Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gavin gets it wrong

Gavin has run out of patience with Miss Muffet who is pontificating on tree rings and whey, and he told her so

You have gone significantly over the line with this post. Accusations of dishonesty are way beyond a difference of opinion on how a graph should be displayed.
only to get the full attitude back, so he expanded on the point

For a useful analogy, let’s take a different figure, say, figure 4 from Webster et al (2005):

This shows a big increase in cat 4+5 hurricanes from 1970 to 2000. But why is it cut off at 1970? Surely it can’t be because the data is poorer prior to that? No, it must be that the pre-1970 data doesn’t support the thesis of the authors, they must be hiding the decline! I insist that the ‘adverse data’ be shown on all graphs, and that anything else is highly misleading. And without any further thought, it must be dishonest – because how is it possible that anyone could have an opinion on how to display data that differs from mine without being dishonest? Pseudo-science!

at which point Judy called out that watts me worry crowd for the two post hate. Now this reminded Eli of something, of Liu and Curry, which was written a bit about here and more at Stoat, he being a Antarctic person in retirement. Wm didn't like the paper much and told Judy

1) you use data from 1950-1978 that is clearly meaningless.

2) this data contaminates the entire (obs) analysis.

3) the hypothesis that you put forward is not novel

Judy did not take that well, but MarkB did the summing up that Gavin should have used [snark]

..."Liu and Curry, defended by The Team, selected inappropriate data and time periods, ignored data that doesn't match the IPCC message, manipulated results, clearly engaged in misconduct, dismissed dissenting views, and ultimately pushed the notion that Antarctic Sea Ice will melt, based on fudged computer models, when data clearly shows otherwise. Read 'The Antarctic Ice Illusion: CurryGate and the Corruption of Science' by Montfork. It's one of the best books written on climate science, though I can't personally vouch for any of its conclusions."



Pinko Punko said...

This reads like my sister and I fighting in the backseat of the station wagon on a long road trip:

"Gavin | February 22, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Reply

You betray complete ignorance of any of this literature. “Statistical models that make no sense in terms of calculating hemispheric or global average temperature anomalies” – got a cite for that?

curryja | February 22, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Reply

Another zinger, I’m dying here.
Gavin | February 22, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Reply

Hey, I just asked for a justification for your sweeping statements. Perhaps you think that the new ‘blog science’ can dispense with old fashioned concepts like references? I obviously have much to learn.
curryja | February 22, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Reply

My detailed justification of this statement will be forthcoming at another time, in fact I will make it the subject of a thread at Climate Etc. sometime in the near future.
Gavin | February 22, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Reply

Of course it will.

It is massively depressing. I don't really blame Gavin, but I feel like he knows better. This is Curry in the Althouse mode, and she is mastering it.

EliRabett said...

Yes, but like Althouse, you just have to see her stagger around in her cups to know that there is nothing there and Gavin is much to polite. The last response should have been bull.

Pinko Punko said...

I also love how Judith puts up with naming anonymous bloggers in her comments. Very classy. Wonderful.

Sou said...

I just liked the fact that Curry couldn't respond rationally to Gavin, so she had to go over to WUWT to round up the thugs to beat him up instead. Now that's classy!

Anonymous said...

I can't find the MarkB comment on Judy's blog - am I looking in the wrong place?


Anonymous said...


MarkB's comment is here, not at the local Tandoori.

Cymraeg llygoden

Anonymous said...


Thanks, perhaps it should be revived there though...


RT said...

You might have sen this already but Judith's new BFF, Richard Muller is giving the following talk in March:

"Science@Cal Lecture: The Current Status of Climate Change - A Non-Partisan Analysis"

A Non-Partisan Analysis.
A Non-Partisan Analysis.

I really do think he believes that.

Tom Curtis said...

I must be missing something.

McIntyre claims that in the IPCC TAR, a graph was published in which:

1) The plot of the data from Briffa 2001 was truncated so as to hide a large decline in the reconstructed NH summer temperature;

2) The final points of that plot where generated by a smoothing algorithm using Briffa data and instrumental temperature data from the period which was truncated, even though Briffa 2001 had data for that interval; and

3) The plot was simply labelled as Briffra 2001 with no mention of any adjustments.

I doubt that there is anything wrong with doing any one of these things, but doing all three (if that is what was done) strikes me as shonky. At a minimum, the data plotted after the first two adjustments is no longer the data from Briffa 2001, and should not be labeled as such with out the adjustments being mentioned, and preferably explained.

I am well aware that in the truncated section, Briffa did not track instrumental temperatures; and that that may well be because of some other anthropogenic effect on tree growth so that any issues it raises about the reconstruction are answerable. I am more than aware that compared to some of the graphic high jinks of the deniers (including, I believe, McIntyre himself), this is small cheese. Never the less, we should not simply accept bad practice because our opponents wallow in worse.

So, which of the three claims above is false? Of if none of them, why is this not unacceptable practice?

J Bowers said...

@ Tom Curtis. Here's a book for you to read:

* Ch.1: Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, part 1: In the beginning
* Ch.2: Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, part 2: The story behind the Barton-Whitfield investigation and the Wegman Panel
* Ch.3: McClimategate continues: Yet another false accusation from McIntyre and McKitrick
* Ch.4: Wegman and Said on social networks: More dubious scholarship
* Ch.5: How to be a climate auditor, part 1: Pretty pictures
* Ch.6: How to be a climate science auditor, part 2: The forgotten climategate emails
* Ch.7: Mann exonerated by PSU inquiry: “No substance to the allegation”
* Ch.8: Wegman Report update, part 1: More dubious scholarship in full colour
* Ch.9: What have Wegman and Said done … lately?
* Ch.10: Wegman report update, part 2: GMU dissertation review
* Ch.11: John Mashey on Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report
* Ch.12: Wegman under investigation by George Mason University
* Ch.13: David Ritson speaks out
* Ch.14: The Wegman report sees red (noise)
* Ch.15: Replication and due diligence, Wegman style


* USA Today: Experts claim 2006 climate report plagiarized
* Gerald North dishes
* A Dummies Guide to Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report
* A Dummies Guide to Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report II
* A Dummies Guide to Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report: The Shorter Version

Anonymous said...

If Gavin believes she's overstepped the mark, then that must be, or be close to being, a breach of professional ethics. Perhaps he should write to here as well.

Cymraeg llygoden

EliRabett said...


Steve McIntyre has spent a lifetime taking things out of context and insisting that everyone hold his hand and explain things R E A L S L O W and then waxing indignant when they do and insisting that whoever tries to explain something to him has moral failings and is wrong because he knows what they did better than they do. Eli's introduction to this was his tantrum about minor screw ups in the EXCEL file containing the data from MBH98 that Scott Rutherford put together for him at the request of Michael Mann. You could look it up, google ["auditing the auditors #1"] It is a very long and entertaining thread. Steve is operating the Nigel Persaud sock puppet in high indig and a similar primal scream. He is the little boy who implies fraud at every opportunity

Tom Curtis said...

J Bowers, thankyou. I found reading Chapters 5 and 6 (which deal explicitly with the topic under discussion) very informative. I also found, and read the relevant emails and Deep Climate's discussion of McIntyre's second claim.

Consequently, against McIntyre's claims I can now say:

1) The IPCC (and Michael Mann as leed author) did not truncate the data series, but rather just used the data as provided;

2) He did not use instrumental data for the smoothing, but instead used the mean of the last 25 terms in the data, the same method he used for the other graphs; and

3) He did not incorrectly describe the data, and in fact explicitly described the smoothing method.

Given this, I find ironic the first comment on "Chapter 6":

"Wonder if Judith Curry will read these posts…"

Tom Curtis said...

Eli, I am well aware of McIntyre's proclivities. However, even the most fraudulent hack can occasionally get something right. In this case he hasn't , but I have to be sure.

Hank Roberts said...

> overstepped the mark
'outdone herself' might be a better phrase

> breach of professional ethics
Er, this is about blogging.

> Muller
Anyone plan on attending?

Horatio Algeranon said...

Trying to argue science at places like WUWT and Curry's is like trying to engage in NCAA sanctioned wrestling at a WWF tag team match.

It's simply not possible.

WUWT and Curry Etc have raised "Tag Team Blogging" to an artform.

...and Horatio feels a ditty comin on

Anonymous said...

I can't see that "this is about blogging" has any bearing. It doesn't matter where a calumny is reported, surely.

And I take it from Gavin's quote above that she did use the "dishonest(y)" term. Did she/did she not?

Academics have codes of conduct they sign up to, one element of which is usually about not bringing their institution into disrepute, whether that's about their conduct within or without their institution.

Imputing dishonesty on the part of other scientists closely allied to her field of research (or any come to that) without evidence of any dishonesty I'd contend would probably in most codes be classed as a disrepute on the institution on the part of the accused (if actually dishonest) or on the part of the accuser (if the dishonesty claim is unsubstantiated).

Perhaps GA Tech doesn't have such a professional code of conduct, in which case she's just about free to say or write anything she wants to about other scientists I suppose.

Or is she expressing her First Amendment rights and that trumps any professional code of ethics?

Cymraeg llygoden

Horatio Algeranon said...

Perhaps "mud wrestling" would be the better analogy?

Hank Roberts said...

> I can't see ...
> I take it ...
> perhaps ...
> I'd contend
> would probably
> if ... if ... perhaps

Ya know, there's a word for this, whether done by someone on "our side" or "their side" -- I think the refs call it "off sides" ...

Oh, wait, it's blogging.
No referees.

Nevermind, please resume.

Arthur said...

Tom Curtis, you ask which of your (McIntyre's) 3 points is false. Point 3 is clearly false, point 2 is very unlikely to be true, and even point 1 is at best misleading.

On point 1 - yes, the data plotted was truncated at 1960, but not by the direct creator of the IPCC graph; it was truncated by Briffa's group when the data was supplied for plotting.

On point 2 - instrumental data was almost certainly *NOT* used for end-point smoothing - see my discussion here:

On point 3 - the graph in IPCC TAR was labeled as "Briffa 2000", not 2001, for one thing. In addition the text stated: "All series were smoothed with a 40-year Hamming-weights lowpass filter, with boundary constraints imposed by padding the series with its mean values during the first and last 25 years." Additionally in the text TAR stated:
"Several important caveats must be borne in mind when using tree-ring data for palaeoclimate reconstructions. Not least is the intrinsic sampling bias. Tree-ring information is available only in terrestrial regions, so is not available over substantial regions of the globe, and the climate signals contained in tree-ring density or width data reflect a complex biological response to climate forcing. Non-climatic growth trends must be removed from the tree-ring chronology, making it difficult to resolve time-scales longer than the lengths of the constituent chronologies (Briffa, 2000). Furthermore, the biological response to climate forcing may change over time. There is evidence, for example, that high latitude tree-ring density variations have changed in their response to temperature in recent decades, associated with possible non-climatic factors (Briffa et al., 1998a)."

and more along those lines. See section

Anonymous said...

This page suggests that Curry is currently advising three grad students.

"Abstain from inappropriate activities that may affect the conscientious performance of our duties...."

GIT administrator's may have legitimate reasons for concern.

Anonymous said...

From the GIT site (links at end):
As an Institute, and individually as representatives of Georgia Tech, we operate with the following expected standards of conduct:
• Honesty and transparency in all of our dealings
Respect for ourselves and each other
• Excellence in all we do
Personal responsibility and accountability for our actions
Integrity in our teaching, research activities, and stewardship of the resources entrusted to us
The executive officers, faculty, staff, student employees, and affiliated individuals at the Georgia Institute of Technology are expected to abide by its policies and Code of Ethics, as well as any state, federal and, when applicable, international laws, in the performance of job-related duties. Specifically, we will:
Abstain from inappropriate activities that may affect the conscientious performance of our duties or that result in illicit personal gain.
• Refuse to accept, for ourselves or our families, any favors, gifts, or privileges that might be construed by reasonable persons as influencing the performance of our assigned Institute duties.
Behave in a manner consistent with our institutional values.
• Make no unauthorized commitments on behalf of the Institute.
• Report violations of the Georgia Tech Code of Ethics through appropriate channels.
It appears that Curry is currently advising five students, and is teaching at least one course.

One has to ask how Curry can properly advise students, teach, do research, run her consulting business all while seemingly spending endless hours maintaining her blog. Something surely has to give, let us hope that the students are not being neglected.

Lazar said...

Re Richard Muller...

Rather simplistic and incautious take on M&M criticisms of MBH98, essentially echoing Wegman...

I don't think he has a grasp of the FOIA issues either...

Wiki page...

A member of JASON.

Has a stake...

Authored a rather flippant WSJ editorial...

... which cites Will Happer.

Does not give me an impression of being a bad guy.

But his judgment seems less than confidence inspiring.

pough said...

Sounds like Spice Girl is serving up a heaping helping of Reckonsillyashun(TM).

David B. Benson said...

Just cess.

Ian Forrester said...

"Refuse to accept, for ourselves or our families, any favors, gifts, or privileges that might be construed by reasonable persons as influencing the performance of our assigned Institute duties"

Mmm I wonder how Georgia Tech feels about her accepting a t-shirt which implies that climate science is garbage.

dhogaza said...

"Mmm I wonder how Georgia Tech feels about her accepting a t-shirt which implies that climate science is garbage."

Any Georgia Tech alums want to ask?

dhogaza said...

Actually, the t-shirt doesn't "imply", it *states*

J Bowers said...

Heads up. H/T to Michael Tobis:

Inspector General’s Review of Stolen Emails Confirms No Evidence of Wrong-Doing by NOAA Climate Scientists
Report is the latest independent analysis to clear climate scientists of allegations of mishandling of climate information

toto said...

This confirms the initial assessment: Dr Curry has not been exposed to nearly enough conspiracy theories, and as a result, has been suckered into one.

Special marks for recycling SteveM's original misunderstanding (and selective quoting) of the emails.

Sou said...

I'm really looking forward to the announcement from Sen Inhofe of the findings of the Inspector-General's report that Inhofe asked for.

I expect it will coincide with an announcement by Inhofe that global warming is a danger to the world, and the USA must take immediate steps to curtail CO2 emissions.

Anonymous said...


Good point, I missed that one. All the more reason for GIT (that abbreviation must be making the brits on this thread chuckle) to be concerned-- how can one of your professors be teaching climate classes and at the same time be of the belief that climate science is garbage? As a student that would raise concerns.

With that all said, if GIT does rightly follow up on her behaviour and discipline her, then that will be the completion of step 6 in her road map to fame. Question is, should we help her along or not?


J Bowers said...

The Guardian has a story up on the subject:

Real Climate faces libel suit

Is that Ethon who gets a quote in?

PDA said...

Even Pielke disavows them, and Gavin uses the E&E paper by Climate Etc.'s favorite child molester as an example.

EliRabett said...

Eli sees no reason to push Judy into stage 7 denial so let's cut the GIT bouncing her stuff, if for no other reason they won't. What may happen is that she is not reappointed Chair (or Head, Eli forgets which). That will be internally driven if at all.

Holly Stick said...

That photo of Gavin looking serene and maybe a teeny bit smug might just drive Curry into more wacky stage 6 behaviour.

Anonymous said...

Judith says "I am interested in examples of good and bad practices of data representation (beyond the hockey stick)"

I thought I'd help, feel free to chime in.


Here are some (there are many, many more) examples of "skeptics" manipulating graphics that seem to have gone unnoticed by you and the folks at ClimateAudit-- I hope that you do not choose to give them a free pass.

1) Easterbrook's mangling of the GIS record as highlighted by Gareth Renowden and others. Was it ignorance or intentional?

2) And another example of deception by Easterbrook here

3) How about the "Prudent path" document omitting the observed temperature record from the Ljungqvist (2010) paleo reconstruction as originally shown in his paper?

4) How about Monckton's fudging of graphs and cherry-picking (too numerous to mention here, but Dr. Abraham and SkepticalScience and others have highlighted the issues).

5) Ignoring the plagiarism issues, how about these problems highlighted by DC in the Wegman report, see

6) And then there is this example of McIntyre covered by DeepClimate

7) How about this example by Eschenbach identified by Tim Lambert?

8) And another by Eschenbach.

9) Or this example by Taylor that was highlighted on Fox News.

10) And here is an example of Goddard misleading using graphics.

I hope these very real examples designed to mislead are at the receiving end of your wrath. How are the examples above advancing the science Judith? If you are truly interested in the health of science, then these few examples above should deeply trouble you."


Anonymous said...

From SheWonk's place:

"I’ve posted some examples for JC about dodgy graphics on her IV thread.

I’m sure that, like dhogaza, I’ll get a warm reception. Please feel free to add more examples. Their excuse so far for the examples given to them by dhogaza? But, but those were not seen by policy makers reading the IPCC reports. Well neither was the WMO graphic.
Weird URL tag issues with WordPress insisted on making #8 a smiley."


Rattus Norvegicus said...

I'd like to summon John Mashey to the part 1V thread over at Judith's place. Since he worked with and knew Tufte at Bell Labs, I'm sure his comments on this particular post would be interesting...

Paul said...

Anyone else find it surprising that Curry just discovered Tufte?

Ted Kirkpatrick said...

Rattus: John worked with John *Tukey* at Bell Labs. On the other hand, Edward Tufte started at Yale and has been independent for many years. Both brilliant people but quite different kinds of contributions.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Egads, my bad. The names are quite similar and my muddled mind mixed them up.

J Bowers said...

BigCityLib's uncovered a nugget from the ClimateSceptic Mailing List.

Evidence that there definitely was a libel suit under consideration, contrary to a lot of claims.

"...There is quite a wide discussion about what to do. Multi-science is not rich and I have no time for legal matters!! Most think it is just not worth it. I think we could thank Gavin for the publicity and withdraw our threat, but this decision is not really mine. Benny certainly does not want to sue.


Anonymous said...

J. Bowers.

What I find interesting is that Curry and her attendant grains of rice thought it a right droll pip to chuckle in public, on the public record no less, over a cartoon parodying genuine, ackshooal science. This is not really a very nice thing to do in public, as Ian Forrester and Dhogaza pointed out.

And yet, when genuine, ackshooal scientists do it in the privacy of their own emails, and the denialati are the targets, then it merits a slap on the wrist.

If Curry finds it necessary to comment on this particular finding because there is nothing else for her to chew on other than the fantasy of a carbonate-based conspiracy, she had better paint a big bullseye on her behind.

Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII

Anonymous said...


I'm on a Curry-free diet this weekend, but perhaps you might consider adding Martin Durking and his ironically-titled "Great Global Warming Swindle" to your list.

Ian Plimer deserves a (dis)honourable mention too, for his dubious reconstruction of Durkin's deception.

Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII

Sou said...

@ J Bowers - I read the IG's report and concluded that the writer was having a mild dig at Inhofe by describing the photo/cartoon in such delightful terms - twice in the report, including in the main report. (They didn't have to describe the cartoon so fully to make the point. I chuckled when I read it and I'll bet lots of others did as well.)

I'll bet it got to Inhofe too!

badger badger badger said...

The fact that such a crude cartoon would be cited at length in an investigation report makes it very, very funny.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

I can just imagine the counseling session the creators had with their supervisor:

Supervisor: Don't do this again, but if you do don't get caught...
Creator: OK. Is it OK if I send if from a private email account?
S: Yep. Please do.

Hank Roberts said...

OK. Is it OK if I print T-shirts and sell them at CafePress?