Saturday, May 26, 2007

Why I Side With the Critics Pt 2

On may 19th I posted Pt 1 of why I usually side with the climate change critics. The reason was the fact that many pro-warmers have been advocating the censorship of the critics. I know of no critics that have tried to censure the warmers. For me, this places the edge of moral and scientific superiority with the critics. The respect for free speech seems to exist with the critics but barely so with the alarmists.

Today I want to present Pt. 2 of why I side with the critics: the obvious decline in credibility of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) regarding the first three Assessment Reports. On March 12th of 2005 I had the following op-ed printed at the website of The Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) and I post it here for your perusal.
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4. Has The IPCC Lost All Credibility?

The recent resignation of Dr. Christopher Landsea, a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, has cast new doubt on the integrity of the IPCC's policies and procedures.

In an article at Tech Central Station (TCS 1/31/2005) titled "A Dishonest Broker?" writer Iain Murray reports that: "Most recently, IPCC Chairman Dr. Rajendra Pachauri publicly endorsed a particular policy agenda that contradicts the IPCC's role as 'policy relevant but not policy prescriptive'" Mr. Murray continues:

" Dr. Landsea's hand was forced by two factors: actions by Dr. Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research-who is the lead author of the IPCC's research climate change observations-and Dr. Pachauri's reaction to Dr. Landsea's complaints about those actions. At a news conference last October, Dr. Trenberth said that global warming had made last year's hurricane season worse. This view is contrary to the scientific consensus, represented by Dr. Landsea, that 'all previous and current research in the area of hurricane variability has shown no reliable, long-term trend up in the frequency or intensity of tropical cyclones, either in the Atlantic or any other basin.'"

And:

"But the IPCC leadership dismissed his complaints out of hand, claiming variously that Dr. Trenberth had been misquoted-which Dr. Landsea's investigations showed was not the case-or that he was accurately reflecting IPCC science-which he clearly was not. To Dr. Landsea, this suggested that the IPCC process had become 'both…motivated by pre-conceived agenda and… scientifically unsound' and led directly to his resignation."

Clearly, the IPCC has become a political advocacy group rather than an impartial science group. It now seems the IPCC was a political advocacy group from its inception.

The first report of the IPCC was the 1990 Report and the Summary for Policymakers. The independent, research-analysis think tank Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)(www.sepp.org) studied the Report and determined that:

"The tone of the two documents, 1990 Summary and 1990 Report, is markedly different. While the IPCC Report proper is a useful compilation of then current knowledge-and filled with appropriate qualifying statements-the Policymakers Summary throws all caution to the winds. By selectively extracting from the often- conflicting statements in the Report that express existing doubts and uncertainties, the Summary's firm tone leads policymakers to believe that the existence of a climate problem has been confirmed by 'scientific consensus.'

The IPCC's action of binding the Policymakers Summary with the full Report gives the misleading impression that it arose out of the full Report. But the Summary is essentially a document of governments not of scientists."

The IPCC's 2nd assessment report was published in 1996. In this report the IPCC leadership made changes to the crucial chapter 8 after the scientists had signed off on it, going behind their backs so to speak. The SEPP website shows where chapter 8 was changed. Some changes were made for allegedly editorial clarity while others were obvious changes in meaning.

For example, in Section 8.2.5 the sentence "Current pattern-based detection work has not attempted to account for these forcing uncertainties." was changed to "Current pattern-based detection work is now beginning to account for these forcing uncertainties."

"(H)as not attempted" and "is now beginning" are different meanings. To change the meaning of someone else's writings without their consent is, I think, dishonest.


The third assessment report TAR, published in 2001 is even wilder. It relied heavily on a study done by Mann et al 1998 and 1999 which featured the now highly suspect "hockey stick" graph that purports to show our current global warming to be "unprecedented" --- which, of course, it isn't.

Still at the SEPP website I found an article by Richard Muller titled "Global Warming Bombshell: Hockeystick Broken" Feb 8th 2005. In it he reports:

"But now a shock: independent Canadian scientists Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick have uncovered a fundamental mathematical flaw in the computer program that was used to produce the hockey stick. In his original publications of the stick, Mann purported to use a standard method known as principal component analysis, or PCA, to find the dominant features in a set of more than 70 different climate records.

But it wasn't so. McIntyre and McKitrick obtained part of the program that Mann used, and they found serious problems. Not only does the program not do conventional PCA, but also it handles data normalization in a way that can only be described as mistaken.

Now comes the real shocker. This improper normalization procedure tends to emphasize any data that do have the hockey stick shape, and to suppress all data that do not. To demonstrate this effect, McIntyre and McKitrick created some meaningless test data that had, on average, no trends. This method of generating random data is called "Monte Carlo" analysis, after the famous casino, and it is widely used in statistical analysis to test procedures. When McIntyre and McKitrick fed these random data into the Mann procedure, out popped a hockey stick shape!"

In sports a predetermined outcome is called a "fix" and is illegal. Evidently the IPCC thinks it's ok in climate science.

McIntyre and McKitrick have been gaining some prestigious supporters. In an article at Natuurwetenschap & Techniek ( a Dutch monthly science magazine) which was picked up by Canada's National Post (www.canada.com) titled Breaking the Hockey Stick, Marcel Crok, in a Special to the Financial Post, writes:

" Even Geophysical Research Letters, an eminent scientific journal, now acknowledges a serious problem with the prevailing climate reconstruction by Mann and his colleagues. This undercuts both Mann's supposed proof that human activity has been responsible for the warming of the earth's atmosphere in the 20th century and the ability to place confidence in the findings and recommendations of the influential Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The political implication is a serious undermining of the Kyoto Protocol with its worldwide agreements on reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases."

According to the same article: "On Oct. 22, 2004, in Science, Dr. Zorita and his colleague Dr. Hans von Storch, a specialist in climate statistics at the same institute, published a critique of a completely different aspect of the 1998 hockey-stick article. After studying McIntyre's finding at our request, Von Storch agrees that 'simulations with red noise do lead to hockey sticks. McIntyre and McKitrick's criticism on the hockey stick from 1998 is entirely valid on this particular point.'"

I can't say whether the IPCC is suffering from dishonesty or incompetence or both. But the bottom line is; the IPCC can no longer be trusted. Mr. Murray calls for the IPCC Chairman, Dr. Pachauri, to step down. While I think that would help, I don't think there is much doubt that the IPCC has become politicized and no longer capable of objective scientific judgment.

As more and more reputable scientists distance themselves from or become critical of the IPCC, it's becoming ever clearer that the IPCC needs to be shut down and the study of global warming commissioned to an existing scientific agency whose existence does not depend on finding ever more life-threatening "scenarios" just to keep the grant money coming in. If we're giving grant money away, some should go to make public all those studies that show global warming to be a good thing. The studies are out there. Americans need to hear about them and they won't from the IPCC.

Sources:

http://www.techcentralstation.com/013105E.html
http://www.sepp.org/
http://www.sepp.org//ipcccont/Item02.htm
http://www.sepp.org//ipcccont/Item03.htm
http://www.sepp.org/NewSEPP/Muller.htm
canada.com here
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Obviously this does not include the just released AR4 and its Summary. Some pretty good criticisms of that report are all over the net on the critic's sites which I'll post on soon.

For now I want only to say that the IPCC has zero credibility with me. I don't see any critics trying to alter the words of other scientists behind their backs. I don't see any critics putting together charts with a computer program that can't fail to produce a hockey stick. That's like a pair of dice that always roll sevens. Nor do I see critics publishing summaries of reports that aren't done yet. The more establishment science I see, the more sloppyness, fog, evasion and outright dishonesty I see and that's why I side with the critics.

2 comments:

merjoem32 said...

Interesting views. I am willing to support an advocacy campaign that is in support of global warming but I think that the issue has been muddied. Politics has taken our attention off the real issue. The issue is not whether global warming is real or not. Conserving our planet is more important than debating about the genuineness of global warming.

Mike N said...

Merjoem32:
"The issue is not whether global warming is real or not."
True. The issue today is whether this non-issue is all man's fault, and of course, it is not. Since global warming is of such non-importance, what is it that our planet needs conserving from?

If you are genuinely concerned about the entire planet, I would say the best way to 'conserve' it would be to place every inch of it under private ownership.

As for being is support of global warming, since life flourishes whenever the planet warms, I'm all for it.