Monthly Archives: September 2007

THIS IS IT! Climate Science Has Retired!

Today is the last day of our weblog. You can still find it on the same url, we have not moved that, but comments will no longer be accepted. So please, go ahead and browse the archives, but realize, no new posts will be forthcoming, and no comments will be accepted.

Thanks for everyone’s participation!

Dallas Staley

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Summary Conclusions of Climate Science

The Climate Science Weblog has documented the following conclusions:

The needed focus for the study of climate change and variability is on the regional and local scales. Global and zonally-averaged climate metrics would only be important to the extent that they provide useful information on these space scales.

Global and zonally-averaged surface temperature trend assessments, besides having major difficulties in terms of how this metric is diagnosed and analyzed, do not provide significant information on climate change and variability on the regional and local scales.

Global warming is not equivalent to climate change. Significant, societally important climate change, due to both natural- and human- climate forcings, can occur without any global warming or cooling.

The spatial pattern of ocean heat content change is the appropriate metric to assess climate system heat changes including global warming.

In terms of climate change and variability on the regional and local scale, the IPCC Reports, the CCSP Report on surface and tropospheric temperature trends, and the U.S. National Assessment have overstated the role of the radiative effect of the anthropogenic increase of CO2 relative to the role of the diversity of other human climate climate forcing on global warming, and more generally, on climate variability and change.

Global and regional climate models have not demonstrated skill at predicting regional and local climate change and variability on multi-decadal time scales.

Attempts to significantly influence regional and local-scale climate based on controlling CO2 emissions alone is an inadequate policy for this purpose.

A vulnerability pespective, focused on regional and local societal and environmental resources of importance, is a more inclusive, useful, and scientifically robust framework to interact with policymakers, than is the focus on global multi-decadal climate predictions which are downscaled to the regional and local scales. The vulnerability paradigm permits the evaluation of the entire spectrum of risks associated with different social and environmental threats, including climate variability and change.

Humans are significantly altering the global climate, but in a variety of diverse ways beyond the radiative effect of carbon dioxide. The IPCC assessments have been too conservative in recognizing the importance of these human climate forcings as they alter regional and global climate. These assessments have also not communicated the inability of the models to accurately forecast the spread of possibilities of future climate. The forecasts, therefore, do not provide any skill in quantifying the impact of different mitigation strategies on the actual climate response
that would occur.

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Filed under Climate Change Forcings & Feedbacks, Climate Change Metrics, Climate Change Regulations, Climate Models, Definition of Climate

The 2007 IPCC Assessment Process – Its Obvious Conflict of Interest

Climate Science has discussed the shortcomings, bias and errors with the 2007 IPCC Report (e.g. see, see, see, and see). My final Climate Science posting summarizes the fundamental problem with this assessment.

If instead of evaluating research in climate, suppose a group of scientists introduced a new cancer drug that they claimed could save many lives. There were side effects, of course, but they claimed that the benefit far out weighed these risks. The government than asked these scientist to form an assessment Committee to evaluate this claim. Colleagues of the group of scientists who introduced the drug are then asked to serve on this Committee, along with the developers.

If this occurred, of course, there would be an uproar of protest! This is a clear conflict of interest.

Yet this is what has happened with the IPCC process! The same individuals who are doing primary research in the role of humans on the climate system are then permitted to lead the assessment! There should be an outcry on this obvious conflict of interest, but to date either few recognize this conflict, or see that since the recommendations of the IPCC fit their policy and political agenda, they chose to ignore this conflict. In either case, scientific rigor has been sacrificed and poor policy and political decisions will inevitably follow.

In a previous climate assessment, I made a recommendation as to how to correct this defective assessment process. This is discussed in the report

Pielke Sr., Roger A., 2005: Public Comment on CCSP Report “Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences”. 88 pp including appendices,

where I wrote

“Future assessment Committees need to appoint members with a diversity of views and who do not have a significant conflict of interest with respect to their own work. Such Committees should be chaired by individuals committed to the presentation of a diversity of perspectives and unwilling to engage in strong-arm tactics to enforce a narrow perspective. Any such committee should be charged with summarizing all relevant literature, even if inconvenient, or which presents a view not held by certain members of the Committee.

Assessment Committees should not be an opportunity for members to highlight their own research and that which supports their personal scientific conclusions without properly placing into perspective the diversity found in the peer literature. When the Chair of such a committee seeks to limit the focus of an assessment Report in a specific direction, such as was the case with this Committee, the advancement of our understanding of the scientific issues involved suffers.”

“….Unfortunately, the Report advocates a narrow perspective on science shared by the majority of the committee, rather than dealing comprehensively with the issues under its charge and found in the broader scientific literature. As such it does a disservice to those interested in a comprehensive review of the relevant science.”

We need recognition among the scientific community, the media, and policymakers that the IPCC process is obviously a real conflict of interest, and this has resulted in a significantly flawed report.

Real Climate has sought to argue that the IPCC process is transparent (see). They clearly contradict themselves in their post, however, where they write

“The authors of the report used the input from the reviewers to improve the report. In some cases, the authors may disagree with the comments – after all, it is them who are the authors of the report; not the reviewers.”

This means that the authors are gatekeepers who can prevent alternative perspectives from being presented. They did exercise that power in preparing the 2007 (and earlier) IPCC Reports. The conflcit of interest reported on in the current Climate Science weblog can be shown clearly in this admission from Real Climate.

Finally, as reported last week, this will be the last weblog on Climate Science. I invite everyone, however, to read the large archive of weblogs that have been posted over the last two years!

The url for the weblog’s archive will be posted Monday. Thank you again for your participation and spending time on Climate Science. I look forward to other climate scientists starting such a weblog!

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Filed under Climate Science Op-Eds