"Dr. Michael Mann created this thing called the hockey stick, which purposted to show that late 20th century temperatures are warmer than they've been in a millennium. I don't think that's true -- a lot of people don't think that's true.... To get that result he had to eliminate....
"His big contribution was eliminating this thing called the Medieval Warm Period, when they had vineyards in Greenland, for example. The Medieval Warm Period is something I learned about at school. It was followed by the Little Ice Age where they were skating on the Thames, and this kind of thing, He eliminated all that and showed a flat line from the year 900 to the year 1900, and I think that's a lot of hooey."
|from MBH99 (GRL)|
Or perhaps because it's not there. The recent huge (78 scientists over 7 years) PAGES 2k study didn't find it either. (Here is a great popular account by Stefan Rahmstorf.)
At multi-decadal to centennial scales, temperature variability shows distinctly different regional patterns, with more similarity within each hemisphere than between them. There were no globally synchronous multi-decadal warm or cold intervals that define a worldwide Medieval Warm Period or Little Ice Age, but all reconstructions show generally cold conditions between AD 1580 and 1880, punctuated in some regions by warm decades during the eighteenth century.Sometimes what you learned in school turns out to be wrong in the light of new data and methods.
Steyn also said he wrote an article for The Telegraph in 1999 trashing the hockey stick. (~17:30 - "I always thought it was a lot of nonsense.") I couldn't find that article, but I did find one he wrote in 2006 for The Australian, titled "Climate Change Myth," claimed to be reproduced here. Steyn called the hockey stick "this fraud":
Hence, the famous "hockey stick" graph purporting to show climate over the past 1000 years, as a continuous, flat, millennium-long bungalow with a skyscraper tacked on for the 20th century. This graph was almost laughably fraudulent, not least because it used a formula that would generate a hockey stick shape no matter what data you input, even completely random, trendless, arbitrary computer-generated data. Yet such is the power of the eco-lobby that this fraud became the centrepiece of UN reports on global warming. If it's happening, why is it necessary to lie about it?Can Steyn 's defense be that since he always thought the hockey stick was a fraud, his statement wasn't made with the knowledge it was false, and hence it's not defamatory?
That seems like a very thin ledge to stand on. How could anyone, not lest a writer for a major publication, use a definitive word like "fraud" without doing a good piece of research, instead of relying on what he learned in grade school? Did he wear blinders between then and now?
But maybe that's how it is in the conservative pundit class, where is seems to matter how fast you can pull the trigger and how pretty your hat is instead of how well you aim.
Update: In a post tonight, Steyn writes "I stand by everything I wrote...."