«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 ...»
I was told by a journalist Paul Thacker that his poster got prominent placement; probably not an accident (see forwarded email). I believe that Mike Schlesinger and David Karoly were there in the same session, so it might be worth checking with them. I think Connie Woodhouse and Tom Wigley were also at the meeting, but not sure… If the science were rock-solid, why would they be obsessed with finding out the identity of the person who was responsible for the prominent placement of a dissenting poster?
Mann reports victory in at least one battle:
The Geophysical Research Letters leak may have been plugged up now with new editorial leadership there, but these guys always have Climate Research and Energy and Environment, and will go there if necessary. They are telegraphing quite clearly where they are going with all of this… So they have “taken back control” of at least one journal.
However, Keith Briffa remarkably acknowledges that, despite all this political
manoeuvring and interference, the scientific arguments of McIntyre are actually valid:
… so they are sort of right that the emphasis on 1032 is probably overdone.
Isn’t that what these scientists should be concentrating on?
December 2, 2005: email 1133532909
Mike Mann writes to many:
I thought you all would be interested in this. Esper and co-workers have
played right into the hands of the contrarians:
(FOX News story link) The wording of their
is frankly just irresponsible… In other words, they are to be condemned for being honest and for failing to dress up their statements in sufficiently alarmist tones.
February 3, 2006: email 1138995069 Keith Briffa is still struggling with the fact—already highlighted above by Tom Wigley—that, when the uncertainties in their temperature estimates are reported fairly, they completely “swamp” the variations that they are trying to use to bolster the conclusion of man-made global warming. He writes to Jonathan Overpeck and
We are having trouble … expressing the real message of the results—being scientifically sound in representing uncertainty, while still getting the crux of the information across clearly. It is not right to ignore uncertainty, but expressing this merely in an arbitrary way (and as a total range as before) allows the uncertainty to swamp the magnitude of the changes through time.
But that is the truth of the matter! Perhaps “the penny is starting to drop” for Briffa.
February 13, 2006: email 1139835663 The National Research Council of The National Academies of the United States invites Keith Briffa to appear before its enquiry in Washington, D.C. Keith Briffa writes to
IN STRICT CONFIDENCE I am sending this for your opinion. To be frank, I am inclined to decline. What do think? Presumably you and others are already in the frame?
Mann remains keen for his co-conspirators to be in the frame. He responds:
I think you really should do this if you possibly can. The panel is entirely legitimate, and the report was requested by Sherwood Boehlert, who as you probably know has been very supportive of us in the whole Barton affair. … Especially, with the new Science article by you and Tim I think its really important that one of you attend, if at all possible.
Congressman Joe Barton was Chairman of the US House of Reps Committee which commissioned leading American statistician Edward J Wegman with other colleagues to separately examine the data and methodology leading to the publication of Mann’s Hockey Stick. Their report was damning.
If one is wondering about Mann’s definition of “legitimate”, he quickly erases any
The panel is solid. Gerry North should do a good job in chairing this, and the other members are all solid. Christy is the token skeptic, but there are
many others to keep him in check:
(link to list of members) So I would encourage you to strongly reconsider!
Ah! In other words, the panel is already “stacked”; it is friendly; and so there is no danger in Briffa appearing before it.
However, Briffa’s lack of confidence is manifest:
Thanks for this, but after a lot of soul-searching this weekend, I have decided to decline the invitation. Pressure of stuff here is intense—but the real reason is that I really think it could be politic to retreat into “neutral” mode, at least until after the IPCC Report is out. I know you can argue this various ways, but the skeptics are starting to attack on this “non neutral” stance, and the less public I am at the moment, the better, I think. I hope you do not think I am a wimp here—just trying to go the way I think best.
Mann, who no doubt understands the message that non-appearance by one of their
key scientists would send, tries to get Briffa to reconsider:
I’m pretty sure they’re just asking for a neutral discussion of the science that you’ve done that is relevant to the issues being reviewed by the Committee (after all, this is the United States National Academy of Sciences, not the United States Senate, etc.). But I understand where you’re coming from, nonetheless. Perhaps you could suggest an alternative speaker? Is there any possibility that Tim could do this instead? My greatest fear is that McIntyre dominates the discussion. It’s important that they hear from the legitimate scientists.
Again, we know what Mann’s definition of “legitimate” is.
March 8, 2006: email 1141398437
Richard Alley writes to Jonathan Overpeck:
Do you know anything about the “divergence problem” in tree rings?
Rosanne D’Arrigo talked to the National Research Council yesterday.
I didn’t get to talk to her afterward, but it looked to me that they have redrilled a bunch of the high-latitude tree rings that underlie almost all of the high-resolution estimates, and the tree rings are simply missing the post-1970s warming, with reasonably high confidence. She didn’t seem too worried, but she apparently has a paper just out in the Journal of Geophysical Research. It looked to me like she had pretty well killed the “hockey stick” graph in public forum—they go out and look for the mostsensitive trees at the edge of the treeline, flying over lots and lots of trees that are less sensitive but quite nearby, and when things get a little warmer, the most-sensitive trees aren’t sensitive any more; and so the trees miss the extreme warming of the recent times, and can’t reliably be counted as catching the extreme warmth of the Medieval Warm Period if there was extreme warmth then.
Because, as far as I can tell, the “hockey stick” really was a tree-ring record, regardless of how it was labelled as “multiproxy”, this looks to me to be a really big deal. And, a big deal that may bite your Chapter of the IPCC Report …
Hi Richard—this issue is one that we refer to in our key uncertainty table.
I believe Keith Briffa was one of the first to write about it, and it is an important issue. I haven’t seen Rosanne’s paper or results myself, but I bet Keith has. I’m cc’ing this to him to see what he thinks.
Keith Briffa responds:
We do need to say something, but as I said in an earlier message, not without more consideration. We should not write something curt on this—ditto the possible direct effects of carbon dioxide. In the push to do all this other stuff, we have had to leave it—to discuss later how to include an “uncertainty issues” bit about recent environmental mess-ups. The D’Arrigo paper is not convincing, but we have to do some work to show why, instead of just saying this.
Indeed! Briffa finally realizes that brief public assertions without any scientific backing will no longer be credible.
The divergence issue is not universal, and not unrelated to very recent period bias arising from processing methods.
In other words, the problem is real—and its extent unknown. That “processing methods” can completely bias their results completely undermines their stated public confidence that “the science is settled”. Indeed, Briffa explains how little they really
know—and this is 2006, not 1986:
It is very likely not the threshold problem that D’Arrigo thinks it is. We need money here to work on this, and losing our last application to Europe has messed us up. For now we cannot include anything. I will work on text for the next IPCC Report.
In other words, as of 2006, they needed funding to begin new research to even determine how reliable any of their previous results were. Is this “settled science”?
March 7, 2006: email 1141737742 Steve McIntyre is trying to get the data needed to verify a paper published in Science.
Jesse Smith of Science writes to Tim Osborn:
We have just received an email from Steve McIntyre (pasted below), with a long and very specific list of alleged deficiencies in the availability of data by which to evaluate your recent paper … We would like to have your confidential response to this request, keeping in mind the stated policy of Science that “Any reasonable request for materials, methods, or data necessary to verify the conclusions of the experiments reported must be honored.”
Osborn replies to Smith:
Before responding to the specific data requests, we would like to say that it is our view that we should provide sufficient data to enable all the main elements of our analysis to be checked, but that we are not obliged to provide the data that would enable the research reported in other papers to be checked, even if we cite those other papers or use results reported in those other papers. You will see how this view has determined our response to some of the requests.
A continuation of the same cunning tactics previously employed: we are allowed to cite results published by others; but if you want their data, that’s your problem, not
ours. Science seems satisfied:
Thank you for your clear and careful response to the requests made by Mr. McIntyre, which we forwarded to you: it was quite satisfactory, we believe, and will greatly help Brooks (Hanson) in crafting his reply to Mr.
McIntyre. I hope that this will be the end of this episode, but if it is not, we will be in touch again.
The relief at Science is almost palpable!
Osborn seems to realize that the victory is only temporary:
Keith—see below. I bet it won’t be the end of the episode!
March 8, 2006: email 1141849134
Richard Alley to Jonathan Overpeck, on the growing crisis:
The big issue may be that you don’t just have to convince me now; if the National Research Council (NRC) committee comes out as being strongly negative on the hockey stick owing to Rosanne D’Arrigo’s talk, then the divergence between the IPCC and the NRC will be a big deal in the future regardless. The NRC committee is accepting comments now (I don’t know for how long)… As I noted, my observations of the NRC committee members suggest rather strongly to me that they now have serious doubts about tree-rings as thermometers (and I do, too … at least until someone shows me why this divergence problem really doesn’t matter).
Overpeck responds, copying his response to many colleagues:
Hi gang—Richard is raising important issues, and Keith is going to respond in some detail on Friday when he gets back. I am cc’ing this to a broader group of IPCC Chapter 6 folks so that we make sure we (Chapter 6) deal with the issues correctly. I’m hoping that Keith will cc to us all, and we’ll go from there.
For those just in on the issue raised by Richard. There is a paper written by Rosanne D’Arrigo that apparently casts serious doubt on the ability of tree ring data to reconstruct the full range of past temperature change— particularly temperatures above mid-20th century levels. Chapter 6 obviously has to deal with this more in the next draft, so Eystein and I would like to get on top of it starting this week.
Keith or Richard—do you have a copy of this paper? Is it accepted?