Friday, February 10, 2006

Warmest in 1200 years?

Another article about the climate reconstructions - one by Briffa and Osborn - appeared in Science and has been widely quoted in the media. It is again argued that the recent warming is the longest and the current temperatures are the highest during the last 1200 years. Some journalists improve the story. They don't quite distinguish "before Christ" and "after Christ" and they eagerly inform you that the current era is the hottest one from 890BC. ;-)

Steve McIntyre explains very convincingly that the article is not new in any respect: it recycles the very same problematic proxies and the very same problematic PCA methods that have plagued very similar articles - such as Mann et al. 1998, 1999 - in the past. This team of authors apparently thinks that the more articles with the same content and the same errors they publish, the more convincing their hypotheses will be.

A troubling fact is that at the sociological level, they are right. Joseph Goebbels' wisdom that the lies become true after they are repeated 100 times unfortunately works extremely well.

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