by Antonio Viva
Question by Dana1981: How do you feel the Wegman Report reflects on global warming ‘skeptics’?
Republican Rep. Smokey Joe Barton decided to launch a Congressional inquiry on Mann et al.’s “hockey stick” based on criticisms by McInytre & McKitrick (a mining stock promoter and economist, respectively). The National Academy of Sciences offered to “create an independent expert panel” to investigate the matter, but the offer was ignored by Barton.
Fortunately soon thereafter, Science Committee chair Sherwood Boehlert requested that the NAS review the matter. They did so, and their report vindicated the “hockey stick”.
In the meantime, Barton enlisted statistician Wegman and a few colleagues to investigate the “hockey stick”. One of Wegman’s co-investigators described the group as having no “real expertise in paleoclimate reconstruction, but were arguably pretty good statisticians.” The group was fed information by Barton’s Republican staffer Peter Spencer. “Peter Spencer began sending us a daunting amount of material for us to review over the next 9 months.”
The group never contacted Mann or his colleagues. They did contact McIntyre several times, and thus were able to reconstruct his findings (with help), but failed to reconstruct Mann’s. Much of the Wegman report plagiarized the work of Raymond Bradley (one of the “hockey stick” co-authors), but with significant errors and distortions interspersed in the text. Basically Wegman copied and modified the text to make it seem like Bradley was saying tree rings can’t be used as a temperature proxy (without attributing the plagiarized sections to Bradley), even though Bradley is an expert at doing just that – using tree rings as a temperature proxy.
So basically the Wegman report was the result of Republicans rejecting an investigative offer by the best scientists in the country (NAS), and instead turning to a few statisticians with zero paleoclimate expertise who got their information from a Republican staffer, only communicated with those criticizing the ‘hockey stick’, and plagiarized and misrepresented the work of Bradley. The Wegman report today is considered proof by many ‘skeptics’ that the ‘hockey stick’ is wrong.
How do you feel the Wegman Report reflects on global warming ‘skeptics’?
Ottawa – aren’t you an engineer? It seems like you should be able to tell the difference between the statistics behind a paleoclimate reconstruction vs. the statistics of calculating a simple linear trend.
Dent – “…and shows MWP to be as warm as today”
You might want to invest in some reading glasses.
Answer by Ottawa Mike
“… turning to a few statisticians with zero paleoclimate expertise who got their information from a Republican staffer…”
Change “Republican” with “AP Correspondent” and what do you get? You get a mainstream media report, that’s what you get: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33482750/ns/us_news-environment/
Apparently, for a proper statistical survey you not only don’t need experts in tree ring data, you don’t even need to tell them what the data is! Do I have to go through all the old posts at YA and see what was said by whom about that particular gem?
Edit: I accidentally came across this which is relevent here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/02/08/andrew_montford_interview/
Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!