Open Thread #6

Here is a new open thread for general climate science discussion.

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39 responses to “Open Thread #6

  1. The Royal Society has issued what it calls “a new guide to the science of climate change”, entitled Climate Change: A summary of the science.

    1 Changes in climate have significant implications for present lives, for future generations and for ecosystems on which humanity depends. Consequently, climate change has been and continues to be the subject of intensive scientific research and public debate.

    2 There is strong evidence that the warming of the Earth over the last half-century has been caused largely by human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use, including agriculture and deforestation. The size of future temperature increases and other aspects of climate change, especially at the regional scale, are still subject to uncertainty. Nevertheless, the risks associated with some of these changes
    are substantial. It is important that decision makers have access to climate science of the highest quality, and can take account of its findings in formulating appropriate responses.

    3 In view of the ongoing public and political debates about climate change, the aim of this document is to summarise the current scientific evidence on climate change and its drivers. It lays out clearly where the science is well established, where there is wide consensus but continuing debate, and where there remains substantial uncertainty. The impacts of climate change, as distinct from the causes, are not considered here. This document draws upon recent evidence and builds on the Fourth Asessment Report of Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published in 2007, which is the most comprehensive source of climate science and its uncertainties.

    There is reasonably balanced coverage in the Guardian, which states:

    The document entirely supports the mainstream scientific view of man-made climate change as summarised by the UN’s climate science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    But the usual suspects, led by the denialist U.K. think tank Global Warming Policy Foundation, are spinning this as some sort of retreat from the mainstream consensus on the science.

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      Ack! Tony posted a link to the RS statement. It was a complete endorsement of the consensus view. How the GWPF got their press release out of the actual statement baffles me.

    • I’m afraid that I see the RS statement as a depressing example of the problems outlined in the Freudenberg & Muselli “Asymmetry of Scientific Challenge” paper.

      It’s not a retreat from the science, it’s a retreat from the language. Instead of taking on the members who agitated for this – by restating the 2007 document in stronger language buttressed by more recent publications and statistics – they shuffled their feet and mumbled a bit. Then restated their earlier position in fuzzier, much more defensive, language.

      Predictable, but depressing.

  2. I’m looking for a good climatology text book. Any suggestions?

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      Try looking at the online texts at Rabett Run. I’m not sure if he has David Archer’s video lectures from the University of Chicago, but you can find a link online at Realclimate.

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      Rabett Run has the correct link for Archer’s stuff. Probably the best place to start.

  3. The statement by the Royal Society still supports the majority view but it is a big retreat from previous statements which were much more confident and called for immediate political action. Also absent is any mention of the Hockey Stick or any claim that current temperatures “are the warmest in 1,000 years.” Perhaps the Royal Society has taken the view espoused by Phil Jones that it really is not possible to know global temps going back 1,000 years.

    Statements of uncertainty regarding climate models are welcome, including this one:

    “The ability of the current generation of models to simulate some aspects of regional climate change is limited, judging from the spread of results from different models; there is little confidence in specific projections of future regional climate change, except at continental scales.”

    I have no idea why the statement includes the phrase “except at continental scales” since Australia is considered a continent and regional climate model predictions there have been no better than a coin flip.

    The fact this statement by the Royal Society is less confident and more scientific is a welcome change. I expect we will see more of this in the future as scientists outside the current group of climate scientists look more closely at these issues.

    • “since Australia is considered a continent and regional climate model predictions there have been no better than a coin flip.”

      Cite your sources, Ron, then I’ll go and find proper sources that contradict you because you usually get it wrong anyway.

  4. About Alberta’s tarsands/oilsands: Ezra Levant, between suing people and being sued for libel, has published a new book called Ethical Oil. He argues that tarsands oil is more ethical since Canada has better human rights, etc., while denying that the people of Fort Chipewyan have higher cancer rates, etc. His theme of “ethical” oil is likely to be picked up and passed along by other pro tarsands people, such as the governer of Montana who just commented on James Cameron’s visit, talking about “conflict-free oil”:
    http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/122175-montana-gov-schweitzer-whacks-james-cameron-over-oil-sands-criticism

    I am assuming that Levant or some oil co. PR guy came up with the idea of conflict-free oil based on the idea of blood diamonds / conflict diamonds.

    Anyone who wants to learn more about the Alberta tarsands should read the Tyee, including the regular columns there by Andrew Nikiforuk – his latst is about James Cameron’s visit:
    http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2010/09/30/JamesCameronTarSands/

    A blog which has many good posts about the tarsands and Fort Chip is:
    http://straightouttaedmonton.blogspot.com/

    If you prefer a dishonest shallow view, try the Financial Post:
    http://www.financialpost.com/opinion/columnists/sands+convert/3606669/story.html

  5. By the way Ezra Levant is a rightwinger, very good at publicizing himself, and every word he writes should be disbelieved unless there is independent confirmation. He gets onto Canadian media a lot because he has a superficial clownish charm but his deeper nastiness comes out when pressed, such as here:
    http://www.albertaprimetime.com/Stories.aspx?FlashVars=Video/PTG_091610.flv&pd=1481

    “…He spent the summer of 1994 in Washington, D.C., in an internship arranged by the libertarian Charles G. Koch Foundation Summer Fellow Program. He worked for the Fraser Institute in 1995…”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ezra_Levant

    In a side story, Levant wrote a Toronto Sun newspaper article smearing George Soros, which the Sun retracted when Soros sued for libel; I don’t know if Soros accepted the inadequate apology or is still suing the Sun and Levant.

    • Thanks for that. He turned up at Guardian comments as he was being discussed by some, so it’ll be good to have a better idea of where he’s actually coming from.

  6. “Rabett Run has the correct link for Archer’s stuff. Probably the best place to start.”

    Thanks! I’m on video #6, no surprises so far (except, #11 seems to be missing). I’m thinking of digging into the rest of the “Online Textbooks” he links as well. What order would you suggest I attack them in?

    x David Archer’s Global Warming (Parts)
    Ray Pierrehumbert on the physics of climate
    Spencer Weart’s Disovery of Global Warming
    Stratospheric Ozone
    Global Land Vegetation
    Polar Sea Ice
    Sea Surface Temperatures
    Skeptical Science – not a book but a resource

  7. Andrewo,

    If you only want one side of the story, then you should read only those listed. Spencer Weart’s Discovery of Global Warming is actually quite good as a history of climate science. It shows the science is still in its infancy.

    [DC: It shows nothing of the kind. Climate science, including AGW, is rooted in well-established principles and observations. ]

    If you would like resources by acclaimed climate scientists who do not hold to the majority view, I would suggest:

    * Human Impacts on Weather and Climate, a book by William Cotton and Roger A Pielke Sr.

    * Climate Confusion: How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians and Misguided Policies That Hurt the Poor by Roy Spencer.

    * The Great Global Warming Blunder: How Mother Nature Fooled the World’s Top Climate Scientists by Roy Spencer.

    * Climategate: The Crutape Letters by Steve Mosher and Thomas Fuller.

    [DC: I've edited out your misleading descriptions. In response to a request for climate science texts, you respond with "resources" that are little more than lukewarmer and denialist propaganda. Thanks for your help in providing more reasons to show you thje door. ]

  8. Andrewo,

    The best article on the Hockey Stick controversy is “Kyoto protocol based on flawed statistics” by Marcel Crok and published in the Dutch science magazine Natuurwetenschap & Techniek, February, 2005. The English translation is here –

    [DC: I have replaced this link - see below.]

    Enjoy!

    [DC: The same article appeared in the National Post and was the kickoff to the disinformation campaign around McIntyre and McKitrick's GRL article, with the Wall Street Journal profile of McIntyre appearing a couple of weeks later. It was likely placed by PR specialist Tom Harris, then with APCO Worldwide. (Around the same time, Harris also produced the APCO Worldwide Friends of Science film, featuring McIntyre and McKitrick and other contrarians). The eventual result was the Barton-Whitfield attack on climate scientists and the Wegman Report.

    See these previous Deep Climate articles:

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/12/08/in-the-beginning-the-national-post-terence-corcoran-and-tom-harris/

    http://deepclimate.org/2010/02/04/steve-mcintyre-and-ross-mckitrick-part-1-in-the-beginning/

    http://deepclimate.org/2010/02/08/steve-mcintyre-and-ross-mckitrick-part-2-barton-wegman/

    Since Andrewo asked for climate science, and you have been providing pointers to non-scientific propaganda, perhaps it's time for me to stop being patient with you. Thanks!]

  9. You’ve got a pretty good order, subject to following:

    a) 6 of the 8 are descriptions of the science, and Archer is certainly an excellent start.

    b) Spencer’s book is a truly fine *history*, which gives a very different perspective, i.e., how the current science came to be, versus what the current science is.

    c) SS of course is my favorite resource to recommend when faced with climate anti-science memes. It was invaluable in studying the Wegman Report, and John Cook was very kind in giving me a version with fixed numbers so I could safely reference them.

    Hence, you can read Weart at any point; a good exercise for learning might well be to visit SS last, raead the 1-line description of some argument, think how you would answer it, and then click through to see the SS answer.

  10. JBowers,

    The issue of Australia’s poor regional climate forecasts on seasonal timescales is not subject to interpretation. The BoM has admitted in the press they are right about half the time. Unfortunately, it is hard to find archived news stories.

    [DC: I'm going to stop you right there. You make an assertion about continental long-range projections in climate models, and then when challenged, point to regional, seasonal forecasts from Australia's BoM. I think I've had enough of your shenanigans, so it would be best if you no longer posted here. Thanks! ]

  11. “The best article on the Hockey Stick controversy…”

    Thanks but no thanks. I’ve read Mann 2008, McShane & Wyner 2010 and the Schmidt/Mann/Rutherford comment, primarily as a substitute for a soporific. I have little interest in learning more about how the instrumental record compares to proxy records, except as may be required to better understand how various physical mechanisms work together to produce the changing climate scientists are now observing. Arguments over station data quality control are even less interesting to me than the Hockey Stick, but at least that one now comes with plenty of pictures.

    Other stuff I don’t care about (this list could be MUCH longer):
    1) The contents of the ClimateGate emails.
    2) Al Gore.
    3) The 10:10 video.

  12. Oh, but I love hearing about Marcel Crok, long-time editor of tennis magazine, freelance science writer, and says he’d have e a book out on global warming end of September, and host of McIntyre when he visited Netherlands.

    • In short he’s like a typical libertarian anti-science contrarian. Co founder of climategate.nl and is apparently working on a book called ‘state of the climate’ for which he presented a promo at a cozy libertarian get together in 2008 (organised by groenerekenkamer.nl). If you want to practice your Dutch you can see the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PkYfzAzblc

      From the slides it’s clear the book’s going to be filled with standard contrarian memes like cooling since 1998, Antarctica cooling, GHCN station dropout introduces warming, Antarctic sea ice extent growth, sea level rise not accelerating, hurricane frequency and/or strength, promotion of UAH sat. temp. over everything else, etc…

      Possibly also about: other planets in our solarsystem are warming too and poor station placement causes UHI to appear in the temp records, as he wrote about those topics in the popscience paper Nature, Science and Technology.

      He once received a journalist price for writing down Mc&Mc’s criticism about Mann’s 1998/1999 hockeystick claiming it to be a “fiction” (English version here: http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/Climate_L.pdf

      Well, I’m guessing his new book will go down in history as fiction too.

    • Oh, and the book’s going to cover the climategate emails ofcourse. How could I forget that…

      Anyway, the teaser uses a pretty alarmist tone, like:
      “Since Al Gore and the fourth IPCC report it’s official: We’re all working hard towards our doom. And who doubts this ‘displeasing truth’ is being offsided as global warming denier”.

      The first publication date I found was July 2010, then September and now November 2010. It is written with financial support from the Dutch Fund for Special Journalistic Projects (http://www.fondsbjp.nl/) and one of it’s goals is to enable projects that result in “exceptional quality”. Well, we’ll see about that.

      http://www.bol.com/nl/p/nederlandse-boeken/de-staat-van-het-klimaat/1001004008257757/index.html

      Marcel Crok also wrote the foreword for the book “The Cholesterol Hype” by M. Kendrick. Which is meant to disprove the connection between Cholesterol and cardio illnesses. Sounds a bit like: “(secondhand) smoking is not enhancing the chance of attracting lung cancer” to me.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      Cynicus that’s interesting… here in Finland the same denialist journalist responsible for the local ‘Swindle’ workalike also recently made a piece attacking the relationship between fat consumption and cardiovascular, like in

      http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(83)91556-8

      I am a complete ignoramus on nutrition, but if these folks attack the theory there must be something right about it :-)

    • GP, couldn’t find a reference quickly, but did find one other piece, that might reveil something about his upcoming book. Pielke Sr. gives him a stage:
      http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/06/10/interacademy-council-iac-review-of-the-ipcc-input-by-marcel-crok/

      Notice the suggestive nature of his writings. Hinting for things and forgetting to mention the obvious and inconvenient details and rarely becoming specific.

      In the very first question Crok forgets to mention that he is cofounder of climategate.nl aimed to undermine the (IPCC) science…

      The answer to question ‘b’ can be translated: we need laymen as IPCC Lead Authors… yeah, that surely will make the next report any better. John Christie was a Lead Author for the TAR report but that gets omitted somehow.

      Lead Authors are often the very best in that field so it’s not weird that their own material is often used, but according to Crok this surely must have a smell attached.

      Ignoring shoddy papers like Micheals/McKitrick 2004 (published by none less then Chris de Freitas so that it can be called ‘literature’ later) and using HadCrut3 seems just like the most sensible thing to do unless your name is Crok.

      It also appears that he doesn’t read any scientific literature because e.g. water vapor and clouds were some of the late Stephen Schneider’ core research subjects, but apparently Crok thinks all those subjects in ’3′ have barely been researched. I mean, what’s really left to say about TSI?

      etc, etc. on and on the anti-IPCC campaign goes.

  13. > editor of tennis
    > a book out on global warming
    > host of McIntyre

    I’m going to guess the title: “To Serve Mann”

  14. If you would like resources by acclaimed climate scientists who do not hold to the majority view, I would suggest:

    * Climategate: The Crutape Letters by Steve Mosher and Thomas Fuller.

    Neither of whom are scientists, much less “acclaimed climate scientists”, not that we expect denialists such as Ron Cram to know the difference between a couple of dishonest denialist hacks and practicing scientists …

  15. Ooh, the ever erudite hank and his allusion to the classic Damon Knight / TZ story…

  16. Hi. I hope what I’m doing now is not against the guidelines, by derailing or something like that.
    Someone has pointed me to this report: http://alturl.com/h6dm6
    As far as I know, IPCC seem to spread the message that they are relying entirely on peer-reviewed literature. If this report is right (I have no idea), what does this say about IPCC?
    I’m not really trying to start a discussion here, a general pointer to someone else that discusses this (if the report is BS or not, or what the implications are). I’ve searched around, and havent really found anyone (exept for a bunch of denialst blogs which I stay away from).

    • AGWeird,

      I could be wrong, but it is my understanding that the guidelines did permit so-called “grey” literature to be cited in the AR4 reports, but with certain conditions. Some high-profile government reports (by government economists and scientists) are cited in AR4.

      Anyhow a visit to the IPCC website will probably provide the guidelines which authors were required to follow.

    • The IPCC uses grey literature, and it’s in their published rules for all to see.

    • They used holier-then-thou rules for counting the number of non-peer-reviewed references as they didn’t include e.g. science text books and previous IPCC report references as peer-reviewed (which they are). And, most likely the F-grade, for whatever it’s worth, was the target of that ‘investigation’ not the outcome.

      But what Mapleleaf said, about grey-literature being allowed, is true. From the Principles of Governing IPCC Work:

      Procedure for using non-published/non-peer-reviewed sources in IPCC Reports
      Because it is increasingly apparent that materials relevant to IPCC Reports, in particular, information about the experience and practice of the private sector in mitigation and adaptation activities, are found in sources that have not been published or peer-reviewed (e.g., industry journals, internal organisational publications, non-peer reviewed reports or working papers of research institutions, proceedings of workshops etc) the following additional procedures are provided. These have been designed to make all references used in IPCC Reports easily accessible and to ensure that the IPCC process remains open and transparent.
      1. Responsibilities of Coordinating, Lead and Contributing Authors
      Authors who wish to include information from a non-published/non-peer-reviewed source are requested to
      a. Critically assess any source that they wish to include. This option may be used for instance to obtain case study materials from private sector sources for assessment of adaptation and mitigation options. Each chapter team should review the quality and validity of each source before incorporating results from the source into an IPCC Report.
      [..]

    • Oops, sorry, I see that some of my points have already been made below…

  17. Some time ago, I looked very briefly at the No Frakking Consensus “study” of the IPCC report.

    It turns out that the WG1 report (the actual scientific assessment) scored very high on their evaluation (90% or more peer-reviewed citations). And it probably should have scored even higher. If I recall correctly NFC didn’t count text books written by top academics; other supposedly non-peer reviewed texts included citations given to provide historical context.

    And the attempt to muddy the waters by obscuring the distinction between the different working groups is a long running denialist tactic.

    • Don’t forget they also labeled the IPCC reports as “not peer reviewed”, and any and all reports by others were considered “not peer reviewed” either. I know for a fact that many organisations DO have their reports peer reviewed. Not in exactly the same way as journals have articles peer reviewed, and that apparently was enough to claim they were not peer reviewed. Same with books and book chapters. Or take all the numbers from the IEA about energy use: compiled in reports that are ‘not peer reviewed’. Does anyone think it will change the science if they would be (assuming they are not!) ?

      And then there were some reference that had little to do with science, and were more historical overviews / framing issues. For example a press release from a government/president. Or Fourier’s initial ‘work’ (not peer reviewed, but of no impact to the science either).

  18. John Mashey wrote: “…and says he’d have a book out on global warming [by the] end of September…”

    That would be the Crock book on climate, no doubt.

    (Did I misspell something?)

  19. Aargh! They have added insult to injury, renting a climate research ship out to oil companies:

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/11/23/icebreaker-coast-guard-oil-research.html

  20. my last foray into wuwt….
    I was criticized for a post so I replicated one of theirs:
    —————————————————————
    Michael says:
    November 29, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    You really don’t have to worry about the left wing loons. They believe man is responsible for the warming of the entire planet. That’s why they are loons.
    —————————————————————
    I said:
    You really don’t have to worry about the right wing loons. They believe man is not responsible for the warming of the entire planet. That’s why they are loons.
    ————————————————————–
    The Moderator rebuked me:
    harvey says:
    November 29, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    [snip - lately, your posts have been nothing but ugly missives, try to contribute something intelligent and meaningful other than off topic snarky one-liners ~mod]
    ———————————————————————
    SO LOL I guess it is not much use to post over there anymore, unless you agree with their extreme world view.

    Ah well, a lesson learned.

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