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Climate Hustle

Kung-fu Climate

Posted on 6 May 2010 by Rob Honeycutt

Guest post by Rob Honeycutt

The other day I happened upon the Popular Technology blog that has a list of "700 peer reviewed papers supporting skepticism of man-made global warming." This was news to me so I started to look into the first paper on the list. Loehle 2007 titled A 2000-Year Global Temperature Reconstruction Based on Non-Treering Proxies published in Energy & Environment. I'm sure many Skeptical Science readers are familiar with this paper and Loehle's 2008 correction. I was not.

I decided to email Dr. Loehle with some questions and got a very prompt response from him. This was followed by a number of back and forth emails. What I got from him was that he believes himself to be one of the scientists whose work is blocked from publication for political reasons. And I got that his motivation for this 2007/2008 paper was to point out the "politically motivated" science trying to obscure the MWP by Michael Mann and others. I do not doubt Loehle is genuine in this statement and that he is genuine in his desire to do good science. Nor do I doubt that Mann, Briffa, Moberg and other who have done similar temperature reconstruction to be any less genuine in their desire to do good science. I have no reason to doubt either. But as I put it to Loehle, "I think contentious issues in science have always been a bare knuckle brawl." This is not new to climate science. Often it comes down to whether my kung-fu is better than your kung-fu.

So, in this kung-fu match, not being a scientist myself, I have to place myself in the position of the audience watching the fight. I'm not a kung-fu master. I'm a spectator trying to decide whose kung-fu is better. I've read all the arguments against Loehle's 2008 paper with regards to it having far fewer (only 18) data sets opposed to Mann's 1200 data sets. But that's fine. I accept that Loehle is trying to tease out potential errors imposed from treering data.

As I was researching this I came onto one post on Yahoo Answers from a person called Keith P who tries to answer the question, "Does Loehle actually refute Mann in any way?" Keith does something quite simple that I have reconstructed for myself. He just scales Loehle's to the "hockey team" chart that contains Mann, Briffa, Moberg and other temperature reconstructions and overlays the two. The result, to me, was very illuminating but I'm going to take a slightly different approach than Keith P.


Figure 1: Loehle 2008 temperature reconstruction.

In Fig 1, I have taken Loehle's temperature anomalies and kept his scale in both the X and Y axis. I've also kept his zero axis. I believe this is a reasonably faithful reconstruction of Loehle's data. My apologies to the data purists out there who might find some inherent abomination in my method. Graphically it works (I don't know why more scientists don't either enlist the help of a graphic artist or at very least audit a couple of courses at their local university).

The other critique of Loehle's paper has been that the data ends in 1935. This, from my position in the bleachers of the kung-fu match, is much more problematic for Loehle. I know the paper is not about current warming. I know it's about treering proxy errors but that is sort of missing the forest for the trees (pun is definitely intended). I understand why the data ends at 1935. But I just can't buy NOT making the attempt to concatenate this data with the past 150 year of recorded temperature readings. Even if the modern temperature records are not central to the topic of the paper to not add the blade to his hockey stick is a mistake. Maybe not from a scientific perspective, but from the bleacher's perspective it is.


Figure 2: Loehle 2008 temperature reconstruction with Hadley instrumental record.

While I was writing this Loehle was kind enough to provide me with a Hadley chart with the same 29 year smoothed average as his data allowing me to compare apples to apples. In Fig. 2 I have added the Hadley data to his. It takes quite a bit of scrunching (my technical term) to fit 150 years of data into a 2000 year chart. This is definitely a rough cut and paste so I would not be prepared to make any claims about precisely how many degrees warmer today is over the MWP based on this chart. One should note that since this is a 29 year smoothed average not all the most recent (less statistically significant) data is included. The only conclusions I can come to is that the current warming has happened as fast or faster, and is more sustained, than any time in the past 2000 years, and that we are at least as warm as the MWP and maybe warmer. I would not assume Loehle's work to be definitive here any more than I would consider Mann's to be so. No, it's not a scientific conclusion. It's a conclusion that the rest of the 99.9999% of the non-scientific world has to try to grapple with.

In the final battle in this kung-fu match I have to throw everyone into the ring together. Mann with his Crouching Tiger style. Crowley and Lowery with their Striking Serpent. Jones and his Monkey Fist style. Moberg is a student of Jackie Chan's Drunken Boxing. Briffa's Shaolin and his et al grasshoppers. And all the others pasted in behind Loehle's Wing Chung style chart. This is Fig 3.


Figure 3: Loehle 2008 temperature reconstruction (blue) with other temperature reconstructions (source: Wikipedia).

What a bizarre, almost absurd, cacophony. What I see in this is a battle of home made hockey sticks. Some straight, some crooked, some short, some long. But I see all our kung-fu masters each beating the other with their own hockey sticks. What's most strange to me is that it seems like the MWP battles are all about the shape of their hockey sticks and miss the rather more important question of NOW. I have two kids that are 5 and 6. When they are in their 20's or 30's I'm going to have to answer to them and tell them what I did back in 2010. What did I know and what did I do about it? Now really is everything.

There is a wide gap between you kung-fu masters in the ring as you bloody each other up over these kinds of issues and those of us in the bleachers trying to understand what this fight means. It's certainly easy to sell tickets to this bloody brawl but don't forget that the rest of the world needs to potentially make some very quick decisions with regards to the future of our planet. This is not a political statement, this is just a potential statement of fact. I urge everyone in science to stop playing games. Fight the good fight. Pay respect to a good fighter. And may the best kung-fu win.

I want to extend my personal thanks to Dr. Loehle for his patience in answering my rather long string of questions.

 

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Comments 101 to 150 out of 224:

  1. Perhaps we could return the debate to some substance.

    Is there any evidence from paleoclimate reconstructions that would support the idea that the current warming is more due to a natural cycle than to anthropogenic factors? Especially, is there any evidence that MCA cannot be accounted for by known natural forcings which could be also operating today?

    I see no sign of this in Loehle or anyone else's work.
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  2. "NewYorkJ, so far you have been entirely wrong about all your assertions about E&E.

    Sonja has explicitly stated what her "political agenda" is, which is not what you implied or continue to."

    Editors should be not be following a political agenda. I understand what her agenda is.

    "The Pielke quote is his subjective opinion nothing more."

    Most climate scientists agree with him. Even those like Pielke Jr. who routinely attack mainstream scientists at least value credibility. E&E is no better than a contrarian blog.

    "The Wigley quote was to show that he accepts E&E as peer-reviewed. Why would I include his discussion of a paper that has nothing to do with the question of E&E being peer-reviewed or not?"

    Your omission problem was not of that discussion (which was generally relevant to the discussion of the thread topic), but of neglecting the full context of the quote.

    "Furthermore, I do not think that a direct response will give the work credibility. It is
    already 'credible' since it is in the peer reviewed literature (and E&E, by the way, is
    peer reviewed). A response that says this paper is a load of crap for the following
    reasons is *not* going to give the original work credibility -- just the opposite."

    Note the quotes around "credible" and the context of the public nature of the study. It's unclear if Wigley believes it's truly a credible peer-reviewed journal or if E&E is falsely perceived as such.

    "It is illogical. I have overwhelmingly proven E&E is peer-reviewed."

    Peer reviewed or "peer reviewed"? Blogs are "peer reviewed". It doesn't mean their process is anything remotely credible. For example, as mentioned earlier, I've seen Watts make the baseline error you appear to have made, in an effort to give the appearance that GISS is biased high. I've also seen several hundred responses to such threads where no one bothers to correct him. Credible peer review?

    "No one is proclaiming systematic conspiracy anywhere. The complaints made towards being published revolve around a select few journals. "

    If Dr. Loehle has a problem with a few selected journals, he should state those problems clearly and concisely. More importantly, he should then seek to publish in one of many dozens of others of genuinely credible journals, rather than making sweeping ad hominen attacks against all journals, editors, and reviewers that publish climate science-related studies, and towards distinguished scientists like Dr. Mann.
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  3. Rob: "And I got that his motivation for this 2007/2008 paper was to point out the "politically motivated" science trying to obscure the MWP by Michael Mann and others."

    It is that reason why one might question Loehle's judgment. Prior to actually doing a thorough analysis, he had already made up his mind about the MWP (a co2science.org reader perhaps). Therefore, it seems unlikely he would attempt to publish a reconstruction that did not have a strong MWP, more pronounced than existing reconstructions.
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  4. Poptech - CRU - HadCrut is almost entire GHCN stations which are published. The remainder is extra national weather stations for which CRU is not the custodian. If you want that data you go to the national provider. This has been discussed ad nausieum in media and climate fora.
    Back to subject? This one is too boring.
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  5. "Peer-reviewed as in refereed."

    ...by like-minded skeptics for a journal set up for skeptics by skeptics in order to publish contrarian arguments (and not necessarily good ones).

    "Your comparison to blogs is just absurd."

    It's rather apt, actually. Blogs aren't useless, though. Occasionally some useful stuff gets presented there that eventually gets published. Example:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/10/tropical-tropopshere-iii/

    What one should object to is treating E&E on par with the many dozens of reputable scientific journals (it's clearly not), when it has the review standard of a contrarian blog.

    "On the other hand I am basing mine on complaints I have read from him in the past, which were focused on certain (not all) journals."

    He's always free to publish among those other reputable journals that he doesn't slander. Does it occur to you at all that perhaps some of his stuff has been rejected because it's not very good and he refuses to take apt advice from reviewers? While you can erroneously claim that Loehle has addressed all problems with his reconstruction, do you really think Loehle 2007, riddled with errors, should have been published as is?
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  6. "Your assertions of Dr. Loehle's motivation are unsubstantiated."

    It's substantiated by his own words. Imagine if someone had noted a conversation:

    "And I got that his motivation for this paper was to point out the "politically motivated" science trying to create a MWP that doesn't exist by Loehle and others."

    "You could say the same thing about Dr. Mann and his motivations for wanting to not show a MWP warmer than today. "

    That would be unsubstantiated.
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  7. Poptech:

    This is laziness. That's just a blog post that notes that the correction had been put out.

    Are you telling me that Loehle addresses the remaining issues somewhere in the 356 comments down below?

    If so, please extract the timestamps of the relevant comments. It's appropriate to give somebody a paper citation to look up. I think it's inappropriate to ask somebody to go fishing through a long list of blog comments.

    I can't imagine what he could say to defend the simple average, beyond that it was.. simple.
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  8. poptech; What raw data are you talking about?? I assumed it was raw data behind Hadcrut. The reasons is as stated. It is not "their" raw data. Most comes ready processed from GHCN. The rest is from national weather centres. It MAY be publicly available - but not from CRU because they are not the data custodians. I would be pretty upset if my raw data supplied to client was made publically available by them. This is just skeptic talking point and off topic. Or are you talking about some other raw data set which CRU collect and are custodians for?
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  9. @poptech said... "Your assertions of Dr. Loehle's motivation are unsubstantiated."

    Actually NewYorkJ restated what Dr Loehle's words to me were. I think that might just constitute being substantiated.
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  10. Poptech: No.

    I'll happily read a paper. I read Loehle's corrected paper. I'll read a relevant blog post, if you have one. But I'm not going to go digging through a comment thread to find something that may or may not be there.

    So if Loehle really did address concerns about spatial representation, how to appropriately handle such low resolution proxies, and the lack of attention to calibration/validation, please point directly there.
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  11. @poptech... I don't think it's okay to post the full text of private emails between Dr Loehle and myself. That would be a breach of trust. But I can assure you that this was definitely the gist of what he said. As well, as I stated before, Dr Loehle has read my blog post and said to me that it was a "good post."

    I believe I have treated him fairly in my post and he was extremely generous with me in the process. If you can't accept my paraphrasing of his statements to me then I don't think there's anything more I can offer. If the tables were turned I would accept your statements. But that's just me.
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  12. For what it's worth (and he can speak for himself), I don't get the impression that Loehle intends for his reconstruction to be seen as being above criticism. The relative low number of proxies, the lack of SH coverage, and the difficulty of using low-res proxies - these are problems. The questions are, did he handle these problems as well as one can?

    At the very least, 'global' just shouldn't be in the title. Leave out the token 3 SH sites, and call it NH, like Moberg did.

    Moberg is sort of like the cousin of Loehle's paper. And as it happens, Moberg's results are the most similar to Loehle's.
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  13. A bit off topic but definitely newsworthy:

    255 members of the US National Academy, including 11 Nobel Laureates, defend the integrity of climate science in a strongly worded statement that includes terms such as "deniers" and "outright lies". It seems the patience of the scientific establishment is reaching it's limits. It's about time.

    Joe Romm reports
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  14. This very long serie of comments very clearly elucidates the central point of the post, a meaningless Kung-fu fight to distract from the real issues. And this tactic, while useless for the improvement of our understanding of climate, works quite well.
    This is the other side of the coin of putting a too powerful weapon (science) in the hands of the untrained, chances are that an acceptable (although questionable, as always) piece of scientific work (Loehle's) gets misused.
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  15. This thread has gone off-topic in several directions, and should probably be brought back into focus.

    One tangent (which I contributed to -- mea culpa!) involves questions about analyses of global mean surface temperature trends. For anyone who is sincerely interested, I think this has now been addressed satisfactorily (see the second page of this thread). If there are more specific questions about CRUTEMP, GISSTEMP, etc. those should probably be addressed to the people who maintain those data sets. Any further discussion on this site should probably be moved here or here.

    Likewise, discussion of the journal E&E, its quality or lack thereof, and whether or not its papers are peer-reviewed, should probably be taken here (where many of these exact points have recently been debated).

    Carrot eater's comment upthread is important, IMHO. While discussing concerns and issues with Loehle's reconstruction, it's important to recognize that he's made a sincere effort to contribute to this part of the field and it deserves to be considered critically and seriously.
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  16. Someone asked about a list of different types of proxies. Lots can be found at NOAA, inluding climate reconstructions.

    And did I dream it or did someone actually include a link to the Science [sic] and Public Policy Institute ?
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  17. When I examine Loehle's paper I can see why he cannot get anything published. He has a "me too" paper. He is re-examining an issue previously addressed by someone else. He has basic math and other basic errors. He uses only 18 proxies versus Manns over 1,000. He claims global coverage that he does not have. What is added to scientific knowledge by this paper? Nothing. It is a waste of paper. Mann has already carefully covered this topic and Loehle adds nothing useful to Manns' analysis. Scientific journals are not open blogs where anyone gets in. A new paper needs to add to knowledge to get published. Either by adding new data (Loehle does not begin to address the many proxies Mann uses) or by developing a new, better analysis. Loehle has just written a poor opinion piece. Good journals have good papers to publish that advance science. Loehles whinging about his inability to get published shows his lack of understanding about what a paper should contain.
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  18. Michael Sweet writes: When I examine Loehle's paper I can see why he cannot get anything published.

    That's a very unfair statement. Loehle has published many papers, primarily on forestry, forest ecology, and related topics, in a variety of well respected journals (i.e., not just E&E).

    Insofar as there are concerns about anything in this paper, let's discuss those concerns. But let's not make sweeping (and incorrect) statements denigrating his publication record in general.
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  19. michael sweet:

    Loehle's paper attempts to answer the question, what happens if you don't use any tree ring proxies. So it will necessarily have fewer proxies than a paper that does use tree rings. Don't knock it for not having 1000 proxies.

    Loehle does limit himself though by only using proxies where the original authors also published a calibration. Loehle only accepts temperatures as inputs.

    Loehle 2007/2008 is a couple steps backward from Moberg 2005, which also attempted to reduce the influence of tree rings. Moberg itself could be improved, but Loehle is worse, yet came out afterwards. So even after the basic errors in the 2007 version were corrected, Loehle 2008 isn't progress upon the existing literature.

    But I'm still glad that some sceptic bothered to try to make a reconstruction.
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  20. Poptech @ 25 asks:
    "What are the reasons CRU raw data is not publicly available?"

    Most of it is, from the GCHN repository. The bits that are not are owned by various national met offices and CRU have no legal right to distribute them. They are however available from the national met offices. This has been explained e.g. in Phil Jones' testimony to the house of parliament inquiry, and ought by now to be common knowledge to anyone interested in the debate.

    The reason CRU can't distribute all of the data is because governments (including that of the UK) insist that national met offices make money from commercial licensing of their data, so that the met offices maximize their value to the tax payer. The reason that the data is not all in the open lies with government policy, not the CRU.

    However, CRU and the UK met office have been working to get permission from the national met offices to distribute the data, although not all are likely to agree.
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  21. 97.chris

    Ron pointed out in post 87 that Loelhe acknowledges that the data is sparse.

    Much of the problems you level at Loelhe's work are suffered by Mann. The question might be whether Mann and the IPCC (and you) are prepared to acknowledge the limitations of their work?
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  22. Ned, I don't normally do this (deviate from the science), but I think it's appropriate to comment more generally on on Loehle's recent publications, since this issue came up in the top article on this thread; i.e.:
    " What I got from him was that he believes himself to be one of the scientists whose work is blocked from publication for political reasons. And I got that his motivation for this 2007/2008 paper was to point out the "politically motivated" science trying to obscure the MWP by Michael Mann and others. I do not doubt Loehle is genuine in this statement and that he is genuine in his desire to do good science."


    (i) "good science". Loehle's reconstruction isn't very good science (see the posts that actually address the science, on this thread). His note in the magazine Energy&Environ. on upper ocean heat content wasn't good science (final sentence "...and it remains possible that the result of the present analysis remains an artifact" - quite so!). His recent misplaced assertions in Atmospheric Environment isn't "good science". We could discuss these poor and unnecessary efforts in case anyone considers that my comments are overly subjective.

    (ii) "work blocked from publication". Loehle has published around 80 papers largely on various aspects of forest and landscape ecology, environmental impacts on habitats etc. He knows what's required to get decent science into decent journals. Pretty much anything that complies with the basic standards of the scientific method can be published somewhere. If Loehle is being sincere, he needs (it seems to me) to confront the reality that his diversion into climate physics has produced sub-standard analyses that don't make the grade (I personally believe he knows this, and that these recent publicationds aren't actually about science at all). We don't have to beat around the bush on this - Loehle has got his papers published in a magazine (E&E) and elsewhere, and we can see for ourselves what it is that Loehle seemingly considers he should have been allowed to publish in proper journals.
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  23. chris, I don't disagree with anything you say there. I was just reacting to the comment "I can see why he cannot get anything published" and perhaps reading too much into it. CL has published quite a lot in his own field, and in perfectly fine journals.

    Maybe you're right and the previous commenter was just referring to "why he cannot get any climate change papers published." If that was unclear to me, it was probably unclear to others as well (or, maybe not :-)
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  24. HumanityRules at 00:52 AM on 8 May, 2010

    Mann's recent paleoreconstruction (PNAS 2008, 105, 13252-13257), comprised 1209 records [1,158 annually and 51 decadally-resolved proxy series including tree-ring, marine sediment, speleothem, lacustrine, ice core, coral, and historical documentary series].

    I'd say that's not sparse. Each of Mann's series meets criteria of verification with respect to temperature relationship validation, dating, temporal resolution and overall homogenisation criteria. He is clear in the criteria by which his (and his colleagues, of course) paleoreconstructions are appropriately N. hemispheric or global.

    Contrast that with Lohle's use of poorly validated proxies. The use of proxies with inadequate dating and that have temporal resolution of as poor as one point every 100 years. His pretence that by including a couple of poorly validated S. African and one equatorial Pacific set his 18-proxy reconstruction can be considered a global reconstruction. Loehle could have used many more avaliable proxies [he chose one proxy series out of a whole set of ocean sediment proxies compiled by Kim et al (2004) Quaternary Science Reviews 23, 2141-2154, at least 2 others of which had the temporal resolution and dating validation appropriate for inclusion].

    And Mann et al. acknowledge the limitations of their work. All science has limitations. As far as Mann's paleoreconstructions go and Loehle's, I consider one to be science and one to be something else...
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  25. Wondering about the error-bars, without intimate knowledge of the various kung-fu techniques..

    + There is a basic problem with the above curves: without error bars, how can we know they're not all consistent with e.g. the hocky-stick like curves in the middle?
    Is there a 'fight' going on between these curves at all, or do they simply agree with the one or two using the largest data sample, the ones most likely to be the most precise?

    Obviously, one would expect the blue curve with much less data also to have much larger error bars.

    + The question #2 about local vs global temperature proxies is a serious one. It raises the possibility of systematic errors if you limit yourself to localized datasets.
    Maybe a better approach towards a global curve would be to take the average of one curve for the northern hemisphere and another for the southern?

    + could somebody explain what was the reason for avoiding the tree ring data? I only remember reading that there are problems with recent tree-ring data. Is there any understanding of the reason for that? Are recent tree rings affected by recent burning of fossil fuels, or other changes in the air? Or is there any reason to believe that there can be problems with older tree ring data?

    Does 'tree ring data' consist of anything else than just the width of the rings, e.g. some chemical/isotopic analysis of the wood? If not, does #75 have a good reason to be (properly) skeptic about the meaningfulness of tree ring data? Or are there reasonable ways to estimate the systematic errorbars on tree ring derived data?
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  26. 60.CoalGeologist

    "the presumption that there has to be some other explanation than AGW, because AGW couldn't be true"

    Who is making this presumption? Oh wait I remember, it's the straw man.

    I don't know if this is full filling my duty but I was trawling through the CPC website, as you do, and found this. Again energy rather than atmospheric temperature. If this isn't something other than CO2 affecting energy loss from the earth then I don't know what is. The similarity of SOI and equatorial OLR is amazing.

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  27. My last word on the non-science aspects of Dr. Loehle, but something which is odd and perhaps a little sad.

    This is the extent to which his recent efforts are so diametrically opposed to the sentiments he apparently held 20-odd years ago. He felt so strongly against attempts at political interference in science, and particularly the efforts at "fraud-hunting" and "auditing" that he wrote a letter to Nature on the subject.

    some excerpts [see Nature (1989) 338, p. 370]:
    "There is a danger in the controversy over fraud in science of merging the concepts of fraud and error. The call for an audit of scientific papers for error is a symptom of this trend. Fraud such as fabricating data or publishing the work of other's as one's own is of course serious, particularly when it involves assessment of drugs and other medical treatments whwre lives are at stake. But error is an inevitable part of science. The fundamental point is being missed in the current debate...."

    and towards the end:
    "Who will review the error hunters? Who is qualified to punish whom?"

    And yet Loehle spends time on a blog where the sort of "auditing" that he decried all those years ago is used to bully and harass scientists. Googling "Craig Loehle fraud", uncovers many examples of his work being used to bolster the efforts of those bellowing "fraud" against science. Dr. Loehle seems to think this is now acceptable.

    ....how one's views and philosophies can change over the years....
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  28. HumanityRules at 01:26 AM on 8 May, 2010

    HR, you're misrepresenting CoalGeologist by false precis. He said:
    "That said, the presumption that there has to be some other explanation than AGW, because AGW couldn't be true, is what distinguishes denialism from skepticism."

    so it's not a strawman at all.


    Your plots are nice. Can you give us the link so we can look at them in context? Obviously the OLR is likely to depend on the surface (especially ocean) temperature, and so it isn't surprising if this fluctuates as surface temperature fluctuates. However AGW is about the net imbalance between incoming and outcoming radiation in response to enhanced atmospheric forcing, and its temporal evolution towards a new equilibrium.
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  29. 145.chris

    Again you confuse a scientist recognising possible limitation in his work with bad work.

    147.chris

    1207 sounds like a big number. Only six (3 if you're using the screened database) of them cover the SH for the MWP. 6 is a much smaller number. The SH data is sparse. Mann's work covering the MWP is essentially a NH reconstruction. The problem is he and you can't recognise the limitations of his work. Loelhe appears to have that important skill.

    A question. If Energy and Environment is just a rag for peddling denier propaganda why does Loelhe bother putting all these caveats in his work?
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  30. 151.chris

    I don't understand your first point sorry

    The CPC data is from here (near the bottom of the page)
    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/data/indices/
    There isn't really much context. Just data.
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  31. Manns' work in 1998 (with subsequent additions to the present) was detailed and built on the work of others. Loelhe makes many basic errors that were worked out before Mannn even became involved. Since Loehle retains errors that others corrected over 14 years ago, why should he be given a voice at the table with those who are informed about how to do this work?

    Loelhe may be a good scientist in other areas. He should know that if he comits basic errors and adds nothing to the discussion he will not be able to publish in reputable journals. Scientific journals are not op-ed pages, you need new data or analysis to participate. This paper has neither.
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  32. Humanity Rules quotes CoalGeologist asking :

    "the presumption that there has to be some other explanation than AGW, because AGW couldn't be true"

    Humanity Rules then asks :

    Who is making this presumption? Oh wait I remember, it's the straw man.


    Do you mean this 'straw man' :

    Believe it or not, Global Warming is not due to human contribution of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). This in fact is the greatest deception in the history of science.
    Dr Tim Ball
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  33. Waiting for acknowledgment by Poptech of Dikran Marsupial's concise and complete explanation of which historical temperature data is available, which is not, the reasons for that.

    By the way, complaining about supposedly "missing" raw temperature data is akin to complaining that you can't read War and Peace because you can't read the same physical copy of the book I read. Get a copy of the book, read it yourself, draw your own conclusions. My margin notes don't change the book.
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  34. Poptech,

    Let's assume we toss out the CRU data. Now what? Where does your argument go from there? The remaining datasets all show either the same results or more warming, and most of them do have the raw data and source code available. Your entire line of argument is a red herring.
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  35. Ned: "Maybe you're right and the previous commenter was just referring to "why he cannot get any climate change papers published." If that was unclear to me, it was probably unclear to others as well (or, maybe not :-) "

    I took it to mean "why he cannot get [the stuff he's complaining about] published". Thanks for the link to the E&E discussion.
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  36. @poptech... I think what doug's comments point out is the same thing that I'm actually trying to say in my main post above. This IS what scientists do! They challenge each other. They battle. They quarrel. They snipe and sometimes even get unpleasant in their exchanges. That is part and parcel to most science and is particularly true of a contentious issue like global warming.

    The mistake to make is thinking that Mc&Mc somehow completely invalidate Mann's work. This is the process by which solid scientific theories are built. But what is happening is the broader public out there is being fed details of this robust scientific process and are being told that everything is broken, when in fact it's not.

    The good fight is extremely important. Science would get nowhere without it. The problem with the public perception of this process has to do with a lot of unfair amateur refereeing going on along at the side lines.
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  37. Poptech, for the slow-witted among us, could you explain how Mann's reply to Mc&Mc 2009 is incorrect, in your own words? How is it funny? Tell us in your own words, please.
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  38. @poptech... I think you should read my previous post again. It wasn't about Mann at all. It was about the public perception of science and the battles that go on that are part of the scientific process.
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  39. @poptech... It takes only one but also takes more than one person to believe it. The broader scientific community has NOT accepted it. But again, that is part of the scientific process.

    What you are doing is literally taking film of one punch in a 12 round fight and deciding the whole match on it. The rest of the scientific community obviously did NOT see this as a knock out blow, as witnessed by the open letter from 255 NAS scientist that came out today.
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  40. The NAS letter is about YOU.
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  41. Poptech, the letter from a great many members of the National Academy of Sciences was published in the May 7 issue of the journal Science.
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  42. Again, as in the main post, this is just a useless fight. This kind of argiung is not in the interest of adding something to the science. There's something really a-scientific behind it. Sentences like "Defending Mann's work is the equivalent of defending the Titanic as unsinkable" means absolutely nothing but make clear the intention. Which is unacceptable.
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  43. This is turning into a mere exercise of digging up things other people have said somewhere. Which is useful inasmuch as they're relevant, but simply linking something is not the same as reading it, understanding it, critically assessing it, and then discussing it. Simply showing that something exists does not demonstrate that it is valid.

    Granted, for somebody who isn't a specialist in paleoclimate (and I surely am not; I'm not even that interested in it), there's only so much time you might want to devote to getting into it. No one person can be an expert in all things. I applaud robhon for being upfront, that he isn't a specialist, but that he appreciates that the process works out - science proceeds over time.
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  44. Poptech, instead of pasting large blocks of content from other sites (your comment with that was deleted), you should link to the original site.

    In response to your request, no I will not do that research for you. The signers of the letter are listed at the bottom of the letter, and their affiliations are listed in the supporting material.

    But if you want to argue about how many scientists take which position, the appropriate thread is not this one. Instead, post on There is no consensus or on the threads listed in the "Related Arguments" green box at the bottom of that one.
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  45. @poptech... The individual degrees these people hold is irrelevant. This is THE top scientific organization in our fine nation. This is a rather large group of HIGHLY accomplished scientists, arguably many of the finest living scientists humanity has to offer. Their issue is not about climate science per se. It is about the outside political and special interest forces being exerted on their colleagues.

    They are also making a clears statement that the climate science is sound, to the point of declaring it a "theory" same as evolution and the big bang, and stating that it can be viewed as fact. These are extremely definitive terms they are choosing to lay out.

    And they are also stating that climate science is, at the same time, a process of discovery that involves, as I have pointed out, disagreements. But you can't take the disagreements and hold them up to suggest that AGW is not real, anymore than you can hold up a disagreement in evolution and hold that up to suggest that evolution is not real.
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  46. @poptech...I would also point out, as John just has on his latest post, that the 255 NAS members who signed this letter were the list of members who are MOST familiar with climate science.
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  47. Poptech,
    being right is seldom obtained by brute force. Your unchecked list just indicates that someone (you?) had a lot of spare time to compile it. Given the lack of science (which your final yawn well clarify) this is what is left to skeptics. We don't need such lists, reading the scientific litterature is a far better tool, the rest is nonsense.
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  48. 155.JMurphy at 02:25 AM on 8 May, 2010
    Humanity Rules quotes CoalGeologist asking :

    "the presumption that there has to be some other explanation than AGW, because AGW couldn't be true"

    For me, the important word in CG's sentance is "couldn't" that may appear in polemical rants but it doesn't appear in any of the science that questions the concensus.

    You could argue a little of the reverse appears in the AGW arguement. Using CG words from any earlier post. Because CO2 is the biggest (or only) knob controlling contemporary climate change then we have to have theories that exclude all others. There is a little of this in Trenberths ideas on the 'missing energy'. The argo bouys have to be wrong or the energy has to be in the deep ocean because AGW says it has to be somewhere.
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  49. Poptech:

    The list of 700 references that you linked to is pretty useless without including annotations at the least. Without reading each of the 700 papers it is impossible to tell why you think they go against the scientific consensus, and given the strength of the scientific consensus, I have a strong position that in many cases you must be misrepresenting the findings of the authors. However because you've decided on this listing approach and provide no extra information, it's impossible to tell.
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  50. Papers "supporting" skepticism of manmade global warming turns out to be a license to include papers which skeptics misunderstand or misinterpret to be an argument against manmade global warming.

    To pick a rather extreme example to make a point - I have bumped into skeptics that claim co2 is heavier than air so human emissions can't get into the atmosphere. It would therefore be the case that a paper which stated co2 is heavier than air could be listed as a paper "supporting" skepticism of manmade global warming.

    To pick an actual example - Caillon et al 2003 is on the 700 list. Caillon et al 2003 report that co2 rise lags temperature rise by 800 years in a certain part of the ice core record. The only way this can be percieved as "supporting" skepticism of manmade global warming is that it supports the argument that "co2 lags temperature, not the otherway round".

    But such a conclusion doesn't come from the paper or any other paper, it is "original research" by skeptics, just like the "therefore co2 cannot get off the ground".

    Caillon et al 2003 itself doesn't in fact support such a claim and even explicitly contradicts it at the end of the paper. Realclimate even has an article guest written by Jeff Severinghaus, one of the co-authors of Caillon et al 2003, further explaining why the "not the otherway round" argument is wrong.
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