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From: Tim Osborn <

To:,, Eduardo Zorita
<>, Gerd B�rger <>
Subject: report back from PAGES/CLIVAR Wengen meeting
Date: Fri Jun 23 16:35:28 2006
Cc: Keith Briffa <>

Hi Simon, Philip, Eduardo & Gerd (cc Keith),

I thought you might be interested in a brief report back from the recent Wengen
meeting, specifically about how SO&P-funded work on pseudo-proxies was covered and
related hockey-stick issues.

**Please don't circulate this further, because it is just my personal viewpoint**

Thanks for letting me show some of your material. I skipped over some graphs I
took from Philip's regression presentation at the SO&P meeting because Francis
Zwiers covered forward/inverse/total least squares before me. I did show some
results from Eduardo, including pseudo-proxy results from Erik-II. And I showed a
figure from Gerd's "many flavours" pseudo-proxy paper.

The meeting included fairly intensive discussions about many issues, and this
included some discussion of von Storch et al. (2004, 2006), Wahl et al. (2006),
Mann et al. (2005), Burger and Cubasch (2005) and Burger et al. (2006). Generally
the discussion was quite open, with only a few disdainful remarks made about the
work of people not there -- certainly not enough to distract from useful

In general, most people accepted that the MBH method could, in some situations,
result in biased reconstructions with too little low-frequency. I'm not sure how
much Mike Mann accepted this, but it was reinforced by findings shown by Eugene
Wahl that indicated some bias in their CSM pseudo-proxy studies, and particularly
by Francis Zwiers who looked to have almost completely replicated the von Storch et
al. results with respect to the MBH method (though he emphasised the preliminary
nature of his work and he may not have implemented the MBH method correctly...
we'll have to wait and see).

Mike showed many detailed psuedo-proxy tests of the RegEM method and these seemed
quite convincing in showing little problem with that method... it does assume equal
error in both instrumental and proxies, so it should show less bias than other
methods that wrongly put all the error in the instrumental record (i.e., "typical"

So... there was some confusion about how the MBH method can be biased but the RegEM
not be biased (in pseudo-proxy tests) yet they give the same results for the real

Mike thought it might be the ECHO-G vs CSM differences, but I argued against this
and was supported by Caspar Ammann and Eugene Wahl who did not think that the
character of the model runs was a big factor in explaining different results.

There was limited discussion of trend/detrend and white/red noise pseudo-proxy

issues. Many seemed to think that if pseudo-proxy studies showed that detrending
definitely caused a problem, then this was a reason not to detrend. The
alternative of finding a method that worked with detrended data was not really

The discussion was fairly constructive and for the most part friendly. Eugene Wahl
in particular seemed keen to "build bridges" within the community.
I should also mention two of the workshop outcomes.

The first is that a paper is being planned based on the things discussed at the
workshop and covering many issues from proxy data, forcings, model simulations and
reconstructions. I hope that the authorship of this might be wider than just the
participants of the workshop, but we will have to wait and see who else is asked to

The second is that we should set up a "climate reconstruction challenge". The idea
would be to use a simulation (*not* of the last 1000 years, so none of us know the
expected answer) and provide some data from a "calibration period" and some
"pseudo-proxies" from the full period and make these public so that anyone could
attempt to make a reconstruction using their favoured method(s). The true model NH
temperature series would be kept secret for 6 months or so. Thus it would be a
"blind" test and after attempts had been submitted they would be evaluated against
the true result to assess which methods were most successful.

Caspar Ammann will probably provide the simulation, so he wouldn't take part in
making any reconstructions. He would keep the details secret from all others so
that any one, including MBH, you and us, could enter the challenge.

Finally, it was asked whether the model runs that have so far been used for pseudo-
proxy studies (NCAR CSM, ECHO-G Erik-I, HadCM3, maybe ECHO-G Erik-II?) might be
made publicly available for shared use, so results are less model dependent. This
would just be the surface air temperature fields from the runs, not all the other
variables. What do you think, Simon and Eduardo? If you are happy with this then
they could get them from the SO&P website, so no need for data extraction on your

Hope you find this summary interesting. It's just my opinions. I've cc'd this to
Keith in case he wants to say anything different!