James Delingpole Is Most Definitely Misguided

My attention has been turned, once more, to the writing of James Delingpole this week.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100011716/how-the-global-warming-industry-is-based-on-one-massive-lie/

This article, in my view, contains a number of pieces of misleading information, which in my view should be re-framed into their proper context by the author.

He might need to go away and do a little research to find out that his assertions are based on what I think are myths, urban legends and fallacious arguments : he seems firmly convinced that he is right, even though I think he is most definitely up the wrong creek with the wrong paddle, with the wrong map and seriously in danger of capsizing.

My first piece of advice for anyone approaching the thorny subject of Global Warming : read the science.

My second : don’t read the journalists until you’ve read the science : they may well merely distract you with flibbertigibbert nonsense.

And now for a little unpicking of James Delingpole’s latest.

“How the global warming industry is based on one MASSIVE lie : By James Delingpole Politics Last updated: September 29th, 2009 : For the growing band of AGW “Sceptics” the following story is dynamite.”

I’ll have to stop you right there, James.

There is no evidence of a “growing band” of [Anthropogenic Global Warming] AGW sceptics, skeptics or deniers.

There is evidence that people are getting bored with hearing about Climate Change, but you can’t count them as signing up as sceptics.

James continues with what looks like a smear :-

“…And for those who do believe in Al Gore’s highly profitable myth about “Man-Made Global Warming”…”

I suspect you’re simply repeating the views of others. If Al Gore’s film and speaking tour about Global Warming were based on a “myth”, then the governments of the world would have found this out by now and stopped attending the United Nations conferences on Climate Change.

“the key scene where big green Al deploys his terrifying graph to show how totally s********ed we all are by man-made global warming. This graph – known as the Hockey Stick Curve – purports to show rising global temperatures through the ages. In the part representing the late twentieth century it shoots up almost vertically.”

James, James, you sound like you’re full of propaganda. There is no “purports” about the entirely factual “Hockey Stick”. The temperature on Earth has really been rocketing recently.

You probably don’t notice rising temperatures because of the vagaries of the weather. Everything in Nature goes up and down, with the rotation of the Earth, the precession of the Earth’s axis, the seasons arising from the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, the wind patterns, the rain patterns, the movements of the Oceans due to the Moon…I could go on…weather is indeed fluctuating, and over the long term, so is climate.

However, the key take-home point you don’t seem to have grasped is that the latter part of the 20th Century is not normal fluctuation. We are looking at something genuinely new. And genuinely genuine.

James appears stuck in his apparent benightedness, “…the graph – devised in 1998 by a US climatologist called Dr Michael Mann – is based on a huge lie, as Sceptics have been saying for quite some time.”

The fact that the “Sceptics” have been saying that the Hockey Stick is a lie for quite some time does not validate their statements.

James pushes the button : “…The first thing they noticed is that this “Hockey Stick” […] is that it seemed completely to omit the Medieval Warming Period.”

Well James, who’s to say that the fabled “Medieval Warming Period” actually exists ? Was it anything more than a localised European regional blip ?

“According to Mann’s graph, the hottest period in modern history was NOT the generally balmy era between 900 and 1300 but the late 20th century.”

James, at some point you will be forced to admit, not by arm-wrestling or high-pitched arguments, no, by the facts, the data and the evidence all around you, you will be forced to admit that the late 20th Century and early 21st Century have been unusually warm. And unusually rapidly warmed, too.

“This led many sceptics, among them a Canadian mathematician named Steve McIntyre to smell a rat. He tried to replicate Mann’s tree ring work but was stymied by lack of data: ie the global community of climate-fear-promotion scientists closed ranks and refused to provide him with any information that might contradict their cause.”

Do you not think that since Steve McIntyre is an avowed sceptic (skeptic), and who, I have been told, has been deeply implicated in the spreading of unhelpful conclusions, that the global community of Climate Change scientists might have had pretty reasonable doubts about working with him ?

“…Hadley Centre in Exeter and the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at University of East Anglia…Their data has formed the basis for the IPCC’s […] reports; their scientists – among them Professor Phil Jones and tree ring expert Professor Keith Briffa – have been doughty supporters of Mann’s Hockey Stick theory and of the computer models showing inexorably rising temperatures.”

It’s not just computer models that show “inexorably rising temperatures”. The inexorably rising temperatures themselves show the same thing.

Looks like a pretty solid case of looking at the tree rings and seeing no forest. There really is a wood, there, James, you just need to look at the bigger picture.

Don’t knock the computer models. Would you prefer to have a technologically advanced machine to predict the future based on current and historical data, or would you rather ask someone armed only with a finger in the wind ?

“…their misleading predictions of that “barbecue summer” we never had. As [Christopher] Booker says: “Part of the reason why the Met Office has made such a mess of its forecasts for Britain is that they are based on the same models which failed to predict the declining trend in world temperatures since 2001.””

Tut, tut, James. You have fallen for that old chestnut : weather is not the same as climate. Weather is highly unpredictable. Climate is a long-term set of conditions that are fairly predictable.

And what’s all this ? You use a classic artefact that sceptics have been using for years, you write “the declining trend in world temperatures since 2001”.

Well, if you look at the Hadley trend curves, yes, it looks like the trend is downward since 2001. But the trend of the trend is upward since 1990 – something you omit to admit :-

http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcrut3/diagnostics/comparison.html

If you want to see simple visual confirmation that temperatures are continuing to climb, see here :-

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/

In particular, I would like to point you to what I affectionately call the Blob Chart :-

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Ts_vs.year+month.lrg.gif

There is no way that anyone can claim that Global Warming is over.

It might have “taken a short break”. The trend fluctuates all the ime. We’ll see. But no, it’s not finished.

I’m going to pass over the tiresome claims of withholding access to data, which is just unmitigated fluff.

James then goes on to look at tree ring data from just one area of the world, and claims that this undermines the whole of Global Warming science.

“…tree ring data series (Yamal in Russia) in a paper published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in 2008…The scary red line shooting upwards is the one Al Gore, Michael Mann, Keith Briffa and their climate-fear-promotion chums would like you to believe in. The black one, heading downwards, represents scientific reality.”

It may well represent scientific reality in Yamal in Russia, but it doesn’t necessarily represent scientific reality for the whole world.

It’s true that the Yamal data has been very important in correlation with data from other parts of the world to establish the global impact of volanic eruptions – which have a brief cooling effect – for example :-

Science Direct link

However, the Yamal data, by itself, should not be used as a proxy for global temperature.

Notice how the sceptic charts, that James refers to in his article, miraculously stop at roughly the year 2001.

Now that’s what I call “cherry-picking the data”.

We’ve had a lot of Global Warming since then.

Stop digging around for tree ring data. Come back to the actual, recent temperature records.

Let me refer you again to the up-to-date global picture, NOAA’s State of the Climate :-

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/index.php

“Selected Global Highlights for August 2009 : …The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for June-August 2009 was the third warmest on record for the season, 0.59°C above the 20th century average of 15.6°C. For the year to date, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature of 14.5 °C tied with 2003 as the fifth-warmest January-August period on record. This value is 0.55°C above the 20th century average. The worldwide ocean surface temperature for August 2009 was the warmest on record for August, 0.57°C above the 20th century average of 16.4°C. The seasonal (June-August 2009) worldwide ocean surface temperature was also the warmest on record, 0.58°C above the 20th century average of 16.4°C.”

Don’t see no cooling there !

My third piece of advice : trust the scientists, not the journalists, especially those who appear unable to see through the propaganda of disinformation.

James Delingpole is not to be blamed. Perhaps he hasn’t had the strong mentorship and guidance that he needed to see beyond the “Free Speech” manipulation of the data by the American skeptics and their followers, the British sceptics.

The clue is in the name they choose for themselves : “sceptics” hints at nagging doubt, at justified questioning. What they’re actually about is “denial”.

James Delingpole has been misguided, is all.

41 thoughts on “James Delingpole Is Most Definitely Misguided”

  1. [ NOTE FROM JOABBESS.COM : HELLO HAMISH. WONDERED WHEN YOU WOULD FINALLY WEIGH IN WITH YOUR INDIGNANT PRONOUNCEMENTS ! SERIOUSLY THOUGH, DO YOU HONESTLY THINK PEOPLE WILL PAY ATTENTION TO YOU WHEN YOU’RE SO RUDE ? YOU RUN THE RISK OF YOUR AUDIENCE COMPLETELY TURNING OFF, OR WORSE, CONSIGNING YOU TO THE RECYCLING BIN. YOU’RE DOING THE LOST CAUSE OF SCEPTICISM NO FAVOURS AT ALL. ]

    “The temperature on Earth has really been rocketing recently.”

    Really? Where and how recently?

    “There is no evidence of a “growing band” of [Anthropogenic Global Warming] AGW sceptics, skeptics or deniers.”

    So there have always been many highly-qualified scientists who are willing to either write articles refuting alarmist claims or lend their names to support such articles?

    “The fact that the “Sceptics” have been saying that the Hockey Stick is a lie for quite some time does not validate their statements.”

    That you say it isn’t a lie doesn’t validate your claim either.

    “James then goes on to look at tree ring data from just one area of the world”

    Yes, the data used to create the infamous “hockey stick” graph in the first place. If selected data from that region was considered valid to support what was claimed for the original graph, then all the data is more valid than a sample.

    “Stop digging around for tree ring data.”

    So stop checking that claims made for data are valid after it’s proved not to be? I don’t think so. If you use the data to make a claim that is subsequently proven to be false, your whole credibility is undermined. Whining about samples only undermines it further.

    “My third piece of advice”

    Oh dear, advice from a discredited source, how valuable is that supposed to be?

    A sceptic has not been convinced, having considered the presented argument. Someone in denial rejects the hypothesis altogether or refuses even to consider it. This is less complex than climate science, so perhaps you should master this first.

  2. “finally”?

    I’m not as interested in self-promotion as you Jo, so if I have alienated a potential audience (a little immodest, eh?), I can’t say that is an opportunity lost. If you think I was rude, you really wouldn’t have liked the less restrained version.

    Bye bye.

  3. “Do you not think that since Steve McIntyre is an avowed sceptic (skeptic), and who, I have been told, has been deeply implicated in the spreading of unhelpful conclusions, that the global community of Climate Change scientists might have had pretty reasonable doubts about working with him ?”

    “You have been told”?!

    We live in the Information Age, everything Steve McIntyre has written is available on the Internet (unlike the alarmist scientists–many funded by taxpayers!–who refuse to release the data behind their conclusions) and yet you’re not willing to learn the facts for yourself?!

    I just dropped by for the first time, but your obvious bias and uninformed opinions tells me there’s nothing of value here.

  4. I’m in the middle on this argument, looking at both sides and trying to reach a conclusion. It seems to me that if Mann’s “hockey stick” graph has been used as a key plank in his argument by Al Gore and has been shown to be based on (deliberately?) false information, then that is a very serious matter that should be of concern to EVERYONE. The fact that you appear ready to gloss over it would indeed suggest that you are unwilling to take on board something that might dent your own view of climate change. That, in my view, makes what you have written of dubious value.

    However, thank you for the links to the many scientific charts that seem to support a rise in worldwide temperatures. I will check them out to the best of my scientific ability.

  5. It seems necessary to point out that this is just a single tree-ring proxy, that tree rings are just a single proxy … the NOAA paleoclimate network includes 92 separate reconstructions for example: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/recons.html.

    When people refer to the Hockey Stick, they mean Mann, Bradley and Hughes (1998), which was updated last year by a new reconstruction, published in PNAS. As the abstract noted … Our results extend previous conclusions that recent Northern Hemisphere surface temperature increases are likely anomalous in a long-term context. and, from the conclusion …

    We find that the hemispheric-scale warmth of the past decade for the NH is likely anomalous in the context of not just the past 1,000 years, as suggested in previous work, but longer. This conclusion appears to hold for at least the past 1,300 years
    from reconstructions that do not use tree-ring proxies, and are therefore not
    subject to the associated additional caveats. This conclusion can be extended back to at least the past 1,700 years if tree-ring data are used, but with the additional strong caveats noted.

    Shall I say that again? …. Recent warmth appears anomalous for at least the past 1,300 years whether or not tree-ring data are used

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2008/09/02/0805721105.full.pdf

    And of course, ‘paleoclimate evidence is simply one in a number of independent lines of evidence indicating the strong likelihood human influences on climate play a dominant role in the observed 20th century warming of the earth’s surface’ to quote the Mann himself.

  6. Some points
    (i) according to some estimates the number of previously pro-AGW scientists switching over to the sceptical camp can be measured by the week.

    (ii) Also, many argue that there has been non-warming in recent years, in particular upper ocean temperatures have not been increasing since 2003. Exactly how things are going to pan out over the next say 25 years is (it is becoming increasingly acknowledged) anyone’s guess, although how this is couched can be spun any which way.

    (iii) don’t believe that climate is easily predictible compared to weather. Why do the computational climate modelling efforts on multi-decadal timescales make such a hash of prediction if that is the case? [From a Lorenzian perspective there’s just so much more scope for exponentially more changes impinging on the system from the starting conditions as time increases to make the task of prediction ever more difficult, assuming you had a handle on the starting conditions in the first instance.]

    Let me just add to the comments above that scepticism in general will never be a lost cause, at least amongst proper scientists.

    You might do well to ponder the following quotes from Jacob Bronowski:

    “Dissent is the native activity of the scientist…”

    “No science is immune to the infection of politics and the corruption of power.”

    And just to make the point: do you really think that an inter*governmental* panel IP(CC) is devoid of politics to a sufficient degree that it does not infect “the science”, or, of more concern, the underlying real practice of science? Are you sure that the scientists put forward by each member government are, as a body, sufficiently representative of all the fields impinging on the climate change issue to fairly reflect the current state of thinking? Are you sure that those charged with putting together the critical chapters of the WG1 Report and the WG1 Summary for Policymakers are also sufficiently broad of outlook and background?

    Of course you can cast real scepticism as something captured (“scepticism”TM?, and in some cases this might actually genuinely point to “denial” (in your sense)) but in actual fact what has been captured is the very notion of “climate change”: it is of course a highly complex phenomena consisting of natural variations (both internal and external) and anthropogenic impacts.

    IPCC WG1 actually has a good defintion, but the rest of that body (at least until 2001) and the UN’s FCCC have defintions that are complete tosh verging on the sinister, in terms of the potential for politicking. And indeed we know that in common (say BBC) parlance it is the “tosher end” of the definition spectrum that holds sway: the effects of Man’s (subtext “wicked”TM, but more precisely “typically inadvertant”) impacts of CO2 emissions and other GHGs on climates that produce only (or at least mostly) dire outcomes.

    If climate change could go back to being a phenomenon – the changes in climates, impinged upon by all manner of factors – then the debate could sharpen up and actually become productive.

    The AGW-by-GHGs lobbby have debased the notion (by repeated usage of a warped defintion) and so debased the terms of debate.

  7. Wow, what a horrible post.
    You didn’t respond with a single relevant fact.
    However, because you never bothered to learn the science, you ended up endorsing what Delingpole was saying.

    However, the Yamal data, by itself, should not be used as a proxy for global temperature.

    In fact, this is what has been happening. For example Kaufmann 09 warming would not show unprecedented current temperatures if you remove Yamal and one other problematic proxy. The same effect happens with numerous other temperature reconstructions that use Yamal.

    Perhaps next time you should consider following your own advice and learn the science first, then read the journalists.
    Had you done so, you could have delivered a really significant blow and made Delingpole look like a fool, since he did make one major error, but instead you respond with this rubbish.

  8. In response to MikeN’s comment, here’s a little of what Kaufman has to say himself :-

    http://www.sciencepoles.org/index.php?/articles_interviews/darrell_kaufman_discusses_methods_used_in_studying_past_arctic_climate/&uid=1584

    Darrell Kaufman Discusses Methods Used in Studying Past Arctic Climate

    Published on Sept. 16 2009

    As a Professor of Geology and Environmental Science at Northern Arizona University, Dr. Darrell Kaufman has been studying past climate changes in Alaska over the last 20 years. His current research is aimed at using evidence from previous climate changes to help understand present and future climate changes. Dr. Kaufman is also currently coordinating a large multi-investigator project to generate and compile proxy climate records from Arctic lakes.

    A recent study for which Dr. Kaufman was the lead author had a look at the trend in Arctic temperatures over the last 2,000 years by using data from lake sediment cores, tree rings, and ice cores to reconstruct temperatures in the Arctic on a decadal (ten-year) time scale. The study concluded that the Arctic saw a general cooling trend from the first century until the middle of the 20th century, after which average temperatures in the Arctic began to rise abnormally outside of expected natural variation, with the last decade being the warmest decade over the 2,000 years. The sudden dramatic rise in temperatures is believed to be caused primarily by the accumulation of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere.

    In the second part of a two-part interview with SciencePoles, Dr. Kaufman goes into greater detail about the methods used to reconstruct Arctic temperature history. He also responds to some criticism directed at the study.

    [SCIENCEPOLES] The data you used in your synthesis study was obtained by examining lake sediment records, ice core records, and tree rings records from all across the Arctic. What criteria did you have in choosing the records you used?

    [DARRELL KAUFMAN] We included all available proxy temperature records from the Arctic and Subarctic that went back beyond 1,000 years and were resolved on at least a decadal scale. Of the 23 records, 14 were from lakes.

    [SP] How far back in time do lake sediment records go? Until the end of the last Ice Age?

    [DK] That’s right. Most of the lakes in the Arctic were covered by glacier ice up until 14,000 years ago or even more recently. So the sediment within the lake can extend through the entire Holocene (the current interglacial period). Our ability to reconstruct temperature that far back decreases in some cases because other factors can bias the results. Further back, other variables such as vegetation changes and landscape processes that take place over long periods of time become important in influencing the proxy climate records.

    Inferring temperature changes from lake sediments is a major research project. It takes a lot of effort to understand how the various biological and physical features that we analyzed in the lake sediment are related quantitatively to temperature.

    [SP] What does one look at in lake sediment records and what can it tell you?

    [DK] Several of the records included in the synthesis are based on indicators of the overall biological productivity of the lake. The primary producers in Arctic lakes are diatoms, and the sediment preserves the remains of the diatoms that grow each year. We can relate the abundance of diatom remains from a given year to how warm the summer was that year. Warmer summers are associated with longer open-water periods, which allow more diatoms to bloom. Changes in the abundance of diatoms that grew over the last 50 or 100 years and are preserved close to the surface of the sediment at the bottom of a lake can be compared with temperatures from nearby weather stations. We can then apply this calibration down the entire sediment core to infer the changes in temperature that took place prior to thermometer-based records.

    [SP] Besides diatoms, do you use any other kind of proxies when looking at lake sediment?

    [DK] We also studied sediment layers from lakes downstream from glaciers to reconstruct past temperatures. If a given summer is hotter, glaciers generate more meltwater, and meltwater carries sediment to lakes downstream from them, resulting in a thicker layer of sediment. The warmer the summer temperatures, the greater the thickness of sediment deposited in the lake downstream from the glacier.

    [SP] Where did you get ice core data from and how did you integrate the ice core data into your synthesis?

    [DK] All of the ice cores had been drilled and analyzed before we made our synthesis. Ice at least as old as 2,000 years has only been found in a few places in the Arctic, primarily Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago. The longest, highest-resolution records of climate change on Earth come from ice cores. The primary proxy used for reconstructing past temperatures from ice cores is based on the ratio of two different isotopes of oxygen: oxygen-16, which is the most abundant isotope of oxygen, and oxygen-18, a much rarer and heavier isotope. The colder the temperature during a given period, the less oxygen-18 there is in the water molecules of ice. Taking measurements of modern snowfall allows you to calibrate the measurements taken from ice cores.

    [SP] As for the tree rings, one would imagine their records can only go back so far?

    [DK] That’s right. Most proxy temperature reconstructions are based on tree rings, and most don’t go back beyond a thousand years. The previous attempt to reconstruct past Arctic temperature at such a high resolution only went back as far as 400 years, because it relied mostly on tree ring records. Our new records from lakes help us understand the temperature changes that took place during the first millennium AD.

    [SP] So how do you get tree ring data going back over 1,000 years?

    [DK] These records don’t come from individual tress; they’re spliced together from different trees, including some from dead stumps and sub-fossilized wood that are older than any living tree in the region. You can match patterns in the ring widths using trees whose lifespans have overlapped and match the most recent growth of an older tree to the oldest growth on a younger tree. Then you can splice the records together to go back beyond the lifespan of any living tree.

    [SP] The study has been published only recently yet some bloggers were quick to criticize the work. What has some of this criticism been?

    [DK] Some bloggers have accused us of “cherry-picking” the data we included in our synthesis, which is a shame because we went out of our way to include every record that we know of that met the criteria of the study. A Washington Post article quoted a climate-warming skeptic who claimed that our results were incorrect because the temperatures that we reconstructed were not higher during Medieval Warming Period than during the 20th century. We know that temperatures were high in a few places during some decades of the Medieval Warming Period. But our study was aimed at reconstructing the average temperature from across the Arctic, which is bound to be less variable than at any one particular spot on the planet. Pointing to evidence for warmth in a few places is not the same as reconstructing the average temperature over a large area.

    Unfortunately, some people seem to be more interested in defending a particular ideology than in examining the validity of the science.

  9. Yes, a very pompous post, but really lacking in any substance at all. Just unsupported assertions.

    Jo, I think you are clearly out of your depth here.

    “The temperature on Earth has really been rocketing recently.”

    This is just nonsense. Rocketing? Not according to the data Jo.

    “Well James, who’s to say that the fabled “Medieval Warming Period” actually exists ? Was it anything more than a localised European regional blip ?”

    And the various southern hemisphere proxy data that records both the MWP and the Little Ice Age?

    “has been deeply implicated in the spreading of unhelpful conclusions”

    What exactly is this supposed to mean in relation to Steve Mcintyre?

    Are you saying he didn’t have to fight tooth and nail to get Michael Mann to disclose the data he was supposed to have placed into a publically available archive?

    That Mann didn’t have a folder within the data, (when he was finally forced to release it), named CENSORED that contained the runs of his algorithm without the dodgy bristlecone and foxtail pine proxies that showed no hockey stick?

    That if you run random numbers through the algorithm you still get hockey sticks?

    That it is know that bristlecone and foxtail pine proxies should not be used for temperature reconstructions?

    But Mann lot only used them, but then weighted them against the other genuine temperature proxies?

    I’m mean yes, evidence that Mann engaged in what was effectively scientific fraud could considered unhelpful by climate hysterics!

  10. In response to Garth’s comment, here’s an article that questions whether the so-called “Medieval Warm Period” was in fact global :-

    http://www.physorg.com/news170598165.html

    New temperature reconstruction from Indo-Pacific warm pool
    August 27th, 2009

    A new 2,000-year-long reconstruction of sea surface temperatures (SST) from the Indo-Pacific warm pool (IPWP) suggests that temperatures in the region may have been as warm during the Medieval Warm Period as they are today.

    The IPWP is the largest body of warm water in the world, and, as a result, it is the largest source of heat and moisture to the global atmosphere, and an important component of the planet’s climate. Climate models suggest that global mean temperatures are particularly sensitive to sea surface temperatures in the IPWP. Understanding the past history of the region is of great importance for placing current warming trends in a global context.

    The study is published in the journal Nature.

    In a joint project with the Indonesian Ministry of Science and Technology (BPPT), the study’s authors, Delia Oppo, a paleo-oceanographer with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and her colleagues Yair Rosenthal of Rutgers State University and Braddock K. Linsley of the University at Albany-State University of New York, collected sediment cores along the continental margin of the Indonesian Seas and used chemical analyses to estimate water past temperatures and date the sediment. The cruise included 13 US and 14 Indonesian scientists.

    “This is the first record from the region that has really modern sediments and a record of the last two millennia, allowing us to place recent trends in a larger framework,” notes Oppo.

    Global temperature records are predominantly reconstructed from tree rings and ice cores. Very little ocean data are used to generate temperature reconstructions, and very little data from the tropics. “As palaeoclimatologists, we work to generate information from multiple sources to improve confidence in the global temperature reconstructions, and our study contributes to scientists’ efforts towards that goal,” adds Oppo.

    Temperature reconstructions suggest that the Northern Hemisphere may have been slightly cooler (by about 0.5 degrees Celsius) during the ‘Medieval Warm Period’ (~AD 800-1300) than during the late-20th century. However, these temperature reconstructions are based on, in large part, data compiled from high latitude or high altitude terrestrial proxy records, such as tree rings and ice cores, from the Northern Hemisphere (NH). Little pre-historical temperature data from tropical regions like the IPWP has been incorporated into these analyses, and the global extent of warm temperatures during this interval is unclear. As a result, conclusions regarding past global temperatures still have some uncertainties.

    Oppo comments, “Although there are significant uncertainties with our own reconstruction, our work raises the idea that perhaps even the Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstructions need to be looked at more closely.”

    Comparisons

    The marine-based IPWP temperature reconstruction is in many ways similar to land temperature reconstructions from the Northern Hemisphere (NH). Major trends observed in NH temperature reconstructions, including the cooling during the Little Ice Age (~1500-1850 AD) and the marked warming during the late twentieth century, are also observed in the IPWP.

    “The more interesting and potentially controversial result is that our data indicate surface water temperatures during a part of the Medieval Warm Period that are similar to today’s,” says Oppo. NH temperature reconstructions also suggest that temperatures warmed during this time period between A.D. 1000 and A.D. 1250, but they were not as warm as modern temperatures. Oppo emphasizes, “Our results for this time period are really in stark contrast to the Northern Hemisphere reconstructions.”

    Reconstructing Historical Temperatures

    Records of water temperature from instruments like thermometers are only available back to the 1850s. In order to reconstruct temperatures over the last 2,000 years, Oppo and her colleagues used a proxy for temperature collected from the skeletons of marine plankton in sediments in the Indo-Pacific Ocean. The ratio of magnesium to calcium in the hard outer shells of the planktonic foraminifera Globigerinoides ruber varies depending on the surface temperature of the water in which it grows. When the phytoplankton dies, it falls to the bottom of the ocean and accumulates in sediments, recording the sea surface temperature in which it lived.

    “Marine sediments accumulate slowly in general — approximately 3 cm/yr — which makes it hard to overlap sediment record with instrumental record and compare that record to modern temperature records,” says Oppo. “That’s what is different about this study. The sediment accumulates fast enough in this region to give us enough material to sample and date to modern times.”

    The team generated a composite 2000-year record by combining published data from a piston core in the area with the data they collected using a gravity corer and a multi-corer. Tubes on the bottom of the multi-corer collected the most recently deposited sediment, therefore enabling the comparison of sea surface temperature information recorded in the plankton shells to direct measurements from thermometers.

    Oppo cautions that the reconstruction contains some uncertainties. Information from three different cores was compiled in order to reconstruct a 2,000-year-long record. In addition sediment data have an inherent uncertainty associated with accurately dating samples. The SST variations they have reconstructed are very small, near the limit of the Mg/Ca dating method. Even in light of these issues, the results from the reconstruction are of fundamental importance to the scientific community.

    More Questions to Answer

    The overall similarity in trend between the Northern Hemisphere and the IPWP reconstructions suggests that that Indonesian SST is well correlated to global SST and air temperature. On the other hand, the finding that IPWP SSTs seem to have been approximately the same as today in the past, at a time when average Northern Hemisphere temperature appear to have been cooler than today, suggests changes in the coupling between IPWP and Northern Hemisphere or global temperatures have occurred in the past, for reasons that are not yet understood. “This work points in the direction of questions that we have to ask,” Oppo says. “This is only the first word, not the last word.”

    Source: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

  11. “..I’m going to pass over the tiresome claims of withholding access to data, which is just unmitigated fluff…”

    Is this because they are true, showing that the whole theory of Global Warming is founded on a lie, and you can’t answer tha?

  12. Jo,
    I think you’re a bit out of your depth here. You’re clearly no scientist. The argument as reported by Delingpole is that the ‘Hockey stick’ is not fact but a conclusion built from selective use of the available data. If you were a scientist you would be breaking down walls to get a look at the raw source data and running your own analysis. And, if you were a scientist, if that analysis did not support your current hypothesis (though in your case, bless, I suspect it’s more of a belief)you would change your hypothesis. But then again, you’re not really qualified to do that are you?

  13. Kaufmann’s response doesn’t change the flaw in his study. He uses the Yamal proxy which is at issue here. His claim to use all studies in the area is in fact not true, since he didn’t use the Polar Urals, or the additional Schweingruber Khadyta river samples that are at issue here.

    In fact, people can test the results themselves by downloading the data from

    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/reconstructions/arctic/kaufman2009arctic.txt

    They can then remove one or two proxies at a time and see the problem for themselves.
    If you remove Yamal(proxy 22), and Tiljander, proxy number 20, which was used upside-down, then the hockey stick disappears.
    There is also some disputer over 4 other lake sediment proxies. Perhaps if Kaufmann would engage the bloggers, as he was invited to do, these things could be resolved. Instead it took 9 years to get this data about the Yamal proxy.

  14. Jo
    I must concur with other posters about lack of substance in your post about Yamal.
    You cannot address this serious scientific matter of failed peer review, data obstruction, inappropriate archiving and unjustified rejection of unconvenient data just by diversion over opinion differences about Al Gore or others.

    If you think that’s enough to make a scientific misconduct go away, expect to be disappointed, because you’ll fail to convince anyone except die-hard believers.
    If you have something solid and on-target to substanciate a defense of Briffa, then please say it, out loud. For the moment, I see none.

  15. I think Demesure says it all (or most of it). I also like Mike (‘if you were a scientist you would be breaking down walls to get a look at the raw source data….’).

    BTW, how does a basic degree (in NMR!) qualify you as a serious (climate) scientist?

  16. While Delingpole has clearly taken some liberties in editorializing and sniping at the alarmists, Jo Abbess seems to think that he has answered Delingpole by editorializing and sniping at Delingpole’s editorializint and sniping. But at least Delingpole had a discussion of McIntyre’s findings as a solid core of information. Jo’s post has no such core and it largely ignores the problem that McIntyre has uncovered. I don’t have a time slice that is large enough to cover all of this, so I’m going to take it piece by piece in different posts.

    Jo: “There is no evidence of a “growing band” of [Anthropogenic Global Warming] AGW sceptics, skeptics or deniers.”

    This is a your opinion, my opinion thing and has absolutely nothing to do with the Yamal fraud.

    Jo: “If Al Gore’s film and speaking tour about Global Warming were based on a “myth”, then the governments of the world would have found this out by now”

    This is laughable. They couldn’t catch Bernie Madoff even though they had an agency built for the purpose. The governments are actively funding the climate alarm fraud because that fraud suits their other political agendas. They certainly are not going to find anything out when they clearly don’t want to know. But again, more fluff that has nothing to do with the Yamal fraud.

    Jo: “The temperature on Earth has really been rocketing recently.”

    Actually, it’s been flat for the past 11 years. Even while CO2 has been “rocketing”. Ask the warming scientists like Gavin Schmidt why this has been happening and they respond, “natural variation”. Ask them what elements of natural variation have been responsible for suppressing the rise that one would expect from the extra CO2 and their answer is “Duuuhhhh”.
    Natural variation would be a good answer, but we can look at all of the elements of natural variation that would have such an effect and none of them are an answer. The last 11 years are history. We know what all of those natural elements of variation have been doing. But none can explain the flatness of the trend for those 11 years. The only thing that comes close is Svensmark’s cosmic ray theory. But the alarmists can’t reach for that one because it would supplant the CO2 theory everywhere.

    On the other hand, if by recently you mean the last 30 years, then your definition of rocketing has to be put in context. The only way that we can claim “rocketing” is if there is no evidence of this happening in the past. With the correctness of picture that the paleoclimatologists have painted being the issue, we cannot use their evidence to refute the evidence against them. By the way, for what little it’s worth, there are paleoclimte studies that show the same kinds of transitions in the past that you are now calling “rocketing”.

  17. Jo: “However, the key take-home point you don’t seem to have grasped is that the latter part of the 20th Century is not normal fluctuation. We are looking at something genuinely new. And genuinely genuine.”

    How do you know what normal fluctuation is if you don’t have paleoclimate to tell you. And if paleoclimate is based on fraud, then where are you?

    Regarding how “genuinely genuine” it is, how can you say it is genuine when the recent tree ring data that has not been cherry picked or corrupted shows the climate of the latter part of the 20th century as being essentially flat; and the surface temperature records are highly “adjusted” with most of the ajustment creating a steeper curve; and the satellite temperature data is diverging from the surface data.

    Jo: “The fact that the “Sceptics” have been saying that the Hockey Stick is a lie for quite some time does not validate their statements.”

    No, the available data validates their statements. This has been a three piece puzzle. First McIntyre found problems with Mann’s statistical method. After correcting for the problems that McIntyre found, Mann claimed that it made no difference because he still had a hockey stick. Yes, it was a little less of a hockey stick, but it was still a hockey stick. So Mann stuck to his guns about “unusual climate”. Then Linah Ababneh published her doctorate. She reproduced the studies of the North American bristlecone series that Mann had used for his reconstruction. She gathered a larger sample and used all of the trees which she archived. She found that tree strip barking caused accelerated growth and that non strip bark trees showed a very small (not unusual) growth in the 20th century. Mann’s data set came from Graybill who had created it for the purpose of showing CO2 fertilization of trees. He had used almost exclusively strip bark trees and he didn’t use all of the trees that he cored. It looks like he did some cherry picking of his own. The North American bristlecone series was the most heavily weighted series that Mann used. And the extraction method that he used to seperate noise from signal enlarged the hockey blade even more. Mann later published another reconstruction that used both the North American bristelcone series and Yamal. He then claimed that his data was good because he could throw out the North American series and still get a hockey stick. But the only reason that he could still get a hockey stick was because he had the Yamal series. And that series now turns out to be fraudulent. So after all three events (statistical correction, Ababneh divergence, Yamal fraud) Mann’s hockey stick is now completely dead. But the problem goes far beyond Mann. The IPCC spagetti graph that is used to make the point about “unusual” twentieth century warming is made up of seperate reconstructions almost all of which rely on Yamal, or the North American bristlecone series, or both.

  18. “… the seasons arising from the Earth’s orbit around the Sun,…”

    As any fule kno, the Earth’s seasons are primarily caused by the axial tilt of the Earth in relation to it’s orbital plane and not the position of the Earth in the orbit around the sun. The eccentricity of the orbit contributes a mere pimple in comparison. Point is that if the obliquity of the Earth’s axis was 0 degrees instead of the 23 and a bit it currently is then there would be no seasons to speak of.

    We can all read the science but that is merely wasted time if we don’t understand it.

    Cheers,
    Captain Fatty

  19. Jo, you really need to learn the science a little. If you did, you could really poke fun at Delingpole too.

    The additional study you cite:
    A new 2,000-year-long reconstruction of sea surface temperatures (SST) from the Indo-Pacific warm pool (IPWP) suggests that temperatures in the region may have been as warm during the Medieval Warm Period as they are today.

    This is the exact opposite of what you are trying to say. The alarmists argument has been that the whole medieval warm period wasn’t global, just happened in a little part of Europe. Now you bring out a study that puts medieval warming in the Pacific.

    The Yamal proxy has this problem, as it shows no medieval warm period, while the Polar Urals, which is the more recent work, does show medieval temperatures as warmer than now.

  20. “the key take-home point you don’t seem to have grasped is that the latter part of the 20th Century is not normal fluctuation”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleoclimatology

    seems to suggest that temperature like today’s were common in the past; at long time scales.

    Leaving aside the ignorance part, the thermometer record only holds for the last ~400 years. How do you know what the temperature was then ?

    Oops- through reconstructions. Many of which are critically dependent on the Yamal tree series. The Yamal tree series now seems to be deeply problematic to interpret.

    that also is an Ooops.

  21. Jo:
    “Well James, who’s to say that the fabled “Medieval Warming Period” actually exists ? Was it anything more than a localised European regional blip ?”

    First, it would have to be a 200 year blip. Second, there are other reconstructions from around the world that show that it was not localized. Third, when James Imhof asked Michael Mann why almost all of his data came from the Northern Hemisphere, Mann responded that it didn’t matter since temperature would homogenize accross the globe after 2 or 3 decades.

    Jo: “you will be forced to admit that the late 20th Century and early 21st Century have been unusually warm. And unusually rapidly warmed, too.”

    Compared to what?

    Jo:
    “Do you not think that since Steve McIntyre is an avowed sceptic (skeptic), and who, I have been told, has been deeply implicated in the spreading of unhelpful conclusions,”

    Yes, I’m sure that the people who told you that were so unbiased that you found no need to look at his work yourself. Oh please!

    Jo:”It’s not just computer models that show “inexorably rising temperatures”. The inexorably rising temperatures themselves show the same thing.”

    We are not talking about the temperature record in this case, we are talking about the predictions of the computer models for the future. And so far, for as much of that future that has arrived, the predictions of the models have been absolutely miserable. In fact, some of them have already been falsified. Lucia has done many statistical correctness tests on various models. Here is one of the latest, on her site, done by another blogger:

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2009/temperatures-of-the-tropical-troposphere-chad-brings-santer-up-to-2008/

    Jo:”Tut, tut, James. You have fallen for that old chestnut : weather is not the same as climate. Weather is highly unpredictable. Climate is a long-term set of conditions that are fairly predictable.”

    No, he isn’t mistaking weather for climate, he is simply giving you an indication of the dependability of the organization. And from where do you get the idea that climate is “fairly predictable”. Who do you know that has had good success at predicting it?

    Jo:
    “Well, if you look at the Hadley trend curves, yes, it looks like the trend is downward since 2001. But the trend of the trend is upward since 1990 – something you omit to admit :-”

    Your argument is basically that when you get to the top of a mountain and start down that you aren’t really going down until you get to the bottom, because at any point on your way down, you are still higher than where you started.

  22. “Notice how the sceptic charts, that James refers to in his article, miraculously stop at roughly the year 2001.”

    Sigh … when was the Yamal Data collected? Oh right, over ten years ago. It has been used in reconstructions since that time.

    So when others go back and plot the data, did you expect that the data would go all the way up until 2009? Would you like data to be “made up” to continue the graphs?

    Demonstrating that you are merely reacting … and not thinking.

  23. This is absolutely priceless.

    Reading the whole article, then the ensiung comments, one would have to conclude that the warming alarmists are deserting the sinking ship in droves.

    Where is the robust defence of AGW ? How long will it be before many politicians and so called scientists have to swallow the dead rat and change allegiance, and become so called “deniers” ?

  24. You really can’t help yourself can you Jo?

    I’m sure you’re getting ready to employ your bullying tactics as soon as the mainstream media summon the guts to report this issue.

  25. I’ve never read this site before. Just read it…and jeez, Jo you have made me laugh. Not only do you not ‘get it’ at all, you don’t even know some basic science! Loved the bit about seasons. And the bit about governments finding out AGW is a myth. Both absolutely priceless. Even I know more than you about climate change! Hysterical!

  26. I think it is ironic that people such as Jo cannot see that it is articles such as this that breed scepticism. So keep up the good work Jo. As long as you over egg it the number of sceptics will grow.

  27. “If Al Gore’s film and speaking tour about Global Warming were based on a ‘myth’, then the governments of the world would have found this out by now and stopped attending the United Nations conferences on Climate Change.”

    Hmmm … Just like they left the UN after it put the main enabler of a massive genocide (Kofi Annan — who was instrumental in making sure the UN didn’t intervene in the Rwandan genocide) in charge of the UN an organization founded in large part to stop genocide?

    Oops.

    I have to say, I’m very disappointed in this analysis. The contention that the MWP never existed is HIGHLY suspicious. Will you then conclude that the Little Ice Age never happened? If you don’t, you have to grapple with the real possibility that global temperatures have merely swung back to relatively where they were before the LIA. All recorded temperatures we have started at the tail end of the LIA, after all, meaning that anything coming after that would look warm by default.

    Do you take this data into account? I don’t see how you do.

    Moreover, the blithe hand-waving you express in the general direction of what is clearly a massive breakdown of the peer review process around this issue is alarming. The scientific process failed with regards to AGW — yet you have nothing to say about it. This patent failure is the most troubling aspect of this whole episode. I can only hope you are able to see that soon.

  28. There is no such thing as secret data in the scientific method. Period. Government agencies do it all the time because they have agendas, and agendas require you to keep data away from people that might damage your cause. After all, Global Warming is about making the world a better place, isn’t it? You wouldn’t let a transformative opportunity like this pass just because some tool fabricated a little data?

    This is not scientific method.

  29. This is better than Comedy Central. I am particularly taken by the motto “Keeping the Climate Stable”. Would this be in reference to Pluto maybe?

  30. It would have been much quicker, Ms Abbess, and mean essentially the same, if you were simply to have written “La, la, la, la, la, la, I’m not listening, la, la, la, la, la, we must be changing the climate because that is what I want to believe, la la, not listening! I don’t know why you are talking because I am not listening, la, la, la, la, la, la, I can’t hear anything you’re saying, la, la, la, la”

    You could also pu your fingers in your ears, although it isn’t essential as we can’t see you.

  31. P.S. And you would have avoided direct, unequivocal, shameless lies such as, “I’m going to pass over the tiresome claims of withholding access to data, which is just unmitigated fluff”. How much of the remainder of the article consists of lies?

    The researchers, including the UK Met office, refuse to release the data, which is against normal scientific practice. In fact it makes the normal processes of science impossible, and means that none of the conclusions are, strictly speaking, science at all! Nothing the Hadley centre produces, nothing the Climate Research Unit in UEA produces is science until they release the raw data so others can check it.

    Incredibly, the reason given is that others might look for errors, and might make them look bad! You couldn’t make it up. “Sorry, we won’t release the data so it can be checked, because you will look for errors we might have made, or you might make us look bad”, presumably when errors are found.

  32. Ha ha, Big Jo. This is the most-commented-on entry in your blog, and you got **********!

  33. “My third piece of advice : trust the scientists, not the journalists, especially those who appear unable to see through the propaganda of disinformation”

    My third piece of advice: trust the scientists, not the politicians. The scientists are saying that the science is uncertain at most. Many scientists are saying that the models are wrong, that human activity does not systematically, predictably and significantly affect global climate (which is the position of the climate panickers).

    It is not about denial. It is about scepticism. Until there is evidence we will not destroy our lives and those of the poor in developing countries to satisfy ex-communists who have no other way of realising their socialist utopian dream than create world-wide panic.

  34. If by misguided you mean “is honest” or “can see a scam when he has one plainly in front of his nose” then yes Mr. Delingpole is misguided.

    You on the other hand are quite the opposite!

  35. Hey Jo, I am not a scientist, but I would like to ask you a simple question.

    How much money do you stand to gain or lose by these covert scientific research panels, on my dime, concluding that there is man made global warming? Why don’t you first share with us, all your holdings in carbon offset companies, and what your personal stake is?

    I am very skeptical of all this, AG is no scientist, and a COMPLETE HYPOCRITE to say the very least. His jet setting around the world, eating steak like it was going out of style, all the while telling me to cut back, and buy HIS green energy.

    I am just a regular guy, living a regular life, and it makes me sick to see people like you, and the brand you like to run with, trying to scare the world with your tricks and scams. I believe with out a doubt, that you, and the scientists that represent this debacle, are hiding the truth. The climate will change, with of without the help of man kind.

    I am sure that the global recession/depression will not effect those at the top, and the gap between those at the top, will only increase. This is a move towards power and absolute government rule, over the masses that are too dumb, in the eyes of the elitists, to function with out elitist control.

    These phony carbon offset programs, and the economically devastating cap and trade tactics are nothing more than a way to reshape global economics. It is our fault that we let the radical leftwing loons come to power, and begin forcing this crap down our throats. There is so little supporting your claims, unless you trust manipulated data, that won’t be shared with the overall scientific community. I ain’t buying it, and most of the world is saying the same thing.

    You believe what you want, but when the time comes, if your plans come to pass, and the world is thrown into economic recoil over this BS, I personally would be running for the hills, and seeking shelter, cause there is going to be hell to pay for those that destroyed the economy, and the world as we know it. And I am not talking about Ford, or GM………..

  36. Hi Jo.
    Looks like you really got the nutters out in response. I feel for you having to weather the storm of indignant abuse from the modern day version of the flat earth society. Keep writing because someone has to take issue with the Delingpoles of this debate. I don’t mind people asking meaningful questions but to wrap it all up in some kind conspiracy theory platform as he does (with such a self righteous demeanor to boot) is repulsively bizarre to me.

  37. Anyone that believes Delingpoles sad little rants has even less grey matter than Delingpole does.

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