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When a Hockey Stick is Not a Hockey Stick

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November 26, 2008
By Vincent Gioia

To many of us a hockey stick is just a hockey stick; not so to the religious fanatics of global warming. So good has been the global warming propaganda invented by Al Gore and dutifully repeated by the environmental lobby and leftist press that it is heresy to challenge the accepted dogma that human activity is warming the planet and will cause the planet's destruction if left uncontrolled.


The so-called "hockey stick" graph appears in the 2001 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations organization that dominates climate change discussion. The graph purported to show that world temperatures had remained stable for almost a thousand years, but took a sudden turn upward in the last century (the blade of the hockey stick). It was the product of research into "proxy" temperature records, such as tree rings, ice cores, and coral reefs, by Michael Mann, the Joe Wilson of climate change. It can be seen here. Charles Martin took a critical look at it last March for The American Thinker.

Christopher Chantrill and Willis Eschenbach did some analysis of the so-called evidence supporting the hockey stick theory and totally destroyed this bible-like basis of the global warming theory. They found out of the 95 data series in the latest Mann (hockey stick) paper that covered the entire last 1,000 years; only 25 carried the "hockey stick" signal. Three of these series are lake sediments in Finland which are corrupted by recent urban development and the rest are from bristle-cone pine trees in the US Southwest that have been challenged by other researchers.

Take the "hockey stick" proxies out and you get a signal that shows a Medieval Warming Period a thousand years ago and Little Ice Age 300 years ago, much to the chagrin of the global warmers. The result is that such blasphemy must be suppressed at all costs else the paper wall come tumbling down and government control by the environmental left be seen for the sham it is.

As Jonathan David Carson wrote in "Fake But Accurate" Science:

"The problem is that the world was almost certainly warmer than it is today during the ‘Medieval Warm Period' or ‘Medieval Climate Optimum' of the 9th through 14th Centuries, which was followed by the ‘Little Ice Age' of the 15th through 19th Centuries, whose end is the occasion for today's global warming hysteria.

But Science magazine stuck to its argument. ‘Politicians Attack, But Evidence for Global Warming Doesn't Wilt' in the July 28 issue of Science not only employs the typical deceitful rhetoric of the scientific establishment, here presenting an argument among scientists as an argument between scientists and politicians, but also uses the fake-but-accurate excuse for the corrupt activities of its favorite scientists."

After Mann's statistical methodology was exposed as flawed, if not downright fraudulent, by Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, and he responded by refusing to make public the details of his analysis. This in turn angered Joe Barton and other members of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who objected to this arrogant refusal to allow oversight of federally financed research-either by the responsible congressional committees or by the scientific community.

"Hence the recent hearings and the dishonest report of them in Science."

Since Mann's work-and the IPCC's inclusion of it in its report-are indefensible, Science resorted to the fake-but-accurate defense. Gerald North of Texas A&M, testifying on behalf of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences,

"concluded that the hockey stick was flawed but the sort of data on which it was based is still evidence of unprecedented warming."

In a classical example of Orwell' "double speak "The graph shows unprecedented warming; the graph is flawed in such a way as to produce a false appearance of unprecedented warming; nevertheless, there is unprecedented warming." Finding flaws 'doesn't mean Mann et al.'s claims are wrong,' he told Barton."

How about this for another example of Orwell's language: "I must admit that it is possible for science to be fake but accurate, just as it is possible for Israel to have committed war crimes despite the fact that the evidence for them is faked. It is indeed possible that, as the New York Times famously proclaimed, "Memos on Bush Are Fake But Accurate, Typist Says."

The question, however, is not whether it is possible that Israel committed war crimes or that George W. Bush did not complete his National Guard service, but whether we have any reason to believe the reporting of Reuters or CBS News. It is possible that the hockey stick is accurate, but why should we take the word of Michael Mann, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or the United Nations for it?

Michael Mann faked his statistics, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published his fakery, the American Association for the Advancement of Science suggested that the fakery is beside the point, and the United Nations, well, we know how fraudulent they are.

Again, according to Jonathan David Carson - "The article in Science would do Dan Rather proud. It says the North investigation found that the ‘only supportable conclusion from climate proxies" was that "the last few decades were likely the warmest of the millennium'."

However, here is what Gerald North of Texas A&M, testifying on behalf of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, actually testified:

"I concluded that the hockey stick was flawed but the sort of data on which it was based are still evidence of unprecedented warming. It can be said with a high level of confidence that global mean surface temperature was higher during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period during the preceding four centuries."

Four centuries, not the millennium! North testified that recent decades were warmer than the Little Ice Age, not that they were warmer than the Global Warm Period!

North also testified that he

"finds it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium."

North first said that in recent decades the world was likely warmer than in any other time in the last four hundred years. Then he said that in recent decades the Northern Hemisphere was likely warmer than in any other time in the last millennium. Science has converted these statements into the claim that in recent decades the world was likely warmer than in any time in the last millennium. So much for the Scientific Method.

But even the statement that the Northern Hemisphere was likely warmer than in any other time in the last millennium is subject to uncertainty according to North:

"However, the substantial uncertainties currently present in the quantitative assessment of large-scale surface temperature changes prior to about A.D. 1600 lower our confidence in this conclusion compared to the high level of confidence we place in the Little Ice Age cooling and 20th century warming. Even less confidence can be placed in the original conclusions by Mann et al. (1999) that 'the 1990s are likely the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium' because the uncertainties inherent in temperature reconstructions for individual years and decades are larger than those for longer time periods, and because not all of the available proxies record temperature information on such short timescales."

As to Mann's scandalous statistical manipulations, North says gently,

"We also question some of the statistical choices made in the original papers by Dr. Mann and his colleagues."

Ah, the "statistical choices"; is this a euphemism for plain BS?

A perfectly reasonable letter to Michael Mann from Representative Barton, who is derisively characterized by Science as a politician, makes clear that in the morally inverted universe of the liberal scientific establishment, it is the scientists who play politics, forcing the politicians to uphold the ideals of science.

Sharing data and research results is a basic tenet of open scientific inquiry, providing a means to judge the reliability of scientific claims. The ability to replicate a study, as the National Research Council has noted, is typically the gold standard by which the reliability of claims is judged. Given Mann's refusal to share his data and the questions reported about data access surrounding these studies, obligations concerning the sharing of information developed or disseminated with federal support have not been appropriately met....According to The Wall Street Journal, "you (Mann) have declined to release the exact computer code you used to generate your results. (a) Is this correct? (b) What policy on sharing research and methods do you follow? (c) What is the source of that policy? (d) Provide this exact computer code used to generate your results."

The subcommittee commissioned a study of the hockey stick headed by Edward Wegman of George Mason University, Chairman of the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics of the National Academy of Sciences, referred to dismissively as "Barton's choice" by the article in Science. The study reached the following conclusions:

"In general, we found MBH98 and MBH99 [papers by Mann] to be somewhat obscure and incomplete and the criticisms of MM03/05a/05b [papers by McIntyre and McKitrick] to be valid and compelling.

In our further exploration of the social network of authorships in temperature reconstruction, we found that at least 43 authors have direct ties to Dr. Mann by virtue of coauthored papers with him. Our findings from this analysis suggest that authors in the area of paleoclimate studies are closely connected and thus 'independent studies' may not be as independent as they might appear on the surface.

It is important to note the isolation of the paleoclimate community; even though they rely heavily on statistical methods they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community. Additionally, we judge that the sharing of research materials, data and results was haphazardly and grudgingly done. In this case we judge that there was too much reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent.

Overall, our committee believes that Mann's assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis."

The response of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science and its prestigious journal? It refers to the hockey stick as a "now-superseded curve."

"An ill-advised step in Mann's statistical analysis may have created the hockey stick, Wegman said."

Statistical choices, ill-advised steps, fake but accurate, what difference would it make, flawed doesn't mean wrong. The betrayal-of-science establishment has adopted the standards of Dan Rather and Reuters and should be equally trusted.

If all this is not enough to show the fraud of "acceptable" theories of global warming, consider what Gregory Young wrote in Global Warming? Bring it On!

"The argument propounded by the dubious United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on Anthropogenic (human-induced) Global Warming (AGW) is willfully fraudulent. The report has been vigorously and critically undermined, scientifically denounced and found wanting from both notable scientists here and abroad."

In spite of this fact, it is likely that the new U.S. Democratic Congress and Administration will once again proclaim that they know better than we do about such things. Get ready for them to move surreptitiously under the guise of Global Climate Control in an effort to enhance their own legacies and the government coffers. "To be sure, the Left hears nothing but their own incestuous voices, despite the voices of clarity and reason that abound around them. And there are many, many distinguished dissenters against the charade of AGW." Take for instance the Founder of the Weather Channel and eminent Meteorologist John Coleman who has stated:

‘There is no significant man made global warming. There has not been any in the past, there is none now and there is no reason to fear any in the future. The climate of Earth is changing. It has always changed. But mankind's activities have not overwhelmed or significantly modified the natural forces."

Again, according to Gregory Mann,

"Through all history, Earth has shifted between two basic climate regimes: ice ages and what paleoclimatologists call ‘Interglacial periods.' For the past 10 thousand years the Earth has been in an interglacial period.... [where] the Earth warms up, the glaciers melt and life flourishes. Clearly from our point of view, an interglacial period is greatly preferred to the deadly rigors of an ice age. Mr. Gore and his crowd would have us believe that the activities of man have overwhelmed nature during this interglacial period and are producing an unprecedented, out of control warming."

Well, it is simply not happening. Worldwide there was a significant natural warming trend in the 1980's and 1990's as a Solar cycle peaked with lots of sunspots and solar flares. That ended in 1998 and now the Sun has gone quiet with fewer and fewer Sun spots, and the global temperatures have gone into decline. Earth has cooled for almost ten straight years. So, I ask Al Gore, where's the global warming?"

I personally have seen and read an abundance of solid data to back these conclusions up. For example, new measurements from the NASA/ESA spacecraft Ulysses show that the sun's current period of low activity goes beyond an extended dearth of sunspots. Solar activity has dropped to the lowest levels since recording began some 50 years ago. Current experts, such as Veizer, Shaviv, and most recently Svensmark et al., and Patterson, suggest that changes in the output of the sun caused the most recent climate change. They convincingly argue that increased cosmic radiation acts as a catalyst for cloud formation in earth's atmosphere. This, in turn, leads to a general cooling of the world's climate if the pattern persists. (This information is all part of my presentation about False Global Warming Theories.)

Ironically, during the 1970s while some (including NASA's James Hansen) were hysterically promoting the schizoid fears of a new ice age hitting the world in a few decades, a new frenzy over Global Warming and Climate Change was just beginning at Scripps Oceanographic Institute in San Diego, CA. It was started by one of their most esteemed scientists Roger Revelle, the father of Oceanography. His work correlated the increases in carbon dioxide, CO2 (a laboratory defined greenhouse gas) to atmospheric warming. Revelle later moved to Harvard and encouraged his students, including Al Gore, to rehash the data.

Since then the research methods have clearly gotten out of hand. Many avenues of research have proven repeatedly useless. Even Roger Revelle understood that there were greater variables at play than the trace gas of CO2.

Before he died, Revelle gave interviews and wrote letters stating that CO2 and its greenhouse effect did not warrant extreme countermeasures. He told Omni Magazine, in March 1984, that "CO2 increase is predicted to temper weather extremes" -- not cause them. One cannot argue that CO2 was a causative factor -- especially since CO2 was apparently following temperature trend -- not moderating it. It seems none of his followers; Gore in particular, paid any attention to what he said.

"There is a huge problem with the idea that Carbon Dioxide, or CO2, is a globally polluting gas, much less one that causes climate change and global warming. Even though some data seemed to initially substantiate the AGW thesis, these ideas were later proven to be wrong." (Those derived from ice core data were especially damning.) Australian Climatologist Dr. David Evans has done a great deal of work on this issue.

Often forgotten in the argument is the fact that CO2 is only a trace component of the atmosphere. For every million molecules of other gases in the atmosphere (such as nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen), there are only 385 molecules of CO2.

It is a fact that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have varied widely over geological time. The peak was estimated to be some 20-fold higher than at present (+6,000 ppm) -- and the low about 200 ppm below today's. (Everyday office air concentrations often exceed 1,000 ppm CO2.) "

Meteorologist John Coleman asked":

"How can this tiny trace upset the entire balance of the climate of Earth? How can a trace element possibly be the cause of systemic Global Warming? It can't. That's all there is to it; it can't.... Carbon dioxide does not cause significant global warming."

Actually increased levels of CO2 has more likely benefited all life forms on the planet, summarizes Coleman. Many other scientists have come to the same conclusion.

Robinson, Robinson & Soon, in their 2007 published research paper provided empirical evidence that invalidates AGW alarmists' hypotheses. They also found overwhelming support for the general benefits that are derived from natural global warming.

Here is the summary of their findings:

"1- A review of the research literature concerning the environmental consequences of increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide leads to the conclusion that increases during the 20th and early 21st centuries have produced no deleterious effects upon Earth's weather and climate. There are no experimental data to support the hypothesis that increases in human hydrocarbon use or in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other green house gases are causing or can be expected to cause unfavorable changes in global temperatures, weather, or landscape. There is no reason to limit human production of CO2, CH4, and other minor green house gases as has been proposed.

2- Predictions of catastrophic global warming are based on computer climate modeling, a branch of science still in its infancy. The empirical evidence - actual measurements of Earth's temperature and climate - shows no man-made warming trend. Indeed, during four of the seven decades since 1940 when average CO2 levels steadily increased,
U.S. average temperatures were actually decreasing.

3- Increased carbon dioxide has, however, markedly increased plant growth. Predictions of harmful climatic effects due to future increases in hydrocarbon use and minor greenhouse gases like CO2 do not conform to current experimental knowledge.

4- While major green house gas H2O substantially warms the Earth, minor green house gases such as CO2 have little effect.... The 6-fold increase in hydrocarbon use since 1940 has had no noticeable effect on atmospheric temperature or on the trend in glacier length.

5- Solar activity and
U.S. surface temperature are closely correlated...., but U.S. surface temperature and world hydrocarbon use are not correlated.

6- We also need not worry about environmental calamities even if the current natural warming trend continues. The Earth has been much warmer during the past 3,000 years without catastrophic effects. Warmer weather extends growing seasons and generally improves the habitability of colder regions.

7- Human use of coal, oil, and natural gas has not harmfully warmed the Earth, and the extrapolation of current trends shows that it will not do so in the foreseeable future. The CO2 produced does, however, accelerate the growth rates of plants and also permits plants to grow in drier regions. Animal life, which depends upon plants, also flourishes, and the diversity of plant and animal life is increased."

Dr. Michael Griffin, the new NASA Administrator, also looks at climate change in a contrarian fashion. He has stated:

"To assume that [climate change] is a problem is to assume that the state of earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn't change."

According to Gregory Young "There are other fundamental objections to the AGW theory:

(1) The infamous "Hockey Stick" statistical debacle nicely summarized here, effectively cherry-picked data from tree rings to estimate temperature change over the past 1000 years. The report erroneously declared that the largest increases in world temperature occurred in the 20th century. These results could not be reproduced by anyone. The
U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) later found the statistical methods first employed inappropriate and the findings bogus.

(2) The reported NASA temperature data glitch discovered by Canadian Computer Analyst Steve McIntyre that wrongly kicked all temperature records up several tenths of a degree was a severe setback for AGW modelers. This software "failure" was overseen by one of AGW's fiercest proponents, the notorious Dr. James Hanson. NASA's GISS and Hanson have recently come under fire again for poor data collection methods and questionable accuracy.

(3) As recently presented in American Thinker, Lord Monckton competently summarizes for us that many of the highly publicized AGW "facts" are simple documented anomalies of natural climate cycling -- designedly misrepresented for the cause of AGW.

To wit: The Oceans are not catastrophically rising nor are they warming. In fact, the oceans have been cooling since 2003. The Snows of Kilimanjaro are not melting but ablating because of friction due to a cooling atmosphere and natural cooling trends. The world's 160,000 glaciers are not suddenly receding, but appear to be re-advancing, including those ice shelves in Antarctic and the polar ice sheets, all of which cycle regularly in ice mass. Lord Monckton, a science-journalist, provides even more evidence here.

(4) Finally let us not forget the astute investigation of automated weather stations by US Meteorologist Anthony Watts.
Watts painstakingly discovered that a large fraction of the nation's 1,200 stations have been wrongly sited in man-made heat-absorbing centers. (Examples include locations on rooftops, on slabs of heat absorbing concrete, next to air conditioners, diesel generators and asphalt parking lots, even at sewage treatment plants. Some are located in areas experiencing excessive nighttime humidity, and at non-standard observing heights, including one actually sinking into a swamp.) Watts' discovery profoundly undermined the veracity of historical temperature data documented in the United States -- data that had been used by AGW proponents."

There are three indisputable and fundamental facts that were deliberately ignored in the UN's IPCC sham report. The UN insidiously "forgot" to include the specifics that:

(1) The Earth has largely benefited by past warming cycles and that these previous "warmings" had nothing to do with man's activities. These earlier natural cycles were not catastrophic events; they were, in fact, beneficial to all life forms. They provided warmer and longer growing seasons, more areas available for crops, etc. We know, for instance, that Greenland was once green, that Eric the Red planted and grew grapes in what is now Nova Scotia, Canada, that the Romans planted grapes in England, etc.

(2) Solar/Sun Spot activity is the originator of most climatic change and most weather patterns on Earth. It is king. There is no larger factor of influence. CO2 influence is negligible and pales in comparison. CO2 follows the trend of temperature; it does not cause it.

(3) Subordinate to solar activity alone, atmospheric water vapor/cloud formation and movement is the largest known variable that influences temperature changes in the atmosphere of the earth, and the earth's oceans. Water vapor in the atmosphere is around 1000-10,000 times as important as atmospheric CO2.

These three quintessential and pivotal factors are not even discussed in the UN's IPCC report. This exclusion should raise a red flag in any intelligent mind. That's why so many of us are yelling from the rooftops about the absurdity of the report itself!

Gregory Young:

"There are a plethora of scientists and scientific data arrayed against the minions of the IPCC with its politically selected 2500 Scientists, of which a core group of 600 exists, and a relatively small number of mediocre ‘scientists' here and there across the American landscape who have suddenly found notoriety or grant money in the global warming cause, are 31,072+ legitimate and viable scientists (of which I am one) who signed the American Petition Project declaring the Global Warming Hypothesis bogus found here, here and here. We openly refute the UN's conclusions."

"Here's the Petition Statement we dissenters signed in opposition:

"We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind."

"There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth."

"Let me assure you that we're not in good humor, nor take it kindly to be slurred and ridiculed by taking the other side in this debate. And our numbers are still growing. Indeed, we're angry that the vast majority of American Scientists will not be heard by the media. We're dismayed over the fact that the Global Warming fiasco has become politically popular and expedient to those left-wing politicians and power-brokers whose sole aim is to literally tax everything with a carbon footprint and give them control over all life, hidden within their PC guileful pretence to save the planet. They wish to save no one but themselves."

"And the revulsion of the elite scientific community grows fiercer: "Of the 2500 originally aligned scientists and putative authors of the UN's IPCC report some 500 are no longer faithful to Big Al's bogus message. Many of these scientists discovered that their individual findings and comments were willfully misrepresented. All participant conclusions were unilaterally changed to adhere strictly to the United Nations objective of building support for world taxation and rationing of industrially useful energy. Since the original IPCC report (and there have been some 4 others now formally issued), the defecting 500 scientists have issued public statements challenging global warming. Approximately 100 of these scientists are now open defectors. Others are currently suing the UN for the misuse of their good names and research. It is difficult to see why a thinking person would even consider the IPCC report as legitimate."

"The entire IPCC process is shear obfuscation by the environmental, secular and socialist/marxist left. The left caters to the vanity of secular opinion with scientific and/or moral truth. There is an easy and immediate remedy for their debacle. Will Rogers stated it simply: "When you are in a hole ... stop digging.... Please!"

Despite the wealth of contrary evidence the congress goes blithely along with passing laws that will reduce freedom and increase government intrusion in our lives. Can this be stopped? I don't think so.

Tomorrow we will consider what President-Elect Obama has to say about global warming.

*Dr. Gregory Young is a neuroscientist and physicist, a doctoral graduate of the University of Oxford, Oxford, England. He is currently involved with a privately funded think-tank engaged in experimental biophysical research.

Vincent Gioia is a retired patent attorney living in Palm Desert, California. His articles may be read at http://www.vincentgioia.com/ and he may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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