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Oregon Institute of Science and Malarkey

Filed under: — group @ 10 October 2007

A large number of US scientists (to our direct knowledge: engineers, biologists, computer scientists and geologists) received a package in the mail this week. The package consists of a colour preprint of a ‘new’ article by Robinson, Robinson and Soon and an exhortation to sign a petition demanding that the US not sign the Kyoto Protocol. If you get a feeling of deja vu, it is because this comes from our old friends, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine and is an attempt to re-invigorate the highly criticised 1999 “Oregon Petition“.

The article itself is just an update of the original article, minus an author (Baliunas), with a switch of Robinson children (Zachary’s out, Noah is in), but with a large number of similar errors and language. As in previous case, this paper too, is not peer reviewed.

Since this is a rehash of the previous paper plus a few more cherry-picked statistics of dubious relevance, instead of tediously going through the whole thing ourselves, we are going to try something new – an open source debunking.

As we’ve mentioned previously, we’ve set up a Wiki to provide a one stop shop for articles debunking some of the worst climate contrarian pseudo-science. So, we’ve therefore set up a page for the new OISM paper, and what we’d like to do here is to start collecting material on this paper.

So, in the comments, please catalog any:

  1. links to articles dealing with debunkings of the previous incarnations of this paper
  2. obvious errors
  3. clear cherry-picking of data
  4. interesting edits between versions

and we’ll collate all the pertinent stuff on the RC-Wiki page. To make things easier, please label all comments by the section or figure numbers.

Just to get you started, all versions of the paper make a mistake in the dating of Keigwin’s Sargasso Sea record by 50 years (Figure 2 in early versions, Figure 1 now) since they do not notice that the published dates are in ‘years BP’ (Before Present) which is conventionally dated from 1950, not 2000. And that’s even without getting into the question of why this is the only paleo-record they highlight, or on what logical basis they put the ’2006′ value on.

In another example, the authors appear to think that human breathing out of CO2 is contributing to accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. (Actually since that carbon comes directly and indirectly from recent plants taking it out of the air, our breathing is carbon neutral). Additionally, they take the ratio of temperature change to CO2 change in the ice core record and assume that is the climate sensitivity of climate to CO2 as opposed to the other way around.

There is much, much more. Have at it!

Title of this post courtesy of an email correspondent


138 Responses to “Oregon Institute of Science and Malarkey”

  1. 101
    Eric Essene says:

    The OISM web site states “Zachary Robinson is coauthor of the research review Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide by A. B. Robinson, S. L. Baliunas, W. Soon, and Z. W. Robinson (1998) J. Am. Phys. Sur. 3, 171-178 and Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide by W. Soon, S. L. Baliunas, A. B. Robinson, and Z. W. Robinson (1999) Climate Research 13, 149-164, which were the most extensively cited articles in the world on this subject during the past nine years.” This is utter nonsense. The first paper has 0 citations and the second has 8 citations at present on ISI Web of Science, the standard citation source. Scopus, another citation source, has 0 citations for the first paper and 10 for the second. A well cited paper is one that has 50-100 citations, and

  2. 102
    Richard Ordway says:

    Re. The Soon, et. al “paper”.

    To the uninitiated public, the following is a case study of how the peer-review process can work, why it is critical and why the “study” ‘Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide ARTHUR B. ROBINSON, NOAH E. ROBINSON, ANDWILLIE SOON’ is an excercise in non-science (dangerous in my opinion because of the needless and dare I say it deliberate confusion it gives to the gullible public and policy makers).

    I quote liberally from a review paper critiquing a “published report” (term sound familiar?) written by (Olsen and Buch, 2004)-Bjørn Lomborg’s “group”- on the risk of ocean circulation changes in the Atlantic, which coincided with the release of the Hollywood movie The Day after Tomorrow (which was roundly criticized for a lack of accuracy by the scientific community).

    The critique is done by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research -STEFAN RAHMSTORF and KIRSTEN ZICKFELD

    http://www.pik-potsdam.de/~stefan/Publications/Journals/rahmstorf&zickfeld_2005.pdf

    The critique starts:

    “Bjørn Lomborg’s “Environmental Assessment Institute” published a
    report (Olsen and Buch, 2004) on the risk of ocean circulation changes in the Atlantic…

    Nevertheless, the report is published and the copyright owned by Lomborg’s institute.

    Admittedly, the somewhat unusual process of gestation and launch for a scientific document made us approach it with some caution.” (Yeah, there’s a reason for that-RO).

    “…Several factual errors cast doubt on the authors’ familiarity with the cited literature and basic science; such errors could have been avoided had the report been subject to the usual independent peer review process.

    …To give two examples, the report claims a sensitivity study was performed with the CLIMBER model, even though the study in question was published years before this model existed.

    …And the authors fail to understand the basic oceanographic concept of steric height, claiming it “reflects the sea-surface height at a given location if the ocean were to be motionless” (to the contrary, the steric height field reflects the surface currents of the ocean – this is why oceanographers routinely determine steric height).

    …The usefulness of the report is hampered by a strangely selective choice of the literature. Many of the key studies that have considered the risk of ocean circulation changes in greenhouse warming scenarios are neither cited nor discussed.

    …Not mentioned are the classic papers by Manabe and Stouffer (1993, 1994), showing that the Atlantic thermohaline circulation breaks down in a scenario of quadrupling CO2, but weakens and recovers in a scenario of doubling CO2 in the GFDL…”

    …The omission of the last study is particularly surprising,
    as it shows a major cooling occurring over Scandinavia in the middle of this century. It is thus highly relevant to an assessment of the risks of future ocean circulation changes, especially for Scandinavian society.

    …What else is missing is a discussion of the uncertainties. One major uncertainty lies in the future meltwater runoff from Greenland

    … one is left asking oneself whether this report was intended to assess the risks, or rather to downplay them.”

    I think, and hope, that you get the point. If a member of the public, a “thinktank”, or God forbid a Congressman/Congresswoman, or President of the United States reads this report…they will believe its science is just as valid as an actual world-wide open peer-reviewed journal paper that has been vetted for accuracy…when in reality it is just propaganda masquerading as science.

    This non-peer-reviewed Bjorn Lomborg-issued report is non-scientific information that the world-wide open peer-review system would weed out due to its lack of scientific evidence…like the Soon et. al “published report.”

  3. 103
    Timothy Chase says:

    US Tornadoes

    Early research on tornadoes…

    Identifying trends in tornado frequency has been difficult as we can only include those tornadoes which get reported. Reports of tornadoes including severe tornadoes have on the whole increased. However, this is no doubt in part due to better reporting and analysis so far suggests that the trend in F3-F5 has been neutral to negative. Model analysis has been limited in part due to problems of scale: the resolution of climate models is typically too coarse. However, it has been suggested that thunderstorm activity may actually decrease due to lower continental interior relative humidity while extreme events may increase.

    The information used for their chart would appear to be coming from:

    Tornado Climatology
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Global Climate Monitoring
    Last updated: 17 August 2006
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/severeweather/tornadoes.html#history

    The page itself suggests that there has been little change in trends.

    I might recommend checking the following:

    TORNADO TRENDS OVER THE PAST THIRTY YEARS
    Daniel McCarthy and Joseph Schaefer
    http://www.spc.noaa.gov/publications/mccarthy/tor30yrs.pdf

    Reports prior to the late 1970s would appear to be especially problematic:

    The number of tornadoes rated F2 have decreased since 1973. This may be attributed to research performed by the TDU of the NSSFC who rated tornadoes prior to the late 1970s by researching newspaper clippings and assign ratings according to the articles. Of course, for the tornado to be in the newspaper, it would have to cause appreciable damage.

    Tornado TrendsAcross the U.S.
    1950 – 2000
    Daniel McCarthy , comment to slide 5
    http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/TornadoesandTrends_files/frame.htm

    An article that looks interesting but which I have as of yet been unable to obtain a copy of as of yet is:

    Climatological analysis of tornado report counts using a hierarchical Bayesian spatiotemporal model
    Christopher K. Wikle, Christopher J. Anderson
    JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 108, NO. D24, 9005, doi:10.1029/2002JD002806, 2003
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2003/2002JD002806.shtml

    With regard to what models project, an early result:

    Will moist convection be stronger in a warmer climate?
    Anthony D. Del Genio, Mao-Sung Yao, and Jeffrey Jonas
    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 34, L16703, doi:10.1029/2007GL030525, 2007
    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2007/2007_DelGenio_etal_2.pdf

  4. 104
    Richard Ordway says:

    Re. 102. Just a follow-up to post #102 on how pseudo-science from “published reports” like this (Lomborg’s) can make their way to decision makers.

    Lomborg, of all people, testified to Congress about climate change risks… even though his work was rejected by the science community as being ignorant of basic science:

    “…Several factual errors cast doubt on the authors’ familiarity with the cited literature and basic science; such errors could have been avoided had the report been subject to the usual independent peer review process.”

    I’m glad to know that Congress is making decisions that are going to affect my children’s future (and yours too) based on sound science.

    Remember, there is about a fifty-plus year lag between CO2 levels reaching a point and the time for temps, ocean levels and effects to catch up.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Study/GlobalWarmingQandA/

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/307/5716/1687d

    http://energycommerce.house.gov/cmte_mtgs/110-eaq-hrg.032107.Lomborg-testimony.pdf

    http://www.pik-potsdam.de/~stefan/Publications/Journals/rahmstorf&zickfeld_2005.pdf

  5. 105
    Bob says:

    At least the OISM paper “admits” glaciers are disappearing at alarming rates. Many deniers even deny that. The authors contend that glacier reduction preceded significant use of hydrocarbon fuels. However, they do not include wood in their list of HC fuels. I don’t have any data to prove this but common sense would tell you that there must have been heavy use of wood for fuel at that time and also contributing would have been massive burn off of forests and grasslands for agricultural use during the 1800′s. Maybe an explanation for early phase of glacier reduction.

  6. 106
    J.S. McIntyre says:

    #104

    Lomborg, of all people, testified to Congress about climate change risks… even though his work was rejected by the science community as being ignorant of basic science:

    “…Several factual errors cast doubt on the authors’ familiarity with the cited literature and basic science; such errors could have been avoided had the report been subject to the usual independent peer review process.”

    ====================

    A few years back, when Lomborg published “The Skeptical Environmentalist” he took up Skeptic Magazine’s offer to defend his work against the criticism it was receiving in that publication. They gave him 20+ pages, as I recall. Then they proceeded to break his arguments down. It wasn’t pretty, and he didn’t come out of it looking very good. I note that American Scientist and Scientific American also chimed in (and probably others), alowing him to respond and then addressing the response. While the critiques were obviously NOT peer review, they were concise, to the point, and extremely specific at showing how Lomborg was essentially cherry picking is data.

    Given that, it is no wonder he would want to avoid legitimate peer review.

    That said, given Congress already allowed Crichton to expand on the grand AGW-”conspiracy”, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Lomborg was allowed to show up. My assumption is that even if they (Congress)understand a speaker’s expertise is, at best, dubious, they figure they’ll make certain special interests happy and it won’t affect their final decision. Of course, they ignore (and some likely embrace) the understanding that in the public eye, appearing before Congress adds legitimacy to a viewpoint, which is a valuable tool moving forward. Face it, to a certain degree, Crichton’s public legitimacy rests on his Congressional appearance.

  7. 107
    Philip Ward says:

    Interesting article on the backers of Stewart Dimmock, who took out the case in the UK against AIT:

    http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/news/story/0,,2190996,00.html

  8. 108
    Philip Ward says:

    Below are the alleged “nine scientific errors” in AIT, as reported in the Guardian (UK) on 11th October. You’ve already dealt well with the one about sea-level rise. I suspect Gore is misrepresented in others too, and even the Pentagon has considered the possibility that Atlantic ocean currents could “shut down”. It seems that the judge’s view is that it is impossible to step outside the IPCC consensus, and talk about possibilities and worst-case scenarios, when it is well-known that this consensus is in fact a compromise and many IPCC scientists do think its projections are conservative. They are supported by the fact that these projections have generally got more serious (as well as more likely) with each IPCC report.

    The film claimed that low-lying inhabited Pacific atolls “are being inundated because of anthropogenic global warming” – but there was no evidence of any evacuation occurring

    · It spoke of global warming “shutting down the ocean conveyor” – the process by which the gulf stream is carried over the north Atlantic to western Europe. The judge said that, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it was “very unlikely” that the conveyor would shut down in the future, though it might slow down

    · Mr Gore had also claimed – by ridiculing the opposite view – that two graphs, one plotting a rise in C02 and the other the rise in temperature over a period of 650,000 years, showed “an exact fit”. The judge said although scientists agreed there was a connection, “the two graphs do not establish what Mr Gore asserts”

    · Mr Gore said the disappearance of snow on Mt Kilimanjaro was expressly attributable to human-induced climate change. The judge said the consensus was that that could not be established

    · The drying up of Lake Chad was used as an example of global warming. The judge said: “It is apparently considered to be more likely to result from … population increase, over-grazing and regional climate variability”

    · Mr Gore ascribed Hurricane Katrina to global warming, but there was “insufficient evidence to show that”

    · Mr Gore also referred to a study showing that polar bears were being found that had drowned “swimming long distances to find the ice”. The judge said: “The only scientific study that either side before me can find is one which indicates that four polar bears have recently been found drowned because of a storm”

    · The film said that coral reefs all over the world were bleaching because of global warming and other factors. The judge said separating the impacts of stresses due to climate change from other stresses, such as over-fishing, and pollution, was difficult

    · The film said a sea-level rise of up to 20ft would be caused by melting of either west Antarctica or Greenland in the near future; the judge ruled that this was “distinctly alarmist”

  9. 109
    Nick O. says:

    Re. no. 83 – Ray Ladbury. Tks for the comments, with which I agree in part. However, they do not settle my main worry. Whether or not we (on this blog, for example) believe Mr Gore’s comments were apocalyptic or exaggerated is less important to how his comments are portrayed by those who are tendentiously skeptical, particularly after the Dimmock court case. I scanned some of the letters pages in the broadsheet press in the UK over the weekend, and it was a dismaying experience to say the least. In particular, we have people now writing in to say that, since Mr Gore’s film is ‘political’, for ‘balance’ in British schools and classrooms, teachers should be compelled to show “The Great Global Warming Swindle ” etc. etc., to give people access to the ‘other side of the argument’. This really is about as depressing as it gets, as I see little likelihood of this clarifying the science, rather than confusing it (and the school pupils as well). I can’t help but think that had there been no court case, then we wouldn’t be getting these demands; similarly, if Mr Gore had used more qualified language (as the judge commented he should have), then there wouldn’t have been a court case. Further comments about the Nobel Prize I think are likely to make people more suspicious rather than less so, and the scientific picture can hence be presented as less clear. The whole business is deeply frustrating.

  10. 110
    J.C.H. says:

    more distortions -

    From:

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/environment/gore-gets-a-cold-shoulder/2007/10/13/1191696238792.html

    … During his speech to a crowd of about 300 that included meteorology students and a host of professional meteorologists, Dr Gray also said those who had linked global warming to the increased number of hurricanes in recent years were in error. …

    James Hansen:

    …Hansen took aim at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for failing to recognize clear evidence of the link between increasing ferocity of tropical storms and greenhouse gases.

    “We calculate an ocean surface warming in the region of hurricane formation, caused by human-made climate forcings,” Hansen said. “So the categorical contention of the NOAA National Hurricane Center that recent hurricane intensification is due to a natural cycle of Atlantic Ocean temperature, and has nothing to do with global warming, is irrational. How could a hurricane distinguish between natural and greenhouse-gas warming?” …

    Not a single word about the number of hurricanes – not a hint of it.

  11. 111
    Timothy Chase says:

    Bob (#105) wrote:

    At least the OISM paper “admits” glaciers are disappearing at alarming rates. Many deniers even deny that. The authors contend that glacier reduction preceded significant use of hydrocarbon fuels. However, they do not include wood in their list of HC fuels. I don’t have any data to prove this but common sense would tell you that there must have been heavy use of wood for fuel at that time and also contributing would have been massive burn off of forests and grasslands for agricultural use during the 1800′s. Maybe an explanation for early phase of glacier reduction.

    In the West, coal use goes back to the Romans in the first and second centuries. Hopi indians were using it in the 1300s. In modern times, the use of coal goes back to the 1700s. Before coal (which clearly wasn’t used that much given the charts) we were using charcoal. And thats just coal and charcoal. The burning of wood undoubtedly goes back to before the dawn of civilization 10,000 years ago. Then you should also consider the sources of anthropogenic methane. The domestication of cattle and rice. These too have long histories. If you look at the trend for carbon dioxide and methane it would appear that we have been raising the level of both at least as far back as 5,000 years.

    For a quick source on the use of coal please see:

    DOE – Fossil Energy: A Brief History of Coal Use in the United States
    http://www.fossil.energy.gov/education/energylessons/coal/coal_history.html

    For the chart on the trends in atmospheric content of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide over the past 10,000 years, the IPCC has it, but here is a quick link:

    Green Facts: Figures and Tables
    FIGURE SPM-1. Changes in Greenhouse Gases from ice-Core and Modern Data
    http://www.greenfacts.org/nl/klimaatverandering-ar4/figtableboxes/figure-1.htm

    *

    Incidentally, they were selective in their choice of glaciers, too. But we can look that up later.

  12. 112
    Jim Cripwell says:

    Ref 109. You can also measure hurricane intensity by the ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy) value. In the North Atlantic in 2005, the ACE value was around 250(kt^2 x 10^4). In 2006, around 70. Year to date in 2007, around 60. Average value around 100. There are similar figures for the whole of the northern hemisphere. Unless hurricane activity picks up in the next few years, there is not much sign that Jim Hansen is correct in his criticism of NOAA.

    [Response: Hansen's criticism of NOAA has nothing to do with hurricane statistics and everything to do with the ability of scientists at NOAA to talk to the media unencumbered by political appointees controlling what they can say. That is valid wherever the science goes. - gavin]

  13. 113
    Timothy Chase says:

    Re: Glaciers

    I just thought of something else: black soot.

    With regard to glaciers, I would say that anthropogenic black carbon goes back as far as carbon dioxide, and as we have been quite measurably increasing levels of carbon dioxide over the past 5000 years, undoubtedly we have been doing the same with black carbon. And I would keep in mind the fact that while carbon dioxide tends to be global in its effects, black soot tends not to be so evenly distributed – although the effects of black soot show up even in the Arctic today. In very large part, it has a disproportionate effect upon the cryosphere – due to the difference in albedo.

    Additionally, I would keep in mind the fact that cities will tend to form where there are rivers, and glaciers are a good source of rivers. Best estimates – globally black carbon is an order of magnitude lower in its effects when compared against carbon dioxide, but in terms of the cryosphere it is roughly as important as carbon dioxide, perhaps even more important with regard to the Arctic sea ice.

  14. 114
    David Blake says:

    I have received a copy of the paper from the OISM and read through many of the comments here.

    It is understandable with the projected costs involved in proposed global warming solutions that the subject has become highly political and, so we must now seek to deligitimize anyone who opposes our point of view which we so firmly believe to be correct. A fairly good job on Frederick Seitz suggesting that his point of view need not be based on conviction and then again he in not a climatologist.

    I ask for help here. The arguments and data supporting put forth in the OISM paper seem to me to compare closely to those in a book I read by Patrick Michaels who is a professor of Environmental Scoences at the University of Virginia. Meltdown, The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians and the Media. Evidently, Professor Michaels is also the state climatologist of Virginia.

    I’m sorry that I have only recently come to your site but I wonder if the participants here have been able to sufficiently discredit Professor Michaels and/or his work.

  15. 115
    Mary C says:

    Re. No. 109 – Trying to tailor everything that is said and done to avoid reprecussions from “the other side” is a loser’s game, unfortunately. We’ve seen that in American politics in recent years. The attacks on AGW are more of the same. I was reluctant to see AIT because I thought it was going to be a “downer”. However, other guests at a dinner party I attended insisted that it was not a negative film and it did not leave the viewer depressed and hopeless about global warming. So, I went to see it and discovered they were right. In an effort to not give anyone a hook for an attack on the film, how far would Gore have had to go? Perhaps a dry as dust listing of a few scientific facts would have done it–but it’s doubtful. As it is, it’s quite clear that the Lomborgs of the world will not hesitate to distort what was said if they cannot find any real issues. Another thing is that there is a successful spin job going on–what is getting all the coverage, in some quarters at least, is the finding of (maybe yes, maybe no) errors in the film. However, here is what the UK Met Office has posted at their web site (http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/news/inconvenient.html):

    Director Climate Science John Mitchell said: “The Met Office is pleased that the evidence for climate change had been accepted in a British court of law in line with the IPCC findings that warming our planet is unequivocal, and that it is very likely that most of this warming is caused by man-made greenhouse gases.

    “We welcome the fact that such an accessible film is being shown to schools so that young people will be informed on climate change and encouraged to engage with the issues that will affect their future.”

    Ah-ha, that puts a rather different face on it all, doesn’t it? One can only wonder why so few of the commentaries on the judicial decision neglect to mention that, in fact, “the evidence for climate change had been accepted in a British court of law” instead of focusing on a few errors. The Met Office has it right.

    Further, the fact that the letters pages in the Britsh broadsheet press now show people writing in to criticize the film as political and to suggest the equal-time showing of “The Great Global Warming Swindle” not only shows that the judicial decision is being misrepresented, it tracks closely with online responses to Time magazine’s issue on global warming and to a poorly phrased comment Heidi Cullen made on The Weather Channel’s Forecast Earth. Reading through these responses is profoundly depressing–until one suddenly realizes that it is highly unlikley that a spontaneous reaction from members of the general public could have produced such an unbalanced response rate, not when polls show that approximately 3/4 of Americans believe that global warming is now a problem or will become one in the future. Meanwhile, the responses overwhelmingly deny the reality of global warming, deny that humans could have any influence on climate, attack those such as Time’s writers and Cullen as fascists and “kool-aid drinkers,” and insist that the entire issue is a political ploy. The “other side” must not be allowed to dictate the terms of how the issue is presented. No matter what is done, no matter how it is presented, they will manage to attack and distort the message. I can say that without hesitation because they are doing so already and have done so repeatedly in the past for a wide variety of issues.

  16. 116
    Timothy Chase says:

    Jim Cripwell (#112) wrote:

    Ref 109. You can also measure hurricane intensity by the ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy) value. In the North Atlantic in 2005, the ACE value was around 250(kt^2 x 10^4). In 2006, around 70. Year to date in 2007, around 60. Average value around 100. There are similar figures for the whole of the northern hemisphere. Unless hurricane activity picks up in the next few years, there is not much sign that Jim Hansen is correct in his criticism of NOAA.

    If you mean to imply that the accumulated cyclone energy has not been rising, I would suggest checking the chart here:

    Accumulated cyclone energy
    Wikipedia
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accumulated_Cyclone_Energy

    It shows that accumulated cyclone energy has been rising roughly in step with global warming since about 1978 – when the effects of anthropogenic aerosols began to diminish relative to carbon dioxide and the global average temperature really began to rise. There is a fair amount of cyclic variability, but the trend would appear to be quite obvious and I believe you can see that detrending for the cycles would be fairly easy.

    This would seem to be the opposite of what you are implying.

    If you mean to claim that for example 2006 was a slow year, that’s true — for the Atlantic, but check out what was happening in the Pacific:

    21 Cat 4-5 Storms for 2006?
    Posted on: January 4, 2007 6:55 AM, by Chris C. Mooney
    http://scienceblogs.com/intersection/2007/01/21_cats_45.php

    I mention this because NOAA took an official position that global warming was not the cause of hurricane intensification, and as the public was glued to their television listening to reports from the Hurricane Center, that is the main message the public received. The topic is a complex one that the scientific community is working on, but it seems that the public, by fiat, received biased information. NOAA scientists were told not to dispute the Hurricane Center conclusion in public. I am not certain whether that is legal or not. Perhaps, by declaring the conclusion to be `policy’, NOAA scientists can be prohibited from questioning it in public.

    Jim Hansen quoted in …
    Jim Hansen: NOAA “by fiat” put out “biased information” on hurricanes
    Posted on Wednesday, February 15, 2006
    http://www.climatesciencewatch.org

    Anyway, for the Power Dissipation Index, offhand I would suggest two posts at Real Climate:

    September 2005
    Hurricanes and Global Warming – Is There a Connection?
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=181

    4 May 2005
    Storms and Climate Change
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=140

    You might want to read them.

  17. 117
    Jim Eager says:

    Re 112 Jim Cripwell: “You can also measure hurricane intensity by the ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy) value. In the North Atlantic in 2005, the ACE value was around 250(kt^2 x 10^4). In 2006, around 70. Year to date in 2007, around 60. Average value around 100. There are similar figures for the whole of the northern hemisphere. Unless hurricane activity picks up in the next few years, there is not much sign that Jim Hansen is correct in his criticism of NOAA.”

    Then please be so good as to provide them for the same time periods. Discussing hurricane intensity in terms of ACE value and then limiting the discussion to North Atlantic values is classic cherry picking.

  18. 118
    J.C.H. says:

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 15 October 2007 @ 1:09 PM

    The point is he never said anything about the number of hurricanes.

    As for the ferocity and averages, tell me all about the averages if one of them should level Houston and the rest of them in that season could barely keep a kite aloft.

  19. 119
    Timothy Chase says:

    PS to Re Hurricanes: 116

    Anyway, Jim, I want to thank you for bringing up accumulated cyclone energy. I wouldn’t have looked it up – and it is instructive. In terms of the number of Atlantic hurricanes, it would appear that there have been four regimes where the average has been constant with the most recent two have shown more tropical hurricanes.

    Please see:

    Open Mind: North Atlantic Storms (NATL TC)
    by Tamino, August 10th, 2007
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/08/10/north-atlantic-storms-natl-tc/

    *

    Re David Blake

    You wrote in 114:

    I ask for help here. The arguments and data supporting put forth in the OISM paper seem to me to compare closely to those in a book I read by Patrick Michaels who is a professor of Environmental Scoences at the University of Virginia. Meltdown, The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians and the Media. Evidently, Professor Michaels is also the state climatologist of Virginia.

    I’m sorry that I have only recently come to your site but I wonder if the participants here have been able to sufficiently discredit Professor Michaels and/or his work.

    I suspect that just about everything Michaels has written regarding climate change has been discredited. However, at this point the contributors are trying to see how much we have learned and how much we are able to find – for the purpose of responding to the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.

    Obviously if you are right and we do do a good job with OISM, it will go a long way to responding to and discrediting Patrick Michaels who is at the center of so much of this. Assuming we can research the book and show where it lines up with OISM’s essay.

    Anyway, the pointer helps. Thankyou!

  20. 120
    Timothy Chase says:

    Sorry…

    In response to David Blake, I had written in 117:

    Obviously if you are right and we do do a good job with OISM, it will go a long way to responding to and discrediting Patrick Michaels who is at the center of so much of this. Assuming we can research the book and show where it lines up with OISM’s essay.

    I gave the wrong link for Patrick Michaels.

    Here is the right one:

    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1082

    The diagram shows Patrick Michaels contributing to 20 organizations.

  21. 121
    Roger Smith says:

    Re: 120
    I think the real “contributions” flow the other way, to Mr. Michaels from at least 20 organizations. He is well compensated for his contributions to public misunderstanding of the science.

  22. 122
    Jason Patton says:

    Hmm, looks like it might be news to some that Patrick Michaels no longer is/calls himself the State Climatologist of Virginia.

  23. 123
    Joseph O'Sullivan says:

    For PHE (#66)

    The summary was way too short. What the court really said, but not explicitly, was the that the EPA has to regulate greenhouse gases. The court said that if air pollution was altering the climate, which all the evidence shows it is, then the the EPA under the Clean Air Act has to regulate the emission of greenhouse gases. Summaries of court decisions often are not detailed enough to portray the true message of the decision.

    Anyone who has done legal research knows that summaries, even by legal authorities like keycite can be wrong.

  24. 124
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Nick O. re: 109, There is a reason why science insists on consensus rather than unanimity: Not everyone is reasonable. So, the way science handles this is to establish a consensus, but preserve the freedom of dissenters to express minority views. In effect, what happens is those who take extreme positions tend to marginalize themselves. Now if the scientific community considers itself free to disregard the opinions of experts who take extreme positions, are you going to tell me that we should care what some ignorant food tube with no understanding of the science thinks about the science? I am firmly in favor of involving everyone in the debate about what to do about climate change, but the science should be decided by experts.

    If we are to have people make educated decisions about proper mitigation of climate change, they need to understand the consequences–what CAN happen, not just what is certain to happen. We can always temper these predictions of disaster with best estimates of probability, but people need to be aware of all the potentialities.
    Compare how we have dealt with climate to how we have dealt with terrorism. Look at the emphasis that has been placed on the “dirty bomb” scenario–despite the fact that it is not a very effective strategy and would be hard to execute in practice. Instead, the only outcome that has been emphasized wrt climate is sea-level rise, which is a certainty. Hell we founded a whole new government Department to deal with the terrorist threat and we can’t even get the government to officially acknowledge the existence of climate change, which will ultimately have a much higher economic cost.

  25. 125
    Jeff Abell says:

    One reply mentioned Frederick Seitz’ “credentials”. Evidently the guy was a scientist for big tobacco, so president of NAS or not, that pretty much destroys his credibility with me. Here is a link to a little more information on him and his role in this mass mailing that many of us legitimate scientists seemed to receive.

    http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/entity.jsp?entity=oregon_institute_of_science_and_medicine_1

  26. 126
    Jim Dukelow says:

    In #39, RSS and Timothy wrote:

    ‘”Correlation does not prove causality, but non-correlation proves non-causality.” – Para 19 of Atmospheric and Surface Temperatures

    I suppose this is true, in the sense that if you had zero correlation it would be hard to justify causation. Although, I’m not sure it constitutes proof.”

    Well, not really. Let look at some data:

    x y

    0 0
    25 24
    50 46
    75 66
    100 84
    125 100
    150 114
    175 126
    200 136
    225 144
    250 150
    275 154
    300 156
    325 156
    350 154
    375 150
    400 144
    425 136
    450 126
    475 114
    500 100
    525 84
    550 66
    575 46
    600 24
    625 0

    If you compute the correlation of x and y, you find that it is zero. RSS would have us believe that this non-correlation implies non-causality and Tim is unsure.

    The x’s are the horizontal coordinates and the y’s the vertical coordinates of a ball launched at a 45 degree angle with a speed of 100*sqrt(2) feet per second (making the simplifying assumptions of acceleration of gravity = 32 ft/sec/sec and flight in a vacuum).

    What the non-correlation implies is that the data SAMPLE being analyzed does not have a LINEAR relationship that overrides the noise in the data. We can use that non-correlation to draw some conclusions about the underlying population, but non-causation is not one of the conclusions we can draw. RRS are simply wrong in their assertion.

    Best regards.

  27. 127
    steveb says:

    RRW figure 2 is indeed referenced in their figure caption. It is their reference 4. The important question you need to address is, were they fair in fitting the average glacier length with a straight line from the year 1820? If so, then isn’t their basic claim correct, that the glacier melting is independent of recent increases in CO2?

  28. 128
    Jacqueline says:

    If as you say above: “human breathing out of CO2 is … (Actually since that carbon comes directly and indirectly from recent plants taking it out of the air, our breathing is carbon neutral).”
    Then why isn’t production of methane by cattle and sheep carbon neutral since that also comes directly and indirectly from recent plants taking it out of the air – plants that the animals have just eaten – and yes, that goes for the gut bacteria too – just wondering?

    [Response: Because the ruminants have effectively taken CO2 out of the air, and replaced it with CH4 - a much more effective greenhouse gas at the per molecule level. - gavin]

  29. 129
    Hank Roberts says:

    Jeff Abell, check your date, you link to the original OISM petition project, not to the current mass mailing. Same people, similar petition, but the first one happened quite a while ago. Note the different year.

  30. 130
    J.C.H. says:

    Finally, a question even I could answer, and a contributer from the left-hand menu hogs it.

    I think it would be the case that if all cow methane could be captured and burned to generate electricity, as an example, the cycle would be carbon neutral.

    [Response: Sorry! - I'll leave it up to you next time.... - gavin]

  31. 131
    Nick Gotts says:

    RE #130 [I think it would be the case that if all cow methane could be captured and burned to generate electricity, as an example, the cycle would be carbon neutral.]

    Only if you’re talking about wild cattle, or processes not using fossil fuels or nitrogen fertilisers in the cattle farming itself, in feed production, and in food processing and related sectors.

  32. 132
    Joe Duck says:

    stop falsely attributing comments to the film

    I see critics of the film suggesting that the implications of the film were too focused on GW leading to global catastrophe rather than suggesting that specific statements made in the film were false.

    Obviously only a few of the explicit statements were false – how could this be otherwise – the film script was short and extensively reviewed. The beef is with how facts are couched within the clear implication of a looming catastrophe that the science does not suggest at all.

    It’s a *fact* that the earth will eventually be catastrophically destroyed by the sun millions of years in the future. It would be absurd to harp on that in a film addressing the perils of today. It is not absurd to discuss 20 foot sea level rises as a very small future possibility, but it is misleading to present the consequences of a 20 foot rise instead of focusing attention on the IPCC estimates of sea level rises of 18-59 centimeters over the next 100 years.

    The film was designed to prod people to action, and it has done so magnificently. I’d love to hear from those defending the alarmist tone of the film what exactly they see as the implication of the 20 foot sea level rise discussion and imagery and the Katrina discussion and imagery. It is *patently absurd and intellectually dishonest* to suggest that those points were presented in a way that would lead an uninformed viewer to conclude that science suggests 18-59cm of sea level rise over the next century. The transcript and many of the pix are online – read them!

  33. 133
    Dave Rado says:

    Re. #132, you’re in the wrong thread – this thread is about the second Oregon petition.

  34. 134
    Joe Duck says:

    Thank you Dave and sorry about that. Editor fine to delete my comment 132.

  35. 135

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  36. 136
  37. 137
    jacob l says:

    slide 19
    I looked at the oism petition and for the most part you have the paper pegged how ever there is one red herring that I’m not sure what to with thats slide 19 saying that the uncertainties are greater that the forcing of co2
    there bar looks like the standard 4 watts running the modtran4 model
    first at 375 ppm 1976 atm 0 degrees from the ground looking up I get
    258.673 watts. when I raise the co2 to 750 ppm and the ground offset to 3c I get 276.728, a difference of 18.055.
    I did this to get an idea of what the flux changes would be equilibrium to equilibrium, still less than the ocean sea flux.
    Could someone please shed some light on this.

  38. 138
    abner says:

    I think this has been mentioned a bit above, but it really bugs me so I’m going to mention it:

    “Hydrocarbon use could not have caused these trends.”
    “The experimental data do not prove that solar activity is the only phenomenon responsible for substantial Earth temperature fluctuations, but they do show the human hydrocarbon use is not among those phenomena.”
    “in all seven glacial and interglacial cycles, the reported changes in CO2 and CH4 lagged the temperature changes and could not, therefore, have caused them.”

    Hydrocarbon use could not have initiated the trends, but that does not rule it out as a contributing factor to the continuation of the trends (feedback effects). All forcing factors need to be taken into account before one can start looking for correlations.

    “Despite enormous tax subsidies over the past 30 years, green sources still provide only 0.3% of U.S. energy.”

    Apparently this only considers wind and solar energy to be “green” energy sources. Looking at Figure 25, wind and solar account for 0.33%. Hydroelectric and other account for 6.6%, and nuclear (can this be considered green? It does not emit carbon, which I think is the point that’s being made) is 8.2%. So non-carbon sources actually account for over 15% of U.S. energy.

    “This decrease in temperature occurred during a period in which hydrocarbon use increased 3-fold.”

    This ignores that there are other forcing factors that explain the decrease.


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