Peiser's 34 abstracts

Chris Mooney has some comments on the Peiser/Oreskes dispute about the scientific literature on climate change.

I asked Benny Peiser for his list of 34 abstracts that "reject or doubt the view that human activities are the main drivers of the 'the observed warming over the last 50 years'." (mentioned in his letter to Science).

Peiser wrote back:

I have attached those ISI abstracts which question that there is a complete "consensus" as defined by Oreskes. Please note that the most important difference to the Oreskes study is not that there are, contrary to her claim, a few abstracts that question or even reject the "consensus". More importantly, her claim that 75% of abstracts support the 'consensus'---explicitely or implicitely---is not borne out by my analysis. In fact, from my analysis I would argue that the vast majority of papers published on global warming, both pro and contra - are not included in the ISI data set that feature the key words "global climate change". I guess that's why I could only find 13 abstracts that explicitely endorsed the consensus (you might want to ask Oreskes if she can provide more than these few). Obviously, most of the really important papers, in particular empirical studies, are to be found in the 11,000 or so ISI listed papers that weren't analysed. I make this point clear in my letter to Science, and even stress that I do not wish to question that the majority of papers support the theory of anthropogenic global warming. Even so, it is simply untrue to claim that no sceptical papers have been published in the peer-reviewed literature. There are far too many issues still wide open to debate, not least the whole literature on solar forcing, satellite measurements, and the crucial issue of interpreting paleo-environmental proxy data.

I noticed the debate on your website. No matter how you wish to interpret the sceptical abstracts, there can be no doubt that most of them question that all uncertainties about anthropogenic forcing of recent global warming have been removed.

Oreskes asserted that none of the papers rejected the consensus position (anthropogenic climate change). Peiser asserts that these 34 reject or doubt the consensus position. Note that Peiser added "or doubt" to the category so it is logically possible for both of them to be correct. So, judge for yourselves by looking at the abstracts. I want to see what my readers think so leave a comment giving your count for how many "reject" and how many "reject or doubt" the consensus. (Yes, there are only 33 abstracts.)

Update: John Fleck, Henry Farrell and William Connolley are all very much less than impressed with Peiser's work.

Update 2: Peiser has posted the missing abstract in comments. Chris Mooney isn't impressed either.

1. Review and Impacts of Climate-change Uncertainties
Fernau ME, Makofske WJ, South DW
Futures 25 (8): 850-863 Oct 1993
Abstract: This article examines the status of the scientific uncertainties in predicting and verifying global climate change that hinder aggressive policy making. More and better measurements and statistical techniques are needed to detect and confirm the existence of greenhouse-gas-induced climate change, which currently cannot be distinguished from natural climate variability in the historical record. Uncertainties about the amount and rate of change of greenhouse gas emissions also make prediction of the magnitude and timing of climate change difficult. Because of inadequacies in the knowledge and depiction of physical processes and limited computer technology, predictions from existing computer models vary widely, particularly on a regional basis, and are not accurate enough yet for use in policy decisions. The extent of all these uncertainties is such that moving beyond no-regrets measures such as conservation will take political courage and may be delayed until scientific uncertainties are reduced.

2. Cloud Condensation Nuclei
Hudson JG
Journal of Applied Meteorology 32 (4): 596-607 Apr 1993
Abstract: The state of knowledge of the particles upon which liquid droplets condense to form atmospheric water clouds is presented. The realization of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) as a distinct aerosol subset originated with the cloud microphysical measurements and theoretical insights of Patrick Squires 40 years ago. He helped originate and continue the development of CCN counters and made significant CCN measurements for more than 25 years. Recognition of the importance of CCN has expanded from warm-rain efficiency to aerosol scavenging, cloud radiative properties, and other topics. In spite of a promising beginning and much encouragement over the years, CCN knowledge has increased minimally. Significant uncertainties about global climate change cannot be reduced without expansion of the knowledge base of CCN.

3. High-Latitude Oceanic Variability Associated with the 18.6-year Nodal Tide
Royer TC
Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans 98 (C3): 4639-4644 Mar 15 1993
Abstract: Ocean temperatures in the upper 250 m in the northern North Pacific (60-degrees-N, 149-degrees-W) increased bt more than 1-degrees-C from 1972 to 1098 but are now decreasing. Subsurface temperature anomalies are well correlated (approximately 0.58) with the air temperature anomalies at Sitka, Alaska; hence the coastal air temperatures can be used as a proxy data set to extend the ocean temperature time series back to 1828. Up to 30% of the low-frequency variance can be accounted for with the 18.6-year nodal signal. Additionally. spectral analysis of these air temperature variations indicates a significant low-frequency peak in the range of the 18.6-year signal. Similar low-frequency signals have been reported for Hudson Bay air temperatures since 1700, for sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic from 1876 to 1939, and for sea level in the high-latitude southern hemisphere. The water column temperature variations presented here are the first evidence that the upper ocean is responding to this very long period tidal forcing. An enhanced high-latitude response to the 18.6-year forcing is predicted by equilibrium tide theory, and it should be most evident at latitudes poleward of about 50-degrees. These low-frequency ocean-atmosphere variations must - be considered in high-latitude assessments of global climate change, since they are of the same magnitude as many of the predicted global changes.

4. A Critical Analysis of Climate Change Policy Research
Rothman DS, Chapman D
Contemporary Policy Issues 11 (1): 88-98 Jan 1993
Abstract: After more than a decade of scientific warning, the policy community has begun to take up the challenge of global climate change. This paper considers recent efforts to analyze policymaking in this area. Shortcomings in present policy research include: (i) inconsistencies in data and methods, (ii) myopic vision of available options, (iii) overly anthropocentric cost/benefit assessments, (iv) inadequate treatment of uncertainly and irreversibility, (v) lack of recognition of developing and developed countries' differential motives, (vi) unsatisfactory presentation and interpretation of results, and (vii) limited peer review.

5. Global Climate-Change and Tropical Cyclones
Lighthill J, Holland G, Gray W, Landsea C, Craig G, Evans J, Kurihara Y, Guard C
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 75 (11): 2147-2157 Nov 1994
Abstract: This paper offers an overview of the authors' studies during a specialized international symposium (Mexico, 22 November-1 December 1993) where they aimed at making an objective assessment of whether climate changes, consequent on an expected doubling of atmospheric CO2 in the next six or seven decades, are likely to increase significantly the frequency or intensity of tropical cyclones (TC). Out of three methodologies available for addressing the question they employ two, discarding the third for reasons set out in the appendix. In the first methodology, the authors enumerate reasons why, in tropical oceans, the increase in sea surface temperature (SST) suggested by climate change models might be expected to affect either (i) TC frequency, because a well-established set of six conditions for TC formation include a condition that SST should exceed 26 degrees C, or (ii) TC intensity, because this is indicated by thermodynamic analysis to depend critically on the temperature at which energy transfer to air near the sea surface takes place. But careful study of both suggestions indicates that the expected effects of increased SST would be largely self-limiting (i) because the other five conditions strictly control how far the band of latitudes for TC formation can be further widened, and (ii) because intense winds at the sea surface may receive their energy input at a temperature significantly depressed by evaporation of spray, and possibly through sea surface cooling. In the second methodology, the authors study available historical records that have very large year-to-year variability in TC statistics. They find practically no consistent statistical relationships with temperature anomalies; also, a thorough analysis of how the El Nino-Southern Oscillation cycle influences the frequency acid distribution of TCs shows any direct effects of local SST changes to be negligible. The authors conclude that, even though the possibility of some minor indirect effects of global warming on TC frequency and intensity cannot be excluded, they must effectively be ''swamped'' by large natural variability.

6. Establishing Research Objectives to Address Issues of Climate-Change
Keeney RL
Socio-Economic Planning Sciences 28 (1): 1-8 Mar 1994
Abstract: The implications of global climate change are enormous. However, there are major questions concerning whether climate change is occurring. If it is, subsequent questions should consider when and how the changes will affect society. There are numerous possible expensive research projects that could address each of the many facets of these questions. Wise decision making about global climate change research is thus seen as important. This paper describes a systematic process to identify and structure the objectives of research on global climate change. The result is a hierarchy of 81 important research objectives. This hierarchy was constructed based on interviews with a diverse set of individuals knowledgeable about climate change, and on discussions at an international workshop on global climate research objectives. The participants in both exercises included scientists, policy analysts, and executives of utility companies and national agencies from Europe, Asia, and North America. The main uses of these objectives should be to promote constructive communication about research programs designed to examine climate change issues, to stimulate the creation of potentially significant research tasks, and to provide a basis for evaluating and comparing research tasks.

7. Atmospheric Greenhouse-Effect in the Context of Global Climate-Change
Kondratyev KY, Varotsos C
Nuovo Cimento Della Societa Italiana di Fisica C-Geophysics and Space Physics 18 (2): 123-151 Mar-Apr 1995
Abstract: Great interest in the problem of the atmospheric greenhouse effect (not only in scientific publications, but also in mass media), on the one hand, and the undoubtfully overemphasised contribution of the greenhouse effect to the global climate change, on the other hand, motivate a necessity to analyse the role which the greenhouse effect plays as a factor of climate change. Significant progress in the analysis of existing observational data as well as succesful development of numerical climate modelling which have been achieved during the recent few years create a basis for a new survey of the atmospheric greenhouse effect in the context of global climate change. Such a survey is the principal purpose of this paper. After discussing a notion of the greenhouse effect, the detailed analysis of the present-day and paleoclimatic observational data has been conducted with subsequent consideration of numerical modelling results. A special attention has been paid to assessments of the greenhouse warming vs. aerosol cooling. Then possibilities of the early detection of a greenhouse climate signal have been analysed and a few comments on the global climate observing system have been made with the general conclusion that more observations and further numerical modelling efforts are necessary to more reliably assess the contributions of various mechanisms to the observed global climate changes. It is only in the context of a coupled totality of significant climate forming factors and processes that the contribution of the greenhouse effect may be estimated.

8. Integrated Risk Analysis of Global Climate-Change
Shlyakhter A, Valverde LJ, Wilson R
Chemosphere 30 (8): 1585-1618 Apr 1995
Abstract: This paper discusses several factors that should be considered in integrated risk analyses of global climate change. We begin by describing how the problem of global climate change can be subdivided into largely independent parts that can he linked together in an analytically tractable fashion. Uncertainty ploys a central role in integrated risk analyses of global climate change. Accordingly, we consider various aspects of uncertainty as they relate to the climate change problem. We also consider the impacts of these uncertainties on various risk management issues, such as sequential decision strategies, value of information, and problems of interregional and intergenerational equity.

9. Managing the Risk of Global Climate Catastrophe - An Uncertainty Analysis
Chao HP
Risk Analysis 15 (1): 69-78 Feb 1995
Abstract: Despite much scientific progress over many decades, the nature of global climate change remains highly uncertain, and the possibility of global climate catastrophe is one of the main concerns in public debates about global climate change. In this paper, we present a model which incorporates the risk of climate catastrophe in an analysis of greenhouse gas abatement strategy. In this model, the timing and severity of climate catastrophe are treated probabilistically. The impacts of key uncertainties on optimal policy are analyzed, and the expected values of additional information that reduces the uncertainty associated with the world economy, carbon cycle, climate change, and climate damage are estimated.

10. The evolution of an energy contrarian
Linden HR
Annual Review of Energy and the Environment 21: 31-67 1996
Abstract: An analysis of the forces that have shaped energy and energy-related environmental policies is presented through the eyes of an active participant in their evolution over the past 53 years. The problem of self-interest in taking energy and environmental policy positions is addressed candidly. The ''energy crisis'' is cited as an example. Its credibility depended on excessive demand projections, coupled with erroneous assessments of US and global hydrocarbon resources and of prospects for making these resources economically recoverable through technology advances. Many energy crisis proponents benefited from the misguided government response and from the large investments in uneconomic synthetic fuel technologies. Today, proponents of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change, again claiming scientific consensus, threaten to create even greater energy market distortions at large social and economic costs. The author traces his conversion to energy contrarian to the general failure of consensus and to his own misjudgments in these critical policy areas.

11. The suitability of montane ecotones as indicators of global climatic change
Kupfer JA, Cairns DM
Progress in Physical Geography 20 (3): 253-272 Sep 1996
Abstract: Because of the difficulties involved with separating natural fluctuations in climatic variables from possible directional changes related to human activities (e.g., heightened atmospheric CO2 concentrations related to fossil fuel consumption), some researchers have focused on developing alternative indicators to detect hypothesized climate changes. It has, for example, been suggested that the locations of ecotones, transitions between adjacent ecosystems or biomes, should be monitored. It is assumed that changes in climate, especially increases in atmospheric temperature, will result in shifts in the location (altitude or latitude) of ecotones as plants respond to the newly imposed climatic conditions. In this article, we address the use of two montane ecotones, the alpine tree-line ecotone and the deciduous/Boreal forest ecotone, in monitoring global climatic change. In so doing, we 1) outline the factors that create and maintain each ecotone's position at a given location; 2) assess the projected response of the ecotones to various aspects of global warming; and 3) discuss the usefulness of both ecotones as indicators of global climate change. While it is likely that extended periods of directional climate change would bring about an altitudinal shift in the ranges of montane species and the associated ecotones, we question whether the response at either ecotone will be at a timescale useful for detecting climate change (a few decades) owing to disequilibrium related to upslope edaphic limitations and competitive interactions with established canopy and subcanopy individuals. Further, limitations related to the prediction of the complex and interacting effects of projected changes in temperature, precipitation and site water balance on photosynthetic processes of plant species raise uncertainties about the expected responses of both ecotones.

12. Representing uncertainty in global climate change science and policy: Boundary-ordering devices and authority
Shackley S, Wynne B
Science Technology & Human Values 21 (3): 275-302 Sum 1996
Abstract: This article argues that, in public and policy, contexts, the ways in which many scientists talk about uncertainty in simulations of future climate change not only facilitates communications and cooperation between scientific and policy communities but also affects the perceived authority of science. Uncertainty tends to challenge the authority of climate science, especially if ii is used for policy making, but the relationship between authority and uncertainty is not simply an inverse one. In policy contexts, many scientists are compelled to talk about uncertainty but do not wish to imply that uncertainty is a serious challenge to the authority of scientific knowledge or to its substantial use in policy making. ''Boundary-ordering devices,'' the contextual discursive attempts to reconcile uncertainty and authority in science, depend critically for their success on their ''dual'' interpretation: at a general level across a boundary and differently on either side of it The authors empirically identify a range of such boundary-ordering devices in the climate field.

13. SSK's identity parade: Signing-up, off-and-on
Wynne B
Social Studies of Science 26 (2): 357-391 May 1996
Abstract: This paper examines the debate over the relationship between SSK and politics by exploring the implications of 'the reflexive turn' during the 1980s. However, it does this by looking outward, at the ways in which a reflexive SSK can potentially help enlighten the culture of political issues, rather than inwards, at the methods and forms of SSK itself. The key element of this strategy is to sustain an analytical vocabulary which problematizes the human subject, whether as author of SSK work, or of public policies and public policy knowledges. I take it for granted that this cannot be fully achieved, but it remains a key principle. Reconsidering the 'Capturing' debate, the paper notes several unfortunate features held in common land uncritically reinforced) by both 'sides' to that agenda. These include the reification of 'sides' and (more generally) of social actors (and thus of the issues at stake); and the reproduction of an implicit model of society as constituted exhaustively by active choices and decisions - thus neglecting the cultural dimensions of social (including cognitive) life. Using examples drawn from environmental opposition to nuclear power; and the construction of scientific and policy knowledge about global climate change, I argue that problematizing the identities and interests of actors within our own sociological knowledge forum, as is achieved through 'the reflexive turn: and extending this to the construction and deployment of knowledge in public issues, allows a much richer, more contingent and more multivalent understanding of what is at stake in any 'given' issue to come into view. This may appear to undermine the basis of policy bodies' authority - except that their authority is, I suggest, already failing precisely because they cannot recognize the contingencies in the knowledges on which they rely. Refusing to enter public controversies with scientific or technical content as either partisans or disengaged neutrals, and eschewing false debates about epistemic probity, SSK scholars can nevertheless offer intellectual resources with which to encourage institutional reflexivity, and to rebuild a democratic culture of public policy.

14. Measuring global mean sea level variations using TOPEX/POSEIDON altimeter data
Nerem RS
Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans 100 (C12): 25135-25151 Dec 15 1995
Abstract: The variations of global mean sea level are an important indicator of global climate change, and their measurement can provide important information for determining the socioeconomic impact of sea level change on coastal land use. The analysis of historical tide gauge records generally indicates that sea level has risen at a rate of about 2 mm/yr during the last 100 years; however, this estimate is somewhat uncertain due to the effects of regional crustal motion, lack of uniform temporal coverage, and the limited spatial sampling of tide gauges. The prospect of measuring variations in global mean sea level has been assessed using approximately 2.5 years of satellite altimeter data from the TOPEX/POSEIDON (T/P) mission, where synoptic mapping of the geocentric height of the ocean surface is routinely achieved with a point-to-point accuracy of better than 5 cm. The global mean sea level variations measured by T/P every 10 days have an rms of 6 mm (4 mm after detrending), some of which is shown to be correlated with sea surface temperature variations. The rate of change of global mean sea level derived from 2.5 years of data is +5.8 mm/yr with a scatter of 0.7 mm/yr. Currently, it is impossible to accurately estimate the error in the measured rate of sea level rise, since little is known about the long-term behavior of the measurement errors at the millimeter level. In addition, there is evidence from the sea surface temperature record that the measured rate of sea level rise is associated with a relatively short-term (interannual) variation unrelated to the long-term signal expected from global warming. Nevertheless, these results suggest that T/P is achieving the necessary repeatability to measure global sea level variations caused by climate change, and a longer time series will significantly improve the sea level rise estimate by averaging measurement error and real sea level variations. A longer time series will also reduce the errors in estimates of the altimeter calibration, providing an important constraint on any long-term instrument drift. Future research will focus on establishing a realistic error budget for these measurements of global mean sea level, so that they can be put in the proper context with other observations of global climate change.

15. Solar forcing of global climate change since the mid-17th century
Reid GC
Climatic Change 37 (2): 391-405 OCT 1997
Abstract: Spacecraft measurements of the sun's total irradiance since 1980 have revealed a long-term variation that is roughly in phase with the 11-year solar cycle. Its origin is uncertain, but may be related to the overall level of solar magnetic activity as well as to the concurrent activity on the visible disk. A low-pass Gaussian filtered time series of the annual sunspot number has been developed as a suitable proxy for solar magnetic activity that contains a long-term component related to the average level of activity as well as a short-term component related to the current phase of the I I-year cycle. This time series is also assumed to be a proxy for solar total irradiance, and the irradiance is reconstructed for the period since 1617 based on the estimate from climatic evidence that global temperatures during the Maunder Minimum of solar activity, which coincided with one of the coldest periods of the Little Ice Age, were about 1 degrees C colder than modem temperatures. This irradiance variation is used as the variable radiative forcing function in a one-dimensional ocean-climate model, leading to a reconstruction of global temperatures over the same period, and to a suggestion that solar forcing and anthropogenic greenhouse-gas forcing made roughly equal contributions to the rise in global temperature that took place between 1900 and 1955. The importance of solar variability as a factor in climate change over the last few decades may have been underestimated in recent studies.

16. Problems associated with homogeneity testing in climate variation studies: A case study of temperature in the northern Great Plains, USA
Keiser DT, Griffiths JF
International Journal of Climatology 17 (5): 497-510 Apr 1997
Abstract: Global climate change is a controversial issue facing researchers and climatologists today. In order to obtain the most reliable results when studying climate change, the data being analysed must be as homogeneous as possible. A homogeneous time series is one in which trends and variations are caused only by effects of weather and macroclimate.

The concept of homogeneity has been addressed by some researchers, but only by testing 'average' time series such as the means and the annuals. This paper utilizes a homogeneity test developed by Alexandersson and applies it to mean monthly maximum, minimum, and mean temperature data from 22 stations in the northern Great Plains, USA. One of these, Valentine, is a first-order station and is used as the reference station. When Valentine was adjusted for a possible inhomogeneity due to its move, it was found that Valentine's adjustments had a distinct seasonal pattern.

After testing the other stations against Valentine, it was found that the position of a significant discontinuity in a station's monthly mean or annual series was not always the same in a corresponding monthly maximum and minimum series. In addition, a seasonal pattern similar to that of Valentine was found for each station's adjustment values. (C) 1997 the Royal Meteorological Society.

17. Tree-limits and montane forests in the Swedish Scandes: Sensitive biomonitors of climate change and variability
Kullman L
Ambio 27 (4): 312-321 Jun 1998
Abstract: The elevational tree-limit constitutes an ideal and sensitive proxy indicator of climate change and variability, i.e. an essential part of monitoring systems focusing on global climate change. That contention is purported by multi-scale records and reconstructions of changes in altitudinal tree-limits and northern boreal forests. Climatically forced trends in their position, structure and composition have occurred at all temporal scales throughout the Holocene. A progressive elevational descent of Pinus sylvestris tree-limit since the earliest Holocene, concurs with the deterministic theory of millennial climate forcing by changes in the Earth's orbital parameters. The successively less seasonal climate with cooler, more humid summers and winters with increasing snow cover has preconditioned the emergence of a subalpine birch forest belt during the past ca. 7000 yrs BP as well as the growing gee-ecological prominence of Picea abies. Superimposed on this longterm trend, climatic anomalies of shorter duration have been inferred from the tree-limit chronology. Some exceptionally warm and stable centuries, with high tree-limits and dense montane forests occurred during the Medieval period. Thereafter, the Little Ice Age prevailed until the late 19th century. Northern and high-elevation ecosystems were profoundly stressed, disturbed and destabilized by cold, windy and highly variable climate conditions. An episode of warmer climate during the first half of the present century imposed some recovery of structures decayed by the Little Ice Age. However, tree-limits and high-elevation forests were far from restored to their medieval levels. During the past 4-5 decades, a more martime and slightly cooler climate has been instrumentally recorded. High-elevation arboreal vegetation has responded retrogressively by defoliation, retarded growth, ceasing regeneration and locally some tree-limit retraction. Neoglacial processes have been resumed, e.g. dieback of subalpine/alpine dwarf shrub heaths, followed by deflation of humus and surface mineral soils. These processes are readily monitored in a unique regional network, with baseline data since the early 20th century.

18. Analysis of some direct and indirect methods for estimating root biomass and production of forests at an ecosystem level
Vogt KA, Vogt DJ, Bloomfield J
PLANT AND SOIL 200 (1): 71-89 MAR 1998
Abstract: The relationship of global climate change to plant growth and the role of forests as sites of carbon sequestration have encouraged the refinement of the estimates of root biomass and production. However, tremendous controversy exists in the literature as to which is the best method to determine fine root biomass and production. This lack of consensus makes it difficult for researchers to determine which methods are most appropriate for their system. The sequential root coring method was the most commonly used method to collect root biomass data in the past and is still commonly used. But within the last decade the use of minirhizotrons has become a favorite method of many researchers. In addition, due to the high labor-intensive requirements of many of the direct approaches to determine root biomass, there has been a shift to develop indirect methods that would allow fine root biomass and production to be predicted using data on easily monitored variables that are highly correlated to root dynamics. Discussions occur as to which method should be used but without gathering data from the same site using different methods, these discussions can be futile. This paper discusses and compares the results of the most commonly used direct and indirect methods of determining root biomass and production: sequential root coring, ingrowth cores, minirhizotrons, carbon fluxes approach, nitrogen budget approach and correlations with abiotic resources. No consistent relationships were apparent when comparing several sites where at least one of the indirect and direct methods were used on the same site. Until the different root methods can be compared to some independently derived root biomass value obtained from total carbon budgets for systems, one root method cannot be stated to be the best and the method of choice will be determined from researcher's personal preference, experiences, equipment, and/or finances.

19. A look at global tropical cyclone activity during 1995: Contrasting high Atlantic activity with low activity in other basins
Lander MA, Guard CP
Monthly Weather Review 126 (5): 1163-1173 May 1998
Abstract: During 1995, there was a near-record number of named tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic basin. This unusual event fueled speculation that it marked a tangible signal of global:climate change, or that it marked a return to a period of higher tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic, such as that which has been documented to have occurred during the decades of the 1940s through the 1960s. Less publicized, the tropical cyclone activity in other basins during 1995 was almost everywhere below normal. The concept of global and basin "prolific" years and "meager" years is introduced. During the past 30 years, the Atlantic has had two prolific years: 1969 and 1995. Although the annual number of tropical cyclones in each of the other basins is uncorrelated with the annual number of tropical cyclones in the Atlantic, the two Atlantic prolific years of 1969 and 1995 were meager years in some of the other major basins, and below normal years in all of them. In the time series of the annual number of tropical cyclones in all basins except the Atlantic, 1969 and 1995 rank lowest and third lowest, respectively. The known relationships of the annual number of tropical cyclones in the Atlantic with ENSO and with the quasi-biennial ossilation are insufficient to explain the unusual global distribution of tropical cyclones during 1995.

20. Uncertainty, complexity and concepts of good science in climate change modelling: Are GCMs the best tools?
Shackley S, Young P, Parkinson S, Wynne B
Climatic Change 38 (2): 159-205 Feb 1998
Abstract: In this paper we explore the dominant position of a particular style of scientific modelling in the provision of policy-relevant scientific knowledge on future climate change. We describe how the apical position of General Circulation Models (GCMs) appears to follow 'logically' both from conventional understandings of scientific representation and the use of knowledge, so acquired, in decision-making. We argue, however, that both of these particular understandings are contestable. In addition to questioning their current policy-usefulness, we draw upon existing analyses of GCMs which discuss model trade-offs, errors, and the effects of parameterisations, to raise questions about the validity of the conception of complexity in conventional accounts. An alternative approach to modelling, incorporating concepts of uncertainty, is discussed, and an illustrative example given for the case of the global carbon cycle.

In then addressing the question of how GCMs have come to occupy their dominant position, we argue that the development of global climate change science and global environmental 'management' frameworks occurs concurrently and in a mutually supportive fashion, so uniting GCMs and environmental policy developments in certain industrialised nations and international organisations. The more basic questions about what kinds of commitments to theories of knowledge underpin different models of 'complexity' as a normative principle of 'good science' are concealed in this mutual reinforcement. Additionally, a rather technocratic policy orientation to climate change may be supported by such science, even though it involves political choices which deserve to be more widely debated.

21. Tropical cyclones and global climate change: A post-IPCC assessment
Henderson-Sellers A, Zhang H, Berz G, Emanuel K, Gray W, Landsea C, Holland G, Lighthill J, Shieh SL, Webster P, McGuffie K
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 79 (1): 19-38 Jan 1998
Abstract: The very limited instrumental record makes extensive analyses of the natural variability of global tropical cyclone activities difficult in most of the tropical cyclone basins. However, in the two regions where reasonably reliable records exist (the North Atlantic and the western North Pacific), substantial multidecadal variability (particularly for intense Atlantic hurricanes) is found, but there is no clear evidence of long-term trends. Efforts have been initiated to use geological and geomorphological records and analysis of oxygen isotope ratios in rainfall recorded in cave stalactites to establish a paleoclimate of tropical cyclones, but these have not yet produced definitive results. Recent thermodynamical estimation of the maximum potential intensities (MPI) of tropical cyclones shows good agreement with observations.

Although there are some uncertainties in these MPI approaches, such as their sensitivity to variations in parameters and failure to include some potentially important interactions such as ocean spray feedbacks, the response of upper-oceanic thermal structure, and eye and eyewall dynamics, they do appear to be an objective tool with which to predict present and future maxima of tropical cyclone intensity. Recent studies indicate the MPI of cyclones will remain the same or undergo a modest increase of up to 10%-20%. These predicted changes are small compared with the observed natural variations and fall within the uncertainty range in current studies. Furthermore, the known omissions (ocean spray, momentum restriction, and possibly also surface to 300-hPa lapse rate changes) could all operate to mitigate the predicted intensification.

A strong caveat must be placed on analysis of results from current GCM simulations of the "tropical-cyclone-like" vortices. Their realism, and hence prediction skill (and also that of "embedded" mesoscale models), is greatly limited by the coarse resolution of current GCMs and the failure to capture environmental factors that govern cyclone intensity. Little, therefore, can be said about the potential changes of the distribution of intensities as opposed to maximum achievable intensity. Current knowledge and available techniques are too rudimentary for quantitative indications of potential changes in tropical cyclone frequency.

The broad geographic regions of cyclogenesis and therefore also the regions affected by tropical cyclones are not expected to change significantly. It is emphasized that the popular belief that the region of cyclogenesis will expand with the 26 degrees C SST isotherm is a fallacy. The very modest available evidence points to an expectation of little or no change in global frequency. Regional and local frequencies could change substantially in either direction, because of the dependence of cyclone genesis and track on other phenomena (e.g., ENSO) that are not yet predictable. Greatly improved skills from coupled global ocean-atmosphere models are required before improved predictions are possible.

22. Global climate change and variability and its influence on Alpine climate - Concepts and observations
Wanner H, Rickli R, Salvisberg E, Schmutz C, Schuepp M
Theoretical and Applied Climatology 58 (3-4): 221-243 1997
Abstract: The paper discusses annual to decadal climate variability and change in the European Alps by utilizing the procedure of synoptic downscaling, i.e. it investigates the influence of global to continental scale synoptic structures and processes on the regional climate of the Alps. The European Alps lie to the southeast and under the right exit zone of the southwest-northeast oriented axis of the polar front jet over the North Atlantic ocean, in a transition zone between the Azores high and Icelandic low, between oceanic and continental and between Mediterranean and North Atlantic climates. Together with complex topographically induced phenomena like lee cyclogenesis, orographic precipitation, strong downslope winds and thermotopographical circulation systems, this transitional position makes climate studies in the Alps even more interesting. Only a minor correlation can be observed between global climate variability and Alpine climate. In contrast, the Alpine climate is strongly related to processes over the North Atlantic ocean and its sea ice system (e.g. it has a high correlation with the North Atlantic Oscillation and the dynamics and position of the Icelandic low), an area with a rather low climate prediction potential. Since the early 1970's (or just after the "Great Salinity Anomaly" in the North Atlantic Ocean) the intensification of the wintertime westerly jet over the North Atlantic area led to a noticeable northwest-southeast mass transport in the exit area of the jet over Central Europe, leading to pressure and temperature rises and an increase in the amount of precipitation. There is a question over whether this phenomenon is a consequence of natural climate variability or the beginning of an anthropogenic climate change.

23. Solar irradiance during the last 1200 years based on cosmogenic nuclides
Bard E, Raisbeck G, Yiou F, Jouzel J
Tellus Series B-Chemical and Physical Meteorology 52 (3): 985-992 Jul 2000
Abstract: Based on a quantitative study of the common fluctuations of C-14 and Be-10 production rates, we have derived a time series of the solar magnetic variability over the last 1200 years. This record is converted into irradiance variations by linear scaling based on previous studies of sun-like stars and of the sun's behavior over the last few centuries. The new solar irradiance record exhibits low values during the well-known solar minima centered at about 1900, 1810 (Dalton) and 1690 AD (Maunder). Further back in time, a rather long period between 1450 and 1750 AD is characterized by low irradiance values. A shorter period is centered at about 1200 AD, with irradiance slightly higher or similar to present day values. It is tempting to correlate these periods with the so-called "little ice age" and "medieval warm period", respectively. An accurate quantification of the climatic impact of this new irradiance record requires the use of coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (GCMs). Nevertheless, our record is already compatible with a global cooling of about 0.5 1 degrees C during the "little ice age", and with a general cooling trend during the past millenium followed by global warming during the 20th century (Mann et al., 1999).

24. Regional climate change: Trend analysis of temperature and precipitation series at selected Canadian sites
Clark JS, Yiridoe EK, Burns ND, Astatkie T
Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics-Revue Canadienne d Agroeconomie 48 (1): 27-38 Mar 2000
Abstract: Global climate change does not necessarily imply that temperature or precipitation is increasing at specific locations. The hypothesis of increasing temperature and precipitation trends associated with global climate change is tested using actual annual temperature and precipitation data for nine selected weather stations, spatially distributed across Canada. Vogelsang's (1998) partial sum and Woodward et al's (1997) bootstrap methods are used for testing for trend Both methods suggest no warming in the Canadian temperature series except for Toronto, Ontario, which had significant increase over time, along with Moncton, New Brunswick and Indian Head, Saskatchewan, which had marginal increases. There is no evidence of increasing trend in precipitation except for Moncton, New Brunswick, which had a significantly increasing trend, thus, public policies designed to address the regional effects of climate change need to be adapted for a particular ecological zone, based on knowledge of the climate trends for that region, rather than on general global climate change patterns.

25. Public representations of scientific uncertainty about global climate change
Zehr SC
Public Understanding of Science 9 (2): 85-103 Apr 2000
Abstract: This paper addresses the representation of scientific uncertainty about global warming and climate change in the U.S. popular press. An examination of popular press articles about global warming from 1986 to 1995 reveals that scientific uncertainty was a salient theme. The paper describes several forms of uncertainty construction and means through which it was managed. I argue that scientific uncertainty was used to help construct an exclusionary boundary between "the public" and climate change scientists. This rhetorical boundary delegitimated lay knowledge by suggesting that the public did nor hold appropriate reverence for scientific uncertainty and the need for more research.

26. Water vapor, CO2, and temperature profiles in and above a forest - Accuracy assessment of an unattended measurement system
Molder M, Lindroth A, Halldin S
Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 17 (4): 417-425 Apr 2000
Abstract: The possibility of a global climate change has increased research interest in the least understood parts of the climate system. One of those parts is the boundary between the land surface of the earth and the lowest part of the planetary boundary layer. The structure of this layer and the exchange processes in it are still incompletely understood for a variety of situations and surfaces, especially in the boreal zone and during the dark parts of the day and the year. Progress in this area requires new data measured continuously and unattended with high accuracy and long-term reliability. A measurement system for profiles of temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide was designed to meet the above goals. The system used thermocouples and a Li-Cor gas analyzer combined with an array of tubing to suck air from different heights. Turbulent fluctuations of water vapor and carbon dioxide concentrations were smoothed by continuous-flow mixing chambers without moving parts. Half-hourly mean differences in temperature, humidity, and CO2 were measured to better than 0.03 K, 0.015 g kg(-1) and 0.5 mu mol mol(-1), respectively. These accuracies were confirmed by comparisons with a thermometer-interchange (reversing) system and CO2 profiles theoretically deduced from eddy-correlation fluxes. Daytime temperature and humidity differences over the full height interval (24.5-87.5 m), as well as over the roughness sublayer part (24.5-58.5 m), commonly exceeded the estimated errors by five times. The CO2 differences could only be measured reasonably accurately over the entire height interval (24.5-87.5 m) and then only exceeded the error by a factor of 2-3. Temperature and humidity measurements were sufficiently accurate for studies of flux-profile relationships over a forest. The CO2 profiles were accurate only for rough flux estimates and may be especially useful for nighttime studies.

27. Ad Hoc Committee on Global Climate Issues: Annual report
Gerhard LC, Hanson BM
AAPG Bulletin 84 (4): 466-471 Apr 2000
Abstract: The AAPG Ad Hoc Committee on Global Climate Issues has studied the supposition of human-induced climate change since the committee's inception in January 1998. This paper details the progress and findings of the committee through June 1999, At that time there had been essentially no geologic input into the global climate change debate. The following statements reflect the current state of climate knowledge from the geologic perspective as interpreted by the majority of the committee membership. The committee recognizes that new data could change its conclusions, The earth's climate is constantly changing owing to natural variability in earth processes. Natural climate variability over recent geological time is greater than reasonable estimates of potential human-induced greenhouse gas changes. Because no tool is available to test the supposition of human-induced climate change and the range of natural variability is so great, there is no discernible human influence on global climate at this time.

28. Climate change and trend detection in selected rivers within the Asia-Pacific region
Cluis D, Laberge C
Water International 26 (3): 411-424 SEP 2001
Abstract: Global climate change is currently an issue of great concern. This phenomenon was studied using the runoff of large rivers, which can be considered a regional integrator of the local precipitation occurring in their basins. The long-term stationarity and the possibility of trends in streamflow records stored in the databank of the Global Runoff Data Center (GRDC) at the Federal Institute of Hydrology in Koblenz (Germany) were studied. Runoff records originating from. 78 rivers with long monthly runoff series that are geographically distributed throughout the whole Asia-Pacific region were selected for study. For each of the selected rivers, three time series were constructed and analyzed: the mean yearly, and the maximum and minimum monthly discharges. These series were submitted to a two-tier analysis. First, a segmentation procedure developed by Hubert was applied to assess their stationarity. Then the segmented series were submitted to a specialized trend detection software. The results show that about two-thirds of the series have remained stationary and that the monthly minimum runoff exhibited more changing levels (37/78) than the mean (26/78) and maximum (18/78) runoff. Most of the detected changes occurred during the 1960s and 1970s, a period of rapid demographic expansion and urbanization in Asia, when irrigation and other water uses were developed, especially in tropical areas. During the same period and within the area studied, a number of large dams and reservoirs were completed. Since these anthropic interventions could be at the origin of the changes in runoff, there is no regionally consistent evidence supporting global climate change.

29. Holocene paleoclimate data from the Arctic: testing models of global climate change
Bennike O, Bolshiyanov D, Dowdeswell J, Elverhoi A, Geirsdottir A, Hicks S, Hubberton H, Ingolfsson O, Miller G
Quaternary Science Reviews 20 (12): 1275-1287 Jun 2001
Abstract: To evaluate the spatial variability of Arctic climate change during the present interglacial, CAFE Project Members compiled well-dated terrestrial, marine, and ice-core paleoenvironmental records spanning the past 10-12 thousand years (ka). Six tundra biomes of increasing summer temperature requirements were defined based on regionally coherent pollen assemblages. Using a rule-based approach, pollen spectra were converted to tundra, forrst/tundra, or Forest biomes ranked by their average growing season requirements. Marine sea-surface reconstructions were based on proxy data following a similar rule-based approach. From these data-based reconstructions. departures in summer temperatures from modern normals were calculated in 1 ka time slices through the Holocene. To test predictive models, data-based summer temperature reconstructions were compared with general circulation model (GCM) simulations for 10 ka and 6 ka ago. Paleodata and model results both show that warming occurred earlier across Beringia and Asia relative to lands adjacent to the North Atlantic, and that Late Holocene cooling was most apparent in the North Atlantic region. However, the GCM over-predicts the magnitude of Mid-Holocene warming over northern Asia and underestimates the intensification of the North Atlantic drift in the early Holocene. Strong spatial variability in environmental response during the Holocene, despite symmetric (insolation) forcing, suggests that any future changes, whether caused by anthropogenic or natural factors, are unlikely to result in a uniform change across the Arctic, adding additional complexity to forecasts of global impacts. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

30. Sub-saharan desertification and productivity are linked to hemispheric climate variability
Oba G, Post E, Stenseth NC
Global Change Biology 7 (3): 241-246 Mar 2001
Abstract: Vegetation productivity and desertification in sub-Saharan Africa may be influenced by global climate variability attributable to the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Combined and individual effects of the NAO and ENSO indices revealed that 75% of the interannual variation in the area of Sahara Desert was accounted for by the combined effects, with most variance attributable to the NAG. Effects were shown in the latitudinal variation on the 200 mm isocline, which was influenced mostly by the NAG. The combined indices explained much of the interannual variability in vegetation productivity in the Sahelian zone and southern Africa, implying that both the NAO and ENSO may be useful for monitoring effects of global climate change in sub-Saharan Africa.

31. Arctic sea ice thickness remained constant during the 1990s
Winsor P
Geophysical Research Letters 28 (6): 1039-1041 Mar 15 2001
Abstract: The ice cover of the Arctic Ocean is considered to be a sensitive indicator of global climate change. Recent research, using submarine-based observations, suggests that the Arctic ice cover was thinner in the 1990s compared to an earlier period (1958-1979), and that it continued to decrease in thickness in the 1990s. Here I analyze subsurface ice thickness (draft) of Arctic sea ice from six submarine cruises from 1991 to 1997. This extensive data set shows that there was no trend towards a thinning ice cover during the 1990s. Data from the North Pole shows a slight increase in mean ice thickness, whereas the Beaufort Sea shows a small decrease, none of which are significant. Transects between the two areas from 76 degrees N to 90 degrees N also show near constant ice thicknesses, with a general spatial decrease from the Pole towards the Beaufort Sea. Combining the present results with those of an earlier study, I conclude that the mean ice thickness has remained on a near-constant level around the North Pole from 1986 to 1997.

32. Expected threats of global climate change on mosquito and tick-borne arbovirus infections of human beings
Chastel C
Bulletin de l Academie Nationale de Medecine 186 (1): 89-101 2002
Abstract: Global warming [+ 0,5 - 0,6degrees C during the second half of the 20 th century] seems a reality although climatologists did not reach a common agreement on its actual origin, and this phenomenon may still increase along the 21 th century [+ 1,5 to 6degrees C]. Epidemiologists are anxious at the eventual effects of the resulting climate change on the evolution of arbovirus infections transmitted to human beings by hematophagous vectors such as mosquitoes and ticks. Analysis of the literature devoted to this problem did not lead to precise conclusions and the mathematical models used seems insufficient for they take into account mainly the climatic factors and not enough the human ones. Examples of dengue, european tick-borne encephalitis and other arbovirus infections are discussed. Peculiar attention is devoted to the eventual effects of climatic changes on the hibernation process in some small mammals and the dining of bird's migrations, involved in enzootic cycles of arboviruses. It is likely, that arbovirus diseases may locally extend, both in latitude and altitude, leading to outbreaks, but regressions may also occur.

33. Recalcitrant problems in environmental instrumentation
Baker JM
Agronomy Journal 95 (6): 1404-1407 Nov-Dec 2003
Abstract: Frontiers in any science are generally defined by measurement limitations, and that is especially true in environmental biophysics. Among the more persistent issues are surface-atmosphere exchange, soil water and solute fluxes, plant water status, and plant/soil nutrient status. Measurement of surface-atmosphere exchange is particularly critical to global climate change research. Despite advances in instrumentation. accuracy of flux measurements, particularly eddy covariance. remains unacceptable, partly because the underlying assumptions of stationarity and surface homogeneity are so restrictive. Even when these assumptions are valid, the method appears to systematically underestimate for reasons that are not yet well understood. Similarly, soil water and solute fluxes cannot yet be measured accurately and routinely, hampering water quality research. Recent advances in tension lysimetry offer hope for improvement, but most field experiments still rely on modeling of water and solute now, supported by indirect measurements of ancillary variables, e.g., soil water content, soil water potential, and solute concentration, at discrete points in time and space. A third area of ongoing concern is that of plant water status. The major uncertainty here concerns which property should be measured. Nearly all of the effort over the past 30 yr has been directed at measuring water potential, but water potential measurements are equilibrium measurements, and plants operate in dynamic environments. Furthermore, many physiological processes appear to be more related to relative water content than to water potential. Finally, more accurate and more timely, (e.g., in situ) measurements of plant/soil nutrient status are sorely needed to take advantage of the promise of precision agriculture.


More like this

Is this a joke?

Holy cr*p. This is the best they can do?!?No wonder very few septics publish in journals and are banished to the Internets.Gawd. I don't think this crowd wants to use the word 'audit' any more. I'm almost in agreement with Brian on this one, but I know the crowd to which this work is addressed doesn't check methodology or references... Best,D

There is no way that all of these could possibly be interpreted as anti-consensus. Peisner probably had a tedious time wading through 1000 abstracts but that doesn't excuse getting some of these so badly wrong. He seems to have taken anything with the word "uncertainty" in as doubting the consensus, presumably having erected some strawman in his mind. Some of the journals seem a bit doubtful to include, to my mind. I'm not surprised Science rejected him.

1. Does this count as a climate journal? Cannot distinguish signal from noise would be anti-consensus now, but quite probably OK in '93

2, 3, 4, 5. No

6. As 1.

7. Minor journal, but "undoubtfully overemphasised contribution of the greenhouse effect to the global climate change" seems doubting.

8, 9. How has P come to include these? They seem to take the problem of Cl Ch as a given.

10. Appears to be a personal view not science.

11, 12, 13. No.

14. Assumes the existence of cl ch.

15. Just about possible, but probably not.

16, 17, 18, 19. No.

20. Probably no.

21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26. No.

27. Would be yes, except it doesn't look peer-reviewed, it looks like special-interest from the petroleum geologists.

28, 29, 30. No.

31. No, though misinterpretable.

32, 33. No.

Here we go for the first 17, I'll read the rest later:

rejects anthropogenic primacy: none

doubts about anthro: #s 1, 7, 10 (arguably irrelevant), 17 (arguably irrelevant regional analysis)

abstract doesn't state an opinion: #s 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (arguably doubts), 8, 9 (arguably supports), 11 (arguably supports), 12, 13 (author should be flogged), 14, 16

supports implicitly or expressly: #s 15 (arguably no opinion)

A practice of good analysis is checking your work before releasing it widely. This 'study' was certainly rushed. A more robust analysis along P's and Oreskes' lines would be to determine whether a paper (in the set of 1117) is actually directly testing for climate change, indirectly testing for climate change, or finding signals of climate when looking for something else. Anthropogenicity (!) should be included in there as well. This will eliminate non-empirical papers and societal reactions/risk assessment-type papers. This also has the benefit of eliminating some of these in Benny's list, making it more robust.Best,D

Can't resist trainwreck for the next 17:

Rejects anthro primacy: 27 (oil industry publication),

Doubts primacy: 31 (regional but important indicator)

No opinion stated: 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24 (arguably supports), 25, 26, 28 (regional analysis), 29, 30, 32, 33

Supports consensus position: 21

Grand total of all 33: one rejection of AGC, five doubters, twenty-five no opinions, two supporters of AGC

William, I didn't have time to read through all of them, so I just started with the first no on your list. I wish you would have given reasons for your no's because I'd like to know how we disagreed. As a for instance, you say no on #2. But I see "Significant uncertainties about global climate change cannot be reduced without expansion of the knowledge base of CCN." and think that the consensus was that there were no "significant" uncertainties left about global warming.

Jet - sorry, there wasn't space for all of the reasons. Firstly, I was more generous to P than I should have been, because I failed to realise that he was trying to "reject or doubt the view that human activities are the main drivers of the 'the observed warming over the last 50 years'." rather than "the consensus" in general.

For #2 - this is CCN/cloud/process study stuff. Its pretty orthogonal to what is required. The IPCC report explicitly acknowledges the uncertainties in cloud representation (and of course, it was written in '93, so should be judged against the consensus then, not now; though even now it wouldn't fit for P. But if you were writing it now, you couldn't say the minimal-progress stuff).

#2 is just stating that uncertainties cannot be reduced without more knowledge of cloud physics. These uncertainties could be anything, as they are not enumerated. These uncertainties are not enumerated as being uncertainties of AGW, or even whether A has a role in GW, or even that there is GW [it states CC]. It could be read as being silent on both A and GW. Let us not start splitting hairs here. It is clear that there is no rejection of consensus positions in #2. When ants start declaring whole picnics out of crumbs, it is time to step back. There's no there there.D

I find the year of publication of these alleged anti-AGW articles interesting.

Year # of Articles
1993 4
1994 2
1995 4
1996 4
1997 3
1998 5
1999 0
2000 5
2001 4
2002 1
2003 1
2004 0
2005 0

The average age of these citations is about 8 years.
IMHO, not only do these citations not challenge
AGW, many of them are probably obsolete. Climate
science has come a long way in the last decade.

I agree with Brian, 'Is this the best the fossil fools
can do?'

By Roger Coppock (not verified) on 06 May 2005 #permalink

Being as generous as I can to Peiser:

Do not discuss consensus: 2, 3, 5, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 29, 20, 21, 32, 33

Support consensus: 4, 6, 8, 9, 18, 23

Address consensus, not revealing a position: 1, 28

Oppose consensus, opinion pieces: 10, 27

Seek change in consensus, peer reviewed: 7, 15, 20

Directly oppose consensus, peer reviewed: None

Notes: 20, though I generously put it among the doubters, looks very interesting. I find 24 highly implausible, but like many others its interest was too local for me to count it as anti-consensus. 31 for me was a close call - unlike all the tropical storm stuff, sea ice decline is pretty widely considered a major component of anthropogenic climate change, but I decide to go with William's assessment. It really doesn't try to address the big picture and can't really be considered as advocating a sketics position.

I think you can only second-guess Oreskes on 7, 15 and just maybe 20, and none of them are a slam dunk.


On the assumption that it isn't a joke after all, here are my results:

Rejects consensus (that most of the global warming over the past 50 years is anthropogenic in orgin): #10, #27 (however, they are opinion pieces not science).

Doubts consensus: #6, #7, #15 (possibly), #28 (possibly, doesn't find evidence of climate change in river run-off, says nothing about other evidence), #32 (could be excluded- doesn't take a position, but claims that scientific community is still divided on the question).

So two opinion pieces that reject the consensus, two papers (possibly five, if generous) that doubt it. The remainder either support or give no opinion on the consensus.

Looking at #6 again, I might have been over-generous lumping it in with the doubters. It says that "However, there are major questions concerning whether climate change is occurring," so this could be put in the same category as #32- not taking a position itself, but claiming that doubts are expressed by others.

Not to be a fly in the ointment, but won't it be fair to ask Oreskes to provide a list of those papers that she categorized as "explicit endorsement of the consensus position", that is the 1st of her categories?

Following up from Meyrick, Peiser wrote:

"Please note that the most important difference to the Oreskes study is not that there are, contrary to her claim, a few abstracts that question or even reject the "consensus".

More importantly, her claim that 75% of abstracts support the 'consensus'-explicitely or implicitely-is not borne out by my analysis."

So shouldn't we be examining the abstracts purporting to support the consensus?

Oreskes asserted that none of the abstracts had a contrarian view. We've now esablished that that claim is false. How about Round 2 on the "75% of abstracts support the 'consensus'"?

By James Lane (not verified) on 06 May 2005 #permalink

Peiser can claim that is the most important difference, but it isn't. No-one is disputing what the consensus view, just whether there is significant dissent from it amongst scientists. On this point, Oreskes has been proven correct and Peiser incorrect.

Oreskes' claim that the scientific literature does not indicate any significant dissent (given her sample) would appear to be correct. But I do think she is also claiming there is a significant explicit and implicit endorcement.

Since she claims 75% are either explicit or implicit (her first 3 categories) that would be about 700 abstracts, rather too large for a quick viewing. However asking for those abstracts she places in her first category alone might be more manageable.

I'm not a climate skeptic, I'm just suggesting some scrutiny of Oreskes' work.

I'd say scrutiny of Oreskes work would be productive. However, one of the issues lost in this discussion is the statements made by Peiser in the Telegraph and elsewhere. Peiser has vocally accused Science of a bias for rejecting his article. Given its significant flaws, it is quite clear that Peiser's article doesn't support any such claim. Because that accusation is getting widespread circulatation, it is working to erode public confidence in science and inhibits the process of crafting scientifically supportable policy.

I have attached the missing abstract. Sorry about that.

The attached abstract includes a statement stressing that the "development of alternative, environmentally safer energy production technologies will benefit society whether or not global climate change actually occurs."
I interpret this statement as a weak form of scepticism about what Oreskes defines as "consensus position".

I was aware that some of the abstracts would be interpreted in different ways. That's why I made this point in my Science letter: "Even if there is disagreement about any of these papers, it is highly improbable that all 34 are ambiguous". Even if others reject the definition of scepticism I used in my analysis, there can be no doubt that Oreskes is wrong on one of her key claims: "Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed
with the consensus position". It is quite obvious that a number of ISI abstracts disagree with the "consensus" view, while others show weak or strong forms of

But that's not the point. Everybody familiar with the global warming debates knows quite well that there are hundreds of sceptical papers published in peer-reviewed journals. The best list that includes the relevant sceptical publications was compiled some time ago by Timo Hameranta (see: ).

I asked Tim a few days ago to check with Oreskes whether she is willing to provide a list of all the abstracts (or at least their numbers) that "explicitely" endorse the consensus view. I repeat that the burden of proof for her claim of a complete scientific consensus rests with her. After all, she was wrong on the key word search, she was wrong about the overall number of ISI abstracts, and she was wrong in claiming that none of the abstracts disagreed with the consensus position. Given this record, shouldn't she also be asked to provide evidence for *her* claim?

With best regards


BIOMASS & BIOENERGY 4 (3): 175-183 1993
Intensively managed microalgal production facilities are capable of fixing several-fold more carbon dioxide per unit area than trees or crops. Although CO2 is still released when fuels derived from algal biomass are burned, integration of microalgal farms for flue gas capture approximately doubles the amount of energy produced per unit of CO2 released. Materials derived from microalgal biomass also can be used for other long-term uses, serving to sequester CO2. Flue gas has the potential to provide sufficient quantities of CO2 for such large-scale microalgae farms. Viewing microalgae farms as a means to reduce the effects of a greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide, CO2) changes the view of the economics of the process. Instead of requiring that microalgae-derived fuel be cost competitive with fossil fuels, the process economics must be compared with those of other technologies proposed to deal with the problem of CO2 pollution. However, development of alternative, environmentally safer energy production technologies will benefit society whether or not global climate change actually occurs. Microalgal biomass production has great potential to contribute to world energy supplies, and to control CO2 emissions as the demand for energy increases. This technology makes productive use of arid and semi-arid lands and highly saline water, resources that are not suitable for agriculture and other biomass technologies.

By Benny Peiser (not verified) on 06 May 2005 #permalink

Given what we know now, Science was correct in rejecting Peiser's letter. The only problem is that I doubt Science knew what we know, and their reason for rejecting his letter was pretty bogus. Unless their true reason was that they knew Peiser's reputation but were unwilling to use that argument expressly, they don't look all that great for rejecting a letter that on its face seemed a legitimate critique of their previously published work.

"...will benefit society whether or not global climate change actually occurs" is in no way a "weak form of scepticism". Anyone familiar with the climate change debates should also be familiar with "no regrets" technologies and policies. This paper is arguing that aquatic biomass should be developed irrespective of climate change issues. The abstract is not relevant to evaluating the "consensus" position.

Given what we know now, Science was correct in rejecting Peiser's letter. The only problem is that I doubt Science knew what we know, and their reason for rejecting his letter was pretty bogus. Unless their true reason was that they knew Peiser's reputation but were unwilling to use that argument expressly, they don't look all that great for rejecting a letter that on its face seemed a legitimate critique of their previously published work.

Summary of #34: "This alternative energy technique will be very useful in controlling CO2, a significant concern because of AGW, and that's primarily what this paper is about. By the way, alternative energy is good regardless of whether global warming occurs."

It primarily assumes consensus, with a throwaway line suggesting others might feel otherwise. I'd remove it from the data set, or create another category, "unclassifiable for these purposes."

Benny, only one of the abstracts (#27) disagrees with the consensus view and that one doesn't appear to be peer-reviewed (recall that Oreskes specified "peer-reviewed"), so Oreskes seems to have been correct on this. And since she said there were none, she has already provided the complete list. Many of the abstracts are not ambiguous -- they definitely do not express disagreement or scepticism with the consensus. I think you have damaged your credibility by claiming that they do.

Peiser: "After all, she was wrong on the key word search"

That has already been corrected by Science.

Peiser: "she was wrong about the overall number of ISI abstracts"

So is Peiser. He gets the 1247 by including the social sciences and humanities indicies, but this was about consensus in the scientific community. (P.S. I consider myself to be a social scientist, so this is not about a scientists elitist bias)

Peiser: "and she was wrong in claiming that none of the abstracts disagreed with the consensus position."

By about 2 abstracts! And since they appear to be opinion pieces rather than the results of research, they maybe justifiably excluded from the category of "paper".

Thanks for posting these, Tim! Those criticizing Peiser for including this abstract or that one need to remember that what he did was take the abstracts identified by Oreskes. So if there is a problem with some not being peer reviewed or an opinion piece, that is an issue with the original research. And if you're toting up and saying 30 support Oreskes point, and three don't, then Oreskes was wrong when she claimed unanimity. She's the one who has to have gotten them all right, not Peiser.


Peiser didn't take Oreskes' abstracts, he changed the search. See the link to Chris Mooney for more.

Regardless, several of these abstracts do express doubt, so it would be relevant to ask whether Oreskes analyzed them.

My conclusion for now is that Oreskes MAY have missed a few needles in a haystack, while Peiser claims to have found 34 needles when what he holds is almost all straw. Who comes out better?

Brian S, thanks for the clarification; that's what I get for relying on the Telegraph article which stated (wrongly) that he'd used the same set. Obviously one question is whether any of the needles found by Peiser were in the haystack that Orestes was searching through. Remember the spectacular claim here is that none of the papers rejected the "consensus" view.

Let me correct another canard, the claim that "Peiser didn't take Oreskes' abstracts, he changed the search": I used exactly the same data bank (ISI Web of Science) as Oreskes, and selected the same period of time (1993 - 2003). Everybody with access to ISI can confirm that a key word search for "global climate change" will produce 1,247 documents (of which only 1117 have abstracts). I repeat: Oreskes got her figures wrong.

I suggest that her search strategy itself is debatable given that there are only 124 abstracts that include the key words "global warming" in her admittedly strange set of selected documents.

Finally, if Oreskes excluded sceptical ISI abstracts because they were published in sociological journals, or because the *explicit* rejection of the consensus view is an official statement by a scientific organisation rather than a research paper (# 27), she was disingenuous only to list those scientific organisation that endorse the consensus view, but to exclude those that disagree. Either way, she has been proven wrong on this point too.

By Benny Peiser (not verified) on 07 May 2005 #permalink

Dr. Peiser:

I have not seen the list of articles that Dr. Oreskes used, but are you saying that she included the official statements of other organizations but not the AAPG?

Think I've finally worked out how to replicate Oreskes' search. There are 2 fundemental differences between Peiser search and Oreskes.

1. Oreskes excluded the "Social Sciences Citation Index" and the "Arts & Humanities Citation Index", Peiser does not.

2. Oreskes set the search limits to include only "Article"s, whereas Peiser set the search limits to include "All document types".

Using Oreskes search you get 929 documents (her article says 928, close enough?), where as with Peiser's search you get 1247 documents.

Among Peiser's 34 articles, 2 are clearly opposed to the consensus position:

10. Linden HR, "The evolution of an energy contrarian", Annual Review of Energy and the Environment 21: 31-67 1996

27. Gerhard LC, Hanson BM, "Ad Hoc Committee on Global Climate Issues: Annual report", AAPG Bulletin 84 (4): 466-471 Apr 2000

With Peisers search, the first article (categorized as "Editorial Material"), is included, but not included in Oreskes search.

The second article appears in both searches. Is this the missing article from the 929/928 documents?

"The scientific consensus is clearly expressed in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). [...] In its most recent assessment, IPCC states unequivocally that the consensus of scientific opinion is that Earth's climate is being affected by human activities: "Human activities ... are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents ... that absorb or scatter radiant energy. ... [M]ost of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations" [p. 21 in (4)]. IPCC is not alone in its conclusions. In recent years, all major scientific bodies in the United States whose members' expertise bears directly on the matter have issued similar statements." (N. Oreskes, The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change, Science, 3 December 2004

Now compare this blanket claim with the statement (which Oreskes must have seen in whatever ISI search she used) by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, an international scientific organisation of more than 30,000 earth scientists:

"The earth's climate is constantly changing owing to natural variability in earth processes. Natural climate variability over recent geological time is greater than reasonable estimates of potential human-induced greenhouse gas changes. Because no tool is available to test the supposition of human-induced climate change and the range of natural variability is so great, there is no discernible human influence on global climate at this time."

For the official policy statement by the AAPG see:

By Benny Peiser (not verified) on 07 May 2005 #permalink

30000 Earth scientist with no obvious connection to the oil industry?

Regardless, Oreskes was justified in removing the item from her list since it is not a piece of peer-reviewed research but an opinion piece. As far as I can tell none of the statements from the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, or the American Association for the Advancement of Science were included in the 928 documents either!

Meyrick, thank you for working out the search pattern.

By Kristjan Wager (not verified) on 07 May 2005 #permalink

Assuming I'm right about Oreskes' search pattern, the following documents would not be in her search:

Not in the "Science Citation Index Expanded": 1, 4, 6, 9, 25
Not categorized as an "Article": 2, 5, 7, 8, 10, 22, 30

Its good to see BP here, but its a shame to see him evading the main point of the debate: that the bulk of the abstracts he provides are clearly miscategorised. Indeed, he hasn't even tried to defend his categorisations. And as for the AAPG... the bias is blatant.

On the 1247/929 question: BP got a different # to Oreskes. Did he stop and work out why? Did he ask Oreskes? It seems not: he just assumed she was wrong. Yet Meyrick seems to have found a rather sensible solution to get the "right" number. Shades of M&M vs MBH.

Dr. Peiser,

You quoted me as having stated the "canard" that "Peiser didn't take Oreskes' abstracts, he changed the search". Given Meyrick's research here, do you retract that description of my statement being a canard, and do you retract the statement you've made here and doubtless repeated elsewhere that you did not change the search? You appear very interested in having Science magazine correct any misrepresentations it has made - the principle should be universal.

Meyrick - thanks. And I'm curious, how long did it take you to figure out how the searches differed?

Brian: "how long did it take you to figure out how the searches differed?"

Not long.

When I tried to replicate Oreskes search I removed the social science and arts indices (this was after all about a scientific consensus not an academic consensus), and got a number between Oreskes and Peisers. So I figured Peiser had failed to remove the 2 indices.

It occurred to me later to restrict the search to just "Article"s.

My research is in accounting (currently just a grunt PhD student), so if you want to find out how to get to a particular number, I'm your man!

Missing the point we are. The point of Peiser's article is to get mentioned in the newspapers and on TV. That gets the meme into circulation after which it can be amplified in opinion pieces and blogs, etc. The fact that a bunch of folk with half a clue can figure out what he did, how it differed from what Oreskes did and that his claims are, to be extremely polite, stretched, is immaterial unless this information gets into the main stream media.

This pattern of offering questionable provocations which stir up the FUD has become the modus operendi of the denialists. The only way to meet it is for the information that has been uncovered to get into the media. Which means that someone has to take the initiative. The Guardian (Independent would be better) might be a place to start, selling some reporter on how the Telegraph acted as a witting accomplice (one hesitates to credit the Telegraph with any wits, but what the heck) to all this.

If you think memes are not important, remember that Godwin's law was a purposely constructed meme. Oresekes is one of the first to offer an easily understood picture which undermines the fog of uncertainty that the denialists are trying to sell, which is why someone like Peiser had to be mobilized. Or should I say exxonized.

The problem with the Oreskes "study" is that it lacks any clear or coherent methodology. However one looks at it, her figures don't appear to add up. For instance, she says that "Some abstracts were deleted from our analysis because, although the authors had put "climate change" in their key words, the paper was not about climate change." But she doesn't say how many abstracts were excluded. She does not explain why she selected as key words "global climate change" rather than say "global warming". I mentioned already that there are only 124 abstracts with these key words in the ISI data set (1993-2003) I analysed. For the same time, ISI lists 3,758 abstracts on "global warming". In short, one of the key questions that I have raised is whether her data set is representative for the global warming debates. I would argue that it isn't. After all, she concludes that essentially no (or no significant number of) scientists who publish in peer-reviewed journals reject or doubt the consensus position.

The problem with this claim is that it is evidently false. Everybody knows that there are hundreds of peer-reviewed papers that either reject or doubt the consensus view. I provided a link for a list of some 400 sceptical references in an earlier comment. But they are nowhere to be found in her data set. Yet they represent perhaps up to 10% of all peer-reviewed papers on GW that were published in the last 10 years or so.

This is why the whole debate about my modest list of abstracts that I deem to be sceptical of the "consensus" rather misses the point. Whatever number one accepts, it still does not follow that there is a scientific consensus on the physical causes of recent global warming. Just take a look at the long list of publications by sceptical climate researchers. It doesn't matter whether or not you agree with any of them. The fact remains that the papers are out there, they have been peer reviewed and published in many of the leading scientific journals. To claim that all of these many hundreds of publications simply don't exist (because they cannot be found in an unrepresentative sample of abstracts), is, I claim, another form of denial.

By Benny Peiser (not verified) on 08 May 2005 #permalink

Dr Peiser

1. You have failed to replicate Dr Oreskes work and have failed to admit this.
2. Dr Oreskes search criteria created a sample of 928 published peer-reviewed pieces of research, which most people would agree is large enough to draw inferences regarding the population of published peer-reviewed piece research.
3. If your list of "400 sceptical references" is anything like the last 34 references it is of questionable relevance.

Benny's list of "400 sceptical references" is just as bad as his 34 abstracts. For example, it includes about a dozen papers by notorious skeptic James Hansen, including, for example Defusing the global warming time bomb":

Global warming is real and the consequences are potentially disastrous

This is rejecting the consensus????

Tim: You beat me to it. I just finished taking a quick look at the 400. I took the first 10 that had links to the papers and classified them (under my own system). The results are below and my summaries of the papers follow:

Support the consensus position - 2 papers
No comment about consensus position - 3 papers
Not peer-reviewed - 5

The first was a scientific paper talking about the solar effect on atmospheric angular momentum (AAM) and the length of day. The only talk about temperatures was in using the SST as a proxi for AAM before accurate measurements were made. Nothing to do with the consensus position one way or another.

The next three were all variations on a theme presented (without peer review it would seem) on John Daly's site.

Fifth one was an op-ed and thus not peer-reviewed.

Sixth one had no mention of climate change or global warming at all.

Seventh one talking about uncertainty, to quote from it "Although even the sign of the current
total forcing is in question, the sign of the forcing by the middle of the 21st century will certainly be positive." So I would say that this one agrees with the consensus position.

Eighth one discussed the effect of fires in the Amazon but no mention of climate change issues.

Ninth A review of urban climatology. While it does mention UHI, it does not make any reference to temperature trends.

Tenth - looks at the relation between solar wind and the NAO in order to (as the paper puts it) " make us better understand the natural causes of climate change in relation to the expected global warming due to man's activities." I would take this as endorsing the consensus view.

OK folks. Let's call it a day. I acknowledge your denial of the reality of scientific scepticism in the global warming debates and its presence in the scientific literature. Let me end with a quote from a recent paper in one of Canada's top Earth science journals:

"In summary, the above empirical observations on all time scales point to celestial phenomena as the principal driver of climate, with greenhouse gases acting only as potential amplifiers. (Jan Veizer, Geoscience Canada, March 2005).

By Benny Peiser (not verified) on 08 May 2005 #permalink

A curious article you quote from Dr. Peiser. About the kind of foolery one has come to expect from the denialist crowd.

What Jan Veizer said is based on any number of false claims, the start of which is "Neither atmospheric carbon dioxide
nor solar variability can alone explain the magnitude of the observed temperature increase over the last century of
about 0.6°C."

Which is crap, because it excludes the case of both factors working together. Any number of studies have shown that both factors are sufficient TOGETHER.

Starting from this false dichotomy, Veizer uses the principle of garbage in garbage out to state.

"Therefore, an amplifier is required"

No amplifier beyond the positive water vapor feedback, which IS included in GCMs treatment of forcings being required. And then Veizer sets up yet another false comparison by stating

"In the general climate models (GCM), the bulk of the calculated temperature increase is attributed to "positive water vapour feedback".

by comparing what is included in the models which he falsely claims insuffient, to what he proposes to throw into the soup.

"In the sundriven alternative, it may be the cosmic ray flux (CRF),"

Watch the slight of hand. By excluding the combined solar irradiance and greenhouse gas forcing, and holding these separate, Veizer makes it appear to those not familiar with the climate change literature that something more is needed. Then he pulls in the mysterious cosmic ray flux effect as supplying the missing forcing. However, proper accounting for greenhouse gas forcing AND solar irradiance changes is sufficient to account for the instrumental climate record. Thus, if there is a significant cosmic ray effect it ALSO has to be shown that the solar irradiance and greenhouse gas forcings are overestimated.

Such dishonesty is hard to bear and we as scientists need to find an answer to it, which starts with better reviewers.

So to summarize, Dr Peiser has made 4 errors in his research:

1. Dr Peiser failed to replicate Dr Oreskes search properly. Dr Oreskes used (as far as I can tell) the following criteria:

TS="global climate change" ;DocType=Article; Language=All languages;Database(s)=SCI-EXPANDED; Timespan=1993-2003

Dr Pieser used the following criteria:

TS="global climate change"; DocType=All document types; Language=All languages; Database(s)=SCI-EXPANDED, SSCI, A&HCI; Timespan=1993-2003

2. Dr Peiser compounded the previous error by assuming that Dr "Oreskes got her figures wrong", rather than contacting Dr Oreskes to obtain her search criteria.

3. Of the 34 abstracts identified by Dr Peiser that "reject or question the view that human activities are the main driving force of the observed warming over the last 50 years", 12 are not in Dr Oreskes sample.

Of the remain 22 articles, 21 do not fit that description (one argues that natural factors have been underestimated still does not reject or doubt that human activities are the main factor). In other words Dr Peiser has misinterpreted the abstracts of 21 articles.

4. Only one fits Dr Peiser's category, but it does not fit Oreskes' criteria of being a piece of published peer-reviewed research, but is instead a statement by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. Dr Oreskes removed this from her sample partly because the statements by the AMS, AOG, & AAAS are not in her sample either.

May I respectfully request that Meyerik send his last comment to Science and to the Daily Telegraph, with an introductory paragraph added. I might point out that getting even a letter into Science is useful to put on a resume.

Eli nailed it above on May 8 at 13:11 - the meme circulation is the point of the Peiser paper. Surely it couldn't be for publication - the quality is too poor. And thank you, Meyrick, for doing the legwork. The M&M-type audit call that the rubes think is necessary may be withdrawn if too many more Peiser-quality papers get out there...Oh, and thank you Tim for helping run this down. Best,D

Just out of interest, how would everyone categorise those 22 articles that are in Oreskes' search (assuming I've got it right)?

Peiser's 8 categories are (the first 6 are the same as Oreskes'):

1. explicit endorsement of the consensus position
2. evaluation of impacts
3. mitigation proposals
4. methods
5. paleoclimate analysis
6. rejection of the consensus position.
7. natural factors of global climate change
8. unrelated to the question of recent global climate change

The 22 articles are:

11-21, 23, 24, 26-29, 31-34

Oops, missed out number 3!

Using Meyrick's search (TS="global climate change" ;DocType=Article; Language=All languages;Database(s)=SCI-EXPANDED; Timespan=1993-2003) I retrieve 1113 references. Oreskes does not say what exact search she used.

Eudoxis, I get the same # of hits as Peiser. Oreskes merely says she analyzed 928 abstracts. She didn't say how many she filtered out. As poor Benny has shown (and as many have stated in the past), the septics don't have an alternate theory that they can publish about, hence the dearth of abstracts in ISI. But let us return to the point: Benny's meme-spreading attempt has been audited. And it is sloppy - it can't pass muster to be published. If the bias meme is to be spread, it should be spread knowing we should lower our standards to let septics publish their drivel in empirical journals. Else they could, um, find something robust to publish.Best,D

"In summary, the above empirical observations on all time scales point to celestial phenomena as the principal driver of climate, with greenhouse gases acting only as potential amplifiers. (Jan Veizer, Geoscience Canada, March 2005)."

Ah. So, in other words, the sun is the source of the radiative energy that drives global warming, whilst human-emitted greenhouse gasses act to increase the effect. How is this different than what every other climate scientist already knew?


Missing the point we are. This pattern of offering questionable provocations which stir up the FUD has become the modus operendi of the denialists.

Yoda-channeling aside, it's the AGW alarmists that are spreading fear. By definition, the skeptics are saying we should not be afraid. The modus operandi of the alarmists has been to publish headline-grabbing studies saying sea levels will rise enough to destroy all coastal cities within our lifetimes, and make movies like Day After Tomorrow.


Different in that solar influence (including indirect influence on terrestrial atmospheric conditions) may be more responsible for warming than AGW, and that given events like the solar-induced Little Ice Age of a few hundred years ago, even if AGW exists it may not be a bad thing.

More study needs to be done.

Shaviv and CRF. Hmm. The Beeb was kind to him. Shaviv's own countrymen were less kind [no linky right now].D

FUD is Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. We only have to look at this blog to find the fear mongers claiming that Kyoto will be the end of the economy, we will have no jobs. Tall Dave does a pretty good job proclaiming uncertainty and doubt himself. TD must be on the ropes the way he is punching himself in the face.


And how would class all those who go around telling us that the economy is going to be ruined if we sdopt Kyoto. If they are not saying "be afraid, be very afraid", then what?


Thank you for sorting this out. I have posted some commentary here
about insights from some of the social science papers listed by Peiser - which I have actually read. Peiser obviously doesn't know the difference between consensus and uncertainty, between different kinds of uncertainty, or between research on climate and research on climate policy.

Yelling, Eli:

How about "be sensible, very sensible?" I don't know anyone who thinks Kyoto will plunge us into a new Great Depression, but as a rule wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on illusory benefits does not make economic sense. There's no uncertainty or doubt about that.

[i]hundreds of billions of dollars on illusory benefits does not make economic sense[/i]

...and yet you support the invasion of Iraq. Consistency is not your strong point.

TD says, "More study needs to be done". Yup, exactly what Ronald Reagan said about acid rain. "Effectively, keep on styudying it as long as I am in office, but don't do a damned thing about it. After I leave office, then I don't care anymore". Certainly we have to "keep studying" the human effects on climate, but there is more than enough evidence that humans are the primary agent for the current GW episode. Thus, concrete political action is needed to mitigate its worst effects NOW. Considering the broad range of human assaults across the biosphere, AGW may just be the straw that breaks the camel's back: that pushes complex adaptive systems beyond a point where they can sustain themselves and, ultimately, us. As a scientist, I have heard enough of this pontificating "GW may be good for us" crap.

Our fate hinges critically on a range of services that emerge over variable spatial and temporal scales from ecosystems and biomes. If food webs begin to unravel, as seems likely because of GW, then we put at serious risk the functioning of complex systems (which are based on an infinite number of interactions between component species, populations and individals). Once these systems begin to break down - runaway entropy - the future becomes very bleak indeed. Thus I get exasperated when know-nothing sceptics write in and claim that 'we'll adapt', as if we are exempt from the laws of nature. No species, in fact, depends more on wild nature than Homo sapiens, and its about time we started to realize it.

I think we need to keep studying the effect of gun ownership on crime. Therefore, we need to round up all the guns and carefully control their possession.We simply don't know enough. The gun-owner alarmists are spreading fear about the need to have guns. More study needs to be done. D


Gun ownership is a freedom issue. Hitler was a big advocate of gun control; that should tell you why gun control is a bad idea despite the fairy-tales spun by some on the right.

but there is more than enough evidence that humans are the primary agent for the current GW episode.

Enough for you, maybe. But then, you found Chomsky convincing.

Thus, concrete political action is needed to mitigate its worst effects NOW.

Well, some might argue we should first determine what those "worst effects" actually are.

AGW may just be the straw that breaks the camel's back: that pushes complex adaptive systems beyond a point where they can sustain themselves and, ultimately, us.

More FUD, anyone?

If food webs begin to unravel, as seems likely because of GW
That's actually much more likely to happen should we experience global cooling than global warming.

Once these systems begin to break down - runaway entropy - the future becomes very bleak indeed.

Why yes, I will have more FUD! Thank you very much!

Darn. I was just about to post, but I see that TD characteristically invoked Godwin's Law.

Thanks for saving me the time.


I advise you to stick to your conservative U.S, imperial rants than to discuss ecology with me. I am a population ecologist, and your reply to me only undescored that you don't know anything about the food webs, multi-trophic interactions and the non-linear effects of climate change. There is every reason to suggest that the current rate of warming will have differing effects on component species and populations in ecosystems, depending upon their ability to respond (adapt) to it. There will be some winners and many losers. Daniel Janzen said 30 years ago that "The Ultimate extinction is the extinction of ecological interactions", and he was correct. Species do not exist as individuals; they interact, directly and indirectly, with other species across variable scales of space and time. Properties that emerge from ecosystems (nutrient cycling, decomposition of wastes, soil regeneration, as well as resistance to invasion and resilience to change) and over immense scales (the maintenance of hydrological and biogeochemical cycles) will be compromised in a warming world. And since humanity has already greatly reduced the genetic diversity of populations through a myriad of other stresses, then many species are less adapted to respond to climate change.

You're out of your depth here Dave. As said, stick with your imperial delusions.


Yes, but there is very little agreement on what those effects actually will be. That's the difference between a mildly interesting lecture and justification for spending hundreds of billions of dollars.

It's nice that he's an expert in ecology, but that doesn't accrue to him any predictive ability, or even good judgement.


LOL Yes, arguments based on "I'm an expert so you're wrong" and "you're out of your depth" are just so logically convincing.

Properties that emerge from ecosystems (nutrient cycling, decomposition of wastes, soil regeneration, as well as resistance to invasion and resilience to change) and over immense scales (the maintenance of hydrological and biogeochemical cycles) will be compromised in a warming world.

And the proof for that is...? Oh, right, the proof is "I'm an ecologist!"

Maybe you should stick to ecology. Debate seems to be out of your depth.

TD, you are not doing yourself any good with this argument. If you want to learn about the effects of climate change on ecosystems, ask for references instead of denying its existence.


You feel freedom and democracy and the removal of a heinous regime are illusory benefits? Reality is not your strong point.


Well, again, the burden of proof is on the proponents of coercive AGW policies to provide evidence there actually are going to be negative effects, effects that justify spending hundreds of billions of dollars and hurting people's living standards to prevent. Vague references to ecologic theory, wild-eyed prophecies of doomsday, and speculation about what might happen don't meet that standard.

As I've said before, I don't deny a lot of good work has been done in this regard to try to make these predictions, and I support funding more of this kind of research, but I think it's still a good ten years away from being able to make predictions that are reliable enough to justify costly coercion. In the meantime: bring on the nuclear power and alternative energy research!

TD: Sea level will rise. There is lots of beach property on the East Coast of the US that will be flooded becasue of this, either permanently, or as the result of storm surges that would have not been flooded. The cost of this will be Iraq War magnitudes of billions of dollars.


As a fellow programmer, I'm sure you can appreciate that the advocates need to fulfill a triple AND condition to justify their case: that global warming is real AND that global warming is primarily anthropogenic in origin and (therefore) that the coercive measures advocated will have the desired effect AND that AGW will cause negative effects whose value is greater than any positive effects by trillions of dollars (greater in NPV terms than the amount being spent; I'll be generous and say we only have to break even) after considering all externalities.

All three of those have to be true for coercive AGW policies to be justified. If GW has negative effects but isn't real, obviously it makes no sense to take actions to prevent something that isn't happening, or if GW is real but not caused by human activity it's equally nonsensical to address human activity as a solution, and etc. for other combinations. It's a pretty high bar to meet all three.

I like to look at it from a simple contingency planning perspective. OK, the first idea is pretty well accepted even if only indirectly testable; let's call it 90% likely. The second one is a bit more controversial, but still there's a loose consensus is that it is more likely to be true than not that these policies will have the prescribed impact on GW. Let's call it 75% likely. The third one is somewhat speculative, and while a lot of work has been done here predictive ability is still low, and some models even suggest GW may be beneficial, but let's be generous again and call it more likely than not that the amount of GW caused by anthropgenic changes will not only have harmful effects outweighing the positive, the net effect will be damage in the trillions, and give it a 65% likelihood.

Multiplying those admittedly very rough estimates we get .8 * .75 * .65 = .43875, meaning even though all three of those may be more likely than not, it's also more likely than not that taken as a whole one of the three isn't true, and that coercive AGW policies aren't justified. Of course you can plug in different numbers and get different results; reasonable people can disagree about how certain those things are. My view is these models don't (yet) have the predictive ability to pass that bar.

Of estimates made prior to 1989, all but one were less than 1.5 mm per year. After eliminating the extreme value, both the mean and median of the 12 remaining values quoted by Gornitz [1994] are 1.2 mm per year. Since 1989, the five new estimates published have been rather larger, also with a single exception. After eliminating that extreme value, the mean value of the recent estimates is 1.9 mm per year, and the median, 1.75
What are we to make of this? Unfortunately, there are complicating factors beyond the issue of PGR, and published results reflect a lack of consensus as to how to deal with them as well. In addition to whether or not PGR was explicitly modeled, differences between analyses include data record length, tide gauge station selection criteria, and analysis method. The inability of investigators to arrive at a consensus concerning the rate of global sea level rise, or even how to approach the problem, has led some authors to conclude that global sea level rise cannot be measured at all
Assuming now that an average value of global sea level rise can be, and has been, determined for about the last 100-150 years, the next consideration is whether or not this value has undergone significant change over that time. Fortunately, determining acceleration of sea level change is less formidable than the linear problem, at least in regard to PGR and tectonic plate boundary effects. The reason is that PGR is linear over the tide gauge record, as are vertical crustal movements at plate boundary locations with long earthquake recurrence times. Thus both of these effects drop out in the calculation of acceleration. Woodworth [1990], and Gornitz and Solow [1991] have found weak evidence of acceleration in long European records, but no conclusive evidence of a global acceleration of sea level. Douglas [1992] carried out a systematic global analysis of sea level acceleration, and arrived at a similar result that no acceleration of global sea level has occurred over the last 150 years that is statistically significantly different from zero at the 95 authors have bounded any acceleration that might have occurred in the last 150 years at an order of magnitude or more less than that predicted to accompany global warming in the future [ Houghton et al., 1990].

Above link is for Eli.

On a lighter note, here's an amusing contrarian article on GW from the future:…

Vandenberg AFB-As people across the country watched the northern sky this afternoon, NASA officials gave the final go ahead and the gigantic Demi-Ra sun-reflecting satellite focused its millions of ten-meter by ten-meter reflecting panels on the Earth below. Even the most casual observer has become familiar with the sight of this immense construction project expanding in the night sky, but it seemed that no amount of familiarity could reduce the startling effect of its daylight debut.

Interviewed at his home in Virginia, Dr. Patrick Michaels, the driving force behind the Demi-Ra project, was enthusiastic, opining that "the timing of the project looks very good." He noted that solar activity has dropped off dramatically in the last 20 years and that the Earth has cooled significantly as a result. "That puts us a little behind the curve," he said, "but we built up enough greenhouse gases over the last century to slow the cooling down. With the climate modeling breakthroughs of the last ten years, we can be quite certain that Demi-Ra I, and the upcoming Demi-Ra II, will provide enough additional sunlight to keep another Little Ice Age from occurring."

Unfortunately for TD, I know a bit about the space business too. I expect to see solar shields in orbit about when I see pigs fly. Consider the problems that NASA has been having with a simple tether. TD might also consider the average altitude of the East Coast barrier islands, Long Island and lots of Florida before he gets too optimistic.


Interesting, but I don't see why it's unfortunate for me, since I oly noted it for humor. Unless you mean because the Earth may cool, in which case it's really very unfortunate for all of us.

Since you know a bit about space, I'm curious -- what do you think of the whole Space Elevator concept (beyond just the tether)? Some people are saying it's no longer a matter of engineering feasibility but only of money ($15 billion is the number I recall being thrown around). Some NASA guys have now weighed in on the concept with studies, and a carbon nanotube manufacturing plant is in the works (though it's not clear they've quite worked out the manufacturing issues).

I really hope it turns out to be feasible and economically practical. Could be our generation's Moon landing, only much more practical.

You might consider how much sea levels have to rise to flood those areas before you get too pessimistic. OTOH if you really believe that there's a danger they're going to flood, you should short the FL and Long Island real estate markets and become very wealthy when people move out in panic as this knowledge of possible impending doom becomes more widely known and accepted.

Health and Amenity Effects of Global Warming

A somewhat warmer climate would probably reduce mortality in the United States and provide Americans with valuable benefits. Regressions of death rates in Washington, DC, and in some 89 urban counties scattered across the nation on climate and demographic variables demonstrate that warmer temperatures reduce deaths. The results imply that a 2.5deg. Celsius warming would lower deaths in the United States by about 40,000 per year. Although the data on illness are poor, the numbers indicate that warming might reduce medical costs by about $20 billion annually. Utilizing willingness to pay as a measure of preference, this paper regresses wage rates for a few narrowly defined occupations in metropolitan areas on measures of temperature and size of city and finds that people prefer warm climates. Workers today would be willing to give up between $30 billion and $100 billion annually in wages for a 2.5deg.C increase in temperatures

I think about the space elevator much as Ghandi thought about British civilization, and I am in the nanofiber business. BTW, you should read the full NRC report on health consequences of climate change. While the net is uncertain they conclude that most of the problems will arise from increases insect born diseases. Strengthened reporting and public health systems will be needed to mitigate those changes. All of that COSTS MONEY. Here is the report

This is by far a better place to start then something from the Hoover Institute, one of the oldest right wing think tanks. As to their principle contention, I simply note that people prefer warmer climes when they have air conditioning, and air conditioning costs money. LOTS. The article is a bad cartoon.

I think about the space elevator much as Ghandi thought about British civilization, and I am in the nanofiber business. BTW, you should read the full NRC report on health consequences of climate change. While the net is uncertain they conclude that most of the problems will arise from increases insect born diseases. Strengthened reporting and public health systems will be needed to mitigate those changes. All of that COSTS MONEY. Here is the report

This is by far a better place to start then something from the Hoover Institute, one of the oldest right wing think tanks. As to their principle contention, I simply note that people prefer warmer climes when they have air conditioning, and air conditioning costs money. LOTS. The article is a bad cartoon.

How about we simply note that
a. the reprot is nearly 1o years old; and
b. the Hoover Institute is not only "not a left-wing organisation" it is in fact a far-right organisation which IIRC has been funded by major oil companies to turn out papers which just happen to contradict most other work in the area.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 15 May 2005 #permalink

34 out of 938 abstracts.

Statistics, statistics, and damn lies

By Louis Hissink (not verified) on 16 May 2005 #permalink

Thanks for looking at the TallDave linky, Ian. Somebody recently tried to rely on a 10-yr-old Lindzen commentary on modeling skill to assert their claim that GCMs shouldn't be used for policy decisions. Now we have a 10-yr-old commentary from TD that relies on references almost 15 years old to make its anti-Kyoto point. Can't commenters recycle newer arguments? Checking Indy-funded cherry-picking is a lot less tedious when the references are recent...D

Dr. Peiser has a hand-wringer in today's Financial Post (business section of Canada's National Post, sorry but no link, it is in today's hard copy edition [scoffed from a recycling bin, I won't pay for this rag] but not posted on today's website edition, subscription anyway and really not worth it even for Canadians) in which he bemoans "the stifling of dissent and the curtailing of scientific skepticism..." which is "bringing climate research into disrepute [sic]". It appears to be a rehashing of the points that he makes above and in his Science letter, and Oreskes (and her pernicious influence) comes in for another drubbing. Dr. Peiser seems to have made his getaway from Deltoid with his hat shot full of criticisms but his head unscathed; as far as I can see, none of the points made by correspondents here have been addressed in this op-ed piece. It is three columns and over half the page - the Post always gives prominent display to contrascience work.

That's a good metaphor Lars. Peiser was on Pielke's site the other day trying some other argument, not too convincing there either. I wonder if the hapless shtick is real or faked.D

Lars and Dano,

In the Peiser arguments you've mentioned, does he repeat the claim that he analyzed the same set of abstracts as Oreskes? If he does and you can find the exact quote, I'd very much appreciate it if you could post it.

I've been corresponding with Peiser and posting on my own blog that his repeating such a claim goes beyond willful evasion to John Lott-style dishonesty. Peiser has cut off our correspondence. Sordid details here…
(May 16th and 17th posts).

One minor nitpick and one question..

Eli Rabett on 9/5/2005 02:46:42 stated:
'What Jan Veizer said is based on any number of false claims, the start of which is "Neither atmospheric carbon dioxide nor solar variability can alone explain the magnitude of the observed temperature increase over the last century of about 0.6°C."

Which is crap, because it excludes the case of both factors working together. Any number of studies have shown that both factors are sufficient TOGETHER.'

But isn't that exactly what Veizer said? Logically, the case that neither factor alone can cause the effect does not negate the case that they can when combined.

Question to the ecologists amongst you.. Has anyone factored-in the benefits to plant growth of an increase in CO2 and could this contribute to a self-limiting effect on the rate of increase of anthropogenic CO2 contribution?

By Jeff York (not verified) on 18 May 2005 #permalink

Jeff, Question to the ecologists amongst you. Has anyone factored-in the benefits to plant growth of an increase in CO2 and could this contribute to a self-limiting effect on the rate of increase of anthropogenic CO2 contribution? Yes. Plant growth is one thing, nutritive value is another. Plant growth seems indeed to benefit from increased CO2 [although seasonality and warming may contribute as well], but nitrogen limitations and other factors are a key control to the benefit. It also appears increasing O3 reverses any CO2 benefits. One other thing that concerns me (I have an Env Hort degree) is that increased CO2 regimes close plant stomata, reducing evapotranspiration and decreasing the amount of water vapor in the air; this factor is way understudied and underreported, IMHO.Best,D

Thanks Dano. While Peiser didn't make the "same set" argument there, that doesn't mean he will not raise it elsewhere. And the fact remains that he repeated on an argument that he knew was proven wrong. My question is whether that should have consequences, at least to Peiser's reputation.

Brian S. - sorry to keep you waiting. The Peiser piece is still not listed at the FP site as of this morning, so I'll have to trancribe the relevant bits. From it:

According to an essay by Naomi Oreskes, published by Science in December, 2004, there is unanimous "scientific consensus" on the anthropogenic causes of recent global warming. Oreskes, a professor of history, claims to have analyzed 928 abstracts on global climate change, of which 75% either explicitly or implicitly accept the view that most of the recent warming trend is man-made. When I checked the same set of abstracts, I discovered that just over a dozen explicitly endorse the "consensus", while the vast majority of abstracts does not mention anthropogenci global warming.

Further down (but in close juxtaposition) he states:

An unbiased analysis of the peer-reviewed literature on global warming will find hundreds of papers (many of them written by the world's leading experts in the field) that have raised serious reservations and outright rejection of the concept of a "scientific consensus on climate change". the truth is, there is no such thing.

Nothing further on checking the literature, but a lament that Oreskes got published while a paper submitted to Science on Bray and von Storch's survey didn't - actually, I'll let him tell that one:

The decision to publish Oreske's claim of general agreement (just days before an important UN conference on global warming, COP-10) was apparently made while the editors of Science were sitting on a paper that showed quite clearly the opposite. It would appear that the editors of Science knowingly misled the public and the world's media. In my opinion, such unethical behaviour constitutes a grave contravention, if not a corruption of scientific procedure. This form of unacceptable misconduct is much worse than the editors' refusal to publish the numerous letters and rebuttals regarding Oreskes' flawed study.

Don't think that I left out anything germane.

Hope that this helps.

Incidentally, Dano was wondering above if "the hapless shtick" was real or assumed. The whole tone of this op-ed piece was of muted but righteous indignation at the politicization of science. More in sorrow than in anger.

Cheers - L.

Jeff, would that you were right, however remember (follow the link) V then went on to say that because neither alone was sufficient an amplifier was needed, and that amplifier could be CRF, further in the paper the would tends to disappear. If both factors together are sufficient then no further amplifier is needed and V's argument collapses.

Thanks Lars.

Peiser knew by May 8th that he didn't use the same set of abstracts, and the FP published his letter on May 18th. Seems pretty likely that Peiser sent his letter to FP after knowing the truth, although we probably can't prove it without the help of either the FP or Peiser himself.

Brian S. - it's still May 18 here, and the Peisner article (it was in FP Comment, which is their op-ed page, so it isn't a letter - Dr. Peisner's academic speciality and institute are listed) is dated Tuesday, May 17, 2005. Fiddly point but when it's a question of "when did he know?", we may as well get it right. It's possible that the FP had this piece for some time before publishing, but in it there is a reference to "Six eminent researchers from the Russian Academy of Science and the Israel Space Agency" who "have just published a startling paper in one of the world's leading space science journals" having to do with variations in cosmic ray flux and solar output driving global climatic change. I haven't the time to go off looking for this, but it should provide a benchmark for the final composition of this op-ed piece. There is also a reference to Jan Veizer's having published a review "last month" which reduces greenhouse gasses as merely potential amplifiers for the controlling influences of "celestial phenomena" on climate. That's another time-stamp, if needed.

Just noting the asymmetric logic of TallDave in the accumulated posts, i.e.:
1) (Hitler is a bad man) "Hitler was a big advocate of gun control; that should tell you why gun control is a bad idea."
2) (Jeff Harvey is an ecologist who is worried about climate change) "It's nice that he's an expert in ecology, but that doesn't accrue to him any predictive ability, or even good judgement."
I mention it not from any specific antiTD sentiment, but because it resonates with more or less identical rhetorical style I've noted in those of similar political leanings.

An old friend of mine, z, has similar ideological tendences to those you describe. I received an e-mail from her this morning with familiar assymmetric logic.I call it 'pretzeling' - twisting logic to maintain your unmoving position.D

In examining the paleo-climatic literature published in scientific magazines (AAPG, GSA, etc.) all document that large variations in both CO2 and temperature have occurred over the last 4.5 billion years of earth history, with well documented large scale changes in the last 200my. These data ALL imply large natural variations that swamp the last 30-200 years of documented changes in the other articles in magnitude, thus there are huge numbers of articles that Oreskes was totally ignorant of and did not include at all. This renders her work as not rigorous enough to be scientific.

By Dr. Johnson (not verified) on 17 Oct 2005 #permalink

Dr. Johnson,

You may want to investigate the relative differnce between one hundred and one million.

It's probably bigger than you think.

It's 4 decimal places, that is very small when dealing with earth history, examining the last few hundred years and making conclusions about how big natural variations in earth's climate are is like looking out your window and declaring the earth flat, since that is all you can see. Ignoring paleoclimatic data is not approaching this topic with the rogour the sceintific method demands.

By Dr. Johnson (not verified) on 17 Oct 2005 #permalink

Ignoring paleoclimatic data is not approaching this topic with the rogour the sceintific method demands.

Nobody's ignoring anything.


You shouldn't care much about CO2 levels from 200MYA, because the world had decarbonized a lot less then, and the spatial distribution of landmasses affected lots of stuff, and flowering plants were few, NPP was likely lower...oh, gosh, so many more differences.

Instead, try going back to the library and searching ISI for Vostok ice cores. Then think to yourself: self, what is the difference between recent past climatic swings and now? Your first, most obvious (and most-ignored on ideological sites) answer will be the atm CO2 ppmv levels.

After you chew on this, you can ask yourself: self, how does this affect how I look at past variability when I want to tout climate variability? Your first, most obvious (and most-ignored on ideological sites) answer will be: it affects it a lot.

Please discuss how the atm CO2 ppmv levels make such touts problematic when touting touts.



But Oreskes did address paleoclimate:

"The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.

Admittedly, authors evaluating impacts, developing methods, or studying paleoclimatic change might believe that current climate change is natural. However, none of these papers argued that point."

Got anymore strawmen Dr. Johnson..??

The paleoclimatic research does not speak to the current, short term temp and CO2 swings and the theory of human CO2 induced climate chnage because that is not their purpose or theory. But it is obvious that any paleoclimatologist, when asked (and I know many since I are one)would tell you the earth has had numerous swings of large magnitude, and thus the current situation is a tempest in a tea pot, promoted by politically motivated persons, not sound, rigourous science, since the internal data inconsistency is too large and unexplained to have any level of confidence in the cause-effect couplet. If you want to see large swings in CO2 data, go to the IPCC 2001 Technical Summary and look on page 40, there the Vostok ice cores are shown (again fairly recent data) but the longer term data from geochemical analysis of just the past few hundred million years shows the large swings in recent past (please remember the earth is 4.5 billion years old). And there is no eveidence the earth has "decarbonized a lot less", whatever that means, as a scientist I do not understand that phrase. Plants have been ubiquitous and of large varieties for at least the last 600 my, just pick up any Historical Geology text and leaf through it, flowering types hold no special place in nature for carbonization.

By Dr. Johnson (not verified) on 18 Oct 2005 #permalink

Doc Johnson,

You are still missing (and I suspect deliberately so) the crucial point that the RATE at which tropospheric CO2 levels are increasing in unprecedented in the earth's history.

And the difference between a million and a hundred may not be much on geologic scale, but unfortunately for us humans are built of flesh and blood, not stone.

"The paleoclimatic research does not speak to the current, short term temp and CO2 swings and the theory of human CO2 induced climate chnage...the current situation is a tempest in a tea pot"

Contradict yourself often Dr. Johnson? Which is it? Paleoclimatology does or doesn't speak to current conditions?

But it is obvious that any paleoclimatologist, when asked...would tell you ...the current situation is a tempest in a tea pot, promoted by politically motivated persons, not sound, rigourous science, since the internal data inconsistency is too large and unexplained to have any level of confidence in the cause-effect couplet.

Hint: try less conflation and obfuscatory rhetoric in your replies if you wish to portray yourself as a scientist. Otherwise you look like a rube using a thesaurus. Jus' sayin'.

Anyway, what a load, you have _got_ to be kidding me. Do you think this is even remotely believeable? When will you guys start giving examples in your rhetoric?

Any paleoclim will tell you the science is not sound and rigorous enough to inform decision-makers?

Gimme a f'n break.

If you want to see large swings in CO2 data, go to the IPCC 2001 Technical Summary and look on page 40, there the Vostok ice cores are shown (again fairly recent data) but the longer term data from geochemical analysis of just the past few hundred million years shows the large swings in recent past

So what.

The issue is that the recent CO2 levels are unprecedented (per the Vostok core), not that there is a question of variability.

So the concern regarding your 'natural variability' tout is that there is no historical basis to look at when making your tout. None. 200MYA doesn't count - there was more CO2 in the atm, the continents were in different locations and positions, the modern mountains were at the bottom of the sea...

But anyway, you just bagged on paleo science yet you refer uncritically to the Vostok core and it's unsound, unrigorous science to make your point. Kinda odd for a scientist to be so sloppy, eh?

And the decarbonization thing I mentioned: I've asked my editor to be more rigorous - I meant decarbonization of the atm.


Obviously you people are truly hopeless, politically motivated hacks and not scientists, I have beeter things to do than spar with such ignorant fools.

By Dr. Johnson (not verified) on 19 Oct 2005 #permalink

Dr. J, if you are interested in serious science, this blog is the wrong place to be, there are others which are not manipulated by people pushing individual politics, but even Wikipedia suffers on this subject too, it also has been hijacked. These folks, if scientists, are probably of the nevironmental ilk, who are incureable homocentrics who reject anything before man arrived to destroy the earth. People who are uneducated (ignorant) of earth and planetary sciences do not understand, nor are the capable of grasping, anything in 5 digits or beyond for time. I am surprised this site doesn't have handy links to the Pew or Greenpeace groups as sources for "science".

By Cheryl Evezich… (not verified) on 19 Oct 2005 #permalink

Don't they send instructions along with the talking points?

A second angry, petulant post doesn't make that lost position any better. Best to go away quietly and let the dust settle, else the thread looks like something Seixon has hijacked.



"I have beeter things to do than spar with such ignorant fools."

I dunno, just struck me as funny.

"A second angry, petulant post doesn't make that lost position any better. Best to go away quietly and let the dust settle, else the thread looks like something Seixon has hijacked."

When issuing a supercilious, petulant exit line and storming off in a huff, it's very important to achieve at least a minimal threshold of competence in one's post, lest one appear to be at best a crank. Certainly the inability to generate ten or fewer lines of correct spelling and grammar (when a button labeled "Check Spelling" appears immediately below, no less), while simultaneous attempting to insult the educational level of one's interlocutors tends to give the impression that one is operating beyond one's depth, or is at least much too pressed for time to be attempting a substantive discussion.