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Climate skeptics heart the IPCC (mistakes)

By Juliet Eilperin

Climate skeptics have a couple of extra reasons to be happy this weekend: the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admitted Saturday that it made yet another error in its 2007 report, and the researcher at the center of the controversy over the University of East Anglia's pirated e-mails gave a lengthy interview with the BBC.

The IPCC, already under fire for its projections of how quickly Himalayan glaciers will melt, acknowledged Saturday it overstated how much of the Netherlands lies below sea level. A background note in the 2007 report said 55 percent lay below sea level, but that figure included areas that were actually above that, yet prone to flooding.

"The sea level statistic was used for background information only, and the updated information remains consistent with the overall conclusions," the IPCC declared in a note that was released publicly Saturday but dated February 12.

In a separate development, Phil Jones--who directed the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit until he stepped aside once private e-mails he wrote to other climate researchers became public--gave a BBCinterview in which he spoke at length about the brouhaha. Some of the highlights:

Q: When scientists say "the debate on climate change is over", what exactly do they mean - and what don't they mean?
A: It would be supposition on my behalf to know whether all scientists who say the debate is over are saying that for the same reason. I don't believe the vast majority of climate scientists think this. This is not my view. There is still much that needs to be undertaken to reduce uncertainties, not just for the future, but for the instrumental (and especially the palaeoclimatic) past as well.

Q: Let's talk about the e-mails now: In the e-mails you refer to a "trick" which your critics say suggests you conspired to trick the public? You also mentioned "hiding the decline" (in temperatures). Why did you say these things?
A: This remark has nothing to do with any "decline" in observed instrumental temperatures. The remark referred to a well-known observation, in a particular set of tree-ring data, that I had used in a figure to represent large-scale summer temperature changes over the last 600 years.
The phrase 'hide the decline' was shorthand for providing a composite representation of long-term temperature changes made up of recent instrumental data and earlier tree-ring based evidence, where it was absolutely necessary to remove the incorrect impression given by the tree rings that temperatures between about 1960 and 1999 (when the email was written) were not rising, as our instrumental data clearly showed they were.
This "divergence" is well known in the tree-ring literature and "trick" did not refer to any intention to deceive - but rather "a convenient way of achieving something", in this case joining the earlier valid part of the tree-ring record with the recent, more reliable instrumental record.
I was justified in curtailing the tree-ring reconstruction in the mid-20th Century because these particular data were not valid after that time - an issue which was later directly discussed in the 2007 IPCC AR4 Report.
The misinterpretation of the remark stems from its being quoted out of context. The 1999 WMO report wanted just the three curves, without the split between the proxy part of the reconstruction and the last few years of instrumental data that brought the series up to the end of 1999. Only one of the three curves was based solely on tree-ring data.
The e-mail was sent to a few colleagues pointing out their data was being used in the WMO Annual Statement in 1999. I was pointing out to them how the lines were physically drawn. This e-mail was not written for a general audience. If it had been I would have explained what I had done in much more detail.

Q: The "Climategate" stolen emails were published in November. How has your life been since then?
A: My life has been awful since that time, but I have discussed this once (in the Sunday Times) and have no wish to go over it again. I am trying to continue my research and supervise the CRU staff and students who I am responsible for


Juliet Eilperin

 |  February 14, 2010; 1:01 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Praying for the climate's sake | Next: Climate scientist Phil Jones speaks -- again


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Juliet Eilperin is an environmental advocate. She is probably a Progressive Democrat too.

Obviously, she wouldn’t have a job with the "Post Carbon Planet Panel" if she objectively reported on the Scam of Global Warming. Journalism is dead in America. The only thing we get now are advocates like Julie here. It is quite sad actually.

Posted by: Senator_Salesman | February 16, 2010 10:22 PM
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My, my. Ms Eilperin had the BBC interview, but even for her main 15 Feb story, REFUSED to include Dr Jones' comment that he agreed that there has been NO warming of significance for the past FIFTEEN years.

Gee, I wonder why Ms Eilperin wouldn't bother reporting that? In the British press, it's page one news all over.

I think we all know why.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | February 15, 2010 3:15 PM
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Jones: "...where it was absolutely necessary to remove the incorrect impression given by the tree rings that temperatures between about 1960 and 1999 (when the email was written) were not rising..."
Why does anybody believe anything this man says? He disassembles even when trying to exonerate himself. So he wants to ignore physical evidence because it doesn't fit his theory? Zero credibility.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | February 14, 2010 4:33 PM
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Harrabin didn't question Jones about the core weakness of the IPCC AGW scare which lies in the gross discrepancy between the core Science conclusions in WG1 and the projections of doom in the Summary for Policy makers. These are discussed in the following blog from Climatesense-norpag.
IPCC Scientific Malfeasance.

The entire IPCC evaluation process is flawed to the point of fraudulence. The Summary for Policymakers was finalised and published before the WG1 (Science) section. The editors of the latter were under implicit pressure and in some cases ,I believe explicit instructions to make the latter fit the former instead of the other way around as should have been the case.Where this was not done the conclusions of WG1 were simply ignored by the editors of the Summary. The most egregious case goes to the heart of and in fact destroys the entire AGW paradigm. The key part of the science is in section WG1 8.6 which deals with forcings, feedbacks and climate sensitivity. The conclusions are in section 8.6.4 which deals with the reliability of the projections.It concludes:

"Moreover it is not yet clear which tests are critical for constraining the future projections,consequently a set of model metrics that might be used to narrow the range of plausible climate change feedbacks and climate sensitivity has yet to be developed"

What could be clearer. The IPCC says that we dont even know what metrics to put into the models to test their reliability.- ie we don't know what future temperatures will be and we can't calculate the climate sensitivity to CO2.This also begs a further question of what mere assumptions went into the "plausible" models to be tested anyway.
Nobody ever seems to read or quote the WG1 report- certainly not the compiler of the Summary. In spite of the WG1 8.6.4. conclusion the Summary says:

"The understanding of anthropogenic warming andcooling influences on climate has improved sincethe TAR, leading to very high confidence7 that the global average net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming, with a radiative forcing of +1.6 [+0.6 to +2.4] W m–2 "

This statement is fraudulent on its face when compared to 8.6.4.
Those of us interested in objective science should try to see that the 8.6.4 conclusion gets as much exposure as possible. It deserves to be on the front page of the NY Times, The Guardian quoted by the BBC and read into the Congressional record in the USA.

Posted by: normanpage | February 14, 2010 2:55 PM
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