Mann in damage control mode over ‘AMO’ coinage?

Our report questioning Michael Mann’s claim to have coined the term “Atlantic multidecadal oscillation” (AMO) seems to have put Mann in damage control mode.

After we reported yesterday that Science reporter Richard Kerr claimed credit for coining “AMO”, Kerr then followed up this morning in an e-mail that said:


A clarification is required concerning the coining of the term “Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation” or AMO. It turns out that my recollection, as I recounted it to you, differs from Michael Mann’s recollection (which I had not been aware of). I have always assumed that I suggested the obvious term to him and had him okay it, he recalls my asking for a term and his suggesting it.

That was a long time ago. My handwritten notes from the phone interview were discarded after some years in the course of routine cleaning and condensing of my files. My recollection could well be faulty, encouraged by all those ego-stroking citations of my news story in the refereed literature. There is no way to say whose recollection is fuzzier, and it matters not.

Dick [Emphasis added]

I responded:


Will note the confusion/uncertainty.

But note that RealClimate credited you in a 2004 posting.



Kerr responded:

Thanks, Steve, but RealClimate only notes that the term was “introduced” in the story.


I responded:

By you, though! And no credit given to Mann. I will note your exception, though. Steve

Willie Soon observed in an e-mail that:

But consider [that there was] no AMO [mention] in however many thousand words [Mann] and Tom Delworth had written in their 2000 paper in Climate Dynamics.

We report. You decide.

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