Category Archives: Climate Surveys

New Survey On Climate Science By Bart Verheggen, Bart Strengers, Rob van Dorland, And John Cook

UPDATE: I received the e-mail below from Bart clarifying the survey.

Hi Roger,

These are the survey questions that we distributed earlier this year (april), ie this is not an active survey at this moment.

We will communicate the survey results at a later stage.

Regards, Bart

Dr Bart Verheggen Scientist Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency PBL

Department of Climate, Air and Energy

Bilthoven, The Netherlands

*****************************************

I received the e-mail below with respect to a climate survey.

Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2012 08:45:15 +0000
From: “Verheggen, Bart”
To: “Verheggen, Bart”
Cc: “Strengers, Bart”
Subject: Survey questions available on PBL website

Dear survey respondent,

Based on requests we received, we hereby make the Climate Science Survey questions and answer options available on the PBL website:

http://www.pbl.nl/en/news/newsitems/2012/survey-on-the-opinions-on-climate-change

With kind regards,
Bart Verheggen, Bart Strengers, Rob van Dorland, John Cook

Regards,

Dr Bart Verheggen
Scientist

………………………………………………………………
Department of Climate, Air and Energy
PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency
Ant. van Leeuwenhoeklaan 9 | 3721 MA | Bilthoven | W.340
PO box 303 | 3720 AH | Bilthoven

Issues related to the role of climate science in society will also receive attention. The results and their analysis will be published on our website and submitted to a scientific journal. We anticipate this study to facilitate a constructive dialogue on the selected issues, between people of different opinion, and to help communicate these issues to a wider audience.

See also:

The questions asked in the survey (PDF, 403 KB)

More information

For further information, please contact the PBL press office (+31 70 3288688 or persvoorlichting@pbl.nl).

The summary of the survey is given in

Survey on the opinions on climate change

which reads

Newsitem | 22-03-2012

PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, in conjunction with the Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute (KNMI) and the University of Queensland (Australia), is investigating the range of scientific opinions about climate change. The objective of this study is to gain insight into how climate scientists perceive the public debate on the physical scientific aspects of climate change.

To this end, an international survey is being held among scientists who have published about global warming. Also invited are people who publicly have raised criticisms against climate science. Survey responses remain anonymous.

Physical scientific aspects of climate change are a focal point in the public debate. Therefore, this survey is focused on these ‘IPCC Working Group I’ topics, as they form the foundations for further deliberation; for example, regarding impacts or response strategies.

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Skeptical Science Survey By John Cook On “Climate Related Research”

This past week I received the e-mail below inviting me to participate in a survey by John Cook of the University of Queensland.  I participated and provide my comment on it (which was submitted with the survey) at the end of this post. I appreciate being invited to participlate but, as I write later in this post, have major issues with the framework of the survey.

Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2012 07:57:24 +1000 (EST) From: John Cook <xxxxxx> To: pielkesr@cires.colorado.eduSubject: Invitation to participate in survey re your climate related research

You are invited to participate in a survey by the University of Queensland measuring the level of consensus in the peer-reviewed literature for the proposition that humans are causing global warming. Our search of the ISI Web of Science database has found 4 of your papers published between 1991 and 2011 matching the search phrases ‘global warming’ or ‘global climate change’ (noting that due to the specific search parameters, it’s possible that some of your papers may not be included). You are invited to categorise the topic of research and level of endorsement in each paper. You will not be asked to supply your private views but merely to categorise your published research. To participate, please follow the link below to the University of Queensland website [I disabled the link].

The survey should take around 6 minutes. You may elect to discontinue the survey at any point; your ratings will only be recorded if the survey is completed. The rating must be done in one uninterrupted session, and cannot be revised after closing the session. Your ratings are confidential and all data will be de-individuated in the final results so no individual ratings will be published. You may sign up to receive the final results of the de-individuated survey.

The research, titled The Consensus Project, is being conducted by the University of Queensland in collaboration with contributing authors of the website SkepticalScience.com (winner of the Australian Museum 2011 Eureka Prize for Advancement of Climate Change Knowledge). The research project is headed by John Cook, Research Fellow in Climate Change Communication for the Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland.

This study adheres to the Guidelines of the ethical review process of The University of Queensland. Whilst you are free to discuss your participation in this study with project staff (contactable on +61 7 3365 3553 or j.cook3@uq.edu.au), if you would like to speak to an officer of the University not involved in the study, you may contact the Ethics Officer on +61 7 3365 3924 or humanethics@research.uq.edu.au.

Regards, John Cook Global Change Institute/University of Queensland Skeptical Science

I have cut and pasted the information from the survey below.

Survey on Climate Change Consensus in the Peer-Reviewed Literature

Please select from both drop downs below to rate your paper, specifying category and level of endorsement. You may also add any comments (e.g. – indicate if the paper was erroneously attributed to you). All papers must be rated in one sitting.

Category: The first drop down indicates what category of research your paper covers. If your paper addresses more than one category, select the category that is the major focus:

  1. Impacts:effects and impacts of climate change on the environment, ecosystems or humanity
  2. Methods:focus on measurements and modelling methods, or basic climate science not included in the other categories.
  3. Mitigation:research into lowering CO2 emissions or atmospheric CO2 levels
  4. Not Climate Related:This includes social science research about people’s views on climate
  5. Opinion:Not peer-reviewed
  6. Paleoclimate: examining climate during pre-industrial times

Endorsement: The second drop down indicates the level of endorsement for the proposition that human activity (i.e., anthropogenic greenhouse gases) is causing global warming (e.g., the increase in temperature). Note: we are not asking about your personal opinion but whether each specific paper endorses or rejects (whether explicitly or implicitly) that humans cause global warming:

  1. Explicit Endorsement with Quantification:paper explicitly states that humans are causing most of global warming.
  2. Explicit Endorsement without Quantification:paper explicitly states humans are causing global warming or refers to anthropogenic global warming/climate change as a given fact.
  3. Implicit Endorsement:paper implies humans are causing global warming. E.g., research assumes greenhouse gases cause warming without explicitly stating humans are the cause.
  4. Neutral:paper doesn’t address or mention issue of what’s causing global warming.
  5. Implicit Rejection:paper implies humans have had a minimal impact on global warming without saying so explicitly. E.g., proposing a natural mechanism is the main cause of global warming.
  6. Explicit Rejection without Quantification:paper explicitly minimizes or rejects that humans are causing global warming.
  7. Explicit Rejection with Quantification: paper explicitly states that humans are causing less than half of global warming

Survey Form (mouseover the paper title to display the abstract)

Listed below are peer-reviewed articles you have co-authored listed in the ISI Web of Science database matching the exact phrases ‘global warming’ or ‘global climate change’. Due to the specificity of the search, some of your climate related papers may not have appeared in the search.

The papers that were listed as being attributed to me are

Importance Of Land Use Versus Atmospheric Information Verified From Cloud Simulations From A Frontier Region In Costa Rica (2009)

Evidence For Carbon Dioxide And Moisture Interactions From The Leaf Cell Up To Global Scales: Perspective On Human-caused Climate Change (2006)

Hurricanes And Global Warming (2005)

The Influence Of Land-use Change And Landscape Dynamics On The Climate System: Relevance To Climate-change Policy Beyond The Radiative Effect Of Greenhouse Gases (2002)

The third paper is my son’s.

In the comment request box in the survey, I provided the following:

A survey needs to have a broader set of questions asked with respect to the peer reviewed papers, if the goal is to clearly determine the findings in the peer reviewed literature. For example, we proposed this set of questions in

Brown, F., J. Annan, and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2008: Is there agreement amongst climate scientists on the IPCC AR4 WG1? [http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/brown.pdf].

1. There is no warming; it is a fabrication based on inaccurate/inappropriate measurement. Human activity is not having any significant effect on Climate. The data on which such assumptions are made is so compromised as to be worthless. The physical science basis of AGW theory is founded on a false hypothesis.

2. Any recent warming is most likely natural. Human input of CO2 has very little to do with it. Solar, naturally varying water vapour and similar variables can explain most or all of the climate changes. Projections based on Global Climate Models are unreliable because these are based on too many assumptions and unreliable datasets.

3. There are changes in the atmosphere, including added CO2 from human activities, but significant climate effects are likely to be all within natural limits. The ‘scares’ are exaggerations with a political motive. The undue emphasis on CO2 diverts attention away from other, important research on climate variability and change.

4. There is warming and the human addition of CO2 causes some of it, but the science is too uncertain to be confident about current attributions of the precise role of CO2 with respect to other climate forcings. The IPCC WG1 overestimates the role of CO2 relative to other forcings, including a diverse variety of human climate forcings.

5. The scientific basis for human impacts on climate is well represented by the IPCC WG1 report. The lead scientists know what they are doing. We are warming the planet, with CO2 as the main culprit. At least some of the forecast consequences of this change are based on robust evidence.

6. The IPCC WG1 is compromised by political intervention; I agree with those scientists who say that the IPCC WG1 is underestimating the problem. Action to reduce human emissions of CO2 in order to mitigate against serious consequences is more urgent than the report suggests. This should be done irrespective of other climate and environmental considerations.

7. The IPCC WG1 seriously understates the human influence on climate. I agree with those scientists who say that major mitigation responses are needed immediately to prevent catastrophic serious warming and other impacts projected to result from human emissions of CO2. We are seriously damaging the Earth’s climate, and will continue to face devastating consequences for many years.

A survey that identifies which of the above statements a peer reviewed paper provides support for would be quite informative.

Your survey also only presented a very limited number of papers that I was involved with as an author. For example, see 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. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/r-354.pdf

where we presented these 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.

I also recommend that you survey the literature, in terms of impacts assessments, if they use the top-down (outcome) vulnerability approach or the bottom-up (contextual) vulnerability) approach to assess risk. As we presented in our paper

Pielke Sr., R.A., R. Wilby, D. Niyogi, F. Hossain, K. Dairuku, J. Adegoke, G. Kallos, T. Seastedt, and K. Suding, 2012: Dealing with complexity and extreme events using a bottom-up, resource-based vulnerability perspective. AGU Monograph on Complexity and Extreme Events in Geosciences, in press

we wrote

We discuss the adoption of a bottom-up, resource–based vulnerability approach in evaluating the effect of climate and other environmental and societal threats to societally critical resources. This vulnerability concept requires the determination of the major threats to local and regional water, food, energy, human health, and ecosystem function resources from extreme events including climate, but also from other social and environmental issues. After these threats are identified for each resource, then the relative risks can be compared with other risks in order to adopt optimal preferred mitigation/adaptation strategies.

This is a more inclusive way of assessing risks, including from climate variability and climate change than using the outcome vulnerability approach adopted by the IPCC. A contextual vulnerability assessment, using the bottom-up, resource-based framework is a more inclusive approach for policymakers to adopt effective mitigation and adaptation methodologies to deal with the complexity of the spectrum of social and environmental extreme events that will occur in the coming decades, as the range of threats are assessed, beyond just the focus on CO2 and a few other greenhouse gases as emphasized in the IPCC assessments.

A survey as you are doing would be much more informative if you broadened out the survey to ask these questions.

My view of this survey is that it is much too limiting in the questions they are asking regarding the findings in the peer reviewed literature. It appears they are writing their questions to reinforce a preconceived perspective, rather than complete an actual survey of the diversity of viewpoints in climate system science and the role of humans in its alteration.   Rather than asking the broader question of the role of humans in the climate system, the survey highlights the “endoresement” that

the level of endorsement for the proposition that human activity (i.e., anthropogenic greenhouse gases) is causing global warming (e.g., the increase in temperature).

This is hardly a survey that is going to broaden out the assessment of the current perspective of the peer review literature on climate science. I hope they take my recommendations and expand their survey questions.

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Questions For A New Survey Planned By Dennis Bray As Reported On The Weblog Die Klimazwiebel

In response to an invitation for input from Dennis Bray in a post

New Survey of Climate Scientists

on the weblog Die Klimazwiebel

I submitted the following three questions:

1. Is global warming (and cooling) a subset of climate change or does it dominate climate change?

2.  What evidence exists that the multi-decadal global climate models can skillfully predict i) the real-world observed behaviour of large-scale atmospheric-ocean circulation features such as ENSO, the NAO, the PDO, ect. and ii) CHANGES in the statistics (patterning and in time) of these circulation features?

3. Which of the following hypotheses have been rejected?

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.

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NOAA Climate Survey – A Biased Approach To Assess NOAA Employees’s View Of Climate Science

UPDATE Feb ruary 6 2012: I was informed by Hilary Ostrov of The View From Here that my answers in the tables using yes and no could be misleading. Thus I have changed to an X.

I was alerted by Marc Morano to a survey that NOAA is sending out to its employees. The first e-mail is to Marc apparently from a NOAA employee

Mr. Morano:

NOAA employees today were asked to participate in a Climate Knowledge Survey.  I have included the inviting email

below.  In order to take the survey, however, you must have a valid NOAA email account, so I have cut and pasted

the Survey itself and the key to the ‘correct’ answers below for your reading pleasure.  As you can see, there are certain

assumptions larded throughout this survey, such as what many climate scientists believe is ‘true.’   Thought you might

be interested.

Regards,

The e-mail referred to from NOAA appears below

All,

Climate has connections to many scientific and societal issues. To characterize NOAA’s level of climate literacy and assess interest in climate training materials and other resources, a NOAA climate capacity-building team has been established.  The team’s overall goal is to enhance the ability of NOAA staff to effectively communicate about climate science.

As part of this process, I encourage you to consider completing the team’s Climate Knowledge and Needs Assessment Surveys by February 15. The first survey characterizes the current level of climate literacy among respondents, and the second assesses the need for climate-related professional development resources or opportunities. Each survey should take approximately 10 minutes to complete, and your responses will be completely anonymous.  You can access the surveys by clicking here:

Climate Knowledge Survey

Needs Assessment Survey

The capacity-building team will use the survey results to identify and provide opportunities for NOAA staff to become more conversant about NOAA’s climate products, information, and services.

Your participation in these surveys will greatly assist with this NOAA-wide effort. Participation in these surveys and taking advantage of future opportunities is voluntary. If you have any questions or comments about the surveys or the goals of this climate team, please contact Diane Stanitski at 301-427-2465 or diane.stanitski@noaa.gov.

Thank you.

I have reproduced it below with my comments inserted.

[NOAA's] Climate Knowledge Survey

This voluntary survey should take about 10 minutes to complete. It is designed to gauge the current level of climate knowledge among NOAA personnel and partners who respond to the survey. Your answers will be completely anonymous.

For questions that you don’t know the answer, please choose the “Don’t Know” option rather than guessing. If you choose “Other” to answer any question, you can enter text directly in the small box, or paste a response of up to 300 characters into the field.

With which NOAA office are you associated?

National Weather Service (NWS)

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)

National Ocean Service (NOS)

National Environmental Satellite Information Service (NESDIS)

Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR)

Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO)

Headquarters (HQ) (i.e., Communications, Leg. Affairs, Policy, Education, International, etc.)

Other:

To improve our ability to draw valid conclusions from the survey without identifying individuals, please enter a unique five digit number that you will remember and use again on related surveys (for instance, you might choose the last five numbers of your personal phone number).

No attempt will be made to identify you. Your number will be used only to match results to related surveys or pair before and after scores if you take this survey again.

My Comment: I doubt most responders really conclude they are anonymous.

1. Which of the following statements about global climate change is true?

Note: the phrase “global climate change” refers to observations such as increased global temperature, decreased presence of ice, and changes in precipitation patterns.

Most climate scientists agree that global climate change is happening

Most climate scientists are undecided if global climate change is happening

Most climate scientists agree that global climate change is not happening

Don’t know

Other:

My Comment:  This is a very poorly worded question (perhaps deliberately so).  The question implicitly equates global warming (i.e. “increased global temperature, decreased presence of ice” with the term “climate change”.  Most all climate scientists accept that humans are altering the climate system, but it is much more than the narrow focus on changes in the global average heat content of the climate system. By checking “Most climate scientists agree that global climate change is happening”, the users of this survey will claim an agreement with the IPCC viewpoint.

A robust question would be with respect to which of the hypotheses below have not been refuted?

  • 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.

as was discussed on my weblog most recently in the post

The Reason We Need To Agree Which Of Three Fundamentally Different Hypotheses Regarding The Role Of Human In The Climate System Is Correct

The survey continues

2. Most scientific studies that have looked into the cause behind the increase in global temperature over the last 50 years indicate that it is…

Caused mostly by human activities

Caused equally by human activities and natural changes

Caused mostly by natural changes

Random, so it cannot be attributed to a specific cause

Don’t know

Other:

My Comment:  The focus again is on the global average heating.  The survey ignores the finding from the NRC report

National Research Council, 2005: Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington,D.C., 208 pp

that

“…..the traditional global mean TOA radiative forcing concept……diagnoses only one measure of climate change—global mean surface temperature response—while offering little information on regional climate change or precipitation.”

The survey continues

3. Which of the following best describes the relationship between climate and weather?

Climate and weather are different words for the same thing

Normal high and low temperatures of climate control a region’s daily weather

Weather occurs on a local to regional scale; climate occurs at the global scale

Weather describes short-term conditions; climate describes long-term conditions

Weather that occurs across a region is not necessarily related to the region’s climate

Don’t know

Other:

My Comment:  Whoever prepared this survey is not knowledgeable in climate science. Climate is a system of physical, biological and chemical processes involving land, the ocean, the atmosphere and continental ice sheets.  The figure below accurately illustrates this system (which is not one of the possible answers above unless you click “other”.

with the figure caption -

“The climate system, consisting of the atmosphere, oceans, land, and cryosphere. Important state variables for each sphere of the climate system are listed in the boxes. For the purposes of this report, the Sun, volcanic emissions, and human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases and changes to the land surface are considered external to the climate system.”

The survey continues

4. Studies of natural records such as tree rings and layers of ice in glaciers:

give a precise and consistent record of how global temperature has changed over time

provide a relatively consistent picture of how global temperature has changed over time

show relatively inconsistent results, so they are unreliable for estimating past temperatures

provide estimates for precipitation over time, but they don’t reveal anything about past temperatures

Don’t know

Other:

My Comment:  Trees respond to their immediate environment.  Glaciers respond to their local region’s weather. In aggregate they can be used to infer climate conditions over regions, but their use to quantify a global average temperature to tenths of a degree is not robust. Indeed, if it were, we could use that in 2012 to inform us quantitatively what is the global average temperature and this would, if it was robust, agree with the in-situ surface observations of temperature.  However, the proxy temperature data computed in this manner are actually diverging from the thermometer based measurement approach! (e.g. see)

The survey continues

5. Over the last 10,000 years, during the time humans developed the ability to raise crops, global climate has been:

colder than any other time in Earth’s history

warmer than any other time in Earth’s history

more stable than previous periods

more variable than previous periods

Don’t know

Other:

My Comment:   This is a ridiculous question! The Earth’s history spans billions of years.

This survey continues with

6. Which of the following processes has been identified as the most significant cause of increasing global temperatures over the last century?

Volcanic eruptions

The hole in the ozone layer

Clearing forested / vegetated land

Livestock and ranching operations

Exhaust from gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles

An increase in the amount of energy emitted by the Sun

Burning of coal, oil, and natural gas to produce electricity and heat buildings

Regular changes in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of energy it receives from the Sun

Don’t know

Other:

My Comment:  The questions again focus on a global average temperatures.

The survey continues with a table

7. Indicate if the following statements are True, False, or you Don’t Know.

True

False

Don’t know

A. If the amount of energy put   out by the Sun decreased, Earth would get cooler.

                X

B. Global climate change will   eventually eliminate the differences between summer and winter.

               X

C. Climate scientists have a good   understanding of the basic physical processes that control Earth’s climate   system.

               X

D. Today’s computer-based climate   models have successfully projected the trend and magnitude of observed global   temperature for the last century.

                X

E. As the ocean warms, its waters   expand, raising the elevation of the sea’s surface.

                X

F. Melting of glaciers and ice   sheets on land has little or no effect on global sea level.

                X

G. Temperature measurements of   Earth made from satellites are generally consistent with temperatures   measured by ground based instruments.

                 X

My Comment:  This is a question in the survey which has some substance. It needs, however, further detail. What needs to be added, of course, is references to each answer that supports the answers given by the person

8. Climate scientists’ concern about rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere relates to carbon dioxide’s

potential to damage Earth’s ozone layer

potential to poison humans and wildlife

ability to absorb and release heat energy

ability to produce heat in reactions with other gases

Don’t know

My Comment:   This illustrates that the focus of the survey is on carbon dioxide. It also is a simple question that would be one of many a student might have in high school multiple choice test!

9. Since 1750, when the Industrial Revolution began, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased

slightly – a change of about 1%

moderately – a change of about 10%

significantly – a change of about 40%

drastically – a change of about 100%

Don’t know

My Comment: Another high school science question that can be answered just by looking at a data set such as from Mauna Loa and elsewhere (e.g. see).

The survey continues

10. Which country listed below currently emits the most carbon dioxide per person?

Note: This question is about per person emissions rather than total emissions.

United States

Germany

China

Japan

India

Don’t know

My Comment:  Yet more focus on CO2.

The survey then asks

11. Which of the following are among the expected impacts of global climate change?

Check all that apply

Shorter growing seasons

Cooler nighttime temperatures

Heavier downpours when it rains

Decrease in area affected by drought

Changes in the ranges of wildlife and plants

Increase in coastal flooding due to sea level rise

Don’t know

My Comment:  This question is to lead the NOAA employee from the CO2 levels directly into impacts.  A more biased survey would be hard to write.

The survey continues with

12. Indicate if the following statements are True, False, or you Don’t know

True

False

Don’t know

A. As a result of global climate   change, the warmest places on Earth are likely to see the greatest increases   in temperature.

 Here the question inaccurately equates global warming with climate change! They are not the same.

B. Over the last decade, the U.S.   has experienced about twice as many record-breaking hot days as   record-breaking cold days.

 The surface temperature data is biased by siting quality.

C. Most of the heat added to   Earth’s climate system over the last five decades has been absorbed by the   ocean.

                  X

D. Federal agencies are currently   working with communities to help them prepare for extreme weather and climate   impacts.

 The federal agenices are not properly preparing communities if they rely on the limited scenarios provided by NOAA for climate in the coming decades.

E. Corals in warm, tropical seas   around the world are thriving as the ocean waters around them get warmer.

 Tropical seas are not warming in all coral regions. This is a nonsensical survey statement.

My Comment:  These are more questions intended to “educate” the person being surveyed rather than seek objective input from those being surveyed.

The next question is

13. Recent research shows that the acidity of ocean waters is increasing. This phenomenon, called ocean acidification, is

due to chemicals such as fertilizers washing off land into the ocean

a result of increased average temperature of the atmosphere

a result of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the ocean

a consequence of changes in sea surface temperature

All of the above

Don’t know

My Comment:  The person(s) who create this survey question apparently do not even know the ocean is alkaline.

The final survey question is

14. By monitoring conditions within and above the Pacific Ocean, climate scientists have identified a pattern called the El-Niño Southern Oscillation. This phenomenon:

can influence global weather patterns for several seasons

is an example of an expected impact of global climate change

is a result of increased average temperature of the atmosphere

is a regular, seasonal change that occurs in the Southern Hemisphere

All of the above

Don’t know

My Comment:  The role of human climate forcings in altering atmospheric/ocean circulations such as ENSO is an important research question.  The survey question, however, continues the narrow focus on “global climate change” which they use as a synonym for “global warming” due to added CO2.

The survey ends with

15. Please share any comments or recommendations you have regarding this survey.

Thank you for your time

My Comment: For the readers of this weblog post who are NOAA employees, I hope you communicate the failure of this survey to add to our knowledge of climate science. The survey is actually a policy advocacy document, as well as an evaluation of the loyalty of NOAA employees to the perspective of individuals such as Tom Karl and Tom Peterson. 

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Is There Agreement Amongst Climate Scientists On The IPCC AR4 WG1? By Brown Et Al 2008

As a follow up to the post

Survey Of Climate Scientists Announced On Hans von Storch’s Weblog “Die Klimazwiebel”

I have posted today on the survey that Fergus Brown, James Annan and I completed two years ago which we reported in

Brown, F., J. Annan, and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2008: Is there agreement amongst climate scientists on the IPCC AR4 WG1?. The summary plot of our data is given below using the following choice of answers:

1. There is no warming; it is a fabrication based on inaccurate/inappropriate measurement. Human activity is not having any significant effect on Climate. The data on which such assumptions are made is so compromised as to be worthless. The physical science basis of AGW theory is founded on a false hypothesis.
2. Any recent warming is most likely natural. Human input of CO2 has very little to do with it. Solar, naturally varying water vapour and similar variables can explain most or all of the climate changes. Projections based on Global Climate Models are unreliable because these are based on too many assumptions and unreliable datasets.
3. There are changes in the atmosphere, including added CO2 from human activities, but significant climate effects are likely to be all within natural limits. The ‘scares’ are exaggerations with a political motive. The undue emphasis on CO2 diverts attention away from other, important research on climate variability and change.
4. There is warming and the human addition of CO2 causes some of it, but the science is too uncertain to be confident about current attributions of the precise role of CO2 with respect to other climate forcings. The IPCC WG1 overestimates the role of CO2 relative to other forcings, including a diverse variety of human climate forcings.
5. The scientific basis for human impacts on climate is well represented by the IPCC WG1 report. The lead scientists know what they are doing. We are warming the planet, with CO2 as the main culprit. At least some of the forecast consequences of this change are based on robust evidence.
6. The IPCC WG1 is compromised by political intervention; I agree with those scientists who say that the IPCC WG1 is underestimating the problem. Action to reduce human emissions of CO2 in order to mitigate against serious consequences is more urgent than the report suggests. This should be done irrespective of other climate and environmental considerations.
7. The IPCC WG1 seriously understates the human influence on climate. I agree with those scientists who say that major mitigation responses are needed immediately to prevent catastrophic serious warming and other impacts projected to result from human emissions of CO2. We are seriously damaging the Earth’s climate, and will continue to face devastating consequences for many years.

Our conclusions were

1. The largest group of respondents (45-50%) concur with the IPCC perspective as given in the 2007 Report.
2. A significant minority (15-20%), however, conclude that the IPCC understated the seriousness of the threat from human additions of CO2.
3. A significant minority (15-20%), in contrast, conclude that the IPCC overstated the role of human additions of CO2 relative to other climate forcings.
4. Almost all respondents (at least 97%) conclude that the human addition of CO2 into the atmosphere is an important component of the climate system and has contributed to some extent in recent observed global average warming.

Our report is discussed further in these posts

Weblogs By My Coauthors Of Our Rejected EOS Forum Article

Of consensus and consistency

Your opinions, please

Our survey is consistent with that reported on Hans von Storch’s weblog in that there is a wider diversity of views on the role of humans within the climate system than is commonly reported. Our survey [which was not permitted to be published in EOS; see] is also another example of the suppression of attempts to  poll the climate science community with respect to their views of natural climate variability and change, and of the role of humans in the climate system than has been communicated by the IPCC.

To my knowledge, no professional organization, such as the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the European Geosciences Union, as just three examples, have undertaken such surveys of their membership in the preparation of their statements on climate science. This is a very much overdue requirement for the next IPCC assessment.

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Filed under Climate Surveys

Feedback On My Invitation On The Three Hypotheses Regarding Climate Forcings

UPDATE: July 14 2010: I have received a late feedback and have added to the end of this post.

On June 30 2010, I posted

Invitation On Assessing Three Climate Hypotheses

I have received excellent, insightful feedback and post them below. I will follow up in  a subsequent post with my response.

COMMENT [Graduate Student who requested anonymity]

Dear Professor Pielke,

Although I am but a humble engineering student, I would like to offer my thoughts on the question of these hypotheses. I only hope it is okay with you if I do not use my full name-I don’t wish to hind behind anonymity in a hostile way, though. I just don’t want too much attention.

It seems to me that the three hypotheses are perfectly well stated as a broad way of talking about different views of climate. I also suspect that very few scientists hold either hypothesis 1 or 2b as being true, although this is just my impression. Where I suspect a problem occurs is that the hypotheses as stated may encompass very different quantitative views although they are essentially qualitatively distinct. For example, one may hold the view that ” human influences are significant” but still think that most of, for example, twentieth century trends were mostly natural, or even 50-50. “Significant” may just be taken to mean “measurable outside of the range of error” in which case one may view human effects as significant, but marginally so, or almost completely dominant, and still adhere to hypothesis 2a, even though these two positions are quite different. Similarly, I suppose one could argue that, while other human forcings play a role, GHG’s are the largest and therefore most important ones-the others matter, but less so. But as long as that person believed that those effects were small enough to escape reliable detection, they would support 2b. At some threshold, they’d suddenly be supporting 2a, if they believe the other human effects are measurable, but only barely.

So I suppose the only criticism of the hypotheses that I would make is that they could benefit from being seen as categories of more specific hypotheses, and more specific views, rather than the hypotheses about climate. Other than that, I think that they are well posed.

COMMENT Mike Owens

Roger

I read your weblog frequently and although I do not agree with all you say (but most of it to be true), your logic is consistent and to be admired, as is your persistence and determination to resist the excesses and exaggeration of alarmism.

I am a semi retired scientist living in the UK, originally an industrial chemist converted to chemical engineering and subsequently to studies in technical safety, including computational fluid dynamics for modelling of fires and explosions and general risk analysis mostly for offshore oil and gas facilities. 

I feel that your original 2a implies that the natural forces are inferior to human influences. A more neutral 2a might be:-

Hypothesis 2a: The natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, but the human influences are also 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

If we are to retain 2a in its present wording, the proposed 2c below implies the opposite but, unlike hypothesis 1 still accepts that human influences are important:-

Hypothesis 2c: The natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly the most significant, but the human influences are also of some significance and involve a diverse range of significant 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.

An alternative to 2c could be 1b i.e.:-

Hypothesis 1b: Human influence on climate variability and change is of some importance, but natural causes dominate climate variations and changes on all time scales. In coming decades, the human influence will continue to be less than that from natural causes, but still of some concern.

COMMENT [Bob Graza]

Roger,
   Appreciate your web site.  I have been visiting your site for a
   couple of years on a regular basis and find the presentation of
   material valuable and instructive.

   As far as the 3 hypotheses, they seem to capture well the  general positions held by those embroiled in the controversy.

   It appears Gavin is being a bit evasive.  He states, “…CO2
   emissions…are the dominant issue moving forward.”

   Hypothesis 2b states, “….human influences are significant & are dominated by….greenhouse gases, the most important of which is CO2.”

   Though he acknowledges the significance of other climate forcing mechanisms, so does hypothesis 2b.  Sounds like his position fits quite nicely into hypothesis 2b.

COMMENT [Michael Lenaghan]

I’ve attached a revised schematic which (I think) ties it a little
more closely to your original statements. (I don’t really care about attribution one way or the other.)

I think it would help to define what “significant” and “dominant” mean.

COMMENT [ Graham Long]

Dear Professor Pielke

The comments below are rather lengthy - this is because I think there are some tricky issues raised. If the comments are of any use, feel free to chop them down for inclusion.

I have no expertise in climate science at all – I teach political theory. Though it might be hard to believe given the length, these comments are very rough and ready, and many caveats apply…

Hypotheses 2a and 2b
I can see what you’re driving at here, but I did think there’s scope for dispute on the part of realclimate, in respect of both important parts of 2a and 2b: I too wasn’t clear, at first sight, whether these were mutually exclusive.

(1)     Human influences: 2a says `involve a diverse range of first order climate forcing’ 2b says `dominated by the emissions into the atmosphere of greenhouse gases’. One natural reading is that an event can `involve a diverse range’ of contributing causes but causation can still be `dominated’ by one of them.

(2)    Influences continuing to be of concern: 2a says `most will continue to be of concern’, 2b says that the adverse impact of greenhouse gases will be `the primary climate issue’. Again, it seems possible for one issue to be primary, but a variety of issues to still be of concern.

You might dispute whether influences really can be said to involve a diverse range but simultaneously be dominated by one, and whether a range of influences can be of concern, but one be truly primary. Does this hinge, I wonder, on an account of “forcing” or “influence”? On your reading, is it the case that one influence being dominant precludes there being a range of influences (since if one influence did by far the most of the work, the others could not by definition be influences)? I think realclimate are maintaining that there is nothing contradictory in holding one amongst these many is dominant, while still recognising the many.

The second, more “action-guiding” parts of 2a and 2b both seem to follow from the first, `descriptive’ parts ? I skimmed the article, and in this context, the final part of both hypotheses did seem to imply different views of the policy required.  I took what you’re saying in the article to be that actually many people are wedded to an untenable hybrid of (a) and (b). The climate science supports a range of significant forcings (early 2a), but disproportionate policy attention is being directed at GHG ( later 2b)?
But they also don’t seem to be directly comparable in some respects. In 2a, I wondered if the qualification `most, if not all’ and the expression `continue to be of concern’ was making a point about these human influences not going away any time soon. I wondered if this wasn’t really the concern of the end of 2b, which sounds much more concerned with what should be the focus of policy attention. Relatedly, is “issue” or “concern” a question of policy action, or further research, or “keeping an eye on”?

My suggestion would be that the two hypotheses (a) be made more clearly mutually exclusive as a way of (partly – see below) circumventing the first, messy, issue, and (b) that the ideas in the final section of 2a be separated out a little. As a first stab, which hopefully serves to highlight some of these issues:

Hypothesis 2a: Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influences involve a diverse range of significant first order climate forcings, including but not limited to, the human input of carbon dioxide (C02). Most, if not all, of these human influences on regional and global climate will continue during the coming decades. These continuing influences should, together, be the focus of climate policy and research.

Hypothesis 2b: Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influences are clearly dominated by the emissions into the atmosphere of greenhouse gases (the most important of which is CO2), in comparison to which other human forcings are insignificant. Though most, if not all, of these human influences on regional and global climate will continue during the coming decades, the adverse impact of greenhouse gases on regional and global climate should be the focus of climate policy and research.

Well, these new versions of 2a and 2b are mutually exclusive, I take it. I’ve messed around with the placement of “significance” here, and this might destroy your sense, but there’s probably another way to achieve the same effect. But these hypotheses still bring in several issues, so we have to expect people to reject both and affirm other hypotheses which, for example, agree with early 2a, but later 2b, or are subtly different in their view of regional and global factors, or of research and policy. For example, it might not be crazy for someone to reject 2a and 2b, and affirm 2d.

Hypothesis 2d: Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influences involve a diverse range of significant first order climate forcings, including the human input of carbon dioxide (CO2). Most, if not all, of these human influences on regional and global climate will continue during the coming decades. Nevertheless, on balance greenhouse gas emission is the largest single global influence and should therefore be the primary contemporary focus of climate policy.

There might be merit in ditching the final sentence in 2a and 2b, and picking up the policy implications elsewhere? In summary, I thought this was trickier stuff than it might appear at first sight…

COMMENT [Sean Wise]

Dr. Pielke,

I have been reading your blog for several years now so am quite familiar with your three hypothesis.  The more polar hypotheses 1 and 2b not only reflect the polarization of the political/scientific debate but probably also seem more global in their applicability.  Hypothesis 2a while more nuanced, is more regional in its cause and effects.  Considering that most
climate modeling is done on 500 km grid cells and larger, regional or local nuances are almost completely washed out of the analysis.  (I’ve often wondered if GHG’s have become the whipping boy of climate science simply because their effects occur only on a very large scale so are broad enough to model.)

That said, I must also tell you that the most interesting things I read on your site these days are your “keeping score” discussions.  Everyone is well aware of the noise in the temperature record as well as biases that creep in due to changes in environment around monitoring stations.  These two facets of the temperature record mean that the surface temperature record and the trends will be debated for the next 50 years–without conclusion.  But you have featured articles and even started a bit of debate on the total ocean heat content.  You even got Kevin Trenbreth and Roy Spenser talking over the same graphs.  You’ve got people talking about a metric that is stable and precise enough that it is probably the best way to track the climate trends on the earth.  That coupled with the radiative satellite measurements, both low wave and short wave, is really going to move the debate forward.

COMMENT Phil Cartier

Dear Dr. Pielke,

I am an independent science and engineering consultant.

I’d suggest the following hypotheses:

1)  We do not know enough about the functioning of the climate system to evaluate what are actually the most critical elements to study.  We need to start with the basics- Milankovitch cycles, how the sun affects the earth beyond the obvious of effect of solar radiation intensity and what causes the cyclic ebb and flow of glaciers.  Until we understand the dynamics of the switch from glaciation to the interglacial periods we cannot really study other less basic variations in the climate.

2) The overall climate of the earth is controlled by the basic energy in/energy out flow of radiation from the sun and re-radiated from earth.  Human activity may have significant effects on what happens in between- the transfer of energy within the atmosphere and ocean.  We need to understand the magnitude of these effects and whether or not they can affect the overall climate or whether they are limited to regional effects.

COMMENT Steven Geiger

Dr. Pielke – My idea for hypothesis 2c.

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).   Greenhouse gases (GHGs), of which CO2 is the most important based on mans influence and projected
concentrations, is a first order forcing that has the most wide-spread
(global) impact.  Other first order forcings, such as LULC changes, are
important–and potentially the most important–forcing in more limited
areas of the globe where their effects act in concert with those from GHGs.
Most, if not all, of these human influences on regional and global climate
will continue to be of concern  during the coming decades.

COMMENT Robb Randall

 I read your post yesterday on the Climate Hypotheses and decided to add
my 2 cents.  I realize that you and your co-authors are highly respected
climate scientists and I’m very new to the community, so please take my
comments with that in mind and if I am not interpreting the question or
paper properly I apologize up front.

 As I read your paper it appears to present only two possibilities,
either natural causes are dominate or human influences are dominate
(either multiple influences (2a) or CO2 (2b)).   If there is something
missing it would be the possibility of having some human influences and
natural causes on the same order magnitude of influence.

 This perception may be due to the wording used in the paper.  1a states
that natural causes are “dominate”, but 2a and 2b state natural causes
are “important” with human influences “significant”.  This wording may
lead some to confusion (as it did for me).

 If, however, you and your co-authors meant to include in 2a and 2b that
the combination of influence from humans and nature could range from

1.)    “dominate” human influence (whether co2 or multiple)   to

2.)    Equal influence from nature and human influence

 Then I believe the paper is correct as stated. (But it may need to be
clarified as such)

 So to restate (hopefully to clarify what I’m thinking)

 I think that the following possibilities should be considered:

1.       Dominate natural influence

2.       Dominate human influence

a.       Multiple

b.      CO2

3.       Equal (or something close in forcing magnitude) of natural and
human influence

 Your current Hypotheses may actually encompass these three, but the
wording may lead some to confusion and in their current wording it
appears that my (3) above is not considered in your paper’s Hypotheses.

 Thanks for your invite to comment and I will talk to you soon.

 Robb

COMMENT from Dan Hughes

Hello Professor Pielke,

I do not have any suggestions for additional or different distinct hypotheses.  Instead I have general comments as follows.

The fundamental basis for human influences on climate variability is that a disruption of the energy-balanced, equilibrium state of the planet will ( or has ) obtained.  This being the case, the hypotheses should be statements about the energy states of Earth’s climate systems and the theoretical aspects of an energy-balanced equilibrium state for the entire planet.

I am not interested in theoretical falsification of stated hypotheses in the sense of philosophy.  Instead, the focus are hypotheses that potentially can be validated by comparisons with measured data.  Unfortunately, the energy-balance state of Earth cannot be known for the distant past, so new or additional hypotheses can only be applied to the recent past and future states going forward in time.

The critical key is that the hypotheses can be validated by comparisons with measured data.  In general, this basis seems to be the only way to ensure that the hypotheses are in accord with the actual energy-balance state of the Earth.  Use of some kind of global-average temperature of only parts of the Earth’s climate systems leaves open the possibility that a seemingly correct result has been obtained when in fact it has not.

An energy-balanced equilibrium state has been the focus of research for decades.  The important natural physical phenomena and processes that can affect this balance have been known for about 150 years.  Yet, to this day, these critically important phenomena and processes, directly affecting the energy balance, remain among those that are the least understood from both theoretical and empirical basis.  Additionally, they are among those that are the most crudely represented in mathematical models of the climate’s systems.  And they are also among those that are used to ‘tune’ the models whenever hindcasts are carried out with the models.  It is not a good situation that the fuzziest numbers are used to effect changes in less-than-completely understood yet critically important aspects of the complete problem.

In engineering work it is common to early identify the critically important phenomena and processes that control the response of materials and systems to imposed conditions.  If it is also determined that these are not sufficiently well established and well known for proper specification of solutions of the problem of interest, experimental and theoretical investigations, focused like a laser on just these, will be developed and carried out.  Focused mathematical models based on the fundamental equations for these phenomena and processes can also be studied for insights into coupling these detailed models and methods with the additional parts that comprise the models of the climate systems.

In the case of the Earth’s climate systems, this approach would basically focus on development and deployment of instruments that can measure the energy in-coming to and out-going from the climate systems and the interactions of these energy transports with components of the systems.  While we can’t change the states of the Earth’s climate systems so as to obtain wide ranges of conditions for which to make the measurements, the possibility that large-scale, integrated, coupled-effects experiments could be devised should not be simply dismissed out of hand.  I think this approach has been used in studies of the transport of a trace gas from a mixture of gases into a liquid.  Transport of CO2 from the atmosphere into the oceans, and other large bodies of liquid, for example, has been studied on spatial scales ranging from laboratory bench to real-world flows in the environment.

Such approaches are very costly.  However, if the problem of interest is of sufficient importance work on other aspects has to be scaled back or eliminated until a sufficient understanding of the controlling aspects has been firmly obtained and validated.  In the case of an engineering solution, if the required focused work cannot be justified, or is simply too hard to resolve, the solution space is moved to other regions by changing the designs of the proposed solutions.

Given the enormous spatial and temporal heterogeneities that humans experience in the Earth’s climate, the ramifications of changes in the energy content and transport of the systems due to human and natural activities should be stated on a local, or regional, basis.  All natural physical phenomena and processes are solely functions of the local states of the interacting matter; none respond to global-average states of the entire planet.  All humans have adapted to local climate conditions; none to global-average conditions.

Establishment of changes in the energy balance on local or regional scales very likely will prove to be extremely difficult.  Maybe impossible, but I don’t like to use that characterization.

Thank you for taking time to consider this notes.
Dan Hughes

COMMENT Bill Kerr

hi roger pielke snr

wrt
http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/invitation-on-assessing-three-climate-hypotheses/

<http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/invitation-on-assessing-three-climate-hypotheses/>I
think the hypotheses are good as they are
affiliation: I’m not an expert, I’m a secondary school teacher in science,
maths, IT

I did post a comment to John Cook’s blog, which does seem to make an honest attempt to evaluate evidence, about your invitation
http://www.skepticalscience.com/A-Scientific-Guide-to-the-Skeptics-Handbook.html#comments
comment 32

thank you for your ongoing expert efforts to go against the ipcc “consensus”
tide and open up things for reasoned discussion

cheers,
 Bill Kerr

COMMENT FROM A Scientific Guide to the ‘Skeptics Handbook’

32.billkerr at 11:11 AM on 2 July, 2010
hi John,
Have you considered the choice b/w Pielke snrs invitation and hypotheses 2a and 2b? (Invitation On Assessing Three Climate Hypotheses) You seem to support 2b judging by your handbook’s CO2 emphasis but 2a may be a better fit for the evidence

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.

Response: I hadn’t seen Pielke’s hypotheses. It seems to me 2a and 2b aren’t mutually exclusive – any climate scientist would agree that CO2 is not the only driver of climate and that we need to take into account all forcings. The reason for the emphasis on CO2 is because it is the most dominant and fastest rising forcing. The emphasis on CO2 in the Scientific Guide is also necessary as the ‘Skeptics Handbook’ fails to recognise the many lines of evidence that more CO2 forces up temperature – this is a somewhat more extreme stance than the more nuanced views of Roger Pielke Snr.

billkerr at 10:03 AM on 3 July, 2010
#32 and #33

John,
When you say “The reason for the emphasis on CO2 is because it is the most dominant and fastest rising forcing” you are supporting Pielke snrs hypothesis 2b and rejecting 2a. They are mutually exclusive by my reading.

Doug and John,
The Real Climate discussion that Doug links to predates Pielke snrs invitation for people to improve the wording of the hypotheses if they feel the wording is inadequate, as claimed by Eric in the Real Climate discussion. This Pielke snr post, which also predates the invitation, condenses the different viewpoints.

COMMENT FROM David [last name withheld by request]

I realized I am slow in responding to your invitation for comments on your three climate hypotheses and understand if you find them a bit frustrating.  Your many valuable contributions to climate science and opinions are respected and you are certainly much better informed on climate matters than I.

I ask that you not disclose to others anything more than my first name (Dave) to minimize potential targeting by aggressive global warming advocates my views tend to energize.  I am/was an economist by training and occupation (before retirement) rather than physical science professional.  My interest in climate science flows from strong concern about public policy proposals advocated to counter what I discern as significantly exaggerated potential for global warming caused by human use of fossil fuels, and the adverse impact implementation of such policy proposals would have on children, grandchildren and the national interest.
   _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.
Reading the three alternatives, I basically come away with the overall impression they postulate two scenarios – 1) humans have minimal effect on climate and 2) humans impacts dominate natural forces in determining climate.  I read 2a and 2b as variations on the relative magnitude and modalities of human impacts versus natural forces.  Addition of a 1b postulating dominance of natural forces, exacerbated and/or attenuated
by a diverse range of climate forcings and regional environmental impacts might help clarify scenario difference.

To date, I have not seen strong evidence the full range of natural forces bearing on climate have been adequately considered in theoretical or quantitative models.  Phenomena likely warranting further study and consideration include submarine geothermal heat, seismic generated thermal and kinetic energy release, tropospheric cloud dynamics and distribution, solar wind impacts, and effects of interplanetary magnetic field fluctuations.

I have no doubt humans are affecting local and regional environments and likely contribute to extent and timing of climate changes.  But, I am truly skeptical about the climate impact of human CO2 emissions – skeptical that they are a major contributor to global warming and skeptical that they are not.

respectfully,

David *****

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Filed under Climate Change Forcings & Feedbacks, Climate Science Reporting, Climate Surveys, Debate Questions

Comment On Real Climate

Second Update Thursday Evening June 24 2010

Here is the response by Gavin Schmidt

[Response: Eric can speak for himself, but other forcings are discussed in WG1 Chapter 2, section 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, through most of chapter 6, and all of chapter 7. The dominance of CO2 among the greenhouse gases is seen in fig 2.20 and fig 2.21 as well as the diversity of other forcings. - gavin]

My reply

REPLY

Gavin – You accept Hypothesis 2b. Thank you for answering clearly. Our EOS paper concluded otherwise, and it is informative to have a discussion by your readers of the three hypotheses on Real Climate.  I look forward to reading them.

Update Thursday Evening June 24 2010

The response from Real Climate reads

[Real Climate Response: The problem with this paper is that it strongly implies that Hypothesis 2a is original, and that the rest of the climate science research community thinks that only 2b applies. That's a strawman argument. Furthermore, these are not well-separated, mutually exclusive hypotheses, which means that choosing one over the other is misleading. Yes, I have read the paper.--eric]

I responded with the comment

My Reply:

“Eric – Please elaborate, however, on why hypotheses 2a and 2b are not sufficiently distinct. The 19 authors of our 2009 EOS paper concluded that they are. Hypothesis 2b is clearly the emphasis of the 2007 IPCC reports.

As we wrote in our article

“The evidence predominantly suggests that humans are significantly altering the global environment, and thus climate, in a variety of diverse ways beyond the effects of human emissions of greenhouse gases, including CO2. Unfortunately, the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment did not sufficiently acknowledge the importance of these other human climate forcings in altering regional and global climate and their effects on predictability at the regional scale.”

Also, you state that Hypothesis 2a is not original. Please refer us to where this perspective is discussed in the IPCC (and CCSP) reports.”

Original Post

Gavin Schmidt has a post on Real Climate titled

What do climate scientists think?

I have submitted a comment to his post on Real Climate, and I recommend readers of my weblog look at the comments that result. My comment is reproduced below.

 I have posted on the PNAS paper on my weblog – Comments On The PNAS Article “Expert Credibility In Climate Change” By Anderegg Et Al 2010 [http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/comments-on-the-pnas-article-expert-credibility-in-climate-change-by-anderegg-et-al-2010/]

If Real Climate and others want to focus on actual science questions [this text was (quite surprisingly) edited out by Real Climate as being an "offensive statement"], I propose your readers comment our paper (of which all of the authors are AGU Fellows]:

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. Copyright (2009) American
Geophysical Union.
http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/r-354.pdf

including comments on the three hypotheses, discussed in our paper,  that I reproduce below

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.

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