Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The IPCC consensus on climate change was phony, says IPCC insider

I append below this comment by Lawrence Solomon a few further comments of my own -- JR

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change misled the press and public into believing that thousands of scientists backed its claims on manmade global warming, according to Mike Hulme, a prominent climate scientist and IPCC insider. The actual number of scientists who backed that claim was “only a few dozen experts,” he states in a paper for Progress in Physical Geography, co-authored with student Martin Mahony.

“Claims such as ‘2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’ are disingenuous,” the paper states unambiguously, adding that they rendered “the IPCC vulnerable to outside criticism.”

Hulme, Professor of Climate Change in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia – the university of Climategate fame — is the founding Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and one of the UK’s most prominent climate scientists. Among his many roles in the climate change establishment, Hulme was the IPCC’s co-ordinating Lead Author for its chapter on ‘Climate scenario development’ for its Third Assessment Report and a contributing author of several other chapters.

Hulme’s depiction of IPCC’s exaggeration of the number of scientists who backed its claim about man-made climate change can be found on pages 10 and 11 of his paper, found here.


1). Hulme has always been a bit of a puzzle. Although sitting at the centre of Warmism, he has long sounded a very reluctant Warmist. And his latest paper is a very scholarly one revealing a wide knowledge of the relevant literature -- and since knowledge of the relevant facts is a very good antidote to Warmism, one can see where the reluctance is coming from.

2). A curious feature of the paper is his use of Marxist language. He speaks of "producing knowledge" rather than "establishing the facts", for instance.

3). A more amusing feature of his paper is the deference he shows towards social scientists who claim that the IPCC doesn't pay much attention to them. What credibility the IPCC has depends very much on its pretensions to promulgating good physical science. If it included rantings from sociologists and their ilk it would stand out like dog's balls what a Leftist madhouse it was. One would have thought that Hulme would have known that and acknowledged it. I personally hope that the next IPCC report DOES include lots of input from social scientists. That would make it a very easy target indeed -- particularly for me, given my social science background.

4). My synthesis of the 3 points above is that Hulme is a very smart man who not only knows the truth but also knows on what side his bread is buttered and also is good at hedging his bets. He keeps on side with everyone, including Marxists and sociologists (but I repeat myself) while still telling enough of the truth to survive the forthcoming collapse of the Church of Climate change with some honour intact. Two quotes from Hulme below which echo what unbelievers have been saying for a long time.

Nordlund (2008) examined 13,000 cited references in Working Groups 2 and 3 of IPCC AR4 for evidence of work related to the `futures' community - work either published in core futures journals or by known futures experts. His argument was that for an assessment which is so heavily futures-oriented, the inclusion of futures research in the 2007 Fourth Assessment was depressingly thin; the IPCC would benefit from assessing research from a community which specialises in `the philosophical and methodological aspects of prediction and forecasting'

Claims such as `2,500 of the world's leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate' are disingenuous. That particular consensus judgement, as are many others in the IPCC reports, is reached by only a few dozen experts in the specific field of detection and attribution studies; other IPCC authors are experts in other fields

-- JR

More crooked Warmist statistics: Butterflies are NOT emerging earlier

Comment on Kearney et al., 2010 by Marc Hendrickx

I have obtained the same data used in this study as Kearney et al. and am unable to confirm the results for the historical observation data. I count 239 observations made in Oct-Dec from 1942 to 2009. The annual data show a wide range of earliest observation dates (Figure 1), and at face value the use of 5 year or 10 year averages appears to be a convenient statistical method that hides the very wide spread of observation dates.

Applying a linear regression to a graph of the earliest observation date for each year indicates a trend of -0.7 days per decade. However, with an R2 of 0.0091 the trend has no statistical significance. Based on a 10 year average of earliest observance dates, Kearney et al., 2010 claim -1.5 days per decade with R2 of 0.766. This is an artifact of averaging the dataset, and misrepresents the wide spread of observation dates and resulting uncertainty in trends.

Regardless of any trend noted, there remains a major problem using this "opportunistic" data as a proxy for emergence. This has been poorly discussed in the paper and requires further comment. Indeed the caption for Figure 1a is incorrect and misleading. The graph is in fact a measure of earliest "observance" times, not emergence. This should be amended here and elsewhere in the paper (eg Abstract).

Using this "opportunistic" data to establish emergence is like dating a volcanic eruption based on collection dates of samples housed in a museum. The historical trends identified simply reflect variation in the time collectors have ventured out to observe and collect butterflies. The databases in question do not record a single observation of natural emergence of H.Merope. Indeed no work has been published that records natural emergence times for the butterfly concerned.

In order to establish a change in emergence, the authors should actually be observing emergence. The proxy used is simply not close enough. I understand this is difficult because the "bugs" are small and difficult to observe under natural conditions.

There remains considerable temporal bias in the data, with over 50% of total observations post dating 1990. There is also a considerable bias in observation locations, with the vast majority collected in Melbourne's east and none in the vicinity of Laverton, the weather station that was used to characterise temperature change over the whole of the study area (Figure 2).

The other issue relates to the use of this Laverton weather station to characterise temperature over the very large and geographically diverse study area, amounting to approximately 12,000km2 (37.60-38.54 S, 144.17-145.48 E). The paper does not mention well documented Urban Heat Island effects over Melbourne that encompasses Laverton that have clearly affected temperature at this station over the period of study (see Morri and Simmonds, 2000 and Torok et al., 2001).

Close examination of other stations in the study area shows a wide variety of temperature trends (Figure 2). It seems the authors have chosen one station that favours their theory without adequately explaining why others should be rejected. The choice of Laverton with its inherent problems of Urban Heat Island effects are not sufficiently explained.

Trends for other stations (eg Durdidwarrah) fall well within the limits of natural temperature change indicated by Kearney's Figure 1d and provide an indication that observed temperature trends over parts of the study area can be adequately explained by natural factors without recourse to warming through increased green house gases.

Based on these points, I believe that the authors' conclusions remain unsupported by the data presented.

In addition, there is apparently an error in the discussion section where the trend from the previous version (-1.6) is used.


Kearney, Michael R., Natalie J. Briscoe, David J. Karoly, Warren P. Porter, Melanie Norgate, and Paul Sunnucks. "Early emergence in a butterfly causally linked to anthropogenic warming" Biol. Lett. published online before print March 17, 2010

Morris C.J.G and Simmonds I., 2000. Associations between varying magnitudes of the urban heat island and the synoptic climatology in Melbourne, Australia. International Journal of Climatology 20: 1931-1954.

Torok S.J, Morris C.J.G., Skinner C. and Plummer N., 2001. Urban Heat Island features of southeast Australian towns. Australian Meteorological Journal 50:1-13.


Lies to cover up Warmist fear of the facts

Comment by Steve McIntyre:

Marcel Crok of the Netherlands had an interesting exchange with the Netherlands-based InterAcademy Council this week – see his blog post here.

Noticing that the InterAcademy Council’s IPCC Review was holding hearings in Montreal and that presenters were being imported from Europe (e.g. Robert Watson, Hans von Storch), Marcel wrote to the IAC at 4 pm on Thursday June 10 (see here for full letter):
Given the fact that the meeting is in Montreal and that both McIntyre and McKitrick live relatively close from there (compared to Watson and Von Storch for example), this means that the IAC Panel has decided deliberately not to seek evidence from them.

This screams for an explanation in my opinion. A clear explanation from the IAC Panel about this decision would therefore be highly appreciated.

William Kearney, titled as Spokeperson for InterAcademy Council Review of IPCC, Amsterdam, and Director of Media Relations, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. wrote back to Marcel at 6:52 pm Friday June 11 (00:52 a.m. Saturday June 12 Dutch time) saying that members of the panel were interviewing
“dozens of scientists and other stakeholders with insight and views on the IPCC process, such as Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick” as follows:

Given that the InterAcademy Council committee reviewing IPCC processes and procedures expects to deliver a peer-reviewed report by Aug. 30, it has limited time for presentations at its public meetings and therefore has chosen speakers who are current leaders of IPCC or who can offer representative and varying perspectives of IPCC processes based on prior IPCC experience.

Meanwhile, members of the committee are interviewing dozens of scientists and other stakeholders with insight and views on the IPCC process, such as Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick. A questionnaire also has been sent to hundreds of scientists and stakeholders, and posted to our website so the public has an opportunity to offer input. The presentations, interviews, and answers to questionnaire all will be taken into consideration as part of the committee’s review.

“Interviewing dozens of scientists and other stakeholders with insight and views on the IPCC process, such as Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick”.

In fact, neither Ross nor I have been interviewed by them nor have we been approached by anyone from the InterAcademy review as to our availability for an interview – something that might have been easily arranged while members were in Canada. One really wonders why organizations like this make untrue statements, when they are certain to be checked.

The InterAcademy Council did something else that was, shall we say, a bit sly. When Marcel wrote to them on Thursday, not only had we not been included in the “dozens” to be interviewed, we had not even been included in the “hundreds” to whom questionnaires had been sent.

At 4:53 pm Eastern June 11, they sent me the standard questionnaire. An hour or so later, they emailed Marcel, saying that they were “interviewing dozens of scientists and other stakeholders with insight and views on the IPCC process, such as Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick”.

The email enclosing the questionnaire began:
The InterAcademy Council has established a committee to conduct an independent review of the policies and procedures of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). A critical element of the committee’s analysis is the opinions of knowledgeable experts and thoughtful observers regarding IPCC’s processes and procedures for producing assessments. Only a few such individuals can interact with the committee at each meeting. Consequently, the committee has carefully selected a limited number of thoughtful individuals to provide written comments. On behalf of the committee chair, Harold Shapiro, and vice-chair, Roseanne Diab, I would like to invite you to respond to the questions below.

They told Marcel that the questionnaire had been sent to “hundreds” of scientists, but their email to me told me that “the committee has carefully selected a limited number of thoughtful individuals” and that I was fortunate enough to be chosen. It must have been a lucky day for me as I got several emails from people in Africa telling me that they had also carefully selected me as their beneficiary. If all of these careful selections prove out, it will have been a good day.


Prof. Bellamy joins march against British wind farm

Hundreds of protesters were joined by conservationist David Bellamy on Saturday in a march against a proposed wind farm. Campaigners said about 350 people took part in the protest through an area of the Lammermuir Hills in the Scottish Borders, where 48 turbines could be built. The Say No To Fallago group argues that unspoiled countryside will be threatened by the construction.

Developers insist the area is remote and would enjoy access to a nearby power line - and accused Bellamy, who is a professor of adult and continuing education at Durham University and a special professor of botany at Nottingham Unviersity, of being "discredited" for his views on climate change.

A formal decision on the application is due from a second public inquiry.

In a statement, Professor Bellamy said: "The outcome of the public inquiry into this wind farm application will be a watershed moment. "If it is approved, the Scottish Government will be declaring open war on Scotland's countryside - no landscape will be safe from industrialisation by these high rise wind machines."

Protest spokesman Mark Rowley said: "We have really touched a nerve and we feel that those who cherish the importance of Scotland's rural landscapes are behind us."

Andrew Shaw, managing director of developer North British Wind Power, said just six houses are within about three miles (4.8km) of the site. He added: "The site is also crossed by a massive power line which inevitably involves degradation of the area. But it also means the wind farm could be connected to the grid."

Mr Shaw said "posturing" from protesters should not be allowed to cloud the decision of the public inquiry. And he criticised Prof Bellamy's involvement, adding: "He was discredited by many in the scientific community a long time ago."


No sign of global warming on Australia's ski fields

Quite to the contrary. The slopes are open unusually early

VICTORIA'S ski-fields have enjoyed the best opening of the season in years, the resorts say, with enough snow and selected lifts operating for revellers to take to the slopes on skis and boards.

Snow began falling on the mountain resorts of Mount Buller and Mount Hotham in the past week, and both have bolstered coverage with man-made snow.

The sun was shining, the sky blue and the air crisp and dry at both resorts yesterday.

For the first time on the Queen's birthday opening weekend since 2003, three of the 13 ski lifts at Hotham were operating and three runs were open: Summit Trainer, Playground and the Big D, said resort spokeswoman Gina Woodward. "It hasn't got warmer than minus 3 for at least the last week," she said. "That's pretty cold for Australia - there's no sign of climate change around here right now."

Skiers had an average of 13 centimetres of snow under their skis on the runs. "Last night it dropped down to minus 6.3 and we made another 15,000 cubic metres of snow," Ms Woodward said. "Things are looking good for the coming weeks."

At Mount Buller, people were skiing on this opening weekend for the first time since 2007, said Buller Ski Lifts spokeswoman Rhylla Morgan. Snow depth ranged from 18 to 45 centimetres. Four of the 22 lifts were operating, with Bourke Street, Baldy and Shaky Knees runs open.

"It's been an absolutely amazing opening weekend … the mountain looks absolutely spectacular," Ms Morgan said. "We started grooming [the slopes] a few days ago. This morning, when the sun came up, the runs were completely smooth and looked like carpet."

Ms Rhyll said the temperature was expected to peak at about 3 degrees yesterday, and was expected to drop to about -5 or -6 overnight, which was ideal for making snow. "We had about 15 centimetres of natural snowfall just before the weekend," she said. "We have prime conditions for making snow … to give Mother Nature a hand. "To have this much of the mountain open and people skiing on the opening weekend is cause for celebration."

About 10,000 people were venturing to Mount Buller for the opening weekend, and in their hundreds to Mount Hotham, according to official estimates.


THEORY: The reason the Obama Administration is not allowing flyovers or proper reporting on the Gulf Spill is that it’s MUCH MUCH MUCH worse than the government is letting on

I don't entirely buy this theory at this stage but I do find hard to understand a lot of what Obama has done and said. If only America still had an oil-man as President! -- JR

Let us prove or disprove this theory, as speculated on this site, The Oil Drum, that the reason the Obama Administration is employing draconian tactics to hamper full reporting and visual images of the Gulf Spill Disaster is that it’s a MUCH, MUCH, MUCH worse problem than the government is letting on.

So far, the mystery’s involved:

(1) maintaining a no-fly zone over the spill

(2) preventing reporters from getting close to the spill

(3) using military at Grand Isle, Louisiana under tight security lockdown…for SOMETHING

(4) warehouses full of oil containing boom that aren’t being used

(5) the refusal to act on any of the plans Governors Jindal, Barbour and others have been trying to get the federal government to focus on

It feels like the Oil Drum piece might be on to something, in that they speculate the oil’s not leaking from the Deepwater Horizon shaft, but instead it’s leaking up from the sea floor itself… and that the oil’s somehow coming up not from a hole that can be plugged, but from a gash in the seabed that can’t be fixed.

If this is true, then BP is not to blame for what’s happening, as much as Obama wants to pin everything on this one British company to destroy it (and all the British pensions that are linked to its stock).

If this is true, then it’s a disaster only a demigod can avert and contain. Thank goodness all that Hope and Change from 2008 installed just such a Lightbringer with the power to lower the oceans and heal broken souls… and, we assume based on his own proclamations of godlike wonder, repair the sea floor.

Read what they’re saying over at Oil Drum, then come back here and let’s see how deep we can all dig into this… and see if the theory proves true that the reason the Obama White House is not acting in this matter is because they know there is nothing they can do to stop this, and aren’t yet prepared to announce the real scope of the problem at hand.



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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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