoothed series to unsmoothed series allows you to determine anything about the the variability of either.

Then you would see that you are, in fact, just plain wrong.

I say "would" because you clearly are not prepared to actually investigate. In your world, it would seem, the deniers are always wrong on everything. It makes you look very silly to defend the indefensible.

(I might add, it was warmists like you that persuaded me to become sceptical, not the sceptics. Too many times I saw clear nonsense defended to the bitter end.)

Eric Carman said...

Why did you choose to only publish half of Marcott's response to the question about the 100 year data?

It's in the last half that he clarifies what he already clearly stated in his original paper. And it is there that he explains how his data is still valid for showing temperature increases over the last century.

Here is the entire response:

Q: What do paleotemperature reconstructions show about the temperature of the last 100 years?

A: Our global paleotemperature reconstruction includes a so-called “uptick” in temperatures during the 20th-century. However, in the paper we make the point that this particular feature is of shorter duration than the inherent smoothing in our statistical averaging procedure, and that it is based on only a few available paleo-reconstructions of the type we used. Thus, the 20th century portion of our paleotemperature stack is not statistically robust, cannot be considered representative of global temperature changes, and therefore is not the basis of any of our conclusions. Our primary conclusions are based on a comparison of the longer term paleotemperature changes from our reconstruction with the well-documented temperature changes that have occurred over the last century, as documented by the instrumental record. Although not part of our study, high-resolution paleoclimate data from the past ~130 years have been compiled from various geological archives, and confirm the general features of warming trend over this time interval (Anderson, D.M. et al., 2013, Geophysical Research Letters, v. 40, p. 189-193; http://www.agu.org/journals/pip/gl/2012GL054271-pip.pdf).

David Anderson said...

Well I read Tom's first post at #116 where he alleges the press release doesn't discuss the blade of their graph. So I thought, "Ah! Has Tom got him? Major boo boo from Roger?".

(Mind you I still wouldn't consider a "shallow interpreation" was required to make the mistake - not when there's a graph featuring a blade sticking out like dog's balls which just concidentally (of course!) matches the press release discussion)

Before I even got to Roger's reply the following transpired...

I go back up to the press release to confirm that the blade isn't discussed, as Tom alleged.

"What that history shows [cooling last 5000 years] until the last 100 years [sudden warming]"

"that history", which history? Paragraph above,

"combine data from sites around the world ... and get a clear sense of the Earth's global temperature history."

The temperature history derived from combined proxy sites is "that history".

So I'm with Roger here simply because my plain English interpretation of the press release is consistent with his.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-194-Albatross

Blog commentary subsequent to the publication of Marcott is irrelevant to my concerns raised here, and this comment indicates that espite your many comments here, you fail to understand the basic issue.

-197-Eric Carman

Thanks, and I have said on several occasions on this thread and others, Marcott et al. Fig 3 is not relevant to the issues that I have raised here, which focus solely on the supposed "hockey stick".

-198-David Anderson

Seems clear to me, and as documented in the post, a bunch of journalists for whom the press release was written ...

Thanks!

bernie said...

Roger:
Have you asked Andy Revkin and Justin Gillis what led them to highlight this particular paper? Do you have a sense of whether there was an organized PR effort beyond a press release? Mann's response in Revkin's piece is pretty extensive and polished given that Mann subsequently said he wanted to reread the paper.

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