Stephen McIntyre

Stephen McIntyre

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Stephen McIntyre is a Canadian mathematician
A mathematician is a person whose primary area of study is the field of mathematics. Mathematicians are concerned with quantity, structure, space, and change....

, former minerals prospector
Prospecting is the physical search for minerals, fossils, precious metals or mineral specimens, and is also known as fossicking.Prospecting is a small-scale form of mineral exploration which is an organised, large scale effort undertaken by mineral resource companies to find commercially viable ore...

, and semi-retired mining consultant who is best known as the founder and editor of Climate Audit
Climate Audit
Climate Audit is a blog which was founded on 31 January 2005 by Steve Mcintyre.The New York Times has called it "a popular skeptics’ blog".The website has won the 2007 Best Science Blog award and was a runner up in the same category in 2008.-Founding:...

, a blog
A blog is a type of website or part of a website supposed to be updated with new content from time to time. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in...

 devoted to the analysis and discussion of climate data. He is most prominent as a critic of the temperature record of the past 1000 years
Temperature record of the past 1000 years
The temperature record of the 2nd millennium describes the reconstruction of temperatures since 1000 CE on the Northern Hemisphere, later extended back to 1 CE and also to cover the southern hemisphere. A reconstruction is needed because a reliable surface temperature record exists only since about...

 and the data quality of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Goddard Institute for Space Studies
The NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies , at Columbia University in New York City, is a component laboratory of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Earth-Sun Exploration Division and a unit of The Earth Institute at Columbia University...

. He is known in particular for his statistical critique, with economist Ross McKitrick
Ross McKitrick
Ross McKitrick is a Canadian economist specializing in environmental economics and policy analysis. He is professor of economics at the University of Guelph; a senior fellow of the Fraser Institute, a Canadian free-market public policy think tank; and a member of the academic advisory boards of the...

, of the controversial hockey stick graph, which shows a sharp, and arguably unprecedented, increase in late 20th century global temperature. In 2011 he became Chairman of the Board of Trelawney Mining and Exploration Inc.


McIntyre, a native of Ontario, attended the University of Toronto Schools
University of Toronto Schools
The University of Toronto Schools is an independent secondary day school affiliated with the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada...

, a university-preparatory school
University-preparatory school
A university-preparatory school or college-preparatory school is a secondary school, usually private, designed to prepare students for a college or university education...

 in Toronto, finishing first in the national high school mathematics competition of 1965. He went on to study mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

 at the University of Toronto
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...

 and graduated with a bachelor of science
Bachelor of Science
A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years .-Australia:In Australia, the BSc is a 3 year degree, offered from 1st year on...

 degree in 1969. McIntyre then obtained a Commonwealth Scholarship
Commonwealth Scholarship
The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan is an international programme under which Commonwealth governments offer scholarships and fellowships to citizens of other Commonwealth countries.-History:...

 to read philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) at Corpus Christi College, Oxford
Corpus Christi College, Oxford
Corpus Christi College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom...

, graduating in 1971. Although he was offered a graduate scholarship, McIntyre decided not to pursue studies in mathematical economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...


McIntyre worked for 30 years in the mineral business, the last part of these in the hard-rock mineral exploration as an officer or director of several public mineral exploration companies. He was a policy analyst for several years for the governments of Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

 and of Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. He was the president and founder of Northwest Exploration Company Limited and a director of its parent company, Northwest Explorations Inc. When Northwest Explorations Inc. was taken over in 1998 by CGX Resources Inc. to form the oil and gas exploration company CGX Energy Inc., McIntyre ceased being a director. McIntyre was a strategic advisor for CGX in 2000 through 2003. McIntyre says that during his career his skills in statistical analysis enabled him to analyse mineral prospecting data and out-bet his rivals.

Prior to 2003 he was an officer or director of several small public mineral exploration companies. He retired from full-time work, but still sometimes engaged in mining consultancy.
He is an active squash
Squash (sport)
Squash is a high-speed racquet sport played by two players in a four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball...

 player and once won a gold medal in the World Masters Games
World Masters Games
The World Masters Games is an international multi-sport event held every four years which, in terms of competitor numbers, has developed into the largest of its kind....

 in squash doubles.

In April 2011 Trelawney Mining and Exploration Inc of Toronto, Ontario, announced that McIntyre had been appointed to the company's board of directors. On June 30, 2011, he was appointed Chairman of the Board of the company.

The Hockey stick controversy

In 2002, McIntyre became interested in climate science after a leaflet from the Canadian government warning of the dangers of global warming was delivered to his residence. McIntyre states that he noticed discrepancies in climate science papers that reminded him of the false prospectus that had duped investors involved in the Bre-X
Bre-X was a group of companies in Canada. A major part of the group, Bre-X Minerals Ltd. based in Calgary, was involved in a major gold mining scandal when it was reported to be sitting on an enormous gold deposit at Busang, Indonesia...

 gold mining scandal.

Upon reading the IPCC Third Assessment Report
IPCC Third Assessment Report
The IPCC Third Assessment Report, Climate Change 2001, is an assessment of available scientific and socio-economic information on climate change by the IPCC. The IPCC was established in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Programme and the UN's World Meteorological Organization ".....

, he noticed the prominent display of the hockey stick graph in the report and began studying Mann's research which had produced the graph. With Ross McKitrick
Ross McKitrick
Ross McKitrick is a Canadian economist specializing in environmental economics and policy analysis. He is professor of economics at the University of Guelph; a senior fellow of the Fraser Institute, a Canadian free-market public policy think tank; and a member of the academic advisory boards of the...

, McIntyre co-authored two papers questioning the validity of the "hockey stick" graph
Hockey stick controversy
The hockey stick controversy refers to debates over the technical correctness and implications for global warming of graphs showing reconstructed estimates of the temperature record of the past 1000 years...

 first presented in a 1998 journal article by Michael E. Mann and co-authors. McIntyre has remarked on how his suspicions of this graph were aroused: "In financial circles, we talk about a hockey stick curve when some investor presents you with a nice, steep curve in the hope of palming something off on you."

McIntyre & McKittrick's papers were investigated by the US National Academy of Sciences, which issued a report in 2006 that affirmed the hockey stick graph while acknowledging statistical shortcomings of the original Mann et al. analysis. A 2006 report to Congress by a team of statisticians led by Edward Wegman
Edward Wegman
Edward Wegman is a statistician, a statistics professor at George Mason University, and past chair of the National Research Council’s Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics. He holds a Ph.D. in mathematical statistics and is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and a Senior...

 found the criticisms of the hockey stick graph by McIntyre and McKitrick to be "valid and compelling."

McIntyre's blog has as a recurrent topic the struggle to obtain underlying data from peer reviewed papers. McIntyre has stated that he started Climate Audit so that he could defend himself against attacks being made at the climatology blog RealClimate
RealClimate is a commentary site on climatology. The site's contributors are a group of climate scientists whose goal is to provide a quick response to developing stories and providing the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary. The discussion is intended to be restricted to scientific...

. An earlier website, Climate2003, provided additional information for papers co-written by McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, including raw data and source code. Climate Audit was co-winner of a 2007 Weblog Award
The Weblog Awards (Wizbang)
The Weblog Awards, presented by Kevin Aylward's Wizbang LLC, were an annual blog award that have been presented since 2003. They were one of the largest blog awards, with winners determined through internet voting by the public. The Weblog Awards are covered by many major news organizations...

 for "Best Science Blog", receiving 20,000 votes in the online poll.


Stephen McIntyre has been highlighted by the press including The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal is an American English-language international daily newspaper. It is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corporation, along with the Asian and European editions of the Journal....


In 2007, McIntyre started auditing the various corrections made to temperature records, in particular those relating to the urban heat island
Urban heat island
An urban heat island is a metropolitan area which is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas. The phenomenon was first investigated and described by Luke Howard in the 1810s, although he was not the one to name the phenomenon. The temperature difference usually is larger at night...

 effect. He discovered a discontinuity in some U.S. records in the Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Goddard Institute for Space Studies
The NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies , at Columbia University in New York City, is a component laboratory of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Earth-Sun Exploration Division and a unit of The Earth Institute at Columbia University...

 (GISS) dataset starting in January 2000. He emailed GISS advising them of the problem and within a couple of days GISS issued a new, corrected set of data and thanked McIntyre for "bringing to our attention that such an adjustment is necessary to prevent creating an artificial jump in year 2000". The adjustment caused the average temperatures for the continental United States to be reduced about 0.15 °C during the years 2000-2006. Changes in other portions of the record did not exceed 0.03 °C; it made no discernible difference to the global mean anomalies.

McIntyre later commented:
My original interest in GISS adjustment procedures was not an abstract interest, but a specific interest in whether GISS adjustment procedures were equal to the challenge of “fixing” bad data. If one views the above assessment as a type of limited software audit (limited by lack of access to source code and operating manuals), one can say firmly that the GISS software had not only failed to pick up and correct fictitious steps of up to 1 deg C, but that GISS actually introduced this error in the course of their programming. According to any reasonable audit standards, one would conclude that the GISS software had failed this particular test. While GISS can (and has) patched the particular error that I reported to them, their patching hardly proves the merit of the GISS (and USHCN) adjustment procedures. These need to be carefully examined.

Role in the Climatic Research Unit controversy

Colby Cosh
Colby Cosh
Colby Cosh is a Canadian commentator, writer and editor of non-fiction, and blogger.-Life and career:Cosh was born in Edmonton, Alberta and grew up in Bon Accord, Alberta, north of Edmonton. He graduated from the University of Alberta in 1993, doing further study in European intellectual history...

, writing for Maclean's magazine, believes McIntyre's criticisms of climate science are at the heart of the Climatic Research Unit email controversy
Climatic Research Unit email controversy
The Climatic Research Unit email controversy began in November 2009 with the hacking of a server at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia...

 in November–December 2009. McIntyre is mentioned over 100 times in the hacked emails. In the emails, one climate researcher dismisses him as a "bozo". Others speculate over his funding, and argue about whether to ignore or counterattack him—although, according to Cosh, some unnamed scientists acknowledge that his criticisms have merit.

The Associated Press analysis of the CRU e-mails stated: "Some e-mails said McIntyre's attempts to get original data from scientists are frivolous and meant more for harassment than doing good science. There are allegations that he would distort and misuse data given to him. McIntyre disagreed with how he is portrayed. 'Everything that I've done in this, I've done in good faith,' he said."

The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 environment analyst Roger Harrabin
Roger Harrabin
Roger Harrabin is the BBC’s Environment Analyst, and one of their senior journalists on the environment and energy. He has broadcast on environmental issues since the 1980s and has won many awards in print, TV and radio...

 wrote that McIntyre "arguably knows more about CRU science than anyone outside the unit - but none of the CRU inquiries has contacted him for input." New Statesman
New Statesman
New Statesman is a British centre-left political and cultural magazine published weekly in London. Founded in 1913, and connected with leading members of the Fabian Society, the magazine reached a circulation peak in the late 1960s....

named McIntyre one of its "50 People Who Matter 2010", citing his role in the Climategate controversy.

See also

  • Global warming controversy
    Global warming controversy
    Global warming controversy refers to a variety of disputes, significantly more pronounced in the popular media than in the scientific literature, regarding the nature, causes, and consequences of global warming...

  • Instrumental temperature record#Calculating the global temperature

External links

McIntyre's websites and publications

Articles about McIntyre and responses