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Yamal controversy

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The Yamal controversy was an explosion of drama in the global warming blog wars that spilled over into the pages of mainstream newspapers. In the wake of Climategate, deniers latched onto a set of tree-ring data called the Yamal series that had been the topic of some of the leaked e-mails (after they were done squawking about "nature tricks" and "hiding the decline", of course). The Yamal series refers to the tree-ring data taken from the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia by a team of Russian researchers, Rashit M. Hantemirov and Stepan G. Shiyatov, in the late 1990s. Hantemirov and Shivatov released more of their data in 2009 and Steve McIntyre jumped all over it, snarking:

I'm assuming that CA readers are aware that, once the Yamal series got on the street in 2000, it got used like crack cocaine by paleoclimatologists, and of its critical role in many spaghetti graph reconstructions, including, most recently, a critical role in the Kaufman reconstruction.[1]

Keith Briffa, a climatologist at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in Norwich, had based a number of temperature reconstructions on a subset of the Yamal data. He claimed he had used a different methodology than Hantemirov and Shivatov because the original methodology didn't preserve long-term climate change.[2] McIntyre accused Briffa of cherry-picking. Of course, it would be perfectly legitimate to criticize Briffa's reconstruction and perform a new reconstruction on one's own. However, McIntyre just downloaded some other unrelated Yamal dataset from the internet and chucked it into the original set.[3] Deniers, obviously, failed to care about this and the "Yamal is a lie!" claim shot through the deny-o-sphere, with Anthony Watts picking up the story next.[4] It then found its way into the right-wing rags, with James Delingpole and others declaring that the "hockey stick" graph had been soundly "debunked."[5][6]

However, Briffa's Yamal reconstructions were only included in four of the twelve hockey stick reconstructions and even McIntyre criticized other deniers for blowing his "critique" of Briffa out of proportion and walked back his accusations of cherry-picking. Sure enough, both Briffa and a member of the original Russian team released full reconstructions using the previously unreleased data and the hockey stick shape returned, confirming Briffa's original assertions.[7][8]

However, the incident was still missing something: That classic McIntyre hypocrisy. McIntyre had been whining for quite some time that Briffa had been blowing him off (gee, wonder why?). However, Briffa, even though he had a good excuse, hadn't been stonewalling McIntyre — the complete dataset was under the control of the Russian team that had collected it. After Briffa notified him of this, McIntyre then flippantly replied he had had the data all along!

In response to your point that I wasn't "diligent enough" in pursuing the matter with the Russians, in fact, I already had a version of the data from the Russians, one that I'd had since 2004.[9]

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