The Hockey just won't go away

31 May 2011

This story is at is by Willis Eschenbach. It homes in on the hockey stick climate model which seems to have a life of its own. In spite of being discredited over and over again it keeps on sparking back into life. Why? That is the question Eschenbach seeks to answer. It seems the group of climate scientists at the heart of the AGW scare, a small clique of supportive researchers known as The Team, appear to mix and match proxy data to come up with a succession of hockey stick graphs - known as that because they all have a steep rise in temperature at the end of the 20th century, known as the blade, and a long flat handle over the previous 1000 years. In other words they deleted the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period, and basically rubbished all the research of earlier climate scientists such as Hubert Lamb. Eschenbach shows what is basic to all the models - a bristlecone pine sequence known as Greybill (which has never been replicated even on the high mountains of the Sierra where those trees grow) and the Tiljander sediment proxy which is continually used upside down in spite of this being common knowledge and a figure of fun on the blogosphere. Take either of these two proxies away and the hockey stick disappears - the other proxies do not tell the same story. This is why they are repeatedly added to the list of proxies that are used and why they ignore the criticism. They can't get a hockey stick without them. Eschenbach has nailed the methodology - lid down on the coffin? No. They will keep getting a fresh breath of airing until the science community as a whole acts responsibly and demands 'real' scientific methods apply to climate change - but they won't. They are infected by some strange group malaise. Every day, somewhere or other, a well educated and well spoken scientist or spokesman for scientists, not just the toffs at the Royal Society, will prevaricate as if the Hockey Stick was fact - but it is fiction. We may suspect that a lot of other science is equally wobbly but this is usually because academic theory is born and preached from a safe place, far from the scientists actually in the field. It seems these people are quite happy that science is being brought into disrepute - people make jokes about scientists like they do about the weather (and they are all in the same boat).