For the Record

Since Anthony Watts has decided to repeat Steve McIntyre’s accusation, I’m posting my response to a previous comment on this blog:

wte9 | April 1, 2013 at 11:40 pm | Reply

“Also for your information, the original version of this post mentioned McIntyre (and linked to his posts) extensively. But prior to posting I decided to remove that, since McIntyre had already fully explored the ‘low road.’”

Can you clarify something: Are you saying you used McIntyre’s ideas, but removed any citations attributing those ideas to him because he was taking the low road? Or are you saying something different? Thanks.

[Response: All I "learned" from McIntyre's "analysis" is that Marcott et al. had re-calibrated proxy ages, that McIntyre blamed the uptick on the re-dating process, and that he was happy to hint at the possibility of deliberate deception on the part of the authors. The references to McIntyre in my original version were to his insulting tone regarding this work, but I finally decided it was better to ignore that and comment on the science. It now seems that on the "dot earth" blog he chose to accuse me of having "shamelessly plagiarized" his ideas on why the exaggerated uptick occurs in the Marcott et al. temperature reconstruction. He's wrong.

I didn't read all his posts about the paper, for two reasons: first, there are so many, and I find them so full of sneering and thinly veiled innuendo that they're sickening; second, there's really very little to be learned from him. In my opinion he's just not interested in understanding the science, he only wants to kill hockey sticks.

I'm hardly ignorant of the effect of station dropout (in this case, proxy dropout) on averaging temperature data, I've known about it since long before Marcott et al. was even published. If Steve McIntyre wants to claim that he identified proxy dropout as the reason for the extreme recent temperature uptick in the Marcott paper before I did, fine. It wouldn't be the first time two different people had the same idea. I congratulate him on his insight. As for his assuming that I got the idea from him and didn't credit him, it's no surprise that he would assume the worst possible motives in others.

My opinion: perhaps if Steve McIntyre had been more careful in explaining himself, more interested in communicating reality than in demeaning the results, and less indulgent of his own sneering, people might refer to him rather than me when mentioning the impact of proxy droupout, and the "dot earth" blog might be referring to his posts rather than mine as "illuminating."

Also my opinion: if Steve McIntyre were really interested in the science rather than just killing hockey sticks, he might have applied the "differencing method" himself and discovered that the uptick is still there (but reduced in size) when the impact of proxy dropout is dealt with, whether one uses the re-calibrated ages or the original published ones.

But that would require him actually to do some science.

Notice that I not only identified (quite independently) the reason for the exaggerated uptick, I also implemented a method to overcome that problem? Notice how I showed the result and compared it to Marcott's reconstructions? Notice how I computed the result using both the re-calibrated and the originally published proxy ages? Notice how I did so for the same latitude bands as Marcott, and compared those too? Notice how I even did an area-weighting of those latitudinal results? Science.

Notice also that I disputed the reality of the exaggerated uptick in the Marcott et al. reconstruction without once even hinting that the authors had manipulated the data for nefarious purposes?

As for the differencing method, I didn't credit the inventor (I don't even know who it is) although I didn't come up with that one independently. Perhaps McIntyre will accuse me of having "shamelessly plagiarized" that as well.]

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40 responses to “For the Record

  1. What a sad, old man…

  2. I find Revkin to be the most annoying, as if he is just a play-by-play commentator describing the action in a mindless fashion. He reports, we decide. Sad.

  3. McIntyre thinks he invented the world and that anyone who expresses a thought on a similar topic is ‘plagiarising’ if not out to get him. (Remember when he decided that “UWA blocked his ip address?” – lol)

    Sheesh – has the man ever had an original idea in his head when it comes to climate science? (Not counting his ideas that everyone is out to get him.) He’s an ‘auditor’, remember, not a creator, not even an analyst. And he can’t even get the ‘auditing’ bit right.

    Conspiracies are everywhere in McI land.

    • My 2nd job out of college was as a “process auditor” in a computer manufacturing facility. I burned out after a year, luckily getting a transfer to engineering. Auditing requires you to be prissy, pedantic, demanding, conservative, confrontational, hardassed and unhelpful, anything but creative, original, pragmatic and progressive.
      But it does demand a degree of rapport between auditor and auditee, a commonality of approach, a sense of assistance and a willingness to make the right compromise. Many financial auditors fail at the last hurdle!
      There are those who are good at it and those who are not. McIntyre plays too much to the gallery to be an good auditor – he is a sage with acolytes, not an auditor at all.

  4. Susan Anderson

    Thanks. I’d like to borrow parts of this to post at DotEarth? I’m a favored attackee (and science defender) over there for daring to point out that temperature is continuous and measurement complex. But perhaps you’d rather I left it alone? I am careful with quotation marks and links.

  5. Don’t know what McI wrote, but I know this. At the end of the day, the critic that has offered an improved method has done more than the critic who has not. Something I knew years ago.

    • At the end of the day, the critic that has offered an improved method has done more than the critic who has not.

      Yes. Thank you for stating this so clearly.

  6. NevenA wrote:

    What a sad, old man…

    Frankly, after reading the first few paragraphs of the following:

    Replication and due diligence, Wegman style
    by Deep Climate, November 16, 2010

    … I figured I pretty much knew everything I needed to know about McIntyre. Any further interest on my part is just morbid curiosity.

    • Philippe Chantreau

      Agreed. McIntyre is predictable like only those who always repeat the same junk can be. No curiosity is necessary, morbid or not. You know what’s going to come out of him.

    • Funny that you can’t get any McIntyre sycophants to read Deep Climate’s excellent expose of the dirty tricks McIntyre resorted to in order to discredit Mann. But then, who wants to have their nose rubbed in shite?

    • TC,
      ah yes, an absolute chestnut of a link re: deepclimate. It positively boggles the mind that McI and his ilk have any credibility at all given that bald faced fraudulent behaviour…

  7. Is this uptick significant or not? Marcott et al now say its not. You suggest its probably not as significant as first indicated Will this revision alter any thinking on climate change that resulted as a consequence of this paper?

    • Ray,

      No, because to the extent that this paper resulted in any new thinking about climate change it was about what happened in the more distant past, not in the last century.

    • Why would it? The uptick really isn’t the issue. We already know what has happened with global temperatures in the last century. The question is what happened during the past 10,000+ years.

    • It shouldn’t. As Tamino has repeatedly pointed out now–and as was sufficiently clear in Marcott et al’s original abstract–the point is not the uptick, but rather the context provided for the whole Holocene, for which the reconstruction is robust. The abstract:

      Surface temperature reconstructions of the past 1500 years suggest that recent warming is unprecedented in that time. Here we provide a broader perspective by reconstructing regional and global temperature anomalies for the past 11,300 years from 73 globally distributed records. Early Holocene (10,000 to 5000 years ago) warmth is followed by ~0.7°C cooling through the middle to late Holocene (<5000 years ago), culminating in the coolest temperatures of the Holocene during the Little Ice Age, about 200 years ago. This cooling is largely associated with ~2°C change in the North Atlantic. Current global temperatures of the past decade have not yet exceeded peak interglacial values but are warmer than during ~75% of the Holocene temperature history. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change model projections for 2100 exceed the full distribution of Holocene temperature under all plausible greenhouse gas emission scenarios.

      We already know from direct measurements and observations what has happened to temperature in the last century or so. (As Tamino and numerous others have also repeatedly pointed out.)

      So: 1) the Holocene reconstruction hasn’t changed, and 2) the temperature evolution of the last century hasn’t changed.

      Why would clarification of some people’s misconceptions about the ‘uptick’ change anything substantive, which rests on points 1 & 2 above?

  8. If you look at Marcott’s data alone, the uptick isn’t robust (meaning it’s there or not, depending on how you interpret the data). But Marcott isn’t the only data we have for the period of the uptick. We have Anderson et. al, and we have the thermometer record. Which means that we know that there was indeed an uptick, and we know how fast temps rose. If you put everything we know together, it ends up looking almost exactly like Marcott’s figure S3.

  9. Does McI really require your ire? Fleas need to be scratched off or doused with pyrethins, true. But fleas, being what they are, merit little other personal involvement.

  10. Lars Karlsson

    It is hardly suprising that two people would come to similar conclusions regarding a specific flaw in a scientific paper. I review papers in my work, and I and my co-reviewers often come to the same conclusion regarding specific aspects of the paper we are reviewing. It would be surprising if we didn’t: after all we are reading the same paper!

  11. It is a difficult decision whether to rise to the bait or not. In my rather humble opinion you have no need to defend your self.

  12. Well, I summoned all my skeptic strength to open a climateaudit tab and look at the original source, in order to see if the “plagiarizing” claims got any spark of truth. If I claim myself a “true skeptic”, I had to go to the source.

    What a pile of bull manure. The (in)famous McIntyre post on regional Marcott was just a superposition of graphs from Marcott and previous authors (Briffa, etc;) . No attempt to understand, not even an attempt to compute things, only cheap shots on Marcott and others …

    Not saying that I didn’t expect this result, but now as a true skeptic I know that latest attempt by him and his sycophants (just loved the “tamino is cornered” – bias lenses for the win) is as lame as the other ones. I won’t bother with this kind of check anymore, McIntyre = trash bin from now on.
    But at least I learned that Revkin is a McIntyre fan and is not a journalist – helps me putting his articles into perspective.

  13. You know, I was initially somewhat dismissive of Marcott et al. It was an interesting result, but I considered it somewhat preliminary, and I had my doubts about some of the redating. What is more, it is certainly not essential that the current warming be unprecedented in the last 2000 years, let alone the last 11000 years, to be concerned about the trend. Now, based on the smell of fear I whiff arising form the denialosphere, I may have to revise my opinion. These guys are terrified of this paper. They are doing whatever they can to discredit it so that the rank and file denialists don’t have to look at it. I believe that what we are hearing from McI, MicroWatts et al. would be recognized by my dogs as “Squirrel!”

    I also think McI hopes this will hoist him out of the irrelevance into which he has descended. Stevie has always found character assassination is always easier and more natural than actual work..

  14. I guess it will soon come the time when the general public will give Watts, McIntire and his fellows their deserved amount of attention: none.

  15. Horatio Algeranon

    From McIntyre reactions, you’d think that he had discovered that E=mc^2 and that Einstein was out to steal the credit, or something.

    • Since “e”,”m” and “c” all appear in McIntyre, obviously einstein plagiarized 3/8ths of the name of one of Steve’s ancestors!

  16. Horatio Algeranon

    “Everything I need to know as a skeptic I learned at Climate Audit”
    – by Horatio Algeranon

    Share innuendo, accusations and emails (except your own, of course).

    Given the choice between “honest” and “purposeful” error, always assume the latter.

    Never put things back in the context where you found them.

    Never clean up your own mess.

    Only publish emails that aren’t yours.

    Never (ever) say you’re sorry when you are in the wrong.

    Wash your hands after you post.

    FOI (as often and as many times as physically possible given the current technology ,which is admittedly maddeningly slow)

    Warm conspiracies and cold temperatures are good for you.

    Live a balanced life – FOI some and make a stink some and gnaw on hockey sticks and imply fraud and sling mud and dance around the truth and play games and rant every day some.

    Take a Knappenberger every afternoon.

    When you go out into the real world, watch out for Upticks and Manns and Marcotts trying to tape broken hockey sticks together.

    Ponder the Maunder. And the Medieval Warm Period. Remember the little screed in the Denyrofoam cup: The temperatures go down and the CO2 goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but it is all like that (except sea ice which goes up, cuz it’s in recovery)

    Stevies and Bishops and anonymice and even the little screed in the Denyrofoam cup – they all deny. So do we.

    And then remember the Mac-and-Denyann song and the first turd you deposited – the biggest turd of all – “noise”.

    Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Hockey Rule (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto Mann”), denial, mathturbation, obfuscation and FUD.

    • Horatio Algeranon

      Oops. forgot the credit on which it is a parody: “All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten, by Robert Fulghum.”

      Wouldn’t want to be accused of plagiarism….

      • David B. Benson


      • Nice. Thanks for working in the FOI denial of service attack on Jones & Co.–I was going to suggest that Mr. McIntyre is probably concerned that he’s been plagiarized by whoever has been attacking SpamHaus.

      • Reminds me of Deteriorata/Desiderata.

        “Be comforted that in the face of all aridity and disillusionment
        And despite the changing fortunes of time,
        There is always a big future in computer main-te-nance.

        “Know yourself.
        If you need help, call the FBI.

        “Exercise caution in your daily affairs,
        Especially with those persons closest to you.
        That lemon on your left, for instance.”

  17. McIntyresome!

  18. Plagiarism doesn’t come into it at all, as far as I can see. The notion that proxy dropout could have a distorting effect on the remaining mean is, frankly, obvious to many people. For instance, withdrawal bias is a very common methodological problem in pharmacological studies – so common it must be routinely addressed in assessing such studies. For McIntyre to go on about this issue suggests that he is overly impressed with himself for seeing what any first-year statistics student would be expected to see.

    I don’t mean to downplay Tamino’s contribution, BTW. What Tamino has added is a way of addressing the bias, and a sensible discussion of how the uptick fits into the overall context of the paper. McIntyre adds nothing of substance to the discussion, misses the big picture, and his rants about plagiarism are laughable.

  19. LazyTeenager

    I waded through McIntyre’s post when it first came out. I filtered out the trash and came to my own conclusion. It matches Tamino’s results.

    It’s pretty clear to me that Tamino’s work is different /independent and is not nicking McIntyre’s ideas which are pretty obvious given the content of the original paper.

    By Steve’s own weird logic if Tamino is plagiarizing McIntyre then McIntyre must be plagiarizing Marcott.

  20. When Wegman blatantly plagiarized/uncritically copied McIntyre’s work, McIntyre didn’t seem to mind. Not that this whining has anything to do with plagiarism. It’s all about making sure the Arctic Ocean becomes completely devoid of sea ice. That will be Steve McIntyre’s great achievement.

  21. Horatio Algeranon

    – by Horatio Algeranon

    My climate games have been playgiarized
    My playbook’s been co-opted
    My persistent noise replaygiarized*
    And conspiracies adopted

    This behavior is unethical
    My standing has decreased
    To scaldership, antithetical,
    It really must be ceased

    *”replaygiarization” is where you simply “replay” data (eg, saved in a file of the cherriest of the cherries) and claim you are doing an “independent” analysis (independent of thought?)

  22. Yes, but, but … the dang “Donate” button _still_ insists that it doesn’t have a valid email address to deliver donations! Is it just me? Well, I suppose it’s reason to buy another copy of the book and donate _that_ to a library.