Climategate – The Scientific Method & Scientific Intregrity – Where It All Began – The McIntyre Presentation:Ohio State University, May 16, 2008

If you are reading this post – you are probably aware of the now infamous “ClimateGate”. The hacking of emails which disclosed some the irregularities in the “scientific method” used to create the questionable theory of “man made global warming.

The emails have called into question whether some of the leading “research” (using the term very loosely) has been “cooked” or “fabricated” to produce a predetermined or “desired” result .

The primary issue being whether certain leading individuals in the Global Warming campaign (yes, campaign – as in political) have failed to follow the basic precepts of the “scientific method”.

The “scientific method” is described in this manner by Websters; ” principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses”.

The “scientific method” includes, at a minimum, the following 4 elements:

Induction — Forming a hypothesis or theory by drawing general conclusions from existing data.

Deduction — Making specific predictions based on the hypothesis.

Observation — Gathering data, driven by the hypothesis or theory that tell us what to look for in nature.

Verification — Testing the predictions against further observations to confirm or falsify the initial hypothesis or theory.

True science embraces skeptics, because “modern skepticism is embodied in the scientific method, which involves gathering data to test natural explanations for natural phenomenon. A claim becomes factual when it is confirmed to such an extent that it would be reasonable to offer temporary agreement. But all facts in science are provisional and subject to challenge, and therefore skepticism is a method leading to provisional conclusions”. .

A skeptic is one who questions the validity of a particular claim by calling for evidence to prove or disprove it.

With this concept in mind I’m reposting the first few pages of Stephen McIntyre’s presentation at Ohio State University on May 16, 2008 along with a link to the original PDF of the the original presentation

The presentation is self explanatory.

After years of making requests for the “original data” upon which the premises of man made global warming are laid, a portion of the data was provided to Mr. McIntyre.

Applying the elements of the “scientific method” Mr. McInytre attempted to reproduce the original findigs upon which so much of the “Man Made Global Warming Theory” is based. The Scientific Method mandates that if a theory is to be proved “correct” or “valid” the results or outcomes of the “theory” must be reproducible by subsequent examiners ….. you can decide for yourself …….


How do we “know” that 1998 was the warmest year of the millennium?

Stephen McIntyre, Presentation at Ohio State University, May 16, 2008

In a prep for a radio interview coming here, the radio host commented that it was impossible for members of the public to personally investigate the science and thus, at some point, it was necessary to simply have faith in the scientists. But something similar could be said in all walks of life, where the need for faith is tempered by external due diligence. If you’re offering securities to the public, there are complicated and expensive processes of due diligence, involving audits of financial statements, independent engineering reports, opinions from securities lawyers and so on. There are laws requiring the disclosure of adverse results. These precautions obviously don’t eliminate financial misconduct, but they are serious attempts to protect the public and make markets work more effectively.

There is far more independent due diligence on the smallest prospectus offering securities to the public than on a Nature article that might end up having a tremendous impact on policy. At this time, I am not saying that journal peer review processes should be overhauled, only that policy-makers should bear in mind that journal peer review is a very limited form of due diligence. Under any circumstances, radically improving requirements for the archiving of data and methods would be a simple and cost-efficient measure for improving quality control and I urge this policy whenever I get a chance.

McAuley’s World – The sceintific community 1st “peer-reviewed” the existence of a “Medieval Warming Period” and a subsequent “Little Ice Age” in the mid 1800’s – The scientific community accepted these findings and “theories” for over 175 years – the only set of scientific studies to call into question the existence of the “MWP” and the “Little Ice Age” are discussed below – Is there any wonder as to why Mann’s original data was requested to confirm these “new” findings – the “new data” was said to refute 175 years of scientific study! How dare anyone ask to see this “new data”!   But this wasn’t 1996, when the scientific community universally accepted the existence of the MWP and the Little Ice Age – It was 2006 and the Canadian Government adopted an untested and unverified “theory” ….      

But in 2002, the Canadian government based its pronouncements on the 2001 International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment Report (International Panel on Climate Change 2001), which prominently displayed a graphic from then very recent studies by Mann et al in 1998 and 1999 (M. E. Mann, Bradley & Hughes 1998), which announced that 1998 was the warmest year of the millennium. The graphic from the Mann study was re-drawn by IPCC with considerable graphic expertise – indeed, the graphic expertise caught my eye. It was used no fewer than 6 times and occurred as a backdrop in the Working Group 1 press conference. So it was hardly an incidental graphic in the IPCC report; it could almost be termed their logo. (The graphic has been “nicknamed” the “Hockey Stick”)

Today I will only discuss one particular aspect of the debate – The 1000-year temperature reconstructions. I don’t claim that the results here invalidate all of climate science or that policy decisions should be deferred because of these problems. On the other hand, the exigencies of policy should not prevent proper consideration of individual smaller issues, even if these ultimately prove only of academic interest. Good coaches and good teams look after the details.

Some people have argued that if the Hockey Stick is not correct, then the situation is worse than we thought. My reaction is: well, then I shouldn’t be the only one examining the validity of these reconstructions. 

As a quick overview, I’ll introduce you to the infamous Hockey Stick, then its more recent incarnation in what we can call spaghetti graphs. I’ll show that these supposedly “independent” studies are nothing of the sort, but rely on the re-cycling of a very small number of stereotyped series to achieve the Hockey Stick effect. I’ll discuss several of these key proxies, identifying problems with each one.

Finally, I’ll briefly discuss whether another view of the matter can be rationally held.

I’m pretty sure that the first time I ever thought about climate change was in late 2002 when the Canadian Government was promoting acceptance of the Kyoto Protocol. The slogan for their campaign was that the 20th century was the warmest century, the 1990s the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year in the past millennium – a slogan that got repeated in speech after speech and presentation after presentation.

The past decade was the world’s warmest decade of the century. And that century was the warmest of the past millennium. Without action, the long term consequences will be devastating.” – David Anderson, Minister of the Environment (Canada) Oct. 27, 2001

“The 20th century was the warmest in the Northern Hemisphere in the past 1000 years. The 1990s was the warmest decade on record and 1998 was the warmest year – in Canada and internationally.” – David Anderson, April 5, 2002.

“The 20th century was the warmest in the Northern Hemisphere for the past 1000 years and the 1990s the warmest decade on record… The science of climate change has been subjected to international scrutiny, open to all qualified experts, peer review, atmospheric modeling and process studies.” – Liberal Party of Canada Caucus, Aug. 22, 2002

In Canadian grade school, you learn about the Vikings in the Middle Ages – about the colonies in Greenland and their discovery of North America long before Columbus, an explorer presumably well recognized at Ohio State. (OSU is located in Columbus, OH). Had one sought an interpretation of 1000-year climate history as long ago as, say, 1996, one would have been shown a diagram with a pronounced Medieval Warm Period in the early part of the millennium and a cold Little Ice Age from the 17th to 19th centuries.

The graphic (Hockey Stick) continues in use to this day. It occurs prominently in Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth (Gore 2006), where it is called Dr Thompson’s thermometer. I wondered about this in early 2003 in the most casual possible fashion. I thought that it would be interesting to look at the underlying data, rather as I might look at drill data from a mining promotion. Business was slow and I browsed the internet for a due diligence package. I could not locate such a due diligence package nor the underlying proxy data for MBH98. Out of the blue (I was then a Canadian businessman unknown toclimate scientists), I emailed Michael Mann, the primary author, inquiring as to the location of the MBH98 proxy data. To my astonishment, Mann replied that he had “forgotten” the exact location, but that an associate would locate it for me. The associate said that the data did not exist in any one location, but that he would get it together for me. I was dumbfounded. Here was a study that had been on the front page of the IPCC study, used in brochures sent to every household in Canada and there was no due diligence package. 

Dear Dr. Mann, I have been studying MBH98 and 99. I located datasets for the 13 series used in MBH99 … and was interested in locating similar information on the 112 proxies referred to in MBH98 … Thank you for your attention. Yours truly, Stephen McIntyre, Toronto, Canada

“Dear Mr. McIntyre, These data are available on an anonymous ftp site we have set up.  I’ve forgotten the exact location, but I’ve asked my Colleague Dr. Scott Rutherford if he can provide you with that information. best regards, Mike Mann”.

“Steve, The proxies aren’t actually all in one ftp site (at least not to my knowledge). I can get them together if you give me a few days. Do you want the raw 300+ proxies or the 112 that were used in the MBH98 reconstruction? Scott

I realized that this study had never been audited, as I understood the process. Since no  one else had done so, I thought that it would be interesting to do so – sort of like doing a big crossword puzzle. I had never written an academic paper nor had I any plans of doing so. Anyway, this led to a very unexpected and unusual introduction to the science community. I associated myself with Ross McKitrick of the University of Guelph, who I’ve become close friends with along the way. We published several articles, first in 2003 (McIntyre & McKitrick 2003) and then in 2005 (McIntyre & McKitrick 2005). 

So why was the Hockey Stick so influential? First, it appeared to provide a much more sophisticated statistical analysis than earlier efforts. It claimed to have “statistical skill”, reporting highly significant verification RE and r2 statistics. It claimed to be robust to the presence or absence of tree ring proxies, about which there was then considerable specialist caution. It used seemingly sophisticated principal components methods to handle a much larger data set than had been considered in prior studies.

But we (McIntyre & Associates) were unable to replicate these claims.

Our calculations showed that the verification r2 statistic in the AD1400 step, the first step in MBH98, was only 0.02 – completely insignificant. Other standard statistics failed as well.

The claimed robustness to presence/absence of tree rings was also untrue. Sensitivity analysis showed that the reconstruction was not only highly sensitive to the presence/absence of bristlecone pines, but indeed the shape of the early part of the reconstruction was entirely dependent on bristlecones. We also observed that they had modified the principal components calculation so that it intentionally or unintentionally mined for hockey stick shaped series. It was so powerful in this respect that I could even produce a HS (Hockey Stick) from random red noise. This last observation has received much publicity. However, we did not and do not argue that this is the only way that a HS series can be obtained from red noise: there is the old fashioned method – manually select series with a hockey stick shape and then average. 

McAuley’s World; The following is the link to the original PDF where you are free to read the full presentation:                                                                                         

I encourage you to review the original PDF where you can examine the original presentation slides, charts and graphics which I cannot reproduce in this forum ……. Updated PDF Here (1MB).

For those who do not know what transpired next – when Mann refused to supply a copy of his full data set or explain certain aspects of his methodology to Mr. McIntrye, Mr McIntrye went to the original sources and attempted to replicate Mann’s measurements and outcomes – neither the measurements nor the outcomes could be reproduced ….. I encourage you to review the actual PDF …… and decide for yourself.

Again, this presentation only concerns one of the cornerstones of the Man Made Global Warming theory – the cornerstone that insists, incorrectly, that the 1990’s were the warmest decade in the history of the earth ………. Mr.  McIntrye and a significant portion of the scientific community state we need only examine the MWP (as in King Henry 8th’s time) to discover a warmer period in the earth’s most recent past – a time when there was nearly zero man made CO2.

No one in the scientific community seriously questions that the earth was much, much warmer at the time of the dinosaurs than it is today – the additional warmth and the CO2 the increased temperatures caused were necessary for the great green jungles to grow, the same jungles that fed the herbivores of the jurasic period  …..

Global Warming? The Boston Globe Reviews The Scientific Data

Where’s the global warming?
By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist | March 8, 2009

SUPPOSE the climate landscape in recent weeks looked something like this:

Half the country was experiencing its mildest winter in years, with no sign of snow in many Northern states. Most of the Great Lakes were ice-free. Not a single Canadian province had had a white Christmas. There was a new study discussing a mysterious surge in global temperatures – a warming trend more intense than computer models had predicted. Other scientists admitted that, because of a bug in satellite sensors, they had been vastly overestimating the extent of Arctic sea ice.

If all that were happening on the climate-change front, do you think you’d be hearing about it on the news? Seeing it on Page 1 of your daily paper? Would politicians be exclaiming that global warming was even more of a crisis than they’d thought? Would environmentalists be skewering global-warming “deniers” for clinging to their skepticism despite the growing case against it?

No doubt.

But it isn’t such hints of a planetary warming trend that have been piling up in profusion lately. Just the opposite.

The United States has shivered through an unusually severe winter, with snow falling in such unlikely destinations as New Orleans, Las Vegas, Alabama, and Georgia. On Dec. 25, every Canadian province woke up to a white Christmas, something that hadn’t happened in 37 years. Earlier this year, Europe was gripped by such a killing cold wave that trains were shut down in the French Riviera and chimpanzees in the Rome Zoo had to be plied with hot tea. Last week, satellite data showed three of the Great Lakes – Erie, Superior, and Huron – almost completely frozen over. In Washington, D.C., what was supposed to be a massive rally against global warming was upstaged by the heaviest snowfall of the season, which paralyzed the capital.

Meanwhile, the National Snow and Ice Data Center has acknowledged that due to a satellite sensor malfunction, it had been underestimating the extent of Arctic sea ice by 193,000 square miles – an area the size of Spain. In a new study, University of Wisconsin researchers Kyle Swanson and Anastasios Tsonis conclude that global warming could be going into a decades-long remission. The current global cooling “is nothing like anything we’ve seen since 1950,” Swanson told Discovery News. Yes, global cooling: 2008 was the coolest year of the past decade – global temperatures have not exceeded the record high measured in 1998, notwithstanding the carbon-dioxide that human beings continue to pump into the atmosphere.

Considering how much attention would have been lavished on a comparable run of hot weather or on a warming trend that was plainly accelerating, shouldn’t the recent cold phenomena and the absence of any global warming during the past 10 years be getting a little more notice? Isn’t it possible that the most apocalyptic voices of global-warming alarmism might not be the only ones worth listening to?

There is no shame in conceding that science still has a long way to go before it fully understands the immense complexity of the Earth’s ever-changing climate(s). It would be shameful not to concede it. The climate models on which so much global-warming alarmism rests “do not begin to describe the real world that we live in,” says Freeman Dyson, the eminent physicist and futurist. “The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand.”

But for many people, the science of climate change is not nearly as important as the religion of climate change. When Al Gore insisted yet again at a conference last Thursday that there can be no debate about global warming, he was speaking not with the authority of a man of science, but with the closed-minded dogmatism of a religious zealot. Dogma and zealotry have their virtues, no doubt. But if we want to understand where global warming has gone, those aren’t the tools we need

Climategate – The Hacked Emails: An Open Letter From Dr Judith Curry On The Loss Of Scientific Integrity In The Global Warming Debate

Reposted from Watts Up With That:

An open letter from Dr. Judith Curry on climate science

I asked Dr. Judith Curry if I could repost her letter which she originally sent to Climate Progress, here at WUWT.

From: Curry, Judith A
Sent: Friday, November 27, 2009 2:10 PM
To: Anthony Watts – mobile
Subject: Re: request

Hi Anthony, by all means post it. I am trying to reach out to everyone, pls help in this effort.

Dr. Curry gets props from the skeptical community because she had the courage to invite Steve McIntyre to give a presentation at Georgia Tech, for which she took criticism. Her letter is insightful and addresses troubling issues. We can all learn something from it. – Anthony

An open letter to graduate students and young scientists in fields related to climate research – By Dr. Judith A. Curry, Georgia Tech

Based upon feedback that I’ve received from graduate students at Georgia Tech, I suspect that you are confused, troubled, or worried by what you have been reading about ClimateGate and the contents of the hacked CRU emails. After spending considerable time reading the hacked emails and other posts in the blogosphere, I wrote an essay that calls for greater transparency in climate data and other methods used in climate research. The essay is posted over at 2009/ 11/ 22/ curry-on-the-credibility-of-climate-research/ .

What has been noticeably absent so far in the ClimateGate discussion is a public reaffirmation by climate researchers of our basic research values: the rigors of the scientific method (including reproducibility), research integrity and ethics, open minds, and critical thinking. Under no circumstances should we sacrifice any of these values; the CRU emails, however, appear to violate them.     ……

If climate science is to uphold core research values and be credible to (the) public, we need to respond to any critique of data or methodology that emerges from analysis by other scientists. Ignoring skeptics coming from outside the field is inappropriate; Einstein did not start his research career at Princeton, but rather at a post office. I’m not implying that climate researchers need to keep defending against the same arguments over and over again. Scientists claim that they would never get any research done if they had to continuously respond to skeptics. The counter to that argument is to make all of your data, metadata, and code openly available. Doing this will minimize the time spent responding to skeptics; try it! If anyone identifies an actual error in your data or methodology, acknowledge it and fix the problem.

Climategate: Hackers ‘expose global warming con’: Sceptics claim that leaked emails reveal research centre falsified temperature data

One of the world’s leading climate change research centres has been accused of manipulating data on global warming after thousands of private emails and documents were leaked.

Hackers targeted the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit and published the files, including some personal messages, on the internet.

Among the most damaging is one which appears to suggest using a ‘trick’ to massage years of temperature data to ‘hide the decline’.

The CRU, which plays a leading role in compiling UN reports and tracks long-term
changes in temperature, has repeatedly refused to provide detailed information about the data underlying the temperature records.

Climate change sceptics claim that some of the leaked messages discuss ways of manipulating data that fails to comply
with the establishment view that climate change is real and is being driven by man.

The email suggesting ‘hiding the decline’ is purported to be from Phil Jones, the unit’s director.

He denied trying to mislead, telling the TGIF digital newspaper he had no idea what he meant by the phrase.

One way of doing this would be by loading the panel of researchers who review papers ahead of publication with experts who are ‘on-message’.

Talk of a figure being ‘shoehorned’ into a report from the UN’s International Panel of Climate Change appears in another of the documents.

and from the Wall Street Journal ………..

‘The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the U.K., I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone. . . . We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind.”

So apparently wrote Phil Jones, director of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) and one of the world’s leading climate scientists, in a 2005 email to “Mike.” Judging by the email thread, this refers to Michael Mann, director of the Pennsylvania State University’s Earth System Science Center. We found this nugget among the more than 3,000 emails and documents released last week after CRU’s servers were hacked and messages among some of the world’s most influential climatologists were published on the Internet.

The “two MMs” are almost certainly Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, two Canadians who have devoted years to seeking the raw data and codes used in climate graphs and models, then fact-checking the published conclusions—a painstaking task that strikes us as a public and scientific service. Mr. Jones did not return requests for comment and the university said it could not confirm that all the emails were authentic, though it acknowledged its servers were hacked.

Yet even a partial review of the emails is highly illuminating. In them, scientists appear to urge each other to present a “unified” view on the theory of man-made climate change while discussing the importance of the “common cause”; to advise each other on how to smooth over data so as not to compromise the favored hypothesis; to discuss ways to keep opposing views out of leading journals; and to give tips on how to “hide the decline” of temperature in certain inconvenient data.

Some of those mentioned in the emails have responded to our requests for comment by saying they must first chat with their lawyers. Others have offered legal threats and personal invective. Still others have said nothing at all.

Yet all of these nonresponses manage to underscore what may be the most revealing truth: That these scientists feel the public doesn’t have a right to know the basis for their climate-change predictions, even as their governments prepare staggeringly expensive legislation in response to them.

Consider the following note that appears to have been sent by Mr. Jones to Mr. Mann in May 2008: “Mike, Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise. . . . Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same?” AR4 is shorthand for the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, presented in 2007 as the consensus view on how bad man-made climate change has supposedly become.

In another email that seems to have been sent in September 2007 to Eugene Wahl of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Paleoclimatology Program and to Caspar Ammann of the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Climate and Global Dynamics Division, Mr. Jones writes: “[T]ry and change the Received date! Don’t give those skeptics something to amuse themselves with.”

When deleting, doctoring or withholding information didn’t work, Mr. Jones suggested an alternative in an August 2008 email to Gavin Schmidt of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, copied to Mr. Mann. “The FOI [Freedom of Information] line we’re all using is this,” he wrote. “IPCC is exempt from any countries FOI—the skeptics have been told this. Even though we . . . possibly hold relevant info the IPCC is not part of our remit (mission statement, aims etc) therefore we don’t have an obligation to pass it on.”

It also seems Mr. Mann and his friends weren’t averse to blacklisting scientists who disputed some of their contentions, or journals that published their work. “I think we have to stop considering ‘Climate Research’ as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal,” goes one email, apparently written by Mr. Mann to several recipients in March 2003. “Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal.”

Mr. Mann’s main beef was that the journal had published several articles challenging aspects of the anthropogenic theory of global warming.

For the record, when we’ve asked Mr. Mann in the past about the charge that he and his colleagues suppress opposing views, he has said he “won’t dignify that question with a response.” Regarding our most recent queries about the hacked emails, he says he “did not manipulate any data in any conceivable way,” but he otherwise refuses to answer specific questions. For the record, too, our purpose isn’t to gainsay the probity of Mr. Mann’s work, much less his right to remain silent.

However, we do now have hundreds of emails that give every appearance of testifying to concerted and coordinated efforts by leading climatologists to fit the data to their conclusions while attempting to silence and discredit their critics. In the department of inconvenient truths, this one surely deserves a closer look by the media, the U.S. Congress and other investigative bodies.


%d bloggers like this: