Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Some people, not me

One Michael Ashley, a colleague of Tim Lambert at UNSW (Eli is a very old and suspicious bunny) penned a work of art on Climate Audit. He started by quoting Stevereno

If people are suggesting that I wasn't diligent enough in pursuing the matter, by this time, I'd exchanged over 40 emails with Science on this and Esper.

And continued

Some people (not me, I hasten to add) might think they are justified in claiming that you weren't diligent enough given that Keith Briffa replied to you very politely on May 28, 2006 saying

Steve these data were produced by Swedish and Russian colleagues - will pass on your message to them]
cheers, Keith

At this point, it would appear that the logical approach would have been to contact the Swedish and Russian colleagues. Did you do this?

Some people (not me, I hasten to add) might claim that you have dishonestly given the impression (note I say "impression", not that you have actually said so directly, or even possibly indirectly) that Briffa has deliberately withheld data from you for ten years, when in fact this was not the case. And that the data was not Briffa's to give. And that there was no publication policy in place at the time to require the data to be available. And that you were given a pointer as to who could provide the data, but you did not follow it up. At least that is the impression that some people (not me) might form, and even speculate (without justification) that whatever is going on at CA, it isn't auditing, or science.

If I may make a humble suggestion: why not harness the power of the people who post at CA to help you coauthor a paper on Yamal for submission to the peer-reviewed literature?

I am sure that you would receive numerous offers from potential co-authors to reduce the burden on you. Suitable wiki software would enable collaborative on-line editing. If you don't have time to set this up, I am sure that there are dozens of CA readers with the necessary expertise to help. The co-authors could assist with proof-reading, tracking down references, data, etc in return for seeing their names in print.

With this many eyes watching, it would be one of the most carefully audited papers in history, and would surely glide through the referee process. It would set a gold standard for archiving of data and software, and would greatly enhance CA's reputation as a place where science is done. Let's do it!

It should be possible to submit a paper on a timescale of a few months. Just think of the impact it would have! It would cite through the roof as the paper that finally showed that it is possible to choose a set of trees from north-western Siberia that show no evidence of global warming in the second half of the 20th century.

Steve bit
In response to your point that I wasn't "diligent enough" in pursuing the matter with the Russians, in fact, I already had a version of the data from the Russians, one that I'd had since 2004. What I didn't know until a couple of weeks ago was that this was the actual version that Briffa had used.
Some people, not me I would hasten to add, might think B'rer Ashley would emerge with your front teeth in his back pocket if you shook hands with him. Comments


Anonymous said...

So he had the data all along? Perhaps one would learn it's better to not prematurely go public with complaints about data availability.

The 'he said she said' stuff is rather tiresome. Can we move on to a discussion of how one appropriately builds a tree ring chronology? The finer points of paleoclimate are probably lost on many, so it'd be a good teaching moment.

- carrot eater

andrewt said...

Until this I had some sympathy Steven McIntyre - as a general principle its good if he or anyone else should be able to get the data and analyze it themself. I had the impression from McIntyre's complaints that Keith Briffa had been considerably less open than the average scientist with hard-won data.

Its stunning to discover that McIntyre has had the tree measurements for 5 years and didn't mention this! I will certainly will be much more careful in accepting anything McIntyre says in future.

Martin Vermeer said...

Hmmm, isn't this the Michael Ashley that butchered Plimer?

Anonymous said...

I don't really know one way or the other, but it seems to me that there may be a perfectly valid reason for using a subset of all the trees rather than the whole group.

If there are problems with using certain trees, one can address the issue either by excluding them or by trying to address the problems (perhaps with some adjustment)

Take the example of the USHCN. Some of the data has to be adjusted for UHI and other reasons, but the only way one can know this is to have a detailed knowledge of the issue. Alternatively, one could use only the "best" data, but again, to know which data are "best", one again has to know the details. In the latter case, both approaches yield basically the same answer.

While McIntyre has not claimed that all the trees should have been used, he certainly has implied that there is a problem with using just the ones that were.

But he has implied that with little or no supporting evidence. he certainly has NOT done the detailed analysis to show why that is the case.

If he were an actual scientist, the latter is precisely what he would do.

Boris said...

I predict multiple hernias as CA denizens begin a mass migration of goalposts.

Former Skeptic said...

But..but..but...McI says this!:

This is not a small point. In climate science, there can be different versions of an unarchived data set in circulation. For example, there have been a number of different versions of Thompson's Dunde ice core data in circulation, not all of which can be reconciled.

In our 2003 consideration of MBH, even though we downloaded data from a url at his website to which we had been specifically directed and had taken the extra precaution of sending the dataset to Mann and asking him to confirm that this was the version used in MBH, Mann issued statements that we had used the "wrong" data set and a new data set materialized at his website, with the old data set being destroyed. As a result, I take extra care in requesting data from authors as used, in case differences have been introduced between the version as used and the original data.

In other words, McI uses his best Han Solo/Lando Calrissian impersonation - IT'S NOT MY FAULT!

Funny that McI also didn't want to reply to Ashley's other and more relevant point on getting his "analysis" published. Ah well.

Anonymous said...

Loved the ending:

Just think of the impact it would have! It would cite through the roof as the paper that finally showed that it is possible to choose a set of trees from north-western Siberia that show no evidence of global warming in the second half of the 20th century.


TheChemistryOfBeer said...

Michael Ashley's comment was not just a work of art, but the 'Starry Night' of blog comments.

Thanks for posting it.

Lars Karlsson said...

And a few posts below, we find this wonderful display of projection (or could it be irony?) by signature Fred:


There is no need for you to answer every silly inquiry about the findings you have presented. They are bright as daylight and any competent scientist can understand the issues clearly.

At some point, you have to realize that many of the people "challenging" you with obvious nonsense are just distractions, agents of the discredited attempting to occupy your time in an effort to keep you from taking the next step (i.e. Tom P).

Don't fall for it. Don't waste your time with them, move on.

Everyone with an IQ over room temperature can see the truth now. It is time for you to make the kill, write it up and get it published.

Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

And a few posts below, we find this wonderful display of projection (or could it be irony?) by signature Fred:

Poe's Law makes that one a tough call! ;)

Anonymous said...

Briffa has deliberately withheld data from you for ten years, when in fact this was not the case.

Rabbet, you're kidding with this one, right?

Kief' had the data, or certainly knew the data that went into is peer reviewed seminal work of what appears to be fiction. He could have given those over to Steve.

Instead he tried the " Russians have my homework" line.

Ian said...

Anonymous @ 8:58 - For the sake of argument, let's assume that Briffa had the data - why would he be obligated to share it with anyone in particular, including McIntyre? I I suspected a question about the original data series, I would send the person on to the source of the data as well.

dhogaza said...

"Kief' had the data, or certainly knew the data that went into is peer reviewed seminal work of what appears to be fiction. He could have given those over to Steve.

Instead he tried the " Russians have my homework" line."

I assume you mean "keith"...

So if I lend you my car, and McIntyre asks you to give it to him, in your understanding of law and morality you should just give McIntyre my car?

Even though you don't own it?

Even though I've not given you permission to share it?

I'll never lend you my car - nor my data.

You people asserting that Briffa should've broken the arrangement between the Russians and CRU are despicable.

Marco said...

Ian, I applaud you for being kind, but the simple truth is that Briffa would get some major objections from his collaborators if he would send THEIR data onwards without their consent. It was data from the Russians, and thus solely up to the Russians to send it to McIntyre. Briffa did what he should have done: forward the request to the owners of the data. And they had (already?) sent the data to McIntyre.


Rattus Norvegicus said...

Well Stevie Mac has a new "woe is me" post up. This is too bad, I was hoping for a "mea culpa" post. In it he admits that he actually did the analysis using the data he got from Hantemirov and guess what? He got pretty much the same results as those that Briffa got. And here comes the crux of the problem...

It seems that McIntyre misunderstands what Briffa means when he says a sample is "highly replicated". McIntyre seems to believe that it means that a master chronology consists of a lot of individual chronologies, so he can't believe that a sample that consists of only 17 chronologies dating from the present or near present could be highly replicated. From this it appears as though what Briffa means is that a large number of trees, both modern and sub-fossil, are included in the sample. This is certainly the case in the Yamal series which has well over 200 trees included. This obviously is more than the estimated 62 samples necessary to create an accurate RCS curve, so there is no problem with sample size as Steve alleges in this post.

Finally, why didn't he just ask Briffa to confirm or deny his result? A simple e-mail saying "here are my results from analyzing the Hantemirov Yamal data. I get the same overall results as you, but I can't believe that you used a sample with only 17 chronologies. Is this correct?" Would have done. The answer would have been "yes", and Steve could have moved on to accusing him of fraud and incompetence based on McIntyre's misunderstanding of what Briffa means when he says highly replicated.

I find it really rather pathetic to watch Steve accuse Briffa of the misuse of his own f'ing method, which he has been developing for over a decade. Does he really think that Briffa is that stupid? Or does he think that he is driven by some supposed monetary gain he can get from coming up with the "correct" chronology? Even if it means breaking all of the principals of analysis he has worked hard to develop over the 20 or 25 years?

TCO said...

I'm very unsympathetic to McI and his tiresome posts and have not followed the whole kerfuffle...will wait for a paper (ha!). However, I think you all close ranks rather than think of this the way a rational physical scientist would.

1. If Briffa wrote a paper, he should share the data to allow replication. It is "unsat" to say that he used data but is not allowed to share it. He can't comply with his obligations if he writes papers in that matter (plus just put the Russians on as co authors anyhow...)

2. The sin of McI already having data is separate from the issue of not providing it, when requested. Also his comment about version is reasonable. There is a lot of gray literature and different versions of things out there. If you've ever done intel, you will realize that just having intel is not same as having it confirmed.

P.s. still never answered my heat capacity questions from 2005 at Deltoid. Come on...which has a greater place in your heart...liberal blogging or chemistry?

TCO said...

I really dislike Steve's long post, though. He has a bazillion paragraphs to defend himself...but is too lazy to even clearly write what his issues ARE!

connor said...

Sorry to go off topic, but...

Can anyone help me out with this?

In his book Plimer makes this claim:

"The raw data from Mauna Loa is 'edited' by an operator who deletes what is considered poor data. Some 82% of the raw data is "edited" leaving just 18% of the raw data measurements for statistical analysis. With such savage editing of raw data, whatever trend one wants can be shown."

Where would I start looking for information to refute this claim?

He follows it up with this:

"the raw data is an average of 4 samples from hour to hour. In 2004 there were a possible 8784 measurements. Due to instrumental error 1102 samples had no data, 1085 were not used due to up slope winds*, 655 had large variability within 1 hour but were used in the official figure , 866 had large hour by hour variability but were not used"

It all sounds like the sort of paranoid ramblings from WUWT and i know it must be easily disproved but I just can't find what I need to do that.

Rattus Norvegicus said...


You can check here. The last column is the number of days which went into the monthly mean data. In most months less than 10% of the data is excluded.

EliRabett said...


That's a feature, not a bug. The meteorology at MLO is very carefully and well characterized. The issues include flow from the caldera, flow up the side of the mountain, etc.

CO2 readings are only taken when the observatory is exposed to the free troposphere.

If you pay attention to the meteorology, you can even measure global CO2 in the center of europe (for example at Schauinsland)

Is this being distressed anywhere currently cause Eli wants to intrude

CapitalClimate said...

It's apparently become quite the fad of footy fandom.

Anonymous said...

TCO says I think you all close ranks rather than think of this the way a rational physical scientist would.

A real physical scientist would actually address the central scientific issue (reality of hockey stick) as Real climate has done (for the nth time)), something that McItyre has (once again) failed to do.

BTW, TCO, speaking of bazillion paragraphs, I see Tamino finally got tired of your own endless bullshit on his blog (as Tim Lambert did long ago)

Skeptic, my ass!

Connor said...

LOL, good detective work Capital Climate, you got it in one!

Connor said...

Capital Climate -

In my discussions with this chap he claims to have found what he thinks is a discrepancy in the data for 1984.

MLO 1984 01 05 07 344.13 -99.99 ...
MLO 1984 01 05 10 344.02 -99.99 ...

MLO 1984 01 05 12 344.25 -99.99 ...

MLO 1984 01 05 14 343.72 -99.99 ...
MLO 1984 01 06 05 344.36 -99.99 ...
MLO 1984 01 06 09 344.01 -99.99 ...

He points out that the value of the ppm in the instances are higher than the .25 standard deviation from the preceding hour.

Can you explain briefly what mistake he is making here?

EliRabett said...

How about a link Conner

Connor said...

Sure thing

And thanks for the help, Eli. Really appreciate it

EliRabett said...

MLO discussion moves to the new post

In the meantime Conner might ask his friend if he thinks the equipment at MLO has not changed in 50 years. Hint. Hint.

JackDeb said...

Not only that, but Steve had another paper that he tried to 'audit'. Darrigo et al , Steve knew they didn't have the Yamal data but used it anyways. In the publication, they have a list of core counts, which Steve knew they didn't have. It took him 3 years to figure out this chart came from somewhere else!
This guy is the auditor?

willard said...

Dear rabbit,

The trail you gave leaves nowhere, nowadays. It can be found elsewhere, though:

Happy chasing around,

EliRabett said...

Given that Steve reorganized the blog, in the meanwhile tossing the Forum down the memory hold no wonder.

Link rot is an occupational disease anyhow.