From the trenches: Michael Mann on Wegman and the climate wars

The latest video from Peter “Climate Crocks” Sinclair in his new series at The Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media is an extended interview with Michael Mann about his new book (reviewed by Bryan here), and gives an excellent overview of the hockey stick issue — including the Mashey/Deep Climate discovery of plagiarism in the Wegman Report. Michael Mann, the Hockey Stick … and the Climate Wars is well worth watching, if only for the frankly incredible way that Wegman answers a question about carbon dioxide.

74 thoughts on “From the trenches: Michael Mann on Wegman and the climate wars”

  1. A great video, by a great videographer about a great scientist, who has suffered great wrongs at the hands of a great and evil conspiracy. All in all, a great tragedy for mankind.

  2. Wegman’s monumental and shameful ignorance is one of those queasy ‘I’m awake, but I can hardly believe this is real’ moments where we are forced to come to ourselves and realise the depths of insouciant overweening arrogance that underlies the Denier challenge to mainstream science.

    What an appalling fool.

    1. I guess Wegman got hit on the head by falling CO2 molecules once too often… or was it the volcano under his paddling pool as a child?

      All that magma on hot days can have an effect on a young and impressionable mind – look what it’s done to Richard C2!

      1. Presumably it is possible to know something about statistics and not atmospheric physics, and vice versa.

        Wasn’t it one of the conclusions of the climategate enquiries that the scientists needed more input from professional statisticians?

          1. Wegman’s comments on CO2 have no bearing whatsoever on this case. it is a statistical exercise using paleoclimatic datasets

            Maybe you’d like to comment on the inverted Tiljander proxy if you want to talk about defending the indefensible.

            1. It is not Wegman’s plagiarism which is the major problem in his report, it his completer lack of honesty or rigour (take your pick) in reviewing the methods used by M&M to show “hockey sticks” were produced every time you used Mann’s PCA. M&M cherry picked thousands and thousands of runs to get any with a “hockey stick” shape discounting of course, in the process, any “hockey sticks” which had blades turned down.

              That shows three character attributes that should make Wegman a laughing stock, firstly the cherry picking and not realizing that the data had been cherry picked, his plagiarism of both climate science and work in his own field (social networking) and his complete ignorance about simple science. How could anyone select such a character to review honest scientists work? Unless the person choosing him knew beforehand that he would give him the interpretation he wanted to hear and to hell with data and facts.

              Anyone who supports Wegman shows that their morals and honesty are as low as his.

            2. I see this has already been well tackled. Do try to learn at least a little about the subject before mouthing off on it, Andy.

              Oh, that’s right, you’re a Denier, aren’t you? Not your modus operandi, then.

              But I will just add ‘and then tried to blame the work-experience kid’ to the above.

              Yep, that’s the kind of ‘expertise’ the world really needs more of…

            3. Ian:
              “his plagiarism of both climate science and work in his own field (social networking) ”

              Wegman is a statistician, not an SNA researcher.If you haven’t read it, see Strange Tales and Emails from last May.. Don’t worry, it’s only 17 pages, but Wegman’s acrobatics to try to evade retraction were amusing. Turns out the strognest SNJA expertise on his team was from someone who took a week’s short course.

            4. Have you performed a sensitivity analysis to determine the impact of the Tiljander proxy data on the paleoreconstruction results? Sensitivity analyses are part and parcel of paleoclimate reconstructions to ensure that the reconstructions aren’t too heavily dependent on any one piece of data. Mann recognized that the Tiljander data had non-climatic influences and dealt with it accordingly. And it turns out that leaving out the Tiljander and other data claimed to be “problematic” has little effect on the final results (Google is your friend here).

              When you guys start performing (and publishing) sensitivity analyses that demonstrate that whatever “problems” you identify have any real effect on the final results, then maybe people will start taking you seriously. But until you do that, we can rightfully dismiss you “skeptics” as smoke-blowing parrots.

            5. Folks, the McIntyre critique of Mann’s work, the “hockey stick cherry-picking” is completely invalid for multiple reasons. Here’s one: When McIntyre generated the “random noise” that he used to produce “noise-only” hockey-sticks, he totally screwed it up.

              From my Amazon review of Dr. Mann’s new book (entitled “Attack of the C-Students”):

              What M&M did here was to implement a noise model that was “trained” with tree-ring data so that it would produce red noise with statistical properties similar to real “tree-ring data” noise. OK, so that was the plan. But they forgot to do one thing. They did not detrend the tree-ring data first (to remove the long-term “hockey-stick” global warming signal from the data).

              As a result, their “random noise” was contaminated with hockey-stick signal statistics!

              Dudes — if you are going to use a noise model that has been “trained” with real data, you have to remove the signal from the real data first! Otherwise, you aren’t going to end up with a “noise model”; you will end up with a “signal+noise model” instead.

              Folks, this is Time-Series Analysis 101. A noise-model contaminated by signal is completely worthless for assessing “noise-only” performance, for what should be very obvious reasons.

              In his attack on Mann’s hockey-stick, McIntyre really did “screw the pooch” in multiple ways.

            6. Maybe you’d like to comment on the inverted Tiljander proxy if you want to talk about defending the indefensible.

              Here’s a tip, clever clogs. Don’t just regurgitate ‘sciencey’ crap you’ve cut-and-pasted – whether via memory or keyboard – from sources that, while ideologically pure, have no freakin’ idea what they’re rabbiting on about.

              You’re almost certainly at least 2, and probably more, degrees of separation from even a trace of competence here, and even that source – if it exists at all – most likely won’t stand proof to much scrutiny!

              Because doing this lets unkind people like me come through later and draw attention to the fact that despite the ceaseless distraction of your relentless mouth you’re not actually, um, wearing any trousers.

              On any reading of the above, it’s clear that neither you, nor your immediate sources, have the slightest idea what you’re rabbiting on about while tossing around these big, grown-up, high-falutin’, clever-sounding phrases about in lieu of an actual knowledge-based argument.

              As so often happens. 😉

          2. bill March 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm
            Tiljander:

            The claim by Montford in The Hockey Stick Illusion
            (page 367) is that the lake sediment proxies from Finland, named after the PhD student Mia Tiljander, were contaminated by the ditch digging rather than any climatic signal.
            However, rather than reject the series, Mann chose to do a sensitivity analysis to show that the proxy didn’t matter.

            1. How QED? You’re kidding, right?

              You:

              Maybe you’d like to comment on the inverted Tiljander proxy if you want to talk about defending the indefensible.

              Me:

              You’re almost certainly at least 2, and probably more, degrees of separation from even a trace of competence here, and even that source – if it exists at all – most likely won’t stand proof to much scrutiny!

              You:

              The claim by Montford in The Hockey Stick Illusion… [yada yada yada]

            2. bill March 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm
              How QED? You’re kidding, right?

              … [yada yada yada]

              Your chimpanzee imitations are not helping me understand this issue any better. Would you prefer some other references that describe the problems with this proxy series?

  3. By reading this thread, you’d think that the entire case for the Hockey Stick rests on the Wegman enquiry. For followers of Climate Audit etc., this is clearly not the case.

  4. andyS,
    You, like deniers everywhere, really have a gift for getting things backwards.
    Who gives a flying **** what climate zombies think, if indeed they do think? The Mann hockey-stick has been more or less replicated repeatedly from completely different data sources, the hockey-stick is in the data.

    It is the Koch-funded lie factories that are stuck on the Mann hockey-stick.

    The science has moved-on. What’s so fascinating is the extent of dishonesty employed in the Wegman Report.

      1. The swastika is a protest against your pompous and deluded comrade in mendacity, Lord Münchhausen of Bunkum, who seems particularly fond of casting around the Nazi slur.
        As for your troll accusation, ever heard of irony or hypocrisy?

        You are getting things backwards again.

        1. So he is ” my ” Lord Monckton is he? Did it ever occur to you and you fellow cultists that there is no other side. Just normal people in everyday life surrounded by mouth foaming crazies like you

          1. Nice quick sidestep away from the real issue, Andy, namely:

            “The Mann hockey-stick has been more or less replicated repeatedly from completely different data sources, the hockey-stick is in the data. It is the Koch-funded lie factories that are stuck on the Mann hockey-stick. ”

            Don’t worry, I don’t expect a genuine, non-smarmy answer from you… did you train for this, or are you a natural?

            1. This post is about Mann and his Hockey Stick, so it seems appropriate to focus on the subject matter.
              I’d be interested to know what was in the email that Jones instructed Mann to delete. I’d also like to know what was in the FTP folder marked as censored. I don’t expect any answers of course.

            2. And I’m very interested to know your view of the documented plagiarism by Wegman and his co-authors in his report to Congress on the hockey stick.

            3. This is out of place (seems to happen when I reply to a comment from the WordPress admin page): It is addressed to AndyS (who seems keen to ignore it).

              (And I can’t even “reply” to it either – must be some sort of bug in the comment loop. It’s probably what borked the last open thread.)

            4. If Wegman is guilty of a misdemeanor then it needs to be dealt with, same as everything else.

              To me, it seems a side-issue, but hey..

            5. Hoo boy, Andy, just imagine if Michael Mann had been found guilty of plagiarism! A howling mob of deniers would be prancing around his tumbril, their faces daubed in woad…

            6. I would imagine that if Mann’s work had been copied off someone else, we’d be looking at that person’s work rather than worrying over whether Mann had copied it.

              Primarily it’s the Hockey Stick that is the issue, not who made it.

            7. Actually the issue is the climate and the changes humans are making to it by releasing fossil carbon. You can argue until you are blue in the face about whether or not you accept Mann’s hockey stick graph, but it doesn’t change the reality of anthropogenic global warming. It is shocking that ignorant, arrogant, greedy people are deliberately obstructing the urgent action that needs to be taken to reduce fossil fuel use and move to renewables.

            8. Folks, the problem here isn’t Mann’s hockey-stick, it’s the breathtaking incompetence (and dishonesty) of the *attacks* on the hockey-stick.

            9. [Replying to AndyS above] What an incredibly disingenuous comment. Mann has been demonised by deniers: lampooned, harassed by politicians and lawyers, persecuted by people who find his work delivers an inconvenient message.

              You choose to get your “evidence” from McIntyre and Montford. They are not disinterested parties – McIntyre has built his whole reputation on attacking Mann. And as other commenters have shown, his attacks have no merit. There’s a whole team of hockey sticks out there now, and they won’t go away because you don’t like them.

            10. Andy, you really are quite a piece of work. The “censored” folder contained “sensitivity analysis” datasets used to test the robustness of his paleoreconstructions. Paleoclimatologists routinely test the “robustness” of their reconstructions by regenerating them with portions of the input data randomly deleted (i.e. “censored”). In this case, “censoring” just means “leaving out for sensitivity-testing purposes”.

              You know, you could have figured this out for yourself if you would have spent just a few minutes doing some real homework.

              Years ago, when I was doing signal-processing data-crunching, I coded up what is called a “censored mean-level detector”. There was nothing sinister about it — it is a standard processing technique. It’s a good thing that we didn’t have “signal processing deniers” running around back then!

            11. caerbannog March 11, 2012 at 4:05 am

              Andy, you really are quite a piece of work.

              Interesting observation, since I was merely posing a question

              The “censored” folder contained “sensitivity analysis” datasets used to test the robustness of his paleoreconstructions. […]
              You know, you could have figured this out for yourself if you would have spent just a few minutes doing some real homework.

              Well, I am extremely sorry to have wasted you time. Perhaps, in the interests of learning, you could show me how I could have figured out Mann’s “censored” folder contained sensitivity analysis data “in a few minutes”.

      2. Andy, you have zero right to criticise anyone else for being an ‘abusive troll’.

        You cannot see yourself from the outside at all, can you? Another Denier hallmark…

        1. Of course bill, I have no “rights”

          However, it is completely OK for you to refer to me as a “rent boy”. “liar”, “moron”, “idiot”. etc etc.

          I guess that’s part of the rap of being a “denier” (sic).
          It’s really like being the n****r of modern society. We are expected to take all this constant abuse and rudeness from you, yet when we bite back, you are all tut-tutting like we should be back out in the cow shed where we belong.

          1. Being a denier is to reach the nadir of society, through undermining the Public’s understanding of and trust in science. You can’t get lower than the lowest of the low.

            Whereas, being a hard working world-class scientist is exactly the opposite, striving to reach the zenith of human achievement through extending human knowledge and directly, or indirectly the Public’s understanding of science.

  5. The hockey stick is, of course, not the issue. The hockey stick is SCIENCE, its in the DATA, a.k.a. the REAL WORLD.

    A place you appear to have only a passing familiarity with, Andy…

      1. Case-sensitive you may be, AndyS, but you are hardly sensitive to the truth, which is that Rep. Tom Barton, a vassal of the fossil fuel industry, attempted to destroy a respected scientist’s career in exchange for campaign funds.

        He failed, as the tool he used (Wegman), tried to hide his own incompetence in Mann’s field by stealing and twisting the work of others.

        All in all, a fairly typical day in the Denial Industry…

  6. In case anyone is confused, the case-sensitive andyS is not the same person as me, who usually posts under the name Andy S. I recently translated a Le Monde article on Michael Mann. This was published at Skeptical Science and I’m sure that my quirkily capitalized doppelgänger would be mortified if anyone were to assume that it was his work.

    http://skepticalscience.com/MichaelMann.html

  7. “Perhaps, in the interests of learning, you could show me how I could have figured out Mann’s “censored” folder contained sensitivity analysis data “in a few minutes”.”

    Well, Andy, you could have tried entering “censored data” into – I don’t know, maybe Google or Wikipedia perhaps? You would have had an answer in 15 seconds or less.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censoring_%28statistics%29

    Of course, that presupposes that you were genuinely interested, rather than just throwing more shite around your cage…

    1. I am genuinely interested. Of course it is a bit of a leap to search for “censoring data” when you aren’t actually aware of this concept.

      So while we are on the topic of sensitivity analysis, and we have a resident expert, perhaps we could have some sagely advice on the sensitivity of the bristlecone pine to the Hockey Stick. My understanding is that the series was almost entirely dependent on this.

      I’d also like some advice on the “divergence problem”, and why splicing together paleo and temperature data to “hide the decline” is a valid scientific and statistical technique.

      I’d also like to know why Mann was instructed to delete emails by Jones, and why this was not investigated by the climategate enquiries.

      Your polite and sagely response awaits me.

      1. Why waste time, Andy, when you can go right to the source and read Mann’s book? Or, if you really want to get into it, his scientific papers?

        But, of course, your agenda is not the getting of knowledge, but the begetting of doubt and ignorance. Why don’t you cut out the middleman – yourself – and just post the relevant links from Watts, etc, you asinine troll?

        1. Thanks for your delightful and content-free comment Mr Taylor.
          Perhaps, as someone of immense wisdom as yourself your refer me to the appropriate paragraphs in Mann’s work that explains my questions, as I having a bit of troubling finding them myself.

      2. Folks, notice the goal-post motion here.

        Having been shown that his insinuation about Mann’s “censored” data folder is unjustified, does andyS say, “Oops — I was wrong to insinuate that Mann was hiding something, and I should have investigated the issue first.”?

        No — he drops the topic in favor of other “talking points”.

        When andyS issues a “mea culpa” and admits that he was wrong not to investigate the “censored data” issue before he shot off his mouth here, *then* we can let him move on to another topic. But not until then.

  8. “andyS March 11, 2012 at 10:32 am:Owen McShane’s funeral was yesterday. Rob Taylor, your previous comment is truly appalling’.

    Yet another completely invented, off-the-cuff piece of misinformation from you, Andy. Owen’s funeral is actually this Tuesday, in Kaiwaka.

    Owen was a neighbour of mine, and when he and I debated this issue one-on-one some years ago, he quickly folded and admitted he knew nothing about the science of climate change; the material he published was sent to him from overseas.

    I think we all now know from whence it came…

    http://hot-topic.co.nz/puppets-on-a-string-us-think-tank-funds-nz-sceptics/

    1. OK, my mistake. But a bigger mistake, Rob, is to respond to a comment that was deleted by the moderator for being totally insensitive.

      Somehow, talking ill of a person not even buried yet is culturally acceptable for you?

        1. Your’re in fine form today Rob.
          Not only making profane comments against the recently deceased, you now resort to racist, sexist and ageist remarks. Ones that aren’t supported by the evidence by the way.

        2. You forgot ‘selfish’, Rob.

          Which is the crucial point, as they’ve managed to hew a religion – they prefer to dignify as a philosophy, of course – out of the notion that their innate greed is not only the only natural state of affairs, even the slightest threat to allowing it unimpeded domain will bring the world crashing down around our ears!

          And look where it leaves us. These guys really are prepared to trash the future for everyone and everything rather than abandon the ghastly, barren, Crowleyite belief that lies at the heart of their toxic economic fetish.

          Why do you think the dreary acolytes of this ghastly Church defend and embrace the tobacco industry – the most bloated and perverted gang of drug pushers ever to besmirch humanity, the barely-living face of the banality of evil – and howl to defend the ‘liberties’ of every other profiteer of toxic sludge, whether physical or moral, on the planet?

          No society can survive the vindictive triumph of that stew of bastardised gibberish that amounts to ‘Do what thou wilt [Rich Man] shall be the whole of the Law’!

          I’ve asked you Deniers this question before, and none of you has ever answered. What is the conservative position on conducting a radical experiment with the one atmosphere we possess?

          You cannot answer the question because, despite the sad little rationalizations slopping around in your heads, you are not conservatives, you are radical reactionaries.

            1. Ho ho! Yeah, your Sticky ‘arguments’ are so, what, overwhelming that I’d need to distract attention from them? Dream on, little man…

              Thanks, I do enjoy a good laugh!

            1. I want to thank the conservatives who condemned my conversion on climate change

              How does this “conversion” manifest itself? Do you see a blinding light. Do you see the four horsemen of a apocalypse appearing before you?

              I never ceases to amaze me how discussions of tree ring data, lake sediments, and other prosaic artifacts morphs into a mass outbreak of collective hand-wringing.

  9. andyS March 11, 2012 at 6:20 pm: How does this “conversion” manifest itself? Do you see a blinding light. Do you see the four horsemen of a apocalypse appearing before you?

    No Andy, its more like extracting your head from the sand and seeing the world as it actually is – you should try it sometime…

    1. Ok so you send me a link to a propaganda video from Texas about drought.

      Outside, it is raining, and has this has been the theme this “summer” for NZ.

      I guess that’s reality also.
      Everything is “climate change”. We are causing it.

      Whatever happens, it is our fault.

      Now what?

      1. Yes, Andy, this summer has been a little… extreme, hasn’t it? Almost makes you think the climate might be (ahem) “changing”?

        Of course, NZ is buffered by a vast ocean, so we’re better off than most. At the very least, we’ll always have water and food. Might have a bit of a problem keeping it to ourselves, though….

        You want to do something about it? Try this

        1. No the summer hasn’t been extreme. It has been dull and uninteresting.

          By the way, you’ll have to do better than redirect me to 350.org propaganda.

          Some Zyclon B manufacturers might be more up your alley, since the only solution to your “problems” appears to be one of a Final nature.

          1. FLAG AndyS FLAG AndyS FLAG AndyS FLAG AndyS FLAG AndyS FLAG AndyS

            Surely the Troll needs to be disciplined / disemvowelled / banned or consigned to his very own thread as Tim Lambert does over at Deltoid.

          2. “dull and uninteresting”?. Absolute drivel. Nobody with the least understanding of NZ climatology could possibly make that statement. You clealry are as ignorant in your recall of very recent events as in everything else. Read the climate summaries for December, January and February – if you actually desire to learn something, you ignorant troll.

            1. Read the climate summaries for December, January and February – if you actually desire to learn something, you ignorant troll.

              Actually, I was basing my experience on the local weather patterns in my local area in South Canterbury, which have been consistently grey and drizzly. The paddocks are very lush, which is good for the farmers I guess. There has been some early snow in the mountains which has stayed for more than a few days, but mostly gone now.

              Others may have different experiences of course, although the general feeling I get from the South Island is that we haven’t had much of a summer. Autumn looks like it might brighten up a bit.

            2. Can we take the interesting weather discussion to the open thread please. Definitely been a cool summer in the Waipara Valley – I can normally ripen chillies & peppers in the kitchen garden, but this year they’re not doing well at all. The aubergine/eggplants aren’t up to much either…

Leave a Reply