Monday, January 25, 2010

Is the IPCC con falling apart at last?

Glacier scientist: I knew data hadn't been verified

The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders. Dr Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research.

In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said: ‘It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action. ‘It had importance for the region, so we thought we should put it in.’

Dr Lal’s admission will only add to the mounting furore over the melting glaciers assertion, which the IPCC was last week forced to withdraw because it has no scientific foundation. According to the IPCC’s statement of principles, its role is ‘to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis, scientific, technical and socio-economic information – IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy’.

The claim that Himalayan glaciers are set to disappear by 2035 rests on two 1999 magazine interviews with glaciologist Syed Hasnain, which were then recycled without any further investigation in a 2005 report by the environmental campaign group WWF. It was this report that Dr Lal and his team cited as their source.

The WWF article also contained a basic error in its arithmetic. A claim that one glacier was retreating at the alarming rate of 134 metres a year should in fact have said 23 metres – the authors had divided the total loss measured over 121 years by 21, not 121. Last Friday, the WWF website posted a humiliating statement recognising the claim as ‘unsound’, and saying it ‘regrets any confusion caused’.

Dr Lal said: ‘We knew the WWF report with the 2035 date was “grey literature” [material not published in a peer-reviewed journal]. But it was never picked up by any of the authors in our working group, nor by any of the more than 500 external reviewers, by the governments to which it was sent, or by the final IPCC review editors.’

In fact, the 2035 melting date seems to have been plucked from thin air. Professor Graham Cogley, a glacier expert at Trent University in Canada, who began to raise doubts in scientific circles last year, said the claim multiplies the rate at which glaciers have been seen to melt by a factor of about 25. ‘My educated guess is that there will be somewhat less ice in 2035 than there is now,’ he said. ‘But there is no way the glaciers will be close to disappearing. It doesn’t seem to me that exaggerating the problem’s seriousness is going to help solve it.’

One of the problems bedevilling Himalayan glacier research is a lack of reliable data. But an authoritative report published last November by the Indian government said: ‘Himalayan glaciers have not in any way exhibited, especially in recent years, an abnormal annual retreat.’

When this report was issued, Raj Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, denounced it as ‘voodoo science’. Having been forced to apologise over the 2035 claim, Dr Pachauri blamed Dr Lal, saying his team had failed to apply IPCC procedures. It was an accusation rebutted angrily by Dr Lal. ‘We as authors followed them to the letter,’ he said. ‘Had we received information that undermined the claim, we would have included it.’

However, an analysis of those 500-plus formal review comments, to be published tomorrow by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), the new body founded by former Chancellor Nigel Lawson, suggests that when reviewers did raise issues that called the claim into question, Dr Lal and his colleagues simply ignored them. For example, Hayley Fowler of Newcastle University, suggested that their draft did not mention that Himalayan glaciers in the Karakoram range are growing rapidly, citing a paper published in the influential journal Nature.

In their response, the IPCC authors said, bizarrely, that they were ‘unable to get hold of the suggested references’, but would ‘consider’ this in their final version. They failed to do so.

The Japanese government commented that the draft did not clarify what it meant by stating that the likelihood of the glaciers disappearing by 2035 was ‘very high’. ‘What is the confidence level?’ it asked. The authors’ response said ‘appropriate revisions and editing made’. But the final version was identical to their draft.

Last week, Professor Georg Kaser, a glacier expert from Austria, who was lead author of a different chapter in the IPCC report, said when he became aware of the 2035 claim a few months before the report was published, he wrote to Dr Lal, urging him to withdraw it as patently untrue. Dr Lal claimed he never received this letter. ‘He didn’t contact me or any of the other authors of the chapter,’ he said.

The damage to the IPCC’s reputation, already tarnished by last year’s ‘Warmergate’ leaked email scandal, is likely to be considerable. Benny Peiser, the GWPF’s director, said the affair suggested the IPCC review process was ‘skewed by a bias towards alarmist assessments’.

Environmentalist Alton Byers said the panel’s credibility had been damaged. ‘They’ve done sloppy work,’ he said. ‘We need better research on the ground, not unreliable predictions derived from computer models.’

Last night, Dr Pachauri defended the IPCC, saying it was wrong to generalise based on a single mistake. ‘Our procedure is robust,’ he added.


Bogus glacier claims were very profitable for U.N. climate boss

THE chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has used bogus claims that Himalayan glaciers were melting to win grants worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Rajendra Pachauri's Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), based in New Delhi, was awarded up to $US500,000 ($555,000) by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the lion's share of a $US4 million EU grant funded by European taxpayers.

The revelation comes just a week after London newspaper The Sunday Times highlighted serious scientific flaws in the IPCC's 2007 benchmark report on the likely impacts of global warming.

The IPCC had warned that climate change was likely to melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 -- an idea considered ludicrous by most glaciologists. Last week, a humbled IPCC retracted that claim and corrected its report.

However, the same bogus claim has been cited in grant applications for TERI. One of them, announced earlier this month, resulted in the $US500,000 grant from Carnegie. An extract from the grant application published on Carnegie's website said: "The Himalaya glaciers, vital to more than a dozen major rivers that sustain hundreds of millions of people in South Asia, are melting and receding at a dangerous rate.

"One authoritative study reported that most of the glaciers in the region `will vanish within 40 years as a result of global warming, resulting in widespread water shortages'."

The Carnegie money was specifically given to aid research into "the potential security and humanitarian impact on the region" as the glaciers began to disappear. Dr Pachauri has since acknowledged that this threat, if it exists, will take centuries to have any serious effect.

The money was initially given to the Global Centre, an Icelandic foundation that then channelled it to TERI.

The cash was acknowledged by TERI in a news release, issued on January 15, just before the glacier scandal became public, in which Dr Pachauri repeated the claims of imminent glacial melt. It said: "According to predictions of scientific merit they may indeed melt away in several decades."

The same release also quoted Syed Hasnain, the glaciologist who, in 1999, made the now discredited claim that Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035.

Professor Hasnain now heads Dr Pachauri's glaciology unit at TERI, which sought the grants and which is carrying out the glacial research.

Critics point out that Professor Hasnain, of all people, should have known the claim that the Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035 was bogus because he was meant to be a leading glaciologist specialising in the Himalayas. Any suggestion that TERI has repeated an unchecked scientific claim without checking it, to win grants, could prove hugely embarrassing for Dr Pachauri and the IPCC.

The $US4m grant, from the EU, was designed to "to assess the impact of Himalayan glaciers' retreat". It was part of the EU's HighNoon project, launched last May, to fund research into how India might adapt to loss of glaciers.

In one presentation at last May's launch, Anastasios Kentarchos, of the European Commission's Climate Change and Environmental Risks Unit, specifically cited the bogus IPCC claims about glacier melt as a reason for pouring taxpayers' money into the project.

Dr Pachauri spoke at the same presentation and Professor Hasnain is understood to have been present.

The EU grant was split between leading European research institutions, including Britain's Met Office, with TERI getting a major but unspecified share because it represented the host country.

The glacier affair has seen Dr Pachauri come under increasing pressure in India, prompting him to call a news conference on Saturday, at which he dismissed calls for his resignation and said no action would be taken against the authors of the erroneous section of the IPCC report.


Wobbly prophecies about the impact of global warming

The excerpt below is from Revkin of the NYT, a Warmist. But even he can see some very poor "science" in the most recent IPCC report:

The report on impacts of climate change – one of three main sections of each of the panel’s periodic assessments — has long been seen by some climate scientists, including some participants in the I.P.C.C. process, as a relatively weak element in the overall effort, in part because it has less scientific literature to draw on.

The passage on the Asian glaciers is not alone in including internal inconsistencies or imprecision. The sections on the risks of extinction from warming in the report and the panel’s summaries are, at the very least, confusing.

In the Summary for Policy Makers of the report on climate impacts, there are different summations of extinction risk within a few pages. On page 6, the summary states:
Approximately 20 to 30 percent of plant and animal species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average temperature exceed 1.5 to 2.5°C. * N [4.4, T4.1]

In a chart on page 16, at a point marking a 2°C warming from the global average temperature through the 1980s and 1990s, a label reads:
Up to 30 percent of species at increasing risk of extinction.

In the Summary for Policy Makers of the final Synthesis Report drawing on the entire 2007 assessment, the extinction risk is summarized in yet another way (the italics are from the report):
There is medium confidence that approximately 20 to 30 percent of species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average warming exceed 1.5 to 2.5°C (relative to 1980 to 1999).

I asked a half dozen I.P.C.C. scientists about this during a side session at the Copenhagen climate talks and, in particular, asked them to decipher for me the meaning of the nested qualifiers in that final statement. Among other things, how much would extinction risk rise? Basically, they acknowledged there was inconsistency and flawed writing.

How would you translate that last passage into a clear statement on global biological unraveling from that amount of warming?

While it’s clear, from the Arctic to the tropics, that human-driven warming and other human activities can, and will, have substantial ecological impacts, projecting outright extinction remains one of the trickier enterprises in biology.


The mystery of the missing thermometers

Scientists using selective temperature data, skeptics say

Call it the mystery of the missing thermometers. Two months after "climategate" cast doubt on some of the science behind global warming, new questions are being raised about the reliability of a key temperature database, used by the United Nations and climate change scientists as proof of recent planetary warming. Two American researchers allege that U.S. government scientists have skewed global temperature trends by ignoring readings from thousands of local weather stations around the world, particularly those in colder altitudes and more northerly latitudes, such as Canada.

In the 1970s, nearly 600 Canadian weather stations fed surface temperature readings into a global database assembled by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Today, NOAA only collects data from 35 stations across Canada. Worse, only one station -- at Eureka on Ellesmere Island -- is now used by NOAA as a temperature gauge for all Canadian territory above the Arctic Circle.

The Canadian government, meanwhile, operates 1,400 surface weather stations across the country, and more than 100 above the Arctic Circle, according to Environment Canada. Yet as American researchers Joseph D'Aleo, a meteorologist, and E. Michael Smith, a computer programmer, point out in a study published on the website of the Science and Public Policy Institute, NOAA uses "just one thermometer [for measuring] everything north of latitude 65 degrees." Both the authors, and the institute, are well-known in climate-change circles for their skepticism about the threat of global warming.

Mr. D'Aleo and Mr. Smith say NOAA and another U.S. agency, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) have not only reduced the total number of Canadian weather stations in the database, but have "cherry picked" the ones that remain by choosing sites in relatively warmer places, including more southerly locations, or sites closer to airports, cities or the sea -- which has a warming effect on winter weather.

Over the past two decades, they say, "the percentage of [Canadian] stations in the lower elevations tripled and those at higher elevations, above 300 feet, were reduced in half." Using the agency's own figures, Smith shows that in 1991, almost a quarter of NOAA's Canadian temperature data came from stations in the high Arctic. The same region contributes only 3% of the Canadian data today.

Mr. D'Aleo and Mr. Smith say NOAA and GISS also ignore data from numerous weather stations in other parts of the world, including Russia, the U.S. and China. They say NOAA collects no temperature data at all from Bolivia -- a high-altitude, landlocked country -- but instead "interpolates" or assigns temperature values for that country based on data from "nearby" temperature stations located at lower elevations in Peru, or in the Amazon basin.

The result, they say, is a warmer-than-truthful global temperature record. "NOAA . . . systematically eliminated 75% of the world's stations with a clear bias towards removing higher latitude, high altitude and rural locations, all of which had a tendency to be cooler," the authors say. "The thermometers in a sense, marched towards the tropics, the sea, and to airport tarmacs."

The NOAA database forms the basis of the influential climate modelling work, and the dire, periodic warnings on climate change, issued by James Hanson, the director of the GISS in New York. Neither agency responded to a request for comment Wednesday from Canwest News Service. However Hanson did issue a public statement on the matter earlier this week: "NASA has not been involved in any manipulation of climate data used in the annual GISS global temperature analysis," he said. "The agency is confident of the quality of this data and stands by previous scientifically-based conclusions regarding global temperatures."

In addition to the allegations against NOAA and GISS, climate scientists are also dealing with the embarrassment this week of the false glacier-melt warning contained in the 2007 report of the UN Panel on Climate Change. That report said Himalayan glaciers are likely to disappear within three decades if current rates of melting continue. This week, however, the panel admitted there is no scientific evidence to support such a claim.

The revelations come only two months after the "climategate" scandal, in which the leak or theft of thousands of e-mails -- private discussions between scientists in the U.S. and Britain -- showed that a group of influential climatologists tried for years to manipulate global warming data, rig the scientific peer-review process and keep their methods secret from other, contrary-minded researchers.


Junkscience: Climategate Distortion of Temperature Data

By S. Fred Singer

We discuss here in some detail the way in which warming trends were introduced into the IPCC Report --when in fact they did not exist or were extremely small. We focus on the period 1979 to 1997. There was cooling up to 1976; in 1998 there was a super-El-Nino and no subsequent warming. Our discussion is in three parts: (1) a ‘bottoms-up’ approach; (2) the ‘top-down’ approach; and next week I shall discuss (3) the treatment of sea surface temperatures (SST).

(1) Bottoms-Up Distortion of Temperature Data

The Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia (CRU-UEA), under the direction of Dr. Philip Jones, collected data from weather stations from around the world. These are almost all land-based stations, showing a high concentration in the United States and Western Europe and a lower concentration elsewhere -- with many parts of the globe hardly covered by reliable stations.

There are a variety of problems with such data, and the investigators were aware of most of them. Many stations produce useless data, either because of inadequate maintenance, or because of their location. Anthony Watts (in his WUWT blog) has shown that even stations in the USA were badly placed and subject to local warming influences that were not adequately corrected.

The surface of the earth is then divided into grid boxes, usually five degrees by five degrees. When there are several stations in a grid box, the investigators would choose those they considered most reliable – which in many cases meant urban stations, or stations at airports, that are well maintained. However, because of their location, they generally are subject to ‘urban heat-island’ (UHI) effects, a local warming that increases with population and urban growth over time and suggests a temperature trend of a global nature. The investigators tried various ways to eliminate such local UHI trends, but were not very successful.

The problem was greatly exacerbated by the closing of over half the world’s weather stations between 1970 and 2000 (see NIPCC Summary, Fig 12 – which in most cases removed rural stations but also stations from higher latitudes and altitudes that tended to show a lower warming trend or no warming trend at all. It should be obvious therefore that this drastic change in the sampling population would introduce a fictitious warming trend which is an artifact of the change. E. Michael Smith and Joseph D’Aleo have documented in some detail how such artificial temperature trends could be produced even when there was no global trend. [See ]

(2) The Top-Down (TD) Approach

In many ways, the ‘Top-Down’ (TD) approach to derive the Global Mean Surface Temperature (GMST) is to be preferred over ‘bottom-up’ (deriving GMST by collecting data from weather stations and sea surface readings). The TD approach relies primarily on the data from weather satellites, the only truly global measuring system, using a single microwave sounding (MSU) instrument and therefore independent of the vagaries of individual weather stations and their thermometers.

There are of course certain disadvantages: The MSU cannot measure temperatures at different levels of the atmosphere but derives instead a ‘weighted mean ‘ of the vertical temperature profile; the times of observation are fixed by the orbit of the satellite; a change of satellite, and MSU instrument, requires an overlap in operating time to permit a recalibration. Nevertheless, by comparing different view angles, one can change the weight factors and obtain a temperature value for ‘Lower Troposphere.’ The University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) group has shown good agreement of UAH results with those of radiosondes from weather balloons.

As early as 1997, I noticed a disparity between temperature trends of satellites and surface trends, esp. in the tropics. (See Fig 9 in Hot Talk, Cold Science, 1997) The troposphere trends (between 1979 and 1995) were close to zero or even slightly negative, while surface trends showed a warming of about 0.05 deg per decade. This disparity is just the reverse of what one would expect from GH models [see IPCC-SAR] – namely a positive (warming) troposphere trend up to twice as large as the surface trend.

In addition, I noticed that the proxy data to which I had access showed no surface warming (tree-ring data of Jacoby et al (Fig 16 in HTCS) and ice core data of Dahl-Jensen et al]. I tried very hard to obtain more proxy data but was not successful. For example, I noticed that Michael Mann’s infamous hockeystick graph did not extend beyond 1979 and suspected that his proxy temperatures diverged from the instrumented surface results. Yet when I wrote to Mann about post-1980 proxy data, I received only a brusque negative reply. Thanks to ‘Climategate’ we now know, what I had then suspected, i.e., that Mann and Jones were engaged in a scheme to “hide the decline [in post-1979 proxy temperatures]”

To sum up: Both the satellite results and the proxy data tell us that the claimed rise of surface temperature between 1979 and 1997, shown by IPCC, is probably much smaller or even non-existent.

SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #4-2010( Jan 23, 2010)

The New York Times: Desperate, Blatant Lies

By Alan Caruba

Once, very long ago, I used to be “a stringer” for The New York Times. My articles would appear in the New Jersey section and an occasional short book review would make it into the legendary newspaper.

My Father read the The Times more faithfully than an ayatollah reads the Koran or a Hasidim reads the Torah. Little did he know that, during the early years of Stalin’s regime, a Times reporter named Walter Duranty deliberately failed to report the deaths of millions of people in the Ukraine because Soviet communism demanded they obey or die.

Starting in the 1980s, The Times has led the greatest fraud of the modern era, the global warming hoax. It went through a succession of reporters who turned out articles that all asserted various claims attributed to a dramatic increase in the Earth’s temperature that was not happening. At one point, it published a story that the North Pole was melting.

The leading advocate of the global warming fraud has been Al Gore, a former Vice President who has enriched himself selling bogus “carbon credits” and investing in “renewable energy” businesses. His so-called documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth”, was filled with so many inaccuracies that a British court ruled it could not be shown in its schools without informing students of them in advance.

We know now, thanks to the “Climategate” revelations, that a handful of scientists, working at the behest of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change deliberately distorted or invented climate data to further the fraudulent claims.

They were associated with the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in Great Britain, the Pennsylvania State Earth System Science Center, as well as U.S. government agencies such as NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Most are currently being investigated for alleged abuses of the positions they held and questionable actions in which they engaged.

The release of emails detailing their conspiratorial efforts to advance their false data and suppress any that represented a contrary point of view destroyed what little credibility there was for the recent UN Conference on Climate Change held in Copenhagen. It collapsed like a circus tent.

So why, on Sunday, January 24, did The New York Times publish an editorial titled “The Case for a Climate Bill” in an effort to support the insupportable, the Senate’s Cap-and-Trade legislation?

The bill is superficially intended to put limits on greenhouse gas emissions, primarily carbon dioxide, that are alleged to be “causing” global warming. It is, in reality, a massive tax on the use of energy, harmful in countless ways to the nation’s economy and a burden on all producers and consumers.

Cap-and-Trade has no basis in science because carbon dioxide plays no role whatever in climate change and because the Earth has been in a cooling cycle since 1998; a cycle that legitimate climate scientists predict will last another decade or two.

It takes an enormous amount of gall to support this legislation claiming “The long-term trend in greenhouse gas emissions is up (the decade ending in 2009 was the warmest on record.)” No, a decade in the 1930s was the warmest. The last decade saw a constant decrease in temperature, leading to the record-breaking blizzards, expanding glaciers, and other indications that the Earth is cooling.

“Finally there’s the question of credibility: Mr. Obama said in Copenhagen that the United States would meet at least the House’s 17 percent target” of reduced CO2 emissions said The Times.

President Obama has virtually no credibility left and had to flee the Copenhagen conference in order to avoid being snowed in there and unable to land in Washington, D.C. which was also expecting a snowstorm!

This blind and desperate refusal to face the facts, let alone to report them, will ultimately destroy the famed “newspaper of record” and, if that happens, I will not mourn its passing.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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