Letter: Critical evaluation of Climategate necessary

Recent columns in the News expressed great distress at the fallout from the hacked e-mails from the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit. One reasoned that the agreement between the temperature records from the East Anglia researchers and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies temperature data set was sufficient evidence to indict the latter organization as a co-conspirator in a daring gambit to establish a one-world government.

Scientists who work in climate science often receive e-mails from concerned citizens displaying a sort of reasoning that is, shall we say, creative. I am surprised to read the same type of reasoning in the published work of two students here. The parents of Yale students pay a hefty tuition to support a community of scholars from nearly every academic discipline, including many professors with recognized expertise in climate science. Neither columnist consulted with any of these scholars to clarify what seem to be unprecedented revelations in scientific and world affairs. Maybe professors are too scary, but there is little evidence that either author went beyond popular Web sites in their research. Is this how Yale students approach an important controversy concerning one of the most important public issues of their lives?

Relying on the Internet is particularly troubling with climate change. Unable to survive in a public forum of scientists, climate-change denialists go straight to the mass media, with the message that climate science is uncertain. Their goal is to confuse and mislead, not to inform.

If the scientific consensus on global warming were as easy to refute as has been claimed, I personally would have written papers to Nature and Science to demonstrate the hidden scientific truth, procured millions of dollars in research support from fossil-fuel companies and U.S. agencies and elbowed past President Obama to claim this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. The assertion that hundreds of climate scientists propagate a scientific fraud in order to secure funding is the most laughable of the many laughable assertions that I have heard in the past few weeks.

Yale applicants tell the admissions office that they aspire to leadership in society. Prove it. Climate change, energy sustainability and environmental stress are key problems in the 21st century, that is, your century. Take Yale courses related to these topics — when else will you have the time? A list of possibilities can be found on the Web page for the Yale Climate and Energy Institute. If you don’t find the course you want to take, gather a squadron of like-minded students and petition the Yale Climate and Energy Institute to provide it. If you are skeptical of the scientific consensus on climate change, take a relevant science course and harangue the professor. Your tuition supports these educational resources. Utilize what you are paying for.

Jeffrey Park

Dec. 6

The writer is a professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics.

Comments

  • Andrew

    “procured millions of dollars in research support from fossil-fuel…”
    Like the CRU?
    We hear this mantra that AGW deniers are shills for big oil all the time. This is
    actually incorrect, and misleading

    The Climate Research Unit (CRU) in the UK was set up in 1971 with funding from Shell and
    BP as is described in the book: “The history of the University of East Anglia, Norwich;
    Page 285)” By Michael Sanderson. The CRU was still being funded in 2008 by Shell, BP, the
    Nuclear Installations Inspectorate and UK Nirex LTD (the nuclear waste disposals people
    in the UK)

    I think this is important to know, for two reasons.
    Firstly, the key institution providing support for Global Warming theories and the basis
    for the IPCC findings receives funding from “Big Oil” and the nuclear power industry.

    Secondly, the research from the institution which is perceived to be independant publicly
    funded research, is actually beholden to soft money, CRU is in fact a business.

    The funders of the CRU are on the bottom of this page from their website:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20080627194858/http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/about/history/

  • Andrew

    “…would have written papers to Nature and Science..”
    It would not have been published

  • Dave McK

    Actually, I’d like to put the kibosh on a scheme to float a multitrillion dollar derivatives bubble filled with used air- just for starters.
    I’m glad the earth is warming and the glaciers are melting otherwise there’d be no Iowa corn or Kansas wheat or Canadians like McKintyre and Ball to break the hermetic group promoting this fear franchise.
    Come on- at Yale, you must know the relative importance of water vs CO2 and that should give you the clue that the hockey team has no ruth.
    Sure, I know, you’ve been told all your lives that you are the cream of the crop and will lead the world and bought the whole story. Wait until you find how dependent you are when you seek work. That cognitive dissonance between the reality of the market and your indoctination of narcissism might just make you as paranoid as the frauds at East Anglia.
    They were not doing science- they were disgracing it.
    Why don’t you analyze the raw data, say, from the Australian weather stations?
    You know, it doesn’t require 23 million dollars to plot raw data – I can do it with a pencil.
    The complexities are all about fraud. Those models have never predicted anything correctly and they don’t backcast correctly. Models are not facts anyway and neither is consensus, manufactured or organic.
    CO2 is not a pollutant.
    Soda pop is not a crime against humanity nor is breathing and being heretical to a dogma is something the heroic scientists that inspired humanity cut their teeth on.
    But paradigms really don’t shift until the pope dies- and even then, if the religion gets donations, it may persist.
    The Bible has been peer reviewed for 2000 years or so, by experts who all agree…lol
    Yale- don’t give up your prestige to pander to politics. Produce the facts – or ordinary people will do it and prove that you could have and probably had a reason not to.
    Grab the files. Plot the data. It shows what it shows. If you want predigested stream of unconsciousness, watch Oprah or the main stream news.
    Maybe Yale could do better than:
    http://joannenova.com.au/2009/12/smoking-guns-across-australia-wheres-the-warming/ individual plots of raw australian data.

    If you ask a scientist why nothing can move faster than the speed of light, he doesn’t tell you a terrible story about how koala bears will die if you don’t believe the theory is right, does he?

  • Mellow Yellow

    It took 150 years to end slavery, why rush on not ending the planet. Mellow out. Leave it for someone else.

    PK
    http://theantiyale.blogspot.com

  • return to reason

    Thanks for the column. Another plea for clarity and informed decision-making can be found on Andrew Gelman’s blog, “Statisical Modeling, Causal Inference and Social Science”. It’s important that the academic/research community address public confusion directly given the flurry of ridiculous, passionate allegations that have grown from it (see comments above). It’s dangerous to assume that public opinion is not susceptible to noise level, as well as substance. George Monbiot’s letter in the Guardian is amusing but also suggests a useful public outreach approach.

  • Thank You

    Professor Park, thank you for writing this. Even though I’m sure many professors feel strongly about climate, it’s rare to actually see them come out and share what they know with the broader Yale community. I’m glad to see that not everyone at Yale is willing to let climate skeptics get away with misleading the undergraduate population. We need more professors to come out and take a stance against climate change the way William Sloane Coffin took a stance against the Vietnam War. Let’s put the knowledge and resources of academia to use for the benefit of humanity. Isn’t that why, no matter what side of politics we’re on, we’re here at Yale?

  • @6

    Oh, yes, because the overbearing, prevailing attitude at Yale is indeed SKEPTICISM about global warming. Hello, what campus are you on? It takes no guts whatsoever to come out in favor of global warming; in spite of “Climategate,” Yale is probably one of the more receptive places in the world to the idea of man-made global warming. Our professors aren’t oppressed, shy geniuses who rarely speak up in the face of an invisible majority, they own this place. Come on.

    Oh, and for the record, William Sloane Coffin was a coward who implemented policies of appeasement for Black Panthers threatening to blow up our campus because he felt guilty about being white and rich. Also, those hippies who defaced and vandalized the WWI Cenotaph? Yeah, him too. Read your history.

  • @7

    You’d be surprised.

  • response to by @6

    Nowhere in your diatribe do you assess the validity of the arguments for or against climate change. The real question is simple: do the emails undercut enough of the volume of research so that we cannot reject the null hypothesis that the climate is not changing. The revelation (excuse my sarcasm) that academics are petty tyrants is not reason enough to reframe the issue using social constructs. How is your perceived oppression relevant to the context of global warming? Surely you can offer a more convincing argument than that.

  • Jeffrey Park

    Thanks to all for commenting, even the contrarian commenters. For the comment #2 that doubts that I could publish a credible critique of global-warming in Science or Nature, I can only comment that the editors are eager for novelty, and have sent me more than one marginal climate-skeptic paper to review over the years, hoping that some of it could be salvaged. I know of specific controversial climate-skeptic papers that the Nature/Science editors published in spite of a lukewarm, but not decisively negative, reception from reviewers.

    Also, Ive prepared a website with some interesting links for the curious, including a humorous (and sort-of relevant) YouTube clip. There are scientific sources, but also a lecture from the head-of-science for BP (British Petroleum) about their research priorities and future projections. And links to reports on alt energy and climate mitigation from McKinsey. Just point your browser to

    http://earth.geology.yale.edu/~jjpark/Climate_and_Energy_Weblinks.html

  • Pierson90

    Professor Park stated: “Unable to survive in a public forum of scientists, climate-change denialists go straight to the mass media, with the message that climate science is uncertain. Their goal is to confuse and mislead, not to inform.”

    Really?
    Professor, where is the “peer-reviewed” empirical evidence to support your charge? Seems that the climate-change/global-warming advocates have had a cozy, unquestioned relationship with the media for quite awhile. Now that their “scientific facts” are being called into question, and voices are being raised in dissent to question the carefully engineered groupthink establishment, those who stand to have their questionable evidence scrutinized (and possibly lose their prestige and research dollars) resort to ad hominem attacks on those who are asking legitimate questions. How predictable.

  • Jeffrey Park

    To Pierson90, are you really a 40-year-old graduate of Yale University, or a dyslexic ’09er? I have had professional interactions with both Fred Singer and William Nierenberg, two of the folks who are highlighted in the lecture by the UC San Diego historian Naomi Oreskes that can be found at

    http://earth.geology.yale.edu/~jjpark/Climate_and_Energy_Weblinks.html

    Please watch the lecture before you submit a further comment.

  • Biv
  • Recent Alum

    Professor Park (or anyone else who may want to weigh in),

    In the last chapter of Super Freakonomics, Levitt and Dubner went on about how one of the best ways to tackle global warming is to send sulfur in the atmosphere, which would cool down the atomosphere and make up for whatever else causes global warming. Two advantages of this approach: (1) it can be done for only a few hundred millions of dollars a year, a negligible sum by comparison to what Al Gore wants us to spend, and (2) it would still work even if global warming was not caused by human activities. Nathan Myhrvold, former CTO at Microsoft, and Ken Caldeira at Stanford are working on this. Any thought as to whether this is a viable solution?

  • Jeffrey Park

    #14 is a good question. Adding aerosols to the atmosphere is a strategy worth investigating, but only as one of many. It falls under the “wouldnt it be great if it worked?” category. The main problem with the idea is that we have no reliable knowledge, at this time, for predicting what the main effects and side effects of pumping aerosols into the atmosphere would be. Computer climate models all predict that temperature will rise globally if CO2 increases, but their predictions for aerosols are not as consistent. There was a recent comparison study performed of different models, see

    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/koch_05/

    for a “Science Brief” essay written for the public. So the certainty in the voices of Levitt and Dubner is misleading. Their confidence in their solution comes from the fact that they didnt ask a climate scientist for advice before they published their book. For a detailed (and funny) critique of the SuperFreakonomics proposal, see

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/10/an-open-letter-to-steve-levitt/

    On another matter, it is false reasoning to attach Al Gore to all and sundry economics proposals. Mr. Gore is a politician and a public figure. Most of the ideas associated with him are not his, as he would tell you if asked. Opponents of climate-change legislation attach Gore’s name to proposals they dont like, because they know that many Americans dont like him personally. I have talked with many ordinary people who would look to the west, if Al Gore told them that the sun rises in the east.

    Oil is going to get scarce. Drill Baby Drill is just a slogan, and wishful thinking. Go to the website

    http://earth.geology.yale.edu/~jjpark/Climate_and_Energy_Weblinks.html

    and download the recent McKinsey reports on energy and climate. Any politician who proposes a government action that ignores the findings of these reports is either delusional or is trying to scam you for his/her short-term gain.

  • A

    My problem with Climategate is that it’s largely a distraction. Regardless of your views on global warming, the simple truth is that oil is a finite resource, that the world’s population is expanding at a rapid rate, and that our reliance upon petro-dictators compromises American foreign policy and also forces us to prop up corrupt regimes around the world. These facts alone should compel us to strive towards sustainable energy and food sources. Climategate just provides a distraction for pundits and bloggers to voice their opinions and appease the 24-hour news cycle demands, and a way to ignore the problems at hand.

  • robert99

    Part of the problem, I think, is the fact that the hacked e-mails show an intent to deceive and distort some of the evidence. That seems by far the most egregious action of the scientists involved.

  • Jeffrey Park

    I dont buy the intent-to-deceive argument. The well-cited “plotting trick” email did not refer to a decline of temperatures, but of tree-ring widths, which diverged from temperatures in the 1960s. The issue had already been discussed in a published paper at the time of the email, but the denialist pundits wont tell you that. Search on “hide the decline” at RealClimate.org for details.

    As for deleting emails, the year that the email was written was important. In the Yale Geology department, the 1998 arrest of Professor Antonio Lasaga led to confiscation of his computers and the realization that all the email of faculty, staff and students could be confiscated as evidence. There were a number of animated discussions in the halls about deleting emails so that the police would not go through stuff that people considered private. I imagine that if a hacker could retrieve the 1998-9 emails of the Yale geology faculty, there would be many statements that would seem incriminating in 2009. When the federal government audited Yale in 2006, we were told to save all email for evidence. By that time, the legal status of internet communication was understood well enough that no one questioned the government’s right to seize email as evidence. A hacker would likely not find many incriminating statements about deleting email in 2006. Did you notice whether there were any post-9/11 statements about deleting email in the CRU hack?

    The email about suppressing papers of other authors also has a back-story that the denialist pundits wont tell you about. Google “Willie Soon” and “Sallie Baliunis” and the Wikipedia pages that pop up will tell the checkered history of the paper Soon and Baliunis (2003). This paper has the singular distinction of inspiring a dozen scientists to write letters to the journal editor protesting that Soon and Baliunis (2003) misrepresented their work. So it is not surprising that some of the CRU emails expressed a low opinion of Soon, Baliunis and their peer-reviewed paper. It is also notable that the IPCC report included their paper anyway. Did the deniaist pundits tell you that?

  • Anon

    Prof. Park,
    A few questions, if you don’t mind. I’m a grad student in physics, have read a decent bit on the subject, but I’m skeptical of the global warming claims I’ve read. That said, I haven’t been able to spend enough time looking into the subject, being a busy grad student. I take the position that I don’t know whether there’s a global warming problem or not, and I’m about 50-50 on the veracity of the claims right now. Any insight into my concerns would be appreciated.

    My particular concerns are of data quality and climate modeling quality. The quality of the global temperature data, proxy or direct measurement, before sat. observations in the ’70s appears very tenuous to me.

    Surface observations seem to have undocumented systematics from sensor changes, locating changes, and changes in local land usage. In particular I’m worried that changes in local land usage (increased paving and encroachment of heat producing objects such as A/C’s) could bias the surface temperatures measurements. I understand corrections for urban stations are made, but my concern is changes in local (within ~100m of the site) land usage over time in both urban and rural stations, rather than the temperature difference between urban and rural stations. As I understand things, this is not corrected for.

    I also have a concern about averaging daily high and low temperatures to get an ‘average’ temperatures for that station location in a given day. I understand that this is most likely the only data available from old stations and it all there is to work with, but I find it unfortunate as changes in the way temperature varies throughout the day may not be well documented using such an averaging scheme. I hope this would be a second order effect, but in certain cases I could see it having a first order effect on the temperature measurements.

    Climate modeling I don’t have any faith in, essentially. I’ve seen how modeling in physics systems where we have near 100% certainty in the physics and setup of our experiment, and these models have roughly 10% systematic errors. Given the state of understanding of the physics behind climate modeling, I’m not sure I can be convinced that the systematics in the models can be below a few degrees C.

    Ultimately, I think the ERBE/CERES measurements on the earth’s heat balance is the most reliable way to measure any climate change to first order. Any temperature measurements we make are a bad proxy for the first order heat balance for the earth, so if we can measure that heat balance directly, that’s what I believe we should rely upon. I’ve only started to read papers on these experiments, but I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this as well.
    Thanks!

  • Jeffrey Park

    Dear Anon,

    I can understand your puzzlement at what seems to be a very complicated problem (and is!). Climate-change deniers point to the complications in the attempts to model future climate, and deliberately avoid the simple arguments for global warming that undermine their skepticism. I dont know what physics experiments you have been involved with, but it is common for advanced physics experiments to test new phenomena where the effect of a physical law is only hypothesized, or perhaps a phenomenon is being investigated where there is no agreed-upon physical mechanism. In these cases it is common for experiments to fail. In my own field of seismology, the physics of earthquake rupture is poorly understood, so predictions of earthquake behavior often go awry.

    Climate change estimates involve many poorly understood factors, such as cloud-aerosol interactions, but the greenhouse effect is like death and taxes. It is unavoidable. As a physicist, you probably know that Earth without the greenhouse effect would average roughly 248 degree K from the blackbody law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackbody). That is mighty cold. Earth is habitable because the greenhouse effect traps infrared. There are many greenhouse gases, including water vapor, but CO2 is the biggest player because it wont rain out of the atmosphere, and has a big absorption band in the middle of the infrared energy that Earth tries to radiate back into space.

    So if Earth’s greenhouse effect warms the surface to make it habitable, it stands to reason that a weaker greenhouse effect would induce cooler climate, and a stronger greenhouse effect would induce a warmer climate. In order to counteract the effect of CO2, one must find a reasonable natural mechanism to counteract the greenhouse effect. Simply claiming that its a complex system wont cut it in the 21st century. People have known since the start of the 20th century that the climate system is complicated, and have tried to simulate all the complicating factors. Despite the efforts of hundreds of scientists over a century, the estimates for global warming for a doubled-CO2 scenario have remained stubbornly within the 1.5-5 degree C range. Do you know of any other credible estimates? Richard Lindzen is a National Academy member who writes OpEds in the Wall Street Journal questioning the global-warming consensus, but he rarely does actual research on the topic — see his recent publications listed on his web page at MIT. In a science panel discussion for the media some years ago, Lindzen famously predicted that doubling CO2 would cause zero temperature rise, but made no attempt to explain his estimate, or to put uncertainty on it. As a prospective scientist, you probably would be less likely to believe someone who refuses to state the uncertainty of his estimates, but Lindzen’s professed certainty, combined with his academic pedigree, is catnip to the media and to some of the public.

  • Jeffrey Park

    continuation of last post . . .

    As outlined in the other YDN article by Pagani et al, the geologic record is a check on the climate physics simulations. There are many things that influence climate in Earth’s past, such as continental placement, the presence of ice-sheets, sea level (flooded continents have lower albedo), ocean circulation and more. However, starting with papers by Yale prof Robert Berner and others in the 1980s, geologists have found an unambiguous correlation between CO2 and Earth climate going back 100s of millions of years. I co-authored a Nature paper with Royer and Berner in 2007 that estimated the warming associated with doubled-CO2 from independent estimates of CO2 and temperature in Earth’s past. see http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v446/n7135/abs/nature05699.html — there is a link on my home page. We estimated that the data set allowed a 5% chance of a warming of 1.5 deg C or less, a 5% chance of a warming of 6.2 deg C or greater, and a best-fit case at ~2.8 degC warming. Basically (and frankly surprisingly) we obtained a range of temperatures that nearly matched the range from computer climate simulations. Pagani published a paper this week that argues for a 3-4 degC warming for the Pliocene (4.5 Million years ago) for CO2 levels much like today’s, because the Pliocene had much less ice-sheet-area. A small initial warming in the 21th century could amplify due to the feedbacks, such as melting ice caps, that the initial greenhouse enhancement sets into motion. See Pagani’s paper at http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/ngeo724.html and a very sobering assessment of climate conditions in the last interglacial period at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v462/n7275/abs/nature08686.html Geologic history is not giving us much comfort about our future. If such ice-sheet loss seems inconceivable to you, note that the loss has accelerated in the past few years: read http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;326/5955/984. This is another observation that the warming-denialist pundits wont tell you about.

    Climate models are indeed uncertain about many things, such as where droughts will occur in a greenhouse-warmed world. However, the warming is what all models agree upon. The only real controversy is how much warming and how fast it occurs. There are No one has yet validated a mechanism for no warming in the face of a higher greenhouse effect. If you know of one, you should publish it and become famous. Im not kidding about that: if you can come up with something better than vaguely motivated doubt and denial, it would be an important contribution. Spend some quality time with google, wikipedia and the journals to test your ideas.

  • Jeffrey Park

    continuation of last post, take 2

    Im not a climate modeller, so I direct you to the FAQs about climate modelling at realclimate.org for detailed info

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/11/faq-on-climate-models/

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/01/faq-on-climate-models-part-ii/

    If you are a grad student at Yale, consider taking G&G 402b or G&G 512b next semester. G&G 120b would be too elementary for you. Any curious undergrad science major should shop G&G 402b or G&G 200b, the last one is my own seminar, and any curious undergrad nonscientist should shop G&G 120b or G&G 200b.

  • Yale Undergrad

    Professor Park,

    I admire your contributions to the debate, but I begin to wonder whether you truly understand the objections of “skeptics.” From much of the evidence you have cited, I get the impression that you think that we do not believe that the world is warming, that somehow we believe that predictions of the effects of a warmer earth are exaggerated or completely fictional.

    Our primary concern, which has been reinforced by climategate, is that the past climate record has been distorted to make the present trend seem more alarming. We acknowledge the world has warmed. We acknowledge the green house effect.

    The simple fact of the matter is that climate history, before Mann infamous “Hockey Stick” showed significant variation with the Midieval Warm Period being much warmer than today and the little ice age being much colder a few centuries ago (right before the start of modern record keeping). Suddenly Mann, with Keith Briffa’s and the CRU’s help, publishes his “hockey stick” graph that erases the Medieval Warm Period. It is merely a coincidence that, only a few years earlier, a climate scientist reportedly told Dr. David Deming that “we have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.”

    Now, ten years after Briffa, Mann, etc. published the “Hockey Stick” it comes to light that Briffa “inadvertently” forgot to submit his tree ring datasets along with the papers he published that used them (including the infamous MBH98 Reconstruction). It was only recently that the Royal Society forced Briffa to disclose his data and it turned out that his sample size dropped to 12 or fewer trees in the late 20th century (meaning that his dataset’s accuracy dropped precipitously at the same time that it supposedly proved unprecedented warming). These trees are a subset of a larger dataset. If other trees are substituted from the same dataset, the runaway warming of the 20th century falls comfortably within the variations of the past millennium.

    If current warming is not extreme from a historical perspective, then this suggests unknown mechanisms play a larger role than is currently thought. This is the crux of a skeptic’s thinking. The conformation of proxy evidence that suggests CO2 can radically destabilize the climate is largely predicated on data that shows radical changes in the past 50 years. For some reason, however, the scientists behind this have gone to great lengths to hoard data, hide crucial specifics of methodology, and attack critics.

    To close, I want to address your suggestion that people visit realclimate.org. You have approached this dialog with a reasonable tone that is endearing to your position and encourages people to argue rationally, not emotionally. Again, kudos. I fear, however, that you have not seriously considered the concerns climate gate raises. Both your apparent view of what a skeptic thinks and your inclusion of only realclimate links

  • Yale Undergrad

    Continuation of Previous Post:

    suggest that you have not given any serious time to looking at the CRU e-mails and code. Had you read the more important e-mails, you would know that Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann of RealClimate have all but admitted to using RealClimate politically in the climategate e-mails that you and others seem to think are no big deal. For instance, Mann writes to Briffa:

    “Anyway, I wanted you guys to know that you’re free to use RC [RealClimate] in any way
    you think would be helpful. Gavin and I are going to be careful about
    what comments we screen through, and we’ll be very careful to answer any
    questions that come up to any extent we can. On the other hand, you
    might want to visit the thread and post replies yourself. We can hold
    comments up in the queue and contact you about whether or not you think
    they should be screened through or not, and if so, any comments you’d
    like us to include.

    You’re also welcome to do a followup guest post, etc. think of RC as a
    resource that is at your disposal to combat any disinformation put
    forward by the McIntyres of the world. Just let us know. We’ll use our
    best discretion to make sure the skeptics dont’get to use the RC
    comments as a megaphone…”
    (http://www.climate-gate.org/email.php?eid=622&s=kwI%20wanted%20you%20guys%20to%20know%20that%20you%27re%20free%20to%20use%20RC)

    In response to your links to realclimate, I have attached a link to Steve McIntyre’s page. Granted ClimateAudit has a slant, but so does RealClimate. It is only fair to present both sides and have people look at both sides critically:

    http://climateaudit.org
    http://realclimate.org

    More information on Briffa and CRU data problems here:

    http://climateaudit.org/2009/09/27/yamal-a-divergence-problem/

  • Alum ’81

    Even a casual review of the emails reveals a pattern of deception and corruption with the intent to stifle any dissenting views. It would be prudent to have a full investigation of these activities and a complete, unbiased review of the raw data(that which was not already destroyed by these ‘scientists’), before we transfer trillions of dollars of wealth from productive countries to less productive countries. Climate change happens. When one takes a look at the historical record going back thousands of years, it appears that AGW is insignificant at most. And to those who believe we are causing the planet to warm, I ask ‘what is the ideal temperature for the Earth’? Mankind has always thrived during periods of warmth and suffered during periods of cold. It is likely that a somewhat warmer Earth would benefit more of Mankind than the current global temperature. It would be more productive to focus on producing clean energy for the sake of lowering pollution but to do it in the name of changing the Earth’s temperature seems a fool’s errand. For a fresh look at the data, see link:

    http://www.oism.org/pproject/s33p36.htm

  • Jeffrey Park

    First, in answer to #25. You can download a ton of data from public websites, NASA, NOAA, Hadley Center and many more. Read a book or a review article on tree rings before you dismiss the evidence there. Tree rings are studied by many different groups worldwide, so it would be very hard for one group to torque the scientific consensus for long. Proving a colleague to be incorrect is the easiest path to fame in science, and exposing a fraud makes you a hero. Your request for a “full investigation” of the hockey stick was performed by the US National Research Council years ago. Did your sources of information tell you that?

    Here is the link, which you could have found by going to the web page I referred to at the top of this thread:

    http://earth.geology.yale.edu/~jjpark/Climate_and_Energy_Weblinks.html

    Your assertion that “mankind has always thrived” is a rather facile reading of world history from a 50-year-old graduate of Yale, if that is what you are. Drought and loss of topsoil are as lethal to past societies as cold weather has been, and drought is typically a hot-weather effect.

    The website that you linked to is not convincing. The authors have an opportunity to submit the paper to a journal if they want a critique. The argument of the authors is almost wholly devoid of physics, and relies mostly on “extrapolation of trends” as they write in the conclusions. My answer to that is an analogy. In 2005 residential real estate was on a rapid upward trend, accelerating in a way that promised riches to anyone with the courage to take on a no-doc, back-loaded, subprime home loan. If you extrapolated the trends, you reached the conclusion that you had to buy a house as soon as possible or be priced out forever. Many websites could be found that reinforced this logic. After all, the extrapolated trends promised riches.

    You know what happened after.

    So it pays to look at physics and at Earth history. Before you post again, please read the links of my previous post that discuss the reconstructions of the last interglacial period, and the geologic record. Imagine a world with sea level 7 meters higher. Mankind would indeed thrive in such a world, after a modest interval during which the human population downsizes.

    Also, I am very puzzled by your assertion that addressing climate change means that “we transfer trillions of dollars of wealth from productive countries to less productive countries.” What were you smoking when you wrote this passage? Please consult the McKinsey Group Reports for the actual strategies that they suggest that we pursue, see

    http://earth.geology.yale.edu/~jjpark/Climate_and_Energy_Weblinks.html

  • Jeffrey Park

    To #23 and #24

    If you are a Yale undergrad and you have committed this much time to this issue, you should take G&G 120b next semester. Ask the instructor and the TAs to respond to all the material you are getting from Climate Audit. That will be far more constructive and satisfying for you than any post that I can write on Xmas Eve. (Me and Scrooge, we are having an egg nog together as I write this; Marley will arrive later.)

    Why are you concerned with the strategic intents of Schmidt and Mann? Although you might not learn this from ClimateAudit, the hockey stick isnt why most climate scientists view anthropogenic global warming as a threat. The threat from global warming would not go away if Schmidt and Mann drank the blood of skewered babies. Off-topic but relevant: did you know that one of the co-discoverers of plate tectonics was revealed to be a molester of young boys after his apparent suicide? The plates are still moving.

    (I wont reveal the name online BTW. Homework for the reader.)

    Also, you are betraying a lack of knowledge of the comment threads in RealClimate.org. Although the comments are moderated, there are many skeptical commentators, and Schmidt spends a large portion of his average workday responding to them. There may have been a time when the organizers of RealClimate thought that they would (or could) restrict comments to only supportive, or even reasonable, viewpoints. Maybe the email that you cite reflects that vain hope. If so, where are the emails between the RealClimate moderators that reflect the continued campaign of distortion? The hacker had access to over 10 years of email between people who lived far away from each other. Why only one such email?

    It doesnt surprise me that the moderators would hold comments up until they could find someone to answer the comment. The purpose of the blog (as one can glean from reading it) is to express the perspective of the moderators on questions regarding climate, not just to publish random comments. If a commenter asks a question or makes a claim, the purpose of the blog is to respond to the question or claim, not just to broadcast it.

    The RealClimate comment threads that I read have plenty of controversy and skeptical voices. Have you tried to post a comment there? The regular commentators will likely respond to you, even if Schmidt doesnt.

  • Jeffrey Park

    Back to hockey stick. Have you read the GRL paper? The Medieval Warm Period hasnt gone away. It is right there at the handle of the stick, when Leif Ericson and his gang were tooling around Greenland. Its not warmer than 1998, but the 11th century is the warmest century before the 20th. Nor has the MWP disappeared since, see Wikipedia
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.png

    The climate event that the hockey stick whacked was the Little Ice Age in early-modern times. The hockey stick has small deviations that you can connect with some of the famous European climate events of the early-modern period, but the reconstruction lacked persistent cooling, aside from the gradual decline of the “handle” into the late 18th century. In 1999, LIA-whack was a big deal, and there has been a lot of research since into the true expression of the little ice age. It hasnt come back to its former prominence.

    You can read the Wikipedia page for background on the Little Ice Age, but I can highlight the evidence within a history dissertation by Sam White, (http://new.oberlin.edu/arts-and-sciences/departments/history/faculty_detail.dot?id=27135) who was interviewed for a job here at Yale in 2008. White documented that severe climate events during the time period of the LIA nearly caused the Ottoman Empire to collapse, but these events persisted for no more than a decade at a time. Multi-year droughts were a common problem, knocking the Empire into turmoil that it could not easily recover from.

    There are two main lessons to take from the recent research on the little ice age. First is that the LIA wasnt a sustained global-cooling event, but largely a redistribution of heat around the climate system, likely in the form of natural oscillations of atmosphere-ocean heat exchange. (Saying that phrase doesnt mean that anyone understands how exactly it happens.) Mann and co-authors were writing papers on these quasi-cyclic variations in climate at the time; the hockey stick was just the global average of a more-detailed climate study. The second takeaway of the LIA in the hockey stick is that a modest global cooling, just the decline in the stick-handle or the decline in one of the many other temperature reconstructions, led to major changes in the glaciers around Europe and North America. The bad news of this takeaway is that a modest global warming is therefore expected to cause a similarly large effect on the same glaciers in the opposite direction. True to form, the melting of Arctic and Greenland Ice has recently exceeded even the most pessimistic projections of the IPCC 2000 report.

    My last advice: take G&G 120b. Engage the material as though your life depends on it. Look for the missing factor in climate that will help us get out of this mess. Im looking for it, too. Did I mention that there is a lot of free climate data on the web?

  • Kai

    It is also worth noting that context plays a large role in the reading of any e-mail (a la “Eats Shoots and Leaves”), doubly so for messages removed from their original context and never intended to be viewed by the casual non-scientist. People are alarmed by terms such as “fudge factor” if they have not heard of the concept before, as it seems like it could suggest sinister meddling in the data interpretation. Similarly, when someone says that they need to fix the tree ring data, it’s easy to imagine that they’re sneaking around in the dead of night to adjust graphs. In fact nothing so dramatic is the case. (It’s somewhat laughable to consider the correspondence the sign of a conspiracy given that any scientist caught engaging in that behavior would lose their reputation and career such that the risk of sharing that information would not be worth it.) The e-mailer was expressing concern that one line of data differed from so very many other lines of evidence that agreed well, signifying a potential problem in that line of inference, a proxy already thought to be somewhat less reliable. This was not a secret – in fact the author had published a very public article earlier outlining the same issue. As Dr. Park suggests, a more critical evaluation of this situation is necessary, particularly from those content to take speaking points from the media in lieu of actual research.

  • Alum ’81

    Prof. Park–I urge you take the smug tone down a notch or two. It is not very becoming and does not advance your arguments. Yes, I am a Yale graduate–that’s what ‘Alum’ means. I had enough credits to graduate in 3 years and obtained my medical degree and have been in active medical practice for more than 20 years. So, yes, that does put me in the 50-ish age range. And, no, I do not smoke. I am not a ‘Climate Scientist’, nor do I claim to be one. But, I am a concerned taxpayer who tries to take a fair look at important issues affecting our country and the allocations of our resources. I have a lot of experience reviewing a variety of medical studies and actually applying them to daily life and death decisions. I try to take a similar objective look at the research/issues/politics as it relates to the climate.
    As I mentioned in my comment, I am concerned that this latest Climate scandal be fully investigated because there is the appearance of deception and collusion which undermines the trust we place in these scientists and their conclusions. Emails from East Anglia reveal researchers willing to destroy data rather than give it up under FOIA requests, collude to deny dissenting views from being published in peer-reviewed journals, and destroy data that does not support warming. Phil Jones has had to step down as head of CRU during investigations into the scandal. Hopefully, an investigation will get the truth out to the public at large, but all this has already shaken the faith we have in the scientists on this topic. Public belief in AGW has fallen over the last year and policies to ‘change the climate’ rank at the bottom of polls on issues that concern Americans at this time. We see Climate Change activist Al Gore flying around on a private jet, living in a mansion with a huge carbon foot print, while preaching against the dangers of CO2. He recently stated that Earth’s core had a temp of millions of degrees, and that the Arctic would be ice-free by 2014. His ‘Inconvenient Truth’ is so full of scientific flaws, it is embarrassing. We see the delegations at Copenhagen traveling on private jets, being driven in limos that had to be trucked into Denmark because the country did not have enough of them, and dining on caviar wedges and champagne. It is pure hypocrisy. Using the phrase ‘Climate Change’ instead of ‘Global Warming’ hasn’t helped. People see it as a PR move, a switch to push an agenda under another name when people are just catching on to the controversy over AGW. It is reminiscent of the name change the trial lawyers made as a PR move. The Association of Trial Lawyers of America changed their name to the American Association for Justice. I mean, who can be against justice, right? Who can deny the climate is changing? All of these factors have shaken the trust the public has had for honest, impartial science. And that trust needs to be restored. continued…

  • Alum ’81

    continued from previous post…I did not call for the investigation of the ‘Hockey Stick’. Perhaps you confused me with a previous poster.
    Whether or not my reading of world history is facile, it is a fact that Man thrived as the Earth warmed and glaciers receded. There became more land available for cultivation, hunting, settling, and civilization, particularly in North America, Europe and Asia. The prior advance of the ice age resulted in less arable land and forced dwindling populations to migrate to warmer climes. You are referring to weather and local soil conditions. I was referring to Climate, which is really the point that AGW activists are supposedly addressing. I personally believe our trillions of dollars would be better spent dealing with adapting to climate changes of any kind rather than trying to alter the climate. This would include helping farmers prevent soil erosion, which you site, through optimum crop management.
    And, yes, we are talking trillions. Perhaps you were the one in a purple haze when our very own Hillary Clinton announced that the US was committed to contributing to a $100,000,000,000 a year fund that would go to poor (i.e. less productive) countries to combat the effects of Global Warming. After ten years, that’s a trillion. After another ten or twenty…well, you do the math. This is money that would be far better spent combating disease, oppression, and providing clean water and improved sanitation for poorer nations. Money transferred to most of these countries would just end up in the hands of the despots in power and their cronies. Such a transfer would make the UN Oil for Food scandal look trivial. For those too young to remember the UN scandal, see here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil-for-Food_Programme
    and
    http://www.heritage.org/research/Internationalorganizations/bg1748.cfm
    Sure the authors I cite could submit a paper for review. Perhaps they have. But that’s the point of the Climategate scandal. Dissenting views are being suppressed by not being published. Their argument does not need to be based on a theory or physics, it is based on historical records—events that have already happen and are informative for what they reveal. It appears that solar activity more closely correlates with Earth temperature than does CO2 levels. It also has the nicety that it helps explain why polar ice caps on Mars and Pluto are receding along with our own. Unless unseen Martians and ?Plutonians are pumping out what? on those bodies to alter their ‘climates’. Obviously we should try to develop clean energy sources that produce fewer emissions. This just makes sense for a better environment. But eminent scientists disagree on the extent to which we may be causing global warming. continued…

  • Alum ’81

    continued from previous post…
    I agree that extrapolations are dangerous. But your real estate analogy does not hold. Real estate booms and busts are cyclic, running in roughly twenty year cycles dating back to the 1800s. For a nice look at this, see here:
    http://www.foldvary.net/works/rebc.html

    If one ignored history, one might follow your isolated extrapolation and reach the wrong conclusion. That is why history is important and getting accurate data is important. The warning signs were there. In fact, even President Bush went to Congress in 2006 and tried to convince them to address the over-leveraged Fannie and Freddie. But these warnings, among others, were ignored and we see the results. But those who knew history, and could see the other factors, did see the inevitable bubble burst coming. They did quite well. And I did too, thank you.
    The more accurate real estate analogy would be to AGW. Those who believe in AGW tell us that, based on their theories, temperatures will be dangerously high 50, 100, 200 years from now and waterfront properties will be disappearing. So, I should invest millions in land just back from the coast in anticipation, and wait out the next few generations as water levels rise to my property line? I don’t think so. These theories were incorrect about warming 30 years ago when a coming Ice Age was predicted. And they did not account for the recent relative cooling or even the quiescent hurricane seasons that alarmists were telling us would make Katrina seem small. I don’t think I will trust them when it comes to making real estate investments. I can certainly imagine a time when the Earth’s sea level will be 7 meters higher, and a time when it will be 7 meters lower. As I said previously, if our goal is to make the lives of Humans better, I think our resources would be better spent on developing adaptations to the climate rather than trying to manipulate it.
    With your expertise, maybe you could answer the question I posed. What is the current mean global temperature? And, what is the ideal global temperature? By that, I mean the temperature that will benefit the most people throughout the world by maximizing access to fresh water, arable land, and favorable sunlight. Have a Happy New Year. And, if you are looking to purchase some real estate, now is probably a good time.

  • Yale Undergrad

    Kai, your insinuation that the CRU e-mails are taken out of context is laughable. There are many e-mails and few are flattering. While you and Professor Park are correct that they, in and of themselves, do not prove anything one way or the other, they certainly wink and point suggestively in one direction (even more strongly when the controversial nature and research of the individuals involved is taken into account).

    The lengths that both of you go through to insinuate that no investigation should be made is entertaining. If the science is so sound, as you say, then what could AGW possibly have to lose? Since Copenhagen turned out to be such a bust, it’s not like there are pressing matters of carbon enforcement for politicians to attend to at the moment. Methinks that you doth protest too much.

    As a final note, I don’t believe either of you are qualified enough to comment on human nature. You don’t seem to know enough of humankind’s astounding corruptibility. I don’t think you should comment until you have taken a few basic history and psych courses. (This is, grantedly, a cheap shot, but one grows tired of being rebuffed solely with appeals to authority).

    Happy New Year!

  • Jeffrey Park

    To #33.

    Take G&G 120b next semester. You dont need to appeal to authority. Become one yourself.

  • Jeffrey Park

    To “alum81″

    I cannot determine whether you are truly a member of Yale’s class of 1981 unless you reveal your name, but your multi-panelled post reads more like the talking points of a concern troll than the yuletide thoughts of a former Yalie. I was curious about the source of your assertion regarding the $100 Billion of US tax dollars that would be sent each year to undeserving nations overseas, when we should be helping them combat disease, oppression, provide clean water, etc. It took only 90 seconds of quality time with the google to find the official US State Department press release:

    http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2009/dec/133557.htm

    Which also appeared as a NTTimes oped on December 14th. Here is the money quote:

    The simple fact is that nearly all of the growth in emissions in the next 20 years will come from the developing world. Without their participation and commitment, a solution is impossible. Some are concerned that a strong agreement on climate change will undermine the efforts of developing nations to build their economies, but the opposite is true. This is an opportunity to drive investment and job creation around the world, while bringing energy services to hundreds of millions of the world’s poor.

    That is why United States is supporting an accord that both complements and promotes sustainable development by moving the world toward a low-carbon economy. The accord we seek will provide generous financial and technological support for developing countries, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable, to help them reduce emissions and adapt to climate change. And we are prepared to join an effort to mobilize fast-start funding that will ramp up to $10 billion in 2012 to support the adaptation and mitigation efforts of countries in need.

    So the number is $10 billion/year, not $100 billion. And if you do the math, it takes a century to reach the $1 trillion amount that so vexed you in your first post. There will be trillions of dollar spent, for certain, but those are the funds we need to invest in the USA, as outlined in the McKinsey reports that you still haven’t read.

    I also note that the $10 billion fund is earmarked for some of the same activities that you claimed to support in your previous post, related to economic development.

    So I see two possibilities.

    (1) you are a concern troll, spreading mis-information while posing as a Yale graduate. I hope that the Dark Lord is paying you well for working on Xmas.

    (2) you are who you say you are, and your favored sources of news information have lied to you. Because what you were told comported with your own beliefs, and the news story was filled with your favorite villains (Hilary Clinton! Al Gore! Europeans!), you didn’t bother to check the facts before devoting a long Xmas afternoon to composing your blog post.

  • Jeffrey Park

    continued from last post . . .

    If (1) is true, I applaud your moxie for doubling down on the claim that you are, indeed, a 50-something Yale alum. Perhaps it is time for YDN to close the comment thread on my essay so that you can ply your trade elsewhere.

    If (2) is true, you are stuck with the fact that your favored sources of news information have lied to you. They will continue to lie to you. Google the three words “Glenn Beck salary” to understand their motivations. Maybe you should demand that the authorities conduct an investigation to get to the bottom of these lies.

    In either case I am on break until classes resume Jan 11th. That means no more posts on this thread. True-blue Yalies can torment me in class next semester. Students who want info about my spring courses can check the Classes Server for the syllabi and query me directly if they have any course-pertinent questions. My seminar course G&G/EVST 200b will cover climate change, but the course focus is much wider than that. If climate change is your main interest, take G&G 120b. To all, have a safe and relaxing holiday.

  • Kai

    My major is anthro, but that aside…

    I think that all of us are here because we believe that a frank exchange of ideas has the potential to change minds. Why else would we bother to post comments on an article and respond to those of others? So the most alarming part of your statement (#33) is: “The lengths that both of you go through to insinuate that no investigation should be made is entertaining. If the science is so sound, as you say, then what could AGW possibly have to lose?”.

    I think that Prof. Park would agree that neither of us are in any way trying to bar any form of scientific investigation. In fact Dr. Park’s attempts to get people to educate themselves on the topic speaks to a determination to promote discourse and transparency. My post spoke to a difference in terminology that can be misleading. I agree that scientists in general could do a lot more to educate the public. You are right about one thing however, that the fault of this widespread misinterpretation is an intentionally misleading campaign of public opinion. If you want to know who to believe, I suggest that you trust the evidence over the suits and smiles.

  • Alum ’81

    I did not intend to post another comment, but feel obliged to respond to the inaccuracies in Prof. Park’s last comments directed at me. I am who I am. I agree it would be better to use my own name, as over 1000 people could accurately describe themselves as “ Alum ‘81”. However, like other friends of mine who have children at Yale or children applying to Yale, I feel reluctant to use my name and have any comments I make impact negatively on them. It may be an unreasonable fear, but the intolerance for different views expressed by the Prof. suggests it is not an irrational fear. I would like to make an occasional contribution to the Yale Daily without having any impact on my kids. Once they are past graduate school, I will feel free to use my name.
    The news source quoted by Prof. Park after 90 seconds of Googling did not contain the latest info on the topic. Getting info from the NYT opinion section will get you only a selective, narrow view of the world (from the Upper West Side of NY). It stopped being an impartial “paper of record” years ago, but it is not a bad place to start looking at current events as long as you balance it out with other sources of information. But, if you want to use the NYT for info about this particular issue, here is the link from Dec 17:
    http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2009/12/17/17climatewire-hillary-clinton-pledges-100b-for-developing-96794.html
    So, the $100 billion/yr figure is accurate. I did not say poor countries were undeserving. My comment on that is that there are more efficient ways to save lives than spending vast sums to combat climate change. For example, roughly 700,000 people die from Malaria in Africa each year. For $5 per mosquito net, we could save a lot of lives for a few million dollars.
    continued…

  • Alum ’81

    continued from above…
    I agree that the US should move over time to less dependence on carbon-based energy sources. This will take decades and require a big push to nuclear power, which, unfortunately, is opposed by many AGW activists. The McKinsey reports (which I had already read, but found irrelevant to my earlier comments) do provide useful information on this topic. They are a well-connected, well-respected consulting firm that will undoubtedly make a great deal of money providing guidance to governments and businesses spending billions on climate change initiatives. I am all for capitalism and applaud them for their efforts. There is much money to be made as the government doles out billions. Wall Street is already salivating at the possibility of credit default swaps and other schemes that could make money under Cap and Trade. There will be some great investment opportunities out there, and I will keep my eyes open for them.
    My main point in my initial post was that the Climategate scandal should be investigated thoroughly because that would help restore public confidence in the science behind climate studies. AGW is an unprovable theory. One would need an identical Earth absent Man to really prove the effects Man has on the Earth. Because of this, belief in AGW requires trust that the science is transparent, the data and models are correct, and scientists are free of conflicts of interest. If these were emails leaked from a pharmaceutical or medical device company or oil company, there would be lawsuits filed and Congressional hearings galore. And, rightly so. This is the only reason I mentioned Al Gore. He is the most visible AGW activist (some would say Fundamentalist) and has the obvious hypocrisies and financial self-interests I mentioned previously. I wouldn’t call him a villain, just a politician turned businessman.
    I’m not sure why the reference to Glenn Beck and his salary. He certainly has come a long way and done well for a self-described recovering alcoholic/drug addict with ADHD and a tragic childhood. He is a libertarian with something like 5 New York Times best sellers, who even attended Yale briefly. I find him a little hard to follow because of the ADHD, but he has brought out stories the mainstream press ignores—like the ACORN and Van Jones scandals. I personally have lots of different news sources—it’s the only way to get at the truth. Thank goodness for diversity of thought and speech. It is what makes this the greatest country on Earth.
    I would love it if Prof. Park would post some of those courses on line, so more of us could be edified. I would also love it if the question I posed about the ideal global temperature could be addressed in a lecture. Have a Great New Year all.

  • Neil Frankoid

    Many of the Climategate exchanges were between top mainstream climate scientists in Britain and the U.S. closely associated with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Revelations included data adjustments enhancing the perception that man is causing global warming through the release of greenhouse gases.

    Climategate e-mails show that IPCC scientists (“believers”) abused their political and administrative positions to marginalize skeptics of the theory that man-made global warming is catastrophic. Believers gained control of key journals, blocked publication of papers written by skeptics and unfriendly peer review of their own papers. Skeptics were deliberately demonized.

    Believers claim the science has been settled, all respectable atmospheric scientists support their position, skeptics are involved only because of the support of Big Oil and that they are few in number with minimal qualifications. All of these claims are wrong.

    Skeptics are numerous and well-qualified. More than 9,000 Ph.Ds have signed an on-line petition of two University of Oregon questioning overemphasis on man-made global warming. More than 700 scientists have endorsed a 231-page Senate minority report that questions man-made global warming. Recently, when the American Physical Society published its support for man-made global warming, 200 of its members objected and demanded that the membership be polled to determine the APS’ true position. One could go on and on.

    Skeptics generally concur that the Earth has been warming since around 1850 but believe that contributions from man are not potentially catastrophic. Many skeptics argue that CO2 is a minor greenhouse gas, pointing out that more than 90 percent of the warming from greenhouse gases is caused by water vapor.

    Most important, many skeptics believe that climate models are grossly overpredicting future warming from rising concentrations of carbon dioxide. Believers claim that numerical models that cannot make accurate 5- to 10-day forecasts can be simplified and run forward for 100 years with results so reliable you can impose an economic disaster on the U.S. and the world.

    Over the last decade Earth’s temperature has not warmed, yet every model (there are many) predicted a significant increase in global temperatures for that time period. If the climate models cannot get it right for the past 10 years, why should we trust them for the next century?

    Climategate reveals how predetermined political agendas shaped science rather than the other way around. It is high time to question the true agenda of the scientists now on the hot seat and to bring skeptics back into the public debate.

  • @#40

    Your argument (especially the “Most important” part) is so fallacious and easy to disprove that I often wonder whether “climate skeptics” really believe their own propaganda. While it is true that weather forecasts lose skill after 10 days, predicting weather and predicting climate are two vastly different things. As an analogy, just because we can’t say exactly what the temperature in New Haven will be 11 days from now doesn’t mean we can’t say with confidence that it will be warmer in August than it is today. As for the last 10 years part, that “lack of warming” is in a short enough time to be part of random statistical variation–long-term trends are actually easier to predict than short-term ones. And burning fossil fuels, by the way, releases both C02 AND water vapor, so even if water vapor is the main cause of global warming (which it isn’t) we still need to stop burning fossil fuels.

    As for the “9,000 Ph.Ds”, what field did they have their Ph.Ds in? I doubt they were all atmospheric scientists. Lots of people with Ph.Ds in geology, for example, now work for oil companies, helping them find new deposits of oil. On that note, it’s possible that “Alum 81″ really did gradutate from Yale, but now works for an oil company, or is a Republican legislator, or has some other job with an interest in maintaining the status quo of our energy usage.

  • BestTimesNow

    Arid and semi-arid areas cannot become more humid if the water is not there to evaporate. These areas are the key to transfer energy back into space and we are closing this “window” by increasing the humidity. Farming and irrigating arid and semi-arid land is the major addition, to the humidity increase, in these areas, not CO2.

    The arid and semi-arid areas of the world are paramount when looking at global warming. Global warming is caused by the lack of global cooling and the arid areas are the most sensitive to human modification. CO2 is not a major factor in the increase of humidity, in the arid areas of the world.

    The amount of water we are adding to the atmosphere is substantial. We are adding about 160 billion gallons per day, in the USA, mostly by irrigation, in the western US.

    Humans are increasing, the daily amount of water added to the air, by about 5.7 % in the USA.

    160/2,800 = 5.7% increase of daily moisture added to the air.

    I am using the USA, as an example, because of the data available, but I think other parts of the world, such as China and India may have even larger contributions for anthropogenic increases of water vapor, the largest greenhouse gas.

    2,800 billion gallons per day, in US, is the total from evaporation and transpiration from surface water bodies, land surface, and vegetation (van der Leeden et al. 1990).

    Chart of water vapor increases in Colorado:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BAMS_climate_assess_boulder_water_vapor_2002.gif

    “In climate modeling, scientists have assumed that the relative humidity of the atmosphere will stay the same regardless of how the climate changes.”

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/WaterVapor/water_vapor3.php

  • Neil Frankoid

    @41

    We confidently predict that summer will be warmer than winter because we have seen it happen thousands of times. No climate computer program has ever been right for any significant period. Those models have been repeatedly “corrected” after repeatedly over-predicting global warming. To paraphrase Richard Feynman’s comment on another trendy but empty scientific frolic: Global warming alarmists don’t make predictions; they make excuses … and political demands.

    The now-infamous Climategate message from Kevin Trenberth to Michael Mann on 12 Oct 2009 (Cc: Stephen H Schneider, Myles Allen, Peter Stott, Philip D. Jones, Benjamin Santer, Tom Wigley, Thomas R Karl, Gavin Schmidt, James Hansen, Michael Oppenheimer) states:

    “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. Our observing system is inadequate.”

    No recipient says he hit the “reply” button to disagree.

    Believers (including East Anglia) have received much more funding for their research, and more from oil companies, than the skeptics. But a scientist’s funding is only a place to investigate; results should speak for themselves.

    Spend some time perusing the Oregon petition; it’s not hard to find.

    Does a full professor of meteorology at MIT not satisfy your “credentials and qualifications” requirement? Then read MIT’s Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology Richard Lindzen Wall Street Journal article “The Climate Science Isn’t Settled.” [http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703939404574567423917025400.html]

    The entire focus on “credentialism” that so characterizes the global warming alarmist movement is authoritarian and anti-scientific. I address the argument, but do not acknowledge its validity.

    Try reading some John Christy, a University of Alabama in Huntsville climate scientist. [here’s a place to start: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2009/11/global_warming_skeptic_tells_g.html

    Read some new research discrediting the supposedly “settled” science (incorporated into many models) that the earth is losing its ability to reabsorb CO2:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091230184221.htm

    As for your bizarre claim that water is not the major greenhouse gas, I suggest you defy Professor Park’s equally bizarre, Luddite and priestly rant against internet research and start with Wikipedia [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas]:

    “When these gases are ranked by their contribution to the greenhouse effect, the most important are:

    • water vapor, which contributes 36–72%
    • carbon dioxide, which contributes 9–26%
    • methane, which contributes 4–9%
    • ozone, which contributes 3–7%”

    Read. Check the citations. Think for yourself. Eschew authoritarian arguments. Defy the priests.

  • James T. Madison

    “Settled science?” In addition to the research described in prior posts here contradicting IPCC dogma, consider:

    (1) A Russian think tank last month said the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cherry-picked data, dramatically inflating Russian temperature readings. The think tank called for the IPCC’s entire temperature database to be reevaluated. Obviously, Russia occupies a very large portion of the entire land mass of the earth, so this is far from a minor alarm.

    (2) Qing-Biln Lu, a physics and astronomy professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada, reported in a peer-reviewed paper that satellite, ground-based and balloon measurements show chlorofluorocarbons and cosmic rays – rather than greenhouse gases – cause global climate changes. Moreover, CFCs decreased around the year 2000, corresponding almost perfectly to a decline in temperatures since. Lu also noted that CO2 emissions, which global warming zealots claim cause rising temperatures, have increased dramatically during that period.

    Qing-Biln Lu’s approach obviously makes it unnecessary to resort to the highly problematic argument that the past 10+ years of no-warming are just “random statistical variation.” Just as obviously, more research is needed to evaluate his findings.

    This is the kind of thinking that the Climategate mandarins sought to suppress and keep from scientific evaluation. “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it,” Phil Jones, director of the Climate Research Unit at the U.K.’s East Anglia University, complained in 2005 when a fellow scientist inquired. Do not trust such a man or give him power over others. Ever. The same can be said of any who would dare to defend him.

  • Jordon Walker ’13

    Really, the flagrant self-promotion in this article is irritating. Regardless of whether or not global warming is man-made (which is the real issue, not whether global warming exists or not), people should have the right to dissent from any type of monolithic thought such as that commonly found throughout the Yale community on this issue. It is irritating to see so much emphasis placed on protecting and providing for the environment, while real issues such as educational disparities, poverty, and income inequalities are ignored-or at least not tackled with the same zeal.

    No one cares about the environment, or imposing stringent regulations on business, when economic opportunities are stifled. The primary concern of the government, as well as any concerned citizen, should be the people who are tangibly hurt by the environmentalist-hippie agenda that threatens the financial well-being of citizens throughout America.

  • James T. Madison

    Some of the world’s most established climate scientists now challenge some of global warming orthodoxy’s most deeply cherished beliefs (such as the claim that the North Pole will soon be free of ice in summer) with claims that much observed warming was caused by oceanic cycles, not greenhouse gases.

    Professor Mojib Latif, a leading member of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), claims that “A significant share of the warming we saw from 1980 to 2000 and at earlier periods in the 20th Century was due to these cycles – perhaps as much as 50 per cent.”

    Yes, the current freeze is the product of the “Arctic oscillation” – a weather pattern that sees the development of huge “blocking” areas of high pressure in northern latitudes, driving polar winds far to the south. Prof Latif found that this relates to much longer-term shifts – what are known as the Pacific and Atlantic “multi-decadal oscillations” (MDOs). Prof Anastasios Tsonis, head of the University of Wisconsin Atmospheric Sciences Group, has recently shown that these MDOs move together in a synchronised way across the globe, abruptly flipping the world’s climate from a “warm mode” to a “cold mode” and back again in 20 to 30-year cycles: “Their shifts explain all the major changes in world temperatures during the 20th and 21st Centuries.”

    Prof Tsonis said that the period from 1915 to 1940 saw a strong warm mode, reflected in rising temperatures. But from 1940 until the late Seventies, the last MDO cold-mode era, the world cooled, despite the fact that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continued to rise. Prof Tsonis said that “It just isn’t true to say this is a blip. We can expect colder winters for quite a while.”

    Like Prof Latif, Prof Tsonis is not a climate change ‘denier’. There is, he said, a measure of additional “background” warming due to human activity and greenhouse gases that runs across the MDO cycles. But he added: “I do not believe in catastrophe theories. Man-made warming is balanced by the natural cycles, and I do not trust the computer models which state that if CO2 reaches a particular level then temperatures and sea levels will rise by a given amount. These models cannot be trusted to predict the weather for a week, yet they are running them to give readings for 100 years.”

    Prof Tsonis said that when he published his work in the highly respected journal Geophysical Research Letters, he was deluged with “hate emails.”

    William Gray, emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Colorado State University, said that while he believed there had been some background rise caused by greenhouse gases, the computer models used by advocates of man-made warming had hugely exaggerated their effect. According to Prof Gray, these distort the way the atmosphere works. “Most of the rise in temperature from the Seventies to the Nineties was natural,” he said. “Very little was down to CO2 – in my view, as little as five to ten per cent.”

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