The CRU is not pleased with Steve McIntyre

The scientists of the Climatic Research Unit have now been exonerated twice, which is two times more than their anti-science critics.  So it seems only fair to hear what CRU has to say about their most notorious attacker, a man who has laid a trail of disinformation that circles the globe (see Dr. Ben Santer says, “Mr. McIntyre’s unchecked, extraordinary power is the real story of Climategate”).

Everyone’s favorite leporid blogger [that’s what google is for], Eli Rabett has that story, which I repost below so you don’t have to hop over to his site, which you ought to be doing for his sense of humor alone — he is a bunny, bunny guy.  For instance, the Nelson “Ha Ha” (moved below the jump) is from his well-headlined post, “Denialists denied again.”

In its response to the Muir Russell commission, the CRU discusses the Yamal imbroglio:

Our work later became the subject of widespread misrepresentation in the media, amounting to hysterical and defamatory reporting of a posting on the “Climate Audit” website, managed by Steve McIntyre. McIntyre produced an alternative chronology omitting many of the modern sites we had used and replacing them with data from another single location. This alternative chronology differed markedly from our chronology during the late 20th century. McIntyre implied that this is evidence that Briffa had improperly selected certain tree-ring data, specifically in order to manufacture a false impression of recent enhanced tree-growth in the Yamal region.

This assertion is entirely false. On the contrary, McIntyre’s omission of the data we had validly used and its substitution with data showing an atypical pattern of tree-growth variations in the region, itself constitutes a biased analysis. A detailed refutation of McIntyre’s implied accusations (Briffa and Melvin 2009) was posted on the CRU website ( on 27th October, 2009. A copy is included with this submission. This includes details of a recent re-analysis we made of the Yamal chronology, in response to the posted criticisms. In this re-analysis we incorporate additional living-tree data made available by Rashit Hantemirov at our request. The inclusion of the additional samples and the use of improved statistical processing techniques produced only small differences in the tree-growth pattern (see Figure 1.3 below). From this it is clear that our original work was sound and where the CRU Yamal chronology is incorporated in multi-proxy reconstructions, the choice of which version will not significantly affect the outcome of the final reconstruction.Figure 1.3 – Extracted from Briffa and Melvin (2009)
Comparison of published and reworked Yamal chronologies. This Figure shows the two earlier versions of the Yamal RCS larch chronology in red (published in Briffa, 2000) and blue (Briffa et al., 2008) compared to the new version, based on all of the currently available data (Yamal_All) for the original (POR, YAD and JAH) sites and including the additional data from the KHAD site (in black). Tree sample counts for this ‘new’ chronology are shown by the grey shading. The upper panel shows the data smoothed with a 40-year low-pass cubic smoothing spline. The lower panel shows the yearly data from 1800 onwards. All series have been scaled so the yearly data have the same mean and standard deviation as the Yamal_All series over the period 1-1600.

And, oh yes, they don’t much like Fred Pearce neither

In an article in the Guardian, published on 3rd February, 2010, Fred Pearce provides a misleading account of an email relating to this affair. Professor Tom Wigley wrote to Phil Jones on the 5th October, 2009, expressing some disquiet that our Yamal analyses might be suspect, from which it is obvious that he had been misled by reading Mcintyre’s posts. Pearce’s article is written in such a way as to strongly imply that Wigley had read the CRU response to this issue (posted on 27th October, 2009) and was dissatisfied. In reality, Wigley’s email predates the response by 3 weeks and after he did read it he was fully satisfied, as he explicitly communicated in a later email to a colleague on 3rd February 2010 (

Which James Randerson might be interested in reading

Date: Wed, 03 Feb 2010 15:46:23 -0700
From: Tom Wigley

I can see why you are concerned about Fred’s latest piece in The Guardian. It does look as though he has deliberately chosen dates to make it appear that I was dissatisfied with Keith’s response. Either that or it was a genuine mistake — or he is simply ignorant and has not seen the full response. Whatever, he really should write an apologetic P.S. to his piece.

I was completely satisfied with Keith’s response. Not only did it answer all of my concerns and questions, but it also shows that the real villain here is McIntyre (although Keith is careful not to draw that conclusion).

I am enclosing a chronology, and my own summary of the issue. Pearce is a good science writer, but he has really dropped the ball in his series of Guardian articles over the last few days. Sad.

Best wishes,

Oh nos! Steve is such an innocent little lamby.

— Eli Rabett

20 Responses to The CRU is not pleased with Steve McIntyre

  1. Jeff says:

    One “Ha Ha” was one too many. As much as I like The Simpsons, having a loud, annoying sound bite fire off every time a page is refreshed is really anti-social!

  2. PSU Grad says:

    Jeff @1 beat me to it. Is there some way to turn that off?

  3. substanti8 says:

    Perhaps this cartoon sound byte would be a better response to McIntyre and his self-annointed “auditors”.

    Meanwhile, I want to applaud Joe for his great testimony to Congress yesterday!  (Could we have a higher-resolution version so that the table on page 7 is legible?)

    Joe delivered a bushel of quotes (which the MSM will unfortunately overlook).  For example:

            “The next few years will determine whether or not we are all Bernie Madoffs.”

  4. MapleLeaf says:

    I’m pleased to see that you posted this Joe. The evidence submitted by CRU to the CCE (Russell inquiry) is exhaustive and compelling.

    It is dark days for those in denial, but that won’t sway them, nothing it seems will. Then again, I suppose that response is entirely consistent with them being in denial.

    As my mum says “The wheel turns”, and I sincerely hope that is also true for the suffering McIntyre and McKitrick have inflicted on Briffa, Jones, Mann, and others.

    To stick with the Simpsons theme. “Blame Canada, blame Canada”. I apologize to all for my countrymen’s despicable behavior.

    It is now time for the media to finally hold the “skeptics” to account. Any chance someone could request/demand an inquiry into the skeptics’ behavior by the Senate or Congress? It would be nice to have Watts et al. cross-examined.

    Similar hearings could be demanded in Canada, the UK and Australia.

  5. MarkB says:

    One thing the October 2009 Wigley email shows (which pre-dates Briffa’s response) is that scientists are eager to explore any possible error or flaw in their work or the work of their colleagues, even if the assertions are coming from a dubious source like McIntyre. Climate scientists are obsessed with truth. Deniers behave quite the opposite.

    Wigley, while first noting Yamal is insignificant, simply asked a series of questions. The fact that they were subsequently answered to his satisfaction is entirely missing from Fred Pearce’s article, and there is no correction. This is worse than shoddy journalism. It’s flat-out dishonest. The puzzling thing is that Pearce used to be a decent competent journalist. What explains his recent demise? Pressure from his superiors? A personal grudge?

  6. mike roddy says:

    Climate Audit is on the case, with a recent post called “The Trick to Hide The Trick”. Humor for the likes of us, serious investigation for his legions of self described “fans”.

    McIntyre succeeds because he clouds his claims in overworked mathematical and statistical jargon that neither he nor his readers understand, and finishes up with a self righteous gotcha flourish. Anybody who’s looked into it in detail figures out that basically everything he says is bullshit, but we need to communicate this better. A fact sheet with references to CRU and Mc’s work, authored by a team of scientists, would help, especially if it were aggressively distributed to news organizations. Otherwise, he’ll keep finding people to snow.

  7. Steve Bloom says:

    ML, take what solace you can from knowing that McI hails from Boston originally.

    Mark, I don’t know if it’s an adequate explanation, but Pearce did get caught up in the IPCC glacier kerfuffle when it came to light that the 2035 error originated in a typo in a New Scientist article of his. It’s also the case that he’s working for the Guardian on a free-lance basis, which may have motivated him to try to raise the profile of his CRU articles.

  8. We are left with three possible conclusions:

    1) An overwhelming majority of international climate experts agree about much of the tenets of AGW and are honest.

    2) An overwhelming majority of international climate experts are ignorant about their own expertise in a sudden and collective manner.

    3) They have all agreed to conspire to delude the billions of folks on the planet and just a very tiny percentage of them (and mostly oil-funded and unpublished) are trying to save us all from this mass hoax.

    Common sense and a sense of probability should lead one to the likely correct choice (#1) above. The first person to show proof of what IS causing the modern day global warming and that it is not AGW is likely to be the next Nobel science winner.

    Scott A. Mandia, Professor of Physical Sciences
    Selden, NY
    Global Warming: Man or Myth?
    My Global Warming Blog
    Twitter @AGW_Prof
    “Global Warming Fact of the Day” Facebook Group

  9. Eli Rabett says:

    Yes, the noise is incredibly annoying, but so is Steve. On the other hand, being a very appreciative lagomorph, Eli has found an entire page of noiseless Nelson HaHas for Joe.

  10. MapleLeaf says:

    Steve Bloom @6,

    Thanks. That raises an interesting question. Does McIntyre have dual citizenship? If he does, then surely he can be made to appear before the congress or senate hearing?

    MarkB and Steve, I filed a formal complaint against New Scientists back when Fred Pearce mangled Mojib Latif’s statements. I got absolutely nowhere– no correction, no clarification, no retraction, no admittance that a whole sleuth of errors hand misrepresentations had been made. Despite submitting portions of the transcripts which Pearce had mangled or taken out of context, and referring them to key slides of Latif’s PPT presentation, and directing them to where Pearce misquoted/misrepresented the Keenlyside et al. paper.

    It is very clear that they were bending over backwards to protect Pearce. I did not even have the opportunity to converse with him directly. I was pretty shocked, and the whole sad episode really tainted by view of New Scientists, which until that point, I had held in pretty high regard.

    I still have the email correspondence on file….

  11. Sou says:

    Eli’s post and Joe’s highlighting of the situation is excellent. It’s appalling that McIntyre has not been formally held to account, but all this publicity of his unsavoury behaviour helps. History will not be kind to people like him.

    I note a few calls from deniers for a legal approach (eg JoNova in Australia in a recent Unleashed article on the ABC website). It may well come to that in the future if the harm caused by their delaying tactics is great enough. I can envisage the public looking for someone to blame in a few years time and some individuals have made themselves very obvious targets. There is a lot of documentation being accumulated on the public record to support a case against them.

  12. Whatshisname says:

    The knuckleheads who stirred up this big “climategate” lie will have to hear “Ha Ha” when they tune in to see what has been written about them. I applaud the restraint too. If it were me they would be greeted by the sound of a firing squad.

  13. climateprogressive says:

    What Sou #11 says – if there is a backlash in a few years’ time, I am thinking that the higher-profile spreaders of misinformation might suddenly want to take up golf!

  14. Richard Steckis says:

    Exonerated twice!!!

    What a surprise!!!

    Exonerated as expected by the CRU fellow travellers!!

    [JR: Seriously, “fellow travellers”??]

  15. dhogaza says:

    JR … meet Steckis. He never disappoints … in a cretinous, denialist, sort of way.

  16. Barry says:

    Joe’s analogy to Madoff scam is very appropriate for McIntyre as well.

    Even as Madoff’s whole house of cards was tumbling and he knew the jig was up, he was still telling his friends and clients that everything was fine with their money. Nixon went out saying “I am not a crook”. OJ said he would not rest until he found the “real” killer.

    The leading deniers will likely be the same…still shouting the same snake oil promises from their soapboxes long after the crowds have left, disgusted at being duped.

  17. Doug Bostrom says:

    Exonerated twice!!!…Exonerated as expected by the CRU fellow travellers!!

    How many ignored findings of “nothing happened” does it take to arrive at a solid diagnosis of psychosis?

  18. Rob Mac says:

    Richard Steckis’s comment is typical of what I hear from the global warming deniers that I know. This is the same as their reaction to the various exonerations of Michael Mann’s so-called hockey stick graph.

    That’s the beautiful thing about believing in a conspiracy: it can never be disproved. Any evidence that appears to disprove the conspiracy is just further evidence of how deep the conspiracy goes!

    There really is no arguing with such people. They hold the climate scientists to impossible standards–any mistake, no matter how small, is a “mistake,” any two individuals communicating is evidence of collusion, any second or third degree association with anything (like say, a university, a government, an environmental organization, or an alternative energy business) is a taint that renders that individual forever untrustworthy. In fact, all climate scientists and all of their data are presumed to be utterly tainted.

    Except . . . sometimes it’s convenient to point to the data to prove a counter point. That’s the best part. The data is no good–except when it can be interpreted to cut against AGW!

    High profile denialists, on the other hand, are subject to no scrutiny at all. No amount of out right errors, purposefully misleading interpretations, utter lack of education and credentials, and direct association with mining and oil interests can damage the reputation of a high profile denier.

    It’s really beautiful to be a conspiracy whack job. It really is. Let’s get these guys to start talking about how the moon landings were faked. I mean, we all know we can’t trust NASA!

  19. Michael T says:

    Kevin Grandia, Managing Editor of DeSmogBlog, had an interesting 30-minute interview with Dr. Michael Mann of Penn State University and Brad Johnson of the Center for American Progress.