I was alerted to an e-mail exchange in the newly released communications reported in the posts on WUWT
that can be viewed at
[the colleague who alerted me wants to remain annoymous]
The e-mail of interest in the current post is with respect to FAQ 1.2 in which Susan Hasol made edits. Susan was heavily involved also in the CCSP 1.1 report; see
Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences. Thomas R. Karl, Susan J. Hassol, Christopher D. Miller, and William L. Murray, editors, 2006. A Report by the Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research, Washington, DC.
which I resigned due to its clear deliberate biased presentation, as I reported on 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.
See also her clear political agenda-driven perspective in my posts; e.g. see
In the last post above, I reported that, with respect to the CCSP 1.1 report, Susan’s contribution is an
“…..example of the advocacy character of the Report, [in which] one of the Editors, Ms. Susan Hassol, was also the writer of the recent HBO Special “To Hot Not to Handle”. This show clearly has a specific perspective on the climate change issue, and lacks a balanced perspective. The Executive Producer was Ms. Laurie David.
The synopsis of the show from the HBO web site states,
“Over the past century, consumption of carbon dioxide-emitting fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) has risen to staggering levels, especially in the United States, where five percent of the world’s population is responsible for 25 percent of the world’scarbon dioxide emissions. TOO HOT NOT TO HANDLE offers a wealth of chilling evidence that the greenhouse effect is intensifying and the Earth is warming faster than at any other time in human history.
Among the startling facts revealed are:
Deadly heat waves in the U.S. have increased threefold since 1950 and today kill more people than hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning and blizzards combined.
The average temperature in Alaska has already risen five degrees, causing 99 percent of its glaciers to be melting, retreating and shrinking.
Rising sea levels are eroding our shoreline and may eventually displace large numbers of Americans.
The intensity of catastrophic storms, such as 2005′s devastating hurricanes Katrina and Rita, , has increased dramatically in the last half-century, as hurricanes draw their strength from warm ocean water.
Deadly viruses like West Nile, aided by higher air temperatures, are spreading to new parts of the globe, including the entire continental U.S.
‘My personal hope is that every viewer will be inspired to become part of the solution to reducing our carbon emissions,” says executive producer Laurie David. “As the film shows, everything we need to address this pressing problem already exists, and the time to act is now.’
That one of the Editors of the CCSP Report also wrote the HBO special should be of concern regarding the objectivity of that Report. Ms. Hassol’s role as an advocate is clearly exemplified by her Nature correspondence in 1998 entitled “Clear need to act on global warming”.
Her role as advocate is, of course, appropriate, in other venues outside of the CCSP process. Her position at the Aspen Global Change Institute provides her with a platform to promote her views.
However, to serve as an Editor on the CCSP Report that was just published, with a documented active role in what text was to be included on the issue of ‘Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences”, further compromised the Report. Since the goal was to provide policymakers with an objective understanding of this issue in climate science, her involvement with the CCSP Report is yet another example to show that the Report was intended to promote a particular, narrow perspective on the issue of recent surface and tropospheric temperature trends.
Now, with the August 2012 release of more e-mails we see more of Susan’s in-depth involvement with climate assessments at the highest level.
As just one example, in the SOD version of FAQ 1.2 it is written [highlight added]
Scientists have determined that human activities can be agents of climatic change. Human-caused, or anthropogenic, climate change results from factors such as changes in the atmospheric concentration of gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect, or to changes in small particles (aerosols) in the atmosphere, or to changes in land use, for example. As climate changes, whether because of natural or anthropogenic factors, the weather is affected. If the average temperature several decades from now has increased relative to its present value, then some weather phenomena in specific regions may become more frequent and others less frequent than at present. Understanding not only the changes in mean weather conditions but also the changes in extreme weather events has recently become a major focus of climate change research.
In the version listed as “Revised by Susan Hassol in conjunction with Richard Sumerville”, it is changed to
“While many factors continue to influence climate, scientists have determied that human activites have become the dominant force, and are responsible for most of the observed warming over the past 50 years. Human-caused climate change has resulted primarily from changes in the amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but also from changes in small particles (aerosols) as well as from changes in land use, for example. As climate changes, the proabilities of certain types of weather events are affected. For example, as Earth’s average temperature has increased, some weather phenomena have become more frequent and intense (e.g. heat waves and heavy downpours), while others have become less frequent and intense (e.g. extreme cold events).
The scientific findings in the FAQ have been made much more certain, and less consistent with the scientific literature, in the version that Susan and Richard Somerville edited.
Now, I find Susan a pleasant person, unlike some in that community. However, her position as an advocate in what should be balanced climate assessments has resulted in a significant contribution to the politicalization of this science issue. This involvement has occurred despite her lack of peer reviewed contribution to climate science research; her listing at google scholar shows her involvement to be primarily on assessements such that she is not in a position to contribute new insight based on her individual research.
When I was on the CCSP 1.1 committee, we were told she was to provide technical editorial assisstance (i.e. to wordsmith the text to make it more readable but NOT to change the scientific content). This definition of her position has clearly morphed into a much larger role.
Richard Somerville’s role in affecting the text that she revised is not defined, but Richard is already widely recognized as having a biased perspective as I documented in the post
with respect to the article
Richard C. J. Somerville and Susan Joy Hassol, 2011: Communicating the science of climate change. Physics Today. October 2011. ISSN: 0031-9228
where I concluded
This article is a tutorial on advocacy of a perspective on policy that really should not be in a journal such as Physics Today. It is an example of a set of individuals using an article (not an op-ed) in a professional science journal to promote their particular views on policy.
The example from the FAQ that I present in this post, is yet another example of a set of individuals using, in this case, a climate science assesment, to promote their particular views on science and policy