[Stoves] Relabeling to "Monckton vs Mann"
crispinpigott at gmail.com
Thu Jan 1 22:00:35 CST 2009
I am referring to your letter of 29 Dec:
> 1. Yesterday, Crispin sent us (and I went) to:
>> at_hockey_stick.pdf has it all.
> Intrigued, I found some interesting dialog about the author Monckton at
There is much there attacking him personally, mostly contributors repeating
each other's insults and very little that relates to substance and
information. He was recently maligned and then complimented for his
contribution to atmospheric science in New Scientist (which is editorially
very hostile to him). See
http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/200807/monckton.cfm for a
comprehensive example of his work. Note the editorial disclaimer at the
beginning. It was in fact peer reviewed at APS's request. I presume the
disclaimer was to prevent the APS being defrocked.
The core of your mail is here:
>4. I am interested in knowing from Crispin and any others wishing to jump
>in - what part of the Mann story about the "hockey stick" (slightly new
>version in his Fig. 3) looks fishy in this PNAS article which defends the
>hockey stick characterization?
First, this hockey stick shaped graph is important. It lies at the core of
the populist belief that CO2 emitted by 'the industrial age' has caused, and
is causing, an unprecedented and rapid rise the global temperature of both
the atmosphere and the oceans, rapid melting of the ice around Antarctica
and the Arctic and to rising ocean levels, 'extreme weather events', an
increase in flooding, in droughts, in crop failures, hurricanes, the spread
of malaria and other diseases, the severity of El Ninos (ENSO events) and a
great many other events, real or imagined; together: The Claims.
It is therefore important to understand what Mann claims his hockey stick
chart represents, what it does not represent, and what people think it
means, and what people can tell other people it means. As everyone is aware,
numbers can be used and misused. The hockey stick line is a form of 'trend
line' such as one can produce in an Excel chart. Different formulae are
offered in Excel to give different trend lines.
Because the temperature of the Earth from various proxies, for example cave
stalactites which occur all over the world, do not show a hockey stick-shape
in their trend lines, one can be immediately suspicious of one that does.
The long term CO2 proxies are not very similar to the temperature proxies.
Absence of correlation necessarily implies absence of causation.
Mann produced his hockey stick by manipulating the data using a set of 11
statistical processing steps which have been detailed not by him, but by two
persistent Canadians who set out to determine if the chart was a fraud,
suspicious because the trend line is so different from the data. They are
statisticians and their claim is that Mann and co. did not understand what
they were doing, pointed out the mistakes and encouraged him to discuss
their work with statisticians who did. Once given a heads-up, others have
carefully tracked Mann's publications to expose any additional errors or
plain cheating. The statistical methods used in his most recent paper in
2008 were analysed in depth by Monckton in the article referred to in an
It is a common characteristic that anyone who produces numbers these days
showing that The Claims are exaggerated, suspect, or unfounded is labelled
with names inspired by a quasi-religious mentality. In short, the hockey
stick is being used as founding belief for a new 'revelation' of an
anthropocentric world and we are all sinners. The hockey stick is claimed to
be an incontrovertible miracle of science and numbers (statistics) showing
once and for all that we, humankind, have the upset the natural order to
such an extent that if we do not engage in a specific set of political and
economic actions, the world will in a few years roast into a cinder ball
I don't care if science is or is not published in peer refereed journals.
Some 'prestigious' journals have taken an editorial stance that they will
not print articles undermining The Claims. That stance is anti-science.
Galileo would not have been published in any church-refereed journal of his
time. Sound science can be done by anyone who wants to. Scientists are not
priests, even if they behave like it, or believe they are. Priestcraft is
when someone claiming authority tells you what something means, and what you
must do about it. Climate science is filled with priestcraft, priests of
different stripes telling you that priests of other denominations are
unsaved. Thus I read and draw my own conclusions according to my
understanding at the time. I encourage you to do the same.
I am not impressed by any argument that is based on the rejection of
someone's opinion or observation because they are not 'qualified' to
comment, nor because they did not put it into print in a journal, nor
because it is uncommon, or because it is common, or because a lot of
ordinary people agree with it, or not. Ideas stand on their own. Science is
not run on the basis of consensus, politics is.
There are two parts to my reply to you which much necessarily be brief
because of the format of this discussion list and because it is not
difficult to explain.
Part one: the response of the Earth to a change in the concentration of CO2
in the atmosphere.
I now understand that CO2 is of minor importance compared with other climate
influences and that varying it from its present concentration will have
little bearing on the Earth's temperature. Money spent averting it is
probably wasted. The Carbon supply is limited and fading soon. The response
of the atmosphere to CO2 concentration is highly non-linear. Another reason
I think this way is that there are other testable theories which convince me
the variation in the atmospheric and ocean temperatures is in the greatest
proportion caused by natural effects rooted in solar cycles. Although there
are some short term correlations, I do not agree that the solar insolation
that changes with variations in the Earth's orbit are sufficient to cause
this as have been suggested by several published and unpublished authors.
The excellent and largely unpublished work of Dr Theodore Langscheidt
provides the best explanation so far. His modelling is accurate, his
predictions as precise as could be expected from the data (about a month),
and the long term climate proxies (520 million years) from Be10 support his
theses. The major driver of temperature change is the coverage by low level
clouds, stimulated (or not) depending on cosmic radiation penetrating first
the heliopause and subsequently the Earth's magnetosphere. The main
refutation on Realclimate of his research has not been of the science, but
to fault him for not knowing the exact mechanism for Solar motion to
influence the formation of Beryllium 10 by cosmic rays (which are an
accurate record of the intensity of cosmic rays reaching the ground). The
fact that he has been accurately predicting ENSO events years in advance has
been largely ignored, even by the people whose job it is to predict ENSO
events. The reason appears to be that he shows the sun accounts for more
than half of all temperature variation (at least) undermining the CO2
Historical CO2 levels do not support the idea that the Earth's temperature
is regulated primarily by the CO2, if at all. So far as I have read, there
is no proof that CO2 leads temperature changes. It is now widely believed
that CO2 levels actually follow the Earth's temperature by a number of
years. Some say 800 years (Greenland ice core data) some say less. It is as
widely known that the CO2 concentration has been much higher (7000 ppm) but
rarely lower than it is now, and the temperature as been the same, higher or
lower for no known CO2-related reason. Poor correlation.
Part two: the Earth's temperature according to Mann on the one hand, and
many others on the other.
The hockey stick curve is not really claimed to be an accurate
reconstruction of the world's temperature. It is a curve produced by adding
up a number of sets of proxy data to generate a formula which plots the
line. Mann claims to be able to predict the future temperature of the Earth,
for example that it will have risen at least 0.2 degrees 1998-2008. Clearly
it has not. The accuracy of the trend line can be calculated by checking
the nearness of real (or proxy) data to the line, something called the R
squared value. You can turn on the R squared value in an Excel spreadsheet
to see how well the trend line predicts future or 'in-between' data. You
will recall that Mann refused to give that figure for years while the
hysteria about CO2 was building, in spite of it being the most important
validating number for the predictions being made about. The R^2 value for
the chart used in the IPCC reports is approximately zero, meaning that as an
indication of global temperature the hockey stick line has scientific
credibility of approximately zero. This is not news.
Mann is a dendochronologist - a tree ring expert. He holds that 1) tree ring
width can tell us what the temperature of the Earth was at the time the ring
grew and 2) that anyone who does not use tree ring data is not doing a good
job of reconstructing global temperatures, repeatedly referring to his own
work as 'skilful'.
People speaking in opposition to this point out that 1) tree rings are often
a poor way to determine the temperature of the Earth, particularly the
species he studied, 2) tree rings are a better record of rainfall, 3) the
proxy temperatures indicated by most tree rings do not correlate well with
other more reliable temperature proxies, in fact with any proxies, 4) there
are clear, indisputable facts that disagree with the line, a great deal.
The most important is the claim (by the line and by Mann) that there was no
'Medieval Warm Period" (MWP) with global temperatures 1 or 2 or possibly
more degrees C higher than today. But seems it was quite a bit warmer 1000
years ago than it is now, and about as warm then as the IPCC says it might
be in 100 years of continued CO2 emissions. Clearly the MWP creates a
problem for the AGW/CO2 hypothesis.
Have a look at the lower portion of Fig 3 at
http://www.pnas.org/content/105/36/13252.full.pdf+html . Underneath are the
words, "...and land plus ocean temperature reconstructions and estimated 95%
confidence intervals." This gives the impression that the lines shown are
accurate to within 95% of reality. They are not but the wording suggests it
Note that at the end of the year 2000, there is a spike in temperature on
the Red CRU Instrumental Record line. The peak was in 1998 in line with the
extreme El Nino that year, accurately predicted by Langscheidt. It was not
hotter in 2008 than 1998. There is a squabble on now about whether 2005 can
be shown to be as hot as 1998 or not. If it can, the world has not warmed in
10 years. If it can't, it is cooling. Have a look at the real data, lots of
it. It is very interesting to see the only hockey stick among the 60
temperature series charts at
http://www.junkscience.com/MSU_Temps/Warming_Proxies.html is Mann's.
Back to Fig 3. Look at the temperature from the CRU data for about 1935. It
is shown to be very significantly lower than for 1998, in spite of the fact
that it was as hot in the 1930's as in 1998, which was in turn hotter than
2000. How accurate is a trend line that does not correctly show years as
recent as 1935 and 2000 for which the temperature is well known?
Mann and Jones 2003 (the thin blue line) calculates that the MWP was 0.2
degrees cooler than 1970 (the Zero horizontal line). The pale blue line is
Mann et al 1999 claiming it was 0.4 degrees cooler, not warmer at all.
In fact, during the MWP Vikings were farming, living and dying in southern
Greenland. Some are buried in graves that are now (2009) still covered by
permafrost. I know Vikings were tough, but they did NOT farm permafrost.
Glaciers in the Alps are now melting back to the point where sites occupied
during the MWP are being uncovered. These are facts highly inconsistent with
the Earth being 1.5 degrees cooler 1000 years ago than now. The claim that
it was cooler 1000 years ago is bunk. The CO2 level is much higher now than
it was 1000 years ago, yet the temperature is lower. Poor correlation.
The Thames River has frozen 40 times in recorded history. None of these
were in the MWP and nearly all of them were during the Dalton and Maunder
sunspot minima in the 1500-1800 mini ice age. People including Mann have
claimed in print that there was no such severe cold period, others that it
was a minor cooling caused by (just one example) the Black Death plague of
1388 that caused a drop in methane production when European farming
At the end of the article in the section titled "Methods" is Mann's
explanation of why he did not use the 'squared correlation coefficient' and
why he discarded certain sets of data. Monckton gives a very different and
frankly more believable reason for Mann discarding certain data sets and not
using the R square values to show accuracy.
Between 1917-1922 the temperature in the USA rose 2.2 degrees. See
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/ and scroll down to "Annual Mean
Temperature Change in the United States". The dramatic change in temperature
between the very quiet solar cycle 14 and hyperactive cycle 17 (1905-1040)
is very obvious from the Red 5-Year Mean line. CO2 was not involved.
Incidentally the 1992 low (see the sudden dip in the black line) was
predicted by Langscheidt based on solar motion alone, as was the 2003 ENSO
event. The latter he announced with some fanfare three years earlier because
no one was taking his solar motion studies seriously enough. ENSO predictors
using precursors have models with a predictive ability of about 4 months.
He has now predicted major droughts in the USA in 2018 and 2025 to further
underscore the solidity of the solar approach to weather and temperature,
and as far as I can see, to put the spike deeper into the AGW/CO2 theory.
Part 3, Conclusion
Mann has taught us all a very important lesson, which is that global public
initiatives should not be based on un-reviewed papers (the hockey stick was
used by the IPCC but not published when the hysteria began) for which the
data and calculation methods are not provided, which do not stand up to
standard accuracy checks, which is contradicted by literally scores of other
studies of the same thing and which are defended by individuals or groups
with a strong personal interest in the consequences.
It seems the world is going bonkers about CO2, amplifying it far beyond its
actual impact, at the opportunity cost of developing the alternative energy
systems that have been needed for decades. If we approach energy with common
sense perhaps they will be ready by the time carbon peaks in 2035 and the
energy peak in 2050. Maybe not.
In case someone tells you the oceans are still heating up, see the data at
A site questioning the handling and repeated revisions of GISS temperature
data to make the '30's look cooler than now is
product/. The relevance is that when a young Torontonian showed that NASA
made a mistake in saying that 1998 was hotter than the '30's (which they
admitted), they later revised the temperatures in the '30's downwards.
So, Ron, the defence of Mann's hockey stick by his friends in the PNAS
article is not as meaningful or demonstrative as the reality of Vikings,
permafrost, glaciers, archaeology, other better studies and logic. The
calculated hockey stick does not represent reality and cannot predict it.
Methinks the king is in want of attire.
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