RealClimate logo

Unforced Variations; June 2012

Filed under: — group @ 1 June 2012

This month’s open thread…

408 Responses to “Unforced Variations; June 2012”

  1. 1
    Hank Roberts says:

    Useful brief explanation here of how to get it right:

    … questionable writing practices: A guide to ethical writing

    “… citing papers that were either poorly understood or perhaps not even read by the author citing them….

    “… our recollection of vital details about a paper read at an earlier time is probably less than optimal. In addition, secondary sources may inadvertently slant or distort important details of others’ work, particularly if the material in question is of a controversial nature. Taken together, these factors can ultimately result in the dissemination of faulty information.”

  2. 2
    s.b. ripman says:

    I’m a non-scientist who loves reading your website because it is a good place to find unvarnished facts and peer-reviewed analysis.
    Recently one of your commenters linked to a graphic showing a scaled drawing of the earth and a ball of water next to it. The ball was a representation of the relative volume of all the water on earth.
    For someone like me it would be nice to have a similar graphic showing the relative volume of earth’s atmosphere next to the earth. I imagine that such a graphic would make it easier to appreciate how adding CO2 — the massive amount of CO2 accumulated in biomass and stored underground over the aeons — to the atmosphere could have a global warming effect. Such a graph could be forwarded to friends who say they don’t believe in global warming.
    I recommend that you use more graphics of that sort as communication tools. The findings of climate scientists are not easily understood by many in the general public, and these days their sources of information are badly tainted by power politics.
    Thank you.

  3. 3
    Unsettled Scientist says:

    s.b. ripman,

    That was a cool graphic of the water, but here’s what I see as an issue with doing that exact same thing with the atmosphere… the volume is enormous! The radius of Earth is about 6,300 km, but the atmosphere extends 10,000 km above us. The reason is that density decreases, gases are compressible while liquids are not. So this makes the volume of the atmosphere dramatically larger than the volume of Earth (sans its atmophere). The International Space Station actually flies inside our atmosphere and it experiences atmospheric drag which disturbs its flight path. A better representation might be the mass of the atmosphere… I’m not sure.

    I agree that well-designed graphics are a great teaching tool. For example, I like this graphic for explaining to people the vastness of the atmosphere and where certain phenomena take place in various layers.

    The density drops off so fast that if you jump out of a ballon (with a parachute of course) from 100,000′ (just 30 km) you wouldn’t notice any wind as you fall back to Earth. So while the volume of the atmosphere is enormous, the vast majority of gas molecules are much closer to the surface.

  4. 4
    Deep Climate says:

    Political action on climate change and other environmental issues is heating up. A number of ENGOs are fighting back against the Conservative government wholesale weakening of environmental regulation and intimidation of ENGOs, as embodied in the recent budget. On June 4, a number of leading ENGO websites will “go dark” in protest, including Suzuki and Pembina.

    For details, see:

  5. 5
    Deep Climate says:

    In related Canadian news, I have an ongoing series comparing the libertarian Conservative-friendly Fraser Institute with the environmentally focused Pembina Institute.

    Fraser vs Pembina, part 2: Funding

    Nevertheless, this investigation reveals that the oil and gas industry funding plays a much bigger role in the Fraser Institute’s budget than previously realized. Previously unreported cumulative funding from Encana stands at about $1 million; founding CEO Gwyn Morgan gave an additional $1 million, for a total of $2 million. Other important donors have included the Koch brothers ($523,000) and Exxon-Mobil ($120,000), along with significant but unreported regular donations by an unidentified Canadian Koch subsidiary and Exxon-Mobil subsidiary Imperial Oil. There is also circumstantial evidence pointing to support by Keystone XL proponent TransCanada and oil sands operator Canadian Natural Resources. Meanwhile, Pembina has transparently reported support from Suncor (and formerly TransCanada).

    … Gwyn Morgan is the now retired founding CEO of Encana, and was a key fundraiser and supporter of Stephen Harper’s successful Conservative Party leadership bid.

    Future posts will examine the quality of Fraser “research” among other topics, but in the mean time here is my analysis of their wretched Independent Summary for Policymakers (co-ordinating author: Ross McKitrick).

    Heartland North, anyone?

  6. 6
    Shelama says:

    #2 & #3:

    How about just the volume of the troposphere? Which, as I understand it, is where the CO2 and other GHG’s reside and where weather and climate occur? People tend to look up at the sky and imagine this atmosphere is endlessly high, impossible for man-made GHG’s to have any impact. But lay the height of the troposhere (~10-20 miles?) down horizontally, and I can easily view those distances in the valley of Salt Lake City from even a modest foothill elevation. I’ve done this with family and friends and they seem to be surprised at how “thin” the troposphere is where weather occurs.

  7. 7
    Hank Roberts says:

    > graphic showing the relative volume of earth’s
    > atmosphere next to the earth.
    > I imagine that such a graphic would make it easier
    > to appreciate how adding CO2 — the massive amount of CO2 …

    The ‘massive amount’ isn’t the problem for CO2 and climate change; CO2 will remain a trace gas — an important one that controls temperature — after burning any methane, oil, tar, and coal. Most of the carbon on Earth is locked up geologically, e.g. in limestone.

    Alley’s video does make it much easier to appreciate how adding CO2 to the atmosphere affects climate.
    PowerPoint slides:

  8. 8
    dbostrom says:

    Tamino does a number(s?) by request, produces an interesting result having to do w/an apparent shift in annual C02 concentration in the N. hemisphere.

    Perhaps somebody’s done it before but as usual much value is found in Tamino’s explanation of methods he employs.

  9. 9
    Unsettled Scientist says:

    Carbon dioxide drove the ending of the last glacial epoch

    Now Jeremy Shakun and coworkers have put together a temperature record of unprecedented global scope and temporal resolution for the most recent deglaciation, which began about 20 kyr ago and leveled off 10 kyr later to initiate the present “interglacial” Holocene Epoch. They report that the newly constructed global record shows global mean temperature, unlike local Antarctic temperature, clearly trailing CO2 increase during most of the last deglaciation.

  10. 10
    Hank Roberts says:

    Geological Society of America
    Volume 22 Issue 2
    Abstract http://gsatoday/archive/22/2/abstract/i1052-5173-22-2-4.htm
    “A human-induced hothouse climate?”

    “… Human burning of fossil fuels can release as much CO2 in centuries as do LIPs over [a time span in the range ten thousand to a hundred thousand years] or longer.

    Although burning fossil fuels to exhaustion over the next several centuries may not suffice to trigger hothouse conditions, such combustion will probably stimulate enough polar ice melting to tip Earth into a greenhouse climate. Long atmospheric CO2 residence times will maintain that state for tens of thousands of years.”

    Full article
    pdf at the link.
    Not alarmist.

  11. 11
  12. 12
    J Bowers says:

    3 Unsettled Scientist — “the volume is enormous!”

    But the effective volume (if the atmosphere were at sea level conditions) is 4.2 billion cubic kilometers, I believe. Earth’s volume is 1,083 billion cubic kilometres (?).

  13. 13
    Unsettled Scientist says:

    J Bowers,

    Yeah, I mean you could take the number of atoms and calculate a volume at STP. But I think what matters is what we’re trying to illustrate. What made the water image so compelling to me was that I am used to seeing the Blue Planet covered in water. The image of the globe we are all familiar with shows more water than land, and the oceans are unimaginably deep when you’re swimming or sailing in the them. With modern travel and access to information, we have an intuitive feel for the size of the planet, and that includes are much larger sense of the available water. When you see globe dry like that, and still huge, with a tiny ball of water it relates to our experience pouring large volumes of water into another container. We don’t really manipulate gases in the same everyday fashion of manipulating volumes of water in our drinks, bath tubs, sinks, swimming pools, etc. Well thought out graphics are powerful, and that was a good one. I’m not sure a volumetric display makes sense in this case.

  14. 14
  15. 15
    dbostrom says:

    s.b. ripman …it would be nice to have a similar graphic showing the relative volume of earth’s atmosphere next to the earth.

    In a way the portrayal you want is automatically provided by some images of Earth from space.

    Limb of Earth close up. Atmosphere is visible. It looks fairly thick; how could we possibly change it?

    Limb of Earth a little farther away. There’s not much atmosphere compared to the volume of the planet.

  16. 16
    Dan Lufkin says:

    I used to tell my astronomy classes that if you compressed the entire atmosphere to sea-level pressure it would be about 8 km thick. You could compare the thickness of the atmosphere to the varnish on a 2-ft diameter desk globe.

  17. 17
    Hank Roberts says:

    doi: 10.2113/​gselements.8.2.125 ELEMENTS April 2012 v. 8 no. 2 p. 125-130
    © 2012 by the Mineralogical Society of America

    Interactions between Semiconducting Minerals and Bacteria under Light

    “… a unique ecosystem that potentially carries out phototrophic metabolism without the involvement of phototrophic organisms. Four key natural elements of this system are sunlight, semiconducting minerals, nonphototrophic bacteria, and water. This pathway also suggests a “self-cleansing” mechanism that may exist in nature, whereby both oxidative and reductive degradation of contaminants can occur.”

  18. 18
    fredjjjj says:

    Graphs such as described are interesting for scientists,
    but can easily be misused in propaganda for particular points of
    view and out-of-context presentations. Comparative images evoke instinctive and simplistic conclusions.
    Ethical scientists stick to the facts in the hope that reason will
    prevail – the end does not justify the means.

  19. 19
    Hank Roberts says:
    Polar Biology
    Volume 35, Number 2 (2012), 257-268, DOI: 10.1007/s00300-011-1070-6

    Original Paper
    Phytoplankton productivity and its response to higher light levels in the Canada Basin

    “… the most plausible reason for the large difference in carbon productivity between this and the previous studies was strong seasonal variation in biomass and photosynthetic rate of the phytoplankton in the study region. Based on our results from light enhancement and nitrate enrichment experiments, we found that carbon productivity of phytoplankton in the chlorophyll a maximum layer could be stimulated by increased light condition rather than nitrate addition. Thus, potentially increasing light availability from current and ongoing decreases in the sea ice cover could increase the carbon production of the phytoplankton in the chlorophyll a maximum layer and produce a well-developed maximum layer at a deeper depth in the Canada Basin.”

    If light levels in spring along the edge of the melting seasonal ice — rather than nutrients — is an important constraint on photosynthesis, what happens if we reduce the light level by making the sky white?

    This may be another complication for the white-sky-geoengineering people.

  20. 20
    Unsettled Scientist says:

    fredjjjj, what? Making these graphics is unethical? I completely disagree and even disagree with your reasoning too. My point above was that the instinctual (I used intuitive) conclusion was counter to what the image of the water presented. And I do a lot of reading about our available fresh water, its usage and concerns. The ends here was just a nice illustration to make the point of how little water we actually have. What exactly was unethical about being presented with yet another way to perceive the limited water supply on Earth? I just don’t understand that thinking at all.

  21. 21
    Chris Colose says:

    For those interested, I am starting up a new blog to discuss some of the more technical elements of climate, including the governing dynamics of atmospheres. My goal is to provide a level of discussion close to what tamino or Isaac Held are providing, so comments will be moderated but topics will range from the evolution of atmospheres to paleoclimate to extrasolar habitability. Much of the opening material will highlight a lot of “textbook” stuff and I hope to have a post once a week or so. I hope people will get use out of it!

  22. 22
    Hank Roberts says:

    Don’t panic: this is from Isaac Held’s recent discussion of a simple model
    which includes this mention of another group’s variations on it:

    “… Does this model ever generate bifurcations — abrupt changes in climate at particular values of a parameter? See, in this regard, the new paper by Wang, Gerber, and Polvani (They modify the model described here in a couple of ways, by changing the radiative equilibrium temperatures and by adding some idealized topography, both designed to create a more plausible stratospheric circulation.) They present evidence for an abrupt change as they warm the upper troposphere of the model.”

  23. 23
    dbostrom says:

    Further to s.b. ripman and ignoring the Tone Patrol, if we consider that ~99% of the atmosphere is confined to the lower 30km and ignore how a sphere of atmosphere of mass equal to that portion would actually behave if it could be divorced from its planet, the rough proportionate comparison of the solid Earth and the atmosphere should look something like this.

    That sphere of air is superimposed in front of the Earth so given the discrepancy in radius (~4:1) presumably the air sphere would appear a mite smaller if the two were presented side-by-side and bisected by the same plane. There are other problems w/the presentation such as that it does not take into account displacement of a perfect shell of air by topography so it should be considered a very rough indication.

  24. 24
    dbostrom says:

    Another rendering of Earth featuring both the air and water inventory is here.

    The sensitive should avert their eyes; seeing these spheres presented together may cause excessive emotional distress.

  25. 25
  26. 26

    As a hypothetical question, can the ocean act as a “greenhouse liquid”? The ocean would act as a gray-body, reducing the amount of long-wave infrared radiation emitted, but to maintain an energy balance, it would compensate by increasing its temperature, radiating more shorter wavelength (high wavenumber) photons in the process. According to Planck’s quantum radiation laws, the higher wavenumber photons are less dense, so that is why the temperature of the emitting body would need to increase.

    I know this is hypothetical because the effect of atmospheric greenhouse gases can’t be eliminated.

  27. 27
    dbostrom says:

    Some intriguing insights into implications of a couple of papers investigating the future stability of the West Antarctic ice sheet and adjacent shelves are offered via New Zealand’s Science Media Centre:

    West Antarctic Ice Sheet may be on “the brink of change”

    Papers in question are:

    Vulnerable ice in the Weddell Sea


    Twenty-first-century warming of a large Antarctic ice-shelf cavity by a redirected coastal current

  28. 28
    Hank Roberts says:

    Thanks dbostrom. Brief quote from your first link:

    “Radar mapping of the ice-covered landscape has uncovered a deep sub-glacial basin close to the edge of the ice sheet.

    The study, published in Nature Geoscience, found that the basin measures 100 by 200 km and is well below sea level, nearly 2km deep in places. The ice sheet, currently grounded above the deep basin, may be more unstable than previously thought and could quickly undergo ice loss.”

  29. 29
    Hank Roberts says:

    see also: Nature Geoscience | Letter
    Steep reverse bed slope at the grounding line of the Weddell Sea sector in West Antarctica
    Nature Geoscience 5, 393–396 (2012)
    (article preview is not paywalled)
    “Editor’s summary
    Weddell Sea ice on the brink

    Warm ocean currents are known to erode ice shelves from below, but changes in currents can be forced by many different mechanisms, leading to uncertain outcomes. This study highlights the vulnerability to climate change of a small Antarctic coastal region, which has potentially severe consequences for the mass balance of a large Antarctic ice shelf. Hellmer et al. use climate modelling to show that the projected loss of sea ice in the Weddell Sea (east of the Antarctic Peninsula) leads to an increase in wind stress, which in turn accelerates a warm ocean current far underneath the vast Filchner–Ronne Ice Shelf. The authors predict that the increased warmth could increase melt by a factor of 20, with possible consequences for ice-stream dynamics in the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.”

  30. 30
    dbostrom says:

    It’s not hard to form a mental picture of the situation at Weddell.

    Synopsis of Hellmer et al by Fyke:

    “The authors use a high-resolution ocean model to accurately simulate Southern Ocean currents, especially those that flow past and under the large Antarctic ice shelves. In particular they focus their attention on ocean patterns near the Ronne-Filchener Ice Shelf, which at 449,000 km2 (the size of France) is the 2nd-largest floating ice shelf on the planet. When they run their model with predicted future human greenhouse gas emissions, a reduction of offshore marine sea ice drives large changes in Southern Ocean circulation patterns. These circulation changes cause deep, warm ocean currents to rise and invade the marine cavity under the Ronne-Filchener Ice Shelf. The resulting increase in sub-shelf water temperatures drives a whopping (1800%) increase in melt rate during the mid-21st century, which is capable of rapidly thinning the massive ice shelf and potentially drastically accelerating ice loss from the Antarctic continent.

    “The finding, of increased melt rates due to ocean circulation changes, is reproduced consistently in several simulations with independent ocean models and different emission scenarios. This reproducibility lends confidence to the study’s conclusions. Furthermore, the increase in melting they project under the Ronne-Filchener Ice Shelf is probably conservative given that ice shelves in their ocean model do not change shape with time and their computationally expensive simulations end at year 2200 or earlier.”

    Hellmer’s results are driven by conditions predicted by various forcing scenarios described by HadCM3 runs. The A1B output of Hellmer’s model is fairly dismal.

    I can imagine vociferous objections to “model stacked on model.” All the same, presuming the confidence of the model authors is justified and considering that model forcing inputs seem to be optimistic in the face of policy paralysis this is a pretty concerning story. Does anybody seriously think we’re not going to see 500ppm? I’d call 500ppm somewhat optimistic.

    Details of the brick wall we’re heading for are emerging as we dial our view past gross features. How’s that NC sea level legislation going to look in 100 years? Even more foolish that today, likely.

  31. 31
    dbostrom says:

    On another thread I’ve been banging on about the illogical approach we take to deploying and maintaining instrumentation allowing us to tell what’s going on w/our planet, particularly w/reference to the temporary nature of the GRACE experiment. Scientific publications arising from GRACE data have quickly shown what was intended and deployed as an “experiment” transcends expecations; once we’ve our eyes have been opened by GRACE why would we choose to close them?

    Unfortunately the austerity fad being promoted by tax dodgers makes a replacement for GRACE hard to picture. The roster of earlier deployed and notionally more mundane Earth observation satellites we’ve come to take for granted is in a state of deterioration.

    For those w/access to the NY Times, please read Heidi Cullen’s May 31 op-ed. Consider carefully whether dubious correlations between taxation and economic productivity justify dialing our observational clock back some 40 years.

    Key grafs:

    “We have made tremendous progress in the accuracy of our hurricane forecasting (and overall weather forecasting) since then, much of it a result of government-owned satellites that were first launched in the 1960s and now provide about 90 percent of the data used by the National Weather Service in its forecasting models. Satellite and radar data and the powerful computers that crunch this information are the foundation of the weather information and images we get. Thanks to these instruments, for instance, the five-day hurricane track forecast we get today is more accurate than the three-day forecast from just 10 years ago.

    These satellites also monitor volcanic eruptions, rising sea levels, melting ice sheets, the depletion of stratospheric ozone and ocean surface temperatures. Emergency beacons from aviators and mariners in distress can also be pinpointed by these satellites. Scientists who study the atmosphere and the ocean need continuous weather data to track large-scale climate variations (like El Niño) and long-term environmental trends like global warming.

    Weather observations even bear on national security. Accurate wind and temperature forecasts are critical in deciding whether to launch an aircraft that will require midflight refueling.

    But those capabilities, and our overall ability to monitor the planet, are slipping. The causes identified by the research council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, are many: technological failures, cost increases, changes in Congressional and administration priorities and — above all — the failure to devote adequate resources. For example, the annual budget for NASA’s Earth Science Division has fallen to below $1.5 billion from about $2 billion a decade ago, far below what scientists agree is needed.

    The new report found that the number of actual and planned satellite missions could decline from 23 this year to only 6 in 2020, reducing the number of Earth-observing instruments in space from 90 now to about 20 in 2020.”

    NRC report is here.

  32. 32
    Chris Colose says:

    I guess it’s worth mentioning that we our now at the point where selected sites, particularly in the high northern latitudes, have hit the 400 ppm CO2 threshold. It’s a bit short of this globally. You can see the variations in CO2 as a function of time and latitude here

  33. 33
    dbostrom says:

    Fun gizmo at CLimate Central: display record-breaking temperatures on a map, picking month, year and state. US only; would be nice to see a global version.

  34. 34
    Glen says:

    Don’t miss hug a climate scientist day, June 12th.

  35. 35
    Richard Hawes says:

    Question for Hank Roberts:
    Re 11 Hank Roberts says:
    1 Jun 2012 at 7:30 PM
    One picture suffices:

    Could you give me a more specific reference for this GSA clipping, please?
    Is it in a paper / Spec Pub/ Memoir, etc., etc.

  36. 36
    Hank Roberts says:

    for Richard Hawes — truncate that URL and it’ll get you to the issue:
    That image is one of many from the top article on that page. I’ll try to give you direct links; This may work or the blog software may mangle it:

    Science Article: A human-induced hothouse climate?
    David L. Kidder, Thomas R. Worsley Abstract Full Text PDF

  37. 37
    vukcevic says:

    Here is a jolly useful ‘analysis’ which indicates global temperature rise of 3 degrees C for doubling of CO2.

  38. 38

    Chris C #21: thanks for the new blog. I added it to both my blogs ( and with my other science links.

  39. 39
    Richard Hawes says:

    Thanks, Hank
    I was a glacial geomorphologist before I had the Big Wipe-out on Albert Peak and went into the Awl Bidness.

  40. 40
    BillS says:

    And now for some news from Greenland:

    Anders A. Bjørk,et al.
    Nature Geoscience 5, 427–432 (2012)

    Widespread retreat of glaciers has been observed along the southeastern margin of Greenland. This retreat has been associated with increased air and ocean temperatures. However, most observations are from the satellite era; presatellite observations of Greenlandic glaciers are rare. Here we present a unique record that documents the frontal positions for 132 southeast Greenlandic glaciers from rediscovered historical aerial imagery beginning in the early 1930s. We combine the historical aerial images with both early and modern satellite imagery to extract frontal variations of marine- and land-terminating outlet glaciers, as well as local glaciers and ice caps, over the past 80 years. The images reveal a regional response to external forcing regardless of glacier type, terminal environment and size. Furthermore, the recent retreat was matched in its vigour during a period of warming in the 1930s with comparable increases in air temperature. We show that many land-terminating glaciers underwent a more rapid retreat in the 1930s than in the 2000s, whereas marine-terminating glaciers retreated more rapidly during the recent warming.

  41. 41
    dbostrom says:

    BillS:And now for some news from Greenland:

    Then and now. Now is not then.

    Imagine the retreat described by Bjørk stacked on top of what’s now inevitable. Natural variation isn’t a “get out of jail free” card, slow learning for many.

    Will be interested to see where air temperature data was found for Bjørk piece, in light of Masters item above:

    The record books for Greenland’s climate were re-written on Tuesday, when the mercury hit 24.8°C (76.6°F) at Narsarsuaq, Greenland, on the southern coast. According to weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera, this is the hottest temperature on record in Greenland for May, and is just 0.7°C (1.3°F) below the hottest temperature ever measured in Greenland.

  42. 42
    dbostrom says:

    Fantastic supplementary info for article mentioned by BillS here. Well worth a view.

  43. 43
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Greenland
    Mentioned 5/30 in the recent Greenland topic, for more on those photos.

    I wonder if the Great Depression reduced sulfates in the air significantly for a while during the 1930s. Haven’t found that anywhere.

  44. 44
    vukcevic says:

    @ #40 BillS

    If one looks at page 20 of the paper it is obvious that the temperatures quoted are directly correlated with the AMO, which is historically high, currently is at the peak of its 65 year cycle, which goes back to 1700s, although sequence was broken in the Dalton min time.
    The AMO is about to turn down, as its precursor the northern leg of the NAO shows.
    The AMO and NAO run synchronously until about 1910, and then the North Hemisphere temperature took off, and the NAO speeded up, while the AMO carried with its 9.1 and 65 year cycles. It is a bit odd, but should be of some interest, that if you squeeze the AMO it falls again into a perfect synchronism with the NAO.
    There is perfectly good natural reason for it, but climate people are more interested in the radiative constants than essentials of the natural climate variability.

  45. 45
    Hans Kiesewetter says:

    RE #2, s.b. ripman “ would be nice to have a similar graphic showing the relative volume of earth’s atmosphere next to the earth.”
    Check the website of CarbonVisuals.

  46. 46
    BillS says:

    Re: #43 Hank Roberts

    Interesting question and far outside my limited area. I do remember seeing data about the reduction in atmospheric lead when we switched to unleaded gasoline. Don’t know whether ice core data can provided the resolution from such a recent time but, if they can, separating the various species of sulfate might be tricky — sea salt, non-sea salt, volcanic, etc.

  47. 47
    Aaron Lewis says:

    In the past, the Arctic was a water vapor sink, and the tropics and temperate zones were water vapor sources. Then, NH atmospheric circulation was about moving water vapor towards the Arctic, and returning cold, dry air.

    As the Arctic warms, it is becoming a source of water vapor and the thermodynamics of NH circulation are reversing. With the Arctic, North Temperate zone, and the tropics all producing water vapor in the summer, water vapor transport would be — southward. This is very different, and perhaps not that far distant.

    However, I see very little discussion of the issue. Is that because everybody has thought about new NH circulation patterns and it is no big deal? Or, because nobody has thought about it? Or, or because it is unpleasant and we do not want to think about it, or worse talk about it?

  48. 48
    Brian Dodge says:

    Another attack on science –

    “In December 2011, WHOI was subpoenaed by lawyers representing BP in response to lawsuits brought against the oil company by the U.S. government, fishermen, workers, and residents injured by the Deepwater Horizon disaster. It is important to note that WHOI is not a party to the lawsuit. BP claimed in its subpoena that it needed information to better understand scientific findings by Camilli, Reddy, and others related to the flow rate measurements they made at the Macondo well. Cleanwater Act violation fines that will be levied on BP may be based in great measure on the amount of oil released; therefore, billions of dollars are at stake.

    As was stated in the Globe op-ed, WHOI turned over everything BP would need to analyze and confirm or refute the findings. However, BP demanded more—the scientists’ email communications, notes, and manuscript drafts: “…any transmission or exchange of any information, whether orally or in writing, including without limitation any conversation or discussion…” concerning the research. WHOI, through our lawyers at Goodwin Procter, challenged this demand, but on April 20, the magistrate judge ordered the institution to produce the vast majority of its deliberative work. On June 1, WHOI turned over the last of more than 3,500 emails and associated documents to BP.”

    Would anyone like to bet how long it will take the Department of Interior’s Office of Inspector General to retaliate against Drs Camilli and Reddy “for reasons having nothing to do with scientific integrity, their BP oil spill journal article, or other scientific issues” but some other BS trumped up by their same anonymous source that sparked the attack on Dr. Monnett for his polar bear work?

    IMHO, “…any information, whether orally or in writing…” would include news stories received by the scientists based on BP press releases and information relayed by the Coast Guard from BP. In order to fully comply with this subpoena, WHOI needs access to BP’s e-mails, oral, and written communications used to generate any spill information disseminated by BP.

  49. 49
    Unsettled Scientist says:

    >vukcevic @37

    Is the reason you put “analysis” in quotes because that link operates on the notion that scientists warned of global cooling in the 1960s? My understanding is that it is a myth that scientists warned of global cooling all those decades ago, and in fact the majority of scientific literature was discussing global warming. Also, the myth has it in the 70s, not the 60s. Where did this assumption that scientists warned of global cooling in the 1960s even come from? It appears that link is full of bad information, so “analysis” in quotes is apropos.

    For those who are unaware of this global cooling in the 70s, issue, see the RC wiki:

  50. 50
    DP says:

    Has anybody noticed that Northern Hemishere snow cover could hit a record low this June. Any likely consiquences?