Yet Another Misrepresentation in the Mann Pleadings

In today’s post, I’ll discuss another misrepresentation in Mann’s Statement of Claim, one in which Mann bizarrely misrepresented the nature of his own research, falsely claiming credit for being “one of the first” to “document” the increase in 20th century temperatures. This particular false claim was in the same paragraph as Mann’s false claim to have received a Nobel prize. While the latter false claim has received widespread and well-deserved derision, Mann’s false description of the nature of his research has thus far passed without comment, an oversight that I will try to remedy in today’s post, which is part of a series of articles on various untrue statements by Mann in his pleadings in Mann v Steyn et al. For previous articles, see here.

Temperature Data vs Proxy Reconstructions
SPM figure 1 twopanel The distinction between instrumental temperature data and proxy reconstructions for the pre-instrumental period is one that Mann obviously understands. The distinction was clearly shown in the prominent IPCC AR3 two-panel diagram (SPM) in which the top panel showed the CRU temperature data over the instrumental period and the bottom panel showed the Mann proxy reconstruction.

While Mann has been very prominent in proxy reconstructions, he has had zero role in the development of global and hemispheric temperature data. The collation of instrumental temperature data from meteorological stations around the world has been sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization for many decades, with the Smithsonian’s World Weather Records being an important early compendium. Early attempts to develop hemispheric and global statistics had begun by at least mid-20th century, including efforts by Guy Callendar, Wesley Mitchell and others. In the 1980s, three different agencies of the US government sponsored more systematic institutionalized efforts that continue to this day: NASA’s Goddard Institute (James Hansen) commenced the GISS index; the US Department of Energy sponsored a similar program at the University of East Anglia (Phil Jones and CRU); and NOAA had its own index, as well as compiling the GHCN and USHCN data sets. The UK Met Office led the way in the compilation of marine data.

Mann used temperature data (typically CRU) for comparison and benchmarking, but Mann himself had no role in the development of the temperature data used for these comparisons.

Mann’s Statement of Claim
Nonetheless, paragraph 2 of Mann’s Statement of Claim – which introduces the scope of Mann’s research, bizarrely says that Mann was “one of the first” to document temperature increases in the 20th century. In the original Statement of Claim (the italicized sentence was deleted in the Amendment in July 2013), Mann even claimed that the Nobel prize supposedly awarded to “Dr Mann and his colleagues” was “as a result of this research” [showing 20th century temperature increases]:

2. Dr. Mann is a climate scientist whose research has focused on global warming. Along with other researchers, he was one of the first to document the steady rise in surface temperatures during the 20th Century and the steep increase in measured temperatures since the 1950s. As a result of this research, Dr. Mann and his colleagues were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The phrase “as a result of this research” was applied by J Combs-Greene in her decision as follows:

In 2002, Plaintiff “was named as one of the fifty leading visionaries in science and technology by Scientific American, and has received numerous awards for his research.” Id [3 - In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he and his colleagues, as a result of their research, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as a result of their research. Defendants claim that the Nobel Peace Prize award, referenced in the Complaint, states that the award was given jointly to Vice President Al Gore and the IPCC. Id. at 7.]

But, needless to say, Mann had nothing to do with the development of the instrumental temperature data showing 20th century temperature increases. Nor were the IPCC and Al Gore awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for research into 20th century instrumental temperature data, but, according to the citation,

for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”

Mann’s (false) claim to have been “one of the first” to document 20th century temperature increase was apparently based on MBH98 and MBH99, which he described later in the pleadings (paragraph 15) as “two research papers showing a steady rise in surface temperature during the 20th Century and a steep increase in measured temperatures since the 1950s”. Needless to say, these papers showed 20th century temperature data in key graphics, but the papers themselves were obviously about the proxy reconstructions, not the instrumental record.

Remarkably, nowhere in the Statement of Claim does Mann directly ever acknowledge that his primary research was proxy reconstructions or that these proxy reconstructions depended on tree rings. Neither of the words “proxy” or “reconstruction” occur anywhere in Mann’s Statement of Claim. Nor does Mann anywhere describe or admit to the use of tree ring data in his proxy reconstructions. Indeed, the term “tree ring” occur only when Mann objected to Steyn calling him “the very ringmaster of the tree-ring circus”.

Mann’s misrepresentation of the nature of his research is very curious since it seems that it ought to have been easy enough for Mann and/or Peter Fontaine to write a simple statement that Mann’s research involved proxy reconstructions of past temperature, mostly using tree rings. And why say that Mann was “one of the first” to document the increase in 20th century temperatures when he wasn’t? Readers puzzled by such mis-statements are asked not to refer to comments by Mary McCarthy about “and” and “the”.

In a follow-up post, I’ll discuss the curious attention paid in Mann’s pleadings to EPA’s findings on temperature data – findings that would be relevant to Mann if his research had been about temperature data (as he had claimed).

Climate Audit

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