26 thoughts on “Peter Sinclair When We Need Him

  1. His additional hockey sticks are irrelevant as they only go back to 1500,1600 or so. The point of the hockey stick wasn’t the blade, which can be created just by magnifying the y-axis, but the handle, which leads credence to the idea that current temperatures are due to CO2 and not natural variation. Going back to just 1500-1600 and finding hockey sticks is not challenged by anyone.

    Also, he messed up the Nature trick explanation as well, though he did a better job. It wasn’t just that the data is cut off, but the instrumental record is added to the data, and they are presented as one graph, to hide the decline in the proxy, they replace it with the incline of temperature records.

  2. So two videos, and neither one thought the redefining of peer-review, we can’t afford to lose GRL, lets try and oust an editor of a journal, the GRL leak has been plugged, neither one thought these were things that needed to be explained. Has the media not covered this angle?

    [The accusation of fudging data was a lot more pressing, especially as it is obviously false when you read the emails from a scientific perspective. The issues you brought up certainly warrant investigation, and hopefully we’ll find out soon how serious they are. -Kate]

  3. No mention from MikeN as to WHAT GRL paper they’re referring to, eh? Or the fact that the papers he’s comparing GRL to are both examples of mockery of scientific peer review?

    (Seriously, Climate Research had Chris de Freitas publishing terrible papers without a modicum of quality control so long as they were skeptical (i.e. Soon/Baliunas 2003, underwritten by the American Petroleum Institute, was so bad that half the editorial board resigned in protest of its publication), and Energy & Environment publishes papers that conclude human emissions are dwarfed by natural emissions by comparing the two over the lifetime of the planet. This isn’t science, it’s bad comedy posing as a simulacrum of science.)

    (For the lay audience, GRL is Geophysical Research Letters, a prestige publication in the field. Since impact factor and similar are meaningless to the public, let me put it this way: Publishing in GRL isn’t quite worth a “worship me”, but is certainly worth a “who’s your daddy?”.)

    By the way, this very point (‘you’re just focusing on two emails, what about the others’) was covered in the last part of Potholer’s video, which you admitted to not watching because you claim he dodged an issue that he addressed well enough to show Faux Noise was lying its arse off. As the first part of Potholer’s video demonstrates, the Noise Machine is focusing on the “trick/hide the decline” and “travesty” mails almost exclusively, so these need to be addressed first. Both Potholer and Peter Sinclair have promised more videos on this subject, so if you have a problem with their coverage, why not contact them?

  4. Actually, I don’t have a problem with their coverage. If the first video covered it, then my bad. I was asking if the rest of the media wasn’t covering that angle, and perhaps that’s why it wasn’t being covered in these videos. I haven’t been paying much attention to the network coverage, so I have no idea what they are saying about it.

    I’m not really sure what GRL paper they are discussing. Can you fill me in?

  5. [citations needed – the observational temperatures were grafted into the hockey stick – didn’t they just stop using post-1960 Briffa data and put the observational temperatures on top, in a different colour, so you could clearly see the difference between the two? -Kate]

  6. MikeN: “I’m not really sure what GRL paper they are discussing. Can you fill me in?”

    Thank you for admitting to your quote-mining (you used these quotes without establishing their context).

    Where did you find those quotes if not directly from the mail? (Some of them do not appear in the mail as you typed them, though I was able to find enough of them by searching just for key words to tell you were misled.)

    For the record, it isn’t a singular paper, but rather a chain of papers appearing in that journal that raised doubts about the quality of its peer review process (similar to what happened at Climate Research, which I mentioned above). The “straw that broke the camel’s back”, so to speak (since it’s discussed directly towards the end of the discussion chain but in the context of the other papers), appears to be McIntyre & McKitrick 2005, essentially a rehash of their rejected Nature comment on the 1998 version of the hockey stick and principal components analysis (this claim has since been debunked – for instance, Rutherford et al 2005 recreates the stick using completely different methods). MM2005 was published in January 2005, and the year before saw GRL deal with other similar spurious papers, so one would expect the researchers to be on edge (see my previous comment).

    It’s interesting, by the way, to read those mails – some of which were sent between RealClimate collaborators – and read the related RealClimate posts of the time and compare their private to their public stances. (Those posts, by the way, are titled Peer Review: A Necessary But NOT Sufficient Condition and Peer Review: A Necessary But NOT Sufficient Condition Part II.) Unsurprisingly (for those of us in the reality-based community), they match up fairly well, although the RC version is naturally more polite.

    (Aside: Don’t confuse me shooting down your faulty attacks based on the e-mails with me thinking they’re harmless. There are some serious allegations in there, most notably with Jones asking Mann to delete mail rather than submit to FOIA. However, that’s under proper investigation, so I’ll be withholding judgement until the outcome is made public – and in the meantime, I’ll be shooting down fallacious arguments tossed up by inactivist quote-miners. Nothing personal, but I can’t stand dishonesty.)

  7. Oh, I forgot to add: Now at least two of the scientists who had their e-mails hacked have received death threats. Information is hard to come by since the FBI is currently investigating.

    Combine the illegal hacking and death threats with the attempted break-in to the Canadian Centre for Climate Modeling and Analysis (both more hacking attempts and physical break-ins; last year some were successful).

    This is not looking like a good time to be a scientist – and yet these researchers carry on.

    Two possibilities:
    1) The scientists are dedicated researchers being attacked by anti-science zealots who see them as a threat to the way they see their lives, egged on by scientific illiteracy and an incompetent media, or
    2) The scientists are involved in an incredible conspiracy and they fear the SWAT (Secret Warmist Assassination Teams) far more than they fear death threats from clear-minded honest citizens.

    Hmm. Did I get that right?

  8. [citations needed – temperatures were grafted. Where did they specifically tell you that the temperatures were grafted, rather than just separately laid on top? The “hide the decline” email could be taken as either grafted or laid on top, so I don’t see this as acceptable proof. Did you deduce the grafting of your own accord, or does it explicitly say so somewhere? -Kate]

  9. Kate,

    You ask, “citations needed – temperatures were grafted. Where did they specifically tell you that the temperatures were grafted, rather than just separately laid on top?”

    If you watch the video you posted, Peter Sinclair explains it rather nicely from 5:00 – 5:46. So, I would say that I got that from your own source. Mr. Sinclair uses the word “graft” in his video.

    As I said in my previous two posts, this is exactly what Michael Mann said was never done, by anyone in the field as far as he knew. Yet, he was sent the e-mail from Jones saying he was going to do exactly that, the “hide the decline” e-mail. From RealClimate:

    Michael Mann, Dec 2004-

    No researchers in this field have ever, to our knowledge, “grafted the thermometer record onto” any reconstruction. It is somewhat disappointing to find this specious claim (which we usually find originating from industry-funded climate disinformation websites) appearing in this forum [realclimate].

    As for your second question, “The “hide the decline” email could be taken as either grafted or laid on top, so I don’t see this as acceptable proof. Did you deduce the grafting of your own accord, or does it explicitly say so somewhere?

    Where in the graph is just the instrumental record? Where in the graph does it explain that after 1960, it is instrumental and not proxy data? The lines stay the same colour for the whole graph. Also, the proxy data goes until 1980 and it is a downward slope as seen in your video. As I stated previously, even Peter Sinclair says it was grafted.

    Here is the WMO document that that has the graph by Prof. Jones:
    WMO Statement here:

    Click to access wmo913.pdf

    This is the caption under the graph on the first page, which is his graph. It explicity says that it is a compilation of proxy and real temperature data:

    Northern Hemisphere temperatures were reconstructed for the past 1000 years (up to 1999) using palaeoclimatic records (tree rings, corals, ice cores, lake sediments, etc.), along with historical and long instrumental records.

    It isn’t wrong to use the instrumental data, but it needs to be explained what was done and why. He never did that in the graph, or caption. He should have used the entire proxy data, and then laid the instrumental as another line. If you can find where the independent instrumental data is in the graph or caption, I am all ears.

    [Hi CMS. I wouldn’t recommend using Peter Sinclair as a source for the “grafting” claim – he is not a paleoclimatologist and he may easily have meant “the observed temperatures in the final graph filled in the gaps so ending the Briffa set at 1960 didn’t matter” rather than “Mann inserted the observed temperatures directly into the Briffa set without specifying that they weren’t from the same data.” Peter’s script was meant for the average YouTube viewer to be able to understand, and was not necessarily intended to have perfect terminology. If you’re not sure, ask him; I’m sure he’d be happy to explain what he meant.

    All the reconstructions I’ve seen differentiate between proxy reconstructions and observed temperatures in some way – for example Mann 98 (sorry for the low quality) uses different styles of lines, the IPCC TAR uses different colours, the IPCC AR4 uses a black line on top of all the coloured lines.

    The question is whether the observed temperatures from the Briffa data area were included in the final graph as part of the global observed temperatures or the proxy reconstructions. In other words, using the IPCC TAR key, are the “real temps” for Briffa in red or in blue? The former would require no explanation or footnote; the latter would. I would suggest either leaving a comment at RC or emailing Michael Mann and/or one of his colleagues/students (as he’s probably quite pressed for time right now) to get an answer from the people who really did the work….rather than someone like me who can just give you their best guess. -Kate]

  10. CMS, I’m also not an expert, and as such I don’t have the paper I saw memorized, but I know I recently saw graphs showing the two overlayed (rather than grafted on, to use your terminologies). I believe it was in my search of papers on the divergence problem (to wit, the papers trying to understand why the proxy no longer tracks with the instrumental record around 1960). I’m sorry I can’t provide better references than this.

  11. The WMO chart that is the subject of ‘hide the decline’ clearly shows values that go up to 2000, while the e-mail says cut off after 1960.
    Not sure how you can expect to find a source that says they grafted, when the accusation is that they grafted without saying so.

    [Email Mann, or wait for the CRU investigation to come out. -Kate]

  12. The CRU investigation is very unlikely to cover this topic.
    Based on the e-mails, I don’t expect Mann to respond to any inquiries, but I was wrong last time I thought that, so I’ll ask.
    Plus, this is Phil Jones’ chart that’s at issue, so I’ll e-mail him as well.

  13. Hi, Kate, nice blog.

    Re: the “grafting” question, a couple of pointers:

    – Mann explained, in the context of a similar question, what had been done in various papers by himself and collaborators:


    – Gavin Schmidt recently explained what was done in the WMO brochure graph:


    Brief comment:

    Whether this constitutes “grafting” in the terms of Mann’s old RealClimate response seems a question of semantics. But let’s say for the sake of argument that it was a “graft”, and that Mann’s response was strictly speaking in error because someone had in fact done something like that to look pretty on a brochure cover once.

    What I wonder about is why people are spending time in 2009 obsessing over a response to a blog comment in 2004 that failed to take note of a brochure published in 1999? Could it be a sign that they substitute rhetorical point-scoring for scientific argument?

    Maybe Mann made the reasonable assumption the question was about stuff that actually matters, like what was done in actual peer-reviewed papers and IPCC reports?

    • I consulted a few people who know a lot more about paleo than I do. Tim Lambert says that the real temps were put into the instrumental data set, not the proxy sets. Michael Tobis believes that this graphic was not a formal one, did not appear in Mann’s paper, and therefore was not “Mike’s Nature Trick”.

      I left a comment at RC too and will let you know if I get a response.

  14. How could the same graph appear? The e-mail doesn’t say he used Mike’s Nature graph, it says he used Mike’s Nature trick. So the key is whether he used the same method or trick. Whether that same graph appears in Nature is irrelevant.

  15. The above discussion gives a low rating to GRL. Davis Barber of U of Manitoba has a paper on the disappearing Arctic ice that has just been accepted for publication. Should we disregard the paper?

    [Absolutely not. GRL isn’t as widely read and scrutinized as Nature or Science, and published a couple weird papers a while back (as Brian explains), but that doesn’t mean that you should disregard everything it publishes. It’s a well known and well respected journal in earth science circles, if not the single most influential. Take a look at Barber’s paper, keep up to date with its response, letters to the journal about it, etc, and see how it holds up. -Kate]

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