May 17 2010

The Fraud Of Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick

Over at Bishop Hill there is a debate raging on the ‘trick’ used by Michael Mann to hide the “decline” or “divergence”. The debate is whether this trick was a fudge or a fraud. It seems some on the skeptic side of the debate are too willing to give Mann a pass:

The “trick” was of course, to truncate the divergent data, to replace it with the instrumental records for the same period and then to smooth the spliced series so that the join was no longer visible. The sentence is the Spiegel article seems to suggest that this “swap, splice and smooth” process could reasonably be described as a “mere” fudge.

This one sentence raises many objections. Is fudge actually distinct from fraud? Is fudging a trifling thing that can reasonably be tossed aside by attaching it to the word “mere”? And where does the “swap, splice and smooth” technique really fit in among these terms.

I commented at Bishop Hill, but I wanted to raise this point because I think it hits at the core of the AGW theory. A ‘fudge’ would have been to replace one set of similar data with another less accurate or less confident set of data. That is NOT what happened in this case. And here is why.

The entire claim that recent warming is unprecedented, and therefore caused by recent human industrial activity, relies on a simple premise: temperature proxies, such as tree rings, directly correlate to global (and historic) temperature. If this is not the case, the entire claim that global warming is due to human produced CO2 is destroyed. Not just called into question, but destroyed. For AGW claims to hold up, tree ring data has to follow global temperatures.

What Mann did was erase the modern tree ring data set covering decades (from 1960 onward) because tnis data proved the tree ring proxies were not directly related to temperature, or that the current temperature records are driven by something other than global warming which would show up in tree rings. Either way, this removal of contradictory data was no fudge, it was a fraudulent effort to hide the reality of the data.

Since Mann had to erase decades of data, it is also clear this was not a one-off year or decade, but a long term trend that has to be explained, not covered up.

In addition, the fact is this divergence between the highly precise global temperature record and a comprehensive and far reaching set of tree ring data means this divergence is not isolated to a geographic region. Outside a few magical trees here and there, most of the tree rings show this divergence.

So what does this divergence really mean? Well these trees are selected because they grow on the boundary of sustaining trees, therefore they are sensitive to temperature more than other factors (so the theory goes). The fact that so many trees diverged can only lead to one of two mutually devastating conclusions:

(1) The tree rings never were a strong proxy for global temperature. Therefore the historic record showing a significant warming in previous periods (Medieval Warm Period, Roman Warm Period, etc) cannot be overturned with this questionable tree ring data. QED: today’s recent warm period (now we are back into a cooling phase) cannot be proven to be historically high.

(2) The tree rings are a strong proxy for global temperature. Therefore something is seriously wrong with our modern temperature readings, such as the fact all the temperature sites are now overwhelmed with one for of Urban Heat Island effect or another. Many skeptics have uncovered numerous examples of localized UHI of one form or another. QED: the temperature record indicating recent warming is too biased and contaminated to conclude the current warming is any more significant than the previous warm periods (including the warming of the 1930-40’s)

Either way, the tree ring data that was deleted and replaced with temperature readings was not an act of ‘fudging’. It was an act of covering up devastating hard data which would destroy the foundation of AGW claims.

8 responses so far

8 Responses to “The Fraud Of Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AJ Strata. AJ Strata said: new: The Fraud Of Michael Mann's Hockey Stick […]

  2. Neo says:

    Whether it be “fudge” or “fraud,” both are deceptions. Even using the word “trick” implies a deception. Meanwhile, we are supposed to believe the “magic” of it all.

  3. smill1953 says:

    …”Either way, the tree ring data that was deleted and replaced with temperature readings was not an act of ‘fudging’. It was an act of covering up devastating hard data which would destroy the foundation of AGW claims.”

    = FRAUD

  4. Wilbur Post says:

    No one in his or her right mind would want to drive over a bridge whose engineer “fudged” data because he didn’t have an accurate time-tested method to approximate real conditions correctly. But we’re supposed to change our lives and spend billions of dollars to fix “climate change” based on data collected by such “methods”? Not only climate science, I think most political doctrines are a fraud.

  5. kathie says:

    From “American Thinker”, in your neighborhood AJ………..

    Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has used the power of government to seek documents from the University of Virginia regarding its former professor and Climategate figure of “hockey stick” fame, Michael Mann. Mr. Cuccinelli is investigating whether Professor Mann engaged in fraud to obtain taxpayer money to fund his research. READ THE REST.

  6. WWS says:

    Mann appears to have been a failing grad student who suddenly was given the role of Climate Superstar by Barry Saltzman, an early warmist who needed someone more scientifically qualified than he was to be the scientific “face” of his theories.

    If this is indeed what happened, then Mann’s entire career has been based on fraud.

    “The secret deal that “launched” Michael Mann … and led to the Climategate scandals.”

    “It’s in 1996 that this story gets very curious. At that time Mann needed help to “defend” his Ph.D work in a documented but unexplained controversy at Yale. Inexplicably, this ‘controversy’ was peremptorily swept aside and between 1996-98 Mann was named as the Alexander Hollaender Distinguished Postdoctoral Research Fellow (DOE). All was now well and Yale gave Mann his Ph.D in 1998. One eminent source in my enquiries confirmed Mann’s Ph.D. was, in fact “rushed through.”

    Instantly, Mann was then plucked from obscurity and appointed not just a contributing author for Chapters 7,8,12 of the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report (1998-00) but also Lead Author for Chapter 2. And with no track record whatsoever in this field, Mann now with tree ring data thrust into his hand, famously carved out his infamous ‘hockey stick’ graph.

    So what miracle had turned this problematic researcher’s life around? If miracles ever happened then for Mann they came in the form of Barry Saltzman. You see, this struggling student’s career was transformed the moment Saltzman became his Ph.D advisor. Only after Saltzman applied his influence was Mann’s lofty credentials “rushed through.” Mann then turns himself into a makeshift tree ring counter and overnight becomes the iconic figure in the IPCC Third Report (2001). The rest is history, as they say.”

  7. My gut feeling is to hit it as hard and often as necessary, and KEEP ON HITTING IT.

    “Fudge” sounds like something harmless and prankish.

    This is neither.

    This is nothing less than premeditated fraud, to promote something they are still trying to force upon us.

    I just don’t see them giving up on this; that would be a surrender of their absolute control doctrine.

    In fact, if the democrats take the beating I think (and hope) they will this November, I’m going to be even more afraid of them considering a kamikaze attempt to push for everything they possibly can during the 2 and 1/2 months between their defeat and the swearing in of their successors, thinking they would then have nothing to lose.