The hockey stick. Fudged data and heroic Canadians.
The hockey stick graph was published in 1998 in the respected journal, Nature. The graph was the science used by Al Gore to galvanize opinion and assemble an ever-growing army of acolytes.
With the coverage from the CBC, BBC, Guardian and other mainstream media outlets, you would be justified in presuming the hockey stick graph is based on rock solid data and disciplined statistical analysis.
There are not many cases in science where a paper is written that is deliberately misleading. The hockey stick paper is not just wrong in its details, it is substantively wrong. And the media has been complicit in not reporting the details and stating clearly that the paper was tantamount to fraud.
It is not hard to understand the incentive for creating a graph that shows abnormal global warming. A clear-cut message about a climate crisis has served many purposes and the author was widely lauded for his work.
To understand the nature of the issue requires wading into some of the technicalities of climate science and in particular, the use of “proxies.” In order to figure out if the temperature changes have been normal or abnormal researchers need to understand how they have varied over time. Thermometers have only been used for a few hundred years so researchers have to use other ways to measure temperature in the past, and so they use proxies which are indirect measures, indicated by the types of pollen in sediments and the size of tree rings in very old trees.
Scientific papers that are incorrect are not uncommon, however the usual protocol is that other researchers step in, pick them apart or they simply arrive at alternate conclusions and everyone moves on. In this instance the picking apart was not done by fellow researchers but instead by two curious, math-literate Canadians.
What is remarkable in this instance has little to do with science. Rather, it is how other “climate scientists” were accomplices and the perpetrator doubled down and backed by green interests lashed out with multiple lawsuits, and none of this was reported in the mainstream press.
From here it is easiest to learn the details of the hockey stick graph fraud and its connections with Climategate from videos such as this one made by the Ottawa based historian, John Robson of the Climate Discussion Nexus. It is clear and well researched.
From there, listen to this first person account from Stephen McIntyre. He is a Toronto based mining consultant, now retired, who was curious about the hockey stick graph. You can judge for yourself if he is knowledgeable and credible.
Now listen to his statistical muse, a professor of economics at the University of Guelph, Dr. Ross McKitrick.
Rex Murphy who was host of CBC Radio’s Cross Country Checkup interviews Professor Ross McKitrick, an environmental economist at the University of Guelph, who was one of the first prominent academics to expose the fraudulent science behind Michael Mann’s now infamous hockey stick graph.
There was another Canadian player in the drama.
Dr. Tim Ball, a jocular climatologist and retired professor from the University of Winnipeg, quipped that Michael Mann “belongs in the state pen, not Penn State.” For this he was sued.
Michael Coren interviews Tim Ball: Straight Talk On “Climate Change”