New CCSP Report Appears “Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate” – Unfortunately, Another Biased Assessment

There is another CCSP report that was made available yesterday. It is

CCSP, 2008: Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate. Regions of Focus: North America, Hawaii, Caribbean, and U.S. Pacific Islands. A Report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research. [Thomas R. Karl, Gerald A. Meehl, Christopher D. Miller, Susan J. Hassol, Anne M. Waple, and William L. Murray (eds.)]. Department of Commerce, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, Washington, D.C., USA, 164 pp.

It is led by the same individual, Tom Karl, Director of the National Climate Data Center, who produced the CCSP Report “Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences”, in which I resigned from and detailed the reasons 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.

This report perpetuates the use of assessments to promote a particular perspective on climate change, such as they write in the Executive Summary

“It is well established through formal attribution studies that the global warming of the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced increases in heat-trapping gases. Such studies have only recently been used to determine the causes of some changes in extremes at the scale of a continent. Certain aspects of observed increases in temperature extremes have been linked to human influences. The increase in heavy precipitation events is associated with an increase in water vapor, and the latter has been attributed to human-induced warming.”

This claim conflicts with the 2005 National Research Council 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

where a diversity of human climate forcings were found to alter global average radiative warming, including from atmospheric aersosols and due to the deposition of soot on snow and ice. The claim of an increase in atmospheric water vapor conflicts with a variety of observations as summarized on Climate Science (e.g. see).

To further illustrate the bias in the report, the assessment chose to ignore peer reviewed research that raises serious questions with respect to the temperature data that is used in their report. As just one example,  they ignored research where we have shown major problems in the use of surface air temperature measurements to diagnose long term temperature trends including temperature extremes. Our multi-authored 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,

should have been included in the CCSP assessment. It was ignored. Yet the papers that use this land surface temperature data to claim changes in the extremes were included; e.g.

Easterling, D.R., B. Horton, P.D. Jones, T.C. Peterson, T.R. Karl, D.E. Parker, M.J. Salinger, V. Razuvayev, N. Plummer, P. Jamison, and C.K. Folland, 1997: Maximum and minimum temperature trends for the globe. Science, 277(5324), 364-367.

Peterson, T.C., 2003: Assessment of urban versus rural in situ surface temperatures in the contiguous United States: No difference found. Journal of Climate, 16(18), 2941-2959.

Peterson, T.C., X. Zhang, M. Brunet-India, and J.L. Vázquez- Aguirre, 2008: Changes in North American extremes derived from daily weather data. Journal Geophysical Research, 113, D07113, doi:10.1029/2007JD009453.

 Since this assessment is so clearly biased, it should be rejected as providing adequate climate information to policymakers. There also should be questions raised concerning having the same individuals preparing these reports in which they are using them to promote their own perspective on the climate, and deliberately excluding peer reviewed papers that disagree with their viewpoint and research papers. This is a serious conflict of interest.

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