Comparing What Science Says To What The Konsensus Says, Part 1: The Hockey Stick

As I hope to show, there is a very real difference between what mainstream science says and what members of the Krazy Klimate Konsensus spout at every opportunity.

The Hockey Stick and Michael Mann

The Hockey Stick Chart showed a picture of stable temperatures over the past millenium, changing in modern times to a sharp rise, something laid at the doorstep of global warming, in part due to anthropogenic climate change.

Criticism of the Hockey Stick does not involve the recent rise. That is not disputed and is pretty much indisputable. But the regularity of the shaft is remarkable–and very much open to question. Michael Mann, a lead author for the IPCC AR3, defended his work against attacks from colleagues, opponents such as Steve McIntyre and other scientists.


Scientific American quotes Gavin Schmidt, one of the most respected leaders of the Konsensus. (Mann and Schmidt are also practicing scientists, rare among the Konsnesus.) “Although questions in the field abound about how, for example, tree-ring data are compiled, many of those attacking Mann’s work, Schmidt claims, have had a priori opinions that the work must be wrong. “Most scientists would have left the field long ago, but Mike is fighting back with a tenacity I find admirable,” Schmidt says.”

I must say, although the Hockey Stick graph has been defended by other scientists, I didn’t find much in the way of support for Michael Mann. Scientists who replicated his procedure using his data also got a hockey stick shape for temperatures over the past few hundred emails. However, more reconstructions focusing on the shaft found evidence of a medieval warming period, which Mann’s chart had disappeared, and a little ice age, also missing from Mann’s work.

Other scientists hold different views. Physicist Richard Muller: the graph was “an artifact of poor mathematics”, summarising the as yet unpublished comment including its claim that the principal components procedure produced hockey stick shapes from random data. He said that the “discovery hit me like a bombshell”.

In May 2007, Hans von Storch reviewed the changes in thought caused by the hockey stick controversy writing:

In October 2004 we were lucky to publish in Science our critique of the ‘hockey-stick’ reconstruction of the temperature of the last 1000 years. Now, two and half years later, it may be worth reviewing what has happened since then.
At the EGU General Assembly a few weeks ago there were no less than three papers from groups in Copenhagen and Bern assessing critically the merits of methods used to reconstruct historical climate variable from proxies; Bürger’s papers in 2005; Moberg’s paper in Nature in 2005; various papers on borehole temperature; The National Academy of Science Report from 2006 – all of which have helped to clarify that the hockey-stick methodologies lead indeed to questionable historical reconstructions. The 4th Assessment Report of the IPCC now presents a whole range of historical reconstructions instead of favoring prematurely just one hypothesis as reliable.
What is remarkable now is the level of revisionist history regarding the Hockey Stick Chart.  For example, the blog DeSmogBlog says, “His opponents constantly raise allegations against Mann, without ever mentioning the half dozen or so investigations into his academic work and conduct that have concluded his work and conduct to be sound.”
Chris Mooney, writing in the Atlantic, says “Climate deniers threw everything they had at the hockey stick. They focused immense resources on what they thought was the Achilles Heel of global warming research–and even then, they couldn’t hobble it. (Though they certainly sowed plenty of doubt in the mind of the public.)”
But DeSmogBlog and Mooney aren’t scientists. They are full-fledged, full-throated members of the Konsensus.
With the passage of time, mainstream scientists have been more open in their criticisms of Mann and his Hockey Stick.
CRU scientist Keith Briffa, whose work on tree rings in Siberia has been subject to its own controversies, emailed Edward Cook of Columbia University: “I am sick to death of Mann stating his reconstruction represents the tropical area just because it contains a few (poorly temperature representative) tropical series,” adding that he was tired of “the increasing trend of self-opinionated verbiage [Mann] has produced over the last few years .??.??. and (better say no more).”
Cook replied: “I agree with you. We both know the probable flaws in Mike’s recon[struction], particularly as it relates to the tropical stuff. Your response is also why I chose not to read the published version of his letter. It would be too aggravating. .??.??. It is puzzling to me that a guy as bright as Mike would be so unwilling to evaluate his own work a bit more objectively.”

In yet another revealing email, Cook told Briffa: “Of course [Bradley] and other members of the MBH [Mann, Bradley, Hughes] camp have a fundamental dislike for the very concept of the MWP, so I tend to view their evaluations as starting out from a somewhat biased perspective, i.e. the cup is not only ‘half-empty’; it is demonstrably ‘broken’. I come more from the ‘cup half-full’ camp when it comes to the MWP, maybe yes, maybe no, but it is too early to say what it is.”

3 responses to “Comparing What Science Says To What The Konsensus Says, Part 1: The Hockey Stick

  1. Over the past few hundred “emails?”

  2. It’s not “puzzling” if you realize Mann was hired moments after he received his Phd to do a job: get rid of the MWP. “Put Neidermeyer on it. He’s a sneaky little shit, just like you.”

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