Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, July 14, 2006

A Hockey (Stick) Body Slam


You could almost hear the overheated breath of the global warming lobby explode when today's WSJ editorial -- previewing a report released today by the House Energy and Commerce Committee -- hit the news stands this morning.

It focuses on the infamous "hockey stick" temperature graph (below in the accompanying WSJ art) produced by paleoclimatologist Michael Mann in 1990. The graph differs from reality in that it ignores the medieval warm period and the following little ice age (shown in the upper chart).

Despite the obvious fact that the hockey stick scoffs at recorded history, it is the dahling of the global warming intelligencia and glitterati, including Al Gore, who ignored the inconvenient history in his Inconvenient Truth film and centered his arguments on the hockey stick.

Mann's graph will get a rough reception in the House hearings. Says the WSJ:
The report commissioned by the House Energy Committee, due to be released today, backs up and reinforces that conclusion. The three researchers -- Edward J. Wegman of George Mason University, David W. Scott of Rice University and Yasmin H. Said of Johns Hopkins University -- are not climatologists; they're statisticians. Their task was to look at Mr. Mann's methods from a statistical perspective and assess their validity.

Their conclusion is that Mr. Mann's papers are plagued by basic statistical errors that call his conclusions into doubt. Further, Professor Wegman's report upholds the finding of Messrs. McIntyre and McKitrick that Mr. Mann's methodology is biased toward producing "hockey stick" shaped graphs.
Did you get that? If you put rainfall into Mann's model and it will show a sharp increase. Put data on the number of Victoria's Secret lingerie models you're dating into the model and it'll say you're having one heck of a hot time right about now.

The most interesting part of the article, though, is not in the statistical analysis (surprised?) but in its discussion of the social-network analysis carried out by Wegman:
His conclusion is that the coterie of most frequently published climatologists is so insular and close-knit that no effective independent review of the work of Mr. Mann is likely. "As analyzed in our social network," Mr. Wegman writes, "there is a tightly knit group of individuals who passionately believe in their thesis." He continues: "However, our perception is that this group has a self-reinforcing feedback mechanism and, moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that they can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility."
So expect a massive pooh-poohing (not an oooof, unfortunately) from the global warming industry ... er, scientific community.

Related Tags: , , , ,