01 October 2009

Hockey Stick Gets Personal: Lies from Real Climate

Steve McIntyre must be on to something, judging by the nasty and vituperative comments coming from Real Climate, where Gavin Schmidt levels a serious allegation:
So along comes Steve McIntyre, self-styled slayer of hockey sticks, who declares without any evidence whatsoever that [Keith] Briffa didn’t just reprocess the data from the Russians, but instead supposedly picked through it to give him the signal he wanted. These allegations have been made without any evidence whatsoever.
I have followed this issue closely, and it is clear that Steve McIntyre "declared" no such thing. In fact he declared exactly the opposite:
I don't wish to unintentionally feed views that I don't hold. It is not my belief that Briffa crudely cherry picked. My guess is that the Russians selected a limited number of 200-400 year trees - that's what they say - a number that might well have been appropriate for their purpose and that Briffa inherited their selection - a selection which proved to be far from random and which, as you and I agree, falls vastly short of standards in the field for RCS chronology (as opposed to corridor or spline chronologies).
Gavin's outright lie about McIntyre is an obvious attempt to distract attention from the possibility that Steve may have scored another scalp in the Hockey Stick wars. Rather than distract attention from McIntyre, Gavin's most recent lie simply adds to the list of climate scientists behaving badly. When will these guys learn?

Unlike Gavin, Keith Briffa (who authored the primary work at the center of attention by McIntyre) responds in a much more dignified fashion, suggesting that indeed there may indeed be issues to examine here:

We have not yet had a chance to explore the details of McIntyre's analysis or its implication for temperature reconstruction at Yamal but we have done considerably more analyses exploring chronology production and temperature calibration that have relevance to this issue but they are not yet published. I do not believe that McIntyre's preliminary post provides sufficient evidence to doubt the reality of unusually high summer temperatures in the last decades of the 20th century. We will expand on this initial comment on the McIntyre posting when we have had a chance to review the details of his work.

However the substance of the issue turns out, by lying about what McIntyre said in order to cast aspersions on him, Gavin Schmidt has given his field another self-imposed black eye.