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Briffa Confirms MWP In Southern Hemisphere

December 26, 2011


From the Climategate collection, a revealing email from Keith Briffa to Jonathan Overpeck, which makes suggested changes to one of Overpeck’s papers.

date: Wed Feb 15 16:43:41 2006
from: Keith Briffa <REDACTED>
subject: bullets
do not think you will like what I say here , but I am going to give straight answers to
your questions.

3) I suggest this should be taken together , the sparse evidence of Southern Hemisphere temperatures prior to the period of instrumental records indicates that overall warming has occurred during the last
350 years, but the even fewer longer regional records indicate earlier periods that are as warm, or warmer than, 20th century means.


Mann’s Hockey Stick has always relied on the claim that the undoubted warmth in Northerly latitudes during the MWP was offset by a cooler climate  elsewhere. Briffa is clear that what little data there is in the Southern Hemisphere says the opposite.

This raises two questions :-

1) Why did Mann come to the conclusion he did when the evidence pointed in the opposite direction?

2) Did Overpeck alter his paper to reflect Briffa’s criticisms?


The link to email 4871 is here.

  1. grayman permalink
    December 27, 2011 10:36 pm

    Briffa sounds like the voice of reason as far as the TEAM is concerned, It is a shame that more of the TEAM did not listen to him. The full e-mail gives you more context than the quote and really shows him to be resonable in his critique. If more where like this then the AGW mess would not be where it is today. Hope you had a good Christmas?

    • December 28, 2011 11:36 am

      Brilliant, thanks.

      There has been more than one suggestion that Briffa is behind the leaks. He certainly comes across as being uncomfortable with a lot of what was going on.

  2. grayman permalink
    December 27, 2011 10:39 pm

    Oops forgot to give my anwsers to the questions.
    1) Mann was looking for glory and fame and did not care how it came about.
    2) I certainly hope so!

  3. December 28, 2011 11:41 am

    The final comment of the email is revealing too.!

    but do not let Susan (or Mike) push you (us) beyond where we know is right

    Now why should Mike or Susan want to do that?

  4. Andrew permalink
    December 28, 2011 5:09 pm


    Hey I followed you here from WUWT based on your O/T post. Anyway, interesting speculation going on here…and it seems a bit less noisy on this threat…so I will throw in my 2 cents.

    Regarding Briffa, I recall back a few years ago, pre-Climategate 1, reading stuff either on WUWT or maybe Climate Audit…anyway…I got the sense that Briffa was feeling somewhat convicted by some of what was going on. It was back when he was out sick for an extended period of time…and there was debating going on back and forth on the ‘deniers’ sites as well as on Real Climate. It seemed like the Warming Folks didn’t have good rebuttals…but once they could get some additional clarification from Briffa…all would be solved…

    Not knowing the nature of his absence/illness other than it was some family medical issues, I wondered to myself if he could have been having some sort of mental/stress related breakdown. I mean, if you have a conscience..and you know your lies are being revealed…(oh that’s right it was the Yamal debate…)

    Well thanks for letting me ramble a bit in a stream of conscientiousness kinda way…it got me thinking a bit, maybe we can connect a few more of the dots.

    So let me add one last thing…Briffa’s quote just before his final one…

    “For what it worth , the above comments are my (honestly long considered) views – and I
    would not be happy to go further .”

    Have a ‘shrink’ tell you what they read into that comment. I ain’t a shrink, but I hear a guy that is about to give up…

    OK, fine that was more than 2 cents…’for what it worth’, lol…his typo, not mine.


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