Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Hockey Stick: A New Low in Climate Science

At the time he published his `Hockey Stick' paper, Michael Mann held an adjunct faculty position at the University of Massachusetts, in the Department of Geosciences. He received his PhD in 1998, and a year later was promoted to Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia, in the Department of Environmental Sciences, at the age of 34.

He is now the Lead Author of the `Observed Climate Variability and Change' chapter of the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR-2000), and a contributing author on several other chapters of that report. The Technical Summary of the report, echoing Mann's paper, said: "The 1990s are likely to have been the warmest decade of the millennium, and 1998 is likely to have been the warmest year."

Mann is also now on the editorial board of the `Journal of Climate' and was a guest editor for a special issue of `Climatic Change'. He is also a `referee' for the journals Nature, Science, Climatic Change, Geophysical Research Letters, Journal of Climate, JGR-Oceans, JGR-Atmospheres, Paleo oceanography, Eos, International Journal of Climatology, and NSF, NOAA, and DOE grant programs. (In the `peer review' system of science, the role of anonymous referee confers the power to reject papers that are deemed, in the opinion of the referee, not to meet scientific standards).

He was appointed as a `Scientific Adviser' to the U.S. Government (White House OSTP) on climate change issues.

Mann lists his `popular media exposure' as including - "CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, CNN headline news, BBC, NPR, PBS (NOVA/FRONTLINE), WCBS, Time, Newsweek, Life, US News & World Report, Economist, Scientific American, Science News, Science, Rolling Stone, Popular Science, USA Today, New York Times, New York Times (Science Times), Washington Post, Boston Globe, London Times, Irish Times, AP, UPI, Reuters, and numerous other television/print media" [17].

Mann's career highlights a serious problem with the modern climate sciences, namely the `star' system where high-profile scientists are promoted swiftly to influential positions in the industry. Such a star system reduces a science to the level of Hollywood.

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