• F-Bombing the Mann

    Following the Mann/Steyn lawsuit, my contempt for the Mann has increased to levels I had not thought possible.  Throughout this, however, I have insisted that whatever megalomanias float through the Mann’s head, whatever his weird and insular insistences on being a multiply exonerated Nobel laureate, I was not about to accuse a scientist of fraud until I had good evidence.  Such is scientific ethics and I insist on sticking to it.

    Now, however, I find that I have been relieved of that weighty responsibility by Dr John Christy, climate scientist and contributor to the IPCC, who testified to the United States congress in the following manner:

    Regarding the Hockey Stick of IPCC 2001 evidence now indicates, in my view, that an IPCC Lead Author [Michael Mann] working with a small cohort of scientists, misrepresented the temperature record of the past 1000 years by (a) promoting his own result as the best estimate, (b) neglecting studies that contradicted his, and (c) amputating another’s result so as to eliminate conflicting data and limit any serious attempt to expose the real uncertainties of these data.

    So, one of these two men is lying.  Both cannot be telling the truth.  So, is the fraud a) the serially dishonest, bullying, thuggish, delusional Michael Mann, or b) a contributing author to the IPCC who pioneered the development of the satellite temperature record?

    Decisions, decisions…

    One bit from the steynpost sticks with me:

    I’ve been shocked to learn of the young scientists who are sick of living under the suffocating orthodoxy the climate mullahs enforce. My initial free-speech interest in this case was a personal one: I have the right to say what I said about Mann, because it happens to be true. But it’s broadened since then: climate science itself desperately needs free speech – which is to say the right to counter the Mann orthodoxy without having one’s career cut off as crudely as Briffa’s poor tree rings were when they had the impertinence to disagree with Mann.

    I can sympathize there; he’s quite right about the fear of rocking the boat and the horrible antics that Mann and his goonsquad get up to.

    In his previous tussles with enforces of orthodoxy, Mark Steyn, with his chum Ezra Levant, became one of the few people to successfully roll back Islamic imperialism by taking on the Islamic supreme council of Canada  (seriously) and their tinhorn state enforcers and making life too hot for them to handle.  In doing so, Steyn & Levant did a real service for secularism in the modern world.  There’s an irony there, since Steyn doesn’t seem to be the biggest fan of it (“in Europe and elsewhere, liberal secularism is not the solution to the problem but the vacuum in which a resurgent globalized Islam has incubated.”) but so what?  It was the fanatical Martin Luther who broke the Church’s monopoly and opened the door for true liberty.

    In a repeat of history, if he manages to put the boot into Mann’s backside, Steyn will have done a real service to climate science.  Not what he set out to do, but that’s his problem not ours.

    It’s time to lash tree-rings to Mann’s feet and toss him into the nearest melted ice sheet (Yes, I know they float.  Think about it).



    Category: APGW

    Article by: The Prussian

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    • NoCrossNoCrescent

      The science itself does not depend wholly on Mann or any other one individual. Climate change science goes back to the 1980s, before anyone had heard of Mann or hockey sticks. Maybe Mann wasn’t honest with data but the independent investigations I’ve seen so far appear to back him up; but if hasn’t been then he’s done a really stupid thing because he’ll be deposed and can find himself in an extremely awkward situation. I prefer a wait and see approach, but that is just a personal preference.

      • Stanley1

        Will Happer is a world-class optical physicist (member of the National Academy of Sciences) at Princeton who served as undersecretary in the Department of Energy for several years in the early 1990s. He was in charge of DOE’s budget for basic research, and the behavior of climate scientists he met while serving at DOE made him a skeptic that human activities dominate whatever climate change is happening.

        From an interview of Happer by Princeton’s student paper in early 2009:

        “Happer explained that his beliefs about climate change come from his experience at the Department of Energy, at which Happer said he supervised all non-weapons energy research, including climate change research. Managing a budget of more than $3 billion, Happer said he felt compelled to make sure it was being spent properly. ‘I would have [researchers] come in, and they would brief me on their topics,’ Happer explained. ‘They would show up. Shiny faces, presentation ready to go. I would ask them questions, and they would be just delighted when you asked. That was true of almost every group that came in.’

        “The exceptions were climate change scientists, he said.

        “’They would give me a briefing. It was a completely different experience. I remember one speaker who asked why I wanted to know, why I asked that question. So I said, you know I always ask questions at these briefings … I often get a much better view of [things] in the interchange with the speaker,’ Happer said. ‘This guy looked at me and said, “What answer would you like?” I knew I was in trouble then. This was a community even in the early 1990s that was being turned political. [The attitude was] “Give me all this money, and I’ll get the answer you like.” ‘ ”


        For me, Happer’s simple observation cuts through a lot of clutter: We all understand the behavior of people who act as Happer described.

        In this case, “Follow the money” gets turned back on the scientists themselves instead of, say, the Heartland Institute or the Koch brothers. (I’m a retired PhD physicist myself, and the behavior Happer recalls strikes me as nothing short of bizarre … completely outside scientific norms.)

        • ThePrussian

          It makes me physically sick to think of such a thing going on in science. We’re supposed to be above that. Whatever happened to rather knowing one true cause than being the Emperor of Persia?

        • josh

          Happer sounds senile. Any physicist who starts with ‘How can CO2 be a pollutant’ isn’t qualified to comment. He also claims that the period of the American revolution was an ‘ice age’ and that we have experienced ‘global cooling’ in the last decade! Note that the story he tells contains absolutely no specifics.

          • Stanley1

            Happer is not only **not** senile, as an optical physicist he’s naturally qualified in the relevant area of physics, radiative transfer. (It’s relevant for understanding the warming effect of CO2, which isn’t controversial.)

            And it was ~22 years ago that Happer — then in his 50s — was making those telling **sociological** observations about climate-change scientists.

            • josh

              But, since as you say the radiative physics of CO2 is not controversial, Happer doesn’t seem to have any particular qualification to understand climatology, as evidenced by the statements I quoted. He’s not making sociological observations, he’s spouting standard denier canards.

            • Stanley1

              Your use of “denier” (instead of “skeptic”) and “spouting” are tip-offs to the quality of your thought. So you’ve earned the label “global-warming groupie.” Tit for tat.

              And Happer’s experience in his briefings from climate-change scientists is, **itself**, the sociological fact, easily interpreted by anyone not born yesterday.

              I’m an agnostic on the question of whether humanity’s CO2 generation is a major contributor to changes in climate (or whether humanity’s effects are dwarfed by other inputs). It could be. But the behavior of people like Mann and like those folks who briefed Happer two decades ago means that the **science** has been polluted enough that a lot of work will need to be done over.

              In other words, the good faith — or its absence — of Mann et al. has become the central question when discussing their work. This is unusual in science.

            • josh

              Skeptic isn’t an accurate description since self-proclaimed ‘climate skeptics’ so rarely apply any skepticism to their preferred sources of anti-warming claims. Case in point: you say that Happer’s experience is a sociological fact. I’m afraid P.T. Barnum would have a field day with you. Happer is telling you a story. You don’t know if the story is true. That is the fact. Who said what in reply to what question in Happer’s tale? You don’t know. Is this contentless anecdote in any way related to the whole of climate science? You have no evidence. On the other hand, Happer makes a number of statements that call into question his competence on the salient facts.

              If you are agnostic on the science then go read the science. Mann is hardly the only climate expert working here and the arguments about one decade old graph have nothing to do with the current state of the art (nor were they essential when the graph was current). Global warming does not hinge on one set of tree-rings, or on the IPCC authoring process, or on an unspecified evil scientist in a story you once heard from a conservative. These are distractions, not the central question, which is addressed by a large and growing body of evidence.

            • Stanley1

              Josh, someone just needs to tell you straight out: You’re a gibbering fool, impervious to thought.

            • josh

              Well that’s one way to lose an argument gracelessly.

            • Stanley1

              You’re a persistent groupie, so here’s a gedanken experiment to see if you bring an ability to think and any relevant expertise to this subject:

              Simplify the physical situation by making the earth dry and lifeless. It will be in equilibrium with incoming sunlight (leaving out radioactive decays inside), and the CO2 in the atmosphere will play a part in determining the equilibrium.

              Now double the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere BUT CONCENTRATE ALL THE ADDED CO2 INTO A FOOT-THICK LAYER AT THE GROUND. (And, by deus ex machina have the added CO2 remain in that foot-thick layer at the ground. It’s unphysical in the sense that it wouldn’t actually stay there, but it’s a legitimate physics problem to consider what would happen if it could be so confined.)

              So what happens to earth’s surface temperatures? Answer out of your head, without consulting sources or friends. And an explanation is needed, so it’s not just a guess.

            • josh

              When all else fails change the subject, eh? I’m not doing a poorly stated homework problem for you, make a point or go away.

            • Stanley1

              The problem is as tightly stated as necessary. And it’s not a grind&crank homework problem. It requires understanding. If you understood the physics, you’d be able to answer it and explain your answer in a few sentences. (And I certainly don’t need **you** to do it “for me.”)

              Instead, after dawdling five hours, you avoided it, which is telling about your competence level regarding this overall subject. (If you don’t understand **this** part of the phenomenon, what part **do** you understand?)

              This avoidance is quite consistent with my labeling you a groupie. And THAT’S THE POINT: You bring nothing to this discussion beyond the ability to paste URLs, an act amounting to pointing and crowing, “See, what this expert who’s way above my pay grade says!”

              You’re in waaay over your head, Josh, so you’re the one who needs to stfu.

            • josh

              No Stanley, I can answer the question, I chose not too because it is a distraction and you have predictably tried to use it as such. I do not need to ‘prove’ my knowledge to you on this because it does not relate to the question we were discussing before you blew up. I don’t spend all my time checking your replies since I have better things to do. When I did check back after a few hours I saw your red herring and treated it as such. The problem for you is that I understand the phenomenon of global warming sufficiently and I understand the dishonest tactics of a person like yourself.

              If you want a reset, go back, apologize for your intemperate comments, address the relevant points about Happer and I will then happily answer your question.

            • Stanley1

              Bunky, you’re the one who initiated the slurs:

              – Calling Happer “senile” (right, you said he “sounds senile,” a distinction without a difference; this senile physicist continues to publish in mainline, refereed journals and get patents)

              – Writing that Happer is “spouting standard denier canards.” Spouting, right. Maybe you’d become tired of using “spewing”?

              – PT Barnum would have a field day with me.

              – Calling Happer’s experience as DOE undersecretary a “contentless anecdote.”

              No need for you to apologize though. Just demonstrate that you understand the basic heating phenomenon by correctly answering, with explanation, the thought problem, which is, indeed, a direct test of **understanding**. (It’s consistent with what’s in Raymond Pierrehumbert’s January, 2011 article in Physics Today, “Infrared radiation and planetary temperature,” but it’s not a problem you’ll find explicitly there or anywhere else.)

              If you can’t do that (and if you have no other pertinent expertise in areas relevant to climate influences), then you’re the groupie I already think you are.

              If you “can” do it, but refuse to write the modest paragraph, or two, to show that you can, then the natural conclusion is that you really can’t.

            • josh

              I based my comments on what Happer said. He’s an old man so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. ‘CO2 isn’t a pollutant is a canard.’ He spouted it, (‘spouting off’ being a common english phrase if you weren’t aware). The article you cited is titled ‘Professor denies global warming’. So, yes, ‘spouting denialist canards’. Happer also compares global warming advocates to Nazis and Orwellian villains. He claims that carbon dioxide played no role in past warming. He brings up the Medieval Warm Period and the (little) Ice Age. He asserts ‘global cooling’ in the last decade. These are the common tropes of the lower tier denialist websites and not a sign that you should take him seriously on this topic. As I keep pointing out, his story contains no context and no specific facts. I didn’t say a word about you personally.

              You responded by calling me a ‘groupie’, which is a lame attempt at denigration but personal nonetheless. You claimed that anyone ‘not born yesterday’ would agree with you that his anecdote is a sociological fact, hence the Barnum comment.

              Your response: gross insult with zero content. And when I called you out on that you come back with a pathetic diversion, hoping to test my knowledge on the details of the global warming mechanism and if you can find anything to object to, ‘prove’ that I’m somehow wrong on the relevant points. Grow the hell up.

              For the record, I’m not an expert on climate science (and neither is Happer). But I’m smart enough and educated enough to know BS when I hear it and Happer is full of it in the linked article. I can also point out your continuing silly tactics. Evaluating either has absolutely nothing to do with my knowledge of details of radiative transfer in the climate system.

              However, I suspect the answer you are looking for is something like this: the bulk of global warming (not counting feedbacks) from added CO2 is due to its effects in the high atmosphere. At those altitudes the density and humidity are low enough that there are significant IR absorption bands which CO2 can block, absorbing the energy and reradiating it back earthwards. At ground level much more of that potential CO2 absorption is already populated by water vapor and denser gasses with wider absorption bands and more convection/thermal contact. Thus adding CO2 only there would, I believe, have only minor effect on the temperature since the greenhouse effect from CO2 is largely saturated at that altitude. (I didn’t, incidentally, look at the Physics Today reference.)

              Here’s my question for you: Name one argument against global warming that Happer made in that article that requires me to know the above details. It’s your good faith I’m currently worried about more than Mann’s.

            • Stanley1

              Your answer is correct and obviously isn’t a mere guess, so “groupie” is off the table.

              However, that’s quite a labored explanation, though probably conventional. The physical way to look at it is to consider earth’s (re)radiation measured from afar. In spectral regions wherein the high-atmosphere CO2 is optically thick, the radiation is that of a cold blackbody at the CO2 excitation temperature. In spectral regions for which the CO2 is optically thin, a distant observer sees radiation at the (warmer) temperature of the earth’s surface. Together, these effects balance the absorption by the earth of sunlight (which is dominantly in the visible).

              (My problem for probing understanding omits the complications of water vapor … and life.)

              If you add that thin layer of CO2 at ground level, it’ll be at the surface temperature and will, hence, radiate the same as the surface itself over the spectral regions for which the CO2 in that thin layer is optically thick. So, to first order, there would be no need for the surface temperature to change to retain earth’s energy balance.

              (To second order, if the earth’s emissivity is < 1 over those same spectral regions, the ground-layer CO2 will actually radiate more than the surface did, in which case the addition of the CO2 in that confined surface layer would cool the surface. This would be a small effect, depending upon the difference in collision broadening and upon the pressure shift between the high CO2 and the ground-layer CO2.)

              My problem isn't related to what Happer said. Nor did I say it is. I posed it as a way of determining if you have any ability to think about this subject (as opposed to simply citing claims by "experts" — that would make you a groupie.)


              As for your comportment here:

              – "Spout off" is a put-down equivalent to "spew."

              – On the question of CO2 as pollutant, Happer probably looks at it as I do: It's an unavoidable waste material, intrinsic to using fossil fuels. It's not toxic. But if your criteria cause CO2 to classify as a pollutant, then so is water vapor, which is also an intrinsic part of the exhaust stream.

              – So your describing Happer as "senile" isn't an insult because it wasn't to his face. Charming.

              As to his senility, there's a ~six-minute interview with him, from about three years after the Princeton paper's interview, here: http://live.wsj.com/video/opinion-climate-change-crack-up/B951E1BE-01A3-4F92-B871-A4AB9B171419.html#!B951E1BE-01A3-4F92-B871-A4AB9B171419

              – It's nice that you're worried about the good faith of a 65-year-old optical physicist (PhD in radio molecular astronomy, lasers & optics specialist since). Thanks for your concern.

      • ThePrussian

        I agree with you that Mann’s crap doesn’t disprove the science.

        As I wrote: “let me stress that none of this disproves the idea of man made global warming. Why do I say this? Because there are many other temperature reconstructions that show an uptick in temperature in our age. I haven’t found any that are as dramatic as Mann’s – telling in combination with the above quote – but they still show this. Mann may be proved to be full of shit, but that doesn’t say anything about the work of Darrell Kaufman, Gabriel Hegerl, Anders Moberg, Ming Tan, A.E. Bjune, Frederik Charpentier, or J. Overpeck, just to grab some random top-notch first authors together. – See more at: http://www.skepticink.com/prussian/2014/02/28/mann-overboard/#sthash.ALWNHsjV.dpuf

    • kraut2

      what the fuss about Mann?

      The fact is that climate change is happening, faster than we expected, the arctic ocean will likely be passable for a considerable part of the year without icebreakers help, and the reassurance companies are whistling the blues about climate change since the mid nineties already.


      and the US govt. is pretty clear about the consequences for the US and Canada.



      • ThePrussian

        I never said climate change wasn’t happening or that it wasn’t a problem. I’ve insisted on that from the start.

        That actually makes Michael Mann’s ludicrous antics even worse:

        “Mann’s case will end up the same. People will always remember his fakery, and this will make it harder than ever to discuss climate science rationally. So, well done Michael Mann. Thank you very much. This is exactly what we need right now.” – See more at: http://www.skepticink.com/prussian/2012/10/31/manning-up-or-monkeying-around/#sthash.Gnk8Aoew.dpuf

        • kraut2

          “That actually makes Michael Mann’s ludicrous antics even worse:”

          I agree if Mann really still had the influence he or others think he has. From what I have gathered following science sites (science daily for one) – he simply doesn’t show up there. Therefore my comment regarding the fuss about him.

          • Steve-Dave

            The fuss is based on the fact he is trying to sue critics into silence…

    • josh

      How does Mann thinking he had the best studies at the time, or favoring a particular approach to the data, in any way show evidence of fraud? It sounds like normal scientific practice to me.

      • Stanley1

        Reread the testimony of John Christy, quoted above.

        • josh

          I did, he doesn’t say much to back up his claim and he’s well known to be on the denier end of the spectrum. Mann is accused of what? Using his own leadership position to promote his view of things? That is pretty routine in science. Did he falsify any data? No, he thought that a part of one data set (the Briffa trees) was valid but not another part and he used the valid part in a graphic. Was he right? About the warming trend, yes. About the specifics of his treatment of the data and presentation, I don’t know. People will argue various points and again this is normal in science. It’s possible Mann was wrong in some way or that he should have more carefully qualified some statement. That is not even close to fraud. Thinking otherwise betrays a) political biases or b) unfamiliarity with science as it is actually practiced.

          • notropis01

            “he’s well known to be on the denier end of the spectrum.”

            That sounds a lot more like religious or political language than scientific language.

            “Are you now, or have you ever been, a denier, or a denier sympathizer? Have you corresponded with known deniers? Have you ever received a grant from anyone other than a government agency?”

            Climate “science” in the 21st Century.

        • josh

          It’s worth noting that Christy is in fact famous for getting the science wrong:


          I wonder why you don’t spend your time accusing him of fraud?

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