Sep 13, 2007

Consensus and Sea Ice Record Tandem

What Consensus?

What kind of consensus is there at present about global warming and its causes? What sources are reliable on this subject?

It makes a big difference whether scientists just agree beyond reasonable doubt that the globe has warmed by about 0.5 C throughout the last 100 years - which would not be alarming per se - or if they see in the accumulating greenhouse gases enough evidence for catastrophic warming of 7 C of global mean surface temperature by the end of the century with such apocalyptic consequences as seen in Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth". That movie casted reasonable doubts on the existence of a scientific consensus behind it. The answer came pronto with the other famous documentary "The Great Global Warming Swindle" early this year. So a consensus must be somewhere in between the two movies.

During my search for a source giving evidence to scientific consensus from outside the UN, I stumbled upon a debate around Naomi Oreskes (Ph.D., Stanford, 1990), Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California. She is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in Science and Engineering. According to the latest findings in the bloggosphere, Lord Christopher Monckton is said to be behind a recent research "update" on the renown Oreskes paper. Monckton is a former managing editor of The Sunday Telegraph Magazine and is known for his contrarian views on climate change, most particularly for his provoking article "What consensus?" against Science Magazine where Oreskes (Oreskes 2004) proved the authenticity of the UN consensus on climate change (IPCC 2001). Interestingly, the "update" was performed by Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte, a medical researcher and consultant in endocrine surgery. What's he got to do with climate science? Apparently, Schulte's concern was the well-being of patients who got sick for fear of catastrophic global warming. Thus he wanted to find out by himself if there were a valid scientific reason for this fear(Schultes 2007).

Using the same database (ISI Knowledge of Science) and the same search terms as Oreskes, he examined 528 papers published from 2004 to February 2007. The results have been submitted to the journal Energy and Environment, of which one of the DailyTech bloggers has obtained a 'pre-publication copy'.

It then appeared in the Dailytech blog as a new study that attempted to reveil that
a growing number of scientists
(6%) now explicitly doubt the consensus position as portraited by the UN panel on climate change.

This was a slap in the face of Naomi Oreskes who continues to be a strong advocate of the consensus position as originally published in Science.
This is the gist of it:
None of Oreskes' sample of 928 abstracts as published in refereed scientific journals disagreed with the consensus position that humans were likely the cause of the warming of the atmosphere as observed throughout the past decades.

Oreskes reinforced her stand on the subject by her recent presentation at the American Meteorological Society where she claimed to be in line with the new UN consensus (IPCC AR4 2007).

Enraged by the Dailytech revelation, Oreskes answered Schultes in what appeared to be an open letter.

Now this is where Tim Lambert, a computer scientist at the University of New South Wales (Australia), comes in. I stumbled upon his blog using the keywords schulte_replies_to_oreskes. Yes, the open-letter-exchange goes on! Lambert is very adebt at scientific analysis and reviews. He made a critical review of two drafts by Schulte and Monckton, which were said to originate from the same source and resulting in the claim that "a growing number of scientists now doubt the consensus position...". Lambert focused on those papers which according to Dailytech explicitly contradicted the consensus position in both Oreskes' and Schultes' update sample from the ISI database. He ended up finding just two out of the 528 newer papers and disqualified the other five findings of Schulte (among those papers published from 2004 to February 2007) as "misclassified". As to Oreskes' original dataset which came out as a "misinterpretation" of Oreskes' 2004, Lambert found hardly any that even attempted to refute the consensus position and NONE (like Oreskes 2004) from the peer-reviewed ones that actually managed to refute that position. Lambert's analysis was then "peer-reviewed" by the blogger community (see comments there below. In my humble opinion, after an imput originating from a commenter from the in-group, the "consensus" of the commenters ended up in the following result:

Out of 1467 abstracts on the subject "climate change" (taking into account both datasets) 1463 endorsed or appeared not to challenge the hypothesis that human attribution to the rise in temperature of the second half of the last century was > 0.2 C.

In fairness to Dr. Schulte, I want to give him the benefit of a doubt regarding his motives and post his original explanation here.

Now, for a layman like me, a consensus regarding an increase in global mean temperature by 0.2 C within 50 years is not alarming per se. It does not seem to require global governance to mitigate its effects. Which effects? This is where the consensus stops and the debate continues. We often hear that the science is settled. Yes, with regard to human activites throughout the past 50 years and "most" of the increase in temperature since. The mainstream scientist community now takes it for granted as much as they do take for granted that in life, evolution by natural selection of the fittest is a non disputable fact (Oreskes 2007). There is just no other scientific explanation available which passed the peer test. That's probably one of the reasons why the discussions about climate change have shifted from the question of the main cause of the warming (antropogenic greenhouse gases) towards how to fix the observed impacts and how to keep our planet a livable place.

Right-wing politicians all over the world now recognized that. Even ExxonMobile admits the evidence of human attribution to the warming of our planet on their website since December last year. About at the same time, they stopped the funding of media effective think tanks which (among many other things) attempted to refute the science behind human induced global warming. These think tanks and their publications, together with their contrarian peers, continue to cast doubts about any consensus among scientists while ExxonMobile has jumped on the global warming bandwagon. Ironically, ExxonMobile now takes advantage of higher oil prices as a result of global warming fears. Is this the reason why we have now a strong advocate of catastrophic global warming among President Bush's political advisers? (See update link: Update of September 14)

What does all this have to do with 'sea ice record tandem' in the title above? Well, there is always two sides of a coin. For instance, it just happened that on our side of the 'ball', Arctic sea ice has just shrunk to a record minimum extent ever since satelite measurements are available. At the same time, at the other side, at the end of the Antarctic winter, we are observing just the opposite. The Antarctic continent is entirely wrapped around by sea ice in early September 2007. Guess what - it has just reached a new maximum!

End of scientific part.

How great are the wonders of this world! Who can understand them?

The heavens keep telling the wonders of God, and the skies declare what he has done. (King David BC in the book of Psalms 19 - CEV

Sep 10, 2007

Die Fakten von der Propaganda trennen

Vor Kurzem traf ich im Bahnhof ein Werbeteam von Caritas Schweiz. Ich legte mir meine Antwort zurecht. - Also erstens gibt es so viele gute Projekte, sei es christlich, humanitär, ökologisch oder ein Gesamtpaket davon - die ich gerne unterstützen würde wenn ich das entsprechende Budget hätte. Das entgegnete ich der jungen Frau. Aber ich konnte es nicht verkneifen, auch etwas über meine Bedenken zu äussern in Bezug auf die Art und Weise wie Caritas den Klimawandel als Propagandamittel benutzt für Spenden nach Darfur. Damit dies klar ist - Caritas engagiert sich bestimmt sehr gut für jene Flüchtlinge. Der Sahel ist eine Zone die sehr empfindlich gegenüber Klimaschwankungen reagiert. Da gibt es kein Zweifel. Die Region wird aber noch empfindlicher vom laufenden Bürgerkrieg getroffen. Persönlich kann ich die Unterstützung dieser Ärmsten durch Christian Solidarity International CSI empfehlen.

Es geht mir um etwas anderes. Wir sollten bei der Wahrheit bleiben, wenn wir lautere Werbung für Spenden machen wollen. Tatsache ist, dass Darfur kaum ein Thema war während der schlimmsten Dürre während den achtziger Jahren. Seit dieser Trockenzeit hat sich die Durchschnittstemperatur der Erdoberfläche ständig erhöht. Die CO2 Konzentration erhöhte sich. Während des immer noch wütenden Bürgerkriegs haben die saisonalen Regenfälle um das Darfur Camp herum und im Sudan generell zugenommen und ebenfalls das Pflanzenwachstumauch, wenn man dem Center for the Study Carbon Dioxide & Global Change mit der Webseite CO2 Science" oder anderen Quellen vertraut. Wem soll ich denn glauben? Etwa Caritas die behaupten dass eine Steigerung der Temperatur zu weniger Regen und Nahrung im Sudan führen soll? Kürzliche Berichte lassen genau das Gegenteil vermuten. Es gab verbreitet Überschwemmungen im Sudan dieses Jahr. Wir sollten einfach zugeben, dass wir die Folge von mehr CO2 in der Atmosphäre für die Sahel Zone im Speziellen nicht voraussehen können, so etwa war meine Antwort. Die junge Frau von Caritas reagierte sehr nett und verständnisvoll. Gott segne sie!

Sep 6, 2007

The Science is Settled in Switzerland

There is no doubt that climate has changed dramatically in Switzerland during the past decades. 2003 was a freakin' hot summer and 2006 was the hottest year on record. Glaciers melt at record speed. No wonder you'll probably have a hard time to interview a climate scientist here who calls himself a global warming skeptic.

The first national climate forum was held in Switzerland today. Since the science on climate change is settled in this country, "big steps" are to be taken according to organizer Peter Staehli (to Baz Online). The climate forum offered a platform to various groups in politics, economy and science to seek solutions for energy and climate protection issues. 13 Universities were represented in the so-called "NFS Klima" (national climate research). The University of Berne and the faculty of Professor Thomas Stocker, ice core researcher and final editor in the IPCC reports, were represented as the scientific head during this forum, whereas Bundesrat (minister) Samuel Schmid took part as the political head. Stocker predicted a rise in temperature of about 5°C as seen later in the news on Swiss TV channel SF1. But Schmid pleaded for just small steps, no big activism to try to save the planet in one go, as he said.

The climate alarmists prevail in Switzerland whatsoever. They fear impacts in tourism, safety and agriculture, with glaciers as water reserves melting, rocks crumbling, mud sliding, ski resorts closing and the town of Lyss being flooded for the 3rd time within 3 months. Aren't we biased regarding global warming?! No wonder, international calibers were present such as the German minister Klaus Toepfer and of course AL GORE! Well actually, the former U.S. Vice-President has just improved his personal eco-balance. He visited Switzerland by video this time.

Sep 1, 2007

Religious War over Global Warming


For over a decade the IPCC has published global temperature trends distorted by purely local warmth from Urban Heat Islands (UHI's).

This is not the statement of just another global warming sceptic blog. It is the conclusion according to a paper published online by Warwick Hughes, a freelance earth scientist from Australia.

Urban Heat Islands (UHI)

In the above map, the areas with significant warming throughout the last hundred years show a large red dot. The larger the red dot, the more regional warming has occurred on the respective station. The big cities on the U.S. East coast show significant warming. Around Greenland, blue (cooling) dots are close to red dots. In Russia, Central Asia and China, large areas show warming of up to 4 degrees C. Very few stations measure sea surface temperatures and hardly any are located in the hot and cold deserts of this planet.

So where is the warming? Mostly over growing heat islands which were supposedly taken into account when calculating the adjusted global temperature record. Hughes' paper focuses on Russian datasets which lack credibility in his opinion. Hughes is not the only one who questions the claims of Jones et al. and Hansen et al. that growing urban heat islands have been taken account of completely in the global avarage temperature history. Namely the U.S. datasets were corrected recently just because a blogger had proven that there were inconsistencies, (e.g. the temperature of one particular station was flawed by used air from a huge newly built airconditioning system. A picture of this station went around the world with mocking comments). Since said blogger, Steven McIntyre, found out that 1998 is no longer the hottest year in the United States but 1934 is, those of us who doubt the magnitude of CO2 induced global warming should no longer feel persecuted as "deniers". Although GISS NASA boss James E. Hansen, who has become increasingly political (understatement) as a scientist, may still roar like a lion towards "deniers", they are in good company now since more and more scientists join the bandwagon of AGW sceptics.

What about the Chinese datasets? Like many other scientists, statistician McIntyre doubts the credibility of the heated up red dots in China (see above grid) and has already digged deeper there. Douglas J. Keenan, another mathematical researcher meanwhile has published a report entitled Wey-Chyung Wang fabricated some scientific claims. Again, it is all about growing UHI's. And - look at that!! He joined forces with Hughes and McIntyre questioning the data used in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).


There are voices like this: Hey, what if it turns out that all our efforts to lower the world's average temperature are good for nothing? So what? Are all these efforts like carbon trading schemes, carbon taxes and new renewable energy sources not beneficial to the environment whatsoever? Well personally, I am still convinced that only the truth and nothing but the truth will set us free, no manipulation please! Let us simply be good stewards of our resources even if the world starts to cool down again. This would not come so much as a surprise to me...