«Edited and Annotated by John Costella The Lavoisier Group March 2010 About the Author John Costella was born in East Melbourne in 1966. After being ...»
In the meantime, I urge people to dissociate themselves from Climate Research. The residual “editorial” (a word I use almost tongue in cheek) board is looking like a rogues’ gallery of skeptics. Those remaining who are credible scientists should resign.
August 19, 2003: email 1061300885 Tom Crowley realizes that the gang needs more ammunition against the astrophysicists
Soon and Baliunas, who seem to avoid the worst of their “peer group pressure” at inbred scientific meetings:
We need some data on Soon and Baliunas. One of my concerns is that they only publish in low-impact journals, and completely bypass the normal give-and-take of presentations at open scientific meetings (for example, I think I have probably heard 100 presentations overall from the people on this mailing list).
His implication is that, if you repeat something enough times—to a sympathetic audience—it somehow becomes more credible. From this hypothesis, he develops an
entire line of attack on these interlopers:
It is therefore very important to inquire, for the sake or our exchanges with reporters, legislators, etc, as to how often any of you may have heard Soon or Baliunas give a talk in an open meeting, where they could defend their analyses.
Please respond to me as to whether you have heard either of them present something on their climate analyses (I think I heard Baliunas speak once on her astrophysics work, but that doesn’t count).
I will let you know the results of the poll so that we may all be on the same grounds with respect to the data, and reporting such information to press inquiries, legislators, etc.
Tom Wigley proposes a tactic that is pure disinformation:
Might be interesting to see how frequently Soon and Baliunas, individually, are cited (as astronomers).
Are they any good in their own fields? Perhaps we could start referring to them as “astrologers”(excusable as … “oops, just a typo”).
Mike Mann recommends counting citations (“my count is bigger than yours”)—a practice that is meaningless when the members of a small discipline repeatedly cite
each other’s papers:
I checked this out prior to my United States Senate hearing. Their science citations in the climate literature are poor, as one would hope and expect.
Interestingly, they both drop their second initials when publishing in the climate literature so that their names don’t turn in up in the citation index if you do a search on their publications in the astronomy literature (which use the full initials)—apparently, they don’t want their astronomy colleagues to be aware that they’re moonlighting as supposed climatologists… What a bizarre theory!
Mann is forced to acknowledge that his research into their publication record is
Their numbers are better in the astronomy literature, though Soon’s numbers even here are mediocre.
Baliunas had some well-cited publications more than a decade ago. This is her work on the use of sun-like stars as a model for solar variability, etc., which is well referenced in the astrophysics community. However, most of these appear to be her Ph.D. work, and appear to have been published with her Ph.D. adviser.
Which is, of course, absolutely standard practice—and indicates that her PhD work
was both original and useful to the astrophysics community. Mann continues:
Not much evidence however that she has made any useful, independent contribution since then. There are some additional papers she’s published on time series analysis of solar signals—looks like the kind of stuff you might expect to see from a graduate student first-year research project….
This is the ultimate irony, given that Mann and his colleagues demonstrated their absolute ineptitude in this very area of mathematics—called “time series analysis”— that is needed to properly understand their temperature proxy data.
Mann now suggests that they “cherry-pick” their citation record to give the misleading
impression of a low citation count, by ignoring their publications in astrophysics:
In my opinion, it would be a mistake to evaluate these on their citations numbers in astronomy. We should focus on their numbers in the climate literature, which are the only ones relevant when discussing the issue of how their work on climate is received by their fellow scientists.
September 3, 2003: email 1062592331 Ed Cook writes to Keith Briffa, describing his experiences with Ray Bradley at a
conference in Norway:
After the meeting in Norway, … hearing Bradley’s follow-up talk on how everybody but him has fucked up in reconstructing past Northern Hemisphere temperatures over the past 1000 years (this is a bit of an overstatement on my part, I must admit, but his air of papal infallibility is really quite nauseating at times), I have come up with an idea that I want you to be involved in.
Cook describes his idea of publishing a paper, with a large author list—possibly
including Bradley, Phil Jones, and Mike Mann—but notes the problems with the idea:
I am afraid that Mike Mann and Phil Jones are too personally invested in things now (i.e. the 2003 Geophysical Research Letters paper that is probably the worst paper Phil has ever been involved in—Bradley hates it as well), but I am willing to offer to include them if they can contribute without just defending their past work—this is the key to having anyone involved. Be honest. Lay it all out on the table and don’t start by assuming that any reconstruction is better than any other.
This is testament to the parlous state of this field: that an established member of this group is reduced to suggesting that a paper be written in which past mistakes are no longer covered up.
Cook’s suggestions end with comments that are only half-humorous:
7) Publish, retire, and don’t leave a forwarding address Without trying to prejudice this work, but also because of what I almost think I know to be the case, the results of this study will show that we can probably say a fair bit about … temperature variability within a century (at least as far as we believe the temperature proxy estimates), but that we honestly know fuck-all about what the … variability was like on timescales greater than a century with any certainty (i.e. we know with certainty that we know fuck-all).
Cook’s “calling a spade a spade” immediately endears him to my heart, and gives us confidence that he is expressing his genuine opinion. And while that opinion agrees completely with my own assessment of this field of science, it is astounding to hear it so explicitly (and colourfully), directly from the mouth of one intimately involved in this case: temperature variations within a century can probably be reliably estimated, but we can conclude absolutely nothing about temperature variations over longer time-scales.
That, dear reader, is the absolute crux of the global warming question: whether current temperature changes are “unprecedented” over historical time periods. Here we have, in no uncertain terms, a definitive statement that we have no idea if this is the case.
The jury is dismissed. Mankind has been found not guilty of all charges.
October 2, 2003: email 1065125462 Robert Matthews, Science Correspondent for The Sunday Telegraph writes to Mike
Dear Professor Mann I’m putting together a piece on global warming, and I’ll be making reference to your paper in Geophysical Research Letters with Prof Jones on “Global surface temperatures over the past two millennia”.
This is the paper just referred to by Ed Cook as being “the 2003 Geophysical Research Letters paper that is probably the worst paper Phil has ever been involved in—Bradley hates it as well”.
When the paper came out, some critics argued that the paper actually showed that there have been three periods in the last 2000 years which were warmer than today (one just prior to AD 700, one just after, and one just prior to AD 1000). They also claimed that the paper could only conclude that current temperatures were warmer if one compared the proxy data with other data sets. (For an example of these arguments, see: link to paper) I’d be very interested to include your rebuttals to these arguments in the piece I’m doing. I must admit to being confused by why proxy data should be compared to instrumental data for the last part of the data-set. Shouldn’t the comparison be a consistent one throughout?
With many thanks for your patience with this Robert Matthews
A reasonable request, one would think. Here is Mike Mann’s response:
Dear Mr. Matthews, Unfortunately Phil Jones is travelling and will probably be unable to offer a separate reply. Since your comments involve work that is his as well, I have therefore taken the liberty of copying your inquiry and this reply to several of his British colleagues.
The comparisons made in our paper are well explained therein, and your statements belie the clearly-stated qualifications in our conclusions with regard to separate analyses of the Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, and globe.
An objective reading of our manuscript would readily reveal that the comments you refer to are scurrilous. These comments have not been made by scientists in the peer-reviewed literature, but rather, on a website that, according to published accounts, is run by individuals sponsored by ExxonMobil Corporation, hardly an objective source of information.
Owing to pressures on my time, I will not be able to respond to any further inquiries from you. Given your extremely poor past record of reporting on climate change issues, however, I will leave you with some final words.
Professional journalists I am used to dealing with do not rely upon unpeer-reviewed claims off internet sites for their sources of information.
They rely instead on peer-reviewed scientific research, and mainstream, rather than fringe, scientific opinion.
Sincerely, Michael E. Mann I don’t think the message gets much clearer than that—Robert Matthews is blackballed on both sides of the Atlantic!
Note the common threads being weaved by Mike Mann here. Firstly, he hides behind the pretence of “peer-reviewed literature”, safe in the knowledge that he and his collaborators have that avenue under their control. Secondly, he bullies Matthews by forwarding his email to as many collaborators as possible, so that they all know that they are not to speak to him under any circumstances. Thirdly, with great condescension, he tells the journalist that the answers to his questions are self-evident from their paper, if only he had the intelligence to understand it.
These are the tactics of an academic bully. Real scientists don’t need to hide behind such intimidation.
October 13, 2003: email 1066337021 John Holdren, now Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and in 2003 at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University, responds to a request from a
John Shulz, editor of TCSDaily:
As you no doubt have anticipated, I do not put Mann and co-workers in the same category with Soon and Baliunas.
If you seriously want to know “Why not?”, here are three ways one might
arrive at what I regard as the right conclusion:
(1) For those with the background and patience to penetrate the scientific arguments, the conclusion that Mann and co-workers are right and that Soon and Baliunas are wrong follows from reading carefully the relevant
Soon and Baliunas paper and the Mann and co-workers response to it:
(cites the papers) This is the approach I took. Soon and Baliunas are demolished in this comparison.
In other words, Holdren is gratuitously arguing that it is “self-evident”, if you are
intelligent enough to read the papers. Next: