Michael Mann Goes to the Zoo

Climategate's hockey-stick man continues to thrive outside the penalty box.

By 3.18.11

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Michael Mann made the news last week. It's amazing how the Climategate hockey-stick chart-maker continues to do so for "work" he did a long time ago.

The new-old newsworthy thing he did was forward an email almost three years ago. That's news today because the message was from University of East Anglia climate data-keeper Phil Jones, who asked Mann to delete some emails from fellow UN IPCC conspirators related to their Fourth Assessment Report. Jones wanted Mann to tell his friend Eugene Wahl at Alfred University to delete emails too. Mann passed the message to Wahl.

The problem with this is Mann told investigators at his place of employment, Pennsylvania State University, that he did not tell others to delete emails. Now his explanation is that he forwarded Jones's email -- "ASAP-- for Wahl's benefit, but not for him to delete his emails. Wahl scrubbed anyway.

Mann is one of the more interesting global warming alarmists, perhaps second only to Bill "Those damned shriveled ears of cornMcKibben. He hates the fossil fuel industry and thinks all his tormenters are funded by them. And people like to do funny things with his image, mostly because he's so hypersensitive.

Mann still works, or at least he gets paid -- apparently very well -- for projects with his name on them. When Climategate first broke a year and a half ago, I found his vital statistics on Penn State's website. They were quite exhaustive, mentioning his work on oxygen ordering in 1988 all the way to his recent posts on the alarmist RealClimate blog. Upon my discovery I thought others might be interested in the nearly $6 million in grants Mann received over the years for his projects, which I shared via American Spectator. Since then Mann has added two more projects to his repertoire, bringing another $280,000 or so in government grants (from the National Science Foundation and from NOAA) to Penn State.

The first project is called Development of a Northern Hemisphere Gridded Precipitation Dataset Spanning the Past Half Millennium for Analyzing Interannual and Longer-Term Variability in the Monsoons. The abstract on NOAA's website explains, in part:

While much past proxy work has focused on the reconstruction of large-scale surface temperature patterns, there is perhaps no more societally relevant climate variable than precipitation. Yet, no comprehensive large-scale reconstructions of precipitation for the Northern Hemisphere (i.e., all of North America and Asia) have been performed spanning the past millennium. This proposed reconstruction project will use all available proxy-climatic records spanning the last 500-2000 years in the Northern Hemisphere to develop: 1) gridded seasonal and annual precipitation datasets for North America, Europe and Asia with various spatial resolutions and dataset lengths, and 2) a 2.5ÅãÅ~2.5Åã latitude and longitude annual (and/or summer) precipitation dataset of the last 500 years for the Northern Hemisphere….

One key outcome of the proposed research is a better knowledge of the natural range of precipitation variation, and its relationship with larger-scale climate dynamics, for policymakers and stakeholders who need to gauge societal vulnerability to variations in water on timescales of decades to centuries, be it natural and anthropogenic in origin….

Don't know about you, but reconstructions in the hands of Mann make me nervous, especially when he's trying to get hip with the "societally relevant" and influence its policymakers and stakeholders. So I asked a few of my climate science pals in the global warming realist camp what they thought. Their responses:

"Pretty straightforward study. If the same proxies are used that he did for temperature, it will also yield hockey sticks. By the way, this will all be very interesting because there has been no trend in monsoon rainfall that bears any relation to global or regional temperature." (a climatologist)

"In the hands of a scientist, this proposal might be good. How, I wonder, are they going to figure out what the precipitation was in 1250 in (say) the Four Corners area? Only Michael Mann knows. Likely, he'll use tree-ring widths that supposedly told him about temperatures." (a doctor of physics)

"Of course the Mann study you attached is another disgraceful waste of taxpayer's money by the Cult…." (another doctor of physics)

Speaking of cults, that brings me to the second project that Mann has recently added to his CV: Scientific Input on Climate Change Outreach by a Network of Zoos and Aquariums. This undertaking was blessed with a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to the Global Warming Education Sect, who propagate their religion to little kiddies by scaring them about polar bears and other imagined threatened species. From the abstract on NSF's website:

The core goals of the planning phase are to a) develop and extend the strong multidisciplinary partnership, b) conduct research needed to understand the preconceptions, attitudes, beliefs, and learning modes of zoo visitors regarding climate change; and c) identify and prototype innovative learning environments and tools…. The long-term vision centers on the development of a network of U.S. zoos, in partnership with climate change domain scientists, learning scientists, conservation psychologists, and other stakeholders, serving as a sustainable infrastructure to investigate strategies designed to foster changes in public attitudes, understandings, and behavior surrounding climate change.

It looks like Penn State and Mann only got a small fraction of this grant, but clearly the opportunity to create future alarmists was not to be passed up. The plan is to spend three years blanketing zoos across America to try and understand the psyches of visitors, preach climate propaganda, and convert them to the cause.

Objective science on the march, obviously.

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About the Author

Paul Chesser publishes CarolinaPlottHound.com, a news aggregator for North Carolina, and is a contributor of articles, research and investigative reports for both national and state-level free-market think tanks.