Monday, July 2, 2012

Taking a dip in the Climate Wars

I'm over halfway through reading Michael Mann's recent book "The Hockey Stick and The Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines". It's a fascinating read and I hope to write up a full review once I'm finished. I'm just writing this post to get the ball rolling and to set the stage.

It turns out that I ended up getting a bit more involved in those climate wars sooner than I thought I would. It started after I had a knee-jerk reaction to reading an article over on WUWT. That reaction was to send a tweet to Mann expressing how amazed I was that the people commenting below the WUWT article could actually bring themselves to defend the question posed to Mann by a certain Roger Sowell (who I know nothing about, at least for now). To my delight, Mann replied and we struck up a short Twitter conversation (below; read from the bottom up; click on image to embiggen).

As you can see from the end of that conversation, our initial tweets sparked a reply by Anthony Watts over on his website. I've been writing several follow up comments over on that article to point out the laziness and sloppiness of the question put forward by Sowell to Mann. One person in particular (some guy called Bill Tuttle) has attempted to knock down my arguments but he keeps digging himself into a bigger hole. Every reply seems to expose the fact that he hasn't even bothered to look at the articles by Mann (known as MBH98 and MBH99) that Sowell was trying to refer to. He's even gone as far as using McIntyre and McKitrick's work as "proof" of errors in the work by Mann et al., even though the various analyses by M&M have all been shown to be flawed or without incidence on the final hockey stick curve.

This small dip into the morass of the Climate Wars has been an interesting experience for me. The back and forth comments over on WUWT forced me to research more into the debate over the hockey stick (am slowly building up a bibliography of relevant scientific articles). It has also, however, been very informative of just how powerful the Internet can be in getting one's own armchair opinions out into the world. Although I'm somewhat flattered that my conversation with Mann made a small ripple on WUWT, it's also a lesson to me to be wary of what I post online in the future.

If you want more info related to Mann's book, I see that he is beginning to use a new hashtag dedicated to it on Twitter: #HSCW

Links to the HSCW on:

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