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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 12/29/2009

2009 saw erosion of clarity on climate

By Andrew Freedman

* Wicked wind gusts today: Full Forecast | Snow Lover's Crystal Ball *


Annual mean Antarctic air temperature trend in degrees Celsius per decade during 1957-2006 from Steig et al. [2009]. Credit: The Copenhagen Diagnosis 2009.

Count mainstream climate scientists among the many people likely to be relieved when the clock strikes midnight on Thursday night, and 2009 recedes into the history books.

In 2009, the climate scientists who are convinced that human activities are causing Earth to warm spent much of their time on the defensive. They worked to counter largely blog-based arguments that the world is actually cooling rather than warming, and were forced to defend virtually all of climate science research after unknown hackers stole the personal e-mails of some top climate scientists and disseminated them online.

All the while, any hopes that 2009 would finally see a new, binding global agreement to combat climate change were dashed by the chaotic negotiations in Copenhagen earlier this month.

As this story in Nature Reports details, 2009 was a year in which scientists published numerous studies showing how manmade climate change may lead to more significant effects than previously thought, and that it could be much more difficult to slow down climate change than once believed. For example, new examinations of melting in parts of Greenland and Antarctica have caused some leading scientists to significantly raise projections of global sea-level rise from those in the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) 2007 report, although considerable uncertainty about future sea-level rise remains.

But at the same time that climate science was shedding new light on the scale and scope of the climate challenge, the scientific evidence and even individual scientists themselves came under increased attack from climate change skeptics and political opponents of plans to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

Climate scientists, journalists and politicians have been pondering what to make of the following dichotomy: as the science gets more definitive, public understanding of the problem and sense of urgency about solving it seems to be declining, at least among certain segments of the public, according to data from several polls during the past year. Part of this widening gap between scientific understanding and public opinion could stem from the major climate science stories of 2009, which tended to question key climate science research findings, sometimes on spurious grounds.

The most high-profile climate science development of 2009 -- 'climategate' -- should be familiar to regular CWG readers. The scandal, involving hacked personal e-mails between a small group of leading climate scientists, increased public doubts about the reliability of climate science, and has caused many (including myself) to question what the heck is going on in scientific labs all over the world.

The e-mail scandal exploded in the face of climate scientists and politicians just as the final preparations were being made for the U.N. climate change talks in Copenhagen, although it actually had very little impact on the negotiations.

What were the main take-aways from media coverage of climategate? That climate researchers are, at the very least, a paranoid and defensive lot, and at worst, that they have doctored research findings to prove that human activities are warming the climate. Clearly, the scandal did not boost public confidence in climate science findings, despite the paucity of evidence that anything is actually wrong with the scientific evidence for manmade climate change.

This year demonstrated that climate blogs drive the news cycle in a way they never have before. I suppose that as a blogger myself, that should be an exciting development.

The problem is, however, that climate science is a complex subject. There is a reason a Ph.D. is typically needed to conduct original climate research, and why years of journalism experience is vital to accurately portraying the climate story. But on the blogosphere, anything goes, including an ethos of do-it-yourself climate research.

Call it the 'WebMD-ification' of climate science, if you will. Increasingly, individuals with backgrounds in a wide variety of fields, ranging from statistics to electrical engineering, are taking to the Internet to conduct their own climate science research (or to poke holes in someone else's work, which, in theory, can be a valuable service in science) and share it with the world. Their efforts are making an impact. For example, popular climate skeptic blogs such as Climate Audit and wattsupwiththat were instrumental in pushing climategate into the mainstream press, while mainstream researchers' sites, such as RealClimate, were put on the defensive.

Though it's not something we do much of here, there is nothing inherently wrong with 'blog science' as long as there are checks and balances to ensure that accurate scientific information is the end result, rather than mere speculation or misinterpretation of data that winds up sowing public confusion.

I don't know about you, but every time I go to WebMD I wind up convincing myself I have a new disease, ranging from cancer to rickets. I'd be much better off going to an actual doctor.

The views expressed here are the author's alone and do not represent any position of the Washington Post, its news staff or the Capital Weather Gang.

By Andrew Freedman  | December 29, 2009; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  Climate Change, Freedman, News & Notes, Science  
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Comments

Andrew, do you believe the UK's Met Office forecast that 2010 is very likely going to be the warmest year on record?

http://www.metoffice.com/corporate/pressoffice/2009/pr20091210b.html

Posted by: MattRogers | December 29, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

And do you believe these sorts of forecasts are helpful in boosting the public's confidence in climate science?

Posted by: MattRogers | December 29, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Interesting link Matt, I'd not seen that yet. That's a pretty bold forecast. Also interesting that they've forecasted exactly their mean error for the past 10 years above the previous record ('98). They must be very confident.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | December 29, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Brian, they tried this also for 2007 (last time we had an El Niño in Pacific), but that forecast failed.
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2007/pr20070104.html

Posted by: MattRogers | December 29, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

The skepticism doesn't come from bloggers..it comes from people with long memories. Fool me once..shame on you..Fool me twice shame on me. The "Climate Scientists" predictions in 1970 proved to be completely and utterly false. Why should I believe them now?

What a "Leading Ecologist" had to say in 1970.


The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”
• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

Posted by: SoldiersDad | December 29, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Matt, have you seen this.

It is a look back at what some scientists, including from the CRU, forecast for Britain's future winters. It is hilarious.

--begin quote--
From The Independent on 20 March 2000 we got the headline: “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past”. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.
--end quote--

How many horrendously wrong climate forecasts do they get to make before people stop listening to them?

If a local weather forecaster on a local television channel had the track record those guys do, they would be fired! But if you are a climate scientist, you get National headlines and more grant money.

It is a world gone mad.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | December 29, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

That isn't the first time the MET Office has forecast the warmest year on record.

--begin quote--
News release

4 January 2007
2007 - forecast to be the warmest year yet

2007 is likely to be the warmest year on record globally, beating the current record set in 1998, say climate-change experts at the Met Office.
--end quote--

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2007/pr20070104.html

Posted by: Mr_Q | December 29, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Hard to say whether the earth is actually warming or cooling...and whether it's anthropogenic or due to natural causes [long-term cycle, solar brightening over the Sun's life, Milankovic cycle in Earth's orbital eccentricity or tilt-cycle]. Some of these cycles run over tens or even hundreds of thousands of years. Given that the Pleistocene has lasted only a million-odd years while most epochs run anywhere from ten to sixty million years, it's rather likely that we are still in the "early" Pleistocene and that the "Holocene" is but a sub-epoch. During its remaining five billion-odd expected years on the Main Sequence, the Sun may be expected to "brighten" to a yellow-white
hue similar to the star Procyon in Canis Minor before helium ignition at the core induces expansion to a red giant. There's a natural trigger right there for global warming of a potentially significant nature--and it's non-anthropogenic.


More down to earth, here are my monthly grades for December, and for 2009 as a whole. December rates a "B-plus" for the big blizzard on the 19th and a smaller snowstorm on the 5th. The reason for no "A" has to do with a couple of messy rain events and the snow-melting warmup which began Christmas Day. When we get sixteen inches of snow in Wisconsin during November or December, there's no such meltdown and the snow hangs on until late March or early April.

On the whole, 2009 rates a "C" or average. There was little snow early until March; it was first too dry in winter, then too wet from April through June. Summer was nice during June and July but started out wet. Then it got hot in August and nearly dry again before it got wet again in the fall. The cold spell in mid-October was too cool. La Nina at the beginning of the year gave way to El Nino at the end. In December Washington got its biggest December snow on the 16th, but much of the snow melted away Christmas night as a "blowtorch" warm spell moved over the area.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | December 29, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Let’s be precise about the MET Office forecast for 2010: The headline reads, “COULD warm to record levels” and later, “a record warm year in 2010 is not a certainty, ….”., and , “it’s more likely than not”. In other words, there may be a relatively high degree of confidence in the prediction, but uncertainty cannot be eliminated, and that is critical for interpretation and utility of the forecast.

What I find disturbing about this story is that for unacknowledged reasons the forecast speaks of the most likely outcome being .6 deg above normal, whereas the model itself indicates .5 deg with a wide range of possibilities (about .2 to .8 deg). Unless clarified by the MET Office, I go along with Matt in questioning whether this contributes to public confidence.

However 2010 turns out, it's still only one year and standing alone counts for little

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | December 29, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Rajendra Pachauri is head of the IPCC.

UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has a credibility problem.

Rajendra Pachauri is head of the IPCC. (International Panel for Climate Change) . This is the panel that reports to the UN about climate change. It's reports have been used as proof that a consensus on global warming exists. This man's pronouncements on ClimateGate and global warming are often quoted as evidence of global warming, climate change and the need to spend trillions of dollars to fix it.

This guy makes Al Gore look like a small player in the climate issue and his influence is huge. He is making a fortune on this issue. Dr Pachauri's links to so many of these concerns inevitably raising questions as to how the world's leading ‘climate official' can also be personally involved in so many organisations which stand to benefit from the IPCC's recommendations.

He has huge conflicts of interest and if you read the following you will find a lot of these conflict of interests here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/6847227/Questions-over-business-deals-of-UN-climate-change-guru-Dr-Rajendra-Pachauri.html

This is just a TINY BIT of what is found in this article:
In 2008 he was made an adviser on renewable and sustainable energy to the Credit Suisse bank and the Rockefeller Foundation. He joined the board of the Nordic Glitnir Bank, as it launched its Sustainable Future Fund, looking to raise funding of £4 billion. He became chairman of the Indochina Sustainable Infrastructure Fund, whose CEO was confident it could soon raise £100 billion.
In the same year he became a director of the International Risk Governance Council in Geneva, set up by EDF and E.On, two of Europe's largest electricity firms, to promote ‘bio-energy'. This year Dr Pachauri joined the New York investment fund Pegasus as a ‘strategic adviser', and was made chairman of the advisory board to the Asian Development Bank, strongly supportive of CDM trading, whose CEO warned that failure to agree a treaty at Copenhagen would lead to a collapse of the carbon market.
The list of posts now held by Dr Pachauri as a result of his new-found world status goes on and on. He has become head of Yale University's Climate and Energy Institute, which enjoys millions of dollars of US state and corporate funding. He is on the climate change advisory board of Deutsche Bank. He is Director of the Japanese Institute for Global Environmental Strategies and was until recently an adviser to Toyota Motors. Recalling his origins as a railway engineer, he is even a policy adviser to SNCF, France's state-owned railway company.

Posted by: gerrybuddy | December 29, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Matt: I'm with Steve on this one. Also, I've noticed that the MetOffice tends to be much more aggressive in issuing such predictions than NOAA in the U.S. is, but I am not sure why.

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | December 29, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/18343

Check out this website. Data points (rather than "smoothed data") show that CO2 levels are rather volatile and have been above current levels at least 3 times during the 1800s. (Hmmm, before the industrial revolution!)

oops. Sorry warmists !

Posted by: gofigure | December 29, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

But in the website just below is a theory by Danish scientists and, after that, another video at the bottom covering a CERN Colloquium (sp?). It's solar activity and its interaction with cosmic rays, dude !


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKoUwttE0BA&feature=related

Except for the first minute or two of the first video, the entire film is in English. The subtitles are in English during those first couple of minutes.

The website referenced above contains a 6-part (you-tube) video, about ½ hour total viewing time. The video demonstrates that our climate is controlled by solar activity and its interaction with cosmic rays. This interaction results in more or less (low) cloud cover, which in turn affects climate. The particulars of this interaction vary over long periods of time based on where we are within our milky way galaxy. (One rotation of the solar system around the galaxy takes about 250 million years.)

This discovery involved a multidisciplinary investigation which included astronomers, physicists, geologists, oceanographers and climatologists. The story is fascinating and the science is easy to follow. It is a MUST view for those interested in (what was until now) a confusing climate debate wrapped in an agenda.

The second website (below) is a video of a CERN Colloquium where various data related to solar and cosmic ray activity and climate is being reviewed before an audience of physicists. This video goes into more technical detail, but the data leads to the same general conclusions.

http://seekingalpha.com/article/175641-climategate-revolt-of-the-physicists

Posted by: gofigure | December 29, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

For those who just cannot deal with scientific facts, and insist it's only a matter of "following the money", please see the website below:

http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2009/12/pachauri-not-300000-but-800000-admitted.html

and then there is the little matter of an extra $100 million or so in increased assets (so far) for Al Gore !

Posted by: gofigure | December 29, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

i'm sure an analysis is out there somewhere, but i'd like to see the entire emails or even email threads from which these "trick the data" CRU quotes were mined.

it would be clear that their quotes, taken in context, do not show these scientists are hiding anything or "tricking" the data.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 29, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

It is important to distinguish between wnat you call "the paucity of evidence that anything is actually wrong with the scientific evidence for manmade climate change." and skepticism about catastrophic climate change and whether any legislation will make any difference.

Skepticism has many sources but here's just one. The warming that occurred late last century has recently paused. The satellite-measured temperatures peaked around 2005 (http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_Nov_09.jpg), the glacier speed on Greenland slowed in 2005 back to to per-1980's rates (http://sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/323/5913/458a), sea level rises have a noticeably lower slope since 2005 (http://sealevel.colorado.edu/)

These and other indications should be explored by curious and diligent climate scientists instead of spending their time conspiring to cover up or withhold data and create charts for the IPCC that are not much more than propaganda. When I first saw the stolen emails I thought they were fake because they seemed so blatant and juvenile. But they have been essentially acknowledged as accurate.

It is long past time for climate scientists to put aside their catastrophic biases and start to acknowledge the natural variations of climate. I would like to see, for example, model runs that show stable or cooling temperatures for the next decade. When joined with warmer model runs that would at least give us an accurate idea of the range of variance to give some confidence in the results.

From that starting point we can establish realistic scenarios for glacial melt in Greenland and sea level rise. That still requires a lot more knowledge about the glaciers as witnessed by the fact that nobody predicted they would slow before they started to slow. Such uncertainties are given a lot of good scientific treatment at the low levels, but by the time the IPCC report is released, it is all about the catastrophe with a minor amount of watered down lip service. That and the hiding the decline in the temperature proxies and similar stunts must be ended and replaced with non-politicized science.

Posted by: eric654 | December 29, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

One does not need to have a PHD to recognize faulty logic. Nature Magazine has now taken the position that absence of evidence is evidence of absence-and a “robust line of evidence” at that.

This argument that normally is considered fallacious is now endorsed by Nature Magazine as robust. A recent editorial, “Climatologists under pressure,” Nature, 3 December 2009, states:
“Nothing in the e-mails undermines the scientific case that global warming is real — or that human activities are almost certainly the cause. That case is supported by multiple, robust lines of evidence, including several that are completely independent of the climate reconstructions debated in the e-mails.
First, Earth's cryosphere is changing as one would expect in a warming climate. These changes include glacier retreat, thinning and areal reduction of Arctic sea ice, reductions in permafrost and accelerated loss of mass from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Second, the global sea level is rising. The rise is caused in part by water pouring in from melting glaciers and ice sheets, but also by thermal expansion as the oceans warm. Third, decades of biological data on blooming dates and the like suggest that spring is arriving earlier each year.
Denialists often maintain that these changes are just a symptom of natural climate variability. But when climate modellers test this assertion by running their simulations with greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide held fixed, the results bear little resemblance to the observed warming. The strong implication is that increased greenhouse-gas emissions have played an important part in recent warming, meaning that curbing the world's voracious appetite for carbon is essential.”

Apparently the “climate-change-denialist fringe” does not accept the “robust line of evidence” that absence of the ability of climate models to duplicate the observed warming without considering greenhouse gasses is evidence of Anthropogenic Global Warming. The obvious other possibilities, both brought to light in the Climategate emails, are that the climate models do not fully replicate the earth’s climate or that the temperature records are not reliable.

Posted by: bkindseth | December 29, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Walter says "it would be clear that their quotes, taken in context, do not show these scientists are hiding anything or "tricking" the data."

Walter, the temperature proxies (tree rings) declined in one case from about 1960 onward. There was a feeble attempt to explain the decline, but the graph displayed by the IPCC only showed the proxy up to 1960, then in a very similar red color, showed the instrumental temperature record spiking upwards. That is the entire context and certainly constitutes hiding a decline without clearly indicating it was done and spelling out the reasons why it was done.

Posted by: eric654 | December 29, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting the popular climate sites Climate Audit and wattsupwiththat.com. Climatedepot.com also tells the real story, its amazing this junk science was believed for so long.

Posted by: runningonthebeach | December 29, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Walter in Fallschurch

here is what you are looking for.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/23/the-climategate-timeline-30-years-visualized/

Andrew, some simple observations on your article.

Firstly as science goes, while climatology does have a lot of variables it is not a particularly difficult or complex subject to follow. And it looks like most readers of the recent plethora of blogs/articles, including those here, have found it relatively easy to follow the debate.

Secondly the problem with the CRU emails is that they show scientists fudging and then hiding their raw data. If the raw data was so conclusive they would not have needed to do so and all the other climate bodies would be publishing their raw data to prove it. They are not so it looks like all climatologists in on the 'warming' agenda are hiding something.

That is what it looks like. It may not be an illusion but you cannot persuasively imply in your article that the science is settled when it is clearly being 'cloaked'.

I have an open mind on this subject and find the whole story rather like a detective novel unravelling before us - hopefully it wont end too badly for us all.

We shall see.

Posted by: joshua11 | December 29, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Freedman, the expression you're struggling to avoid with regard to your propaganda in support of "mainstream climate scientists" is one devised by Nobel laureate Richard Feynman in 1974.

The words are "Cargo Cult Science," the advancement of scientific seeming without scientific integrity. Not just error but flagrant dishonesty. Fraud. Criminal conspiracy, too.

That's your "mainstream climate scientists" in a neat little bundle of filth.

The Climategate revelations - the obvious work of an insider, a whistleblower, not an outside hacker - show how the CRU correspondents cooked their data, manipulated their crooked computer models, and generally schemed to defy the UK and US laws covering Freedom of Information, including indications that Prof. Jones of the University of East Anglia suborned not only the compliance officers of his University but also one or more officers of Her Majesty's government in the ICO.

Thirty wonderful years of duplicity, mendacity, "cork-screwing, back-stabbing, and dirty dealing."

And you, Mr. Freedman, are defending this. Tsk. But what the hell have we any right to expect - other than this act of accessory after the fact in a multiple-count felony investigation - from anyone associated with The Washington Post?

Courtesy of Climategate, we now have stunning "clarity on climate."

Clarity you surely didn't want us to have, eh, Mr. Freedman?

Posted by: Tucci78 | December 29, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

After today's weather, I only wish global warming were real.

If it were, there would be no need to change the story to "climate change". And instead of behaving like defensive 5 year olds, people claiming global warming exists would have some kind of rational explanation as to how "leading scientists" went from predicting global cooling in the 70s to predicting global warming in the 90s.

Funny how global warming alarmists love big words and academic jargon. Guess it's hard to speak clearly when making something up.

Posted by: tgt111 | December 29, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Why is Barrow, Alaska still there? A sea level city surrounded on 3 sides by the Arctic Ocean. Surely it should have felt some effect by now - maybe becoming as warm as Fairbanks, maybe sinking into the sea with all that ice melt, maybe being relocated as the Post predicted years ago.

But no, minus 6 there today (a whole 1 degree above normal), with a refreshing 17 mph easterly breeze. I'm sure this is enough to earn a weather digit of 0 from the CWG. No harmful rise in sea level, no change in life other than a slightly growing population.

I challenge any global warming alarmist to visit Barrow next summer and take a dip in the sea.


Posted by: tgt111 | December 29, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

tgt111, I agree with your sentiment about today's weather. If winter cold were less severe (one of the possibly failed predictions of CO2 warming) there would be few negative consequences now and in 100 years or so we would start to deal with sea level rise.

Some simple facts that matter to people: I live in a relatively warm climate in Northern VA, but my heating cost is about $10 a day with central heat. Fortunately I use 100% renewable wood heat in an EPA certified wood stove which costs about $300 for the season.

There are 3 months in which I have to heat or the house will be quickly destroyed (Dec, Jan, Feb). There are two more months where heating is not optional either (Nov, March). There are two more months where I heat for comfort (Oct, April).

Compare that to cooling: I used about 3 weeks of A/C total by running it only in the evening so I could sleep. I never ran the A/C below 80 degrees indoors. I sometimes ran it both for cooling and to get rid of extra moisture. My total electric bill averaged $55 / month for June, July and August of which about $15 was for A/C.

$10 a day for survival versus $15 / month for comfort!

Posted by: eric654 | December 29, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Andrew Freedman, welcome back after Christmas. I have come to realize that for you, and many others the base science case for man made climate change (MMCC) is the material and conclusions of the IPCC report. That is your base reference and you test the validity of the any alternate, or new science on MMCC against that reference. The IPCC report has the upper hand and overwhelms any other perspective or results. A hard, challenging look at the IPCC process is beyond the pale for most reporters, including Nature and Science, as well as Scientific American. Yet we know that work processes on paper may look great, but in practice may not work very well. There is ample evidence that serious problems exist with the IPCC process. As a result the conclusions of the IPCC are suspect. It is troubling that our President does not get briefed on any science which raises doubts about MMCC, most specifically the overwhelming role of CO2 emissions. As a result he has not considered the real problem, at least as probable as that of MMCC that the controls on CO2 emissions will not stop Climate Change. The MM contribution is simply not enough to control it. We read a lot about President Eisenhower's farewell speech in which he spoke about the military-industrial complex. In the same speech, though rarely cited he warns about another threat related to science and government complex:

"Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite."

I think it behooves us to take Pres. Esienhower's words seriously today, because they predicted the MMCC issues of today and the role of the IPCC

Posted by: 123andy | December 29, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm very bad at identifying irony, but it definitely does seem ironic that the very year that Democrats have a super-majority in Washington is also a year climate scientists wish to forget.

If climate science is having a bad year, it's their own fault. In 2005, we were told that each hurricane was going to be just as bad. In 2007, we were told the Arctic Ice cap could well disappear that summer. In 2009, we were told that climate scientists had integrity while climate skeptics did not.

And then there were people like the inane Joel Achenbach of WaPo posting columns about how he didn't understand how anyone could believe global warming wasn't going on when it reached 60 in January.

When you feed people lies and over-exaggerated theories of doom, expect years like 2009. It's not that climate skeptics have all of a sudden demonstrated greater political advantage; that's absurd and intellectually disingenuous for any Washingtonian to make. What's going on is that the inane prophesies of Oracle Gore and the like have failed to come to fruition.

If you want climate science to gain the advantage again, then drop the doom and gloom. Go back to hard science and for God's sake, shove Al Gore in a closet or something.

Posted by: nlcaldwell | December 29, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

CO2 can not by itself raise temperatures more than 0.5 deg C to 1.5 deg C no matter how much there is, even if levels double or tripple. CO2's ability to absorb heat is logarithmic, meaning the more CO2 there is, the less heat it can absorb.

For rising levels of CO2 to cause warming, there must be positive feedbacks, fewer clouds or more high level cirrus clouds.

Observation shows that when temperatures warm, there is more humidity, and low level clouds form which reflect light back to space, cause rain, and generally cool temperatures.

This alone proves man made global warming from CO2 to be false.

Global atmospheric temperatures have cooled for 8 years.
Ocean temperatures are cooling.
Antarctica had the most ice ever recorded in 2008.
Polar bear populations are today the largest ever recorded.
Global hurricanes and their intensity are at 50 year lows.

See lots of information on this website, www.isthereglobalwarming.com

Posted by: gpp1111 | December 29, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Some more basic facts.

There were three ice ages with more CO2 than today.

Global temperatures are today among the coolest in the last 56 million years.

CO2 levels are today among the lowest in the last 550 million years

We are in an interglacial period, in much of the last 400,000 years the earth has been in an ice age. In the last four interglacial periods, temperatures were warmer than today.

Ocean corals have thrived in past times when CO2 levels were 15 times higher than todays and temperatures 10 deg C warmer.

There was no runaway warming in the past when both temperatures and CO2 levels were much higher than today, it did not dangerously warm then, so why would it now?

www.isthereglobalwarming.com

Posted by: gpp1111 | December 29, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Just out of curiosity, admins, how many of the user ids this afternoon have the same or very similar ip address? The posts come at such regular intervals, with but one exception. Amusing.

Posted by: 20009matt | December 29, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

2009matt, I hope I can satisfy some of your curiosity. I don't know who any of the other posters are and I don't post under any other name here. I use "Eric (skeptic)" on other forums. My IP changes if I disconnect and reconnect because I use Sprint mobile broadband, but I mostly leave it connected. It is currently 174.153.X.X

Posted by: eric654 | December 29, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Let's quit the name-calling. Can we all agree that the United States should convene its own objective, transparent Climate Truth Commission and stop outsourcing our climate science to the United Nations? It defies common sense that we outsource our climate science to the UN then allow it to serve as both judge (IPCC) and advocate (Kyoto Protocol, Copenhagen).

-- Robert Moen, www.energyplanUSA.com

Posted by: Rmoen | December 29, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

If you look at the temperature trend of the Arctic region by-in-large, not only is it following an average temperature decline as of recent, but it is in fact following the well-established pattern which has existed over the past Century. This pattern in turn, directly corresponds with the natural PDO/AMO cycles. There really is no mystery with regard to the Arctic (Even the ice melt corresponds with the warm oceanic-current segment, presently languishing within the Canada Basin). This is all rather easily explainable, and nothing about it points towards evidence in support of the AGW theory.

Once again CWG, I appreciate the open discussion and debate relating to this subject matter. At least you allow for those disagreeing with a point of yours, to still have their voices heard. Some forums, especially the "Hockey Stick" creator's site, have their admins. and research members attacking posters through an utter lack of class, and without even a basic measurable ounce of scientific decorum for that matter.

Posted by: TheAnalyst | December 29, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

There's yet another website showing an independent assessment of CO2 levels from the 1800s forward. (see my earlier post too)

http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/

There's plenty of other contradictory (and better documented than IPCC )information out there, but CO2 levels no higher than during the 1800s absolutely kills any possibility that there has been ANY global warming, let alone anthropogenic GW!

See also the website references in my earlier post on the high likelihood that solar activity coupled with cosmic rays creates climate. It's a really great presentation, especially for the layman !

Posted by: gofigure | December 30, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Although not a climate scientist, I have done enough reading on the subject to see there is something rotten going on. The repeated mantra "The science is settled" is a sure indication that the science is not settled. Also, the warmists continuing to downplay the significance of the hacked emails (which by the way we own since we paid for them with our tax money) is a misdirection play. The emails definitely do call the science into question. For example, the "hide the decline", or "Nature trick" calls into question the veracity of tree rings and other proxy data. It is therefore not just the fabrication of a fictitious graph that is a problem. It is the appropriateness of some or all of the proxies that are now shown to be junk that should be the focus of concern. All of the CRU findings, in my mind, should be thrown out since all of the raw data has been lost. What kind of science are they doing? We paid billions for this research, and now it is all worthless. This is fraud on a grand scale.

Posted by: Carl18 | December 30, 2009 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Er, Andrew, you seem to labor under the illogical assumption that truths about "climate science" can only come from "climate scientists" (and then only PhDs?). But very few of the "experts" have degrees in "climate science," since those degrees didn't exist until recently. So the people submitting nearly all the peer-reviewed articles are merely physicists, meterologists and chemists (like me), etc. So some of us "skeptics" are very well-qualified to criticize "climate science." Maybe much more so than journalists? Moreover, if journalists are able to "see the truth" in these matters, then why can't any person with even a BS Degree? Are journalists that much smarter in science than the average person with a BS Degree?

jae, PhD

Posted by: jaemery | December 30, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

A series of observations, taken at various sites, of temperature variation over the past few thousand years:

http://uddebatt.wordpress.com/2009/12/29/climate-gate-%E2%80%93-all-the-manipulations-and-lies-revealed-160/

Posted by: gofigure | December 30, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Even before Climategate the science was questionable. The fact that they said "The debate is over" and tried to smear their opponents by linking them with "holocaust deniers" should have raised HUGE red flags. The debate wasn't even really started by then and it usually takes a few decades before anything is considered mostly settled. Even then you don't smear your opponents as being morally questionable people. Even flat-earthers are dismissed as cranks not as neo-nazis.

Posted by: theberndts | December 30, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

It seems that several points about the data are being left out;
(1) The "destroyed" data could be regenerated from the original sources. It is my understanding that the CRU doesn't collect data themselves, but uses datasets from others. In good science the data would not have been destroyed in the first place, but records of where the data come from must still be in existence, or its validity could never be checked. It is my assumption that the "data was destroyed" is not the whole story. I find that the lack of follow up along these lines is allowing them to get away with more hiding and misdirection.
(2) The CRU claims that they can't release their data because of nondisclosure agreements due to some of the data holders thinking that the data is of commercial value. This sounds plausable at first glance, but if so then it would logically follow if the dataholders wanted to make a profit, then the data should be commercially available. Therefore, the CRU would only have to release the data that is not "nondisclosure" and the information on where to obtain the rest of the data commercially. This has never been done.
(3) The CRU claims that they have released 95% of their data, and again at first glance this appears to be the case. However, if one actually tries to download the data it becomes immediately clear that it is not possible (I have tried on a couple of occasions).

The CRU's logic is flawed if one simply cuts through the thin layer of icing to find the cardboard cake underneath.

Posted by: atandb | December 30, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

2009 has been a wonderful year for the climate change debate. Climate change alarmists (and I do not use that term in a pejorative way) can no longer refuse to discuss the data and models that undergird their beliefs. For the first time, we are having an intelligent discussion about the impact of carbon dioxide and carbon dioxide equivalents on the world's climate.

Posted by: coastofutopia | December 30, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Jae - I make a distinction between the scientists in the climate field - which as you pointed out includes physicists, atmospheric chemists, and many others, since the term "climate scientist" is an umbrella term - who are conducting peer reviewed research, and those on the blogosphere who claim to be doing the same thing, but have much more tangential qualifications, and may have more ideologically-driven goals and methods. I do agree with you that pretty much anyone can contribute meaningfully to the climate arena in some way, however.

Judging from the sheer volume of poorly reported climate stories in the popular press, perhaps many journalists belong below the ordinary layperson when it comes to clearly articulating climate science findings ;)

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | December 30, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Wow.

Step back a moment, think about these broad concepts, and then continue your thoughts:

1) The amount of measured carbon (Carbon-14, to be exact) in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution began has increased anywhere from 4 to 6 fold. Did volcanoes do this? Asteroids? Aliens? No. It was humans. Atmospheric carbon is out of natural balance. To admit otherwise is folly.

If twenty Mt. Pinatubos erupt tomorrow,so be it. Beyond human control. But anthropogenically produced carbon emissions are not beyond human control.

Do we want to take the chance of ending human life as we know it sooner than designed? Or, do you believe that G-d "designed" things to remove us sooner than we would like to think, knowing that we would abuse our Dominion of this planet?

2) Stop conflating weather with climate. While most on this board do not, the voting public does.

One blizzard or cold snap is not the end of warming. Two years of heat and drought are not the end of the world due to warming.

No matter which side of the debate you're on, we all need to communicate that any hurricane intensity increase shown by anthropogenic warming (last check: 2 knots at Category 5 wind level) will be far outweighed by the $$$ in damage we will see from overdevelopment of the coastline and the eventual major hurricane that will strike.

We need to speak with people who live the land - and only the land - for their take over a century, and communicate what they're experiencing in a human way to the public.

We need to be observant of long term trends such as start/end times of mid latitude growing season, bird, insect, and plant migrations, and location/persistence of drought and flood events, to name a few. Any acceleration in warming trends (inter-decadal/intra centennial) is a red flag.

3) As Andrew alludes to so eloquently, we should hold the fringe arguments, pro or con, to account (Dr. Greg Holland on the "left", Dr. Bill Gray on the "right"), but demand that our most objective climate scientists do honest work and come to honest conclusions. I'm not a Ph.D. in atmospheric science with an emphasis on climate vs. weather. But Drs. Emanuel, Knutson, Curry, and Landsea are (to name a few). Who am I to question their sound judgment?

Dr. Pielke has a vested interest in societal impacts of weather events. One of his gripes has been with some climate science funding in lieu of important funding on impact research. Each line of study is important in modern times.

Thanks for listening.

Posted by: wxdancer | December 30, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I'll say it again, there is a Pulitzer waiting for the journalists who expose this madness for what it is: a simultaneous dream come true for both capitalists and socialists. Neither of these groups actually cares whether the science is real or not. Visions of fortunes and influence rule the day. In the greed, power, sex profile, 2 of the 3 bases are covered. Not to worry, though, Hollywood will find a way to inject the sex when the book is made into a movie.

Posted by: stevea526 | December 30, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

"The amount of measured carbon (Carbon-14, to be exact) in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution began has increased anywhere from 4 to 6 fold."

Since when exactly has this increase been shown? 1800? 1600? Just as temperature trends are known to vary widely, so are CO2 trends. It is a consensus that in spite of the increase you describe, CO2 levels are nowhere near the highest they have been.

You are insinuating that there was some perfect level of carbon in the years before the industiral revolution, yet we know those amounts are always changing. Why did 1741 or whatever year you pick have the correct amount of carbon?

Also, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, about 14.8% of the total CO2 is manmade, and CO2 levels have only increased by less than 25% since 1900, far from the 400% to 600% you claim.

http://brneurosci.org/co2.html

Posted by: octopi213 | December 30, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

For those who wanted the climategate e-mails in context, check out this site where they have been put into chronological and topical order and within a timeline of pertinent climate science events:

Thirty Years in the Making of Climategate

Posted by: carolm62 | December 30, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: carolm62 | December 30, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the confusion. I guess I didn't need to insert any code for my link. This is where to find the Climategate emails in topical and chronological order -- as well as the timeline of climate science events:

http://joannenova.com.au/globalwarming/climategate/history/2009.12.23_climategate_30_years_in_the_making_banner.pdf

Posted by: carolm62 | December 30, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Andrew, you have no proof that these emails were 'hacked'. From the type and amount of data posted it is far more likely to have been an inside job - a whistleblower.

As far as conflicts of interest are concerned, how about Robert Napier:

http://buythetruth.wordpress.com/2009/08/24/eco-imperialism-every-environmentalists-dream/

Napier is Chairman of the UK Met Ofice, the UK government weather forecaster; Chairman of the Green Fiscal Commission, seeking to impose massive green taxation; Director of the Carbon Disclosure Project, which has built the largest database on corporate ‘carbon footprints’ as a basis for discrimination against those who don’t go along with the eco agenda; Chairman of the trustees of the World Centre of Monitoring of Conservation, which is bankrolled by the UN Environment Programme to push and ensure compliance with the Green agenda; Chairman of the Homes and Communities Agency, which is seeking to grab land for ecotowns and determining compliance of housing to stringent Green standards. Other recent positions he has held include Chief Executive of WWF-UK; Director of The Climate Group, a huge international pressure group for the climate change agenda; and Director of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation, a secular body seeking to infuse ‘Green’ values into all the major religions, and to designate land as ‘sacred’ to prohibit development, and galvanize religions as a powerful advocacy group for the eco agenda.

Posted by: KevinMcGrane | December 30, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

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