June 22, 2006

Washington, D.C.-Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works commented on today’s congressionally commissioned review by the National Academy of Sciences that shows that Dr. Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” study was flawed, specifically refuting some of its most often-cited conclusions.

The National Academy of Sciences’ “Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2000 Years” noted in their summary that there were “relatively warm conditions centered around A.D. 1000 (identified by some as the ‘Medieval Warm Period’) and a relatively cold period (or ‘Little Ice Age’) centered around 1700.” The hockey stick constructed by Mann and his colleagues purported to show temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere remained relatively stable over 900 years, then spiked upward in the 20th century.

“Today’s NAS report reaffirms what I have been saying all along, that Mann's ‘hockey stick’ is broken,” Senator Inhofe said. “Today’s report refutes Mann's prior assertions that there was no Medieval Warm Period or Little Ice Age.”

The NAS report also stated that “substantial uncertainties” surround Mann’s claims that the last few decades of the 20th century were the warmest in last 1000 years. In fact, while the report conceded that temperature data uncertainties increase going backward in time, it acknowledged that “not all individual proxy records indicate that the recent warmth is unprecedented…’

In addition, the NAS report further chastises Mann, declaring “Even less confidence can be placed in the original conclusions by Mann et al. (1999) that ‘the 1990’s are likely the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium ...’”

“This report shows that the planet warmed for about 200 years prior to the industrial age, when we were coming out of the depths of the Little Ice Age where harsh winters froze the Thames and caused untold deaths.

“Trying to prove man-made global warming by comparing the well-known fact that today's temperatures are warmer than during the Little Ice Age is akin to comparing summer to winter to show a catastrophic temperature trend.”