Bailey corrects mistake, Bolt does not

Writing about the new IPCC report, Andrew Bolt said

The scientists of even the fiercely pro-warming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predict seas will rise (as they have for centuries) not by Gore's 600cm by 2100, but by between 14 and 43cm.

While Ron Bailey wrote:

By 2100 sea level is expected to rise between 28 to 43 centimeters

Both were wrong. The IPCC report says that the range is 18 to 59 cm if you ignore ice flow changes, and 28 to 79 cm if you include an estimate for ice flow changes. I let both Bailey and Bolt know of the problem. Bailey thanked me and corrected his article. Bolt did something rather different. He wrote a post insisting that he was right and I was wrong. When that didn't work, he wrote another post entitled "Lambert Watch", where he tries to distract from his mistake by accusing me of making some errors and demanding I apologize. Trouble is, the things he claims I got wrong aren't things I actually wrote. For example,

First we caught out noted global warming blogger Tim Lambert exaggerating IPCC predictions of sea level rises, only to have him reply that 59cm was in fact "similar" to 88cm.

Except that I didn't say that. I wrote:

The new IPCC report has similar numbers for sea level rise as the previous one.

The report itself states:

For each scenario, the midpoint of the range in Table SPM-2 is within 10% of the TAR model average for 2090-2099.

And IPCC lead author Kevin Trenberth said

"The numbers in this report are actually very similar to the previous report, however they are reported in a somewhat different way"

Bolt tries more distractions:

Why did he last year claim "most experts" believed hurricanes had been getting stronger and more numerous, when both the World Meteorological Organisation and the IPCC have put out statements contradicting that specific claim?

I did not make that claim. What I did was quote Gavin Schmidt:

Basically, although everyone acknowledges that there are data problems early in the record, it seems clear that there has been a global rise of the most intense hurricanes over the last 30 years and the most obvious explanation is that this is related to the contemporaneous increases in tropical SST in each basin.

That's an increase in the most intense hurricanes, not in all hurricanes as Bolt pretends I wrote. And the IPCC supports this, saying that it is likely that there has been an increase in intense hurricanes in some regions since the 1970. The "in some regions" was added at the last minute. From a report of WG1's last meeting:

Regarding tropical cyclones, the US drew attention to a consensus statement produced at a recent WMO cyclone workshop about the difficulties of detecting cyclone trends, and cautioned that using the terms "global" and "trend" to describe an increase in the intensity of tropical cyclones could open the IPCC to criticism. The Netherlands and the Philippines agreed that the proposed language, "satellite records suggest a global trend toward more intense tropical cyclones since about 1970, correlated with observed warming of tropical sea surfaces temperatures," was too strong. Germany and Kenya disagreed, deferring to the judgment of the Coordinating Lead Authors in assessing the scientific literature. The Coordinating Lead Authors clarified that the WMO workshop participants were hurricane scientists and not climate scientists, and that this statement, released six months after the WGI AR4 underlying report was submitted, was not peer-reviewed or open to comment. The issue was referred to a contact group, where participants discussed variability in the data and shortcomings in the modeling approaches, highlighted the importance of reflecting the main conclusions of the underlying chapter, and noted recent studies in support of both sides. As there was common ground on the robustness of evidence within the North Atlantic, the agreed text focused on the "observational evidence for an increase of intense tropical cyclone activity in the North Atlantic" and included a more detailed discussion of the factors that complicate identification of long-term patterns. A row in the table on extreme weather events (Table SPM-1) on "intense tropical cyclone activity increases" was modified to reflect the text agreed in the contact group, adding "in some regions."

So the US wanted to water down the language about hurricanes. Hmmm, I wonder what Australia wanted watered down? Let's see:

After Australia expressed concern about text conclusively stating that increased drying was "due to" higher temperatures and increased precipitation, the language was changed to "linked with."

So the US wanted to downplay the link with hurricanes and Australia the link with droughts. I wonder why?

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"The IPCC reportsay that the range is 18 to 59 cm if you ignore ice flow changes, and 28 to 79 cm if you include an estimate for ice flow changes.'

But they also say the ice flow changes are highly uncertain, so 79 cm is not a hard upper limit.

By Mark hadfield (not verified) on 08 Feb 2007 #permalink

Don't you get tired of fighting with people?

Bailey may have corrected the 43 cm mistake, but his article still doesn't mention the fact that ice flows are not included in the 59 cm estimate.

I don't know if you already know this but in the current issue of the New Scientist there is an article about the writing of this report. They made clear that due to pressure from, mainly, the Saudis and the Chinese (the Americans were much more 'on message' this time, mainly due, probably to the recent elections) this is a VERY conservative report. Any 'wild' or 'unusual' predictions were left out. For example discussions of feedback loops that might greatly increase the rate of warming, minority theories about how glaciers melt and so forth were simply omitted.
So the predictions in this report are very much 'best case' scenarios (contrary to what Lomberg implies, in your post below). It is absolutely true that some climate scientists argue that the predictions used by, for example, Al Gore are possible, or likely even. But if there was ANY controversy about a prediction it was simply left out.

Adam, we have to let them win occasionally.

It builds up their hopes and makes it so much more enjoyable when we crush them.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 09 Feb 2007 #permalink