«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 ...»
All of them know the sorts of things to say—about our Comment and the awful original, without any prompting.
To be “prompting” the reviewers of their Comment would, in itself, already be a serious violation of professional ethics; but to propose reviewers who already “know the sorts of things to say” is simply corrupt.
September 3, 2009: email 1252154659 Nick McKay writes to many, including Darrell Kaufman and Jonathan Overpeck, over a criticism by Steve McIntyre that the conspirators had flipped a data set upside down
when they used it:
I haven’t checked the original reference for its interpretation, but I checked our computer program and we did use the data in the orientation that McIntyre stated. He’s also right that flipping the data to the correct orientation doesn’t affect any of the conclusions. Actually, flipping it makes it fit in better with the 1900-year trend.
I’ve attached a plot of the original, and another with the data flipped.
The next day:
The data was oriented in the reconstruction in the way that McIntyre said.
I took a look at the original reference—the temperature proxy we looked at is X-ray density, which the author of the data interprets to be inversely related to temperature. We had higher values of X-ray density as warmer in the reconstruction, so it looks to me like we got it wrong, unless we decided to reinterpret the record, which I don’t remember. Darrell, does this sound right to you?
Again, it is absolutely astounding that they did not meticulously document where the data came from, what assumptions were made, how it was interpreted and applied, and so on. They are relying on their memories!
In Darrell Kaufman’s reply:
Regarding the “upside down man”, as Nick’s plot shows, when flipped, the data has little impact on the overall graphs. Also, the data was not included in the calibration.
According to Nick McKay, these points were already made by McIntyre.
Nonetheless, it’s unfortunate that I flipped the … data. … I should have used the inverse of density as the temperature proxy. I probably got confused by the fact that the 20th century shows very high density values and I inadvertently equated that directly with temperature.
Is there any clearer sign that they were working towards predetermined conclusions?
To decide which way to orient the data just by “how it looks for the 20th century” demonstrates an extremely poor methodology.
This is new territory for me, but not acknowledging an error might come back to bite us. I suggest that we nip it in the bud and write a brief update showing the corrected composite (Nick’s graph) and post it to our website.
Do you all agree?
To Kaufman’s credit, he acknowledges his mistake, and suggests a reasonable path of action to correct it. What is astounding is the behind-the-scenes anarchy.
Kaufman is also concerned that they have stretched the truth:
McIntyre wrote to me to request the yearly data that we used to calculate the 10-year averages. The only “non-published” data are yearly data from the ice cores … We stated this in the footnote, but it does stretch our assertion that all of the data are available publicly. Bo (Vinther): How do you want to proceed? Should I forward the yearly data to McIntyre?
Again, an admirable admission—but one that further confirms that the difficulties faced by McIntyre and other skeptics were absolutely real, and not fabricated or frivolous.
I’m also thinking that I should write to the authors of the data directly to apologize for inadvertently reversing their data.
Another good suggestion. Perhaps they should also write to Steve McIntyre, thanking him for pointing out the error?
September 5, 2009: email 1252164302
Jonathan Overpeck responds to Darrell Kaufman’s email to the co-authors:
Darrell and others—Please write all emails as though they will be made public.
Overpeck realizes that “the lid will be blown” imminently.
I would not rush and I would not respond to any of them until the best strategy is developed—I don’t want to waste anyone’s time, including yours or McIntyre’s. Since the graph in Science has an error, I think you do need to publish a correction in Science. … I don’t think you have a choice here.
Overpeck is on the defensive: he understands the crisis and its ramifications.
Kaufman’s question about data is tricky. Giving McIntyre the data would be good, but only if it is yours to give. You can’t give him data that you got from others and are not allowed to share. But it would be nice if he could have access to all the data that we used—that’s the way science is supposed to work. See what Mike and Ray say… Overpeck acknowledges “the way science is supposed to work”, but he also knows the mantra of their leaders that the data is “private property”, and that they should “hide behind” every agreement that they have signed with its providers.
Be careful, very careful. But now you know why I advocated redoing all the analyses a few months ago—to make sure we got it all right. We knew we’d get this scrutiny.
Again, Overpeck senses the impending catastrophe. The mind-set is now to get it right—not because it is important to get it right, but simply because they know that others can now check it. Clearly, all previous work has never been thoroughly checked.
September 6, 2009: email 1252233095
Bo Vinther responds to Darrell Kaufman’s email to the co-authors:
I will suggest that we release the 1860–2000 section of the yearly ice core data, as these are the data that go into Figure 2 in the paper. Such a limited release I can permit immediately. Releasing everything is something different, and I can’t see the need—as far as I remember we are not presenting or using the 1–1859 part of the data anywhere in the paper—or am I wrong?
Vinther clearly believes that data relating to the paper must be released—but only that much, no more.
Regarding the yearly data: You’re correct that we only use 10-year averages throughout our calculations (Figure 2 shows yearly values, but they are not used in any calculation or conclusion). In his e-mail to me, McIntyre requested the yearly data that we say are not publicly available as a footnote to Table S1.
Unless anyone has another suggestion, I will reply and send him the 10-year data (which is already posted at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Paleoclimate website) and explain that they were the basis for all of the calculations. He might want the annual data that the averages were based on. I suppose we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
Kaufman is now proposing that McIntyre should only be given the data that would allow him to replicate some of their calculations, not the data he requested—and would not allow him to replicate their Figure 2 at all. Such hair-splitting is a farce.
September 28, 2009: email 1254147614
Tom Wigley writes to Phil Jones:
Here are some speculations on correcting sea temperatures to partly explain the 1940s warming blip.
If you look at the attached plot you will see that the land also shows the 1940s blip (as I’m sure you know). So, if we could reduce the ocean blip by, say, 0.15 degrees Celsius, then this would be significant for the global average—but we’d still have to explain the land blip.
I’ve chosen 0.15 degrees Celsius here deliberately. This still leaves an ocean blip, and I think one needs to have some form of ocean blip to explain the land blip … It would be good to remove at least part of the 1940s blip, but we are still left with “why the blip?” Why not just leave the data alone, and not try to fudge it to support a preconceived conclusion? Why not actually explain the blip?
September 29, 2009: email 1254230232 Phil Jones writes to Tim Osborn, Mike Mann, and Gavin Schmidt, regarding McIntyre’s
analysis of Keith Briffa’s Russian tree-ring results:
I totally agree that these attacks (for want of a better word) are getting worse. Comments on the thread are snide in the extreme, with many saying they see no need to submit the results to a journal. They have proved Keith has manipulated the data, so job done.
Given the control that Jones and his colleagues had over the journals (and their stated intention to regard as essentially nonexistent those that publish skeptical papers), perhaps it is more than reasonable to say “job done” once they have proved that Briffa manipulated the data!
September 29, 2009: email 1254258663
Mike Mann, responding to Andy Revkin of the New York Times:
So, even if there were a problem with Briffa’s data, it wouldn’t matter as far as the key conclusions regarding past warmth are concerned. But I don’t think there is any problem with these data, rather it appears that McIntyre has greatly distorted the actual information content of these data. It will take folks a few days to get to the bottom of this, in Keith’s absence.
We return to the familiar tune: even if this result is wrong, there are other results that say the same thing. In some contexts, such an argument would hold weight. But we know that, in this field, Mann and his colleagues tortured all data that came their way until it appeared to support their predetermined conclusions; and, moreover, McIntyre almost had to perform a miracle to squeeze enough data and computer programs out of the gang to show that there was a problem. In such an environment— and with the insight we now have into their methods and practices—the inescapable conclusion is that all of their results are suspect.
If McIntyre had a legitimate point, he would submit a comment to the journal in question. Of course, the last time he tried that (with our 1998 article in Nature), his comment was rejected. For all of the noise and bluster about … Antarctic warming, it’s now nearing a year and nothing has been submitted. So it’s more likely he won’t submit a paper for peerreviewed scrutiny, or if he does get his criticism “published” it will be in the discredited contrarian home journal Energy and Environment. I’m sure you are aware that McIntyre and his ilk realize they no longer need to get their crap published in legitimate journals.
The peer-review Catch-22 is now all too familiar to us.
And based on what? Some guy with no credentials, dubious connections with the energy industry, and who hasn’t submitted his claims to the scrutiny of peer review.
Fortunately, the prestige press doesn’t fall for this sort of stuff, right?
Compliments get you everywhere, in this business.
I’m sure you’re aware that you will see dozens of bogus, manufactured distortions of the science in the weeks leading up to the vote on Cap and Trade legislation in the United States Senate.
He will if Mann and colleagues get their many prognostications into the press!
September 29, 2009: email 1254259645
Andy Revkin of the New York Times writes to Mike Mann and Tim Osborn:
Tom Crowley has sent me a direct challenge to McIntyre to start contributing to the reviewed literature or shut up. I’m going to post that soon.
I just want to be sure that what is spliced below is from you … a little unclear?
It’s remarkable that Mike Mann gets to check what’s Fit to Print!
I’m going to blog on this as it relates to the value of the peer-review process, and not on the merits of the McIntyre and co-workers’ attacks.
I thought that these fellows didn’t believe in blogs?
Peer review, for all its imperfections, is where the herky-jerky process of knowledge building happens, would you agree?
Mann has shown that, in his field, it’s certainly a herky-jerky process—but more of the empire-building nature, than knowledge-building.
Yep, what was written below is all me, but it was purely on background;
please don’t quote anything I said or attribute to me without checking specifically—thanks.
So he can put words in Revkin’s mouth, but they aren’t to be attributed to him without his permission. Remarkable.
Regarding your point at the end—you’ve taken the words out of my mouth.