Climate science update: One key way the IPCC lowballed its estimates

March 12, 2010 by Ken Ward Jr.

greenlandicesheet

The melting of the Greenland ice sheet, above, from higher temperatures is among the climate change effects that could prompt sea levels around the world to rise.

Judging from the comments to my previous post, Why won’t W.Va. political leaders educate the public about climate change science? there are a lot of climate change skeptics and deniers among Coal Tattoo’s readership here in the coalfields.

That’s understandable, given the terrible job local media and political leaders do in trying to explain the issue. And of course, lots of those readers seem to get much of their information from Fox News or the Wall Street Journal, hardly reliable sources for scientific information about global warming or coal.

So I thought I would point out a great piece out this week on the blog RealClimate, which is produced by working climate scientists — actual experts in the field we’re talking about.

The piece is headlined, Sealevelgate, and it explains one great example of how reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change actually lowball — not overstate, as skeptics would have us believe — many of the scientific findings about global warming and its potential impacts.

The focus in on the findings in the most recent IPCC report that predicted up to 59 cm of sea level rise by the end of this century. The problem? Well, read on:

First, although the temperature scenarios of IPCC project a maximum warming of 6.4 ºC (Table SPM3), the upper limit of sea level rise has been computed for a warming of only 5.2 ºC – which reduced the estimate by about 15 cm. Second, the IPCC chose to compute sea level rise up to the year 2095 rather than 2100 – just to cut off another 5 cm. Worse, the IPCC report shows that over the past 40 years, sea level has in fact risen 50% more than predicted by its models – yet these same models are used uncorrected to predict the future! And finally, the future projections assume that the Antarctic ice sheet gains mass, thus lowering sea level, rather at odds with past ice sheet behaviour.

Some scientists within IPCC warned early that all this could lead to a credibility problem, but the IPCC decided to go ahead anyway.

And what happened?

Nobody cared about this.

I mention this because there is a lesson in it. IPCC would never have published an implausibly high 3 meter upper limit like this, but it did not hesitate with the implausibly low 59 cm. That is because within the IPCC culture, being “alarmist” is bad and being “conservative” (i.e. underestimating the potential severity of things) is good.

Note that this culture is the opposite of “erring on the safe side” (assuming it is better to have overestimated the problem and made the transition to a low-carbon society a little earlier than needed, rather than to have underestimated it and sunk coastal cities and entire island nations). Just to avoid any misunderstandings here: I am squarely against exaggerating climate change to “err on the safe side”. I am deeply convinced that scientists must avoid erring on any side, they must always give the most balanced assessment they are capable of (and that is why I have often spoken up against “alarmist” exaggeration of climate science, see e.g. here and here).

Why do I find this IPCC problem far worse than the Himalaya error? Because it is not a slip-up by a Working Group 2 author who failed to properly follow procedures and cited an unreliable source. Rather, this is the result of intensive deliberations by Working Group 1 climate experts. Unlike the Himalaya mistake, this is one of the central predictions of IPCC, prominently discussed in the Summary for Policy Makers. What went wrong in this case needs to be carefully looked at when considering future improvements to the IPCC process.

And let’s see whether we learn another lesson here, this time about society and the media. Will this evidence for an underestimation of the climate problem by IPCC, presented by an IPCC lead author who studies sea level, be just as widely reported and discussed as, say, faulty claims by a blogger about “Amazongate”?

Think folks in the coalfields will hear much about this from the Charleston Daily Mail, MetroNews or the Bray Cary media empire? Think any of our political leaders will mention it?

37 Responses to “Climate science update: One key way the IPCC lowballed its estimates”

  1. bo webb says:

    Thank you Ken. Not exactly welcomed information, but needed information. I imagine there will be either skeptical responses or non responses. I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that there exists a strain of us human beings that behave much like a bacterial disease, spreading infection across the planet like a plague. And I don’t mean that to be taken as an insult to any human being. We all do what we do for many reasons, but there are always consequences to our actions. If each of us can be open enough within ourselves to be realistic about the situation we face we may be able to yet save ourselves. I just saw a CNN report whereas 50% of the worlds primates are at risk of extinction. We have a serious, very serious problem. For those that may want to read the report;
    http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/08/05/primates.extinct/

  2. Jim Sconyers says:

    Good-bye Nauru, good-bye Bangladesh, good-bye West Virginia’s state tree the sugar maple ….

  3. Jason Robinson says:

    This is really important because it demonstrates how the communication of results to the public is influenced by top down processes. The ironic and vindicating thing is that the influence is in directly the opposite direction that the denialist and media controversy manufacture industry are claiming. If the IPCC, or anyone else, has to temper their conclusions based on what the public is willing to hear then we are ALL in serious trouble. Claims that there is some sort of funding conspiracy that (to use another denialist meme) EXPELLED skeptics, are absolutely ludicrous to anyone with experience or clue about how the process works. But that is an easy PR jab to a public unequipped to parse the finer points. It’s easy to tell lies at warp speed, and it takes meticulous explanation by specialists to clean up the confusion. I don’t see any winners when every wingnut can be an armchair blog scientist, and where “Scientists Lie” is the sort of nonsense trumpeted by talking heads on the television.

  4. John says:

    Another article by a mis-informed writer who wants to sell newspapers. The ice sheet isn’t going to melt away contrary to all the alarmist BS. Would the papers sell if they said “Oh, no problem with Greenland Ice Sheet and Global Warning is BS?” I think not.

    Try reading and opening your mind to something beside the Goracle’s attempts at enrichment.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/mar/10/greenland-ice-sheet-climate-change

  5. Greenspace says:

    I don’t think too many folks question whether the climate is changing. We have solid documentation of periods of warming, and cooling, going back thousands of years. The big question is whether those changes are affected by man, and whether the drastic measures now being considered would make any difference at all. I recently saw a presentation (citing UN data) indicating that fossil fuel combustion worldwide accounts for 4% of atmospheric CO2. The US contribution is 1%. If we make drastic changes, and eliminate that 1% entirely, will it make any difference? Enough to re-engineer our society and economy?

  6. John says:

    Here’s a link to the peer-reviewed study. Climate change is one thing. Bald faced lies by journalists to sell papers and by so-called scientists to get grant money is BS. FYI I’m not one for polluting, littering, wasting, etc., but there needs to be a dose of common sense about this. We need real science, not fantasy-land.

    http://co2science.org/articles/V12/N33/C1.php

  7. John says:

    By the way CO2 is 387PPM or .00387% of the atmosphere. 4% of that is
    0.0001548%, 1% of that is 0.000001548%. Not much is it.

  8. bo webb says:

    greenspace, I’m thinking you saw was probably a coal industry presentation. You say the presentation cited the UN. Can you give us a link to that UN info?

  9. Mike says:

    RealClimate.org is assumed by those, who should know better, to be an “objective” source on climate change. The site features activist scientists with degrees in Geology, Geosciences, Mathematics, Oceanography and Physics who are all self proclaimed “climatologists”. Yet skeptical scientists with equivalent credentials are not (probably because they have not proclaimed it). The site exists to promote global warming alarmism and attack anyone disagreeing with their doomsday declaration (conveniently proven by their “own” computer climate models) and the need for government intervention against the life supporting, atmospheric trace gas, carbon dioxide.
    RealClimate.org”s strategy is to post “rebuttals” to everything they disagree with, declare victory, and by making sure to censor comments challenging their position. It doesn’t matter if they actually rebutted any of the science or facts just so long as they provide the existence of a criticism and declare victory.
    The truth is that RealClimate.org is an environmentalist shill site directly connected to an eco-activist group, Environmental Media Services and Al Gore, but they don’t want you to know that. Remember to “follow the money” and you will find the political cesspool, trying to increase the size of government by stealing your hard earned tax dollars.

  10. PlethoDon Juan says:

    Yes I keep an open mind…and I keep reading. John, this is directly from the article you alluded to above. I’m not sure how this fits into the “alarmist BS” you are trying to debunk as it clearly states that Greenland is still going to melt quite rapidly. Does this mean we shouldn’t do anything if the tipping point is 60 years away vs. 30 years away? Does one wait to apply the brakes to a vehicle traveling at 60mph when it is only inches from colliding into the car ahead of it? Maybe? I know I prefer to provide those good old negetive feedback contributions to a positive feedback loop well before it gets out of control or I slam into a wall. Maybe that is the engineer in me talking…I don’t know but it makes sense to me. Politicians seem to have no problem pre-emptively striking at a nation that may or may not be poised as a threat to our country. The intelligence on global warming is a helluva lot stronger than we had before going into the abyss of Iraq and we did it anyway. And look what it cost us for so little gain (if any). Why can’t we do the same for environmental problems? Is it prudent to wait until we are in crisis mode or being completely reactionary before we take corrective actions? Probably not.

    From: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/mar/10/greenland-ice-sheet-climate-change

    Bamber said the new study was only concerned with the tipping point at which melting becomes unstoppable. It does not mean that Greenland will not contribute to increased sea level rise if temperatures increase by a few degrees.

    “I’m not saying that if you have a temperature rise of 2C then you’re not going to lose mass from Greenland, because you are. You warm the planet, ice melts,” he added.

  11. Monty says:

    I will make one observation about the level of vitriol from those who choose not to believe we have a real and serious issue with climate change and global warming that deserves some real and serious attention – none of you who are screeching so loudly about it will be alive when it all goes to you know where in a handbasket.

    But your children and grandchildren will be. Is the legacy that you want to leave them, that you fought long and loud and hard to do … nothing?

  12. Greenspace says:

    Sorry Bo,

    I saw the presentation, but I don’t have it

  13. Ken Ward Jr. says:

    OK, folks … for you new readers who haven’t commented on Coal Tattoo before. No name-calling allowed … please don’t refer to others as liars or shills, and don’t call something you disagree with BS. Just say you think it’s wrong and explain why.

    If you can’t disagree without being disagreeable and aren’t willing to be respectful, go find another blog to read. Further such stuff will be removed from this blog immediately.

    A couple responses to issues raised:

    First, the Greenland ice sheet is still melting … See for example:
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v461/n7266/full/nature08471.html

    In fact, they are melting faster than most scientists thought they would, as Joe Romm has explained:
    http://climateprogress.org/2009/10/26/nature-dynamic-thinning-of-greenland-and-antarctic-ice-sheets-glacier/

    Greenspace, there is actually very broad scientific consensus that the increase in atmospheric CO2 and the warming of the planet is caused mostly by human activities … As I responded to a previous comment elsewhere on Coal Tattoo:

    The IPCC concluded that the proof of warming in unequivocal, and that they were 90 percent certain that human emissions were to blame. See this previous blog post and the links it contains, http://blogs.wvgazette.com/coaltattoo/2009/04/17/fact-check-capito-climate-change-and-the-carbon-cycle/

    And Greenspace and John, you miss the point. Simply stating that CO2 doesn’t make up a very large percentage of the atmosphere is not the point. The concentration of CO2 has risen dramatically since industrialization, and scientists are confident that the increase in concentration — though CO2 is still a small part of the atmosphere — is causing the planet to warm.

    Folks, these are very common arguments that climate skeptics keep throwing out. All of them are wrong and miss the point.

    Ken.

  14. Greenspace says:

    Ken,

    I didn’t say that CO2 makes up a small percentage ot the atmosphere. I said that I recently saw a presentation (citing UN data) indicating that fossil fuel combustion worldwide accounts for 4% of atmospheric CO2. The US contribution is 1%.

    So, if we’re really aggressive here in the US, and cut our own fossil fuel emissions by 25%, that will reduce our impact worldwide by 0.25%. Lets say China, India, and the rest of the world all make similar cuts in fossil fuel emissions. The worldwide impact would total a 1% reduction of atmospheric CO2.

    Is that enough to make any difference?

  15. Scott14 says:

    Ken, I have to disagree with you about the wall street journal. I have read some very interesting articles in it about global warming and its effects. I have been a reader of it for many years and think there reporting is very objective and skepticle of many issues not just global warming. While I will admit that their opinion pages are rather one sided, the same can be said for your local paper.

  16. Ken Ward Jr. says:

    Greenspace,

    First — and I think others have asked as well — what data are you talking about? Link? Citation? It’s terribly difficult to discuss if you don’t actually have the data and are just throwing out numbers you think you heard someplace.

    Next, are you talking about fossil fuel contributions to the ENTIRE carbon cycle of the planet? Because again, that’s a totally different and off base issue. (And often a common denier refrain).

    Your thesis is just all wrong — the goal is to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations by reducing the amount of CO2 human activities are putting out. Without the human-produced CO2, the cycle would be in balance. It’s our activities that have put the system out of balance.

    Ken.

    If that’s what you’re referring to, I’ve blogged about that before here:
    http://blogs.wvgazette.com/coaltattoo/2009/04/17/fact-check-capito-climate-change-and-the-carbon-cycle/

    As I explained there:
    Compared with the huge amounts of carbon the atmosphere exchanges with the ocean and land ecosystems, the amount that humans add directly might seem small and inconsequential. But as scientists have found, carbon dioxide from burning coal and oil does matter — because the natural parts of the carbon cycle have long been in balance. Human activities — mostly burning fossil fuels, but also land-use changes — have significantly tipped the balance of this natural cycle.

    More on that here: http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/095.htm

    As for the human-induced emissions:

    Current anthropogenic emissions of CO2 are primarily the result of the consumption of energy from fossil fuels. Estimates of annual global emissions from fossil fuel burning and cement production have been made for the period from 1751 through 1999. Figure 3.3 summarises emissions over the period from 1959 to 1999 (Keeling and Whorf, 2000).

    That’s discussed here:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/109.htm#341

    Readers might also check out this from the Union of Concerned Scientists:
    http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/science/each-countrys-share-of-co2.html

  17. armored face conveyor says:

    Ken,
    Is being labeled a denier name-calling? For what it is worth I do not deny that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will lead to increased warming, but the degree to which warming occurs and the need to to spend vast amounts of money to combat it are legitimate items of debate. In terms of confusion, much of what one reads is contradictrory. For example see this link
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,662092,00.html

    which quotes several scientist stating that there has been no observable warming over the last ten years. I am relatively certain I have read contradictory information on this blog, but on the guardians web site (sorry I don’t have the link) their interview with Phil Smith, hardly a climate skeptic, he stated that temperatures have cooled over the last 5 years (although he does state that this is not statistically significant.)
    Even if you believe climate change is a serious problem, the cost of preventing it may be worse than the disease. I personally happen to believe the earth’s population is higher than it should be, but I don’t advocate genocide, euthanasia, or govenment mandated birth control.

    There is a chance that a killer meteor could wipe out life on earth, but at this point I would be against spending trillions of dollars to blow it up.

    I expect China and India believe lifting their citizens out of poverty is a more pressing concern than global warming, and any U.S. effort would fail without their committment.
    Regards
    AFC

  18. Jason Robinson says:

    re realclimate…

    The site features activist scientists with degrees in Geology, Geosciences, Mathematics, Oceanography and Physics who are all self proclaimed “climatologists”

    “activist scientists”? try “working climatologists”.

    again, the currency of scientific debate is peer reviewed literature. there are a million armchair blogs that moo about this or that, but one feature of real climate is that some of the contributors there are authors of that literature. active participants, not just jeering from the sidelines.

    the hockey stick has been validated from multiple independent lines of information. for a fine example, look at the USGS study of timing of ice out in new england lakes. alternatively, ecologists have documented change in plant and animal distributions associated with recent climate change. how much is climate change forced from CO2? that’s a real question. “is the average temperature increaseing?” is not up for debate in the scientific literature. denialist arm chair blog waving, yes it would appear to be a live question. it isn’t.

  19. Kejad says:

    Greenspace,

    The concentration of CO2 is of interest, not the total amount produced every year from all process. The burning of fossil fuels releases CO2 that was in the atmosphere millions of years ago. It was locked up by decayed algae and plants and buried under sediments, so it never returned to the atmosphere. The natural CO2 exhausts have no net effect because the carbon in it was originally from the atmosphere, e.g. the CO2 that I breathe out doesn’t change the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, because the carbon came from plants I ate yesterday. Those plants sucked their carbon out of the atmosphere a couple of weeks ago. CO2 from natural processes doesn’t have the impact of releasing carbon that was stripped out of the atmosphere and stored underground in the form of coal, petroleum, or gas.

  20. Ken Ward Jr. says:

    AFC,

    You raise a legitimate point about my use of the term “denier.” I should probably steer clear of it, and I’ll try to do so … if I slip up, please call me on it.

    You’re right. Much of what you read is contradictory, especially given the incredible amount of information out there … I’m clear proof that any hack (I can call myself names) can start a blog. So anybody can post whatever they want on this or any other topic, and it quickly spreads.

    That’s one reason I’ve tried to point Coal Tattoo readers to reading the legitimate science, or at least reading media outlets that do a good job of reporting on the science … far too much of what I see Coal Tattoo readers citing is from the opinion pages of the WSJ or other outlets that just aren’t doing a very good job of reporting on this issue.

    Several of the best sources of information on this are right there on Coal Tattoo’s blogroll:

    Andy Revkin’s Dot Earth blog, http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/
    Joe Romm’s Climate Progress blog, http://www.climateprogress.com/

    I would also suggest keeping up with materials published by the Union of Concerned Scientists, http://www.ucsusa.org/ and the Pew Center Center on Global Climate Change, http://www.pewclimate.org/

    Also, the actual IPCC reports are not that difficult to understand, especially the “summary for policymakers” the include with each report, http://www.ipcc.ch/

    AP stories written by my friend Seth Borenstein are also especially helpful, I think, in trying to navigate all of this.

    As for your comment about whether there has been warming in the last 10 years, I would suggest you go back and read this Coal Tattoo post:

    http://blogs.wvgazette.com/coaltattoo/2009/12/08/global-warming-is-not-slowing-down-scientists-say/

    It cites the state of the science on this issue.

    I haven’t seen any studies about the chances of a killer meteor hitting the Earth. But if you would read the IPCC findings, they talk about numbers, about how certain the scientists are that certain things are happening and will happen, given what the data shows. Some of that stuff is very sobering to read, at least I think so.

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Ken.

  21. […] Climate power update: One key artefact the IPCC lowballed its … […]

  22. Ray says:

    Why not get some input from a real local climatologist. Professor Kevin Law at Marshall University is the State Climatologist – I would love to hear his viewpoint on all of this.

  23. Ken Ward Jr. says:

    Ray,

    I don’t know Professor Law, but I could give him a call.

    However, one person’s view — just because they happen to be local — does not change the consensus findings of the world’s scientists, represented by the IPCC reports.

    I really do encourage folks to read those. It’s worth the time.

    Ken.

  24. Jason Robinson says:

    I am still struggling to understand the comment made by “Mke”. It’s hard for me to understand how anyone could impugn the credentials of the contributors at realclimate.org. All are PhDs and all but one are working faculty researchers (the one is a postdoc!). Credentials don’t justify arguments from authority but that is a rather bizarre slander.

  25. Dave Bassage says:

    Jason, those were not Mike’s words. I recognized them immediately since they were cited on another blog I frequent by a skeptic who at least was ethical enough to cite the source rather than claim them as their own. They came from a skeptic blog:

    http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/07/truth-about-realclimateorg.html

    Rejecting RealClimate and the IPCC is a common skeptic tactic. Yet if one reads the comments included in RealClimate, skeptic positions are commonly expressed and then responded to by the many climate scientists who participate there. Anyone with a reasonable understanding of science and logic can follow along and form their own conclusions.

    Likewise, the IPCC continually tweaks its own processes and has just requested an independent review of their procedures by the most accomplished scientists they can find. I’ve yet to see anything resembling that degree of professionalism from any skeptic source.

    There has certainly been a recent surge in skeptic confidence due to the combination of garnering far more widespread acceptance than is warranted of their distorted spin of stolen emails, two very minor mistakes from the last IPCC report, and a snowy winter in much of the U.S.

    Ultimately none of that will matter, and the positive result is that the climate science community is looking hard at how to better educate the public and media. And Ken’s fine presentation here is an important part of that education process.

    Come the next IPCC report, I expect far less credibility offered to skeptic reactions, and hopefully, finally, a concerted global policy to minimize impacts while accelerating our inevitable transition to more efficient energy use, more renewable energy sources, and general acceptance of the need to tread lightly on the only planet we have to call home.

  26. Mike Roselle says:

    I too have difficulty with the term denier. Somehow, the term invokes those who deny the Holocaust, a very impolite comparison. Non believers come in many stripes and not all of the skeptics are being dishonest. Some are misinformed while others are misinformers, the same sort that tried to convince us that tobacco was safe. And some I do believe are guilty of perjury, if they really know what the are saying to the public is untruthful. What do we call them? Rapid climate change will surpass even the Holocaust in terms of the resulting human misery, and I think future generations will have a word to describe them which will likely be even more pejorative.

  27. Dave Bassage says:

    “Skeptic” is probably the appropriate term, although I’ve been guilty of using “denialist” as well as “contrarian” in the past. At one point I referred to them as “ostriches”, but not everyone got the implication.

    It’s easy to let our emotions get the best of us in these discussions, but rarely productive. So even though some skeptics are far more aggressive than the term does justice to, I’ve found if I use any of the other options it becomes less likely we’ll be able to engage in rational discussion, and the best thing we can do is promote reason and logic when dealing with climate change.

  28. Jason Robinson says:

    I am still unconvinced that my usage of “denialist” is name calling and not merely descriptive. I know next to nothing about holocaust deniers and I don’t make the connection when I use the term. But I do know something about science deniers, having monitored and enjoined evolution deniers for years. What common threads unite science denialism are accusations of conspiracy theories, character assassination and motive questioning, memes of victimization and persecution for dissenters (e.g. “Expelled”), and most importantly an anti-empirical inclination to deny the validity of the very fruits of the process of scientific inquiry themselves.

    What is either comforting or disconcerting is that this form of denial is not exclusive to republicans or democrats, fundamentalist christians or unitarian universalists. Social constructivism is really not that far from omphalos creationism, and both are adamant in their assertion that our descriptions of reality are far from reality itself. Alternatively, I think that material descriptions of reality approximate reality. That is my bias.

    Among your friends and neighbors, I wager that much of the resistance to the [narrative description of the] scientific evidence for climate change stems from some form of denial of science as the method for creating knowledge. Whether or not science is the only known method that can yield knowledge is probably farther afield than ken would like this discussion to go.

    Try this out: I am claiming that even though we might all agree in principle that science is the only known method for creating knowledge about climate and changes to that climate, when discussing the issue with “skeptics” you will have trouble gaining a consensus around that very point. I have seen it said that climate change is not real because it is not in the bible, because the earth is too big for people to affect, because there is no such thing as a global temperature and because God is doing it in accordance with the End Times. All of these ideas are forms of science denial full stop.

  29. Mike Roselle says:

    Sad but true. And your right, its not just christian conservatives who do this, I know some very progressive people who do it too. We have a tendency to accept the science we like, and reject the stuff we don’t like. But climate change is not like American Idol. It is not a fad. It will not go away. Hopefully the number of people who for some reason or another cannot except the fact that you cannot use the sky for a sewer anymore than you can use a river for one will diminish. Or they will just shut up. The parrot is dead.

  30. Hank Roberts says:

    John, look at the actual article.

    Compare what it really says to what CO2Science tells you it says.

    Ever been somewhere it was “too cold to snow” and learned how it has to warm up some before you get snowfalls?

    Guess what’s happening in Greenland? No, don’t guess. Look at the paper:

    http://www.phys.uu.nl/~broeke/home_files/MB_pubs_pdf/2009_Ettema_GRL.pdf

    It starts right off:

    “… The largest differences occur in coastal southeast Greenland, where the much higher resolution facilitates capturing snow accumulation peaks that past five-fold coarser resolution regional climate models missed. The surface mass balance trend over the full 1958 – 2007 period reveals the classic pattern expected in a warming climate, with increased snowfall in the interior and enhanced runoff from the marginal ablation zone. In the period 1990 – 2007, total runoff increased significantly, 3% per year. The absolute increase in runoff is especially pronounced in the southeast, where several outlet glaciers have recently accelerated….”

    Gives you a different idea about what the paper says, compared to what CO2Science claims it said, doesn’t it?

    Read the original paper. Don’t believe what other people tell you about science papers. There are way too many sites spinning and twisting to suit their agenda.

    Be suspicious of a site doesn’t give you the link to read the original paper.

    You can find it yourself, though. Here’s how. It’s probably the sixth or seventh one down this page, looking just for papers from 2009 and later:

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=surface+mass+balance+greenland+ice+sheet&btnG=Search&as_sdt=2000&as_ylo=2009

    Think and read the originals.

  31. Jason Robinson says:

    Amazing, the new post at real climate is particularly apropos to this discussion. The comments are a worthy read.

  32. Casey says:

    Ken, you stated “far too much of what I see Coal Tattoo readers citing is from the opinion pages of the WSJ”. My WSJ links have been from articles and not editorials or opinions. The information in your link to the 12 part series by the U.K. Guardian (which was interesting) coupled with the WSJ articles provide plenty of reasons to me to investigate climate science processes.

    There needs to be some “real” peer review done especially when Professor Robert Watson, chairman of the IPCC from 1997 to 2002, told the Times of London, mistakes in the IPCC report “all appear to have gone in the direction of making it seem like climate change is more serious by overstating the impact”. The data should be shared and “other” scientists allowed to study so science can have a chance to really work rather than being controlled.

  33. Jason Robinson says:

    Casey the original post is about an error in the report that is in exactly the opposite direction of Watson’s summary. Further, this “error” is perhaps more serious than the typos because it demonstrates top-down control on dissemination of the results instead of just sloppy citings or fact checking. What, to your mind, would constitute “real” peer review?

  34. Casey says:

    Jason, it is my understanding that FOI requests for climate data have been denied. This data is needed by scientists to verify others work. It is also my understanding that there has been a certain amount of collusion to keep studies that had contrary results from being published in certain respected journals. Changing these two items would allow what I feel is real peer review.

  35. Jason Robinson says:

    Casey not sure if the specifics here are what I think you are referring to, some of the data shared with Hadley CRU is, by the agreement with the donor country, not available to share with the public. Per the agreement.

    There are tons and tons of climate data publicly available. the information that is in question here I think is a very small percentage of the total hadley output. others elsewhere have suggested that these FOI are akin to SLAPP strategies, vexatious and incessant annoyances for data that the requesters know full well can’t be shared and wouldn’t do anything with anyway. But I don’t know, not my bag.

    I don’t know what collusion you are referring to…. from the stolen emails there was some discussion of “keeping that paper out” but the papers in question were published anyway. and then refuted in the literature. as far as i can tell the briffa et al dustup is standard scientific procedure.

    if those two instances were met to your satisfaction, what would your next suggestion be? not to point at ken here, at all, but many climatologists are saying that the real failure here is not peer review or scientific integrity but journalism. it’s all too easy to manufacture controversy these days, when identity politics guarantee a willing audience. if you could convince some people that tree huggers were behind flying saucers there would be sightings everywhere.

  36. Ken Ward Jr. says:

    Jason,

    I don’t think you’ll get any disagreement with me … the media coverage of climate change has always been and remains a problem.

    Ken.

  37. […] Regular readers of Coal Tattoo know this just isn’t true. If you missed it, just read the post headlined Climate Science update: One key way the IPCC lowballed the estimates. […]

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