Climategate 2.0: Wigley knows why paleo-reconstructions are junk science

“If I were on the greenhouse deniers’ side…”

From the Climategate 2.0 collection, In this exchange started by a Michael Mann plea for help in defending the hokey stick, Tom Wigley offers his critique of the hokey stick and other paleo reconstructions:

A word of warning. I would be careful about using other, independent paleo reconstruction work as supporting the MBH reconstructions. I am attaching my version of a comparison of the bulk of these other reconstructions. Although these all show the hockey stick shape, the differences between them prior to 1850 make me very nervous. If I were on the greenhouse deniers’ side, I would be inclined to focus on the wide range of paleo results and the differences between them as an argument for dismissing them all.

The full e-mail is below.

————————————————
Date: Sat, 25 Jun 2005 09:36:49 -0600
From: Tom Wigley
Organization: NCAR/CGD
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.0; en-US; rv:1.4) Gecko/
20030624
Netscape/7.1 (ax)
X-Accept-Language: en-us, en
To: Michael Oppenheimer
Cc: “Michael E. Mann” , shs@stanford.edu, dlashof@nrdc.org,
jhansen@giss.nasa.gov, mmaccrac@comcast.net, santer1@llnl.gov,
wigley@ucar.edu, Caspar Ammann
Subject: Re: NEED HELP!
X-UVA-Virus-Scanned: by amavisd-new at fork9.mail.virginia.edu
Mike,
There are broader implications of this, so it is important to respond well. It is
a pity you have to be the guinea pig after what you have gone through already,
but you have many supporters.
I would not advise a legal route. I think you need to consider this as just another
set of referees’ comments and respond simply, clearly and directly. On the science
side the key point is that the M&M criticisms are unfounded.
Although this may be difficult, remember that this is not really a criticism of you
personally, but one aspect of a criticism of the foundations of global warming
science by people both inside and outside of Congress who have ulterior motives.
There may, in fact, be an opportunity here. As you know, we suspect that there
has been an abuse of the scientific review process at the journal editor level.
The method is to choose reviewers who are sympathetic to the anti-greenhouse
view. Recent papers in GRL (including the M&M paper) have clearly not been
reviewed by appropriate people. We have a strong suspicion that this is the case,
but, of course, no proof because we do not know *who* the reviewers of these
papers have been. Perhaps now is the time to make this a direct accusation and

request (or demand) that this information be made available. In order to properly
defend the good science it is essential that the reasons for bad science appearing
in the literature be investigated.
The lever here is that the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the
House Committee on Energy and Commerce is suggesting that your papers are
bad science and asking (their point 8e) for the identity of people who reviewed
your work. In response, it is completely fair and justifiable to point out that it
is the papers that criticize your and related work that are bad science, and that,
through the Subcommittee you can request the identities of the reviewers of all
of these critical papers — starting with M&M.
When you respond, there are a number of items that require a direct response
from you alone. There are also a number of scientific points where you could
give a multi-authored response. There are many people who have expertise in
this area and familiarity with the scientific issues who I am sure would be willing
to join you (I would be happy to do so).
At this stage, however, I would keep the group small. A few others could be added
to the original email list nevertheless. I took the liberty of copying your plea and
the Subcommittee’s letter to Caspar Ammann, primarily because I think he can
help with the scientific aspects better than most people. After all, he has been
able to follow your method and reproduce your results, he has shown the flaws
in M&M’s work, he has investigated the bristlecone pine issue, and he has made
all his software available on the web.
The others who could be added at this early stage are Ray Bradley and Malcolm
Hughes, your ‘co-conspirators’ — and perhaps Phil Jones, Keith Briffa and Tim
Osborn. I do not know how ‘powerful’ these alien opinions may be in the present
parochial context, but I note that the instigators of all this are Canadians and that
the science has no national boundaries. Phil, Keith and Tim are useful because they
have demonstrated the flaws in the von Storch work — which is, I assume, the
Science paper that the Subcommittee’s letter referes to.
A word of warning. I would be careful about using other, independent paleo
reconstruction work as supporting the MBH reconstructions. I am attaching my
version of a comparison of the bulk of these other reconstructions. Although
these all show the hockey stick shape, the differences between them prior to
1850 make me very nervous. If I were on the greenhouse deniers’ side, I
would be inclined to focus on the wide range of paleo results and the differences
between them as an argument for dismissing them all.
I attach also a run with MAGICC using central-estimate climate model parameters
(DT2x = 2.6 degC, etc. — see the TAR), and forcings used by Caspar in the
runs with paleo-CSM. I have another Figure somewhere that compares MAGICC
with paleo-CSM. The agreement is nearly perfect (given that CSM has internally
generated noise while MAGICC is pure signal). The support for the hockey stick
is not just the paleo reconstructions, but also the model results. If one takes the
best estimates of past forcing off the shelf, then the model results show the hockey
stick shape. No tuning or fudging here; this is a totally independent analysis, and
critics of the paleo data, if they disbelieve these data, have to explain why models
get the same result.
Of course, von Storch’s model results do not show such good century timescale
agreement, but this is because he uses silly forcing and has failed to account for
the fact that his model was not in equilibrium at the start of the run (the subject
of Tim Osborn et al.’s submitted paper).
This is a pain in the but, but it will all work out well in the end (unintentional pun

sorry). Good science will prevail.
Best wishes,
Tom
———————————————–
Michael Oppenheimer wrote:
Michael:
This is outrageous. Ill contact some people who may be able to help right away.
________________________________________________________________________
___________
From: Michael E. Mann [[1]mailto:mann@virginia.edu]
Sent: Friday, June 24, 2005 4:27 PM
To: [2]shs@stanford.edu; [3]omichael@Princeton.EDU; [4]dlashof@nrdc.org;
[5]jhansen@giss.nasa.gov; [6]mmaccrac@comcast.net; [7]santer1@llnl.gov;
[8]wigley@ucar.edu
Subject: NEED HELP!
Importance: High
dear all,
this was predicted–they’re of course trying to make things impossible for me. I need
immediate help regarding recourse for free legal advice, etc.
mike
______________________________________________________________
Professor Michael E. Mann
Department of Environmental Sciences, Clark Hall
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22903

One thought on “Climategate 2.0: Wigley knows why paleo-reconstructions are junk science”

  1. So they want to use seriously flawed models to back up the claims made with seriously flawed statistical work.
    Yeah, that should work well.

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