Sunday, April 04, 2010

The CRU is not pleased with Steve McIntyre

In it's response to the Muir Russell commission, the CRU discusses the Yamal imbroglio

Our work later became the subject of widespread misrepresentation in the media, amounting to hysterical and defamatory reporting of a posting on the “Climate Audit” website, managed by Steve McIntyre. McIntyre produced an alternative chronology omitting many of the modern sites we had used and replacing them with data from another single location. This alternative chronology differed markedly from our chronology during the late 20th century. McIntyre implied that this is evidence that Briffa had improperly selected certain tree-ring data, specifically in order to manufacture a false impression of recent enhanced tree-growth in the Yamal region.
This assertion is entirely false. On the contrary, McIntyre’s omission of the data we had validly used and its substitution with data showing an atypical pattern of tree-growth variations in the region, itself constitutes a biased analysis. A detailed refutation of McIntyre’s implied accusations (Briffa and Melvin 2009) was posted on the CRU website ( on 27th October, 2009. A copy is included with this submission. This includes details of a recent re-analysis we made of the Yamal chronology, in response to the posted criticisms. In this re-analysis we incorporate additional living-tree data made available by Rashit Hantemirov at our request. The inclusion of the additional samples and the use of improved statistical processing techniques produced only small differences in the tree-growth pattern (see Figure 1.3 below). From this it is clear that our original work was sound and where the CRU Yamal chronology is incorporated in multi-proxy reconstructions, the choice of which version will not significantly affect the outcome of the final reconstruction.Figure 1.3 – Extracted from Briffa and Melvin (2009)
Comparison of published and reworked Yamal chronologies. This Figure shows the two earlier versions of the Yamal RCS larch chronology in red (published in Briffa, 2000) and blue (Briffa et al., 2008) compared to the new version, based on all of the currently available data (Yamal_All) for the original (POR, YAD and JAH) sites and including the additional data from the KHAD site (in black). Tree sample counts for this ‘new’ chronology are shown by the grey shading. The upper panel shows the data smoothed with a 40-year low-pass cubic smoothing spline. The lower panel shows the yearly data from 1800 onwards. All series have been scaled so the yearly data have the same mean and standard deviation as the Yamal_All series over the period 1-1600.
And, oh yes, they don't much like Fred Pearce neither
In an article in the Guardian, published on 3rd February, 2010, Fred Pearce provides a misleading account of an email relating to this affair. Professor Tom Wigley wrote to Phil Jones on the 5th October, 2009, expressing some disquiet that our Yamal analyses might be suspect, from which it is obvious that he had been misled by reading Mcintyre’s posts. Pearce’s article is written in such a way as to strongly imply that Wigley had read the CRU response to this issue (posted on 27th October, 2009) and was dissatisfied. In reality, Wigley’s email predates the response by 3 weeks and after he did read it he was fully satisfied, as he explicitly communicated in a later email to a colleague on 3rd February 2010 (
Which James Randerson might be interested in reading
Date: Wed, 03 Feb 2010 15:46:23 -0700
From: Tom Wigley

I can see why you are concerned about Fred’s latest piece in The Guardian. It does look as though he has deliberately chosen dates to make it appear that I was dissatisfied with Keith’s response. Either that or it was a genuine mistake -- or he is simply ignorant and has not seen the full response. Whatever, he really should write an apologetic P.S. to his piece.

I was completely satisfied with Keith’s response. Not only did it answer all of my concerns and questions, but it also shows that the real villain here is McIntyre (although Keith is careful not to draw that conclusion).

I am enclosing a chronology, and my own summary of the issue. Pearce is a good science writer, but he has really dropped the ball in his series of Guardian articles over the last few days. Sad.

Best wishes,
Oh nos! Steve is such an innocent little lamby.


bigcitylib said...

Wigley should have known that, if it came from CA, it was bullshit. He should have known that from the first instant.

Anonymous said...

This bunny is getting very p'od.

"From this it is clear that our original work was sound and where the CRU Yamal chronology is incorporated in multi-proxy reconstructions, the choice of which version will not significantly affect the outcome of the final reconstruction."

Why am I not surprised. The traces are practically on top of each other!

McI really is pissing into the wind. That is what people do not understand when they hear the HS is broken they probably picture hugely differing tracing for the chronologies. Well, that is not the case.

So is Mr. Pearce going to issue an apology and retraction, AND give CRU the limelight showing that they got it right and that McI is wrong, again.

I'm glad CRU are fighting back.

The HS, pissing off the denialists since 1998 and still going strong (even after corrections):)

Someone should make a T-shirt....

David B. Benson said...

McI is proving himself to be a piece of work, as the 19th century saying goes...

Cthulhu said...

"Wigley should have known that, if it came from CA, it was bullshit. He should have known that from the first instant."

In my opinion Wigley was ok to challenge Briffa if he had questions after reading CA. In context of a private email a lot of things are fine that could be contrued badly in a public message. The problem in this case was that the private emails were stolen and made public. It's the hackers fault, not wigleys.

Horatio Algeranon said...

There is one very ironic (and funny) thing about the outcome of the CRU hack and subsequent investigation.

Before the hack, many scientists were reluctant to express their public displeasure of people like McIntyre, so they did it in (what they thought were) private emails to their colleagues.

Now, they seem to have no such compunction.

Poor McIntyre.

He used all those (forgive Horatio, "a few") FOI requests to release the tiger from its cage, and now that it's out and on the prowl, he probably wishes he had some way of shooing it back in.

"Nice kitty the broken hockey stick..."

Steve Bloom said...

Check out Mike Hulme's weird and counterproductive submission. I'm not sure what his point is given that time has been very unkind to the 2003 tobacco-industry funded Enstrom & Kabat paper (purporting to find that second-hand tobacco smoke isn't much of a problem) that Hulme's cited 2005 paper by Ungar & Bray (yes, that Bray) sought to hold up as an example of repression of good science. The WP second-hand smoke article has the details.

Anonymous said...

Yamal was a crock, as I said loud and clear back in October.

John Mashey said...

re: Steve
I am reminded in seeing Enstrom mentioned: he was a signer for the APS Petition, p.85, plausibly connected to Fred Singer via ACSH.

I'm not really familiar with Hulme - can anybody who is offer a few paragraphs?

mike roddy said...

Thanks for the details. McIntyre is being exposed, and he's starting to choke. Go to CA and check out his CNN interview. The media haven't figured it out yet, but McIntyre himself knows that his world is crumbling.

On the CNN interview, he is a stumbling and vacant shadow. Until now he was propped up by those who wanted to believe his narrative, and it gave him confidence. Now, word of his basic dishonesty is getting out there.

Watts should be the next to fall. I wish someone would write a thorough expose and show it on a cable channel. If any of them aren't owned by Viacom, Fox etc. that is. HBO?

This brings us to another issue: those who had a clue to begin with are confirmed, and a few fence sitters won over. How do we reach the earnest and uneducated public?

bluegrue said...

Hmmm, interesting timeline.

The above e-mail by Wigley was written on Feb 3, and if you go to the pdf hosted by the UEA you'll see, that Wigley had CC'ed Pearce into it.

Nonetheless Pearce touts Wigley's "Keith does seem to have got himself into a mess" mail to damn Briffa in his article of Feb 9, almost a week later.

Steve Bloom said...

John, Hulme is a senior and fairly well-respected climate scientist at UEA (but not CRU) who of late has gone into the climate policy prognostication business. I find his contributions remarkably obtuse, this one being no exception. This Stoat post is a good start on more about him. Obtuseness aside, it seems significant that he has made a continuing point of saying nothing in defense of CRU.

Hank Roberts said...

> Hulme
> Entstrom

Good lord, the Scientific Integrity Institute, set up by and for the Entstrom to defend what the tobacco industry wanted to believe.

Look at the stuff Entstrom didn't know about, because it was carefully hidden:
"... Philip Morris, acquired a research facility, INBIFO, in Germany and created a complex mechanism seeking to ensure that the work done in the facility could not be linked to Philip Morris. In particular it involved the appointment of a Swedish professor as a ‘co-ordinator’, who would synthesise reports for onward transmission to the USA. Various arrangements were made to conceal this process, not only from the wider public, but also from many within Philip Morris, although it was known to some senior executives. INBIFO appears to have published only a small amount of its research and what was published appears to differ considerably from what was not. In particular, the unpublished reports provided evidence of the greater toxicity of sidestream than mainstream smoke, a finding of particular relevance given the industry's continuing denial of the harmful effects of passive smoking. By contrast, much of its published work comprises papers that convey a message that could be considered useful to the industry, in particular casting doubt on methods used to assess the effects of passive smoking."

Published online November 11, 2004

Steve Bloom said...

Interesting, Hank, although note that per the full paper Enstrom (note correct spelling) wasn't the referenced coordinator. OTOH googling INBIFO+Enstrom turns up rather a lot of material. I don't have time to look through it just now, but did you see anything specific about Enstrom's connection to INBIFO and Philip Morris? Also, I'm not clear as to the significance of your reference to the Scientific Integrity Institute and Enstrom.

After their slow start, CRU seems to be showing signs of being able to take care of themselves, but just to make sure the Russell committee doesn't misunderstand Hulme's submission I think we should organize the material and send it to them (with copies to appropriate other parties).

Anonymous said...

Curse you Steve Bloom, I just read the Ungar and Bray paper, and now I can't get the half-hour back.

It expects readers to be surprised that;

1) A single study with a counterintuitive result on an important issue got published (good),
(2) The results, which are outliers in the context of other studies (see meta-analyses) provoked some negative comment (duh),
(3) Some comments stated that because the study is funded by the tobacco industry it should be viewed with suspicion, because they distort and cherry-pick what they publish (they do)
(4) Some comments referred to "atrocity" stories of people harmed by passive smoke (they probably were, and people hurt/not is the point of the study, not an illegitimate tactic),
(5) The media largely ignored the study (maybe realized it was an outlier?),
(6) This is evidence of silencing debate, by asserting that the scientific jury was in, when it isn't , because scientists still argue about some of the details, and a judge once threw out a case on a procedural matter. (The jury is in - see the meta-analyses. If you don't like it, and can get enough evidence, get a retrial.)

Pad with language of anti-smoking "(activist) partisans" launching "crusades", against smokers as "folk devils", apparently in their delusion that a risk factor for lung cancer mortality is a "life or death issue".

And that is it.

I am genuinely amazed that Mike Hulme thinks that this is good and relevant. Wait, now I am silencing debate…

Flavius Collium said...

Is a cubic smoothing spline a smart thing? Medoubts at first hand.

seamus said...

"How do we reach the earnest and uneducated public?"

They don't need to be convinced of AGW. Make carbon-neutral energy sources cheaper than fossil fuel energy, and they'll buy it.

Flavius Collium said...

Well, not if it's nuclear because of the image of it producing so much radiation...

Anonymous said...

"On the CNN interview, he is a stumbling and vacant shadow. Until now he was propped up by those who wanted to believe his narrative, and it gave him confidence. Now, word of his basic dishonesty is getting out ther"

No, he always comes across like that when he is not safely hidden in his cowards castle on the web. In public, he can't resort to his usual grab bag of personal insults and smears. Without that, he is just an empty shell, much like his publishing record.

But he won't be leaving his blog, he's quite happy there making up lies day after day, to an uncritical and appreciative audience.

Anonymous said...

This is a good development. As it's been said before, it's a street fight and the scientists have to get in their and throw a few swings.

For *years* the deniers have been attacking the credibility of science and scientists with no accountability. Time to change that methinks.

Anonymous said...

We are left with three possible conclusions:

1) An overwhelming majority of international climate experts agree about much of the tenets of AGW and are honest.

2) An overwhelming majority of international climate experts are ignorant about their own expertise in a sudden and collective manner.

3) They have all agreed to conspire to delude the billions of folks on the planet and just a very tiny percentage of them (and mostly oil-funded and unpublished) are trying to save us all from this mass hoax.

Common sense and a sense of probability should lead one to the likely correct choice (#1) above. The first person to show proof of what IS causing the modern day global warming and that it is not AGW is likely to be the next Nobel science winner.

Scott A. Mandia, Professor of Physical Sciences
Selden, NY
Global Warming: Man or Myth?
My Global Warming Blog
Twitter @AGW_Prof
"Global Warming Fact of the Day" Facebook Group

Shub said...

you guys are defending the CRU with a submission from the CRU and an email from...Tom Wigley?

Face it - you are getting creamed in the Guardian. No amount of coochie-cooing is going to change that now.