Monthly Archives: November 2009

A Myth About The Surface Temperature Record Analyses Perpetuated On Dot Earth By Andy Revkin

On the weblog Dot Earth today, there is text from Michael Schlesinger, a climatologist at the University of Illinois, that presents analyses of long term surface  temperature trends from NASA, NCDC and Japan as if these are from independent sets of data from the analysis of CRU.  Andy Revkin is perpetuating this myth in this write-up by not presenting the real fact that these analyses draw from the same  original raw data.  While they may use only a subset of this raw data, the overlap has been estimated as about 90-95%.

The unresolved problems with this surface data (which, of course, applies to all four locations) is reported in the peer reviewed paper

Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229.

I discuss this issue in my recent post

Further Comment On The Surface Temperature Data Used In The CRU, GISS And NCDC Analyses

where I document that even the CCSP 1.1. report acknowledged this lack of independence.

Andy Revkin’s post on the surface temperature record data sets is not journalistically accurate.

Comments Off

Filed under Bias In News Media Reports, Climate Science Misconceptions

Comment On The Inaccurate Response By Gavin Schmidt Of Real Climate On The Role of Land Use Change On Temperature Trends

UPDATE: December 1 2009

Gavin Schmidt  responded to this post with the following [thanks to Bob Thompson for alerting us to this!]

From Real Climate

990 whatAboutBob says:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/the-cru-hack-conte=xt/comment-page-20/#comment-145828> 30 November 2009 at 8:21 AM

Gavin,

Your response in comment #289 is incorrect (at best uninformed) please see

 <http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/> http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/

Gavin’ response

[ Response: Not sure what you are pointing to specifically, but I stand = by that statement. The relevant IPCC summary (Chp 2. p185) is as follows:

Since the dominant aspect of land cover change since 1750 has been deforestation in temperate regions, the overall effect of anthropogenic land cover change on global temperature will depend largely on the relative
importance of increased surface albedo in winter and spring (exerting a cooling) and reduced evaporation in summer and in the tropics (exerting a warming) (Bounoua et al., 2002). Estimates of global temperature =
responses from past deforestation vary from 0.01=B0C (Zhao et al., 2001) to = =960.25=B0C
(Govindasamy et al., 2001a; Brovkin et al., 2006). If cooling by = increased surface albedo dominates, then the historical effect of land cover = change may still be adequately represented by RF. With tropical deforestation becoming more significant in recent decades, warming due to reduced evaporation may become more significant globally than increased surface albedo. Radiative forcing would then be less useful as a metric of climate change induced by land cover change recently and in the future.

and (p184)

On the basis of the studies assessed here, including a number of new estimates since the TAR, the assessment is that the best estimate of RF relative to 1750 due to land-use related surface albedo change should =
remain at =960.2 =B1 0.2 W m=962.

Thus while there are complexities and uncertainties involved, the best estimate is that LCC has been a cooling effect historically. I still don'tknow where the US statistic that was quoted in #289 comes from. - gavin]

My Reply

Gavin is using old information. New research has shown a significant warming effect for a number of landscape conversions; e.g. see

 Fall, S., D. Niyogi, A. Gluhovsky, R. A. Pielke Sr., E. Kalnay, and G. Rochon, 2009: Impacts of land use land cover on temperature trends over the continental United States: Assessment using the North American Regional Reanalysis. Int. J. Climatol., DOI: 10.1002/joc.1996. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/r-329.pdf

from the abstract

“….most of the warmingtrends that we identify can be explained on the basis of LULC changes, we suggest that in addition to considering the greenhouse gases–driven radiative forcings, multi-decadal and longer climate models simulations must further include LULC changes.”

and

New Idea offered to fight climate change  from Georgia Tech which has 6 links (under the author’s name) in google news where the press release has the text

“Across the (United States) as a whole, approximately 50 percent of the warming that has occurred since 1950 is due to land use changes (usually in the form of clearing forest for crops or cities) rather than to the emission of greenhouse gases,” Stone said. “Most large U.S. cities … are warming at more than twice the rate of the planet as a whole — a rate that is mostly attributable to land use change.”

******END OF UPDATE****

There is a response by Gavin Schmidt on Real Climate with respect to the role of land use change on the attribution of surface air temperature trends [thanks to Charlie Allen for alerting us to it!]. While Gavin has expertise in global climate modeling, his reply illustrates his lack of expertise on the role of landscape processes within the climate system, and, in this example, with respect to the role of land use/land cover change on long temperature trends.

The text from Real Climate is

  1. 1.       CCPO @258 – you quoted Gavin as saying “Note. global land use effects result in a cooling because the biggest issue is the chopping down of forest (dark) to make cropland (bright)”

Well, that’s not actually true. Here’s a press release for a new paper from Georgia Tech, showing how 50% of the warming across the US is due to land use changes.

Original reference for Gavin’s comment was from Edward’s post @95.

Cheers.

[Response: A statement in a press release is not a scientific result and the paper referred to does not show this to be true (and in fact I doubt very much that it is true). There are many papers on the global impacts of land cover change - Pondgratz et al is good, and all such papers show that land use at the global scale drives a cooling. - gavin]

The person who prepared the comment (CCPO CORRECTED Dec 1 2009 – Thanks to Michael Lenaghan who let me know the correct person to credit was Ted) clearly better understands the science issue  better than Gavin Schmidt. 

 I have already documented his lack of expertise in research topics that he comments on at Real Climate and elsewhere in my post

Does Gavin Schmidt Understand Boundary Layer Physics?

A Recent paper of ours which document an increase in surface temperatures due to landscape change include

Fall, S., D. Niyogi, A. Gluhovsky, R. A. Pielke Sr., E. Kalnay, and G. Rochon, 2009: Impacts of land use land cover on temperature trends over the continental United States: Assessment using the North American Regional Reanalysis. Int. J. Climatol., DOI: 10.1002/joc.1996

With respect to the study by Stone Jr, Gavin apparently did not even read it before he commented!

 In the paper

Stone Jr., Brian, 2009: Land Use As Climate Change Mitigation,  Environmental Science and Technology (in press).

 it is written [emphasis added in bold face font]

“….the mean decadal rate of warming across the urban stations is significantly higher than that of rural stations. Averaged over the full period, the mean decadal rate of warming for urban stations was found to be 0.08 °C higher than that of rural stations. This average rate of heat island growths i.e., urban warming in excess of the rural trends rises to 0.20 °C/decade over the most recent 20 years of observation.”

and

“The increasing divergence between rural and urban temperature trends in U.S. cities highlights the limitationsof a climate policy framework focused on emissions reductions alone. If land use change is the dominant agent of climate forcing at the urban scale, Kyoto-based emissions trading schemes may fail to sufficiently safeguard human health in the most heavily populated regions of the planet. It is important to emphasize, however, that the phrase “urban heat island effect,”muchlike the phrase “greenhouse effect,” is a misnomer…The physical mechanisms underlying warming trends in cities are limited neither to urban areas nor to small geographic regions. Rather, changes in surface moisture and energy balances accompanying land conversion processes across large swaths of the planet’s land area are giving rise to changes in climate that may be of the same order of magnitude as changes brought about through the emission of GHGs. As such, the urban heat island effect should be understood to be only the most visible manifestation of a larger phenomenon occurring across multiple geographic scaless a phenomenon better characterized as a “green loss effect” than as something unique to urban areas.”

This reply by Gavin, besides ignoring (e.g. Fall et al 2009) and his trivializing (e.g. Stone Jr 2009)  peer reviewed papers that disagree with his perspective,  his comment also shows that he has learned little from the exposure of the inappropriate attempt by Phil Jones and colleagues to serve as gatekeepers to climate science issues.

Since Gavin Schmidt is not a recognized expert on the role of land use/land cover change, he should have sought a qualified climate scientist to address the comment by CCPO. Instead, he perpetuates the biased and often inaccurate presentation of climate views on Real Climate.

Comments Off

Filed under Bias In News Media Reports, Climate Change Forcings & Feedbacks, Climate Change Metrics

The Economist Magazine Gets It Wrong Again On The Climate Issue

The Economist magazine issue of November 29th has an article titled “ Mail-strom – Leaked e-mails do not show climate scientists at their best”  [subscription required] which is an example of a media outlet that is seeking to trivialize the importance of the leaked e-mails. Examples of their failure to understand the importance of these e-mails is given in their text, excerpts of which I present below:

“IS GLOBAL warming a trick?”

“The result has been a field day for those sceptical of the idea of man-made climate change…”

“…..the scientists are looking tribal and jumpy, and that sceptics have leapt so eagerly on such tiny scraps as proof of a conspiracy.”

The article fails to recognize that even scientists who accept a major role of humans within the climate system are disparaged by the authors in the e-mails (e.g. I was the scientist referred to in the Economist article as a “prat“), and have been excluded from presenting alternative perspectives on the climate issue (e.g., see). 

Despite the attempt to trivialize by the Economist, the issue which has been exposed by the released e-mails are that there are three distinct fundamentally different  perspectives on the role of humans in the climate system.

We have discussed this in our paper

Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell,  W. Rossow,  J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian,  and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union.

The three perspectives are presented in terms of the three hypotheses:

  • Hypothesis 1: Human influence on climate variability and change is of minimal importance, and natural causes dominate climate variations and changes on all time scales. In coming decades, the human influence will continue to be minimal.
  • Hypothesis 2a: Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influences are significant and involve a diverse range of first- order climate forcings, including, but not limited to, the human input of carbon dioxide (CO2). Most, if not all, of these human influences on regional and global climate will continue to be of concern during the coming decades.
  • Hypothesis 2b: Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influences are significant and are dominated by the emissions into the atmosphere of greenhouse gases, the most important of which is CO2. The adverse impact of these gases on regional and global climate constitutes the primary climate issue for the coming decades.

Hypothesis 2b is the perspective that the released e-mails are advocating (which is the IPCC conclusion) and are deliberately attempting to suppress scientists who present evidence of either of the other two viewpoints. In our EOS article, we present evidence in the peer-reviewed literature that refutes both hypotheses 1 and 2b, and supports hypothesis 2a as the robust finding. The Economist has chosen to trivialize this issue with their statement that “sceptics have leapt so eagerly on such tiny scraps as proof of a conspiracy”.

  Rather than being “scraps”, these released e-mails illustrate a coordinated effort to prevent the science with respect to climate change from being properly assessed and communicated to policymakers.

Comments Off

Filed under Climate Science Misconceptions, Climate Science Op-Eds

A New Paper On Landscape Effects On The Climate System – Ballhorna Et Al 2009

There is a new paper of revlevance to the role of landscape change on the climate system (and thanks to Marcel Severijnen to alerting us to!). The paper is

Uwe Ballhorna, Florian Siegerta, Mike Mason and Suwido Limin, 2009: Derivation of burn scar depths and estimation of carbon emissions with LIDAR in Indonesian peatlands. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. November 25, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0906457106

The abstract reads

“During the 1997/98 El Niño-induced drought peatland fires in Indonesia may have released 13–40% of the mean annual global carbon emissions from fossil fuels. One major unknown in current peatland emission estimations is how much peat is combusted by fire. Using a light detection and ranging data set acquired in Central Kalimantan, Borneo, in 2007, one year after the severe peatland fires of 2006, we determined an average burn scar depth of 0.33 ± 0.18 m. Based on this result and the burned area determined from satellite imagery, we estimate that within the 2.79 million hectare study area 49.15 ± 26.81 megatons of carbon were released during the 2006 El Niño episode. This represents 10–33% of all carbon emissions from transport for the European Community in the year 2006. These emissions, originating from a comparatively small area (approximately 13% of the Indonesian peatland area), underline the importance of peat fires in the context of green house gas emissions and global warming. In the past decade severe peat fires occurred during El Niño-induced droughts in 1997, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2009. Currently, this important source of carbon emissions is not included in IPCC carbon accounting or in regional and global carbon emission models. Precise spatial measurements of peat combusted and potential avoided emissions in tropical peat swamp forests will also be required for future emission trading schemes in the framework of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in developing countries.”

The abstract includes the text

“Currently, this important source of carbon emissions is not included in IPCC carbon accounting or in regional and global carbon emission models.”

This is in addition to the failure of the 2009 IPCC assessment to consider, as just two examples,  the effect of this biomass burning on the generation of atmospheric aerosols and their effect on precipitation (e.g. see) and of the alteration of the surface fluxes of heat and moisture into the atmosphere with a resultant alteration of large scale atmospheric patterns (e.g. see).

Comments Off

Filed under Climate Change Metrics

News Release In The Sunday Times By Jonathan Leake – Climate Change Data Dumped

There is a news release in the Sunday Times by Jonathan Leake titled “Climate change data dumped” [Note: the Roger Pielke referred to in the article is Pielke Jr]. This startling disclosure means that  climate scientists will be unable to assess the mathematical methodology that CRU has used to convert the raw temperature data to the adjusted temperature data that were reported (at least up to the 1980s) in the 2007 IPCC assessment.

The article includes the text

“SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation. “

The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals — stored on paper and magnetic tape — were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.”

As also written in the news article

“In a statement on its website, the CRU said: “We do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (quality controlled and homogenised) data.”

This is an absurd claim that the new data is “value-added”.  Indeed, we document a number of unresolved issues with the surface temperature data, which CRU now prevents anyone from assessing in our paper

 Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229.

The claim in the article that this elimination of the data up to the 1980s, however,  suggests that raw data since that time period is available. This data needs to be independently scrutinized  (i.e. not by GISS or NCDC) and each step of their “quality control” and “homogenization” quantitatively assessed [of course, GISS and NCDC should have the raw data prior to the 1980s].

Comments Off

Filed under Climate Science Reporting

Further Comment On The Surface Temperature Data Used In The CRU, GISS And NCDC Analyses

In my post

An Erroneous Statement Made By Phil Jones To The Media On The Independence Of The Global Surface Temperature Trend Analyses Of CRU, GISS And NCDC

I discussed that Phil Jones implied that the GISS and NCDC surface temperature data sets confirmed the robutness of the magnitude of the multi-decadal global average surface temperature trend, even if his CRU data was excluded, since GISS and NCDC provide  independent assessments.

To present this issue further, I have reproduced below my question in 2005 on this issue and the CCSP response from

Compilation of Comments on the Public Review Draft of CCSP Synthesis and Assessment Product 1.1: “Temperature trends in the lower atmosphere – steps for understanding and reconciling differences”

Question [by Roger A. Pielke Sr]:What is the overlap in the raw data that utilized by the three groups?

The best estimate that I am aware of has a 90-95% overlap. The analyses from the three groups are hardly independent assessments, and this should not be hidden in the report.  The overlap is particularly important for the grid points analyzed in the analyses where only 1 or 2 observational data points exist. We have documented for the tropical land areas, for example (20N to 20S) about 70% of the grid points have had zero or less than one observation site! Thus to compute an average surface temperature trend over land in the tropics, which is the area where the report narrowly focuses, almost all of the raw data used on the three analyses is from the same source. Thus to present a Figure to purportedly illustrate uncertainty in the surface temperature trends is misleading.

Response from  CCSP: It is true that there are substantial, though not complete, overlaps between the data sources used in the three global surface temperature analyses. But the unimportance of this problem is shown by the abovementioned observation that the trends show strong coherence between adjacent grid boxes, even in the tropics (Figure 3.6d). Thus if the three global surface temperature analyses were to be deliberately based on different, well distributed sets of one third of the grid boxes, their global trends would still be in good agreement. Moreover it was shown by Jones et al. (1997) that on the annual global space scale there are only about 60 degrees of spatial freedom in surface temperature anomalies.

We note also that the three global surface temperature analyses are based on different methods, corroborating the validity of the analyses. The MSU groups use identical input data and yet yield estimates that differ by the same magnitude as they searched for signal. Why the surface record is being systematically identified as being a problem because of raw data overlap when this applies to all datasets is somewhat of a mystery. The analysis in this report implies that structural uncertainty is greater aloft than at the surface. It is not an altogether surprising result. The surface record is based upon instruments which remain in-situ, are generally calibrated and maintained on a regular basis, and observing practices are relatively constant. Monitoring of the upper-air is achieved either by “fire and forget” single-use radiosondes or by satellites which have at most a lifetime of several years. It is much easier to change practices and introduce significant non-climatic influences in these latter records which very likely explains the larger spread in these estimates than those at the surface.

The response is incorrect. It is written, for example, that

“It is true that there are substantial, though not complete, overlaps between the data sources used in the three global surface temperature analyses. But the unimportance of this problem is shown by the abovementioned observation that the trends show strong coherence between adjacent grid boxes, even in the tropics (Figure 3.6d). “

There are often only one data site per grid cell in the tropics, and elsewhere, so there is no way to correlate between sites within the grid cell. Second, the 90-95% data overlap that I mentioned was not questioned. Indeed, this is what is written in one of the e-mails from Phil Jones [Source: http://chiefio.wordpress.com/].

Comment by Prof. Phil Jones
http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/people/pjones/, Director, Climatic
Research Unit (CRU), and Professor, School of Environmental Sciences,
University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK:
“No one, it seems, cares to read what we put up http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/ on the CRU web page. These people just make up motives for what we might or might not have done. Almost all the data we have in the CRU archive is exactly the same as in the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) archive used by the NOAA National Climatic Data Center [see here http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/ghcn-monthly/index.php and here http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/ghcn/ghcngrid.html ]……”

Another erroneous answer in the CCSP response is

“The surface record is based upon instruments which remain in-situ, are generally calibrated and maintained on a regular basis, and observing practices are relatively constant.”

Really! The invaluable photographic assessment of the USHCN sites has clearly documented that the observing sites are generally quite poor; see

Watts, A. 2009: Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable? 28 pages, March 2009 The Heartland Institute.

The responses in the CCSP report clearly show the casual dismissal of the substantive issues with respect to all three of the global average surface temperature trends that are being used by policymakers to quantify global warming. The three data analyses are not indepenent assessments, and, based on our research (e.g. see) have a signficant warm bias.

Comments Off

Filed under Climate Change Metrics, Climate Science Misconceptions

E-mail Documentation Of The Successful Attempt By Thomas Karl Director Of the U.S. National Climate Data Center To Suppress Biases and Uncertainties In the Assessment Of Surface Temperature Trends

E-mail Documentation Of The Successful Attempt By Thomas Karl Director Of the U.S. National Climate Data Center To Suppress Biases and Uncertainties In the Assessment Of Surface Temperature Trends

The release of the e-mails from Phil Jones further confirmed the attempts to suppress viewpoints of climate change issues, which conflict with the IPCC viewpoint.

In the example I present below, the issue is the robustness of the surface temperature trend record.  The three main groups that compile and analyze this information are NCDC (directed by Tom Karl), GISS (directed by Jim Hansen) and CRU (directed by Phil Jones).

In 2005, as I document in

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,

strong arm tactics of the Editor of this report (Tom Karl, Director of the US National Data Climate Center) were used to remove information in the CCSP report which raised questions about the robustness of his (and Jim Hansen’s GISS and Phil Jones’s CRU)  surface temperature data. Phil Jones was a  National Research Council panel member in a review of an interim draft of the CCSP report. In my Public Comment, I provided e-mail documentation of how these questions were excluded. At the time, my Public Comment did not receive much attention.

However, in light of the exposure of the inappropriate attempts to prevent the presentation of alternative viewpoints of climate science as seen in the Phil Jones e-mails,  I am posting below text from  several relevant e-mails (the complete emails are in the Public Comment).  Since Tom Karl was evaluating his own group’s surface temperature analysis, his conflict of interest is very clear.

E-mails

Subject: Chapter 6: an alternative? [email not for the faint hearted?]

Resent-From: CCSPTempTrendAuthors.NCDC@noaa.gov

Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2005 13:22:32 +0100

From: Thorne, Peter <peter.thorne@metoffice.gov.uk>

To: CCSPTempTrendAuthors.NCDC@noaa.gov

Dear all,

Health warning: This mail does not hold its punches as the youngest member of this panel I suppose that I have the most to lose through Chapter 6 in its current form in terms of future research career. I also suspect that I am the most likely to run around making a pain in the proverbial of myself. My apologies for that! I’ve tried over the past few weeks to help others in the Chapter 6 redrafting, but I really think that the structure we had just will not work. Therefore I took the liberty of spending 3 hours this morning developing an alternative, which I attach. I will caveat that David has looked at this, but the rationale and most of the text is my responsibility, not his (in other words the buck stops here).

This is punchier, almost devoid of references (actually not bothered with a reference list yet – there are limits!), more tightly linked to the chapters, and contains fewer recommendations that are more focussed. I believe unless I am seriously mistaken that these are all points

others have made over the recent past in relation to this chapter. They also directly assess the NRC review comments.

 very time we have put a redraft back in the past few weeks the same pet subjects have been re-inserted, lengthening the draft and destroying the flow. I’m sorry, but I for one am now utterly bored of this. You will note in the attached there are comments where I suspect this insertion of pet subjects may happen, but, in my opinion, is not justified. I have, however, been scrupulously fair in targeting surface and upper-air records in all sections in line with the balance of the rest

of this report and with Roger’s concerns. I would be particularly interested in thoughts from the editorial team and other CLAs as to whether they think this is an improvement. My sincere apologies if this causes offence to Roger or anyone else. My sole interest is in seeing us get an excellent report out. I will now don my flame proof jacket, but please can everyone take the time to calmly consider this mail and the attachment first.

 Peter

My suspicion is that Tom Karl encouraged or asked Peter Thorne to write this e-mail [for  a more recent comment on the poor professional ethics of Peter Thorne; see]. Thorne only required 3 hours to write his version, as he wrote in his e-mail, while we had spent several months writing ours.

Tom Karl quickly followed up Thorne’s e-mail with

Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2005 08:53:44 -0400

From: Thomas R Karl <Thomas.R.Karl@noaa.gov>

To: Roger Pielke <pielke@atmos.colostate.edu>

Subject: [Fwd: Chapter 6: an alternative? [email not for the faint

hearted?]]

Roger — let me know what you think

Tom

However,  I had not even seen what Tom Karl was talking about, which implies that this was discussed between Tom Karl and Peter Thorne beforehand.  I replied to Karl’s e-mail with

Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2005 06:55:54 -0600 (MDT)

From: Roger Pielke <pielke@atmos.colostate.edu>

To: _NESDIS NCDC CCSP Temp Trends Lead Authors

<CCSPTempTrendAuthors.NCDC@noaa.gov>

Subject: Re: Chapter 6: an alternative? [email not for the faint hearted?]

Resent-Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2005 07:04:06 -0600

Resent-From: CCSPTempTrendAuthors.NCDC@noaa.gov

Peter 

Since I was not even sent a copy of this suggested revision, it would be appreciated if you did so I can comment.

Roger

I e-mailed the following to Peter Thorne 

Peter

In order for us to track down the problem, please send us the e-mail as it actually bounced, so that we can use the tracking information that always appears on these.

 Roger

Peter Thorne replied

 Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2005 09:04:53 +0100

From: “Thorne, Peter” <peter.thorne@metoffice.gov.uk>

To: Roger Pielke <pielke@atmos.colostate.edu>

Cc: Thomas R Karl <Thomas.R.Karl@noaa.gov>

Subject: Email that bounced

Roger,

I no longer have the bounced mail itself I’m afraid, but I have the

saved DNS error message which is attached below [DNS message is in Appendix C of my Public Comment]: 

Is it possible that your server machine was temporarily down or having a patch applied at this time? That could explain it. For everyone else there was no bounce.

 

 

The clear suspicion is that I was deliberately left off. If my e-mail bounced, why did not he resend it to me?

Tom Peterson (who was on the Committee also; and the same Tom Peterson who ridiculed me in the Phil Jones e-mail collection; see) wrote

Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2005 09:05:52 -0400

From: Thomas C Peterson <Thomas.C.Peterson@noaa.gov>

To: Roger Pielke <pielke@atmos.colostate.edu>

Subject: Re: Chapter 6: an alternative? [email not for the faint hearted?]

Roger, it was attached to Peter’s email that went out to the whole team

earlier today. Did you not get it?

More e-mails followed, which are reproduced in Appendix C my Public Comment.  The question of whether they actually sent me the original e-mail was, of course, not the substantive problem with the process (it just suggests they were communicating about this via e-mail and inadvertently left me off the final e-mail communication that disseminated Peter Thorne’s draft.

The end of the e-mail exchange, which forced me to resign from the Committee, is clear in the text and tone of the e-mail below from Tom Karl 

From the Entire Editorial Staff: Roger, please do not take this request lightly. We politely ask you take Peter’s version, since everyone so far has indicated it is easier to understand, balanced, and does better represent their views and indicate where you would differ (small minorities views ok, but not desirable). This would be your opportunity to highight specific issues or points that are not adequately addressed in the version that Peter has put out on the Table. It seems you are representing yourself, at the expense of all the other authors who have weighed in on this. We do not understand your intransigence on this.

In other words, since I would not acquiesce to the view of Tom Karl, with regards to the robustness of his surface temperature data and other issues, he was pressuring me to  accept the replacement chapter which does not raise the issues with its robustness. There was also no poll of the Commttee with respect to his claim that everyone accepted Peter Thorne’s chapter, as I document in my Public Comment).

I replied

 Tom

 Lets accept that Peter’s e-mail bounced. As a primary person involved in Chapter 6, as soon as this was found out, efforts should have been made to contact me, as it was clearly recognized by the header of the e-mail that this was going to result in a significant response.

In regards to the more serious issue, it is quite easy for me to document your intransigence on this, rather than you trying to spin the history of this issue so that it is my fault. Peter is invited to contribute to the process in the defined framework as everyone else has, using the existing Chapter draft as the template. It is clear from your published work that you have much to offer scientifically but you also have a conflict of interest, and, in my view, are inappropriately exercising it in your capacity as Editor. By repeatedly stating that I am representing only myself in this debate mischaraterizes the diversity of views of others which exist in our community, and which is reported in the peer-reviewed literature

Using your words, I hope you and the Editorial Staff do not take this controversy lightly. It is documentable that you are seeking to produce a document that is not balanced in its perspective on the issues of surface and tropospheric temperature changes.

I will continue to work on Chapter 6, and look forward to resolving this by encouraging authors to work within the framework of the existing Chapter.

Roger

With a further response from Tom Karl

 Roger,

 Thank you for your speedy reply. Once again, “We politely ask you take Peter’s version …. to highlight specific issues or points that are not adequately addressed in the version that Peter has put out on the Table.”

 Tom, Bill, Chris and Susan

I then decided that the CCSP report process led by Tom Karl is not interested in assessing the science issue with the surface and tropospheric temperature data. He wanted a rubber stamp of the robustness of his data analysis.   

Here is my resignation e-mail which I then sent

 Date: Sat, 13 Aug 2005 01:14:59 +0000

From: pielke_r@comcast.net

To: james.r.Mahoney@noaa.gov, james.r.Mahoney@noaa.gov

Cc: _NESDIS NCDC CCSP Temp Trends Lead Authors

<CCSPTempTrendAuthors.NCDC@noaa.gov>; richard.moss@pnl.gov,

<richard.moss@pnl.gov>

 Subject: Resignation

 Dear Dr. Mahoney

 I am resigning effective immediately from the CCSP Committee “Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere-Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences”. For the reasons briefly summarized in my blog (http://ccc.atmos.colostate.edu/blog/), I have given up seeking to promote a balanced presentation of the issue of assessing recent spatial and temporal surface and tropospheric temperature trends. The NY Times article today was the last straw. This entire exercise has been very disappointing, and, unfortunately is a direct result of having the same people write the assessment report as have completed the studies.

 Their premature representation of aspects of the report to the media and in a Senate Hearing before we finalized the report has made me realize that, despite the claims of some of them to the contrary, only the minimal representation of the perspective that I represent will be begrudgingly included in the report. I also learned earlier this week that a member of the Committee drafted a replacement chapter to the one that I had been responsible for and worked hard toward reaching a consensus, which was almost complete. This sort of politicking has no place in a community assessment. If such committees are put together with no intention of adequately accommodating minority, but scientifically valid perspectives, then it would be best in the future not to invite such participation on CCSP committees I will be submitting a statement as part of the public record when the report appears documenting the specific process and science issues I have with this report. On the science issues, the community at large can made a decision as to whether or not they have merit.

 Respectively

 Roger A. Pielke Sr.

Professor and State Climatologist

Department of Atmospheric Science

Colorado State University Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1371

phone:970-491-8293/fax:970-491-3314

 As a direct result of my inability to present issues associated with uncertainties and possible systematic biases with the surface temperature record, I invited a number colleagues to co-author a peer reviewed paper which raises these issues. The peer reviewed paper appeared in 2007

 

Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229. 

As of today’s data, 4 years after the completion of the report, Tom Karl and his associates as NCDC continue to ignore these issues.  As Phil Jones wrote to Ben Santer and Tom Wigley in his August  22 2005 e-mail with  respect to my resignation

 “I almost missed the one with Pielke’s resignation in. Is this going to make your CCSP task easier or harder? Presumably now you’ll get all his comments to officially deal with. Maybe
you’ll be able to ignore them?
Cheers
Phil”

[from http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=584&filename=1124742148.txt]

 Phil Jones also wrote in an  e-mail dated January 29 2009, with respect to a Comment/Reply with respect to our 2007 JGR paper


> …He is a prat. He’s just had a response to a comment
> piece that David Parker, Tom Peterson and I wrote on a paper
> they had in 2007. Pielke wouldn’t understand independence if it
> hit him in the face. Both papers in JGR online. Not worth you
> reading them unless interested.
>
> Cheers
> Phil
>Prat

Where the Comment he is referring to is our JGR paper and the Comment/Reply that he was involved in. The referees of the  Comment/Reply supported the conclusions of our JGR paper (see). 

The issues of the conflict of interest illustrated by the sample of e-mails from Phil Jones, as well as the above e-mails from Tom Karl, illustrate the extent that this corruption of climate assessements has permeated climate science.

Comments Off

Filed under Climate Change Metrics, Climate Science Reporting

An Erroneous Statement Made By Phil Jones To The Media On The Independence Of The Global Surface Temperature Trend Analyses Of CRU, GISS And NCDC

In the news today, there is an erroneous statement by Phil Jones regarding the surface temperature data sets that are used to diagnose global warming

In Harrabin’s Notes: E-mail impact  it is reported

“Professor Andrew Watson, a long-term colleague of the researchers at the CRU, said the unit should have nothing to fear from an inquiry, as the CRU temperature data set at the heart of many of the e-mails is almost identical to the two other authoritative data sets, both in the US.”

In an interview with the Guardian titled “Climate scientist at centre of leaked email row dismisses conspiracy claims” Phil Jones is quoted as staying

“….Our global temperature series tallies with those of other, completely independent, groups of scientists working for Nasa and the National Climate Data Centre in the United States, among others. Even if you were to ignore our findings, theirs show the same results. The facts speak for themselves; there is no need for anyone to manipulate them.”

These claims of that the surface temperature series are “completely independent” is false and Phil Jones knows that.

 [UPDATE pm Nov 25 2009: I have been requested to word this more clearly, as Jones meant that the groups of scientists are completely independent, not that the series are independent.  It is correct that the three groups completing the analyses work with different (independent) agencies.  However, they do interact closely with each other so they are not "completely independent" even with this interpretation of what he meant.   More significantly and what I interpreted from Jones's statement  that  "[e]ven if you were to ignore our findings, theirs show the same results” indicates to me that he is implying that their findings are independent confirmations of the CRU findings. They are not.

In the report “Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences Final Report, Synthesis and Assessment Product 1.1” on page 32 it is written

“The global surface air temperature data sets used in this report are to a large extent based on data readily exchanged internationally, e.g., through CLIMAT reports and the WMO publication Monthly Climatic Data for the World. Commercial and other considerations prevent a fuller exchange, though the United States may be better represented than many other areas. In this report, we present three global surface climate records, created from available data by NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies [GISS], NOAA National Climatic Data Center [NCDC], and the cooperative project of the U.K. Hadley Centre and the Climate Research Unit [CRU]of the University of East Anglia (HadCRUT2v).”

These three analyses are led by Tom Karl (NCDC), Jim Hansen (GISS) and Phil Jones (CRU).

The differences between the three global surface temperatures  that occur are a result of the analysis methodology as used by each of the three groups. They are not “completely independent”. This is further explained on page  48 of the CCSP report where it is written with respect to the surface temperature data (as well as the other temperature data sets) that

“The data sets are distinguished from one another by differences in the details of their construction.”

On page 50 it is written

“Currently, there are three main groups creating global analyses of surface temperature (see Table 3.1), differing in the choice of available data that are utilized as well as the manner in which these data are synthesized.”

and

“Since the three chosen data sets utilize many of the same raw observations, there is a degree of interdependence.”

The chapter then states on page 51 that

“While there are fundamental differences in the methodology used to create the surface data sets, the differing techniques with the same data produce almost the same results (Vose et al., 2005a). The small differences in deductions about climate change derived from the surface data sets are likely to be due mostly to differences in construction methodology and global averaging procedures.”

and thus, to no surprise,  it is concluded that

“Examination of the three global surface temperature anomaly time series (TS) from 1958 to the present shown in Figure 3.1 reveals that the three time series have a very high level of agreement.”

Each of the three surface temperature analysis suffer from unresolved uncertainties and baises as we documented, for example, in our peer reviewed paper

Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229.

Perhaps Phil Jones was misquoted in the Guardian, and if he was, I would be glad to post his correction here on my weblog. If, however, he does not correct his documented erroneous statement to the media, it will only perpetuate the view that he is continuing to feed misleading information to the public and to policymakers.

Comments Off

Filed under Climate Science Misconceptions, Climate Science Reporting

Protecting The IPCC Turf – There Are No Independent Climate Assessments Of The IPCC WG1 Report Funded And Sanctioned By The NSF, NASA Or The NRC – A Repost Of And Comment On A January 13 2009 post

On January 13 2009 I posted “Protecting The IPCC Turf – There Are No Independent Climate Assessments Of The IPCC WG1 Report Funded And Sanctioned By The NSF, NASA Or The NRC”.

In this post, I concluded that

There are no independent climate assessments of the IPCC report “Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis of Climate Change”  that have been funded and sanctioned by the NSF, NASA or the NRC.

With the perspective exposed in the publication of the e-mails from the research group of Phil Jones this past week, the goal of a small group of scientists to control the information communicated to policymakers and the public is clearly illustrated in my post.  I documented my experience with respect to an attempt by a few scientists to introduce a broader examination of the role of humans and natural climate forcings beyond carbon dioxide that was being discussed at a December 8 2008 meeting at the National Research Council in Washington D.C.

This attempt was aborted as a result of who attended the National Research Council planning meeting. This included individuals mentioned in the e-mails involving Phil Jones.  Despite claims that there are thousands who are driving the focus on CO2 as the primary human climate forcing, the reality is that only a relatively small number of individuals are actually directing this effort.

The group that were invited to attend this December 8th meeting (with their IPCC involvement] were

Caspar Ammann (NCAR) [IPCC Contributor]
Don Anderson NASA HQ
Jay Fein NSF
Isaac Held (NOAA GFDL) [Lead Author IPCC Chapter 11]
Tom Karl (NCDC) [IPCC Contributor]
Chick Keller (Los Alamos National Laboratory)
Judith Lean (Naval Research Laboratory) [Lead Author IPCC Chapter 2]
Roger A. Pielke Sr. (University of Colorado)
Drew Shindell (NASA GISS) [IPCC Reviewer]
Gavin Schmidt (NASA GISS) [IPCC Contributor]
Terry Nathan (UC Davis)
Ka-Kit Tung (University of Washington)

I encourage readers of this post to read the entire original post of January 13 2009 which I concluded with

Except for Judith Lean, Art Charo and myself, however, there was no support for the Strawman proposal. The proposal for a formal NRC Panel was rejected by the others, unless it was very narrowly focused, such as on “decadal forecasts”. The agency representatives (from NASA and the NSF) were similarly not willing to support such a study.

The reason, undoubtedly preordained before we even met on that Monday, is that a significant number of the members of the Committee were (and presumably still are) active participants of the IPCC assessment, as documented above.

Thus, the intensity of the dismissive and negative comments by a number of the committee members, and from even several of the agency representatives, with respect to any view that differed from the IPCC orthodoxy, made abundantly clear, that there was no interest in vesting an assessment of climate to anyone but the IPCC.

The IPCC is actually a relatively small group of individuals who are using the IPCC process to control what policymakers and the public learn about climate on multi-decadal time scales. This NRC planning process further demonstrates the intent of the IPCC members to manipulate the science, so that their viewpoints are the only ones that reach the policymakers.

If the NSF, NASA and the NRC are going to appoint and accept recommendations by groups with a clear conflict of interest to protect their turf [in this case the IPCC], they will be complicit in denying all of us a balanced presentation of the physical science basis of climate change, including the role that humans have.  

The obvious bias in the 2007 IPCC WG1 report is illustrated in the weblogs

Documentation Of IPCC WG1 Bias by Roger A. Pielke Sr. and Dallas Staley – Part I

Documentation Of IPCC WG1 Bias by Roger A. Pielke Sr. and Dallas Staley – Part II

As it stands now, there are no independent climate assessments of the IPCC WG1 report funded and sanctioned by the NSF, NASA or the NRC. 

The agency representatives at the NRC planning meeting on December 8 2008, either are inadvertently neglecting the need for independent oversight, or they are deliberately ignoring this lack of an independent assessment because the IPCC findings fit their agenda on the climate issue. In either case, the policymakers and the public are being misled on the degree of understanding of the climate system, including the human role within in it.”

The released e-mails from Phil Jones, in conjunction with the experience I discuss above as well my 2005 CCSP experience (which I will discuss early next week – I have decided to post the morning of November 26 2009), suggest that the collusion to suppress other scientifically supported views of the climate system, and the human  role within it,  is a systemic problem with the climate assessment process.

Comments Off

Filed under Climate Science Reporting

Beware Saviors! By Demetris Koutsoyiannis

 Guest weblog by Demetris Koutsoyiannis (http://www.itia.ntua.gr/dk/)

 Hydrological engineering is my scientific field and it is closely related to climate. In the last decade, I have been concerned about the state of research in climate and its detrimental influence on hydrology. Also, I should note up front that I try to be a skeptic; for a Greek, this is a positive quality (skeptic is etymologized from skepsis = thought). In recent years, I have tried to publish a few papers related to climate. Some of them were initially rejected, but eventually published elsewhere—usually in journals without a specific focus on climate. From the experience I gained through the review process of the rejected papers, I became more confident about the analyses I’d performed and the significance of the results I’d presented. I have not been surprised, therefore, to see that these once-rejected papers have become the most cited among my papers.

 Due to my skeptical inclination, I’ve had the feeling that my colleagues had serious doubts about my perspective. The common dogma is that “climate change is real” and its consequences are catastrophic, so why oppose those ideas and the people who arduously work to save the planet, and us, from catastrophes? I found it difficult to explain my convictions in a compelling manner. However, the explanation is actually simple and was formulated by my co-authors Alberto Montanari, Harry Lins, Tim Cohn, and myself in a recent paper criticizing the IPCC position on freshwater: “A common argument in favour of the political orientation of the IPCC is that its aims are good for humanity and the natural environment and that reducing emissions of greenhouse gases will be beneficial for the planet, regardless of the ultimate validity of the IPCC model predictions. However, we believe that science is a process for the pursuit of truth and that fidelity to this system should not be affected by other aims. History shows that such distractions can be detrimental to science.” (This paper can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1623/hysj.54.2.394 and a comment about it, as well as the IPCC authors’ reply, has been published on this weblog at http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2009/04/01/a-new-commentreply-on-the-subject-climate-hydrology-and-freshwater-towards-an-interactive-incorporation-of-hydrological-experience-into-climate-research/).

 Having had several negative experiences in my (rather indirect) interaction with mainstream “scientists” involved in “climate change” and “climate change impacts” (I put all these quotation marks because I believe that the latter terms are not scientific), I must say that what I’ve been reading in the recently hacked and released confidential files from the CRU (aka “Climategate” documents) is not a surprise to me. Rather, and sadly, it verifies what I had suspected about some in the climate establishment. I wonder if they take pride in seeing their own words—now in a public forum: 

I tried hard to balance the needs of the science and the IPCC , which were not always the same.” (http://www.anelegantchaos.org/cru/emails.php?eid=794).

 “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is !” (http://www.anelegantchaos.org/cru/emails.php?eid=419).

 “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”  (http://www.anelegantchaos.org/cru/emails.php?eid=154).

 “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong.” (http://www.anelegantchaos.org/cru/emails.php?eid=1048).

 “If anything, I would like to see the climate change happen, so the science could be proved right, regardless of the consequences.” (http://www.anelegantchaos.org/cru/emails.php?eid=544)

 “The skeptics appear to have staged a ‘coup’ at ‘Climate Research’ … Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate
research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal.”
(http://www.anelegantchaos.org/cru/emails.php?eid=295).

 “It’s one thing to lose ‘Climate Research’. We can’t afford to lose GRL [Geophysical Research Letters]http://www.anelegantchaos.org/cru/emails.php?eid=484).

 I do not know how the majority of research scientists feel when reading these and similar quotations from those few people who—objectively—they’d viewed as the leaders in the “climate change” enterprise, and whose results and directions they were consistently following. Will they continue to recognize them as saviors? Saviors who wish “the climate change happen… regardless of the consequences”?  Moreover, how do the journal editors feel when they learn that the editorial process that they oversaw had been so effectively influenced by these few dominant people? I had my own experience with GRL: a paper co-authored by Alberto Montanari was rejected by the then (2006) editor (although it was eventually published in another AGU journal, Water Resources Research). This interesting story is described at http://www.itia.ntua.gr/en/docinfo/781/, where I have posted the entire prehistory. By the way, I continue to follow the same practice of posting the prehistory for all my initially rejected papers (http://www.itia.ntua.gr/en/documents/?tags=rejected). I very much like transparency.

This brings me to the last point I wish to make: secrecy versus transparency. One interesting lesson from this story is that secrecy is corruptible—and corruptive. The CRU people and their collaborators who wrote all these documents felt, no doubt, safe behind their secrecy. They must have felt that this secrecy was their best weapon: to censor differing opinions, to develop “trick” procedures, to “balance” the needs of IPCC, and even to “redefine” peer review.

Unfortunately, current scientific ethics are based largely on the assumption of secrecy—as in the anonymity of reviews.  Apparently, as the CRU story highlights, secrecy is not safe. By analogy, how can one be sure that the archive containing the reviews of a journal (with reviewer names) will never be hacked and its contents released on the internet? Of course, there are also lots of other ways that secrecy gets (self-)destroyed. For example, it is often easy to find out who the anonymous reviewers of a paper are.

So, I hope that, as this story continues to unfold, it gives us pause to consider how secrecy and anonymity are non-productive and destructive practices in science. Indeed, through such consideration, we may come to realize that transparency forces us to be more productive and progressive in pursuing the truth—particularly in science.

Comments Off

Filed under Climate Science Reporting, Guest Weblogs