Thursday, May 19, 2011

Auditing Stephen McIntyre, anatomy of a deception

Considering my conversations of the past couple days I believe it is time to share a little information from a website that has had the opportunity to delve into the modus operandi of Stephen McIntyre the Canadian mining engineer, investment promoter and statistician who has become the darling of the denier blogosphere and who is quite adept at stirring up passions.

Unfortunately, his dedication to the principles of science as a learning tool aren't among his priorities ~ this man's priority is championing a political agenda. The Free Market of drill baby drill, burn baby burn, in total disregard for consequences.

Pushing an attitude of Willfully Ignoring what climatology and other Earth sciences are telling us, he believes that with wisps of statistical tricks he has upended decades of climatology knowledge.

It is a long article so I only include the introduction
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How to be a climate science auditor, part 2: The forgotten climategate emails
Posted on May 14, 2010 by Deep Climate

In this installment, I’ll look at another technique in the climate auditor’s toolbox, namely selective quotation. Once again, our example case study will involve accusations by Steve McIntyre concerning the use of paleoclimatologist Keith Briffa’s tree-ring based reconstruction in a key figure from the IPCC Third Assessment Report.

Arguing from a cherrypicked selection of quotes from the “Climategate” emails, McIntyre has claimed that IPCC authors Chris Folland and Michael Mann pressured Briffa to submit a reconstruction that would not “dilute the message” by showing “inconsistency” with multi-proxy reconstructions from Mann and Briffa’s CRU colleague Phil Jones. Briffa “hastily re-calculated his reconstruction”, sending one with a supposedly larger post-1960 decline before. According to McIntyre, Mann resolved this new “conundrum” and simply “chopped off the inconvenient portion of the Briffa tree-ring data”.

But a review of the emails – including some that have never been quoted before – clearly contradicts McIntyre’s version of events:
• Jones and Briffa were concerned that Mann had an outdated version of the Briffa reconstruction, and both urged the adoption of the newer “low frequency” one, more appropriate for comparison with other multi-century reconstructions.
• Far from pressuring Briffa to change his reconstruction right away, Mann questioned whether an immediate change was required, or even possible, and counseled waiting for the next revision.
• CRU colleague Tim Osborn advised Mann that he and Briffa “usually stopped” the “low frequency” reconstruction in 1960, and went one better in his later “resend” to Mann, by explicitly removing the post-1960 data.

I’ll also show how McIntyre has changed his narrative along the way , in an effort to prove that the true “context” of the famous “trick” to “hide the decline” is somehow an indictment of the IPCC. But first, once again, here is the cause of all the fuss, namely Figure 2-21 from Chapter 2 of the IPCC Third Assessment Report – – Working Group I: The Scientific Basis (2001).
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Please read on, it's rather enlightening
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