The UnAustralian

Wednesday, October 29, 2003
An Interesting Twist

Regular readers of this site will know that I've blogged about the various temperature reconstructions of Mann, Hughes and Bradley. A recent paper (+ companion website) by Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick has challenged this reconstruction alleging that a significant number of errors were made with the data-set. When they corrected these errors, a very different reconstruction was found.

According to a comment by EdZ on Quark Soup; I e-mailed Mann about it and he had already written a preliminary response. Mann said that the M&M paper did not retrace his original work, but mixed up different datasets and normalizations - ones which were different from Michael Mann's original paper. The fact that other researchers did repeat Mann's work and came up with the same results (within error ranges) - this fact was not mentioned in McKitrick's website. McKitrick totally loses credibility when he claims the paleoclimate data is not available for others to examine. So this should get real interesting real fast.

Personally, I don't have the time nor skills to go through the datasets and check for myself about who is right and wrong, but naturally I'm very skeptical both about the accuracy and significance of McIntyre and McKitrick claim. This skepticism arises from several causes;

* Neither McIntyre nor McKitrick have any experience in paloclimatical science. While, this doesn't mean that they are wrong, personal experience has taught me that a non-expert can very easily make mistakes due to unfamiliarity with the field.

* McIntyre and McKitrick both chose not to submit their article to Nature (where the Mann paper was published), as would normally be the case. Rather they chose to submit it to Energy & Environment, who's peer review standards are substantially less demanding (and sometimes nonexistent).

* And while we are on the topic on Energy & Environment, this is perhaps the worst journal in the whole of climate sciences. For example, ISI web of knowledge (a giant science database) lists 8706 scientific journals. E&E isn't one of them. If the pesudoscience market ever dries up (yeah right) E&E can always join forces with Creation TJ. The two journals standards are similar.

* Their corrected reconstruction differs significantly from Mann, during the fifteenth century where it shows large amounts of warming. This is at odds with every other hemispheric climate reconstruction. This graph shows many of the reconstructions, and at 1400 AD, Mann's reconstruction is one of the hottest. The other reconstructions displayed here, support Mann's reconstruction, and contradict McIntyre and McKitrick. Confirming results are very important in science.

More discussion can be found at Quark Soup and Calpundit. I'll update when I find out more.

(Thanks to Dano for alerting me to this)
| 4:23 PM