Michael Mann

Post image for Hurricane Sandy and Global Warming

Both the blogosphere and the mainstream media have been abuzz with commentary blaming global warming for Hurricane Sandy and the associated deaths and devastation. Bloomberg BusinessWeek epitomizes this brand of journalism. Its magazine cover proclaims the culpability of global warming as an obvious fact:

Part of the thinking here is simply that certain aspects of the storm (lowest barometric pressure for a winter cyclone in the Northeast) and its consequences (worst flooding of the New York City subway system) are “unprecedented,” so what more proof do we need that our fuelish ways have dangerously loaded the climate dice to produce ever more terrible extremes?

After all, argues Climate Progress blogger Brad Johnston, quoting hockey stick inventor Michael Mann, “climate change is present in every single meteorological event.” Here’s Mann’s explanation:

The fact remains that there is 4 percent more water vapor – and associated additional moist energy – available both to power individual storms and to produce intense rainfall from them. Climate change is present in every single meteorological event, in that these events are occurring within a baseline atmospheric environment that has shifted in favor of more intense weather events.

Well sure, climate is average weather over a period of time, so as climate changes, so does the weather. But that tautology tells us nothing about how much — or even how — global warming influences any particular event. Moreover, if “climate change is present in every single meteorological event,” then it is also present in ”good” weather (however defined) as well as “bad.”

Anthony Watts makes this criticism on his indispensable blog, noting that as carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations have risen, the frequency of hurricanes making landfall in the U.S. has declined.

The US Has Had 285 Hurricane Strikes Since 1850: ‘The U.S. has always been vulnerable to hurricanes. 86% of U.S. hurricane strikes occurred with CO2 below [NASA scientist James] Hansen’s safe level of 350 PPM.’

If there’s anything in this data at all, it looks like CO2 is preventing more US landfalling hurricanes.

Data Source: NOAA; Figure Source: Steve Goddard [click to continue…]

Post image for Is Today’s Climate Warmer than the Medieval and Roman Warm Periods?

In 2001, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) featured a graph of Northern Hemisphere temperature history from a 1999 study by Profs. Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley, and Malcolm Hughes. Because of its shape, the graph became known as the “hockey stick.” From A.D. 1,000 to about 1915, the graph depicts a gradual decline in Northern Hemisphere temperatures (the hockey stick handle) followed by an abrupt upturn in hemispheric temperatures during the remainder of the 20th century (the blade).

The graph appears in the IPCC 2001 report’s Summary for Policymakers, Technical Summary, and chapter 2 on Observed Climate Variability and Change. Based on the Mann-Bradley-Hughes (MBH) study, the IPCC famously concluded that, “The 1990s are likely to have been the warmest decade of the millennium in the Northern Hemisphere and 1998 is likely to have been the warmest year” (chapter 2, p. 102). The IPCC also asserted that, “Evidence does not support the existence of globally synchronous periods of cooling or warming associated with the ‘Little Ice Age’ and ‘Medieval Warm Period’.” The hockey stick instantly became the poster child for pro-Kyoto advocacy, touted as seeing-is-believing evidence that late 20th century warmth was unprecedented during the past 1,000 years, and that mankind’s fuelish ways must be to blame.

Soon after its PR boost from the IPCC, the hockey stick became embroiled in a controversy that persists to this day. Books both pro and con have been written on the subject. Two leading critics, mining consultant Steve McIntyre and economist Ross McKitrick, argued that MBH’s computer program generates hockey stick-shaped graphs from random data. As for the IPCC’s dismissal of the Medieval Warm Period as a European phenomenon, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change maintains a large and growing archive of studies indicating that the Medieval Warm Period was global and/or warmer than recent decades.

A recent study published in Nature Climate Change further undermines the credibility of the hockey stick. The study, “Orbital forcing of tree-ring data,” by Jan Esper of Johannes Gutenberg University, in Germany, and colleagues from Germany, Switzerland, Finland, and Scotland, used X rays to measure changes in the cell-wall density of trees in Northern Finland over the past 2,000 years. The analysis examined both “living and subfossil pine (Pinus sylvestris) trees from 14 lakes and 3 lakeshore sites.” [click to continue…]

Post image for Stolen Heartland Documents: DeSmog Blog Keeps Blowing Smoke

Updated 4:34 pm, Feb. 21, 2012

“Climate scientist Peter Gleick has acknowledged that he was the person who convinced the Heartland Institute to hand over the contents of its January Board package, authenticating the documents beyond a doubt and further exposing the disinformation campaign Heartland has pursued in the last week, trying to discredit the information,” writes DeSmog Blog in a post titled “Whistleblower Authenticates Heartland Documents” (Feb. 20, 2012).

Gleick is indeed the culprit, but he is not a “whistleblower” because to be a candidate for that honorable title, he’d have to be a current or former employee. Gleick acknowledges that he, an outside critic of the organization, solicited and received Heartland documents under false pretenses, an action he describes as a ”serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics.”

More importantly, contrary to DeSmog’s spin, Gleick does not claim to authenticate the document titled ”Confidential Memo: Heartland 2012 Climate Strategy,” the only document among those posted on the DeSmog Web site that even vaguely resembles the stuff of scandal.

Even more pathetic is the sanctimonious open letter by Michael Mann and six colleagues who suggest that Heartland merely got its comeuppance for cheering and publicizing the release of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) emails that sparked the Climategate scandal. [click to continue…]

Post image for Climategate 2.0 – Another Nail in Kyoto’s Coffin

The individual (or individuals) who, in November 2009, released 1,000 emails to and from IPCC-affiliated climate scientists, igniting the Climategate scandal, struck again earlier this week. The leaker(s) released an additional 5,000 emails involving the same cast of characters, notably Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, and Michael Mann, creator of the discredited Hockey Stick reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere temperature history. The blogosphere quickly branded the new trove of emails “Climategate 2.0.”

The timing in each case was not accidental. The Climategate emails made painfully clear that the scientists shaping the huge – and hugely influential – IPCC climate change assessment reports are not impartial experts but agenda-driven activists. Climategate exposed leading U.N.-affiliated scientists as schemers colluding to manipulate public opinion, downplay inconvenient data, bias the peer review process, marginalize skeptical scientists, and flout freedom of information laws. Climategate thus contributed to the failure of the December 2009 Copenhagen climate conference to negotiate a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol. Similarly, Climategate 2.0 arrives shortly before the December 2011 climate conference in Durban — although nobody expects the delegates to agree on a post-Kyoto climate treaty anyway.

Excerpts from Climategate 2.0 emails appear to confirm in spades earlier criticisms of the IPCC climate science establishment arising out of Climategate. My colleague, Myron Ebell, enables us to see this at a glance by sorting the excerpts into categories. [click to continue…]

Post image for Judge Orders Release of “Hockey Stick” Docs

A state judge this week ordered the University of Virginia to stop stonewalling on a Freedom of Information Request for emails from Michael Mann, the creator of the much-disputed “Hockey Stick” reconstruction of historical global temperatures.

The American Tradition Institute filed the FOIA more than 4 months ago, but the University repeatedly delayed the release of the documents, in apparent violation of Virginia’s FOIA law. On May 16, ATI initiated legal proceedings to force the University to comply with its statutory responsibilities. Only then did the University agree to produce all relevant documents by August 22, a commitment to which the University is bound by this week’s ruling.

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Post image for Krugman and Climategate

Paul Krugman, never one to mince words when writing about Republicans,  looks desperately for common ground on two unrelated issues in his latest column. As a result of a blog post (among other pieces) written by a Professor William Cronon of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin State Republican Party has requested copies of all communication that Cronon has made using his University e-mail related to the recent union struggle in Wisconsin.

They seem to be legally entitled to this information under a state law similar to the Freedom of Information Act. It’s not clear that Cronon’s e-mails could be construed as anything other than embarassing, as he isn’t directly involved in preparing policy summaries that have enormous political implications.

Regardless of how you feel about this specific issue, Krugman errs when he tries to relate this to Climategate, insinuating that they are at all similar:

[click to continue…]

Climategate Showdown!

by William Yeatman on March 10, 2011

in Blog

Post image for Climategate Showdown!

Elsewhere in the blogosphere, my colleague Chris Horner and “hockey stick” fabricator Michael Mann are engaged in a highly charged debate on Climategate.

It started with this post by Horner at the Daily Caller. The intro aptly sums his argument:

A federal government inspector general has revealed prima facie proof that the so-called independent inquiries widely if implausibly described as clearing the ClimateGate principals of wrongdoing were, in fact, whitewashes. This has been confirmed to Senate offices. It will not be released to the public for some time because the investigation is ongoing.

[click to continue…]

Hosts Richard Morrison and Jeremy Lott welcome guest William Yeatman to Episode 94 of the LibertyWeek podcast. We examine Chris Horner’s recent freedom of information requests to the University of Virginia, over key Climategate figure Michael Mann. Segment starts approximately 5 minutes in.

The University of East Anglia’s carefully selected “International Panel” released their report on the ClimateGate scientific fraud scandal today.  At eight pages, it’s not even a thorough whitewash.  They don’t even make a minimal effort to rebut the obvious appearance of widespread data manipulation, suppression of dissenting research through improper means, and intentional avoidance of complying with Freedom of Information requests.  It appears that they concluded that the only way they could produce a whitewash and protect the interests of the establishment was by making only the most superficial investigation.  Perhaps they realized that doing more than taking the representations of Phil Jones and the others on trust would involve them in the moral difficulty of having to choose between being honest and maintaining their exoneration.

The seven panel members only looked at eleven published articles from CRU selected on the advice of the Royal Society.  And all eight panel members didn’t read all eleven papers.  Instead, “Every paper was read by a minimum of three Panel members at least one of whom was familiar with the general area to which the paper related.  At least one of the other two was a generalist with no special climate science expertise but with experience of some of the general techniques and methods employed in the work.”  Perhaps the third reader was a chimpanzee.  Yes, they have done a thorough and professional whitewash.

However, the report makes one concession, which is quite damning: “We cannot help remarking that it is very surprising that research in an area that depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close collaboration with professional statisticians.”  In fact, the handling of the historical temperature data and production of the Hadley/CRU temperature record by Jones et al. and the handling of the paleoclimatological data and fabrication of the hockey stick by Michael Mann et al. was only possible because they hid their data and methods from professional statisticians.  When professional statisticians were able to look at Mann’s methods and data, the result was the Wegman report, which was devastating.

[This is a slightly-edited version of a blog first posted on Fox News Forum.]

The New York Times published a doozy of a front-page story by John M. Broder on Wednesday on the Climate-gate scientific fraud scandal. Those who have been lambasting our national “paper of record” for months for largely ignoring the scandal, while every London paper has run multiple big stories full of juicy new revelations, can now relax. The wise and good Grey Lady has finally taken notice.

Well, not exactly. Broder’s story, headlined “Scientists Take Steps to Defend Climate Work,” is all about how the climate science establishment have realized that they “have to fight back” against critics who have used the Climategate revelations to call into question the scientific case for global warming alarmism. Those whose only source of news for the past three months has been the Times will have a hard time figuring out exactly what they have to fight back against.
Broder’s analysis follows the party line that has been worked out among the leading alarmist climate scientists since the scandal broke on November 19, 2009. And Broder makes no effort to conceal where his sympathies lie. He writes: “But serious damage has already been done,” and then discusses polling data that shows increasing public disbelief in the global warming crisis. From my perspective, that’s serious good that has been done, not damage, but then I’m not an unbiased, fair-minded Times reporter.

Broder further opines on his own behalf: “The battle is asymmetric, in the sense that scientists feel compelled to support their findings with careful observation and replicable analysis, while their critics are free to make sweeping statements condemning their work as fraudulent.” That, of course, is not reporting, but agreeing with one of the alarmists’ talking points.

And it is untrue. Anyone who has ever seen some of the leading scientific proponents of alarmism in action knows that they are not about “careful observation and replicable analysis.” In fact, the major revelation of Climate-gate has been that top climate scientists refused to share their data and methodologies because they were concealing intentional data manipulation as well as incompetence. Which is exactly what their critics have maintained for years.

But blatant bias in news stories from the New York Times is not news. What makes Broder’s story unintentionally compelling is the cast of characters that he quotes to represent the calm, objective voice of establishment science.

First up is Dr. Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academies of Science (NAS). That is an august position, and the principal reason Cicerone occupies it is because he is a wily political operator. As President of the NAS, he has worked overtime to enforce the alarmist “consensus”.
When Professor Michael E. Mann’s hockey stick graph came under suspicion, Cicerone craftily convened a National Research Council (or NRC—a government-funded scientific consulting company closely affiliated with the NAS) panel to investigate and appointed Professor Gerald R. North of Texas A. and M. University as chairman. The deceptively affable North has proven to be a reliable water carrier for whoever is in authority.

Cicerone did not share with the panel the probing questions that had been sent to him by then-Chairman of the House Science Committee and then the House’s leading green Republican, Sherwood Boehlert. Instead, Cicerone provided his own loaded questions.

When the panel’s report was nonetheless quite critical of the hockey stick research, Cicerone arranged a press release and conference that put a deceptive spin on the panel’s conclusions. Unsurprisingly, the mainstream media reported what they were told at the press conference.

Cicerone is now using the NRC to rush out a report to minimize Climate-gate and defend the alarmist establishment. A group of NAS members led by Stanford Professor Stephen H. Schneider, who has long been the alarmist scientists’ chief political organizer and strategist, asked Cicerone for the study. It is clear that it is intended to be a whitewash.

Broder’s story also quotes Dr. John P. Holdren, now the White House science adviser and a long-time collaborator with Stanford Professor Paul R. Ehrlich of Population Bomb fame. Holdren has made a career of bending science to support left-wing politics and has an unblemished forty-year record of wild doomsday predictions that have all proven wrong.

After a quick quote from Dr. Rajendra K Pachauri, the Chairman of the U. N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who is a railway engineer by profession, Broder concludes by consulting Dr. Gavin A. Schmidt, a climate modeler at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City:

“Climate scientists are paid to do climate science,” said Gavin A. Schmidt…. “Their job is not persuading the public.”

If only that were so, even in the case of Dr. Schmidt. True, his salary is paid by American taxpayers, but it is almost certainly the case that over the past few years he has been spending a good part of his time during office hours and using government equipment to produce political propaganda for RealClimate.org, a web site run by Schmidt and Michael E. Mann. RealClimate.org has received help from Fenton Communications, the key P.R. firm for the Soros-funded left.
Thus Broder portrays Schmidt as just a scientist trying to be left alone to do his job, but in fact Schmidt is primarily a modestly-skilled political operative working to promote global warming alarmism. Here is Broder quoting Schmidt again:

“What is new is this paranoia combined with a spell of cold weather in the U. S. and the ‘climategate’ release. It’s a perfect storm that has allowed the nutters to control the agenda.”

“Nutters” is English (and Schmidt is English) slang equivalent to “nut” in the sense of crazy person. Well, Schmidt should know—his boss is the director of GISS, Dr. James E. Hansen. Hansen is widely considered to be the leading scientific promoter of global warming alarmism and as such is a highly political animal. He is also increasingly kooky and extreme.

Hansen claimed a few years ago that the Bush Administration was censoring him. It turned out he had given over 1,300 interviews during the Bush years! Hansen predicted over twenty years ago that much of Manhattan would be under water by now as the result of sea level rise caused by global warming.

Last year, Hansen, a federal employee, was arrested for protesting at a coal mine in West Virginia. He has endorsed industrial sabotage as justified by the climate crisis we are facing and said that oil company executives should be put on trial for “high crimes against humanity and nature.”

So Schmidt has it right: the nutters are in control–of the global warming alarmist agenda. But don’t hold your breath waiting for the New York Times to publish that story.

(Myron Ebell is director of Freedom Action. Freedom Action is a Web-based grassroots activist group dedicated to putting freedom on the offensive. Mr. Ebell may be contacted at mebell@freedomaction.org.)