A memorial tribute paper to paleoclimatologist Keith Briffa has been published, but there’s a catch
It’s nice that his colleagues at the infamous Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University thought as much of him as they do, but really, if you want to do a tribute/memorialize somebody, paywalling ensures only a few people see it. Here’s the paper, published in The Holocene.
Keith R. Briffa was one of the most influential palaeoclimatologists of the last 30 years. His primary research interests lay in Late-Holocene climate change with a geographical emphasis on northern Eurasia. His greatest impact was in the field of dendroclimatology, a field that he helped to shape. His contributions have been seminal to the development of sound methods for tree-ring analysis and in their proper application to allow the interpretation of climate variability from tree rings. This led to the development of many important records that allow us to understand natural climate variability on timescales from years to millennia and to set recent climatic trends in their historical context.
I don’t like to speak ill of the dead, for they can’t defend themselves, but others may differ in their opinion about “His contributions have been seminal to the development of sound methods for tree-ring analysis and in their proper application to allow the interpretation of climate variability from tree rings. “
Influential? Yes, especially with this, a tree known as YAD06, which has it’s own Wikipedia page:
YAD06 is a tree located in the Yamal Peninsula of Siberia. A core sample from this tree, YADO61, provided data used to support hockey stick interpretation of global climate history. The data was originally published in 1995 a paper by Keith Briffa of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. The paper asserted that the late Middle Ages, previously described as a “Medieval Warm Period,” was actually quite cold.Steve McIntyre has described this tree as possibly “the most influential tree in the world”, and publicly accused Briffa of cherry-picking certain tree ring records in order to get a specific result, creating what Michael E. Mann described as a “manufactured scandal.”
In his original post about it in 2009, Steve McIntyre described YAD06 as:
Next here is the corresponding plot for the CRU 10. Without doing any sort of fancy statistical test, one can readily see a difference. None of the YAD** trees on the right are especially old – the graph shows their full history – all start after AD1800. However, instead of the standard negative exponential declining growth, these particular trees started off very slowly, like old trees, and then got a burst of virility when they got to be 100 years old. Benjamin Button trees so to speak. Because of the one size fits all RCS standardization, this post-100 growth pulse is divided by a small standard denominator – YAD06 reaches 8 sigma and is the most influential tree in the world. YAD06 does not always drink beer, but when it does, it drinks Dos Equis. Stay thirsty, my friends.
Raise a Dos Equis to Keith Briffa and marvel at his work.
h/t to Dennis Wingo for the publication link.
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