Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann Caught Being Economical With the Truth

In their own words!   At RC at the moment, the lead post is “Winds of Change” posted on 11 June 09.  It addresses an AP story written by Seth Borentstein.  Schmidt and Mann say:

” There was an interesting AP story this week about possible changes in wind speed over the continental US. The study (by Pryor et al (sub.)), put together a lot of observational data, reanalyses (from the weather forecasting models) and regional models, and concluded that there was some evidence for a decrease in wind speeds, particularly in the Eastern US. However, although this trend appeared in the observational data, it isn’t seen in all the reanalyses or regional models, leaving open a possibility that the trend is an artifact of some sort (instrumental changes, urbanization etc.). If the effect is real though, one would want to see whether it could be tied to anything else (such as forcing from greenhouse gas or aerosol increases), and indeed, whether it had any implications for wind-generated electricity, water evaporation etc.

Amusingly, both of us were quoted in the story as having ostensibly conflicting views. Mike was quoted as finding the evidence for a trend reasonably convincing, while Gavin was quoted as being unconvinced of the evidence for an anthropogenic climate change signal (note that the two statements are not in fact mutually inconsistent). As one should expect in any news story, these single lines don’t really do justice to the long interviews both of us gave the reporter Seth Borenstein.”

Post 33 in the thread is a response from Seth Borenstein, posted at 1:40 pm on 12 June:

“Seth Borenstein Says:  12 June 2009 at 1:40 PM

Actually to set the record straight. Neither Michael nor Gavin gave “long interviews.” If you check your own emails, both of you responded only by e-mail. Short ones at that. Here they are:

First from Gavin:

“Hi Seth, a few comments. The authors are clearly very careful about noting the fragility of the trends over the different data sets and I think that is very sensible.

One thing that might be useful is the figure I attach which is what our model suggests should have been the wind speed trends over roughly this period (you can play around with different times etc. here: ).

What it shows is that the models don’t anticipate any large changes in wind over land. The places with relatively large expected trends are in the southern ocean (related, in our model at least, to the polar ozone hole), and a little in the tropics, probably related to changes in the Haldey circulation (though it’s a little difficult to say more without some real analysis). Over the US there is nothing expected.

Now that doesn’t imply that there is nothing in the data of course, but it does underline that this isn’t likely to be a metric that is useful for distinguishing model skill.

As for the implications for wind energy – this is all in the noise. [irrelevant text omitted]

Overall, this study to me is mostly suggestive and might promote further research – for instance, are different kinds of weather regimes are associated with the changes, or are any trends associated with
differences in the frequency of the different regimes themselves?


Now from Mike:

“[irrelevant text omitted] It’s an interesting paper. It demonstrates, rather conclusively in my mind, that average and peak wind speeds have decreased over the u.s. in recent decades.

If this trend is due to human-caused climate change (something the authors don’t discuss–this would require additional work using climate model- based fingerprint detection methods), this would spell out a rather ominous and unanticipated ’surprise’ feedback in the climate change problem; namely, that the continued burning of fossil fuels is actually impairing our ability to meet our energy needs with available alternative sources of energy. Clearly, further work will need to be done to confirm whether or not the observed trends can be connected with human- caused climate changes, and to investigate the scale of the problem, e.g. what about Asia, Europe, South America,

etc. Mike”

– That’s it. No phone interviews. Nothing extensive. This is the sum total of our conversation.

Seth Borenstein, Science Writer, The Associated Press

Michael Mann responded as follows:

[Response: Seth–I agree that the wording “long interviews” was poor. We meant absolutely no slight against you whatsoever, and we took no issue with your article. We just wanted to point out that there was far more context and nuance behind the issue than can be communicated in a short article–hardly your fault. Again, apologies for any misinterpretation that might have resulted, as least from my perspective. -mike]”

CAUGHT!!  When will Gavin and Mike realise that their convictions don’t justify playing with the truth.  Here is clear evidence of their propensity for spin, and a tendency to be “inaccurate” when it suits them.   Guys.  Get this.  The end does not justify the means. And can never.


3 Responses to “Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann Caught Being Economical With the Truth”

  1. rcrejects Says:

    sunsettommy posted a comment relevant to this thread on the Time to Lighten Up thread. I think he meant for it to be here.

    sunsettommy Says:

    June 15, 2009 at 7:07 pm edit

    I long ago stopped looking there since they are so hostile to althernative opinions.

    Not only that Gavin,Mike and James are guys I do not care to read from,with a bucket load of errors that they have been caught in.

    Same with Desmo blog and other really narrowminded AGW believing blogs.

  2. John Philip Says:

    While I realise that the focus here is on the perceived censorship on AGw blogs, [even if the examples so far posted make for a fairly thin thesis], I thought maybe you would be interested in an example of the moderation policy at The Science Blog of the Year.

    Here is a post of mine that got pulled, with enough of the thread to enable it to make sense … the text in italics was deleted by the blog host…

    ME: Either Prof Lindzen is unaware of the correction, which I find impossibly unlikely, or he has knowingly circulated incorrect information to support his case, an act that one might normally expect would attract severe opprobrium from the posters of an objective science blog such as this. Neither possibility does much for the pursuasiveness of his argument, in my view. Certainly if the Professor were to submit this article for publication, it would be rejected on these grounds alone.

    REPLY: There is a third option, perhapss he doesn’t trust the “correction”. I know that many of us here don’t trust “corrections” applied to data.

    ME: The correction was largely the result of step in the computer code that caters for satellite altitude being effectively ’switched off’. Details were published in the Journal of Climate and also by the Data Product provider. All other researchers who use this dataset use the revised version. The onus is therefore on anyone citing the 2002 version to at least mention that the originators of the dataset have revised it and explain why they prefer the ‘uncorrected’ dataset, especially if the corrected version removes a central plank of their argument. From Prof Lindzen, not even a footnote. Does this qualify as the good and transparent science quite rightly promoted by WUWT?

    REPLY: John I have deleted your response, and I resent the smear you made against me for publishing this informal essay from Dr. Lindzen. You get a 24 hour timeout. If you wish to continue, lose the ad homs. Otherwise off to the troll bin permanently for you. – Anthony

    Point 1 – anyone seeing Mr Watt’s response would have been left with the impression that I had made some personal insult against him, and engaged in ad hominem argument and trolling. In fact the post contained the mildest of rhetorical questions and no ad hominem content at all.

    Once I posted the deleted text at The Air Vent, Mr Watts responded …

    REPLY to John Philip and to Raven. I understand where you are coming from. But John Philip leaves out what he said and what was removed from the original post by a snip.

    Point 2. This is completely untrue, the text I posted at AV was complete and verbatim. After wrongly accusing me of a personal attack, he now accuses me of lying by ommision. Ironically the only dishonesty and personal remarks in the exchange have come from Mr Watts.

    Finally an apology of sorts is made … ‘If I misread the intent of that last line, I apologize in advance of a clarification response from Mr. Phillips.’

    One can only speculate what the response would have been had I not kept and posted elsewhere the text that got arbitrarily zapped.

  3. rcrejects Says:


    Thank you for your post here. One of the themes emerging here is that some form of moderaion on blogs does appear to be necessary. It is very interesting to observe the different moderation policies that develop. And I intend (real soon now) to put up a post addressing the broad issue of moderation, and the different policies adopted by the various blogs (and the consequences that develop).

    I encourage you to keep a copy of the posts you make at other websites (and even this one). Then, if you feel you have been censored, we offer you the opportunity to put your post up here.

    In the long run, I think that the outcome of this site will be a better understanding of the needs for moderation, and an examination of the different policies adopted by different websites. And I hope we can offer an analysis of what that might all mean.

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