«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 ...»
To anyone who has spent their career performing numerical computations, Mann’s email is simply astounding. Firstly, by “cleaning up” his programs, he is not, in fact, providing the programs that generated the results that his publications were based on;
he is providing an altered version. It would be like the police prosecutor “cleaning up” the evidence before showing it to the jury.
Second, Mann’s admission that his programs were previously undocumented—an admission that he will repeat shortly—destroys any residual credibility that any of his scientific work may have otherwise retained—period. Masses of formulas, without any explanation of what they are doing or why they are being applied, are worse than useless.
Third, it is unfathomable that it is only at this late date that Mann even suggests that his “trusted colleagues” check that his programs produce the results he claims—let alone that what has been programmed is even mathematically or statistically correct.
In other words, none of the results of any of these “scientists” are ever checked by anyone prior to publication. That is simply beyond belief.
Fourth, Mann again damns himself by expressing his fear that his programs—even after being cleaned up and documented—will get into the hands of the “wrong people”.
One might wonder whether all of this astounding incompetence might cast doubts on Mann’s results. But wait! There is no need to speculate: Mann himself provides the first answer, in the very same paragraph, with what must make him eligible for an
honorary role in Monty Python:
In the process of trying to clean the programs up, I realized I had something a bit odd, not necessarily wrong, but it makes a small difference. … It looks like I had two similarly-named data sets floating around in the programs, and used perhaps the less preferable one ….
This may explain part of what perplexed Gabi when she was comparing my results with the real temperatures. I’ve attached the version of the analysis where the correct data is used instead, as well as the computer programs, which you’re welcome to try to use yourself and play around with. Basically, this increases everything everywhere by the factor 1.29.
Perhaps this is more in line with what Gabi was estimating (Gabi?).
Anyway, it doesn’t make a major difference, but you might want to take this into account in any further use of the Mann and Jones data… Yes, the world will take this into account: Don’t trust the Mann and Jones data at all.
Mann’s lack of honesty is manifest in his own words: he himself discovers, in his own bird’s nest of “spaghetti programming”, that he made a careless error; but rather than declare it as such—to even his closest colleagues—he whitewashes it as “not necessarily wrong, but it makes a small difference”.
Hilariously, Mann then suggests that his comedy of errors might provide a good opportunity for publishing another of his illustrious publications, rather than a
correction to the original:
Phil: is this worth a follow-up paper to Geophysical Research Letters, with a link to the computer programs?
September 28, 2004: email 1096382684
Andy Revkin, Environment Reporter for The New York Times, writes to Tim Osborn:
Again, the take-away message is that Mann’s method can only work if past variability is the same as the variability during the period used to calibrate your method.
So it could be correct, but it could be very wrong as well.
By the way, von Storch doesn’t agree with Osborn and Briffa on the idea that higher past variability would mean there’d likely be high future variability as well (bigger response to greenhouse gases).He simply says it’s time to toss the “hockey-stick graph” and start again; he doesn’t take it further than that.
Is that right?
So The New York Times should have headlined, “Climate Change Scientists Could Be Very Wrong,” and sub-headlined, “Time to Toss the Hockey-Stick Graph.” Or is that not “Fit to Print”?
December 10, 2004: email 1102687002 Gavin Schmidt, of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies of the United States
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA GISS), writes to many:
Colleagues, No doubt some of you share our frustration with the current state of media reporting on the climate change issue. Far too often we see agenda-driven “commentary” on the Internet and in the opinion columns of newspapers crowding out careful analysis. Many of us work hard on educating the public and journalists through lectures, interviews and letters to the editor, but this is often a thankless task.
In order to be a little bit more pro-active, a group of us (see below) have recently got together to build a new “climate blog” website, RealClimate.
org, which will be launched over the next few days at:
http://www.realclimate.org The idea is that we working climate scientists should have a place where we can mount a rapid response to supposedly “bombshell” papers that are doing the rounds, and give more context to climate-related stories or events.
… Gavin Schmidt
on behalf of the RealClimate.org team:
- Gavin Schmidt
- Mike Mann
- Eric Steig
- William Connolley
- Stefan Rahmstorf
- Ray Bradley
- Amy Clement
- Rasmus Benestad
- William Connolley
- Caspar Ammann The propaganda war goes digital!
Somewhat hilariously, the “RealClimate.org team” in the signature block contains the name William Connolley twice. Did this infamous “Wikipedia censor” hack into their own announcement email?
(William Connolley is a climate modeller who established himself as an editor at Wikipedia and with a cadre of supporters he controlled all entries relating to climate, climate change and the people involved. This included putting up false material about skeptics. They constantly monitored the entries and if anyone tried to correct anything it was rapidly returned to the original false information. With so many people, they could easily circumvent the limit on the number of edits per person. As a designated editor, Connolley had even more latitude.) January 6, 2005: email 1105019698 David Parker, of the United Kingdom Met(eorological) Office, writes to Neil Plummer, Senior Climatologist at the National Climate Centre of the Bureau of Meteorology,
There is a preference in the atmospheric observations chapter of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report to stay with the 1961–1990 baseline. This is partly because a change of baseline confuses users, e.g. anomalies will seem less positive than before if we change to a newer baseline, so the impression of global warming will be muted.
And we can’t give that impression, can we?
January 20, 2005: email 1106322460 Steve Mackwell, Editor in Chief of Geophysical Research Letters, writes to Mike Mann, who evidently complained because he was not able to “look over” a manuscript,
critical of his own work, prior to its publication:
Dear Prof. Mann In your recent email to Chris Reason, you laid out your concerns that I presume were the reason for your phone call to me last week. I have reviewed the manuscript by McIntyre, as well as the reviews. The editor in this case was Prof. James Saiers. He did note initially that the manuscript did challenge published work, and so felt the need for an extensive and thorough review. For that reason, he requested reviews from three knowledgable scientists. All three reviews recommended publication.
While I do agree that this manuscript does challenge (somewhat aggressively) some of your past work, I do not feel that it takes a particularly harsh tone. On the other hand, I can understand your reaction. As this manuscript was not written as a Comment, but rather as a full-up scientific manuscript, you would not in general be asked to look it over. And I am satisfied by the credentials of the reviewers. Thus, I do not feel that we have sufficient reason to interfere in the timely publication of this work.
Mike Mann forwards this response to a number of his colleagues:
Dear All, Just a heads-up (warning). Apparently, the contrarians now have an “in” with Geophysical Research Letters. This guy Saiers has a prior connection with the University of Virginia Department of Environmental Sciences that causes me some unease.
I think we now know how the various Douglass and co-workers papers with Michaels and Singer, the Soon and co-workers paper, and now this one have gotten published in Geophysical Research Letters.
Tom Wigley writes:
This is truly awful. Geophysical Research Letters has gone downhill rapidly in recent years. I think the decline began before Saiers. I have had some unhelpful dealings with him recently with regard to a paper Sarah Raper and I have on glaciers—it was well received by the referees, and so is in the publication pipeline. However, I got the impression that Saiers was trying to keep it from being published.
Proving bad behavior here is very difficult. If you think that Saiers is in the greenhouse skeptics camp, then, if we can find documentary evidence of this, we could go through official American Geophysical Union channels to get him ousted. Even this would be difficult.
Mike Mann responds in terms we would expect from a political apparatchik rather than a genuine scientist.
Yeah, basically this is just a heads-up to people that something might be up here. What a shame that would be. It’s one thing to lose Climate Research.
We can’t afford to lose Geophysical Research Letters. I think it would be useful if people begin to record their experiences with both Saiers and potentially Mackwell (I don’t know him—he would seem to be complicit with what is going on here).
If there is a clear body of evidence that something is amiss, it could be taken through the proper channels. I don’t think that the entire American Geophysical Union hierarchy has yet been compromised!
Malcolm Hughes suggests using the Editor-in-Chief ’s words as a loophole:
Does it not … follow that if you were to challenge their “work” in “fullup scientific manuscript”, but not as a “Comment”, then it, too, should be reviewed without reference to McIntyre and McKitrick?
But Mann is adamant that Geophysical Research Letters is to be black-balled:
I’m not sure that Geophysical Research Letters can be seen as an honest broker in these debates any more, and it is probably best to do an “end run” around Geophysical Research Letters now where possible. They have published far too many deeply flawed contrarian papers in the past year or so. There is no possible excuse for them publishing all three Douglass papers and the Soon and co-workers paper. These were all pure crap.
There appears to be a more fundamental problem with Geophysical Research Letters now, unfortunately… Four “contrarian” peer-reviewed papers? Intolerable!
January 21, 2005: email 1106338806 Tom Wigley writes to Phil Jones, primarily about a Review Panel by the VTT Technical
Research Centre in Finland:
Tom Karl told me you will be on the VTT Review Panel. This is very good news.
However, he brings up a new concern:
I got a brochure on the Freedom Of Information Act from the University of East Anglia. Does this mean that, if someone asks for a computer program we have to give it out?? Can you check this for me (and Sarah Raper)?
Phil Jones is confident that it won’t be a problem:
On the Freedom Of Information Act, there is a little leaflet we have all been sent. It doesn’t really clarify what we might have to do regarding programs or data. Like all things in Britain, we will only find out when the first person or organization asks. I wouldn’t tell anybody about the Freedom Of Information Act in Britain. I don’t think the University of East Anglia really knows what’s involved.
However, he also starts the process of finding loopholes in the legislation:
As you’re no longer an employee, I would use this argument if anything comes along.
Tom Wigley replies:
Thanks for the quick reply.