It doesn’t appear that he has a single peer-reviewed article on climate change. Yet, he’s spouting off on the issue. This fits a pattern in which Roger Pielke Jr. has also been quoted as a climatologist in other news stories. Although, he’s been lately positioning himself as a policy guy ever since the policy of climate change became more important.
Now I’m sure that both of them will say that these were mistakes on the part of the journalist….but there does seem to be this pattern.
I sent Broad an email that minced no words. As someone with a science background and a journalism degree, I find this kind of crap disturbing and insulting. The general atmosphere at newspapers is that editors don’t want anyone on staff that knows more than they do. They don’t understand science, and thus don’t hire anyone who does. Revkin is the exception. This guy is typical. They ony want to report a false controversy, because that’s the hook the editor demanded.
The conclusion of this fine article strikes a naive note in treating this particularly blatant instance of deceptive intent as some kind of “missed opportunity.” Functionaries such as Broad (and institutions such as the Times, and cultures such as ours) are obviously getting thing wrong on purpose. The reason they do so is expressed eloquently by the unnamed Bush aide who disdained those of us in the “reality based community”:
When we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality â�� judiciously, as you will â�� we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors… and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.
People like Broad suffer from a kind of sociological schizophrenia, intentionally conflating perceptions with realities, which is a sign of the times.
Comment by Daniel C. Goodwin — 13 Mar 2007 @ 11:12 AM
If only newspaper articles were accompanied by error bars or %.
“But part (4 people out of 1800) of his scientific audience is uneasy. In talks (.1%), articles (.05%) and blog entries (.5%) that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some (1%) of Mr. Goreâ��s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.” The other 99% of scientists fear for our future based on thousands of scientific studies and believe that we need to change what we’re doing to avoid drastically harmful effects.
and, of course, this line is hilarious: “Dr. Easterbook, who told his peers that he had no political ax to grind”. Well, he told his peers, so he must be telling the truth. I’m not saying he does, of course, but pretty much noone can say he doesn’t without mind reading.
This article is attempting to create an issue where there is none – at least none that wasn’t shot down a year ago. I guess that sells newspapers. I would be more impressed if the article didn’t roll out the few professional skeptics left to say their standard things. I mean, really, did the writer have this article under a stack of papers and only just found it and send it to his editor?
The article contains lies. Not “inaccuracies”. Outright lies. I wish I knew why. Global climate change will affect the writer’s family and children as surely as it will affect mine. For example (no, I’m not listing the rest of them. But they’re there.)
“â��Nowhere does Mr. Gore tell his audience that all of the phenomena that he describes fall within the natural range of environmental change on our planet,â�� Robert M. Carter, a marine geologist at James Cook University in Australia, said in a September blog. â��Nor does he present any evidence that climate during the 20th century departed discernibly from its historical pattern of constant change.â��” THIS is untrue. Gore *does* specifically shows how this is OUT of the natural range. The writer should probably see the movie and/or read the book. It’s not the “natural range of…the planet” that’s the concern anyway, duh. It’s the range for OUR civilization and OUR agriculture and OUR growing seasons and OUR coastlines. It’s time to wake up, it really is.
Comment by Ed Arnold-Berkovits — 13 Mar 2007 @ 11:13 AM
So last night, I’m sitting in my easy chair, reading the next day’s NY Times on the web, as I am wont to do. I am sipping wine and speculating to myself about the effect of climate change on the vines that supply the Beaujolais I am drinking. I read Broad’s piece. I splutter, I fume, I am at first baffled at the conflation of opinions, mis-statements of fact, self-serving tut-tutting tripe presented as balanced reporting. Then I get mad, fire off an e-mail to Mr. Broad regarding Lindzen and the “iris”, Peiser and his swing and a miss on Oreskes, and the Huntsville Two (radians? degrees?) Spoiled my sleep, this piece did, but I am happy to see it spoiled Mike and Gavin’s also….
[Response: Yes, indeed it gave me a bit of digestion. Now in fairness to Spencer, he is only responsible for a combination of algebraic and sign errors that led him to a cooling trend from satellite data that correctly analyzed, actually indicated warming. The degrees vs. radians error that compromised the Michaels and McKitrick “bombshell” claim that the global surface temperature record is compromised by non-temperature related biases, was all McKitrick. -mike]
[[When are we going to stop dithering about these reckless obstructionists, and make misinformation on global warming a crime?]]
On the Greek kalends, I hope. Misinformation should be fought with information, not with the coercive power of the state. Your repeated attempts to portray AGW believers as some kind of fascists have never worked, and never will work. No responsible climatologist would say anything like the kind of thing you say above.
Debate on scientific details is one thing, on the better way to popularize scientific understanding of climate another. The main (and recurrent for some months) question is: has Al Gore AIT done the “mainstream” science community a favour? IMO, the answer is: no.
Make the test with your circle, picking persons not particularly responsive to the details of GW debate. I did it. After viewing AIT, these lay spectators conclude that CO2 is the main and nearly sole driver of temperature change during geological past, that the link between hurricane activity and AGW is now clearly established, that sea-level rise will reach catastrophic values in a near future, etc. Maybe Al Gore wanted to put more “nuance and depth”, but in this case, he clearly failed.
So, when the same lay spectators are explained than CO2 is not the sole forcing during interglacial transition, than there’s no real consensus for the moment about hurricane intensity trends and causes, that sea-level rise for the near future is better expected at 18-59 cm, etc., part of them logically conclude they’ve been presented a one-sided and exaggerated view on climate change. And if this one-sided view is simultaneously presented as a very good reflect of “mainstream” science view, they further conclude that this “mainstream” science view may itself be biased in its communication toward medias and politics.
I confess I’m pessimistic about these questions. Each new report of IPCC should diminish the controversies, but we can state that the contrary happens (look at most recent discussions here as an evidence). Alarmist-skeptic discussions indefinitely go around the same topics and whatever your “side”, it’s evident there’s no “killer argument” appearing in the debate. And it’s unlikely there will be, because the ultimate basis of controversy will remain (that is: models must deal with uncertain measurements and uncertain parametrizations on a very complex system, so models conclusions are just the temporary expression of our limited knowledge, expression whose likelihood is quite difficult to quantify).
Discussions centered on the explanation of recent scientific results would be more fruitful for everybody.
Comment by Charles Muller — 13 Mar 2007 @ 12:42 PM
The critical error made was in allowing Al Gore to become the face of “global warming” in the first place.
In the USA, Al Gore has no credibility, being known as, at best, a fanciful liar.
We remember his campaign to save the USA from satanic subliminal messages in recordings of rock music, his invention of the internet, his being the inspiration for “Love Story”, and so on…
To pick him to star in this movie was simply foolish.
re: 11. Separate your political views such as they are from the science. Science, particularly data, is not political. The messenger does not matter. And attacking the messenger is irrelevant to the science.
Comment 11 repeats ridiculous anti-Gore canards invented by right-wing smear operations (and, sad to say, spread by the lazy and credulous mainstream media which echoes these assertions without ever investigating or correcting them). Pre-emptive attacks on his opponents’ strengths are a fundamental part of Karl Rove’s political tool kit (Swift boats, anyone?). Those who still fall for these tricks have only themselves to blame.
[[In the USA, Al Gore has no credibility, being known as, at best, a fanciful liar.]]
That may be the view on the right; it is not the view on the left or in the center. Most Americans have a favorable impression of Al Gore according to polls. Note, also, that he won the popular vote in 2000.
Gore and another person were the inspiration for the male lead in “Love Story.” He never claimed to have “invented” the internet, either. He did claim that he “took the initiative in creating the internet” when he was asked about his Senatorial accomplishments in an interview.
The liars are those who claim Gore said he “invented the internet”. He actually said “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” Vincent Cerf, Marc Andreesen and many others have explicitly credited Gore for provoking ‘net investment.
The liars are those who deny that Erich Segal, author of Love Story, corroborated that both Gore and his Harvard roommate, Tommy Lee Jones, were indeed the models for the story’s main character.
The liars would be those who claim Gore ever said anything about “satanic subliminal messages” in rock music.
But, yes, Gore’s problem is that, given so many lies told about him by the same crowd that now finances denialists, a large portion of the population find him not credible.
Comment by OccamsAftershave — 13 Mar 2007 @ 1:39 PM
Re 13: It is indeed too bad that a former politician like Gore is the messenger on this. Many people in this country voted against him and many who voted for him think his badly run campaign and post-election strategies did not demonstrate adequate leadership skills. And in the movie it was Gore who couldn’t separate his politics from his science and included clips from the Florida recount.
Many people don’t trust politicians and they are justified in their belief. Had Walter Cronkite (or his modern day counterpart) made Inconvenient Truth the other side would have much less ammunition for personal attacks.
One interesting thing is that Dr. Hansen’s remarks were melded with the ones on the muted 2006 hurricane season:
“Still, Dr. Hansen said, the former vice president’s work may hold “imperfections” and “technical flaws.” He pointed to hurricanes, an icon for Mr. Gore, who highlights the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and cites research suggesting that global warming will cause both storm frequency and deadliness to rise. Yet this past Atlantic season produced fewer hurricanes than forecasters predicted (five versus nine), and none that hit the United States.”
He then continues with his quoting of Hansen. (‘We need to be more careful in describing the hurricane story than he is,’ Dr. Hansen said of Mr. Gore. ‘On the other hand,’ Dr. Hansen said“…).
The writing about all of this needs to be looked at through an ethcial lens for so many reasons. For instance, the skeptics usually conflate the magnitude of scintifically plausible impacts with proven impacts. In other words, unless impacts are absolutely proven, they want to call anything else alarmist. Yet scientfically plausible impacts are very relevant ethically even when they are not proven to 95% confidence levels. In fact, science should be allowed to speak about all scientiflcally plausible climate change impacts particularly when proof is illusive as a matter of ethics. (This by the way, is now what IPCC does) As a matter of ethics, that is, if impacts are scientifically plausible and suffficiently dangerous, the burden should shift, according to most ethical theories. to those who want to continue to behve in a way that is dangerous to others. In fact, at some point, the victims of climate change have rights to participate in decisions about uncertain impacts when decision makers will be placing bets about uncertain impacts that affect others. As we have said the the White Paper on the Ethicl Dimensions of Climate Change, http://rockethics.psu.edu/climate/index.htm. scientific uncertainty is an ethically inappropriate excuse for not taking action to reduce the threat of climate change given some undisputed scientific facts about climate change and other issues that establish scientifically plausible impacts. (Note the scienfiic facts are still relevant to the ehical analysis) These facts include many things about climate change including the fact that:(1) before all of the uncertainties are resolved, harm will either occurr or be put in motion and, (2) the longer we wait to take action, the more difficult it will be to stabilize GHG in the atmosphere at safe levels, etc.
So in addition to correcting the climate skeptics’ misstatements about the facts, clarity will come in this debate only when we examine the unstated normative assumptions that are often hidden in the scientific debate including the notion that some want to call alamist anything that is not proven. Limiting this debate only to scientific issues plays into the normative assumption that nothing should be done until the science has reached high levels of ertainty. Because of this the questions that should be asked of the skeptics, given the burden of proof should shift, what have you proven will be the impacts. In other words, the skeptics should not be silenced but they should be seen to now have the burden of proof if they are implicitly arguing for no action until higher levels of certainty are achieved. They should be asked directly such questions as (1) Are they now saying that high levels of climate sensitivity are not possible, or (2) Are they now saying that some of the climate surprises including more rapid releases of carbon from the stored carbon are not possible. And if so, what is their proof. This is an issue that needs to integrate normative questions with scientific questions.
Comment by Donald A .Brown — 13 Mar 2007 @ 2:16 PM
I think that the main efforts to politicize climate science come from the small but vocal contrarian camp; while Lindzen says he is worried about ‘shrill alarmism’, he himself can be characterized as a shrill, stubborn polemic-minded scientist who repeatedly ignores scientific advances and who refuses to admit to any past errors or inaccuracies in his own scientific work.
A more balanced discussion of the political aspects would surely have included Pat Robertsons comments during the AUg 2006 heat wave: …But I tell you stay in doors ladies and gentleman. Stay cool. Get fans or whatever. And the poor, they need emergency fans and ice to cool down â�� the number of people dead. I have not been one who believed in the global warming. But I tell you, they are making a convert out of me as these blistering summers. They have broken heat records in a number of cities already this year and broken all-time records and it is getting hotter and the ice caps are melting and there is a build up of carbon dioxide in the air. We really need to address the burning of fossil fuels. If we are contributing to the destruction of the planet we need to do manage about it.
The fact of the matter is that global warming doesn’t pick and choose over politics, despite the best efforts of Roger Pielke Jr. to portray the issue as a political rather than a scientific issue. It is also verifiably true that certain sectors of the fossil fuel industry have been running a massive disinformation campaign that mirrors tactics used by, for example, the tobacco lobby over lung cancer and other smoking-related health issues: you’ve got CEI’s “CO2: We Call it Life” campaign, the Western Fuel Associations “The Greening of Planet Earth”; and so on. On the other hand, the reinsurance industry is worried about being bankrupted by global warming. A balanced view of the economics has to include a discussion of fossil fuels, renewable energy, and the insurance industry outlook on global warming.
What’s diappointing is that all of the above are not scientific issues, but journalistic issues related to fair coverage of the topic. William Broad goes directly to the small, shrill group of contrarians and joins in the attempt to make global warming a political rather than a scientific issue, while (apparently deliberately) ignoring many of the economic issues involved. Even if you ignore the science, this is slanted journalism.
If you look at the discussion of the science itself, however, Broad’s coverage is just very poor and displays a high level of ignorance of basic scientific concepts. People who do science journalism should have a background in science and should be able to explain scientific issues without having to rely entirely on ‘expert soundbites’. There is a complete lack of mention of the basic physical phenomena that influence climate – the atmospheric composition in particular – not even a word about the mechanisms that are responsible.
It is as unfortunate as it was probably inevitable that Al Gore’s person, rather than his argument, should have become the focus of attacks on AIT — but let’s not forget that the image of Gore as a “fanciful liar” is the creature of a disinformation campaign. He never, for example, claimed to have “invented” the internet. Similarly, his statements on the Segal novel, childhood in Tennessee, service in Vietnam, etc. — so widely reviled by the hackosphere as fabricated or exaggerated — turn out on closer examination to have been … well, true. It is not necessary to believe Gore is a model of perfection to note that his track record of accuracy and truthfulness is actually better than that of most public figures. The way the contrary meme took hold (in some quarters, at least) is a tribute to the power of aggressive PR. It should also be a cautionary tale for those trying to educate the public on climate, or anything else. That whiff of brimstone you may smell is your clue that Frank Luntz has not left the building.
[Response: Actually Frank Luntz is on record (late last year) as saying that action needs to be taken on emisisons. Quote: “Not everything is about politics” – gavin]
The day it becomes a crime to speak out against AGW, is the day I switch sides and become a AGW-denier.
Propaganda machine or not, if the truth – the science – is on the side of AGW ocurring, it will carry the day, no matter what some contrarian says.
The accusation of GW “alarmism” is beginning to irritate me. First I took it with humor, suggesting that, yes, there might be some mad dashing and shopping cart clashing at Home Depot as people rushed to buy CF bulbs and weather stripping.
Let’s get this very very straight now: There will be time to walk, even crawl away from the seashore as it heads inland due to sea rise. DAY AFTER TOMORROW was fun & thrilling sci-fi, so, no one need pack bags for Mexico. And we don’t have any code red or orange on this — just a persistent code yellow, like a reminder to keep on searching for ways to reduce GHGs, and I’d really really suggest looking into cost-effective ways first, but no one has to listen to me.
If by alarmism, they mean yelling GW in a crowded theater, that just ain’t happening. There are people, however, informing others that GW could cause great harm to the earth and to their progeny, and that if one wants to prevent that he/she will have to pitch in with the others and reduce GHGs. This is more like informing the theater crowd politely of a problem, letting them know there are good ways out, and encouraging them to file out orderly so no one gets hurt.
So if Exxon does not want to diversify into alternative energy, well, forewarned is forewarned.
The sooner people act on this, the less harm to the earth & people there will be, and the less drastic the political measures that may have to be taken. If people persist in harming others through AGW, well, perhaps some laws may have to be enacted. Let’s hope everyone does the right thing without having to enact a whole lot of laws and rules.
Even contrarians in a burning theater would appreciate being informed of the fire and the various exits, you’d think. So, if that’s alarmism, then what exactly is wrong with it?
Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 13 Mar 2007 @ 3:52 PM
Welcome to Planet Earth. From time to time there are floods, droughts, tidal waves, and hurricanes. Sometimes the weather is warm, and sometimes it is cool.
From time to time this warming and cooling caused the humans that live on Planet Earth considerable alarm:
70,000 BC: Coldest temperatures on record. Turned out to be the start of an Ice Age.
10,000 BC: Highest temperatures for tens of thousands of years. Turned out to be the end of an ice age.
1970 AD: A few cooler than average years caused panic. Early arrival of next Ice Age predicted. Turned out to be… a few cooler than average years.
2000 AD: A few warmer than average years and a few more hurricanes than average caused panic. Turned out to be… a few warmer than average years.
The humans on Planet Earth liked to blame themselves for things, to make themselves feel important. These superstitions now seem bizarre to us.
And I’m just sick of hearing negative things about Al Gore. He seems to be a very nice and wholesome person. In fact his slight awkwardness is actually more endearing to me and makes him seem more like a real person, than the smooth wheeler-dealer personalities of Bush and Clinton.
I know the Religious Right is upset that Gore changed from anti-abortion to pro-choice (which is the only complaint about him that I am aware of), but it would be the height of hypocrisy for them to refuse to listen to him as he tries to save lives by informing people about AGW. It also makes their anti-abortion clammer ring very hollow, and gives me the impression that they only want to point their fingers at other people’s sins, but do nothing about their own short-comings (accept kill the messenger).
Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 13 Mar 2007 @ 4:05 PM
#29, gtpunch, are you kidding? Where I come from (obviously not the same planet earth), people like to blame anyone or anything but themselves. Even I do that now & then, but my choir leader when I was a kid showed us that when we point the finger at others, there are 3 fingers pointing back at ourselves (try it & see), so sometimes after I point the finger at others, I also look to see where I might be guilty of the same thing.
Another point, if people really were blaming themselves for AGW, then the human emission of GHGs would be declining, rather than increasing.
Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 13 Mar 2007 @ 4:12 PM
Dr. Don on the Little Screen Trashes Al Gore and IPCC on the Small Screen
Don Easterbrook late of Western Washington Univ. on “Tucker” on MSNBC today around 4:45pm, repeated at around 6:45pm. Easterbrook said that the most recent IPCC report was only written by a few people, 143 geologists and not the “real scientists” who number in the thousands.
He said that at least 10 times in the last 10K years there has been climate change greater than predicted by IPCC and Gore. However, he said that some warming is occurring and although not due to humans, may require us to adapt to a 1 degree F rise in temperature by 2100. It’s going to be 84 degrees F here tomorrow, Don. How should I adapt?
Finally, he said that the hurricane relationship Gore gave in the movie is specious and that the oceans should cool between now and 2010.
Tucker, taking a break from beating up on his president, seemed relieved.
Good post, but how do we explain the James Hansen quote criticizing Gore on hurricanes in the article? Okay, Broad made a very simplistic argument about 2006 in the Atlantic that ignored El Nino. But presuming that Hansen was indeed quoted correctly, I rather doubt that was his objection….I suspect it was something else.
Re #29: gtpunch — Yes, there was a stadial about 70,000 years ago. And then another about 20,000 years ago, called LGM for Last Glacial Maximum. (Helps to get the facts right.)
But what has been occuring for the last 250 years, and most noticably for the past 50, is that humans are taking a huge slug of carbon from the ground, where it did not participate in climate, and putting into the air as carbon dioxide, where it does participate in climate.
That is, it is becoming noticably warmer. The fact are well understood and it is not a superstition. Sorry, but you’ll have to adjust to it.
Comment by David B. Benson — 13 Mar 2007 @ 4:25 PM
Well, it looks like Bill Broad’s fair and balanced article got picked up by a network.
Propaganda machine or not, if the truth – the science – is on the side of AGW ocurring, it will carry the day, no matter what some contrarian says.
The issue is time. The tobacco industry managed to fudge the issue of smoking and cancer for nearly 30 years before finally being forced to admit there was a link. We can’t afford to wait 30 before acting on global warming.
“… In the summer of 2002, …I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House’s displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn’t fully comprehend — but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.
“The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
I am always wryly amused by those who would agree with Dick Cheney that a 1 percent probability of a terrorist threat:
‘In his new book, The One Percent Doctrine, Ron Suskind quotes the Vice President as follows: “We have to deal with this new type of threat in a way we haven’t yet defined. . . . With a low-probability, high-impact event like this . . . If there’s a one percent chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response.”‘
will treat a 90 percent likelihood of environmental disaster as too unsettled for us to do anything without further study.
It is sad when the gray lady has come to this–Broad must have studied at the same journalism school as Judy Miller. I’m not a great fan of Al Gore. However, he hardly butchered the science in “An Inconvenient Truth”, and I think he does do a service in popularizing the science. Unfortunately, there is a lot of hatred for anyone from the Clinton years, which conservatives view as a dark regency between Bush I and Bush II. And given the way Bush II has turned, they have to demonize Gore to justify their vote.
I haven’t seen one aspect of Broad’s article mentioned in other blog postings, and it is so ridiculous that it shouldn’t be passed over. Broad quotes this from a blog posting by Roy Spencer, a climatologist at the University of Alabama: the IPCC report shows â��that all we really know is that we are warmer now than we were during the last 400 years.â��
Oh really? Thatâ��s the only solid conclusion to be drawn from all 8,488 words and 21 pages of the IPCC report? Not that â��paleoclimate information supports the interpretation that the warmth of the last half century is unusual in at least the previous 1300 years,â�� as stated in the IPCC? Or that â��the last time the polar regions were significantly warmer than present for an extended period (about 125,000 years ago), reductions in polar ice volume led to 4 to 6 metres of sea level riseâ��?
Both of these findings, two of many described in the IPCC report, support points made by Gore â�� points that Broadâ��s sources say have no scientific backing.
What possible justification could there be for printing something so patently untrue and profoundly absurd? I can only conclude that Broad has a mission when writing about climate change: To correct what he perceives to be errors in the record and restore a sense of balance to journalistic coverage that he thinks has tilted too far in the direction of climate alarmism. Nothing wrong with trying to correct the record, maintaining journalistic skepticism, etc. But as Michael Mann and Gavin Schmidt pointed out in their original posting this morning, if youâ��re going to do it, youâ��d better get your facts straight.
@Lynn Vincentnathan – I think you misunderstood, by “humans blame themselves” – I mean blame humans in general, not each human shouldering their own blame.
@David B. Benson – You are confusing facts and speculation.
1. “What has been occuring [sic] for the last 250 years, and most noticably [sic] for the past 50, is that humans are taking a huge slug of carbon from the ground […] and putting into the air as carbon dioxide.”
2. “it is becoming noticably [sic] warmer”
– Debatable, it depends where and how you measure, and what timescale you are comparing to.
3. “carbon from the ground, where it did not participate in climate, and putting into the air as carbon dioxide, where it does participate in climate.”
– Care to comment on how changes in C02 levels follow temperature changes in the data, rather than the other way around? The Earth has recovered from far higher temperatures and C02 levels in the past.
This winter has been cooler in some parts of the Northern Hemisphere, and colder in others. There have been fewer than predicted North Atlantic Hurricanes.
I’m just astonished that so many people are quick to jump on one single variable in a complex system as the sole cause of so many evils- hurricanes, extinction, malaria, floods.
You’ll look back on this issue one day, and somehow your mind will prevent you from remembering how wrong you were.
Who is the NYTimes’s acting science editor, and is this person new on the job? Last week they ran an article poo-pooing peak oil (“…broke their near silence on peak oil…A very disappointing piece from a normally top-notch NY Times energy reporter…. basically transcribes the industry talking points…”)
Please look into the personnel situation – my guess is that something has changed, and it could turn out to be interesting.
On Bob Carter – I contacted him by email a few months back after hearing some statements of his that I thought were being misinterpreted to mean the 20th century rise of CO2 wasn’t human-caused. I couldn’t believe anybody claiming to be a legitimate scientist could look at the CO2 data and claim it was natural. My question to him was:
“A friend quoted to me a comment of yours: “historically, temperature increases have been followed by – not preceded by – CO2 increases.”. I was wondering – do you believe this statement applies to the dramatic increase in CO2 during the 20th century? If so, when do you believe the preceding warming occurred and how much was it? ”
His response (and I do very much appreciate his taking the time to respond):
Published work would indicate that the 20th century CO2 rise is largely due to human influence.
That said, there is a paper in preparation by a German scientist which shows a strong relationship between temperature and carbon dioxide between the early 19th and late 20th century.
The issue is complex, and not well suited to yes-no answers.
How do you like that? :-)
I think RealClimate would do the world a huge service by publicly listing each of these guys who are at least somewhat qualified, as scientists, to comment on the issues, and get as clear quotes as we can from them on where exactly they stand. They certainly are in the public eye often enough!
Re #44: gtpunch — I’ll just address your point 3 and a bit on point 2, leaving you to read
Earth’s Climate: Past and Future
W.H. Freeman, recent
to help you gain a better understanding of climate.
Let us just concentrate on the warming from LGM (20 kya) to the Holocene Thermal Optimum (10 kya). For the first few centuries, following orbital forcing and ice sheet decay properties, the climate warmed a bit. Then atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations began to rise, which helped the climate to warm a bit faster and somewhat further.
The climate warmed about 6 K. The increase in so-called greenhouse gases explains about half of that. Why? The effect of so-called greenhouse gases has been studied for over a century now and the physics is rather well understood. Start by reading Ruddiman’s book, for example.
So the effect of the additional carbon slug going into the air is understood. It is warmer and it will become still warmer, even if no more fossil carbon is added to the atmosphere. (Of course, more will be, at a rate increasing every year.)
Regarding warmer recently, the IPCC report says it is now warmer than at any time in over the last 300,000 years. Homo sapiens sapiens is, as a species, younger than that. We are adapted to cold (global) climates. Seems to me that ought to be enough to start being rather alarmed, yes?
Comment by David B. Benson — 13 Mar 2007 @ 6:56 PM
Looking at the nytimes archives, it appears that Mr. Broad’s area of expertise (or at least coverage – I can’t judge his expertise) is threats with mustaches – Iran, uranium, bombs, star wars stuff. And research fraud.
Re 44: gtpunch, exactly how is whether it is warmer or not upen to interpretation. Certainly not at the poles, where ice is melting in huge volumes. Certainly not in the amount of time between first and last frost. Certainly not in terms of overnight low temperatures. These are exactly what is expected from a greenhouse mechanism.
The lag between CO2 and temperature in PAST epochs has been beaten to horseburgers–basically why would we expect CO2 to lead in the past. Nobody has suggested CO2 is the only variable that can cause climate to change. In past epochs, the warming started via some other cause (orbital perturbation etc.) and then ghg were released as permafrost and the oceans warmed, prolonging and intensifying the warming.
You say Earth has survived past warming epochs greater than the present one–certainly true. However, nothing like this has occurred during the epoch of human civilization–that is what is at risk here.
The fact of the matter is that NO ONE can predict exactly what will happen when we add significant amounts of energy to the climate, because the climate is a chaotic system. However, if you draw comfort from that fact, then you haven’t thought the matter through (particularly in light of the era of remarkable climatic stability of the past 10000 years) and you don’t understand chaotic systems.
As a matter of fact Al Gore did play a significant role in arguing for and pushing for the implementation of legislation that was instrumental in making the internet what it is today. See here and here.
No one picked him to make the ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. He set about making it himself having previously spent years earning his stripes by presenting the message to live audiences.
From outside the US it seems incredible that so many on the right there can so blatantly employ or accept baseless character assassination to undermine anyone with information or a message that undermines the extreme right perspective. And they do it while claiming the moral high ground, hogging a disproportionately high percentage of media time and moaning about being disadvantaged because they are on the fringe.
And to top it off they turn around any try to pretend that anyone pointing out a right-wing pundit’s demonstrable track record of poor arguments and use of repeatedly discredited ideas is somehow unfair and dishonorable!
Re 53: Hopefully you will have read post 49. I also mention the reason briefly in post 51. Basically it comes down to this: Who ever said all warming epochs are CAUSED by CO2. The CO2 increases in warming epochs the begin via other means (e.g. orbital fluctuations, etc.) serve as positive feedback onto the initial warming.
One of the ongoing points of contention in this debate is the weight of expertise and research backing each of the various lines of argument.
It would be great if someone could put together a website that assists the scientists to demonstrate their weight of opinion. I’m imagining a site that presents a comprehensive list of all the theories and lines of reasoning (possibly in some hierarchical manner). The site would then allow each climatologist to create an account, to list their peer reviewed papers (as proof of credibility) and to vote on the scientific validity of each idea. The voting options might be categories along the lines of ‘totally accept’, ‘strongly accept’, ‘have significant reservations’, ‘totally reject’. The vote tallies would be clearly shown as a bar graph in the header of each concept’s page, and possibly as icons beside each heading on the contents page.
Ideally, each concept could be described in the admirably easy to read manner of the How to Talk to a Skeptic pages, but would use totally neutral language and would present arguments both for and against. Each would also be linked to a list of relevant literature.
Voting should be open to anyone with published peer reviewed papers – even if the consensus among other scientists is that a particular paper is dodgy and discredited.
In this way it would be possible for the public to quickly gauge how well supported each assertion in the debate is.
Are there any website development guru’s out there among the readers who can put such a site together? You would be doing us all a huge service.
Having held the Vostok chart (unfolding upwards) in 1997 when VP Gore gave a talk on this issue for 30 minutes without notes, I was impressed how well he knew his material. Then last year, I saw the movie, and was impressed with his greater set of graphics and his knowledge. Early this year, I got to twice hear him give his talk to those he is training to spread his message, and what was immediately evident is that he knows a lot more than is in the movie–his talk had 275 visuals and went over two hours both times. And I understand he has a working inventory of something like 900 visuals to draw from, tuning each talk to the audience.
The idea of judging what he knows by what is shown in the movie is a bit like judging a book by its cover–one is seeing only one perspective on his understanding–the second time I saw his movie I could not believe how much had not been included (it might not have been in the talks they filmed). Having been at these training session sto help answer scientific questions, two observations: (1) any that I made the first time, he had absorbed and incorporated by the second time, and this was the observation of one of the other scientists who likewise had done this; and (2) By the end of the full days he devoted to this task, I was getting the impression he was passing questions to me so he had a break to take a sip of a soft drink, not because he did not know how to answer the question. Everyone needs to see him give a full talk and answer questions before questioning his depth of understanding–not just of the main thrust of findings, but of how the data were gathered and the range of interpretations and uncertainties. The film would have had to be several times as long and with no family clips to come close to doing his understanding justice.
Comment by Mike MacCracken — 13 Mar 2007 @ 9:14 PM
RE#53, the correct phrasing seems to be that “CO2 and CH4 lags temperature change at the very beginning of the glacial-to-interglacial transitions”. This is from the ice core records, which also show that CO2 and temperatures rise together.
“Does this prove that CO2 doesn’t cause global warming? The answer is no.
The reason has to do with the fact that the warmings take about 5000 years to be complete. The lag is only 800 years. All that the lag shows is that CO2 did not cause the first 800 years of warming, out of the 5000 year trend. The other 4200 years of warming could in fact have been caused by CO2, as far as we can tell from this ice core data.
The 4200 years of warming make up about 5/6 of the total warming. So CO2 could have caused the last 5/6 of the warming, but could not have caused the first 1/6 of the warming.”
What the ice cores also show is that the climate can change very rapidly: see http://www.aip.org/pt/vol-56/iss-8/p30.html for a good article by Spencer Weart on rapid climate change. This means that the climate system can be very sensitive to forcings under the right conditions.
This is typical behavior for the contrarian camp – they never look at the whole picture, but only pick isolated issues where the levels of uncertainty are highest. If an uncertainty is removed from the list by better data collection and modeling, they then move to focus all their efforts on the next topic. Since 1980 or so, first it was the radiative behavior of CO2; then it was the water vapor feedback effect; then it was solar forcing, and now they’re clutching at a last few straws, such as the uncertainty in the mechanisms that lead to CO2 increases in the glacial-to-interglacial transition. This has been loudly trumpeted by Sherwood Idso’s CO2science website, in their nonsensical commentary on http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v429/n6992/abs/nature02599.html (Eight glacial cycles from an Antarctic ice core, Nature 2004 abstract) (CO2science is the worst of the worst when it comes to scientific distortion and deception)
The contrarian camp seems to be running out of bona fide scientists who will give them support, so they are reduced to distorting the work of others.
Unfortunately the IPCC website is a shocker. I have struggled to find find any useful detailed up-to-date information there. It certainly gives no information about the outsider theories we see tossed around (and regularly debunked here at RealClimate). And I am unable to find any information about the people behind the IPCCs work. Frankly it is a good demonstration of how bad scientists can be at communicating with the public. I trust the consensus approach of the climatology community, but the IPCC site is next to useless as a resource to be used when discussing the science and the validity of the consensus with others.
Still, if you’re looking for a specific piece of information, it’s easier to use the google site search function, for example type this into the Google search box:
I still don’t understand the rationale behind the choice of baseline in the 2007 IPPC FAR SPM…for some reason they decided to use the period 1980-1999 as their baseline,instead of the more generally accepted 1961-1990 WMO normal period baseline that was used in the TAR… and NOAA is using the 1971-2000 baseline. I look forward to reading the IPCC justification for this choice… which might be what? Better satellite data?
1970 AD: A few cooler than average years caused panic. Early arrival of next Ice Age predicted. Turned out to be… a few cooler than average years.
Please give just one citation to a climatologist who said this or admit you are playing fast and loose with the truth.
Comment by Richard Simons — 13 Mar 2007 @ 10:18 PM
Hi, I was referred here by a reader…I’m wondering if when you scrutinized the movie you were aware of the following alleged inaccuracies?
eg. “The MPB (mountain pine beetle) is a species native to this part of North America and is always present. The MPB epidemic started as comparatively small outbreaks and through forest management inaction got completely out of hand.” – Rob Scagel, M.Sc., forest microclimate specialist, Pacific Phytometric Consultants, Surrey, B.C., comments on Gore’s belief that the mountain pine beetle is an “invasive exotic species” that has become a plague due to fewer days of frost.”
regarding SEA LEVEL:
“I can assure Mr. Gore that no one from the South Pacific islands has fled to New Zealand because of rising seas. In fact, if Gore consults the data, he will see it shows sea level falling in some parts of the Pacific.” – Dr. Chris de Freitas, climate scientist, associate professor, University of Auckland, N.Z.”
“Gore is completely wrong here – malaria has been documented at an altitude of 2,500 metres – Nairobi and Harare are at altitudes of about 1,500 metres. The new altitudes of malaria are lower than those recorded 100 years ago. None of the “30 so-called new diseases” Gore references are attributable to global warming, none.” – Dr. Paul Reiter, professor, Institut Pasteur, unit of insects and infectious diseases, Paris, comments on Gore’s belief that Nairobi and Harare were founded just above the mosquito line to avoid malaria and how the mosquitoes are now moving to higher altitudes.”
“It certainly gives no information about the outsider theories we see tossed around (and regularly debunked here at RealClimate). And I am unable to find any information about the people behind the IPCCs work.”
Well Craig welcome to the real world where “outsider theories” don’t count when judged against scientific reality. This is about scientific reality not BS, thus, there’s no need to debunk the debunked except in journalism where they never seem to catch on. Look harder for the IPCC folks, they’re scientists of merit.
After reading the Broad piece in today’s newspaper, I turned the page to read that Arctic explorers Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen abandond their current arctic exploration. The goal of the current expedition was to raise awareness of the impact of global warming on the Arctic. Why did they quit after seven days? Damaged equipment, frostbite, and extreme cold temperatures. How cold? They estimated -103F at night. They suggested that global warming could cause such unexpected temperature extremes.
“eg. “The MPB (mountain pine beetle) is a species native to this part of North America and is always present. The MPB epidemic started as comparatively small outbreaks and through forest management inaction got completely out of hand.” – Rob Scagel, M.Sc., forest microclimate specialist, Pacific Phytometric Consultants, Surrey, B.C., comments on Gore’s belief that the mountain pine beetle is an “invasive exotic species” that has become a plague due to fewer days of frost.”
I don’t know if Gore called the MPB exotic or not, although I doubt it, but I wrote a chapter on this in my novel and just yesterday was hired by Los Angeles county as a Japanese Beetle trapper, which IS an exotic species. That said, the pine bark beetle is native and present, but controlled by temperatures, which of late have so abnormally warm in North America that they never die off in the winter due to drum roll…global warming. They used to. Drought makes their work easier. When will they stop? When they reach the east coast and run out of coniferous forest at the sea’s edge according to a forester in BC. How’s that lookin for ya in the “inconsistancy” department? Do exotic and native have a similar meaning here? For 25 points.
I haven’t seen the movie, I felt sites like this would be a better place to get science. Nor am I climate scientist, so I won’t try to judge either way.
I was wondering if the 20′ sea level change that is suppose to be in the movie isn’t overstated, since the UN says it will be less than 2′ in the next century? (I guess 20′ is after the Greenland ice sheet completely melts, or slides into the ocean?)
…”Why are the accomplishments of modern science so poorly reflected in the emotional and spiritual life of society? A possible reason is that, despite the magnificent achievements of the last hundred years, science is not advanced or internally consistent enough to have great appeal for ordinary citizens. Scientists pose profound questions, but they are still far from providing satisfactory answers. They have earned the right to ask â??why is reality the way it is, and not some other way?â?? but the socalled explanations provided to dateâ??something about multiple universes or various forms of the Anthropic Principleâ??cannot be considered to be the final word.”…
And as far as this piece in the NYT; anyone who reads newspapers
know that most newspapers are one way or the other; liberal, left or right wing; for the most part.
For better or worse, newspapers ENDORSE specific candidates in large write ups when they are running for election or re-election to office.
So, personally, one takes these things with a grain of salt and notes that the reporter who did the story doesn’t seem to carry an affinity for Al Gore.
A bigger issue is the lack of confidence by the public within
the climate sciences field, in due part to the differing proffered perspectives of the issues (it’s a nonissue, it isn’t a crisis, it isn’t happening, it is happening…) in addition to the notion
that EVEN if the public were to agree that untoward climate changes were happening; would they be willing to act on it in relation to the economics
of the cost of the action.
Consider for example the huge federal government tax deficit burden that is being left for the children and grandchildren of today and tomorrow. It’s up to something like $28,000.00 plus or minus some change per person.
Consider that many people are one or two
paychecks away from being homeless. Sure the stockmarket may be “good”, but
its the big CEO’s and stock holders reaping those profits. Not the employees of the company.
And additionally, the stock market is currently, and uncharacteristically being propped up and driven by the past artifically astronomically high home values; with
many of those homes being subprime loans that are ending in defaults, with the notes left in the stock market firms that bought up those notes.
Gee, doesn’t anyone remember Coolidge being told the market was going to crash
and he needed to act upon it however, the president decided to ignore it; which was his general policy pattern. And of course, the bag fell
into Hoover’s lap bringing the 1929 stock market crash and the ensuing
Public agrees global warming exists, but divided over seriousness of problem 18-Feb-2007 http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2007-02/su-pag021307.php
“A majority of Americans agree with most scientists that the Earth is getting warmer, but they are divided over the seriousness of the problem, according to surveys conducted by Jon Krosnick, professor of communication and of political science. Their uncertainty is based on a beliefâ??shared by two-thirds of the populationâ??that scientists themselves disagree about global warming.”…
In addition to these findings, Krosnick will discuss work on three surveys in progress. This includes an update to a joint ABC News, Time magazine and Stanford poll on global warming released last March, which revealed that public concern about global warming has spiked sharply over the last decade and that 70 percent of people think that global weather patterns have become more unsettled in recent years. Krosnick said the new survey results, to be released in April, will gauge how public perception on global warming has changed during the last year.
Secondly, New Scientist magazine has commissioned a survey by Stanford and Resources for the Future, a Washington, D.C.-based, nonpartisan think tank, that will assess how educating people about the cost of addressing global warming affects their support for specific solutions. “People may support ameliorative efforts until they learn that these solutions are costly, at which point their support could evaporate,” Krosnick said. However, as the Stern report on global warming reported last October, the cost of doing nothing to combat global warming ultimately may be a lot more expensive for society than tackling it now, he said. Survey results will be released May 12 in New Scientist.”…
Finally, Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment is funding a survey to be released this summer that will look at which effects of global warming the public is most worried about. These include both local effects, such rising sea levels and increased storm activity, and worldwide consequences, such as species extinction. According to Krosnick, the survey will gauge how media coverage that reflects the views of both scientific skeptics and believers influences public opinion about global warming versus reports that only include statements by experts convinced it is a serious problem.
The Debt to the Penny and Who Holds It http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np
..”Current Debt Held by the Public Intragovernmental Holdings Total Public Debt Outstanding
Debt Held by the Public 5,041,373,406,144.03
Intragovernmental Holdings 3,791,660,464,269.03
Total Public Debt Outstanding 8,833,033,870,413.06
The Financial Condition of Our Nation’s Government
Ross (AR04) – Floor Statements – May 25, 2005 http://www.house.gov/list/press/ar04_ross/morenews/floor_052505.htm
…” I contend this evening that it is every American citizen’s problem, because every American citizen’s share of the national debt equals $26,000. $26,000 is each individual’s share of the national debt, including the children, the babies that are being born today. Every United States citizen would have to write a check for $26,000 in order to get our Nation out of this hole that we are in.
Comment by BarbieDoll Moment — 14 Mar 2007 @ 12:32 AM
Was wondering if RC ever focuses on those who are trying to oversell rather than deny AGW?
NPR’s Weekend Edition recently had an interview http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7579967
with someone from globalwarming101.com as they started out from Iqaluit to document warming induced changes in Arctic Canada as part of an education program (hence the name of the website and expedition). They told NPR the temperature was 28F when it was about 9F and had not been above 20 for weeks and that the average temperature for that time of year was -30 (which would be near the record daily lows rather than the average).
Falsehoods and hyperbole from both sides just make the public think that everyone is telling their own self-serving story and not reporting the facts. To engage in both when you claim you are “educating” the public and students is unforgivable. Would be good to call everyone on their misrepresentations.
You write: “Thrown in for good measure is a similarly poorly-supported quote by Kevin Vranes (who is referred to as a climatologist, but who now works on science policy)…”
Frankly, it’s elitist to imply that you must be a “working scientist” to be able to express a credible opinion as to whether aspects of the science are being oversold (if you read between the lines, that’s the implication). The parenthetical comment and use of “but” give the appearance of a passive aggressive attack on Kevin’s credibility just because he’s not just like one of you (a scientist doing purely science).
Let the record show Kevin earned a Ph.D. in climate/oceanography from Columbia and was an AGU Congressional Science Fellow (for a Democrat, FWIW). If you’ve read anything he’s written, you’ll see his views on the science are well within the mainstream and he has a very sophisticated understanding of the science and politics of the issue. He thinks outside the box, and calls it as he sees it with refreshing candor and wit.
Is the USA ever going to do anything collectively about climate change, in a recent article “lets call the coal thing off” (http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/03/12/muckraker/) James Hansen was speaking regarding coal in the USA and the fact that 159 new plants are slated to be opened over the next decade but because caol sequestration technology does not exist it could spell disaster for the environment because coal plants are build to last 60 years. James Hansen is calling for a moratorium on coal plants until such a time as new technology can reduce its environmental impact.
This sounds awful to me, from someone in Europe who knows that some of the best climate science work is produced in the USA, isn’t anyone in congress or the senate listening to the IPCC and GISS/NASA?????
I took Al Gore’s statement as an assertion of the worse case eventual sea level.
According to the preliminary findings of the South Pacific Sea Level & Climate Monitoring Project South Pacific sea levels are rising on average by 8mm per decade. This would makes it about 75cm by 2100. There has been an increase in the rate in recent decades, and they acknowledge the expectation of climatologists that there may be a lag on the response to the recent rises in global temperature. Even if the rate of rise does not increase, this rate will pretty much condem most salt marshes, a large proportion of mangroves and many of the fisheries dependent on such ecosystems (google for “sea level rise global warming mangrove collapse” to get the low down on this).
[[Care to comment on how changes in C02 levels follow temperature changes in the data, rather than the other way around? The Earth has recovered from far higher temperatures and C02 levels in the past.]]
Care to comment on how greenhouse gases work? You seem to be forgetting that. If you put more CO2 in the atmosphere, the ground will be warmer, all else held equal. That is physics, not a statistical correlation with paleoclimate data.
[[Arctic explorers Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen abandond their current arctic exploration. The goal of the current expedition was to raise awareness of the impact of global warming on the Arctic. Why did they quit after seven days? Damaged equipment, frostbite, and extreme cold temperatures. How cold? They estimated -103F at night. They suggested that global warming could cause such unexpected temperature extremes.]]
Which proves what, exactly? That climate is really cooling rather than warming? That the Arctic isn’t melting? What does this anecdote prove other than that two people planned an expedition badly?
#69 Why are you quoting sea level figures for ONE REGION? And misleading even for that region because you are not quoting the South Pacific average but only one small group of islands within it?
Do you also subscribe to the Chrichton school that claims that the fact that not all regions of the world are warming at the same rate, and the fact that a few regions are even cooling slightly, proves global warming must be a myth? Can’t you see that failing to distinguish between a global average and a single regional figure is extremely intellectually dishonest?
The global average sea level rise is the ONLY figure that is relevant, and that is currently running at 1.85cm per year, and the rate of increase is accelerating fast – see:
And also, there are orders of magnitude more denialist articles being published than overselling ones; and also, the overselling ones are mostly guilty only of exaggeration, whereas the denialist ones are generally guilty of outright mendacity. There is all the difference in the world between taking the high (and therefore unlikely) end of a range of projections and presenting it wrongly as if it were a forecast: and actually being mendacious.
I think Gore gets the higher sea level rise from James Hansen. Hansen has said, of the drastic rise in sea levels, that they exist in no other model than the historical record. Depending upon how closely you think the 21st century matches our almost archaic past, Hansen’s either being prescient or a fool. Regardless, I don’t think even Hansen imagines that the Antarctic ice will melt in the next 93 years. I think the higher sea levels are imagined to come after hundreds of years of higher temperatures.
I’ve just read Broad’s article. I think his major problem is his idea, introduced earlier, that there is some “middle ground” in the scientirifc community of those who accept the basic science of global warming and the necessity to deal with it but who “reject extremists” at both ends. As a result, he accepts at face value statements made by various people without checking their bona fides or attempting to probe more deeply into the issues raised. It is a very superficial treatment which throws things together more or less out of context. An example is his bringing up Peiser as though he were disputing Gore’s claim. As noted above, Gore quoted Oreskes work in the peer reviewed scientific literature, where it still stands unchallenged. There are other such examples of Broad’s accepting criticisms at face value. His piece is poor journalism and specially egregious since it appears in the Science Times, where we have some expectation of competence.
#79 [There is all the difference in the world between taking the high (and therefore unlikely) end of a range of projections and presenting it wrongly as if it were a forecast: and actually being mendacious.]
And would you consider overstating the observed temperature by 20F or misrepresenting the seasonal average temperature – and doing both on a national radio program (as in the case I was citing) – just taking the high end of the range or as an example of mendacity?
Kukla, George J., et al. (1972). “The End of the Present Interglacial.” Quaternary Research 2: 261-69.
An excerpt (courtesy of Dr. Connolley — http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/quat_res_1972.html ):
“When comparing the present with previous interglacials, several investigators showed that the present interglacial is in the final phase … and that if nature were allowed to run its course unaltered by man, events similar to those which ended the last interglacial should be expected soon, possibly within the few next centuries.”
That hardly supports the proclamation, “A few cooler than average years caused panic. Early arrival of next Ice Age predicted…”
“We criticized William Broad previously for a piece that misrepresented the scientific understanding of the factors that drive climate change over millions of years, systematically understating the scientifically-established role of greenhouse gases, and over-stating the role of natural factors.”
Maybe this is poorly formulated, or do you really wish to imply that, the role of greenhouse gases prior to the existence of humans was a non-natural factor?
Comment by Matti Virtanen — 14 Mar 2007 @ 10:03 AM
On a positive note, applications of software V&V and SQA procedures would very likely reduce problems like those noted above in this thread, as well as these and these. There are usually plenty of errors to go around in all very large-scale Big Science programs. Better to get them before the fact, not afterwards.
You’re reading the sentence as though it lacked the comma before “over-stating” — if that comma weren’t there, the latter two points would, as you thought, describe the first one.
They list three reasons for criticizing Broad’s previous piece:
— misrepresented the scientific understanding …,
— systematically understating …., and
— over-stating the role of natural factors.
Those — with the comma — are three different problems.
Your point is a good caution, because that’s far too much to ask of most readers — breaking up text using carriage returns to separate points is always helpful; run-on typing is confusing to the reader and often
While I agree with your article, and I hate tom nitpick, in order to defend your position, I will anyway. From Broad’s aricle:
Professor Easterbrook disputed Mr Gore’s claim that “our civilisation has never experienced any environmental shift remotely similar to this”. Nonsense, Professor Easterbrook said. He flashed a slide that showed temperature trends for the past 15,000 years. It highlighted 10 large swings, including the medieval warm period. These shifts were up to “20 times greater than the warming in the past century”.
In other words, Broad says that the implies that the climate changes observed in the last century are not noteworthy because natural changes over the last 1500 years were 20 times greater.
This was not the charge you actually answered in your article, and I was hoping to get your perspective on this.
While I agree with your article, and I hate tom nitpick, in order to defend your position, I will anyway. From Broads aricle:
Professor Easterbrook disputed Mr Gore’s claim that “our civilisation has never experienced any environmental shift remotely similar to this”. Nonsense, Professor Easterbrook said. He flashed a slide that showed temperature trends for the past 15,000 years. It highlighted 10 large swings, including the medieval warm period. These shifts were up to “20 times greater than the warming in the past century”.
In other words, Broad says that the implies that the climate changes observed in the last century are not noteworthy because natural changes over the last 15000 years were 20 times greater.
This was not the charge you actually answered in your article, and I was hoping to get your perspective on this.
[Response: Define ‘our civilisation’. At minimum it involves cities and agriculture which didn’t emerge until the Holocene. Glacial variability was indeed larger, but there was no civilisation to be discomforted. I’ve since been sent Easterbrook’s figure and his claim is drawn purely from the Greenland ice core (which doesn’t reflect global climate by any stretch) and his labelled MWP and LIA are off by about 1000 years. Not an impressive debut. -gavin]
Re #88: I think the RC post referred to medieval temperature anomaly when it should gave said modern temperature anomaly. Easterbrook’s attempted comparison was to all variations in the last 15,000 years (note not 1,500 as you quoted it), including the medieval warm period, with post-1850 AGW-dominated warming. This is just a technical distinction, though, since if we’re comparing on a scale of 20x the distinction between the medieval and modern warming ceases to be important. As the post points out, the only possibility for a temp excursion on that scale is a deglaciation, which for a variety of reasons is not at all comparable to what we’re experiencing now. That said, if we continue with business as usual emissions and warming such that we climb into the Pliocene temperature range that ended with the beginning of the current deep glacial period three million years ago, we will subject our descendants (and perhaps our very immediate descendants) to the results of a very interesting experiment to determine whether the remaining ice sheets can be induced to behave as the more extensive ones did 12,000 years ago. What fun, eh! :(
“Mark A. York may be a journalist. I doubt it, but the threshold is pretty low. He obviously has never been in a newspaper newsroom, though.
Well Harry that may be but your comment only punctuates my point. What was your point? I have no credentials? I have a journalism and science degree and have quoted the notable science writer KC Cole on editors and their ignorance of science. Broad is a case in point. That said, it’s no wonder I can’t get in a newsroom on the payroll. Even on my college paper at CSUN I had a hard time getting the publisher to run science stories because he felt they excluded minorities and women. I didn’t think that was true, but I wasn’t running the place.
I want to thank the many people whose reasoned posts have contributed greatly to my understanding of this issue. In particular, I have watched in bewilderment at the foaming rage with which some conservatives attack Al Gore, and many of the posters above explained the origin of those sentiments.
Just wanted to echo another poster’s comment about how this debate should not focus on Gore personally. Is it not true that such attacks are called “ad hominem?”
Re #89 response: [Define ‘our civilisation’. At minimum it involves cities and agriculture which didn’t emerge until the Holocene. Glacial variability was indeed larger, but there was no civilisation to be discomforted.]
You might also note that there are cases of civilizations which were apparently destroyed by climate change. Offhand, the Anasazi and the Maya come to mind, but I’m sure there are others.
It’s also argued that a major reason for the lack of archeological evidence of the human expansion into North America is that it took place during the last Ice Age, along the Pacific Coast, so all the shoreline sites are now under 100 feet or so of water.
Re #95: James — The Anasazi appear to have just moved south. The Mayans were destroyed by climate change. So were the peoples of Ur III, sometimes called Akkadians(?).
Further, the great movements of peoples from Central Asia, invading at least to the south and west, are thought to be occasioned by periodic climate change.
Comment by David B. Benson — 14 Mar 2007 @ 4:46 PM
Al Gore has trained more than 1000 people to present his slide show on Global Climate Change. In the training he cautioned presenters to have three budgets for each presentation:
a time budget
a hopelessness budget
a complexity budget
Scientists have never accepted the concept of a complexity budget. “Many a 16th century scientist has turned over in his grave on hearing the freshman engineering professor say in reference to his life’s work: It is intuitively obvious that….”
I have watched the layman’s eyes gloss over three minutes into a good, but too complex presentation.
Movies are mostly entertainment. They do not attract only the serious students of science. I was relieved that AIT was not simpler and more exaggerated than it was! The previews had more hipe! Al Gorge put his finger on the problem when he said the human race does not respond to long range problems, only the immediate crisis. Those of us who are concerned about Global Climate Change are proposing upsetting a very comfortable apple cart: An economy that gives us a very, very comfortable life style but runs up an enormous deficit to the environment.
That is not a message the comfortable want to hear.
Kat – The Scagel quote about the Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) appears to be from a blog and is misleading at best. You might try doing your own google search before believing everything you read on a blog. Thereâ??s lots of scientific literature on the MPB should you care to learn more. The MPB issue is a particularly fascinating collision between land use practices and climate change and is well worth reading up on. You might start with the Canadian Forest Service MPB website – http://mpb.cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/index_e.html
There are two separate but closely related issues with the MPB and climate change.
1. The impact of climate change on MPB outbreaks
The mountain pine beetle is native to the pine forests of western North America where it normally exists at very low densities, infesting only weakened or damaged trees. Under conditions conducive to survival, populations may temporarily increase allowing beetles to infest healthy trees. On rare occasions, these increases are rapid and widespread, leading to landscape-level outbreaks and the mortality of large numbers of trees. Although there have been 4 outbreaks during the past century in western North America, the ongoing epidemic is unprecedented in its size and severity â?? causing the mortality of mature pine over 12-13 million hectares in British Columbia alone. It is projected to continue until the majority of mature pines in the province have been killed. Both forest management practices and climate change have worked independently and in relationship to create this extraordinary forest disturbance event.
(from a presentation by Dr. Allan Carroll, research scientist in insect ecology with the Canadian Forest Service)
2. The impact of climate change on the anticipated spread of the MPB to the east coast (i.e., MPB as non-native invasive species)
“The area of climatically suitable habitats is anticipated to continue to increase within the historic range of MPB. Moreover, much of the boreal forest will become climatically available to the beetle in the near future. Since jack pine is a viable host for MPB and a major component of the boreal forest, continued eastward expansion by MPB is probable.â??
In conclusion, the MPB is indeed a growing problem due to climate change both where it is native and where it has become a non-native invasive. So, I donâ??t think you can find fault with whatever Gore said about the MPB in AIT.
And, since Iâ??ve already written a too long comment, let me make it longer by pointing out that the MPB is an example of how there are ecological â??tipping pointsâ?? and how difficult it is to predict the effect of climate change on ecosystems. Let me also add that ecosystems are an unquantified but huge part of our economy. Besides cleaning the air and water, ecosystems provide flood control, pest and disease control, and much more. The value of pollination services from wild pollinators in the U. S. alone is estimated to be $4 to 6 billion per year. Try this website for more information – http://www.esa.org/teaching_learning/pdfDocs/ecosystemservices.pdf
Isn’t it kind of an odd world when science journalists and science fiction writers start thinking that they understand science better than actual scientists. I mean I did some science writing once upon a time, and not once did I tell Steven Weinberg or Brian Greene that they didn’t know what they were talking about.
And would you consider overstating the observed temperature by 20F or misrepresenting the seasonal average temperature – and doing both on a national radio program (as in the case I was citing) – just taking the high end of the range or as an example of mendacity?
That sounds like mendacity although I haven’t listened to it; but in the context of RC they can’t rebut evey loony who appears on the radio; they only rebut substantive articles in major newspapers or substantive television documentaries on major channels; and in that context, I stand by what I wrote in #79.
…”None of the “30 so-called new diseases” Gore references are attributable to global warming, none.” – Dr. Paul Reiter, “…
I’m curious to know what IS the truth on some of these issues…perhaps someone reading this can enlighten me? “…
The gist of the matter is that there are numerous researchers with research work who DO NOT agree with such a view; albeit I am not sure which thirty so called new diseases here we are discussing, however
other researchers hold opposing views on the matter in relation to climate and the incidence and spread of disease/vector born
pathogens in relation to climate/weather.
Climate via weather directly effects a microorganisms ability to
thrive and or spread via means such as periods of rain after long periods
of drought by its role as a factor that enables the reactivation of a microrganism which had been previously held in dormant
conditions and or nonconducive environmental ecosystem. A classic example is the Hanta virus which has outbreaks tied into El Nino patterns.
It’s a biological given that in order for a disease spreading pathogen to spread, or to survive
in order to spread or reactivate, that it requires certain beneficial environmental variables.
Title: An analysis of possible climate change impacts on human mortality in South Central Canada
Authors: Cheng, C.S.; Auld, H.; Li, G.; Klaassen, J.; Li, Q.; Comer, N.; Campbell, M.; Day, N.; Pengelly, D.; Gingrich, S.
Source: 16th Conference on Biometeorology and Aerobiology, 2004, 31-38
Title: Effects of climate on incidence of Campylobacter spp. in humans and prevalence in broiler flocks in Denmark
Authors: Patrick, M.E.; Christiansen, L.E.; WainÃ¸, M.; Ethelberg, S.; Madsen, H.; Wegener, H.C.
Source: Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2004, 70, 12, 7474-7480
Title: Global surface ultraviolet radiation intensity may modulate the clinical and immunologic expression of autoimmune muscle disease
Authors: Okada, S.; Weatherhead, E.; Targoff, I.N.; Wesley, R.; Miller, F.W.
Source: Arthritis and Rheumatism, 2003, 48, 8, 2285-2293
Title: Effects of air pollution and climatic conditions on the frequency of ophthalmological emergency examinations
Authors: Bourcier, T.; Viboud, C.; Cohen, J.-C.; Thomas, F.; Bury, T.; Cadiot, L.; Mestre, O.; Flahault, A.; Borderie, V.; Laroche, L.
Source: British Journal of Ophthalmology, 2003, 87, 7, 809-811
Title: Climate index for West Nile virus
Authors: Kunkel, K.E.; Novak, R.
Source: Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 2005, 86, 1, 18
[edited. sorry, we can’t allow lengthy lists because every one elses comments just get lost. If you have lengthy material you’d like to cite, please place it offsite and provide a link here. thanks]
Comment by BarbieDoll Moment — 14 Mar 2007 @ 6:50 PM
You really gotta know where the nonsense comes from. In #47 Bob Carter was quoted as saying
“That said, there is a paper in preparation by a German scientist which shows a strong relationship between temperature and carbon dioxide between the early 19th and late 20th century.”
This is almost certainly the good Diplom Beck who needs to read Keeling about why all those 19th and 20th century CO2 measurements were the equivalent of standing on top of a smokestack. (see references in link).
…”but because caol sequestration technology does not exist”… “isn’t anyone in congress or the senate listening to the IPCC and GISS/NASA????? ”
But it does. And the congress, senate and U.S. president
has been investing heavily in the technology and conducting
implementing projects and more research on such.
IPCC Special Report on Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage http://www.ipcc.ch/activity/srccs/index.htm
…”As of mid-2005, there have been
three commercial projects linking CO2 capture and geological
storage: the offshore Sleipner natural gas processing project
in Norway, the Weyburn Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)1
project in Canada (which stores CO2 captured in the United
States) and the In Salah natural gas project in Algeria. Each
captures and stores 1â??2 MtCO2 per year. It should be noted,
however, that CCS has not yet been applied at a large (e.g.,
500 MW) fossil-fuel power plant, and that the overall system
may not be as mature as some of its components.”…”In addition to the CCS projects currently in place, 30
MtCO2 is injected annually for EOR, mostly in Texas, USA,
where EOR commenced in the early 1970s. Most of this CO2
is obtained from natural CO2 reservoirs found in western
regions of the US, with some coming from anthropogenic
sources such as natural gas processing. Much of the CO2
injected for EOR is produced with the oil, from which it is
separated and then reinjected. At the end of the oil recovery,
the CO2 can be retained for the purpose of climate change
mitigation, rather than vented to the atmosphere. This is
planned for the Weyburn project.”…
Global Climate Change
The White House http://www.whitehouse.gov/ceq/global-change.html
…”The President is also investing in carbon sequestration technologies and practices that can capture carbon dioxide from fossil energy systems or the atmosphere, and store those greenhouse gases in forests, plants, and soils, or in geologic reservoirs underground.”…
…” A core Fossil Energy program receiving heavy emphasis is Carbon Sequestration. Sequestration research and development increases its budget from $74 million in FY 2007 to $79 million in FY 2008. This budget request will allow for continued research and development into carbon dioxide capture and storage, as well as measurement, monitoring and verification technologies and processes. The program will focus on developing capture and separation technologies in order to lower the costs and energy requirements for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-based (especially coal) energy generating plants. Of primary importance is to dramatically lower the cost and energy requirements of pre- and post-combustion carbon dioxide capture.”…” To view a chart of DOE’s Fossil Energy Budget for Fiscal Year 2008, go to:” http://www.fossil.energy.gov/aboutus/budget/08/FY_2008_Budget.html
…”The Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships have progressed to a validation phase in which they will conduct 25 field tests involving the injection of CO2 into underground formations where it will be stored and monitored.”…
The Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF)will meet in Paris, France on March 25-28, 2007. For further information about this CSLF meeting and to view detailed information about the organization, see: http://www.cslforum.org/mar252007.htm.
May 15-17, 2007, Third International Conference on Clean Coal Technologies for our Future, T Hotel and Conference Centre, Cagliari and Sotacarbo Coal Research Centre, Carbonia, Sardinia, Italy. http://www.cct2007.it/
“Successful Sequestration Project Could Mean More Oil and Less Carbon Dioxide Emissions” The National Energy Technology Laboratory – U.S. Department of Energy 11-15-05 http://www.netl.doe.gov/
“Scretary Samuel Bodman today announced that the Department of Energy (DOE)-funded â??Weyburn Projectâ?? successfully sequestered five million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the Weyburn Oilfield in Saskatchewan, Canada, while doubling the fieldâ??s oil recovery rate. If the methodology used in the Weyburn Project was successfully applied on a worldwide scale, one-third to one-half of CO2 emissions could be eliminated in the next 100 years and billions of barrels of oil could be recovered.”…
Prospective Evaluation of Applied
Energy Research and Development at DOE (Phase Two)
…”At the request of Congress, the NRC has undertaken a
series of studies using quantitative indicators to evaluate the
effectiveness of applied energy R&D at DOE.”…”These are: the carbon sequestration, the
integrated gasification combined cycle technology R&D, the natural
gas exploration and production, the distributed energy resources, the
light-duty vehicle technology R&D, and the chemical industrial
Comment by BarbieDoll Moment — 14 Mar 2007 @ 7:51 PM
RE: 101 RE: 62.)
…”None of the “30 so-called new diseases” Gore references are attributable to global warming, none.” – Dr. Paul Reiter, “…
I’m curious to know what IS the truth on some of these issues…perhaps someone reading this can enlighten me? “…
“[edited. sorry, we can’t allow lengthy lists because every one elses comments just get lost. If you have lengthy material you’d like to cite, please place it offsite and provide a link here. ]”
My sincere apologies to the posters, readers and RC.
The link below to the Climate and Disease Transmission list of mine below is more extensive and encompassing but it still contains the original climate/human disease abstracts/list that I had originally posted that was too extensive and needed to be edited by RC.
RE # 71 gtpunch,
You cited the following article,
Kukla, George J., and R. K. Matthews
(1972). “When Will the Present Interglacial End?” Science 178: 190-91, as evidence that scientists were apparently unduly alarmed by a short-lived cold spell.
You seem to have misinterpreted, or are misrepresenting, the conclusions stated in the article (assuming you actually read it). First, the article is a summary of a two day conference on Quaternary geology – it is not a peer-reviewed research paper. Second, it is not clear that the first author, George Kukla, is/was a climatologist – his institutional affiliation is listed merely as the Czechoslovakian Academy of Sciences; coauthor R.K. Matthews is/was in the Dept. of Geological Sciences at Brown University (where the conference was held). But, those are minor quibbles.
The article does discuss the onset of another episode of global cooling, but on a geological time scale, stating “Global cooling… may be expected within the next few millennia or even centuries.” It also states “However, with continuing human input these effects [i.e., warming due to artificial heating and production of CO2; cooling due to dust production] might eventually trigger or speed climatic change.”
One of the general conclusion of the conference was that “In man’s quest to produce an adequate supply of food, global climate change constitutes a first order environmental hazard which must be thoroughly understood well in advance of the first global indicators of deteriorating climate.”
That sounds to me like the conference participants were concerned about the possibility of AGW back in 1972. They were also concerned that dust generated by human activities could result in global cooling, a factor that turned out to be much less important than CO2 emissions.
Finally, the article noted the general consensus of confernce participants that, in 1972, “knowledge necessary for understanding the mechanism of climate change is lamentably inadequate, and the ultimaate causes remain unknown.”
I think it is fair to say that scientific understanding of climate change has advanced considerably in the past 35 years.
Great reporting on this. And there’s more… This seems to have legs, lots of ‘em.
The hook of the NYT story is that “rank-and-file” scientists (explicitly “not…skeptics”) are critical of Mr. Gore. Mr. Broad’s first and paradigmatic source is Easterbrook, who in fact doesn’t believe that CO2 causes global warming and actually believes in “global cooling.” Thus the premise of the entire article falls apart–ie the “rank-and-file” guy is actually a climate science weirdo. That’s bad enough. But think about it: are we to believe that Mr. Broad somehow ran into what he thought were some “rank-and-file” scientists critical of Gore and then ran a story on them, not realizing that, in reality, they were all climate change skeptics? That seems next to impossible. The logical conclusion is that Broad intentionally misrepresented his sources. By even Fox news’ standards, that should be ground for dismissal. Here’s a link to one of Easterbrook’s handouts in which he covers “global cooling,” benign CO2, and his dissing of the IPCC. You be the judge: “rank-and-file” scientist or skeptic? And did Broad know or not about his sources? Either answer demands a retraction from the NYT. http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/viewHandout.cgi?uploadid=214
RE #100. [That sounds like mendacity although I haven’t listened to it; but in the context of RC they can’t rebut evey loony who appears on the radio; they only rebut substantive articles in major newspapers or substantive television documentaries on major channels; and in that context]
That “loony” is getting Elizabeth Kolbert to participate in the “education” on his site. Also Broad’s Times piece on Gore was not really “substantive” and likely was read by far fewer than those hearing the misinformation on globalwarming101 on Weekend Edition.
This is why realclimate is such a valuable resource – it focuses on the science of climate and offers explanations that are accessible to intelligent people who don’t happen to have a scientific background. It’s also important to remember, as tamino said on another thread, that many people have been subjected to disinformation, and when explaining the topic it’s is easy to get impatient or to assume that the person is trying to spread disinformation themselves. The correct approach is to go back to the basic explanations, maybe using different angles and fresh examples. Obviously, it can seem frustrating to have to explain the same thing ten times, or one hundred times, but that’s what needs to be done – people like science, and do appreciate answers to their questions.
comment by Paul M. MacKinney entered volume of earth water as 144 million cubic miles. The correction is 326 million cubic miles. The amount of water per person (6 billion persons) is still about 50 square mile 6 feet deep
Comment by Paul M. MacKinney — 15 Mar 2007 @ 6:25 PM
Easterbrook was interviewed by Tucker Carlson and he said a few things that are really news to me:
CARLSON: Have I misstated that? Hereâ��s what I understand. Correct me Iâ��m wrong, that there is a consensus that the Earth, for some reason, is getting warmer, but there is not an absolute consensus as to why. Is that correct?
EASTERBROOK: Thatâ��s very true. Everyone agrees that the Earth has warmed up in the last century, and the big contention is whether or not it has bee caused by man made CO2 or not. And that contention is not congruent with geological facts in the case. So that is why there is some doubt, and as far as a consensus is concerned, you have to realize that the IPCC report, which was published in about February, was made by 143 geologists, not by the hundreds of thousands of scientists around the world.
So there is no consensus, in the sense that nobody has pulled the world scientists.
CARLSON: You make the point in the “New York Times” today that Goreâ��s convention that weâ��ve ever seen a climate shift like this ever in history is false, and, in fact, there have been lots of changes in climates down through the millennia. Can you explain that?
EASTERBROOK: Thatâ��s very true. We have excellent data from the Greenland Ice Core, and what we do is measure isotopes that leave a climatic fingerprint, and they show conclusively that at least ten times in the last 15,000 years, we have had climate changes that are more pronounced than what weâ��ve seen in the last century, and in fact, about 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, they were 20 times as great as what we are seeing now.
So is that true about the IPCC process? 143 geologists?
And is that true about the Greenland Ice Core? Is there any peer-reviewed paper which confirms what Easterbrook says?
(Gore didn’t use the word history but “our civilization” by the way — at least according to Broad.
Nor did he argue that CO2 is the only culprit, as far as I know.)
Comments on relevant excerpts from the Broad article:
Still, Dr. Hansen said, the former vice president’s work may hold “imperfections” and “technical flaws.” He pointed to hurricanes, an icon for Mr. Gore, who highlights the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and cites research suggesting that global warming will cause both storm frequency and deadliness to rise. Yet this past Atlantic season produced fewer hurricanes than forecasters predicted (five versus nine), and none that hit the United States.
The drop in the number of hurricanes in the Atlantic was more than likely due largely to the El Nino effect, which drew energy from the Atlantic to the Pacific where several of the largest storms on record were recorded The mere fact that there were such large storms in the pacific has been largely ignored by the American press. Hurricane climatologists know that SST “Sea Surface temperature” affects hurricane intensity and Al Gore pointed this out in his movie.
It estimated that the world’s seas in this century would rise a maximum of 23 inches – down from earlier estimates. Mr. Gore, citing no particular time frame, envisions rises of up to 20 feet and depicts parts of New York, Florida and other heavily populated areas as sinking beneath the waves, implying, at least visually, that inundation is imminent.
The IPCC reports are intentionally conservative in order to protect the integrity of the report. The lag dictates that the report will always be behind the leading edge of the research. It is estimated that the feedback loops that are in place will likely provide a minimum of 1 meter of sea level rise by 2100. Since the feedback loops are accelerating, it is likely that the sea level rise will supercede the current estimations.
So too, a report last June by the National Academies seemed to contradict Mr. Gore’s portrayal of recent temperatures as the highest in the past millennium. Instead, the report said, current highs appeared unrivaled since only 1600, the tail end of a temperature rise known as the medieval warm period.
Roy Spencer, a climatologist at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, said on a blog that Mr. Gore’s film did “indeed do a pretty good job of presenting the most dire scenarios.” But the June report, he added, shows “that all we really know is that we are warmer now than we were during the last 400 years.”
No data supports this claim. The chart from NOAA/NCDC below shows that there was a gentle warming period between 800 and 1300 then cooling again. There was a small temperature spike around 1600 but it was only about .2 C and still below the temperature of the MWP which is nowhere near the current mean temperature of earths atmosphere.
“Hardly a week goes by,” Dr. Peiser said, “without a new research paper that questions part or even some basics of climate change theory,” including some reports that offer alternatives to human activity for global warming.
How many of these “scientific” opinions are peer reviewed?
Geologists have documented age upon age of climate swings, and some charge Mr. Gore with ignoring such rhythms.
Movie did not ignore past climate change. Mr. Gore pointed out past climate swings and also showed their correlation to Co2 in the atmosphere.
“Nowhere does Mr. Gore tell his audience that all of the phenomena that he describes fall within the natural range of environmental change on our planet,” Robert M. Carter, a marine geologist at James Cook University in Australia, said in a September blog. “Nor does he present any evidence that climate during the 20th century departed discernibly from its historical pattern of constant change.”
First, I’m glad Robert M. Carter (a geologist) is quoting himself from a blog. I wouldn’t want him to have to go to all the trouble of peer review on his opinions, it’s just too much work and research and would take him away from his blogs. While the statement is true, the context and connotation is far from the truth. True, this climate change is in the natural range as recorded history shows. Within the natural range it has been hotter and colder that present climate. The main difference is this is human caused and many of those dramatic climate changes occurred long before humans were around, and one of those dramatic changes wiped out around 95% of all life on earth.
In October, Dr. Easterbrook made similar points at the geological society meeting in Philadelphia. He hotly disputed Mr. Gore’s claim that “our civilization has never experienced any environmental shift remotely similar to this” threatened change.
The truth is that Al Gore was correct. Never before has a species on earth dug oil out of the ground and burned it, adding more than 200 gigitons of Co2 to the atmosphere, an increase of 36% since pre-industrial age. Never before has an industrial based, oil fed, farming operation added an 18% increase of nitrous oxide and a 148% increase of methane. The human species is unique and Mr. Gore is absolutely correct in saying that “our civilization has never experienced any environmental shift remotely similar to this” regarding THIS climate change.
Nonsense, Dr. Easterbrook told the crowded session. He flashed a slide that showed temperature trends for the past 15,000 years. It highlighted 10 large swings, including the medieval warm period. These shifts, he said, were up to “20 times greater than the warming in the past century.”
Dr. Easterbrook and Broad are again misleading the reader and actually wrong. There is no evidence that any global mean temperature has been higher than current temperatures in the past 15,000 years. 15,000 years ago we were coming out of the last ice age. The current climate change is .76 C in the past century. 20 times that would be a temperature increase of 15.2 C. That would mean the temperature was as high as 28 C average mean global temperature. Earth at 28 degrees C has NEVER occurred in the past 500 million years according to all data assessments. The hottest temperature known by geological assessments is around 8 C hotter. That was 530 million years ago though. Most life then was multicellular organisms and/or in forms as advanced as trilobite, according to studies. Dr. Easterbrook is referring to the temperature change coming out of the last ice age, then he is still incorrect as that was not a change of 15.2 C, it was more like a rise of 9 C
Getting personal, he mocked Mr. Gore’s assertion that scientists agreed on global warming except those industry had corrupted. “I’ve never been paid a nickel by an oil company,” Dr. Easterbrook told the group. “And I’m not a Republican.”
Since he is not being paid, we are left to wonder why Dr. Easterbrook has chosen to misrepresent inaccuracies as facts. His opinions are not peer reviewed on the subjects of which he speaks. And the facts, from our leading US government studies and experts in climatology, do not even remotely support his opinions as stated in this article.
Biologists, too, have gotten into the act. In January, Paul Reiter, an active skeptic of global warming’s effects and director of the insects and infectious diseases unit of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, faulted Mr. Gore for his portrayal of global warming as spreading malaria.
“For 12 years, my colleagues and I have protested against the unsubstantiated claims,” Dr. Reiter wrote in The International Herald Tribune. “We have done the studies and challenged the alarmists, but they continue to ignore the facts.”
In the paper Paul Reiter wrote “Climate Change and Mosquito-Borne Disease” Reiter explains in his abstract “Elementary models suggest that higher global temperatures will enhance their transmission rates and extend their geographic ranges.” He then says “However, the histories of three such diseases–malaria, yellow fever, and dengue–reveal that climate has rarely been the principal determinant of their prevalence or range; human activities and their impact on local ecology have generally been much more significant. It is therefore inappropriate to use climate-based models to predict future prevalence.” http://www.ehponline.org/members/2001/suppl-1/141-161reiter/reiter-full.html
This is a direct contradiction and does not take into account the fact that we already know that: warming is happening; and we know that it is human caused. The contradiction is: he states that models suggest higher temperature will enhance transmission; and then he states, “It is inappropriate to use climate based models to predict future prevalence.”
Fact: Global warming puts more moisture in the air, albeit regionally dispersed depending on changing momentums. In those areas where moisture increases and gathers, there will be more mosquitos and therefore more “Mosquito-Bourne Disease”.
Fact: Paul Reiter is not a climate expert as it pertains to Global Warming. He is an expert in how weather affects disease transmission. Context of an argument is important to understand its relevance.
No one needs to be a scientist to understand the obvious.
As an aside to the general readership of RC: I was sent here by a fellow blogger in response to some controversies over Gore’s movie. I started out with a relatively open mind…just seeking answers, and explanations for what seemed to be fairly significant inconsistencies allegedly presented in the movie. However, after scanning the length of comments here I’m a bit leery of some of the debating styles I’ve observed.
My advice to those of you who would seek to convince others of your point of view: avoid the patronizing insinuations and put-downs of other commenters and let the facts speak for themselves. I honestly must admit that I find that far more influential. (Thanks, by the way, to those who responded to my queries in a straightforward, helpful manner…I really appreciate that!)
Re: The first rule when criticizing popular science presentations for inaccuracies should be to double check any ‘facts’ you use
I think you are being too kind on both Al Gore and William Broad. I would classify “An Inconvenient Truth” as propaganda dressed up as a documentary. And William Broad is writing an opinion piece dressed up as a scientific critique. Intelligent people should neither take away an exaggerated impression of alarm from the movie, nor an exaggerated impression of uncertainty from the opinion piece.
There is no global warming! In 1986 the temp dropped 4 degrees and they called for an iceage, look it up, they really did! Besides Co2 is not a pollutant to the planet it’s just not good for people to breathe. Co2 can NOT trap the earth’s radiation and make the planet warmer…look it up people. Use scientific facts not the garbage from News papers. They say 90% of scientists agree gloabl warming is real…WHAT? They can not agree it’s real, it’s a theory NOT fact because scientists say there is not enough information to know yet. Grow up people and stop falling for this nonsense already. What the heck, you say you believe and still drive your cars EVERYDAY…I guess you don’t really believe it after all , do you? Niether does anyone else since they do the same.
By the way, the IPCC does NOT have a list of world temperatures yet because they can not agree on what readings to use, (so they say). The truth is that there is NO list of world temperatures showing the earth is burning up because it’s not so they can not have a list.
Global warming puts more moisture in the air? Yes it does BUT it does NOT put more moisture in the area where green house gases are…. in other words it rains more, big deal. The earth warms and cools all of the time, that’s normal. The term ‘global warming’ and what it means is all a fraud!
“Fact: Paul Reiter is not a climate expert as it pertains to Global Warming. He is an expert in how weather affects disease transmission. Context of an argument is important to understand its relevance.
No one needs to be a scientist to understand the obvious.”
You just contradicted yourself, you don’t have to be a scientist but he is. Are you saying his field has NO facts at all about weather? Do you study in his field? Is this how you know what he does or doesn’t know? Is Gore an expert on weather and disease? No? I guess he’s out of his field too then. This is why one should stick to the topic not personal nonsense. Facts my friend, just the facts. If you read this thanks for your time.
Re: 120 and 121, Uh, Sabastian, you’re posting to an audience that contains a substantial number of climate scientists, and an even larger proportion of physicists, chemists, etc. So, we know the science, and we know that you don’t. Might I suggest a good book on atmospheric science–John Seinfeld’s and Spyros Pandis’s “Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics”–particularly Chapter 23. Happy reading and do come back when you’ve learned something about the subject.
[[By the way, the IPCC does NOT have a list of world temperatures yet because they can not agree on what readings to use, (so they say). The truth is that there is NO list of world temperatures showing the earth is burning up because it’s not so they can not have a list.]]
[[There is no global warming! In 1986 the temp dropped 4 degrees]]
The mean global annual temperature did NOT drop 4 degrees in 1986. Don’t just make stuff up, especially when it’s easy to check. It’s dumb.
[[ and they called for an iceage, look it up, they really did!]]
There was a scare over an imminent ice age in the mid-’70s due to some irresponsible journalists. There was never a scientific consensus behind global cooling the way there is now for global warming.
[[Co2 can NOT trap the earth’s radiation and make the planet warmer…look it up people. Use scientific facts not the garbage from News papers.]]
If the greenhouse effect didn’t work, the Earth would be frozen over. Its emission temperature is only 255 K, you know, and water freezes at 273 K. We enjoy a mean global annual surface temperature around 288 K because of the greenhouse effect. No scientist in the world doubts that it exists.
[[ They say 90% of scientists agree gloabl warming is real…WHAT? They can not agree it’s real, it’s a theory NOT fact because scientists say there is not enough information to know yet.]]
Actually, for some time now they’ve been saying there IS enough information to know.
[[ Grow up people and stop falling for this nonsense already. What the heck, you say you believe and still drive your cars EVERYDAY…I guess you don’t really believe it after all , do you? ]]
What makes you think believing in anthropogenic global warming means you should stop driving? I can’t follow your reasoning here.
Actually, I made it almost halfway through without having much quibble with what they said – until they got onto the subject of the hurricane season, which was sloppily done. Obviously, it’s not a great idea to treat people with very little experience of the issue as experts, but at the same time there is a fear in other places of the ‘catastrophism’ going too far and turning people away from the issue. (For example, see here). I realise it is a serious problem, but people won’t believe in it if we go too far. I am waiting for someone to write a refutation piece in the NYT, though.
You know that kind of argument sound rather silly for a simple reason:
catastrophies DO happen. Even if people don’t want to believe them because , well, it’s inconvenient.
It seems to me that if someone predicts a disaster (whatever that is)
he automatically becomes an “alarmist” in most people’s eyes as if
disasters only happened in our imagination. Of course when the disaster indeed happens all those people somehow forget what they heard before.
I’m absolutely sure if Gore had predicted on Sept 10, 2001 that al Qaeda could hijack four US jets and destroy the Twin Towers he would have been called an alarmist.
I did check the facts as reported on NOAA and NCDC websites. In the article I wrote (see above) I put in the links to the graphs so you can look it up. You would understand more if you clicked on the links and looked some things up. Unless you contend that the US government science and data collection is wrong? In which case, please back it up with your research references.
I did write an article as a rebuttal to the NYT piece.
Regarding your comments: [You just contradicted yourself, you don’t have to be a scientist but he is. Are you saying his field has NO facts at all about weather?]
I am confident that he knows that warmer weather and increased moisture content affects insect populations, which in turn affects the odds of disease transmission. I am also confident that he has a basic understanding of weather. But it is clear to me, based on my studies pertaining to global warming, that he is not a climatologist nor understands the realities of anthropogenic global warming and the inertia of the momentum of the forcing the human population has imposed upon the earth environment at this time.
[Do you study in his field? Is this how you know what he does or doesn’t know?]
I read some of his published work and perspectives. He seems to know a lot about disease transmission, but my not having a larger scope of understanding in his field reduces my ability to accurately judge his knowledge in that area.
[Is Gore an expert on weather and disease? No? I guess he’s out of his field too then. This is why one should stick to the topic not personal nonsense.]
Are you saying that no one can know anything unless they are a scientist? And, to which topic or personal nonsense are you referring to?
[Facts my friend, just the facts. If you read this thanks for your time.]
I defer you to my first post. There are plenty of links there going to US government web sites that show the relevant climate data as it pertains to the misinformation in the article by Broad. I also encourage you to take a look at the following as it has a good collection of data and links to help you understand global warming http://uscentrist.org/environment.cfml
“e remember his campaign to save the USA from satanic subliminal messages in recordings of rock music, his invention of the internet, his being the inspiration for “Love Story”, and so on…”
1. It was not his campaign but that of his wife and Susan Baker and not against “satanic subliminal messages in recordings of rock music”
but for warning labels similar to the movie rating system. Horrible, indeed. By the way what the hell does that to do with lying?
2. Gore never said that he was the inspiration for Love Story rather that he heard Segal told some reporter that the main characters were based on him and his wife. Guess what? There was indeed such a report (based on a misquote) in the Tennessean. Gore heard it, talked about it during a casual chat with two reporters and that’s it. (Gore and Tommy Lee Jones were in fact the models for the male charater, by the way.)
“The primary function of the respiratory system is to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. Inhaled oxygen enters the lungs and reaches the alveoli.”…”Similarly, carbon dioxide passes from the blood into the alveoli and is then exhaled.”…
…”Oxygen-deficient, carbon dioxide-rich blood returns to the right side of the heart through two large veins, the superior vena cava and the inferior vena cava. Then the blood is pumped through the pulmonary artery to the lungs, where it picks up oxygen and releases carbon dioxide “…
…”As shown below, inhaled oxygen moves from the alveoli to the blood in the capillaries, and carbon dioxide moves from the blood in the capillaries to the air in the alveoli.”….
Comment by BarbieDoll Moment — 18 Mar 2007 @ 1:34 AM
“Make the test with your circle, picking persons not particularly responsive to the details of GW debate. I did it. After viewing AIT, these lay spectators conclude that CO2 is the main and nearly sole driver of temperature change during geological past, that the link between hurricane activity and AGW is now clearly established, that sea-level rise will reach catastrophic values in a near future, etc. Maybe Al Gore wanted to put more “nuance and depth”, but in this case, he clearly failed.”
I watched the movie and I didn’t conclude any of those things.
If anyone indeed came away with these impressions he must be a complete idiot. I guess Gore assumed that his audience has some level of intellectual maturity. Which may be in fact a miscalculation when we are talking about an American audience.
…”Next. Roy Spencer, best known for his satellite work arguing against warming of the atmosphere (which turns out to have been an artifact of a combination of algebraic and sign errors), criticizes Gore for pointing out that recent warmth appears to be anomalous in at least the past 1000 years.”…
Spencer, along with Christy, have a new paper out (16 March 2007)
…”Because the shift occurs at the time NOAA-12 readings began to be merged into the satellite data stream and large NOAA-11 adjustments were applied, the discrepancy appears to be due to bias adjustment procedures. Several comparisons are consistent with a 26-year trend and error estimate for the UAH LT product for the full tropics of +0.05 ± 0.07, which is very likely less than the tropical surface trend of +0.13 K decade^-1.”..
Comment by BarbieDoll Moment — 18 Mar 2007 @ 2:27 AM
Re: 135. Given the track record of the UAH team, I would guess that they are significantly underestimating their systematic errors. This is meant with no disrespect to the team. What they are trying to do is very difficult. However, given the fact that they have had to revise their results–and always in the same direction–that would suggest to me that in the past, they did not have a full understanding of all their sources of error. Why should we believe that they do now? And given that their result now almost overlaps with the prediction within errors, I’d pretty much have to call this a confirmation.
I’m not quite clear on your point about CO2 and the human respiratory system. Pulmonary ventilation in humans (and most air-breathing animals) is stimulated by a rise in the level of CO2 in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid via the drop in CSF pH. If we hyperventilate and reduce the level of CO2 in the blood and CSF the urge to breath is diminished. So, in that sense, yes, “carbon dioxide is required by humans for respiratory exchanges.”
However, Sebastian’s original point (#121), that CO2 is “just not good for people to breathe” is correct (breathing air with an elevated level of CO2 will lower blood and CSF pH, which stimulates breathing, adding more CO2 to the blood and CSF, lowering its pH even more, and so on). In fact, that is about the only correct statement in his post.
O.M.G. I tried tracking down the claim I’m suddenly seeing about scientists receiving death threats for speaking out. This is the sort of article they’re found in. It’s beyond a climate bingo, far beyond.
I’m not putting a clickable link to this sort of thing in — don’t want to give them the Google searchrank benefit. All the glop below is directly quoted, it’s findable.
Notably not findable — any actual police reports or investigations of death threats. Got yours yet?
Below, what someone believes:
“…. NASA has also been observing massive storms on Saturn, which indicate a climate change occurring on that planet as well. NASAâ��s Hubble Space Telescope has also been recording massive climate changes on Neptuneâ��s largest moon, Triton. Triton, whose surface was once made up of frozen nitrogen, is now turning into gas. The Associated Press has reported that satellites that measure the temperature of sunlight have been recording an increase in the sunâ��s temperature, meaning that the sun itself is warming up….
“Claude Allegre, a leading French scientist….
“the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus….
“A group of scientists recently stated…. ‘after the Second World War, there was a huge surge in carbon dioxide emissions, yet global temperatures fell for four decades after 1940.’ ….
“Timothy Ball, one of the first Canadian doctors in climatology ….
“In a storm of scientists speaking out against Al Goreâ��s movie,….
“University of Alaska professor Igor Polyakov….
“…the supposed energy-efficient light bulbs ‘have to be left on all the time, they’re made from banned toxins and they won’t work in half your household fittings.’…..
“the majority of scientific data points to the fact that global warming is caused by the Sun ….
“there are reported cases of scientists who speak out against the man-made theory as having received death threats. …..”
Seriously, it was very strange that the same press report (at least the one I saw) that quoted Tim on the death threats also quoted him as saying he had not yet turned them over to the police. The reporter neglected to say how they knew that Tim hadn’t just made it all up. More bad journalism, I’m afraid.
Speaking of bad journalism, today’s (Sunday) UK Observer had a story on a new report decrying clinate alarmism. The report itself seemed fair enough, but it looks like the Observer reporter decided the quotes she was able to get from various scientists weren’t exciting enough (imagine that), so she threw in these four paragraphs at the end:
“Al Gore, who has been praised for his Oscar-winning environmental film An Inconvenient Truth, has also attracted criticism from scientists.
“‘I don’t want to pick on Al Gore,’ Don J Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. ‘But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.’
“Gore, in an exchange of emails about the critics, said his work made ‘the most important and salient points’ about climate change, if not ‘some nuances and distinctions’.
“‘The degree of scientific consensus on global warming has never been stronger,’ he said, adding ‘I am trying to communicate the essence of it in the lay language that I understand.’”
Not only did this seem a bit off-topic since neither Al Gore nor AIT were mentioned in the report, but the three bolded paragraphs seem to have been quoted verbatim and (shades of Jason Blair) without attribution from Broad’s NYT story. I think we can be confident that the Observer reporter didn’t check into the background far enough to discover that Easterbrook is a card-carrying denialist.
Could someone who has access to the print version of the Observer have a look at it and see if it contains an NYT attribution?
I’m not quite clear on your point about CO2 and the human respiratory system.
CO2 is necessary for humans. Just as oxygen is. If one wants to be of the opinion that
breathing in CO2 would not be necessary to humans than the literature and scientific undestanding to date,
would contradict that.
(“For example, carbon dioxide is required by humans for respiratory exchanges.”) in response to
Sebastian’s original point (#121), that CO2 is “just not good for people to breathe”
To begin with the word “good” is a subjective adjective.
The word “good” does not connate a specific value or symbol that provides empirical
data: such as indicating specific lab indices which would quantify the oxygen and CO2 exchanges and or if they fell out of normalized reference range values.
As the original poster did not mention states concerning high arterial or venous CO2 levels (hypercapnia), or exchanges, in relation to “good to breath”
I felt it was a mischaracterization of the necessity of CO2 to human life where if one would employ the original posters same logic than that posting could also have stated that oxygen is “just not good for people to breath.”
Neither of these situations, that CO2 or O2 idealized and normalized is “just not good to breath”, (other than what falls outside of the norm: higher than O2 or CO2 reference range volume concentrates in human venous or arterial sources) would be valid assertations.
Ann Pharmacother. 1992 Dec;26(12):1554-62. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=1336412&dopt=Abstract
…” DATA SYNTHESIS: The benefits of oxygen therapy have been known for many years; however, its potential toxicity has not been recognized until the last two decades. The lungs, the eyes, and, under certain conditions, the central nervous system are the organs most affected by prolonged exposure to hyperoxic environments. Free radical formation during cellular metabolism under hyperoxic conditions is recognized as the biochemical basis of oxygen injury to cells and organs”…”CONCLUSIONS: There is currently no reliably effective drug for preventing or delaying the development of oxygen toxicity in humans. Use of the lowest effective oxygen concentration, the avoidance of certain drugs, and attention to nutritional and metabolic factors remain the best means currently available to avoid or minimize oxygen toxicity. Research is continuing into more effective ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat this disorder.”
Comment by BarbieDoll Moment — 18 Mar 2007 @ 11:02 PM
RE 137 Re #133
….”Sebastian’s original point (#121), that CO2 is “just not good for people to breathe” is correct (breathing air with an elevated level of CO2 will lower blood and CSF pH, which stimulates breathing, adding more CO2 to the blood and CSF, lowering its pH even more, and so on). In fact, that is about the only correct statement in his post. “…
…”Q. Is carbon dioxide in the human body dangerous? How much carbon dioxide is present in human blood?
A. Carbon dioxide, a waste product of respiration, is normally present in body tissues. Blood carries carbon dioxide from the body tissues to the lungs, where it is exhaled (and where the blood is reoxygenated from fresh, inhaled air). According to the text “Biology” by Claude A. Villee (copyrighted 1957 by W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia and London), each liter of blood transports about 50 milliliters of blood from body tissues to the alveoli of the lungs. To give you an idea of the relative amounts of carbon dioxide in various parts of the body, the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in body tissues is about 60 mm of mercury, about 47 mm in blood in veins, about 41 mm in blood in arteries, and about 35 mm in the alveoli. Acidosis occurs when the removal of carbon dioxide from the blood is restricted (as in pneumonia); tissue death can result. [RMC]
Q. Should one be concerned about indoor levels of carbon dioxide and, if so, what are the potential effects?
A. Levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), even in a poorly ventilated room, must reach very high levels for this colorless, odorless gas to reach dangerous levels.“…”There have been cases documented where indoor CO2 levels below 5000 ppm have caused discomfort and headache. Cases have also een documented where a 30-minute exposure at 50,000 ppm produced signs of intoxication, and a few minutes of exposure at 70,000-100,000 ppm can cause loss of consciousness. The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) reported that 100,000 ppm is the atmospheric concentration immediately dangerous to life. [RMC] “…
Comment by BarbieDoll Moment — 18 Mar 2007 @ 11:37 PM
Re my prior comment that hasn’t appeared yet (probably #140):
Just to add that while the report I linked to is not itself very problematic, the press coverage of the report’s release has been a whole different deal (see some RC discussion starting here), in particular the attack by one of the authors on the recent AAAS statment on global warming. As well, it appears that the Sense about Science organization has a rather odd provenance, with connections to the cultish Living Marxism organization and thus to the producer of the recent “Great Global Warming Swindle” documentary (discussed on this RC thread). See these SourceWatch and George Monbiot articles for details about Sense about Science.
[[CO2 is necessary for humans. Just as oxygen is. If one wants to be of the opinion that breathing in CO2 would not be necessary to humans than the literature and scientific undestanding to date, would contradict that.]]
Humans can survive long periods of time in environments of, for instance, 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen. I think the Mir astronauts survived for a year on such a mix, or was it pure oxygen? The point is, neither NASA nor ESA nor the Russian space agency has ever bothered to include CO2 generators for crew health. All the CO2 found in spaceship atmospheres is from the crew’s exhalation. I don’t think there’s any physiological requirement for CO2. You may be mistaking the fact that CO2 occurs in the blood and lungs for the idea that it’s necessary, which doesn’t follow.
I’d check that, Barton, with a respiratory therapist; they track blood C02 as well as blood oxygen for example in people with lung and heart problems. If I recall correctly, during the daytime, breathing rate varies, but during sleep, breathing is at a steady rate and heart rate varies, to the same end.
“The human breathing response (need to breathe feeling) is controlled by the CO2
level in the blood, not the lack of oxygen. As the dissolved CO2 level in
the blood increases, the blood PH level decreases (respiratory acidosis).
This is the primary feedback mechanism for breathing rate, the heart rate
increases to move more blood and assist the lungs in eliminating the CO2.
This is one reason why atmospheres with low oxygen concentrations can be
so deadly, you never feel the “lack of oxygen” because the CO2 level stays
normal, that is, the CO2 continues to be eliminated as long as there is a
gas mixture for the lungs to exchange it with (as long as it’s not high in C02).”
Aside — this fits what happens with oxygen starvation at high elevation; pilots just get silly and inattentive then pass out, without feeling like they need ‘more air’.
[[Aside — this fits what happens with oxygen starvation at high elevation; pilots just get silly and inattentive then pass out, without feeling like they need ‘more air’. ]]
Right, but that’s oxygen starvation, not carbon dioxide starvation. CO2 is continually generated in our bodies by the process of metabolism. People have lived in no-CO2 atmospheres for long times without ill effects. We don’t need it to function; we generate our own.
Agreed. Certainly CO2 isn’t necessary in normal breathing gas mixes; the dive physiologists or flight experts could comment on whether it’s used in intentionally prepared breathing gas mixes, ever.
Just to whack the dead horse one last time, I do think a respiratory therapist will tell you that — sometimes — it’s possible to flush too much CO2 out of the body just by panic breathing (for example, when a person’s on hospital air, getting a pure oxygen-nitrogen or other breathing gas mix). At that point, the CO2 in the bloodstream drops into the level normally signaling “don’t need to breathe yet” and people can simply stop breathing. So it does need watching.
Using a paper bag for rebreathing, for example, when someone’s having a panic attach, is probably still recommended in first aid. I’ll look but not bring that back here, off-off-topic.
..”6. Regulation of ventilation:
Driving of ventilation by raised PaCO2.
Location of central chemoreceptors in medulla, response in part to PaCO2 and in part to acid/base status of cerebrospinal fluid and brain interstitial fluid.
Driving by reduced PaO2, detected by peripheral chemoreceptors of carotid and aortic bodies and effective below 13.3KPa.
Interaction between PaO2 and PaCO2.
Learning Objectives: â?¢ To understand that the chief ‘drive’ for lung ventilation is derived from the chemoreceptors, with carbon dioxide the most potent ‘input’.
â?¢ To understand that the central chemoreceptors respond to carbon dioxide only, the basis of this being a complex set of interactions. In contrast the peripheral chemo-receptors respond to falls in PaO2, rises in PaCO2 and [H+]a. “…
…”PaCO2 is maintained in the range of 39-41 mm Hg in normal states. Alveolar ventilation is under the control of the central respiratory centers, which are located in the pons and medulla. Ventilation is influenced and regulated by chemoreceptors for PaCO2, PaO2, and pH located in the brainstem and by neural impulses from lung stretch receptors and impulses from the cerebral cortex. “…
As to the remark regarding the human body’s production of CO2.
Where and how did you think by such a means this would happen?
Humans exhale about 1 kg of carbon dioxide per day (http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/pns/faq.html). The exact amount depends on age, sex, size, and most importantly activity level. Multiply that by a world population of six billion and you get a very large number.
However, human exhalation of carbon dioxide is part of a closed system. There can be no net addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere because the amount of carbon dioxide we exhale canâ??t be greater than the carbon we put into our bodies by eating plants, or eating animals that eat plants. The plants got the carbon from the atmosphere via photosynthesis.
This closed system is true for any animal, not just humans.”…
Comment by BarbieDoll Moment — 20 Mar 2007 @ 2:43 AM
Re #133, 141, 142, 148
All this because Sebastian wrote that CO2 is bad for humans to breathe – incredible!!
The Times did not publish the Mann and Schmidt letter in the print edition I received here in Washington D.C. Was it in any print edition?
[Response: Unfortunately was in online edition only. Also, they cut some key sentences. Here was the original unedited letter: With “From a Rapt Audience, a Call to Cool the Hype” (3/13/07), by William J. Broad, The Times missed an excellent opportunity to explore the difficulties of communicating science in a way that is both accurate but understandable. Instead, Broad misrepresented the state of current scientific understanding on the important issue of human-caused climate change.
Broad, who accuses Al Gore of scientific cherry-picking in his movie “An Inconvenient Truth”, was ironically the one playing fast and loose with the facts. Broad advances the specious criticisms of a few well-known contrarians who wouldn’t have agreed with Gore had he read aloud from a textbook. We direct readers to our blog RealClimate (www.realclimate.org) for a scientific review of the movie last May by colleague Eric Steig, which concludes that Gore, on the whole got the science right. A more recent article by the two of us details how Broad on the other hand, got it wrong.
Dr. Michael E. Mann, Associate Professor and Directory, Earth System Science Center, Penn State University, University Park, PA
Dr. Gavin A. Schmidt, Research Scientist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY
STATEMENT TO THE COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT
REFORM OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Roy W. Spencer
Earth System Science Center
The University of Alabama in Huntsville
Huntsville, Alabama 35801
19 March 2007
His testimony was submitted to the committee March 19, 2007.
On page 4-6 Spencer states ” we are now the warmest in 400 years – not 1,000 years” and “Furthermore, actual temperature measurements (not proxies) in Greenland boreholes reveal the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) to be warmer than today” and “claimed to be (estimates of global temperature and carbon dioxide concentrations), then virtually all of the evidence points to the temperature changes leading the carbon dioxide changes — not the other way around – by at least 100 years”
This image on page 5 shows higher temperature peak around 900 AD. The issues he presents needs resolution in context to be better understood in context of the global mean.
Could be caused by higher climate variability based on region? The numbers in his report to congress do not match the NOAA/NCDC charts. What is best source ref. for resolved variability of global mean?
As discussed many, many times here, scientists who use the “temperature has historically led CO2” argument to claim that the same must be true for present climate are being intentionally deceitful. As well, Spencer has a long history of being proven wrong on the work he does in his own specialty (satellite sensing of temperature). Finally, he has overtly made himself part of the global warming denial FUD machine. Given all of this, IMHO it’s better to just ignore him.
It’s too bad that the Times doesn’t see value in disclosing the affiliations of those whose letters they publish – only Jim McCarthy’s affiliation is provided.
A quick google reveals Anne Fennell (who was “delighted to read a fairly balanced report in â��From a Rapt Audience, a Call to Cool the Hypeâ��”) to be “our own Anne Fennell” of junkscience.com.
At least on hurricanes, Gore is not immune from criticism. However, as Wednesday’s congressional hearings plainly showed, Gore’s “scientific” detractors (aka Barton and Inhofe) use the information far more selectively, even as they show an active disregard for mainstream science–so there’s really no serious comparison http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-mooney/on-hurricanes-and-much-e_b_44093.html
Chris Mooney, that’s praising with faint damn, eh?
“Gore” — in what you’re writing — might mean the movie at the time it was made, or the movie with several years’ hindsight, or the current content of his slideshow. Criticism of statements is appropriate. Point to the statement you’re criticizing.
Instead, you’re spinning, and it’s ugly.
You’re suggesting above that to some, the man himself is “immune from criticism” on most points.
That’s the “darwinist/hansenist” argument from the anti-science group, making an icon of someone then attacking the icon and claiming the science is bogus on that basis.
This is the funny smell I keep detecting in the way the NYT approaches Mr. Gore, for years now.
Hank your response baffles me. In order to write that post, I went back and watched An Inconvenient Truth and read the hurricane section of the book. Obviously. But when I was quoting I was referring to his congressional testiomony.
Chris, if you mean his testimony, point to who would consider what part “immune from criticism” — do you mean specific people in his audience? specific points in his presentation to them? Are you just trying to say he is mostly right most of the time and the scientists don’t find fault with much that he says?
As you wrote it, you wrote that some people consider Al Gore, the person, “immune from criticism” — which is pretty weird to say, if you’re talking about the science or his interpretation of it.
Sounded like you mean he has a fan base who think he’s beyond criticism — which is what reminds me of the ‘Darwinist’ and ‘Hansenist’ spin from those who don’t want to address the science from people.
You’ve probably been clearer elsewhere; what you wrote here is what I commented on, that exact language.