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More Dumbing Down At The Telegraph

February 1, 2016

By Paul Homewood  

  

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I see Peter Stanford has been at the Jamaican Woodbines again!

There is nothing in the Met Office forecast that is anywhere out of the ordinary for this time of year, with a bit of hill snow in the north likely for the next day or two. Certainly not the snowmageddon implied.

 

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http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/forecast

 

 

Meanwhile the longer term outlook is for average or slightly higher temperatures.

 

 

 

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http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/publicsector/contingency-planners

 

 

As for his “10 days of rain”, Stanford clearly does not understand that weather is very rarely “average”.

As the Met Office figures since 1961 show, it is very rare that rainfall days are anywhere near average.

 

 

image

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/pub/data/weather/uk/climate/datasets/Raindays1mm/date/England_and_Wales.txt

 

We find the same sort of huge year to year variations in February rainfall totals, in the series going back to 1766.

 

image

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadukp/data/monthly/HadEWP_monthly_qc.txt

 

 

It is evident that the only purpose of Stanford’s column is to try to persuade us that our weather is becoming more extreme.  

 

Which leads us on to his final paragraph. (We’ll leave aside the fact that he equates 1.3C with 34F!). 

Would an ex editor of the Catholic Herald really know about obscure journals such as Environmental Research Letters, or is somebody feeding him this stuff, in pursuit of an alarmist agenda?

I’ll be taking a look at that paper later, but needless to say it is based around a handful of dodgy tree rings and other proxies, which makes Steve McIntyre’s latest post,  Cherry-Picking by D’Arrigo, highly relevant.

This is how Steve introduces it:

 

One of the longest standing Climate Audit issues with paleoclimate reconstructions is ex post decisions on inclusion/exclusion of data, of which ex post decisions on inclusion/exclusion of sites/data in “regional [treering] chronologies” is one important family.  This was the issue in the original Yamal controversy, in response to which Briffa stated that they “would never select or manipulate data in order to arrive at some preconceived or unrepresentative result”. However, Briffa and associates have never set out ex ante criteria for site inclusion/exclusion, resulting in the methodology for Briffa regional reconstructions seeming more like Calvinball than science, as discussed in many CA posts.

Unlike Briffa, D’Arrigo has candidly admitted to the selection of data to arrive at a preconceived result. At the 2006 NAS panel workshop, Rosanne D’Arrigo famously told the surprised panelists that you had to pick cherries if you want to make cherry pie.   Again in 2009 (though not noticed at the time), D’Arrigo et al 2009 stated that they could “partially circumvent” the divergence problem by only using data that went up:

The divergence problem can be partially circumvented by utilizing tree-ring data for dendroclimatic reconstructions from sites where divergence is either absent or minimal. (Wilson et al., 2007; Buntgen et al., in press; Youngblut and Luckman, in press).

Portfolio managers would have like to have a similar option in constructing portfolios: if, after the fact, you pick stocks that went up, it would be trivially easy to “circumvent” market downturns.  That paleoclimatologists seem so obtuse to this simple observation is a major puzzlement.

In today’s post, I’ll show an absolutely breathtaking example of biased ex post picking by D’Arrigo et al in the D’Arrigo et al 2006 CNWT chronology.  It was impossible for anyone to identify the full measure of this bias at the time or for many years afterwards, as D’Arrigo and co-authors failed to archive data at the time and refused to provide it when requested. They were supported in their refusal by IPCC WG1 Co-Chair Susan Solomon, who, as CA readers are aware, threatened me with expulsion as an IPCC AR4 reviewer for seeking supporting data for D’Arrigo et al 2006 (then cited in preprint by AR4).   The data showing the cherry picking only became available in 2014 as part of a belated archiving program in the final year of Gordon Jacoby’s life.

 

Steve goes on to show that without the cherry picking the hockey stick disappears, and concludes:

 

Seemingly arbitrary decisions by dendro specialists on inclusion/exclusion of tree ring data has long been a source of criticism at Climate Audit.  In response to the original Yamal controversy about ex post decisions on inclusion of sites and withholding of adverse results, Briffa denied  (later quoted by Guardian here) that they would select or manipulate data based on a “preconceived” result (a claim called in question by Climategate emails):

we would never select or manipulate data in order to arrive at some preconceived or unrepresentative result

Unfortunately, Briffa and associates have never set out ex ante criteria for site inclusion/exclusion, resulting in Briffa regional reconstructions seeming more like Calvinball than science, as discussed in many CA posts.   However, remarkably, D’Arrigo et al 2009 (though not noticed at the time) had admitted earlier that year to doing exactly what Briffa had denied: the ex post selection of sites in order to obtain a preconceived result (a reconstruction that went up in the 20th century). They stated:

The divergence problem can be partially circumvented by utilizing tree-ring data for dendroclimatic reconstructions from sites where divergence is either absent or minimal. (Wilson et al., 2007; Buntgen et al., in press; Youngblut and Luckman, in press).

The full import of this sentence could obviously not be appreciated without knowing the full measure of the ex post cherry picking that had been carried out in the D’Arrigo et al 2006 CNWT reconstruction: who could possibly have guessed that D’Arrigo and coauthors used 98.6% of the new cores from the Coppermine River update (which went up) and only 3.3% of the new cores from the Thelon River update (which went down.)   A more thorough implementation of a protocol for selection of data to achieve a preconceived result is hard to imagine.

http://climateaudit.org/2016/01/29/cherry-picking-by-darrigo/#more-20082

10 Comments leave one →
  1. February 1, 2016 11:28 am

    The reference to the ERL dodgy dendro paper looks like a Bob Ward intervention.

  2. RoyHartwell permalink
    February 1, 2016 11:30 am

    I am beginning to despair of The Telegraph which for years was the voice of reason. If it wasn’t for Chris Booker I’d suspect it had fallen completely for the CAGW agenda. The other aspect of current weather forecasting that REALLY get’s my angst stirred is the ridiculous new MO trend of naming perfectly normal Atlantic winter storms with names, thus elevating them in the gp’s mind as something exceptional. I had hopef The Telegraph would not have fallen for this con !!!!!

    • miket permalink
      February 1, 2016 5:59 pm

      “If it wasn’t for Chris Booker I’d suspect it had fallen completely for the CAGW agenda”

      To me it looks like it has. For some reason, he has managed to keep his column.

      Like you I am beginning to despair. After Philip Eden, this new guy just isn’t worth reading – no interesting information, er, no information at all.

  3. February 1, 2016 11:57 am

    Peter Stanford (ex editor of the Catholic Herald) has just swapped one strange belief system for another.

    Both require –
    un-questioning belief,
    Acceptance that man is a sinner ( it’s true that Mikey Mann is),
    penance in monetary form,
    that only the chosen few can have the ear of god & only they can protect us from the forecast doom

  4. February 1, 2016 12:02 pm

    Accurate records of temperatures have been kept all across Europe, ever since the Romans, through the dark ages and Medieval times, right up until today.

  5. February 1, 2016 12:33 pm

    I believe it was Mr. Briffa in the Motley CRU “Climategate” episode who used THREE trees from the data set to show CO2 caused warming. In the process he declared that contemporary writings and accounts of the Medieval Warming were “bunk.” I would say that “the bunk stops here” with Mr. Briffa.

  6. jimmy Haigh permalink
    February 1, 2016 12:56 pm

    An increase of 1.3C is calculated as 34F. Wonderful!!

  7. MrPete permalink
    February 1, 2016 2:12 pm

    I suspect the “(34F)” was added later, by someone who did not notice that the final 1.3C was a difference rather than a temperature.🙂

  8. Jack Dawkins permalink
    February 1, 2016 2:21 pm

    These clowns don’t seem to understand what an “average” is. They equate above or below “average” with above and below “normal.”

    If the weather was always “average” that really would be news!

  9. David Richardson permalink
    February 1, 2016 4:24 pm

    No I disagree Paul – to describe rubbish like this as a “dumbing down” is to exaggerate how good it is.

    I don’t read the MSM too avidly, it might have consequences for my well-being, but I have not noticed anything about the intense cold in Asia – people dying there due to climate change.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/01/27/brutal-freeze-kills-85-people-in-tropical-taiwan/

    and many references at

    http://iceagenow.info/

    Stop emitting CO2 and send me money OR perhaps emit more CO2 and send me money.

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