from: Keith Briffa <k.briffaatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
subject: Re: Reference for Michael Mann
to: "E. Scott Bair" <bair.1atXYZxyz.edu>
Dear Professor Bair
Had you asked me this a year or two back , I would have sent a generally
positive response as regards his drive (i.e. energy and ambition). Technically
he is a gifted analyst and he obviously has an eye for recognizing the important
issues at the interface between climatology and palaeoclimate data , and how
both should be used to explore important questions about the precedence of
recent climate change , and its causes and implications for the future.
All very well - and probably enough for some departments, but yes there IS
(or at least WAS) a sting in the tail.
Mike was certainly not the best
collaborator , and in some aspects of his work , not sufficiently aware
of the characteristics of some of the data with which he worked. This would not be
bad in itself , were allowance made and advice sought and accepted from a wider
circle of colleagues or specialists than he was inclined to consult. There was a
certain , apparent , overconfidence in his work which bordered on seeming arrogance
and this has led to SOME EXTENT to a degree of unnecessary conflict with researchers and
members of the wider public , as regards the validity and certainty of some of his (and the
IPCC) conclusions. I qualified this statement , because it is undoubtedly true that some of
his critics have strong vested interests in attacking his work , and almost without
their criticisms have bee ill founded , even fraudulent.
So why tell you all this ? The reason is that I now consider Michael to have mellowed!
Perhaps matured is a better word. The experience gained in the last year or so , in
to attacks by the "sceptics" , and in his slowly widening circle of collaborations, seems
to have made
him more measured in his work and less prone to over-reaction to criticism. When viewed in
conjunction with his undoubted statistical excellence and unshakable desire to do
"important" science, he has to be a great addition to any department. Rest assured he will
continue to contribute
major work , and if you judge that he will be able to collaborate within the department ,
as well as beyond it , he will make a great addition to your team. My recent experience of
him is that he very
likely will , and overall, I recommend him very highly.
hope these initial thoughts help
At 19:56 30/07/2004, you wrote:
Dr. Keith R. Briffa
Climate Research Unit
University of East Anglia
Norwich NR-4 7TJ UK
Dear Dr. Briffa:
The Ohio State University is actively considering an appointment of Dr. Michael Mann
as a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences. He is
currently an Assistant Professor at another university.
We are on a short lead time, and I would very much appreciate your emailing me
your impressions of Dr. Mann's research and its impact.
Your email response to me need not be long or overly detailed, but I do need it to be
up by a formal letter.
I thank you in advance for your efforts
E. Scott Bair
Professor and Chair
Ohio State University
275 Mendenhall Lab
Coilumbus, OH 43210
Professor Keith Briffa,
Climatic Research Unit
University of East Anglia
Norwich, NR4 7TJ, U.K.