Talk:Hockey stick controversy/Archive 5

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Sourcing previously unsourced text

I just used The Hockey Stick Illusion to source some previously unsourced text. I did not alter the text in any way. One full chapter in Illusion is dedicated to explaining how proxies are used in the research which produced the hockey stick. Cla68 (talk) 07:43, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

Bad idea. It's better to have text unsourced than sourced to a bad source - the second gives the impression of reliability. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 08:12, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
I've removed it. Even taking the broadest possible interpretation of the discussion at RS/N, HSi isn't a reliable source to factual information such as this. If you want it sourced, then the NAS report is a possibility. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 08:24, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Do you have any reliably source information at all saying that the chapter on proxies in Illusion has issues? If not, it meets our definition of a reliable source. Cla68 (talk) 09:55, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
No. There is no presumption of reliability. The burden of showing reliability is on you. Is there any question that the NAS report is more reliable and hence a better source than some bloggers book? --Stephan Schulz (talk) 09:57, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Who said we couldn't use NAS also? But yes, to answer your question, the book has been used as a source in two academic papers. Any other objections from anyone? Cla68 (talk) 10:25, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Yes, there are lots of objections. Both here and on RS/N. Are you ignoring those? Please point out where the 2 academic references state anything about the accuracy of Montfords description of the temperature reconstructions. [don't bother ... since they do not ... and you know it] You can use the book to cite Montford's opinion, where such is notable and has weight, and possibly for uncontroversial historical information, where no more reliable reference is at hand. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 10:32, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
It's hard to see this as anything other than WP:POINTy behaviour, given that Cla68 knows full well that the book is not accepted as a reliable source. It's also pointless given that there are perfectly reliable, uncontroversial sources for the same material. I've repeatedly asked Cla68 what is the point of citing Montford when there are mainstream sources of undisputed reliability covering the same ground. So far Cla68 has not responded. This edit by Kim illustrates the point perfectly. In short: if something is worth reporting, it will already have been reported by a reliable source. There is simply no need to cite this book. -- ChrisO (talk) 09:58, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Of course it is reliable. As has been proven time and time again. The only reason you guys are disputing the use of the book is due to your POV`s. Leave those at the door and perhaps we`ll actually get somewere for a change mark nutley (talk) 10:28, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
ChrisO, we're fortunate to have a comprehensive book which has been shown to be reliable by being used as a source in two academic papers. I see text in this article that is sourced to self-published sources, i.e. RealClimate and Climate Audit. I will use this book to better source that text. I assume no one here prefers self-published sources? Cla68 (talk) 10:30, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry Cla - but you are plain and simply doing WP:Wikipuffery here. Being cited in academic papers does not give reliability, and especially not when none of the papers actually cite the book for factual information (but why am i repeating myself - you know this). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 10:35, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
The Hartwell Paper which has cited this book has also said This work conveniently relates the topics back to a detailed narrative of the major disputes in climate science, and specifically paleoclimate studies Which i believe proves what has been said all along, that this book is a history of the whole controversy. mark nutley (talk) 10:36, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
@MN: I don't think that comment adds anything to the discussion. Please remember your parole and why it was imposed, and just don't contribute to these discussions. As to Cla: yes, it does look rather like he is trying to make a point. @Cla: as people have told you before: this book *is* no better self-published, and what is useful as an RS depends on context. In this context, RC is certainly to be preferred. CA is reliable for nothing but McI's opinion. Please try and learn from the earlier conversations William M. Connolley (talk) 10:32, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
To summarize, here is the argument on why it is reliable, per WP:RS
Reasons given not to use it...none that I can see except, "None of your reasons are valid." No one here has yet to come up with a valid reason, supported by policy or reliable sources, to support the contention that this book has issues. Cla68 (talk) 10:58, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
How many of your "reviews" are actual reviews - as opposed to Opinion articles by pundits? Quite simple WP:Wikipuffery. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 12:22, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Look, the issue here is really quite straightforward. Cla68, you are still evading my question. You know that the book is not generally accepted as a RS. You know that adding it to this or other articles is controversial. You know that the material you want to cite can be sourced to uncontroversial sources. You had a choice between controversial and uncontroversial. You know that the alternative sources are of far higher quality, as Kim just demonstrated. And yet you went with the controversial, low-quality source, deliberately provoking this completely unnecessary dispute. If you were solely interested in reliably sourcing uncited statements you could have cited the NAS report. Instead you conciously chose to pick a fight by using a source that you know other editors reject and that was going to get reverted out immediately. That is POINTy behaviour, pure and simple. -- ChrisO (talk) 11:03, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Wrong Chris. Check some of the FA articles I've worked on. They, more often than not, have multiple sources for the text. When it comes to sourcing, more is better. You didn't respond to my summary of why the position that this book is reliable is much stronger than why it is not. This article has text that is sourced to self-published sources. That is something we definitely want to fix with a reliable secondary source, which I'm about to get started on. Cla68 (talk) 11:08, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
This doesn't add "more". If the HSi contains the information, then it got it from the NAS report. If there had been an independent validation involved, then we may have been talking about something else - but we aren't. And you are dodging again and again the reason that the reference is unreliable for anything other than Montford's opinion: The book is extremely POV. The books title even makes that clear: "The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science". (not to mention the examples i gave above about one-sided information, and focus on conspiracy ("MWP made to dissappear")) --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 12:20, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Kim, do you have a reliable secondary source to back up your claim that the book "is extremely POV?" I haven't seen anything which says that. Cla68 (talk) 12:25, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Cla68, that is a rather strange question, since you have been asked several times not to reverse the burden here. If you cannot per common sense recognize that the title describes a POV viewpoint, and that lack of refutation of a book, doesn't mean that it is accurate. Then i'm afraid we have a problem. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 12:55, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Well we have two sources saying it is a detailed narrative, the 14 guys who did the hartwell paper and judith curry. We have reviews saying much the same. You have vague accusations and thats about it. I think the burden of proof has been met. mark nutley (talk) 12:59, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

Andrew Montford’s The Hockey Stick Illusion is one of the best science books in years. It exposes in delicious detail, datum by datum, how a great scientific mistake of immense political weight was perpetrated, defended and camouflaged by a scientific establishment that should now be red with shame seems like a pretty good indication that the book is not a neutral report, if the title wasn't a dead giveaway.

Now, I don't doubt that HSI is probably reliable for certain statements of fact; I doubt we'd run into too much of a mess believing that such-and-such conference took place on so-and-so date, etc. However, since the book clearly has a GW-skeptical stance, it would be inappropriate to consider it as across-the-board a RS, since there will inevitably be interpretations of events/scientific fact that is either wrong or selectively presented to further Montford's point. For the parts that he might be reliable on, I'd expect that all that information would be readily present in more neutral, reliable sources, so we should probably just go ahead and use those instead. This is the case for all sources of this sort: we wouldn't cite An Inconvenient Truth here or The Omnivore's Dilemma in an article about the food industry or vegetarianism. It just isn't appropriate.

As far as conduct goes, I agree that Cla's use of the book as a source in spite of the ongoing discussion both here and at RS/N, generally against using the book, seems a bit tendentious. I am also curious as to what POVs MN thinks we have that are causing us to not want to use this book, if if it is, as he argues, free of bias. — DroEsperanto (talk) 14:00, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

It seems to me that there are two ways of approaching this, reflecting two different approaches to editing - one good and one bad. The good way is that of the pragmatic, consensus-seeking editor. He recognises that the goal is to find a source that everyone is happy with. He acknowledges that other editors have good-faith objections to his favourite source. He works with other editors to find agreement on sourcing and seeks to find an alternative source that everyone is happy with. This is basically what WP:CONSENSUS requires of Wikipedians. The bad way is that of the POV-pushing, "my way or the highway" editor. He rejects the good-faith objections of others and declares them to be "invalid" or motivated by POV. He makes no effort to seek consensus. He insists on using his source against the opposition of others and tries to force it into articles, even though he knows that doing so will provoke conflict and controversy. This is the approach of a partisan advocate, and is strongly discouraged - to the point that editors who do it persistently may end up being blocked or topic-banned.
The productive way forward on this is to take the first route and find sources that everyone is happy with. By contrast, trying to force sources into articles against the wishes of multiple other editors and dismissing their concerns out of hand is not productive, and it only ensures further unnecessary conflict. This dispute should not have happened - if the uncontentious high-quality source that Kim added had been used from the start, there would have been no controversy or conflict. -- ChrisO (talk) 19:00, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
I won't respond to your threatening statements, ChrisO, as they are definitely not very helpful and appear to be attempts at intimidation and bullying. What I will say, is that there is definitely no consensus on not using this book. In fact, it seems to be split fairly evenly. So, we're going to have to find a compromise. DroEsperanto makes a good point, and I appreciate his input, that the book is probably ok to use for basic facts such as the dates of events in the controversy's timeline. So, I'll voluntarily restrict my own use of the book to that kind of information in the article, and any use of the book for other types of information will be subject to discussion. Cla68 (talk) 22:35, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
No, I don't think even that's good enough. As Kim has said elsewhere, "we do not reference Erich von Däniken for measurements on the Pyramids, even if he got that part right." If a book is fringe, it shouldn't be cited at all. I note also that you've not responded to my suggestion above of using sources that everyone is happy with. That makes it rather clear which of the approaches to editing that I described you've chosen. I can pretty much guarantee that your approach will be met with the book being removed every time you try to use it, producing further needless conflict on talk pages. It's completely unnecessary - you can find the basic facts you mention in other uncontentious sources, so why not just use those and save everyone the trouble? -- ChrisO (talk) 22:50, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
The Hockey Stick controversy, from what I've seen, hasn't been well-documented in reliable secondary sources until this book was published. Isn't that why so many primary or self-published sources (i.e. RealClimate and Climate Audit) are used in this article? I'm suggesting a compromise here, not using this book for subjective information without consensus. Are you, or anyone else here, willing to compromise? Cla68 (talk) 22:59, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

Badly formed reference?

I was looking for a link to the NAS report (subsequently found) and thought there would be one in here.

In the section "Discussion of the MBH reconstruction" I see a sentence

On June 22, 2006, the Academy released a pre-publication version of its report Report-Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years,[27]

I don't know what to make of the "[27]". It looks like a failed attempt at a reference. Can someone closer to the history replace it with a proper reference, if that is all that is needed?--SPhilbrickT 16:20, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

There are loads of refs to the NAS report, the trouble (as you observed (and i did above as well)) is that the references/reference section are/is severely disorganized and broken. I'm giving it a go later, since this should be fixed - but if anyone wants to "scoop" me - feel free ;-) --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 16:33, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
I've looked at the page a little more - it does need some serious gnoming. In view of the general contentiousness - would it make sense to create a subpage draft, not with the intention of resolving big issues, just organizational issues, then replacing with cleaned up version? In some cases, I've found it helpful to start with an outline. Agree to the organizational outline, then copy and paste the existing material with tense and formatting cleanup. May make sense in this case.--SPhilbrickT 14:19, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
Probably. I'm currently thinking about how we can reference the individual pages in the books/reports, without repeating the citation template each time. Would probably have to use grouped-refs/notes to make it useful. We should consider moving the refs out of the text, and into the references section, as well, and only use named refs in the text. This has some drawbacks, but also a lot of upsides :) --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 14:24, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
For multiple use of references, particularly references with page numbers, my strong recommendation is for Wikipedia:Citation templates in a references section, with Harvnb inline citations giving the page numbers. More hints available on request for anyone not used to the system. . dave souza, talk 14:56, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
Yes, this is probably useful. But misses the posibility of linking to the specific page as well (as we can do with at least the NAS book). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 15:01, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
There's a couple different ways it can be handled. (I'm not a big fan of Harvard referencing). One approach I'm using a fair amount is illustrated in Hazel Walker, where I am referencing multiple pages out of three books - include the full cite in a reference section, then a shorter ref with author and page number in Footnotes section.--SPhilbrickT 16:50, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
The thing about the other example that i like, is the connection between the notes section and the references. (ie. click and you go to the full citation). But i'd also like a way to go to the individual page in the reference as well. Some kind of in-between solution is needed i guess. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 17:09, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
Linking to individual pages is easy with the harvnb template, simply add a link and single square brackets to the page number(s) field: thus for *link* the field would be |p=[*link* 24] or |pp=[*link* 24–25] ... for an example see Fertilisation of Orchids where refs 3 has the author and year linking down to the book description in the references section, and pp. 127–128 as an external link to the pages cited. Easy. Don't know how to work the other methods. I've tended to keep things simple by only using this for references with multiple pages, so single page references are shown in full in the "Notes" section and don't appear in the "References" list. All of which has been accepted as legitimate. . . dave souza, talk 17:23, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
On structure, it's severely broken, possibly by trying to focus on "controversy" while ignoring the graphs. A better outline would be: origins (gw science and controversy, early graphs)/work and publication of MBH etc. inc. WMO, "hockey stick" name/IPCC AR4/initial controversy/published scientific criticisms and support (starting with Soon and Balunias)/Congress: House energy committee enquiries, North report, Wegman report, House energy committee hearings/further research/continued controversies/current state of play. Have a few good sources to hand, but bearing in mind the suggestion to leave this area alone for a bit, am having a short golfing holiday. All in due course, dave souza, talk 14:52, 20 July 2010 (UTC) update, note have tee'd off . . dave souza, talk 20:53, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

High level outline

Here's a first pass at a high level outline. It has some known deficiencies, discussed after the outline

Topical approach

  • Lede (and graph)
  • Mann, Bradley, Hughes reconstruction of surface temperature
    • Mann Bradley Hughes papers
    • Inclusion in IPCC report
    • Origin of the term "hockey Stick"
  • Analyses of Mann, Bradley, Hughes methodology
    • McIntyre, McKitrick
    • National Research Council Report
    • Committee on Energy and Commerce Report
    • American Statistical Association session
    • Other challenges
  • Other papers supporting same general shape of temperature graph

Deficiencies Need to fundamentally decide whether organization should be topical or chronological. For example, should the 2008 Mann et al update, be in the Mann section and the M&M response to that paper in the analyses section? Not satisfying. It may be better to be more chronological. Use of "other" is often a sign of poor structure - need to do better, but let's debate topical versus chron first.--SPhilbrickT 20:19, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

As it's a historical subject, the chron sequence seems best to me, not least because the name has been used for other graphs, and there were predecessors to MBH as in the FAR and the SAR. There's also the situation that Soon et al. was the first challenge, so needs attention before M&M, and the "hockey stick" term has recently been used for Jones's 1999 WMO graph which came after the two MBH papers but attracted little attention at the time and preceded the controversy about the TAR featuring MBH99 prominently. Acronyms translated on request if required ;-) . dave souza, talk 20:33, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, you're right. I started on a topical index, and thought I might get away with achieving both, if the topics could be ordered chronologically. I realized that didn't work, so wanted to see if there was any support for a pure topical approach. Didn't really expect it, so I'll try again with a more chron oriented approach. But not right away, as relatives just dropped in, then I'm out of town for a couple days.--SPhilbrickT 20:46, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
Have updated my first thoughts above, have a good couple of days and look forward to resuming discussions. Thanks, dave souza, talk 20:55, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
I think it's a fairly good outline. I believe that more information on the controversy will be forthcoming in a few months time as more books come out on the Climategate controversy, of which the hockey stick controversy is a crucial part of its background. We will then have more sources to use to expand and improve this article. I seen no reason why this article can't someday be featured and presented on the main page. Cla68 (talk) 23:42, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
Looks like a good outline. David.Kane (talk) 00:38, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

Less of an Encyclopedia article and more of a report

I'm a neutral observer here and I want to raise a point about the structure of this article. It really looks like a committee report with too many fine details and is not quite readable for those outside the field. Even my Professor who has a doctorate from MIT finds trouble in following this article. Can somebody take initiative in making this an encyclopedic article that is reachable to all learned people?

Defending the indefensible?

Steve McIntyre has a new post reviewing the history of the Hockey Stick and its challengers , well worth reading. Parts should be incorporated here, as he makes several interesting quotes both from his and Mann's peer-reviewed articles. -- such as this remarkable quote from Mann's response to M&M re the Graybill bristlecones:

MM04 demonstrate their failure to understand our methods by claiming that we required that “proxies follow a linear temperature response”. In fact we specified (MBH98) that indicators should be “linearly related to one or more of the instrumental training patterns2", NOT local temperatures. [emphasis added]

-- which McI aptly describes as "invoking qi". Others might simply call it bafflegab: "teleconnections", invisible pathways, meridians of qi....

Prof. Mann seems incapable of admitting errors, unless he does it sideways -- see this interesting post and thread at Bishop Hill. Interesting times, no? --Pete Tillman (talk) 20:52, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

Errm, you appear to be demonstrating your (and McI's) ignorance here. Though alas I too must demonstrate ignorance: what exactly is "qi" supposed to mean in this context? So, am I to take it that you don't understand what Mann is saying in that quote? If so, could you explain why your ignorance is of interest? Why do you think that teleconnections is "bafflegab", whatever that might be? William M. Connolley (talk) 21:23, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
WMC: I'm no paleoclimatologist -- but perhaps you could direct me to a reasonable (indeed, any) physical explanation of how tree-ring widths could record a distant temperature (vs. local) -- which appears to be what Prof. Mann is proposing? TIA & cheers, Pete Tillman (talk)
McIntyre's blog, as you know perfectly well, is not a reliable source. There's no point bringing up his latest missive when it can't be used anyway. If you want to have a private conversation with WMC about the science, please do so on his talk page or via email, not here. -- ChrisO (talk) 21:32, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
-- but quotes from published papers certainly are -- such as the one I quote. Plus, are you arguing that McI isn't a major player in the HS controversy? And what about ref#63 in this article [1]? Regards, Pete Tillman (talk) 21:36, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, this is getting rather confusing. Perhaps you could drop all the qi stuff, and tell me exactly which piece of text from a published paper you're proposing to add to the article. Once we've got that out of the way yes I can try to explain what Mann is trying to tell you. Although I'm not clear that should be done here - this isn't an education forum for editors - perhaps you would be better off asking at my talk page William M. Connolley (talk) 22:34, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
Also, not sure what you mean by ref#63. Do you mean comment #63? Perhaps you could provide a link to the exact bit you mean William M. Connolley (talk) 22:36, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
Sure. #63 is " Climate Audit – by Steve McIntyre » von Storch and Zorita blog on the Hockey Stick" [2] -- which, G. will note, is one blog quoting another. Not the best cite, I'd agree, but.... Pete Tillman (talk) 22:49, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
ChrisO, I agree with you. Climate Audit is not a reliable source. That is why the use of it as a source in this article, along with Mann's blog RealClimate, needs to go if we can find better sources, such as published books. Cla68 (talk) 22:41, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
Just to clarify, I'm not proposing to cite this CA post, but rather the peer-rev'd papers McI quotes therein. HTH, Pete Tillman (talk) 22:51, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Tillman that it's ok to use the peer-reviewed papers as sources if they haven't been already. By the way, MacIntyre's comments on Mann's behavior at an NAS presentation are interesting. Although scientists have declined to criticize Mann publicly for his conduct in the Climategate emails, I suspect that his grant funding may quietly decline and his invitations to speak at conferences and symposiums will decrease. Time will tell and of course can only be stated in this article if reported in reliable sources. Not Climate Audit, Bishop Hill, or RealClimate. Cla68 (talk) 22:54, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
There's clearly nothing here of value to us (meaning the Climate Audit post). There may be something in the underlying peer-review material, but one must be very careful to avoid SYN. In other words, reproducing the McIntyre conclusion by citing the underlying articles is SYN, even assuming one stays away from the silliness about qi.--SPhilbrickT 00:44, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
What conduct in the e-mails? Remember that the most controversial ones (the "trick to hide the decline", etc) were not even written by him, and that the two PSU-initiated enquiries found him squeaky clean. His work has been validated repeatedly and the allegations against him have been found to be not true. We must not give the impression that that is not the case, as that would contradict the known facts. -- ChrisO (talk) 07:00, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

Is there any point to this thread? All there seems to be so far is confusion from Tillman (having fallen for McI's deliberate FUD) about how the reconstructions work, and some valueless speculation from Cla. If someone is proposing an addition to the article based on this text, could they state clearly what it is? William M. Connolley (talk) 08:08, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

--and your reply to my question (above) re Mannian teleconnections?As for the other, patience please. No deadlines here ;-) Pete Tillman (talk) 19:09, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
@ Pete, how do Mannian teleconnections differ from Judith A. Curryian teleconnections as discussed in this paper. Perhaps McIntyre has been pulling your leg? @ WMC, you were asking about Qi, the answer is probably in The Book of General Ignorance. . . dave souza, talk 19:27, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
@T: see my comment of 22:34, 25 July 2010. Though perhaps, if McI's pretended confusion is notable nad has confused others, we should add a section explaining his error? William M. Connolley (talk) 20:17, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

Placeholder to hold discussion open, as I'm back & still thinking about this. Thanks for patience, Pete Tillman (talk) 21:32, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Virginia fraud investigation about Michael Mann as a result of the Climategate emails

Unless there is an objection, I will be adding this the article.

On May 4, 2010, it was reported that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli had initiated a Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (Virginia Code §8.01-216.1. et seq.) investigation into the activities of Mann while he was a professor and researcher at the University of Virginia.(fn1)(fn2) On April 23, 2010, Cuccinelli served a demand that the university produce all available documents and correspondence of Mann, based on the possibility of fraud in the administration of four federal grants and one state grant.(fn2) The university's Faculty Senate has condemned the action and the "potential threat of legal prosecution."(fn2) The university has refused to produce the documents,(fn3) and in early July, Cuccinelli responded to the university's petition in the Albemarle County Circuit Court.(fn4)(fn5) The investigation is focused partially on whether Mann's Hockey Stick graph and other research "fraudulently manipulated data was used to win government funding and/or submitted in an effort to claim payment in government funded grants."(fn6) Mann has claimed the investigation is vindictive.(fn6)

fn1. "Va. AG investigates Climategate scientist". United Press International. May 4, 2010. Retrieved July 26, 2010. 
fn2. "Science subpoenaed". Nature. Nature Publishing Group. 465: 135–136. 2010. doi:10.1038/465135b. 
fn3. "UVA challenges Ken Cuccinelli's motives in climate research case". Richmond Times Dispatch. July 21, 2010. Retrieved July 26, 2010. 
fn4. Helderman, Rosalind (July 13, 2010). "Cuccinelli uses court filing to dispute Mann climate research". Washington, DC: Washington Post Virginia Politics blog. Retrieved July 26, 2010.  (editorial control over contents exercised by Washington Post)
fn5. Brief in Opposition to Petition, The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia v. Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, Attorney General of Virginia, No. CL10000398-00, July 13, 2010

fn6. O'Dell, Larry (July 13, 2010). "Va AG: Academic freedom no bar to climate probe". Lebanon Daily News. Retrieved July 26, 2010. 

Comments are welcome, and please let me know if there are any objections to the sources, as I have about 100 to choose from. Regards, —Preceding unsigned comment added by an unknown user adding sig GregJackP Boomer! 00:28, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

This is already covered in Cuccinelli's bio, and in Mann's. It's inappropriate to use this article as a coatrack to further embarrass Cuccinelli. Guettarda (talk) 23:24, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
Actually, it might be more appropriate to give more detail on the controversy here, then just link from their bios to the section in this article. Cla68 (talk) 23:45, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
Why here? -- ChrisO (talk) 08:08, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
Good point. I did say "yes here" because this feels like a followup to Mann stuff. But really this is just part of the generic global warming controversy and should go there, if notable enough to William M. Connolley (talk) 08:43, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Probably worth adding here, but the text you propose is far too kind to C. Even the RP Jr's of the world say his fishing expedition is trash, so we should report that clearly William M. Connolley (talk) 07:50, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Lebanon Daily News - are you really that desperate? William M. Connolley (talk) 07:52, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

In contrast, Richard Muller...

User GregJackP's addition [3] flowed poorly from the adjoining sentence so I checked with Plagium and the same text appears on CLIMATEPROGRESS.ORG ("In contrast, Professor Muller wrote...") [4] Not a huge problem, I suppose, but if editors are going to lift material then at least change the words to reflect original content in our article. Wikispan (talk) 12:09, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

McShane and Wyner 2010

"A Statistical Analysis of Multiple Temperature Proxies: Are Reconstructions of Surface Temperatures Over the Last 1000 Years Reliable?"

This is an interesting new article, in-press at Annals of Applied Statistics . A preprint can be downloaded from the journal's website: (currently the last article).

McShane & Wyner take the proxy compilation from Mann et al. 2008 and subject their proxy database to rigorous statistical tests. Their conclusions:

"We find that the proxies do not predict temperature significantly better than random series generated independently of temperature. Furthermore, various model specifications that perform similarly at predicting temperature produce extremely different historical backcasts. Finally, the proxies seem unable to forecast the high levels of and sharp run-up in temperature in the 1990s either in-sample or from contiguous holdout blocks, thus casting doubt on their ability to predict such phenomena if in fact they occurred several hundred years ago."

In essence, M&W find that the temp signal in the proxies is so weak that it is overwhelmed by noise -- see their Fig. 17 (p. 37). This is the same observation made by one of the reviewers in the Muir Russell review, and is the argument that Judith Curry is currently making in the blogosphere.

ProbablyDefinitely premature for our article, as it hasn't yet been formally published, but a very clearly written paper by a prominent Wharton School statistician (Wyner) and his student McShane, a recent Ph.D., now at Northwestern University. Good to see some professional statisticians taking a hard look at this problem. Happy reading, Pete Tillman (talk) 05:03, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

This will be good. Annals of Applied Statistics is a peer-reviewed journal, and it appears that the article has been selected for publication. The authors are also well published with a number of articles a GregJackP Boomer! 05:21, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
[5] William M. Connolley (talk) 15:10, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Climatologist Eduardo Zorita (who really should have a wikibio) has a number of criticisms of the McShane and Wyner draft here. Zorita thinks they need some professional climatology input. I hope some of these questions will be addressed when the paper is actually published. --Pete Tillman (talk) 19:39, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Heh. Who was the famous arrogant physicist who called all the rest of us "stamp collectors"? -- Pete Tillman (talk) 20:03, 30 September 2010 (UTC), who actually was a stamp collector.
A physicist did that too? I believe James Watson called organismal biologists "stamp collectors" back in the 60s. Guettarda (talk) 21:39, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
File:Ernest Rutherford.jpg
"All science is either physics or stamp collecting."
Yes, NW, I do believe that everyone reads xkcd. Or should, anyway. Guettarda (talk) 21:39, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

Self-published analysis of McShane and Wyner 2010

While not in itself an RS, and no material proposed for inclusion in the article, people thinking of udpating this section might want to read Appendix A.12 of "Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report, PDF linked from . I show multiple cases of plagiarism and fabrication: the first few paragraphs came from Wikipedia and the Wegman Report, including really silly tip-off errors that no one would make who knew anything about this, some mentioned by Zorita. Then they cited Bradley(1999) as a cover, including misspelling his title in the same way as the Wegman Report. Other fabrications appear later. At last their plagiarism was more sophisticated than that in the Wegman report, which had 35 pages of mostly cut-and-paste with light edits. Also, M&W at least did do some real statistics, even if it isn't holding up very well. Bad statistics merely yield a bad paper, plagiarism/fabrication, if proven, have other consequences in academe. JohnMashey (talk) 02:39, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

I haven't followed this closely, but didn't "Deep Climate" backpedal on his/her plagiarism charges? My (dim) recollection is that the text in question was "boilerplate" background material, and didn't affect the conclusions of Wegman's audit. I distinctly recall that there were some vigorous rebuttals to Deep Climate's charges, including one by Judith Curry. But we're getting pretty far afield here, so I set this off in a section of its own. Please recall that Wikipedia is not a Forum . Pete Tillman (talk) 17:54, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Pete, if you look a little more closely, you'll find that the section John Mashey refers to gives his analysis of the McShane and Wyner 2010 draft. Generally it's selfpublished analysis, and we'd need a reliably published source to include his points. It does give useful links to upcoming responses by Martin Tingley, NCAR and Harvard;[6][7] and Martin Tingley, et al.[8] Like McShane and Wyner 2010 these are pre-publication, so we'll best be patient and wait for the published final versions. As for Pete's dim recollections, links would be needed, and Judy Curry has had a habit lately of making elliptical blog comments. . . dave souza, talk 21:28, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
(e/c) I see that I've misread Mashey's comments: the Deep Climate link leads to a self-published report (by Mashey) here, that calls the M&W draft "a “remake” of the Wegman Report", and accuses M&W of plagiarism. Massey's polemical intent is clear: re Wegman, his Report is a "key prop of climate anti-science." Wegman's "real missions were: #1 claim the “hockey stick” broken and #2 discredit climate science as a whole." Um. Perhaps there is a Cabal of Denier Statisticians? Pete Tillman (talk) 21:51, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

Deep Climate did not backpedal in the slightest. Judith Curry did, admitting she knew nothing about it. She did not apologize or retract, but said she wouldn't discuss it further.

I assume sources are RS about the words they contain. Big chunks of my non-RS piece directly reference RS sources, and I suppose I could just copy it here, but I'd rather not. Here's a sample: "McShane-Wyner itself, the original version:

"1. Introduction. Paleoclimatology is the study of climate and climate change over the scale of the entire history of earth."

AND from WIkipedia[[9]] or a derivative:

"Paleoclimatology (also Palaeoclimatology) is the study of climate change taken on the scale of the entire history of Earth."

Change from "taken on" to "over" is crisper, good edit. Neither came from Bradley(1999), who of course has a more precise definition, "Paleoclimatology is the study of climate prior to the period of instrumental measurement." Those who want more can read mine, especially as it's better in color. It's only one example, but there are many more in the first paragraph or so, although more of the fabrications are later.JohnMashey (talk) 22:55, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Deep Climate and Wegman


Since GMU has begun a formal investigation of the accusations of plagiarism and other academic malfeasance made by John Mashey and Deep Climate, I think it's appropriate to include it in the section on criticisms of Wegman. Mgolden (talk) 19:24, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

USA Today now reports[10] that George Mason University is investigating plagiarism charges against Edward Wegman relating to his report on MBH. --TS 19:32, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Does that mean we need a new article - hockey stick controversy criticism plagiarism controversy? Guettarda (talk) 19:59, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
Wegmangate, for sure. I'll register a domain name. --Nigelj (talk) 20:06, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
.org or .com? .edu probably is off the menu.... --Stephan Schulz (talk) 20:29, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Now now. Remember that this is an encyclopedia. --TS 20:15, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Indeed. It's also in the WaPo blog at [11]. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 20:30, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

I imagine this will sweeten the mid-terms for the reality-based community. --TS 20:33, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

From Google News: Edward Wegman RSS feed. --TS 20:39, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Schadenfreude, Tony (et al.)? --Pete Tillman (talk) 21:22, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

No, just some expected news that has been a long time coming. --TS 21:27, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Jeff Tollefson has posted the story "Old claims of bad climate science countered by new claims of plagiarism" on Nature's "The Great Beyond" blog. --TS 21:29, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

I see Tillman is doing his best to hold back the tide [12]. Seems rather pointless William M. Connolley (talk) 21:53, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

As you well know, WMC, blogs & other SPS are absolutely not allowed in WP:BLP stuff... USA Today is fine -- even if it's kind of a pathetic newspaper. Pete Tillman (talk) 22:40, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
I think, as the USA Today source cites and links to the "250-page report on the Deep Climate website written by computer scientist John Mashey" as the origin of the university investigation, that it is perfectly safe to take that report as being relevant. No matter, though, as all the relevant details will surely be in the mainstream press in no time, I'm sure. --Nigelj (talk) 23:26, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
Do we have a reliable source yet for the news that the investigation was started some time ago following a complaint to GMU by Mann's co-writer Bradley, and it has already missed a promised delivery date at the end of September? --TS 22:07, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
Well, it isn't an RS, but BigCityLib [13] has an accurate image of the letter from Stough. I didn't give it to him, don't know where he got it. Also, read GMI policy [14] to understand the difference between "inquiry" and "investigation" in formal terms vs common usage, where either could be called investigation. At least as of a few days ago, they had not informed Bradley of completing the inquiry, which basically requires looking at DC's side-by-sides for a few minutes and saying "looks like plagiarism, investigate." Well, these things do take 6 months sometimes. Also, just to head off a common question, the litigation has nothing to do with me or DC. It might have something to do with copyright and Elsevier guys with big teeth. JohnMashey (talk) 07:21, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

Incidentally Mann had a scalding op ed in the Washington Post today about the anti-science trend in American politics. I've written about it on the talk page of his biography. --TS 22:09, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Do we add W's POV? As far as I can tell, he has said "I'm very well aware of the report, but I have been asked by the university not to comment until all the issues have been settled," Wegman says, by phone. "Some litigation is underway." William M. Connolley (talk) 06:48, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

This [15] via DC is interesting too William M. Connolley (talk) 07:01, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

There's a problem with the current text. USA Today says this:

In response to earlier concerns raised by the Deep Climate website, Bradley says he wrote a letter in April to GMU, noting the possibility of plagiarism and demanding an investigation of both the 2006 report and a subsequent, federally-funded study published by some of Wegman's students. "Talk about irony. It just seems surreal (that) these authors could criticize my work when they are lifting my words."
In a July 28, 2010, letter to Bradley, GMU vice-president for research Roger Stough said he expected a university committee to complete its investigation of Wegman by the "end of September."

Instead our text[16] says it's all about Deep Climate and doesn't even mention Bradley's involvement in making the plagiarism charges. --TS 13:11, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

Yes, that is a flaw. You could just fix it, but let me guess: you're afarid of touching the text in case arbcomm jumps down your throat and bans you from Cl Ch? William M. Connolley (talk) 14:22, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
Ok, muggins hav fixed it, reflecting the niews report as accurately as I can. Please discuss here if anyone thinks it hasn't shown points accurately, or should be trimmed. . . dave souza, talk 18:29, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

I can do bold, but I have a self-imposed constraint of avoiding edits of any kind on climate change articles. If there is substantial agreement on my proposals (there nearly always is) the edit gets done. This isn't ideal but it makes life a bit easier. It isn't as if I was in any position to add substantial amounts of content to the articles, so nothing is lost. --TS 19:22, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

I don't know whether this was in the USA Today article before but now it contains this facsimile of a July 28 letter from GMU's Vice President of Research and Economic Development to Ray Bradley concerning the progress of his "formal complaint of plagiarism". --TS 02:50, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

Yes, that is it, same thing as BigCityLib, but RS. As I noted earlier, in precise usage, *inquiry* and *investigation* are different. Meanwhile, another indirect quote of Wegman's is shown as part of Eli Rabett's discussion [17], although Rapp's quote at WUWT is even better than the one at USA Today. The WR plagiarized Bradley, then Rapp plagiarized Wegman, as did McShane-Wyner, I think. That's 2 3-deep plagiarism chains, pretty unusual, although lagging the 3 3-deep chains afflicting (Wasserman, Faust), (DeNooy, Mrvar, Batagelj).JohnMashey (talk) 05:18, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

You left out that Bradley quite similarly "plagiarized" Fritts. See [18] and [19] for some details on that. Which would make it a 4-deep "plagiarism" claim if one wants to go that route. Or we could drop the whole thing and admit it's silly to apply academic standards to congressional reports. Wegman did cite Bradley about as well as Bradley cited Fritts. Blogjack (talk) 18:30, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
No I didn't leave that out. McIntyre's claim was nonsense, as you will find if you contact Fritts. However, thank you for propagating this widely. One of the usual requirements of defamation lawsuits is that someone believe the defamer. Hence, who knows, maybe this will show up as evidence in a suit some time, although Ray may well be too nice.JohnMashey (talk) 02:20, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
I consistently included scare quotes around the term "plagiarism" to signify that I find the use of that term in this context idiotic. I suspect McIntyre finds it so as well. There is no reasonable expectation that the Wegman Report *should* be entirely original research and the report *does* credit Bradley as a source, so the term doesn't apply to Wegman at all much less constitute part of a "3-deep chain". Get over it. --Blogjack (talk) 08:48, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Sigh. If people don't think this is plagiarism, they might go on record saying so to Rice U and George Mason U, see [20]. Even better, people could contact Rob Coleman @ OSU, Skip Garner at VA Tech, or Paul Ginsbarg @ Cornell, the 3 experts mentioned in [21]. People could explain to those guys why they are wrong, and ask them to admit their errors to me (by happy chance, they all know my email address.) I will be glad to change my mind if they do. JohnMashey (talk) 07:43, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
Sadly, either no one has taken me up on this suggestion, as I have yet to receive email from Rob, Skip or Paul. JohnMashey (talk) 06:25, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
  • I've corrected our account to "inquiry", per the GMU letter and Mashey (above). I've also copyedited out duplications and awkward phrasing, revised to follow the source more accurately, and shortened the account somewhat. See what you think. Thanks, Pete Tillman (talk) 02:31, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
    Seems mostly okay, but you've removed Wegman's reference to litigation. I think that's ominous enough, given the source, to merit inclusion, though the nature of the litigation is not clear. Publishers suing? Wegman suing? Some other suit? we don't know. --TS 08:13, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
I've only seen one unspecific and unconfirmed remark about the litigation so far. I don't think we can say anything useful about it until we get more and better sources, so I'm fine with leaving it out for now. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 09:05, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
That's what I thought, too -- it was a non-sequitur, really. Pete Tillman (talk) 15:14, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

North's testimony, general article cleanup needed sometime

The 'non-sequitur' you removed in this edit had nothing to do with litigation. It is a bit baffling, "But again, just because the claims are made, doesn’t mean they are false", but, because he said "But again...", I looked further up in his testimony, and it seems like what he meant was what I thought he meant: "But again, just because [Wegman's] claims are made, doesn’t mean [Mann's conclusions] are false." So, this seems to be the other half of North's reply - the bit that gives context to the first half. So I'm not sure this is a non-sequitur that deserves cutting out. --Nigelj (talk) 16:24, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
I looked through the testimony, too, & never really figured out what he was saying, which is why I cut it. But transcripts are hard going. Maybe your interpreted quote is what we should use? Or is this OR?. As is, we'll have puzzled readers.... Best, Pete Tillman (talk) 17:17, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The bit that I based my interpretation on is this, which comes earlier, spoken by North. "Let me just mention this, that the criticisms don't mean that the MBH claims were wrong. They just mean that the MBH claims are not convincing by themselves. So if you pull together other information, then that does change the view a bit." I'm not sure if we can link these two statements to make the interpolations that I made above without OR either, but I see the full quote has been reinstated anyway, which I'm happy with. I don't think it will matter, as I think we will have better things to discuss here from the inquiry discussed above. --Nigelj (talk) 17:52, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

I'm hoping someone else will read through the transcript and confirm your interpretation -- then we should be able to fix this small matter.
The whole article is something of a hairball -- I've been intending to clean it up for months, but the controversy keeps, well, being controversial -- and it's pointless to try a rewrite in the middle of such. An example problem is the Wegman report criticism subsection, which omits praise (NPOV) and includes mixed comments like North's. But, as you say, pointless to try to fix such in medias res. So consider this a placeholder for (hypothetical) future, calmer times. "The trouble with predicting the future is that it is very hard." -- Yogi Berra. -- Pete Tillman (talk) 19:23, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Untrue statement?

I question this statement from the beginning of the article: "but the same "hockey stick" graph is found in studies which do not use tree ring proxies.[6]" I read through the piece by Fred Pearce and do not see any support for this statement at all. Fred does mention that there are studies which "get" a hockey stick using Yamal, but the Yamal series is tree ring data (and strip bark tree rings IIRC). Am I missing something or is this statement completely unsupported by footnote 6? RonCram (talk) 14:33, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

While I could not find it in Fred's article, Mann did publish a non-treering study in 2008.[22] This was the study with the upside-down Tiljander sediment data.[23]RonCram (talk) 16:35, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
Well covered in Pearce's book, will add more info in due course. . dave souza, talk 10:58, 9 March 2011 (UTC)


By popular request, I've reorganised the body text to reflect the various controversies mentioned in the lead but not previously covered in the body of the article. Have added quite a few sources and shown the context, as well as scientific controversies not shown earlier. . dave souza, talk 10:58, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

Inhofe's name is misspelled

One of the subhheads in the article says "Imhofe" instead of "Inhofe". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:39, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Fixed. Thanks for pointing it out. Squiddy | (squirt ink?) 13:42, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

scientific consensus

In the second paragraph, there is a sentence, "It became a focus of attacks from those opposed to this scientific consensus."

I suggest changing the word "consensus" to "theory" for two reasons. First of all, the nature of science forbids consensuses. Science has hypotheses, theories, and laws. Theories are well established hypotheses that have been tested repeatedly. Laws are fundamental theories. Science is based on experimentation, not on consensus. Secondly, the definition of consensus is that everyone agrees. The sentence in question contains an inconsistency, for if some people are opposed to a theory, it cannot be a consensus, even if it is the majority opinion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:28, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

Eh, science is based on what works, loosely called the scientific method but there's not really one defined method, and scientific consensus means the current state of understanding of published scientists working in the field, irrespective of whether or not a few contrarians oppose it. I've added a link to that article for clarification. You also seem to misunderstand scientific law, which is a consistent observation rather than a theory. Hope that helps, . . dave souza, talk 18:54, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

Edit request from, 18 April 2011

The name "Peter Huybens" is misspelled. It should be "Peter Huybers". (talk) 14:23, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

 Done, thanks Rostz (talk) 14:37, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

Edit request from Toliynyk, 2 May 2011

In the "Hans von Storch 2004" section "...possibly as large at the 20th century spike in measured temperatures." shouldn't "at" be "as"? Toliynyk (talk) 18:21, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

Done, thanks! --Stephan Schulz (talk) 18:26, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

No controversy

Yes hi, the correction that needs to be made is that there is in fact no controversy. [Removed personal attacks and BLP violations]

As IPCC participant Jay Overpeck said in his email to Professor Deming, “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.” This was achieved by the Mann, Bradley, and Hughes 1998 paper in Nature titled, Global–scale temperature patterns and climate forcing over the past six centuries, the original peer-reviewed hockey stick article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:38, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

If you have reliable sources for your claims, please make a concrete suggestion for improvement. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 20:45, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
Actually, that is Jonathan Overpeck, not Jay. Petroleum geophysicist Deming David Deming has not produced such email, and the original claim was in a book review he wrote on Crichton's "State of Fear." It was done for JSE, which often publishes studies on UFOs, parapsychology, reincarnation, etc and most unusually, dog astrology. This post points at Deming's contributions to JSE, then for context summarizes the other articles in the same issue.
The same Deming quote is strongly relied upon elsewhere, such as The Hockey Stick Illusion, as discussed in archived talk section. Perhaps was reading that. Yes, reliable sources would be good.JohnMashey (talk) 03:01, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
Well, we know the Hockey Stick Illusion is unreliable, as it opens with claims that MBH98 was a cunning plot to "get rid of the medieval warm period". HSI also claims that the FAR showed the then current understanding, and that the FAR schematic "suggested that past temperatures had been warmer than today in a long period lasting from the eleventh to the fifteenth centuries." As this article notes, the FAR specifically states that the MWP was from about 950 to 1250. MBH98 covers the period after 1400, so it could hardly "get rid of" something it didn't discuss. MBH99 "supports earlier theories that temperatures in medieval times were relatively warm"[24] so didn't "get rid of" it either. . . dave souza, talk 05:16, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

Mostly good updates, but a few nits.

Note: SSWR is NOT RS, but it cites RS sources for many things, so those can be consulted.

"McIntyre and McKitrick 2005" "In a presentation to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation..." this was a non-peer-reviewed presentation to an audience unlikely to have any tree-ring expertise, and among other things cited or a key point David_Deming from a review of a science fiction book in the Journal_of_Scientific_Exploration. See SSWR pp.184-186.

"The report was not subject to formal peer review by paleoclimatologists." That is true, but it actually wasn't subject to formal peer review by anyone, much less paleoclimatologists or Social Network Analysis experts. SSWR pp.49-61 covers all this. Sending a paper to associates for quick reviews is not ever called formal peer review.

"...Wegman listed 6 people." SSWR p.54: 7 people, all statisticians.

"none of his peer reviewers had." SSWR p.52, Wegman has restricted idea of social network (coauthors only), but Amy Braverman coauthored with him, SSWR p.59 and had spoken at GMU 01/25/06, so he must have forgotten.

"Wegman's institution, George Mason University, began an inquiry in April 2010" To clarify, Roger Stough said they formed an inquiry committee in April, p.31 of (not RS) Strange Inquiries at GMU, left side. Vergano posted that. p.32 gives the email sequence where VP Roger Stough says the first meeting of the committee would happen the last week of August, 5 months after the complaint arrived. Of course, this isn't RS. From p.33, it seems Wegman was surprised and upset in August. But be careful of distinction between inquiry and investigation. From RS, I think all one can really say is that Stough *said* an inquiry committee was formed in April. Whether that actually happened or whether that meant an inquiry actually started is unclear, even from Stough's email.

Strange tales and Emails is the only public source for a copy of Wegman's email to Elsevier, which Vergano was working from, but did not post. That isn't RS either.JohnMashey (talk) 06:45, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

Thanks, will try to review these points, as you appreciate we're careful to confine the article to matters published in reliable sources. On the timing of the GMU "investigation", Vergano's article now has an update "GMU spokesman Dan Walsch clarified in the May 26, 2011, Nature journal that the year-old investigation is still in its preliminary "inquiry" stage, rather than a full investigation." I've modified the article on that basis. . . dave souza, talk 09:57, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes, one needs RS sources and of course, my pieces cite many, like the GMU policies or original, public source documents. Sadly, some of the most interesting items are non-RS, because they are emails or FAXes forwarded to me and usually not published anywhere else. However, while one cannot cite the non-RS source, one can at least use it to highlight statements that are too positive without having a real RS. Hence, the firm comment "began the inquiry process in April 2010" is not verified in RS. That Roger Stough *said* it started in April 2010 is RS, but if it did, the process broke their policies, badly. The (non-RS) evidence indicates the first inquiry meeting didn't happen for 5 months after the complaint was sent. Anyway, I think you can say that Stough said it started in April 2010, but you cannot firmly say that it *did* start then. "Strange Inquiries at GMU" analyzes (non-RS) GMU Policy 4007, but links to the RS original, and if you start with that, look at the timeline and compare with only visible RS events, including the amazing statement that 14 months in, they have yet to complete the (minimal) inquiry, you will see why there might be enough of a problem for Nature to editorialize. Since they haven't completed an inquiry, (stage E on SIGMU p.6), even if they suddenly started following their policies, the investigation could easily last another year. From Wegman's own words (but not RS), he thinks that his computer has been seized and he cannot supervise students, so GMU seems to be doing something, but the real truth is that we really do not know when the inquiry actually started, or what that actually means, but we know it should have been done within 3 months. Dan Vergano updated his [first story, as GMU spokesperson Walsch had gotten the story wrong last Fall, emailing Vergano '"In terms of my comments this past fall, my understanding of the internal procedure was not as clear then as it is now," Walsch says, by email.'JohnMashey (talk) 16:55, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
Looking over the source, the original USA Today article doesn't seem to have said anything about starting an inquiry in April, it [erroneously] said that Bradley had raised the complaint in April. It opened with "Officials at George Mason University confirmed Thursday that they are investigating plagiarism and misconduct charges made against a noted climate science critic" so I've adapted that to note that they'd "confirmed in October 2010 that they were investigating misconduct charges". No doubt the wording can be refined. . . dave souza, talk 17:21, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
Most academic institutions distinguish between "inquiry," which is a quick assessment, by a small group of faculty, and "investigation" which is the real thing. The former just says: "Is there enough evidence here to do an investigation?" From the latest statement by Walsch, GMU has not completed the *inquiry* and doesn't know when they will. He was apparently confused last October in wrongly saying investigation, and the confusion propagated, as in everyday usage, inquiry and investigation might synonymous, but in the context of academic misconduct, they have very specific and different meanings. (SIGMU p.10 questioned whether he and Stough were in synch.) In particular, upon completion of the *inquiry* phase, they must notify the Office of Research Integrity, unless they decide that investigation is not warranted. See SIGMU, p.18, quoting GMU Policy 4007. So, 14 months is slow, but possible for an investigation, but absurdly long for an inquiry, which is why nature mentioned the 12-week maximum for that. Assuming what Wegman says is true about computer seizures and disallowing supervision of students, I am surprised they would take such serious actions *before* an inquiry report, but then this whole sequence is so strange, it is hard to be surprised.JohnMashey (talk) 21:34, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarifications, I've tried to make a small improvement. An update in Journal Retracts Disputed Network Analysis Paper on Climate - ScienceInsider (an AAAS publication) puts online an e-mail they received from the editor in chief of Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, Stan Azen, "The following is the Elsevier retraction statement that will appear shortly......" Don't think we need to add that, as "An official with Elsevier, which publishes CSDA, says the notice will be posted in a week or two." . . dave souza, talk 16:31, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Revision of Wegman plagiarism controversy

I've revised this section along the lines of my recent revision of the corresponding section at Edward Wegman; see here. Specifically,

  • I added USAT Verano's bit that the plag. charges don't negate Wegman's finding of Mann et al's statistical problems: "The charges of plagiarism don't negate one of the basic premises of the report — that climate scientists used poor statistics in two widely noted papers."
  • General copyediting for NPOV, clarity, verifiability & flow.
  • Added Wegman's reponse to the initial blog-based allegations of plag & misconduct. Wegman was particularly critical of John Mashey's work: "I will say that there is a lot of speculation and conspiracy theory in John Mashey's analysis which is simply not true..."
  • Added the journal's explanation for the retraction, from the Science Insider article, as Tim Osborn suggested at the Wegman talk page.
  • Expanded bit re complaint to journal, per source: "Computer scientist Ted Kirkpatrick of Canada's Simon Fraser University, filed a complaint with the journal after reading the climate science website Deep Climate..."
  • Retraction per AAAS Science Direct article: "Retraction notice:This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor in Chief and co‑Editors, as it contain portions of other authors' writings on the same topic in other publications, without sufficient attribution to these earlier works being given."
  • Cut down the Nature editorial bit, as our previous, longer summary appeared to have POV problems. Note that Nature described the Wegman Report as "an infamous 2006 report to Congress."

Additionally, I'm questioning whether we should include the USAT bit from the Office of Research Integrity. Here's Verano's text: "Plagiarism can result in research sanctions from federal funding authorities, says federal Office of Research Integrity's John Dahlberg. He would not say whether ORI was investigating the researchers." This sounds like general backgrounding material, from a contact by journo Verano. Usage like "He would not say whether ORI was investigating the researchers" is problematic for NPOV, imo, as this is something like "have you stopped beating your wife." Suggest deletion of this bit. -- Pete Tillman (talk) 19:54, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Having reviewed the changes and checked them against the sources, I've modified various aspects. The point that the plagiarism doesn't negate the statistical methods part of MBH98/99 is referred to Gerry North as the relevant expert, who reiterated the point that these methods don't have a significant impact as shown by later studies: this is already covered in the previous sections. I've expanded it accordingly, perhaps we could agree on a concise way of putting this over.
No objections to Wegman's response to Mashey's analysis [blog hosted rather than blog based], but we shouldn't phrase it as though we're endorsing its truth, and nor should we trim his reference to the SNA aspect.
Journal's explanation for retraction is ok.
Ted Kirkpatrick reading DC was repeating the earlier part of the sentence on plagiarism, have tried to make that flow better. Don't think an inline link to DC is appropriate, if you like we could provide an inline cite to the original blog relating to plagiarism but that seems a bit dubious to me.
"Retraction per AAAS Science Direct article:" isn't that the Journal's explanation for retraction?
The Nature editorial obviously reflects mainstream views which should be shown properly, particularly concerning the timing. No problem with "infamous" Wegman report reference, clearly that's the mainstream view.
The Office of Research Integrity issue is important as it's not just an issue involving GMU and publishers, having looked over your comments I've removed "but did not say whether or not the Office was making an investigation". . . dave souza, talk 23:05, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
Dave: I'm basically happy with your "re-revision", except that I still think the Nature editorial part is overlong. Perhaps a third editor will offer an opinion on this, and/or on the whole revised section. And I think you're putting too much weight on Mashey's thing -- have you read it? Wegman's got a point. Anyway, I think we're getting there. Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 03:50, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

Some reverts & underlying scientific controversy

[self reverted and rewritten for clarity]

Dave Souza has reverted a number of edits I made [25] with the summary 'restore properly sourced statements, note S&B and Inhofe start of political controversy'.
I don't find this particularly convincing.

  1. 'restore properly sourced statements' refers to the underlined text which I had removed:

    The first significant published attack from the minority of scientists denying that global warming was a real problem[25][41] was a literature review by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas published in the peer reviewed but relatively obscure journal Climate Research on 31 January 2003, edited by sceptic Chris de Freitas.

    The issue is not whether the statements are properly sourced but whether they've got anything to do with Soon & Baliunas. I had to follow the two links to discover that someone here is trying to use this text about S&B to prove that those denying global warming are a minority (which is WP:COATRACK). So this is a clear NPOV violation.
    As for the Chris de Freitas reference, it's not clear from this garbled wording what he is even the editor of, much less what the point is that the Wikipedia editor is trying to make. If de Freitas's role in the controversy is important, it belongs in a discussion of the resignation of various editors, not in this sentence.
  2. 'note S&B and Inhofe start of political controversy'. S&B may have got entangled in a political controversy, but this article should be about the HS controversy, not some political controversy that it intersected with. The heading is giving the very misleading impression that all the following subsections, including the more relevant discussion of MM, are also part of a political controversy. The HS controversy is a scientific controversy, as this very article makes clear. Thus, this heading is quite wrong. Alex Harvey (talk) 13:45, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
To start with the last point, this is essentially a political controversy about the HS graph, and as the article makes clear there have been repeated political attacks on the graph despite repeated and continuing scientific findings that the main points made by the graph are valid. While MM are more involved with politics than science, I'm willing to review the heading. The point remains that the politicking of the S&B review study and congressional intervention marked the point at which attacks on the science started and and Inhofe began his political assertions that the science is a hoax, which turned to M&M when S&B flopped.
The quote from Spencer R. Weart, a distinguished historian of the topic, refers to this point: "The dedicated minority who denied that there was any global warming problem promptly attacked the calculations".[26] He refers this in his footnote to the S&B paper, "The first serious attack published in a peer-reviewed, albeit obscure, journal", and cites the historical overview by Monastersky which discusses S&B's "Journal Politics", noting that 5% of their funding was from the American Petroleum Institute, and they were paid consulting fees by the George C. Marshall Institute. Monastersky makes the point that they sent the paper "halfway around the world to Chris de Freitas" who "has often expressed the view that human activity is not causing any climatic danger, and that nations should not take steps to curb carbon-dioxide emissions." The Soon and Baliunas controversy was the initial focus of political accusations against the HS graph, and we have to briefly outline the political aspects of it as well as the way that their scientific claims were quickly overturned. Will review the phrasing for clarity, but these are significant aspects of the Soon and Baliunas controversy related directly to the HS graph. . . dave souza, talk 17:48, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
Dave, I think the Mann et al. "hockey stick" graphs have been rather thoroughly discredited, and that the HSG isn't taken very seriously among most non-political climate scientists anymore. All of the supposed "independent verifications" of this graph (that I've seen) also use such discredited proxies as stripbark bristlecone pines. The only non-tree-ring 2K yr reconstruction I've seen is Craig Loehle's (sp?), and it doesn't have a hockey-stick shape. The level of statistical expertise displayed in Mann et al's papers is generally pathetic. The conduct of science in some of these studies is so bad, one cannot judge if simple incompetence is sufficient explanation, or whether active malice is a possibility. I've argued elsewhere that most of this work has been done in good faith, but sometimes with limited competence and with a large, unhealthy dose of confirmation bias. Not that this matters too much -- the point is, there are serious, perhaps insurmountable scientific problems with most of the paleoclimatic reconstructions of the past 2,000 yrs or so, especially with the tree-ring reconstructions. Please note that I have relevant scientific expertise in this area -- this is not political spin. How much of this is verifiable for the encyclopedia is another question, but (imo) it's a disservice to our readers to assert as scientific fact, areas of knowledge for which there is substantial doubt.
So I don't really agree with you re this page being mostly about politics -- there's an ongoing scientific controversy that hasn't yet been resolved. I do agree with you that we need to cover the politics as well, and that the science has been caught up in the politics, and vice-versa. NPOV is obviously an ongoing concern -- not for your contribs, but other editors are, um, sometimes less scrupulous.
I'm not sure how much of this stuff can be supported by RS's, and obviously it's controversial -- but my independent scientific judgment is that no published tree-ring temp. reconstruction (that I've seen) can be trusted: too much noise, not enough signal. I guess I'll work on this, rather than bogging further down at the Climategate page. Let's hope a Certain Editor doesn't follow me ;-]
Hi, Alex -- good to see you back from your Wikibreak. Best, Pete Tillman (talk) 19:02, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
Hi Pete, you seem to be misinformed about recent papers showing support for variations on the hockey stick theme and its main conclusions. Your claims to expertise and distrust of scientific papers are of course not significant here.
Interesting that you bring up Loehle, presumably you mean his 2007 paper? That rather makes the case about politics, as it was published in what Pearce (in his book) calls "the avowedly political Energy and Environment journal" and not in a reputable journal for climate science. Of course it doesn't show the uptick of the hockey stick as didn't cover that late period, Loehle having mistakenly thought that BP meant before 2000 rather than before 1950, and having omitted the modern temperature record. The former point was apparently resolved in its 2008 correction, but it seems to have had a number of other issues and little subsequent credence. We could add a mention of that paper as a minority view, but need a reliable source showing how it was received by mainstream scientists: a blog piece by Gavin Schmidt could always be used for that. . . dave souza, talk 22:06, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
The Loehle graph has a bit more amplitude - but has the same basic shape as the MBH graph, as Dave correctly notes. As for the statistical provess of Mann - lets quote Peter Bloomfield:
The NAS also confirmed some problems with the statistics. But the mistakes had a relatively minor impact on the overall finding, says Peter Bloomfield, a statistician at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, who was involved in the latest report. This study was the first of its kind, and they had to make choices at various stages about how the data were processed, he says, adding that he would not be embarrassed to have been involved in the work."[27]
I'd take Bloomfield's view over yours, and he certainly does have a statistical background to brag about :-) [28] --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 23:10, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The thread seems to have veered from the point I raised. To cut a long story short I see Dave Souza said above he is willing to review the heading, which should not imply the HS controversy is a political controversy when it is in fact a scientific controversy. Since both 'political controversy' and 'scientific controversy' exclude each other I thought it best we go with 'hockey stick controversy'. What is wrong with the heading I proposed? Alex Harvey (talk) 04:32, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

"The first significant published attack" by S&B actually misses some of the relevant earlier publications. It was the first one that had Inhofe pushing it. See CCC, which of course is not itself RS, but cites many RS, so someone with time can go examine them. See pp.20-21 for the overview of chronology. [GUT2009], pp.251-259 covers the back-history of MM and the Fraser Institute (not a scientific institute). See events on 2002.03.28, 2002.10.15, and note about [ESS2002]. For more detail, see de Freitas section, pp.117-118. [DEF2002] is RS about itself, if not about science. DeFreitas was reviewing Soon & Baliunas(2003) during the same interval as Soon and Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen were reviewing deFreitas' article for the Bull. Canadian Petroleum Geology, published June 2002. It had 5 pages of attack on the hockey stick. Published Fall 2002, [ESS2002], by Essex&McKitrick, had 21 pages on "T-Rex Plays Hockey." Then see CCC p.162, 165 for FOIAed emails that show talk by Essex&McKtrick being promoted in Washington Feb 2003. Soon & Baliunas were already heavily involved with the George Marshall Institute, so they perhaps helped push harder on S&B(2003), but M&M got well-involved later with GMI and CEI. So, there were at least 2 publications in 2002, but perhaps not in a seemingly-credible venue as Climate Research. Anyway, see the various RS sources. Anyway, the attack on the hockey stick was well underway before S&B(2003) was published.JohnMashey (talk) 04:39, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
John, this has nothing to do with the point I raised either. If you have reliable sources and you think it's important, I certainly don't have any objection to you adding more historical context to the article. If you are intending to add allegations of a shadowy fossil fuel funded conspiracy, then the only issue is you will need extremely high quality sources due to WP:BLP and such additions are likely to be contentious and result in conflict. Otherwise, do you have any thoughts on the issue of the heading? Alex Harvey (talk) 05:06, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
I disagree, the HSC is mostly a political controversy. How can we tell? Very simple by noticing how much of the controversy is playing out in the scientific arena vs. in the political arena. The controversy in the scientific arena is negligible, as the NRC report notes, while the political controversy certainly is raging (still). The S&B debacle is entirely political with very little scientific content, and the controversy over the MBH paper (by now) is entirely political, since the paper has long ago lost its scientific relevance by being superceeded by numerous newer reconstructions. The actual scientific part of this controversy played out in the early part of the 2000's, and was already passé when the NRC report came out. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 10:56, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
This is wrong in many ways. (1) You don't mention von Storch; (2) what raging political controversy? (3) if we agree the scientific part played out in the (mid) 2000s it makes no difference because this article is supposed to be about that; (4) what about the Wegman controversy? That is also a scientific controversy, with an accusation of scientific (not political) misconduct. But even if I agree with you for the sake of argument, you have still at least conceded 'partly scientific' so must still be saying "'largely political, partly scientific' therefore let's forget the scientific aspect and call this a political controversy". That would be to hide the fact of the scientific controversy (badly) from the reader. Are you actually opposing my change to 'hockey stick controversy' so as to say nothing about the proportion of pol/sci controversy in it? Alex Harvey (talk) 12:58, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Not really Alex. The scientific controversy isn't something that you find in media or in other forums, that was played out behind the scenes, in journals.... It has been used in the political arena, though, which is what this article is about. The rationale for setting up the NRC and the Wegman reports was entirely political. The usage of the B&S article was entirely political. And whatever controversy that still exists about this issue, is also entirely political. We have to describe the scientific controversy - because that part has been used as the vehicle for the political controversy to play out - but lets not have any illusions that the controversy is, or at any point really has been scientific. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 15:36, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
So you are saying that there was a scientific controversy but we should use a heading that gives the impression that there wasn't. Have I understood this correctly? Alex Harvey (talk) 23:49, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Alex that titling the section "Political Controversy" is misleading. All 4 subheads refer to specific scientific papers, and while it is certainly true that politicians and activists (on both sides) have tried to "spin" the scientific results, the underlying controversy remains a scientific one, and the scientific controversy remains active. The neutral title "Hockey Stick Controversy" seems appropriate to me. Can we agree to retitle it to this or another neutral title? I think our readers will be able to figure out that politics is involved ;-] Thanks, Pete Tillman (talk) 21:57, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Restoring some balance in the discussion

For background, see my remarks just upthread

Damagingly for the mainstreamers, the Guardian has discovered that there was a vitriolic debate within the mainstream science community in 1999, during preparation of the IPCC report, about the validity of the graph. Mann and CRU's tree-ring specialist Dr Keith Briffa are often portrayed by their enemies as co-conspirators, but the CRU emails reveal that back then they were actually in competing camps. Mann promoted his hockey stick. Briffa was very dubious, especially about the prominence the IPCC wanted to give it.

More support for this add is readily available. Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 20:03, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

Your cited reference says that there was a debate 12 years age ago; your addition to the article says, "debate continues". That is wrong, and should be removed. There is no debate about this any more. If there is, please find a 2011 scientific paper debating it. --Nigelj (talk) 20:09, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
I think you are mistaken re the debate continuing, and I will add a more recent cite. Thanks, Pete Tillman (talk) 20:31, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

Preliminary stuff, with rebuttals -- you can skip to Moberg 2005

  • Editor's note: If you are primarily interested in the active proposal to change the article, skip to Moberg 2005. If you are interested in a semi-technical discussion of some peripheral (to this proposal) scientific papers, read on... Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 22:07, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Here's one: [29]

Craig Loehle, A 2000-Year Global Temperature Reconstruction Based on Non-Treering Proxies, Energy & Environment Volume 18, Number 7 - 8 / December 2007. doi 10.1260/095830507782616797. To forestall the inevitable (unproductive, in my view) criticism of the journal, note that Loehle's paper drew a respectable 28 cites. It's worth your while to compare Loehle's curves vs. our illustration. Here's the quote for the cite: Loehle's non-treering reconstruction "would indeed seem to show the MWP to be warmer than the late 20th century." (p. 1054 of ref)

I'll look for a RS secondary news item which would be a better choice, but this peer-reviewed paper clearly indicates the debate continued at least into 2007. Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 21:56, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

How strange, was just talking about that. You've forgotten the 2008 corrections, and the failure to look at the modern temperature record post 1935. Your quote presumably comes from the uncorrected version, but there are other issues and it seems that Loehle's reconstruction is pretty much in line with other reconstructions. Of course the early 21st century has been warmer than the late 20th century, does Loehle say whether he refers to the mean for "the late 20th century" or the high point of the last couple of years of it? Which have since been exceeded. . . dave souza, talk 22:17, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
  • And from 2010: "...we calculate that the MWP was about 0.5°C warmer than the peak warmth of the CWP."

Scapozza, C., Lambiel, C., Reynard, E., Fallot, J.-M., Antognini, M. and Schoeneich, P. 2010. Radiocarbon dating of fossil wood remains buried by the Piancabella rock glacier, Blenio Valley (Ticino, Southern Swiss Alps): Implications for rock glacier, treeline and climate history. Permaforst and Periglacial Processes 21: 90-96. Abstract --Pete Tillman (talk) 22:12, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

From one glacier? . . dave souza, talk 22:17, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
Oh, and the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change isn't a scientific journal, though they may be shills for Exxonmobil. . . dave souza, talk 22:38, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
  • -- do you really think they just made up the abstract?Or the whole paper? C'mon, Pete Tillman (talk) 01:58, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
They most certainly invented some of it. The sentence "and adjusting for warming between 1950 and the present, we calculate that the MWP was about 0.5°C warmer than the peak warmth of the CWP." is entirely CO2science's (compare [30] with [31]). And is not found in the paper. And CO2science is certainly not a reliable source. See also my comment right below here - which indicates that the comment is also wrong. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 02:39, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
You're right, Kim -- this was the first abstract Google found. As you point out, it's interesting but local. And, actually, the authors' abstract says, "the treeline in the Medieval Warm Period was about 200 m higher than in the middle of the 20th century, which corresponds to a mean summer temperature as much as 1.2°C warmer than in AD 1950." This is one of a family of fossil treelines around the world, actually, and is more evidence against the assertion that the CWP is unprecedented. Thanks for the reminder! Did you find a free link to Scapozza et al? Best, Pete Tillman (talk) 04:21, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
How exactly is it "more evidence against the assertion that the CWP is unprecedented"? Temperatures around Lugano (very close to this glacier) has risen by more than 1°C since 1950 - so it is doubtful if, even at this location, that the CWP is colder than the MWP. Keep in mind that the origins of the controversy is that the North Atlantic region likely differs from global during the MWP. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 10:27, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Kim, I was going to move this to your talk page, since it's moving further OT, but it it interesting ...
  • First, Lugano is a city of around 150,000 in Ticino canton, where the subject rock glacier & fossil treeline is -- so I think you would need to find a rural WS for a fair comparison. I strongly suspect UHI in your 1 deg rise...
  • Second, as I mentioned above, there are a lot of fossil treelines around the world -- including one on the Yamal peninsula, where (ims) the fossil treeline contradicts Briffa's dubious temp recon from there -- the Yamal "Supertrees". Empirical observation trumps dubious, noisy recons, every time. I'll have to look for a review article on these -- saw one AWB... Again, I'm repeatedly gobsmacked by the tunnel vision of dendros like Briffa -- and he's one of the better ones! Do they not teach multiple working hypotheses anymore? Or listening to the field collectors? Or challenging your own work, a la Feynman, before you publish it & someone else does? Gah.

Moberg and Bird: MWP = CWP??

  • Third, and most generally, Moberg et al. 2005 [32] has a nice NH reconstruction that doesn't rely on the poison tree-rings. See their Fig. 2, and if you can see any real difference between the MWP & CWP on their recon, I'll eat my socks. And this isn't even going into the thicket of comparing apples vs. oranges, aka proxy recons vs. actual thermometers. Not to mention the underestimated(?) uncertainty problems.
  • Also see Bird et al. 2011 [33] which studies the MWP in South America, and has a strikingly similar pattern to Moberg -- see their Figs 4 & 5, which also compares the Moberg NH recon directly. Again, MWP = CWP. Interesting stuff. Ready to admit it 's not so clear-cut, MWP vs. CWP? Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 21:31, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Tunnel vision? Pete, you've obviously got a very high opinion of yourself, but seem to be wearing extraordinary blinkers. Picking out one tree location paper that doesn't make broader claims, and deciding you know more than the experts? Perhaps you should look at some non-tree proxies. Bird et al. seem to be discussing rainfall and not drawing conclusions about global temperatures compared to recent decades. As for Moberg, trust you find your socks tasty - "We find no evidence for any earlier periods in the last two millennia with warmer conditions than the post-1990 period... [computer] model experiments that use natural-only forcings fail to reproduce this warming,"according to Moberg et al. (2005). . . . dave souza, talk 22:13, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Actually, Dave, I think I would have done a better job than (to pick a non-random sample) Michael Mann. I'm certain I have a better command of geostatistics than he does -- and I can also recognize when I'm wrong, admit it, and move on. Plus, I wouldn't have hidden my data.... Enough of that, which isn't really germane here.
What I will attempt to demonstrate, as my rework of this page continues, is that you can't tell, from the data available, whether the MWP or CWP is/was warmer -- MWP data is much noisier than the consensus admits (imo, of course), and the CWP data is also (arguably) shaky due to UHI and poorly-documented adjustments.
Once again, judging from Moberg and Bird: do you agree that MWP = CWP, given the data available in those papers? Moberg says so... with careful wording, so as not to rock the boat. But look at his curves, and Bird's. Really, they speak for themselves. Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 02:06, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Pete. I really think that you should consider what you've written here - basically you are saying (paraphrased): The researchers and papers are wrong - and i'm going to rewrite the article to show it. This is way outside of what we as editors are allowed to even contemplate!
As a sidenote: Moberg specifically disagrees with your statement that MWP = CWP. ("We find no evidence ...." see below). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 09:24, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
  • First: You can suspect as much as you want (hint: WP:OR). Facts are: Single glacier. Stops in 1950. No evidence that MWP>CWP.
  • Second: Your personal opinions again. You apparently think you know better than the established experts on the subject, and thus need to vent it. Sorry but i've asked before: Leave your opinions in the foyer. We go by what the literature says - not by our feelings.
  • Third: Please fetch the salt. If you are not capable of seeing a >0.4°C difference (or 0.2°C if you count from the top of the confidence interval), then there is something wrong with your eyes. (graph 2b is the one with the CWP attached, and the delta is clearly visible). And of course Moberg states it in text as well - so we don't even have to check glass prescriptions (What Moberg finds is "more variability, and a colder LIA - but not a warmer MWP - sorry):

We find no evidence for any earlier periods in the last two millennia with warmer conditions than the post-1990 period—in agreement with previous similar studies

  • Fourth: Yet another single proxy/location. Would you please stop this? This is a fallacy on the same terms as the usual "global temperatures can't be rising, because temps at station X hasn't risen, it has fallen!" argument about the temperature record. We go by what reconstructions are saying - or what assessment articles do. Anything else is WP:OR. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 09:15, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Kim, thanks for your reply. Re Scapozza et al, please note that I've already agreed with you re the Swiss treeline, in that it's a single point. But are you really arguing that finding a fossil treeline, that's above the current one, doesn't show that it was warmer then? Think about it. And there are a lot of these.
Re Moberg's curves: I think you should have another look at the family of curves they present in Fig. 2. -- and try to avoid comparing apples and oranges. Reconstructed temps aren't directly comparable to thermometer readings. At least Moberg's group makes it easy to tell which is which.
Now, let's look at Mobeg et al's conclusions, quoting a bit more than you or Dave did:
We find no evidence for any earlier periods in the last two millennia with warmer conditions than the post-1990 period—in agreement with previous similar studies. The main implication of our study, however, is that natural multicentennial climate variability may be larger than commonly thought, and that much of this variability could result from a response to natural changes in radiative forcings....
Again, please look at the curves while reading this. "No warmer conditions" doesn't exclude conditions "about the same as." Indeed, if you study our File:1000 Year Temperature Comparison.png and compare apples to apples (proxies to proxies), I think you will agree that the MWP peaks are just about the same as the CWP proxy peaks. A good argument for bringing the proxies up to date, and I'll see if I can find a RS that discusses that problem.
As for your complaint re Bird et al., I think you need to look a bit closer, and see how they put their results into regional and global context. Once again, to my eye, the MWP looks about the same as the CWP. It does help, I think, to be open-minded as new data becomes available, and as earlier stuff is reconsidered. Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 19:24, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Re: Scapozza: That argument is actually not as bad as you think, even though it is not immediately intuitive. Rate of warming vs. time for treeline to move is the answer. 2-300 years of slow warming is not the same as <50 years of warming - and that is what you see in the curves.
That there are "a lot of these" is not a good argument. There is a greater "lot" of proxies. It is the combination of proxies that is interesting here - not the individual proxies. You are making exactly the same error as S&B btw.
Moberg is arguing that there is more amplitude than MBH initially assumed - which is also what other studies have shown. Your argument that "Reconstructed temps aren't directly comparable to thermometer readings" is your personal view, and not one shared by the papers on this article. T(a)<=T(b) where a is the MWP, and b is between 1900-1989 is absolute max that you can get Moberg to say. But the trouble is that T(b)<T(2000) [goes for decadal averages as well]. Thus the sentence that MWP = CWP is false. Final comment on this WP:OR line of argumentation. If you look at 2d you can see that Moberg's MWP = MBH's MWP. It is in the LIA that the two reconstructions differ (or amplitude) - not in the MWP.
Looking at Tropical South America tells us nothing about global conditions. Regional != Global. And we certainly don't do our own conclusions here - that is something for the reconstructions, and the literature to do. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 20:07, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

[Ed. note: Kim's cmt below applies to Scapozza et al., 2010, upthread. Kim, do you want to move it, so it doesn't get orphaned? -- Pete Tillman (talk) 02:06, 14 June 2011 (UTC)]

Hmm, this tells us something about a specific glacier and location in the MWP - Specifically one at 46°27′02″N, 9°00′07″E... Very close to Lugano (46N,9E) ....not useful for a global commentary. But if were interested - we'd look at the temperature record for Lugano[34], which has warmed >1° since 1950. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 23:29, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

News items re Phil Jones and the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now, with a revised proposal

  • Ah, here's the news item I was hunting for:

Q&A: Professor Phil Jones, BBC, 13 February 2010]. Dr Jones is quoted as saying:

...if the MWP was shown to be global in extent and as warm or warmer than today (based on an equivalent coverage over the NH and SH) then obviously the late-20th century warmth would not be unprecedented. On the other hand, if the MWP was global, but was less warm that today, then current warmth would be unprecedented.

To me, this indicates Jones is agreeing that the debate is continuing, as of 2010. Do you agree? TIA & cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 22:22, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

Using an interview answer where Jones discussing hypotheticals to indicate anything is cherry-picking of the worst possible kind. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 09:35, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
And a secondary source, which may bring a grumble from Dave ;-)

"Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon." Source Daily Mail 14th February 2010, an analysis of the BBC interview.

Sorry for the "wall of text" here -- I think the last two would be sufficient to support my addition that "the debate continues", perhaps reworded a bit. OK? Best, Pete Tillman (talk) 22:29, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

Of course studies are continuing. That Q&A was rather rigged, and Jones gave an accurate answer. That doesn't invalidate the hockey stick graphs which always showed a possibility of variability and were openly a work in progress, it says that when new scientific findings turn up, then the graphs are modified accordingly, as in Mann et al. 2008. The most recent studies indicate that the MWP wasn't synchronous globally, we await future publications with interest. You do realise that reading the Daily Mail gives you cancer? . . dave souza, talk 22:33, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
  • OK, how about this add to the cap: December 2005 more than a dozen reconstructions showed the basic finding that late 20th century temperatures significantly exceeded previous temperatures during that period, [add] but research is ongoing, and the debate continues as to whether the current warming is unprecedented.

-- Pete Tillman (talk) 22:40, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

Not very good, it's continuing research, not a "debate" which frankly sounds rather creationist "teach the controversy". The current warming is precedented, as in the PETM which regrettably also featured high increases in CO2 levels. . . dave souza, talk 22:53, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
Erh? Teach the controversy? No, if we go by any standard, we go by what scientific assessments say - and there we have the IPCC, the NAS report and if i'm not mistaken one of the US GCRP reports. Fact of the matter is that to date no hemispherical or global reconstruction has had an MWP that was warmer than the CWP, thus a "research is ongoing" caveat gives way too much weight... Of course research is ongoing, it always will be, in any scientific area. — Preceding unsigned comment added by KimDabelsteinPetersen (talkcontribs) 23:17, 12 June 2011
{EC}The NYT reports today:
Yet while the attacks continue, the “hockey stick” graph’s basic premise — that the planet’s recent warming is unprecedented over at least the last millennium — continues to draw support from a growing number of independent studies.
Two new studies bolstering the “hockey stick” hypothesis were published just recently. One that appeared this month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters analyzed seashell deposits on the North Atlantic seafloor and determined that 20th-century warming in the region “had no equivalent during the last thousand years.
There's a link to a 2006 report by the National Research Council that "endorsed most, but not all, of Dr. Mann’s findings, which he later refined." And lots more.
This confirms Briffa changed his mind, wondering when and presumably why. Yopienso (talk) 23:29, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Combining some replies -- and thanks to all for some interesting comments --
  • To Yo: the NYT blog post is pretty weak tea, imo -- as are most of the "Green Blog" posts I've read there (not many). The JGR seashell isotope study may have some interest -- did you find a free link to the paper? I'll bet $5 the other one has the Bad Bristlecones, Yamal Supertrees, or both ;-} The FT thing is interesting, and I'd like to know why he changed his mind, too.
  • To Dave: the PETM is indeed interesting, but isn't it thought to be a methane-megaburp warming? Not too comparable to now, and the "carbon dioxide to increase at rates never previously seen on Earth" bit looks like the obligatory nod to AGW tacked on to insure continued funding... <G>

Anyway, how bout this:

...but research is ongoing, and it remains unclear whether the current warming is unprecedented. Better? --Pete Tillman (talk) 00:58, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Seem to me to be overselling a point that no scientific paper has stated. What exactly is wrong with the statement already there? --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 01:29, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Kim, I think the overselling here is in the part that reads "more than a dozen reconstructions showed the basic finding that late 20th century temperatures significantly exceeded previous temperatures during that period" -- the problem being that these allegedly "independent" studies virtually all rely on the strip-bark bristlecones -- which the NAS rcommends avoiding, to little avail, the Yamal Supertrees, Upsidedown Tijander lake sediments, or some unholy combination thereof. It's appalling to me that these clearly-invalid "proxies" get recycled, over and over again. Not to mention that the confidence limits/probable errors are absurdly underestimated in every tree-ring recon I've seen. Very noisy data.
Anyway, that one's on my list too, but you have to start somewhere.... Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 01:51, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Where is the scientific studies that tell us that your "supertrees" et al. are the causes of the current scientfic view? More specifically - i'd like to have some reliable sources to back up your claims, which seem to be purely blog-based original research. Your sentences such as "absurdly underestimated" is your personal views - can you please leave these in the foyer, and get back to what reliable sources are saying? --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 01:58, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

[outdent] Dear Kim, let us not get distracted: the proposal on the table is the "but research is ongoing..." bit above.

You asked "What exactly is wrong with the statement already there?" and I answered, wisely or no. I'm certainly not proposing to add my opinions as sources, but surely the topic is worth considering, if I can find RS's to support it, in due time. Thanks, Pete Tillman (talk) 04:06, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Well, the proposal has to be rationaled by something other than "i think that ...." our personal opinions are irrelevant. RS's are necessary. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 08:58, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Hi Pete, I'm sorry but I must admit I can't figure out what this thread is about. Are we arguing about whether or not the hockey stick controversy is ongoing? Alex Harvey (talk) 04:52, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
There's continuing political controversy, with every tiny adjustment being inflated by self-professed "skeptics" to claim that it invalidates all of the reconstructions: for example, the argument over whether the sign of Tijander lake sediments is significant in the relevant calculations. Very much the two-model approach we've seen elsewhere, but not serious controversy within science about the basic finding that late 20th/early 21st century warming is anomalous in the 1,000 year period, or even longer.
The question of whether the MWP existed, or exceeded late 20th century temperatures, has been exaggerated by "skeptic" claims that there's a worldwide conspiracy to hide it. Numerous papers, including MBH99, support theories of a relatively warm medieval period compared to the period up to mid 20th century. If it did exceed current temperatures, that's a worrying indication of increased climate sensitivity, so we could try to find reliable sources for majority views on that issu. . . dave souza, talk 09:00, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Um, Dave, I think your POV is showing here...<GG>
Alex: yes, the question is "is the hockey stick controversy still going?"
For newcomers (if any), my proposal is to add -- December 2005 more than a dozen reconstructions showed the basic finding indicated that late 20th century temperatures significantly exceeded previous temperatures during that period, [add] but research is ongoing, and it remains unclear whether the current warming is unprecedented. -- to the cap on the HS spaghetti-graph in the lede, citing (I suppose) the Pearce HS chapter, the Jones BBC interview and the Mail story on same. Radical, eh? Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 20:41, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Quibble: the sources you quote above (BBC Jones interview & Mail) talk about warmth, which I understand to mean temperature. In the wording above, you've used warming, which must be rate of change of temperature. Different things altogether. Squiddy | (squirt ink?) 21:37, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
To recap, Pete's proposal is not supported by reliable sources. The Daily Mail is a sign of desperation, or not taking this discussion seriously. . . dave souza, talk 22:17, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Proposal to use a quote from the 2006 NAS/NRC Report

Pete, I think the North report said something like it's 'very likely' that present temperatures are unprecedented, although uncertainty in the data makes it impossible to be sure. The exact wording is better. But no one here is going to challenge the wording of this report so why don't we go with that? Alex Harvey (talk) 06:54, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
I don't see your point. "very likely" and "not sure" seem to work together very well. Maybe you can point to the exact source? --Stephan Schulz (talk) 07:10, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Here is the source: [35]. I am saying that the wording should be at minimum fully consistent with this. See also the previous page after following the link. Alex Harvey (talk) 08:15, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
And please explain how our wording isn't compatible with the NRC report, which said that the confidence was >(66%,2:1). (which in IPCC terms would be "likely" and in the NRC report is "plausible". And which is already (several times) in the body of our article. The trouble with Pete's wording is that it makes it seem as if things are getting less confident instead of more confident - and indicates more flux/uncertainty than is really there. (not to mention the abyssmal reliability of the references that he is giving). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 09:01, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
I am not actually arguing for Pete's wording but suggesting a compromise. I think the problem Pete is trying to address is that the caveats are not mentioned in the text under the 'spaghetti graph', and that could be misleading. So I am suggesting we add the same caveats as found in the North report. Alex Harvey (talk) 13:17, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

[outdent] Alex, that seems a reasonable compromise, and indeed addresses my concerns. Would you care to suggest wording? And thanks for pulling up the NAS report.

Kim: I think that "things are getting less confident instead of more confident" is a reasonable summary of my opinion. and that of such scientists as Judith Curry. I don't think there has been an appreciation of how uncertain a good deal of this data actually is, but that's now being reconsidered (I believe). This work may be a bit too "leading edge" for the encyclopedia, but I'm looking for a RS review that we can use to demonstrate that this is a problem that's being addressed.

Dave: the Daily Mail is garnish -- please see the BBC quote of Jones. Anyway, the Devil made me do it: DM + DS = [boom] <G> Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 18:44, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Pete, if you want to be leading-edge, you need to reconsider Jones' BBC interview, in the light of this published today in New Scientist. --Nigelj (talk) 19:01, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Pete, you are allowed your opinion as much as you want - but unfortunately here we have to go by what the literature says - not your opinions. And the literature disagrees with you. (as simple as that) Curry is an admitted "non-expert" here (she even admits to not having followed the debate), and her opinions are thus irrelevant, even if they appeared in other than Blogs. You don't get points for trying to use an "Argument from non-Authority" Using your "interpretation" of what Jones means is just as bad as using the Daily Mail. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 20:15, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Kim, I think you're behind the curve on Curry -- please see Overconfidence in IPCC’s detection and attribution, a late draft of a paper she has in review for publication. Interesting reading -- you may even wish to comment there, if you see errors. Uncertainty in climate change data is in fact one of Curry's current research interests . Best regards, Pete Tillman (talk) 18:10, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
No, i don't think that i'm behind the curve on this. Very simply: A (potentially) peer review paper on a different topic that paleoclimate reconstruction, doesn't make you an expert on paleoclimate reconstruction. That shouldn't be hard to understand. Philosophizing on undertainty handling in Detection and attribution is not p.cli.recon. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 21:22, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
Kim: I've already agreed with Alex that it would be better to go with the NAS/NRC source he mentions. So here's a new proposal for the caption:
The term "hockey stick graph" has been used for numerous reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere temperatures for the last 600 or 1,000 years. In 2006, the US National Research Council found it "plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium." [cite NRC report, #95 in current version of article]
This is from the top of p.4 of the report [36]:
Based on the analyses presented in the original papers by Mann et al. and this newer supporting evidence, the committee finds it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium.
This would seem preferable to the rather loose, uncited cap we have now. Thoughts? --Pete Tillman (talk) 21:04, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Rather outdated, and "plausible" has subsequently been explained as meaning 2:1 odds in favour. The term "likely" used in AR4 is both clearar and more up to date: "Average Northern Hemisphere temperatures during the second half of the 20th century were very likely higher than during any other 50-year period in the last 500 years and likely the highest in at least the past 1300 years." We can of course look for updates, but that seems to be state of the art. Alternatively, Pearce states that the HS has been supported by more than a dozen subsequent reconstructions. . . dave souza, talk 21:14, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Agreed, this article needs to move forward with the times. The 2010 GISS Global Annual Mean Surface Air Temperature is at +0.63 deg C, which is off the scale of the graph we are discussing the caption for.[37] This is the context for the present (media) discussions. Such media and political discussions of short term climate 'news' are largely nonsensical, but there is no logic to freezing them at some arbitrary point in the past if we are going to report on them (e.g. 2006). --Nigelj (talk) 22:03, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
This is original research, and I don't think a good argument. (2010 was an El Nino year; the temperature is presently cooler than in 2006.) The real question is, if you say NRC is dated, are there newer, authoritative reviews for us to consult? I don't think so, and we can't just pick & choose our own primary sources, so I can't see any other way available to us than to use the NRC 2006 report or IPCC 2007. NRC is better because it was focused specifically on this issue. Thus, we need something that is consistent with NRC:

Based on the analyses presented in the original papers by Mann et al. and this newer supporting evidence, the committee finds it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium. The substantial uncertainties currently present in the quantitative assessment of large-scale surface temperature changes prior to about A.D. 1600 lower our confidence in this conclusion compared to the high level of confidence we place in the Little Ice Age cooling and 20th century warming. Even less confidence can be placed in the original conclusions by Mann et al. (1999) that “the 1990s are likely the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium” because the uncertainties inherent in temperature reconstructions for individual years and decades are larger than those for longer time periods and because not all of the available proxies record temperature information on such short timescales.

This seems to be the bottom line, but presently not the bottom line in this article. Alex Harvey (talk) 12:34, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
Superseded by AR4 and subsequent research, also rather long and woolly to the point of becoming misleading. For a better basis;
“Average Northern Hemisphere temperatures during the second half of the 20th century were very likely higher than during any other 50-year period in the last 500 years and likely the highest in at least the past 1300 years. Some recent studies indicate greater variability in Northern Hemisphere temperatures than suggested in the TAR, particularly finding that cooler periods existed in the 12 to 14th, 17th, and 19th centuries. Warmer periods before the 20th century are within the uncertainty range given in the TAR.”
Will review how this is covered in secondarty sources. . . dave souza, talk 17:19, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
Dave, could you also post a link to the AR4 bits you quoted above? I for one think we could work up a consensus proposal from that -- though I will note that the IPCC has been tainted (to a degree) by [Smears against identifiable living person struck, per WP:BLP. Guettarda (talk)] widely-publicized scandals, see IPCC#Criticism of IPCC. SFAIK, the US-NAS has a better reputation -- so it might be better to go with them. Caesar's wife, and all that. Best, Pete Tillman (talk) 17:29, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
Pete, Do you really think that your comment is appropriate? I seem to recall, that you, earlier in this discussion saying "your POV is showing" - what exactly do you think you are doing here?
On topic though: The IPCC is the best reference here, since it is newer and more thorough. Ie. it both encompasses the NRC report + research from other refs. Hegerl et al(2007)[38] comes to mind - which extensively cited in SAP. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 18:05, 15 June 2011 (UTC)