Inhofe’s press release starts with a straight lie:
AP INCORRECTLY CLAIMS SCIENTISTS PRAISE GORE’S MOVIE
Top climate researchers did in fact praise the movie and the story quoted them.
Inhofe claims that “scores of scientists” have criticized the movie and demands that the AP release the names of the 19 scientists who praised the accuracy of the movie. Fair enough. Maybe he could tell us the names of the scores of critics. Inhofe only has four names and only two of those (Spencer and Lindzen) could be termed “top climate researchers”.
Inhofe then attacks Correll:
The AP article quotes Robert Correll, the chairman of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment group. It appears from the article that Correll has a personal relationship with Gore, having viewed the film at a private screening at the invitation of the former Vice President.
Gore invites top climate researchers to see his film and this discredits them somehow? Ridiculous.
The AP also chose to ignore Gore’s reliance on the now-discredited “hockey stick” by Dr. Michael Mann, which claims that temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere remained relatively stable over 900 years, then spiked upward in the 20th century, and that the 1990’s were the warmest decade in at least 1000 years. Last week’s National Academy of Sciences report dispelled Mann’s often cited claims by reaffirming the existence of both the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. See Senator Inhofe’s statement on the broken “Hockey Stick.”
Actually they affirmed the existence of the Little Ice Age, but not of a global (as opposed to regional) Medieval Warm Period, and that this was consistent with Mann’s work. From the press release:
The committee noted that scientists’ reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere surface temperatures for the past thousand years are generally consistent. The reconstructions show relatively warm conditions centered around the year 1000, and a relatively cold period, or “Little Ice Age,” from roughly 1500 to 1850. The exact timing of warm episodes in the medieval period may have varied by region, and the magnitude and geographical extent of the warmth is uncertain, the committee said. None of the reconstructions indicates that temperatures were warmer during medieval times than during the past few decades, the committee added.
Gore’s claim that global warming is causing the snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro to disappear has also been debunked by scientific reports. For example, a 2004 study in the journal Nature makes clear that Kilimanjaro is experiencing less snowfall because there’s less moisture in the air due to deforestation around Kilimanjaro.
The Heartland Institute’s propagation of the notion that the Kilimanjaro glacier retreat has been proved to be due to deforestation is even more egregious. They quote “an article published in Nature” by Betsy Mason (“African ice under wraps,” Nature, 24 November, 2003) which contains the statement “Although it’s tempting to blame the ice loss on global warming, researchers think that deforestation of the mountain’s foothills is the more likely culprit.” Elsewhere, Heartland refers to this as a “study.” The “study” is in reality no scientific study at all, but a news piece devoted almost entirely to Euan Nesbit’s proposal to save the Kilimanjaro glacier by wrapping it in a giant tarp. The article never says who the “experts” are, nor does it quote any scientific studies supporting the claim.
Inhofe finally quotes a scientist who is critical:
Professor Bob Carter, of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University in Australia, on Gore’s film:
“Gore’s circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are commanding public attention.”
“The man is an embarrassment to US science and its many fine practitioners, a lot of whom know (but feel unable to state publicly) that his propaganda crusade is mostly based on junk science.” — Bob Carter as quoted in the Canadian Free Press, June 12, 2006
Right, Gore’s wrong but Carter can’t tell us why. And no, in the full article he doesn’t offer an explanation either. Incidentally, Canada Free Press is not a newspaper but a web site that promotes conspiracy theories.
Gore’s film also cites a review of scientific literature by the journal Science which claimed 100% consensus on global warming, but [Richard] Lindzen pointed out the study was flat out incorrect.
“…A study in the journal Science by the social scientist Nancy Oreskes claimed that a search of the ISI Web of Knowledge Database for the years 1993 to 2003 under the key words “global climate change” produced 928 articles, all of whose abstracts supported what she referred to as the consensus view. A British social scientist, Benny Peiser, checked her procedure and found that only 913 of the 928 articles had abstracts at all, and that only 13 of the remaining 913 explicitly endorsed the so-called consensus view. Several actually opposed it.”- Lindzen wrote in an op-ed in the June 26, 2006 Wall Street Journal.
Lindzen got Oreskes’ name wrong (it’s Naomi), what she said she’d found (which was that 75% implicitly or explicitly accept the consensus) and what the corresponding claim by Peiser was (that only one third of the papers accepted the consensus). It seems likely that he never checked what Oreskes actually wrote and relied on a second or third hand account. And far from Oreskes being discredited, Peiser eventually admitted that he was wrong.
Roy Spencer, principal research scientist for the University of Alabama in Huntsville, wrote an open letter to Gore criticizing his presentation of climate science in the film:
“…Temperature measurements in the arctic suggest that it was just as warm there in the 1930’s… before most greenhouse gas emissions. Don’t you ever wonder whether sea ice concentrations back then were low, too?”- Roy Spencer wrote in a May 25, 2006 column.
Temperature measurements don’t suggest that it was just as warm in the Arctic in the 30s. There were a few warm years then, but there were also some cold years. The moving average (green line in the graph) exceeded the peak from the 30s in 1990 and since then has kept on going up.
Former University of Winnipeg climatology professor Dr. Tim Ball reacted to Gore’s claim that there has been a sharp drop-off in the thickness of the Arctic ice cap since 1970.
“The survey that Gore cites was a single transect across one part of the Arctic basin in the month of October during the 1960s when we were in the middle of the cooling period. The 1990 runs were done in the warmer month of September, using a wholly different technology,” — Tim Ball said, according to the Canadian Free Press.
Ball neglects to mention that there were several runs and seasonal differences were corrected for. IPCC TAR:
Rothrock et al. (1999) compared late summer September to October data from 1993, 1996 and 1997 from an USA civilian submarine research programme with data from six summer cruises from the period 1958 to 1976. Thickness was adjusted to mid-September values to account for seasonal variability. The significant decline in mean ice thickness was observed for all regions, increasing from the Canada Basin towards Europe (Figure 2.17). Overall, there was a mean reduction in thickness of 42% from 3.1 to 1.8 m the earlier period to the present.
Finally I note that just last month one of the authors of Inhofe’s press release, Marc Morano, was writing an attack piece on James Hansen for CNSNews. What’s with that?
Update: The AP responds.