The Hockey Stick, Broken Again

We wrote here about a recent effort by a group of climate alarmists headed by geologist Shaun Marcott to resurrect Michael Mann’s discredited hockey stick. The Marcott paper, as you would expect, received uncritical coverage in the liberal press. But it didn’t take long for climate scientists to begin taking it apart, as we noted in our post.

Now Steve McIntyre, who was principally responsible for showing that Mann’s original hockey stick was a fraud, has gone over Marcott’s data on the key proxies he uses for 20th century temperatures, ocean cores. McIntyre found that Marcott and his colleagues used previously published ocean core data, but have altered the dates represented by the cores, in some cases by as much as 1,000 years. Anthony Watts sums up:

It seems the uptick in the 20th century is not real, being nothing more than an artifact of shoddy procedures where the dates on the proxy samples were changed for some strange reason.

McIntyre’s post on his research is here. This chart shows how critical Marcott’s re-dating was to his conclusion that temperatures spiked in unprecedented fashion in the 20th century. The red line shows ocean core temperatures using the original dates under which the data were published: it shows cooling during the 20th century. The black line shows the same data, only with the dates changed by Marcott. It shows temperatures rising significantly, rather than declining:

McIntyre explains why Marcott’s date-changing was so critical:

The final date of the Marcott reconstruction is AD1940 (BP10). Only three cores contributed to the final value of the reconstruction with published dates (“pubend” less than 10): the MD01-2421 splice, OCE326-GGC30 and M35004-4. Two of these cores have very negative values. Marcott et al re-dated both of these cores so that neither contributed to the closing period: the MD01-2421 splice to a fraction of a year prior to 1940, barely missing eligibility; OCE326-GGC30 is re-dated 191 years earlier – into the 18th century.

Re-populating the closing date are 5 cores with published coretops earlier than AD10, in some cases much earlier. The coretop of MD95-2043, for example, was published as 10th century, but was re-dated by Marcott over 1000 years later to “0 BP”. MD95-2011 and MD-2015 were redated by 510 and 690 years respectively. All five re-dated cores contributing to the AD1940 reconstruction had positive values.

If this is not flat-out fraud–which, sadly, has come to typify the climate alarmism movement–then what is the justification for Marcott’s wholesale re-dating of samples? We are reminded of the NOAA/NCDC weather data on the U.S., which are routinely relied on by alarmists who claim that the last few years have been the warmest ever. In order to justify this assertion, NOAA has gone back and revised the data for prior decades. Instead of reporting temperatures for prior decades, like the 1930s, as it did at the time and for many years thereafter, NOAA has now changed those temperatures downward to support the politically-motivated claim that the last years of the 20th century were the warmest ever. If you look at NOAA data today for the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, etc., you will have no idea that the numbers NOAA now reports are not the ones that were measured by thermometers at the time.

In short, the global warming movement is corrupt to the core. Billions of dollars in government funding–I am too polite to say “bribes”–have bought not just the acquiescence but the eager collaboration of many scientists in a massive fraud. If Marcott wants to distinguish himself from fraudsters like Michael Mann, he has a great deal of explaining to do.

One more thought: the publicly available evidence suggests that alarmist scientists have repeatedly committed fraud in research conducted and papers published that were paid for by United States taxpayers. It seems inconceivable that felonies have not been committed in connection with those frauds. Are there not criminal statutes that prohibit the publication of fraudulent data in taxpayer-supported research? Eric Holder, obviously, will not pursue any such line of inquiry, but there must be state law enforcement authorities who could look into this question. Fraudsters like Bernie Madoff, for instance, have tried to hide the decline in the value of funds invested with them. But that is nothing compared to the fraud that the global warming alarmists have perpetrated.

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